The Naming of Earth Hart

That October day was warm, coming up to Samhain, we were having an Indian Summer. I had been down into the town and twice on the way there the Orca tooth I wore as a pendant had fallen off the silver chain, both times I had caught it. On the way back to my bed-sit it fell off again and again I caught it. This time I put it in my pocket for safekeeping.
In the bed-sit, I put away the shopping and made myself some tea. Sitting down, I felt the tooth press into my thigh, I took it out and placed it on the marble mantelpiece. As I placed the tooth down an old Georgian silver sporran pin, a Stag’s head, that was up against the chimney breast, fell off the mantelpiece and onto the floor. Now, the mantle was 7ft. × 9ins. × 1in and solid marble. Shocked, I bent down to pick it up and was surprised to find it very warm. It was lying on cold marble, not in the sun and with no fire in the grate, I began to look at it as if for the first time. I looked at where it had been on the mantel, how had it travelled horizontally nearly nine inches? The marble was sound, no movement at all. Looking at the Stag’s head I saw that I could thread the chain through and round the antlers, this I did and put it on, looking in the mirror to see if it was OK.
Later on that afternoon I lay on the bed to gather my thoughts and take some space. I sure did. Within a few moments, in dream or where, I was walking across a field up towards a large wood on the hilltop. Climbing the hill I saw a Red deer Stag emerge from the wood, he raised his head, looked at me and walked proudly down the hill towards me, I was transfixed. The Stag had the Earth revolving within the cradle of his antlers. This beast making his way down the hill was awesome, magnificent. I was frozen to the spot, not from fear but from wonder. He came to a standstill directly in front of me and held my gaze. I looked up into his eyes, they were deep and sparkling. There seemed to be recognition for he nodded his head to me as he spoke, “I am Earth Hart, the Heart of the Earth, my gait is the heartbeat of the Earth.” In a twinkle of an eye I was the Hart looking at myself looking up into His/my face and I/He repeating the same words, “I am Earth Hart, the Heart of the Earth.” As the words were spoken a deep slow rhythm pulsed through me, the harmonics passed through Land and Life. I was ecstatic. (When I’d laid down my mind was clear, I hadn’t had a little smoke nor imbibed anything mind-altering.) The next instant I was myself again, looking at the Hart. He motioned me to follow, turning back up the hill he led me into the wood.
This was Ancient Woodland. There were Oaks and Beech the size I’ve never seen, it would have taken at least six men if not more to link hands around their girth. The wood was filled with Life, all around me birds and other animals & insects called and sang; it was a symphony of life. The deeper we went the darker it got and all was peaceful. Then suddenly, we came into a clearing filled with sunlight, in the middle was an ancient Yew with a great gash down its trunk. Earth Hart walked up to the tree and stood beside the gash, I was looking around the space, which was in a circle, a ring of Yew trees and the Old One at the centre. Earth Hart called me to follow and began to walk into the Yew, I followed, and inside began to descend into the Earth. All around me was rhythm, the Earth seemed to dance to this beat.
Just then a banging noise broke through and I found myself on the bed. Someone was knocking on my door and had woken me up. As I rubbed my eyes I could see Marion through the frosted glass, I got up and let her in. As she came in and looked at me she asked, “Where have you been? You’re not back fully yet.”
I looked at her, “What do you mean, I dozed off and you woke me from a weird dream.”
She sat me down and ran her hand hard down my spine, I shuddered and felt solid. “Now, tell me about the dream, the journey you went on.” She still looked concerned. I told her what had happened, and how her knock had woken me. When I finished, Marion pointed to the pendant and smiled, “That’s new, where did that come from?” So I told her of the tooth and how I’d chosen the Head as my pendant. “You didn’t choose it. He chose you and now you’ve been named.” She smiled, “You are now Earth Hart.”
I laughed, “How could I be seen as a Stag, I’m only 5ft 6ins, maybe a Boar but not a Stag.”
“You’ll see, that name is yours and you should use it some way. You like drama and storytelling, you are always hiding behind your mask or face paint and you could develop your character around your name. You even say you’ve got muddy hooves when anyone talks to you of spiritual matters that you think as airy-fairy. You’re bound to the Earth, so carry your name with pride and put it to good use.
It was two years later, when I first used the name when I put on “Tree Talk”, a series of talks & films reflecting the Tree. In 1995 I did a number of storytelling gigs at Glastonbury Festival, the lady who had employed me, Christine, invited me to join her the following year, at the International Storytelling & Poetry Festival, in Austin, Texas. We spent the next nine months going between our two homes, hers in the Peak District and mine in Somerset. The last three weeks before the flight I spent up there, then with four days to go I broke my leg whilst scree running down a gully. Christine was mad at me for being so stupid but I had been climbing since I was eighteen and had scree ran a number of times with no damage, but it only takes one accident, she said. The night before the flight we had a ‘heart to heart’, the next morning we left the Peaks, Christine to Heathrow and I to Somerset. Eight days later, back in this country, Christine phoned me from Heathrow, asking if I was free for her to come down to Somerset for a long weekend. Of course I was, I wanted to know how things had gone.
She arrived 3hrs later, loaded with duty-frees and a huge smile. As we unloaded her gear from her car she said she had something very special for me. In the kitchen, opening a bottle of wine, she began to tell of the event and a ritual the women did on the full moon, at Jacob’s Well, a Native American sacred site. At the site Christine met Elksinger, one of the guardians of the well. He took her to one side after the ritual and began to tell her, she says almost word for word, what I’d told her that last night before she flew to Texas. She sat there dumb-founded when he finished, tears rolling down her cheeks as Elksinger handed her a poem entitled ‘The Yarn Weaver’. As she read it, he told her that the man who had spoken those words is not a storyteller but a yarn weaver, because he starts with a fresh thread every time. In the Annex she handed me the poem, she’d had it framed and taking down an old photo she hung the poem on the wall and, turning to me offered a toast, ‘A toast to Earth Hart the Yarn Weaver, as that’s your name now.’

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