Archive for the ‘Ancient site visit reports’ Category
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?
When the grey clouds of summer come rolling in what is a hedge druid to do with himself? Why, go out of course! Somehow Kal had decided that he wanted to go to The Druid’s Circle at Pemnaenmawr. I was unable to get free until after 7pm, so a long journey across the width of Wales was out of the question. Instead, I persuaded Kal that a quick visit to Dinas Bran would be more appropriate He conceded, but as we approached Llangollen things went a bit strange. For some reason I didn’t turn up the road to Dinas Bran. Instead, I carried on towards Vale Crucis Abbey, and that’s where we ended up. It was like something had decided for me where we would go this evening.
I had no agenda to work to – again. I would simply connect at the right place for me to be, and see what revealed itself tonight. The dowsing rods guided me initially to a power centre by one of the ruined walls of the Abbey’s main hall near the entrance. The cleansing process took a long while – much longer than usual. Perhaps this was because it had been a few weeks since I had done any work at a sacred site?
I issued a new directive to the dowsing rods – “Please take me to the best place for me to work on my spiritual path!”. A general question, but usually one which resulted in something interesting happening. I was taken on a path which skirted alongside the ruined abbey’s walls until I reached an area which I recognised as being the former alter space. In that space there were the remains of pillars supporting two walls opposite each other. The pillars were “exploded”, only half of their construction remained. I was taken to a handy ‘seat’ – a flat rock sticking out enough to perch upon.
I sat on the seat looking at the pillar opposite, which was similarly opened up. Why was I here, I wondered? I let myself drift into a reverie… why was I here… why was I here… I found myself staring at a face in the stone pillar. It was a face that I felt I recognised… who was it? Give me a clue!
Walking through the Broceliande Forest the next site that I had in mind is called L’Hotié de Viviane, or Viviane’s house (it is also called The Tomb of the Druids). The clouds are still a dull grey colour, but by now sunlight is beginning to pierce through the cloud cover, sending light scurrying through the lime green branches. It is Kal who points out the direction we need to go in, which is odd because he’s never been here before and I have! We reach the top of the hill above the main part of the forest, and I sit on the summit. The energy is male, and strong, yet not harsh, but energising. Kal is “away with the faeries”, off on a ramble, so I begin to descend the hill towards the sacred site. But I don’t get there!
The Oak at Viviane’s Tomb
On one side of the path is a beautiful symmetrical oak which positively invites druids to enter beneath its canopy. Never one to refuse an hospitable invitation from a tree I make my way under the leafy shade and sit on a dry clump of shrivelled leaves in perfect comfort. I settle in, do my introductions, and begin a process of matching my bresthing rate to the rate at which I feel the tree is breathing. Each breath takes just short of a minute to go from full in-breath to full out-breath. In this way, soon a dialogue with the tree begins. I am hoping that it will be able to help furthe my current quest relating to my vision of a giant destroying and creating a sacred site.
I ask why giants take stones from the earth and re-plant them. The youthful oak takes a cross-wind tack on that question and says something very revealing. It says that trees desire the destruction of a site which no longer has energy that can be used to sustain them. Also that the trees in the new location must be asked permission before a new site is created. The trees will maintain any energies associated with working sites if they are close enough. Presumably as long as the energies of the site are useful to them, and they can feed from them?
In the past Kal and I have worked at many sites where we have discovered links between nearby trees and the sites themselves. We haven’t really investigated the nature of this link, believing it to be one of the trees sustaining and feeding into the sacred site’s subtle energy network. Here I was finding that there was actually a mutually-beneficial two-way link going on. The trees are sustaining a sacred site’s energy fields, and are also linking to these sites in order to “feed” off them.
This was a very slow and laborious conversation! What you are reading in a minute took me fifteen minutes of slow rhythmic breathing to extort from the oak.
I notice that a young lady is passing me by, and she notices that I am sitting with the oak. She has a faraway look in her eyes. She goes to sit on the top of the hill – the exact same spot I sat at. Later Kal would tell me that she was “one of us”, but that’s his part of the story. Here’s the rest of mine….
After a couple of unremarkable sites on the Locmaraquier peninsula, we were heading towards our final destination for this Brittany outing – Broceliande Forest. Broceliande has a reputation for being an ancient forest with strong claims to an Arthurian tradition. Certainly this is how the French Tourist Agency are marketing the space. For me, when I visited the forest in 2011 I found it enchanting. At the time I had an encounter with a leprechaun-type spirit which left me sure that there was a playful set of spirits in the woods there, but also that convinced me that the forest was truly a magickal place, regardless of its Arthurian connections.
Le Tombeau Des Geants
Somehow, through a miracle of unintended navigation, we find the car park at the southerly side of the forest – the perfect point to begin to explore because all the sacred sites were close by. For once, it was me who didn’t have the right clothing – I hadn’t taken my walking boots on this trip, but the ground was boggy and water-logged due to the torrential downpours overnight. How times have changed and the tables turned!
I had been to the Tombeau Des Geants (The Tomb of the Giants) before so I knew the way. We were able to quickly locate it again and after a few muddy paths the site appears complete with information sign, also steeped in fresh rainwater puddles.
On my first visit I had encouraged a Spirit of Place to come back to the site. Of course, now I am here again, would such a spirit be here by now, several years later?
It was our final day touring the sites of Brittany. We had made a doleful and dismal attempt to visit the Locmaraquier centre the day before. Open on a Bank Holiday? Non. Allez rentree, s’il vous plait! Now we are back! This time it’s open. If you want to check the opening times yourself before you try visiting, then you can check this site.
Of course, we skip the visitor centre and the video presentations, and even decline the guide maps and leaflets (much to the surprise of the staff). Our purpose is much more interesting than archaeological or historic. Actually, what is my purpose today? I don’t actually know, but we wander around waiting for something to spark our interest. We walk straight around the reconstructed long cairn. Although it must have been impressive in its day, now it is merely a low scree of stones with no power at all. Onwards!
Table Des Marchands
We passed quickly to the re-constructed so-called Table of Merchants. It would have been a funny business that they transacted in this reconstructed burial chamber, and yet the energies were favourable to some work. Kal did his dowsing outside of the structure, leaving me to head inside once I had done some preliminary preparation by a handy yew tree which flanks the structure.
I steps inside the reconstructed chamber. A carefully positioned light changes to reveal the relief patterns carved on the tall stone at the back of the chamber. For a moment I’m a tourist again, spellbound by the cryptic messages that we now wonder about. Then I’m back as a druid again, a modern inheritor of traditions as reconstructed as the chamber itself. We like to guess that we’re rediscovering the spirit of our ancestors, but really we have no clue, and can only follow our own paths with heart, with clear intent, and with sincerity. That much we share with these ancients.