A bit of a break from the reports of visiting ancient sites and dowsing. In this post I want to tell you how I found my own sacred grove. As a fledgling druid I have got to a stage in my training where I want to be free to experiment with the suggestions that I am reading and hearing from other people. I have my own ideas about what it means to be a druid too, and now I need somewhere that I can be free to try these things out. A place where I can feel totally alone, uninhibited and yet within a protective space. I’m looking for my Nemeton, my sacred grove. Yesterday I found it. Here’s how that came about.
For many months I have been driving past a hill on my route to work. It has been catching my eye many many times. Sometimes I have not been able to ignore this impulse, and I have had to stop off on occasion to go for a walk, either away from the hill, or up past the hill where there is a defined path regularly used by walkers. No-one seems to go up the hill, however, because it if fenced off with barbed wire, and covered in bracken and undergrowth. I too have been content to wander all around it for several weeks. It “just so happens” that I have been spending more and more time in that area for “no apparent reason”.
Yesterday, on the way home from work I felt an urge to stop off. Occasionally, and particularly when the sun is out and the day is fine, I get these urges to stop off. Usually I go dowsing some question that is in my mind, or a topic that I am working on at the time. This evening I stopped the car at the usual place and wondered if I should take my dowsing rods. “Not tonight” came the response in my mind.
For some reason I walked up the side of the hill, along the path taken by walkers. I passed a field in which I knew there was a solitary stone that emanated bad energies, and I made sure I walked around its area of influence before I got up onto the side of the hill that provided lovely views over my local area. I stopped, admiring the view, then began to look for a way into the fenced off part of the hill. I soon found an animal track, and noticed that the wire was a bit looser where the animal track entered the hill’s sparsely forested side. Squeezing myself carefully under the barbed wire I began my ascent through swathes of bracken, climbing upwards all the time towards the summit. I found it was easier to follow the animal tracks – clearly they knew the best way!
I got to the top of the hill and found an old oak tree with a long low branch that was positively inviting me to sit on it. So I did. There was no view to speak of here, because the trees all around obscured it. So, I thanked the tree for offering a seat to me, and I pushed on, heading towards the heart of the hilltop. Only a few minute’s walk and I was in an area that was both wilder and yet lighter than the other parts of the hilltop. A vaulted canopy was created by some very old oak trees whose top branches formed the slightest roof. Beneath this canopy was a wide space, almost like a natural church aisle. I stopped to look at it, resting my back against an oak tree that formed the ‘font’ of this natural church. I marvelled at this formation, and began to wonder if this was a place where I could find some freedom and peace? The Sun was behind some clouds at this point, and there was no wind, so it seemed incredibly peaceful.
I stood up. I projected the thought out into the wood, “Am I welcome here?” – to which a crow in a nearby tree top cawed a response. “Would I be permitted to use this place as my sacred nemeton – my place of free expression?”, I asked to the trees and any nature spirits that might inhabit the area. A wind blew up out of nowhere and rustled the tops of the trees in response to me. I have become more accustomed to the signs that Nature gives now. I knew this was a positive response, but I wanted more assurance. I called out to the elements to confirm this, asking them to show me a sign if they agreed with the trees. A gust of wind blew stronger now, visibly shaking all the trees on the hilltop, then going completely silent again. At that moment, as I looked up imploringly to the sky, the sun moved out from behind a cloud. A shaft of sunlight streamed through the trees and threw a spotlight into my ‘church’ illuminating its length, and then the sun faded behind a cloud again. There was no delay between the asking and the receiving a response – it was within seconds, that was what was so astonishing.
I had my answer. This was my place to work with druidry and natural magick. Permission had been granted. I thanked the trees, and everything that had got involved in that decision, and I followed a more natural path down the other side of the hill. Going home I felt utterly contented now. I had a special place to work, one where I felt I could be truly free in Nature. Let the summer days be long and fruitful!