Places like this feed me.
Cat’s Scramble got its name from the name of one of the Acklands who had a pony called Cat, she loved this place and rode here often. It really is a scramble too, in parts you’re very glad to have hands as well as feet and go up like a bear. But it’s so worth it.
It’s silent. I never meet anyone else here though I’ve walked the path for fifty-odd years. It’s a place to be solitary. And being solitary feeds me.
I come here to be alone, alone with her, with Elen of the Ways, my lady. And with all the faer who live here, the spirits of place, of the animals, trees, birds, insects, of all the life that lives here.
Solitary, alone with the natural world, feeds the awenydd, the spirit-keeper in me, the one who’s always seeking inspiration. And it enables spirit to feed me too. Spirit finds it hard to be heard through a clamour of cheerful voices chattering away. It’s even hard when the voices are quiet but the yearning spirits of the others fill the air. There are a few friends I will walk with, who love to be quiet and silent, but really being with even one other person takes from that feeling of being held in the palm of the goddess of the land.
Solitary, I can listen, stop, watch, smell, and touch. I sometimes sit for ages on a log, by a tiny stream, doing nothing at all but sensing all the threads of the land as they work their way into me. The threads are like the mycorrhiza, the incredible fungi who are the web of wyrd that supports all life on earth, giving water and food to all the plants from the tiniest leaf up to huge great trees. They are the physical form of the silver threads of the goddess, Elen’s ways, her deer trods. They show us how the magic spirit-threads, the silver dragon-lines, work for they do the same thing in the spirit world as the michoriza do in the world we see.
Walking, especially in ancient woodland, enables this so very strongly for me. I open up my feet and feel my own threads going down … and the Earth-threads coming up. It’s the most gorgeous feeling! And it feeds me.
I feed the Earth too, through this same process. As she gives to me so she also takes from me, through the threads I offer down to her. She takes all the gunk that is no good to me anymore, past its sell-by date and only good for composting. And she does composting really well. Long ago, on these same moors, I learned from my dad and my uncle how good she is at it and what a good process it is of itself.
Think about it … shit, if we get constipated and can’t let it go, will kill us sooner or later. If we let it go and compost it properly then it feeds the trees, plants, the flowers and everything. So, like the old alchemist, George Ripley, said …
Then of the Venom handled thus a Medicine I did make;
Which Venom kills, and saveth such as Venom chance to take:
Paracelsus did it too … he’d walk into his laboratory, where his new students were, holding a crock of steaming shit and say, ‘Here, gentlemen, is our gold!’ He’s right too!
Shit is good for us … in the right place, and in the wrong place it will kill us. That goes for mental, emotional and spirit shit too.
Elen, the lady of the land feeds me … and I feed her with my shit, all the stuff and baggage I no longer need and have been carting about for way too long. For me, that’s one of the reasons why Cat Scramble is so good, you just cannot do that walk with a 60 or 80 pound Bergen on your back … not unless you really are one of the SAS! So I have to travel light when I walk that path. I have to pare down my needs to water and some light-weight but good sustenance munchies. I have to use my hands and knees as well as my feet to make it up the path. I have to dress appropriately. I have to be careful, conscious and aware – definitely not pink-n-fluffy!
In fact … like the shit … I have to be in the right place, in the right mode, at the right time. Just like I should be in all my life! Of course, I’m not … who is? But it’s very good to remind myself of these things regularly and Cat’s Scramble is a good place to do just that.
© Elen Sentier