Archive for the ‘Ancient site visit reports’ Category
Finally we can get to the posts about things that happened after the Summer Solstice! Shortly after our return from Ireland we found an opportunity to go to Wales to visit one of our favourite sites – Dinas Bran.
It was a really hot day, and so we climbed the steep hill very very slowly, yet still we were wringing wet with sweat when we reached the summit. Luckily, Dinas Bran always has a stiff breeze to cool you down – often when you don’t want it! Today, however, it was most welcome.
The Death of Gwas
You will remember that I had been told to kill off Gwas. Having agreed to do that several things began to come together to reinforce that decision. Firstly, my full time job came to an end! I had about a month’s notice in order to re-position myself and work out whether I wanted to find another soul-sucking position in an industry that I didn’t agree with. I needed help!
As a druid I turned to my natural sources of information – my spirit guides. Yes, “guides” plural. I recently found I have more than one! I made frequent trips out into Nature and spent time meditating on the correct course of action. Each time I would return with the idea that it was now time to take on the mantle of the title “druid”, and this meant that I needed to go it alone. “Ah, that would be the ‘hedge’ part of that title!” Not quite. Going it alone and starting a new business would mean that actually I would have to do the opposite of going alone – I would have to open up to the world and engage with it on a level I had never before attempted. *Gulp*
I needed Bran‘s help. He was the one who had time and again pushed me to learn new skills, and he was a wise “head” on ancient shoulders. I felt a particular trust with this entity, and wanted his opinion on my future direction. Hence, a journey to Dinas Bran.
Drombeg stone circle, West Cork, Country Cork, Ireland.
Finally, we have arrived at the last of my posts in the Summer Solstice set (for all the series see this link). It has taken much longer than expected, not only due to the number of posts that the visit generated, but also due to issues with the blog stability that we have now hopefully traced and resolved. Thank you for bearing with us during this particularly extended period of disruption. Sometimes the Universe communicates to us in peculiar ways, and certainly for me the gremlins have struck at my very heart by disrupting this blog. However, re-alignment is taking place, and I am confident that soon you will see a more unified approach to the blog. You’ll see what I mean very soon. For now, let’s finish this set of stories.
Entrance Of The Initiate
After a steep and narrow descent around Drombeg we arrived at a startlingly spacious car park, and then proceeded along the hedge-lined path to the stone circle itself. Along the way we passed a couple who had camped in the circle the previous evening. They looked like they had had an interesting evening! Along the path the fuchsia bushes reminded me of the wonderful floral displays on Iona that we had seen in September 2012.
There were several things to see at the site. Obviously, the circle, but we’ll come to that. Elsewhere there were some smaller oval and circular enclaves which were labelled as “Fulachta Fiadh” - more ‘cooking pits’ it seems. Hmmm… As I sat on the ridge overlooking the site and connecting to the area I had a vision of how the structures were used. I saw a young man being escorted by a hooden and robed figure. He was led into the covered dome structure. Inside he was put through a ‘sweating’ process and then left alone for the night. During the night he emerged and walked into the stone circle to meditate. That relationship seemed to replicate the way I felt about the Dromagorteen circle too.
Now it was time for my own initiation into the circle mysteries!
Ardgroom stone circle, Kerry, Ireland
Somehow, in our travels up and down the coast road of the Breara Peninsula, we had missed the sign. The sign was small and so was the lane along which we had to travel. The day was coming close to an end, and the sun was beginning to drag the shadows into longer shapes. Heading now towards Ardgroom circle we found that the land ended in a car park suitable for three or four cars. There was one parked there already, and we slotted in next to it. The signs to the circle pointed towards some marsh reeds, showing us that at any other time of the year we would be walking through a marshland, but luckily at the height of summer the ground was rutted but hard.
As we approached the circle we could see that it was dominated by a group of people, most of whom were standing with their backs to a tall stone. One woman was sitting at the edge of the circle in the middle of the company. She seemed to be directing a ritual, so Kal and I moved off to one side of the site so as not to disturb them while they worked.
Kal wandered down to the circle, dowsing as he went, prowling around the outer edges. I kept my distance, taking photographs of the circle from various angles to pass the time while we waited to see if the group would finish their work any time soon. They looked bedded in for the day, and so I dowsed for a suitable place to work outside the circle instead. I was taken to a small hillock where there were several fairy rings in the grass. This seemed a good vantage point to do my own work from while I wanted to see what would happen inside the circle. I did a connection and soon I was feeling the flow of energy from the hills behind me, and the sweeping power of a ‘dark’ lady whom I was becoming familiar with on this trip.
Uragh stone circle, Kerry, Ireland
The solstice day is picking up in terms of weather. The sun comes out as we pick out way slowly down the narrow track which we hope ends at the picturesque stone circle of Uragh. We park when we can drive no further, and walk to a small rise between two lakes, and suddenly the view becomes amazing in all directions.
As Kal went straight into the circle I walked to the top of the rise to give myself an overview of the area. There was a large recumbent stone on top of the small hill, and this became my base from which to observe. I could see other people milling about in the area admiring the views and visiting the circle. I would wait until the place felt calmer before I descended.
When the coast was clear I came down to visit the circle. I waltzed around it seeing if I could sense the right place to approach it. There was a ritual creation on the grass a few feet away from an opening in the rib-like structure of the smaller set of standing stones. This was the entrance point that I felt was right for me. Clearly, it was right for someone else too, and they had got there before me. I approached the oval of stones, a shape typical of this region, and introduced myself to the site, hoping to catch the attention of the Spirit of Place.
I noticed that my black wings (see previous posts) once again gave me an unhindered access and an immediate welcome to the site. That is so refreshing! It was like having a calling card, or a free pass. I felt the Spirit of Place react to this and to my druid name. It would also seem that my family name has some resonance in these parts too, although not the same power as when I am farther north in this island. As I settled to lie down (the obvious thing to do in the slight depression) I felt comfortable, and the sun shone through breaks in the clouds to light the scene.
The Spirit of Place introduced himself as Igneorl. It sounded like it was based on the word “igneous” – a classification of rock. Now it was time to get to work.
Dromagorteen stone circle, Kerry, Ireland
Dammit! I’ve missed a post and now they’re slightly out of order. This is the sixth post of my Ireland summer solstice story. Sorry that I have posted it after the seventh! I don’t know how I missed it because this is a really important post, full of magical happenings and some astonishing recovered knowledge.
We are the first to park in the wide car park at the Bonane Heritage Park site. We head for the information hut nearby to buy tickets. As I buy the tickets the old man behind the counter says, in a thick Irish accent, that it is a shame we ave missed the solstice sunrise at the circle. The conditions were perfect today, he says. I make a note to check when I’m up there whether that was the most energetic time to be in the circle. First, we have to get there!
There are a few common features of stone circles – they are usually in a beautiful setting, and they are usually near the top of a hill. Such was the case of the Dromagorteen circle, which is perched half way up the mountains which lie directly East of the circle. The setting affords an incredibly encompassing view across the Sheehy Valley. Of course, it was a hot and humid summer day, and so the climb was slow, steady and exhausting, but this was all rewarded by the beauty of the site and its views. Beauty seems a strong factor in the placement of stone circles, I feel.
Although attracted by the circle I was firstly drawn strongly to an area which had an information sign in front of it. The area was described as a “cooking pit” (Fulachta Fiadh) – presumably based on some archaeological findings in that area.
“Other theories suggest that the sites may have been used for bathing, the washing and dyeing of cloth, and leather working. Supporters of these theories point to the fact that no remains of foodstuffs have been found at the fulacht fiadh sites.” (source: Wikipedia)
I felt that it had a slightly different purpose than cooking meat, however, unless that was a metaphor. As I walk into the circle of small stones with its raised earthwork I feel like this is a place to meditate in, to prepare. I feel it is like a sweat lodge. As I sit in the cooking pit I feel like I’m actually in a cooking pot! The sun is nearly directly overhead and the day is already hot. I get sensations of overwhelming heat and dizziness beyond the direct physical sensations of the heat of the sun.
Kenmare – County Kerry, Ireland – 21st June 2014
We roll into town with clear instructions – the stone circle is just on the edge of the town, down Market Street. That’s true but for some reason we decide that the street designated as “market” must be the one with all the shops on it. Well, that was foolish! A long walk out and back means that we start the day off grumbling about how to put a sign up to name your streets in small Irish towns. We haven’t wasted much time, and soon we find the pristine, manicured stone circle at the end of a well-kept hedge-lined path. It feels like we’re walking on to a bowling green!
Bowlers on the Green
The circle is composed of beautiful stones – not too tall, but equally spaced, regularly sited, and overall the circle is impressive. The stone monument is enclosed on all sides by shrubbery, and on one side by tall trees. Other singular trees make themselves known too – a blackthorn and a hawthorn stand in solitary silence on the left-hand side, as though waiting to be noticed by the interested observer. I notice them. I’m interested.
There are a few others who have ventured out to the circle this special Summer Solstice morning – a young lady sitting at the far side, and an older lady who is wandering around watching what everyone else is up to. Tourist? Interested party? We find out later that she’s interested in all things “heritage” and is from the United States. Well, the odds were in favour of that, really!
Having dowsed to see if there is anything to do here – luckily getting a positive response – I ask to be taken to the starting point. I am taken on a huge inwardly-winding deosil spiral that takes me from weaving betweent eh outer stones to a point on top of the plat stone in the centre. I guess I have to sit here? I sit facing the solstice sun and just allow me aura to be cleansed of the modern world’s detritus. As this is Ireland and we’re in a small town it only takes a few seconds to be cleared and ready for the next stage of the adventure.
June 20th 2014 – Coom Wedge Tomb, Ballinskelligs, Iveragh Peninsula, Ireland
We drove about an hour around to a different headland to find Coom Wedge Tomb. It is difficult to spot from the road, but it can be found by going down a small lane which appears to lead to only a few distant farmhouses. In a field on the left you will see the tomb, but parking is also difficult. As I have come to expect whenever I want to abandon the car in a place where no-one else can pass, then you can guarantee that someone will turn up who wants to pass. They did. Twice! Come on! There are only two buildings in that part of the whole island! Yet, at that moment I needed to park two residents needed to pass. I ended up parking almost in the field!
My preliminary dowsing indicates that there is something here for me, and that it is related to my ancestors. I am beginning to use dowsing as a means to confirm or refine the intuitive response that I am developing related to sacred places now. I would say that I feel it is an ancestral place for me first, and then the dowsing allows me to dig a little deeper and get re-assurance of these ideas.
I need to climb inside, so I find the only gap that will feasibly fit me and I wriggle into it, much to Kal’s amusement. Inside I lie down and despite the hard stony floor it is incredibly comfortable. Perhaps it is, relative to hours of driving on bumpy, twisty roads!
Inside the chamber I close my eyes and get connected. I feel like there isn’t the usual type of Spirit of Place here. Instead the spirit of place is an echo, a remnant of my own ancestors and their energies. Somehow, this is my chamber, it has housed people connected to me at some time. It knows about me already. Is this what happens when one is bearing the Black Dragon’s protective wings?