Posts Tagged ‘Ireland Ancestor Quest’
After my Ireland Ancestor Quest I had one obvious question: “Now that I have recovered them and successfully fought to keep them – what can I do with them?”
Some tarot card readers say that they can’t do reading for themselves very well. I seem to be able to. In fact, my own readings are so spectacularly accurate that they really spook me out every time I draw the cards. So, when I did a tarot spread to try to discover the answers to this question I should have been ready for the unerringly accurate and uncanny cards that were drawn from the repeatedly shuffled and cut deck.
This tarot spread was the most unbelievably accurate and useful draw I have ever done. Of course it was using the wonderful Wildwood Tarot, a superb deck for druids. For me, it proves beyond any reasonable doubt that tarot is a means of interfacing with some form of intelligence that operates outside of perceived time, and with whose grace it is possible to obtain incredible occult knowledge of the past, the present and the future.
Before we examine the cards that answer this question, we must first re-visit the tarot card layout that I drew just before I went to Ireland to begin the quest. You will see how important this initial reading was, and how it correlates so much with the subsequent reading.
IRELAND ANCESTOR QUEST READING
I asked for two cards to show which energies I was taking in to the quest, and three to show what would happen during the quest
- Two energies in – Page of Bows (Stoat) + King of Vessels (Heron)
- Three events that would occur – Queen of Vessels (Salmon) + Knight of Vessels (Eel) + The Shaman
- The Stoat is showing me, depicted as having a hunger for knowledge, yet changing colour to match the seasons – adaptable yet driven.
- The Heron is me again, but a different side of me – a solitary figure, said to be gifted with psychic abilities and the ability of reflection – my meditative spiritual self. Also linked with diplomacy and a broad perspective.
- The Salmon – the fish of wisdom that heads back to the place of its birth in the face of all adversity, driven to find its spawning grounds. Seeking wisdom from a birthplace?
- The Eel – of course, this was the Eel Sword, the vessel that held the noble ancestor energies themselves, and which I had to find on the shores of the lake of the druid Ce.
- The Shaman – the culmination of my successful quest to retrieve and retain the energies sees me acquiring some of the properties of the shaman or tribal magician.
If you have read the series of posts on my Irish Ancestor Quest then you will know how accurate those cards were. Now it was time to see what I could do with the energies that I had ‘downloaded’ from my spiritual journey could be used for, and how I could access them. As well as being a practical lesson these cards were outright confirmation that divination is a powerful tool for the spiritual seeker.
Finally we have reached the end of the tales of my ancestor energies quest. In this final post I complete the tale, telling you about the final two steps that I was required to go through in order to walk away with my prize. After the astonishing psychic battle that I had just participated in, the final two rituals were mere ceremony. Yet they seemed such the right things to be done at this stage that I went along with the information that I received, and went with the feeling of completing the quest in the “right way”, rather than simply walking away with my ancestral booty. I felt a sense of duty, of responsibility, and a sense of respect for the forces, the entities, the ancestors that had guarded the energies I was now hoping to take home with me, in fact IN me.
Gifts at Rath Baeg
As we drove away from Rath na Dtarbh down the narrow country lane that would lead us back to the main road we again passed Rath Baeg. In a sudden impulse I pulled in at the pay-by and parked up. Kal looked at me quizzically. I simply said, “There’s something I need to do here.” without really knowing what that would be yet. Hopefully, now that I was ‘allowed’ to dowse again, I could soon find the answer to that little problem.
The first thing I needed was a ‘safe’ path to a compatible power centre.
RITUAL PATH: Let me explain my concept of a ritual path. When I dowse I ask for a path that will take me to a power centre, and which will not drain any of the energies that I have accumulated recently. This is especially important if I have just done some energy work to cleanse and re-energise myself. A ritual path ensures that I get to my goal with as much energy as I started.
I call it a ‘ritual’ path because I have found that, especially at sacred sites, the path is usually a path established and used by the people who worked at the site (e.g. priests, druids, and other energy workers). Whether they knew it or not they were using a path that ensured they retained all their already-established energy.
The path up the side of the rath’s steeply ridged embankment was a familiar if exaggerated zig-zag formation. I wove left and right, but always moving one terrace higher as I approached the summit. At the top I had a view of the two other rath’s that had featured in my adventures that day – Rathcroghan and Rath na Dtarbh – the three rings together forming a right-angled triangle.
What was I supposed to do here, I wondered? The rods couldn’t help me now – this was communing work. I had to let the spirit of the place seep into my consciousness and tell me what was required of me at this stage. My mind melted into the now familiar landscape, the gently rolling lush green surfaces occasionally broken by trees. Soon the surroundings were an optional backdrop as my foreground consciousness began to rescind control, and a different form of attention – a wider attention – was allowed to emerge.
In a flash I knew what I needed to do. I needed to give thanks to all of those energy forms, the other intelligences, the leprechauns, the sprites and spirits that had helped me get to this point. To do this I lit some incense, and then I sat intending to leave an energy parcel of thankfulness, love and joy. That was what was required, I felt. Genuine emotional intent to be deposited on this rath.
Soon I was back to a waking state and walking mindfully back down the zig-zag path, feeling for the most favourable moment to turn and descend the little drops of the turf terraces until I was back at the car. It felt good to have paid my respects.
Maybe I didn’t come out of that meditative state properly. I seemed to be in a very intuitive state of mind after Rath Baeg. I knew what I needed to do, and where I needed to do it. With an air of decisiveness I told Kal that we needed to visit one last place – and it would be a mound where I would go through a coronation ceremony, during which I would finally receive the “crowning glory” of the whole episode. This much I seemed to know without any external rationale coming into play. Kal politely went along with it. Hey – it was on the way back to civilisation, right? Let’s do it!
We parked at Rath Mor. The main road traffic trammeled by like blistering bullets, unaware that one of these two tourists was about to do something strange.
This penultimate post of my Ireland Ancestor Quest story sees the climax of the tale. Having been prepared for the forthcoming battle by a long chain of events, now I would have to face the final struggle to gain the right to the energies of my ancestors. I already knew the name of the battle ground. It was on the map, labelled as “The Fort of the Bulls”, or Rath na Dtarbh.
Stalking the Bulls
I have been a martial artist for many years. Since childhood I have been fascinated by the oriental fighting methods and have studied just about every one of them in my lifetime, becoming proficient at several. The prospect of a fight, whether physical or mental, was not something that I was in any way afraid of facing. Whatever would come I was prepared to face it on all levels – physically, mentally and spiritually. With this steely resolve I parked up alongside the Fort of the Bulls and scanned the surroundings, looking for the entrances and exits.
This warrior is ready for battle!
I’m over half way with the telling of this tale of retrieving my ancestor energies. Only three posts to go. Up until now Kal and I have visited our first rath (or ringfort) – Rathcroghan. Feeling a bit peckish we retreated to the visitor centre to get some delicious food, and to obtain some directions to the holy well that we had heard speak of. Indeed Ogulla’s Well was only a short drive away from the town of Tulsk, and so we headed off refreshed.
For me, the purpose of visiting the holy well was straightforward – I had been informed that I needed to wash the slimy stick that I had recovered from Lough Key – the so-called Eel Sword. The sword needed to be washed in sacred water. Initially I had thought this was the River Boyle, and we had stopped off in Boyle town in a vain attempt to find a suitable and inconspicuous place to do this ritual, but it had been sheer folly to even attempt it. It felt all wrong and to carry the stick would have drawn the wrong kind of attention. It just wasn’t right. When we heard that there was a holy well near to Tulsk then this promised to be a much more receptive place for such a ritual.
We had the usual Irish style of directions. “A mile down to the left there, you’ll see a sign pointing to it and then it’s just there, sure.” Sounded simple. In fact it was much trickier than we imagined. The “mile” turned out to be more like two, and the sign was so hand-made and small that we almost missed it and had to stop in the middle of the road to squint at it to make sure it said “Ogulla’s Well”. Even when we were on the right road the place itself was not signed. There was nothing indicating that we were in the right place. We had become accustomed to this by now and took a chance, parking alongside a large conservatory building with some running water beside it, and the occasional Christian statue. This must be it, we decided. It was.
The Well of Ogulla
The history of the well is more colourful than the modern-day reality, and yet again there was a druidic connection:
“The Ogulla Well is believed by many to be the Cliabach Well, site of the famous baptism of Eithne and Fidelma, daughters of King Laoghaire of Tara. They were attending the great school of Cashelmanannáin at Rathcroghan. St. Patrick christened the two princesses, together with Mael and Coplait, druids with whom the royal sisters had been fostered. This is a good example of how Christianity adopted a ritual centre, and smoothly replaced the ancient order of things.” (source: Geological Survey of Ireland)
It couldn’t have been less…inspiring. The conservatory looked dilapidated and was festooned with plastic flowers. The grounds were shabby and unkempt. The peaceful garden trail was tiny and lined with the remains of offerings that had become unstuck and washed out by the weather. The well itself was a combination of tiny canal and agglomerate concrete. If you find beauty in the housing estates of the 1970s then you too may find inspiration in Ogulla’s Well.
Once, in the far distant past, the site had been worshipped by the indigenous pagans and such modern tat would have been absent. Then it may have been a place of tranquility. On this day, despite the lowing of cows and the hum of winged insects the sad thoughtless design of the accoutrements alongside the well were a gaudy distraction from the true beauty of the site – the flowing clear waters that rippled then gurgled away from the monuments.
Forging The Eel Sword
I’m not sure if forging is the correct word. Initially there was the cleansing of the stick. I took it out of its paper wrapping and placed it into the flowing part of the stream where I began to scrape away the slime that covered it with my fingernails. As it got cleaner it seemed to throb with activity beneath my fingers – a most unusual experience, but not unwelcome. I paid attention to what I was doing, mindfully cleaning the stick until my “sword” was clean and dark again with a watery glint in the sunlight. The day was so warm that the sword almost dried instantly.
I carried the sword to the small well area – an enclosed section with a cross atop it that looked like a Roman bath. I propped the stick up against the well’s cross and then placed my elemental crystals around the walls in a cross formation, each element in it’s correct location according to the cardinal points. Then I placed the clear quartz crystal that represented the “fifth element” or spirit in my hand. I touched the Eel Sword and the quartz crystal simultaneously, and waited to see what would happen, if anything.
Soundless moments passed with just the birds, the cattle and the bees crooning a quiet symphony of background noise, then … something stirred in my hand – the hand that was touching the stick. My hand tingled and I took this as a sign that I needed to do something. Off the cuff I began to intend that the energies within the sword be transferred into the crystal in my hand. In a flash that took me by surprise – a flash that occurred with me as the conduit for the movement – a bolt of energy pulsed from the sword into the crystal. In a second I knew what had happened – subtle energy had been re-housed. My hand holding the crystal now began to feel very warm, and it wasn’t just because it was a warm day.
I put the crystal into its pouch along with the other elemental crystals. The work was done, the energy transferred. The Eel Sword was now inside the quartz crystal, and there was nothing left in the stick, I felt. I did some quick checks with the dowsing rods which confirmed the absence of energy in the clean brown stick that lay across the well. OK – time to place this back where I found it, almost! I put the stick gently into the lower flowing waters of the stream of Ogulla, and I said my thanks to it for being the carrier of such an important energy for me.
With the work done it was time to move on to the other raths nearby. I couldn’t put the encounter off any longer. I had my weapons – my sword and my shield – and now I would have to face whatever might come in The Fort of the Bulls.
In the previous episodes of my Ireland Ancestor Quest, (Carrowkeel, Kilronan Abbey, Lassair’s Well, Lough Key and Boyle Abbey), I had learned that I would need to fight for the privilege to acquire the ancestor energies of my family. I sort of had to “fight for the right” and the right I would win would be to keep my ancestor’s energies. I suspected this would involve various stages of preparation and so I looked to the ancestral sites around the area of Tulsk to get myself ready for this encounter.
Tulsk seemed like an interesting place. It had a visitor centre called Cruachan Ai that seemed dedicated to talking about the many megalithic sites in the area, and the web site mentioned a modern druid school that did some teaching at the centre. Of course, this made me interested in visiting. A visitor centre with druidic links that was in the heartland of my ancestral region? It promised much.
The visitor centre was wonderful. The was so much packed into the small space – a cafe, a book and gift shop, an audio-visual presentation, and a series of exhibits and information boards that gave the history and archaeology of the various mounds and caves in the area. After spending an hour or so in there we had a pretty good picture of which sites in the area we could get to and which might be difficult so we put about four or five sites on our agenda for this day.
Little did I realise at the time that this day would see the eventual psychic battle that had been foreseen in the vision at Carrowkeel. Here is the story of how that battle was prepared for.
Boyle Abbey is a sacred place of worship that was gifted to the Cistercians. This order of monks built their abbey over the top of an existing pagan site (if I remember the guide’s introduction properly), and I would suspect that this was actually a druidic college that they built over. For me the abbey was an attraction because it was supposedly the resting ground of many of my forebears who had been buried in the abbey’s grounds. The list records burials from the 12th Century onwards, but suggests that there may have been many more before that which were not recorded for posterity. Having just finished one adventure at Lough Key I was in the mood for more. Where better, I felt, to go in search of the ‘wandering’ spirit of Saint Duignan than here?
With the mundane aspect of ancestor-spotting out of the way I was free to concentrate on finding and communing with the spirit that I believe might be present at this place, having been led here from that other Cistercian abbey Vale Crucis in Llangollen (see this post for that tale). In that story I had spoken to a spirit who identified himself as St.Duignan and then had indicated that he had moved to a corresponding abbey in my homeland in Ireland. From my research Boyle Abbey was the prime candidate. Seeing the list of my ancestor’s burials in the abbey’s gatehouse was a strong indicator that I was on the right track.
The Sun Wheel
One of the interesting aspects of the abbey was its age. The current abbey layout was built upon the foundations of an earlier abbey that was a pagan construction, although identifying exactly what this was is diffucult. Some archaeology has been done to identify the original design and there is a plan view on display in the upstairs ‘museum’. In the architecture of the abbey are several examples of pagan stonework, such as a Sheela-Na-Gig and some rather raucous carvings of totemic astrological or heraldic birds and aminals atop the colunnades. Occasional reminders of this past lurk round many corners of the site, such as this sun wheel motif carved in stone:
Enough of the tourist stuff! We had the place almost to ourselves so I hid the dowsing rods away in a corner and set about ‘feeling’ for the presence of Duignan. Was he here? Was he contactable? Was I in the right place? Time to find out!
We couldn’t get into Boyle Abbey before 10am. No-one seems to get up early in Southern Ireland! It was 9am when we arrived there, so I decided to show Kal Lough Key Forest Park which was close by. It might be open and it would be a pleasant walk amongst some trees while we waited for the abbey to open. I had been there once before with M on our only Ireland holiday together. Seemed like a good plan to while away an hour. Turned out to be slightly longer than that!
Lough Key is a forest park. Is that a forest that contains a park or some parkland with a bit of forest? I’m never sure. Be one thing or another, I say. In terms of the name of the lake, Wikipedia suggests it has druidic connections:
Lough Key (Irish: Loch Cé) is a lake in Ireland. It is located in the northwest of County Roscommon, northeast of the town of Boyle. The lough’s name is believed to come from Cé, a druid; the lake was formed over his grave.
Whether by chance or be subliminal design I appeared yet again to be in the right place suited to my quest.
We parked easily and because the visitor centre wasn’t open (of course – before 10am?) we made use of the excellent relieving facilities (Kal rated them highly) before we thought about finding somewhere that we “should be”. The dowsing rods were our first stop for an answer to an esoteric question like that. When I asked the question the rods quite clearly led across a grassy field towards the middle of nowhere. Typical. Still, having nothing better to do we followed – all the way up to the point where they swerved around an old and glorious beech tree.
We both sat at respective positions beneath the tree and I began to look around. What a wonderful day! How beautiful the park is! How perfectly the tree’s hoary branches framed the delicate Spring flowers and mosses that lived in their protective cloak, and how dappled the sunlight was as it filtered through the lightly-leaved branches of the beech. Soon I was drifting away…drifting into one of my light druidic trances where my heart soars and my mind relaxes into communion with the surroundings….
A vision appeared to me – the same sword-fight that I had seen the previous day at Carrowkeel. There was more detail this time. I could clearly see the protagonist – so much so that I knew I would recognise him if I ever saw him again, in a dream or in reality. I knew not which it would be yet, but I was sure our meeting was inevitable, like the inevitability that a thread will unravel a garment in intricate weaving.
Now the visions faded and was replaced by a spoken phrase that I didn’t understand at all. The sword I had seen in the vision, the sword that I was holding, it was given a name. Something told me that it was called The Eel Sword, and that I had to now find a sword that looked like an eel. This made no sense. What madness was this? Why did I need an eel sword? Where the heck would I find such a thing? Reality re-imposed itself and the connection wavered then released its trance-like grip on my senses as they re-absorbed the beautiful Spring sunshine and the fabric of greens that made up the forest park’s lush landscape.
Where was this sword? Here? The dowsing rods confirmed it even as I began to position them horizontally in preparation. It was here , somewhere.