Only the fool-hardy and those friends with frost would venture forth into the darkness of Delamere Forest at midnight. Illuminated only by a filling Milk Moon and a fogging headlamp I met with John Kirby – experienced meditator and esoteric inspiration. This was his idea, and I had seen no reason not to accompany him on his wild adventure into the blackness. I was nearly put off by other people’s reservations: it would be cold, I didn’t know where I was going exactly, it was very windy, the world might end any moment. None of this seemed to matter. Curiosity and the opportunity to meditate outdoors this close to Imbolc was sufficient motivation to drive me onwards.
It was almost a full moon and there was sufficient light to make our way from the station car park, past the visitor centre, and out into the forest proper. John had identified a place where there were some specific trees that he wanted to encounter again. Luckily, he knew how to get there even in the dark, and within ten minutes we had found the place.
There was one clearly visible and identifiable “male” tree. it stood along, a ‘lonesome pine’, immensely proud and conical. It looked like the kind of Christmas Tree that ought to adorn a special square in London. I chatted with John about the concept of the “King Stone” at a stone circle, and how the outlier would often be the male standing stone whose energy would be fed into the female stone circle. I likened the imagery to the sperm and ovum concept.
For me, Imbolc sees the return of the male earth energy so tonight it seemed appropriate to attempt to “fertilise” the female ring of trees nearby with the male energy of this lone tree. We set up camp in a clutch of fir trees whose central space was both soft and welcoming, sheltered yet not smothering. A fire pit was dug by hand, wet logs used as a container, and then a small immediate flame established to ward off the worst of the Winter’s warmth-sapping strength.
The fire flew to a foot high with the population of the sharp and rampant wind rushing through it. The flames danced like maidens around the stone circle, and we watched mesmerized at the alluring power of the flickering forms, both frantic and free. We were marking the Celtic fire festival in true form. We decided to meditate. The wind decided to match our mood.
I tried firstly to talk to the spirits of the fire. They did not want to stay and chat tonight – they were having too much fun raging in their small hollow before letting streams of sparks fly into the high sky horizontally, skitting across the damp floor of the forest. No, there was no communing with them tonight. They were playing and wouldn’t come back in for a chat!
Instead I turned my attentions to calling in the light of Brigid. There was a perfectly round window making the light of the moon available. I drew this energy down and could feel it form a pool of subtle silvery light as it bathed the surface and some feet down into the earth around the circle of trees. As the energy streamed down into the earth I could feel its purpose: Fertility. I felt that Brigid – the bride – was beginning to brighten the night with her light, and felt like she was coming into her powers at this time. The wind had dies to a faint breeze with an occasional rush. Peacefulness descended with the Brigid energy.
Next I turned my attention to the “outgoing” energy presence. This is The Crone form of the triple goddess that Kal often encounters as “Cailleach“. I too encountered her as that name, but only in Ireland – her spiritual home. At this time of year The Crone hands her crown on to The Maiden form – personified by Brigid. For a few days before this meeting (and a few days after too) I had been hearing the name “Morrigan“. As someone who notices the unusual, the repeated and the significant I had put this all together. On this night, the night when Morrigan secedes to Brigid, I would try to contact her.
Within seconds of going back into a meditation, and moments of making contact, the tree branches began to bend alarmingly. The wind picked up to an astonishing speed – the strongest it had been all day – and there was a howling that I can only liken to the accounts of The Banshee! The fire, flapping and falling about, nearly flattened itself to the ground! It also raged, spitting sparks like an apoplectic punk! The air changed from still warmth to cold sharpness. Fear followed. I looked at John and could see his reaction was the same as mine. I had got the measure of Morrigan’s power, and I could see that she still had the strength to destroy worlds!
Minutes later we chatted again about our respective experiences as we set about damping down and pushing in the fire until it was only embers and smoulders beneath the soil. There was nary a trace of our having been there other than the wild experiences we had in our minds and the stunningly styled hair that we sported which the wind had tugged into garish wisps. Luckily, it was 2am and there was no-one to see how daft we looked.
The experience was powerful and profound. I felt the transition between the forces of The Crone and The Bride – the differences between their energies. It’s not something I will forget in a hurry, and I thank John for inviting me along. And for bringing the kindling. What a kind-ling he is!