Wiltshire – August 20th, 2009
There’s something mystical about Wiltshire. This county has more than its fair share of ancient sacred sites and now crop circle formations too. Wiltshire boasts Avebury, Stonehenge, Old Sarum, West Kennet Long Barrow, The Ridgeway ancient track, the list goes on and on. ‘Plan A’ was to find any remaining crop circles to dowse them – ‘Plan B’ was to ‘follow my nose’ and see what happened.
Yes, We Have No Crop Circles
If you intend to visit and stay in Wiltshire you could do far worse than to stay at The Seven Stars pub. It is close to Marlborough and the Ridgeway, and more importantly for cereologists, it is close to Alton Barnes and The Barge Inn – now landmarks of renown on the crop circle tours. The landlord and landlady were incredibly helpful and the food at this pub was outstanding. Highly recommended if you plan to stay in this area. If you want to see any crop circles, however, I’d recommend going in July.
The names of the places are all vaguely familiar if you’ve been reading books and web sites about crop circles for long enough: Alton Barnes, Ogbourne St.George, Banbury Castle, Silbury Hill. These are quaint names that evoke thoughts of ancient Britain, stone monuments, wheat fields, chalk figures and old churches. They are also places of renowned earth energy – possibly not a coincidence to the crop circle phenomenon.
There’s one thing that’s modern about Wiltshire though: the farming methods are bang up to date. On the day I arrived, a new moon, there seemed to be a note in every farmer’s diary – “Thursday 20th: Harvest stupid crop circle fields today.” Sadly, by the time I had travelled down from Cheshire and then had dilly-dallied with a handful of the wealth of sacred sites that are sprinkled liberally around this part of Britain, all of the crop circles that remained only day earlier had been harvested. In fact, the last one was being bailed as I drove out to find it. Ah well, maybe a slight change of plan was required for the next day. Nevertheless I had spent an intriguing day travelling along the white dragon’s trail. What dragon’s trail? I’m so glad you asked! ‘Plan B’ was in action.
The Ridgeway is a line of chalk stone that forms a ridge running from Overton Hill near Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon hill, near Tring in Berkshire. It’s around 87 miles in length and predominantly runs along a chalkstone ridge. It is an ancient trackway, possibly a ceremonial or processional path too. This links in with the recent idea that Stonehenge was once used for large-scale celebrations at specific solstice times of the year. The area may have harboured tribes who worshipped horse gods – the so-called Epona Cult – and consequently there are several white chalk horses carved into the hillsides of the valleys of the North and South Downs. The most famous of these horses – The Uffington White Horse – is something different, however, and I will come to that in the next post where some evidence suggests an alternative perspective.
An Old Straight Track
The character of Wayland The Smith has a long pedigree. I first came across him in Susan Cooper’s trilogy of books called “The Dark Is Rising” in which she interwove a modern setting with traditional Celtic characters and motifs. John “Wayland” Smith makes an appearance to forge magical symbols from elements to create a crossed circle which was then fitted to a belt of power. The elemental magic item was then used to repel the rising forces of The Dark, symbolised as the forces of Winter.
The essence of the Western Mystery Tradition was embedded in these excellent stories, and the maturation, the transformation and rebirth of a young adult named Will Stanton, a solar hero. His achieving union with the forces of The Light and Summer was the grand finale of this epic struggle. Another elderly character, Merriman Lyon, is a thinly-veiled personification of Merlin meanwhile.
The Ridgeway was evocative of The Old Straight Track of ley line history, or the track spoken of in the rhymes in her books that I used to memorise:
When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.
As I walked the chalk track up to Wayland’s Smithy, such thoughts came back to me like a much-loved song.
For more about Wayland, here’s an article from a Berkshire history web site. For me, Wayland symbolised a place or person who could help you to forge a symbol or sign of value that could be used to advance one’s learning and progress in the ways of the western mystery tradition.
Lucky for me then, that without any forethought that’s exactly what happened. Symbols must have been on my mind.
Lair of the White Dragon: Wayland’s Smithy
The site is almost hidden by trees, and is only noticeable because of a small signpost pointing the way to the copse of beech trees huddled amidst farmed fields. I dowsed straight away for an entrance point to the site. As no-one was around at the time I respectfully waited at the two tall beeches that guarded the entrance way and felt a gentle tug at my sacral chakra point, which indicated assent, so I entered.
I then asked to find “my place” or power centre where I could take stock of the site from. I was taken to a place on top of the barrow where I de-camped my gear. Next, I wanted to determine what type of energies were present around the site. No matter where I went I read for male, female and neutral energies all around. The whole site seemed to be a complete white stream energy field encircled and enclosed by a ring of old beech trees.
At the back of the barrow, off to one side in a small circular clearing where someone had had a fire I found a strong terminus point for a white stream. At this spot there was a bare patch of earth. I decide this would be the place to ask for a manifestation of the site’s own symbol, as I had done at other sacred sites before. The shape that had been manifested I took as a sigil of the site – it’s symbolic expression of energy – it’s signature, if you like.
I don’t know how the Rosicrucians derived their ideas of how to discover such symbols, but my own sigil was discovered through deep meditation. Finding the sigil for the spirit guardian of Wayland’s Smithy was done by asking and then dowsing the shape. Perhaps it was my polite manner, or good fortune, but one appeared for me at the termination point of the spiralling white stream energy that flowed across the site. Here is the symbol I dowsed – Wayland’s Sign:
As I wandered back to my power place I contemplated the mood of this site. It seemed like a great place to prepare yourself, perhaps for a spiritual journey – very calming, peaceful, and reassuring. The dappled light from the tall beech trees made it feel calming and I found myself smiling a great deal while I was there.
I went back to the entrance to the site, between the two tall beech trees in front of the main large stones, where there is a small bare patch of earth. I drew site ‘key’ sigil in the earth with my staff and felt a much stronger pull from the guardian trees. I walked back up to my power centre and ate my lunch whilst various visitors briefly inspected the site, then left contented that they had ticked their itinerary box.
As I sat on my power centre located on one of the three capstones to the chamber’s entrance, seated in a small depression in the rock, it occurred to me to draw my sigil in chalk on my power centre. As I did this my attention was drawn to the cup marks in the stones on either side of the chamber. I wondered if they were anything like the marks in the stone at Nine Stones Close in Derbyshire. I wondered if they would activate the site in some way. I dowsed the marks and found that I got agreement with this idea, but today was not the day to work with this site, I felt. I wasn’t ready to do that yet.
Instead I just meditated in the cooling afternoon breeze, lulled by the sound of the tree’s branches brushing each other gently. As I went into a trance I heard a phrase repeated over and over. “Go for a ride” it said. Go for a ride? On what, I wondered? On the nearby white horse of Uffington perhaps? I sprang up, mobilised. Of course it was. I packed and left to head back to where I had parked – I could pick up the path to the chalk horse from near the car park.
En route I picked up a small crab apple lying in the path heading for the chalk horse – it seemed like an apple might do very well for a horse! I made my way towards Uffington Castle to reach the great carving. Little did I know that a revelation was awaiting me.
On the trail of the White Dragon…