Ancient Sites | Arthurian

Mitchells Fold and the balance between East and West

August 14, 2013

A little hop back in time for this one. It’s out of sequence, but it shows that the preparations undertaken before a Festival date like Lammas are done well in advance, and often with a certain amount of “unknowingness”, at what psychologists might call a subconscious level. I prefer to call this the natural unfoldment of The Path, like the descent of a hill might lead naturally to a stream at the bottom.

Here, then, is my account of some preparation work done before Lammas this year at Mitchell’s Fold stone circle in Shropshire. Having now gone through the Lammas work I can see how useful the preparation was! Hindsight, eh?

Mitchell's Fold - June 2013 2013-06-16 008 (Large)

An Unusual Approach

I rode to the circle on my motorbike as the weather was still fine. We were having a long spell of dryness that was encouraging me to go further and out more often than usual. The track to the circle was fun on a bike! I left my things at the King Stone outlier and then took some photographs.

Mitchell's Fold - June 2013 2013-06-16 001

 

I used dowsing rods to determine the correct approach to the circle. Unusually, it was from the East – a direction I’ve never come to the circle from before. Was this a signal that something different might be about to happen here?

Mitchells Fold - Spyglass reading

I found the Spirit of Place at a mossy spot to the northern side of the tallest stone. You’re never alone at this stone circle due to its position on the route for local dog-walkers but I managed to find a few quiet moments in between the rowdier parties in which to meditate.

Mitchell's Fold - June 2013 (8) (Large)

One light meditation later and despite distractions of several visiting family groups I still managed to get a connection with which I could exchange information. In negotiation with the Spirit of Place I traded my recent experiences of Druid’s Circle in return for advice on what I might do before Solstice in order to be fully prepared for the experience.

It’s all in the Balance

I was given an idea – depicted through images of balanced black and white shapes, and then through the symbolic figures of Arthurian characters on different axes of a cross shape. This informed me that I needed to balance the forces of Gwalchmai with Gwalchaved. This year has been almost exclusively a Galahad year. I was shown that I needed to bring a little balance to that work with some Gawain energy too.

Mitchell's Fold - June 2013 (3) (Large)

I felt that it wasn’t specifically any work, but rather that it was to achieve a state of mind wherein the forces were balanced,and that achieving this balance of mind would be helpful to my forthcoming Lammas work.. I set about trying to find out which energies the two characters represented. The best I could achieve was:

  • Gawain = sympathy, empathy and feeling emotion – represents the West
  • Galahad = Directness, focus and will – represents the East (interesting that I approached the circle from the East this time – in the year of Galahad)

The balance would be to be able to achieve the focus of the self’s will, but retain a sympathetic interest in others and the surroundings.

Mitchell's Fold - June 2013 (13) (Large)

I later sat looking at Corndon Hill. It occurred to me that it may once have been used as a coronation place where the Kings of the region were crowned, and that its name originally meant “Coroned On Hill” or “Crowned On Hill”. I don’t know where that came from – it was just a fleeting thought.

On my way out I noticed the low embankment that circles the hilltop area. How had I never noticed this on previous visits, I wondered? Today it made a good point for me to thank the spirits at work in the circle and to dismiss my own energies before I left. Best to clean up as you go!

A short, sharp but informative visit. I would have to consider my Lammas preparations carefully now.

Gwas.

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  1. There’s a cairn right at the summit of Corndon and an even more massive 3-chambered one further down the ridge, but you can’t see that one from Mitchell’s Fold. The tallest stone in the circle is known as the “Witch stone” and relates to the local folklore concerning the circle, but – rather interestingly – from the geometric centre of the circle the “Witch Stone” is very close to the Samhain sunrise position (I have a Stellarium landscape of Mitchell’s Fold which shows this quite well).

    The “Sunline” energy-line comes through here – I have two articles on this available from my website http://www.ianpegler.co.uk/VCG/VCGArticles.htm

    1. Thanks you, Ian. Your work with astrological alignments of ancient monuments is adding much grist to the mill for those wishing to discover the skill of our forefathers in placing these stones. Also, you’re building up a legacy of work which can only benefit future generations of scholars. Thanks for your efforts.

      So, these “farmers” and their solstice alignments. Purely a farming calendar? Or a multi-purpose site of worship, calendar, and subtle energy configuration all in one place?

      1. I think the latter, because I keep finding Samhain alignments or more subtle references to Samhain at other points along the Sunline. It must have been part of something bigger that happened at that time of year.

        Ronald Hutton (Stations of the Sun) is skeptical about Samhain but I think he’s wrong, it may have been called by different names but I think it was a very important time of year. Why is St. Martin’s Day celebrated on the 11th and not the day on which he died (the 8th)? It must have been for astrological/pagan reasons. I’ve read manuscripts which relate saints’ feast-days to their positions in the zodiac, these are now all skewed because the saints’ feast-days didn’t move when we changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian.

        Halloween, or something like it, is still celebrated on No. 11th in some places, and Nov. 11th is still sometimes called Old Halloween. We call it St. Martin’s Day or Armistice Day but before we changed to the Gregorian Calendar it was Samhain or Halloween.

        Note also that the myth of Mitchell’s Fold (google it), which involves a witch with a sieve and a cow-of-plenty that only comes at night (possible lunar significance?). This story (or similar) turns up at other sites too – including Callanish!

        Mitchell’s Fold = the Hag’s Milking Fold.

        Ian

        1. I concur with the 11/11 concept and its energetic significance. I’m reading a book about Uri Geller at the moment and he also considers that date “special” in terms of subtle energies. Not suggesting he’s an authority on this, just noting the coincidence of your comment and my current reading.

          I think it’s interesting that the nationwide “accepted” (almost enforced) celebration of mass death occurs on the 11th November, and Samhain is always associated with death, the veil between life and death, and all things shade-related.

          I was interested in your “Hag” reference too. I have found other Scottish sites (like one I visited on Iona) which is linked to the story of a male deity (akin, if not paired with The Hag Cailleach) requiring milk to be left out for him so that cattle would be preserved.

          I think you’ve given a good indicator for ley-hunters that ‘Martin’ dedications could be used to plot the alignment of Samhain lines, like ‘Michael’ dedications show the Beltane alignment. I also found that ‘Ann’ dedications seem to be paired with ‘Martin’ like ‘Mary’ is to ‘Michael’.

          You have re-ignited my interest in the Martin-Ann alignments now. I must see if I can find a local alignment, and then test to see whether the energies change in strength during November.

          Thanks,
          Gwas.

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