Cuda of the Cotswolds - our local face of the Mother Goddess who embraces us with the wisdom of the Divine Feminine. Cuda our local Iron Age Mother Goddess whispers to us across the ages of a time when our ancestors venerated the spirit of place and gave thanks for the abundance of these beautiful Cotswold valleys. In the form of the seated Mother with apples in her lap she personifies the generous and abundant spirit of the land. Three Genii Cuculatti - hooded nature spirits who attend her - lead us into veneration, guardianship, care and love for our mother earth through the portal of Cuda. When we open our hearts and make offerings at places of emergence she responds with beauty.
Cuda first spoke to me at an exhibition at Lansdowne Gallery curated by local artist Patricia Brien where she exhibited her frieze depicting Cuda and the Cucullati. Inspired by this discovery I went to a local nature spot and took an offering of flowers with Cuda in mind. As I was entering the valley a circular rainbow seemed to envelope the whole valley and offer welcome. The air was very still as I lit a candle and sat for a while by the waterfall and meditated upon Cuda. I then offered the flowers to the water and when I turned back, despite the stillness of the air, the candle had gone out by itself - this felt very auspicious! Then some time later I took Patricia and we both sat together by the waterfall. This time there was a steady breeze and our candle remained alight. After a while we made our offering to the water and then turned back to blow out the candle but it would not go out so we decided to leave it burning a while longer. Eventually it felt right to blow out the candle and this time it went out easily. The breeze had been sculpting the wax and the moment we blew out the candle, the wax sculpture parted from it: the sculpture looks rather like one of the hooded Cuculatti! This felt like a profound synchronicity and affirmation about what can happen when we connect with nature in an open-hearted way.
And so it is with joy, relief and excitement that I am discovering the land of my birth anew through the filter of Shamanic perception and local discoveries about the old ways of this landscape and our ancestors who once lived here. I am grateful to Patricia for the discovery of Cuda, also the archaeologists whose books offer new ways of seeing this ancient landscape...and most of all I am grateful to Goddess who responds and guides us when we call from our hearts. The research I have undertaken thus far - both learning from nature and reading academic texts - is underpinned by the shift in perception which takes place with Shamanic training. The discovery of Cuda and the Cuculatti, our local face of Goddess, is a profound experience of the sacred feminine and insight into how our ancestors venerated and offered gratitude to Mother Earth. In my work I reference our deep history to gain some insights about our ancestors and how they venerated the earth and how this flows through Arthurian legend and can be interpreted in the present day.
For more information on my discoveries of Cuda here is a short film