The Piper’s Stones, near Athgreany, County Wicklow - Thursday 27th May [map]
What follows over the course of the rest of this month is a series of posts that recount my experiences visiting the sacred sites around the Boyne Valley area of Eire (Republic of Ireland). Kal and I spent five days there visiting all the well-known (and some barely known) megalithic sites in the area just north of Dublin. The Boyne Valley is well known in Irish history for two important reasons: firstly because it is the site of three of the country’s most important and most-visited megalithic structures (Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth), and secondly because of the Battle of the Boyne, a battle whose outcome could be said to have influenced the nation’s character ever since.
The five days we spent there covered some fifteen separate episodes, and both of us have tales to tell of those events, so you can expect a busy month of posts this June. Should you wish to read our posts in their entire sequence we have decided to tag the posts uniquely. To view the entire story from either of our perspectives simply select the tag “kal ireland” or “gwas ireland“.
We took two reference books with us for the journey: Julian Cope’s “Megalithic European” and “Temples of Stone” by Carleton Jones. Copey’s book was the more useful to us (because it included stone circles instead of just chambers) but on several occasions we were caught out by the changes that had happened in land ownership and house-building that had taken place in only the last fifteen years since the book had first been published. Ireland has clearly prospered those days, but at what cost? Some sites are now inaccessible, uncared for or lost in gorse and bramble. Still, at least they have a placard by them stating that they are ‘protected’.
We quickly decided that the cluster of sites on the N81 south of Dublin would make an ideal starting point for our explorations. We identified two sites that looked like good starters: Athgreany Pipers Stones and Castleruddery stone circles. This is the story of our first Irish megalithic encounter at the Piper’s Stones.
We drove for over an hour south of the ferry terminal in search of the sites. We had two satellite navigation aids to help us: the iMegalith application on my iPhone (the phone also has in-built mapping capabilities) and my Active10 GPS unit for which I had purchased maps of Ireland at 1:50k scale. Impossible to get lost, right? Not if you haven’t realised how to switch the OS mapping on! Instead we were working to a base map at a ridiculously high scale, and which was wildly inaccurate. We spent the first few hours driving up impossibly narrow and bumpy roads, walking up a steep hill, thrashing through a forest and muddy tracks, and finally realising we might be in the wrong place. When we asked the dowsing rods to point to the site they indicated that the stones were down in the valley that were were overlooking.
We abandoned the search for the Piper’s Stones and decided to try to find something else nearby. Off we drove, a few miles down the valley to the next site indicated on the GPS map. This time we ended up in a field that had been dug up, filled with JCBs and lorries and piles of earth! What….the…? THEN we spotted the switch on the Active10 unit that switched on the 1:50k mapping….aha…..suddenly the Piper’s Stones were visible, right where the dowsing rods had been pointing, and were only a few hundred yards down the road from us. At last! Our first few hours had been spent chasing our tails in the midday sun like a pair of mad dogs. Now we were finally going to visit our first site.
Dark Work at The Piper’s Stones
The stone circle is signposted from the N81 road with a brown sign. One might easily drive past it though, but it’s now opposite the entrance to a farmstead. Access is through a rusted gate and leads to an information sign with the usual blurb about ‘who’ built it and ‘why’. All good information, of course. But we ignored it and walked up the field to the right, heading for the circle itself (it’s not actually visible from the sign – you have to guess where the circle might be).
As you rise over the rounded small hill the first thing that strikes you is the May Tree (hawthorn) which was in bloom when we visited. Then you see the wooden pylons overhead, which kind of spoils the idyllic setting of the circle, nestled as it is in the crook of several hills around. We bathed in the splendour of the setting, alternately lit by patches of light then dark as clouds moved steadily past overhead.
Immediately we knew that this was not somewhere that we would be recording the emergy flows, or mapping the leys, or anything like that. Straight away we were energetically entangled with the site and there was the feeling that something interesting was about to happen. We both went about attuning to the site’s energies, with me sitting on a long female stone and finding my power centre nearby.
Kal found a skull on the May Tree that formed the focus of the circle (see picture below, next to blue ribbon), and he declared shortly afterwards that ‘black magic’ rituals had been done here and that the circle was tainted because of it. We dowsed as to whether there was anything we could do about that, and it turned out that I had to clear it. Without hesitation I began my own dowsing to work out what I might need to do whilst Kal began working with the Genius Loci of the site.
Kal will tell you the story of his work with the spirit of the circle himself, and I don’t want to spoil that, so instead I will tell you what I did in the circle.
I lit some incense sticks and placed them around my power centre in a square. Then I began to meditate and using my new-found skill of working with neutral energy I coated the sheep’s skull in neutral energy and sealed it. I had to protect myself well using this square of incense and a circle of protection drawn by my staff. You see, I had learned my lesson about protection (or so I thought), and working against this darker energy made me especially cautious.
After sealing the skull energetically I had the notion that I needed to fling it away without touching it if possible. I used my ash staff to pick it up and luckily it fitted into the skull’s socket neatly. I flung the skull out of the circle using my staff and then followed it and smashed it with a single blow. I then ‘cleaned’ my staff by knocking it three times on a transformer stone next to the circle. This seemed to conclude the matter and dowsing showed me that I had successfully removed the negative influence. For how long, I don’t know. No doubt these dark energy workers will be back to take the energies of the earth for themselves again – that seems to be their way. I will continue to counteract those forces whenever I come across them. That is my way – to restore the balance.
We cleaned up our stuff and prepared to leave, satisfied with that work. I tied a small ribbon to the tree to signify that I had been there and left my mark, as it were. Kal had had an interesting encounter totally separate from the work I had been doing, and we swapped tales as we bounded down the slope joyous at making some progress at last after several hours of frustration and idle wanderings in the backwaters of the area around the site. Now that we were more comfortable with the navigation process we set our sights on Castleruddery stone circle not far away.