I sometimes find myself doing some very strange things without knowing why. This night was one of those strange evenings, and yet the strangeness would continue beyond this night and lead to an even stranger conclusion by the time I had finished unravelling all of the clues.
I had decided that at some point in the week I would need to go somewhere. The weather was good, so I got out my dowsing rods and began to enquire about a suitable place for me to learn something that would progress me on my spiritual path – the usual request – general and open. The responses I got seemed to indicate that I could find such a place in the county of Shropshire, and that the place existed on the Megalithic Portal, so it was only a matter of bringing up a list of sites in Shropshire and working through a process of elimination to find the site that I was expected to go to. Soon I found it – The Berth – an ancient hillfort and associated pool near the village of Marton a short distance from the main A5 road. I did some reading on the Megalithic Portal about access to the site – not good. Permission from the local farmer is suggested. Well then, a covert visit may be in order given that I would be arriving late at night.
The Berth [Portal]
I put on my dancing trousers (well, the fleece-lined ones – it might be cold) and began to journey southwards from Cheshire. Soon I was past the eastern edges of Wales and skirting the western fringes of England. Within an hour I had arrived at Marton in the dark of the late evening and was searching around on a small-scale OS map for the perfect place to park and navigate through the fields to the hillfort. Luckily, without too much fuss, I found such a place down a road marked “Unsuitable for motor vehicles.” No kidding! Good job I was in a four-wheel drive machine.
I parked at the only place down the narrow country lane that would fit a car. Using my print-out of a low-level OS map I headed off further down the lane. Five minutes later I realised I must have gone past the entry point I was looking for and doubled back. The entry point turned out to be where I had parked the car! When will I learn to trust my intuition? Such a hard thing to do!
Several times I had to stop myself from asking the obvious question, “What the hell are you doing in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night?“. Luckily, I didn’t allow myself to even try to formulate an answer, but instead began to walk across the fields towards what I hoped was the right place, breathing in the still-warm evening air and wishing I hadn’t muffled myself up because I was beginning to overheat! This is October, right? Supposed to be cold and damp? Instead we are in the tail end of a heatwave and it was still 15 degrees late into the evening. Bizarre weather!
Fortune seemed to be on my side, guiding me towards something whose very impulse and importance I could sense like a scent on the night air.
The light of the First Quarter moon guided my safely along the narrow farm track and out into the open fields. I made a note of my position using a very tall and wide oak tree as a marker. From this point onwards I would be guided hope and a vague sense of direction! I tuned into Nature and walked with confidence towards through the darkness, using only the distant light from farms to provide bearings.
The imposing tree-lined obstruction in front of me must be The Berth, I reckoned. It was the only large protrusion for miles around. I made my way over hoof-rutted dried mud paths until I found an animal track that took me round the base of the tall embankment. It was difficult to judge int he dark but the structure looked to be at least 25 feet high. I used my dowsing rods to find a suitable entrance and soon they were pointing to a place almost indistinguishable from any other, but I trusted that the rods knew the correct way in, so I began climbing up what I soon discovered to be the incredibly steep side of the hillfort.
A large game bird took flight hurriedly from the nearby tree, startling me a little. I guess we startled each other, as it probably wasn’t expecting to see a human until daybreak! This reminded me to put up some protection, so as I reached the crest of the hill I did so, calling upon the forces that guide me to offer their protection as I worked, and creating a cocoon of spiralling energies that covered my body. Even as I put up the protection I felt that it was unnecessary in this place – this place was benevolent towards me, not malign. Nevertheless, I am cautious at new sites.
The Thin Tree
The top of the hillfort looked flat as far as the eye could see, which, in darkness, wasn’t very far! I was going to have to rely on my dowsing rods for some guidance here. I got them out and got settled and prepared – several deep breaths and some relaxation. I asked the rods, “Please take me to wherever I need to be to fulfill my purpose here this evening.” I was leaving the answer totally in the hands of whatever guiding powers were in operation that evening. The rods arced gently to the left and drew me away across towards the north-eastern end of the site. I followed obediently, using all my attention to avoid falling over.
The rods moved certainly and smoothly along a sinuous path across the plateau. With my head down I wasn’t looking ahead, and so nearly bumped into the tall spindly hawthorn tree as the rods turned into its slender trunk to indicate that I had reached my destination. A tree, eh? Yes, the only tree on the plateau from what I could see. There was nothing else poking its head into the skyline except the trees that ringed the edge of the hill. I wasn’t too surprised.
Standing beneath the tree I began to tune into the place. I was ‘feeling around’ for the Spirit of Place, if there was one. I could feel something, something benevolent, and something close by. I lifted the dowsing rods again and asked to be taken to the current location of the spirit. The rods took me one step away and then curled right round to go back to the tree, just a little further round from where I had been standing! I laughed at that – looks like my intuitive senses are getting slightly better these days, eh?
The Scorpion Trees
I sat beneath the tree to mentally prepare myself for connecting to the site and its resident spirits. I could feel a presence which I assumed was the Spirit of Place, and I began to relax into the scenery to embed myself into Nature and become indistinguishable from it. I left behind all pre-conceptions of what I might need to do, and instead asked why I was here to whoever or whatever was listening. Then I waited…
…my eyes opened to look at the trees outlined against the night sky. Due to the background distant lights the trees appeared as dark shapes against a deep blue backcloth. To my eyes the clump of trees ahead of me together looked like the shape of a scorpion – pincers at the front, a body and then a curling tail with a sharp point. It was unmistakable. I turned away – I was not here to make shapes out of trees. I was here to find out what I was supposed to learn that would advance my spiritual progress. Focus, I told myself.
A few minutes of meditation and breathing later I opened my eyes again. There was the scorpion again! Dammit – stop looking at the scorpion! I got annoyed with myself. What did a scorpion have to do with anything – they’re not even native to these island! I put my hand down to stand up and got stung really sharply and deeply by an invisible clump of nettles. Double damn! Now I was in pain. What a sting! Like a….scorpion….The realisation dawned. Here was a sign. Pay attention to the scorpion, something was telling me.
Of course I didn’t listen immediately. It’s never as simple as that, is it? Thinking that I must be here to learn about healing and energy-shaping I tried to heal myself by covering my hand in energy – fail! The sting was as bad as before. Now it was throbbing too. Dammit! Such bad luck! I walked around until it eased enough for me to have another go at meditating. As I went to sit back down I noticed a head-sized white object two feet away from where I had been sitting, directly in line with the trees but somehow I hadn’t noticed it. I walked over to inspect it, and moved it with my foot to see how it reacted. It went “clunk” and I saw that it was a dead cow’s skull – too big for a sheep, must be a cow. Hmm…
Slowly the ungreased cogs in my brain moved around to put the Scorpion with the Skull, and soon a phrase was flitting about in my skull - ”The Death of Scorpio“.
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
I had the germ of the idea, now I needed to fill in the blanks. I turned to the Genius Loci for advice. What would happen at the Death of Scorpio, I asked? The wind picked up suddenly and the trees around me rustled as though discussing the matter and passing on a message from some neighbourly spirits. I felt that I would be challenged to prove my worth in order to rise up the spiral of progress at that point.
So, the Death of Scorpio may be a time or a place – I couldn’t be sure which though. Better ask – is this concept a time? The trees rustled in a short breath of wind. The answer was that time was involved, but this was not the emphatic or definitive answer I was looking for. Was this related to a place, then? A huge whirlwind pushed the tops of the trees to one side and made them struggle to remain upright, then fell back to nothing again. YES, came the simple response, as though picking up on my requirement for a simplistic response. So, it might relate to a place, and possibly a particular time might be related too, but it wasn’t an exact date. Good enough to work with, I felt.
I took my leave, thanking the Spirit of Place for its welcome and its advice. I could not have asked for more. I didn’t thank it for the sting in the tail that it left me with, though, and my hand continued to smart as I nursed it, descending the steep slopes of the embankment in utter darkness and barely holding myself upright. What a lesson I had learned, yet again, about paying attention to what I am being shown. How many more times would I need to learn this lesson, I asked myself rhetorically?
As I passed each large tree on the return journey I thanked them all for letting me pass safely, and for guiding my way in the darkness. If not for the large wide oak at the end of the trackway I would have been walking through fields for ages in the wrong direction. As I headed back to the car I could feel the eyes of nocturnal creatures, some animal, some not, touching my energy body with their curious attentions. I was not afraid, but answered their stares with warmth and affection. It was I who was the out-of-place character in their night-time play. I was also still confident in the strong protection I had put up before entering The Berth. It still throbbed with energy, like my hand.
Synchronicity and Research
Interestingly, researching The Berth later I found a link to my “old friends” Graham Philips and Martin Keatman, the authors of books about King Arthur, but whose books The Green Stone and The Eye of Fire I had read only a week or two before this visit. A synchromystic moment if ever there was one! Apparently they had taken part in a TV documentary with Brian Blessed where they had visited The Berth. I would have enjoyed seeing that! Imagine!
Anyway, major topical coincidences aside, I still needed to pin down what The Death of Scorpio meant exactly, so I continued my research, and amazingly I found the answer.
The Death of Scorpio
There is an obvious astrological link. Scorpio is one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac. This was my starting point.
“The Western astrological sign Scorpio of the tropical zodiac (October 23-November 23) differs from the astronomical constellation … (November 16-December 16)” (source: Wikipedia)
It could be said, then, that Scorpio dies on November 23rd or December 16th. Being a fixed sign it also appears to be born and to die each day as it follows the sun’s ecliptic path. The time of its death varies with each day, but it’s cardinal position remains fixed – it is almost exactly oriented South-West at the time when it moves below the skyline. Dowsing confirms that “The Death of Scorpio” refers to a direction and a place rather than a specific date, however the date range may still be important due to its obvious imminence!
The Hunt for The Grave Site
What I understood at this point in the research was that I would need to travel to some place South West of The Berth where I could see Scorpius set on the horizon and there I will meet my challenge. How could I find out where this line would end? Well, I resorted to my usual method – to trace a line using Google Maps and to see whether it went anywhere close to somewhere of significance. I was starting at a place called The Berth (“The Birth”) which was supposedly associated with the death of King Arthur. Would it make sense that the terminus point might also have such an association?
I began drawing a line roughly South West. The line went across the country and landed at Haverfordwest in South-West Pembrokeshire. Nothing of interest there, I felt, so I traced the line back up a few miles further inland. Well, well – there was a place I knew well – Mynachlog Ddu. This was the village closest to the site of the Preseli Hills quarry from which the Stonehenge Bluestones had been quarried. A mile away from that was a site I had visited earlier in the year on a quest that was linked to Arthurian sites – it was called Arthur’s Grave.
When I noticed this link I was more than a little startled. Directly south-west from The Berth a line can be traced that leads to Arthur’s Grave. I kid you not. Try it for yourself! In my mind, I knew this was the place I now had to return to. The spiral of the year would be coming round full circle if I re-visited this site at both ends of the year, and I now knew it was THE place for me to be tested to see whether I had truly learned from my year’s teachings. This is now the most important thing I have to do this year. There is something to be discovered at that site at sunset, when the constellation of Scorpius is descending below the horizon, when it is symbolically dying. Now I only have to visit the site at some date between October 23rd to November 23rd to discover what will happen next.