MIRRORS OF MAGIC - Evoking the Spirit of Dewponds
by Philip Heselton, published by Capall Bann at £9.95. 158pp. ISBN: 1898307-84-9
There is more to our magickal landscapes than stone circles and standing stones, and in this neat and extremely useful offering Heselton takes an in-depth look at one of the fastest disappearing elements of our traditional landscape - the artifically created dewponds which used to be so common on the chalk (and, to a lesser extent, limestone) uplands of southern and eastern England.
In these areas, with porous ground rock which did not hold water well, our ancestors created watertight ponds by excavating depressions which were lined with layers of stray and clay and then filled with water to provide reliable drinking water for livestock. Many of these ponds, Heselton points out, are on the boundary between two or more fields, and thus occupy a magickally very powerful and liminal situation which can be used to considerable magickal benefit by those with the sensitivity to appreciate them.
As well as discussing the practical construction techniques used for creating dewponds (which could probably be copied by anyone with a suitably sized and placed site) and information collected in the 19th and early 20th centuries from the dewpond makers, Heselton explores the folklore and legends associated with ponds in general, including mermaids and moonrakers and rumours of their being bottomless; ponds in the wider landscape, magickal workings with bodies of still water and touches on questions such as why we often (irrationally) fear ponds.
The only serious whinge here is his inclusion of a chapter on dowsing ponds, by which I am far from convinced. However that apart, this is a very welcome and worthwhile book on a subject which will be completely new to almost every reader of WD.