Goddess Life and Times of East Anglia
So where does the Goddess of Essex sit in our community? Well, there are beautiful, low-lying, landscapes of fields, lanes, rivers, coast and islands, with villages in between the housing estates! You can be sure to see a farmer or two reaping Her crop at Lammas (Lughnasadh) and ploughing around Mabon (autumn equinox).
In Colchester Castle there is many a story to be told about the Romans, Boudicca and Witchcraft. We have Manningtree on the Suffolk border that is well-known for its Witches and the infamous Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, who travelled between Suffolk and Essex pursuing innocent country folk.
The name Essex derives from Anglo Saxon, meaning ‘East Saxon’, in
the Trinovantes Tribe (Essex) region of England. The early Kings were
pagan and traced their lineage back to Seaxneat – nearly all of their
names begin with the letter S eg Sledd in AD587.
But less of the Kings and more about our Queen and Goddesses. None
other than our very own Queen Boudicca of the Iceni Tribe (Norfolk &
Suffolk). Many a story has been told. We at least know her essence –
tall, red haired, strong voice and piercing eyes – a Warrior Queen.
Make of her what you will. She was a fighter and a feminist for sure.
People often ask why has her name changed from Boadicea to Boudicca? Apparently, it was originally Boudica (Celtic spelling meaning victory) until the Middle Ages and the Victorian’s also maintained she was Boadicea. I feel we are now reclaiming her name as she was originally known by. But it was probably not even her name!
Essex itself stretches from the River Thames in East London to the Stour Estuaries on the Suffolk border and down the North Sea coastline and Blackwater Estuaries to the coast at Southend, back around and up as far as the Cambridgeshire border. From researching my ancestry, even Tower Hamlets was part of Essex back in the day! You will find the Goddess across the county if you seek her out.
Even today Epping Forest (an ancient tract of woodland) survived the transition to agricultural land in the Iron Age and this is where we believe
our Goddess Andraste’s Sacred Grove is situated.
In the southeast of the county, we have marsh land in the Rainham Marshes, where people moved from London to live on the marshes. Unsurprisingly, the inhabitants suffered from malaria. And Canvey Island is said to have a ‘strange air of mysteriousness’ about it even to this day.
I hope this gives you food for thought on where the Goddess may preside over Essex and a little bit of context and history of this diverse and often mysterious county well worth exploring.