I had a vision. Months ago I saw myself standing in Castlerigg stone circle at the Winter Solstice. I was striding into the centre of the circle, staff in hand, dressed in full druid robes and I had a beard – the kind of beard you can hide snacks in. I was then leading a ritual for the gathered throng – a ritual to give thanks for the year and to usher in the new one.
That was the vision. I had grown the beard over the next few months while I began to make this vision a reality. I decorated my staff, and bought some olive green robes from Morocco. Finally, with days to go I crafted a ritual for everyone who was present to follow. Some friends from my meditation group were planning to come along too. It was shaping up nicely.
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley
Robert Burns “To A Mouse” (1786)
The signs were there. People began to drop out of coming along. Cumbria suffered its worst floods for centuries just a week or so before the solstice. My wife M fell ill with a powerful cold. The signs were there. Yet I continued. One friend had said he would be there in the morning, and bolstered by that we battled our way up to the Lake District through gale-force winds in our motorhome. We should not really have been surprised to find that there was plenty of space to park up alongside the stone circle the night before.
The Moon was out when we arrived, its light flickering as the clouds scudded past in quick succession. M was nursing a cold and stayed in the warmth of the van, sensibly, huddled in a blanket with the gas fire on for warmth and a glass of wine for comfort. I couldn’t resist the winds though!
I went out to walk up to the circle – only a matter of a few yards away. A couple were there in the darkness but left as I arrived. The wind was still howling, ripping at clothing and making the pools of standing water ripple as the reflected the moonlight.
I found an entrance that felt right and stood in the Sanctuary – a small rectangular space delineated inside the main wide circle. Underfoot was sodden and muddy everywhere, but the lure of magickal workings was stronger than the off-putting squelch.
I connected with the energy sources of Sun, Moon and Earth and felt the flow. It was weak, as one would expect in the depths of Winter, but it was there. I called on my spirit guide to assist and asked if I had completed my quest. “Not until you have invoked the Violet Flame“, came the answer.
I took the hint. I called upon an image of a violet flame all around me, and found that it burst out from my head and from both hands. As I looked at my hands I could see the violet flame like a steady stream of violet energy, a flame in my palms. From my head the violet flame gave me a spiritual connection with Otherworldly spirits, but the fire in the hands was different. This felt like it wasn’t “mine”.
I asked if I had now completed the quest. Yes, but to truly complete it fully I must now pass on the flame by handing it to others. Noted. That was why the flame on the hands felt different. It was intended to be passed to others. I would have to wait for the most appropriate moment to do that.
I stood marveling at the stones lit by the near full moon. No rain yet, but I was clearly lucky this evening as it had been raining heavily, I could tell. What would the solstice bring, I wondered? Time to get some rest before the main event.