Wednesday 20 May 2009

A temple, a church and some mysteries

I saw a temple in my mind's eye during a guided visualisation last weekend. A visit to a temple was what the visualisation was about, but what I saw was something much smaller and simpler than I would normally expect a temple to be. I also recognised the place.

It was a small, square building on the slopes of the South Downs overlooking fields between Lullington and Alfriston, in East Sussex. It is, in fact, a small church - one of the smallest in England, being only 16ft square.

So why, when asked to visualise a magickal temple during a pagan event would I visualise a Christian church, the Church of the Good Shepherd of Lullington as it is called today?

Perhaps it came to mind simply because I was due to go on holiday to East Sussex and the church is somewhere I have passed several times on country walks. I don't really know. That is the first of the mysteries.

However, on the first day of my holiday, it did prompt me to go inside the church for the first time and I have to say it it has a lovely peaceful atmosphere. Although it is a Christian church, I do feel it is a place I could happily sit quietly and meditate. I didn't meditate there on that visit, though. It was late afternoon and the church warden wanted to lock it up for the night. But I did buy a little booklet about the place.

From reading the Guide to St Andrews Church Alfriston and the Church of the Good Shepherd Lullington, I learnt that the little church is surrounded in mysteries.

The guide says that although the church is claimed to be the smallest in the country, it is only a portion of the chancel of a larger church that was burnt down in Cromwellian times - no one seems to know why. The building dates from the 13th century, but there may possibly have been a religious building standing there before that, or some religious significance to the site.

No one knows what saint the church was originally dedicated to either, although a bequest to the church dating from 1521 mentions a "Saint Sithe" - whoever Saint Sithe might be.

A final mystery comes from a mention in a Sussex magazine in 1935 that a replica of Lullington church had been erected in the USA, but the architect always refused to give details of where, why or for whom it was built.

Perhaps an American reading my blog might live near this replica - it would be nice to solve one of those mysteries, at least



Anonymous said...

Wish I knew where the USA replica is but can't help on that. Very intriguing mysteries, however.

To your point about visualizing a Christian church during a pagan meditation event--I don't think that's as odd as you might think. During a meditation at my shamanic workshop this weekend, I was surprised to encounter a white dove, which spoke to me in the voice of Jesus! I can't explain how I know it was Jesus, except to stay that the presence felt very familiar and distinct and resembled the same feeling I used to get when I prayed as a Christian. Very odd, indeed!

Badwitch said...

As a pagan, I have always said I respect all deities, so there is no reason why I shouldn't respect Christ too. However, I haven't met many other pagans who think that way.