Sacred Earth is a visionary Earth Spirituality novel by Michael Conneely which is available on
Amazon worldwide as paperback and kindle.
It tells the story of a young man who finds meaning in his life when he joins a group to protect a Stone Circle which is threatened by the start of Quarrying nearby.
In this excerpt, Michael Conneely reads how Liam joins the Protest to save the Stone Circle from the start of quarrying nearby, and how he finds his spiritual path through his act of bravery:
I was still standing on my own, watching everything, and the strong feeling was taking hold of me that my own terrible moment of truth was coming – and I did not want it to!
All the other protestors seemed to be in groups – watching people hurl themselves in front of the tracked vehicle, in case the line gave way. Others were now positioning themselves in front of the parked-up quarry lorries as well now, so they wouldn’t be able to move forward or backward, even if the line holding back the tracked vehicle finally broke.
The police seemed to lose patience when this second line of protest started and people were starting to get pretty brutally arrested. Some people were put off by the heavy police tactics, but with others it seemed to work the other way. I got the impression that some people who had just turned up, expecting only to watch, suddenly made the decision to join in instead, even to get themselves arrested, it made them feel so strongly.
I stood there. I still didn’t feel like doing the Action at all. In fact, I can tell you I actually considered just turning round and going away. Even then, I nearly left. I was just so fed up to even have to be in this hopeless situation. One problem was it seemed so obvious to me the protest would fail. OK, so people were holding their own on some of the tiny details, but in the big picture – to use my father’s horrible phrase – it was obvious it could not stop the stone extraction process starting. I nearly ended up trying to count the number of protestors, estimate the average arrest time and multiply the first figure by the second to work out how long it would be before the Action failed because they had all been arrested and taken away. Again I pulled myself up short; it was as if he was inside my head, again.
I just didn’t want to walk that final seventy-five yards into the mouth of hell – that’s what it felt like. So I stood rooted to the spot, lost, losing my identity in a way, I was so torn. Then I saw four kids from my college. Jamie was there. Jamie. I was so ashamed I had thought of him as Heathcliffe. They waved at me trustingly. They looked at me almost with hero worship. That was the last thing I deserved. ‘Oh Lou, can I be worthy of what you have done?’ I asked in desperation. Jamie crossed over to me. ‘I’m going to prison with you, Liam,’ he said.
‘No, Jamie, you mustn’t. You’ll get kicked out of College. Just be here. Don’t get arrested, mate. They’ll crucify you. Thanks – Jamie for – everything, mate.’ Tears filled my eyes. ‘Go back Jamie,’ I told him. But he wouldn’t. He stuck by me though he was shaking with fear.
I dimly remembered what we’d been told about undoing my jacket, ready for the moment when the police grabbed me. I found myself doing this. I told Jamie that’s what you had to do. ‘So it comes off when they grab it,’ I explained to him. I did it in a dream-like way, even though I was actually telling myself, at the same moment, that what I was going to do was to walk back to the bender and tell Esther I had decided not to join the Action, either. I didn’t want to be grabbed hold of by policemen. I looked at them and I disliked them so much.
The police seemed to be getting more and more impatient, rattled or tired, anyway more and more heavy handed. I didn’t want to be sucked into the despised British ‘Justice’ system. I had watched good men and women being arrested but told myself they were making a useless sacrifice. Jamie nearly collapsed at the knees. It was so truly terrifying and horrible. Then I remembered Lou’s voice. It echoed in my mind:
‘In one way, Liam, we can give thanks for the oppression. When they do this to us, it forces us to peer over the abyss. It shift’s our consciousness. Usually we’re too numbed to act. But when they go in for brinkmanship, this brings up fundamentals. It forces us to act against our wills. It is potentially a gift – if we make it so. It creates a history-making moment, a vortex in which we can act. Magic will be created from our sacrifice. Liam, This is the Magic Land.’
‘Oh, Lou. It is you that I love. I will not betray you.’ Tears started welling up in my eyes and running softly down my face – as the word ‘sacrifice’ came into my mind. I thought of the God: Lugh, God of Light, who slew Balor; The God who moves on from being Lord of the Greenwood lusting free; he loves the forest and the Goddess and the bliss so much, the mating is so good, but he chooses to take on cares and face his heavy responsibility as a man and a king and he voluntarily sacrifices himself for the good of the people. He considers the welfare of others and he knows he must do this at the expense of his own joy. Then I heard the God speaking to me as if I were his son:
‘We are the sacrifice, Liam. We go consenting, because the Gods are moved by a willing gift. The consenting sets us free.’
I felt really overcome by the nobility of this. I suppose my own family is so pathetic when it comes to nobility that it always moves me to tears when I meet greatness – whether it’s courage, love, or heroic self sacrifice. I was moved even more when I thought of Lou – Lou, locked away for who knows how many years it would be – Oh God no, let some other future happen there. He had come to that place of consciousness where he felt he had no choice; he felt he had to do something to stand up to the system, to the military machine. He felt he had no choice but to say ‘no’ to the government, to the whole system. I thought of Lou who was a kind and a good man and who was like a father to me. Lou loved the open skies – and he might not see the open skies again for years. Oh no! How could I turn away and let them trash a sacred site when Lou had made this incredible sacrifice? I hit a tree with my fists I was so angry to be in this trap. If I was locked away I would miss Esther so much it would hurt, but could I go to her with self-respect if I did nothing to protect the stone circle? I realized I could never look anyone in the face if I did that. I understood her reasons for not joining in, but mine seemed not so good. The exploiters would have won, if I turned away. ‘What about my ‘A’ Levels?’ I found myself saying. Which were more real: ‘A’ Levels or this sacred site? What good would ‘A’ Levels be in my life anyway? I suddenly realized I felt I wasn’t sure. F- A levels. What about my energy balls, though – who could carry Lou’s business on if I was locked away, too? The business would fail. It was a good little business, real ‘right livelihood’. We were all benefiting so much from the money I was earning. We needed it. Indie and Dylan got so much from it. Their lives would be so much worse without what I was providing for them, with their dad in prison and all. The energy balls were now beginning to go really well. They were definitely taking off. My outlets would lose interest if I failed to keep up deliveries. I was even launching another variety. I laughed at myself grimly as I remembered this. Another variety! It sounded like McDonalds. By now, I was now crying with anger. ‘Why me?’ I shouted, ‘I don’t deserve this?’ I felt torn in two. I actually kept starting to move forward towards the protest line, then actually turned back to walk away. I was twisting and turning like an animal caught in a trap. Then I moved forwards again, then I turned back. I was making a fool of myself. I was nearly tripping myself up as I turned and turned. Jamie looked at me frowning. I felt people around were beginning to stare at me.
I knelt down and put both my palms on the earth. It had been gravelled over and tarmaced, but it was still the Earth, still sacred, still our Mother, even though it felt ruined and despoiled.
I saw then, standing huge over the quarry site the starry shape of the same woman I had seen in Jamie’s attic when he described her to me; the same Goddess I had seen in the Circle: the Goddess.
I stood up and drew myself erect and looked at Her. Her skin was brownish olive green and was glistening in places with stars that showed through her and twinkled in and out of visibility as She moved. Her full heavy lips were slightly parted and filled me with intense desire to kiss them for ever, and Her massive breasts hung really heavy and smooth. Creatures moved round her feet. The people and vehicles faded until they were grey-black, moving, coiling shadows superimposed on Her landscape. She stared at me, unfathomably, with Her huge slanted doe-like eyes with their heavy dark lashes. They sucked at me. She sent a rush of energy down through my body. It ran like a wash running hot and tingling, fast, down my forehead and snaking over my skin and through my belly and then, slam, her full power hit me in an instant. The word came unconsciously my lips as I ran my tongue over them, ‘Goddess,’ I gasped.
This time She spoke to me: ‘Liam -’
I have never, never in my life, had such a fast and total reaction. I felt a slam of total desire and love. Everything around me disappeared. My lips went dry. The dagger is plunged into the cup; the stags go into rut at the Scorpio time. That was Her effect. The Goddess.
‘- I have a thousand million children -’
I heard Her voice like the rustle of reeds or the movement of branches. I felt so moved at her words, so awed by the thought of the vastness. Her great lips did not move but the words gently and sweetly rolled around the landscape, like summer thunder, they were so erotic and so unfathomable.
‘- but I know each one of them,’
Her words made me feel cradled – and their essence at that moment brought Esther to my mind. Esther was the Goddess – that phrase made a click of even deeper connection suddenly in my mind and I saw it so perfectly.
‘They go forth from Me,’ She continued.
‘and they do what they must do and then I stretch out My hand and call them Home.’
I melted at what she said and her words seemed to come from her, though her lips did not move and I saw the movement of her breast as she reached out her hand when She said the words ‘I stretch out My hand’.
It was a sacrilege not to go to that divine gesture but, believe it or not, that is what I did. I still held back.
Can you believe this of me? Yes, I suppose you can by now, knowing how stupid I can be.
Without thinking what I was doing, incredibly, I bargained. I bargained with the Goddess. I argued. I said the words: ‘But, must I do this?’ – meaning suffer the arrests. I had asked Her a question instead of responding to Her. I had denied Her.
She gave me no answer at all. Her face did not change. She still looked at me with that incredible face that offered every depth of bliss and still sucked me in, but in that same moment – Oh horror, Oh no! – I saw her form slowly lose solidity, become more and more shadow-like and go ragged and holes appeared in her substance. It was like witnessing leprosy and the stars around her form dimmed and went out. And through the gaps and around her form I saw hideous polluted oceans and tragic dying animals and the acre-by-acre remorseless greed-driven spread of factory buildings and massive oil refineries belching flame and smoke and flows of oil and toxins and the drip of radioactive waters in artesian spaces, the scream of military aircraft and the implacable march of tanks, and the rows of dead starved children. Then I realized what I had done. I had turned down the Goddess.
But then I was aware of another presence around me. It had been beside me from the moment I thought of sacrifice, but I had not registered the fact consciously. Now I knew it was the God. Lugh, whose wake is at Lughnasadh: The God, who is Herne and who is Cernunnos. I had a sense of God and man and stag, all at once- and generations upon generations of men who He has touched and loved so anciently. ‘I turned Her down,’ I told Him. I confessed, aghast at myself.
‘Do it anyway, Liam,’ He said easily.
‘Go to Her, Liam. Take Her hand.’
And I reached as if to take His hand because I felt the need for His timeless strength and blessing. ‘I invoke you,’ I said, ‘come into me.’ I felt the gentle touch as He merged into me. I felt his virility. Cynicism melted. Doubts just went. I felt my muscles go relaxed and wiry. All the irritations and the skin-crawling were gone. I was calm and solid and strong and my muscles felt totally alert. I was mostly in His world. I saw stags and does but, more shadowy, I could also see that when I looked, I could see out of His eyes. I saw the way He saw. I saw the great tracked vehicle still nosing forwards and the protest line buckling slowly and the police pushing and arresting, and the machines and lorries – all these looked alien roaring, crawling black monsters belching fumes which stank and stung, strange insects, alien forms. I hardly knew what they were, they were so far from His sacred world – all these were now shadows, forms moving on the godscape. And it is the godscape that is real. You know that, once you have been there. All my limbs relaxed. I felt as I took the first step forwards, I felt the goodness of nature swell and flower round me, at his presence, and a sound billowed that was like music of flutes and drums. I heard Jamie swear as a policeman hit him, then I saw more policemen fell him to the ground and he was screaming. I could not save him. Bevies of nature entities seemed to move forward around me to the music that I could hear. ‘You are my life.’ I said the words, but I wasn’t sure if I was speaking to the Earth I was stepping on, or if I was speaking to the Goddess, or to the God – and then I realized it didn’t matter because they were all one. She was the face of Gaia. She was the essential expression of the Earth, and I realized we are all one. I also was part of the earth. I had a sense of my flesh weaving as the earth was moving, and the Earth spinning on its axis as it revolved around the sun and as it moved through the spaces of the stars. Blessedly, the image of the Goddess stopped fading. Instead, She grew again, more and more solid before me. Before, the toxic wreckage of a ruined world had been overwhelming her. Now, it faded away around Her and was almost gone – nearly: poised to come back, but held at bay, yes, held at bay.
‘She gives us chance after chance’.
She was awesome and I walked towards Her, filled with excitement and desire, walking at the same time, straight towards the shadowy protest line in the other world and the shadowy, monstrous, alien, huge tracked-vehicle.
The police felled me like an animal. I was confused. I was almost wholly within the God Realm, so I couldn’t work out what they were doing, because they were just ephemera within the shadow realm and didn’t really count. It was an effort to direct my focus out to them. They seemed a nuisance, and I just tried to brush them aside like flies – but they swarmed and swarmed, and wouldn’t go. I got up and carried on trying, wading through them and trying to tell them:
‘These natural things cannot be built again’,
but they gave no sign of listening or understanding or even caring, and I couldn’t see at all properly because of the blood that was now running in my eyes because someone had belted me round the head – I hadn’t felt it, or had I? They were like shadows anyway. I waded forward. The Goddess reached out Her hand to me again and I gratefully took it, which was an incredible sensation of power and possession – she owned me but I took her – and she wanted me. And I kissed her hand. And I kept on going. And as I finally ploughed through the shadowy insect policemen, I reached the line to block the shadowy bulldozer. I knew then it was the Magic Land, that I had finally reached. This is the Magic Land. I was now in the place where new reality is created. My life would never be the same again. I had done something to change the Future. Old ways died. New things were coming into birth. Lou’s words echoed in my skull: ‘The highest magic works in twenty minutes flat. To work it, you must enter the zone of compressed time. Intensity and your purity of being will allow it to happen.’ This was my magic land. I had now taken hold of my life. I had embraced my destiny, though I was blank as to what exactly it was. It would spring from this moment, this history-making moment – I knew that much. The details would take care of themselves. I felt I found great power in that moment of truth and surrender. I looked up, at that moment. A mackerel-flecked front of cloud drew a huge line across a pale blue sky. On the brow of the hill behind me, at that moment, I saw my friends Raven and Nino raise two huge animal horns to their lips and they blew the horns in tremendous defiance at the police involvement. A wonderful ‘senseless act of beauty’ – the sound reverberated – and then something hit me incredibly hard on the side of my head and I stumbled still pressing Her hand to my lips, feeling the blood pooling wet on my collar-bone, coursing down my back, as all the world went black.
You can see details of Michael Conneely’s visionary earth spirituality novels at: