Samhain 2015 was spent at Belas Knap near to Winchcombe in Gloucestershire. The long barrow had been appearing all week beforehand in background pictures on my computer and I took this as a sign that it was the right place. This would be the second festival date without Kal, but this time I had a fellow traveler – and I will hopefully tell you more about that in the near future as it becomes a regular thing.
In the morning I had been listening to the radio and the program had been talking about this time of year being a time to remember “saints known and unknown“. That might be something that I could bear in mind?
The journey was misty almost all the way down to Gloucestershire. A cold dull day loomed, but then as we rose up towards the ridge where the long barrow was located the way cleared and a strong warm sun was waiting for us.
The sun’s appearance began burning back the morning mists until, from a vantage point on top of the ridge, a cinematic view emerged. The barrow was perched in a ridge which seemed to rise out of the surrounding mists like the romantic pictures of The Isle of Avalon.
I had decorated my staff that morning for some reason, and the jangling sound of the attached necklaces accompanied our walk to the barrow through the old woodland tunnel.
As we walked bees kept buzzing in the air around me, catching my attention on a regular basis, as though saying “We’re still here!”. They were so insistently loud, and it seemed almost as though they were following me. We made a “bee line” for the barrow.
The trees were in the last of their autumn dress, still respondent as though having this one last chance to show off. I passed an elder tree and it seemed to offer me the bowing frond of berries. I took it with respect, and intended it to be a gift to the site at some point. As I got to a familiar place just outside the barrow’s walled perimeter I sat to cleanse my energies on the moss seat, which was my usual custom before entering this sacred site.
When I was ready I was led by the dowsing rods to enter at a different place than usual – over the dry stone wall almost at the opposite corner to the main entrance. Never the normal entrance point for me! Always a clamber and a scramble. Still, the effort was always rewarded.
Then the dowsing rods took me to the rear of the site, to the ‘serpent’s tail’ feature, and I settled in the forked hollow safely away from the gathering and passing groups of people. I wasn’t completely alone. The day was too nice for walkers to resist, and it wasn’t long before my activity was being observed.
I placed a set of crystals around me as directed by the dowsing rods, watched by a curious party of young adults. The ladies were interested, but the men were keen to leave.
As they left I began to meditate. Or was it the other way around? “Nothing to see here!” – the space became mine again. I connected with the site and realised that I had no spirit guide now, so I couldn’t invite anything to be present with me. I was fine with being un-guided, but I did consider that this might be a chance to remedy that situation.
As I sat meditating the sun made its presence felt – boy it was hot! Like a summer’s day! So unexpected after the cool and misty drive to get here.
Blood Red into Winter
Suddenly my vision got completely covered by a descending clear colour – crimson red. It filled my vision and stayed there until I specifically said that I had seen it and recognised it. What was it? Blood, was the answer. What did it mean? It was the colour that I needed to take with me into the Winter.
I opened my eyes. I saw the elderberry cluster just in front of me. It had fallen out of the pocket of my coat as I had lain the coat down. I fetched the berries, and had a feeling that I needed to paint my face with the juice of the berries. I could see a red juice in my mind, and so I crushed the berries and wiped their pale red juice across my face. First down my nose, then across my cheeks. It was like a faint red cross. I knew not why.
I left the remaining berries as an offering to Bel, the Bel of Belas Knap. The was the Sun God, the god of Light. I felt the sun again burning my skin, drying my red cross, and I felt that Bel was offering me sun energy. I should take this sunlight, and keep it like a deep red sunset in my energy centres. I was a top-up to the Solstice Energy that I had gathered in Ireland. A gift from Bel.
Then my vision changed. I saw the connectedness of the site. I saw energy arcing from the site to others in a chain across the land. Firstly in one direction, then in all directions. Then I was taken underground to see that there were subterranean connections too – connections of energy from the site to underground lakes and deposits of minerals. The vision re-emerged into the light and now I could see the energy stretching up into the sky – reaching out to certain clusters of stars, connecting with the similar energies.
I thought that was all, but then the energies of the birds, insects, animals, trees, plants and humans began to be added to the picture of connectivity. As I “stood back” and examined the picture as a whole I could see that all forms of energy were a necessary part of the web of connectivity that fed into and beyond this sacred place. It was a reminder that the human noise was both a part of the scene and a necessary ingredient in the energetic mix. I paused to reflect on this. I should be thankful that energy was being moved through the site, not wishing I had the place to myself. My attitude to the visitors changed. In that moment I felt that I had properly understood the weeks of imagery I had been receiving about connectedness. Now it all made sense. I understood and accepted it. My quest was at an end for now – this lesson had been learned.
Under a blood red sky
I woke from my meditative state and began to prepare to leave for the next installment. As I gathered my crystals I heard the family on the top of the mound talking amongst themselves. They were talking about their picnic. Two phrases suddenly emerged “blood oranges”, and “they really are very red, aren’t they?”
I smiled. Time for the next installment, now that I had my Saint George Cross across my face.