Posts Tagged ‘forest’
In the fourth part of this Spring Equinox story I visit a new stone circle (or two), working with the energies and completing the sigil shape that I had been tracing in the Llangollen landscape.
Bryn Beddau cairn circle
Hidden in the murky depths of the Clocaenog Forest are two small cairn circles. One or maybe both of them are named Bryn Beddau. It’s difficult to tell from the Megalithic Portal article, because it shows both of them in the same description. They are very close to each other, though. One is accessible from one of the many compacted gravel forest roads, whereas the other is further inside the forest, accessible from a path linked to the first circle.
I was grateful that I had Ordnance Survey GPS and maps on my phone. Without that it would have been hard going. As it was I found the sites pretty easily, but first I had to traverse along the “new straight tracks” that Alfred Watkins would surely not have approved of. These long straight roads were not good for retaining energy! It was an effort not to lose all the energy I had gained so far while walking these uninspiring grey roads that vanished into the distance, then turned 90 degrees to get anywhere. A kind of Roman efficiency. I walked with a rapid stride and a musical rhythm.
Occasionally a scene of beauty emerged by the roadside as snow dripped from coniferous branches, water languished in near static pools and tall trees braced against the cold air. The only sounds were the occasional movement of birds in the treetops, signalling my presence to each other.
The first circle I discovered by treading carefully down a deeply rutted track that veered off at an angle from a junction of two forest roads. I was glad to get into the trees and off the grey gravel road. After only thirty feet of careful walking a clearing opened up and I got my first sight of a new circle in ages.
It was a fine English summer’s evening, in other words the sun was threatening to appear and it wasn’t yet raining. A good enough excuse for me to go and visit a local beauty spot and see what I could learn. “Every day”, as they say, “is a school day”. I obtained a meagre repast from a mini-market in Alderley Edge and pointed the car up the hill towards the Druid’s Inn car park alongside Alderley Edge forest.
My goal? Tonight, as I began to walk into the trees, I instructed the dowsing rods to direct me towards “something that will advance me on my spiritual quest“. Vague, yet promising. The rods twitched and I began to follow them ‘blindly’, trusting that some other forces understood the directive better than I did and would work on my behalf as they had done so many times before. As I walked I asked a quick question – “Would it be wise for me to put up some protection in the forest?” YES, said the rods. I was already doing it! Only positive helpful influences tonight, please!
I was brought into the forest by the usual path, even though I still don’t recognise it until I have reached the first high point! I was taken by yet another alternate route but the destination was familiar – a small rise covered in pine needles where the rods twirled around on a nondescript spot that I knew was probably full of powerful energies. Could I not sit on the nearby lovely mossy mound, I asked the rods. No, they chided, this was the spot to sit on. I sat.
At first I admired the view, wondering why I had been led to this place, and toying with the idea of ignoring this bit and carrying on. Three or four minutes later I was still wondering, when I realised that I could feel my “modern world” energies being stripped from me, and my senses attuning to the sounds and sights of the forest. I was hearing distant wildlife. I was sensing the movement of the gentle breezes as they played with the higher branches. I was feeling the flavour of the forest. I was attuned! Wonderful. NOW I could proceed.
After being cleansed and attuned I felt … really good. I didn’t want to move, but I forced myself onwards with this evening’s work – where should I go next? The rods began to lead me down a familiar off-road track through the dense forest and I was walking on to my next intriguing encounter.
The Broceliande Forest is a legendary place, like Avalon, whose exact whereabouts are uncertain. These days it is considered by some to be situated in the Paimpont Forest in Ile-et-Vilaine in Brittany. Having visited this forest in 2009 to see Merlin’s Tomb, I decided that we ought to look at another of the parts of the forest this time. So, having visited the town of Paimpont for inspiration we decided to head for the Val Sans Retour (The Valley of No Return), which seemed to contain some interestingly-named attractions – not least of which was the Golden Tree, and a couple of megalithic sites.
Our starting point for a walk in the summer sun was the village of Trehorenteuc. We knew that we were probably in for an interesting time when we found that many of the houses and local shops were decorated with murals with a woodland and fairy theme, or were named after characters from the Arthurian mythology – especially Merlin. This bade well. We parked and picnicked at the tourist information office (which is alongside a church reputed to be a resting place for the Holy Grail, no less) and then headed out of the village on foot to the start of the forest paths.
Once inside the woodland we were shielded from the intense heat, but you could see that the forest was usually flowing with streams, but that the lack of rainfall over the last few months had dried up all the shallower beds so that it was now possible to walk along their course from the village right up into the hills above. You could tell that in Autumn or Winter some river-hopping would be required at some points in order to make your way deep into the forest.
As we entered the forest we felt like we had crossed some kind of magical threshold, and that from now on things would get a little stranger. That’s exactly what happened.
I had emailed Gwas with regards to going out on a sojourn this weekend and he had come up trumps as always…Why not visit St Michael’s church at Brentor? Looks like a very energetic place.
I agreed, but wondered as to a purpose for my visit. As readers know Gwas and I have shifted focus in terms of having a purpose for our visits. Gwas suggested that perhaps I could garner some more intel on my quest to become a knight.
Interesting, okay I could live with that and so it was decided. Saturday arrived and I was ready to rock and roll. Brentor is about an hour and half from my rooms and I set off around 11am and the sun was shining on my journey.
I was aprox 5 miles from Brentor and I spotted a sign…”Lydford Gorge” My intuition kicked in and without hesitation I steered into the car park.
Lydford Gorge is a fantastic national trust site. It has all the ingredients that an intuition follower would need…trees, stream, waterfall and some lovely fairy rings. A quick stop at the cafe to stock up on water and I was off on a trail that is about a four mile round trip along a gorge that followed the river Lyd.
Actually, I had another purpose when setting out on this journey today. I wanted some personal snaps of myself. To send to a fair maiden. As I set out for Brentor I wondered how, in such an isolated place I was going to find someone to take pictures.
Trekking around the gorge was a fabulous experience. The energies in that place were truly shining that day and it wasn’t just because of the sun. As I walked along the path I bumped into some really friendly people, and being the guy I am, I asked if they would take a shot or two of me. Throughout the day, I asked some 10 or 15 people to take pics of me and I am delighted to say I got a full compliment of poses.
On with the main story then. So I am sitting quite comfortably with the White Lady aka the waterfall in the gorge and trying to connect with the Genius Loci. After a mere few moments I was able to tune into the spirit of the place. I pondered whether I there was anything to learn about my Knights Quest at this fabulously energised place. The response came back almost instantly. No.
O, I was rather disappointed with that to be honest and thought to ask, why. But before I could do so the answer popped into my mind, “you are doing fine, chill”
Chill? Is that it? Chill, no blue keys, no insights, nothing but to chill? I tried to garner more information but was unable to do so, it looked like “chilling” was the order of the day (and it seemed longer too).
With that rather un-promising result I decided to take the advice and continue my slow leisurely walk around the gorge, stopping of to write a postcard and take in a herbal tea. It was around 5pm when I finally felt the urge to leave the valley. I don’t know why I felt this sudden urgency but I just found my steps increasing and before I knew it I was actually running out of the gorge, Wow!
I got to my car, emptied the last vestiges of my water bottle and settled in for the long drive home. I had given up on the Brentor church expedition since I had the answer of “your quest is doing fine” I had no need to go to the church. As I drove along the Gorge’s length I spotted a couple sat by the road side. I recognised them from my walk along the gorge because they had taken several pictures of me (er for me).
I stopped the car and asked what they were about, the young lad told me that they were waiting for the bus to Tavistock (some 10 miles away). I told them to hop in and I set the sat nav accordingly and was off. As I did so, the bus turned up behind me…interesting, if I had not hurried I would have missed giving this couple a lift.
As we drove away our conversation touched on several topics one of which was my main reason for being in this area, i.e. Brentor church, and I swear to the ancient gods of Kalahari that even as I mentioned it I saw the church up on a tor along the side of the road. I was gobsmacked (a regular term on the intuitive path).
The fella said that perhaps this was an opportunity to visit it on my way back. I agreed and put a mental note in to do just that. We got into Tavistock a few minutes later and couldn’t find the main bus stop. I enquired further as to there final destination and they said Plymouth. No problem I replied and took them all the way home. Job done.
I stretched out my hand to reprogram the satnav for home when I paused. It couldn’t have been a coincidence that I was taken past Brentor church, could it? I sighed and swapped the destination for Brentor church and 40 minutes later found myself in the car park opposite the hill.
The sun had a cover of clouds around it and so made the climb up the hill more pleasurable than it would have been under the full light of a summer early evening sun.I have attached an audio file which essentially catalogs the dowsing that I did to get me to the best place to connect with the spirit/energy/archetype/angel St Michael.
This was just inside the entrance to the church. I was sat facing West with a slight inclination to the south, so I would say West, west south (er I think). Again the rods had pointed this direction out.
So I sat there ready to connect with my intuition when I heard a noise from behind me, in the church. I put it down to the wind and ignored it until I heard the sound of foot steps. I managed to scramble up just in time before a chap came by with his dog.
What caught my immediate attention was the bright blue t-shirt the chap was wearing. Seriously a blue t-shirt! I had to speak with this guy! I engaged in conversation immediately. “nice day isn’t it?” I remarked and begun a conversation where I was hanging on to his every word, looking for clues and intuitional nudges.
The first thing he told me was that I should visit the forest of Lyd, he pointed it out to me. It is free and has many paths that you can walk around. After this he walked off, only to return a few seconds later and tell me that one could see Plymouth from here on this clear late afternoon. He pointed it out to me, “there it is in that gateway, look you can see the ocean”
After pointing this out he left, dog in tow. I sat on the church looking out to the setting sun and pondered. What did this mean? I dowsed through all the components of my chat with the “man in blue” and here are the words that the rods responded favourably to…
- West (W,SW) direction
With him wearing a blue t-shirt, I asked whether this knowledge was anything to do with my Knights Quest? No. Was this another quest that I would be going on? Yes. When would this quest start? End of October. At the conclusion of my Knights Quest? Yes.
So why tell me now? The answer was not forthcoming and it was time to thank the wisdom of St Michael and return to my rooms.
Kal Malik – endless questing
It is with the greatest of joy that I impart the news, if you haven’t heard it already, that the UK Government has decided to NOT go ahead with the plans to sell off the forests that it controls. This is fantastic news for all of us who enjoy and see the benefits of our local woodland.
In the podcast that I released only yesterday I was calling for everyone to keep up the pressure on the powers that be so that we can ensure they do not try to divert or deflect the criticism they have received so far. It would seem that they have realised now how globally unpopular this move was seen as.
“Victory! The Guardian, BBC and Independent are reporting that the government is about to scrap plans to sell our forests. Over half a million of us should feel very proud of what we’ve achieved together. Let’s keep watching but also celebrate what we’ve done!” (source: 38Degrees)
The Woodland Trust were slightly more guarded in their response to the news:
“Commenting on the decision, Sue Holden chief executive of the Trust said, “We welcome the opportunity for a more considered approach to the future of our much loved woodlands but our campaign continues. Whilst we welcome the removal of threats to public access, there is still an acute need for better protection of Ancient Woodland, our equivalent of the rainforests, and restoration of ancient woods planted with conifers.
Even if there are no sales of publicly owned forests, the worst of all worlds would be for there to be no change to the loopholes that have allowed 850 ancient woods to be threatened by built development over the past decade. Ministers have made strong commitments over the past few weeks to increase protection for ancient woods, and we will be holding them to these commitments.” (source: Woodland Trust)
Thank you to anyone who lifted a finger to assist with this campaign. Your rewards will be to know that your local woodland is safe for now, and that you can continue to enjoy the fresh air, the windbreak and soil management, the biodiversity, and the recreational space that these woodlands provide.
And I thought democracy was dead! Today I feel slightly less cynical. Power to the people!
Things are heating up with the UK woodland sell-off debate. Actually, there is no debate. At least three-quarters of those surveyed did not want this legislation to go ahead. I think this is quite heartening – there is an obvious wave of objection to the idea of putting our woodland areas into the hands of private companies for “management”. For ‘management’ read ‘commercialisation’. And for ‘commericalisation’ understand that this means ‘profit’. How, exactly, does one make a profit from woodland by keeping it unchanged, properly managed and available for locals to wander around in? You don’t! That won’t happen.
What will happen is that woodland will be subjected to:
- Being turned into some kind of theme park – by adding ventures such as ape-like climbing facilities, mountain biking trails, gift shops and food stalls.
- Having ancient trees mown down and sold off, to be replaced by the faster-growing varieties of wood such as conifers, thus reducing the inherent biodiversity of what is left of our native primitive woodland.
- Accessible public woodland being fenced off in order to protect the commercial investment.
Access to woodland will inevitably become more restricted – it’s just in the nature of people who make investments that they become territorial about land. Just look around you at the bigger detached houses in your area – are they open? Are you allowed to walk across their gardens? Of course not – they’re in private hands and fenced off.
These are just the inevitable consequences of the commercial mindset. There is no profit for commerce in preservation. It’s just not how they work. If the present system of woodland management is cumbersome and overwrought, then reform it. The current government’s answer is to sell the problem off to the highest bidder, and TRUST that they will “do the right thing”. Of course, it’s not the government’s fault if they don’t. Then it’s an issue for the individual citizen to take up directly with the offending corporation. That is called the devolution of responsibility, and it is a shameful act by any government who is supposed to care about our nation’s heritage. Our birthright, I would say.
The statement below is from the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website, and states quite categorically that 15% of the available woodland has ALREADY been given away BEFORE the consultation. The rest, it says, is open for discussion:
“The Government has already committed to taking 15% of the public forest estate out of state control over the course of this parliament, generating up to £100million of receipts. The consultation paper launched today invites views on a range of ownership and management options for the remaining 85% of the estate. This will be an open consultation and Government will listen to all responses before publishing its response in the summer.” (source: DEFRA)
I recently wrote to my MP about the issue (with a helping hand from the ‘38 Degrees‘ protest site), and I received a response that was trying to be palliative and re-assuring, but which in fact just raised a number of deeper concerns for me. I will now be posting this response onto the 38 Degrees site to see just how pre-determined the response was.
Here is a link to the latest news about the swell of opinion about this issue. If this goes ahead I am going to take direct action. I really object to having the course of my life diverted away from my spiritual quest in this way because I normally try to stay out of politics, but this is a truly objectionable piece of legislation that MUST be stopped.
I hereby predict that the current public consultation “exercise” will be nothing short of a scam and a farrago. Nothing will be decided except the existing course of action – the commercialisation of (apparently) 18% of our woodlands.
The Government have today back-tracked in a major way, getting their prettiest speaker to release a statement that included the following stated safeguards. Here they are listed out, and my interpretation of what I think they really mean:-
“There are numerous safeguards in place which will ensure that public benefits provided by our woods and forests are protected if they pass into private ownership. These safeguards include:
- regulations governing felling and replanting; [the guys with the chainsaws will have to wear hard hats and goggles]
- protection for biodiversity through the Wildlife and Countryside Act and Sites of Special Scientific Interest; [if your local woodland isn't scientifically interesting and unique then it's for the chop]
- incentives to protect ancient woodland; [companies will have to weigh up whether the measly 'incentive' from the Government outweighs the massive cash they will get from chopping it all down]
- guarantees for public access – the majority of the freehold areas of the public forestry estate are protected for access on foot by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act; [areas that are already well-trodden and full of mountain bikes will remain so - quiet woodland paths will be fenced off]
- protection of ancient monuments is overseen by English Heritage; [and what a fine job they've done of places like Silbury Hill - now inaccessible for the last seven years since they allowed its summit to collapse]
- any proposals for development would be subject to the Town and Country Planning process; and [planning applications will be dealt with by the usual 'buddy' system of back-handers on the gold courses and favours for companies that the planning committee have a stake in]
- Biosecurity – the Plant Health Act sets out a legal framework for the control of pests and diseases of forest tress and timber. [if the trees we're selling are no use, it's not our fault - it was sold as seen - just cut it all down and re-plant with conifers] “
Now, I’m not trying to tell you what to think, or how to react, but I am getting vocal and physical about making my own point of view heard and seen on this issue. I ask you to look at how you feel about this too, and then take whatever course of action you feel appropriate and worthy.
No polls. No petitions. No lobbying. Just action. Can you hear my anger? Good.
Gwas The Arborophile.
This year begins much as last year began, except that the world has turned throughout hundreds of spins and travelled once around our major light source to measure out a year in its dizzy cycle. Our wavering Moon has ebbed and flowed with the tides over those long months and has lit our path on many occasions. One eveningin Alderley Edge forest we began the new year with a need to be amid the imposing ancient trees and to be bathed in moonlight. Luckily, sister moon is out and doing her best to cast a companion cool light on our foolhardy journey.
As we struggled to remember what clothing or paraphernalia we might need or indeed had actually brought, Kal mentioned that he hadn’t brought a light because he knew I would. I retorted that I hadn’t brought a light either, but I couldn’t remember why. It seemed like I wouldn’t need one when I packed. Kal became anxious and reminded me that his night vision capabilities were the least of his talents and that he didn’t want a repeat experience of the midnight prowl he took in the forest last year. I feared that would be exactly what we were in store for, but insisted that we go in anyway. I could feel his hesitancy.
Once inside the bounds of the woodland, with the white and orange familiar street lighting fading far behind us, I remained buoyant – there seemed to be enough light for us to make safe progress if we stuck to the main paths. Did we ever stick to the main path? Not often, but tonight we might have to! Amid Kal’s consternation and our idle chat I stopped. What had stopped me, I wondered? Years of experience with these things now made me realise I had stopped for a reason. I scanned around in the dim light and recognised the pale white reflections of five or six dog-sized stones, too smooth and regular to be a stone circle made by ancient hands. Indeed, we were stood by the folly stone circle created at the turn of the last century. Older than most parts of America, but young enough for the dog-stones to seem like mere pups compared to the hoary old stones of the bigger and more hidden monuments.
The folly stone circle was a good indicator. It is raised slightly above the main path and catches your eye as you walk along, if you have the right attention because it was very dark in there that evening. We were only seconds away from the elderly beech tree that held the very spirit of the forest in the confines of its branches and roots. Perhaps I had even been stopped in my tracks by sensing the edge of its giant aura? Kal abandoned his cursory dowse of the circle (because there’s little to dowse) and we made our way to stand underneath the gigantic boughs of this majestic patriarch.
Kal gave the tree an affectionate welcome and then wandered off into the lower extremities on a mission of his own devising. For me, I needed to confirm some things that I had learned during the Winter Solstice, but which I found difficult to accept could have been the result of a mystical experience simply because Calgary Airport didn’t feel much like the sort of place that one would expect a mystical moment to occur. I wanted to confirm my findings with a more reliable interlocutor.
Having spent many moments with this tree it was a relatively simple affair to make contact again. Despite his being energetically handicapped by the Winter months I could feel his hidden and dormant depths almost immediately and I approached a connection with humility and respect for his power. He does, after all, hold sway over a very large and ancient forest. It like being able to see the beauty of a woman beneath her winter clothing layers. Some things just shine through despite being buried.
I introduced myself to him again, asking him whether he remembered me and if he could see how far I had come since my last visit there. But I was being hasty and needed to calm down and connect properly before I got a recognisable response. I went quiet and tuned into the forest, letting my attention spread out even as I sent a cycle of energy around me to protect myself from anything in the forest that might be attracted by my expending energy field. You see – I had learned something! Once again I thought back to that small man who had once followed M and me through the forest asking me about magic and warning me that I needed protection in this line of work. At the time I had dismissed his ideas as unnecessary – now I was more experienced.
Once in a quiet state of grace with the tree I asked whether I could confirm something that was on my mind. The tree gave a gentle tug at my energy field as though to invite my question. I projected the thoughts outwards to the tree:-
- Please confirm that it was my current quest to write a book – correct
- I had until February to get a draft written – correct
- The subject of the book should be “service” – correct
Hmmm….better get writing!
I finally asked the tree whether I could be directed to a place in the forest where I could commune with my Spirit Guide to ask her the same questions. The tree seemed to shake oh-so-gently with laughter. I knew he had not taken this as an insult, but rather had seen how unnecessary it was and how insecure I was being. nevertheless he made my head turn to face one part of the forest – it was the direction in which my power centre lay. I asked if that was correct and got a louder rumbling of deep laughter. Always I needed confirmation, he seemed to be saying. ‘Poor child. Come so far, but still so young.’
When Kal returned we set off through the forest going via the main paths towards my power centre. I knew the way in the daylight by the hidden paths, but I only had an inner compass and the guidance of the things of the forest as we ventured off the main paths finally and on towards somewhere I vaguely recognised. Even in the depths of the forest, off the paths, there was a welcome dark blue background that seemed to shed enough light not to get a poke in the eye from a branch, or trip on a tree root or stone. Before we knew it I found us a sensible entrance to the place that had become both a power centre for both of us over the last year (even though we came to it entirely independently at first!).
At the power centre I lit some incense, as did Kal. We stood side by side, together in our own worlds. I connected with the forest and with my spirit guide and went in search of validation. Was i correct in everything I had been told about writing a book? I felt the presence of my spirit guide as i called her. She is my teacher and mentor now, and when she answers my call I do her the courtesy of listening. No questions were needed – she knew what I was asking. Instead she plainly and simply re-iterated all that I had heard before from the tree….but there was something else. She also showed me that the subject matter of the book – service – would become the defining framework within which I would do my best work this year.
Now I understood. I thanked the trees and the forest generally, and disconnected, but kept my protection up. As we walked back towards the car along paths we knew well we chatted about our experiences, and about how comfortable we both felt inside a deep dark forest. How times had changed over the course of a few years and how much we were looking forward to the surprises, the challenges and the rewards that this year might bring. Every year the world gets more interesting!
Gwas. Longing for leaves.