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…

Pot-Head Pixie immortalised at Nine Ladies Stone Circle

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.

Flash lens artefact during pixie celebrations at Winter Solstice 2011

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.

Children playing at Nine Ladies Stone Circle - Winter Solstice 2011

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.

Birch trees sheltering Nine Ladies stone circle

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.

Gwas.

10 Responses to “Winter Solstice celebrations at Nine Ladies”

  • Ruby says:

    Nine ladies has had a very special place in my heart for many years now. I have slept amongst the woods of silver birch trees and spent time sitting under the canopy of the Oak tree. This fine old oak stands within the silver birch wood within view of the stones on the east west line of the site. It’s protection and strength it gives me and all who pause within its reach gives me a great feeling of great inner peace where I am connected into the significance of everything there being there because it as it should be. Life slowing and time to focus brings so much magic to my life. The Oak is able to stand with all who care to stop and share. Courage, strength and protection. No accident that it is an Oak tree growing there.
    The oak roots go deep into the earth making it a good place to put your wishes, hopes, wishes, goals, dreams. By opening your heart and asking for healing from the oak can only make ithe oak more powerful.
    I think nine ladies is special because of the ring of silver birches, being a white tree they are seen to have the ability to ward off evil or negative spirits. I think I am in a mesmerising place whether someone is playing punk music or a drum or a flute, lighting a fire. It’s a place where I will always return to. Tomorrow being spring equinox say goodbye to the winter past and welcome the return of spring.
    I will spend a small amount of time creating a little something for the tree. These are beautiful and reflect the Connection that People feel when they are there.

    • Gwas says:

      I can think of fewer more beautiful or magical places to spend Spring Equinox. You’ve painted an evocative picture, Ruby. I hope it inspires others to go pay a respectful visit to the place.

      FIRES: Please note the effect of a fire close to the circle. We’ve mentioned it in previous posts. Whilst fire can be enlivening to energies, it can also be disruptive.

      Thanks,
      Gwas.

  • Liz says:

    …On a side note, I had the good fortune to visit Serpent Mound, Ohio in 06, again with my friend from Detroit, it was so fascinating to visit a sacred site from another culture and see how energies compared. The guardians there were very present and very able to get straight to the heart of a person. They were defensive of white people, understandably so. We offered tobacco to the guardians and let them ‘scan us’ eventually they let us through. We found that Serpent Mound had been a site linked to childbirth, which I’ve never come across in England to date (I’m sure there’s time left!) At certain spots my friend and I, felt something akin to labour pains, and even the desire to squat down and literally push! It was the most bizarre thing, and I guess only something women could experience. It made me wonder if certain sites were tied up more with conception and the rebirth of souls back into the tribe, while other places are bridges into the world of the dead. I have a theory that ley energy is very tied up with these two aspects and the ‘managing’ of the lines, so they didn’t become polluted, was a skill the ancients knew well. Serpent Mound was incredibly insightful and the energy much more potent as the site hadn’t been ‘cold’ for as many years as its counterparts in Europe. It gave me a deep sense of the diversity of energies on these dragon tails, and how powerful they once were:-)

    Sorry for the ramble!
    Blessings, Liz

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the late reply Gwas, and thank you for your kind comments:-) Yes, I completely agree with you about people lighting fires and ‘hanging out’ in a casual way at these places. When I visited the Uffington White Horse in about 05 I think, I was given a vision from the ancient Ancestors while I soaked up the sun on the Horse’s eye (which I think is on a vortex) it was a huge funerary complex and it was absolutely taboo apparently for people to walk on Dragon Hill as this had been used as an exhumation sky burial platform. To our Ancestors the stones were utterly holy and sacrosanct places, to them it was the equivalent of the Golden Temple or Mecca, you went on devotion and you were terrified of angering ancestral spirits. I was given a window into the past seeing the huge circles of girls dressed in tall headdresses made from what looked like Mediterranean palms (which would make sense as the early Neolithic climate was much warmer)and the burial of one of their beloved old chiefs. They took the bones on a huge procession to Wayland’s smithy where they were transformed into mythic Ancestors. It was an incredible and joyous experience and once again we were strangely blessed with gorgeous weather, making it easy I suppose to glimpse how much nicer these Isles were in those days!lol Sadly the rude awakening came, I felt my heart drop, when I saw people jumping around Dragon Hill and the one time glory of the past had seemed to slip into such forgetfulness.

    That’s really interesting what you say about tapping a stone yourself, you obviously did release one of the guardians, we’ve found they’re always male, the warriors around the body of the Goddess sort of thing and yes they always have quizzed me before I step over the threshold, a sort of psychic hukka you could say!

    Liz

    • Gwas says:

      Hello Liz,

      Always a delight to read your tales – never a chore! Keep rambling!

      I totally empahised with your Dragon Hill story. I have visited the site many times and each time I have somehow failed to visit the Dragon Hill. My eyes want to go, but my heart forbids it! It’s one of the few places in the coutry where I have had that experience.

      You can read about one of my early visits here: http://www.hedgedruid.com/2009/08/trail-of-the-white-dragon-part-2-uffington-chalk-horse/

      After my meeting with that stone circle guardian in Wales I am now a lot more respectful during my visits and make sure I have permission before attempting any ‘radical’ experiments, or even simply entering and exiting.

      Thanks too for your Serpent Mound story. I have had an experience that I can equate to that (obviously from a male perspective) at Four Knocks mound in Ireland. There I got a strong pull effect on my lowest chakra, and then it got re-filled with what I can only describe as ‘fertility’ energy. I’m sure you would get the same experience if you visited that site.

      See this post for more details: http://www.hedgedruid.com/2010/06/four-knocks-sun-moon-and-uranus/

      Very interesting to see how your experiences worldwide match up with mine. Really enjoying your comments. Thanks for contributing.

      Gwas.

  • Liz says:

    Hi Gwas and Kal, I couldn’t help commenting as Nine Ladies is a site close to my heart and not far from me as I live in Sheffield. This is such a lovely account of your experiences with the Fae there, it certainly is in my opinion a very holy place, although some people apparently find the energy disconcerting. I had a very memorable day there myself back in 2008 when my Druidess buddy from the States came to stay with me and we decided to drive out to Nine Ladies and see what unfolded. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day, it was close to Beltane and that summer which came early that year, so the day was very warm, bathing the stiff grass and heather in sharp sunlight, the sky this most glorious heavenly blue. I felt as if I was going on a pilgrimage and felt compelled to stop at various points, light my sage smudge and pray. Within half an hour, I couldn’t tell you what time it was, or really where I was, because everything became liminal and alive in that mystical union you sometimes experience, a sort of Gnosis I suppose.

    Anyway, we got to the stones and I tuned into my old guide – and I asked him what he thought, he said the site had got a bit ‘mucky’ over the years inevitably, so I took my singing bowl and went to each stone to sort of tune them up in frequency (I’ve always found they like to be sent genuine heartfelt thanks and love too:-) Meanwhile my friend, came across a chap in spirit who’d been stuck on the site since Roman times and it was this lost soul that had been making the site feel strange to certain people. As I went over the stones, my friend spent about an hour trying to persuade the Roman Briton to move on, having discovered he was murdered there after colluding with the enemy or something along those lines, and I rang my bowl over each stone until the sound became clear (as you start it often sounds blunt). By the end of it all, we felt so peaceful and so honoured to be able to do this, it was just a cleaning job, but it seemed important, and we learned that after the next full moon, the quarry case was won by the residents and protesters – so we couldn’t have done too much harm!!lol Incidentally my guide told me rolling his eyes, as he does at most moderns (lol!) that you ‘play the stones with sticks’ and ‘what else did I think they were for?’ If you gently and percussively tap on the King stone it sets up a very strange resonance, a sort of echo that rings around the who glade, it was one of the eeriest things I’ve ever encountered. As far as I can make out these places were centres for balancing and healing the land, using sound among other things, certain pitches (and we’ve tried this on Beeley Moor too) actually set up altered states of consciousness, but only within the circles, nowhere else. I’ve also met the Pan figure you speak of up at Hob Hursts, he showed me how the funerary site was used, how procession was important, the order that you traversed things. I hope you don’t mind that i shared my own story, but I feel such love for Nine Ladies, and was so pleased to be a part of the many souls inhabiting that Moor, its a very ancient and very special place, I’m so glad you guys had the wonderful time you did on the Solstice:-)I look forward to more of your insights as I’ve subscribed to your blog:-)

    • Gwas says:

      Hi Liz,

      Thank you so much for your beautiful and evocative account of the Nine Ladies site. I too have come across the “mucky” energies of the area, and have mainly found that this is now due to visitors who light fires against the very important stones that are around the edge of the site. I really wish they wouldn’t do that! Still, they aren’t to know, so occasionally it gives me some cleaning work to do whilst up there.

      I found your use of sound very interesting, and it reminded me of an incident where Kal and I were at Moel Ty Uchaf stone circle. We were experimenting with tapping the standing stones with a small pebble to make a clacking noise. However, all that happened was that it drew towards us some physical manifestation of a protection spirit, and the next thing we knew we were being hounded by this self-appointed guardian as he quizzed us about our purpose and methods. It was all a bit intimidating and we learned a valuable lesson from that experience! This year we will try other forms of noise at sites and see what happens.

      Happy that you’ve subscribed to us, and we’ll keep blogging our experiences – good or bad – at many more sites that may be dear to your heart in the next year.

      Gwas.

  • kal says:

    Hi Gwas,

    Thanks for this memory of that fabulous site. And I have to say a complete new context in which it has to be seen. If you recall we had Pan (as in the diety) related experiences there a few seasons ago. Do you think the pixies have any connection with it?

    Pixies! Okay, where in the heck of things are we to place such beings? We definitely need to sup several beverages when I return and go over some of these exciting findings!

    Kal Malik

    • Gwas says:

      Remember the Loony Bin? Well, another little entity popped out this week and wouldn’t go back in! I’m having trouble placing this particular one into my expanding consciousness, but I can assure you that something was imprinting itself upon my senses that day, and ‘pixie’ resonated strongly.

      I do think that they form part of the Pan-theon, the hierarchy of energy frequencies, intelligences and forms that we so cutely put pictures to and call them elves, faeries, pixies and the like. Pan would be near the top of that hierarchy, whereas the individual sentient beings that were gathered there that day would be closer to the lower end of the scale – the more diffuse end.

      More beer! Hurry back to Blighty, mate – we need more beers!

      Gwas.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Messages

We've got a new Mobile theme running. Tell us what you think of it!

*** Been wondering who Gwas is? All will be revealed soon ***

Follow Us
facebooktwitterrssyoutubeflickr
The Book Store
Beginning Druidry
Liz Williams introduces druidry for the complete beginner.
Categories
Archives
Kindle Subscription
Subscribe to monthly Kindle update