Posts Tagged ‘chalice well’
This is the final part of my Summer Solstice 2011 quest in and around Glastonbury. In the first part of the day I had meditated at Glastonbury Abbey and seen a vision of Arthur and Guinivere, visited the Holy Thorn tree, and then mixed the red and the white waters from the Tor’s streams together. Now I was heading to Cadbury Castle – a site I had tried to find the time to visit on previous pilgrimages, but had never managed to get to.
5. Cadbury Castle
Finding the castle was easy. I set the navigation systems for South Cadbury village, and from there the signs were obvious – there were small brown tourist signs telling me where to go from that point. No esoteric signs required, and still no dowsing rods needed (which was fortunate because I hadn’t brought them deliberately). This was intuitive work, and I was being tested to see if I could hack it.
I parked the car and noticed a girl walking her dog was wearing wellingtons despite the outrageous heat of the day. I wondered if she knew something I didn’t. As I walked up the dark tunnel made by hawthorn trees that led me up the hill to the castle I realised that she did know something – the path was incredibly rutted and muddy! The ascent went slowly as I picked my way through the delightful remainders of a cow’s digestion, the inches deep mud, and the streams of…well, I didn’t dare contemplate what they might be, but I hoped they were water.
As I neared the top of the slope I was presented with various possible paths. I decided to follow my intuition again. Which was the correct entrance for a servant of Merlin, I wondered? I felt a path to the right was the correct one, so I took it despite it being surrounded by high nettles. Soon there was no path any more, only nettles. I stopped because I couldn’t go any further and I looked down at my feet as something caught my eye – there was a black feather to go with the white swan feather that I had brought with me for some reason. A complimentary pair! I picked it up and picked my way up the hill, somehow finding the path I came in on and then I was able to climb into the castle, mounting its embankments to survey the scene.
The scene was difficult to imagine as a castle. There was a flat wide-open space, slanting uphill towards a concrete pillar at the summit, and the field was enclosed by six-feet high embankments that enclosed a herd of grazing cows. The wind was also rushing sternly across the top of the hill ensuring that I didn’t hang about wistfully imagining a fantasy Arthurian Camelot scene. Instead I headed for the lee side of the slope at the peak of the site where the wind was stiller and the sun beat down like a proper English summer day. I rested there with my staff, breathing in the summer air, listening to the insects at work, and delighting in the occasional call of a songbird.
When my lazy urge had passed I set about creating an elemental crystal layout and tried to unify the two feathers in terms of their energy, like Arthur and Guinivere. I positioned the feathers in what I felt was a unifying manner, and then surrounded them with the four quadrants of the elements – the cardinal points. Frustratingly nothing felt as though it was happening. I tried several configurations of crystals. Maybe I just had them int he wrong position, or the wrong order, or….nothing was happening. At that moment when all hope had vanished and I had cleared the paraphernalia away I was interrupted by a jovial set of old Americans who proceeded to give me a short history of the castle unbidden. No harm in that! We passed the time and then I departed for more hospitable places – the wind was spoiling the beautiful summer day heat.
What had happened to the magical moments of this pilgrimage? Had I taken a wrong turn? I returned to Glastonbury feeling like a simple tourist.
6. Chalice Well Gardens
What better place to while away the time before the sunset than at the most beautiful small garden in Somerset? Chalice Well Gardens are a haven from the bustle of the town and the Tor on a Solstice afternoon.
I was just in time for the gardens at what must be their quietest time of the day – late afternoon. I admired the flowers and plants, then headed for a high spot to meditate. It was difficult, so I went to the spot between the yew trees and called the Goddess, like a famous druid had told me to do. This worked well and soon i was feeling energised, but still no information was forthcoming. One last try – I went to my favourite spot and looked at the dappled sunlight through the trees. It worked.
Ironically, the message that I got was that I had to work on patience. I had to learn to be more patient with people, and to wait for situations to come about as they would, not to force things. This was exactly what a friend had said to me recently. I promised to the unseen forces that I would try. One of the other things to come out of the meditation was the news that the feathers could only be used for the last part of the day’s work on the Tor itself at sundown. That was why they hadn’t done anything at Cadbury Castle. Now I understood. Should have been more patient, eh?
7. The Tor
For the last part of the day Kal re-joined me in Glastonbury town. Yet again he had trekked across the vast wastelands of the south-western fringes of civilization to partake in some jocularity and light-hearted piss-taking. Oh, and he may have been there for the solstice sunset too, perhaps. He had, of course, his own quest to follow so as I told him of my day’s work he picked up on the waters of the red and white stream that I had mixed. He will tell you his own tale of how he found out some critical information whilst meditating in the Glabbey grounds, and how then he found he needed the waters that I had mixed to complete his own health quest. That’s a story worth telling in its own right. For now, let me continue with my story.
We walked up the Tor by the easy route, but started it just above the two springs. The climb was much easier now that we were both a lot fitter. At the top of the Tor I waited for the “right time”. With no dowsing rods this was difficult, but eventually, about 9:40pm, I was ready to work. I went to the west slope and put the two feathers in formation. I had picked up a grey pigeon feather from my walk through the town earlier and the three of them seemed to make sense now – white, grey and black, This seemed to signal the end of the Hawk of May quest – officially.
One the Tor I was getting nothing for my meditation. Perhaps it was too busy or too noisy? Maybe the wind was too strong? There were a hundred excuses but the result was the same – I couldn’t see or intuit anything on this ancient place of power about where my quest would go next. Nothing was forthcoming. Then I remembered one of the elements of the tarot that I had drawn at the start of the quest – “Don’t be afraid to ask“, and also remembered that in the grail myth Gawain failed the quest initially by not asking the important question that would release the grail to him. Suddenly I knew what to do. I had recently been in contact with The Hawk of May – Gwalchmai. This archetype or spirit is associated with Gawain and the Grail Quest too, but I knew that in the myth it was Percival who fails to ask the question. Was I Percival in this quest? Was I failing to ask the right question – to ask for help? Could Gwalchmai help me now?
I sat before the Tor’s church tower and called upon Gwalchmai three times. Suddenly I saw and simultaneously was a hawk circling the Tor. I could see it from where I sat and yet I was the hawk too, looking down on my distant figure below as I meditated. I asked the Hawk to show me what my next quest would be. I saw a hawk in my mind circling the Tor, then it flew straight through the building and out to Wearyall Hill. The hawk landed on the cage surrounding the Holy Thorn. The indication was clear to me – I would be doing more healing work, possibly more protection work too.
I knew that for the next six months I would be learning how to heal. This was an area I had been staying away from, but now the signs were clear and unrelenting. It was time for healing work – serious healing work. I had to learn to be a healer whether I liked it or not, and it would take…key word of the day….patience.
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.
Sunday 20th June, 2010 – Glastonbury, Somerset.
This is the fourth in the series of Summer Solstice posts, and by far the most ….important, astonishing, profound? In previous posts I have detailed my quest to finish off my tasks for the previous eighthpart of the year, and then to discover the purpose of the next eighth-part. Bothof these were very successful, and involved working with the heart chakra to bring about a harmonisation and integration within me. Then I had been posed a riddle to solve that would be the key to the next phase of the year from the Solstice to Lammas. With that safely determined, I could relax (could I relax any more?) and just “be”. I would say I was in a state of “openness” at this point, and ready to chill out in the lovely Chalice Well gardens, given that it was a fantastic sunny day. So, off we went down the Tor in a state of contentedness.
If there’s one place in the whole of Glastonbury that I appreciate more than any other it’s the tranquil space and beauty of the Chalice Well gardens. Its serenity is such an oasis from the hubbub of the Tor and the High Street, sandwiched as it is between the two. As we approached the ticket boothour thoughts were already turning to the “mindlessness” that such a place engenders and were were both quiet in preparation. The bearded man in the booth looked us up and down and then commented on the beauty of my ash staff. Thus began a special moment in my spiritual journey – I met Brian Conquer, ArchDruid of Glastonbury, for the first time.
How To Inlay A Staff
The conversation with Brian began with him asking about how I came across the staff. I told him the story that it had asked me to rescue it, how I had heard its call, revived it and how now I wanted to decorate it. Now we were inseparable companions, the staff and I. Straight away I felt as though he understood what I meant, which rather surprised me, but hey – we were in Glastonbury and people must hear comments like that all the time. Brian began to explain how I might decorate the staff usinga particular technique involving twisted copper wire, superglue, a soldering iron with a square head, and some sandpaper. It sounded like it was just the piece of information that I had been waiting for because I had been holding off from carving the staff for a while now feeling that this was not the right thing to be doing, and having dowsed that the marks I was making needed to be more distinct. Here was Brian telling me exactly how that could be achieved!
Brian’s technique for inlaying the staff in copper was firstly to burn a shape into the wood using the soldering iron. Then, twist the copper wire, glue it in place, and use the sandpaper to cause heat via friction which blends the copper and glue until the finish is smooth. Well, it sounded simple enough, and I said I would go and practise that. He commented that he would be holding a workshop on how to do exactly that in late August here in the Chalice Well gardens. I made a special note to leave a space in my calendar. This was just the guidance that I needed to complete my “side quest” of transferring the shapes I am dowsing, the sigils of the genius loci of various sacred sites, and putting them onto my staff. Here was a man who was experienced in just that technique.
There was even more information on offer too, though. Brian informed us about the red spring (female water) that emerged from under the Tor and had been enshrined here in the gardens. Over the road in the white spring, the male quality of the water was surfaced, channeled and enshrined. So, on either side of the road that separated the White Springs from the Chalice Well, the two qualities of water were available.
Another nugget of information was that there was an old yew tree with special qualities in the churchyard of St.Andrew’s church at Compton Dundon nearby. Brian reckoned that the yew tree was around 1500 years old, but also that it was the home of a friendly female dryad – a tree spirit. Having met only male dryads so far I made a mental note to go visit this should I get the chance. Some other arrivals at the gardens overheard this conversation and took an avid interest as well. Mr Conquer was holding court to a rapt audience!
Meeting The Goddess
Kaland I thanked the old man for his effusive and passionate display of knowledge. He had given us so many ideas to play with in such a short time that we felt we needed to spend some time in the gardens now to assimilate it all! Kal went off doing his thing (he loves the gardens) and I went off following a dowsing rod to find the best place for me to be. I started by asking if there was anywhere I could re-energise my healing ash staff – this was, after all, the quintessential healing place. I was lead to a sun-drenched circle of sawn tree trunks through a narrow archway that overlooked the main running spring water. ‘Idyllic’ is barely an adequate word! Perfect for re-charging – in terms of sunlight, the geometry of the space, and the quietness. I felt perfectly fine leaving the staff there whilst I went off elsewhere to find my own perfect spot.
After spending time on a fruitful trail moving from beneath various types of tree – beech, then willow, then rowan, and finally yew – I wandered down to where Kal was playing into the channeled spring, observing its flow. It looked like he was doing something akin to Schauberger’s principles of flowing water, but he didn’t elaborate. Seeing he wasn’t finished I didn’t interrupt, but began to wander aimlessly. That was when Brian nipped out of the ticket hut to shout some advice across to me: “Why don’t you try standing between the yew trees facing down the hill, groudn your staff and calling on the Goddess?“, he suggested. I had already been between the yew trees on my last visit, and again on this one, but his additional instructions made me think he knew something I didn’t, and beside – how the whole garden was watching to see what I would do! Nothing like a bit of pressure!
I stood in the centre of the two yews and asked them if they minded me doing this little experiment. I got a pleasing feeling, and so I thanked them and carried on. There was a lady behind me who seemed to be taking a very keen interest in this procedure, but I did my best to screen everyone out and followed the instructions. I faced down the slope, unfixed my attention and then struck the earth with my staff. At that precise moment I sent my attention up and down into the earth and sky. Once I was connected above and below I looked into the middle distance and called mentally upon the Goddess to visit me in this place. Would anything happen? Or would I just look foolish?
A gentle but powerful force arrived surrounding me in a maelstrom of whirling energies- a veritable vortex of coiling charge built up around me. I could feel my aura expanding and pulsing in and out in slow and very strong heartbeats. The American lady behind me, whom I had completely forgotten about, so awed was I by this ‘visitation’, was saying things like “Whoa – I’m being pushed backwards – now I’m moving forwards again!”. I continued feeling like I was in the centre of a storm and couldn’t imagine what it must look like from the outside – did people see this swirling vortex of subtle energy like I was feeling it?
I had a question I wanted to ask my visitor. I guessed she might be able to help me with this one. I asked if I might ask the question, to which the winds increased in strength momentarily. I imagined my question to her: “What was the nature of the dragon that I had to awaken? Was it a hill, an energy, a skill, a tale, or what?” The answer came back immediately, “It is the serpent fire within you. Can’t you feel it?” she whispered witha strong hint of humour. Of course I could! It was swirling all around and through me now! I was happy with that clear guidance, and thanked her for helping me. I released my mental grip, re-focusing my attention back into the present world and the winds around me began to ease off. As they did so I thanked the visitor for the experience – the single most powerful and exhilarating experience of that nature that I have ever had. The American lady behind me looked equally shell-shocked and could only say “Thank you! Thank you for that – that was amazing!” over and over again as she walked away, wide-eyed. I smiled and looked over at Brian in his wooden ticket office. He winked at me and smiled too. He seemed to know what that had been like for me.
I returned to Kal again and he still seemed to be busy meditating. I suddenly noticed that there were lots of herbs planted along one side of the garden’s walls and I wandered over to stroll amongst them – touching and smelling each in turn. I had never paid any interest at all to herbs before, but suddenly they it seemed to me that they were very important, and that I should learn their properties. I have no idea why this suddenly seemed so important, but since then I have been buying herb seeds, studying their lore, and have designated a space in my garden ready for planting them! Most odd. Or maybe just a natural progression on this druidic path?
As I wandered around Brian appeared again with a conspiratorial wink, and handed me a small wrapped hand-sized package. “A present from the Goddess.” he winked and smiled before chuckling to himself as he walked away. I thanked him as he retreated, and I unfolded the paper – it was a large prism of clear quartz. A present from an Archdruid? A treasured possession already! I was very humbled.
June 19th, 2010 – Glastonbury, Somerset.
As we did last year, Kal and I travelled down to Glastonbury to enjoy the strong sun energies that seem particularly strong around that town at this time of year. Events had conspired to come to a point for me in particular. I have been finding out what each of the stages of the seasonal year mean for me (see this post for some background on that). The result of this progress meant that I had two tasks that I wanted to achieve: firstly, to conclude the ‘current’ eighth-part of the year, and secondly to determine what the next part would be about.
The first task was to conclude the current quest. The trail of information I had been following through meditations and dowsing at various sacred sites was as follows:-
- Beltane to Solstice was a period to learn about the chakras
- The chakras consisted of seven points within the human body, fed through five pathways from the aura through to the body
- There was a way of integrating the seven chakras with the five channels to form a fully-functioning twelve-fold energy form
By working through the chakras, energising them, cleansing them, balancing them, and getting to know how they worked, it should be possible for me to integrate that knowledge into a unity, a “twelve” that was both a sum and a symbolic reference to the totality of influences over the human etheric energy body. Of course, twelve also has astrological significance, but I will come back to all this in a later post when I want to tie that into some other information related to sacred number. For now, let’s just say that the first task was to discover how to integrate the seven and five into a twelve, whatever that meant physically or spiritually.
Walking the Tor Labyrinth
We would make three trips up The Tor during our stay in Glastonbury. On the first of the journeys I felt the urge to go up barefoot. This has been something that has been happening to me more and more lately. It’s a very hippy thing to do, I realise that! I really felt, however, that I should go up barefoot. Kal of course mocked me relentlessly and pointed out that the “connection with the land” thing would be totally ruined by the concrete steps set into the sides of the hill providing an easy walkway for tourists. What he hadn’t reckoned with was the way that the “urge” would circumvent this. As I began to walk up from the ‘back’ edge – the steepest side coming from Stone Down lane – I got to a decision point. I was letting one dowsing rod guide me with one instruction: “Show me a path with a heart“. This is a reference to a phrase used in the Carlos Castenada novels that both Kal and I have read avidly as a guide to shamanism. There may be some dispute over their anthropological accuracy, but there can be little debate over their usefulness or the impact they have had upon our work now. This directive to find a path with a heart was at the core of this shamanistic philosophy, and right now I couldn’t conceive of anything being more appropriate to my intentions.
The main path went up steeply, but as I tuned into the energy path I should walk I was feeling an urge to go along the right-hand side, along one of the Tor’s labyrinth paths that headed slightly down the hill along its flank. As Kal climbed upwards straight for the top the rod indicated that I should take an alternate route. I veered off along the side path, now beginning to sense an element of danger as I realised the path was laden with thistles and nettles. I put a plea out to be guided safely through the foliage and trusted to hope that I wouldn’t dearly regret my decision to walk ‘connected’.
In the picture above you can see the outline of the path I took. You can just make out two more ridge paths above, too. The interesting thing was that the “way” I had to walk was downwards, not upwards as one might expect. Having spent time walking labyrinths and mazes recently, especially energetic ones, I was familiar with the idea that to make progress one often has to go the long way around and away from the path the your rational mind insists is the most efficient. So, I carried on until my path curved suddenly upwards to meet the main path along the spine of The Tor – the main path from the Chalice Well end.
I hope for some relief by being able to climb the main path, but very soon I was taken around the quiet side of the Tor along its other flank. This time I was rising swiftly, following what seemed to be an animal trail. To my eyes the way was clear. To Kal, who was sitting high above me just down from the top I must have looked ridiculous and random. I climbed steeply at the end to quickly reach the top. Where would the path end, I wondered, now that I was on the top? I crossed the top pat of the path I had started on, curving slowly in a Fibonnaci-style curve until I ended at the eastern wall of the church building. It was exactly the same spot where I had ended my climb last year! For a moment I was stunned. Then I also realised that I had walked up the entire hill and not been stung or prickled once by the thistles or nettles. But how….?
Mouth agape I leaned back against the supporting wall – well, either I had done something right, or something was looking out for me!
Working with the heart chakra – The Sun and Sunset
Looking back now I realise that this walk was the first part of my work with my heart chakra. Standing on that spot at the top looking out across the Somerset Levels, feeling the powerful ley line running through me – these were the preparatory steps for what was to come. This was the stage of cleansing, and a test of “heart” – was I prepared to endure the hardship of the walk up the Tor in bare feet? Could I overcome the fear of being stabbed and stung? I did. I was ready. We walked down again (this time with shoes on) in search of some food. We would return later as the sun was setting for no reason we could discern.
Hours later, now with a fantastic meal in our bellies from the wonderful Hundred Monkeys cafe on the High Street. Intending to walk around the Tor and back to our accommodation for the night, instead we happened to follow a footpath that took us over fields and towards the Tor. Unintentionally we arrived at its slopes again and decided that, seeing as the sun was about to set and the moon was out too, wouldn’t it be delightful to watch it set on the horizon? Yeah, us and fifty other people!!
We climbed the Tor again, this time with shod feet and by the fastest route. Something magical was about to happen and we wanted to be part of it. Quickly – let’s get up there! We suddenly realised, without saying anything, that we were in the right place at the right time again. At the top we settled for the sunset. Gaggles of Spanish students gabbled relentlessly throughout, which somewhat took the sheen off the moment. However, someone had thoughtfully brought a drum and was beating out a hypnotic rhythm for us to meditate to. As the sun slipped away with its warmth Kal was on one side meditating with the Sun, whilst I was on the other, holding both the Sun and Moon in view and thinking about the integration of my heart chakra energies. All very esoteric and hippy-ish, for sure!
For me, the moment was about integration. Holding the two celestial objects in view required focus, but an un-focused focus, if you know what I mean. If I concentrated on either I would lose sight of both. If I didn’t hold them in view with an intention of mind then I would not be actually doing anything. It was a balance. The act itself was the meditation. I found the balance point between meditation and concentration, between sun and moon, light and dark, and at that moment something happened within me – the drum became my heartbeat, and my heart integrated sound, sight and site. All became one.
We descended to tell our respective tales to each other. This didn’t feel like then end of this work, but in one day two powerful episodes involving The Tor had shown me that I was in the right place, that it was the right time to be here, and that I was in the right frame of mind for this integration work with the heart chakra. Still, there was one more thing to do, I knew. Would it involve this incredible powerful place again tomorrow? Indeed it would.
I have added a gallery page in the links at the top of the site. The photographs were taken while out and about this year at various sacred sites. I hope you enjoy browsing them as much as I enjoyed being there and taking them.
On June 20th and 21st Kal and I went down to Glastonbury to begin a spiritual pilgrimage. That wasn’t our intention initially, but very quickly that’s what it turned out to be! We had no set agenda, other than a starting point that I had identified after reading Mary Caine’s book about the Glastonbury Zodiac in which she had revealed that the Girt Dog of Langport may have been the first place that initiates to the ancient druidic colleges and mystery schools landed by boat on the Isle of Avalon, the only high ground in the flooded Somerset Levels. This first contact was at Burrow Mump at Burrowbridge. So that was where we started too. From that point onwards I was hoping for some guidance from elsewhere as to the path I should take.
Little did I know quite how successful that approach would be! What follows is an account of how we were lead through the Isle of Avalon, each site opening at least one of my chakras, to profound effect. Follow me now as I show you the trail and the experiences I had – truly a solstice to remember.
Stage 1: Burrow Mump – Throat Chakra
We started the morning looking for the nose that formed the Girt Dog of Langport. Having read Mary Caine’s book about the Glastonbury Zodiac I was interested that she considered it to be the entrance way for the initiate into the Isle of Avalon and the Mystery School transformation process. Not that I was going to subject myself to some sort of masonic ritual! I believe the tradition to be far older than that, and to have been a spiritual initiation of the kind that is symbolically referenced in ancient Welsh bardic texts. Certainly, now that I am recounting this story I feel as though it is the transformation that you seek for yourself that you find, and nothing to do with arcane and involved rituals. Just time, patience, endeavour and a willingness to try.
I was not convinced as to the existence of all 12 of the zodiac signs in the Glastonbury landscape (13 including the dog) despite Mary Caine’s well-argued case. I felt that some of the signs were older – especially the incongruous Girt Dog, which equates to the dog Dormarth – the companion of Gwyn ap Nudd. I am starting to formulate the idea that there may have been only five original shapes – the original fixed zodiac signs and the dog, but that’s an argument that I will spell out in another post. The Girt Dog fitted with the Gwyn ap Nudd tales, but was out of place with the zodiac signs, many of whose shapes I feel were a bit ‘forced to fit’. Nevertheless I felt there as something in the Dog, and that it would form a good starting point, as I hadn’t visited it before on previous visits. We bought an Explorer Map of the area and located it.
We followed dowsing rods to locate the most energetic paths for ourselves to the top. As usual, Kal’s solar path weaved a little but was almost direct, whereas my lunar-oriented path wandered around ascending at intervals and circling around each of the trees on the slope’s southern side. Then we arrived at the ruins of the St.Michael’s Church on the top of the Mump. If you’ve been reading our posts on this site for a while you’ll know the significance of St.Michael – the archangel of Christianity who pins the dragon energy, or Dark forces, under his sword of Light. However, another way of seeing it, as I saw it that day, was that the Archetype of Light was dominating the natural balance of energies. There ought to be a constant battle between Light and Dark, as is the flow of the forces in Nature. To dominate and subdue the dark forces throws the human world into a state of imbalance. This is how I felt standing in St.Michael’s Church on Burrow Mump – the earth and radiant energy forces were being subjugated by the design and designation of the church. The design channelled the energies, whilst the designation ensured that generations of believers would imbue the site with their dedicatory energies, maintaining the imbalance in the name of the Light (the Sun, the Male force).
Is not Christianity just such a religion? Does it not promote The Light and seek to eradicate The Dark, vilifying it as “evil” and un-holy? Has it not tried to associate all the worst aspects of humanity with the forces of darkness, of night and of magic? The result has been 2000 years of what Terence McKenna would call “the dominator culture“, promoting masculine ideals, favouring male energies, denigrating and subjugating the feminine. Only now is the tide slowly turning in the last hundred years as we slowly transfer alignment to the new Aquarian age from the Piscean. For the established Christian Church trying to maintain masculine sun energy exclusively in the face of this turning tide will bring about the dissolution of these established institutions – unless they can change.
Dowsing The Mump
The St.Michael church was of course aligned East-West. It could hardly fail to be so. Having read Ross Nichol’s article about the layout of churches in the selected collection of his works called “In The Grove of the Druids” I knew that this ancient Sun alignment was important, as was the structure of the church, which also conformed to the divine proportions and layout of almost all early Christian churches. It also happens to be on the St.Michael ley line that the late John Michell re-discovered, and which was popularised further by Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst.
We set about discovering the ley lines and earth energy formations of the site. We immediately identified a strong and powerful ley line consisting of neutral, male and female energy lines. It travelled all the way through the large empty windows set into each end of the ruined church. We quickly found our respective power centres – on opposite sides of the church’s North-South walls. Mine was to the south, and consisted of female and neutral energies, whilst Kal’s was directly opposite on the northern side and registered for male and female energies. I took the picture below whilst standing in my power centre, and Kal’s was just through the arch on the opposite side.
There was also a power centre slap bang in the centre of the church. This was very interesting indeed – we learned something new here. The three types of energies coming into the church along the East-West axis was hitting a female earth energy point in the centre of the church. As it did so it split into two rays that were channelled by the church’s walls outwards in North and South directions, effectively forming….a cross! To the south this extended through my power centre as a female and neutral line. On Kal’s side (north) the line was refracted as a male and female line. What we don’t know is how the power centres at those points affected the constitution of those lines, but perhaps we can leave that for someone else to determine until we get back there another day?
As Kal will no doubt relate he was wearing a bracelet of blue stones. An unusual thing for him to do, as I had never seen him wear it before. Turns out I needed it. I dowsed for which of my chakra points this Burrow Mump energy centre would affect and got a response for the colour blue – the throat chakra. I didn’t have any context for what that might mean, but Kal decided to offer me his blue bracelet. He felt it may help my meditation, so I took it.
I used the L-rods to find the point at which I should meditate (something we are getting accustomed to doing now). A point was detected about ten feet away from the central crossing point. If you consider that the church’s design is an elongated cross resembling a human being with outstretched arms (see Ross Nichols’ essay on church design and human proportion) then this point would have equated to …you know what’s coming, right? The throat of course. I only realised this once I came to write this post. My higher self is obviously a lot more intelligent than my normal self.
From that spot I could see a visible earth energy line flowing across the landscape to the south-east. It was like a line I had seen before when I ascended from Llandrillo stone circle late one night. A softly-glowing overlay on reality. Quite beautiful and mesmerising. I saw it snake across the Levels towards a hill in the distance. It curled around the hill and out of view but I felt that this hill was the next place to visit. At this point I knew not why – Burrow Mump was our starting point but there was, as yet, no sense of any journey or purpose to our weekend visit. Oh, how that was about to change!
When we checked the map to determine where the line went (based on my description) it was pointing at Wearyall Hill (instinctively I knew which hill it was even though I’m not familiar enough yet with Glastonbury’s local geography)! Kal had been meditating on his power centre and had seen a new power centre forming at a spot that my imaginary line crossed, at the south-east corner of Burrow Mump. Kal located it with his rods, and shortly afterwards I did the same. However, the moment we had both recognised what it was, it disappeared! We decided to head for Wearyall Hill and see what we could find. Again – no agenda – no preconceptions. Just following our lines and intuitions.
Kal and I are off to Glastonbury – the town, not the festival – to mark the Summer Solstice this weekend. If you see us out and about walking around the Glastonbury Zodiac – twelve terrestrial giant shapes marked out in the landscape around the town – then do say hello, or shout abuse at us. Whichever comes more naturally!
We will, of course, be up to all sorts, and we’ll report back when we return. Until then – enjoy the high point of the year so far!
Following The Sun