The moors are in-between places, unsettled between the land and the wet. Sometimes calm and welcoming, but most times a wilderness. The moors are inhospitable once the darkness descends or the weather turns, they remind us how small and fragile we are.
There are boggy, swampy areas where a person might vanish from the face of the earth. There are sweet, safe havens where no other human being seemingly has ever set foot. Yet the moors carry a host of gifts for those who have eyes – berries just waiting to be harvested and flowers to be admired. Heather as far as the eye can see, and grasses billowing softly. The moors also hide a wealth of life and they are a larder for those who know where to look.
The moors are at their most magical at dusk, when the fog glides in. Shakespeare placed his famous three witches in Macbeth on the moors – they live there in this most unlikely environment, weaving their magic and casting their spells. Where would these witches be but on the moors? They are dangerous yet alluring, just as the moors themselves. In no time at all the moors can change from warm, sunbaked tranquility to howling winds and piercing rain that knows no mercy. I love the moors for mirroring my own hormonal pre-menstrual turmoil. The moors remind me that it’s natural, it’s ok, to be changeable.
The magic of the moors includes a soil environment that is low in oxygen, meaning that things that are either buried in the marshland, or claimed by it, do not easily decompose. Archaeological finds from moors include treasures of finely worked gold and jewels, and also what appear to be human sacrifices, perhaps offered to the divine and yet preserved for the world to see centuries later. The well-preserved remains of both men and women have been found in ritual poses deep in the moors of Europe, and are thought to be from bronze-age societies. Although this might seem grotesque, it also reminds us that people have lived and used the land around us. The moors offer a rare glimpse into the past, and place us who live today in a historical context. We are the continuity.
More than anything, the moors are. When tuning in and immersing oneself in the rhythm, the sounds and smells, the moors have a unique ability to balance the woman body and soul. The moors bring peace in the struggle of understanding and accepting all the different aspects of womanhood. On the moors we can break the molds of how women are supposed to be, tear up the expectations of ourselves and others, and embrace a wider sense of being. Womanhood is, just like the moors. We are strong, we are loud and brash and wilful. We are also soft, gently, yielding and forgiving. We are thoughtless, careless and hurtful, but also considerate, intuitive and wise. We just are.
Much of our struggle in the world today is learning to be all of these at the same time. Women today are breaking free from old restraints and limitations. We don’t have to choose between different aspects. There is no one way of being a woman, and only you can decide how you are. The moors are a great place for getting to know yourself, for learning to love yourself and becoming you.
Vild Prestegard is an anthropologist, holistic therapist, Reiki master and public speaker based in Norway. She is a regular blogger for Cycle Harmony. You’re welcome to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.