Imbolc: The Process of Re-Awakening – Part 1
Kal and I journeyed to Anglesey for Imbolc. I had dowsed a map of the entire country with the instruction to find a suitable place to celebrate this Celtic festival – the mid-point between Winter and Spring. The result was Anglesey. Anglesey? We had been there several times previously, and only a few months ago, but still, of all the places in the country the rods could have crossed over it was this small but sacred island – the last refuge of the Druid cults of mainland Britain.
We had both set intentions as to what we wanted out of the journey – such was the nature of this year’s work: we would be visiting sites with a set idea of what we were hoping to achieve. This is what we had been told at the end of last year as we moved into the quiet time of Winter – Nature can only help us progress now if we state what our purpose is. Ask to be guided and we would only receive more questions. Ask to be led and we would be led back onto ourselves. It was up to us to make our own progress by stating our goal, then Nature would help us to achieve this.
My intention for the year is to learn about the three elements of the “yew stage” of druidry that I believe are inherent to developing to the next stage. Those elements are: re-awakening (or rebirth) – death (or death energy) – transformation (or transcendence). My intention for this Imbolc day was to learn what I could about any of these processes, whichever was most appropriate. As it turned out the process that was associated with the day was re-awakening, specifically the re-awakening of the earth energies from their Winter slumber.
I planned a route that would take us to all of the sites that we hadn’t visited before that lay scattered around the shores of the River Braint – a river whose named was derived from the name Brigid. Brigid, as you will undoubtedly know, is the form of the Triple Goddess (the archetype of the feminine in Nature) that is associated with the festival of Imbolc.
“On February 1 or February 2, Brigid is celebrated at the Gaelic festival of Imbolc, when she brings the first stirrings of spring to the land. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and some Anglicans mark the day as the Feast of Saint Brigid; the festival is also known as Candlemas and Purification of the Virgin.” (source: WikiPedia)
As this was the only place on the island that I could find such an association it seemed the natural place to begin our day’s journey in praise of her properties. Only when I came to look at a map of the river did I realise that neolithic man had also decided that this area was special, and had built several sacred sites along its shores. These were all sites that somehow, despite our many previous visits over the years, we had managed to either bypass or skirt around. Now seemed like the appropriate time to actually visit them at last.
Ty Newydd cromlech (The New House)
After I determined the general area within which to journey this day I then went on to ask the dowsing rods to identify the starting point. My question to the rods was that, as this was the start of a new year of dowsing, please find me an appropriate site to begin this Imbolc journey of self-discovery. Using the sites listed on the Megalithic PortalI went through a list until the rods responded. They crossed over the name “Ty Newydd”. I went to my Welsh dictionary for a translation: “Ty” = house. “Newydd” = new, novel, fresh. Well, another interesting coincidence..
Here are some things I learned about Ty Newydd from dowsing my checklist of questions:-
- it is moon aligned – in other words a predominantly female site
- saturn and neptune are the major planetary influences on the energies of the site
- the size, placement and the location of the site influence the strength and quality of the energy
- the new brick supports are harmful to the energy field, as is the wire fencing surrounding two sides of the site
- the time of year is a factor in the function of the site (specifically the Venus/Mars/Saturn/Moon conjunction on August 13th 2010)
- the astrological symbol associated with the high point of the site is a circle – this is assigned to our constellation of Leo (24th July – 23rd August).
- the site wasn’t in a beneficial energy state when we arrived, but it could be made to be – and that was my task this day
Notice in the diagram above that the male energy has been “fenced in” by the iron fencing, and has been deflected off its natural course. This is having an adverse affect upon the operation of the site and its natural function. No matter what energy work we did at this site to awaken the energies afresh for this year they will remain affected by this physical restriction. Such a shame.
The Awakening Process
In order to learn about how to awaken the energies what better than to attempt such a feat here, where the energies were clearly subdued by the fences. The site felt still and ‘pending’ – waiting to be interacted with, and I wanted to learn, to see what I could do to awaken the energies. We took a reading of the site’s aura: it measured about twenty feet on the ‘clear’ side of the cromlech, where it could expend into the empty field.
I asked the dowsing rods what items I might need in addition to my intention and my spirit: incense would help. We are finding this a lot, and now always carry some around with us. After having scoffed at a gentleman ‘smudging’ Bryn Cellu Ddu only two years earlier, here we are now using it regularly ourselves. How times change! I asked how may I needed: five. Interesting. Five power centres, now five incense sticks. They were a bugger to get lit and we laughed at how frustrating it was in the cold morning breeze to do it. I have since ordered one of those windproof lighters, because I’m not going through all that again! The incense was placed at points around the capstone according to where the rods specified. The rods seemed to pick out specific cracks and hole in the stone, which was very curious.
As I meditated with my ash staff on a compatible power centre I allowed thoughts and words to form in my mind. I called upon the powers that arose naturally in my mind: Astara, Saturn, The Sun and The Moon. I was particularly struck by “Astara” – where the hell had THAT come from? What is Astara? Well, there is an organisation dedicated to raising human consciousness called Astara, but I don’t think that was what was being called upon. I think it refers to a star somewhere out there in the cosmos. Damned if I can find it though! Perhaps it was a reference to Astarte, goddess of fertility?
Whatever the reference, the outcome was that the aura surrounding the site doubled in size, extending some forty feet beyond the stones when dowsed. We had taken a reading of the relative strength of the energies before we arrived, at the time of our arrival, and now after the ritual. The scale is 1 to 10. Before we arrived the site had been a 4. On our arrival it remained at a 4. After we left it had risen to an 8. The doubling in the size of the aura corresponded with a doubling in the strength of the energies at the site too. Interesting. We will have to see whether that remains the case at other sites.
The River Braint Stepping Stones
We travelled from the west of Anglesey down to the south west corner – to Newbwrch – a town surrounded by a beautiful forest known as Newborough Common. Just outside of the town on the A4080 I had spotted some stepping stones listed on the OS map. This had dowsed as a beginning point from which to launch a journey up the river, stopping at particular significant ancient sites along the way. Firstly, though, we had to cross the stepping stones.
It is worth mentioning here that on the drive down to Newbwrch we saw a beautiful tawny hawk standing proudly on a fence post, about head height as we passed in the car. It was quite spectacular to go eye-to-eye with this bird for just a brief moment as we passed. Later in the day a pair of eagles would circle us as we walked further on the trail, and one would swoop just above us, only tens of feet away from our heads. It was most spectacular. Given my affinity with birds of prey as symbols of Merlin, and of being guided, these were joyous validating events for me. These birds were certainly more elegant and graceful than the thundering jets that powered their way across the sky all day long, that’s for sure.
“Merlin was said to have often transformed himself into a small hawk, perhaps the reason why today, the smaller family member of the hawk is known as a Merlin. Two knights who sat at Arthur’s Round Table carried the name of the Hawk: Gwalchmai the “Hawk of May” and Gwalch-Y-Had the “Hawk of Summer – better known respectively as Sir Gawain and Sir Galahad.” (source: Celtic Symbols)
Another small point of coincidence, but to travel to Ty Newydd we had to pass a town called Gwalchmai. Seems it was the motif of the day for me.
The approach to the stepping stones was beautiful, even on the first day of February. Trees lined an arching avenue that expanded to provide a stunning view of the river’s mouth, sunlight glinting off every droplet of water, it felt. We basked in the warmth and light of the open space. Then we dared to cross the slippery stones. Kal waited for me to test them out first, then followed. It was a little thrill to see if Kal would do his usual trick of slipping into the water, but today he was sure-footed, so no amusing footage to present, I’m afraid.
We trekked onwards through marshy fields alongside the river in search of our next destination – Castell Bryn-gwyn – the Blessed Hill. Then we have some unfinished business at the Ty Mawr stone, and finally end up at the Bodwyr cromlech where more important awakening lessons are learned. I will reveal all about those sites in the concluding post to this Imbolc awakening process.
ADDENDUM Feb 8th
Kal has pointed out in his post about our Imbolc visit how the word “astara” that I envisioned whilst at Ty Newydd could have been “Ostara“. Of course! It seems so obvious now. The context of the vision was that the word came to me when I meditated on the influences that there were over the site. The influences I got were: Saturn, Sun, Moon and Ostara (as I now realise).
Ostara seems to have been an early goddess of Dawn, but is now used by Wiccans to denote the name for the Spring Equinox on March 20th/21st. It was re-interpreted by Christianity to denote the festival in April which has become Easter. I have already dowsed that the most influential time for this site is the middle of August, so I don’t think that the term “Ostara” refers to a time of the year. Instead, I think that the site was telling me that it is energetically influenced by the light of Dawn, rather than the light at Sunset.
This is an interesting new development. The term “Ostara” is new to me. I wonder what the term for “sunset” will be, should that information arise?