Photo: Sophy White
A Vision Quest for Peace.
The White Horses Ride : A Vision Quest for Peace, was a collaborative project conceived by artist, Caro Woods, and takes the theme of white as a starting point.
Caro invited three of her friends to join her in this pilgrimage: vet, Janet Bradshaw and artists, Sophy White and Angela Shaw. Three riders and one ground crew, but all four, united by a desire for spiritual adventure. Angela, whose practice is based around working with both chalk and light, was charged with making a photographic record of the ride whilst undertaking her own project alongside the riders. She was also instrumental in providing much valuable support for the riders, on the ground.
‘My concept for this Vision Quest was to visit all the known White Horse hill figures carved out of the Wiltshire chalk, including crossing the border into Oxfordshire to visit the oldest ‘dragon’ horse at Uffington. Instead of a linear route (like the Lindisfarne to St Michael’s Mount route), This one was to be a circular journey, making daily excursions to the sites from a base, our pathway forming petal shapes in the landscape.
The idea of petals quickly grew into the theme of the ‘White Poppy’ and a ‘vision quest for peace’ was born, the white poppy being an appropriate symbol for peace and harmony in preference to the red poppy for remembrance. We each carried with us a couple of packets of native white ‘field’ poppies which we scattered at appropriate places along our pilgrimage. This seemed like a perfect way to symbolically ‘broadcast’ our message. Unlike my Rainbow Ribbon Ride which was a pilgrimage about healing, this project was an attempt to uncover some of the many interpretations for peace.
These wild poppies grow particularly well on chalky ground and as much of our route took us over the chalky slopes of the Marlborough Downs and the ancient Ridge Way, I have high hopes for their germination. This year (2018), as a stage two, follow-up of this project, I plan to revisit our route and make drawings of any of the flowers I find that have bloomed as a possible result of our sowing.’
Photo: Sarah Richardson
An Equine Pilgrimage from Lindisfarne to St. Michael’s Mount, by Caro Woods
My Rainbow Ribbon Ride was a journey in search of the nature and meaning of pilgrimage: The healing power of spectral colours, a motivating factor. The journey: a year in the planning, was a 1,000 mile unsupported odyssey over the course of three and a half months during the Spring and Summer of 2015.
Starting from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the North Sea coast of Northumberland near the Scottish borders, Caro and her Connemara Pony, Tommy, walked to the Holy Island of St. Michael’s Mount, a tiny island lying just offshore in the English Channel near Lands End, in Cornwall, where Caro lived at the time. Her intention: to create a healing spiritual thread between these two sacred islands, and in the process, possibly reconnect with an ancient pilgrim route.
‘In my saddle bag. I carried a multi-coloured, ribbon banner imbued with healing intent as a kind of secular prayer flag designed to create a new Via Sacra to link these two similar but very distinct tidal islands. I was also charged with the delivery of two tiny St. Cuthbert’s Beads, a gift from the community of St. Mary’s, Lindisfarne, for the people of St. Michael’s Mount.’
Caro is currently in the process of writing and illustrating a book about her adventures, based on her blog notes, ‘pilgrim on horseback’, written at the time as an aide-memoire.
Healing Chakra Walk on the Mount
A series of guided walks on St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall.
St Michael’s Mount is the culmination of the St Michael’s Way, part of the Santiago Pilgrim Route. The cobbled path leads pilgrims from the causeway up to the chapel at the top of the Mount dedicated to Archangel Michael.
The healing chakra walk is a guided walking meditation, created by Caro Woods. The walking meditation starts from the beginning of the Marazion end of the causeway and via the ‘pilgrim’s path’, up to the chapel at the top of the Mount, pausing at key points along the way. In the process, participants journey through the 7 colours of the rainbow connected to subtle energy centres of the body, focusing on physical and emotional connections to the special topography of St Michael’s Mount. The aim, to concentrate on the healing power of each chakra, both in a personal capacity as well as a means of helping to balance the natural world.