TRY BEFORE YOU BUY …
An extract from
TRADITIONAL WITCHCRAFT AND THE PATH TO THE MYSTERIES:
“This book draws on unusual sources to describe a true witch’s journey to self-discovery and succeeds in drawing the reader into a new vision of the traditional witches path. I for one have found it breath-taking.” BrettC (Amazon)
If there’s one place that an Old Craft witch is going to feel a frisson of fear and trepidation, it’s standing at the barren edge of an upland lake. This really is an alien landscape, devoid of any visible flora and animal life because nothing can survive in this bleak wilderness. The surface of this expanse of water is dark and ruffled by the cutting wind that blows across the face of the mountain; there is no escaping from the wind-chill and even though the sun is shining, there is no welcoming shelter to be found on the sheer cliff face.
Most of Britain’s upland lakes are glacial in origin, resulting from the great sheets of ice during successive Ice Ages gouging out deep hollows that eventually filled with water. Normally these upland lakes are too deep, over most of their area, to permit light to penetrate and encourage plant-life to grow. Lakes in the region of hard rock, which provide few nutrients, receive poor supplies of these essential minerals into the water, which is lacking in both plant and animal life; the bottom of these lakes usually remains barren and stony and often any fish introduced into them eventually become stunted or malformed.
The depths of an upland lake is a cold, dark, alien world and, according to leading authority, G Evelyn Hutchinson of Yale University, ‘none of the other mechanisms of lake creation – not even earthquakes – can match the slow but enormously powerful creep of glaciers.’ The process of glacial erosion accounts for a high percentage of lake formation ‘and is responsible for more lakes than all the other geological processes combined’. The majority of these glacier-made basins are less than 25,000 years old, dating from the most recent Ice Age, when immense ice sheets advanced over much of the upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, bulldozing everything in their path.
These effects have only become visible after the ice receded and are known as cirques, a name derived from the French for ‘circle’ – referring to their distinctive rounded shape when viewed from above. Cirques, corries and cwms are basin-shaped hollows on the steep sides of mountains. These often spectacular landforms are also known by their Scottish name, corries, and by their Welsh name, cwm; when they become filled with water, the resulting lakes are known as tarns.
Some of these hollows were already part of the existing landscape while others were eroded by small glaciers as they moved down the mountainside to the valley below. Lakes of this type reach their greatest depths along the edge closest to the summit of the mountain. It is not surprising that these primitive lakes have a mystical quality all of their own since they have been created by an unstoppable force of Nature, and some of the lakes carved out by old glaciers may be so deep that their bottoms are below modern sea level.
This is where for the flicker of an instant we encounter an ‘Other’ Otherworld where things are not always as they seem. It is the world of illusion, the reverse side of the ‘Tree’ ... in fact we have found ourselves in that place of blind alleyways with conflicting directions and deliberately misleading instructions; following the darkened maze, through endless sloping corridors to a distorted hall of mirrors. We are here on the barren slopes of existence suddenly realising that for all our witchcraft we know nothing.
Photo: Llyn y’fan Fach in the Black Mountains, Wales