Ancient Sites | Hedge Druidry | Spirits

Bran and the Metamorphosis of the Raven

January 18, 2012

Llangollen in North Wales was Kal’s choice of venue. It seemed a perfect choice for the beginning of the year – we only had a few hours of daylight and Llangollen has many interesting and previously fruitful sites in close proximity. There was no debate. There had been a sudden cold snap which had settled in making the mornings frosty and hardening the ground. This was a mized blessing. For Kal (who never brings a coat) this was going to be a cold climb, but he also has no proper walking shoes so the hard ground would be mean he wouldn’t get too muddy. Ups and downs.

It had been a while since I had visited the spirit of Bran, whom I had discovered was still present at the top of the ancient fortress named after him – Dinas Bran. I was looking forward to it, because it was never a dull visit – something useful or meaningful always came out of my visits to this stunning site.

Castell Dinas Bran

We have had some strange experiences at the location and we know that the views are spectacular if nothing else. It has traditionally become part of the start of our year. The story of Bran is interesting, and part of the old Welsh mythology being re-told in the Mabinogion tales. He is supposed to be a giant figure whose head remained alive after it was cut off in battle, and it was subsequently buried as a protective ward for the country. There are also links between Bran and Arthur in terms of this protective role.

“According to the Welsh Triads, Brân’s head was buried in London where the White Tower now stands. As long as it remained there, Britain would be safe from invasion. However, King Arthur dug up the head, declaring the country would be protected only by his great strength. There have been attempts in modern times to link the still-current practice of keeping ravens at the Tower of London under the care of Yeomen Warder Ravenmaster with this story of Brân, whose name means Raven.” (source: Wikipedia)

The relevance of the raven will become apparent as my story unfolds.

I made it up the hill first. On arrival I was greeted by a big black bird circling on its own above me near to the entrance I had chosen. I stopped to observe it. It circled like a hawk, and had the wing tips that I always associated with a hawk. I felt that this was a familiar symbol to me now, a welcome sign. Then, as the bird drew closer and closer my certainly began to melt away – the bird was definitely coloured black – I wasn’t just seeing it as a shadow. And how the straight break of the bird began to cast doubts on my initial reading. This was no hawk! Then I realised it was a raven – a huge lone raven. At this point it cawed identifiably and I knew it was a raven for certain. How odd that I had thought it was a hawk and in fact it was a raven? I carried on into the castle’s grounds seeing that Kal was also watching the bird as it flow close to the summit. Kal’s totem bird is a crow, so my first thoughts were that this was more a sign for him. I was wrong. It wasn’t a crow.

Bran’s Winter Home

One of the first things I did was to light some incense. three sticks dowsed as being perfect for a connection to Bran/ I next asked for Bran’s current location. Every time previously he had been located in a small dip on the summit close to the centre of the site. Today, this was not the case! He was in a part of the castle that I had never visited before – the “East Wing”, if you like. There was a stunning view of the Trevor Basin below and I felt this was significant to the quality of the energies I was feeling at that spot. – the view was important to any work done, and that the energies available in sight, such as the river below, the trees, the hills, all of these were important parts of the connection to Bran. The area was exposed and the wind chill was bitter and relentless. Nevertheless I made myself as comfortable as I could and began a communion with the great Bran’s spirit.

Distant Dinas Bran on a cold January day

I lit some incense despite the howling bitter wind. They soon went out, but for a moment I had created a triangle of incense within which my space had been cleared. After I grounded and centred I felt that there was a drawing out of the end of the year’s excesses – all of the detritus – emotional, spiritual and physical – were being sucked out of me and dissipated in the ground, sent out into the surrounding earth to leech down into the river where they could be swept away by the tumultuous torrent of the river’s waters.

As I sat and communed with Bran I felt his presence arrive, familiar and yet monstrously huge. I asked Bran whether there was anything that he wished to communicate to me. The series of thoughts that came to me were a series of pictures of Bran in various locations that fitted with the story of Bran The Blessed that I knew – sailing across to Ireland, his head in London. I asked what he wished me to do with these locations and the answer was that he wished me to visit them, but to take him along with me. He would accompany me in the form of a crow.

Suddenly I understood the hawk turning into a raven that I had witnessed earlier. The raven was a symbol of Bran, and he was showing me that when I saw The Raven then I would be seeing and feeling his presence. I asked for confirmation, and got a pleasing sensation throughout my body. A certain sense of affirmation. So, why, I questioned, was this association significant for me? I knew the symbolism from the stories, but what did it mean? Such questions rarely get an answer, but this time Bran was very clear in his response, and the sentence formed in my mind that I should carry his energy with me whenever I visited those places associated with him (Ireland and London) so that he could be there with me. I agreed, and left to find shelter in the lee of one of the castle’s walls. The bitter wind had nearly frozen my extremities to numbness.

The Signs of Bran

This was Bran’s request for me this year. To travel with me. I already have plans to visit Ireland, but by an odd coincidence my wife added an impromptu visit to London the very next day! She insisted that for my birthday I should take the day off as we would be going to London for a big surprise. Well, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that half of the surprise had been pre-empted by the ancient Celtic energy form of Bran the Blessed! Now I can add a visit to London to my itinerary, in the Olympic year too. I wonder what will happen if Bran is with me, and where he wants me to visit?

We walked down the hill and instead of taking the usual path I steered Kal to follow the lower path. As we rounded one of the lower slopes we came across a wooden sculpture positioned at the junction of two paths. It was a raven holding a chalice. Just a coincidence, of course. Bran’s association with ravens meant that I would inevitably come across such a symbol eventually, but its significance TODAY of all days was notable.

Bran as a Crow and Chalice

As I write this I am playing a random playlist of all the songs on my computer. As I type this the song playing is PJ Harvey, from the album with John Parish called “A Woman A Man Walked By” and the track is called “The Crow Knows Where All The Little Children Go“. Just a coincidence, I’m sure. Just a silly little coincidence to start the year off.



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  1. Hi Kal – ha-ha – I think I’m still working very much on the London ley line thing, I probably don’t have a lot to offer at this point in time, but I’ll certainly mail you what info I do have – usually involves a lot of maps!lol There seem to be two things going on, one which is like an artificial ley system or grid overlying something much older and more natural – again it will take some explaining, and I’m still left in bemusement myself! I will mail you and Gwas later, it may be a bit of an epic, so bear with me!!lol

  2. Hope you don’t mind me adding my two penneth again Gwas, but I thought this seemed like another little significant coincidence, it might be of interest to you and Kal if you are visiting London. I’ve had a lot of messages recently about the sacred sites of London. For some reason I’m supposed to hone in on Tottenham, which at first glance, you would think had nothing special about it. Of course a little research revealed otherwise and there are some sites around the locale that seem to suggest ancient sacred spots, not to mention that it was named after the medieval ‘totes’ or jousting matches held in the nearby fields – perhaps there was a surviving lore about holding tournaments near to old sacred places? The most significant seems to be ‘Seven sisters’ – named after seven Elm trees that grew there when it was fields. I looked at an old map on line and saw that there had been a well a few miles downstream as it were, and of course its documented that the old trees most probably were the site of a ‘Druid grove’.

    I’m a Londoner by birth and perhaps for that reason I have an absolute fascination for the capital’s sacred history and ley energy. This year along with my friend from Cornwall, I hope to visit London to check out these sites, possibly with dowsing rods, though I’ve used them in years! The Tower seems to be a sort of radial site, from which a number of lines emerge like the rays of the sun. The Raven is a true Witch’s bird as far as I know, the old Crossroads magic is something I’ve very recently been pulled into almost kicking and screaming, something to do with a past life, that maybe by the by, or perhaps is important to what I’m doing now, no idea! My novel (which I hope to get on Kindle this year) which I wrote a while back, is about Hackney and goes back through time in each story until it connects with the ancient past and the river Lea. I had no idea when I wrote the thing back in 05, that Hackney also covers this Tottenham ley line, not to mention Hamstead heath and Epping forest, which was famous for witch meetings. Anyway once again i ramble, enthused by your writing and the synchronicity of ideas!

    1. Good Day Liz,
      I will be visiting the London area in a few weeks time and will have time to visit a sacred site or two in that locale. It would be nice if could share some more of your knowledge pertaiing to enegy sites in the vicinity.
      Thanks for your lovely and informative comments. Much appreciated.

      Kal Malik

  3. Hello,

    This post is wonderful !
    I have had some deeply personal experiences with Crows, both here and in my visits to British Columbia each time I attemp to communicate with them, I Am rewarded with knowledge & understandings of a sacred nature, they seem to recognise me somehow and follow me when I step out, into a sacred green area.

    Here in Canada the living is different, in the sense that I do not have access to the wonderful expansive forests, or sacred green spaces often as I live in the city, the hillsides of Britain and the ancestral stories are captivating to mentally travel through.

    I have a mixed ancestral lineage including Gauls, Irish (county Cork, back to my great grandparents) with Scottish. I always feel a deep longing when I see pictures of Brittain as my heart surges within.

    There are great natural spaces here in Canada where the God/Goddess speak quite profusely but I Am always drawn to the visual energy and deep reasonence within the sacred spaces of Britain as I navigate to where I Am guided via the internet.

    I Am a crystal collector and a natural Herbal medicines crafter and in this way I find my path towards the divine and sacred within my little corner of the world.


    1. Hi Kara,

      I was in Canada just over a year ago and I felt the mightiness of the vast natural spaces when visitng The Rockies. In the cities I didn’t feel anything, but out in the wilderness spaces there were mighty forces at work. I remember a profoudn meeting with a lake spirit that I will never forget.

      I’m glad you’re drawn to thinking about our small island. It is certainly a special place, and has so many sacred places (which we are trying depsrately to preserve) that you could easily spend a fortnight here and visit a different amazing place every day. If you feel drawn back then why not make space and time to come over? Your life and spiritual progress woud surely be enhanced,a nd I could easily suggest a fortnight’s itinerary for you if you didn’t have one in mind already.

      As for crows, they’re definitely Kal’s totem bird, but the Raven is part of the same family so now I have to come to get to know these birds too. The more I have thought about the way that incident happened, the more I am convinced it was a personification of the spirit of Bran himself, and that is such a profound re-connection for me, just as I was beginning to think I had possibly made the whole thing up about meeting Bran. You know how it gets… over time you lose confidence if you don’t get reassuring responses.

      With your skills with crystals you will surely be able to connect to the many ancient forces at work in these islands. Ireland is particularly strong for such things. Scotland can be wild but in a different way. England is more ‘tame’, making the spirits very reachable and kind. Imagine the herbs you could collect while you’re here too! Especially in May or August.

      On behalf of the English Tourist Board.

      1. Hello Gwas,
        On your next visit to the east coast of Canada it would be my pleasure
        to show you the local sights, I would love to see Britain and perhaps
        someday I will, but for now my mom is gravely ill and my own health
        is problamatic.
        I Am illuminated with your posts and appreciate the wonderful energy within.

        1. Thank you for your offer. I hope to get back to Canada some day. The east coast would be exactly where I would go next.

          Sorry to hear about your family health issues. Have you investigated how sacred places can help you with this? We are only at the beginning of our own researchon the subject, but already the comnbination of dowsing and sacred site visits has delivered many health benefits to Kal and me.


          1. Hello Gwas,

            Thank you for the good energy 🙂
            There are some wonderful places for sacred energy
            in the Laurentiennes here in Quebec (Canada)
            the tree Devas and nature spirits are tremendous.


            Have you ever used a pendulum & can you use a pendulum for dowsing
            and finding good Healing sacred green spaces on the map.

            I look forward to your future posts.

            Bright Blessings to you & yours.


          2. Hello Kal & Gwas,

            My apologies I see that you have posted on the use of pendulums
            in previous posts, I love all the pictures in the gallery and
            I Am having a lot of fun 🙂 travelling through the wonderful
            pictures. Thank you.

          3. Hi Kara,
            You are most welcome. I just wanted to mention that I am working on a couple of videos on the “how to” of pendulumn and rod dowsing. They will be coming here soon.
            Blessings of Imbolc
            Kal Malik

          4. Hello Kal,
            I look forward to the posts 🙂 and
            I Am greatly enjoying all the wisdom and pictures.
            Thank you so much again.


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