Local author investigates Goddess
Simon Brighton, who hales from Cornwall has a new book out, Echoes of the Goddess, written in collaboration with Terry Welbourn, and published by Ian Allan Publishing.
There was a time in the British Isles, before the onslaught of patriarchal religion, when our ancient pagan ancestors lived in tune with nature. Governed by the changes of the seasons and the need to overcome the challenges of the rugged landscape to secure shelter and survival, man’s focus for worship was a deity responsible for natural cycles, fertility and growth, transformation, death and rebirth — the Goddess.
Today, this bygone era seems almost forgotten, especially since the more masculine churches of Christianity were built on ancient pagan sites of worship, perhaps in an effort to eliminate all traces of the Sacred Feminine. However, Simon Brighton and Terry Welbourn’s new book Echoes of the Goddess draws together signs still evident in our landscape today that evoke memories of our ancestors’ fascination and reverence for feminine deity in times when daily life was enriched by superstition and ritual.
Echoes of the Goddess sweeps us away on a journey of ancient sites throughout the British Isles which still bear the mark of the Sacred Feminine, offering a well researched historical perspective rather than one based on spiritual conjecture.
One of the book’s strengths is the sheer volume and quality of its photography, which truly inspires the reader to get out into the landscape and explore the subject themselves. From magical stone circles to labyrinths, monuments and holy wells, the images selected evoke spiritual connections and conjure up a sense of our mystical past that we rarely find in non-fiction material.
Although the authors have covered places of interest connected to Goddess worship right across the country, Devon and Cornwall have not been forgotten as hosts to some of the most important sacred sites in the British Isles. These are too numerous to mention, but the chapter on Witchcraft would not have been complete without mention of the fascinating, although slightly macabre, Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall. References to the healing wells of Madron and Sancreed remind us of the ancient belief that the spirit of the Sacred Feminine facilitated cleansing and regeneration.
We are also reminded that the annual celebrations that still take place in the West Country today around the beginning of May (the pagan festival of Beltane) began with community gatherings at this key time of year for Goddess worship. There’s a sense of joy in the photographs and descriptions of Padstow’s Obby Oss and the charm and origins of Helston’s Furry Dance is nicely conveyed.
Finally, the Gazetteer section provides clear OS map references for the sites explored by the book, encouraging us to see and experience the Goddess in the landscape first hand and embrace our forgotten roots.
Enjoy Echoes of the Goddess for all it offers – historical, mythic, spiritual glimpses of the beliefs and customs of those who came before us, and whose deity Brigit-Ana perhaps made her biggest impact by giving her name to the land in which we still live, Britannia’s isles.