HOLY GROUND, a commission by A+C 2020

"Pilgrimage redraws topography as a sacred field , rendering the whole landscape as a sacred field of power" Alison Millbank

"To romanticise the world is to make us aware of the magic mystery and wonder of the world; it is to educate the senses to see the ordinary as extraordinary, the familiar as strange, the mundane as sacred, the finite as infinite" - Novalis

 

Holy Ground is a project commissioned by Art + Christianity working in collaboration with the communities in an around St Andrew’s Church and Shri Nathji Sanatan - Hindu Temple in Leytonstone.  The project explored ideas of Holy Ground in the broadest sense, seeking to connect with spiritual and embodied ideas of landscape and the universe. Working with a group of elders from both communities we looked more deeply at ways to connect to the natural world and the notion that all land was once considered sacred. 

 

We delivered a series of listening sessions exploring ideas around pilgrimage, offerings and community creating collective actions and practices of attunement as embodied notions of spirituality in and around Epping Forest. Final outcomes of this work have come together as a exhibition and collection of works Call to Holy Ground.  We worked with photographer Nikki McClarron during a series of performances with participants for camera. 

The work has included a  call out for fellow pilgrims 

Wherein we collected a series of stories around pilgrimage

With support from the Arts Council of England, the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, The Lady Peel Trust and The Morel Trust.

As he looked on to the world he had birthed

he thought to himself 

this place needs music 

this place needs art 

and so 

at the place where the 3 rivers meet

with a swan at her feet

she was birthed

through a fountain of marigold flowers

she came wearing white

as a purification 

she came wearing yellow

as a bringer of light 

she became the river of knowledge

offering her flow beneath the surface of things

to emerge every 12 years 

yet again to meet with the two other rivers 

and 120 million beings 

at the great wheel and water vessel 

immense and intimate 

the turning of the great oceans

in the union of earth and sky 

a collective reflection from Temple session