In England one has to get used to working in the rain – especially in Summer, it would seem. June 2012 has been one of the wettest months I can remember. However, despite this, I have somehow managed to be out and about quite a lot. I think it’s down to sheer bloody-mindedness, which could be seen as both a positive or negative trait.
One June evening I was chatting with my friend Mike and he mentioned that a friend of a mutual friend had mentioned that a recent visit to a sacred well had been unexpectedly unpleasant. The report that came back was that the well felt disturbed and oppressive. We discussed whether there might be something that we could do about it. The name of the place was “Gawton’s Well“. The name rang a bell with me – then I remembered that I had seen it on the Megalithic Portal, but its location looked difficult to identify, and I remember thinking, “I will mention this to Mike ad see if he knows where it is”. A year later, here was Mike mentioning it to me. Maybe I was being a bit too eager, but I asked if we might go and try to find it. Apparently Mike didn’t know the location of the well either, but he knew the area. Good enough. Surely we should be able to locate it? Despite the dark clouds and drizzle I managed to persuade Mike to leave the house and we set off for the reservoirs beyond Biddulph.
Locating with Dowsing Rods
When I heard that the well was situated near to a place called “Knypers-ley” the name drew some raised eyebrows and knowing looks. Could there indeed be a ley line running through the area? If I had had more time and the weather had been nicer I might have added it to the list of things to look for, but this evening I only had time for one objective – to find the location of this mysterious well, mentioned as one of the most spiritual places in Staffordshire, and now possibly energetically damaged.
We had only three points of reference to find the well. We knew that it was “north” of the reservoir, and that it was on a path that wasn’t the main path. From a photo we had seen there was a wall with a gap in it too. That was it. How difficult could it be? Well, we drastically underestimated the size of the reservoir for one thing! After twenty minutes of walking approximately northwards on the path round the reservoir we hadn’t seen a wall, and we hadn’t seen any sign pointing to a well (not that we were expecting one).
We stopped to ask the dowsing rods for some help. Could they direct us to where we could find the well, I asked?
The dowsing rods indicated that we had less than five minutes walk to our objective. Excellent! We continued in the direction that the rods had suggested, and then I spotted a wall up above on a higher oath. We headed to that and found that it led to a Visitor Centre, not a well. I was puzzled – the rods had said we would find the location of the well within five minutes. Then i saw the information board and on it a map of the lake…showing the well! So, serves me right for not asking my dowsing question properly. The rods had indeed taken me to where I could find the well. Now I knew where it was – it was completely on the other side of the reservoir to where we were! And we now had less than an hour to find it before I needed to head home.
As soon as we crossed the road that forms the head of the reservoir we realised our mistake. A path on the far side had a sign pointing to Gawton’s Well, and something called the Watchtower. We soon passed the Watchtower and thought that it looked like an intriguing place – the kind of spooky place that would make an excellent spiritual retreat, set as it was in glorious woodland next to the reservoir. Onwards – time was pressing.
We must have been chatting because we missed the path that led to the well, and instead ended up arrested by the sight of the gigantic square stone that was The Gawton Stone, otherwise known as the healing stone.
In some descriptions of this feature it is said that the boulder is a natural erratic. Other descriptions say that it is a constructed monument. When I hear such arguments I usually conclude that there is truth in both. When I stood admiring it from a few feet away there were a number of clues that made me consider that it had been ‘worked’:
- The stone is impossibly balanced on much smaller stones in the way that many many other sacred sites that we do know are man-made have been positioned.
- The stone appears to have been “worked”, i.e. chiselled on at least one of the faces.
- There is an identically sized square-shaped hole in the rocks nearby from which the stone could have been fallen, but it would not have reached this position without being moved by humans.
As I walked towards the stone I could feel an increasing resistance, as though I was being held away from it by someone exerting stronger and stronger pressure. When the push became almost physical I stopped. I would stay outside the bounds of the stone’s aura, then, until I had found a way to approach. Clearly, I wasn’t supposed to get too close yet. The energy felt like a strong male energy (See how now I can detect this by the feel of it alone? That’s progress in my world).
I needed to be able to approach first. I decided to get in touch with the spirit of place and request entry. I began to circle around the edge of the stone’s aura to see if I could detect any spiritual presence. As I walked to the side of the rock something underneath, in the gap produced by the stone being balanced upon two round rocks, caught my eye. It was a silvery shape. Do you remember the film Predator? If you did then The Predator’s invisibility cloak, or Harry Potter’s similar cloak would call to mind the kind of fleeting silvery shape I’m talking about. The shape blended with the background, and seemed to reflect all the colours around, and yet I could just catch the outline of a silvery sheen in the corner of my eye. Staring directly at it simply made it disappear, but if I moved my eyes to the edge of peripheral vision then it re-appeared.
The shape was about two feet tall, maybe slightly shorter. The outline that I could see was of a humanoid shape, but there was no detail to describe it in any better fashion. That was all I could make out, yet the experience made me stop and gasp in shock. What was it? I had asked to interact with the Spirit of Place. Was this it? What was it? Did that matter? Could I still interact with it? So many questions began to emerge, but something else took over. A deeper intuitive response. I reached into my bag and pulled out a p[articular green aventurine crystal. I described what I was seeing to Mike and then placed the crystal on the rock next to the silvery shape. It seemed to want interaction with the Earth Elemental that I could contact through the green crystal. So be it. This would be the interaction. A sign of friendship.
The Useful Tip of My Staff
As I walked to the back edge of the stone Mike began to describe the power that he was feeling emanating from the structure. It was strong male energy indeed, and for him it aligned very comfortably. I was still feeling slightly “out of alignment” with the energy and was wondering how I could feel the qualities of the energy for myself without doing my energy field any disservice. Mike suggested I use the power of my staff to be an intermediary between myself and the energies. I would certainly give it a try! I placed the staff against the stone and placed my hand onto the staff. Through the staff I felt the energy in the stone, throbbing and powerful, male and driving, but there were no harmful effects. I wasn’t repulsed, nor did I feel any discomfort. It had worked!
From that moment I seemed to have “befriended” the stone, or the Spirit of Place, I couldn’t be sure which. All difficulties were gone, and the stone felt welcoming now. In fact, as I touched the stone it offered me a challenge. Not only could I be comfortable with the stone’s energies, I could conquer and partake of them if I would accept the challenge! What was the challenge, I asked? To climb up onto the top of the stone. Well, I wasn’t going to climb its moss-covered slippery wet vertical surface on a day like this, but I would definitely accept the challenge on my next visit if the weather was fairer. What an odd proposal!
I retrieved my crystal and felt that the whole encounter with the stone and the silvery outline of the Spirit of Place, the challenge, the work with the staff, had all been a very revealing episode, and a most unusual sequence of events. I had learned some interesting things from the interactions with this stone. Firstly, I saw a gnome with my eyes, not with my dowsing rods. Secondly, my staff can act as a means of working with incompatible energies. Valuable lessons indeed, but there was more fun to come as we wandered off in search of Gawton Well.