Benet Waterman

Carlisle, Cumbria, England, UK


Alizon, Carol, Eleanor and I met at eleven o’clock on the morning of Saturday June 22nd by the Curse Stone here in Carlisle. This magnificently artistic highly-polished granite boulder, with it’s finely-chiselled lettering, is emblematic of a dark and troubled past. Hard to understand why, in celebrating the millennium, someone would wish to carve out, as a piece of art, such a deeply damning curse delivered at the height of the Border Reivers’ constant raiding and brutalising of families living in the border areas. How strangely we use the past as ‘mere quirky heritage’ without learning from it.


That curse was spoken out loud in chilling terms in every parish church in the borders at the behest of the Bishop of Glasgow and damned the reivers, both Scottish and English, together with their descendants, for all time. Their names are still to be found in our Border families today. Oh, the power of our spoken word and the energy which follows thought !


First we made our way to our ancient cathedral where we meditated in silence before sharing our insights and understanding. Alizon had a sense of us ‘having been here before’, linked either together, or as separate individuals, to the situations we were reflecting upon. For my part, in the silence of that place, I had vivid awareness of the cruelties of the Crown and Church in those times in the jealous guarding of their power and control of the people.


We walked back towards the Castle to the boulder where we held a sacred space for our thoughts and healing energies to flow. As this is a public place there were no found objects to be had for our Radjoy bird, and neither would we be able to leave our bird behind, so instead we used the flags of the two nations together with their royal standards.…. and then the surprise ! In the gloom of the corner behind the boulder, Carol spotted something none of us have noticed before. There could just be read in the dimness the words of a most up-lifting blessing which turned the pain of the past into hope for the future, immediately countering the dark energies of the curse close by. Someone had walked this way before us, and had worked into a plain dark iron door these words – Philippians 4:8 – whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.


Our Radjoy bird landed full-square facing this blessing—wings outstretched to embrace a better future. Our ‘morning’s pilgrimage’ ended in the castle gate-way beneath the guard-tower and portcullis—where so many prisoners would have entered trembling with the fear struck in their hearts but where we all now found a change in the energies around us.Mention of synchronicity came from Alizon—as she had parked in the city she had switched off an audio-book she had been listening to at the very words ….and Mary Queen of Scots was taken to Carlisle where she was imprisoned in the Castle. Eleanor found the whole morning meaningful and uplifting, gladdened as we all were by taking part.


Carol felt that the morning put her in touch with our beautiful City once again. She had a joyous feeling within her that no matter how sad the events were and how the struggle for power by those that should have known better caused chaos, in the midst of it was a continued evolving of mankind as a whole and for that we can only be ever grateful.