Cornwall Earth Mysteries Group
10th Anniversary Supplement
It was in the Summer of 1989 that Meyn Mamvro included a note in its ninth issue that some readers might like to consider starting up a local Earth Mysteries Group with meetings in the Winter and field trips in the Summer. It invited any reader who might be interested to drop Meyn Mamvro a line and a number did so. The result was that Meyn Mamvro organized a talk by Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller on The Sun and the Serpent at Penzance Public Library on 30th November that year. The talk was well attended with about 50 people present, and a committee was soon formed to run the Cornish Earth Mysteries Group, consisting of Carol Bishop, Paul and Charla Devereux, David and Dorothy Haynes, Andy Norfolk and Cheryl Straffon. The first meeting was on Jan 27th 1990, and subsequent get-togethers were on the last Friday of the month at the Green Center in Penzance. Events included a talk by Paul Devereux on Earth Mysteries (Feb), a joint evening with Friends of the Earth on Electro-magnetic radiation (Apr) and a dowsing day with Don Rowe at Heather Farm, Pendeen (Apr).
In the Summer of 1990, the Group organized the first of their site visits, a ley walk following some of the leys around the Merry Maidens area. Over 35 people turned up for this, and it became obvious that there was a lot of interest and support for the Group. In September of that year it started the first of its regular series of winter talks at the Green Center, and the first season featured Craig Weatherhill As above so Below,, a slide presentation of Penwith’s sites from the air; Hamish Miller on Dousing of Ancient Sites; Nick Johnson (County Archaeologist) and Robin Meneer (ESA Officer) discussing The Future of Cornwall's Past, and the first of the winter socials at Pendeen farm with a walk to Chun Quoit to see the non-appearance of the Winter Solstice sunset! Early 1991 brought further talks by Paul Devereux (Earth Mysteries), Rose Lewis (Journey to the Sacred mountain), and Cheryl] Straffon (Ancient Penwith). The summer visits of that year were to Tregeseal Stone Circle to check out the May Day dawn alignment to Boswens menhir (it didn't align!), Nine Maidens (Bosednan) circle for a (very foggy) field day and Boscawen-un Circle. At Boscawen-un members checked out the sunrise alignment on the 'axe head' carvings on the center stone followed by a field day. Ultrasound readings were taken, and the quartz stone gave lower results. Finally there was a site meeting at the Merry Maidens in August, where some interesting dowsing was done, a 'lost' stone rediscovered, and radiation readings taken.
The 1991 Autumn series of talks started with review of the summer activities by Andy Norfolk, a report on the crop circles then appearing in Cornwall by, George Bishop, and the Winter Solstice annual visit to Chun Quoit for the (non) sunset and social. 1992 brought another fine collection of talks, which by now had transferred to The Acorn in Penzance to accommodate the increased numbers of people who were now coming. In Jan Paul Broadhurst spoke on Cornish Holy Wells linking in with his new book 'Secret Shrines'; in Feb Cheryl Straffon spoke on The Ritual Use Ancient Sites, in Mar Paul Devereux on Sacred Sleep, and in Apr Professor Charles Thomas on Holes in Space and Other Fortean Items - selected reminiscences of a field archaeologist This season set the tone for the CEMG talks, which have always been an eclectic mixture of mainstream archaeology, alternative researches, and the practical and the spiritual.
The 1992 Summer field trips included visits to Tregeseal Stone Circle (May), Boscawen-un (June), Halligye Fogou for an imaging session (July) and the Tinners Way Walk (Aug). Again, the Autumn season started with a report on summer activities by Andy Norfolk (Sept), followed by talks on Arthur - Alan and Myth by Craig Weatherhill (Oct), Wyrd - weaving magic and technology by Tom Graves [in association with The Ley Hunter], Shamanic Fictions by Alan Bleakey (Nov), and the annual Chun walk and Yuletide social at Heather Farm. 1993 talks brought Earth Mysteries by Andy Norfolk (]an),. Dreams in Steam - working with the hot springs of Bath by Maggie Stewart (Feb), Archaeology of Scilly by Jeanette Ratcliffe and Earth Mysteries by Colin Wilson. it was already becoming clear that CEMG was able to attract big-name speakers from inside and outside Cornwall, though it was interesting that it was often the local researchers and presenters who received a much better reaction than sonic of the 'outsiders' or big names in the field. This was particularly true this season.
The 1993 Summer activities were blessed with some fine weather for the annual Three Wells Walk in May, (now a CEMG event), the Zennor Churchway Walk in June. an Imaging Session at Boscawen-un circle in June. the first of the awaydays to Bodmin Moor Hurlers-Stowe’s Hill area in July and an on-site day- at the newly discovered ‘stone circle' at the Men-an-Tol in Sept. The CEMG was now established and popular.
The Autumn 1993 talks brought some old and new favorites. Helena Patterson spoke about Celtic Lunar Zodiacs, Craig Weatherhill about Cornish Legends, and a special guest John Michell came to his old research area to talk about The Old Stones of Land's End. As usual the year ended,@8ith the Chun Quoit walk and social. 1994 talks included Paul Broadhurst on his new book Tintagel and the Arthurian Mythos, Cheryl Straffon on her new book Pagan Cornwall: Land of the Goddess, visitor John Billingsley from Northern EM on Earth Mysteries in Japan and Roy Lake on UFO’s.
The 1994 Summer activities included the annual Maypole Dance and Three Wells Walk in May, a site visit to Carn Euny Fogou with Ian Cooke in June, a clear-up day at Madron Well and walk along the 'spirit path' to Lanyon Quoit in July, a dowsing day at Chun Castle where the well was also cleared out, and a visit to Cam Brea near Redruth with Kenny May to look at the alignments there in September. Autumn 1994 brought some more speakers from near and far. In Sept, Jill Smith from the Isle of Lewis brought If-whispers from the Edge, an inspirational mix of earth mysteries, art and poetry. In Oct Kelvin[ Jones (now a Committee member of CEMG) spoke about the meaning of Runes. In Nov, the late Don Wilkins gave an entertaining talk on Dowsing - Old Stones and New Discoveries. Don was a great supporter of CEMG until his untimely death a few years later. Dec brought the annual social at Heather Farm and walk to Chun Quoit,
1995 began with talks by a lively Jill Harris on The Pre-Christian Origin of Celtic Saints, Rose Lewis on Sacred Sites of the Himalayas and Tibet, parapsychologist Serena Roney-Dougal on "ere Science and Magic meet, and Andy Norfolk on Dowsing - Gift or Heresy? Summer events included the annual May events, a mid- summer solstice morning meeting at Cam Brea, a visit to the newly-discovered Grumbla Cromlech, an awayday to St.Breock downs area in Aug, and another imaging session at Halligye Fogou in Sept. The Autumn talks included Craig Weatherhill on Megaliths and Meanings, Jacqui Wood on Reconstructing the Bronze Age, Jill Smith on A Circle for Calanish, and the winter solstice Chun visit followed by a Celtic Storytelling session.
1996 brought a memorable performance from Ed Prynn on Megalithic Mysticism Jo May of CAER on Fogou, Cheryl Straffon and Caeia March on Celtic Goddesses and Kelvin Jones on Witchcraft in Cornwall. This was a particularly successful season of talks, and support was excellent for all the events. The summer activities included tile annual May events, a walk around the Chyanhal standing stories with Craig Weather- hill in June. a fascinating visit to Jacqui Wood's reconstructed Bronze-Age settlement at Greenbottom in July, a walk telling the legends of Tregeseal with Kelvin Jones in Aug, and an awayday to Duloe stone circle and Pelynt well in Sept. The Autumn talks included Andy Norfolk on UFO’s, .Abductions and Fairies, Jane Thurnall-Read on Geo- pathic Stress, Jeremy Harte on In the Hall of the Mountain King (folklore and legends). and another Chun Quoit visit and Celtic Storytelling at Sennen, now an annual event. 1997 brought a return visit by- Jill Harris on 'Solar Games, CAU archaeologist Jackie Nowakowski on Aspects of Life and Death in Bronze Age Cornwall, Barry Reilly on the Druidry and the way to the sacred space, and visitor and researcher Terence Meaden on Sextual Symbolism and Fertility of Megalithic Art and Monuments.
Summer events included the regular May ones, a visit to Pendeen Fogou with Ian Cooke in June, a walk to Zennor Quoit and Trendrine Hill in July where the hummadruz was heard, a very memorable visit to Ed Prynn's Seven Sisters in Aug, and an awayday to Lizard sites in Sept.
Autumn 1997 talks included Craig Weatherhill on The First and Last Wilderness, Ken George on Megalithic Astronomy, John Downes on Morgawr, the Owlman and other Fortean animals, and the Chun visit and Celtic Storytelling in St Just. 1998 transferred temporarily to Queens Hotel, and produced huge turnouts (av. 100 people) for talks by Hamish Miller The Earth Responds, Caitlin Matthews The Spells of women, and Cassandra Latham The Work of the 20th century Witch in West Penwith. Summer activities included the May events, dowsing St Levan’s mythic pathway at Bodellan in June, Rory Te'Tigo (now a Committee member) Well-Sprung Walk in July, Cheryl Straffon's Lesser-known sites of West Penwith in Aug, Holywell Cave in Sept, and an extra visit to The Witchcraft Museum at Boscastle and St.Nectan's Glen in Oct.
Finally in Autumn 1998 the Group moved back to the Acorn with talks by Chesca Potter on The Greenwood Tarot and Wheel of the year, Heather Campbell on Feng-Shui and the Penwith Landscape, and the annual Chun -visit and Celtic Storytelling. 1999's Eclipse year brought Sheila Bright on Living in Time.- seasons, cycles and spirals, John Attwood from the Rollright Stones on How to buy a Stone Circle and Survive, and Dennis Holwill on A Memory of the Future. Summer 1999 events included the May ones, an awayday visit to the Leskernick site on Bodmin Moor, Cheryl Straffon's 2nd Lesser-known sites walk, a Lammas picnic and site visit to Trencrom Hill and a site visit to the Merry Maidens, with Rod and Lavinia Blunsdon (now Committee members).
The last season of the decade consists of talks by Rob Stephenson Ancient Sites and psycho-spiritual practices, Paul Newman (hill Figures) and Chesca Potter Celtic Shamanism. Future talks for early 2000 will include Jan Machin (The Western Mystery Tradition), Peter Herring (Prehistoric Bodmin Moor) Geraldine Andrew (Seasonal rituals) and Martin Matthews The Folklore of West Cornwall. The CEMG leaves the decade as it started. With a variety, of good talks. a friendly bunch of people, interesting research and ideas and a love of the land and the ancient sites. Long may it be so!