Posts Tagged ‘druid’

Moonlight meeting with Gawain

At this time of the year I am on a “wind down” to the Winter Solstice. Visits to ancient sites are rare, but when an opportunity arises like the full moon and a free evening, well what can a jobbing hedge druid do but heed the call. Actually, the call was pulling at my feet the day before, at the height of the Hunter’s Moon, but it transpired that both Kal and I were free on the third day of its phase. So be it.

The temperature was sub-zero, the ground dry but frost-laden, the sky was heavy with cloud and the moon was nowhere to be seen. Yet still, the lure was too strong and the moon pulled us out towards the Derbyshire/Shropshire border as we headed for the obvious place to go - Lud’s Church. Why obvious? Well, I’ve been feeling the presence of the energy form that I have come to know as Gwalchmai all year. Gwalchmai directly corresponds to the later Arthurian name of Gawain. The one site that I knew that was definitely associated with this energy is Lud’s Church. With Gwalchmai one of the god Lugh/Lud’s offspring, it seemed a natural destination for a moonlight walk.

At this point I will simply re-iterate one important point – this moon is called Hunter’s Moon in the old English designation. You’ll come to see why this is important later. For now, the tale continues with me blissfully unaware of this fact, and with my staff and trusty sidekick in tow, parking at the Scout Camp car park at the top of the hill of the valley through which the Black Brook flows. It had been cloudy all the way to the stopping point, but now the clouds ‘miraculously’ parted to reveal the full glory of the full and close moon, which shone with such power that it seemed like the area was floodlit with a pale beam that cast deep dark shadows.

The entrance to Ludchurch

The entrance to Ludchurch

We went through the beech tree portal at the bottom of the vale with only a few mishaps on the part of Kal and his inappropriate footwear. We began to count the number of falls just as a kind of memento  The trees seemed pleased that we were there, but sleepy and distant in terms of communication. I let them be. We shouldn’t be going around waking things up just because we are able! We had already been given that message a few weeks before at Gawton’s Stone where we had disturbed a sleeping earth spirit. The advice was heeded this time and we hurried onwards up the slope as though following a pale blue torch’s path. Kal remarked that on any other night this would have been unbearably creepy. True! Yet the reaching dark fingers of the bare trees were enveloping arms shielding us from the edges of the path, I felt. Everything felt very positive and benign on this night.

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Ancestor energies tarot reading

The WIldWood Tarot set

After my Ireland Ancestor Quest I had one obvious question: “Now that I have recovered them and successfully fought to keep them – what can I do with them?

Some tarot card readers say that they can’t do reading for themselves very well. I seem to be able to. In fact, my own readings are so spectacularly accurate that they really spook me out every time I draw the cards. So, when I did a tarot spread to try to discover the answers to this question I should have been ready for the unerringly accurate and uncanny cards that were drawn from the repeatedly shuffled and cut deck.

This tarot spread was the most unbelievably accurate and useful draw I have ever done. Of course it was using the wonderful Wildwood Tarot, a superb deck for druids. For me, it proves beyond any reasonable doubt that tarot is a means of interfacing with some form of intelligence that operates outside of perceived time, and with whose grace it is possible to obtain incredible occult knowledge of the past, the present and the future.

Before we examine the cards that answer this question, we must first re-visit the tarot card layout that I drew just before I went to Ireland to begin the quest. You will see how important this initial reading was, and how it correlates so much with the subsequent reading.


I asked for two cards to show which energies I was taking in to the quest, and three to show what would happen during the quest

  • Two energies in – Page of Bows (Stoat) + King of Vessels (Heron)
  • Three events that would occur – Queen of Vessels (Salmon) + Knight of Vessels (Eel) + The Shaman
My interpretation of these cards:
Firstly, note the occurrence of Vessel cards indicating a lot of emotion in the draw. There was a lot of emotional content to the cards – they meant   something precious to me, and their consequences would have a profound effect on my emotional state. So it proved to be. Note that they are both “court” cards too. These are indicators that the energies are related to my own self, but they also express a royal theme. How prescient this turned out to be as I was visiting the sites where Kings and Queens were ritually crowned and where they had their seats of power.  The Bows card is showing a high level of motivation, intention, and will.
  • The Stoat is showing me, depicted as having a hunger for knowledge, yet changing colour to match the seasons – adaptable yet driven.
  • The Heron is me again, but a different side of me – a solitary figure, said to be gifted with psychic abilities and the ability of reflection – my meditative spiritual self. Also linked with diplomacy and a broad perspective.
  • The Salmon – the fish of wisdom that heads back to the place of its birth in the face of all adversity, driven to find its spawning grounds. Seeking wisdom from a birthplace?
  • The Eel – of course, this was the Eel Sword, the vessel that held the noble ancestor energies themselves, and which I had to find on the shores of the lake of the druid Ce.
  • The Shaman – the culmination of my successful quest to retrieve and retain the energies sees me acquiring some of the properties of the shaman or tribal magician.

If you have read the series of posts on my Irish Ancestor Quest then you will know how accurate those cards were. Now it was time to see what I could do with the energies that I had ‘downloaded’ from my spiritual journey could be used for, and how I could access them. As well as being a practical lesson these cards were outright confirmation that divination is a powerful tool for the spiritual seeker.

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The Well of Saint Lassair

Kal and I are still just outside the village of Ballyfarnon on the shores of Lough Melagh. It is our first day in Ireland on my ancestor energies quest. We have just looked around Kilronan Abbey and found some interesting and significant graves. Now we’ve crossed the road to St Lassair’s Well.

Saint Lassair is an interesting lady. There is very little historical information online about this woman, except that the well dedicated to her is associated with Brigit. Now, isn’t that significant considering that there is a small megalithic site right next to the well too? Seems like this may have been a site originally dedicated to Brigit and later appropriated in the name of Lassair? One account says that Lassair was Ronans daughter – Ronan being the founder of the ‘modern’ abbey. Maybe. Here’s another consideration of her origins:

It is with Sanas Cormaic that we find the first explicit link made between this goddess and the element of fire, in the word ‘bri’. McCone has convincingly shown that the three arts it claims Brigit supervised— healing, smithcraft, and poetry—were in early Ireland all associated with fire. The authors of the saints’ Lives of Brigit seem to have been aware of the same-named goddess, though they never say so explicitly: all of her Lives give Brigit a druid father figure, so she is made into a member of the druid class, the same class as poets and judges….

…McCone has pointed out that another saint, the virgin Lassair, also has a fire name, from lassar, flame. In his view Brigit, like Lassair, was a goddess who became a saint in Christian times; both succeeded in the new religions because their attributes could be harmonized with those of the Christian God, for the Bible is filled with light and fire imagery.”

(source: p.64 – ‘Women in a Celtic Church‘ by Christina Harrington)

Hot Spots in a Cool Place

Of course, our first task is always to find out whether a place has any energy worth investigating. It almost went without saying, yet still we both dowsed for it in our own separate ways. We both asked the same initial questions and ended up standing next to each other underneath a tall but closely-cropped yew tree growing nearby to the well. We laughed and confirmed that we had both asked for the most energetic and beneficial places for ourselves and we had ended up at the same location.

From our evergreen vantage point we scanned the site. It is a curious mixture of modern Christian tacky monumental-ism, of rehashed re-interpretations of vestal virgin figures and sad-looking never-be brides combined with a plaque commemorating the visitation of the Polish octogenarian Pope John Paul II. Lurking politely to one side like a faithful pet is a small table of stone – an ancient monument of diminutive proportions whose first sight evokes a small smile and even so far as a smirk. What the heck is THAT? And what is it doing here?

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Kilronan Abbey

In the second of my posts on recovering my ancestor energies we visited two sites for the price of one - Kilronan Abbey next to Lough Meelagh has a holy well dedicated to Saint Lassair right opposite it. As ever, we were driven by our findings rather than our curiosity, and my quest was directed by some higher intelligence, for I had only done a glancing amount of research to pick this site out before we arrived in Ireland. As usual, something else had decided that I would be in the right place at the right time. Here’s the tale of these two personally special places, starting first with Kilronan Abbey.

Kilronan Abbey

The most convincing information I have found about the origins of the abbey at Kilronan Abbey is this account by James McGarry:

“The first Church at Kilronan, Ballyfarnon, Co. Roscommon, was built in the 8th century by St. Ronan and his daughter St. Lasser (Lasair), hence the name Kilronan (kil or cill meaning church). It was replaced in 1339 by one built by Fergal O’Duigenan which was burned down in 1340 and replace three years later by the Church, one gable of which stands today. Sheltered by that gable is the vault of the McDermott Roes, in which Turlough O’Carolan was interred in 1738.

This gable is a memorial to the Gaelic Literary tradition from the 13th -18th century as represented by the O’Duigenans, hereditary erenachs of Kilronan (lay abbots who held church land from generation to generation), and chroniclers (as well as bards and ollavs-hereditary poets) to the Mac Dermotts, Princes of Moylurg, down to Turlough O’Carolan, sometimes styled “The Last of the Bards”. The O’Duigenans maintained a School of History on this site. The origin of the bards is lost in the mists of pre-historic Ireland.” (source: Freepages Geneology)

Erenach‘ – such a lovely word. It means ‘an ecclesiastic having duties akin to those of an archdeacon‘. More about Turlough O’Carolan later too.

There’s that name again – “O’Duigenan“. Followers of the blog may remember my encounter with the spirit of ‘Dignan’ at Vale Crucis Abbey in Llangollen. In that episode he gave me his name and then challenged me to follow him when he disappeared in a westerly direction. By meditation and dowsing I discovered that this spirit had re-located itself back at its source – Roscommon in Ireland. This was the reason I was here – to find this spirit again and fulfil whatever the next part of my challenge was.

Kilronan Abbey, Roscommon

At this point I had no clues about the nature and direction of my quest other than these two sites and the snippet of a vision I had obtained from Carrowkeel where I had seen a sword fight between myself and an ancient warrior. Where would I be led next, I wondered? What links would it make in the chain of the quest of recovering my ancestor energies? I was about to find out.

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More powers of the staff

In a previous post I talked about the recently discovered information concerning my staff. I had discovered that it had acquired some powers courtesy of the Elemental |Masters that I had encountered at Tinkinswood Chamber near Cardiff. After doing a tarot reading I discovered the nature of those powers. To recap those powers were:-

  1. Earth – the power to inscribe glyphs and symbols into the earth, and to cast circles.
  2. Water – the power to energise and invigorate existing energy
  3. Fire – the power to re-kindle energy where there is none, resurrection of energy
  4. Air – the power to sweep energy away, to cleanse a place of energy
  5. I decided that one fine evening, just before it got dark, I would use the fading light of a dry and relatively warm evening to find a place in which I could practise these powers and discover their extent, how they worked and how they might supplement any existing magickal skills I might already have as a practising druid.

To find a suitable place I dowsed for a direction and a distance. I got a north-easterly direction and somewhere within a five-mile radius. I knew what features were in that area – my local hill. I used the dowsing rods to confirm my feeling that a sandstone base was the best ground to test these powers out on. Indeed it was – a perfect mixture of crystalline texture and neutral base. I knew my local hill was at the end of a long sandstone ridge, and that somewhere on that hill would be a perfect place to test these powers out.

Did these powers that I imagined were in the staff really exist? How could they be used and called upon? How well would they work? Time to find out!

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Dunce cap is Druid hat

Feeling stupid in a Dunce's Cap

I have been researching the origins of the traditional Dunce’s Cap – that conical piece of headwear so often seen reflected in pictures of old school days. The hat is also commonly associated with a Witch, being the tall black hat that everyone recognises.

However, in my research I have come to discover that the ‘D’ that is marked on the so-called Dunce’s Cap does not stand for “Dunce”, meaning a dunderhead or stupid fellow. Instead the ‘D’ once stood for Druid, with the conical hat being formerly associated with a tool to enhance and amplify the received vibrations and emanations of energy from stars, sun and moon.

Etymologically, the ‘D’ letter is found as the beginning character of the word for druid in many cultures that had druids as their shamanic figures, such as the Welsh word “Dryw“.

None other than the highly-respected socio-archaeological research institute “Adademie Societé d’Inigene Francaise (ASIF)” have also published similar information recently backing up this claim. Read their recent report here.

So, there you go. Just when you thought you knew something – it gets turned on its head. Literally! ;-)



Imbolc 2012 – Guidance for the Year

As a follower of a seasonal path, and someone who has developed their sensitivity to the variety and strength of the energies available throughout the year, Imbolc - February 1st – marks the opening of the new year. For me it symbolises the return of the male energies. What does this mean exactly? It means that up until the beginning of February the Sun’s light has been too weak to feed the activity of the male subtle energies that inhabit the Earth, and which are present in living things. Therefore, for me, Imbolc marks the beginning of an increase in the strength and vitality of anything that is enlivened by the influence of male (or Sun-sourced) energies.

In Britain this year there has been an exception to this general rule concerning the presence of male energy. Male ‘subtle’ energy has in fact been available, albeit in a very weakened form. This has been due to the amount of sustained sunlight that we have been receiving. You can feel it in the land – the birds are singing, the buds are appearing, there have even been flowers blooming in January – normally a time when most delicate biological entities retreat into themselves and rest. An unusual year indeed. At this exact moment the frost and cold has returned to bite, yet the sun continues to shine. It is a most unusual beginning.

The heat and height of the Summer

The unusual start makes it difficult to contemplate how the year might work itself out. Are we going to see the seasons having “unseasonal” weather? Are they going to be unrecognisable from our traditional weather patterns? What will this mean for the strength and prevalence of the Earth’s subtle energy forces, and for the living biological energy of its inhabitants? My feeling is that we are going to see a real peak in Sun energy this year. This may require some balancing out by those of us who work well with Moon energy (female), as we feed a calming influence into the land through selected node points on the energy grid. Let’s not get all hot-headed and hysterical just because the Olympics are coming to town in the height of Summer! It’s just a game, an amusement, a distraction.

As with all previous years that I have followed my spiritual path I returned to the Llangernyw Yew Tree for inspiration. Communing with this tree seems to set the spark on the year’s tinder and soon a flame of encouraging light emerges from the kindling provided by this ancient life force nestled deep in the heart of a small village in North Wales. I will talk about the visit in more detail soon, but the outcome was one word: “Renown“. I will be spending the year seeking out sources to increase my personal power. Renown is a subject that I will return to and explain more fully in subsequent posts. No doubt I have much more to learn about it as the year goes on.

Now let’s talk about specific preparations that I am making for Imbolc, and that you could make too.

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