Archive for the ‘Ancient site visit reports’ Category
Before we come to the Winter Solstice posts there are a few things to get out of the way. Firstly, there was my visit to two healing wells in December, and I will be relating that tale here. Then, following this post, we will finish Kal’s Egyptian tales in quick succession. Then we’ve got our Winter Solstice posts, and finally – some time in January – we’ll have our summaries of the year. Phew! Enough to keep you (and us) busy until Imbolc!
On a dull and damp day I dragged my friend Psychic Mike out on a mission related to my healing quest. the current quest from Samain to Solstice is to practise energy healing, and to gather the necessary energies to do this. So it was that I decided to visit two healing wells in the locality – Ffynnon Ddyfnog and Ffynnon Sarah. One new one and one I’ve visited before. I got my inspiration for the new one from Phil Cope‘s book “Holy Wells: Wales – a photographic journey”
The first well that we visited was associated with the nearby church and by extension also associated with Saint Ddyfnog. The church stands like a glorious gateway for the well and a stunning centrepiece to the small village of Llanrhaeadr, a village a few miles south-east of the town of Denbigh in Flintshire.
The church was beautiful, surprisingly large for the size of the village, and had a lovely communal feel. As we entered the church we passed a gentleman who was working in the porch. He soon followed us inside offering many insightful and amusing stories about the church’s history. The most stunning feature was the impressive stained glass window…
We enquired casually about the sacred well, and were directed through the graveyard, past a lovely row of almshouses and found a muddy path which ran alongside a clear stream. The path covered in leaves which made the going slippy, but it was worth it. The journey was lined with stunning yew trees and ferns alongside the stream.
Soon we were crossing a little bridge over the stream, in search of something magical. Everything changed from that moment onwards!
In this second part of our Winter expedition to Shropshire we re-visit two circles that we have only been to once before – the so-called Whetstones and Hoarstones circles. Having had such a wonderful experience at Mitchell’s Fold there was little or no expectations attached to our visits to these much smaller circles. As this tale of healing shows, you can’t always judge the power of a circle by its size!
The first of the circles was The Whetstones, a semi-destroyed circle in the lee of Corndon Hill, less than a mile away from Mitchell’s Fold.
Sharpness at The Whetstones
We parked on the small road which passes the base of Corndon Hill, and looked for an entry point into the field. We could see that there was a cluster of stones in the second field away, but we couldn’t remember how we had got there previously. Over a rotting wooden stile, slippery with moss, and then into an empty field. We walked along the barbed wire fence until we found bunches and branches of prickly holly, ripe with berries, but slashed from the bushes, and now lying forlorn in the field. We both carefully gathered a small sample – only taking the fallen bounty.
We found a slack part of the barbed wire where others had obviously gained entry to the stones as well, and we hopped over into another field empty except for some distant sheep and a cluster of recumbent stones only feet away on a low rise. The circle was energetically defunct – that much we could tell from its feel and when we dowsed this only confirmed what we already ‘knew’. We’re getting good at identifying subtle energy forces now, and the rods only act as confirmation most of the time.
We checked whether it was suitable and proper to try to re-energise the circle. There was no spirit of place to connect to – one did not exist for this site, and so we only had our intuition and the dowsing response to work with. This informed us that it was okay to try, and we both got the same reply. Independently, and in our own ways, we both laid down offerings at different parts of the circle. I had with me the recently acquired holly, a stone that I had picked up when walking to the circle, and some old bones that I had obtained from Five Wells Barrow in Derbyshire. Now was the time to use these objects to set a new intention – to re-energise this site.
After setting our intention we did a bit of dowsing to see whether our work had attracted a new spirit of place or not. We both learned that the new spirit would be an animal spirit, and that it will come to the circle some time in the near future, although we couldn’t tell when. Kal dowsed that it would be a rabbit!
With that done, we felt ready to move on to our next objective – another small stone circle in the marshlands about a mile or two further on close to the village of Hemford.
This year has seen a slight change in approach to sacred sites. For the last few years I have been steadfastly holding the opinion that I should visit places with a specific purpose or set of questions. This year that has been less of a rule and I have often gone to places without any set agenda, often having a fantastic experience. However, for this visit I had a strange feeling that I wanted to investigate. Something was nagging me about my current spirit guide, Ash. Something was rotten in the state of Denmark, as Shakespeare put it, and I wanted to know more. Therefore when Kal suggested Mitchell’s Fold stone circle I knew what questions to ask my guide:
- Am I still on track in terms of my spiritual path?
- Are we still on track, as a partnership?
- Do I need to concentrate on anything?
- Is he staying around, or is there someone else waiting to meet me?
The Unfolding at The Fold
On arrival Kal strode off to the stone circle, whilst I was guided off through the dying brown bracken to join a path that led to the King Stone outlier. From this stone you get a good overview of the stone circle which lies some hundred yards away. I could see Kal wandering around with his dowsing rods, finding a perfect place to cleanse, attune and then work. This, we have learned, is the process to use:
- find a cleansing place to prepare your energies
- find a place where your energies can attune to the site
- find a place where you can work with the energies of the site
My cleansing place was the King Stone, After a few moments I was ready to be taken to the preparation place – the place where my energies would change vibration to match the site. The dowsing rods showed me the direction – it was a small animal track through the bracken which would have been almost invisible in the Summer months, but which was visible now to those who looked.
The rods swung left to point at the edge of the stone circle, rather than taking me into the structure yet. The attunement space was a spot outside circle which I had not been to before. I like new things! The portent was that something new was going to happen. When I felt ready I asked for a place where I could “work”, i.e. where I could ask my questions about my spirit guide. The rods took me to the tallest standing stone in the structure, and there I bumped into Kal as he too vied for the same spot!
Time for some answers!
It’s nice to be out in Derbyshire again. It has to be my favourite place to visit. Today we were going to visit a place we have only been on occasion but often passed by. Five Wells. The last time I visited here had resulted in a Sun and Moon aligned day. The effects on the energy of the place had been spectacular. I wondered whether this would be a similar experience.
One of the things you have to be aware of when working with the sacred (and by that I mean energy) world is to not get fixated on patterns. That world does not lend itself to patters. So, as is my standard operating procedure, I asked whether I needed to prepare, the answer was a “No, but…” But what? I felt around in my intuition and came up with an answer. I needed to get grounded. Odd, wasn’t that preparation?
Not one to argue, I let the rods direct me to a place where I could be grounded and let the Earth energy surround me and cleanse the grime of pollution. Once done, I was directed to a place to prepare, which interestingly was the same place that Chris had prepared himself moments before.
Grounded and prepared (which to me, means aligning my energy with that of the place) I was taken to a place that I could work with the sites energies. It was a few feet from the open chamber and terribly cold. I shivered and thought that it would have been nicer to have been taken inside. When a voice, deep and grumbling and yet warm and friendly, boomed into my consciousness.
- “Come on inside then and I will meet you on the inside”
It was the Genius Loci with the voice of a gnome or at least that’s what it sounded like to me. Off I went into the seating place inside and further knowledge was divined.
- “Go to the land of the sun, there you will collect the Fire Element and Amber for your wand.” The Gnome spirit told me.
You know, here is a curious thing. How come these beings of place know all this stuff about your personal quest? Have you ever thought about that and wondered whether all this is just in your head? Don’t go down that road too much or you’ll get the heebie-jeebies.
There was a parting shot from the Gnome as my commune concluded. “Air will be your greatest challenge of all the Elements” Thanks for that!
Five Wells barrow near Chelmorton, Derbyshire [link].
Every once in a while I have an experience which is completely unexpected and yet immensely powerful. Yes, I am on a sacred path, and much of this is marked out for me, but when you’re not expecting something it can be much more powerful. Such was the nature of my vision at Five Wells Barrow near Chelmorton village in Derbyshire.
Kal and I ventured out because it had been a while since we had just gone out for “fun” with no agenda or notion of what might happen. We wanted a site we could get to relatively easily, but which we hadn’t been to in a while. Five Wells fitted that bill. Yes, it’s close to Arbor Low, but frankly that site is rather harsh at this time of year (or any time of year really). There was a biting cold wind so the idea of being snug inside a barrow seemed more inviting that being blasted in Arbor Low’s open space.
Kal and I seemed to have similar ideas. We both began to dowse and were soon standing just feet apart from each other as we moved from a cleansing power centre to one which would allow us to get to the right vibration to energetically connect to the site. It was amusing that we seemed to choose adjacent or even the same power centres.
Soon we were moving off to do our own work. Kal had some questions about his current quests and the journeys they would involve, whereas I had no particular purpose in mind except that I had brought my yew staff and wondered whether I was to work with that in some way. Standing on a suitable power centre I connected in to the site and to its Spirit of Place. Soon I was seeing through glazed eyes.I asked a simple question:
“Why is this site called Five Wells?”
My attention was being moved for me now – my eyes being systematically moved from one point in the distance to another. My head was being turned too, and when the point in the distance was achieved then my vision was momentarily re-focused so that I could see what I was supposed to look at. I have had this kind of “being moved” thing happen before, and so I wasn’t afraid of it. I just let it happen, and as my eyes were focused on one spot I asked “What is there?” Each time the answer was “sacred water”. I counted the number of points I was drawn to. Five!
What was I being told?
I have a strange mix of friends. Some people I would never consider introducing to others – they’re friends with widely differing tastes and interests. Every now and again I think two sets of friends would integrate well and I take a chance on introducing them to each other. So it was that Debra Delglyn had invited me to visit The Bridestones, and I saw the opportunity of introducing her to my friends Mike and Janet.
It took the pairing scarcely two minutes to become fully conversant and soon they were riffing off each other, laughing and sharing stories. Lovely! It worked. And so we ventured out together to the stones with me having not one worry about how they would operate at the site. It would be something special, and so it turned out to be.
A Gentle Introduction to Yew
The first feature of the site that I wanted to show Debra was the yew trees which stand at the entrance like a portal or doorway. Guardians of the experience within, they needed to be approached and respected with care. For those who bother to do this their experiences inside the Bridestones space is always more rewarding. Today was no exception.
Inside the space we settled and ‘browsed’ for the feel of the site. It felt good, but there was something amiss which needed addressing. Debra moved inside the chamber whilst the Mike and Janet set about working at the far end of the chamber on the outside. When they checked back with me I confirmed that this had been a point where there is often some kind of “seepage” of less wholesome energies, and so it was no surprise that they found a spot that they felt needed to be worked on to restore balance.
I was ensuring that I was connecting to the Spirit of Place and getting in tune with the site before I began to do any work. This took time as I moved slowly between points of cleansing, re-energising and then harmonizing. Finally I was ready to work myself.
In this final part of the story of my ascent of Kilimanjaro we pick up the story as I am standing looking at the most beautiful sunrise that I have ever witnessed, The deep clear colours are something that I can’t do justice to in words or in the photos that we all took. You had to be there to appreciate the beauty, especially as that beauty was allied with the physical, mental and emotional stresses of climbing at altitude through the cold darkness of the early hours. To be greeted by such pure colour was astonishing, but then I had another dimension to add to that equation – The Kilimanjaro Dragon.
At Gilman’s Point the temperature began to climb very slowly, but our guides soon moved us on. It was still cold, and sitting still at this altitude – some 5685 metres – was not an option for long. A tough decision was made. Though I was very tired I would struggle on to the summit. You can’t come 95% of the way and then not get to the end. Well, that’s how the reasoning went in my head at that moment. All moments are emotional up at that height. Tears are never far from your eyes. Must be the cold wind, right?
As we walked along the crater rim I realised I was walking the spine of the dragon. Sure enough, the terrain began to match the image. The scales of the dragon went up and down, in and out. Sometimes the path was safe, and at other moments you were facing a long drop into a massive crater below. The distances down were vast and almost incomprehensible, and now that the sun was up the perspective was added to the fear factor. Up and down, on the edge, feeling exhausted and occasionally scared. Tip-toe-ing along the dragon’s spine, trying not to wake a beast from slumber.
Next waypoint was reaching Stella Point. This is a point where two paths meet, but more importantly from my perspective it signified the start of the neck of the dragon. This was the hardest part – very steep and difficult to breathe. Each step felt like a Herculean task.I was now exhausted, and one of the guides spotted that I was struggling. He offered to carry my pack, but I refused. Either I was going to make it on my terms or the dragon would end up laughing at me. This was my battle with the dragon. I was St George today, and I was going to succeed. The wonderful guide set a pace for me, and I continued with my laborious task. One more step. Just one more. Now another.
Ururu in sight
At the top of the ridge you are climbing along the neck looking for the head of the dragon. Suddenly there is a sign and you know you have arrived! The emotional outpouring, the release, the sense of overcoming adversity if immense – like nothing I have ever experienced. Head to toe emotion. Many tears.
At that moment there was no head space, breathing space, or spare time to converse with the dragon. I try to tune in briefly and feel a grudging feeling of respect from this immense Spirit of Place, but I am very quickly forgotten and ignored again. The summit is its own reward if you are a human, Don’t expect anything from the dragon. We are all too small.
The path down is faster, but still very tough. At that altitude every movement is difficult, and it wasn’t until we all got past Gilman’s Point that we began to feel better. We could descend at speed, sliding down the slope’s scree that had seemed so difficult only a few hours before. Now we practically skied down, and in the heat of the mid morning this felt like a huge relief.
On the way down the path from the highest huts to the middle set of huts, after having one hour’s sleep, I thought that perhaps I was dreaming. I saw a cloud over Kili that looked like a dragon. When I turned around a second time a few minutes later the cloud had moved to the other peak – Mawenzi. This time I had the presence of mind to get it photographed as the dragon’s head slowly morphed into the shape of Kilimanjaro itself. It was an astonishing moment!
Clearly, the dragon spirit of Kilimanjaro was present and communicating with me on this journey. I’ll never forget it,