Winter Solstice celebrations at Nine Ladies
When I dowsed to find which sites I should visit for the Winter Solstice this year I was surprised that only two types were signified: a circle and a cave. Well, it didn’t take me long to work out which stone circle I should visit. Top of my list was Nine Ladies, and it remained the favourite because all the others failed the suitability test when dowsed. Next I had to find a suitable cave. This task was much harder. With my first site being in Derbyshire I reckoned that finding a cave in the area would be simple .Far from it! It took me several days to find and dowse the suitability of a natural cave that was not a tourist attraction closed for the Winter. The result was Thor’s Cave, which was just inside the Staffordshire border, but close to Leek and south Derbyshire. Perfect! I deliberately didn’t read up anything about it so that the experience would be fresh and exciting. I will blog about the cave visit soon, but first, here’s my account of my Winter Solstice visit to Nine Ladies stone circle.
Solstice morning arrived and I began to tedious journey across to mid-Cheshire to meet my friend Mike. At each step of the journey I was delayed – firstly by a huge lorry trundling along the back roads, then by a tractor pulling a huge payload of hay bales, and then, just as I had cleared that obstacle and was wondering whether I could possibly get behind anything that would be slower – out pulled a funeral cortege and I was down to 20mph for the next few miles of reverent driving. I had to laugh! When I arrived at Mike’s I fold him that I had arrived at exactly the right time – 15 minutes late, but just as I had completely chilled out due to the slow pace. Perfect timing!
Nine Ladies Dancing
As we approach the stone circle from below, following a track that is probably only visible in the Winter months, I stop to register the edge of the stone circle’s nemeton – I can feel an energy change and I turn to look at Mike, but Mike has a puzzled look on his face. Is he sensing something, I wonder? He says that he can see lots of “little people” all around us, gathering to usher us on towards the stone circle, and dancing around our feet. He wonders if I can see them. I can’t, but I can feel their presence, like being brushed past by lots of invisible mice. He searched his mind for the correct word, and returns with “Pixies”. I haven’t heard that word in years – how quaint!
We continue to the small gathering of sandstone rocks that are heavily carved. Now that the undergrowth is completely gone they are all exposed, and I can see one facing me with a very clear message…
Mike recoils in amazement, and I stutter and splutter…”What? How….?”. He says there are “little people” all around us, that they are happy we are there, excited, and many of them are dancing too. I can feel the excitement building, certainly. Quite an odd coincidence, as Mike’s never been here before, and I’ve never seen that particular rock on any of my previous visits.
I suddenly have the urge to get my camera out and take some random shots towards a rhododendron bush. I was able to make the flash on my camera pick up some reflections of the moisture in the air when I took some shots of a space that I felt compelled to photograph. When the flash was off there were no light reflections, but when I put the flash on then I got some reflections in the spot I was looking at, which was a bit odd. Just chance and coincidence, I guess. I wonder why I felt compelled to photograph that particular area and to focus my attention on the spot where I would see water droplets reflected on camera? More odd happenings. The delight amongst the pixies grows to a frenzy, according to Mike. They are enjoying their little tricks and take real delight in our puzzlement.
The excitement and buzz is palpable and we can’t stop grinning and loving the feeling. After a while I decide to show Mike the sights of Nine Ladies and we move away from the stones and on towards the King Stone, leaving the family group who are gathered at the stones to play and chat in peace.
The Layout of Nine Ladies
We examine the King Stone where Mike sees a radiant multi-coloured aura and asks whether there are two flows that circle in opposite directions around the circle. I confirm that is how I have dowsed the flows, and then explain my other theories about the energy flows, and about the purpose of some particular stones in the circle. We watch the children playing and running around the circle, laughing and gambolling, which makes us smile. Today has all been about smiling so far! How wonderful! The site feels great.
As the family move away we move into the circle. I enter by my usual entrance and walk to my power centre. As I turn around Mike looks up and asks me if I realise that I am standing in a huge vortex of upwardly spiralling energy. I assure him I can feel it! I get a massive pulse of energy from the power centre, and it makes me grin even wider than I am already. What a wonderful visit this is turning out to be!
I have my staff with me. Mike says that the little folk will put faerie power into my staff if I want. Of course I want! I fill it up and you can feel a real buzz – a tingle – from the staff afterwards. It seems to have a shimmering aura! I want to thank the pixies, so I place a leaf that I brought from home underneath a rock near to their “stronghold” and offer it to the Earth and to them in an energetic exchange. All seems well with the exchange.
Giving the tree a rest
We then move on to the oak tree nearest the circle. I show Mike the rags tied to the branches, the offerings laid beneath it, and tell him of how sometimes people leave poems or sad stories and wishes on the tree. I pick up a penny from the base of the trunk and ask Mike what he gets from it in terms of ‘reading’ the penny and the person who offered it. As I did he reads sadness, confusion and mental anguish. The person who left that was not happy. We look at all the other offerings and wonder whether they are similarly burdensome. Perhaps the tree is burdened by the offerings and they need to be cleared soon? I will have to consider this for my next visit – Winter seems like a good time to clear the decks ready for Spring to arrive.
We notice that the flow of the energy ley – normally straight through the tree – has been diverted away from it, and towards a rise besides the circle that I don’t usually visit. I dowse the energy ley and sure enough it swings away from the tree at the edge of the tree’s aura and goes to the rise. At the rise it splits into two. One half still goes down the steep cliff edge nearby, but the other goes into a vortex spiral marked by a depression filled with mouldering leaves.
Nearby is a rock – Mike has his hands on it and is recounting tales of the pixies that he can see – they are feasting, laughing and frolicking, he says. I touch the rock too and moments later I feel pleasure, and hear music, and can see images of pixies dancing on the rock itself. Then I hear a huge roar, like when a goal is scored in a major football match. The feeling is inclusive, friendly, inviting – you want to be part of this celebration! We remove our hands and discuss the experience, before turning our attention back to the surroundings of the real world.
We suddenly feel that the air has gone still, the site silent, and the fun-filled frolics have stopped. The pixies have retired back to their hiding places. Time to leave. All the way back to the car my mind is filled with images of individual pixies who are waving goodbye to us, and every so often I turn around with a smile to wave back at them. We felt like honoured guests at their feast and festivities and I was truly honoured by the experience and their whole-hearted inclusion of us humans.