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Solstice 2013 – Tintagel and Merlin’s Cave

July 30, 2013

This is my penultimate Summer Solstice post. I have one more – a real counterpoint to this story – which will teach me another strong lesson, but we’ll come to that in time. For now, we have arrived at Tintagel – home of all things Arthurian, especially the gift shops – and we have just scoured the town for some incense. We found some at Tintagel’s only new age shop, where the owners were very helpful and a delight to talk to. In a good mood we set off for Tintagel Castle where I hoped my tide times were correct and I would be able to enter Merlin’s Cave for the first time.

I only had one thing on my mind and that was to visit the cave that a lady named Zoe had talked about. Kal had met her at Glastonbury Abbey and had introduced me to her. She simply said to me that I should pass on my thanks to Merlin when I met him. There was a distinguishable twinkle in her eye as she said it, though, which stuck in my mind. That  seemed so long ago now but the memory was still strong, and I had taken the directive as a personal quest. I would indeed deliver her thanks now I was here.

Tintagel's steep cliffs
Tintagel’s steep cliffs

Maybe I can’t read or something but when we got to the shoreline and looked out to the base of Tintagel Castle the tide was in. I would have to wait until it turned before I could reach the caves. Kal showed me a secret ledge upon which we dozed and watched the waves, lulled by the rhythm. I picked up two stones – a flat one and a small quartz-veined pebble which I pulled out from a patch of grass. How I had known it was there I can’t say!

To sit on that wild perch listening to the lap of the waves, and to watch bird life wheeling around in a constant careering carousel like some kind of baby’s mobile spinning us to sleep….

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We returned to the King Arthur’s Arms later that afternoon, biding our time while we waited for the tides to turn. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at The Olive Garden restaurant, and then Kal decided he would go back to the inn, leaving me to go out into the dark alone. No problem. It was my quest after all. The tide was beginning to turn, I hoped. Low tide was supposed to be at 11:30 pm, but I set off a 9pm, hoping to at least be able to access the cave systems.

I was lucky. On my arrival I could see the thinnest sliver of  bare sand in front of the caves on each side of Tintagel’s bay. I was going to be able to visit after all.

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Tintagel’s shoreline at 9pm on the day after the Summer Solstice

I first went to explore the evocative caves beneath the castle mound. These were the caves which produced the huge booming noise when the sea dashed through them. The sound was incredible – both frightening and fascinating in equal measure. Inside the first cave – the only one safely accessible at this time – I marvelled at the sight of the rippling sea foam that looked like a dirty vibrating sheepskin rug on the floor of the cave. Occasionally I was “attacked” by a wind-whipped patch of foam which hurtled towards me like a soft arrow.

Curiosity satisfied I went over to the cave which the dowsing rods had indicated I should visit. It was slippery and precarious progress involving all hands and well-shod feet to get down to the cave but the feeling of achievement was worth it.

The Shoreline – A Space Between Worlds

I dowsed for Merlin’s presence and was shown a solitary patch of pristine sand about ten feet inside the cave mouth where the recent waters had washed it smooth. So, I didn’t have to go all the way inside? I was glad. It looked dark and there were strange pounding sounds emerging from its depths. Then I felt a surge of energy within me that I will call “Arthurian”. It spurred me on to visit the depths of the cave and I was pleased that I did because I got to witness the waves spraying the opposite side of the headland through the open exit at the rear of the cave. The sound was amazing too. A huge boom and splash which always impressed.

I returned to draw a trail showing Merlin’s exact location. Of course, it was a spiral! I was going to use an app to determine the compass bearings but something told me that I should be able to do that without needing help, so I felt for the directions instead. Somehow I knew they were correct, and placed my incense accordingly, a fifth one in the centre to show that I too was joining this energy formation.

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A bridge between worlds at Tintagel

Merlin and The Wren

As I stood in the fifth location, the centre of the elemental cross, I prepared myself for connection – relax, connect with ground and sky, visualise my connectivity, shield myself, and sink into the right state of mind where I am part of the scenery but my mind is my own. My energy expanded until I felt it integrate with the cave itself, flow into the sea nearby, float away to join the breeze, I melted into the space.

In the centre of my mind I gave thanks to Merlin for his guidance and work this year so far. suddenly a feeling of being “at home” came over me and it surprised me. How on earth could anyone feel at home in the coming darkness on a wind-swept coastline, in a booming cave?Was this some kind of Kristevian semiotic moment where I re-integrated with my embryonic self?

As I began to merge deeper into the scenery I was pulled out of the vortex by the sound of three wood pigeons cooing directly above me in one of the nooks in the roof of the cave’s gaping maw. As night was deepening it was a settling and serene sound to me – one that made me think “home“. It is a sound I have always associated with being at home in Nature. I relaxed into the work further, a smile on my face. I had been asked to consider this as home. Nice.

Taking this concept of Nature’s signs one step further I asked my spiritual connection to contact Merlin and ask him to be present with me. Only the slightest moment in time passed and I saw something dart out of the edges of my vision. It was the small and unmistakable shape of a solitary wren! I looked up at it and said, “Are you Merlin?” to which it responded with a single tweet! I nearly fell over with excitement!

A silhouette of a wren – Merlin’s call sign

I took the opportunity to commune with the wren, mentioning that someone called Zoe wished to be remembered to him. The wren tweeted twice, and then flew away. I presume it flew away – it just seemed to disappear, but the darkness of the coming night may have been involved in that.

Do a little dance

I felt the movement of the water, the tide, and the movement of day and night turning in the cave. In a form of sympathetic movement I began to sway and then my limbs were making movements which just felt natural. I began moving energy along my arms and legs, processing it through my core and spine, and then I was stepping out to the four quarters in a sort of dance.

At each station I called upon the element which I considered to be present at that point to come take part in the moment. When all four were gathered I realised there  because I was acting as the fifth element in this dance, so my energy needed to be involved. I placed the small pebble I had picked up earlier in the day and placed it at the centre of this sand bank, directly beneath me. Into that pebble I called upon Merlin’s energy to charge the stone. All four elements added their flavour to the process and soon I had everything stored in the one stone – my energy, Merlin’s and powers of the wind, water, sun and sand.

The Sand Spiral

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Merlins Cave at Tintagel

Taking the pebble to the other side of the cove I used my dowsing rods to ask for the shape of a suitable sigil that I could inscribe into the soft sand. As I followed the rods I began to draw a double spiral shape – one side a large loose male spiral of only a couple of turns, and then other a smaller tighter spiral of several turns to the centre. This was incredibly familiar to me – the male/female balance shape. Satisfied with that I placed the pebble at the centre and left the shape to be washed by the sea.

The purpose of creating the sigil shape was to enlist the Merlin energy in the finding of a white quartz rock that I could transfer to my garden. I was creating a collection of white rocks to use as a moon shape. As Tintagel felt so magickal I knew this was the place to obtain such a rock, and so with the sign drawn and the Merlin energy still active I asked to find such a rock. Almost without looking one appeared in the nearby sand – the only hand-sized white rock in the vicinity. Of course. I took it to the nearby waterfall and washed it clean of sand, asking for any willing water elementals to inhabit the rock if they wanted to be a part of my blossoming garden.

The darkness was creeping in, and I just had enough time to climb back up while I could still see my way. I felt refreshed, invigorated, and excited by the meeting. What could possibly spoil such a wonderful evening?

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