During the late summer we visited the leechwell garden in Totnes. Totnes has marvellous history.. having been rich enough to have two mints in the past! The buildings all the way up the street reflect the power and creativity of the merchants of the town from elizabethan times. It also has a very special river having had a sea port for great ships coming across the ocean bearing timber from scandinavia… and then just a easy walk around the ‘nose’ of the town there exists a weir near the place where a ford for walking and driving used to be.
The leechwells have been visited for generations as a place of healing and refuge, wrapped as they are by high walls and near the wells a public garden has been opened. We are so lucky to have such a welcoming and well designed place.. and it hosts many a gathering and event. We went to a wonderful fundraising event in aid of the Lantern Festival at met Steph Bradley – our local story weaver!
Having offered a dance as part of the entertainment at the end of her stories at the event I sat and waited in my Misedashi kimono and had the honour of listening to the creation story of the three healing Leechwells… and more! It is said that in the old climbing tree, whose trunk lies in the park there (often covered with kids) a dragon once laid an egg. And from that egg hatched the resident dragon of the garden whose task it was to earn the marvellous colours on his spines by learning about the locality of his home and the people who live there…
Steph then informed us that before his final settling in the garden he flew around the world.. learning many things from many cultures. One day he brought back a Geisha from Japan who, as a social healer herself, felt right at home dancing for those who had travelled far to benefit from the revitalising nature of the Leechwell. Then I danced Kyo No Shiki which I always enjoy – we must get our okiya some travel speakers for moments such as this – It was great to collaborate in this way!
At our september Ozashiki the story was continued and added to as Steph came as a guest and artist. She told the story of the Dragon and the Geisha.. and then I told the myth story of the birth of Hachisu Okiya 😀
The story of the Totnes Geisha was also told on Soundart Radio by lovely storyweaving Steph.. I intend to make a slideshow of our photos set to the story as a soundtrack for youtube but until then here is Steph’s Happiness broadcast.