Hedge Druidry

The Pact with Cailleach – Summer 14 P9

August 20, 2014

Shronebirrane stone circle, Kerry, Ireland

To find this circle you need to follow the brown signs inland from the R571 Beara peninsula coast road after passing through Lauragh village. More information can be found at the Isle of Albion site.

After wending our way along a single track road that snaked along a valley floor for what seemed like an eternity we end up at a small car park next to a long farmhouse. We are surrounded by beautiful and tall hills, yet the valley is wide enough for us to catch the remainder of the solstice day’s rays.

Parking at the floor of the valley for Shonebrane circle
Parking at the floor of the valley for Shronebirrane circle

As we pass the farmhouse we are met by the owner who charges us a nominal fee to enter the site in what is effectively their back garden. Their sheep wander around the circle leaving small black deposits.

I begin my investigations outside of the circle, whilst Kal heads straight inside, as he often does. I dowse firstly for the Spirit of Place for the site and find that the circle has one. Good. I ask to be shown where the spirit is, and I am taken all around the outside of the circle, threading in and out of some of the stones. That’s unusual, but vaguely familiar! I’m sure I found the same energy form at Cerrig Pryfaid near Conwy years ago. After my third perambulation I am back on the same track again, so it would appear that the spirit forms three discernible circles of energy around the stones.

When I ask to connect with the spirit I am taken by the dowsing rods to stand at one of the stones which lie to one side of the circle. Here I can connect with the spirit, and I learn that she is born of the surrounding mountains and that she has been at this circle for thousands of years.

The helpful sign is ten feet away from the circle!
The helpful sign is ten feet away from the circle!

Back at Molly’s Farm

I have to take you back in time a little bit now. When Kal and I walked up through the “heritage” exhibits at the back of Molly Gallivan’s Tea Rooms earlier that day we saw a stone row in the Sheen Valley heritage area. The alignment points to the rising sun and moon on two surrounding hills, and is thought to be dedicated to Cailleach in her Sun aspect (Cailleach Beara), even though she is commonly associated with Winter elsewhere in these collective islands.

Molly Gallivans Tea Rooms
Molly Gallivans Tea Rooms

When I communed at the alignment I received a connection with Cailleach, which really surprised me. Wasn’t she Kal’s guide? Why pick on me? She suggested that if I wanted to work with her that I could dedicate something yellow to her, and then she would know that I was willing to work. Back in the gift shop we searched for something yellow, and Kal suggested a pot of honey. It was a good choice, so I bought it. Several hours later let’s get back to the story….

The Same Old Circle

We are becoming quite used to the format of these circles now – one large, tall and wide stone acting as the obvious key stone. Then four or five other smaller stones grouped in a small tight circle. This set was slightly larger than most, giving the circle a real, well, circular feel!

A typical arrangement of stones at Shonebrane
A typical arrangement of stones at Shronebirrane

I wonder what to do next as I sit on the stone, still with a connection to the spirit of the place. The spirit gives me a hint…. Cailleach”. Yes, what about her? Who IS this spirit of place I’m connecting to who is thousands of years old? “Cailleach!” Oh! Stupid me! Cailleach IS the spirit of place for this area! Again, I had presumed that, because Kal was in close connection with her that this would sort of preclude me working with her. Yet here she was, in her mountain stronghold, and showing me the ways in which she interacts with the stone circle.

Well, we weren’t working together yet. Not until I show my gesture of leaving something yellow at the circle. That would be my sign to her that I was willing to work with her. I had a decision to make. Kal looked deep into his work – I couldn’t run it by him. This was my decision. Did I want to work with Cailleach? All Kal’s stories of trickery and life-changing events flashed through from memory. Hmm… did I need a life-changing event? Perhaps I did. Let’s see what would happen!

I fish into my bag and pull out the small pot of honey. You know, I had forgotten it was there? I dowse for where the leave some its its yellow contents. The dowsing rods lead me to one of  the stones facing the valley road that we came in on. I stand at the stone with the pot open. Before I pour I make a connection to all my guiding forces, asking them for their opinion on this decision. I know that ultimately it is my decision, but I value their input. One by one I feel them come to me and offer their opinion on this action. I thank them, and listen to their feelings. Then we are all agreed.

I pour some honey over the base of the stone, intending that I am willing to work with Cailleach and to let her guide me as she sees fit. I ask her why she wants me to make a yellow offering. She says that my willingness to make such an offering in her colours means that she was now prepared to offer to work with me wherever her Sun aspect is powerful. At the moment I know this to be in this area of Ireland – on the Beara Peninsula – and so I accept this offer.

When I tell this part to Kal later he asks me, why did I make the restriction to work with her only in Ireland? I felt it was because this is her home, and so she is more powerful here. To call upon her in other places where she is not so powerful is not in my best interests. I can’t explain why – I just felt that this is the case.

Little did I know then what I had done. Life changing events? Ha! Just wait until I tell you soon!


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