(ii) The Goddess in Wharfedale

Two weeks later another improbable coincidence occurs. My friend Rhona suggests a trip to the cinema to watch a newly released film: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Having spent the day writing about the Ilkley synchronicities, I am looking forward to an evening out.

Rhona and I have no prior knowledge of the film’s storyline, a journey of self-discovery in which the protagonist moves from being disconnected from the universe to reconnecting with his humanity.

Sitting in the cinema with my foot encased in a cast, it is with a certain sense of disbelief that I witness the film’s story unfolding. After making a solitary journey across a desert, the protagonist finds his way into a cave, receives a snakebite to his left foot, and calls out for help. His call is answered and through the experience he comes to learn about help, community and companionship.

Another remarkable event adding to a growing conviction that there is deep magic at play in the world.

For now, the eye of the vortex appears to be centred on Ilkley. Two days later, I make a startling discovery. Researching the town’s megalithic sites I come across, in an online article entitled The Goddess in Wharfedale, reference to a stone carving housed in the town’s Parish Church. The carving depicts what is thought to be a Goddess holding aloft two snakes.

Once my foot is freed from its cast, I return to Ilkley and make a trip to see the snake-bearing Goddess for myself. Weathered by time, she rests in a corner of the church alongside a number of Celtic crosses.

One interpretation links the Goddess with the moor.

The two snakes held by Verbeia probably represent the two streams that flowed from the moor in Roman times, past either side of the fort enclosure, and into the Wharfe.
Gyrus, The Goddess in Wharfedale

The streams create a physical link between the Goddess (still situated on the site of the old Roman fort with which she is associated) and the three magical landmarks on the highland above. The symbol of the Caduceus looms large in my mind, the entwined serpents taking on the role of the two streams connecting valley with moor.