Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Hidden World of the Cloutie Spring

At the bend of a dry, stony riverbed close to the enigmatic Silbury Hill, an old willow bends her branches low. A path of large, flat boulders leads from the willow tree on one side of the riverbed to a grassy field on the other.

The willow grows in a natural dip in the ancient landscape, slightly hidden from the view of the world. Walking down the bank, the harsh noises of the modern world quieten and then hush as nature's sounds become more noticeable - the breath of the breeze, the song of birds.

 The ritual of hanging cloutie rags is still carried out at this sacred spot. At Swallowhead Springs, clouties are tied to a branch with a prayer, spell or words for healing. They flutter on the wind some new and bright, some old and faded, tattered at the edges ...

At wet times in the year, the grass underfoot becomes sodden and marshy. The springs burst forth from the rich earth and the riverbed becomes immersed, the cold waters surging, swirling around the boulder path and deep enough for bathing. The ground is transformed into the richest green with lush grass and large burdock leaves. Nourished, fertile land ... life force flowing ...

This year the ground remains dry, waiting for the rain ...


  1. That's rather interesting; in the US among some of the Native tribes we tie prayer bundles (tobacco wrapped in various colours which each represent the spirits) and leave these in trees in sacred places. It's nice how different cultures come to a common thread sometimes!

  2. A few years ago I visited this sacred place, all the way from BC Canada. These photos bring it all back. I traveled the Michael Mary Ley lines and other sacred places and did ceremonial work. It truly filled my soul. I left a small, ancient bell on Willow so that it would ring to me and others.