In this second part of the Spring Equinox tale I begin with a bit of a soap-box moment, but quickly move on to talk about my favourite stone circle, and finally introduce a new sacred site. Let the wordage begin!
I begin this post with a bellyache. I’m going to get riled, spill bile, make a pile of fuss. Possibly about nothing, but let’s get it out of the way first. I’ve been stewing on it for years, and I think it’s about time I got it “out” into the open.
It pains me the way modern farmers slash hedgerows!
To me this is akin to punching small children in the face. “Look,” you could say, “They’re bleeding now, but in a few weeks they’re back to normal.” Hardly the point, is it? Just because something heals doesn’t mean we should make them go through the initial trauma of being battered. Ask any victim of domestic violence. “Ah, but you’re alright now, yeah?”
I’m not saying that I’m an advocate of the Backster experiments on plant feelings. Instead, this is a respect issue. I was under the impression that part of the duty of care that farmers were supposed to adopt as custodians of the land could be employed in their treatment of the trimming of plant life. This “hack and slay” policy, done for expediency and efficiency, is not only damaging to the main trunk and branches of the plant, but it’s also a display of contempt for the hedgerow, and damned ugly to look at!
Phew – I’m done. It’s in print. but I’ll still die a little when I see such a close haircut. I urge anyone with influence over these things to try to find a better way. I keep putting my thinking cap on to come up with something. One day.
</ END RANT>
Moel Ty Uchaf Un-Spring-Like
As I climbed slowly up the steep road to the circle at the top of the hill there were several things that caught my eye. Firstly, there were the lambs bouncing around in the lower fields as though Spring had arrived. There was certainly spring in their legs, so perhaps they were just keeping themselves warm. Such a bad year to be born into a cold snap, I thought. A week later there would be reports of many sheep and lambs dying due to the snowfall in placed like Derbyshire and North Wales. Joy and sorrow are close companions.
The second thing I noticed was that at this time of the year I could see all of the large boulder stones that lined the route up to the circle. I acknowledged each one of them, touching them as I passed. It seemed important to do this. It was as though it made the walk up more sacred, more like a pilgrimage than a tourist visit. I passed very few people on the way up. Only two fellows coming down in winter climbing gear, and two dirt bikers making a racket and turning the white snow brown.
I’ve seen Moel Ty Uchaf in my conditions but seeing it covered in snow was a first for me. It was beautiful, even if the backdrop was a dramatic grey.
Sometimes I become very aware that I seem to be asking for something from The Otherworld, and I am not giving anything in return. Yes, sometimes I do offer healing and gifts without being asked, so perhaps it evens out. Nevertheless, this time I felt like I should offer the gift of a white quartz stone that I had picked up at the bottom of the hill and carried all the way up until it was warm. Placed it onto the King Stone in a small hollow that was covered with a thin layer of ice. The symbolism of the permanent granite versus the temporary frozen water made me think about the way the planet was always changing and yet stayed much the same in some of the wild places.
On entering the circle from the correct direction, as determined by the dowsing rods (it coincided with all my previous visits too, yet I still check each time). Luckily the wind was to my back, as it was bitter and strong. No time to mess about – I needed to contact the Spirit of Place quickly, and to get permission to “‘take possession” of the site – whatever that meant for me. I was still uncertain about what this meant, but it felt right and important to do it now.
Luckily there were several things in my favour. Firstly, it was quiet – essential for making a good strong link to Otherworldly forces. Secondly, I had contacted this Spirit of Place many times before, so she knew me and I knew her. Finally, my dowsing rods took me to exactly the right place to make this contact possible. There I placed my spiral inscribed stone, noticing that in all my stomping around following the path of the dowsing rods I had somehow left a small patch of snow untouched in the centre, and it was just big enough to house the stone. Coincidence.
As I sat in the power centre and connected to the Spirit of Place I felt a deep connection with the centre of the Earth and the Sun, The Moon, the Pole Star, the circle. I could feel the spirit of the circle sitting to one side of me, as she had done on other occasions. I thought about my question: “May I use this stone to take possession of this site?“, I asked. There was no delay. “You must.” Not, “You may” or “You might be able to”, but “You MUST“. So I intended it to be that way and linked the two sites of Dinas Bran and Moel Ty Uchaf in my mind.
I opened my eyes. Two crows flew past slightly below me, cawing as they broke from the trees and swooped down into the valley below. Crows again. Two this time. I used the Starwalk app again to find out where the constellation of The Crow would be at this moment. No surprise – right on the power centre where I was standing.
As I picked the stone up from the power centre a thought struck me. I had placed the stone on snow, or frozen water. Dinas Bran had been incredibly windy, and I certainly associated it with the element of air. It was the elemental sigil for air that had sparked the whole configuration of the four sites that I would visit this Spring Equinox. Was this site, in fact, a site associated with the element of water? Would the next two be related to earth and fire? What significance might that have, other than its relevance to a hedge druid?
With these questions in mind I bounded down the slope through the pristine snow, following a silvery white trail that had guided me safely down once before. I knew, as I descended, that such a trail was only available to those who took the trouble to see it. A smile drew itself across my lips and froze to my face in the bitter chill of the biting mountain air.
Next on my list was a new site – Caer Caradog – a hillfort near the village of Cerrigydrudion.