Our second sacred site to visit on this glorious Imbolc day – February 2nd actually – was the church of The Bride herself – St Bridget’s in Bridekirk. Well, what else could you call a church in a village called Bridekirk – “kirk” being the old word for “church”? It’s The Bride’s church!
We must have missed all the fuss the day before when it was the official celebration day, because we were coming out on the 2nd February instead of the 1st. In every way the second felt like the better day! The weather was better, the day warmer, drier, and the scenery at least viewable on this day! Bridget wouldn’t mind, we felt.
As I wandered gently through the churchyard I saw a sight that caught my eye. It was a section of a yew tree, and it had been decorated with stones and other objects – like the Yule Log of old tradition, I thought to myself. How odd! But how nice too.
As we continued through the churchyard Kal zoomed off. I switched on my dowsing senses but not using the dowsing rods, only using my dowsing sense. I asked to be taken to a place where I need to be. It turned out to be quite an unusual place!
That request led me around and into the old ruined portion of the church building.
This part of the church is the old original stone church, which in turn was built upon the wooden church that had stood there since the beginning of formal worship in these parts:
“There has been a Church in the village of Bridekirk, near Cockermouth since ancient times. A wooden Church was replaced with a stone one in 1130, with Norman architecture. In 1868 a replacement church was commissioned, because the old one was in poor state. This was built by Corey and Ferguson next to the old church, the chancel of which still remains.” (source: Visit Cumbria)
As I rounded the walls to look into the interior I saw the thing that I had been led to: a hand-made wooden cross!
Then I got my dowsing rods out. I needed to know some things now. This cross dowsed as being the most energetic place in the churchyard, and that it was also the most important place to do any energy work as well. It didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would be part of the official Christian church celebrations, but I might be wrong. I made a note to come back once I had explored everywhere else.
The return of the sword and shield
You may remember that in the previous post I talked about being given two symbols that I would be working with this year – The Sword and The Shield. I associated The Shield with Galahad, and The Sword with Gawain simply because the shield would be held in my right hand (the western arm of a cross) and the sword in my left hand (the eastern arm of a cross). As armaments go, this seemed like an obvious configuration, and thus an obvious association for me, as I am predominantly left-handed. See other associated posts for an explanation of how this configuration came about in the first place.
I moved from being underneath a large sycamore tree to go look at the church itself. The sword symbol was carved on to many of the broken carvings that lined the base of the rounded end of the church [Insert proper achitectural term here, folks. Is it a ‘gable’?]. It was the ’roundy’ end!
I returned to the large sycamore for some reason. I lit a candle to Brigit and sat there waiting for inspiration to fall like a Newtonian apple. After a moment I felt inclined to get out a special stone that I had picked up on the island of Iona. The stone had two veins of quartz which crossed to form a ragged crucifix. I looked to my left to see that the sycamore provided a perfect view of the wooden cross in the church ruins! I compared the two shapes – they practically matched! I felt like this was significant; as though I had been drawn to sit here specifically to recognise the importance of the “shield” stone.
But where was The Sword? I reached into my pocket and pulled out a long sparkling crystals that my friends had bought me for my birthday recently. They had called it a “wand”, and had been quite embarrassed at having bought it. I’m not surprised they were embarrassed – it looked like a device that a lady might use for personal pleasure!! They said they didn’t know why they’d chosen that, but that they felt I might be able to use it. They’d never bought anything like that before! As I drew the “wand” out I knew it was “The Sword” that went with “The Shield”. Seems like I had my warrior’s “armaments”!
The Bride and The Church
Kal appeared and invited me inside to see some of the things he’d noticed inside – particularly the carved font. Well, this was Bridget’s Church on Bridget’s Day (near enough) so perhaps she could be found inside? Time to go find out.
The font was astounding. Very ornate with carvings which were swathed in writhing tree branches and snaking serpentine forms. Truly a beautiful ornament. The font was also the most powerful point in the church in terms of energy, which was a surprise Later, I found out that the font had probably come from the older original church and then this began to make more sense. From a time when ritual was invested with energetic intent.
We took a closer look at the interesting symbols on this Norman font – dragons (two heads of an ourobouros?), runic knots, and something that others have described as “Christ’s baptism” but to me it looked more like The Dagda rejuvenating people in Undry, the Cauldron of Life. Perhaps I wasn’t looking closely enough?
“We find fonts adorned with the figures of saints in order to set forth their example to the imitation of the persons baptized. On this besides figures are these foreign characters: What they mean or to what nation they belong I do not take upon me to say. Let the learned determine. The first and eighth are not very unlike the character used by Christians after the time of Constantine for the name of Christ. The rest in form but not in power come nearest those which are to be seen on the tomb of Gormon king of Denmark….” (source: “Britannia, or A Chorographical Description of the Flourishing Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland”, by William Camden, 1586)
More guesses are to be found here for the truly curious.
As we wandered along the main aisle we split up again. I felt like I should place my candles on the power centre that was most suited to me, and which was in the centre of the church, beneath the dome roof. Interestingly, the power centre was slightly off centre. I mentioned this to Kal and he suggested it was because of the new modern structure appended to the church building, which was putting the energy out of alignment because it wasn’t built with sacred proportion. I agreed. The energy in the church felt “skewed”, which is a difficult feeling to describe in writing. Kal had placed his lit candle on the altar. Another prime power spot.
Seeing Swords and Shields
The main stained glass feature was a triptych of windows at the end of the church closest to the main door. One particular aspect caught my eye. It depicted two knights, one holding a sword and the other holding a shield. Hold on! Sword and shield? It went further – the sword was pointing down into the ground, and the shield bore the emblem of a lion that was also Leo, the Sun Sign – a symbol usually of The Summer Solstice. I made a mental note of this.”The Shield at the Solstice…..?”
In Christian terms the lion with its tongue out could be a symbol of the Apostle Mark, and is thus associated with resurrection. That is an interesting coincidence considering that Imbolc is the resurrection of the male earth energy. Only a coincidence for myself, of course, and only when seen in the specific context of my communication earlier that morning.
As I walked around looking at the various decorative elements of the church there were an astonishing number of other resonant images. Here’s yet another representation of the sword pointing down and the shield. Notice how this one also shows the sword cleaving in twain the tails of The White and Blue Dragons – symbols of the two primary earth energies!
Mere coincidences, of course. Nothing to be learned here – move along! Next I saw a crafted picture about The Light. Of course this has a strong Christian connotation, and yet we were here on Bridget’s day, and she was a strong symbol of the Light returning to the land, and we were using candles to represent the light too. A sheer muddle of coincidental nonsense, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Elsewhere there was Masonic symbolism in some of the stained glass. You don’t usually see this so forthrightly presented, but here it was, catching the light for anyone to appreciate. You may notice the “All Seeing Eye” – this can also be seen on the American dollar bill.
For all these signs, we got back together to chat about how we felt about the esoteric energies here. We concluded and agreed that the church itself was devoid of any feeling that Bridget herself was inside. She was definitely outside, but here in the actual place of worship – nothing! The dowsing rods agreed. We were wasting our time in here, so we left.
As were emerged from the dark interior we saw the sun gleaming and streaming through the trees opposite the entrance. Emerging out into bright sunlight was a shock to the senses, and made us stop and appreciate the warmth and the light. Ah….the light. Theme of the day!
Rejuvenated by the Lion’s Mane I felt there was work to be done with Bridget outside in the churchyard. Though she had been absent inside, she was definitely present outside. I was drawn again to the large sycamore tree and back to the wooden cross. There was something I needed to do. Kal was pawing at the path, itching to move on, but there was some work still to do.
I intuited that it was to energise and initiate my wand/sword and stone/shield so that they could be used together. I placed my lit candle on the arm of the wooden cross and then dowsed where I should put the objects. Exactly at the crossing point of the wooden cross. OK – seemed obvious – maybe I didn’t need to dowse that? I placed them there and waited for them to feel “ready”. Only a minute later I removed them – they were ready.
I lit some incense and placed it on the cross. I had dowsed for which incense was useful this year and found that it had changed from all the previous years – another sign that I had moved on/up in terms of this work. The new scent of cedar wood began to waft around the old church, and the world seemed right. I said my farewells to all the energetic entities that had been involved in this interesting experience, and went back to meet Kal on the path. We exchanged knowing glances. We were off to a good start, but there was definitely the promise of much more beneficial stuff to come that day.
As we closed the old wooden churchyard gate and looked back I couldn’t help but wonder whether the experience would have been richer if we’d gone the day before? One lives and learns these things. Sometimes timing is everything, sometimes it’s intention that counts. I should have dowsed to check it before making that decision – a decision of convenience this time.
For the rest of the day’s activities timing was not really that important, so we left Bridekirk in search of a stone circle that we hadn’t visited before. At the circle of Elva Plain I planned to meet my new spirit guide.