Archive for the ‘Ancient site visit reports’ Category
24th September 2012 – Dyserth Castle, Denbighshire, North Wales.
I intended to go to a local hill to do some work, but there were people all over the hill that night and I wanted to go to a place where I could be alone with the spirits and energies of the natural world, and not to mingle with humans. This is the thought process of the Hedge Druid oftentimes.
Somehow I ended up driving… just driving. Within half an hour I began to formulate a destination. I was clearly heading for Gop Hill near Holywell in North Wales. As I approached the turning for the hill I carried on! What was I doing? As I allowed my direction to continue to be guided I realised I was heading for Dyserth. When I arrived there and drove straight through I realised I was heading back to Dyserth Castle. Why? I had been there only a few weeks before. It didn’t make sense to me.
Alone In the Wilderness
I was ill-prepared for such a venture. I didn’t have my usual outing bag packed with incense, waterproofs, lighters, candles, torches – all the things I normally take when I got visiting sacred sites. All I had was a cheap £2.99 tiny wind-up torch whose light lasted for about a minute before it needed a minute of winding. Hmm….It was normally Kal who was the ill-equipped one.
I walked through the darkness, only using the torch when the darkness was completely impenetrable and uninviting. There was enough moonlight in the clear patches of sky to be able to navigate by memory. I reached the imposing amphitheatre of Dyserth Castle. Would I have to climb up to the top tonight, in the dark? NO. The dowsing rods said that my work would be done in the ground-level surroundings that I was used to and which was relatively flat and unencumbered. I was thankful for that.
Twigs snapped in the undergrowth all around at random intervals, but I had put up solid protection and was unafraid. The night was my friend today – it was what I had asked for - solitude and relative silence in a sacred place. Now I wanted to see if there was anything out there in the darkness that could help me.
The concluding part of my Autumn Equinox expedition sees me finding out something incredibly interesting and something that I’d never come across before. Actually, that was my directive to the dowsing rods:
- Is there anything at this site tha I haven’t come across before? YES – Exciting!
- Is it an energy form, new energy type, or something else? ENERGY FORM.
I was excited. It’s not often that I get the chance to find something completely new at a sacred site, having been to so many places over the years and “dowsed them to death”. In my head I hold the general energy patterns, alignments and spirit forms of hundred of sites at various times of the year. That’s why new sites are such a thrill these days.
I was taken to the back of the mound to stand in the “forked tail” feature. This had been the concluding point for my meditative session some minutes before. That part of my work was now concluded, but I noticed that others had left straw offerings and sticks here too. Clearly an active site for modern pagans. I asked for the starting point of the new energy formation and I circled around at the point where the “groove” of the fork in the mound ended and the mound began to rise. I found the edge fo the formation and began to travel up the mound following its path.
As I reached the top I was taken either side of the mound’s flanks that formed the entrance. I seemed like a mouth of sorts, or a Y shape. Like the Y-shaped stick I had just placed in the chamber below. Interesting. I continued to follow the line, dowsing that it was Male energy (in terms of its vibration characteristics). As I reached the fork in the tail again the form flowed around in a circle showing me that I had reached the end of the formation, but also that the circle was a sort of “source” point, or sink hole. Energy was either emerging or flowing into this point (I didn’t dowse which – it didn’t seem really important at that stage).
I asked the dowsing rods if there was anything else related to this formation that I hadn’t dowsed yet? YES. I was taken up to the top of the mound again, and in the space between the flanks of the mound’s entrance I dowsed a circle made up of Female energy. It was in the mouth of this serpent/snake formation I had just followed. Was there anything else? NO. Then I only had to work out what the purpose of the formation was and I would have something useful…. that’s the tricky bit!
It’s not easy to find out the purpose of such energies. It took me a while, dowsing along blind alleys until I narrowed down the scope and homed in on the right types of words and phrases. The strength of the response guided me towards the right ideas until I finally identified a purpose for this shape. The purpose of the “snake eating the world” was to destroy outside energies, thus protecting and preserving the energies of the buried shades who inhabit the mound. For living visitors it protects people working at the mound. The mound continues to have a 10/10 energy rating! This energy formation is the reason why energy going in is retained, as the energy levels are largely preserved from the normal dissipation and deterioration which affects many other “unprotected” places.
The Serpent Devouring The World
In mythology there are stories of the giant serpent which devours the world. Well, more precisely it is the serpent that is devouring its own tail and encircling the world. In the case of the Belas Knap formation I can only really relate the myth with the energy through their common purpose of “devouring” or “destroying” characteristics. It’s certainly remarkably similar to the Jormungandr – The Midgard Serpent of Norse mythology. It also bears a resemblance to the Ouroboros – the symbol frequently found in literature about alchemical work.
Another reference which struck me was the Serpent Mounds of the Americas, for example the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio.
I sat on top of the mound, facing slightly away from the mound’s entrance and more towards the path I had arrived on. I was sitting just back from the devouring mouth and I gave thanks to my Spirit Guide for helping me work at this powerful place in peace. I didn’t know until I saw the orientation marker on the information board that yet again I was facing North when I did this. This is happening a lot now. North. Air. Sky. My natural alignment. That felt good. I left very happy that I had made the long journey to this incredible place, and even more thankful that people had made the effort to make it.
Autumn Equinox is a time to celebrate the harvest, but I’d been celebrating a little too much. Having had a bottle of gin the night before I needed a full detox. Didn’t you know? Hedge Druids love gin. Fact. Luckily the journey to the villages around Cheltenham was smooth – M6, M5, done.
I was heading for Belas Knap. I’d been perusing our blogging friend Stoatie‘s site – Meadow, Grove & Stream – and I’d seen that she’s been there in her camper van. It looked fantastic. A quick dowse later and I was assured that the site had the following suitable qualities:-
- It was powerful
- It was unspoiled
- It was good to go there at the equinox
So it was that I ventured out on the 22nd, as this was the time of the equinox officially. Approaching the town of Winchcombe I saw the first brown sign pointing to Belas Knap. The road snaked up the side of Cleve Hill and soon there was another brown sign pointing off the road, and a layby with just enough rough parking space to house several cars. There was one space left. Busy! Mind you – it was turning into a beautiful day, grey cloud cover but warm for September.
The walk up the hill was beautiful – like a cathedral of trees – tall young beeches, if I’m not mistaken. As I have been guided this year I didn’t have any staff or crystals. Only some sticks of incense, but even these were just for show (or smell). I wouldn’t employ them for any real purpose.
I was using the wonderful Viewranger app on my phone to home in on the site, but actually I felt like I’d be able to find it now so put the phone away once I had the rough direction. Emerging from the trees the official path went left and the dog-legged right up the hill. I don’t do official paths. I walked straight up the hill, finding that many others must do the same as a path soon emerged.
As I passed I noticed that the ash trees were in full fruit – ash keys ready to fly off into the Autumn winds. Little did I know this would be “key” to what was to follow.
August 22nd 2013 – Mitchell’s Fold stone circle, Shropshire.
I had three questions to seek answers to at Mitchell’s Fold this evening in late August. One had been answered already, and now I had a second. The ever-informative Mr Ian Pegler (of the British Society of Dowsers and Vale Crucis Abbey research fame) had mentioned that Mitchell’s Fold was also called “The Hag’s Milking Fold” and that Corndon Hill had been associated with witches in legend and lore. Dan’s Jotter has a typical tale about good faeries and bad witches, which is a re-telling of the milking tale which is associated with many sites where The Hag (Cailleach) is to be found. Another cautionary tale about abusing gifts from Faery.
As we approached the hill that evening Kal remarked upon how pyramidal the shape of Corndon Hill was. It’s true. Approached from certain angles the hill looks almost like it has been drawn with a set square. To me it reminded me of the traditional witch’s hat. Together with Ian’s comments I felt like the Blue Moon was the perfect time to ask about the nature of the relationship of witches, the structures on top of the hill, and anything else relevant. I would leave the exact question to the spirits of the circle at Mitchell’s Fold to determine what they felt I might really want to know about. Sometimes a question can be too precise, you know? Dowsers tend to ask precise questions, but sometimes a general question gives more scope to be taught what we need to know, not what we think we need to know.
For this second question I was directed to go and sit in a power centre just a few feet away from where Kal had been spending almost the entire time at the circle. I was facing the hill but realised that I was also yet again forming this cross shape between the setting sun, the rising moon and the constellation of Orion behind me. I stretched my arms out to gather in the celestial energies to ensure I had enough personal energy to charge the experience of crossing the hedge into relationship with something from The Otherworld.
On my previous visit to Mitchell’s Fold in June I had been struck by the idea that “Corndon” might be a contraction of “Crowned On” or “Coroned On”. I had taken the idea no further at this point, but something was about to change that. I must add that the information I am about to reveal is speculative. It is the result of a vision and I haven’t yet been able to verify the content by visiting Corndon Hill.
August 22nd 2013 – Mitchell’s Fold stone circle, Shropshire.
My quest had been given to me to “seek the stag” and afterwards to “raise the horns of power” when I asked the question at Froggatt Edge. Weeks later at Mitchell’s Fold I wanted to learn more about what that would entail. Luckily we had picked a perfect evening for such a task – a Blue Moon – the kind of full moon that occurs only rarely.
I was led along a path leading to the eastern side of the circle. I thought that I might be taken through the eastern entrance, but instead I was taken further outside the circle into the marshy hinterland of the northern side. Then onwards, around the edge, about ten feet away from the stones, and moving in a wavy form, until I was back to the eastern side, but this time close to the circle. Then the rods moved inside and I was directed behind the tall stone and to the female stone that I knew and loved – a flat grey familiar stone wide enough to sit on comfortably, and warmed nicely by the sinking sun.
I did my usual protection and connection. Once ready I meditated a while and cleared my head of other thoughts except one simple statement - what information could I learn about the directive to “seek the stag”?
An image began to form in my head. I was running through the wilderness, the undergrowth and low dark branches of a forest in the dim light of twilight. I was running uncontrollably, as though being pursued, yet I didn’t feel any fear. I was simply exerting myself to the maximum, running as fast as I could. Perhaps I had hooves and sported antlers – I couldn’t see myself to know. I felt like I was running with four legs not two, but the overwhelming sensation was one of hurtling past the barriers as they arose. I was untouched. I never hit anything, or fell, or stumbled,. I was running wildly, freely, and naturally.
There was a silent indication that I needed to learn how to induce this state. The feeling went on to insist that once I knew this feeling in a physical and spiritual way – once I could call upon it in a magickal way – then I would raise the H0rns of Power. The horns would grow on my head – they would be like a stag’s weapon.
I asked for more information about the Horns of Power. What was their purpose?
Raising the horns is a defence mechanism. I would be without fear when they were present. I would be able to lock antlers with any criticism, foe or intent which sought to wound me or best me. I would feel like I could match any force sent my way, and do so without fear. Now that’s the kind of tool that any jobbing druid would want in his toolkit!
There was more to come. I had two other questions I wanted to ask at Mitchell’s Fold. Expect more posts to follow.
On a hot summer evening after work we drove through the back end of Derbyshire to head for a stone circle that we only rarely visit. The circle (also known as Stoke Flat) stands upon the imposing cliffs of Froggatt Edge. The walk up is delightful through the birch and oak trees, with the sunlight shading your ascent. Even so, we arrived at the bottom of the section used by climbers and our clothes were sodden – the heat was still very strong even getting close to six in the evening.
We stopped for a moment to admire our efforts and the accompanying views. All around us were the scoured and shaped forms of sandstone weathered by the ages, and producing the most incredible features. Almost everyobody we met stopped off to have their picture taken with one of them as a backdrop.
At this time of year finding the Froggatt Edge stone circle isn’t easy. It’s well hidden in the tall ferns, so we were lucky that I remembered the location from a previous visit. I hurried ahead to locate the path and take some pictures before the sun dipped down too far for a good photo. Only the tip fo the tallest stone was visible from the path.
A little hop back in time for this one. It’s out of sequence, but it shows that the preparations undertaken before a Festival date like Lammas are done well in advance, and often with a certain amount of “unknowingness”, at what psychologists might call a subconscious level. I prefer to call this the natural unfoldment of The Path, like the descent of a hill might lead naturally to a stream at the bottom.
Here, then, is my account of some preparation work done before Lammas this year at Mitchell’s Fold stone circle in Shropshire. Having now gone through the Lammas work I can see how useful the preparation was! Hindsight, eh?
An Unusual Approach
I rode to the circle on my motorbike as the weather was still fine. We were having a long spell of dryness that was encouraging me to go further and out more often than usual. The track to the circle was fun on a bike! I left my things at the King Stone outlier and then took some photographs.
I used dowsing rods to determine the correct approach to the circle. Unusually, it was from the East – a direction I’ve never come to the circle from before. Was this a signal that something different might be about to happen here?