I set off on what I expected to be a simple walk in the evening sun, taking advantage of the last warmth of a wonderful weekend for weather. By the gods that warmth was welcome after the latest and coldest Spring in thirty years! For some reason I was compelled to walk along the sandstone ridges that a nearby to the village where I live. Pictures and memories of a special place kept arising in my mind like bubbles in a champagne glass. One particular ridge walk came to mind so I got out of the car and checked which direction I should head in using dowsing rods. The way I had pictured in my mind was the direction indicated to follow. What about the destination? Yes, the one I was thinking of was the most appropriate for any meditative work. Great – then I scarcely needed the rods so I put them away.
As I began my walk I was still believing that firstly this has been my rational idea, and that it was simply a walk. I’d even brought a book to read and a can of gin and tonic. My everyday self was walking around with the idea that I was just going for some kind of a light summer picnic or something. My druid self had other ideas that were bubbling under the surface, and the more I climbed the sandstone path the more these druidic senses began to make themselves heard.
As if by the same magick that was bubbling through this evening I am currently listening to “Ouses ;Ouses ‘Ouses‘ narrated by John Copper (Imagined Village).
In this song the narrator is talking about his granddad having his ashes sprinkled on his spot with his favourite view up on the chalk hills of The Downs. By an odd coincidence that leads me into this story.
I walked up onto the sandstone hill through freshly unfurling stalks of bracken, shaded from the remaining rays of the day by the bright-leaved canopies of giant beeches, ancient oaks and sapling birches. The path was easy for me to read. I’d been that was many times over the years, but I only ever seem to visit when the summer comes. I don’t know why. This time felt different, and I was about to find out why.
Arriving onto the first plateau of the wooded ridge I was pleased to see the familiar beech beneath which I had had many revelations over the years. It had been a reliable teacher to me since I began talking to trees. In fact, it may have been the first. I can’t remember now. It’s such a regular and integral part of my dialogues with Nature. I stopped, paid my respects, and spent a bit of time with the Spirit of that Grove which was standing by the base of this beech tree. The sunlight sparkled through the new beech leaves and made me smile. Questions arose about the source of my communion and I determined that I was in communication with something other than the tree itself. Was it a dryad, I inquired? NO. It was a Spirit of this Grove. However, curiosity aside, something compelling pulled me onwards, higher, and I headed off up to the top of the ridge.
I walked the path to the top and found it still afforded a wide view of the Cheshire Plain. I could see the village where I lived, its nearby lake, and in the background a mixture of Welsh hills and further sandstone ridges. After nearly twenty years this view has become the definition of my home land. As I turned away from the view I was startled by the sight of a memorial. I’ve seen it before but in the year since my last visit I had kind of forgotten about it. This view I was taking in was someone else’s favourite view too, I remembered.
The memorial is quite unique. I haven’t seen anything like it before, and it stopped me in my tracks as I contemplated whether I should re-trace my steps. Yet, this was as much my view as that of those who have been here before. I got my dowsing rods out – time to ask a few questions. Last time I had been here I had felt and dowsed the presence of shades, the energetic remnants of thought-forms of dead humans. Were they still here? If they were then I’d go somewhere else. I had only come up for the view and the solitude. I could go back to the grove and read there, I supposed.
When I asked the dowsing rods about the presence of any energies around the area I didn’t get any responses indicating that there was anything here now. I questioned what might have happened – were there still people in existence who remembered the people whose spot this had been? YES. But they no longer thought of them, or sustained the shade energy by visits or any energetic connection? CORRECT. Then….the space was… free? YES. Hmmm…..
I contemplated this for a moment. Whenever I thought of this are the word “nemeton” came to mind. I had once created a nemeton only half a mile away from this site, but it had become unwelcoming. Frankly I don’t think I created it properly in the first place, having no guidance about how to do such things. Since then I had become much more adept at knowing how to “do things”. Today I considered whether I could now take this place as my own nemeton space – my “summer palace” if you like. I felt like I could do that without treading on anyone’s toes (or ashes), regardless of whether they were living or dead. This place had been created in memory of someone, but now that memory had faded and the space was clear. Right then – to work!
Making a nemeton
My intended new nemeton was to be created on the summit of a hill, in a grove of pine trees that had been deliberately planted in a circle. A few birch trees had since entered into the circle too, and that added a welcome fresh vibrancy to the scented air of the Scot’s Pine. From the centre of the circle I was protected from view in all directions, but retained a view out across the plains to the mountains and hills in the distance. It was perfect.
What IS a nemeton? For me it is a magickal circular space in Nature intended and prepared for use as a base from which to commune deeply with nature’s forces. Defining a Nemeton allows me to forego the usual on-the-spot work of finding, checking, clearing and preparing the energies in order to quickly and deeply meditate. My aim is to gradually build the energy within the.space such that it can aid my work and hopefully also benefit the surrounding environment. The space would also offer magickal protection which I could add, in combination with the site’s natural protective physical aspect.
Here’s how I made the Nemeton:
- I checked that there was no interfering energy source within the circle of pines which defined the area I wanted to claim
- I defined a magickal circle in both directions using male energy deosil, then female energy widdershins. This was the earth aspect, and I called upon my friendly Earth elemental to help with this part.
- The circle was cleared of any energy except my own with the assistance of the North Wind, whom I have come to know. Her elemental force swept the area clear.
- For the fire I called upon my friendly Fire Elemental and asked that he create a permanent container for energy which would be “sparked” by the action if sunlight. The sunlight would be the initial and core power source for the energy which would maintain the space as a magickal circle.
- Finally I asked the Water Elemental to convey her propagating properties upon the energy within the circle, and to nourish it with her life force, the water within the Earth, the air and the life-assisting plants that formed the literal circle described by the trees, and the grasses a flowers within it.
- As a finale to the act of creation I combined my own energy with all of these elements and in one routine linked them all together in one continuous cycle that mimicked Nature’s own cycle of life.
- My final work was to shield the Nemeton. I placed a directive on the place that if anyone else were to step into the space they would not see a circle of any kind, but would pass harmlessly through the space leaving it entirely unaffected and undisturbed, and that the space would not even register on their consciousness. If something is unremarkable then it’s invisible.
When I dowsed to test the result I was pleased to find that the circle was now under my custodianship, and that it was permanently nourished by this chain if life-giving forces that would sustain it without my continued intervention. That was very pleasing considering the whole routine had been an improvisation. Mind you, so much of my work is intuitively guided and I just go by the “right feel” of the work I do.
Another magickal thing happened too. I was visited by a vixen that seemed completely unaware of my presence. It walked up to where I had moved away from the track and then caught my scent on the trail. Lifting its head it seemed surprised to find a six-foot man sitting only two feet away from it and it took several seconds to make a decision to hurry along the track away from me, glancing back occasionally to see if I had reacted to being spotted. This amused me, and I giggled at the fox like I had once giggled at a badger which had done the same thing years ago.