Posts Tagged ‘king arthur’
I have a new set of oracular divination cards. I call them this because they’re not really tarot cards in the usual sense. They describe themselves as an Oracle card set and I will go with this description. Especially given that I am going to Delphi soon to see THE Oracle. Seems appropriate that I should “gem up” on this ovatic tradition.
The set was devised by that eminent Celtic mythology scholar and druidical wise one – John Matthews. Of course, he got Will Worthington to do the artwork for the cards. Any sensible person in this field would do. I have several other sets of tarot cards featuring his excellent artwork (e.g. The Wildwood Tarot, The Druidcraft Tarot) and I highly recommend them for anyone in the field of druidic divination.
As you know, though, my work has been taking on an Arthurian bent over the past few years. Since 2010, when I encountered Merlin as a tutor and guide along my spiritual path, I have found that I have been working through Arthurian archetypes each year. This year seems like no exception to that, but trying to find information about Galahad/Gwalchaved is very difficult. Hence, I felt I needed a meditation tool that would allow me to get into “the spirit” of this archetype. When I saw the Camelot Oracle, and that it was written by John Matthews, then I needed only a split second to decide to buy it.
I have only read the manual about them – I haven’t tried using them yet. This being The Quiet Time I’m not wanting to stir things up just yet. I will get acquainted with the set first, for the next few weeks, and then when it comes to that all-important Imbolc or Spring Equinox moment when the year begins in earnest I will do my first draw with these cards and then report back on their efficacy for me.
As the set uses the Arthurian Archetypes I fully expect that I will be aligned to their output. I need first to confirm that my “champion” for this year is what I expect it to be. Once this is done I’m off – full flow – and let’s see where it takes me this year.
On a day that only a mother could love I dragged my long-suffering spouse into the farthest reaches of our lands to the western shores of Pembrokeshire. Why would I do such a thing to a nice lady? Well, I had taken the day off to celebrate Samhain, and it was part of my year’s quest that I should resolve the link between Berth and Death. That’s The Berth – a Shropshire hillfort – and Arthur’s Grave, the final destination for a mythical character and a hedge druid. If you haven’t read the beginning of this story, then may I refer you to this post? I feel compelled to do so.
So, the story was that “The Death of Scorpio”, or the coincidence of the constellation appearing at the point of the western sunset along the south-western axis that joined The Berth to Arthur’s Grave was the reason I was making a four hour drive along slippery autumnal-bedecked roads to hike into the back of beyond. As I journeyed that day I was continuously recognising places that Kal and I had passed on our journey to the same location earlier in the year at Spring Equinox. On that occasion I had come to Beddarthur (Arthur’s Grave) as the final part of a quest to use the energies of three stars to unlock an inactive part of my DNA sequence, and potentially unlock some hidden healing powers. At the time I had no idea what I had done. During the year I discovered that I had acquired an ability to draw energy from plants to use to negate the dark and twisted energies left behind by some humans upon death, and I had also unleashed a guiding spirit of a knight who had been enlisted to assist me with such work.
All that seemed far away and certainly locked deep in the back of my mind as I wrestled with the increasingly powerful and playful winds that rose to meet us as we crested the hills from which Stonehenge’s powerful healing stones had been hewn. Today my mind was focused on the mundane matter of the rip in my hiking boots that were making one foot wet and squelchy.
For several weeks I had been passing by Old Oswestry Hillfort in Shropshire on my travels to Wales and to some of the closer megalithic sites in North Shropshire. Every time I passed it my eye was caught by its level top and the sheer size of it. I loved the sight of its steep front, and wanted to see whether it had any energetic remainders or interesting energy forms in it. One evening I couldn’t contain myself any longer, and I got on my motorbike and rode down to Oswestry on the pretext of giving the bike a bit of a run to charge up the battery. Any excuse!
At the back of my mind I had another agenda too. I had wanted to find out whether I could really make use of The Fitzalan Shade that I had picked up from Clun Castle the week before (see previous post: Clun Castle and the Shade of the Warlock) – the spirit of a warlock with whom I had negotiated a bargain for knowledge sharing. Now was the time to test this out. Would the arrangement be up to anything at all, or was I wasting my time?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this story, let me take you on an interesting diversion. As often happens in my unusual life when walking The Shining Path (I give this questing life many names) I go to places that have intuitively called to me. Afterwards when I do my research on the sites I find that they have some link to my spiritual progression that I had not expected. Such was the case with Old Oswestry. To me, it was that hill fort that I kept seeing and which called to me this year (even though I have been passing it for many years now). This year has seen a change in my Arthurian archetype. Last year I was completely bound up in quests for Merlin, culminating with his spirit merging with my own at Dinas Emrys.
This year I have been inextricably woven into the fabric of Arthur’s life – first at Tintagel, then at places such as Arthur’s Cave at Symond’s Yat, then Arthur’s Grave in Pembrokeshire. The sites have been never-ending, each linked to King Arthur and me seemingly destined to visit when my tasks and destinations have been dowsed and plotted on maps. Such has been the course of this year. How intriguing then that when I researched Oswestry Hill Fort I find that it too is strongly linked with the Arthurian myth. More weft for the rich tapestry.
Oswestry: The Welsh name means City of Gogyrfan. According to legend, Gogyrfan was father to Queen Guinevere and therefore father in law to King Arthur. This fort was said to be Guinevere’s birthplace. (source: Oswestry Town Talk)
Now I will tell you all about my first usage of the Fitzalan Stone and whether it truly does have magickal properties.
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.
Near to the village of Dorstone in the Golden Valley of Herefordshire is a wonderfully preserved ancient monument called “Arthur’s Stone“. The monument is on the borderlands of England and Wales, and as the map below shows there is a congregation of settlements and an alignment of sites along the ridges between the rivers Wye and Dore (“of gold”). Before I go on to explain my findings at Arthur’s Stone I want to discuss a little bit about my current concepts of what Arthur is, or who he was.
My current concept of Arthur
This Arthur fellow – he got about a bit, eh? These days I prefer the interpretation I read recently that “Arthur” is a title adopted or given to many kings, several of whom may have contributed to the myth and legend, the story and history surrounding the King Arthur that we have been remnanted. I like Paul Broadhurst’s idea that the Arthur figure was associated with the fixed constellation of the Great Bear, the guardian of the Pole Star. In my own additional interpretation, Arthur is aligned with and gets energy from the Great Bear’s stars. In particular I think this is the asterism of The Plough, or The Big Dipper as it is also known.
My wife, M, entered the site straight away and went to sit on a small man-sized mound next to the monument. There she settled in for what she expected would be a long dowse. I wasn’t about to go against expectations. I got my dowsing rods out and began to explore, but first I had to find an entrance suitable for me and my energy at that time. I entered the site after asking silently for permission from the spirit of the site. I would be allowed in today – no pushing away or dive-bombing birds, or claps of thunder or anything like that.
As I entered the gate in the fence surrounding the monument I saw two other couples reading the information board provided by English Heritage. I turned my attention away from them, not wanting to overhear anything they might say about the site. I would stay out of earshot until they got bored and wandered away, as most people do at these places after ten minutes. I began by asking to be shown a ritual path that I could follow that would lead me to a power centre that was most suitable for me. I was taken from where I stood in a path that snaked in front of the “false entrance” stone, and then wound its way into the monument from the right-hand side of the covering front stone (seen slanting in the picture below). My path ended in the shadows at the back of the chamber on the left-hand side. I repeated the exercise from three other locations chosen at random and soon I was walking the same snaking path to the front of the dolmen, and then into the right-hand side of the chamber and to the back left corner again and again. By the fourth time I was realising this was a pretty certain dowsing result.
This is the second part of three posts about my Spring Equinox quest to change my energy body to promote the fertility of plants. In the first part I told you about my experiences at Lud’s Church in Shropshire, and how I experienced an intake of the energy of the stars in Orion’s Belt. In this post I will be telling you about my visit to King Arthur’s Cave near Symonds Yat in Monmouthshire, South Wales.
After I had left my friend Michael’s house I had the long journey from Cheshire to Monmouthshire to contemplate what had happened and anticipate what might be to come. I had no idea what to make of the energy intake episode – I didn’t feel any different, but it was the strangest experience I’ve ever had, so that must count for something. Now I was going to sit in a cave at the other end of the country, and was quite excited about that prospect for several reasons. Firstly, I love Monmouth and the whole area around there. I think it’s the most beautiful part of these isles, and for some reason it has a feeling of ‘coming home’ whenever I go there. Secondly, I wanted to see if I could commune with whatever spirits might be present in a cave dedicated to Arthur and hopefully something interesting would occur. Thirdly, I was keen to get this quest over – the third portion was quite some way away, being in Pembrokeshire, and that really would take some planning to be able to get there with my forthcoming busy schedule, so the chance to get two parts done in one day was a relief and exciting at the same time.
Besides, it was shaping up to be a sunny day, and that’s always a good portent for an explorer, even if I would be sat in relative darkness for some of the day.
Preparations – or a lack of them
I arrived at the area around Symonds Yat and realised that I had not got a detailed map. In fact, I had only the memory of seeing a picture of the cave to work with, and not much more to go on! There was only one thing I could do – intuitive driving! This is like driving with a dowsing rod in your hand but much safer. This was Kal’s idea – imagine that you have a dowsing rod and that it is pointing in the direction of the thing you are seeking. Then follow the imaginary rod! How could that work??? Who knows, but I managed to pull over into a lay-by and stop the car at what felt like a random place. Was this it? How would I know? Was I on a wild-goose chase here? Had I just driven for three hours for nothing?
I got my stuff together and began to walk down a path leading away from the car and down a hill that I seemed to be half way up. My reason was screaming at me: “Why not UP the hill? Didn’t I see a path up the hill too just before the lay-by? What if it’s not here? How far am I prepared to walk before I give up? Why didn’t I bring a map? I’ve just driven three hours for nothing! Where can I buy a map from? How far away was the petrol station – they’d have a map there….” and so on, and so on. I told myself to shut up and walked to the path down the hill. I had only walked twenty feet when I saw the information sign showing King Arthur’s Cave. Well, well. It worked! My whole body relaxed as my rational side went strangely quiet.
I walked down to the end of the path which opened out into a disused quarry, now reclaimed by Nature. It was like walking out into a cauldron – it was so hot! I recognised the quarry from the photographs, and so knew I had to take the right-hand path and re-enter the cool walkway beneath the forest’s sheltering branches. I reached the cave shortly after ignoring the first collection of small caves that must have been a trial run, or designed to put off the casual visitor. As I arrived something felt wrong, so I completely ignored that and carried on. I got out my dowsing rods, my crystals and then my …hold on, where was my incense? The “something wrong” feeling made itself felt in my stomach again. I must have dropped it back up the path somewhere!
I made my way back up the hill, wondering just at what point I could have dropped the incense. It was tucked into my small pack, so it could have fallen out anywhere. Just so happened that it had been right at the start, right at the top of the hill I had just walked down. Typical! If I am supposed to learn a lesson it’s always a hard lesson! I stopped to think what this might mean. What lesson was I to learn? Then it struck me – I had just forged right ahead and tried to enter this sacred site without ANY preparations! I had probably accumulated some detritus from travelling down here, I was thinking of lunch all the time, and I clearly wasn’t in the most spiritual frame of mind. Right – I would put all of that right, and then I would try again.
Dinas Emrys, Gwynedd, Wales – 23rd October 2010.
Now we come to the crux of the matter – the culmination of my Samhain preparations. I had cut, cured and carved a wand made of rowan in preparation for this visit to Dinas Emrys, the legendary castle of Merlin. Here I was expecting to involve the shade of King Arthur in guiding me through an Underworld journey to revive the Spirit of Merlin. What would happen beyond that? I didn’t know. What were the consequences of doing this? Another mystery. All I knew was that this was my path to follow by going with the flow of the universe. This was..for want of a less hackneyed term..my current ‘destiny’.
The title of this post refers to the second line of a three-line riddle, or ‘tercet’ to give it its more accurate name, If you remember, the riddle went: “Strong red / Lower Merlin’s rowan/ Second Llanddeiniiol (or stone) church“.
We parked at the bottom in a nearby lay-by and cross the road looking for an entrance. When I have been here before it has been dark and I have been in a hurry, so I have missed the obvious five-bar iron gate entrance. We climbed in and took to the path running along the bottom of the steep ridge, running parallel with the River Glaslyn opposite. Kal had spotted what looked like a cave from the road and soon we had found it again. Indeed it was a small cave, big enough to squeeze two people into, so we both shuffled in. It was very hospitable, although when Kal lay down he felt uncomfortable. From beneath him he reached round and pulled out a hand-sized quartz rock. I took it from him and pointed out how it looked like a perfect replica of the shape of the Dinas Emrys hillitself. I felt this was significant so I asked if I could keep hold of the rock. After some persuasion Kal agreed and I put it into my pack for later. Remember this bit – it will re-appear as a perfect example of how dowsing works later.
The weather was acting strangely. All around us there seemed to be layers of grey-purple bruised cloud pending with rain, yet shafts of sun also filtered through the trees on the slope. Again I wondered if Kal was destined to get soaked. Again I was wrong – somehow he survived with only a few light and brief showers whilst out in the open. It seemed surreal how he managed to avoid the elements.
The Pool of the Dragons
On the way up we paused at the mid-section platform – an area of flat land that may have once been a track for carts to bring goods up the hill, or for builders to bring materials up the slope. Now it was full of decaying trees and mossy rubble. We set out first goal to be to find the pool within which the two dragons – the red and the white – were supposed to have fought [I will soon post the best account of the story that I have found, but if you need a quick reminder here's an introduction].
For some reason I wandered farther along the plateau than I ever had before and stood by some ruined mossy stones and bent tree trunks – something has pulled me here. Kal began to search for the pool using his dowsing rods and the rods lead him to the far end of the structure at which I was standing. “Here it is.” he said assuredly. I got my rods out and circled quickly back on myself right to where Kal was standing. Yep, I got the same.
Was this really the much-vaunted mythical pool? It didn’t look anything like the pictures I had seen of it. We were both sure we were correct, though. Very strong dowsing reactions, and … something else said it was correct too – a magical sense, an intuition that we have both been developing seemed to add to the conviction.
So now it was time to climb up onto the upper reaches, to pass by the ‘sentinel’ trees that guard the site, and to finally venture into the Underworld to meet Merlin’s spirit. I think I physically gulped at the prospect. Everything over the last year had built to this point and it felt .. important. I was ready – we ascended.