The story of the burnt out church of St Margaret at Hopton-on-Sea in Norfolk is a perfect metaphor for the story of St Margaret. She was swallowed whole by the Dragon but later exploded from its stomach. Jay and I both really identify with St Margaret, and the experience of being swallowed by our own emotional crisis in the past.
A new St Margarets church was built in 1866 following the fire which is also on the ley lines, and has a stained glass window designed by Burne Jones which seems somewhat true, and what anyone will say who has undergone a deep recovery experience, that you come out the other end transformed and better for it.
We know that this visit is going to be emotional because it is the last place the ley lines run through before heading off out to sea. This is the completion, at least for now, of our month long pilgrimage along the St Mary and St Michael ley lines. We began at Caer Les Boels in Cornwall and we have visited many Neolithic sites and Churches along the way, experiencing miracles and teachings from the Earth Mother. Nothing though could have prepared us for the sight we saw as we walked towards the ruined church.
There on the ground in front of us is a dove with a broken wing being attacked by another dove. I draw the dogs away and Jay rushes in chasing off the male bird which is trying to mate with the injured female. He seems oblivious to her distress and may injure her even more. Jay picks her up and places her in the bushes where we hope she will be safe and have the possibility of recovering.
I feel completely overwhelmed by grief. I see in this act everything that is wrong with the world, the feminine being attacked by aggressive male energy. Women have been blamed for the problems in the world, but really its the male sexual energy which is in need of harnessing.We both have a good cry and send what healing we have to the dove. I feel inconsolable. I am having to confront reality as it is now.
In the days following I have been processing this happening. Through the St Michael ley line and of course through men I know who do honour women and control their desires if they arise, I know that not all men are the problem. The problem is patriarchy, and in this case specifically what I will call the Lilith syndrome. This is where women have been blamed for inciting men and men have refused to take responsibility for their own actions. Women have been systematically persecuted and belittled to an inferior spiritual status. The Holy Mother somewhere along the line became the Holy Ghost.
The St Michael line I believe represents the perfect, sacred male energy. Since Jay broke her ankle (she is the Butch one!) my own masculine side has had to come out much more, in for example driving the motorhome. It is interesting that the Michael ley line is contained by the feminine Mother Earth energy. This reflects the teaching on Glastonbury Tor that the Yin can safely contain and creatively direct the Yang energy. Often Michael appears in places I would have thought were Mary, such as Dinton a beautiful little thatched village where Jay’s Grandma lived.
In tuning into the St Mary and St Michael ley line I would find it hard to say one is male and female, which is perhaps an indication that these are still too socially defined energies in my consciousness. I grew up in South Africa where girls did cookery and boys woodwork and never the two shall meet. I feel I have learnt a lot about what the Sacred Masculine is through this pilgrimage and that gives me hope for the future. Gender equality is the key issue in the world as far as evolutionary progress goes in my view. Juno seems key as Goddess of the Sacred Marriage in bringing about this balance.
Hopton-on-Sea turns out to be a frustrating place too because we really want to end the pilgrimage on the beach looking out to sea. Ive even got my swimming costume out in anticipation of a dip in. However caravan parks have taken over the entire sea front it seems and there is no way to the beach unless you are staying in one. This must be very irritating for people who live there.It feels very much that the corporate ways of the world are in our faces, another part of the patriarchal energy which needs a lot of adjustment.
We finish the day by heading back to another quaint, wooden church where we are staying at Thornham Pava in Suffolk. It is a beautiful church and has the best preserved ‘Retable’ in England which is a beautiful visual depiction of many of the aspects of our journey, including St Margaret slaying her Dragon. Later that evening sitting out under an old oak a dove sings behind me in a deep baritone voice. It is soothing and I hope our prayers for the dove to be healed or die quickly without pain will be heard.