Posts Tagged ‘hillfort’
I was recently lucky enough to spend a long weekend in Barcelona. I’ve never been to the city before and was looking forward to it because people who had been have all said that it was a lovely place. I began to wonder what it was about the city that everyone “took to”. What was it that made the city so appealing – was it the culture, the sun, the surroundings, the liveliness – which of these elements would confer such appeal?
Over the course of the weekend I began to realise that it could be a mixture of all of the elements mentioned. Certainly there was a lot of smiling going on – the sun was out for the whole time, the streets were thronging with multitudes, and the bars and visitor attractions were busy too. People were enjoying the city.
On the second day I made my way up to the top of one of the hills overlooking the city via the cable car at Montjuïc. The sky was the kind of blue that English people wish for on any day of the year. Inside the fort on the summit of the hill there was a promontory which afforded the most remarkable view down the garden-green slopes of the hillside and across the sprawling city where its geography could really be appreciated. The coast was as clear as the sky, and they melded in their exhibition of “blueness”. Standing at the very corner of the fort on my own I felt drawn to something in the sky and so I looked up with a wider-than-normal gaze, a magickal eye….
Above the city was a cirrus cloud formation whose expanse covered the whole bay and buildings below. With my magickal eye I could see that this was no ordinary cloud. It had a very distinctive face, and the wisps which wafted to either extent of the formation were as shoulders and arms, framing the scene below in a friendly embrace. The warmth of the day was echoed directly in the warmth which emerged from the expression on the cloud sylph’s features. This cloud was showering Barcelona with love!
There are some aspects of this that don’t come across in the writing or in the picture. The perspective, the three-dimensionality, the “aliveness” of the face and its expression….when rendered into two dimensions, out of context and place, and after the event…. honestly, you had to be there to be as amazed as I was. I’ve seen many cloud sylphs before, but the sheer beauty of this one, and the very clear features it showed in its form…. it bowled me over.
So, I noticed it, and then I thought - why couldn’t I try to connect to it? Preposterous idea considering the difference in scale, but…. I had to try. I had to get “in on the action” here. I was the only person seeing this….it was “for me”. Here was my opportunity. I steadied myself through a quick grounding and centring routine, then felt for my heart chakra centre. I extended a ball of energy from that point until it formed a beam which thrust out into the sky towards the sylphine subtle shape in the sky.
The connection was accepted. What returned through the connection was a feeling of immense power, but tempered by a gentility which defied belief. It was so light, so .. airy. So delicate. Yet immense. The watery nature of the cloud flooded into me in a band of emotion which threatened to embarrass me in the midst of all the people around me as I fought back the urge to let the feeling overcome me and to submit to the glorious emotional swell. I had to dam the water that was collecting at the corner of my eyes. Oh, the sweet sweet grace! The exquisite caring which this form emitted and beamed down onto the city of Barcelona below was a beautiful feeling.
I had to remove myself from the experience I was so close to breaking down. I released the connection, but whilst I still had it I sent a quick burst of thanks to the sylph for allowing me the pleasure of this interaction. It was another of those magickal natural events that together form the cornerstones of the reason why I am a druid. To have such close touch with Nature. It’s a privilege that I hope I never take for granted.
So, in conclusion the embrace of such beautiful energy forms is probably one of the many reasons that Barcelona feels so nice I recommend you go yourself and see how it affects you too. It’s a very worthwhile place to visit.
In this third part of my Spring Equinox quest to link the four sites of a landscape sigil based on the elements we come to the Earth site – Caer Caradog. The snows that covered the hills on that day are still with us weeks later as we go into April, that’s how embedded this cold snap was. On the Spring Equinox I had to be quick at my work because this was no time to hang around enjoying the views!
Saying that, I was lucky to get to Caer Caradog at all. Although I had it pinned on a map as a specific location down to the smallest possible degree, that wasn’t the issue. I knew where it was – I just couldn’t get to it! As I came up through the slightly famous village of Cerrigydrudion (partly thanks to Julian Cope‘s song) I came across my first barrier – a diversion sign due to a roadworks on the tiny B5105 country road that led straight to the hillfort.
I circumvented the roadworks by going all the way around the hill and up the other side of it to arrive on the top and drive past the top of the hill whilst looking for s stopping point. Ah! The next barrier is parking. There isn’t any. I took my chances with the roadworks and parked up at pretty much the only space in the tiny road where two cars could pass safely. That was almost at the bottom of the slop, so that meant a long climb back up to get to the hill. *Sigh* – another climb today. I hope the universe is watching this display of dedication!
If you’re thinking of visiting yourself I’d have a read of the accounts on the Modern Antiquarian site. They give you a flavour of the ‘welcome’ you can expect – public rights of way ignored, new fences of barbed wire criss-crossing your path, and lots of mud on the way up. I fought all the barriers, all the methods intended to dissuade the casual visitor and trepidacious tourist – I am neither of those things – I had a mission to accomplish.
In the final part of our Imbolc excursion to Cumbria I will be showing you another new site for us - Maiden Castle – near the village of Wreay above the north end of Ullswater Lake. The story of how we found it is the real tale here, and the communion we had while there adds the final flourish to the whole episode.
Having already taken a wrong turn trying to find the narrow lane that led to the field in which the castle was supposed to be, according to the maps, we were somewhat exasperated already as we cruised along the hillside at slow speed trying to get a visual fix on any form of earthwork or stone cluster that might indicate a ‘castle’. Kal had been fully expecting a proper castle with turrets, flags and portcullis, but I assured him that we were looking form something far more mundane and far less spectacular!
The light was beginning to dim. The sun was descending behind the huge distant hills around Ullswater Lake. I had joked at the beginning of the day that we would probably arrive at the castle for sunset, and the joke was becoming a reality. Would we find the castle site before it got dark and too treacherous to locate?
We were about to give up. I stopped the car and insisted that Kal dowse whether we should continue looking or go to somewhere nearby like Castlerigg. I ditched the OS map and instead used the Viewranger pinpoint that I had preset the day before.
NOTE: Viewranger is superb for outdoor work of this kind such as finding sacred sites. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a complete lifesaver sometimes.
Go check them out if you like walking, running or discovering new places.
This was a precise fix on the castle and should allow us to home in on it. Kal returned – we had to find Maiden Castle, there were no alternatives! What now?
At that exact moment, sat in the car wondering whether to drive home or head out into the dim light in search of something we were both startled from our thoughts. A hawk burst out of a bush next to the car and flew across the bonnet. It swooped down into the vale below and disappeared again. Well – did we need any better sign? One glance was enough – we were decided – that was the sign we needed to venture forth. Then we noticed the footpath sign next to the car. Well, obviously, that would take us to the castle, right? Let’s hope so.
We walked away from Angel Hill. We probably had a discussion for the next ten minutes or more about the definitions of “alien”, “angel” and any energy that could be associated with the two. Although my quest had been to find the alien energy spot that corresponded to the one at Karnak Temple, this had not yet been located. Yes, I had felt the presence of something that may have been an “angel” form of energy, but the particular energy resident somewhere on the island had not yet been located.
Soon we turned our attentions away from arguing (sorry, debating) and our hearts and minds were captured by the rise and fall of the tide as it washed the western shores of Iona’s granite coastline. There were innumerable rocks that were “calling out to us” to pick them up as we walked along. I relented finally and picked on up. It was white speckled granite and I wondered how far it would make me carry it. We are, after all, merely transporters for rocks, you know? Didn’t you know that was our purpose here on Earth?
Soon we were at a parting of the ways. I wanted to climb the incredibly steep slopes, but I realised that this would be impractical for Kal. He instead opted for the serene shores of the beautiful white beach that revealed itself to us as we stood on the promontary overlooking the scenery, assessing our next steps. On the skyline the imposing slope of Dun Bhuirg stood tall and proud against an increasingly blue canvas.
Notice how the shape of Dun Bhuirg, seen from the west, looks the exact same shape as Angel Hill which is within sight of it, less than a mile away? Yet another coincidence. It’s the same shape as Oran’s Mound in the grounds of the Abbey too. Three sacred sites on a small island – three identical topographies.
I stopped staring at the beautiful beach and left Kal to his meditations. I made my way to the bottom of the “hillfort” and began the steep climb up the slippery slope, with its crossing streams, wet grass, and perpendicular rock face. It was such a treacherous climb with my staff in hand, and I was deeply concerned about how to get back down again – I was thinking I might need air-sea rescue or something!
I sometimes find myself doing some very strange things without knowing why. This night was one of those strange evenings, and yet the strangeness would continue beyond this night and lead to an even stranger conclusion by the time I had finished unravelling all of the clues.
I had decided that at some point in the week I would need to go somewhere. The weather was good, so I got out my dowsing rods and began to enquire about a suitable place for me to learn something that would progress me on my spiritual path – the usual request – general and open. The responses I got seemed to indicate that I could find such a place in the county of Shropshire, and that the place existed on the Megalithic Portal, so it was only a matter of bringing up a list of sites in Shropshire and working through a process of elimination to find the site that I was expected to go to. Soon I found it – The Berth – an ancient hillfort and associated pool near the village of Marton a short distance from the main A5 road. I did some reading on the Megalithic Portal about access to the site – not good. Permission from the local farmer is suggested. Well then, a covert visit may be in order given that I would be arriving late at night.
The Berth [Portal]
I put on my dancing trousers (well, the fleece-lined ones – it might be cold) and began to journey southwards from Cheshire. Soon I was past the eastern edges of Wales and skirting the western fringes of England. Within an hour I had arrived at Marton in the dark of the late evening and was searching around on a small-scale OS map for the perfect place to park and navigate through the fields to the hillfort. Luckily, without too much fuss, I found such a place down a road marked “Unsuitable for motor vehicles.” No kidding! Good job I was in a four-wheel drive machine.
I parked at the only place down the narrow country lane that would fit a car. Using my print-out of a low-level OS map I headed off further down the lane. Five minutes later I realised I must have gone past the entry point I was looking for and doubled back. The entry point turned out to be where I had parked the car! When will I learn to trust my intuition? Such a hard thing to do!
Several times I had to stop myself from asking the obvious question, “What the hell are you doing in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night?“. Luckily, I didn’t allow myself to even try to formulate an answer, but instead began to walk across the fields towards what I hoped was the right place, breathing in the still-warm evening air and wishing I hadn’t muffled myself up because I was beginning to overheat! This is October, right? Supposed to be cold and damp? Instead we are in the tail end of a heatwave and it was still 15 degrees late into the evening. Bizarre weather!
Fortune seemed to be on my side, guiding me towards something whose very impulse and importance I could sense like a scent on the night air.
In this third part of our South Wales trip I talk about our visit to a museum of stones, and then go on to discuss the amazing findings at the Samson Stone – a standing stone linked in to a very ancient network of energies related to the myths surrounding King Arthur. You can also watch a video of Kal dowsing the stone, and I discuss my latest theory on the energy flows of standing stones. First, however, we visit a museum of petrified crosses…
Realising that we were quite a way west of our starting point of Chepstow and that we may need to begin to work our way back, we looked on the map for nearby locations that were large enough to get a tourist symbol, and we identified something near to Port Talbot that sounded interesting – The Stone Museum, Margam, Neath Port Talbot, Glamorganshire, South Wales. [info]. It might be good, it might be rubbish – but at least it was on the way back, and there seemed little else within thirty miles of where we were and in the right direction. Off we went.
When we arrived at Margam Abbey we found that we had just missed the lunch sitting for the only restaurant within miles. And we were starving. However, being troopers and dedicated to the cause we put aside hunger and turned our attentions to getting hold of the key to get into the Stone Museum. A notice on the door said that if it was locked we should ask at the restaurant. Cruel, considering our hunger levels. We waited while the chef finished what she was doing, and then she let us into the museum unattended. Great! We could dowse to our hearts content!
We scanned the open-plan museum and realised that the “stones” were all carved crosses that had been gathered from the local vicinity – within about a thirty mile radius of Margam. The carved crosses dated from Celtic to Christian, and some smaller broken bits of stones that had no labels. Kal inspected upstairs while I took some photographs but reported that there was nothing to see on the upper level, so we concentrated on the lower floor’s artefacts.
Always the way
Isn’t it always the way? We quickly found that the only stones of energetic interest were those not labelled?! There was a small remnant of one of the stones that the museum had literally been built around, and that had no information about it at all. The integral stone was originally part of the building that had been there before the abbey next door, we dowsed. It was the strongest, most energetic stone in the whole collection. No information plaque or anything to explain it. The only other stone in the collection that had any energy in it at all was the broken corner of some carving that was mounted on a wall, again without any explanation or date at all.
Saturday 28th August, 2010 – Ridgeway, Oxfordshire.
I was lucky enough to get to walk for a day along The Ridgeway – a trackway that follows the prominent chalk ridge running through Oxfordshire and into Wiltshire. It is famous as an ancient trackway and pilgrimage route across England, and its modern version stretches from Ivinghoe Beacon in Oxfordshire to Overton Hill near Avebury in Wiltshire (see official site). The Ridgeway passes some of the most interesting ancient sites that I have encountered, including the Chalk Horse at Uffington, Wayland’s Smithy burial mound, and in its later stages it passes close to Avebury stone circle. On many parts of the trail you are following the Great Dragon Line (a.k.a. The Mary and Micheal Line) - the long ley line running from Norfolk to Cornwall.
During the walk I was in company, and so didn’t perform many of the deep meditations that I have now come to associate with being at these sites. However, I was able to “say hello” to the places, and to get some recognition from them about my presence there, which was intensely satisfying. Here, I will share some of those moments with you, but primarily this is going to be a visual catalogue of some Ridgeway sights, and an opportunity for me to try to set the record straight on some naming conventions.
I only stoped briefly to photograph the ‘camp’. It is designated and described as a hillfort, which it may well have been. It’s nto a particularly good place, I feel, to build such a military structure, but then I didn’t build it, so I don’t know the circumstances. However, I am becoming more inclined to the idea that such enclosures may have served another purpose, and that was to either keep out or funnel in earth energy. The ditches would prevent the ingress of earth energy flows, except for the four entrances that the enclosure had. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of archaeological evidence for battle, that’s for sure. Here’s the Wikipedia entry about it:-
“The fort has extensive ditch and ramparts and has four ‘gateways’. Excavation at the site by Dr Phene, in 1871, discovered a cist grave on the south side of the hill fort rampart. The grave was floored with stone slabs and the sides were walled with flint. Finds included a shield boss and fragments of an urn or drinking cup. Among other finds were human bones and flint scrapers.” (source: Wikipedia)
The “walled with flint” bit is interesting. I wonder if that conducted or repelled the subtle energies around? Next time I visit I will try to dowse it for the energy flows and that may reveal more about it, whether any energy comes in, goes out, flows through or under the site.