Whenever I mention a sacred site to visit I can see the cogs going round in Kal’s mind… “Will there be climbing involved?” Well, in this instance yes. As we made our way through the Manifold Valley path towards the conjunction of three hills I could hear a familiar tone evolving in his phrases. So this cave…. is it…high up? Yes, it’s high up. And the way is steep. And the path precipitous. But the views are amazing and the climb is worth it for the reward of experiencing the cave’s vast space and acoustic properties.
On this particular visit I had chosen to try to find the easier way up. The walk was longer, but I knew that coming down from the top of the hill from the village of Grindon was not only a muddy experience but a buttock-clenching one too, at times. I hoped to spare Kal the worst for this former vertigo sufferer. Was it appreciated? It didn’t sound like it! Did I offer him soothing platitudes to ease his worries?
Hell no! 😉
The cave is monstrously impressive! The height, the altitude, the view, the difficulty to get in…. it’s such an effort which is rewarded by the timbre of the acoustics even standing at the entrance. Having been here before I remembered that somewhere deep inside there was what our ancestors used to refer to as a “goblin” inside – an earth spirit. I hoped to meet him again, but that wasn’t the reason I was here.
My main reason for visiting the cave was to test whether I could create my “Perfect Shield” – an energetic construction for protection. The Shield was purely theoretical at this point, and which I needed to have practised before I came to use it “in anger”, as it were, when I needed it. I think the shield is linked with the Shield of Faith that I obtained as a gift from Faery too. Why I would need such protection wasn’t clear yet, but something somewhere knew and had guided me to learn how to create it. I had the image of how it could be done, now I needed the space and time to make it work.
Before entering this hallowed abode the dowsing rods indicated that I needed some form of preparation. My energy wasn’t right. The usual reason for this is that I am carrying too much of the world with me, and that this is not conducive to crossing the boundaries between vibrations that is sometimes referred to as “crossing the hedge” or “moving between worlds”
Some cleansing and re-calibration was therefore necessary. I did this by stilling the mind after having lit some incense to assist with the cleansing. The incense is unnecessary, but it is a useful aid to the energy worker because it triggers associations with going into a meditative state of mind, and is now associated for me with crossing the hedge, or entering into communion with Otherwordly forces.
I like that term “crossing the hedge”. I’m going to use it more often. I first came across it on Juniper‘s Walking The Hedge blog. – still one of the most irreverent and cutting blogs on “hedgey” subjects. Anyway, I digress as usual. Back to the story. So, here I am, inside the womb of the Tor, and beside me crows are wheeling and hovering on the breeze generated by the cave’s various slits. It’s the strangest thing to approach a hovering crow at eye height and then realise that it’s actually hovering some several hundred feet in the air! Vertigo moment!
I was inside the cave alone and without any artificial light and soon my eyes adjusted to the alternating brightness and shadow so that I could make my way without stumbling. Occasional patches of water and mud gave off a clay smell which made me feel “earthy”. A process of mental acclimatization was subtly under way as I stepped gingerly into the deepest and darkest parts of the cave. I stopped at a tall rock pillar which was strangely familiar – oh, it was the one that I had stood by when I had first visited the cave! And the dowsing rods curled around to indicate that this was also my destination today. Nice.
Yielding The Shielding
First thing’s first. I’m a visitor in here – so I ask the Spirit of the Place for permission to work inside his home. I have to wait for up to a minute for any kind of tangible response. Earth spirits tend to be slower than Fire or Air spirits. I wait patiently, feeling the cooling breeze and the tinge of dampness in the humid hill air. A gentle tug at my energy centre tell me that permission is granted. A push would be a rebuttal, but today it’s a pull.
I lit three incense sticks just for effect. As I placed them in a triangle around me I realised that this was exactly what i had done last time. Am I becoming predictable, I wondered? Or am I learning what works now? I stood by the pillar of lighter stone and did a deep connection to the Earth’s core then up to the Pole Star. I asked my spirit guide Ash to place a shield of protection around me so that I could work in peace without having to maintain the energetic shield myself. I felt the usual tingle and thanked him for his assistance. Now centred and ready I began to allow my mind to relax, giving it the directive to consider The Perfect Shield and how it could be created.
I let my mind go into the right intuitive mode and soon I was doing a form of Chi Kung which involved me using my hands to generate, connect, then release energy on specific planes, directed by the flats of my hands. The bands of energy were connected in this form of eight-fold movement until I was surrounded by a spinning framework of subtle energy bands. My perfect shield!
Don’t get me wrong. It took incredible strength of focus (Sword of Will) and intent (Shield of Faith) to make this happen, and I certainly didn’t get it entirely right on the first go. It took several attempts, and I slowly built upon the circles that I got right and spinning true before moving on to the next one to add to my framework of glowing bands of subtle energy surrounding me.
Having perfected the technique in a short time I felt confident enough to let my spirit guide release his shield and see if I could keep my own going. How brave! I hadn’t checked to see if there was anything else in the cave that might want to latch on to me as I worked with energy. Dangerous move, but I was confident in the shield. Then I had to work out how to clear it by breaking it back down, releasing the energy bands one by one. Finally I put up my own energetic protection just to ensure that I was ‘covered’ now that I didn’t have my perfect shield. Belt..meet braces!
He’s Beardy, He’s Weirdy
I had a grin on my face as I turned to leave. It had worked! The shield! I had it. As I picked my way slowly towards the light that reached the middle of the cave floor in preparation for making an exit I felt like I should turn around. Something was looking at me. I turned and instinctively let me attention be drawn to the source of the gaze. I was looking at a rock wall. Eh? Then I changed my vision into ‘active attention’ mode – the kind of mode you need to see those 3D pictures that were all the rage years ago. The kind of attention that allows you to see faces in the clouds and rocks. Doing that changed everything!
The former rock wall was now a fifteen feet high face, similar to a wooden carving of an old man that I had hanging in my garden. The features were unmistakable, and the facial hair matched the contours in the correct places too. A bear, moustache and shaggy eyebrows. The face was in exactly the location that I had dowsed for the presence of the Earth Spirit on my last visit. I hadn’t seen him then, but this time he wanted to allow me to see him. Wow. I felt privileged and humbled, so I bowed slightly and acknowledged the fact that he had shown himself to me.
For reference, and to include in this post, I took a photo of the rock face. The photo was the only one that didn’t come out. In a way I’m kind of pleased about that. If you want to find him… go there yourself and look for him. If he wants to be found he’ll reveal himself!
Energy flows in and out of rock
Maybe we had set the scene with this idea of faces in the rock,. On the way back we saw some faces in the rocks that edged the riverside path. The dowsing rods showed us that the energy flow was INTO the rock rather than away from its slope like we would normally expect. Usually subtle energy flows in the direction of a gradient, following the contours of hills and mountains. Usually, not always, but it was a general enough rule for us to expect it In this case the rock seemed to attract and hold human energies until they became part of the very rock itself, leading the intuitive mind to see the faces of the human energies.
We did some investigation with dowsing rods and learned that the attraction of the rock was caused by water flowing within the hollows in the rocks. Limestone in this area. That’s probably why. Interesting! Every day, as they say, is a school day.