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Cairn to Cairn

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Primitive Memoirs.


Cairn to Cairn is a intimate project that I have been manifesting into being since 2022. A project inspired by my mother, who always gently, and sometimes strongly, encourages me to keep trying, to never give up, and to stay on the artistic creative soul path. My mum and I walk together, through the woodlands and wild places. Through enchanted and mysterious places. And through primitive and gothic places. She is a tree spirit guardian and companion. I watch her as she walks ahead of me on the pathways, she intuitively reaches out to stroke mosses and ferns as she passes them by. She was there, with Toby, behind the camera in many of the Tree Whisper photographs. My mum named this new project for me. 'Cairn to Cairn'.


In 2022 I lost my old dog and dear friend Toby, and loosing him felt like a violent tearing of me from the life that he belonged to. A time of youth, of meeting my husband. A time of becoming a wife and mother and raising my children. A time of rituals, of walking in the fields, in all seasons with my mum and her two dogs Bud and Mac and my two dogs Toby and Roxy. With my little girl and then my baby boy in his buggy. Those days seemed to last forever. Until they disappeared from life. Those patterns and repeated moments left without a whisper. My children grew, our beloved dogs grew old and passed. Toby was the last to leave us. And I feel like he took with him my life. This project is holding space for my open wound. A journey of grief. To these time, all of my precious memories call me back.


My husband and I before we had children would go for long road trips around the Highlands of Scotland. Exploring our local historical sites, our folklore and tradition and our beautiful woodlands, hills and lochs. We would bring this into our lives as parents and take our children out exploring. We would find beautiful rivers, abandoned mansions and ruined castles. I would also infuse this magic into my relationship with my mother. Taking her out on adventures. Before she could drive, I would show her places she had never seen. She told me that our drives were 'the time of her life'. Cairn to Cairn speaks to my soul of a journey through time and through love.



 


With my Ricoh Griii street camera, I have been journeying back through the spirit of place and through memories that hold the aliveness that has enriched my soul for so long. Places that have influenced and inspired my life. Places that hold the most precious moments of time for me. Places of connection and disconnection, adventure, laughter and tears. Places of magic, enchantment and the spirits of nature. And to new places that I have discover along the way. This is my journey revisiting the most treasured and cherished moments of my life. A tentative journey, gently aching at times, and at times, a journey of overwhelming grief.


I struggle to adjust to time passing. I always have done. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of me being hyper aware of the passage of time and the loss I would come to know. Cairn to Cairn is a calling. I need to journey back, capture the spirit of place and time. Reliving through my felt-senses the vulnerability of close connections, the delicacies of the dimensions of beauty. Allow myself to feel the impact of what it is to be alive right now in this time. This is a spiritual pilgrimage of deep healing, of cleansing and of the transformation of my now self, into a new time of life.


Cairn to Cairn will be a sensitive reflection of my melodramatic, melancholia of my childhood self, nd my deep obsession with life unheld by time. Using my camera's unique moody and deep colours and with added weighted highlights, I am pushing my camera to the limits of what it can achieve. The images are primitive, they embody a gothic romance and at times macabre unsettlement of the senses. They are animistic and mysterious by nature. Images include the spirit of places, nature spirits and inspirited objects. They include the remnants of lost times and the echoes within ruined structures. My images are atmospheric and the world of my subjects is liminal and out of touch. My subjects include trees, lochs, bogs, stones, monoliths, cairns, bridges, ruins, insects, and other creatures. They will be infused with local folklore, folk healing, superstition and the history, pre-history and Celtic tradition of my ancestry. These images are alive and I feel them breath autonomous of each other and collectively as one tribe. Together the images are becoming. Becoming something of their own animal kin. Belonging to this land as i do.



 


Cairn to Cairn originally was intended to be a Tarot for myself. I realised that I needed my own tarot deck to accompany my Tree Whisper Oracles. I am unsure if Cairn to Cairn will become tarot or oracle and I will support the aliveness of this creation to grow and move in directions that are natural for this new life to explore. I will allow this project to become what it needs to be. Cairn to Cairn will honour fleeting life and endless time. The Highlands of Scotland are wild, dark and prehistoric. I want to capture the wildness of where I live, were my roots are, and the places of my ancestral lineage as a Highlander.


Bellow are some of my most treasures photographs. Including the Devils Head at Muir of Ord, the tree of The Brahan Seer at Brahan Woodland, Clooty Sacred Healing Well, the Chanel Rose Hall ruined Mansion, The Priory Beauly and the old Wych Elm that we recently lost in a storm. The prehistoric Cairns at Clava Inverness-Shire and the Black Rock Gorge Evanton that was featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. There are so many places I will journey too, old and new. I live on a magical, enchanted and primeval land. I will release more on this project as I am inspired to reveal along the way. I am moved to share my journey so far with you.


Yours in the heart of the woodlands and wild places.

Mags Black.


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