Arthurian | Hedge Druidry | Quests | Tarot | Wheel of the Year

Blaise, Castle Mortal and Mortality

November 24, 2013

This is possibly the most exciting, scary and powerful magickal experience I have ever had. It was the culmination of a whole year’s work, but it was also an opportunity that I thought I had missed. How wrong I was. I was about to be tested like never before, but the rewards would be all the more fulfilling. If you read no other post on this blog, read this one.

Alderley Edge is a fun place to spend a night when the moon is beginning to come into its powers. Kal and I ventured out to this magickal forest one evening as the moon was waxing to its fullest, but had not yet reached that point. Once inside the forest I dowsed that it was at nearly 10% of its full potential. The following evening it would be at 55%, and then it would rise to 100% in the middle of Sunday.The three days of the Full Moon – The Hunter’s Moon – would be useful for we Seekers.

For me, personally, I have been working towards Samhain all year, preparing for a predicted challenge. I did a tarot reading at the start of the year which indicated that there would be some point of recapitulation during which the opportunity would be afforded for me to raise my abilities and make some real profound progress on my spiritual path. Tonight was the night to meet this challenge!

This is how I read the Camelot Oracle cards at the start of the year:-

CARDS: Blaise in Castle Mortal at Samhain

CHALLENGE. Whatever you are waiting for, is delay the result of reservation or suspicion?

Arthur’s Stone in Herefordshire was the site I had in mind to begin the process of visiting Castle Mortal and meeting with the energy entity which I could identify as Blaise – Merlin’s teacher and master. Although this was an Arthur-related site, I felt it had a strong affinity with Merlin too. However, my visit to Arthur’s Stone had not yielded any information about the tarot challenge. This had bothered me. Had I missed the opportunity? The dowsing rods indicated otherwise when asked. My dowsing showed me that actually I had needed the Merlin interaction, and that there was still a chance for me to find out about my Blaise/Castle Mortal challenge. Alderley Edge was a suitable location, said the rods. Then I would take the chance.

Who is Blaise?

That turns out to be a more difficult question than it first appears. On the face of it you would think that there ought to be a considerable amount of information about a figure related to such a person as Merlin. Actually, there are only a few vague sentences.

“Robert de Boron lays great emphasis on Merlin’s power to shapeshift, on his joking personality, and on his connection to the Holy Grail. This text introduces Merlin’s master Blaise, who is pictured as writing down Merlin’s deeds, explaining how they came to be known and preserved.” (source: Wikipedia)

Adam Ardrey (web site) in his book “Finding Merlin” reckons he knows who the man might be:

“I have argued in Finding Merlin that the real ‘Merlin’ was a specific late 6th c. British man of central Scotland; a man who worked with Arthur, Arthur Mac Aedan, against the Angles; a man I now call Merlin-Lailoken.

In Finding Merlin I also identified Merlin-Lailoken’s teacher as a man his friends called Cathen the Druid.

It was this Cathen who came to be called Blaise” (source: Finding Merlin)

Cathen, the author goes on to describe, is a nickname for a fighter – a druid in active physical rebellion. A worthy adversary, and a glorious archetype for me at this point in the year.

Where is Castle Mortal?

If you thought the last question was difficult, this one is even more challenging. There is no information about this place outside of the book which accompanies the Camelot Oracle.

“The castle is sometimes known as the Dangerous Castle, and is often said to harbour temptations of some kind. Only those who accept their spiritual selves, who are humble enough to allow spiritual protection into their lives, and who know that the secret of the Grail is service to others can leave unscathed.”

I asked if I could try to complete my quest to find Blaise, and fulfil the tarot reading that I had done at the start of the year – to meet Blaise at Samhain at Castle Mortal where he would pose the ultimate question – was I committed or not to this path of druidry?

I let one dowsing rod describe a path to the place where we could meet. The meeting point turned out to be a tree just off one of the main paths close to the cliffs which gave Alderley Edge its name. The tree was a tall mature pine – the only one if its kind within visible range – and it was bathed in a powerful moonlight which threw pale shadows around as it lit the black and white scene.

Hunters Moon at Alderley Edge
Hunters Moon at Alderley Edge

After grounding, centring, connecting and asking the permission of the pine tree to work within its aura space I began to call upon Blaise to make himself known to me. As my head cleared out of the day’s junk so a presence made itself known, like an extra shadow slipping in behind a tree. I asked my first question:

“Where is Castle Mortal?”

The answer came back directly and succinctly:

“It is a place where you are in mortal peril.”

Somewhere in Alderley Edge? Well, interesting correlation because the Camelot Oracle defines Castle Mortal as being “Northwest following the Turning Path“. An apt description of where I was right this moment.

It didn’t take a genius to begin to piece together an Infernal Triangle of “mortal”, “edge” and “peril”. There was a hefty and audible gulp taken as I came back to normal consciousness and headed over to the nearby tree where Kal was standing. He had done his work, but I didn’t want to say anything about mine next, except to ask him a question – would he hold on to my car keys and phone. He might need them… if….

The sentence remained incomplete. But he knew something was afoot.

Mortal-Edge-Peril

I positioned the dowsing rods, ready for the inevitable, the turning wheel, the pre-destined tarot. I asked to be taken to Castle Mortal, giving leeway to whatever force was directing the rods at that moment to lead me there. The rods moved back and forth in a familiar swaying path and I was taken downwards, closer to the edge.

At one point the path heading downwards became well-defined and a barbed-wire fence ran alongside. The rods swung to point over the fence. We both stopped and Kal’s rods followed behind me to also point to the same place. At this point he wished me well but made it clear he wasn’t going to follow. There wouldn’t have been space for two of us anyway. The rods were pointing to a small promontory ledge with tufty grass and moss, below which was a precipitous drop to a steeply sloping flat mud ground which looked unyielding some fifty feet below the ledge. Another gulp. This was it.

I stood alone on the edge of the precipice in the moonlight. I tried not to look down. This was most definitely a situation that could be considered “in mortal peril”. The best I could hope for would be broken limbs if I fell. I stood firmly, keeping a level gaze and tried to calm my heart back to a resting beat. I closed my eyes and began to connect using my usual routine, as though this inner familiarity would counteract the rampant abnormality on the outside.

After some minutes of stillness I felt more assured. A familiar presence came up behind me. It was Blaise again, hovering in that hinterland as he had done a few minutes earlier. I stated my question:

“What is the test of my druidry?”

Blaise’s glowing shadow reared up behind me. I imagined a faint light orange glow could be seen delineating a human shape. Blaise gripped me by the hips – a hand on each side, as if holding me in place on this steep edge. I tried not to jump, to react and most importantly I tried not to look down. However humans have this death-wish curiosity which meant that I had to open my eyes even though I felt like I was in trance. The height was difficult to make out and for a moment I imagined that I could jump down safely. Then I looked to the side of the ledge and saw how deeply and steeply the water channel was which alongside dropped to the flat area below. It was easily the height of a large house. If I jumped down to the sloping and narrow ground I would surely cause a severe injury at best. Another gulp.

The invisible hands on my hips tightened their grip, controlling my central balance point. I let them. I was facing East, gathering in the strength from that direction – a direction that I had come to associate with Galahad, my spiritual champion of the year (see Arthurian Overview tarot). This energy, gathered from this direction, and from the plants and spirits nearby, they anchored me to the spot.

Then I heard my question being answered with a question:

“Do you accept your ancestors?”

As soon as the question was uttered the invisible hands swayed my hips forward slightly and I felt off-balance, leaning forward over the edge from my central balance point. I was at a tipping point, and my decision needed to come from the heart and without hesitation. I said “YES!”

“Do you accept your faith?”

My moment of puzzlement over the word was short-lived, as I was about to be! The invisible hands pushed me harder, further over the edge, until I nearly swayed completely forward over the cliff face. My body was reacting to the pressure, but the pressure came again and again. I said quickly and from the heart: “YES!!”

“Do you accept your future?”

This time the invisible hands PUSHED me hard in the pelvis. Instead of rocking, now I was teetering on the brink – thrusting outwards like a drawn bow.

When one is faced with a movement towards falling one almost comes to accept this and begins a process of letting go emotionally, a stepping back from the mind-bomb of panic. My knees buckled. My body sank forward, inevitably forward towards a moonlit stage far below me. So I slipped into this no-mind, and in that space I uttered the word: “YES.” What will be will be. I accept.

The pushing ceased. The hands vanished. The pressure was released. In a split second as I began to cantilever over the edge of the cliff I spun around, twisting my body and diving for the safety of the mossy green ledge on which moments ago I had been standing. Enough of my body came into contact with the ledge to prevent me from dropping over the edge, and although my feet were dangling in space I knew that I was not falling to an uncertain outcome. My fate has been decided by my acceptance of it.

The relief was almost bladder-releasing! I suddenly felt the cold of the moonlit night, the damp of the mossy grass, and the freshness and smell of the woodland breeze. I took a few quick and life-affirming breaths. Phew. I was alive. The quest continues!

What a moment! A defining moment. It was a fitting end to the year and a profound conclusion to the challenge made at the start of the year. Suddenly it all became worthwhile. The whole thing – the name of druid that I was trying to live up to; the upkeep of the blog recording my stories like Blaise recorded Merlin’s stories; the crazy magickal adventures that took me from one end of these islands to the other…. suddenly everything came together.

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