Posts Tagged ‘Hedge Druid’
Appropriating the phrase that Bruce Lee made famous I am seeking within the small confines of this post to express an idea that is a little reflexive. That is – I want to write about the limitation to the power of the creative media to express the full impact and experience of magickal processes.
I was made aware, when writing recently about the futility of convincing sceptics - that one of the main reasons why I no longer try to speak to sceptics about magick is that I have rarely got enough time to be able to tell the fullness of the experience in a language that comes close to expressing the content, especially the emotional content of the moment.
I am aware that great literature of capable of creating within us a powerful and even life-changing set of emotions. i am aware that given enough time and space in any work a truly great artist can begin to shape the medium to produce something that may rouse and engender within the audience (at least some of them) a similar response to the original experience. Yet, a blog is a poor medium for such stories as ours. Even poetry is a mere snapshot of words who symbolism is of limited depth, despite the resonances of language and its complex structures.
So what is missing from these tales of magickal adventure? The emotional content, the synchronistic ripples in time whose echo sweeps you off your feet when it hits, that turn your world view upside down to its rightful position. What may be missing is the heavenly glory of the light and shade of the meanings within the moment, and the full impact of the realisations. Remember your first birthday gift of real significance? Remember the impact that had upon you at the time? The joy, the potential!
Now bring that forward into adulthood, into a time where all of the magick is systematically removed from life through processes of levelling, uniformity, reason and ridicule…. and what remains is scant reward for life on a daily basis. Imagine now, that the magickal is re-inserted into your life’s adventure. Imagine that the joy and potential are rediscovered, but now they are no longer simply superficial joy and potential, now they chime within you - the symbols, the links with other cultures around the world, the harmony, the knowing at a deep level of being which overtaken reason’s faltering jigsaw and shows the full picture in one shot.
When I fail to recount the emotional content in the blog, when I fail to deliver the magickal feeling that comes with all of my work on a weekly basis… know that this post is one of my poor attempts at a reminder about the power of this druidical work. Let the magick of the year begin again!
When the weather has been dry for several days in England then it would be rude not to go out into the world and see if you can feel the forces of Nature at work. Not wanting to be rude Kal and I gave a large part of our eating and drinking time over to a journey to our favourite magical woodland – Alderley Edge. It was the first visit of the year, and although it was definitely not Spring-like weather yet, at least it was dry and had been for days, which meant that we could walk around without fear of falling foul of a foot of mud and slutch.
As if our wont, we had to have a question to be working with in order to make the experience bring true reward (yes, wandering around aimlessly can be its own random reward, but if you want to make steady and sure spiritual progress then you need a mission, a plan, a guided meditation). For my part, I had questions about my recent work with The Sword and The Shield. I had managed to absorb some energy into my shield stone and this was very satisfactory. Now, I wanted to know about the Sword aspect. What was it, and how could I go about obtaining it so that I could fulfil my healing potential using these two magickal symbols and their associated energies.
My research into the figure of Galahad had shown that he had encounters involving a sword and a shield. For Galahad they were to be found like this:-
- The Sword of Spirit - a sword drawn from a rock
- The Shield of Faith - a shield found at the altar of a white abbey
Well, that was all to plan so far. I had found a white abbey (Valle Crucis), its ancient altar location, and had transferred the energy of the “shield” into my shield-like stone, and was now able to use that to quickly protect and retain energies for sacred sites. My thoughts thus turned to The Sword. Drawn from a rock? Really? Like Arthur’s sword, Galahad also had to draw a sword from a rock?
Who owns the sword?
Last year I had been doing some research into Gawain. During that year I had some experiences, particularly on Iona, the led me to believe that the Sword is identified with the Will. This is especially true in magickal work. However, was the sword that I would work with this year related to Galahad, Arthur or Gawain? It was a confusing picture! Did it matter? Could the dowsing rods sort it out for me? Or maybe a tarot draw?
The dowsing rods were able to help me divine the answer. It is Galahad’s Sword that I am to find and work with.
“Sir Galahad survives this test [being sat in the Seige Perilous seat], witnessed by King Arthur who, upon realizing the greatness of this new knight, leads him out to the river where a sword lies in a stone with an inscription reading “Never shall man take me hence but only he by whose side I ought to hang; and he shall be the best knight of the world… Galahad accomplishes this test with ease, and King Arthur swiftly proclaims him to be the greatest knight ever. ” (Source: Wikipedia)
Now, on to the Alderley Edge tale, where I find out more answers than I bargained for!
In this second part of the Spring Equinox tale I begin with a bit of a soap-box moment, but quickly move on to talk about my favourite stone circle, and finally introduce a new sacred site. Let the wordage begin!
I begin this post with a bellyache. I’m going to get riled, spill bile, make a pile of fuss. Possibly about nothing, but let’s get it out of the way first. I’ve been stewing on it for years, and I think it’s about time I got it “out” into the open.
It pains me the way modern farmers slash hedgerows!
To me this is akin to punching small children in the face. “Look,” you could say, “They’re bleeding now, but in a few weeks they’re back to normal.” Hardly the point, is it? Just because something heals doesn’t mean we should make them go through the initial trauma of being battered. Ask any victim of domestic violence. “Ah, but you’re alright now, yeah?”
I’m not saying that I’m an advocate of the Backster experiments on plant feelings. Instead, this is a respect issue. I was under the impression that part of the duty of care that farmers were supposed to adopt as custodians of the land could be employed in their treatment of the trimming of plant life. This “hack and slay” policy, done for expediency and efficiency, is not only damaging to the main trunk and branches of the plant, but it’s also a display of contempt for the hedgerow, and damned ugly to look at!
Phew – I’m done. It’s in print. but I’ll still die a little when I see such a close haircut. I urge anyone with influence over these things to try to find a better way. I keep putting my thinking cap on to come up with something. One day.
</ END RANT>
Moel Ty Uchaf Un-Spring-Like
As I climbed slowly up the steep road to the circle at the top of the hill there were several things that caught my eye. Firstly, there were the lambs bouncing around in the lower fields as though Spring had arrived. There was certainly spring in their legs, so perhaps they were just keeping themselves warm. Such a bad year to be born into a cold snap, I thought. A week later there would be reports of many sheep and lambs dying due to the snowfall in placed like Derbyshire and North Wales. Joy and sorrow are close companions.
In the clear blue sky day of Imbolc this year the sight of Skiddaw mountain was a breathtaking, awe-inspiring experience. The mountain formed the scenic backdrop for your next sacred site – a stone circle that we had never visited before. The circle is called Elva Plain stone circle near the village of Embleton just north and west of Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria.
You can’t see the circle from the road,nor can you spot it when walking up the muddy track to the farm that manages the fields around the circle. Some advice tells you to try to reach the stone circle via the farmyard. Maybe in Summer that would be feasible. In Winter after much rain I don’t recommend that. Kal and I struggled up the sides of the track trying to avoid the worst of the mud whilst wondering how a couple who had set off just before us had managed to get so far so quickly. It was heavy going! Only for the dedicated, this one.
Once we reached the top of the track – not much of a climb compared to many circles we visit – then you get a fine view of Skiddaw and the surroundings. The circle can be seen in a field behind the farm below. The easiest approach is from the hill behind the circle where you could get a good view of the approach, and decide for yourself whether you wanted to wade through the mud patches.
There is a theory that says that the world is illusion, “maya”, and that we create the whole of reality within our own minds. This is heard often in the New Age arena, and such philosophies are initially very attractive for they feed the ego of the newly expanded mind. If you mind can be stretched to encompass more than you ever realised before then why stop at the boundaries of the known universe – why not have created everything yourself?
This philosophy is very attractive at first glance, but with a little contemplation it unravels in a sea of ego. We do not create the whole of reality in our minds. When we have psychedelic or other transcendent experiences we can fall prey to the idea that we are being shown that we ARE the whole of reality and it is unfolding within us. We are not such a beast. Instead, we are involved and part of anything that we put our attention upon. That would be a more accurate statement. From that perspective you can see that within your perception of the world at any particular time it could appear that you are part of everything. You are not. You are only part of everything that you perceive with all of your senses.
It is pure ego which is imagining that it is part of everything. Think about it – ‘everything’ is a whole lot of stuff. You are not indistinguishable from everything . You are a small individuated physical unit that is gravitationally attached to a planet. You are only part of that which you move your attention – whether physical attention or spiritual attention – to focus upon.
The festival of Imbolc has several elements which are of interest to the energy worker and druid:-
- It sees the return of the male earth energies that have been so weak as to be non-existent during the Winter months.
- It is the time when the energy form Brigid (or Bridget, Bride) can be felt, seen and interacted with at sites that are associated with her.
Some call this time of year The Quickening in recognition of the fact that the subtle energies and the life forces of this side of the planet are becoming more alive and vibrant. Astrologically the Imbolc event coincides with when the Sun crosses the middle degree of the constellation of Aquarius - the water bearer (or bringer of the waters for the Spring growth). The Moon will be just before Last Quarter on 2nd February, so there will be an average amount of female energy around this Imbolc.
Imbolc is associated in the Celtic tradition with Brigid, the virginal first form of The Triple Goddess - a complex mutating energy form that can be felt in various vibrational states during the course of the year. This female energy changes in tone and strength as the seasons progress. At the beginning of the year She is in her beginning form – bright, light and sparkling, but still quite weak in comparison to how she feels at Beltane in May.
In this form she is known as Brigid (amongst many other variations of this name and with many other names in different cultures). Encountering this energy form is exciting and inspirational, and I highly recommend that you visit a site traditionally associated with Brigid at this time of the year in order to feel this energy for yourself. I’m sure it will inspire you to actions that will only progress you on your spiritual path.
Perhaps she is called The Bride because Imbolc sees the first ‘marriage’ of the two energy polarities - the returning male energy and the ever-present female energy combining to create a vibrant and creative impulse which inspires one to action. Certainly, something special is happening at this time of the year, and celebration is the order of the day.
For me personally, I will be doing a number of activities to celebrate Imbolc. Over the course of the few days around Imbolc I will be:-
- Investigating and potentially re-balancing some dark energy from a known troubled area in the Derbyshire hills
- Renewing some previous work I have done to create healing energy at a sacred site by adding the Brigid energy to the circuit I created.
- Asking for a new Spirit Guide to work with for this year after the departure of my last one. I don;t know yet whether this is necessary, but I hope to find out at Imbolc.
- Confirming which branch of the Arthurian Cross I will be dealing with this year. Last year it was West/Gwalchmai and that related to the Water element (didn’t it just!?).
I’m very much looking forward to the start of the new year. I begin to get jittery at this point in the cycle, and Imbolc is such a good starting point to re-ignite a spiritual quest. Can’t wait!
Just a personal note of thanks to everyone who reads this blog, whether by design or by accident. We have reached another milestone of viewing figures – 400,000 views over the course of the life of this blog. That’s since the end of 2008 when the blog first started. Such humble and simple beginnings which have morphed into something life-consuming and life-altering since that year, at least for us that is.
Now, we’re not about stats – if we were we’d advertise ourselves, promote ourselves, and stick adverts all over the place. We don’t do that. We’re purely about offering our tales, our stories and our beliefs to the world, and hoping that along the way some of that inspires you to go about your own spiritual path with renewed vigour. That makes such figures even more astonishing.
Thank you once again for your support. We wish you a prosperous, but mostly an interesting year ahead, whatever course your spirituality is guided to follow.
Gwas and Kal.