Womb of the Earth (English Pilgrim)

I think of life as the cycle of a tree. Born from a shell, protected and warm, you take your first leap, break your primordial bond and dive, unseeing; you are plunged deep into the beyond you’ve been sensing and craving for some time. You are released. A giant tap root surges through the cold, damp earth searching for the source. Firstly it feels foreign, strange, but after some time spent feeling around you realise there is more to this new life than just the dark, the blind… Your senses tell you to grow. So you bide your time, taking in all the nutrients you can through the blank space around you, drinking in all the newness of the ground, always searching for that promise of betterment. After some time of labour you have created a rich system of streams and tributaries, a great claw grounding you to the earth, clenched and throbbing with life: all waters leading to the great tap root of your first shoot to freedom.

You are ready. You hold your breathe as the first of your green arms crack the surface and reach the warmth and light of the sun. A whole new world is revealed as you push forth and extend yourself into all areas of luxurious life. Your soul rings with happiness and you become one with the beauty all around you. You grasp every chance to better yourself, heighten yourself, mix and mingle with only the most potent of creation, in the best spots of light, glory and popularity.

You are much loved by all those in this new garden, this paradise. You know your place, are accepted and respected, and your every need is taken care of.

So, why would you ever need to go back down into the cold earth?

…perhaps, sometimes, we leave in haste. A little too early, maybe. We aren’t fully prepared for the Light but we run to it anyway, and learn many of its ways as we go along. Perhaps, then, we want to produce flowers, little seedlings and miracles of our own. Yet we find ourselves somehow stinted, unable to progress so freely as we’d wish. So, we decide, the only way to further our creation is to go back to where it all started, to our roots…

My roots are in England, as some of you may know.
For a while now, England and I have shared a love affair of a bitter sweet kind.
I consider myself more European than English. Give me Italy, Spain, or Greece… just please don’t make me stay in England!

Any return to the UK I’ve had in the last few years has been riddled with a certain pain, a certain love and a certain ecstasy. There’s no place like home, for sure, and something about the green hills of my homeland stirs my soul like no other. But I’m no disillusioned fool – English weather and people drain me on the whole. I adore London but I cannot commit to grey skies and shallow conversation. Some rawness has long ago been diluted down there. Don’t get me wrong, I find an absolute sanctity in certain spots, and of course with my family who are very precious to me. But if it wasn’t for those I love, would I even return to the UK at all?

Maybe… maybe not.

I’ve spent the last few months, since returning from Ghana, in Europe, mostly in Spain and quite a long stint in the UK, the longest for years. Those that read my posts often will know that I found my stay in the UK quite difficult at first, but thankfully things changed quite a bit towards the end. My health has improved again, and my aura is back to bright.

When I left the UK, how ever many years ago it was now, I dumped all my worldly belongings into my mother’s office and hit the pavement, not looking back, only forward to the journey. Every-time I have returned since, for Christmas or Easter, family pilgrimage, fundraising, a break, I have ignored the piles of things, committed to the idea of sorting my old life out some other time, and then more-or-less got out of the country as soon as possible, after a few heartfelt goodbyes.

Next minute I’m sat in some foreign land and I wonder if I should have stayed for longer, got things in order a bit. Cleaned my mind and my soul, and perhaps just let go of the past and tried to enjoy myself! I was a happy child. There must be some things I like about the UK…

You see, I think my main problem is that I’m a Sagittarius. We have four long horsey legs for a reason: we’re very good at running away…

Connecting with the nature around, the wildest places, and the ancient, is where I feel most at one with the Emerald Isle.

Along with Avalon, Stonehenge and Avebury are places to marvel, and feel your place in a history so mysterious, shrouded and deeply spiritual you can do nothing but feel the awe. Place your hand on the enormous rocks of your forefathers and feel the Womb of the Earth pulse…

Avebury, known as the Womb of the Earth, seems a fitting place to reconnect to your homeland. It is the largest stone circle in all of Europe. Seeing the silhouette of the Kestrel hovering above the Salisbury Plains by Stonehenge is a symbol to me – the Falcon – the symbol of the beautiful, elegant hunter, so free and agile – has always resonated with me, to the point of obsession, earning me the nickname ‘Kes’ as a kid…


Fly on beautiful creature.

My family and I took ourselves for a sojourn in the ancient New Forest. The sun shone, and the wilderness opened up before me another kind of paradise…

The intricacy and grandeur of England’s architectural masterpieces has always provided a shelter for my soul, and a muse for my eye.

Wandering the cloisters and dark hallways of Canterbury Cathedral after dark is a memory I’ll never forget. Being approached by a cloaked nun and sitting with my back against the ancient stone, catching up with an old pal, is a thing of beauty indeed.

I placed my hand on Britain’s oldest door in Westminster Abbey. Did my best to feel some of that old magic I used to live for as a kid…

But my greatest triumph on this leg of my global pilgrimage has been to return to my old hometown, where I grew up, not flit through for once, but let it all flood back to me…

Re-visiting my old stuff all stashed in cases and on top of each other was like visiting a museum, and I had some ghosts to deal with. But I sorted through everything, finally, gave away most of my books and antiques to friends, and charity, threw away old clothes and no-longer useful trinkets from my past and finally let go of it all… the feeling was so liberating! Like cutting out a canker.

So me and my remaining clothes (some too good to chuck!), my travel rucksack and my antique head bust of David moved in with a good old friend of mine Ben Jakob, who was the man who first taught me how not to rehearse and improvise my way through gigs, those many years ago. He allowed me to use his spare room at his flat by the town square to store a couple of bits, and even David too, who keeps a watchful eye whilst I’m away…

Spending days strolling through familiar places, with my old companions, has been a sort of trip down memory lane and I found myself, yes that’s right, growing some more roots!

Sometimes, even the most difficult of places, needs a second chance.
Finally, home has become a place I can further my art again.

I even managed to get myself in the local paper a few times! First in an exhibition at a local gallery and then for a fundraiser me and my new flatmate put on to raise money for (what I like to call) my orphanage, in Ghana. We did a screening of classically rude and very English film Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell to much success. I can honestly say the contributions and help from other people in the community was overwhelming, and my faith in Western humanity is being slowly restored.

I would love to know how my little Desmond would feel about being in the paper too, draped across my shoulders as he always was…

And, after having spent Easter with the local orthodox community celebrating the return of the Light of the world, I am back in Spain, starting my next big adventure to Africa, and my heart feels content. I can’t deny that I’m feeling quite pleased with myself. Everybody struggles, everybody falls, but what inspires me are stories of those who keep on through the adversity and eventually triumph, rip those chains off, and open the doors to freedom.

England, you’ve put me through my steps in our time together, but I hope now we can call it a truce? I have work to do out here…

Sunset over East Kent, England.

Next time… Jx


  1. So glad you found peace in your hometown again. I can’t relate to my hometown at all, but I still love the mountains near it. May your travels continue to bring you joy and fulfillment.

    1. Thank you so much, Katelon. Yes, it is truly a blessing to look back upon England with fondness, from afar… Wishing you all the best, my friend. Speak soon. Jx

  2. Reading your post was what I needed just now. Especially since I will be practically chained to my desk studying for certification exams for the next 6-8 months!
    And on reading about coming back to all your belongings: there is something just so liberating about getting rid of them. I had to do just that myself after graduating college. I don’t have many things and even then, I was wishing I had less for the sake of packing! But I feel so much lighter, literally and figuratively, after getting rid of my things.

    Wishing you the best of the best on your next adventure in Spain!

    1. Yes, I feel the same way. Cleansing outside and within, de-clogging the pores of the soul to breath… Good luck with your exams! Wishing you all the best. JX

  3. I found this post so inspirational and how you describe your relationship with the UK is how I felt about living there. I was always ready to run to somewhere else and the feeling of dread on returning from a more soul pleasing place. I was always sick and unhealthy living there. I love the collection of photos. I am enjoying reading your posts. Enjoy the journey.

    1. Thank you. I find inspiration in your finding inspiration in my creation. It’s such a blessing to share and be appreciated for the story coming through me. And I can totally relate to your feeling unwell all the time when living in the UK – that has been the story of my childhood, and even adulthood. Why oh why I chose to spend the worst part of Winter in England escapes me… but we live and learn, and sometimes, we turn around to find we’re in a place, perhaps new or familiar, and regardless of whether we truly desire to be there, LIFE has made it so, so we must chose to run with what we have, do whatever duty we are supposed… bask in the sun when we can… dance in the cold rain when we can’t. Thank you for sharing your light with me today. James X

  4. I’m Boston Welsh-Irish, and, though I have always felt intensely connected to the place where I grew up, there is a kind of alienation I feel from the North Shore suburban shallowness that never goes away; thus: the City of Boston itself is where I have retreated to in order to overcome much of that. I’m not sure whether Europe would be a higher plateau.

    Keep posting! Wish I could click “like”, as I don’t usually have anything to say in response to your posts (not that I really did above), and I always wish I could throw more affirmation and gratitude towards them (and you).

    1. Aww, a few simple words mean so much to me, if only you knew… So thank you. I’ve yet to travel in the Americas at all yet, but I imagine the North cannot be too dissimilar to Northern Europe in many ways, the mentality especially. It’s a strange thing, not feeling connected to a place you’re in or born into. I’m not sure where I’m supposed to end up, really. Nowhere feels like home to me anymore, and it’s not a feeling I like so much… but a life of travel has been such a blessing, and I know I am on this path for a reason. I do hope one day soon something moves me enough to keep me still! A total and all-consuming peace can indeed be found within, I know that, our every desire can… and, to be honest, I feel the greatet peace mostly on the road these days, in warm places of summer. Although I’m sure a city such as Boston has many fruits to be desired, in all seasons… Wishing you the very best from Madrid. Anon. Jx

  5. “Re-visiting my old stuff all stashed in cases and on top of each other was like visiting a museum, and I had some ghosts to deal with.” YES….I resonate with this sentence so much! Except that I have not yet truly left my stuff and am still getting rid of it, organizing, wading through piles of junk as I prepare for my move to Africa. I have a feeling that I will do what you have done the next time I return home: that is, get rid of more.

    And I keep thinking about your boy, James. I can’t help it. My heart keeps aching for you to go back to him. I know you will when you’re able. I can feel him missing you. Maybe I’m feeling you missing him, too. Oh, these hearts of ours. Life. Roots. How do we survive any of this? Oh, I suppose because it holds such great beauty. How can we not?

    1. Great! Thank you! So excited you are moving to Africa. That has surely been a long time coming. How emotional… and, yes, of course it’s been hard at times. Comes over me in moments. But I try to put it to the corner of my mind until I can actually do something about it… and I’ve been raising money and getting sponsership for the orphanage and children which has kept me going. Well., anyway, the good news is I will be with him again by this time next week, which is such a special thing to be writing! I am so happy at the thought as I’m sure you know. Cannot wait to see your progress and read all about your move, that’s just so great for me to read. Speak to you very soon my friend and best of luck… we will indeed survive this, and, in time, flourish! JXXX

      1. James!!! You will be there this time next week!!! Yes, it makes me as happy to read as it probably made you happy to write! And, for me, it will be 2 1/2 weeks. Just purchased my plane ticket today. Godspeed to you, dear brother!

  6. At the very outset, I loved the title and the opening paragraph…loved your tours and travels and the love hate re;ationship with the country where you are domiciled and the b&w pictures slowly transforming into colour…the B&W pic of the horse is marvellous…

    1. I am so utterly flattered that you like my photography and my words, thank you. Especially well noted the colour bleeding back into the story toward the end. Unconsciously intentional I should think. Especially, of course, the red sun circling through the sky. Always symbolic to me, of travel and progress. Wishing you all the best… Jx

  7. Thank you for this soul-enriching, inspirational post, illustrated by such spectacular photography! I am also a Sagittarius and have lived in many places es, including the UK. Wishing you safe and fulfilling travels!

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