Sunday 22nd August, 2010 – The Cheesewring, Minions, Cornwall.
Just a mile or so further down the track from The Hurlers are a set of curiously eroded stones perched precariously on the edge of a hilltop that has been extensively quarried on one side. The journey to the stones is hard on the feet – the only path, although not steep, is littered with loose granite lumps and so sturdy boots are recommended in all but the finest of weathers. Today was not the finest of weathers at all – it was the wettest. The South West was about to enter one of the wettest periods in its recorded history (not forgetting the awful year when they had the flood at Boscastle, of course).
If you don’t have a map then remember this simple strategy to find the Cheesewring stones – keep right on the track until you reach the quarry then look up!
The legend of how this incredible formation came to be is recounted on a plaque in the car park near to the Hurlers, but a fuller account is given in Wikipedia:
“A local legend about this rock formation is the result of a contest between a man and a giant. When Christianity had just been introduced to the British Islands, the giants who lived at the top of the mountains were not happy about it. The Saints had invaded their land and were declaring their wells as sacred.
One of the larger giants, Uther, was given the task of ridding their land of the Saints. He confronted the frail St Tue, who proposed a rock throwing contest. If Uther won, the Saints would leave Cornwall. If St. Tue won, then the giants would convert to Christianity.
Uther took his turn first and easily threw a small rock to the top of nearby Stowe’s Hill. St Tue prayed for assistance, and picking up a huge slab found it was very light. One after the other, they threw their rocks, stacking them up in perfect piles. When the score was 12 stones each, Uther threw a thirteenth stone, but it rolled down the hill. St Tue picked up this fallen stone, and as he lifted it, an angel appeared to carry it to the top of the pile of rocks. Seeing this, Uther conceded and most of the giants decided to follow Christianity after that.”
This is a classic folklore tale following the usual formula: a seeimingly impossible David & Goliath contest which the saint wins with divine intervention. Note the number twelve and then a thirteenth being the saviour. Obvious astrological themes going on here. Usually I would then go on to tell you which astrological, zodiacal or cosmological entity is associated with a site like this, but in this case that is all unnecessary. The Cheesewring is a pure earth energy site. It is a formation from natural rock, occurring naturally on Bodmin Moor. Unlike stone circles there has not been any man-made alignment of the stones.
There has, however, been some manipulation of the existing stones. Occasionally they have been propped up, and that was necessary because the features of this rock formation have been somewhat exaggerated by the local inhabitants. When I dowsed I found that they had chipped away at the bottom portions to exaggerate its top-heavy look, and then smoothed the rocks off again, as they had done with many of the ‘dressed’ stones for places like Stonehenge.
The Gnome in the Cheesewring
Luckily for us there were no other people around. Perhaps the winds that tore across the hilltop as though racing each other were putting some people off, or perhaps it was the fact that visibility was down to several feet that made the climb up to the rocks both difficult to find and arduous to endure. Whatever the reason the gloom made me want to do some work to stay warm.
I dowsed as to what kind of site this was (er…look at it! It’c clearly stone and therefore an earth site! Idiot!). It was an earth site. (Told you so). I wondered if there was a genius loci for this strange place, and the rods confirmed that there was. I don’t usually dowse for a name for such things, but occasionally I do. Luckily for me (Kal chuckled) it was a three-letter name. “What would you have done if it was a thirteen-letter name?“, he taunted. I shrugged – it wasn’t. The earth energy spirit’s name was Hor, causing Kal to chuckle to himself again as he huddled from the biting roaring wind. I asked if it would be appropriate for me to connect to this entity, and the rods told me it was fine, so I asked them to take me to the best place to do this. The best place, apparently, was right in the centre of the rocks in a small space barely big enough to hold me, and exposed to the wind. Nice. I put up some standard protection (see – remembering now) and in I climbed wondering if I would be able to get out again.
Somehow the roaring winds seemed to silence. I could feel them still tugging and battering at my back, but their deafening roar had diminished to a whisper. I took the opportunity to visualise the form I had been working with lately at all these Bodmin sites and I conjured up the rosy cross shape. Now the shape had a circle drawn around it to form a more Celtic design. After some jiggery pokery (well, you’d only get bored if I told you) I had what I would call a “full house” – the Hor gnomic earth spirit had facilitated my work with its elemental kind, to go along with the air, water and fire elemental forces that I had re-collected at the start of the year. This seems like a yearly “pact” of co-operation that must be renewed annually. In return for this help I offered my usual thanks of love and gratitude. I cannot stress strongly enough how useful these energetic gifts are. You can leave all the flowers and corn-dollies and notes that you want – nothing, but nothing, replaces the honest and heartfelt offering of love and gratitude to an energetic being.
As I climbed out of the cramped space I noticed the wind howling again. Fine rain scraped at my face, depositing itself on my growing whiskers like hoar frost (Ha! Hor frost, even!). I visited the other rocks formations nearby on Kal’s recommendation, including a man shape that someone had laid out on the ground in lumpy granite rocks – to which I added a third-eye stone for a laugh. Kal did not look amused, however, but looked like a man who had been patient whilst I worked, but now who needed the warm reward of a quiet heated car.
We trudged back to the car park in good spirits, ready to see what happened next in this already very interesting day. Nothing could prepare me for the happenstance nature of the wonderful event that we would encounter next, however.