Posts Tagged ‘east kennet’

East Kennet Long Barrow – The Lost Mound

It was a bright and lovely Spring day that I found myself able to return from a training course via one of my favourite areas – the Vale of Pewsey, or the land of the White Chalk Horse. This is a wide valley (or vale) in Wiltshire that is renowned for having horse figures craved into its chalk hillsides, and is also the home to many of the most famous megalithic sites in England.

On this day I had dowsed for which of these wonderful sites I should visit – Avebury? West Kennet Long Barrow? Silbury Hill? None of these! In fact, the site that the dowsing rods said I should visit was East Kennet – a long barrow that I had tried to find twice previously, and now I was being asked to risk a glorious day on trying to find it again. I was wary, but if the rods said I could find it then I would try.

I parked next to the church in East Kennet village and then found the path leading through the farm and stables signposted for the White Horse Trail. I followed the bridleway up the hill and then walked along the adjoining fields, always making sure to keep to the unploughed or un-planted sides of the fields. This time, unlike previous efforts, I had a print-out of an OS map to guide me. I could see from the firm soil that many others had done the same over the years. Thankfully the barrow is still possible to recognise by its huge size. I guess that the clump of woods on the side of the roundest hill was a likely candidate for the barrow’s location. It had been especially helpful that I had seen the photographs of it in Peter Knight’s book about the nearby cousin site of West Kennet Long Barrow. This was my third attempts t spot it and this time I had a more keen sense of where it should be in the landscape, and I was more in tune the rods, which could act as quick guides.

As I paced along the field boundaries I positioned the rods in front of me – “Please point to the barrow known now as East Kennet Long Barrow!” and soon the two rods were pointing in the same direction – up the hill and to the left of the next. After using the rods I put them away. Now I asked Nature herself if she would confirm the position of the barrow for me. A few seconds silence was pierced by a ptarmigan twenty feet to my right jumping into the air next to me and climbing low and slow over my head towards the clump of trees in the middle distance. I had my confirmation – the bird’s flight had confirmed what the rods said.

A startled Partidge

Now, as the clump of light green tree dominated by view ahead I could begin to establish the size of the mound – some 105m (348ft) long and 6m (19ft) high approximately. As it hove in to fill my view I began to feel for the path that I should take to approach the site. I felt that I needed to walk round to the “front”, which for some reason I felt was at the end that I hadn’t got to yet, so I walked slowly and reverently round to the front. As I neared the end of the copse of trees something reddish brown and larger than I expected was emerging and fleeing from the long grasses ahead and hopping and hiding in the cornfield next to me. I, and the rest of the animals in the vicinity, momentarily held our breath then exclaimed our surprise at the sudden movement that was rippling the air around us in a sonic boom of movement. Crows squawked, smaller birds jabbered, bunnies fled, and I said “Oh!”, or some words which intended to give a surprised sound. That was less reverential. More ‘residential’, language from the housing estates.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mysterious Earth Conference 2011

I was at the Mysterious Earth Conference this year. The conference was held at the Village Hall in the village of Grimsargh near Preston in Lancashire, England. Kal had come up so that we could go to this event together, which was very nice of him to make the effort. There were four speakers lined up, but we only found three of them to be relevant to our studies and research, so I will concentrate on the positives and tell you about these three.

This year's Mysterious Earth lectures

The three speakers of interest to me were:-

  • Kevin Rowan-Drewitt – Neolithic Observatories
  • Pete Knight – West Kennet Long Barrow: Ancestors, Landscape and the Cosmos
  • Gary Biltcliffe – The Belinus Line & The Spine of Albion

Here is a run-down of their primary themes and some notes that I took about each of their lectures.

Neolithic observatories by Kevin Rowan-Drewitt

Kevin Rowan-Drewitt

Kevin’s talk was informative and a feast of facts. Having read many books on the subject of Alexander Thom, his Megalithic Yard, and of his convincing argument that most if not all stone circles are designed as neolithic calendars to track the movements of the sun and moon, I didn’t find too many points that were new to me. However, Kevin’s lecture was clearly delivered, well structured and well-argued, even if he was simply relating other people’s theories. For those who may have been new to the concept of neolithic astrological observatories it would have been truly enlightening.

Some notes that I made that were particularly significant for me were:-

  • Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey has in-built alignments for tracking Venus and the Summer Solstice. You may remember that I was called there in 2009 to observe Venus, even though at the time I had no idea what I was seeing.
  • Mayburgh Henge in Cumbria is aligned to the eastern sunrise
  • The book ‘Uriel’s Machine‘ by Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas contains the practical workings out of the theories of ancient astrological circle structure, and they based much of their work on the ‘Book Of Enoch‘, particularly the section ‘The Book of Courses of the Heavenly Luminaries’
  • In the Book of Enoch the circle-makers are mentioned as The Watchers. Rowan-Dewitt interprets this as being the Beaker People.

Personally, I feel this Bronze Age Beaker culture only created some of the last generation of megalithic structures, not the first ones, even if their structures were the most sophisticated, impressive and enduring. The astrological know-how was already in existence and evidenced by timber and rudimentary stone circles before the arrival of the so-called Beaker culture, so this doesn’t hang together for me.

  • Also in that ancient text, The Nephilim are mentioned as being from the Orion Constellation.
  • Newgrange, in the Boyne Valley in Ireland is aligned with the Winter Solstice sunrise but also with Venus too, on an eight-year cycle.
  • The line of ‘lozenge’ shapes or crosses on the lintel at Newgrange may denote the Venus cycle, as there are eight such symbols in a row.
  • Thornborough Henge in Yorkshire is aligned to Orion.
  • The Sun has a 32-year cycle until it rises at exactly the same spot on the horizon. This fact is used by Rowan-Dewitt to support the idea that astrological observances and star lore must have been passed down through the generations or preserved in some fashion because neolithic people had a relatively short life span.
  • Most measurements of megalithic structures are in 0.5 Megalithic Yards, or 16.32 inches. The Megalithic Yard of 2.72 feet was used for convenience by Alexander Thom.

West Kennet Long Barrow by Peter Knight

Peter Knight

Peter Knight is a well-practised and engaging speaker. His presentation was slick, precise and moved you from one concept to another easily and with a sense of passion. I am a fan of the West Kennet Long Barrow myself and have had many visits to the site mostly unaccompanied and without anyone else around, so I have been able to practise many of the things that Peter talked about in the shamanic parts of his talk. However, in the first part he went through the various alignments with the surrounding megalithic sites such as Avebury, Silbury Hill, East Kennet, and many of the lesser-known circles, tumuli and hills that form the rich Wiltshire megalithic landscape.

Some notes that I made on this talk were:-

  • There are sun and moon rising or setting sight alignments from West Kennet to many of the surrounding features.
  • Some of the lesser-known sites include Belas Knap chamber, Silbaby (or Woden Mound), Morgan’s Hill and Harestone stone circle.
  • The long barrow itself is constructed with layers of large rubble, then fine rubble, turf, then a sarsen stone core. The layering is reminiscent of Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone Accumulator principle.
  • There is an acoustic “hot spot” close to the stone called “The Skull Stone” which is considered to be a portal to the Underworld.
  • Long barrows and chambers in the area are mainly aligned to the South-East (the Midwinter Solstice).
  • East Kennet is aligned to the Orion constellation, West Kennet to the Gemini constellation.
  • A cave was usually associated with a process of initiation or transformation.

PETER’S WEB SITE: Stoneseeker

The Spine of Albion by Gary Biltcliffe

I have been eagerly awaiting Gary’s book about this subject for over a year now. Hopefully it is due to be published soon. Gary has spent a lot of time, effort and money on travelling up and down the country in pursuit of a ley line that he is calling the Belinus Line, after the ancient Celtic god Baal or Bel. The name thereafter got associated with a king of England called King Belinus, who was supposedly one of the great road-building kings, although many believe that the lack of historical evidence suggests he may be a mythical figure rather than an actual king. Certainly, it is not uncommon for people in power to associate themselves with great engineering from lost generations, for example the Romans simply paved many of the existing spirit roads that were created as embankments by the druid culture and those before them too. We all now know these roads as ‘Roman Roads’ which is testament to the power of a written historical record, rather than to the feats of engineering.

For the talk in Preston Gary concentrated on those sites which were more local to us, rather than describe all the sites along the line. Given that it had taken him 20 years to follow them, he was unlikely to get through them all in an hour!

  • Seven Barrows Down is the crossing point for the Belinus Line with the Michael/Mary Line.
  • The village of Dunsop Bridge is the geographical centre of the Belinus Line
  • North/South ley lines are associated with physical and East/West lines with the spiritual, thus the Belinus Line is mainly a physical line with very few spiritual centres on it.
  • The line goes through various centres including Lichfield, Birmingham, Manchester and Carlisle.
  • Dragon stories hint at the location of sacred sites such as caves, wells and mounds.
  • The Belinus Line has twelve bands of energy – balanced with 6 male and 6 female.
  • Guy Raglan Philips was the first to identify the line.
  • The female lines are violet in colour and the male lines are gold/yellow
  • The line goes through The Bridestones – formerly one of England’s largest long barrows.
  • Marton church gives a unique view of the sunrise over The Cloud in Cheshire
  • Shap has an avenue of stones similar to Avebury
  • The Kemp Howe stone circle is on the line
  • Other sites on the line are Merlindale, Knowlmere, Alderley Edge, Caverswall, The Rollright Stones, and Uffington Dragon Hill and White Horse
  • In Carlisle Catherdral is a stone carving of kissing dragons
  • Arthuret Church in Cumbria holds a familiar title of King Arthur’s burial place, and has a well called St.Michael’s running through it.

GARY’S WEB SITE: The Belinus Line

I hope those comments make some sense to you! They are slightly out of context, but they may be more relevant if you get to see them speak for yourselves.


A Spring Ritual at West Kennet

I have a few more posts about my adventures on the trail of the southern energy ley from Arbor Low to Christchurch. In this tale I begin by getting diverted from my intended destination of the village of Rockley due to the crap signs and bizarre diversions caused by the inevitable roadworks in the town of Marborough. Add to that the consequential terrible traffic and the feeling of wasting a perfectly good sunny day, and you can see why I decided to divert myself to go in search of the barrow at East Kennet. I would just have to forego Rockley for this trip – it was impossible to get to!

Some miles to the west of Marlborough I saw the signs for the village and turned into the lane slowly tracking along watching both sides for any signs of the barrow. None. Any stones? None. Any tourist information? None. Anything at all? Nothing. Damn – I have still been unable to locate the barrow, and so I have decided to print off a very low-scale OS map and keep it in the car with me at all times just in case I go that way again.

West Kennet on the horizon

In much higher spirits I headed to a place I did know how to find – the nearby West Kennet long barrow that I had visited several times in previous years. in fact, there isn’t a year goes by now when I don’t visit it at least once. Luckily, this being a week day, I had the place virtually to myself. I parked my car in the lay-by and walked down the well-made track with my ash staff and bag of goodies in hand.

As I walked towards the lone oak tree on the corner of the field I said hello. The tree seemed strangely lonely this visit – has a fence been removed, or a hedge perhaps? Something had changed – it all seemed much more open and exposed than usual. Everywhere seems bare! On the way up to the barrow I felt the urge to pick up a newly ploughed clod of earth. I began to break it apart in my free hand as I walked with my staff. I didn’t let it all crumble, but kept a handful and let it absorb the warmth of my palm, and let it receive the pulses of the beat of my heart and blood.

The front of West Kennet long barrow

As I strode up to the barrow the only other visitors in the area decided that they had probably finished kind of, er, milling about and recalling fragments of overheard history and they wandered off down the hill. I smiled at them and wished them a fond farewell, but they were in their own worlds and didn’t notice. I went on top of the mound by the path I had been shown on previous occasions, and up there I settled in. I sat on my power centre, lay down my staff, took some pictures, and generally chilled out for a second, letting the traffic nightmare unwind from my body and psyche. It doesn’t pay to enter into megalithic structures in a bad mood or wound up. Soon I was in a dowsing state of mind – a hazy dream state that suited the warm and windless day. I meditated briefly to check that I was ready to enter, and, still holding the warm fresh Wiltshire soil in my hand I walked down into the entrance hall of the barrow.

Read the rest of this entry »

West Kennet Long Barrow: Decoded and Orbed

If you stand a bit further back when you read this post, say about ten feet away, then the scanned-in pictures in this post take on a whole new perspective. It wasn’t intentional, but when I spotted it I thought I’d leave it like that. Might get you into an unusual conversation with those around you. Don’t worry if you don’t see what I mean – it just means you’re pure of thought 😉

Here’s another topic for your unusual conversation: the function and purpose of an ancient site, specifically West Kennet Long Barrow.  It’s purpose and function may be totally unique to me – I don’t know – so if you have any dowsing or druidry knowledge then perhaps you could verify how much of the following information holds true for you?

Before I decode the purpose, however, let me say a few words about the majestic oak tree at the edge of the ploughed crop field upon which the Long Barrow stands.

West Kennett Long Barrow (5)

This well-balanced oak was awash with dangling trinkets – ribbons, hair bands, bells, even a loveheart perched in the heart of the tree’s canopy. This tree was well adorned. I made a mental note to look for something suitable to add later. Atop the next hill was a curiously geometric sloping mound that was drawing me up the path between the close-cropped fields.

As I approached the top of the hill the entrance to the barrow took me by surprise. Its entrance stones were massive – like huge lower teeth clamping the mound to the land in a pit-bull jaw lock.

West Kennett Long Barrow (8)

I deposited my bag just outside the nemeton energy field of the mound, which for some reason I could visually and energetically distinguish without needing the rods to know it was there, however I still checked. Not quite that confident yet, but getting there. If I was to cross this barrier then I should do so with a little awareness and a bit of an introduction. I got the rods out and asked to locate the entrance to the site. It was a short way back down the approach path, at a fork in the ways where another path crossed. The width of the energy gateway was a few inches wider than the chalk path that streaked across the mouth of the mound.

I asked to go to the ‘most energetic and suitable place for me to sit’. That usually produced good results, and I was led up a small path that snaked up the right front face of the mound, winding past two concrete slabs, to circle around in a spiral just beyond them, before the narrow paths down each side joined. It was slightly warmer on that spot than elsewhere, so I took the chance to sit down and admire the view around from this vantage point. I could see the remains of a crop circle, the greener shoots still swirled in circular counterpoint patterns.

West Kennett Long Barrow (6)

I appreciated the silence as the wind brushed the grass atop this long and wide burial site. I felt like there must have been many a shaman, warrior or nobleman who wished to be buried here, in sight of Silbury Hill, in a mound composed of his or her ancestors. Yet I felt there was much more that was still alive and always had been within this earthen sculpture. This place felt like it still had purpose, and I felt like this was a good day to try to find that purpose out.

I picked up the rods again and asked to be shown the way into the mound. By now there were other tourists milling about, some more intrepid than others, some merely passing through on their way across this unusual landscape. Before I got lost in wondering about their reasons for visiting I dowsed my way down the other side of the mounds steep front slope. A young couple looked on at my activities like they were witnessing their grandmother lead away her imaginary friend. But I was in a zone outside of that space and time, and the rods moved lithely in my hands, tracing a curving flow through the stones that formed a neat mini labyrinth at the entrance. It was only up close that you realised there WAS an entrance. From further away it looked invisible.

West Kennett Long Barrow (13)

I stopped in the sun-trap of a tiny courtyard that formed outside the entrance to the inner sanctum. Glancing up I could see some cup marks and holes int eh very tall middle entrance stone. It almost looked like a face, which made me giggle. HIS house, obviously. I asked quietly for permission to enter and felt no resistance, and so ducked inside into the darkness.


Inside the chamber

There were four neatly sectioned off chambers, two on each side. The entrance to each were curiously individual though. The fifth and largest chamber was facing me twenty feet away at the end of the inner chamber. Soft daylight permeated two glass bricks in the concrete slabs above providing an ambient light which one’s eyes quickly adjusted to. No torch required today. In amongst the other people dipping in and out, admiring the acoustics or the snugness of the four smaller chambers, I found a place for my bag near the entrance and began to dowse. Question after question emerged, and each time I worked rapidly towards finding the purpose of each of the five chambers. I first found the order in which they should be visited (marked as numbers aside each chamber on the diagram below).

Then I drew from everything I had read, and all my experiences of effects within other sacred sites like Bryn Celli Ddu, and I pieced together a sense of the purpose and method of each chamber, finally arriving at a complete vision of how a person could undergo a spiritual transformation by passing through each chamber in turn. Please consider that these steps may be for me alone, yet I felt they had a more general significance, so you might be able to confirm whether that is what you find there too.

This is how I noted the function of the various areas, and the approximate time in minutes that one should remain in there to make the function work for you:

1. For cleansing energies – like stone circle grounding stone – 7 minutes
2. For knowing and stating one’s purpose – having clear intention – 1 minute
3. For contacting the guardian spirit of the place, and for obtaining permission to undergo the transformation – 7 minutes
4. For charging up energies in readiness for the rebirth process or revelation – 1 minute
5. For transformation. A rebirth chamber, possibly using sound to achieve transformation through acoustic resonance – 1 minute

That last bit’s totally made up, but it was just a sense I got from feeling the reverberation from the walls to any sound. Even the thumping of people walking overhead was percussive and primal in that final domed chamber. The whole process could be done in less than twenty minutes if everything went according to plan. Was this too wacky, unfounded, plain made up? Only one way to find out – I’d better have a go!

Behold the orbs

Before I come to that, a word about ORBS.  When I was taking pictures of each of the chambers, for some reason I couldn’t fathom I took two pictures of chamber number four – the energy charging chamber. It had a feather and a small rock at the back of it, which interested me. Seemed like someone had placed a totem object there. Anyway – I took two photos of that – one right after the other, seconds apart. Not realising anything was on there I showed them to M and she pointed out the strange white blob on the second picture. Oh yeah! Then when I loaded up the pictures onto the computer I could see one in the fifth chamber picture too. Again, I had taken two photos of that chamber – one with a flash and one without. Both the pictures that showed an orb had used a flash. Well, there you go then – it was a reflection of a dust particle, that’s all. Well, maybe. The first orb appeared right on top of the totem feather. The second orb in the fifth chamber was hovering over the power centre that I dowsed in there. Slap bang on it – not one inch to the left or right, up or down, just on it. An interesting coincidence, a peculiar trick of the light. These are not the first pictures that Kal and I have taken that include such balls of light. It’s all very interesting given that balls of light are associated with the formation of crop circles. I also noticed that chambers four and five were the two chambers I didn’t feel ready to use yet, until I knew the right things to do in there, and these were the ones in which I photographed an anomalous ball of light.

Here’s the orb in the fourth chamber: notice the feather next to a pale stone at the back of the chamber in the first photo, and how an orb appears above the feather in the second picture. No other strange light phenomenon is evident. No other particles of dust.

West Kennett Orbs

The pictures were taken seconds apart, and with the same lighting conditions and camera settings. In the fifth chamber I would capture something similar, again without me realising until I got home that anything else was in the picture in the centre at the bottom of the frame. The glinting ‘eyes’ are pairs of tea light candles decoratively arranged to make an amusing and potentially startling statement:

West Kennett Long Barrow (26)

Some theories have emerged regarding this phenomenon, the most plausible explanation of which is that the flash is picking up specks of dust and reflecting them back into the overall picture, making them seem larger than they are. Very plausible explanation. What I want you to consider, though, is two things. Firstly – why is there only one speck of dust being picked up? Secondly, why do these orbs happen to appear exactly where the centre of the spiralling energy was dowsed? I don’t know what they are, but they keep appearing. Time for a new camera?

Let’s ‘Ave A Go

I retreated to my power centre on top of the mound to mull over my re-discovery. If this sequence was real, and the chambers did what I thought they might, then there was only one way I could prove that – by experience. I would have to go through the process. I had a spare twenty minutes. I wasn’t afraid to die! I wanted to double check first. Had I got the right path for me today to go through the chambers? I dowsed my trail: chamber 1, then 2, then as I entered the third chamber I started an inward spiral into the power centre in the middle. NO! What was this? Stuck at the third chamber? Not enough energy? Wrong day or time? No – something to do with the purpose of the third chamber….I knew I wouldn’t be able to tune into the spirit of the place at this time. It was either the wrong time, or I wasn’t ready. Either way, it wasn’t going to happen today.

Disappointed, but still elated at my findings, I packed to go. I said my farewells and vowed to return when I was ready for the experience. On the way out I couldn’t help but glance up to see the laughing face of the tall stone guardian that mocked with a wide grin. Well, one day soon I’d learn that lesson and would be back to undergo the transformation process. Then I would know whether I was in any way right about how this site worked. I chose my paths carefully as I left, leaving no trace of having been there, except a marker saying “I’ll be back“.

West Kennett Long Barrow (37)

As I strode down the hill between the ploughed and cut fields I enjoyed the sight and fragrance of the wayside wild flowers. Seeing one plant’s tendrils wrapped around another I excused myself, explained myself, and plucked them. These two would form a perfect parting gift to the old oak tree to show my gratitude. I wove a cross-shaped dolly from the flowers and tied it to the tree. This action seemed to rouse the cattle int he field and they began to hasten towards me, following me through the nearby open gateway into the next field. I remembered an old wives saying about cows and rain, and checked the sky – sure enought eh clouds were forming not many miles away. Briefly chatting to a nice Polish man about ancient civilisations, I made my way back to SIlbury Hill and then headed off home in the trusty Peugeot. For some reason I had called it a day at that!


Finding a level.

HD on Twitter
  • New Hedge Druid post: Samhain 2015 P1 – Bel and the Bee
    about 4 days ago
  • New Hedge Druid post: Healing The Past Self
    about 1 week ago
  • I just bought: 'Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy' by Mercia Eliade. Thanks blog readers! Patience rewarded.
    about 2 weeks ago
Taliesin introduced
Kevan Manwaring recites the bard Taliesin's CV.
The Book Store
  • DruidCast - A Druid Podcast Episode 104
    Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 104 Elan - Nightwish - with Neil Leask about the Kirbuster Farm Museum - by Helen and Mark Woodsford-Dean - Stone - Elly Hadaway - ellythefolk.bandcamp.comAlive Inside - James J Turner - http://www.jamesjturner.comThe Eagle and the Owl - Arthur Hinds - Theme - Hills they are Hollow […]
  • DruidCast - A Druid Podcast Episode 103
    Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 103 Weaving the Summer - Spiral Dance - The Dreaming - Damh the Bard - Interview with John Beckett - Bridges - Louise Ingram’s Beads - DruidCast theme music - Hills they are Hollow - Damh the Bard - For further information on the Druid […]
  • DruidCast - A Druid Podcast Episode 102
    Shownotes for DruidCast 102 The Mermaid of Zennor - Martha Tilson - Witch of the West-Moor-Lands - Archie Fisher - The Sacred Falls (part 3) - Professor Roland Rotherham - Ode to Cerridwen - Lori Llyn - Queen of the Horses - Moon Pryderi The Old Bearded Man - Damh the Bard - Birch Oak […]
Kindle Subscription
Subscribe to monthly Kindle update