Posts Tagged ‘cailleach’
In the first of my seven Summer Solstice stories I will tell you about how I encountered an ancestral spirit who would work with my Spirit Self to bring about a culmination of my ancestral work on this weekend’s journeying. This was only realised through the two days work, so the stories piece into each other like fragments of a mirror revealing a full picture towards the end.
In order to pull all the stories together I have used the tag Ireland solstice 2015.
Sunset to Sunrise
I was asleep at sunset and then awake again at sunrise. Seems like a long time, but actually it was only a few hours. On arrival, tired by excited, we zoomed off in the hire car heading for the first destination. It was a place I had heard of by reputation, but we hadn’t visited it yet – Loughcrew. We know nothing about it.
The car park has space for a few coaches and about 20 cars. This was clearly an important site, and we weren’t used to such “hospitality”. I noticed a memorial to a guy called “Mick Tobin“. The dowsing rods said that paying our respects was a useful starting point for the day’s work, so we acknowledged the gentleman – this “Child of the Solstice” as he was poetically named. It seemed fitting to our Solstice outing!
I walked up the steps a few minutes after Kal. At the top of the steps, before the path went into the foot of the hill, there was an interesting triangle of green grass and young trees that caught my eye and made me stop. It was a place of preparation. I dowsed to the correct spot, and got energetically cleansed and prepared. Cailleach appeared offering me the protection of her Black Dragon once again (see previous Ireland visit). I gratefully accepted this, and as the dragon’s wings enfolded me I felt a surge of power, and felt that wave burst out like a blast across the countryside around, sending a warning message to all the potentially mischievous spirits. “Be warned” – it signalled – “this one’s with The Dark Lady!”
I drew in the powers of the four elements from their respective cardinal points, and with that felt that I had offered something in return to Cailleach for my protection – the energy formed by the union of the elements that is the singularity of my self.
Kal was waiting by the gate with a grin on his face as he watched me. What, I asked? “A place of preparation?” he inquired? I nodded. “That was the same spot as I was used.” We laughed. Such synchronicities already! What next?
Only the fool-hardy and those friends with frost would venture forth into the darkness of Delamere Forest at midnight. Illuminated only by a filling Milk Moon and a fogging headlamp I met with John Kirby – experienced meditator and esoteric inspiration. This was his idea, and I had seen no reason not to accompany him on his wild adventure into the blackness. I was nearly put off by other people’s reservations: it would be cold, I didn’t know where I was going exactly, it was very windy, the world might end any moment. None of this seemed to matter. Curiosity and the opportunity to meditate outdoors this close to Imbolc was sufficient motivation to drive me onwards.
It was almost a full moon and there was sufficient light to make our way from the station car park, past the visitor centre, and out into the forest proper. John had identified a place where there were some specific trees that he wanted to encounter again. Luckily, he knew how to get there even in the dark, and within ten minutes we had found the place.
There was one clearly visible and identifiable “male” tree. it stood along, a ‘lonesome pine’, immensely proud and conical. It looked like the kind of Christmas Tree that ought to adorn a special square in London. I chatted with John about the concept of the “King Stone” at a stone circle, and how the outlier would often be the male standing stone whose energy would be fed into the female stone circle. I likened the imagery to the sperm and ovum concept.
For me, Imbolc sees the return of the male earth energy so tonight it seemed appropriate to attempt to “fertilise” the female ring of trees nearby with the male energy of this lone tree. We set up camp in a clutch of fir trees whose central space was both soft and welcoming, sheltered yet not smothering. A fire pit was dug by hand, wet logs used as a container, and then a small immediate flame established to ward off the worst of the Winter’s warmth-sapping strength.
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.
Shronebirrane stone circle, Kerry, Ireland
To find this circle you need to follow the brown signs inland from the R571 Beara peninsula coast road after passing through Lauragh village. More information can be found at the Isle of Albion site.
After wending our way along a single track road that snaked along a valley floor for what seemed like an eternity we end up at a small car park next to a long farmhouse. We are surrounded by beautiful and tall hills, yet the valley is wide enough for us to catch the remainder of the solstice day’s rays.
As we pass the farmhouse we are met by the owner who charges us a nominal fee to enter the site in what is effectively their back garden. Their sheep wander around the circle leaving small black deposits.
I begin my investigations outside of the circle, whilst Kal heads straight inside, as he often does. I dowse firstly for the Spirit of Place for the site and find that the circle has one. Good. I ask to be shown where the spirit is, and I am taken all around the outside of the circle, threading in and out of some of the stones. That’s unusual, but vaguely familiar! I’m sure I found the same energy form at Cerrig Pryfaid near Conwy years ago. After my third perambulation I am back on the same track again, so it would appear that the spirit forms three discernible circles of energy around the stones.
When I ask to connect with the spirit I am taken by the dowsing rods to stand at one of the stones which lie to one side of the circle. Here I can connect with the spirit, and I learn that she is born of the surrounding mountains and that she has been at this circle for thousands of years.
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.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Ring of Kerry…. so begins a new twist on an old joke. In this case the Universe was playing with us a little bit. We are on the plane over to Ireland and it suddenly occurs to me that Kal should consider finding out which spirits are around him this weekend. I’ve never said that to him before, but on this occasion the impetus to say it causes me to interrupt him listening to music on his iPod. He nods with a kind of “if you say so” look on his face, then tells me that he is currently listening to”There may be an angel” by The Eurythmics at that precise moment . This will be the first sign that something synchronous is happening between us on this day – Friday 20th June – the eve of the solstice.
Eightercua stone row
Once we have found our lodging – the delightful and highly recommended Two Mile Lodge situated two miles out of the town of Kenmare – then we’re straight out to visit a bunch of sites. We don’t hang about when there’s work to be done! I had decided to do the sites situated around the Ring of Kerry first, as they were fewer in number and clustered relatively close together. Therefore, our first destination was Eightercua stone row near to the village of Waterville.
The road to get there was ‘interesting’. The hire car strained under the up, then down, left then right, round hairpin bends, over blind dips, huge holes in the road, and our occasional screeches to a halt as we realised we were going the wrong way. As the sun began to descend we suddenly caught sight of the Atlantic Ocean as we descended towards Waterville and saw the stone row on a small hill near to a house, just off the N70 “main road” (known as the Ring of Kerry road). [TIP: If you reach the golf club on your left then you’ve just passed it!]