Posts Tagged ‘julian cope’

Spring Equinox 2013 – Day of the Crow Part 3

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.

Two way to get to Caer Caradog - the hard and the harder way

Two way to get to Caer Caradog – the hard and the harder way

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.

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Star Carr: Our Past, Their Clutter

I see that a combined team of Manchester and York University archaeologists have uncovered Britain’s oldest house to date in the ever-more-fascinating Star Carr site near the seaside town of Scarborough in the North East of England. Julian Cope was referring to Star Carr many years ago, long before many people were even aware of its significance (check out his S.T.A.R.C.A.R. track off the Autogeddon album). Talking of album references – the title of my post is a passing reference to the title of The Fall’s latest album, which I recommend to anyone from Bury. I’m not from Bury.

Back to the thin strand of information that I refer to as “the plot”. The plot thickens. This old house that they have dug up contained some well-preserved items in the trench that they sank into the coastal soil, and what they pulled out of the treasure trove were some interesting items, from a druid’s perspective.

1. An antler headdress

This dates the use of ritual antler horn headwear to around the age of 8,5000 B.C.E. That’s quite some precedence for a ritual that only recently dwindled in popularity! Some would say that it is still continued in the concept of the “stag” weekend that prospective grooms undergo throughout the northern hemisphere cultures.

“The site has yielded far more possessions than would have been acquired by bands of hunter-gatherers on the move. They include a boat paddle, beads, arrowheads and antler headdresses, suggesting rituals developed alongside domestic life” (source: The Guardian)

Milners of Britain display their summer range

To me this backs up what a lot of Celtic shamanism writers have said about the rituals of early tribal shamans. It would appear that the rituals (that may have included dance, drumming, initiations and rituals) are about as old as the post-Ice Age human civilisations that began to re-establish themselves in the northern hemisphere after the retreat of the ice caps. Shamanism from the outset, it would seem. Magic at the heart of social life.

John Matthews has this to say about the deer totem:

“The importance of the deer among the Celts is testified not only by the number of appearances it makes in the mythology, but also by the astonishing number of words used to describe it. It was also seen as a magical creature, which could lead one into the Otherworld, and often appears in the guise of a beautiful woman who can take the shape of a deer at will…There is evidence of a deer cult, in which the animal was worshipped as a goddess. The deer thus represents travel to the Hollow Hills or the faerie realm, shapeshifting (the perception of the world from different viewpoints), and the natural deer-like qualities of grace, swiftness and keen scent.” (source: Chapter 3, ‘The Celtic Shaman: A Practical Guide’)

2. A preserved tree stump

The discovery of a large trunk from an old and sizeable tree shows us that the veneration for trees is also as old as the hills.
Again, this reverence for trees hints at some form of shamanistic lifestyle, and who knows how long that lasted, for the Druids of these same islands carried those same items of devotion through into their history, such as we can understand it.

“The population also appears to have respected venerable trees. One of the team’s other startling finds is the trunk of a large specimen with the bark still intact, which was spared from the flints used to carve the rest of the settlement’s timber.” (source: The Guardian)

Delphi's belly button

We have no information yet as to what type of three it might be, but it would not surprise me that it was a yew tree, possibly one of the trees that symbolised the concept of The World Tree – the omphalos or navel, the central point around which a settlement was constructed. Rather than this being something left alone, it could have been the centre of attention. Just a thought.


Kilternan: The Final Straw

Kilternan, County Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Ireland – Sunday 30th May

This is the last, final and ultimate post on this year’s Ireland trip. We only went for a weekend but it has generated so many posts because so much happened in the three days we were there! This is the last one, and probably the one that taught us the most valuable lesson, even though that lesson was once again a painful one. 

On the Sunday evening we had discussed what we should do the next day. Kal wanted to show me a bookshop he had discovered at Tara and said that I would be interested in talking to the proprietor. Sounded good, so that was our plan. Monday morning over breakfast I had forgotten all about that for some reason. Only later would the reason be known to me – by that time I had attracted the unwelcome attention of a leprechaun from Tara. I was no longer making sensible decisions, as the events of this day and Kal’s behaviour towards me would bear out completely. 


 We had trouble finding the village for starters. A seemingly easy route that would take us most of the way towards the Ferry Terminal at Dun Laoghaire, and yet we managed to make it very difficult to find. We parked miles away from the supposed location of the portal tomb, and decided to walk what seemed a simple route to access it. Again, nothing about this day would turn out to be easy. We walked up tiny tracks (barely roads) past houses that weren’t marked on my GPS map, and were always being diverted and lead away from our intended destination! How frustrating! We persevered, climbing over a gate to follow an overgrown track alongside a field lined by prickly hawthorn hedges. Now we could at least see the dolmen, perched on the opposite hillside to where we were, only a few tantalising fields widths away from where we were. Surely this track would lead us there? No. It ended, and we were presented with a small hole in the hawthorn through which we might be able to squeeze if we wanted to. Does this sound familiar? Kal sounded a warning shot across the bows! I urged us closer and we scrambled through into a field in the full heat of the midday sun. Sweat broke out, and we paused for breath. Then onwards in a curious silence across the field. 

Next we fought our way through two fields, crossing a stream on the way between them. Somehow Kalmanaged to fall into it and get his feet wet! At the end of the field we were a mere hedge’s width away from reaching a road that looked like it could only lead to the dolmen. However – it was a hedge that even a Hedge Druid balks at – Red Rum would have thought twice about leaping this one! However, something was driving me on without any thought of sense and I urged Kal to use the old martial artist’s trick ‘walking lightly’ – this is where one imagines one is light as a feather and walks accordingly. Honestly, once mastered you’d be astounded by what this can achieve. As with dowsing, the trick is not to think at all about what you’re doing – just believe that you can do it. Next thing you know I was walking on top of the hedge and leaping down to the side of the road. Kal went next and immediately plunged knee deep into the prickly hawthorn branches! Honestly, I almost stifled my laugh, but not completely. Kalwas beginning to get annoyed at this journey now. Like I wasn’t?!! We were both sweating cobs, and Kal was wet and lacerated into the bargain. Hmm….still we were almost there now….only a few hundred feet to go. 

The Kilternan Dolmen 

Sure enough, a few short minutes later we were alongside the open field where the dolmen say resplendent in the summer sunshine. I was drawn towards it, passing under the electric wire that was designed to keep the one or two small horses that grazed the field in check. Kal faltered. He wouldn’t pass the electric barrier and retreated giving me stern looks. I was away, however, taking his reticence for a bad mood after the hedge-scraping incident. I shouted back at him -‘I’ll do some quick dowsing and then we can get off’. But it wasn’t going to be as simple as that. 

Kal retired to a boulder next to the road and began to take an interest in the horses that were wandering down towards him. I, on the other hand, had my dowsing rods out and was eager to check this hard-won site out:- 

  1. Was there energy here? YES. Good, because I was concerned about the use of concrete pillars to support the capstone and whether this had affected the energies.
  2. Had the power of the site been adversely affected by the concrete pillars? YES. But some energy remained? YES.
  3. Was it beneficial energy? YES, sort of. That half yes response again which meant – “re-formulate your question slightly“.
  4. Was it beneficial to me? YES. Was it beneficial to Kal? NO. Oh! Perhaps he had intuitively recognised that?
  5. Could I do some energy work here? YES.
  6. Did the site need healing? NO. Was it balanced? YES. Hmmm…then what to do….?
  7. Was there a spirit of place here? NO. Did there used to be one? YES.
  8. Is the cave-like interior suitable for shaping my aura? YES. Could I do that today? YES.
  9. Would that process be helped by incense? YES. How many sticks? 3. I lit three sticks and went to sit inside the dolmen’s small interior.

Minutes later I was imagining the seven colours of the chakras I had been working with all integrating into my aura as one white light. The shape of the interior seemed to facilitate this intuitive imagining, and I felt like it helped to compress the various frequencies of light and colour into the one blended layer. I felt…integrated with myself and satisfied. I emerged to re-join Kal to see if he was over his strange mood. 

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Kells: The Cross of Mysteries

Saturday 29th May – Kells, County Meath.

This is the third place visited on my chakra trail in Ireland. In this part I was looking to unblock, balance or boost my solar plexus chakra. Kells is a town steeped in history, and one whose reputation precedes it. However, if you’re not aware of its reputation, let me list some of the things that Kells is famous for:-

  • The Book of Kells – an early illustrated manuscript depicting and relating the four Christian Gospels of the New Testament.
  • The Abbey of Kells, withits round tower, associated with St Columba
  • The five large celtic crosses in the churchyard at the Abbey.
  • Pierce Brosnan lived in Kells from a young age until he was about 18.

…and that’s all you need to know about Kells. Basically, there’s a strong Christian connection, with a subtle undercurrent of Celtic paganism.

Guided information about the church, tower and crosses

A Helpful Warning

This is probably one of the most controversial posts I have made so far, and I do realise it may alienate some people. If you have followed me on this journey so far then you might be in a better position to read this post and see what I am saying. If you are reading this post in isolation from the journey I have made so far then this might be a bit too much to take, and I would ask you to skip back a bit to catch up! Let me give you fair warning. Some of the subjects covered in this post are:

  • reclaiming the Christian cross symbol
  • ascended masters / spirit guides
  • chakras

The terms “ascended master” and “spirit guide” are interchangeable in this context, so read whichever you are more comfortable with. I kind of “broke the seal” on this kind of thing when I posted recently about the ‘leprechaun’ entity that I had encountered. I have held off telling you anything else because….well, frankly, I wouldn’t know how to take this if I were reading it! I only know that, deluded as I am, I’m reporting what I find. I know what you’re thinking – what happened to the good old “do a bit of dowsing, report the findings…” blog that you used to know and love? Well, it was the dowsing that has taken me to these areas in the first place, so blame that! There’s a point you reach where you begin to test some of these esoteric ideas, and then a path opens up….well, if you’ve been following me for a while you know how I got here. There’s no turning back now! What can I say?

The world is not only stranger than we suppose – it’s stranger than we CAN suppose!” (to mis-quote JBS Heldane).

Luckily, to support my soon-to-be-revealed point of view I quote Haldane’s other memorable conception:-

“I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages:
(i) this is worthless nonsense;
(ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view;
(iii) this is true, but quite unimportant;
(iv) I always said so.”

Solar Plexus mandala

I think it is pertinent for me to list some general information about that chakra to start with, because it will help to make sense of what happened to me at Kells. General properties associated with the Solar Plexus chakra are :-

  • Physical Location – solar plexus
  • Purposes – mental understanding of emotional life
  • Spiritual Lesson – acceptance of your place in the life stream. (self-love)
  • Physical Dysfunctions– stomach ulcers, intestinal tumors, diabetes, pancreatitis, indigestion, anorexia/bulimia, hepatitis, cirrhosis, adrenal imbalances, arthritis, colon diseases
  • Mental and Emotional Issues – self esteem, fear of rejection, oversensitivity to criticism, self-image fears, fears of our secrets being found out, indecisiveness
  • Information Stored Inside Sacral Chakra – personal power, personality, consciousness of self within the universe (sense of belonging), knowing
  • Area of Body Governed – upper abdomen, umbilicus to rib cage, liver, gallbladder, middle spine, spleen, kidney, adrenals, small intestines, stomach
  • (source:

    Click below for the interesting bit of this story.

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    Alone in the Dark: Pt.2

    Tale Man tell me what’s wrong with my life, am I only here to question? No, sir, you are undoubtedly here to cajole and make suggestions.” {Julian Cope – “These Things I Know” – ‘Black Sheep’ album)

    At least the rain had stopped. I parked outside my new favourite wood, whose location, if you don’t mind, I won’t reveal by name. It’s one of the most beautiful places I know, so it seemed the most receptive to the kind of work I intended to do. Tonight, close to midnight, I wanted to commune with the wood after conquering my inevitable fear of being alone in the dark. “Fear?” I hear you scoff. Oh, really? Please be my guest to go and try it in a wood near you! Anyway – take my word for it – at the very least its a proposition to make your hackles react.

    I had been watching TV whilst eating my tea – more staring at it than watching it, really. On screen was a beautiful cedar tree which had been mutilated by a cowboy who dared to call himself “tree surgeon”. In the same show was the tale of a wood-chipping firm in Essex who pulped tree remains. Messages and hints were starting to appear, but I was even more determined now to go and make contact, if only to apologise for the horrific atrocities that our kind inflicts upon those they don’t appreciate!

    Anyway – soon I walked to the main entrance to the wood and stopped. I knew there was a well-trodden path there somewhere but I couldn’t see it! I couldn’t see more than five feet ahead while my eyes were trying desperately to adjust from light to darkness. I felt a wave of fear…”what was that noise?”, “what’s that dark shape?”. My brain went into panic mode and I wrestled with it, assuring my rational grumblings that I had a purpose to this, and it would just have to shut up and go with it. Easier said than done, however!

    I had a trick up my sleeve though – a shaman’s trick for when the rush of the psychedelics overtakes reason and engenders fear. All evening I had been listening to Julian Cope’s new album “Black Sheep” which contains a good few memorable ditties with amusing lyrics. Just the job to rally my intention on a damp, dark and uncertain night in a forest! I started singing in my head and humming gently too.

    These things I know: sometimes we must leave the city. These things I know: your verse may lie if your chorus is pretty.” {Julian Cope – “These Things I Know” – ‘Black Sheep’ album)

    I stepped into the blackness slowly with a half-smile and oozing pleasant vibes. As I hummed I chatted in my head about my reasons for disturbing the trees that night. I replayed the thought about wanting to gain knowledge, to become comfortable in the company of tress at all times and seasons, and just because I enjoyed their company. I started to develop an air of pleasance when light shapes began to crowd my peripheral vision. “What was that?” “Is someone there?” I flinched.

    I picked my way slowly along the path, one slow step after another until I came to a point where the trees opened out to reveal the night sky. I stopped to look at the stars and to calm down. I tried to ‘zone out’ the rustlings, the drippings and the swooshing noises. “That is all part of the night and the trees.” I told myself. My reason was beginning to give up this senseless fight to flee the wood.

    I waited until I could feel my eyes swim a little. Good, I was relaxing now! Geeeerrrrraaaaarrrrrrggghhhh – a plane was descending overhead on its way to Liverpool Airport. I felt the trees “bristle” with annoyance, and listened to them shake their branches at this buzzing wasp, splattering raindrops all around, including one on the back of my head – right on the top! I laughed. “Yes, it’s our doing, but with the current recession they may not be as frequent soon.” I proferred as condolence.

    I felt more comfortable now and my eyes were getting accustomed to the lack of light and were compensating to brighten everything up. I could make out the path now, so began to walk on. Why not? All around were only small trees, and I wanted to speak to a larger one. Five paces later I was standing ten feet in front of a very tall but slender oak tree. Yes, I’ve been practising my tree recognition, and could tell even in the dark. “I-Spy” points for me! I lit a small roll-up cigarette while contemplating my next move – dare I go on? Dare I approach? What if I get nothing – nothing at all? How will I feel then? What if…shhhhhh. Inhale! Relax. Aaargh – the light from my lighter nearly blinded me!

    I had had several “knock backs” from large oak trees in the past, but I wanted to try again. I walked slowly forwards asking to find the edge of the tree’s nemeton with my hands. I felt it in my stomach first though, and retreated a few steps to make sure I was right. Yep – here it was – the outer moat, if you will, the ‘motte’. I stopped and paid my respects, again going through my intentions and purpose, and asking as nicely as I could for a chance to commune. “May I enter your space?” I asked. A slight push back against me. I hesitated in moving forward, so I asked again. Same response.

    It was the cigarette! It didn’t like it being close. I felt that was the situation, so I retreated back down the path and ditched it before returning to try again. A little chastened I approached again feeling for the outer nemeton. This time when I asked I got admittance straight away and stepped towards the tree. I was two paces away from the trunk when my stomach hit a brick wall and knotted! There was an inner nemeton! And I had not been admitted to this part yet. I stopped and thought of how to continue. I re-stated my intentions of seeking knowledge, paid some compliments to the tree, suggested we could both benefit from an exchange, and put out some good vibes to the tree as a ‘taster’, if you like, of what I meant.

    The nemeton barrier dissolved and I was able to walk up to the oak’s trunk. As I arrived I was welcomed and told to sit. I sat, and noticed that the place I had chosen in the dark was perfectly shaped to seat me, and I was very comfortable sat with my back against the tree and leaning me head back onto it’s mossy trunk.

    Rapidly I slipped into a meditative state – a very deep and powerful one that came on like a dizzy spell, but which was very pleasant too. I ventured a question, “May I ask you a question, lovely tree?” I cleared my mind for a response. A voice now projected into my empty thought stream, “What do you want to know?” I reeled a little from that. It gets me every time! It’s a joyous experience, but I kind of still don’t expect a response and it always startles me. Ha ha.

    I thought for a second. Don’t blow your chance, I told myself. Think of something! I focused, “What is the nature of the energy that trees connect to sacred sites – what is its purpose and how does it work?” Phew – where did all THAT come from? I didn’t have time to wonder because I needed to relax the chatter.

    The response came, as it sometimes does, audibly first for me. I’m a musician (of sorts) and I love music. This often means that Nature responds to me first in “my own language”. A sharp wind rustled the branches to my left and raindrops sprayed the floor of the wood for a few seconds. Aha! Water?? What about water? I didn’t understand. Another image was projected into my third eye cinema: it was a picture of the “Water Cycle” that we all get taught in school.

    The Water Cycle

    The Water Cycle

    A question followed in my own voice, but not initiated from me; “What is the nature of that image?“. The question was being rebounded on me in my own terms! Cute. I fumbled for the answer…”Er…system of flows….er,…..circulation?” Fireworks went off in my head and the voice repeated, “Circulation. Circulation. Circulation.” It knew me well! I have an idiosynchratic memory and important things need to be drummed in. Here the tree was insisting I at least keep that one concept in memory!

    When the tree felt I had got it the image began to be embellished. I saw a picture of trees drawing down energy from the sun, the moon and stars through their foliage, then working together under the direction and intent of the larger trees to corral and circulate the energy captured and re-worked. The energy generated is pushed out into the landscape down meridians to invigorate and seep into the landscape, promoting growth of new or young trees and plants.

    My brain was straining to take in this living picture of the whole system working together in a huge cycle of energy flows involving all aspects of nature. I had a question, though, “What about stone circles where there aren’t any nearby trees?”. Again, an answer followed before I could think further – “Trees work at many levels. Shrubs like the gorse, the heather, even grass are fed by energy flows from trees, just at a smaller scale. We can move energies great distances when we all work together. These smaller plants in turn feed the landscape with energy and keep the flows circulating.” “Think fractal.” I saw in one moment a living flowing picture of the way it all worked together, and was stunned by its intricacy and ‘togetherness’ – a co-operation of purpose between species and levels to maintain energy flows to promote growth and life.

    I couldn’t take any more. My head was full of wonder and amazement. At that moment another plan flew over head and I began to awaken from my reverie. Everything came back into focus again. Before I disconnected I pulsed waves of emotion into the tree – waves of gratitude, joy, and sheer pleasure. I invited the tree to make use of any of this energy for as long as it wanted to, and I felt the palpable stream of my energy being drawn as though with magnets upwards and into the tree as I glowed with joy and wonder.

    I stood up and turned to thank the tree again for the experience. Then I walked back with none of the hesitation that I had when I first approached the wood that night. I felt no cold, and my head was full of thought of “circulation, circulation” as I left the confines of the trees to step back into reality.

    The flowers, the trees, the beasts, the people receive peace until the morning, when it all starts again.” (Julian Cope, “Psychedelic Odin”, ‘Black Sheep’ album)


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