Often I need to squeeze an evening out of nowhere in order to get my spiritual path moving a little. I had been stagnating for a while, burdened by “life” getting in the way of what I wanted to do. It happens sometimes. So, I made some time and invited Kal to come with me on a ridiculous quest to Sherwood Forest in the early evening. This evening I would feel the heartbeat of the forest, discover a hidden sacred site, and have a vision that would leave me wondering what I had got involved in! Here’s the first half of that tale.
Unlike my previous visit to the forest I had a particular reason for being here tonight. Last time I had met the Spirit of Place which we all know as the legendary Robin, a title later to be assumed or subsumed into a figure who some believe may have real historical roots – it’s a long debate for another time. On this occasion I was in search of the place known as Thynghowe, an ancient artificial mound that I consider to me my spiritual centre in the land on this side of the Irish Sea. Of course, as I explained in my previous post about finding the centre – it’s not a case of finding the physical exact centre based upon geography. It’s a spiritual place, and I was here to find out what that meant for me.
You may remember that my reason for locating this centre was a vision I had that I called “the dragon at the solstice centre”? Well, I was late for the solstice part of that, but I was in the right place regarding the dragon element. “Thing” places are the mounds of ancient law-giving, renowned as meeting places and moot hills, and central to the lands in which they are situated. They also usually have a tale of dragons fighting associated with them. I understood that to mean a site where male and female energies interacted in an interesting way – sometimes in conflict, sometimes in harmony.
As we arrived I could already see that it was more resplendent in Summer than it had been in Winter. Obvious, really, but would it feel good too? It was a wet day everywhere, especially through Derbyshire, and the sky was grey and the air filled with drizzle. We got kitted out for the occasion. It was New Moon, and only days before Ramadan. New Moon generally means a time of difficult energy working for me, given that I am a moon-oriented energy person. So it would turn out to be.
Our first stop was just after the Visitor Centre. I showed Kal the tree in which I had re-inhabited “Robin” – the Spirit of Place. He was still in the big oak tree, and the tree was literally buzzing with life! We both felt the strong presence and energy from the tree. We did our introductions, and got a willing welcome, which seemed to put a spring into our steps despite the weather.
Further along the well-maintained path we encountered The Major Oak. With this being a wet and rainy evening there were very few visitors around, so this was a perfect opportunity for me to explore the tree much closer than I had done last time. Yes, even this Hedge Druid feels community peer pressure! With no scolding eyes to deter me I approached the huge ancient oak to ask permission to enter past the boundary of its canopy (it’s aura). With the right feeling established, and having re-introduced myself, I was free to walk all the way around and find a dry patch underneath its giant boughs.
Kal came around the tree to ask me whether I had been inside the tree yet. Inside? I didn’t know you could! I left my staff outside and came around to the front. Sure enough there was just room enough for a slim person to slide inside. Kal dowsed it – he shouldn’t go in, and I should. I went in (not as slim as I used to be so it was only effected with the repositioning of several vital organs).
Inside I found an arrow lying on the floor. Of course – where else would you find that? I would bring that out later as a present to Kal. I settled down inside, away from rain and I positioned some crystals around me. I began to draw upon the forces of the elements to produce what some witches might call a “cone of power”, but which I call an Energy Vortex. See? Mine has capital letters so it must be better and more authoritative!
With energy gathered and being successfully grounded (the vortex works both ways – to cleanse and energise) I opened my eyes properly to my surroundings. In the dim light I could see that the wood inside had been artificially re-constructed using some kind of sheet metal that had been moulded, possibly sprayed, onto the bole of the tree. I saw that there was one bit that was still wood, so I put my hand on that and went into a meditative state of mind. After a few minutes I nearly jumped out of my skin in surprise. BOOM! A deep resonance went through me like the heartbeat of some super-gigantic giant. Thirty seconds later – BOOOOOM. There is was again. Another sub-sonic pulse swept up through my body from the ground. I waited another thirty second – BOOOM. It was as regular as it was dramatic. What was it, I asked? The heartbeat of the forest, I was answered. Wow!
I lit some incense and the last straggle of bedraggled visitors arrived to gawp at the tree for a few passing moments before heading back to the Visitor Centre. We exited the tree’s location discretely in their wake. No going back for us – we were only at the beginning of our adventure int he forest this evening. More fun was to come!