Imbolc – 29th January, 2011 – Yorkshire
It had been a long time coming. Kal and I had intended to go to Lindisfarne in Northumberland for Imbolc, and in fact I had stated as much in the previous podcast for January, but when I worked out how much of the short day I would be spending in the car…well, we turned our attentions to one of our other focal areas for this year – Yorkshire. Now, I’m a Yorkshire lad, born in the county but having moved after only a few years there. I don’t remember anything about it, so whilst it felt like a homecoming of sorts, it didn’t feel like my spiritual home, which is Wales.
The had an itinerary of sites to visit which Kal had dowsed, and then I had added to and plotted the most efficient journey between them. Seemed like a perfect combination, although asking Kal to navigate is like asking Norman Wisdom to be your wedding planner – comic moments were bound to arise!
The day’s sites
Shipley is not the most picturesque town in northern England. I’m sure it has some redeeming features but we felt, as we stepped out of the car, that we ought to get our dowsing done as quietly as possible and as soon as possible. Kal deferred to me to do that job – thanks Kal! Using a single dowsing rod I asked whether there was a ley line passing through Shipley – there was. I asked to be shown to where it was, and to get directions at each junction. As we walked towards the junction of each road I got the dowsing rod out and it quickly swung to show me which way I should walk. Left, then right, the slightly left, then left again, right…now we were walking down a back street with very few people around. Better for dowsing than the main market square which was thronging with Saturday shoppers. Just as we were wondering what on earth there could be to see down this back alley we arrived at the Hockney pub and the rod took me right up to the door and spun around – a sign that we were at a conclusion point.
I got out my iPhone compass application and set it to magnetic North in the settings. I ahd to wait a while because the compass had interference again. Every time I come to use a compass in an energy ley – there’s interference. Eventually it settled down and caught up with itself. I aimed in the direction of the ley line – North. Due North. The line ran North-South. Exactly as expected, even though we had no idea which direction we were facing when we got the rods to align to the energy ley. Proof enough for me. Here was the final test – I asked the dowsing rods whether this line was the same line that existed at Arbor Low – YES. Strongly affirmed.
The orientation of the energy ley was a 45 degree angle through the front entrance porch of the pub. Oddly, I took several photographs of the pub and the entrance but they have all disappeared from my camera. Hmm…more interference. In the photograph below the ley line follows the angle of the telephone wire that you can see.
We followed the line back towards the centre of Shipley town now that we had an orientation to follow. As we approached the market area we came across a couple of surprises. We saw how the line went through a statue of a ram sitting upright. In heraldic terms this silver ram denotes peace and authority. This statue was dedicated to the memory of Princess Diana, which seemed odd for it to be on an energy ley. This is reminiscent of things that David Icke talks about in terms of the memorial that was placed on top of the Pont D’Alma bridge under which the ill-fated Mercedes car crashed on the night she died. There is a theory that energy leys form a network of channels along which both good and ill energy can be spread. Hamish Miller, the legendary dowser, had a keen interest in this aspect and would work with a group of like-minded friends to attempt to restore these lines to have beneficial properties.I say “restore” because I believe that at one time this is how they were charged – with positive energies.
From that point the energy ley then goes through a simplified mediaeval labyrinth design inlaid into the floor of Shipley town centre. Notice the intertwining red and black serpent shapes. I find it interesting that this coincidental pattern is at the exact spot where the energy ley is. Perhaps the spot was chosen because it “felt right” or it was the symbolic centre of the town. Either way – it is a rapid way to identify the ley’s crossing point now. We should have walked the labyrinth, but it didn’t occur to us at the time – we were more interested in sandwiches, if I recall! A wonderful opportunity presented but missed, I feel.
As we arrived in Eshton village near Gargrave we felt the warmth of the sun. The sun was shining all around making the area light and welcoming – a good start. We looked around for possible locations that the spring might be. Looking back at it now it should have been obvious to us that the spring that we had intended to find was the one at the far end of the field through which the Eshton Beck ran, and where a small footbridge had been built. Later on we would see people walking back from that very area, but by then we had found what we came for anyway.
From the very start let’s get one thing clear: St Helen is nothing other than Elen of the Roads. Elen is the lady of the green bower who shows seekers the invisible paths that connect the land. You could call her the patron saint of dowsers, but as a pagan that would be a strange moniker to afflict her with. St Helen is certainly not named after St Helena of Constantinople – for that would be very strange indeed.
We located what we thought was the well on the other side of a mossy wall near to the road bridge. We clambered over into the small woodland patch and everything felt great. The spring was bubbling with clear water, and streaming down the shallow hill to reach into the nearby Eshton Beck, surely soon to be renamed the Eshton River, for it is surely becoming too big for its boots! In the dappled sunlight through the trees we dowsed as to whether this was the correct place to be – both of us got a strong YES. With that we began to meditate – first lighting incense to prepare our spaces. Part way through my meditation I had the urge to touch the water and I moved to the well-head and anointed myself with its cleansing fresh waters.
I went back to the meditation and soon I felt the presence of a gentle female force. I invited a friendly water spirit to join us, and the moment that happened I was treated to a journey that I will never forget! As I stood at the top of the stream I was mentally plunged into the babbling well-head. I became a molecule of water, being thrust through the churning currents, gliding around the smooth rocks in the stream, playing with the other water molecules, and whirling, falling, rising, flowing down the stream in a torrent of joyous aquatic acrobatics. Half way down I leapt out and returned to the top of the stream – like some kind of Telletubby, I cried “Again, again!” and jumped back into the stream for another experience of this – laughing, smiling, loving every second of this Alton Towers ride I was being given.
As I returned to my waking consciousness I thanked the spirit of that well for her truly exciting and enlivening play. As each journey down the stream had been different a realisation struck me – Elen had been trying to tell me something : “On this journey one never goes by the same path twice to the same destination.“ In return for this sage advice I scoured the stream for rubbish and soon I was reaching in picking out the cans, bottles and plastics that were the inevitable detritus of the passing and uncaring race that calls itself civilised. That was my return payment, and I gave service willingly. The stream was free to flow as it willed.
The official old well location looked like this:
In a way I was glad that we missed that old version of the well and found the new one instead. The reports of the old well mentioned that the incredible stone carved heads found in the well had been stolen, and that the well was now in a bad state of repair, neglected and desecrated. Perhaps the spirit of the waters had also gone too. We also missed the giant’s grave mounds nearby, but then we had had our inspiration and it was time to move on to the next site – we had a lot to do in the short daylight hours.
3. Malham Cove, Malham, near Settle. [Map] – for the sake of curiosity.
Due to some typical poorly-researched navigation and wanton inattention we ended up going through Malham, mere minutes after I had been telling Kal about how busy the place gets. He had said, “I wonder why it is such an attractive place to people?“.Now, here we were unexpectedly witnessing the lines of cars parked along the lanes leading to Malham village, and soon we were up above the village passing by the cove itself. We had to stop and see if we could work out why the energies were so attractive here. We did. Both Kal and I dowsed a strong response for earth-related energy forms at Malham Cove, and some water energy too. That fits with the cove/caves and river running down the valley, I suppose. Not a surprise really. Sometimes dowsing just confirms common sense!
On the way down the other side of Malham Cove we were both gob-smacked by the stunningly beautiful strata of limestone features that lined the route around Arnecliffe, called Yew Cogar Scar. It was all I could do to keep my eyes on the steep, narrow, and cyclist-infested lanes with all the beauty that surrounded us.
Those were the first sites of the day, and there was plenty more to come on our Yorkshire tour. In the afternoon we would visit a cairn (inadvertently), go to a stone circle (eventually), do some very important dowsing work at Bolton Abbey, and then have to return to the stone circle (stupidly). All will be revealed soon.