Kilpeck font is amazing … this is it.
It is the belly of the goddess, with her arms around it and stands on the four feet of animals, for the four elements.
Kilpeck is an ancient site, standing on a mound below a tump where the Normans later put one of their stone castles … but the site is far, far older than that.
Kilpeck also has as a gargoyle on the guttering around its roof the most famous Sheelagh Na Gig in Britain. It’s a beautiful picture, of the goddess opening her womb to the world. I take this as both inviting us in and letting us out, giving birth to us and taking us back within the fold as we die. It fits well with the font too.
Many historians associate the Sheelagh with the goddess as Hag, the Old One, the Wise One, the Crone who holds the wisdom for the people. The Mother is the wise one in her Grandmother form.
The return to the womb is part of the death/rebirth cycle and ritual we work with at Samhain, re-entering the cave, going back into the dark, re-emerging into the light. We express it in the pumpkins we carve, the weird hag-face, hollowed out and lit with a candle. It begins as dark, full of seeds and pulp all of which need to come out of the cave-shell and be composted or sown to make new life. then we make the goddess’ hag-face, carving out her eyes, nose and mouth into the shell of the pumpkin. Finally we light the candle and she gives us light, warm golden light streaming through the bright orange-gold skin of the pumpkin.
In 2011, at Samhain, we’ll be holding a workshop where you carve your own pumpkins as well as telling the stories of the goddess and learning her lore. the date is likely to be Sunday 29th October 2011, but watch this space for more details and also go to, and join, the Wye’s Women group on Facebook where we also post events and happenings.