S T O N E C O N S T E L L A T I O N S
I am using a form of constellations work to sift memory and other ways of knowing from the body, my body, which is porous and scoops other bodies into it and is just a tentacle reaching out of the wave of other bodies.
I have been making stone constellations for a few years, since visiting the river in Lancashire and starting to work with the stones. It is becoming the way to write, to make dance, a form of divination, and a way of speaking with the world through my body.
Sometimes I mark a place for a person, sometimes for a thing, a place, a memory, an event. Today I mark a place for the river, the stones, and the Pendle witches.
The river first. Eyes closed. Very still. I'm watching her now, being the river. She is looking towards the Pendle witches. She doesn't feel as though they are part of her. They are tiny black specks, a huddle of them, that need to be washed by the river. The river is upright.
Pendle witches. Head lowering. Eyes closed. Ungrounded, swaying a bit. Body feels quite narrowing, clamping arms to side, energetically the movement in the sternum is sinking and collapsing a bit. Neck tight at either side. Hands at inner thigh, head fully down towards the ground. Don't feel exactly calm. I feel a lot of shame. (Hand covering face). Big belly again (rubs bloated belly). Leaning all the way over now, still covering face, hanging over, hunched back from this angle, one arm fully down to ground, other one covering face. Hanging fully down. Almost falls backwards and comes out. Something about the witches feel very dark, unhealthy, not strong, like eating / caving inwards, something bitter.
The river. Stillness.
The stones. Eyes open. Clear and watchful. Something like glass, from where I am now, watching it back. The stones are much older than everything else. This is what she says. Very still.
How does the river feel about the stones? Eyes closed again. Suddenly oriented towards the stones, as though they are very much a part of each other. Arms up at either side, compact and clear and straight and sure. Hands flat. I almost feel as though they should be joined, they are joined really. The women (witches) are very much on one side, very separate, the river hardly wants to integrate them (hand out stretched towards women, other hand still compact at waist.
Pendle witches. Head feeling the weight, arms hanging down. So heavy. Neck heavy. Chin folded, throat compressed against chest. Leaning slowly and ungrounded. Making further the way down to the ground. The back as though something from behind just pushing it over and a bend, the back looks hunched now from watching it back. The witches want a fourth thing, whatever it is is unknown yet.
Fourth thing comes in. Pendle witches. Standing straight (hand to head for a moment). Calmness. Yeah it changes a lot. There's a slight heaviness still, but I feel quite strong with the fourth thing here. I feel like it's balancing the triangle, it's God-like, definitely white and airy. It's a white light figure. Feels like spirit. I want to say that it's spirit. I feel quite tall and I'm aware that I'm speaking differently from here. The tone in my voice is different, I feel very sure of myself. Feel like I could say lots of poetry here. Tongue fluid. I feel very majestic. (Left hand on heart). I feel I should be absolutely honoured, very regal. (Arms out to either side, palms facing up). Stillness, completely open chest and heart. I'd like to make a costume from this place and dance. (The hands making geometric shapes). I feel the shapes that come out here are very different. (The arms moving very fluidly straight around one another, come into Y shape above the head. Symmetrical dance ensues.) Something drawn on the face like a crown, white paint. My face is one shape, covered in white.
Stepping out back into the others to see what has changed.
River. The river wants eyes opened now. I'm definitely more aware of the women, of all the elements, not just the stones. I'm aware of all three things. Fourth element (spirit) has taken over from the stones; the power is coming from that one into me. (Very still). Very directly as though it's absolutely pouring into me, and that's what's making me move quickly. That's what makes me move quickly. (Hands cover face as she remembers sending spirit into the river in Lancashire, and waking up the next morning to find the raging torrents, when the night before it had been completely still.) I feel emotional saying that because I realise what happened at the river, that I channelled the spirit into the river and it flooded and made it move. We are like mediators between spirit and land, we can call spirit into it. How do I feel now about the women? I don't feel a darkness at all anymore. Actually I feel like we've all become the same thing. We've all evened out and become the same thing.
Stones. Eyes open. I don't even want to say this but something about the fourth element is male. She says very certainly. In a really good way. (Hands comfortable on chest). Something about the air, it's the air, it's the sky, it is the sky, it is the sky and it is male. Hand up to face, realising the myth moving through. Deep exhale. Relief. Hands down at waist, clasped. Nodding in acknowledgement.
The constellation brought to mind the sense of sky that came to me in both Yorkshire and Lancashire, also signalled by the countless bird bones I found everywhere, and a speech riff that came up whilst doing durational sounding / speaking as a form of divination to see what my future self and the land already knew about where I was. It also brought to awareness of a upper chakra (sky, air, masculine) necessity that something about the women in the roots of the river had become stifled and stagnant without. It reminded me of the incident in Lancashire where I spent a long time at night with the river. At the end I called on her to wake up, with all my physicality and intention. I got very scared as I felt something shift. In the morning I woke up and the field had been flooded and the river was raging in a muddy brown torrent. Water is communication, very quick to respond.
Making a dance as a node in the slipstream, directing the traffic, standing on the side of the road with a road sign, digging the sand away with my hands to direct the water flow.