Arbor Low stone circle, Derbyshire – November 17th 2009
We had decided to go to Arbor Low on a crackpot mission. Previously, Kal had discovered some radial ley lines emanating from the centre of the site like some kind of ancient spoked bicycle wheel, and I was determined to get some spot on bearings for these radials using my whizzy and shiny and accurate compass. In the high wind that blew that evening, and in the almost complete darkness, this seemed like the kind of foolhardy mission that even a buddhist monk told to sweep up leaves in a hurricane would decline!
Arbor Low is now fully recumbent, like a set of toppled dominoes. When the stones that formed the inner circle within the henge had been standing this must have been one of the most impressive megalithic features anywhere in the north of the country. Still, despite its ruinous state there’s something very active about Arbor Low. Kal in particular always seems to have a very positive experience here. I, on the other hand, am largely ambivalent about the place. I admire it, but I rarely get any meaningful experience from it. Tonight was slightly different – it would be the dowsing that stole the show, and I would be more than impressed by the outcome.
We parked up in the darkness of late evening, having just driven through a tempest of hard rain. We mentally prepared ourselves for the onslaught and stepped out of the car – no rain! Eh? We didn’t argue, but instead kitted ourselves out with packs, torches, hats, gloves – all the usual Winter clobber. Arriving minutes later up at the final gate into the site we stopped to appreciate the fact that the strong wind had dispersed the rain clouds just in time for our visit. What a lovely coincidence, as we had been preparing for days to get wet as usual when visiting Arbor Low. Tonight, it was windy, cool, but not wet, and we were thankful.
I had come here with a secondary objective – to find the site’s sigil, or it’s energy pattern manifested in a shape. I then proposed that we use the sigil to introduce ourselves at the entrance to the site, in the same way as I had done at Wayland’s Smithy. My reasoning was that this intuitive approach back then had ensured I had a good and profitable interaction with the site – perhaps the same could be achieved again if we approached the site in a similar manner? This is how superstitions start!
Kal invited me to get my dowsing rods out with the kind of mischievous air that meant, “You first, you nutter!“, and I knew it. When I had finally found a pair that matched, I took a deep breath, settled into the dowsing mindset, and walked off following the intention to be taken to a place where I could find the site’s signature sigil shape, and off I went round to the right hand side of the raised earthwork, heading up the slope. Immediately I clicked into a snaking path that was characterised by a long peak away from the earthwork, then taking me back along a shallower bend as I approached the edge and so on, until my foot stopped as it hit a rapidly rising piece of land. I had found the “avenue” that leads south-east from the outer earthwork of Arbor Low, and whose purpose no-one has satisfactorily explained. “A ritual processional avenue” is probably the best, but unproductive, guess. Kal was moments behind tracing the same path as myself, but not he wandered onwards to the other side of the avenue. I was vaguely aware of him as the sound of his footsteps moved around but I couldn’t really see him.
I followed the rods as they led me out along the avenue’s edge until they twisted and circled into a spiral some thirty feet out from the earthwork’s outer edge. I looked up – Kal was only ten feet away on the opposite side of the avenue and he was also walking in a circle. We looked at each other in the deep gloom and both said: “Here!”. “Now what?” said Kal. “We ask for the spirit of Arbor Low to manifest its sigil formation.” I directed, and we paused to make that connection and implored the site to respond with a dowsable pattern. With one rod in hand I stepped away from the spiral I was stood on and approached it again with the question, “Is there an energy manifestation here?” to which the rods crossed in affirmation. Stepping back I asked the rods to follow the shape of the formation. I just hoped Kal was doing something similar because I couldn’t see him.
The rods began to twist taking me up the ridge of the avenue and across it in a straight line. Inside the avenue itself the rod swirled back on itself taking me back to where I had started, almost. Just before I got there it twirled around again and began to form a half circle, but then twisted back on that shape too, taking me round the inside of the circle. Then it drew the symmetrical opposite of that shape on the other side (with a little bobble at the top) until I was back where I had started. In my mind I traced the shape several times until I got familiar with it. It was a sophisticated shape – like a man with bowed legs, or an Egyptian ankh, or something similar. I went into the avenue to see how Kal was getting on. “Done.” he said. “What did you find?” I described the shape to him and he nodded with every curve and line I described and then said, “That’s EXACTLY what I got!” and he said it with genuine astonishment. Now, I’ve know this man for some time – he’s not usually disposed to humouring me, and if he gets something different he’s more than eager to tell me so. We got the same shape, in the symmetrically opposite points along the avenue, by independent dowsing, in the dark. If that’s not a test that dowsing works…well…it just does.
Here was she shape we dowsed that night:-
Now, in a minute I’ll tell you how we used that sigil to enter the site, and the other dowsing results, but in preparing this post something quite significant happened. As I looked at the sigil shape, and thought about, “Yes, it’s all very well finding the sigil, but what does the shape mean?” I held that thought and did a Google image search for some stock photographs to add to the text, and came across this ariel photograph:
Minus the “arms” there’s the incomplete double circle and the bump on the top. Strange, huh?
A Bump On The Head
So we had our sigil – what next? We needed to find the entrance to the site – the place where we could draw the sigil and announce our presence to the genius loci of the site, and perhaps unlock some of its secrets by doing so. Again we asked the rods to show us, independently, where was the entrance? We both wandered off in the darkness following our own path, but as we rounded the earthwork, passing the southern “entrance” we began to converge on the same dowsed line, although Kal was some ten feet behind me. As I got close to the “head” mound the rod swung to the left at a slight indentation with a path on it. As I stopped Kal came level with me and his rod swung at the same point. We looked at each other: “This would be the entrance then.” I said and we clambered up onto the mound. We were stood in between the two “eye sockets” (see picture above) of the skull-like feature, and in the space between them we dowsed that this was the place to put the sigil pattern.
But how were we supposed to transcribe it? Again, we dowsed for the answer: should we draw it in the air? NO. Could we trace it in our minds? NO. Trace it on the ground? YES. Could we walk the shape? YES. So, we walk it. I did so, and Kal did the same just afterwards. I respectfully asked if I could enter and waited for a sign. The howling wind suddenly eased to a whisper, and I felt that now familiar tug at my energetic centre area around my belly button. I could enter, and so I did.
The wind picked up again as we headed into the inner circle and we spent a few minutes wandering around the stones, feeling for which ones we should spend time at. Minutes later we were dowsing for those radial ley lines that Kal had previously discovered, and then a whole new story was set in motion, but that’s another post!
Making the sign of the bow-legged man.