Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Peacocks, Buzzards and Crows

The beginning of April, Mothering Sunday and a fine day full of sunshine and hope. I am collected late morning by friends whose friendship is itself both a surprise and a pleasure, we journey back in time through English history and over the border to Tutbury.

Here, we discover much to our delight that this ancient Norman castle is open to the public, it being the first day of the season. Approaching from the outer bailey we see buzzards soaring above, sweeping over us in courtship and shrieking a royal welcome as we arrive at the gate. There are warning signs advising the public not to cross the defensive ditch by any route other that the bridge, there is a ram in the ditch. We never get to see that ram but I can't help hoping he is a black one.

Another royal bird, heard but never seen, serenades our arrival and delights us with its call as we explore the Jewel that is Tutbury. The peacock, the bird of Juno and others shrills out from behind the towers. Hidden from view he is another Jewel waiting to be found. A bird of sun and stars and as ever watchful as the thousand eyes on his tale.

Above us the ever present birds of wisdom and fate circle as we climb the towers, appreciating the land about us, the distant views and the sense of history gained by visiting a place such as Tutbury. Once this was the home of the De Ferrers and then later the Dukes of Lancaster, now famous as a one time prison of Mary of Scotland, this castle saw battle in more than one civil war before it was slighted by Cromwell.

Much has been lost yet much remains, like Paganism, Folklore and the Craft, a puzzle to be deciphered, reconstituted and rediscovered on a quest to understand. Every bird and heraldic beast tells us a story and leads us to a moment of  wonder, each tribe had its totem, each family its crest, we each our own badge choose or more usually, have it chosen for us.

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