Ancestors | Ancient Sites | Dowsing

Carrowkeel – Recovering ancestor energies

May 29, 2012

At the beginning of May 2012 I persuaded Kal to come to Ireland. He would be the sidekick to my long-awaited quest to recover my ancestor egergies. I say that like I know what “recover ancestor energies” meant. I didn’t have a clue when we landed at Knock Airport on a dull morning and picked up our hire car. All I knew was that I was trying to find a spirit of an old monk who had possibly landed here after I met him in Wales, and that my quest for this part of the year involved learning more about ancestors. From, this I had fashioned a half-researched series of places to visit during the weekend. So it was that the most intriguing and intense quest yet began.

Carrowkeel in Ireland’s County Sligo is located in stunning scenery – a gorge of striated rock in whose bosom there are settlements and above there, perched like nests, are a series of round-topped cairns. To one side there is a stunning view over the lakes in the valley below with their striking wooded islands. The walk to the cairns took us about twenty minutes from the end of the tiny straight road that lifts you from the valley floor to half way up the gorge.

We dowsed our way to the top of the ridge upon which several cairns are perched, and then proceeded to dowse our way past each cairn with it inviting entry hole! This felt quite unusual, and we were tempted to investigate but this is Ireland and we have been burned before by entering into places that our intuition or the dowsing rods told us we did not need to venture.

As we passed each cairn we grew more and more surprised that we were not intended to go inside. Certainly my expectations were that the quest for my ancestor energies would begin inside one of these burial cairns. Not so. It would have been a tight squeeze but I would have been prepared to do that if necessary. It wasn’t necessary. We passed by them all until we reached a wire fence, stopping only to stoop and peer inside these fascinating structures. It seemed such a shame, but the dowsing rods indicated that it would be a waste of time to do anything in these structures. My quest lay elsewhere.

Learning Our Lessons

As we reached the wire fence we stopped to asses the situation. We were in Ireland, and before us was a hole in a fence leading to what appeared to be a wilderness of heather and heathland plants.  We had been burned before – this was a Leprechaun hole for sure. We used the dowsing rods to check this – they agreed – a Leprechaun hole for sure.  Permission would be needed to get through this without any further mishap. We re-doubled our protection and I began to commune and converse with the earth spirit whose lands we wished to travel through. I introduced myself by my real name, not my druid name – these were, after all, the lands of my ancestors, and I felt it would be more effective to stress my heritage than to use a name that might mean nothing in these lands.

The name seemed to carry some weight perhaps because almost instantly I was in touch with an earth spirit who introduced himself as “O’Hurley” (my rendering of what I heard). I asked for kind permission to go and recover my ancestor energies and felt the usual ‘tug’ of acceptance and was pleased to pass this information on to Kal. He still looked suspicious, but agreed to try the next stage because the alternative was…to give up! Thanking the leprechaun for his kindness we climbed through the hole in the fence and pressed onwards through the heathland.

Living and Dying in Unusual Places

We made steady but slow progress along ever-diminishing paths of tufty grass between impassable heather, using our dowsing rods to guide us to the most effective paths. The rods were infallible, and often when we doubted them and tried to ‘spot’ the best path using our eyes we would end up doubling back taking the way suggested by the dowsing rods originally. When will we learn this lesson? Maybe never.

At one point Kal stopped to do a quick meditation on a power centre and I used the chance to find out how close we were to the destination because we were running out of cliff edge! The destination was only a minute away, so I tramped onwards to find it. The dowsing rods moved towards a lone hawthorn tree in the lime-flush of early Spring foliage. When the rods circled around it I knew this was the place being indicated to me. Really? I had passed several beautifully-constructed ancestral tombs made of rock and instead I was being asked to consider this small hawthorn bush as somewhere of incredible importance to me? I needed several bouts of conformation, but then resigned myself to the inevitable.

The moment I did so I spotted that the tree was built on top of a small pile of rocks. I did some dowsing – were these rocks significant? YES. Were they evidence of an abode of some kind? YES. Was this spot linked with my ancestors? YES. Further successful dowsing revealed that the space was the last remains of a small house where my Irish ancestors had lived – my direct bloodline ancestors. Kal added that they had not only lived in this place but also died here.

I needed a sit down to consider all of this. It was then that I spotted that there was a small hole and seating spot underneath the tree. A perfect place to meditate? I went to sit down and fell backwards into the hole like Alice in Wonderland – it was far deeper than I had expected and now I was firmly crunched into this spot. So be it. As I righted myself I saw that having fallen backwards I could now see that there was another small hole next to the roots of the hawthorn – a hole revealed by me sitting and falling back.

Something in me screamed that this was a place to leave something special to me. I reached into the pocket of my jeans and pulled out a single rose-quartz crystal (rose quartz is my personal favourite stone). I had no idea why I had brought that single crystal on holiday, but I had, And now I knew what to do with it – I had to bless it and leave it. I poured all my history and energies into the crystal and placed it gently into the secret hole. That felt like the right thing to do.

Recovering the Energy of Ancestors

At the moment I did this I felt a huge upsurge of energy coursing through my body from my lower to my upper chakra points. I knew this was the energy of my ancestors filling my body. I was exhilarated – was this the end of my ancestor energy quest? I decided to ask for the answer, as I seemed to be in the right place to get such an answer. I meditated in the darkness of the hawthorn’s canopy and soon visions and phrases began to interpenetrate my mind.

In the vision that flashed before me I saw myself lifting a sword, but not in triumph, rather in challenge. Then, right in front of me, a man in ancient garb and battle accoutrements lunged at me, and our swords clashed. I was fighting for something important… A crown? A right…? A right to take away these ancestor energies – the right to own them, perhaps? I was confused – where was I supposed to get a weapon to challenge this other person, whoever he was? As if in answer a voice whispered to me “Fashion the weapon in water.” That was it. There was no more, and at the moment these fragments would have to do. I had fulfilled part of my quest already – perhaps the greatest part. I had come with the intention of obtaining my ancestor energies, and I had done so. Now, it looked like I needed to take part in a battle to earn the right to take them home!

I gave thanks and crawled out of the hawthorn hole, leaving my precious quartz crystal inside. As I stood up and looked to Kal the sun burst through the dull grey think clouds and shone on the spot where we stood. Kal beamed widely and laughed./ I laughed too – what else could we do. Something quite major had just happened and we had only just arrived in Ireland! Now we couldn’t wait for the rest of the weekend’s visits.


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  1. Funny how many of us with an interest in “Celtic” religions and natural or earth-based magic end up tracing our ancestors back to Ireland.

    It was a lovely experience, only to be eclipsed by what was to come. The next few posts get increasingly deep into this quest and the feelings that go with it get deeper too.

    Tissues at hand? 😉

    I don’t think I would have traced my ancestors unless I had been ‘directed’ to by my Wheel of the Year quests. Yet, like you, it has been an enriching experience. For me, however, I wanted to work from way way back. Recent ancestors didn’t seem to be of interest to me.

    Perhaps, once you have a surname to work with, you too will feel drawn to explore a particular place in Ireland. The next few posts will show you how following an intuitive path can bring some startling and powerful results in such a quest.


  2. Gwas – that’s a very moving account of self discovery, you really brought a tear to my eye. I honestly think people underestimate the power of ancestral ties, the DNA really can ‘sing’ if you’re in the right place! I had an experience a few years ago after tracing the footsteps of my matrilineal line to the south West Midlands and a village called ‘Sutton-under-Brailes’ in Warickshire. We visited the church my gt-gt grandmother had married in, I can’t easily explain the emotional outpouring that followed. I remember seeing an orb of light flit past me in the church, it was a glorious sunny day and in the churchyard was the most beautiful, huge sycamore tree, it looked just like the emblem for a ‘family tree’! I just broke down and cried with joy, as if my mitochondrial DNA had been blazed with light. So hard to put into words! I feel so glad you had this experience with I’m guessing your paternal ancestors? I too have recently discovered links with Ireland and I’m very keen to pursue the family history regarding those ancestors. One of them lived in Wigan, she worked in a cotton mill, yet she escaped the grinding poverty and manged to marry above her social status – her grandfather was born in Ireland. Now I’ve just discovered that my maternal great grandfather was illegitimate and rather than having French ancestry (as we’d always thought) his mother was an Irish ‘Taylor’!

    What a beautiful experience, I can really see it in my third eye almost, the feeling of coming home and of roots – a lovely post Gwas, thanks for sharing 🙂

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