The intrepid duo of Kal and myself were out and about again in the middle of February. Call it my birthday excursion, if you will, for this Aquarian and Antiquarian had just arrived at another arbitrary date in his personal calendar. More importantly, Kal and I were out in the bright sunshine of the Welsh hills near to Llangollen – a wise choice for a destination due to its proximity and beauty. We had several sites in mind but our starting point would turn out to be the most exciting and interesting of them all – Vale Crucis abbey’s ruined frame just west of Llangollen’s cute little town, and deposited next to the River Dee which dominates the area and splits the town in two.
Finding the abbey was easy. We came in on the A542 and stayed on that road as we passed through Llangollen. As the road rose out of the town a brown tourist sign suddenly directed us right and down to a car park right next to the abbey itself on the periphery of a camping site.
The front of the abbey is an imposing arch of wonderful symmetry crowned by a petalled circle. Some fine and no doubt sacred proportions seem to have been used in the construction of this abbey, although we didn’t go around measuring such things – we had far more interesting work to be doing. We set foot inside the main hall section and from there we barely moved for the whole visit because we found so much to work with!
A visitor sign at the entrance held our attention for a moment as we discovered that the abbey had been built by the Cistercian Order in 1201 C.E. What a wonderful job they had done, too. The masonry involved in this site is gorgeous. However, it wasn’t the architecture we had come to admire so we stepped into the main hall and once we had finished being astonished at the architecture we settled down to some dowsing.
First thing was first, as they say, where were our respective power centres? Mine was a few feet inside the front door and Kal’s seemed to be on top of one of the remnants of a pillar. He stood on the pillar looking like a modern statue, surveying the abbey. My power centre was of course female (you should all know this by now, right? I’m moon-aligned) and Kal’s was in the full glare of the sun, and…yes, it was full of male energy spiralling to a central point.
The Revealing Ritual Path
I then dowsed to see where the ‘ritual path’ went – this is the path that people who established the pattern of observance, the energetic trail that was designed into the abbey’s structure, whether that be through planning the path or by the continued observance of a path that had come to lay the energy down into the abbey over a period of years. Possibly both aspects are true – the architecture, customs and furnishings of the abbey may dictate the path that monks followed, and thus their habitual progress around the site caused their energies to imbue a trail. Either way I set out to find it.
The rods led me to the front door as a starting point. From there I was taken down the right-hand side of the abbey’s main hall. When a wall jutted out into the hall I was taken around it but then back into the right-hand side to again follow the hall’s side. Finally, just before a raised bit of grass at the back of the hall I was taken to the centre of the space. Kal said to me, ‘I found an altar there’. I nodded – this made sense. Monks would stop off at that point for some element of their ritual, no doubt.
I continued onwards in complete symmetry by being taken now from the altar to the other wall where the line began to follow the wall’s straight edge back towards the front of the hall. I was assuming that it would simply form a rounded rectangle or something but then I got a surprise. At the first pillar that I came to (the furthest remaining pillar on the left in the picture below – the one that Kal is standing on) the rods dipped in to swirl once around the pillar and back out. I continued…on to the next pillar – same thing – dip into the pillar, around it, and then out again back to the wall. I completed the journey by being led out of the gap between the door and the wall, which is now the only way into the main hall from the entrance area.
Saint Dignan and the Healing Pact
The pillars that I had stopped at had something in common – they seemed to have been two points at which the monks of the abbey would stop and make some form of prayer or supplication. The places had heightened energy residues – stronger energy signatures than the surrounding area and the path that linked them. moments later we had part of the answer – there had been some kind of imagery on these pillars – possibly a picture, a statue, carving, plaque or symbol that showed the image of a person. That person was revered by those in the abbey, and the energetic imprint of that person was still around the pillar. In other words – the shade of something now dead was still here! It was no use dowsing for answers to this puzzle – the list of questions would have been endless – it was time for a more esoteric approach.
Kal backed out of this one – he had already decided last year that his time working with shades was over and he didn’t want to pursue that. I understood this completely – it was a dangerous and tricky game, and there were no guarantees that good things would result from such encounters. It was entirely possible to set the course of your spiritual development back considerably, and that was always a risk. I was prepared to do some work with the shade, however, and so it was left to me to work out what was going on here.
I put up some protection, imagining then feeling a ball of pale blue light expanding from my energetic centre out to the extent of my aura. It was a perfect sphere all around me, going above and below. I set the parameters – it would be engaged for the duration of my visit here; it would allow in only energies that were beneficial to me; it would specifically prevent harmful energies from entering. With that done I began to walk around the pillar, dowsing for the most energetic spot. When I found it I put the rods away.
I allowed my mind to go clear and to begin to go inwards, letting the surroundings fade a little. All noise inside and out began to fade away and become inconsequential. Moments later I was beginning to feel things. I felt that the spot I was standing on was occupied by something else, something invisible yet tangible now. It was male, and connected otthe abbey. the back of my mind cast forwards the question of a name and left it floating…waiting….and a response returned. ‘Saint Dignan’. The sounds of the word became clear but its spelling was not. It could have been ‘Dyggnon’ or ‘Dignan’ or ‘Daighnhon’ – only the sound felt important. Maybe it was a name notfamiliar to these parts and which had been changed later to fit the local spelling? Little did I realise at the time that the actual spelling would be ‘Duibhgeannain‘ – the Irish version of the name.
I asked another question. What had this person done during their time at this abbey, I wondered? A vision of a bearded face beamed down at me, and the image was accompanied by the idea, “Healer“. Could we be of mutual benefit to each other, I asked? The face smiled broadly. Seems like we could. I felt like this was a good thing to do. I walked away to my bag and delved inside to retrieve a specific bag of crystals that I had with me – my healing set.
I placed the crystals from my healing set – mostly turquoise – onto the pillar. I needed some form, I felt. I began using the dowsing rods to determine what that form should be but soon I abandoned the rods. I knew where they should go – they would be in a crescent shape and it didn’t really matter in what order. How strange – how did I know that? I left the crystals for a few minutes until this friendly spirit had done some work with them, putting his healing energies into them. There was an unspoken process happening – Duibhgeannain was filling my crystals with his healing energy so that I could call upon his help when I needed it via the crystals.
I stood on my power centre watching the sun and moon together int he same clear blue sky. Both Kal and I had spotted this feature at the moment we had arrived but a photographer hadn’t, so Kal helpfully spent some time with him pointing out the fact that there were several good shots to be had through arched windows once the light wisp of a cloud cleared the moon’s edge. It would seem that we have developed a good eye for Nature’s beauty in recent years. We had also appreciated the small bunch of snowdrops that were just inside the front door of the abbey too. Later I saw another photographer with a huge zoom lens and twenty bags of equipment setting up for the same shot I had taken an hour before. Another indicator that Spring was due soon, and that we were appreciating this.
We spent another half hour wandering around the rest of the grounds, trying out the acoustics of the enclosed remains, absorbing the atmosphere, taking pictures of trees and skylines. If you are visiting Llangollen on a good weather day then you should definitely add this site to your list – it’s a beautiful space and well positioned in the landscape.
On my return home I set about finding out what I could about the possible associations between this abbey and the name Duibhgeannain. All I could find were some references to Peregrine Duibhgeannain, a Franciscan monk and historian who lived around the early 17th Century. He had been one of the compilers of the Annals of The Four Masters, a compilation of early Irish history. Interestingly, he had been active in the area of Ireland from which my own ancestors derived, Roscommon, and had been known to work with my ancestral family. Little is known what happened to him after he finished the work on the Four Masters book. I think I might have an idea of where he went, or at least, where he was venerated for his good works- after all, ‘peregrine’ means ‘to wander’. Funny how these things connect over space, time and genealogy.