Ancient Sites | Modern Druidry

Brittany 1: Dragons in Winchester

May 16, 2009

Over the last two weeks my wife and I have been journeying to and staying in the Brittany region in the North Western end of France in my auntie’s guest house near St.Brieuc in the Cotes D’Armour. It was to be our first proper holiday of the year, and to an area renowned for its megalithic history. A fortunate coincidence, as this meant I got to go to some of the great sites available in that region, and managed to dowse many of them too.

In the near future I will be posting on topics such as the Carnac alignments, Locmarquier, Mont St.Michel, roadside Celtic crosses, dolmens, passage graves and many other things discovered on this holiday. I’ll be posting regular stories of some of those sites, revealing some of the Celtic mythology and history that is embedded into the culture, architecture and mythology of the region. I hope you will find them either a useful travelogue for your own expeditions in northern France, or will obtain some useful information about the energy formations and their purpose through my dowsing revelations.

Winchester cathedral – Monday 4th May

As we journeyed from the north of England to its southern-most end we decided to stop off in Winchester to relax, and take a look around. My brother had mentioned to me that it was an historical town with some beautiful features, and so I took his recommendation without hesitation, as I had encountered Winchester’s name appearing frequently in accounts of important ancient towns of our land.

winchester-2

On arrival we made straight for the spire of the cathedral that seemed to be the focus of most of the tourist signs as we walked around. On this occasion, our brief stop-over necessitated a sharp focus. Winchester Cathedral was our goal, and pretty soon it hoved into view, its massive minarets trumpeting its importance. The grass to its side had a floor plan of the original site of the church when it had been established by Benedictine monks in the 7th Century. Three hundred years later it was rebuilt on its current alignment, and added to over the years. Later in the week I would happen to read Ross Nichols‘ essay on the layout of churches and their correspondence to kabbalistic and celtic concepts of the the divine body, where the holy church mapped onto the holy body in its search for spiritual development. [cf. “Esoteric Architecture” from ‘In The Grove of the Druids’ by Philip Carr-Gomm, a collection of Ross Nichols essays].

We arrived inside the cathedral as preparations were being made for an evening service. This meant that we were the only tourists left at this time of day and so had the public parts of the place to ourselves. We walked down the impressive central aisle, of course aligned East-West to catch the sun, and observed a series of strange wall hangings depicting slightly surreal elements of the Christian pantheon. One showed a unicorn central, with a large lizard and snake crawling around its legs. Now, I’m no David Icke but that struck me as quite an unusual image that I couldn’t relate to any Christian story that I had heard of. I could, however, relate it to the concept of St.George and The Dragon, or The Green Man slaying his Winter counterpart in an ancient Celtic mythological context. But surely I was mistaken.

winchester-10On to the next image: a tree with seven branches grew out of a river, had a snake with a spiral tail coiling around it, and was flanked by the images of a male and female face, which also had a line of red dots going through them. Ah, surely more straightforward – this could be the Garden of Eden story, although I’m not sure what to make of the red dots, or the stylised tree with its three rays at the tip, or the reason for the spiral tail of the snake. To my mind it could equally have been a depiction of the way that earth energies of male and female properties can be drawn out of the earth and combined to facilitate the opening of the seven chakras to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Hey ho – I suppose you begin to see whatever you understand of symbols in your own context, right?

Kal: As I study the symbology of the Tarot more and more certain correspondences jump out at me! For instance Gwas mentions the ‘red dots’. Note that there are 12 dots in total – 6 on each side of the snake. Twelve often symbolised the “twelve” disciples of Christ however, from a much earlier perspective 12 symbolised the signs of the Zodiac and hence the heavens.

Instinctively, but completely according to my alignment as I found out by reading Nichols’ essays later that week, I headed for the northern transept, which is apparently aligned to the feminine principles. As a man brought up in a western culture that has become dominated by the power of the masculine it is a difficult thing to assimilate the idea that one might be aligned to the feminine – but that was what the dowsing had showed me time and again, and my energy work always profited from me accepting and working with this alignment of energies. I’m not stupid – if it works for you there’s something right about it. Eventually you begin to be able to make positive use out of this understanding and to grow both spiritually and intelligently. I felt comfortable on the left-hand side of the church, at its northern end, and when we moved across to the other side I hurriedly moved away from it and found somewhere else to be standing.

winchester-12Dragons were everywhere in the carvings that adorned the cathedral. Everywhere I turned I saw dragon scales, head and tails wrapped around the eaves, the statues and the columns. Occasionally we would come across a prostrate bishop bound in stone with a dragon curled up at his feet. Had these men tamed the kundalini fire serpent and achieved ‘sainthood’ that way, I wondered. Or was this a symbol of how these men had been successful at repressing the previous culture’s knowledge of these spiritual techniques – the gradual deconstruction of the pagan beliefs and their christianisation?

Another esoteric element that caught my eye was the use of the measurements of sacred geometry of the proscenium arches, the layout of the church itself, its size, the placement of pillars – all was done using divine proportions. Later in the week I picked up another book on the geometry of the golden section, and I will post more about this as I re-learn some fundamental mathematics. It all made for beautiful architecture. These same proportions are found in megalithic structures too, according to Professor Alexander Thom‘s measurements.

Winchester Cathedral's Western entrance
Winchester Cathedral's Western entrance

winchester-16As we left the cathedral and walked through the parkland adjoining it we stopped at the sight of a strangely-formed tree. It looked like the legs of someone who’s head was stuck in the ground. I wondered if this was a metaphor for what I was becoming: someone whose head was constantly stuck into the earth and its energies! As we rounded the corner from the cathedral I caught sight of The Eclipse Inn, with its sign depicting a moon eclipsing the sun. The signs were that this was going to be an interesting ten days of dowsing in Brittany, and so it turned out to be.

Gwas

Following the Brittany ferry to France.

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