Posts Tagged ‘incense’
Harthill Moor, Derbyshire – Saturday 20th November
We picked our way carefully down the slope towards Doll Tor. “Give me more details!” I hear you say, “How do I find Doll Tor?” You find it when you’re ready, and if you’re committed enough. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy this tale instead. Where was I? Oh yes, we picked our way through the cow-rutted clods and across swamps of mud until our feet hit solid ground on the small path that takes you down to the circle, tucked away out of sight in a clump of trees. Kal, as usual, had taken an alternate route that didn’t endanger his trainer-shod feet, whereas I was sensibly attired and ploughed through the middle. Always taking the middle way, eh? It was a good job I had good balance.
I had been warned by our friendly druid at the Nine Stones that there were some ‘decorations’ (known colloquially as ‘clouties’) left at Doll Tor from the Samhain celebrations. Little did I realise quite how intrusive those decorations were until we arrived at the circle. May I just take a moment here to say this to all those who go celebrating at sacred sites – I was always told that the mark of a respectful pagan is that when they have finished you would hardly know they had been there. This has stuck with me, but some, it seems, never got the message. All the trees around the circle were covered in coloured ribbons, either tied around their trunks or wrapped around branches. Several mobiles hung from the trees too. Pretty, but as we were about to discover, not always beneficial.
We began dowsing to assess the the character of the site – always useful to have an impression of how the site is feeling and how it is reacting on any particular visit so that you can tune in to do your best work. This day we found that the energy was not very good there and it was because the good energy associated with the ribbons at the time of their placement had worn off. In fact, some of the people who had tied the ribbons were still energetically linked to them, and because they were not giving off good energies, so that was feeding into the site’s energy field too, by some form of quantum mechanical linkage (in the sense of action at a distance).
There was also a bunch of white flowers laid in the centre of the circle. This had been good, but now was allowing harmful energies to come into the site like some kind of conduit. There was an important lesson being learnt here: objects retain links to their donators unless those links are deliberately severed.
We worked out fairly quickly from discovering this that out purpose here today would be to break the links between the people and their ribbons, mobiles and flowers. Whilst we found that they had been drawing in good energies at the time they were given, some of the objects were not attracting bad energies through those links. Maybe the people who had donated them were giving off bad vibes, or having bad luck? Either way, the links had to be neutralised, and so we set about doing that.
Kal did one side while I did the other. We lit incense (on a still day for a change) because this seemed to offer a better option for cleansing than crystals. I walked once around the perimeter of the site, widdershins, cleansing its aura. Then I meditated to cleanse, power up and protect myself. I could see Kal doing the same. When ready we lit more incense and wafted it around the trunks of the trees affected by this bad energy connection (not all were).
The air was pungent and swirling with the wisps of opium incense as it wove its way around each tree , gathering curiously around the coloured ribbons and moving its cleansing air-force through the twirling diagonal mobiles. I imagined that the spirits of the air and fire were assisting with our work. When the last tree was done we planted incense around the decaying bunch of flowers in the centre of the circle and as we did so the air lifted indescribably and subtly as the last bond was released.
When we finished that was all there was to do here so we left, happy that we had done some useful work today. So, beware. If you intend to leave gifts for the goddess, please make the unconditional and unlinked gifts. By all means add your love and gratitude, but please disconnect your self from the act, leaving the gift quantumly untainted!
Nine Ladies stone circle, Stanton Moor, Derbyshire – October 13th 2010
Firstly, apologies for the poor quality of the pictures used in this post. I forgot to bring my camera and had to rely on the camera on my phone to get some contextual images. At least they illustrate the point, even if they wouldn’t make a decent backdrop.
Let’s start the post with a giggle. Raise your hands all of you who expected that Kal would have learned his lesson about approaching the grumpy old oak tree that sits alongside the Nine Ladies stone circle! How many raised their hands? All of you? Well, you’d all be right. We arrived, stood for a moment comtemplating the beauty of the circle from fifty feet away, and then Kal bounded over to the oak tree almost demanding that it communicate positively with him. I laughed at the sheer inevitability of what was to come. A poke in the eye from a low-hanging branch for Kal, yet again!
I approached the tree sedately, feeling its aura close to its canopy of still-green leaves. I skirted the edge, rounding the tree once widdershins, occasionally letting its lower outer branches stroke my face. Then, at the correct entrance point I stopped to ask if I might enter. I felt a slight tug at what I am now calling, in Castenada’s terms, the Assemblage Point, and I knew I was alright to enter. We got on, this tree and I. I knew it demanded a careful respect, and I was amenable to that. After all – I was invading its space, not the other way around. Kal grumbled about its grumpiness and I chuckled, reminding him of what he needed to do in order to pass into the tree’s favour. He grumbled again. He hates deference. I don’t call it deference, I call it mutual respect, and that makes the whole thing work automatically, like automatically saying ‘sorry’ if you bump into someone, no matter who bumped into whom.
The Cleaning Job
As Kal paid his penance at the foot of the oak tree I headed to the circle of small stones that formed the dainty monument that is Nine Ladies. Something felt funny, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was exactly. I decided I needed the help of my dowsing rods. I cleaned them down (a matter of stroking the rods from stem to tip and shaking your hand afterwards – a mere ritual, but it seems to keep the rods free of energetic interference). After cleaning I readied the rods in my usual shoot-from-the-hip stance, elbows in at my side and rods perfectly balanced and level, free to swivel as the energies may direct them.
I asked the rods a question, “Did this circle need re-balancing of the energies?” – in other words, was there too much of one particular type of energy? NO. OK, now for the follow up, “Did this circle need cleansing?” – i.e. was there an influx of unusual energy not native to the circle that could be causing disruption to its function? YES.
Distinguishing these two types of energy work is important, I feel. Re-balancing and cleansing are two very different activities requiring different approaches. For re-balancing I seek to either draw up and create more energy for anything that is required to create a balance between the energy types, or else I dampen down the effect of an over-lively energy form in order to bring it back to the levels of the other energies at the site. Cleansing requires me to eliminate some ‘alien’ energy form (usually human-sourced) and to leave the site with only its natural energies (unless the alien energy is actually benefiting the site).
Which brings me to my final question before I begin the work, “Is the additional energy beneficial to the site?”. NO. Right, then it did need to be dealt with. Could I use incense for this work? YES. How many sticks would be required to cleanse the energy? SIX. Six!” Seriously?? That was more than I had ever needed to use before for such work. Usually it’s two, three, maybe four. Six was something that took this work to new heights for me.
I lit the incense sticks, placed them where the rods dictated I should, and then dowsed for how long they would take to clear the problem energy – six minutes. Ha, today was all sixes! Strange. Next I noticed another strange coincidence.
Alderley Edge, Cheshire – Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
Another tale to tell of a fun visit to the magical forest at AlderleyEdge. You may see that we have both been visiting this forest recently. Firstly, Kal spent a night there (my word – how scary is that?) and then went back to find his lost dowsing rod. I have been there recently too, and although I wasn’t expecting anything unusual to happen, I just went for a pleasant walk, really, but it ended up being a very profound experience.
First thing that I did on entering the forest was to pay my respects and check I was welcome to come and do some energy work. This has become a routine for me now on entering a forest, especially one as powerful as The Edge. I felt a slight tug at my navel chakra and a sense of happiness, so I walked in with a little bow of respect. Seems silly, but believe me, it pays to have some respect for the old large trees, because they have a wealthof knowledge that can be tapped into with either dowsing rods or a bit of deep meditation.
I decided not to use my dowsing rods to find the first place I should go to. I wanted to try to find something without them for once. I began to walk in whatever direction felt right, and I noticed that I was walking in a kind of snaking path, weaving slightly side to side along identifiable paths, then also through the middle of the forest itself where there were no paths. Within minutes I was disoriented, and didn’t really know where I was heading, but it didn’t matter. Something would happen, I hoped. A few minutes later I arrived at the end of a ravine where a small path dipped into the hollow. I recognised the hollow as I got to it – this was where my power centre was, but I had come at it by a totally different approach and so didn’t recognise it! Happily, I bounced into the hollow and took up my place in my preferred power centre.
Once seated I lit four sticks of incense and tuned into the forest. Initially a bird was annoyed at my presence. I communed with it and told it that this was my place too, and that I meant no disturbance. It calmed down. Then I tuned into the forest fully. It only took five minutes before a squirrel was hopping along the nearby branches and across the ground. Then a rabbit came out and began to forage only ten feet away from me. My protective shield was clearly working! I had four sticks of incense lit, AND I was wearing a brightly coloured t-shirt. Somehow, these shy animals were okay with that!
After some time I called and tuned into my spirit helper to ask about how I could go about making magic manifest here. I asked if it was possible to alter a digital photograph as evidence of making magic manifest. She responded that it was possible, but only with her co-operation. I couldn’t do it alone. Strangely, the response was accompanied by a rendition of The Can Can music! So, she was on playful form today, huh? Good, because it made me laugh too. I would try to make that photograph experience happen soon and see if anything…developed (ha ha)?
In that trance I was told to go fr0m my power centre straight to the Father of the Forest – the huge beech tree that dominates the forest with its fifty feet wide branches and imposing spread, whereupon I should pay my respects. Also, I was shown that I should link this beech tree to the one at the front of my house, whose heart had been cut out of it a couple of years ago by some stupid telephone company workers who were trying to prevent the tree from ever touching their phone wires. With this directive I set off, again without dowsing rods, in a vain attempt to locate the tree. I had only a vague notion that it might be in one particular cardinal direction, so I set off that way.
Getting lost again I trusted to this intuitive guiding principle that was like following a dowsing rod but not having one to watch in my hands. Minutes later I emerged at the fake stone circle, and from there the beech tree was visible. Incredible! Five minutes wandering through the undergrowth and amazingly I had found the tree in this huge forest of twisting paths and dense foliage. At the beech tree I did some work touching the tree and asking for his spirit to visit my beech tree. I saw in my mind a double vortex of energy spiralling inside my beech tree’s missing heart. When I felt the work was done I asked to know where to go next and was shown a trough of water, and then a quiet secluded place further out into the forest after that. That sounded too impossible to trust to intuition again, so this time I got my rods out and began to follow them. Besides, it was slightly draining to use intuition alone, I felt. Who knew how far I might have to walk this time? Miles?
Unbelievably I walked directly to the water trough! It was less than two minutes away. There I gathered some water as it dripped from the moss on the stone beneath a tree. I drank it and washed in it and felt much better – it was still warm for the time of year. There felt like nothing else to do here except to thank the water spirits, which I did, then set off with the rods again to find this next place on my little quest. I followed the rods blindly in a direction I had never been before. I put my trust in the rods even though they took me across a very steep slope! I climbed for less than a minute before a hole in a rock wall appeared before me. The rods indicated I needed to go IN! It was steep, full of leaves, and smelt damp. I wasn’t sure but the rods insisted when I asked them again and again whether this was the right place.
Inside the hole I felt my aura being constrained.I put my trust in the experience and let go. Tentacle threads came out of me in the only directions they could go – up! The threads were being powered by me drawing up earth energy from the ground. I found that I could direct the threads to wherever I wanted them to go, and soon I was pushing them out into the forest above, where one of them hit a tree. As it did so I found that the sensations, the feelings and the viewpoint of the tree became my own. I could see out from the tree, and I could feel the wind stirring me as though I were a tree!
I experimented next with pushing the tentacles up into the sky and connected to a passing bird. Now I was flying over the forest getting an aerial view, and suddenly diving towards a tree where I landed on a branch. Something didn’t feel right, so I took off again and there was a whirl of branches and leaves and I was airborne again. I disconnected and withdrew the tentacles. Yes, I had control of pushing them out and taking them back in again, and it was all down to being in a confined space and from drawing upon earth energy as it spiralled upwards in this place of power. I climbed out of the hole astonished at this amazing experience, and a little disconcerted by it. I had learned a valuable lesson about how to project my energy, and how to gain shamanic sight through inhabiting other bodies.
Finally, I was led by the rods through the forest (again, not by a path of any sort) to suddenly emerge into the place that housed by power centre. The rods turned on top of my power centre to indicate clearly that there was something I needed to do here. I tuned in and felt that something was missing – it was. I had taken the incense sticks that I lit last time I was here and had put them around the huge beech tree. I needed to replace them. I lit two sticks and gave thanks to all the spirit energies that had helped me have these experiences.
As the sun fell below the tree tops and hid behind a cloud I made my way home. Another incredible experience at The Edge. That forest truly is magical.
March 11th, 2010: waning crescent moon.
There I was, firmly ensconced at home and beginning to plan for the Spring Equinox outing that is coming up next week. Rather foolishly I asked the dowsing rods whether there were still any sites that I needed to awaken in the intervening week. The answer came back: TWO. Two? Where was I going to find the time to visit two sites in a week, and especially considering that I knew it was going to be a busy week with little free time anyway? Two!
I decided to take them one at a time. I dowsed as to whether they were new or known sites. KNOWN. Which countries were these sites in? Both in Wales. So, I opened up my list of sacred sites and began working my way down the list asking the dowsing rods to identify the two I needed to visit. The first answer that came back was Gop Hill. Gop Hill? I couldn’t imagine why this site would be on a list of places that I was particularly linked to, I mean, nothing particularly interesting had ever happened there before. Still, when I double and triple-checked – yep, Gop Hill. Well, at least it was fairly close. I got myself ready to go in the middle of the night. No rest for a working druid!
What follows is a very detailed description of the process of awakening this site. I hope you will find some value in the method, although I have found that each site is subtly different, even if the general principles are consistent.
A Gentle Surprise
How wrong could I have been about Gop Hill? Answer: none more wrong. I knew as soon as I was within ten feet of the base of the hill that there were some strong energies here on this hill this evening. It was like walking into a wall of subtle jelly! The bonus of being out here in the middle of the night in such an infrequently visited site is that I had to place to myself and I felt at home straight away. Tonight, the hill was mine alone, which meant I had the freedom to dowse and do druidry as I saw fit. I walked around the front edge of the hill and stood in the hollow of the centre, watching the cars pass on the road below for a few minutes. listening to the other sounds around – distant voices in the village below, traffic on the A55, noises from the woods surrounding the hill. I breathed in the place through all my senses and relaxed into being there.
I looked for a place to sit down. There was a shallow pit of flint chips near to the centre and despite this looking like the most uncomfortable place to sit I deposited my staff and bag there. Out of the bag I got my dowsing rods. Right – where was the best place for me to sit? The rods turned back on themselves to lead me back to the place where my staff and bag were – the shallow flint pit! Looks like, yet again, I had picked out the right place to be without the aid of the rods.
Whilst I had the rods to hand there were some things I wanted to check. Where was the most magical place to be on this hill? It was a shallow round depression at the back and top of the hill. OK. A question that often arose relating to sacred sites was to do with “primal” water, so I did my duty and checked it out. Was there a blind spring at this “magical” spot? No. Was there a blind spring anywhere on, in or under the hill? No. Was there any water affecting the energies in this mound? No. OK – bored of all that now. These questions always seemed to be a resounding “no” for most of the sites we visit. Only a few have every registered any water affecting the energies. I remember Lundin Farm Circle in Perthshire had some water affecting the King Stone, but that was all I could recall.
Assessing the Gender
The only other dowsing I wanted to do that night was to find a the strongest male and female power centres.
If you’re a regular reader you’ll be beginning to see a pattern form here about how I am assessing these sites, obtaining only the information I need to perform my druidical activities these days. I haven’t updated the sacred sites page for a while now, and I’m aware of that. I’ll do the work on the mapping of the energies of more sites this year when the days get longer and warmer, I promise.
I asked to find the strongest male power centre and was led back to the steep side of the hill close to the path through the forest – the usual side to approach from. The power centre itself was a scar on the edge near the top of the hill. I stood looking at it for several minutes. Something didn’t feel right about it, so I asked if this was the strongest male power centre by design – no. It was only the strongest by dint of the fact that material had come loose by people walking there! (Imagine how many questions that took to dowse that answer!). Where was the male power centre that was originally designed to be the outlet for male energies – just a few feet behind the small flint scar, in a small depression. Again, a small circular depression, like the last one over the other side of the hill that I had found minutes before. I entered the male power centre in a long winding clockwise spiral. I felt I was following the course of the energy within it.
I asked the rods to take me to a female power centre and was led back to where my staff and bag were – I had sat there automatically. We’re doing this more and more now.
I began the process of discovering how I might awaken the energies of the site. As I had done this many times during the “season” from Imbolc until now, I was familiar with the line of questioning I should employ:
- Was it possible to awaken the energies of this site? – YES.
- Could I use incense to assist me in this process? – YES.
- How many sticks of incense should I use? – I counted until the rods crossed at FOUR.
I checked my bag – the packet of incense had four sticks remaining. A beautiful coincidence that made me smile. Although I was used to using my dowsing rods to discover the pattern of behaviour required to awaken the energies, tonight I felt like I should begin to feel my way through the process somewhat as well. I decided to only use the rods for finding the spot to place things. Any other work I would do without them.
Walking in circles
So, to recap, I had identified three power centres so far. The first was a female centre that was a cut-out area that was roughly body-shaped that was in the middle of the top section of the hill. The second was a male power centre that looked very similar – a hollowed-out area at the tip and edge of the hill that registered as the most powerful male centre. Then there was the original male centre – the one “designed” or created by the makers of the hill, and which was a few feet further back from the edge, at the highest point of the hill and in a slight hollow circular depression.
I sat in the female centre first. It felt more “homely” and natural to do so, despite a carpet of sharp flint that dug into my softer portions. I simply moved them around a bit until I could lie back comfortably. As I did so I noticed that I was enclosed in a head-shaped area. I felt the earth right next to me head – I smelt it. It was in my hair. It was up my nostrils. I felt the hill, it’s essence very close to me. As I lay there I cleansed myself (dissipated any external energies I may have brought with me) and then drew this female energy from the hill.
When I felt sufficiently “powered up” I picked up my ash staff and walked to the ‘designed’ male power centre. It felt right to do so. I tuned into the flow of energy there and soon I was walking around in a sun-wise fashion working my way inwards. At the centre point I walked back out, on a “female” path, if you like. Suddenly I had the feeling that doing this right on top of the male energy spiral was mixing the two forms of energy. So I went back in on the male spiral and back out on the female spiral again and again – mixing the two frequencies of energy as I went (if that’s possible). The more I walked the stronger the wind blew around me, and I noticed this. When the wind died away I moved out of the male power centre and walked back to the female centre again.
In the female, where only minutes ago I had been lying down, now I circled around in an anti-clockwise direction, feeling ym way along the natural path that the female energy formed there. Reaching the centre I reverse the path and walked outwards on the male clockwise line. Despite being in a dip, out of the reach of the full force of the wind, I could hear it increasing again as I walked back and forth around these paths. I felt this was a good sign that ‘power’ was increasing in those centres as the energy was being mixed.
The Candles On The Cake
So, I had mixed the energies between the two opposing power centres and now I felt they were flowing back and forth between each other. What next? I had four incense sticks left, and so I wondered about getting the rods out again to check where I should place these sticks. I was unsure…did I need the rods? I decided to do the first one and see if I could intuit the rest. I dowsed for the location of the first stick of incense and was led up to the ridge that runs along the back of the hill. The first location was a circular depression that looked just like the male power centre I had just come back from.
Having established the type of place that I should put the incense I walked along the ridge at the back in the dark feeling for where the next stick should go. I came across another circular depression close to the gap in the ridge that led to the central gully. I placed an incense stick there, the moved on. Another such circular depression existed at the same distance on the other side, so I place one in that too. When I came near to the end of the ridge, close to where the “new” male power centre was I felt ‘tugged’ towards the old male power centre. I placed an incense stick in the gap in the rocks that formed the back of the circular depression there. That was four sticks in four circular depressions – another interesting coincidence, because that was all the sticks I had, and this was all the circular depressions that there were along this back ridge! I realised that when I had placed and lit each one there had been a gust of chilly North wind which blew past me and rustled the grass on top of the hill. All more stupid coincidence, of course.
I went back to ‘my’ power centre. I felt it was the best place for me to call upon the spirit of the place. I quickly dowsed some questions – was there such a spirit here? YES. Was it male or female? FEMALE. Then definitely this was the right place. Rods away, back to working without them. I picked up my staff and lay with it along the length of my body. I connected with the site in a deep and energetic way, then called upon the spirit of the place to awaken – to work with me, to enliven this site, to make it special again, for us to be able to work with Nature to improve the environment…all these things I implored this spirit to respond to.
After a few exciting minutes I had an urge to get up and to dowse for a sigil – the form of the spirit of the place, the genius loci. I picked the rods up again eagerly and asked to be taken to a place suitable for dowsing this sigil. I was led to a clear space at the front and top of the hill – here the grass was flat and clear of obstruction. Useful! I asked to be shown the sigil shape and began to dowse a sort of ‘U’ shape. I expected it to turn back upon itself, but to my surprise it continued back towards the very centre of the hill in an unusually direct straight line – very unlike most flowing sigil shapes. Then I recognised what it was - it was the shape of my staff!!!
Well, that blow my mind. I was totally stunned. I had to leave at that point because my mind was in bits. I packed and left. As I stood at the top of the edge of the hill in the (new) male power centre the wind blew quite strongly making the trees whisper and rustle before me. It was quite a sight, even in the dark, yet strangely easing and I felt ‘cleaned out’ by the wind. As I descended the hill I made a sweeping movement with my staff and felt as though I had annulled the energies and connections I had made that night. I returned to the car and drove home in absolute silence. It would be a few hours before I could pick up the loose ends and try to make sense of it all.
Tying up the loose ends
When I got home later that night I dowsed more about what had happened:-
- Have I awoken the spirit of place of Gop Hill? – YES.
- Is that spirit now associated with my staff? – YES.
- Is there some energy from that spirit in my staff? – YES.
- Is the whole of the spirit in my staff? – NO.
- Is it some spirit energy that wishes to work with me? – NO.
- Is it some energy that I can utilise? – YES.
- Is it a similar concept to the Crogen Oak energy (when healing energy from the broken tree transferred to my staff) – YES.
- Is this like a gift for waking the energies at Gop Hill? – a strong YES.
- Is the Gop Hill energy different in the way it can be used to Crogen Oak healing energy? YES.
- What type of energy is it? Is it death energy? NO. Life energy? YES. Is it male/female/neutral – NONE. Elemental? – NO. Spirit/aether energy – YES.
- Was the spirit energy at this site related to Queen Boudicca? …..NO.
Whoever Boudicca was there was no evidence via the dowsing rods that she was associated with the hill, or that her energies still influenced the place. Whoever the guardian spirit of Gop Hill is, it isn’t the energy form that we recognise as Boudicca.
I tried to pull all this together. This energy I had received into my staff was a kind of gift from the female spirit of Gop Hill. It is a magickal energy that can be turned to a specific magickal purpose, which I have yet to discover. I guess my quest now is to find out when I can use it, and to use it wisely.
Anglesey, 1st February 2010
In the concluding part of our journey around Anglesey’s south-western corner for Imbolc we visited some of the sites that we had passed many times in our travels, but had never actually visited. We re-visited one site though – one of the Ty Mawr stones – in order to rectify a problem. The conclusion to the journey was at a cromlech (or dolmen) called Bodowyr, which was beautifully located, but sadly hemmed in by iron fencing again.
Castell Bryn-gwyn (White or Blessed Hill)
Castell Bryngwyn turns out not to be a castle at all, but a sacred space (or “religious sanctuary” as the information sign calls it) that was apparently later fortified by the Romans. It is named Blessed Hill or White Hill, but given that is was a sacred space I would plump for the interpretation ‘blessed’. Especially given our findings as to the way it has been used before it became fortified by that war-like race The Romans.
The earthwork that remains is a two-thirds circle that has three visible entry points. In order from the entry gate they dowsed as being the Moon Entrance (the widest and clearest), the Sun Entrance ( a hollow depression) and a Star Entrance. The Star entrance was the most intriguing. I spent a bit of time working this one out and come to the conclusion that the entrance was aligned with the planet Venus when it appeared in the western sky. The most energetic time, therefore, is when Venus is in the western skies and the Moon is full. Some star energy and a sun alignment, possibly a solstice or equinox sunrise or sunset, are also part of the energy imprint of this place. However, its primary purpose seems oriented towards the lunar occasions – the full moons.
We went looking for the most energetic place within this earth-worked arena. I say this ironically, because Kal was lounging on the ridge at the time throwing suggestions out whenever the mood took him. I dowsed to the most energetic place – it was a double-humped spot, like two grassy faerie rings together. I had seen something similar but much larger and more rounded at Carnac in Brittany. Kal shouted over: “Is it an altar?“. I used to dowsing rods to check this theory: yes, it was. A strong reaction to that idea. The altar was towards the rear of the site, slightly off-centre.
Kal and I journeyed to Anglesey for Imbolc. I had dowsed a map of the entire country with the instruction to find a suitable place to celebrate this Celtic festival – the mid-point between Winter and Spring. The result was Anglesey. Anglesey? We had been there several times previously, and only a few months ago, but still, of all the places in the country the rods could have crossed over it was this small but sacred island – the last refuge of the Druid cults of mainland Britain.
We had both set intentions as to what we wanted out of the journey – such was the nature of this year’s work: we would be visiting sites with a set idea of what we were hoping to achieve. This is what we had been told at the end of last year as we moved into the quiet time of Winter – Nature can only help us progress now if we state what our purpose is. Ask to be guided and we would only receive more questions. Ask to be led and we would be led back onto ourselves. It was up to us to make our own progress by stating our goal, then Nature would help us to achieve this.
My intention for the year is to learn about the three elements of the “yew stage” of druidry that I believe are inherent to developing to the next stage. Those elements are: re-awakening (or rebirth) – death (or death energy) – transformation (or transcendence). My intention for this Imbolc day was to learn what I could about any of these processes, whichever was most appropriate. As it turned out the process that was associated with the day was re-awakening, specifically the re-awakening of the earth energies from their Winter slumber.
I planned a route that would take us to all of the sites that we hadn’t visited before that lay scattered around the shores of the River Braint – a river whose named was derived from the name Brigid. Brigid, as you will undoubtedly know, is the form of the Triple Goddess (the archetype of the feminine in Nature) that is associated with the festival of Imbolc.
“On February 1 or February 2, Brigid is celebrated at the Gaelic festival of Imbolc, when she brings the first stirrings of spring to the land. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and some Anglicans mark the day as the Feast of Saint Brigid; the festival is also known as Candlemas and Purification of the Virgin.” (source: WikiPedia)
As this was the only place on the island that I could find such an association it seemed the natural place to begin our day’s journey in praise of her properties. Only when I came to look at a map of the river did I realise that neolithic man had also decided that this area was special, and had built several sacred sites along its shores. These were all sites that somehow, despite our many previous visits over the years, we had managed to either bypass or skirt around. Now seemed like the appropriate time to actually visit them at last.