A photograph from May’s Sweeps Festival in Rochester – a hat from a member of The Hunters Moon Morris side outside Rochester Cathedral – I notice from their website they are keen supporters of The Museum of Witchcraft at Boscastle – which was without doubt my favourite museum in the land, although I haven’t been back to visit since the disastrous flooding which all but destroyed the place.
The tree in the background looking suitably Lovecraftian (although I have little time for repressed white supremacists).
I have been very disappointed with my attempts to discover the dark occult heart of Medway. To be fair I hadn’t been too concerned with this as a quest until my friend Eddie De Oliviera pointed out that there was a preponderence of ‘new-age’ shops on Rochester High Street… well two or three (once of which has subsequently closed down).
The clincher came when Eddie noticed a “My Other Car Is A Broomstick” bumper sticker on a car parked on the Rochester Maidstone Road – I haven’t seen the car since so my attempts to photograph it have come to nothing.
So then my mind turns to the Sweeps Festival that happens in Rochester on Mayday – a veritable wellspring of pagan activity. This is the biggest May Day Festival in Britian – but actually celebrates the Mayday holiday that sweeps would traditionally enjoy… not too pagan really – and a revival of a 19th century custom that only dates back to the 1980’s – I’m sure to revisit the Sweeps Festival here nearer the time and look at what links there are there to be found.
So – at first glance I haven’t discovered a Wicker Man’s heart pulsing at the centre of the Medway towns. I will continue to look. But this has set me to thinking about what there is around me in these faded towns, hidden perhaps by a thin layer of grime, or behind a flush of cow-parsley and nettles. That which is forgotten, ignored or misunderstood, and I thought I might start trying to be a little more observant, take a little more care over what I step past every day.