November 8th 2021
To paraphrase Rabbie Burns, the best laid plans of pilgrims often go awry.
I had planned to take my merry band on a Samhain-themed walk November 1st. However, the Yorkshire weather had other ideas, so I was forced to cancel.
Not to be outdone, I adjusted the theme to Remembrance and scheduled it for a week later. This turned out to be an auspicious move, as this time we were blessed with a glorious warm sun beaming down on us from a bright blue sky.
Six of us gathered inside the wrought iron gates of Jervaulx Park and asked the luminous beings to grant us their hospitality.
We turned onto the bridle path that runs through the estate and away from the distant abbey.
Surrounded by glorious trees displaying their autumnal finery, we ambled along past the pond, enjoying the peace and beauty that enveloped us, picking up a feather here, some sheep’s wool there, to enhance the mandala we would make later.
It was heartening to see how everyone bonded easily, regardless of whether they had met before. Such is the beauty of being part of a small group.
Just before the end of the path, we headed up a gentle slope towards a beech grove. We reverted to the joys of childhood, scuffing happily through thick carpets of brown leaves. We found a fairy ring too!
When we reached the trees, the sunlight was noticeably filtering through to one particular spot, inviting us to use it to express our thanks and connection to the Earth through communal creativity and reflection. Crab apples, a mossy stone, a pheasant’s tail feather, a prickle of holly, a piece of rose quartz for love, sprigs of rosemary for remembrance, all combined to make a beautiful mandala. A British Legion poppy marked the centre.
When our artwork felt complete, we gathered round in a silent circle and listened to the echoes of my singing bowl float through the air. I read a beautiful poem about the connection between Nature and remembrance. Written by a Native American, the words were so appropriate to what we were doing. As I read it, a gentle breeze sprang up, subsiding as I finished speaking, something that often happens during the most spiritual part of a walk. After a few moments, the singing bowl sounded again, rounding off our ritual.
We took an unofficial path back towards our starting point, enjoying the panorama spread out before us.
When we reached the well where the sheep drink, we gathered round to thank the luminous beings for allowing us to share such a beautiful space.
In true pilgrim style, we repaired to a nearby cafe for hot drinks and laughter. Each one of us felt happy and fulfilled, from the sheer joy of being out in nature with like- minded people. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect pilgrimage.
Local Contact for Yorkshire