For what felt like a very long time (although, if I look back it is probably only a year or two) I have tried to locate the position of the Spirit of Place within Delamere Forest. The forest is one of the largest in Cheshire, and it used all year round by mountain bikers, dog walkers and anyone else within a fifty mile radius.
When I initially tried to locate the Spirit of Place (hereafter – SOP) I was led around in circles until, exhausted, scratched and dripping in sweat I admitted defeat. Since then I have tried several more times, each time being led on a wild good chase over hill and down dale to various end points that were clearly neither energetic nor particularly convincing as old and powerful trees.
This year, within the last month, I was diverted away from my usual homeward route and forced to go through Delamere. As Idrove through the forest I began to think about finding the SOP again and so I switched off my normal “guidance systems” and simply stated that I wished to be guided to the Spirit of Delamere if it was appropriate for me to meet it.
I drove part way along one of the forest roads and soon felt the urge to pull over in a place I wouldn’t normally stop because it is too close to the cluster of houses near to the village, and it is often very busy with cars. Today, however, it was clear and I stopped. I got out my dowsing rods and began some preliminary questioning – Which side of the forest road should I start on – the left or the right? RIGHT. I walked across the road and began to follow the rods, taking them with locating the spirit of place.
Within seconds I was being taken down a straight wide track that I had never walked on (because it is straight and wide, and not the kind of path I like). Luckily there were no people around at this time of the evening, but the path that the dowsing rods were describing was snaking side to side along the straight path, which filled me with confidence.
Some hundred yards down the track the trees began to encroach and darkened the path a little. Here the rods swung off to the right again, pointing into the cluster of young beech trees and wanting me to follow. I picked my way through their undergrowth only to find a small little-used path leading to another trail, again very small and winding. The rods wanted me to follow it along a ridge and then the trail began to dip into a hollow. As the trail turned towards the hollow I began to get snagged on brambles, ferns, to trip over roots, slide in mud…everything seemed out to stop me! How strange! Was something trying to protect itself? Birds began to make noises in the canopy above me, shuffling around, cawing nervously. Was I nearing something important?
I moved forwards more cautiously. As I did so I felt something and stopped. I felt a boundary, and energetic boundary. I stepped back and moved slowly forwards again. Yes, the air was different – back a step and the air was cool, move forward a touch and it was slightly warmer, and…thicker? More resistant?I recognised this as the boundary of an aura, and I asked permission to enter, asking that the “guards” be called off, and introducing myself as my druid name. I also stated my purpose – I was here to meet with the Spirit of Delamere should it allow me to do so. I waited for a sign. A little bird in a nearby tree chirped lovingly – a very different sound than I had been hearing all the way into the forest so far – and I knew this was a “go ahead” sign.
Now, as if my magick, I no longer got snagged on anything, or slipped, or tripped, despite heading down an incline at an angle along this narrow path. The undergrowth still spilled over the path but now it fell back easily as I passed. I walked down into the hollow and then stood at the bottom, as the path opened out, and stared at the sight before me…
There was a feeling emanating from this area. It crawled and pulsed with a life force that wreathed and writhed around you like so much invisible mist. I got my dowsing rods ready to ask some questions:
- Was this the strongest energy spot in the forest? YES.
- Was there a particular tree here that was the Father of the Forest tree? NO.
- Was there once a tree here which was the dominant tree of the forest? YES.
- Does the energy of that tree remain at this site? YES.
I felt privileged that I had finally been allowed to find and to recognise this place. I knew it for what it was now – the very beating heart of the forest, full of life, growing, pulsing, emitting life force. I sat and watched the wildlife for a few minutes to see how they reacted to it. Small birds landed alone onto the higher branches and sang songs. Flocks seemed to direct their course over the top of the clearing, as if drawn to it. No creatures seemed to go within it, though. It was as if they swarmed around it, but wouldn’t venture inside. Interesting. I wouldn”t venture in either – the land looked as though it wouldn’t support my weight. I wasn’t fooled by the green mosses and grasses. This was a place that demanded respect in many ways.
I said my farewells and made my way back to ‘civilisation’ and the gravelled paths. I felt so pleased and in a way a little better about how much I had progressed since my last efforts.