Posts Tagged ‘cailleach’
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.
This is a tale about my knights pilgrimage. Click that link to get them in some order, or just jump in and enjoy.
Have you ever wondered, when does a pilgrimage start? Is it at your door? Is it when you decides it starts? Is there a marker point? Believe it or not I have actually been on a holy pilgrimage to Mecca, namely the Hajj. The Hajj is a seriously complex affair for those who know nothing about it, i.e. me. However what can be said is that it has a definitive start and end point. There are several start points and they depend on the direction of travel. For me I was going from the UK to Saudi-Arabia, thus for me, the start point was Cairo. I don’t know why that is. I didn’t study that part in detail. Perhaps it has energetic, historic, port significance. My point is that there is a definitive start.
What then of my Knights Pilgrimage? Did it have a definitive start? A question to ask in the Travel Lodge car park, I fancy. The answer was Yes. Had I started it? Yes. When? Right now! Oh. What do you do with a response like that? Nothing except shout out, Tally Ho!
Where to next…Tintagel? Yes. First question, first answer, Excellent. Is the sun shining? Yes! Bonus!
Castle of Kings
Tintagel. You have to be there to feel the energy of that place. No, really you have to. The pics look amazing but they don’t do the place justice, not by a long margin. I arrived at the castle around 11 and set of for a leisurely look around. Introducing myself to the spirit of the place so to speak. Gwas is mad! He has only been here once. Yes, it’s a zillion miles away, but come on? Merlin, Arthur. This IS the place to be.
I was fortunate enough to have stayed an hour and half away from this castle last year and so had several trips out to it. Each one was an occasion to be remembered and as I walked through the ruins and remains of this majestic place those memories came back. Particularly the Huge Quartz crystal I had found in the waterfall after being directed by Cailleach.
- Can I just say guys, if you’re looking for a particular post on this blog, forget the search button on here. Just use google. For instance I found the above link by searching…“hedge druid Tintagel cailleach” it was the top link!
After meandering through the grounds a few times and taking a trip to the bottom of the waterfall. It was a gorgeous day. I decided to find the place where I could learn something. After some difficulty I determined that it was inside one of the caves. Time to get wet. Why am I always getting wet?
A helping hand
Okay, I confess, I didn’t dowse for the best place in the cave it was difficult enough to navigate without trying to dowse as well. So I found a comfortable spot and dangled my feet into the cool water and let my mind float. It was a nice feeling and I could have sat for a good while there. My thoughts were on my previous visit when that ‘ol dear Cailleach had produced a crystal of some size for me to take away. Whether it was because I was thinking of her or not. A few minutes later the lady appeared. As per usual she was a stunning beauty. Why is she so often depicted as a crone?
As I looked at her, she came right up close to me. Frighteningly close. I could see right into her eye (yes that is a singular) she had stars in her eye. I stared into that eye for ages.
- Oh and no their depth didn’t entice or engulf me, much though poetic license might let me say.
As I looked into that eye, the thought of the knight who had stood over me at Gop Hill came to mind. Weird and why? Were parallel thoughts.
You need a helping hand. She had stepped back. It is a flaw in you. You won’t accept helping hands. She laughed, not unless they trick you into it. Of course she was referring to herself in this regard. I had refused her in Ireland and then found myself taking up her challenges 8 months later at St Helen’s well. But for you, that is how it is. I looked at her askance and O my gosh. Some deep flooding memories came to me…
- In one of Castaneda’s work. He talks of the abstract. Don Juan, his mentor, tells him of how the spirit entices the warrior onto his path. It does so through trickery because a person won’t accept it at face value.
If you have read that particular work (I think it was in the Power of Silence) then you will be feeling the same awe that I felt at that time. Even as I write this my hair is curling up on my neck.
She, Cailleach, smiled. She knew what I was thinking (of course she did, she is a figment of my imagination, I thought). Of course I am, I told you that last year. She drew close again and I looked into her star filled eye. Yes, she had. Although it isn’t as simple as that, it never is.
You need help, she said again. Yes, well, you’re helping me aren’t you? I said. No, you need a Knights help. Why? I asked. Again she moved close and I looked into her eye. Nothing. Rather disappointing I have to say, and a slight dig in my ego. I sometimes feel it is a test, don’t you? I could hear the waterfall outside and my thoughts went to the bowling ball sized quartz that I picked up from there. What ever happened to that? Oh yes, I had left it by the side of a couple of Yew trees at my old lodgings. Why did you do that? I was startled out of my pondering by the question. I don’t know, I responded.
Exactly. You can’t know at this time. but you will know later. She looked at me and if I had to guess I would have though that she was looking into my eye. What? Will you accept the Knights help? Do I have a… she sighed. Okay, I accept. She vanished. Hey!
That’s it! She just vanished, no puff of smoke, no nothing. Just gone. Great (laced with sarcasm).
The rods agreed with me that my time at Tintagel was concluded and so with the lighting of several incense sticks in gratitude. I left that remarkable place.
I dowsed for the next stop on my pilgrimage, after confirming that it wasn’t finished yet. Again, my first suggestion of Glastonbury was accepted as Yes. So off I toddled, A mere 120 miles away!
Kals Knight Pilgrimage continues
Okay, a bit of a provocative title I agree, but last night was the first (and closest to Imbolc) full moon and since Gwas and I explored the notion last year that Lunar (and Solar) days were more energetically relevant than the Pagan days I decided to hop over to Alderley Edge (the Wizards forest) for a bit of early evening energy work.
Boy! Was I blown away. Here is the tale…
As readers will know, Alderley Edge is one the very first places I visited that marked my entrance into the world of the hmmm…druid? On that occasion whilst meditating under an arched tree log I was given the name the magician who creates his own worlds (note magician not druid). When I look back over the last few years it does seem to have turned out that way. Other adventures have been had in these magical woods and so it was with a feeling of freshness (although that could have been the cold) that I parked the car up and headed into the mist filled woods.
It was late afternoon but there was plenty of light still around as well as the odd dog walker. I ambled over to the fallen trunk that had been the place of so many visions and was attempting to surriptisiously dowse to see whether the place was good for a meditation when I was accosted by a young girl who had escaped the clutches of her carer for a moment.
- “You’re a wizard, aren’t you?”
She asked me, she had seen me dowsing and was intrigued I could tell and before I could respond, her mother stepped in and apologised for the rude interruption. I didn’t have time to correct her before they had vanished towards the car park, the girl looking wistfully back at the wizard.
- Cailleach image by DreamOrchid Studios.
It was an auspicious start to the afternoons events at the wizards forest. I brought up my dowsing rods and asked the question…”is there anything for me to learn here?” The answer was yes and I let them direct me.
Off I went on a small trip through the undergrowth, only to be led right back to the fallen tree and under its arch. As I stopped I noted that someone had drawn a spiral right under the arch…aha…another energy user I mused.
Having used this spot on occasion I felt quite comfortable with the process. So I closed my eyes and let my thoughts settle into a free flowing path.
Nothing happened for several moments then I felt a connection with something…It was Caileach. I’ve like not seen her in ages. But here she was in the vision so to speak.
- “Creator of worlds…I like it“
Is it me or does this being have my sense of humour?
- “I see you have completed the Knights Quest.”
She was in error, I hadn’t completed it at all. I said as much back to this marvelous creature and she corrected herself…
- “I see that you will have completed the Knights Quest soon.” She smiled enigmatically and raised an eyebrow.
Definitely my sense of humour. After all this time was I just making this u?, I thought and she laughed.
- “You don’t remember,” She said, “You can see only what you can see. I am in your image”
I had vague memories of having been down this road before, but let the vision take me.
- “You are coming along nicely,” She said and moved away from the tree trunk.
Here is a weird thing. Even though I didn’t physically move from the trunk I still followed her as she walked around the open area around the fallen trunk.
- “However some seeds are still germinating and they should be rising to the surface soon” She stopped. “Are you ready for them?”
“How can I know the answer to that?” I thought/said.
- “Yes, you are ready,” she said, “Follow the path of your destiny” as she said this she pointed into the forest and a winding path became visible to me.
When I looked away from the path, she was gone and I had dropped out of my vision. Of course there was no path there now. So I turned to the only way I knew. I asked the rods whether they could take me along the path, Yes. As I followed them I did some confirmation dowsing…
- Was it Caileach? Yes.
- Was it something in my mind? Yes
- Was it really a separate entity? Yes
- Was it ‘the’ Caileach? half/half split (which means Yes, but you’re missing something).
- Was my experience real? Yes.
I have to laugh, really I do. I have to apologise to the ghost of Carlos Castaneda, whom both Gwas and I cursed for his constant questioning of the obvious. It seems that that is a natural course when walking within the divine.
I followed the rods and they took me deeper into the brush and along so real steep slopes. Finally they twirled at an innocuous place. I looked around? Nothing! Just forest. Nothing of note.
I was confused and double checked the place. Yep this was the place. Was it an energy spot, I asked, No. What? What? Was it of some energetic significance? No. Okay!
Now I was confused. Was I supposed to meditate in this location? No. Was I supposed to do some work here? No. Okay. I went for a method that has worked quite well in the past…
Is there anything than can give me a clue as to what I’m supposed to learn here? Yes. Take me to it. I was led some feet away to a small branch. Curious. Was this branch the clue yes. It was a branch some 2/3 foot in length. I stood staring at the ground when a thought struck me. I walked back to the original place and asked…
- Is this the place I was taken to and shown to creat a wand? Yes!
O my word. It was my destiny to create a wand? Yes. Weird. Not much of a destiny I thought. Still. I walked to a nearby tree and lent against is as I pondered this destiny. I had been given a task a year or two ago to create a wand. Now it seemed that I would be required to fulfil that.
I found myself humming a tune and my focus went to it. It was the Harry Potter theme tune. Makes sense, since I was thinking about Wands. But then for some reason my thoughts flicked to a particular film. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. I wondered whether there was anything in that musing, so I asked the rods. Was I being directed to that thought? Yes. Has the Philosophers Stone got anything to do with this? Yes (and I mean a helicopter twirl YES).
I asked whether anything else was to be learned here? No. So I made my way back to the car pondering the images I had…Wand making and the Philosophers Stone. What did it mean?
Addendum by Gwas
For the past week I have been directed to read a book called “The Ways of the Lonely Ones” by Manly P Hall. I was at a loss as to why the dowsing rods had directed me to read this series of short allegorical tales – the book did not seem relevant to anything I was currently researching.
The night after I met up with Kal and he told me the tale of his Alderley Edge visit I realised why I was led to this book. The very next tale that I read was ‘The Master of the Blue Cape‘, which talked about The Philosopher’s Stone. It was a very clear signal that I should give the book to Kal and help him with his quest to find his transformational powers.
It was a fabulous sunny day when we met up on the festival day of Beltane. Accompanying the sun was a fresh breeze that would be accompanying us off and on throughout the day. I had a feeling and decided to change the itinerary. Dinas Bran was to be the last place we were going to visit. However I felt that we should visit it first and so that was to be our place of beginnings.
We arrived an hour or so later and began the climb. Both Gwas and I have been increasing our physical fitness and so the climb itself was of no consequence. Other than the wind howling around us of course. As is becoming the norm, once we reached the top we split up and both headed in a direction that was purposeful for us.
As an aside Gwas noted a Bee (my new totem) floating around the entrance to Dinas Bran. He queried it as to whether we were allowed in and it flew into the castle giving as a well received sign.
On a previous occasion I had left a stone for my Energetic Double at Dinas Bran and although I had picked up a stone (on the slopes) for this purpose I felt that it was something that I would be carrying around for the day. Having said that my first stop was to sit in the window where I had left that earlier stone. As the wind howled an impossible thought occurred to me, we can only leave when the wind stops, I told myself. Even if it takes all day. Oh dear I thought immediately after this, sometimes I don’t half put myself into a predicament.
As I sat there the wind howled in through the gap and my attention was caught by the t-shirt I was wearing on the day. It had wolves on it. I placed the rock on a ledge with the intention of picking it up at the conclusion of this visit and was off, feeling my way around the site looking for a place of appropriate energy. I finally found a place that I had to climb up a wall to reach,
Sitting facing the sun I opened my thoughts to any impressions that would lend themselves to me. Let me say that although I had been promised another Blue Key (see this post). I had no idea of what to expect. Within an utterly surprising time I was visited by that wondrous being Cailleach. She smiled her signature smile and asked “How are you student?” Excellent I replied, I have given up fighting the notion that I am not her student, although it took me a while to do so.
Again she was presuming to read my thoughts. “That is good to hear, because you have had it all wrong about me.” I was puzzled and asked her to explain. “Last year when I came to you, you felt that if you became my student you would lose yourself and become a follower of me and mine?” Yes, I replied, wondering if it was a question. “That is where you are wrong, I am a teacher of the subject that you bring”, What? I queried, wanting a better explanation. “There is no Way of Cailleach,” she said, “There is only your way. You wanted to learn to release your Energetic Double, I taught you. You wanted to learn to become a Knight, I am teaching you.” She smiled,“I can only teach you what you want to learn”
There was a pause as I took in this really profound knowledge. A quick reprise of the last year’s (I first encountered Cailleach almost a year ago) experiences revealed exactly what she said. She wasn’t teaching me the way, she was teaching me my way. Profound!
Rather grudgingly, I said that perhaps I should have trusted her more. She laughed, “You had to fall before I can catch you” she said,I didn’t understand that Koan and let it slide.
I sat for a moment longer and noticed that the wind had stopped. It was a surprising experience because it had looked like the wind would be blowing all day. But it had stopped completely. I wondered whether this elemental magic was Cailleach doing, she wasn’t saying.
Cailleach turned to me then and showed me something, here it becomes difficult, because I can’t describe well what it was that I saw, but it felt like an elastic that had been stretched. Over the last year I have been stretched, now I am at my maximum and today, Beltane’s day the elastic was to be released. This day!
As is my rational want, I wondered whether ‘all this’ was an illusion created by an over active imagination or whether it was ‘real’. I noted the oxy-moron of asking Cailleach the question even as I voiced it.
Still she had an answer, cryptic as always. “Yes and no, I am what I am, but for you I am limited to what you can believe.” I was pondering these words even as I returned from my revelry…what you can believe, not what you believe?
The conclusion of this experience was noteworthy by the fact that as I turned to look at Gwas, he too looked up at me, having concluded his commune, coincidence of course.
We gave thanks to Dinas Bran and as we did many other travellers appeared from both sides of the castle. We had been fortunate to have had the whole hill to ourselves.
As we cleared up to leave I was reminded of the rock I had placed on the ledge and I went back to collect it. It had gone! Seriously it had gone! How? Who?
Kal Malik – being released
I think it must be the fact that i’m cutting down on my caffeine intake that this afternoon around 3pm I found myself nodding off at work. You know what I mean, right? Where you just can’t keep your eyes open. Fortunately my desk is right at the back of the room and facing away from everyone else so my momentary nap didn’t go noticed.
I say it was momentary, because from the clock on my computer I guessed that it wasn’t more than a few minutes at the most. However during those minutes instead of black slumber I had a, what to call it? Day dream, dream, vision? I’ll leave that up to you.
It was a dark place, that I didn’t recognise although I could see some of the outlines of it. A small cave perhaps but or a darkened room. It was cold but I couldn’t feel it (yes, I know that sounds odd but there it is.)
I knew that there was someone else in this place but initially I couldn’t see who or what it was. Then, either as my eyes got used to the darkness or as a light grew brighter I could see her.
Cailleach, once met never forgotten. I have only encountered her once before at Four Knocks in Ireland where she offered me a chance to become her pupil. Tempting though that offer was. I refused at the time and if I recall correctly she had said that we wouldn’t meet again and yet here she was. In a dream, at work.
“Hello again, student”, she said and smiled.
You know, I read up a bit about Cailleach after my previous encounter and I have to disagree with the press about her. She is an attractive lass I have to say, whose voice just wants to make you obey.
“Hello,” I returned, a bit warily.
She looked me up and down and walked around me. I turned to keep her in front of me. You have to remember this was just like a dream, I wasn’t conscious of being in work or anywhere like that. Which is odd for me, because normally in my dreams I am quite good at knowing that it’s a dream.
“Thanks,” I replied, “I think” I added, I’ve never been good with authority figures. They irk me. “I thought we weren’t going to be meeting again?” I asked.
She shrugged and said something that really startled me, “I thought you said you weren’t going to be my student?” I looked at her and could feel my eyes tighten suspiciously.
“I’m not” I said insistently.
“I’m not going to argue with you, I just popped in to show you something”
Okay, I’m not one for the thee’s and thou’s but honestly I report that word usage exactly because I noted it at the time, she did use the word “popped” what can I say, not exactly Celtic is it?
“Interested?” She added as I was pondering her word usage.
I wasn’t going to turn Cailleach down (again) was I? So I said, yes.
She pointed off behind me and I swear her finger, for just a split second looked clawed, but on second glance was just an ordinary finger. I directed my gaze at where she was pointing…and saw a vision.
A vision within a vision, is that a first?
It was me in some place that I didn’t recognise. It was a huge hall, brightly lit and I was on bended knee with my head lowered. before me was a cloaked person, I couldn’t tell what or who it was, not even if it was male or female. The cloak was red and green and had some kind of emblem on it, like a leaf (alas google reveals nothing).
The figure, took out a wand, not a sword, but a wand and knighted me. Yep the whole left, right, left thing on the shoulders. Then I stood up and was presented with the wand that was used to knight me.
I was back in the realworld staring at my computer…remember Neo at the beginning of the Matrix film? Exactly like that.
I pondered the vision for a long while and coudn’t wait to get home and do some quick dowsing.
- Was it a dream or a vision? A vision
- Was it really Cailleach? Yes
- Even though she had said we wouldn’t meet again? Yes
- Was she offering me a quest? Yes
- To become a knight of some kind? Yes
- Did I have to follow this quest? half/half answer.
These half/half answers are really annoying sometimes. As you may know from previous posts it is when one rod turns and the other doesn’t, we have kind of deduced that it means “you’re half right, but there’s more.” Just to bamboozle me more, I asked…
- Have I unwittingly been the student of Cailleach? half/half
I’m sorry for such crappy answers and such basic questions. As Gwas and I have both found, it is difficult to get into the intuitive swing of dowsing in one’s mundane apartment/home. We’re just in the habit of doing it at sacred sites.
So, am I going to take up this challenging quest? You betchya!
Now then…”Which way to Mordor, Gandalf?”
As the Wheel of the Year rolls through the Winter months we reach the first major milestone on 2011 – Imbolc. This festival is the first of the year’s Nature worship moments – a time to appreciate the beginnings of new life in the land. So, what are the origins and purposes of this festival?
A good explanation of Imbolc comes from the Chalice Centre website:
“The First of February belongs to Brigid, (Brighid, Brigit, Bride) the Celtic goddess who in later times became revered as a Christian saint. Originally, her festival on February 1 was known as Imbolc or Oimelc, two names which refer to the lactation of the ewes, the flow of milk that heralds the return of the life-giving forces of spring. Later, the Catholic Church replaced this festival with Candlemas Day on February 2, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and features candlelight processions. The powerful figure of Brigid the Light-Bringer overlights both pagan and Christian celebrations.
In most parts of the British Isles, February is a harsh and bitter month. In old Scotland, the month fell in the middle of the period known as Faoilleach, the Wolf-month; it was also known as a’ marbh mhiòs, the Dead-month. But although this season was so cold and drear, small but sturdy signs of new life began to appear: Lambs were born and soft rain brought new grass. Ravens begin to build their nests and larks were said to sing with a clearer voice.
In Ireland, the land was prepared to receive the new seed with spade and plough; calves were born, and fishermen looked eagerly for the end of winter storms and rough seas to launch their boats again. In Scotland, the Old Woman of winter, the Cailleach, is reborn as Bride, Young Maiden of Spring, fragile yet growing stronger each day as the sun rekindles its fire, turning scarcity into abundance.” (source: ChaliceCentre.net)
Last year Kal and I went to Anglesey to follow the trail of Brigid along the River Braint. It was the first time that I full realised my relationship with birds of prey, particularly hawks. They were everywhere I went that day, culminating in them circling directly overhead when were ourselves going round in circles in the village of Brynsiencyn. It was a magickal experience which I will never forget.
This year Brigid has become transformed into Cailleach the crone aspect of the triple goddess. Now we are dealing with the other end of the spectrum of life and death. Whereas Bridget was the maiden aspect, Cailleach is the old lady. Therefore, I expect that the tone of this year’s pilgrimage will be different to last year’s. So, how did we know it was Cailleach and not Bridget this year? Well, she began to present herself to us – first at Ireland where she introduced herself to Kal, and then to me as a book-buying opportunity (the perfect way to introduce yourself to me).
How will this affect the way we approach the Imbolc day? In several ways. Firstly I would expect there to be a theme of life, death and regeneration involved somewhere on our long day’s journey to Lindisfarne. Here’s a section, again from the Chalice Centre site, explaining how Bridget came to symbolise being between the worlds of life and death:-
“Saint Brigid was said to be the daughter of a druid who had a vision that she was to be named after a great goddess. She was born at sunrise while her mother was walking over a threshold, and so “was neither within nor without.” This is the state known as liminality, from the Latin, limen: a threshold – the state of being “in between” places and times. In Celtic tradition this is a sacred time when the doors between the worlds are open and magical events can occur. “ (source: ChaliceCentre.net)
As a fire celebration Imbolc has become associated with anything symbolising fire, particularly candles. I will be taking some candles with me to light on Holy Island, and we will see where the dowsing rods direct me to place them, or where a sensation of it being ‘right’ comes over me. I will also be eating dairy products and maybe dedicating a few drops of milk or crumbs of cheese depending upon where I get to each my cheese sandwiches!
One of the things I need to do at Lindisfarne is to discover what the transition means for me. What tasks and duties will I be expected to perform in order to make progress on my spiritual path? Usually, I am led to a specific place to discover these answers, and then need to meditate to connect to the spirit of the time of year – in this case Cailleach or Brigid. Of course, I will report on what happens shortly after our visit on 29th January.
Friday 28th May – Baltinglass, County Wicklow
I got a bit carried away telling you about the good stuff and I forgot to tell you about the bad stuff, “Lesson #1″, or as we refer to it “The Leprechaun Incident“. Let me take you back in time to Friday 28th May. You may remember that we had just been on our first visit to the major sites along the Boyne River, namely Knowth and Newgrange. We had been having a wonderful time.
As we returned to the car from the Visitor’s Centre Kal reminded me about my ash staff. When should we go and see if it was still there? Well, as it was early afternoon I guess now would be a good time, less than 24 hours after I left it at the Castleruddery stone circle. Or at least, that’s where I hoped I had left it! Otherwise it was lost. I was utterly resigned to that idea. Remember, none of these material items is invaluable. None. All things come and go. Some things have their own path once inbued with sentience. Perhaps the staff and I had parted ways and someone else way now using it? It mattered little, yet I was willing to go back to the other side of Dublin, a good two hour drive, just in case it was still there. Hey – there were sites down the N81 that we hadn’t seen yet, so….nothing to lose, right?
When we arrived I vaulted the stile and raced to the Castleruddery circle – I could see the staff still propped up against the old ash tree that lined the circle’s embankment. Yeah, like I wasn’t bothered or anything? Right! I was relieved to have it back. We decided to see what else was in the area and for some reason we thought that a cluster of sites atop a hill in the nearby town of Baltinglass would be a good thing to go and see, even though there was no obvio9us way to access them. We entered the town of Baltinglass apprehensively and Kal was told off for using the toilets in a pub. Good start! There was an odd feel to this town, and no mistake. Both of us were on edge and flustered for some unknown reason.
We couldn’t find a good place to park or access the track or path that led up the hill to the ancient sites so we parked at the bottom of a lane that led to a farm. At every few turns of the track were signs warning us that we were on farm land, not a public highway or byway. Which we ignored. We checked the farmhouse for signs of life so that we could ask permission, but all was quiet, so we made our way quietly over a gate into a field populated with bulls, and then another with sheep. All the while we were climbing steadily up this steep slope, and the sun was getting hotter.
We headed for a corner of the field away from the farmhouse – feeling guilty for not having obtained permission to cross the land. We reached a corner of a field where there was an unreasonably tall wall – some 8 feet high! We found what appeared to be a hole in the corner of the wall, and if we climbed and pushed ourselves through the gorse and bramble we could climb through and get into the safety of the forest where we wouldn’t be seen going up the hill.
The forest was made up of densely packed fir trees, old tall gorse bushes and old and thorny brambles. We tried to find and pick our way through a path through the plantation as best we could and about half way in we reached several dead ends and were forced to consider turning back. Despite sweating like crazy and being torn to shreds we pushed onwards – the GPS telling us how far we still had to go. It was the countdown to hell! After 30 minutes of fighting with the forest we broke free into the daylight again breathing sighs of relief and trying to cool down. We turned to each other saying things like “I never want to go through THAT again!”
At this point Kal realised he had lost his dowsing rods!!! The only pair he had brought with him on the trip. He was clearly gutted. We vowed to go find them if we could, but didn’t relish going back into the forest, and to retrace our steps was impossible. We oddly made the decision, in the heat of the middle of the day, to continue climbing UP the massively steep slope towards the top of the hill. After all, we were almost half way up!
What to see on Baltinglass Hill
We were on a really steep track like that up to Llandrillo, but made of mud not tarmac. As we finally reached the top, another half hour later – we found the hill fort ringed by a huge wide wall of boulder. After clambering somwewhat precariously inside we found the site littered, almost literally, with the remains of some burial chambers – mostly damaged and strewn, and cluttered with water and pop bottles. Nice! We dowsed to see if there was anything useful up there – not a single thing. In fact, it was detrimental for us to remain there for any length of time so we were forced to leave rather quickly!
A Swift Return to Hell
On the way back down we found an abandoned small tent, like everything else around there it was randomly strewn around and in poor shape. Looked like someone had though that this hill might be good for camping, but had been disabused of that idea so quickly that they had to flee leaving the tent to its own fate! Another strange sign of destruction and a portent of doom that added to our growing unease. We headed down the back of the forest to see if we could connect with the point where we had entered it and see if Kal had dropped his rods right at the beginning;. A fruitless search began which yielded, as expected, nothing. As I sat ont he tal wall listening to Kal getting scratched and lashed a thought came to me – this was the work of a leprechaun. We had crossed into a leprechaun’s territory, and he had stolen Kal’s rods! Our story, as I played it back, was so filled with portent, so akin to the tales I had read in childhood of the activities of the Little People, so much a tale of woe and warning – what else could it be? I told Kal what I thought and he laughed, but not in a dismissive way, in a nervous way!
We moved through a field of bulls which woudl lead us back to the field through which we oculd reach the town again. Iwarned Kal not to stare at them or make a noise, but regardless of that the bulls began to charge us! We high-tailed it over the nearest low-point in the barbed-wire fence at a gap in the hawthorn trees, but were faced with the awful task of having to leap a six-foot a ditch which held three stinking rotting corpses of sheep and a cow – putrid with the sun’s activity, and making our nostrils reek of foul vapours! We almost retched but leapt over (just makign the five foot jump) and hurried down the hill for the corner and the gate to the trackway and freedom. We tried to climb quietly over the gate again past the farmhouse, but now the owner must have returned because three dogs set off barking and we had to run back to the car, sweating and panicky again.
This was the hell of our worst experience of dowsing ever. What lessons could we learn from this? Only one – when the warning signs are presented, and you have the option to heed them, be sensible and heed the advice! If Nature ways “turn back” then bloody well do it or face the awful consequences!!