Posts Tagged ‘2011’
Well, I see that Kal got his summary out first. Still, “if you can’t beat them…”
Generally, what type of year it has been? Dis-jointed, slower than last year’s breakneck speed, measured, with lots of deep synchronicities. When I come to review the year I realise that I still made lots of progress on the various tasks that I was lead to perform in order to progress along my path of Druidry.
Below are the main topics that I have picked out from this year’s blog posts. I have tried to keep the explanations to a minimum, so have included links back to the original postings if you want the detail for each of the topics. What I thought was a quiet year has actually turned out to be incredibly packed and busy. The topics are in no order whatsoever, which kind of fits with the way that the year’s learning has come about – seemingly haphazard, but all threading into and through itself like some kind of cat’s cradle whose overall pattern will only be known when the final moves have played out.
26 topics I have been involved in this year:-
a) Healing – Most of the year has been spent developing healing skills, whether that was using remote energies, balancing the chakras, healing with the hands, or with crystals. I have realised that I am more attuned to healing places than people currently, but that is changing. The healing energies can be attuned to different colours for particular effects. To work with these energies I need to understand which “colour” is missing from a site and then call upon the energies of the local living entities to gather together to create this missing colour and thus heal the site. [related posts: My Five Healing Rays, Healing Rays Explained]
Also, in conjunction with my friend Mike, we created a new healing centre at The Bridestones in Cheshire. [related posts: A New Healing Centre]
b) Re-discovering the bard - Discovered great new music (and that I like the new forms of folk music) at The Green Man Festival, and saw Roy Harper in concert in London. This year music has really connected with my heart and stirred great emotions. I have written more poetry this year than in other years too. [related posts: Green Man Festival, Roy Harper]
c) Astrological links to Venus, Orion’s Belt and Sirius affirmed at almost every site. Also Scorpius, astrological links to Arthur and the Great Bear constellation. The constellations of Serpens, Corvus and Perseus have been especially meaningful to me this year, guiding me along a very meaningful path from one end of an energy ley to another. [related posts: Serpent at Castlerigg, Arthurian Archetypes of Corvus, The Berth and Death of Scorpius, The Three Stars of Fertility, Absorbing Orion at Lud's Church]
In one sentence…
“The universe sings the song but you provide the song title”
Ok, I can see from the draft posts that Gwas is beginning his 2011 round up and since (see The World is Changing) the new spiral has already begun for me I thought I’d get my update in first!
In complete honesty 2011 has only one word that can describe it, amazing!
Where to begin? Of course this year has been dominated by my Knights Quest. So that is a good a place as to start as any…
It all came to the fore at Imbolc festival when, quite innocently, Gwas and I were venturing out to several sites. Our first stop was at a site we, incorrectly, identified as St Helen’s well. At this site I had a vision of that infamous entity Caileach. She directed me on a quest to fulfill the achievement of nine blue keys. Once this was achieved I would be knighted. I know, I still have to laugh when I think of it. But that adventure led me across the Atlantic on an improbable.
Although I tried to follow this questing path with courage and aplomb. It was late this Autumn that I was informed that the quest remained incomplete and that a tighter spiral would have to be journeyed. I am rather disappointed at that but understand now why it has to be thus. See? Sometimes you just need to be told twice!
Some of the more salient points (as determined by me) were:
- Journeying 3,500 miles to the States
- Personal physical healing
- Creating a Knights Code to live by (which I have so far)
It took me a full decade to fully appreciate Roy Harper. Even then I was some forty or more years late. I first saw Roy when I was asked by some friends to go see him play in London. It was his 60th birthday performance, and for me it was an opportunity to go to London, and maybe listen to some nice music too. At that point I had only heard of Roy Harper from the reference to him by Led Zeppelin in one of their song names. After the gig I was quite impressed with how much I had enjoyed it, but then I forgot all about him again. Occasionally since that date I had been to see his son Nick Harper, who is an incredibly talented guitarist too, and his small and intimate gigs have been astonishing, if often unappreciated by the audiences in front of whom he places himself.
Fast-forward ten years and the opportunity came around again. Something in the back of my mind insisted that I should go again. Something much deeper than the shallow opportunism of the last gig. Something in my druid mind nudged me, and said that I should go. I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation again. Only when the first few songs began to seep into my mind as the lyrics resonated around the vast space of The Royal Festival Hall did I suddenly realise why I was there this time – Roy Harper is a bard and druid and I was witnessing this great man passing on his mantle to his son like some kind of delightfully touching and inspiring pagan ritual!
For his 70th birthday concert Roy was able to demonstrate that both his vocals and his guitar playing are still in excellent form, although he apologised for not being up to the standards that he had set himself. Believe me – he has talent to spare, and the occaional twang from the string is no distraction amongst the mellifluous tones he generates seemingly at will.
Most impressive for me was his frequent rambles between songs during which he sometimes dispensed his wisdom on topics such as how humans can and should interact, the way that love expresses itself, how we are most human when we treat the Earth with respect, and how excited he still is at the magic of the forces that weave through us and the planet. His humility was genuinely touching for such a talented man, and audience and performer were often brought to tears during the two long halves of the performance.
For a brief account of the evening see this write-up in The Guardian. One of his memorable quotes was included this gem:
“It seems that the ArchDruid has spoken. ‘Tax the bankers!’
Actually, I think somebody else said it a couple of thousand years ago!“.
A reference to the Jesus and the Moneylenders episode, no doubt. From his “Same Old Rock” song accompanied by Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin). The appearance of Jimmy caused a huge ripple of excitement to go through the audience, and there were several audible excited gasps and then a low roar as the legendary Zeppelin guitarist came to sit alongside Roy for the long and complex song.
In the 1970s Roy played at the Stonehenge Free Festival along with Hawkwind. Very druidic musical credentials, if you ask me. Wish I’d done that (although I may not have survived to tell the tale).
Here’s Roy playing surely his most druidic track “The Green Man” from his 70th birthday performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The track begins at 4:30 if you don’t want to hear all the introductions, but I would recommend that you give it all a listen for the full picture.
What a wonderfully gentle, wise and witty man he is. I urge you to introduce him into your life. He’s the only songwriter whose music makes me cry.
You may have noticed the lack of podcasts this year on Hedge Druid? There’s a reason for that. In the first half of the year the reason could be put down to a mounting pressure of “work”. Mostly this was spiritual work, and with all the good weather we have had in England this year then the Great Outdoors claimed a large part of my time, and this was reflected in the amount of time-consuming podcast work that I could do. Right, that’s my pathetic excuse out of the way. Now, what about the recent months? I did intend to re-establish the podcast once the weather got worse. It has worsened, but still I don’t feel inclined to get back into the studio to record and edit an hour’s worth of audio. Why not? I think there’s a deeper and wider reason.
I have been noticing that other pagan blogs have also begun to falter in their regularity and their commitment. Could it be that we all expanded too quickly, and pushed ourselves too hard to produce content? Possibly, but I think the real reason is due to a difficulty in maintaining momentum when this year has been out of synchronisation with itself. Let me explain.
The Moon, The Sun and The Earth sources
Last year our blogs flourished. Mostly these are blogs that are talking about magickal work, mystical happenings and spiritual progress. What general effect has happened that could account for the difference between last year’s ease and this year’s difficulty? Simple. It is the synchronisation of the phase of the Moon with the Celtic Festival dates. Last year the high points in the solar cycle were matched by high points in the lunar cycle. In other words, at the major lunar festival dates the Moon was also usually in its Full Moon phase.
The Celtic Wheel of the Year is a cycle that records the high points of the year’s energies. It tells the pagan watcher when the Earth itself is producing the most energy in its co-operative cycle with The Sun. In my experience, and I speak only for myself here, I do not use The Sun as my primary magickal power source. For me it is The Moon. Last year was therefore a “bumper year” in terms of the number of coincidences between the Solar and Lunar high points. Magick was abundant and easy. Motivation was plentiful, and so a great deal of work flowed, and many posts got produced. Blogs flourished that dealt with these subjects.
This year the story has been completely reversed, and how dispiriting must that have been to many of our pagan friends whose magickal sources are Moon-dependent? This year the Full Moon phases NEVER coincide with any of the Solar Festival dates in the Celtic Year. Only Spring Equinox came close. The result of this, goes my tenuous hypothesis, is that motivation has taken a battering. Magickal people must have found themselves either doing Sun OR Moon work, but never being able to being the two together.
As regular readers may know I have begun a tradition – to visit Glastonbury for the Summer Solstice. I go alone, but usually at some point Kal is involved and joins me for part of the quest. This solstice was no different so Kal will make an important appearance throughout this quest’s tale, but I spent the solstice day itself alone in Glastonbury performing a pilgrimage from site to site, meditating or performing some ritual acts at each place.
This solstice I did some preparation for the forthcoming journey by drawing some tarot cards to guide me because when I had dowsed as to what activities I might be doing at Glastonbury the only answer that had come back was that I must learn to follow my own intuition, and that I must not take my dowsing rods! You can imagine how much this filled me with a sense of wariness, because I use dowsing rods for almost all quests and journeys involving energy or decision-making. Oddly, even though they were my primary information sources, the one thing the dowsing rods insisted on was that they would not be involved in this solstice quest! Well, that information has been coming to me from many sources recently too, so I took the hint and left all of my rods at home.
Saturday 18th June
I did a tarot card reading before I got to Glastonbury using the new WildWood Tarot cards that I had recently purchased. Like all the tarot decks that I seem to respond to this reading proved incredibly portentous, very personal, and contained mainly important face cards, rather than innocuous suit cards.
The draw would be five cards. Three cards to give me enough information to work out a starting point for my quest, and then a card to tell me which obstacles I would face on the quest, and a card to inspire me with a reward if the obstacle was overcome. I drew the cards with the intention of the card in mind, and then revealed and interpreted each one in turn.
- 3 cards to identify the start point:
- Queen of Stones – The Bear – “Often linked to Arthurian legend, the bear remains a symbol of power and protection of the land.” If the King Bear is Arthur, then the Queen Bear is Guinivere. The constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor – fixed stars in the cycle around the Pole.
- The Ancestor – could relate to burial sites, meeting ancient archetypes. The Pathfinder. Elen of the Roads/Ways. Ley line and ancient places of power.
- King of Arrows – the Kingfisher – The Fisher King. The guardian of the Grail. Associated with Bran the Blessed – the Celtic god of regeneration – whom I meet regularly at Dinas Bran. Links the health of the land to the health of the king. Gwalchmai and Gawain associated with this image. Impulsiveness.
- 1 card to identify the obstacle:
Eight of Vessels – Rebirth, learn from past mistakes, take positive action, don’t fear to ask.
- 1 card to identify the reward:
The Journey – Renewals, a new birth, a new quest, death to the old modes and concepts.
Monday 20th June
I arrived in Glastonbury with mixed weather – dark clouds all around and threatening a downpour. I got into my accommodation and picked up my piece of paper which contained the hastily scribbled notes about which tarot cards I had picked. The best place to find a decision is at the bottom of a glass of locally-brewed real ale, so I headed off to a local hostelry with the intention of seeking inspiration. Luckily, Kal had ventured into town for the evening so we strode into the King William pub and began to get inspired. As I quizzed him about possible interpretations of the tarot cards I kept noticing that the pub was bedecked with Arthurian paraphernalia - a genealogy of Arthurian personae and a map of the country’s best Arthurian sites were situated right in the corner where we sat and chatted. I looked around the pub – no other walls had such decorations! Our first coincidence.
We interpreted the reading as meaning that I should start my quest at a place where an ancestor was buried, where ley lines run, and linked to Arthur and Guinivere. I knew this place to be the burial site of Arthur & Guinivere at Glastonbury Abbey. I happened to be staying at a Bed & Breakfast called Magdelene House. I had picked the accommodation because it had been the only one in the town that had a room close to the solstice because I booked quite close to the midsummer date. When I arrived I found that Magdelene House is the closest accommodation you can get to Glastonbury Abbey short of camping in the abbey grounds! The second coincidence of the journey so far. The signs were good.
I have been thinking about The Census that is being taken at the moment. It seems that we are not free to express our beliefs openly, and instead we will have to confirm to an existing label in order to have our beliefs recognised. I rebel against that idea. Instead, where the form asks for me to define my belief structure I have come up with a few terms that I am considering some options for the “Any other religion, write in” box.
Here are my suggestions, perhaps one will strike a chord with you too:-
- Evangelical Etherist - someone who preaches to others about the invisible energies and enjoys laughing gas.
- Virtual Neo-Druid - not quite at the stage of being a fully-fledged modern druid, and possibly may not exist either.
- Hedonistic Pantheist - someone who really enjoys believing that Nature is a living force that pervades all things. May involve nudity. May contain nuts.
- Pagan Ele-Mentalist - follows the old ways, believes in at least four divisions of Nautre, and may be mentally unstable.
You may have to write in the margins with those. Only a bit of fun, because we shouldn’t take these things too seriously.
What an unwieldy title! But it covers all of the weird things that happened to me this evening. I had engineered some time on the way home from work (a favourite time for me to work, early evening) and I arrived at some local caves just as the sun was about to set. The position of the caves didn’t allow me to watch the sunset properly, but that’s not why I was there. I was there for another reason – I was in search of the sound that would activate my root chakra.
No-one else was in the caves so I asked permission of the earth spirit, the genius loci of the cave, to allow me entry undisturbed. It was granted, so I stood for a moment on a power centre that I had identified previously to offer love and gratitude in thanks for this ingression. I moved gingerly deep into the caves because I knew the ground was usually littered with cow dung. I picked my way past it all, carrying three incense sticks with me to clear a way, spiritually. A meagre small torch allowed me not to bump my head as I went deeper and darker in.
Suddenly a hare ran at me from out of the darkness and I jolted upright narrowly missing a rocky outcrop. I laughed a little. That made me perk up! I began to follow a dowsing rods, asking it to lead me to the perfect place for this sonic experiment. It led me to a place that I had already identified on a previous visit as the best place acoustically in the whole set of caves. Well, that proved nothing! Still, I made myself comfortable in amidst the broken glass bottles and crunched cans left by revelling raucous rebels of recent times past by sitting on a sharp-topped sandstone nodule that invited my seat. I faced the back of the chamber, some fifty feet into the cave system and only a foot away from the end wall I now faced.
Humming isn’t just for bees
I began trying to find a low sound that I could make comfortably and which felt as though it did something. I tried out several different types of sound, from whistles to singing but eventually, for the root chakra, I found a deep low hum that made my head and everything around me vibrate. This was it! Unfortunately, due to a condition I have developed in recent years the amount of phlegm in my throat prevented me from sustaining that note for very long. In fact, I noticed that this was a particular problem on this day – bad timing on my part, I guess.
I managed to get about 20 seconds of low continuous hum going. As I did so I began to feel my voice reverberating off the walls around me. Then the vibration went through me, from the rock upon which I was sitting, through my body and back into my head. A flow, a vibrational flow, was emerging from the base of my spine! It was like an experience I had had at the chamber of Fourknocks in Ireland where I had sat inside a similar enclosed space that had these acoustic properties of reflecting back my own sound. There too I had managed to achieve the same result and make my root chakra vibrate. It felt wonderful. Then my voice croaked and the whole experience disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. I could see that I had to get just the right note, and sustain it for a time, and then this would happen. I was happy with that.
I began experimenting with higher levels of sound to see if I could find any of the other vibrational points for other chakras. I was just thinking that I had found one when my “spider senses started tingling” and I got a rush of adrenalin that meant that I should be wary. All my usual senses went onto high alert – was someone in the cave? Was something happening outside? Was there “something” in the cave with me already? My rational brain was somersaulting but another part of me was calm and I packed away my things and left quickly. There was no-one in the cave, so it wasn’t that.
Goodbye Venus – Hello Jupiter and Uranus
Outside the cave things were all “wrong”. In the darkening clear star-littered sky I could still make out the ground as the sun had only just set leaving enough light to see. Birds were twittering…nervously. A rabbit on the hilltop ran for its life, but not away from me, away from something else. There was a noise like a person walking down the hillside next to the cave, but as I watched for their arrival out of the bushes they never emerged. Strange. All very strange.
I ambled quietly along the side of the hill, leaving by a different path to the one I had come in on (which was quite muddy). As I arrived at the crest of a slope the Moon was framed perfectly for me to stare at, so I did. Beside it I saw a symbol created by some heavenly body that looked familiar -it was the Venus Symbol that I had seen a few years ago at Bryn Celli Ddu at about this time of year! I was stunned. However, now I had the means to identify what the objects were that made this symbol. Was it Venus? No – it was the near conjunction of two planets - Jupiter and Uranus. Well, that clears that up – but nevertheless the symbol did look exactly as I had drawn it those few years ago.
The Jupiter-Uranus Conjunctions
Here’s a hint at what the forces of Jupiter and Uranus could mean when together:
“The themes of freedom and independence are especially prominent during Jupiter-Uranus conjunctions. These conjunctions portend discovery, invention, and innovation (Uranus) combined with expansion, experimentation, and exploration (Jupiter). The force of change (Uranus) is very strong (Jupiter) when these planets congress, which can lead to protests and political change.” (source: Gary Brand Astrology)
“The conjunction in Aries is asking us to expand our awareness towards what we need to do for our selves as unique and independent individuals. Aries is the warrior; the individual who faces their fear and is willing to forge ahead into uncharted territories. When Jupiter is in Aries the expansion of fearlessness can take on a reckless quality. However reckless in whose mind? The resistance will be in part against conservative concepts that promote the previous paths that are slow, steady and safe. When Uranus is in Aries it demands rebellion against the established conservative and control based thinking. The two together forge a union that can break through fear and grid lock in life to push the limits of what others say is impossible or can not be done.” (source: Donna Page)
At the second that I had identified this planetary image my car alarm went off! The car was a few fields walk away still. This was the third time it has done this when I have visited the caves so I was not too disturbed by it, but still I hurried along. Even though no-one lived nearby I didn’t want to attract too much attention (ha! too late!). As I approached my parking place I found a policeman sitting in a squad car making notes alongside my car. I tapped his window and asked if everything was OK? Yes, just checking because there had been an undisclosed incident nearby and policemen are naturally suspicious about unattended vehicles. With my best magickal work I gave off an air of “Nothing to see here“. He scanned me and only asked if I had been “walking”. I told him I was at the caves, and he wished me a good evening. The hint was taken.
I left, thinking about the “nudge” I had got, and when I would next get to try my other chakra sounds in such a helpful environment.