Posts Tagged ‘masons’

A day in Cowan’s Country: Part 1

I recently got the chance to scout around the countryside between Loch Tay, Crieff and Dundee. This is David Cowan’s neck of the woods – the Scottish earth energy researcher – so I was delighted at the prospect of visiting some of the megalithic sites in the area.

In this first part of a two-part report I visited some of the megalithic (and other sights) that may be of interest to earth energy students, or students of the arcane and esoteric – all of which are accessible in a day’s drive around the area near Dundee in Perthshire, Scotland.

Dundee Town

In dry dock at the Discovery Point (brown signs everywhere in Dundee pointing to it) is the RSS Discovery ship formed part of several polar expeditions by Captain R.F.Scott.

Discovery - Dundee

Interesting design inlaid into the floor outside Discovery Point, with the cardinal points guarded by four vicious-looking penguins. I thought the personification of the winds was quite traditional, along with the presence of the sun, moon and stars. Knowledge exchanged with the Phoenicians about navigation, perhaps? Certainly a knowledge of the movements of the stars and the moon must have been treasured information, as it enhanced the naval prowess of any country that could use it.

Discovery - Dundee (1)

In the centre of Dundee, in the middle of the main shopping thoroughfare, you can find this fairly large dragon statue. It’s a magnet for kids who want to be ride it. It’s also close to the main banks, and so echoes the dragon statues that surround the financial centre in The City of London.

Dundee Dragon 2

Walking from the central church in Dundee towards the Discovery Centre you may come across a newly-built wall. It looks very organic and yet intricately organised. It’s a delightful work of art, and more walls should look this good! Every so often a small decorative stone is featured, and the symbols carved hark back to quite ancient roots: the trefoil and spiral, for instance…

Dundee Energy swirls

…or some Ogham script, the language created by the British druids, the tree alphabet…..

Dundee Ogham script

Cultural echoes of a past being re-discovered and reclaimed. It’s like we’re blowing the dust off our heritage, bringing it once again out into the light of day and exposing its symbolism and shape to a new audience who are more able to listen, even though the modern world has been constructed in such a way as to distract us, to obscure its significance, and often to simply annihilate it without trace. Like the Green Man the familiar foliage re-appears each year anew. That’s happening in Dundee. You wouldn’t have thought it was a prime candidate for an archaic revival!

Eassie sculpted stone

In the ancient church of Eassie village, just west of Glamis Castle on the A94, you can find the encased remains of a Pictish Sculptured Stone. It is one of many in the surrounding area (see ‘Fowlis Wester’ below). Pictish culture, so-called because their legacy of mainly pictorial, was around for the transition from a predominantly Celtic imagery and mythology to one that was a mixture of Celtic and Christian imagery.

This quote published on the Megalithic Portal site by C.Michael Hogan:-

“The appearance of a tree branch in conjunction with the cross on the Eassie Stone is taken to represent the sacred manner that certain trees were held in regard by the Caledonians. (Wise, 1884) The appearance of sacrificial cattle on the Eassie Stone is common to other Pictish Stones after the instruction from Pope Gregory to Abbot Melletus in 601 AD; that instruction permitted the Picts to sacrifice cattle at their ancient pagan temple sites, only if the sites were sprinkled with holy water and consecrated to the true God. (Bede, 731). A procession of ecclesiastics is also evident on the stone, a theme being common to other carved stones of this era. (Hogan, 2005) A portion of the Eassie Stone has been likened (Leslie, 1866) to a crouching warrior image (Kells, ) in the Book of Kells, potentially connecting this site to events at Iona, where the Book of Kells may have been produced.” {Eassie Stone entry on Megalithic Portal}

Not to mention the angels that stand sentinel perched on either shoulder of the stone like some kind of Angel and Devil figures as expressions of conscience.

Eassie sculpted stone (7)

Eassie sculpted stone (11)

Take a wee look at those symbols that are shown in the plaque above. A boar – a symbol used to denote King Arthur – is easily discernable. The other look more artistic. A crown, perhaps, with the two central swirls similar to the cobra symbols on Egyptian crowns? The symbol on the right looked to me like a geomantic map of the energy formations at a sacred site, but I’m sure it’s just a stylised squid or something.

A quick digression

In the churchyard itself there are lots of graves that still display their carved symbols of the hourglass, the skull and crossed bones, and the ceremonial vase used to contain a person’s ashes. Now, either there were a lot of pirates buried in Eassie (although it’s far inland), or these are masonic symbols. Some people do propose a link between the Templars and the Pirates, so when I say “charnal urn” you say “bottle of rum”, okay?

A strong link is often made by authors tracing the history of the masonic teachings between Scotland and France, a link of Knights Templar and Freemasons, Masons supposedly emerging out of the dispersal of the Templars. You may recollect we found such symbols on the graves at the church in Dyserth village too, in North Wales. One often finds Templar or Masonic symbols of bones, skulls, time markers, swords, unicorns, lions, dragons and shields emblazoned with simple crosses at ancient churchyards, usually where an ancient pagan church has been built over by a Christian replacement (always aligned East-West to follow the sun).

Some authors make a convincing case for these organisations being the receptacles of an ancient knowledge that has to be handed down through generations unchanged so as to preserve it. The organisations insist upon a belief in divinity, but not in any specific deity. Their history includes the building of round towers and churches on ancient aligned sites to the proportions of sacred number. In short – they retained and re-educated their members in some very old traditions that incorporated ancient deities that have been regarded as sun-gods and moon-goddesses. Quite pagan.

Some authors argue that these organisations were of an altogether different spiritual alignment, and that they are a boys club for the super-rich families and the well-connected to retain power over decision-making bodies. Sounds like a description of the ancient druid orders where rich kids would be sent to the druid colleges to be taught by a group of powerful men who were exempt from much of the law. These royal children were sent for an education in what is now called “The Classics”, but which back then would have been the Western Mystery Tradition.

Others say that the symbols simply mean something quite banal: an hourglass denotes a full life is vertical, a life cut short if horizontal; the cross-bones denote the mortality of man; the skull means…er..the mortality of man; the cross-swords that he was a warrior, veteran of a war; the urn denotes…er..human mortality encapsulated in a vessel of….er..hope of the resurrection into the eternal life. There you go – all easily explained. Unless you’ve read John J.Robinson’s “Born In Blood“, then things look a bit less arcane. (See also: Skull & Bones Society)

Some of the Eassie grave symbols:

Eassie sculpted stone (6)

There we can see an hourglass, crossed swords, a skull, a charnal urn (“bottle of rum!”) and crossed bones. This was repeated with only slight variations (some had fewer symbols) on many of the graves around the church. “3-2-1 – you’re back in the room“.

Fowlis Wester cross (not circle)

I say “not circle” because there is a circle somewhere up in the hills around Fowlis Wester, but I didn’t have time to find it. I satisfied myself with the sculpted stone that rests in the centre of the village.

Fowlis Wester sculpted cross (2)

Fowlis Wester sculpted cross

This stone had very similar markings to the Eassie stone, and was in a very well preserved state, possibly because it’s a replica! The original in on display in the nearby church of St Bean’s, but the replica was interesting enough. The sculptor has used the bottom of the stone to represent the sea, and it is replete with human figures, animals (seals?) and a great decorated serpent. Very similar to how the Aboriginals of Australia depict the Rainbow Serpent.

Glamis Castle and Fergus Well

A fairy-tale castle is how most tourist literature describes it. Well, you have to think of some way of pulling in five coach loads of tourists in an afternoon. And that was just one firm’s coaches! Luckily they have a big tea room and toilet facilities at the back.

Glamis (24)

The grounds were superb, consisting of a “pinetum” (an arboretum of pine trees), a natural trail, a walled herb garden (currently being re-constructed) and a area where city kids can see what animals really look like.There’s also a free “museum” and video history of the castle, although some of the exhibits are a bit … tenuous. You get a mannequin sporting a royal dress from the 1930s next to a tableau showing a farmer on a tractor ploughing a field near some sheep. Still, when it comes to the royal history they’ve got some jazzy coloured carboard displays with gold lettering and pictures and everything. No expense spent, I mean ‘spared’.

There were some spectacular trees in the grounds, such as this very old sycamore tree:

Glamis (23)

Inside the tree were the ancient bowed branches forming a welcome shelter from the hot summer sun:

Glamis Tree

Some interesting things about Glamis Castle:-

  1. It is mentioned by Shakespeare in the play Macbeth.
  2. It was home to Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
  3. A castle existed on the site 1000 years ago

Glamis Church and St.Fergus’ Well

Coming out of the castle ground you arrive at  Glamis village, with its churchyard and well dedicated to St.Fergus. The well is situated down a path alongside the church and is well worth searching out. You almost walk right past it, so keep an eye out for the sign on the wall.

Glamis - Fergus Well (5)

As you descend to the river there is an air of calm, broken only by the sight of a swarm of gnats buzzing furiously over a part of the rover where it breaks into white horses on the pebbles and rocks on a bend. Also on that bend you will find Fergus’ Well. Not much to look at, but when I dowsed it there was a strong neutral energy coming out of it and flowing towards the river. A female line also emerged from the well and rolled along the river bank, following the flow of the water.

I have never seen gnats, even Scottish midges, swarm so furiously before. Exactly at the point where the neutral energy from the well intersected the river, and where the river was bring churned up by the stones. Somehow, those things are all related. I will have to watch the activity of gnats a bit more closely in future.

Glamis - Fergus Well (3)

Glamis - Fergus Well (4)

Kirkwynd, St Fergus’s Church, Glamis village

At the local ancient church I found more of those gravestone with the esoteric symbols carved on them. Yo ho ho! The church is also the repository for the departed Earls of Strathmore. If only they had lived to see their bottled water concept go global! A sculpted Celtic cross was found at the site during some excavation. The site is described as an early Christian church (probably). What were they doing with a Celtic cross, then? Ahh…borrowing it for good luck. A gift from the local pagan community, no doubt. Kind fellows.

Glamis Church

There’s them there sim-bulls again. In part two of this blog post about the area around Dundee I go looking at some stone circles that reveal some fascinating aspects: a cup-marked stone that provides a central link point for several earth energy leys, and a beautiful circle with a tree in the centre.


Following the high road.

The Sign of Venus

Bryn Celli Ddu: Monday, March 16th 2009

I don’t know what possessed me to go the almost 75 miles to Anglesey straight after leaving work last night. It’s not something a sane person would contemplate, but I was on my motorcycle and felt an urgency to get there before the sun set. Sunset time was scheduled for :

Date: 16 Mar 2009 / Sunrise: 06:28 / Sunset: 18:22 / Length of day: 11h 54m 42s

I arrived at some time close to 6:30 pm and walked to the mound in the slowly-forming twilight. I spent about ten minutes inside the mound dowsing for places to sit, and what the strength of the energies were at that time of day (although I had no previous marker to base that on). I soon came to feel that I wasn’t in the right place and decided that I should leave my stuff inside whilst I went outside.

In the open air I felt colder but more relaxed. I dowsed for the best place to sit in order to meditate and was directed by the rods to the top of the mound. There I sat and began to switch off. For some reason I was facing West. For some reason I was staring at a bright star which seemed to be the only one in the sky – certainly the only one I was noticing.

As I stared at it I noticed something unusual : there appeared to be three points of light to this star, and they formed a shape. I stared more intently. Yes, definitely a shape. A white shape with crescent horns protruding from the upper left hand side, and the two smaller points of light forming a forked ‘tail’. It reminded of the white horse of Uffington in reverse, for some reason:


I blinked and blinked again. No, still there. I got my camera phone out and took a picture. Zoomed in I could see it through the lens, but after taking a picture the result showed nothing but flecks in a grainy dark sea. Still the image remained prominent in the sky. Was this a sign? I determined to memorise the shape and set about emblazoning it on my retina and into my memory. This was, I felt, why I was here. From the top of the mound I could feel undulations of energy pulsing upwards through me. This was special, I thought. I knew there was some connection I had with Venus at the moment, and so I dowsed whether this was Venus I was seeing. Yes. Then this was even more interesting. After ten minutes the cold really hit me and I decided to get along home like a sensible person. I left a gift of tobacco and my thanks, then rode home with freezing hands but high spirits.

Picturing Venus

When I got home I immediately knew I had to capture the image that was still so vivid in my memory, but also I had a desire to know more about this star. Which zodiac sign were we in at this point in the year? Pisces was giving way to Aries – we were on the cusp. I have no concept of the relevance of that, but it did seem to me that the image I saw had elements of a horns atop a fish-shape. Noteworthy, but nothing that made me have any greater understanding of a significance at this stage of my development. Here’s the shape I drew trying to capture the area of light that the star was spanning:


Why had I needed to ride out to Bryn Celli Ddu? What was the reason for needing to go there?At the time I had no clue. Now I understand why – it was so that I could use that shape later in the week when I was to visit a stone circle above Penmaenmawr at the Vernal Equinox, but that story will be posted soon enough.

Why was that star so visible from that place – because it’s so westerly? Venus was the last element of twilight this night. It felt magical dowsing my way to the top of the mound and I could feel energy being pulsed up through the top where I sat, perched over the western edge. All I could see was Venus. All I could look at was that bright star. And then I saw three points. Then a pair of horns bent upwards from the main bright point to form the symbol pictured above and below. It stayed in that formation and shape and intensity until I left. As I looked back it had returned to a single point and other stars were beginning to make themselves seen more clearly. I had been there at just the right time to see Venus at her most distinct, and she showed me something of herself. I asked if it was a symbol for me, a power glyph or something like that. I dowsed a strong yes when I asked whether I could use it for energy work. I nearly dropped the rods! Use it for what!!?

Venus: her names and symbols

Venus, the Morning and Evening Star, is forever associated with love and relationships. I was interested to find out how Venus had been named, represented and revered down the ages so I started a little research going. I drew the symbol I had seen many times, and in as many ways as I could muster. Here’s a close representation of what I saw. Venus is often seen as a diamond shape, or a crescent due to her relationship with the light, my symbol was not like that.

venus_symbol_idealThe Venus symbol seen in the Western twilight a week before the Vernal Equinox

So I began hunting around to see what other symbols Venus had been represented by – was my symbol something traditional, or something just for me to represent her by? I scoured the net for information. Venus was the planet that orbited the earth 8 times in the time it takes our planet to orbit the sun 5 times, I had heard:

“...if Venus orbits the sun 13 times while the earth does 8 times, then Venus must pass us 5 times during those 8 years.” (John Pratt’s Astronomy site)


Venus’ 5-time passing is also the reason why the pentagram is one of her symbols, as depicted below in a diagram from a masonic text. Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) often depicts if five element system by a pentagram in a circle.

The pentagram has a great deal of sinister and occult history associated with it, as does the Morning Star and Evening Star references. Lucifer, the fallen angel, is often considered to be The Morning and Evening Star, however, that designation is also held by many other pivotal characters such as the Greek Hesperus (or Phosphorus), the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the goat-headed Baphomet beloved of the Masons, and also Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Venus has many names, and those are just her written historical names.

Venus and Astrology

Venus is the ruling planetary influence of the astrological signs of Taurus and Libra. From Wikipedia:

Venus is the modern ruler of the 2nd and 7th houses, but traditionally ruled the 5th and 12th houses – the 5th house of play and the 12th house of self-undoing! Unsurprisingly, Venus is said to have ‘joy’ in the 5th.

The astrological interpretation of her influence recently (i.e. going into retrograde motion) is that she brings the possibility of undoing your own comfort and pleasure within your relationships, and despite my wish to completely ignore this element of astrology I have to confess that under her influence in the past week I have alienated a friend and had a blazing row with my wife! Anyone who knows me well knows that this is not something I am particularly prone to, and it has certainly taken me by surprise! I am still stubbornly refusing to acknowledge this aspect of Venus, however, so let’s move on.



I have five stones in my Venus crystal layout. Coincidence, of course. I dowsed for clearer answers: the crystal layout is specifically for capturing the energies of Venus whilst she’s passing. When she moves away then I’ll need other crystals and other geometries for whichever other sympathetic energies are nearby. Don’t know what yet – some luminary. Could be any!

The Moon on that night was waning gibbous heading to the New Moon. Pretty much like in the picture of the Taurus symbol above.


Follow something you don’t believe in until you do.

HD on Twitter
  • New Hedge Druid post: Samhain 2015 P1 – Bel and the Bee
    about 3 days ago
  • New Hedge Druid post: Healing The Past Self
    about 7 days ago
  • I just bought: 'Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy' by Mercia Eliade. Thanks blog readers! Patience rewarded.
    about 1 week ago
Taliesin introduced
Kevan Manwaring recites the bard Taliesin's CV.
The Book Store
  • DruidCast - A Druid Podcast Episode 104
    Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 104 Elan - Nightwish - with Neil Leask about the Kirbuster Farm Museum - by Helen and Mark Woodsford-Dean - Stone - Elly Hadaway - ellythefolk.bandcamp.comAlive Inside - James J Turner - http://www.jamesjturner.comThe Eagle and the Owl - Arthur Hinds - Theme - Hills they are Hollow […]
  • DruidCast - A Druid Podcast Episode 103
    Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 103 Weaving the Summer - Spiral Dance - The Dreaming - Damh the Bard - Interview with John Beckett - Bridges - Louise Ingram’s Beads - DruidCast theme music - Hills they are Hollow - Damh the Bard - For further information on the Druid […]
  • DruidCast - A Druid Podcast Episode 102
    Shownotes for DruidCast 102 The Mermaid of Zennor - Martha Tilson - Witch of the West-Moor-Lands - Archie Fisher - The Sacred Falls (part 3) - Professor Roland Rotherham - Ode to Cerridwen - Lori Llyn - Queen of the Horses - Moon Pryderi The Old Bearded Man - Damh the Bard - Birch Oak […]
Kindle Subscription
Subscribe to monthly Kindle update