We have been having a run of dry but cold weather. It almost felt like Spring was close at hand, and besides we couldn’t contain ourselves any longer. Some of us have already got quests to do, you know? I was on my quest to discover the Sword and Shield. At the Spring Equinox I had found The Shield. I created/discovered it at Valle Crucis Abbey in Llangollen. In combination with the four other sites I visited that day it was formed in my mind, and its purpose became clear – to assist the healing of energetically-damaged sacred sites.
Now I was on the hunt for The Sword part of that pairing. To that end I had received a vision in Alderley Edge that indicated this sword could be found at a sacred lake. The sacred lake in question was undoubtedly the same lake where there is a mythological association with The Lady of the Lake and the giving of a magical sword – that lake was Llyn Tegid, or Bala Lake. At first I thought it might be Llyn Brenig, but dowsing revealed a better ‘fit’. I didn’t yet know what the purpose of obtaining this energetic sword might be, but that could be determined afterwards. The focus was now on getting it.
To that end I had identified a useful starting point via the aid of map dowsing. Llanycil church next to Bala lake was an ancient sacred place, since converted or at least marked with a church. Llanycil Church is no longer in functioning use. It would appear that, for at least the second time in this place’s history, the religious order has been overshadowed. One may say that the wheel has turned back on itself in some ways, at least that was how we felt as we pulled up in front of it in the handy lay-by opposite on the Bala Lake main road.
As so often seems to happen on my outings around Wales I found that a place that I visited was dedicated to St.Beuno. This character seems to crop up at so many of the places that were once pagan sacred sites. I tell you – that man got about a bit considering there were no cars or good roads in his time! Somewhat amusingly, his name could be translated into English as “Bono“. Interesting parallel here – it is said of Beuno that:
“”on the seventh day of Easter he had a wondrous vision” (source: Wikipedia)
A calculation using this year’s Easter date would be around 6th April This visit was a couple of days after that. Close…..close enough to be interesting.
Water, water, everywhere…
I found three old yew trees at the back of the church. Kal was off wandering around with his dowsing rods. He seemed to be dowsing for energy patterns so I left him doing that and dowsed for where I could find a power centre at which to work. These days the difference between intuiting the right place and dowsing for it is almost incidental. As it happening more often, the dowsing rods showed me a place that I was already feeling drawn to.
Can I trust the dowsing response if it just shows me what I’m ‘thinking’ of? After years of experience, I can differentiate between following my will and following my intuition. The feelings are different. It’s very subtle, but it’s different. Plus, I can still objectively ‘test’ the result using dowsing after I’ve found something through intuition. Usually, though, unless something feels ‘wrong’ about the result, I just trust the result.
I settled in beneath one of the yews facing the lake which I could see gently lapping some thirty feet away over the wall behind the churchyard. If you listened carefully and I always do when meditating, you could hear the water washing the shore in a soothing gesture. I lit three incense sticks and settled in. Minutes later I awoke again – I was getting nothing. Nothing at all! Was I int he wrong place? No, surely not? I double checked everything. I was in the right place at the right time.
I thought about it. I was at the lake, I was here to meet a water spirit….what about my water sigil? The shape that I had discovered recently which was related to each element – it was a means to call that element during ritual so that I didn’t need crystals or other props. Aha! Now….what did the water sigil look like? I strained my memory. I could remember the shape for Earth, Air and Fire, but I couldn’t picture the water sigil. I turned to technology. Somehow I had a 3g signal on my phone so I directed it to look at the Hedge Druid blog. Nothing. Damn! What about Google? Nothing. Damn! Looks like I’d have to do this the old fashioned way and just … remember!
I couldn’t remember what it looked like. So, I asked my Spirit Guide ‘Ash’ for assistance. “What do I need to do to meet The Lady of the Lake?” I asked. He showed me one quick picture – the waters of the lake. “Do I need the water sigil?” I asked. Yes, was the feeling. Hmmm….tricky. It was enough to make progress, however, and I jumped up and leapt the churchyard wall, bounding off down to the lake’s edge.
I knew not why I was down at the lake’s edge. I was looking for inspiration. Nothing was easy today – why? I dipped my hands into the lake’s cool water and drew back, washing my face in its refreshing liquid. The lake was so big – the largest in Wales – and so old. Why were the spirits not making their presence felt, I wondered? I dipped for more water, balancing on a convenient rock part way into the lake itself. Again I drew the water down and over my face with both hands. Then it struck me – I was drawing the shape of the water sigil on my face! It was a kind of heart shape and I was actually making that exact shape by doing this washing action! I nearly wobbled and fell into the lake in astonishment. Here I was, looking for inspiration, looking for the key to open the channels of communication and it was there “right in front of my face” in the most literal sense.
I rushed back up the shore, through the gnarly mossy tree roots, and hopped back over the dry stone wall into the churchyard. I went back to the comforting yew, and with the water still wet between my fingers, I traced the water sigil shape across my face one more time, calling for Nimuë – The Lady of the Lake and Merlin’s counterpart – to hear my call and aid my quest. This time, something happened.
Having settled beneath the yew tree a strong image began to form. It was a sprite, a ghostly form, hovering above the lake’s surface in the middle, just across from where I sat. What happened next all happened in that incredible middle ground between waking and dreaming that we call trance state – the fertile ground of druidism.
Nimuë sped from the lake’s centre up the shore and over to me. Without a word she grabbed my energetic self – my energy body – which I will hereafter refer to as “me”, because I lived it as clearly as if it were a waking dream. Holding hands she drew me into the middle of the lake, both of us hovering over the water as though we could fly like faeries.
Before I had the chance to ask her any name or introduce myself I was plunged feet first into the lake’s depths. I watched this from two perspectives simultaneously – I was both the one experiencing the sinking (my energy or dream body), and an observer figure watching it happen (my physical body, I believe). Nimuë is looking at me and I see her expression from within my energy body. She has a look that is half-aghast, and half-smiling, as though she knows what she has done, but is waiting for an answer that will change the situation. I realise that I need to rescue myself.
A million survival tactics go through my head, but my shamanic senses let them pass through un-grasped. All thoughts empty again, and I simply smile at Nimuë. As her expression changes to surprise, I laugh and say to her,
“I am unafraid.”
I sound very formal, as though this is part of some story or mythology passed down by a long-forgotten writer in a phraseology that we simply don’t use any more. Yet the effect is equally surprising, as my energy body begins to float back up to the surface of the lake, aided by a bit of swimming. I break the surface and swim about in circles, laughing, as though this is a game. Except that I know that it isn’t. It’s very serious indeed. But I don’t let on that I know.
Seemingly irked by my cavalier attitude to this murderous attempt she lifts me clear out of the water and we ascend up into the sky together. The lake becomes like a postage stamp, the hills below all blending into one seamless brown and grey mass, houses indistinguishable from each other. At an unknown height she drops me to freefall headlong towards the lake. Again I am watching from two perspectives. I see the action from the side, but when I am dropped I am inside the energy body, seeing the lake magnifying as I drop towards it, and preparing to feel the impact of being dropped into a lake. Except, as I nearly touch the water I simply say, “I am unafraid.” and I mean it. I mentally mean it. I relinquish all fear that the thought of such an impact might have.
Instead of having a meteoric impact upon the water, I simply slide inside with the slightest ripples telling that I had passed through the surface. This time I get back to the surface quickly and as Nimuë descends from the sky I am once again treading water, stroking my arms about lazily, nonchalantly, rolling and gliding in the water like a playful seal.
Now she looks really unhappy with proceedings. She looks like a woman would if you’d just told her that her dress sense is like that of a five-year-old, or that her hair was styled by monkeys. For a fleeting moment I stop swimming and wonder if I’ve gone too far. No time. Nimuë has reached into the water and lifted me up on to the surface. to stand on the water like a pond-skater. What’s next, I wonder? She kisses me, pulling me into her arms, and as this happens she merges with me. My body is now her body and I am water like her. She’s me. I’m her. I’m nobody! I’ve just lost my sense of identity! I’m just some amorphous body of water – no identity, no sense of individuality….I’ve gone!
For a split-second I panic then the druid in me takes over. I begin to laugh,. Not a titter or a giggle, but a huge belly laugh, a stirring up of a roaring noise that increases in ferocity and volume. What’s more – I know I mean it. I really am amused at this act of Nimuë’s. This treacherous, testing, teasing action that took me momentarily by surprise. Now my wits were restored I lost them deliberately through laughter.
The more I laughed the more my energy body began to dissociate from Nimuë’s silvery form. As it was almost whole again I began to gather love energy in my heart, and soon I was back standing in my energy body above the lake. At this point I offered Nimuë my love energy – I felt waves of love moving towards her from my heart like a ray of energy and I was now totally distinct from her silvery form again. I turned to Nimuë and said softly, “I am not afraid.” This time she responded. “Indeed you are not!”
Hack and slay politics
I wondered if the tests were over, and indeed her expression was now one of calm. However, just as I think it’s all over, Nimuë asks what I have to offer her. What do I have? Another momentary panic – I have nothing! Then I am led to think of the sword that cuts three ways which I was told about at Alderley Edge. An idea comes to mind:
– first I cut off my head and offer it to her – she takes it
– secondly I cut off and offer her my genitals – she takes them too
– finally I offer her my spine – she takes this too and then smiles
Surely these are the ultimate acts of contrition and submission? She is pleased with these offerings and she says to me
“You ARE The Sword of Will“
With that I turn into a sword and am once again plunged into the lake pointed end first. This is almost a re-imagining of the drowning test just a few moments before. As the point touches the depths of the lake I am turned upside down to rise out of the lake just as Arthur’s sword is rumoured to have done. As I break the surface and rise above the lake in sword form I am returned to my normal and deposited back on to the shore where my energy body reunites with my physical form and I return to consciousness, sat calmly but mentally exhausted beneath the old yew tree.
An incredible vision. One that I will be hard-pushed to forget and one that will change my view of this lake forever. I feel that I have the sword of Galahad’s now – The Sword of Will. I just need to know what it does, and how I can use it with my Shield that I obtained at Spring Equinox. Together these feel like incredible tools with which to work to heal sacred sites in the future. The exciting prospect is working out how to do this. That’s the final part of this quest, and hopefully coming soon.