The Story Once in the cool green landscape of the British Isles and northern France, human beings sought a harmonious and gracious fellowship with the land that gave them life. They created large stone monuments to the knowing of circle, cycle, and interdependence. These truths permeated their lives. When they entered into the midst of the stones, they entered most assuredly into the land of the soul and were more harmonious, aligned and prescient than they were in their ordinary lives. They had been told where to place the stones by the Spirit. They intuited where energy currents ran through the body of the Earth and they carefully arranged tall standing stones so as to mark and accentuate the flows. They created spaces where the people could gather to celebrate and consult with Spirit. Their bodies told them when they were in the presence of the Earth energies and their souls knew when they were in communication with the great mystery. Gracefully at home in their souls, they made a powerful. Covenant with the land. And so for many, many years, the people gathered in the sacred sites and knowledge and experience wove into the myths and stories of the people. Besides the presence of the spiritual and earthly energies, the force and presence of human communion also grew. To enter these places took on the meaning of history and tradition. The rites and ceremonies that attended the seasons gained in power and purpose. This all happened in a time when humans experienced the divine as a great mother force- a sometimes benevolent and sometimes fierce being who oversaw the seasons and cycles of their lives and the life of the Earth. The Goddess was worshipped in the land. Villages grew up around lines of energy and great temples flourished openly until Roman times. It is said that in the vale of Avalon, the priestesses who attended the great Goddess and transmitted her message lived an idyllic life in the rolling hill country of what is now Somerset. A sacred well and the great Tor - a conical shaped hill arising beside what is now Glastonbury, marked holy ground. As the western world began it's great fascination with the masculine principle, the myths began to change. Temples began to be built to the Gods. Eventually the Monotheistic religions held sway in the western world. The old religion began to live underground. The time-honored ways of communion with the Earth and the energies that are intrinsic to knowing Her were supplanted by more rational modes of relating to the divine. A transcendent ethos permeated the practices and theology of the people. The mythic mind diminished in importance on the world stage and the rational mind gained prominence. What is interesting though, is that the sites still called out to the bodies of the people while the stones stood silently though the centuries. The humans, who now came to power living different myths, holding different values, met up with the stones and sites and sensed their power. While the old ways quietly survived, passed through the lineages of healers and holy ones, the new ways of first the Romans and then the Christians, found the sites once dedicated to the Earth mysteries apt places for their temples and churches. Legend has it that Avalon still resides in another dimension of heart, coexisting with the temporal Glastonbury, that the spirit of the Goddess still resides in the ruin of the church built to St. Michael still standing on Glastonbury Tor. The Chalice Well garden honors the well whose waters run from deep under the Tor. The water is red, full of iron. The oldest legend says that the blood of the Goddess colors the waters. The Christian legend attributes the red color to the blood of Christ, caught in the Holy Grail that was brought to Glastonbury by Joseph of Arimathea and buried beneath the Tor. People from all over the world have come to take these waters. The Glastonbury Abbey was a great center of learning in the Middle Ages and survived until the wrath of Henry VIII scourged all the abbeys of England. Situated on an intersection of the Michael and the Mary lines of energy, the abbey ruins take one back to a simpler time. Monks sang here in a perpetual choir and it is easy to imagine a vibrant monastic community thriving in a site held sacred for millennia. Perhaps somewhere in the consciousness of the Christian inhabitants of these places the old knowledge lived and souls once sworn to the Earth Mysteries and the worship of the Goddess came back to the places they had once known and put on a different cloak of belief, still communing with the same One. The Arthurian legends have an interesting relationship to the sacred sites of this part of England. From the seaside citadel at Tintagel, through to Glastonbury Abbey where Arthur and Guinevere are said to be buried and on to Camelot on the Salisbury plain near Stonehenge, significant places in the story of King Arthur are superimposed on the old holy sites. This story so steeped in the old ways of magic and mystery comes alive in the geography of the sacred sites. Brittany, in northern France was also home to megalithic stone works and the Earth worshipping Celts. Chartres, the most awesome of Gothic Cathedrals is built on a high promontory over a holy well. It seems no coincidence that Chartres in all in it's incarnations was dedicated to Mary. The current cathedral built in a 30 -year thrall of adoration for the Virgin Mary contains a relic from her birthing gown, a black Madonna, and the aforementioned well in it's crypt. Chartres is situated on the intersection of significant ley lines. Eveything about Chartres exemplifies the heavenly transcendent nature of the Christian faith and yet the immanent embrace of the old ways lives in the crypt and the labyrinth and the dedication to Mary. THE RECORDINGS I have made recordings in these sacred sites of the Celtic landscape over the past six years. The inner circle of Stonehenge, Tintagel, Glastonbury and the Crypt of Chartres Cathedral are my inspiration. I allowed my flute to respond to the feel of these places and to play with the birds and waterfalls and windy gales. 1. CHARTRES CATHEDRAL CRYPT Chartres Cathedral is a magnificent place. When I first walked in it's doors over thirty years ago, I burst into tears of remembrance and awe. When I came back as a facilitator for Veriditas, the worldwide labyrinth project in 1999, I felt a great sense of homecoming. After my 10 years of sojourns in Avalon, it was easy to imagine a spiritual link between the Glastonbury Abbey living in the dreamtime of Avalon and a cathedral dedicated to Mary on the site of a Druid grove and holy well. Layers of devotion similar in essence, and kindred in spirit were alive and well in each place. I recorded in the resonant crypt; the underground chamber beneath the cathedral beside the ancient holy well in the presence of a statue of Mary with Jesus on her lap. Mary wears a crown of oak and her eyes are closed, unlike her usual depictions. I was surrounded by spiritual sisters and their prayer and presence held the music in the feminine embrace 2. GLASTONBURY ABBEY KITCHEN In Glastonbury, I took my flute into the Abbey kitchen- the last enclosed structure of the ruined Glastonbury Abbey once a thriving monastic community in the middle ages. It was January and there was a 40 -mile per hour gale going on outside and a single worker repairing a bench for the summer crowds. The abbey kitchen is a conical structure and was very welcoming to the flute. When I closed my eyes, I saw a harmonious Christian community busy with the tasks of daily life. The abbey is situated on an intersection of two major ley lines important in the geomantic imagination as a place of integration of masculine and feminine energies. I remember a feeling of contentment and dedication in that kitchen and imagined how healing such an integration of practical and spiritual life would be to us in our time. 3. CHALICE WELL WINTER WATER Also in Glastonbury, I visited the Chalice Well Garden, an oasis of peace and beauty off the main road leading into the town. Nature spirits are quite at home here and a dedicated volunteer staff keeps beds of beautiful flowers in a wild harmony. At the end of a winding path, at the far reach of the garden is the famed Chalice Well. People still sit to probe the depths of it's waters, scrying their lives and praying their prayers. Often bits of ribbon are left behind as an offering. I sat near the stream flowing from the well in the wintertime and let the flute play the happy tunes of this enchanted place. 4. CHALICE WELL SPRING May in the garden is an absolute delight. I recorded this piece sitting on a bench beside a stone angel. Wild roses, tulips, and columbine bloomed in profusion and birds sang like they do only in England. In the far distance, up a steep path, past sheep and wild and chalky outcroppings I could see the Tor- the energetic focal point of Glastonbury and the physical touchstone for the mystical Avalon. 5. STONEHENGE The recording at Stonehenge was done at the summer solstice in 1995. A group of women gathered in the very early morning to conduct a ceremony of weaving the energies of the four directions of the planet, praying for peace, and harmony among the peoples. We acknowledged the time-honored purpose of this place as a vortex of energy that attunes everyone in it's sphere to the harmonious potential of life lived in balance. I played in the inner circle of stones which is ordinarily closed to tourists these days. It is a place of magnificent energy. The stones radiate a friendly, pulsing warmth and it is easy to feel the presence of souls from past times. Of course, I thought, human beings are meant to stand in the circle and pay homage to the land that gives them life. Of course, we are meant to listen to our souls' voice echoing the voice of the Earth, Herself. Of course, we are supposed to celebrate and broadcast this act. I felt in awe at Stonehenge The broad sweep of Salisbury plain brought a stiff wind that played my flute with me. My tones and tunes were dwarfed by the grandeur of the place. I felt like a herald calling us here to a site of collective soul purpose. 6. TINTAGEL 1 Tintagel is a tiny town on the northern Cornwall coast. Legend has it that the 6th century ruins on the rugged promontory are part of King Arthur's citadel. It is a place of longing and windswept beauty. I visited on a cool bright spring day with my friends Anne and Ben. We climbed down the cliff path to Merlin's cave and recorded in the stillness of the dark and damp chamber. 7. TINTAGEL 2 In this piece, we moved to the part of the cave where the sea crashed in during the rising tide. I felt the lullaby of sea ushering in the dreamtime. This would be a place where a shaman like Merlin would come for his dreaming. 8. WOODACRE MEADOW LABYRINTH The last piece on this work was recorded at my own sacred site- a beautiful meadow above my home in Marin county, California. I have built a seven circuit labyrinth in the meadow- one that I first 'glimpsed' as I completed a meditation and prayer at a small stone circle nearby. Labyrinths have a way of asking to be built and this one has honored my covenant with the land I have lived on these last two years. Sacred sites abound. Every bit of our dear Earth is sacred. For us to make relationship with the land beneath our feet- to tend it and love it and hear it's call is to do what our ancestors did long ago and to remember what our kind can do to heal the Earth. May this music transport us to the land of the soul, May the voice of the Celtic sacred landscape sing in our hearts May we remember.