Glyphs and Wards | Hills and Mounds | Merlin

Bull and Barbell Glyphs for the Merlin Staff

July 20, 2015

I was on the hunt for the second pair of glyphs – symbols and shapes that were discoverable by dowsing at sacred sites, and which I needed in order to satisfy my requirement for creating The Merlin Staff soon. I had an idea that I needed to carve these four symbols into the staff as part of its creation. Carving would be the starting point for our journey, as I was soon to discover. We were going to Dinas Emrys now.

We had taken the “alternative” route to get to Beddgelert. The faster route was probably to go via the A5 and come past Snowdon, but today we had gone via Blaenua Ffestiniog on the A470. Scenic, but slow. However, as this year is all about learning patience, I acquiesced to the situation. So it was mid-afternoon by the time we arrived. No problem, we knew a quick way up Dinas Emrys, and so we set off – late but confident.

Until we met the landowner as we wandered through his caravan park. He queried our presence, and then re-directed our “hapless wandering” back down to the road with directions to visit the nearby National Trust site of Craflwyn in order to find the correct path. We drove the half mile back and parked up. There was a visitor centre with an exhibition all about Dinas Emrys, so we took the opportunity to see what it had to say.

Inside were information boards, videos and beautiful carvings depicting characters from the stories.

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When we had had our fill, we re-emerged, examining a map that was neither detailed nor to scale, nor indicative of the contours of the land. So we picked a likely path that ended up at Dinas Emrys and set off, grateful for the shade in the sweltering heat.

We climbed. At first through the shaded beautiful woodland, then soon the path got steeper and broke out into the glare of the sun. Now we were getting hot. How much further until we could see Dinas Emrys, we wondered? The we saw it – but it was still miles away! And the path wasn’t going anywhere near it soon!

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We had a decision – abandon now, or press on? We looked around for signs. I sat on the wooden “throne” overlooking the intended hill below, wondering what to do. A gentle wind cooled my fevered brow. We would press on.

Kal was looking for his own signs – bees and crows. Soon he was totting them up getting more excited about the prospect of having sufficient numbers of each to be able to call upon the Faery Folk (see his previous posts on this).

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Small mad druid or large chair? Above Dinas Emrys

The heat was getting unbearable and the destination no closer. We headed downhill having re-discovered the path. We had just walked in what can only be described as a steep rectangle! Time was ticking on! At the bottom of the hill the path turned towards Dinas Emrys at last, and we felt some relief. Then, a spectacular sight unfolded before us!

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The waterfall oasis on the way to Dinas Emrys

The waterfall as a relief in so many ways. A relief that we were finally heading towards the hill, that we were on a recognised well-trodden signposted path, that we were back in shade, and that the gentle misty spray from the falling water was cooling us down a bit. We lolled about, gadded, splashed and skipped. This was simply stunning, and I had to taste the water before we left.

Hurry up and get to the interesting bit, Chris!” I will, soon, but the trails and efforts that we go through to bring you these stories are part of it all. In this case, they were definitely designed to make us appreciate the ending, to slow us down to take in more of the sights, and to discover things we would otherwise have never known about.

One more field’s length and we were onto the saddle leading to the base of Dinas Emrys. Finally. Now a new vista awaited us – a carpet of bluebells spraying the foliage with their woad colouring, and making an idyllic woodland scene with the hoary trees and mossy branches. This is why I love these islands! Nowhere else on Earth can you get such beauty.

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We walked between the portal trees – trees either side of the steep path up the edge of Dinas Emrys’ ridge. We noticed the change in the liminal space, and then a wren flitted in front of me. My Merlin sign! Then, all was well after all, and at that point I finally relaxed into the moment.

Underworld and InnerWorld glyphs

Finally, we were on top of Dinas Emrys and could relax. Kal went off to sit beneath the lone ash tree in the remnants of Vortigern’s Tower, whilst I settled on a tuft where I had previously descended into the Underworld in search of Merlin. That was the spot that the dowsing rods said was the best place to meet Merlin, and so I sat there.

I had a great view and a cool breeze. After a quick rest it was time to work. Crystals and incense came out. Three incense sticks in a rough triangle around me (again, where the dowsing rods decided would be best). These would act as both cleansers of the space and guards against unwanted spirit intrusion. Then I set up my crystals – two black tourmaline and a single pillar clear quartz in the centre.

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Stage one: The Underworld. I settled down for a meditation, but found it very difficult to get into the right state of mind. I was being plagued by biting small flies, so I hunkered down and pulled the hood of my coat over my face completely despite the warmth of the day.  I could still breathe, and the darkness helped, so I began to go deep into meditation as quickly as I could.

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The descent was swift. I felt the presence of Merlin next to me, then he grabbed my shoulders and together we plummeted down into the depths of my Underworld mind. It was dark, as always, but soon I was in the cavern with the lake where I often seem to emerge when travelling in this realm. Scanning around I could see an image glowing on one of the walls of the cavern. As I started at it I could make out a circle topped by a long pair of horns. It was an image I had seen before  – the astrological sign for Taurus – the Bull horns and Disk image:


Stage Two: The Innerworld. There was one last glyph to acquire. I re-surfaced back into myself in order to “gird my loins” for the next part of the venture. The Innerworld….? Thatw as somewhere deep inside me – could I get there? I went back into my coat hood and covered up again. With out Merlin as an escort, it was very difficult to venture deep inside. I called upon my Spirit Self to help, and soon I was deep enough to begin to feel thoughts and images emerging.

“What is the symbol of the Innerworld?” I asked. A voice responded that symbol was inside me, and was integral to me. It was something I already knew. I stayed with that guidance and held my breath, battling to keep my analyst brain from intruding long enough for the answer to emerge fully. Then I saw a stylised tree shape. So stylised that I barely recognised it as atree, yet it looked like the World Tree with its connections to both the Upper and Under Worlds. The symbols was more like a barbell, yet I knew that it symbolised a link between Upper and Under Worlds..

Why was this my inner image, I wondered? As if in response I get the message that:

“That’s what you do – you unite the upper and lower worlds, the inner and the outer. That’s your symbol inside at the very core of your being.”

World Tree symbol
The Innerworld symbol is the link between worlds.

This was something I would need to think about. I now had all four of my glyphs for carving into the new staff. I felt that the quest to find the essence of the Merlin Staff was now complete. Now all I needed to do was actually carve the staff, but I guess I’ll know when the right time is for that.


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