Ritual for Ridgeway Hill
On the 2nd August a small group of Druid Priests representing HAD met close to the site of the Ridgeway Hill Mass Grave. Led by Christine Cleere (Vixxen), Lead Priest of the Gorsedd of Cor Gawr, they walked along the ancient pathway in time with a slow drumbeat. Unable to get as close as they would have wished to the site of the grave due to the closure of the pathways and deep excavations, the circle was formed overlooking the scar in the landscape created by the construction of the road – a white curving arc cutting deep the land just below barrows that have stood for an age atop the ridge.
The call for peace was made, and each priest in their turn called to the spirits of place. Jackdaws and rooks soared on the wind, their calls carried on the breeze; and just beneath where they gathered a Kestrel poised motionless in the air, focused on the land beneath, the slightest movement visible to her gaze. Slowly, gently, the group found their voice and called out their grief and respect to those ancient ancestors who were found so close to where they now gathered. Despite the wind, there seemed a stillness within the circle as the gaze of each priest present was drawn over the landscape that these ancients one walked; the spirits seemed to answer with their own voice in the wind, calling back with their own overwhelming sadness. Silent words, and words expressed aloud, were shared; tears flowed and the drumbeat in tune with that of the land echoed over the man-made scar. In the distance across from where the Druids stood, the Island of Portland seemed to take on another dimension, a shimmering echo as time somehow shifted , and through it all the tears and emotions flowed, acknowledged and honoured on both sides, as time itself slid and spiralled within the circle of the rite.
Silence. The group stood in silence; and then after indeterminate time, one of the priests broke that silence with words of deep honour, expressing regret, seeking acceptance for the removal of their bones. And then, the rite was over. A silent deeply thoughtful walk back to the modern age, like stepping forward from a time long past with a sudden jolt, back into the present day, past the barrows, back along age old tracks, now leading nowhere.