Wednesday, 29 April 2009
The Priestesses in wellies
Knew a priestess of Diana once. All true. She was an accounts manager by day, but in the evenings and on weekends she invoked the power of the goddess Diana and joined with friends to worship. I argued that she ought to worship Artemis or Selene instead, but she told me to go and jump in the sea. Wasn't that Poseidon, I asked her?
She sighed, rolled her eyes and went back to managing her accounts. Now it seems that to be a part of her priestess-hood or priestessery (I am a little vague on the details not being an expert) all the Priestesses of Diana in Cricklewood, North London were required to wear Darnell & Coutts wellington boots. I am not sure why other than they were easy to get at the Cricklewood branch. Still, all of the priestesses had them. They would go hunting on Hampstead Heath of a weekend, but not actual hunting for they did not wish to shed blood and anyway hunting certain animals with hounds was illegal. Instead they hunted for objects; old bits of things, archaeological bits and pieces and the like.
Four days after I had disputed her worship, the priestess came in to the office positively glowing with excitement. It seems that a new priestess in their cult had gone hunting and found a small statue of the goddess. It had been verified by the London Archaeological Agency as the goddess and been placed in a shady grotto where it was found, surrounded by trees.
"It's being cleaned up and we're allowed to worship the goddess there too!" she said excitedly.
I was impressed, I admit it and I wished her well. However it seems that certain protocols were either forgotten or ignored. Mythical information was not taken into account. The priestesses in their stripy Darnell & Coutts wellies were happy to worship the goddess and she did not seem to mind either. After all, it must be rewarding if you are a deity to find that there are worshippers of you. Makes you feel appreciated and that what you do is worthwhile. Even if your worshippers are accounts managers, boutique owners, bored freelance journalists and the like.
That evening and the following evening, the priestesses worshipped the goddess and cleared up the grotto. They made offerings and drank libations to the goddess. The day after, the statue of the goddess was to be cleaned up by volunteers and archaeologists from the Agency. As I say, available information was not taken into account when the cleaning of the statue was done. It appears, according to the Cricklewood Chronicle that the Archaeological Agency sent a group of young women to clean the statue. They were in the middle of doing so. All of them, like the priestesses wearing their stripy Darnell & Coutts wellies. A group of bored young men turned up with vandalism in mind and saw the women cleaning the statue of Diana. Almost without warning, the sky turned dark grey and the rain fell heavily in large droplets. The young men foound themselves changing in the most gruesome way. The leader of them sprouted antlers and became hairier than usual. His feet and hands became hooves and he turned into a stag. His fellows became hounds and suddenly turned on him. He fled, a magnificent sight running across the Heath, but pursued by the hounds. Parents covered their children's eyes and others looked on in horror as the hounds sprang upon the stag and tore him into a bloody mess upon the Heath.
An inquiry was done and nothing discovered. The archaeologists were sent home in a state of shock and two of them at least became accountants. Two others went to Iraq on the grounds that it was safer. In Parliament, the Prime Minister declared that everything would be done to find the owner of the dogs and that somebody would be punished for this dreadful attack on one of Britain's finest animals. I could not help but wonder; had the archaeologists or the ministers never heard of Actaeon?