A Place of Power

We were outside the famed round church in Cambridge, drinking our coffee on a bench in the garden, talking about life, of work, of projects when an older man approached us. Dressed like a harlequin he began his monologue.

“Oi - Avesbury (sic).. do you know it? You do don’t you. I can see it man. You’ve seen it. Give me a bit of that coffee and I’ll tell you what I know.

So Avebury man.. have you ever been to Stonehenge? Yeah I knew you had.. well Stonehenge right, Stonehenge was for the men. Only the men could worship at Stonehenge, the stones.. you can see it man, the stones are masculine - they have a male energy.

And Avebury right, Avebury was for the women - you can see that right? And their femininity right - that’s where the real power is.. the real power.. I’m an atheist right.. I’m a pagan.. I ain’t homeless, I’m a professional beggar. A travelling beggar. The name’s Roy. Can you read palms? I can.. I just read mine; I'm gonna die man.. ahaha

I have kind conversations and in return I’m given things.. I don’t need nothing.. I travel the land freely.. Can you get me a cheese sandwich? How about a cigarette?”

The monologue turned into a dialogue and faded back into a monologue, as is so often the case with encounters like these, but Roy’s gambit stuck with me for a while. He was right - I had been to Avebury, and could visualise it clearly, but I hadn’t considered any project whilst there. I had seen it as a historical tourist attraction, albeit a very interesting one, but nothing more; sure it had “power” but that power was one of history, of retrospection, of an incomprehensible sense of connection with the land from which I was born - a land I haven’t inhabited in half a decade.

So I began to think of a project in which I could represent the power of which Roy spoke, as clearly it had left quite the effect on him, and perhaps, I, too, could tap into the energies and power of which he spoke - regardless of my cynicism towards anything super-natural.

The Avebury stone circles (or squares according to some recent archaeological work) were constructed between 4500 and 5500 years ago. It’s original purpose is assumed to be that of a ritual or ceremonial site, although until now there still isn’t enough evidence to corroborate that. Avebury is situated in what can only be described as a “prehistoric landscape”, a small part of the country in which a large number of other prehistoric sites of real historical importance can be found.‘Avebury-Web’ describes a visit thusly:

“It remains a magical place as so many who have been there will agree. A visit to Avebury is a very personal event. It still seems to retain, somehow, the spirits of all those who laboured in its creation or whatever it was that led them to create it. If you have never been there a visit will not be an empty experience. You will come away with a head full of questions and probably a realisation that somewhere over the years modern society has lost something important.”

One can’t help but see similarities to Roy’s tone in their writing.

More information can be found on wikipedia; https://wikiwand.com/en/Avebury  and http://www.avebury-web.co.uk

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