We weren’t sure how to approach Maiden’s Bower – a turf maze in Yorkshire. Coming from Ripon, down the A1(M) once more, ending up in the village of Topcliffe. In the village we took Winn Lane, which goes back over the A1 road. On the other side there was just enough space to park the car, and then we followed the straight track until a stile took us across the farmland.
The first feature you encounter is Cock Lodge – a raised earthwork of substantial proportions. At first we thought this might be the thing we were looking for, but luckily I had seen a picture on Megalithic Portal of the place we were searching for – this wasn’t it.
I asked the dowsing rods to lead me to the correct place, and they took me alongside Cock Lodge earthwork and over a fence on the other side. Suddenly Maiden’s Bower turf maze was visible between some small hawthorn trees. Even in the fading evening light it was impressive and unusual.
Kal wasn’t far behind but I got started straight away – time was pressing. I felt like I needed to walk up the mound barefoot. In the depths of Winter? Was that sensible? No – but at least there wasn’t any snow on the ground! However, within a few steps my feet were almost numb with the cold dew. I ventured on, following the dowsing rods after asking for the correct path for me to climb the mound in order to meet with the Spirit of Place.
I wound an unusual path, always upwards, but not by any obvious track. Somehow I avoided all the thistles, thorns and nettles. Don’t ask me how, because they were everywhere! At the top I admired the sunset to the West and the stunning view of the nearby Cod Beck – more a river than a stream.
The Spirit of Place was called “Gonchuan“. I didn’t sense a gender, but it was an earth spirit, and was quite co-operative with me when I offered it the pine cone that I had picked up from St.Michael’s Church earlier that day. It was also impressed that I had found the right path up the mound, as few people did that “these days”, it felt.
I spent some time in meditation praising the old year, and being thankful for all that I had learned and experienced in that rounding of the sun’s span.
I lit some incense in recognition and acknowledgement of the death of the old year, and because I was on The Maiden’s Bower I asked the maiden Brigid to bring the light back in February so that I could continue my work.
The information that I got back in response to this ritual was that my new spirit guide will teach me the language of the winds, which can be learned through contemplation of the wind, or by listening to the rustle of trees.
That wasn’t all. Brigid said that I needed to rest until February. The dead animals that I had been seeing all day were associated with the death of the year, and a message that I should do no more work.
By an odd coincidence, it came about that I did indeed rest until the middle of January. Much more than I ever have! However, I had thought that this perhaps meant that I wouldn’t be doing any spiritual activity. Actually, as it turned out I would.
January 2015 is the first time I have been out during the Quiet Time and managed to do some valuable spiritual work, even though I was also resting more than I ever have. Isn’t it strange how things work out?