In this third part of my Spring Equinox quest to link the four sites of a landscape sigil based on the elements we come to the Earth site – Caer Caradog. The snows that covered the hills on that day are still with us weeks later as we go into April, that’s how embedded this cold snap was. On the Spring Equinox I had to be quick at my work because this was no time to hang around enjoying the views!
Saying that, I was lucky to get to Caer Caradog at all. Although I had it pinned on a map as a specific location down to the smallest possible degree, that wasn’t the issue. I knew where it was – I just couldn’t get to it! As I came up through the slightly famous village of Cerrigydrudion (partly thanks to Julian Cope‘s song) I came across my first barrier – a diversion sign due to a roadworks on the tiny B5105 country road that led straight to the hillfort.
I circumvented the roadworks by going all the way around the hill and up the other side of it to arrive on the top and drive past the top of the hill whilst looking for s stopping point. Ah! The next barrier is parking. There isn’t any. I took my chances with the roadworks and parked up at pretty much the only space in the tiny road where two cars could pass safely. That was almost at the bottom of the slop, so that meant a long climb back up to get to the hill. *Sigh* – another climb today. I hope the universe is watching this display of dedication!
If you’re thinking of visiting yourself I’d have a read of the accounts on the Modern Antiquarian site. They give you a flavour of the ‘welcome’ you can expect – public rights of way ignored, new fences of barbed wire criss-crossing your path, and lots of mud on the way up. I fought all the barriers, all the methods intended to dissuade the casual visitor and trepidacious tourist – I am neither of those things – I had a mission to accomplish.
Appearances can be deceptive
Eventually, alongside the monumental embankment, I am afforded my first “break” – a low point in the stone wall inviting me to step through and visit this huge hillfort.
I asked for an entrance to the site and the dowsing rods led me to a small almost invisible dip in the outer embankment. I’m sure it might have been more obvious had it not been a sea of white due to the snow. I asked for permission to enter and after some negotiation this was granted. I instantly felt the presence of s really beneficent kind and inviting Spirit of Place. I may have had to explain my purpose and my credentials to get in, but once given entry it was a completely different story! In the bleak harsh wind this was a most comforting feeling. This spurred me on to ask the dowsing rods to lead me to her. I was taken around to the side of the hill nearest the small hill road to sit with at a spot where the Spirit of Place was at that time.
I sat with the Spirit for while, feeling what it felt like to be in charge of this site, and trying to get to feel the energy of the place as a whole. Despite the bleak and featureless nature of the site, the energy felt great. I was strong, vibrant and welcoming. I made a note that I would definitely come back in the summer. Now I turned my attention to the mission that I had come here on – the imprint my spiral mark in order to take possession of the site. I tuned in to the Spirit of Place to check if this was acceptable to her. She was unsure why I wanted to do this, but had no objection. Listen lady – I had no idea why I was doing it yet! We’re in this together!
An Earthy Imprint
I braved the icy wind and took my gloves off once more. OK dowsing rods, please lead me to the best place where I can imprint my spiral and take possession of this site, I asked. They swung off in the direction of the centre of the flat top of the hillfort. I was taken twenty feet inside the top of the site to a vaguely central point to imprint. Looking down I saw that the spot was the only place in the visible area with a small mound of bare earth. I guess this confirmed my idea that this might be the Earth side of this elemental shape I was constructing.
I got out my spiral-carved stone and performed the same quick ritual that I had with the other two sites before this. As with the other sites I then dowsed at to the success of this energetic act, and was happy to have the rods cross in confirmation.
I spent a few minutes in huddled concentration thanking the spirit of the site for allowing me to perform this act, and for making me feel so welcome even though I was a relative stranger to her, this being my first visit. It is unusual to get such a welcome when you first try to interact with a spirit at a sacred site until you have won their trust and have shown your true self to them. I guess she had seen in me my true colours, and I certainly had hid nothing from her. This honesty had brought instant rewards. That’s years of learning the hard way to get to that stage, and it was also a central pillar of what I was trying to do by following a Galahad path this year – being pure in intention.
I found an exit point on the west-facing slope. At this ‘exit’ point for the hillfort was a fabulous tree. I’d like to spend some time with this tree when the weather’s warmer, but for the time being I just took a photograph of it, but I could tell there was more to this tree than I had the time or warmth left to appreciate. The tree can be seen from the very bottom of the hill. It’s quite distinctive.
On the way down I disturbed a group of crows who provided a raucous chorus for my exit from the hillfort. Crows again. I got the feeling I was being followed by Bran in the guise of a crow. They were at every site so far. Still, my thoughts began to turn to the next site on my list – the last of the four elemental sites in this quadrant of sacred places – a new stone circle to me called Bryn Beddau in the Clocaenog Forest.