And so the year comes around again. Imbolc is the start of the fire festivals of the old calendar, and for me it is the start of Spring and the end of Winter. It’s when we see the first glimmers of new growth and it marks the start of the lambing season.
I decided to go out by myself this time. I much prefer working alone on some of these special days, and especially when I want to be truly open to the possibilities. I sometimes feel that when two or more people are involved the full significance of events and the branch options which are available can be constricted, and so valuable lessons may be lost. Certainly when I look back at the events of this Imbolc, that is most definitely the case. I doubt whether Kal or anyone else I know would have gone with me where I went this day! Yet I needed to make this trek to learn the importance of it.
I’m talking in riddles. Let me begin this story with a wonderful moment and then in the next few posts all will become clear.
Somewhere, over the rainbow
“Like all good stories, this one begins once upolly-tito.” (Stanley Unwin)
I made my way along the A55. The lure and draw of the Penmaenmawr area had imposed itself upon me when I had asked where I should go for Imbolc. I had been meaning to explore the area in more depth ever since I had first gone up there. For some reason there had never been the time. Now I afforded myself such time (although I was starting later than intended).
As I began my journey I asked the powers that be whether I could receive a sign that I was making the correct decision today. Within mere moments of asking I rounded a bend to find that there was a rainbow stretching from behind me to land at my intended destination. Well, is ‘un-ignorable’, isn’t it?
That set me thinking for the remainder of the journey about magickal thinking. If I were to try to explain the significant and coincidence of this event to anyone, especially those of a scientific mindset, I could expect to hear about the way that light is refracted, and how it is perceived from the user’s perspective, and all about the prismatic separation of light into different frequencies. What I wouldn’t get from that is the magical emotional resonance of seeing one just after asking for a sign. That’s the magick, but it’s not contained in the physics of the experience.
Why would someone choose to live in a boring world?
As I got out of the car I assessed the day – bright, clear and unseasonably warm considering this was the start of February. Yet, knowing the hills around as I did, I knew that I should get kitted out in all the possible weatherproof materials that I could muster, and something warm too. My first intended destination – Penmaenmawr Druid’s Circle – had a habit of funnelling a cone of cold air at high speed.
I had with me the Merlin Oak Staff which I had carved in the summer of 2016. Now I was bringing the staff out into the real world to begin its journey – well, our journey together – and to initiate the energies of the staff in an attempt to reveal its true magickal potential.
As if I needed any further confirmation that this was the right day and the right intention, as I began my walk up there was the unmistakable sound of a hawk. As I turned to watch, I could see a pair of hawks circling the trees below. It’s a sight which never fails to impress, and for me it gave me the stamp of approval that I was hoping for. It was the sign of a good day – spiritually.
As I arrived at the standing stone with the pine tree portal, as I touched the stone I felt like I was being invited to feel the weak female and male spirals. I spent the next few minutes dowsing their positions, and feeling their slight and gentle ebb and flow. Still early in the year – not very strong yet, these earth energies. I walked out of the area via two sycamore trees, which seemed to form an exit portal.
The Initiation of the Merlin Staff
I smiled as I walked up towards the first cairn circle. Memories of Kal being battered by the breath of the Ice Dragon came to mind. Happy memories. I wondered if I would see a member of the crow family on this special day – perhaps a sign that he was close, or taking an interest in what I was doing.
I stopped to admire the view out towards Anglesey. It was the clearest and brightest that I had seen that view for many a long year. Already this year feels brighter, clearer. They way is clearer. Talking of clearing, I had to take my position in the cairn circle to do some clearing of outer world energies in preparation for approaching the main Druids’ Circle site.
In the cleansing circle I walked around in an anti-clockwise direction three times. Three times around the outside in the female direction, removing the female energies. Then inside I walked in a clockwise direction for two perambulations. Two times to remove the male energies. In the very centre there was a further act of cleansing required. I’ll keep that to myself. Let’s just say that coffee and a long drive helped.
By ‘coincidence’ I arrived at The Druid’s Circle at noon exactly. I prepared for entry into the main circle by standing at a spot just outside the circle, beside what is called The Hooded Man stone. There I connected with the Spirit of Place. Yes, my friend, it has been a while. But I’m back. Back to normal. Back to work. The reception, the movement of energy, the preparation – it was all very difficult at first. Everything felt like it was a distraction, vying for my attention – attempting to disrupt my focus. I turned my will toward the singular task of getting connected and it was like something inside of me remembered the moves, even if the brain was struggling to remember the sequences.
Intuitively I connected to the land, the sea, the sky and the sun. Once connected I set my intention – to initiate my oak staff, and felt it was right to place the staff along the spine of the female recumbent stone which I often resorted to.
I dowsed for the position of the Spirit of Place and was taken into the very centre, where fires are often lit. I had but one purpose. To initiate my oak staff. I had with me all the things which I felt would help me whilst the energies were so weak. I used a leather bag of raw rough-cut crystals to create pathway from the centre of the circle to the staff. Some crystals were placed at strategic stones around the main circle, too. An invocation was made to draw out the energies. I called upon the powers of Imbolc and Brigid – the Cailleach in her young form, the form of the maiden.
The Merlin Oak staff lay on the female altar stone, and a set of new quartz crystals were laid out along the stone, [placed directly under the staff. Then I made a call to all my helpers – help to forge the staff to my intent and destiny, I intoned! Help to make it a useful tool for humanity and Nature, for as long as it was required. I called in the powers of land, sea, sky and sun to infuse the staff with the quartet of natural energies.
I felt like I needed to leave the staff in this position for a while. I dowsed for the duration and found that it would take five minutes to complete the process. This left me just enough time to find a sheltered spot by the phallic stone, and with cold hands to write up the procedure for posterity. Oh yes, despite the clear skies the biting wind of Penmaemawr would not let me out of its icy grip!
Lifting the staff a few minutes later I could feel its density, its weight, and a new sense of power within it. I had no idea at this point what transformation ti had been through or what those changes meant. Maybe it will take me a lifetime to find out. I am patient and will wait to discover the uses when the time is right. Or maybe they would be known to me sooner? Now it was time to move on to some of the other spaces around this incredible hilltop area. There was till much daylight and much to do.