Stanton Moor and Eagle Tor, Derbyshire, February 27th, 2010.
Our little adventure in the Derby shire hills began on the first day of the Full Moon. Both Kal and I had felt its influence the previous night – for me it meant a sleepless night and a tight head. I love the Moon but it makes me pay for being so sensitive to it! Apart from the Moon we were astrologically unaware of what was around in the sky. All we were aware of was that it was a Saturday, there was a full moon today, and we had an intention to awaken the energies of an ancient site.
Muck and Pandemonium
A brisk walk up the hill past Robin Hood’s Stride brought us into sight of the four remaining stones that still form Nine Stones Close. There never were nine stones, by the way. We got asked that by some passers-by. There were five, maybe as many as seven. I am sure that there is a stone missing on one side (opposite from the tree), but the tree side was very difficult to determine – the rods were “hazy” on that, which is a most unusual and disconcerting response. I think the word “Nine” is a corruption of an older word relating to “Noon”, or the high point of the sun. Given our findings at the site this day, it may well represent the low point of the sun too. But we’ll come to that soon enough.
When we arrived the first thing I noticed was that the field has been spread with manure – the stones were covered with it! Nice. And we had already struggled through patches of mud to get there too. Roll on Spring and Summer, I say! Terra firma is required, and some warmer longer days too, please!
The first thing I did, after waiting for truckloads of schoolchildren to traipse through, was to go through some of my dowsing checklist. I think of it as a kind of warm-up exercise now (almost literally this cold misty day), as well as feeding into the Sacred Sites section of this site (eventually). Here are my findings for this day:-
- The site is energised by the position of the Sun at particular times of the year, for example Summer Solstice.
- The site was energised by the peaks of the Moon too, so was nearing a maximum again on this day.
- The site has an energetic alignment with Saturn – which signifies transformation.
- There is no Genius Loci at this site – it is devoid of external spiritual activity
Looks like we had times our visit right going there at midday on a full moon, but what of Saturn? On my return I decided to see what significance Saturn had. I started by looking at the celestial events around that time. Notice, from the quote below, that Saturn is making itself prominent in the sky on March 1st,
Sunday, February 28
Full Moon (exact at 11:38 a.m. today EST).
Monday, March 1 This evening Saturn shines left of the great big rising Moon, which is just past full and just past perigee. By dawn Tuesday morning they’ve shifted way over to the west-southwest, and Saturn has turned to the Moon’s upper right.
The exact wording about the position of various bodies is not what struck me. What made me jump was that we had spent the weekend discovering that Nine Stones Close was being influenced by Saturn, and here was Saturn about to loom large in the environs of The Moon at its peak. Energetically, I felt this was significant, influential even.
So I look around and Kal is jigging about beneath his favourite oak tree. He invites me to record him on his phone doing this, so to humour him I do so. Right. Er…is that normal? I enquire as to his state of mind. “I feel the urge to dance. This site is invigorated by dancing energy.” he states. Of course it is, I think to myself, of course it is. And continue with some preparations for my real purpose at this site today – to awaken the site’s energies. This has been the theme of the Imbolc to Spring Equinox period – to awaken the energies of the sites through human intention.
My preparations involve placing my ash staff in its proper place to focus and collect the energy generated, and for me to place four sticks of incense at appropriate power centres on the inside of each of the four remaining stones. There are more power centres at this site (six – which leads me to think there were originally six stones) – but the other two centres are not required for this awakening. Then I place my hand over four of the cup-marks in the Key Stone (as I’m calling the cup-marked stone).
Kal looks over at me as I break off from this ritual declaring it complete and says to me simply, “Pan!” We make a connection between the dancing, the Trickster god so beloved of Kal and the return of Nature spirits to the newly awakened site. Interesting! I dowse to see what this means and come up with the idea that a Nature spirit, a Pan (not THE Pan – they are multitudinous) is preparing to return to the site. We wonder when this will occur but don’t dowse for a date – it doesn’t seem appropriate to do so.
Saturn, Pan and the Solstices
As if by magic, Saturn appeared! What I mean is, having dowsed for the energetic influence of Saturn I researched the associations. Pan is associated with Saturn because Pan is the name we have given to one of Saturn’s moons. OK, interesting coincidence, but what did it mean for Nine Stones Close? We had prepared the way for a Nature Spirit (Pan) to return to the site. There was once a genius lociat Nine Stones Close but it left over a thousand years ago because no-one believed in it any more. When I say “believed in it”, I think I mean, “maintained its presence energetically” – a process of feeding human energy into the site through intention in order to attract and retain the presence of a Nature Spirit. This is a more intense relationship that “worship” which can be done without any knowledge or interaction with The Other (the Nature Spirit) – more intense because it involves purposefully giving energy to maintain the correct ambiance.
Saturn, in mythology, is the god of agriculture and vegetation. Well, here we were in a field, recently manured, expecting the return of vegetation and in the midst of agriculture (surrounded by farmland). Nine Stones Close is particularly linked to agriculture, as it stands in a currently worked field. Not a stunning link, but a link. Saturn is also associated with the astrological sign Capricorn, and thus the Winter Solstice. My dowsing results showed that the position of the Sun was significant to the energies of the site, so I could see how the Winter Solstice position would be a significant time. Oddly, when I dowsed for an astrological symbol, I couldn’t find one. I don’t know why.
The final piece of interesting information was dowsing for a sigil. Despite the fact that I knew there wasn’t a genius locihere (yet) I asked whether I could dowse for the sigil that used to be here representing that spirit. The answer, fortunately, was YES, I could. So I asked for the best location to do that and was directed to an area right next to my power centre. The shape that emerged was this double spiral shape, also called the Cornu spiral:
I have seen this spiral before – it is the double-headed spiral that is engraved on the entrance stone at Newgrange in the Boyne Valley in Ireland, and many other megalithic sites too; some well beyond these isles. According to one researcher, this double spiral represents the pattern that is traced by the path of the Sun as it moves across the heavens in relation to our Earth. It is a kind of universal pattern that emerges out of the patterns of Nature herself. It is Pan’s symbol.
Having prepared the way for the return of a Nature Spirit we left for the next site in high spirits. We had only intended a fleeting visit to Nine Stones Close, but again it had delivered a mystical and profound experience. Next, to a new site for us – Doll Tor stone circle on the hill opposite Robin Hood’s Stride.