So it seems that the storm has passed revealing calmer and brighter skies, hoorah! Wow what a weekend. I went down to Jerbourg yesterday and was blown away by all the debris, so many pine combs had fallen from the trees and still the wind was whipping around the point so the sea looked incredibly rough and uninviting.
Mind you the rain has been most welcome. Indeed I can't help thinking that the April showers are an incredible invention of mother nature to help the seddlings to grow and bring more life to the landscape - it is certainly very green and lush out there at the moment and so many beautiful wild flowers, especially all the blue bells everywhere.
I have finished reading Paulo Coelho's "Aleph", which was a fabulous read. Rather horrible at times, chatter of burning witches at the stake and all the terrible torture that went with that period in history. Makes me so pleased that we no longer live in such a world, at least not here in Guernsey fortunately. It is quite mad to think that there was a time when it was felt that Paganism, a belief in past lives, an interest in astrology and the mysteries of the spiritual world could result in a women being deemed a witch and literally burnt at the stake.
As in other parts of Europe, Guernsey is steeped in legend and witchcraft was believed to be rife in the Middle Ages. Guernsey convicted on average one witch a year for 150 years and one Bailiff, the feared Amice de Carteret, was responsible for sending 35 women to their death in a thirty five year period up to 1635. In 1640 a woman said to be 80 years old was burned at the stake. The last witch trial in Guernsey was as recently as 1914, but the sentence thankfully was eight days hard labour.
The belief in witchcraft was very strong over here - the white witches who helped other people and the black witches who cast nasty spells on people. At one point it was considered unlucky not to have ledges built into the chimney stack of a house. Here, passing witches could rest on their travels and you can still see such ledges on old Guernsey farmhouses - in fact the best-known example of such a ledge can be seen at the Longfrie Hotel in St Peter’s.
I met a Guernsey lady living in Australia who had left the Island as soon as she was able. She still visits family here from time to time but I remember her saying to me that she never feels comfortable on the Island, and there are some sreas of town she has to avoid simply because they bring back some memory in her as being persecuted as a witch in a previous life. It sounds ridiculous perhaps because witches don't always look like the stereotype, but there was something about this lady that made you in no doubt that she had been a witch in a previous life - a white witch no-less.
It makes me think how many of us would be burned at the stake these days simply for believing in the healing power of nature, for celebrating the full moon, for taking herbal supplements and for indulging in an esoteric Yoga practice!! Thankfully the consciousness of society has increased considerably since then.
So Paulo's book had quite an impact on me and I am still digesting the historical content.
On a lighter note, E and I managed a walk around Petit Bot the other day - it ws truly stunning, well worth a trip out to the Cliffs this weekend if you get the chance. I am hoping to get back into the greenhouse now we don't have to fear the glass panes falling on top of us with all that wind! plus we are booked to stay in Lihou on Monday night which is so exciting, I do love that little Island - regardless of its darker association with the whole back witch-ing days!
It is a full moon this weekend too, so let us hope the skies are bright and we are able to bathe in its energy and give thanks to the Goddess without fear of being arrested, tortured and then burnt at the stake!