bodmin moor zodiac


In the Bodmin Moor Terrestrial Zodiac, the sign of Gemini lies over the area known as Temple and Cardinham Moor. Parts of the sign are marked on the Ordnance Survey map as a Danger Area. We were at first wary of exploring this area, was it a fenced off military zone that we would be unable to explore? Would we have to walk the perimeter of the Danger Area?

The image of the twins is a triumph of imaginative omission, for it is the minds eye that completes the design. The landscape lines that define them curve and melt into the greens and browns of fields, quarries and clay tips. The outline is close to something half-glimpsed or apprehended in the dark of a dream. Do the twins share one body, but two heads? Are they Siamese twins?

In our enhanced visualisation the twins wear red and blue loin-cloths respectively. Both brothers are seated. The twin in the blue has an outstretched hand in which he hold a gold coloured bow and arrow. One leans slightly on his brother and carries a golden harp with four strings. This twin’s head partly obscures the first twin’s head from view. One of his arms embraces his brother and we see his fingers on the other twin’s bare waist. In his other hand he carries a wooden club, the club extends the length of the twin’s hip to shoulder, it is approximately the same shape and covers part of the Danger Area on the Ordnance Survey map though it is smaller and is set at a slightly different angle.

The constellation of Gemini is roughly rectangular in shape, however the rectangle is slightly twisted being formed by the conjunction of eight stars. The twins are seated on a red line which runs diagonally beneath them. The red line represents both the Milky Way and the A30. The bow and arrows lie over the hamlet of Temple, the club lies over the Danger Area, its tip is marked by Great Care Hill. The twins’ feet lie on Trehudreh Downs and their heads lie on Hardhead Downs.

At the top of Great Care Hill is a flagpole with a red flag wrapped around its base. We look down from this windswept summit at the lake below, and at marks in the grass below the hill where quad bikes have worn curves into the meadow. The quad tracks wind beside an area marked on the Ordnance Survey map as an ancient cairn and hut circles and form a ritual path of their own. Between Great Care Hill and the lake, a flight of 34 concrete steps runs up the side of a clay tip. We descend Great Care Hill and ascend the steps up the lakeside clay tip.


At the top of the tip stands a rectangular steel frame about 8 feet high. This has practical benefits: it frames what we record. It forms a painting of a landscape seen from a window in which the window is in the landscape. From one side we see Great Care Hill, from the other the white clay tips. This frame creates a doorway whose orientation establishes ancestral connections that link the industrial world of the clay tips with the cosmologies and mythologies of distant rock outcrops and cairns. Framing the external world in two directions, the physical and cultural meanings of the steel frame have a mythopoetic significance, reproducing permanent relationships between the living, the ancestors and the spirit world in a perspectival movement from hill to clay tips to pool of water. The frame orientation alludes to the significance of the clay tip as a whole in a cosmological model of the world. The frame acts as a visual metaphor made into solid steel and serving to elucidate aspects of cosmology and creation.


The Glynn Valley Observatory


bodmin moor zodiac index

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Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio
Sagittarius Capricorn Aquarius Pisces
Taurus Aries Gemini Cancer