Spirits of an unfamiliar place

I’m travelling again, this weekend finds us at The Asylum, the UK’s biggest Steampunk event. And we’re not the only Druid attraction in town, John and Caitlin Matthews are here, talking about their new Steampunk tarot!

I’ve not been to Lincoln before. It’s an old city, certainly dating back to the Romans (and I assume, before them), and with plenty of medieval architecture. We’ve done a lot of wandering around this evening, admiring the buildings, getting used to the incredibly steep hill, gazing at the vast and wonderful views. I love travelling and encountering new places, it fires my imagination and feeds my soul.

I always seek out what I can in a new place, looking for a sense of the land, the ancestors, waterways… I don’t like to feel that I’m just passing through, taking without showing respect in some way. But of course really speaking I am exactly a tourist, even though I’m working, and I am just passing through. In a few days I will get what sense I can of the place, its history, its character, and whatever I can connect with, and I will do with that whatever makes sense. But whatever I think of my own impressions, I’m careful not to lose sight of the fact that I am just passing through.

Some aspects of a place can be grasped in very little time, are taken in with the first impressions and prove true if tested in more depth or at a later date. That’s true anywhere. It takes time to build the deeper knowing, exploring a place through seasons, times of day, seeing its flows and how its mood shifts over time.

I used to go to Bromyard Folk Festival a lot – also happening this weekend. I fell in love with the vibrant energy of the place. Then I went back one time when the festival wasn’t on, and realised this was a whole different town, and a place I did not know at all. As a traveller, I can only hope to see flashes and fragments.

I’m not good at staying in one place all the time. I like knowing places deeply and forming deep bonds with the spirits of a place, but at the same time, I’m a nomad at heart. I have a huge wanderlust in me, and it is good to be out, in a landscape I have never seen before, trying to get a feel for the soil and the wind.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Spirits of an unfamiliar place

  • Jennifer Tavernier

    Totally with you in catching the surface and perhaps deeper impressions, and the moods and changes of the seasons. And yes – the energy shifts when an event is NOT going on. Impressions and also the wanderlust. Can you feel/hear any ghosts of old song rising? So enjoy! Re: the Steampunk Tarot, will Caitlin and John have that on their website?

  • Alex Jones

    I have much respect for Caitlin and John Matthews.

    I have a good sense of discernment for spirits of place, some are unfriendly (Gloucester, Salisbury), others like St Davids and Colchester are welcoming. I can only explain that places with strong Belgae history seems to welcome me and those of older peoples are somewhat hostile. I am saddened by this, oh well.

  • Alex Jones

    Further comments:

    You would think that one isle, one people sharing so many characteristics that I would have free uninhibited access everywhere throughout the UK. This is illusion, the nation is a patchwork of different genius loci giving off a “something”, which I can pick up. This “something” is like background noise, except it is no sound, but in places I can make sense of it, like in Colchester. Visiting places like Gloucester I become disorientated, disconnected, I am unable to make sense of, or navigate through this background noise. I am met with outright hostility or its hard work. I have to be on alert, there is tension, and everything takes effort, I am moving against resistance, and I am “blinded”.

    I feel like I have barged into a strangers home. I think I shall use guides in future to at least make my movements outside my own welcoming areas easier for me. I would love to visit the standing stones and ancient places in other lands in the UK. I have vast knowledge but if I am going to be blinded/resisted it makes it less fun.

  • Nimue Brown

    Alex, that’s strange, Gloucester is ‘home’ for me one of the places I feel at ease. Hull, on the other hand…. eek. Not a good place, so I know what you mean in a broader, more general sense.

  • saymber

    “I always seek out what I can in a new place, looking for a sense of the land, the ancestors, waterways… I don’t like to feel that I’m just passing through, taking without showing respect in some way. But of course really speaking I am exactly a tourist, even though I’m working, and I am just passing through.” —- Vampire Hunter D —- “Transient Guests are we”

    Interpol (great steampunk animation video you might like, the song Pioneer to The Falls is one of my favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_HLMhJh_cQ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: