Posts Tagged ‘mound’
In this final part of the Beltane story for this year I record the nature of my quest for this part of the Wheel of the Year – Beltane to Summer Solstice.
We were back into the east of Derbyshire now and visiting sacred sites along the way as we came to them. Being back in Derbyshire visiting places we knew felt like coming home, and it also felt like the right time of year to be working. Arbor Low was briefly in sunshine so I took some pictures before the freezing cold gale-force winds forced another early retirement from the site. Is that place EVER warm?
As we moved towards Congleton I veered off the road and up a hill to park near to a field. In that field could be discerned Clulow Cross – a vertical gritstone pillar on top of an ancient mound. Personally, I have always had the impression that this was a meeting place since ancient times, and once or twice I have felt the presence of a ghostly host on the lower slopes, gathering to listen to the pronouncements of an exalted few on the top. Others who have visited the site have said similar things, but of course there’s unlikely ever to be any form of evidence for such events.
After the bitter chill of Arbor Low this site was… exactly the same! Aaargh! If anything the wind had become stronger. Kal and I passed each other on the hill and exchanged knowing glances. We wouldn’t be here long today. I found shelter at the base of the cross and thought about which spirit to connect to in order to ask what my next quest would be. Should I try the Spirit of the Place, the various nature spirits that I hoped might be around, or one of the spirit energy forms that I have worked with previously?
The Lady of the Lake came to mind. She fitted the bill because she had worked with me in providing the Sword and Shield of Galahad. As my quests this year seemed to be entirely related to this Arthurian stream of development then I would continue in that vein unless something indicated strongly otherwise. Hunched in a quiet area behind the pillar I invoked images of the Sword and Shield, forming connections with the site, the earth and celestial objects above me. I then asked what the next stage was, directing my request to an image of the Lady that I had seen when I last worked with her at Lyn Tegid in North Wales.
In the second part of the day spent visiting the megalithic sites of Antequera in Spain we travelled the mile or so down the main road out of town heading towards the dominant feature in the landscape – the mountain of La Pena. We drove into what can only be described as an industrial estate, down a road whose tarmac suddenly ran out, and then down a dirt track, all the while following vague brown signs pointing towards ‘El Romeral‘. As we turned yet again into an area that seemed all ‘wrong’ for an ancient site, we could begin to see some grass and trees at the end of the track. Was this it?
As we pulled into the car park with its dedicated ticket booth (oops – should we have paid at the previous site?) El Romeral loomed with it circular crown of cypress trees. It looked like a crown jewel among the slovenly industrial units and their dumping grounds that surrounded the site. We noticed that yet again there was a bus full of school children visiting the place, so we sat and had lunch while we waited for them to finish their noisy procession in and out of the central chamber.
At the time of visiting I didn’t have my bearings of the place and its surroundings. Only later did I do some research and find that there is a cardinal alignment between El Romeral’s chamber and the El Torcal sleeping dragon that faces it due South of the site. It’s like the dragon is watching the chamber from far above. The only noticeable alignment on the ground is with the La Pena mountain - the lady in the landscape. A gap in the line of trees shows the mountain’s profile perfectly.
At the end of the preceding post I had been tainted by a dark energy whilst attempting to dissipate it from a ring of granite stones placed on a promontory of the western shores of Iona. Now I was acting intuitively, allowing myself to be guided towards the steps I needed to take to cure myself of this dark energy ‘poison’.
Kal had taken immediate action. He had protected himself from being similarly affected, and then had begun a process of feeding energy into my area so that I could use it to heal. The first action I took was to staff to assist with making an energetic shield that I could use to shelter from the imposing “gaze” of the forces that I had alerted and whose attentions I had attracted by messing with the dark circle. I felt a searching, a scouring, malevolent stare that was scanning the area around the stones from high above. I felt like a giant face was in the clouds looking down trying to find out who had triggered an alarm on the ground below. The shield went up but I wasn’t sure how long it would last. More action was needed and quickly, or I would be either located or pass out with this nauseating sickness I felt!
A voice came into my head offering me advice…
“Get the staff to the shore“, and then “You will be alright when you reach The Stone.”
It was in my voice, of course, which always raises the question of the source of such information, yet in these circumstances, and with my recent encounters with helpful force, I wasn’t questioning the sagacity of the advice so long as it sounded reasonable. I half-stumbled, half-ran in a dizzy fuzzy state towards the nearby sound of the waves lapping on the shoreline. I knew which stone was being referred to – my next intended destination for the day – Clach na Glaistig. For now, my priority was to rescue the staff.
As I reached the shore I walked the edges where the water touched the sand. With each gentle wave touching my shoes and surrounding the ash staff things began to alleviate – the dizziness began to wear off a little so that my vision cleared up. I could also feel the staff “neutralise”. This is a difficult thing to explain. Holding the staff I can often feel it get energised when working at sacred sites. At this moment I felt whatever charge it held was being drained away – as thought it was a battery being discharged by the salt water. As I reached the end of the cove’s shoreline the staff felt balanced again – neutral. A long sigh emerged from me. It was safe. Now there was only me to worry about.
Kal still kept his distance, recognising that I was still tainted with dark energy, yet with each step across the island towards the stone I felt better, clearer, and more in control again. I re-doubled my protection from being discovered, and then we began to walk over the short-cropped wind-swept grassy chalkland towards the distant hills that led to the southern end of the island. On the way I kept seeing white feathers in my path. Being still in an “angelic” mindset I picked them up. They only seemed to be in my path, not Kal’s, and they often blew towards me as I picked them up. Soon I was carrying about five small white feathers which I then put into my bag. They would come in useful at the stone, I felt.
As you approach the Abbey of Iona - with its church dedicated to Mary - the first sight you encounter is the mound of Odran (or Oran). It lies before the abbey like a pregnant belly, partially obscuring the visible entrances to the abbey buildings. It immediately drew my attention, and I became mesmerised by it. It engendered in me an immediate sense of respect, and I entered the site of the mound slowly and reverentially for a reason that I cannot fully explain.
Odran was an interesting fellow – part mythology, part reconstructed Christian history. He is said to have been a druid, and also a companion of St Columba.
The ancient burial ground, called the Rèilig Odhrain (Eng: Oran’s “burial place” or “cemetery”), contains the 12th century chapel of St Odhrán (said to be Columba‘s uncle), restored at the same time as the Abbey itself. It contains a number of medieval grave monuments. The abbey graveyard contains the graves of many early Scottish Kings, as well as kings from Ireland, Norway and France. Iona became the burial site for the kings of Dál Riata and their successors. (source: Wikipedia)
Of Entrances and Exits
Right, that’s enough of the background. Let’s get into the account. I approached the mound respectfully, and stopped at what I felt was the ‘entrance’ – the point in the mound’s energy aura that was a point of entry for those who were energetically-aware. I gave my credentials and then asked if I could enter. A firm and stomach-churning push in the gut told me in no uncertain terms that I could NOT enter. OK – what was wrong? Time/place/me/my energy? I ran through some reasons and set about trying to right them. I gave a lengthier introduction to who I was, and stated why I was here. I asked to be shown the correct entry point via the dowsing rods - and thus was moved along the mound by several feet from where I had initially tried to enter. I tried again – this time I got a pass and was able to walk onto the mound in the shade of the nearby trees.
SYMPATHETIC VIBRATION: Of course you can walk into and onto most sacred sites as a tourist without any restrictions. When I talk of being “denied entry” I am talking about being able to feel for an entry point in the energetic shell of a place. If you don’t recognise that boundary then of course you can enter freely, but you won’t be in a state of awareness, a state of sympathetic vibration with the place. This is the state that I am seeking to enter when I look for an entry point because it leads to a state of mind in which revelation and acquisition of information is much easier.
It is also sympathetic and respectful to any spirit energy that is present at the site, which is why I spend time introducing myself and stating my purpose for the visit.
In addition, entering via the correct point, and leaving by one too, preserves your energetic condition. In other words, if you have accumulated/brought with you/acquired some subtle energy at a sacred site, and you are in the ‘correct vibration’ then you can preserve this state by following the correct path in and out of a place of power. To not do so can strip you very quickly of this sought-after resonance and subtle energy aura.
This is why we place great importance on coming into the correct entrance, following the right path to the power centre, and then leaving by the correct exit point.
Of Giants and Graves
Now things begin to get a little odd. I have come across the idea that many ancient mounds have been named “Giant’s Grave” or similar, and that lots of them are associated with giants in their mythology. Of course, the simple explanation we are given is that those stupid country folk (the superstitious fools) could only explain the presence of these large mounds by associating them with giants. After all, they are pretty long. Must be a tall person buried in there, right?
The day began with the promise of something beautiful to emerge from the nascent silver-grey clouds, whose meagre partings would later reveal the full glory of the late summer sun. Intrepid as always, and eager like beagles penned until their exuberance breaks free, Kal and I rushed for the mutually agreed starting point for most of our special journeys into the magical adventures we live through in Wales. We would start at the Llangernyw Yew and see what visions it might divulge to us today – August 1st – the festival of Lammas in the pagan calendars. At the beginning of the adventure the day felt pregnant with possibilities, and it would happen that I would have a wonderful and inspiring revelation, learn a new magickal technique for self-healing the traumas of the past, and find my way onto the next part of my spiritual path. Let the tale begin!
It was mere seconds before Nature herself was showing me the signs and symbols that have accompanied so many of my special days around the Wheel of the Year. As soon as I began to drive off from home I heard first then saw a buzzard flying low over the car and circling around a nearby field. Of course – all such days should start with the aerial vision from the hawk! The hawk would also re-appear at the end of the day as we returned to the car to drive home again. Almost like a closing narrator to the proceedings, having the final word.
As well as all these coincidental and contrived moments, I was aware that we would be spending the day in the company of the invisible Grain Moon – the August full moon that was burgeoning with its astral emanations on this day and those that surrounded it. It felt like everything was gathering in order to give us the best chance of having a truly meaningful and magickal experience – which is exactly what happened when we followed our intuition and our guides.
The Safety of the Yew Tree
Although yews have many poisonous parts (berries and bark to name but two) there is something that I consider to be very safe about being around this old tree. The Llangernyw Yew is so old that it baffles your sense of history to even consider when it sprouted. Let’s just say that when this tree was beginning its life our ancestors were discovering the wonders of mixing Copper with Zinc to produce a new metal for the first time.
As Kal wandered around the graveyard like a lost ghost (he always has a purpose, really) I sat beneath the tree’s canopy and felt for the right place to sit. I found my place and found that I could connect to the tree very quickly. Moon? Festival Day? Noon? My energy? More experienced? Previous encounters? I don’t know what the magic combination was, but within seconds I was asking for and receiving answers from the bowels of the great yew….
- “Have I completed the last quest yet?” – “It is a continuous quest until the end of the year.”. Straight question, straight answer.
- “Am I ready for a quest for this part of the year?” – “You have enough energy, yes.”
- “Can you tell me the nature of this quest, please?” – “I can’t. You need to go to the Portal Stones.” (situated at the rear of the church). “OK – thanks!”
As I came out of my tree trance I met with wandering Kal. He told me what he had learned so far, and asked what I had got. Nothing yet, really. I’m off to see the Portal Stones. Kal pointed out that his attempts to make the sun appear through the slate-grey Welsh cloud cover was happening as we spoke. I looked up in amazement to see a fiery spotlight appear in the thick grey cloudscape. Impossible, I roared! Kal smiled. “Impossible is nothing!” he seemed to suggest.
Often I need to squeeze an evening out of nowhere in order to get my spiritual path moving a little. I had been stagnating for a while, burdened by “life” getting in the way of what I wanted to do. It happens sometimes. So, I made some time and invited Kal to come with me on a ridiculous quest to Sherwood Forest in the early evening. This evening I would feel the heartbeat of the forest, discover a hidden sacred site, and have a vision that would leave me wondering what I had got involved in! Here’s the first half of that tale.
Unlike my previous visit to the forest I had a particular reason for being here tonight. Last time I had met the Spirit of Place which we all know as the legendary Robin, a title later to be assumed or subsumed into a figure who some believe may have real historical roots – it’s a long debate for another time. On this occasion I was in search of the place known as Thynghowe, an ancient artificial mound that I consider to me my spiritual centre in the land on this side of the Irish Sea. Of course, as I explained in my previous post about finding the centre – it’s not a case of finding the physical exact centre based upon geography. It’s a spiritual place, and I was here to find out what that meant for me.
You may remember that my reason for locating this centre was a vision I had that I called “the dragon at the solstice centre”? Well, I was late for the solstice part of that, but I was in the right place regarding the dragon element. “Thing” places are the mounds of ancient law-giving, renowned as meeting places and moot hills, and central to the lands in which they are situated. They also usually have a tale of dragons fighting associated with them. I understood that to mean a site where male and female energies interacted in an interesting way – sometimes in conflict, sometimes in harmony.
As we arrived I could already see that it was more resplendent in Summer than it had been in Winter. Obvious, really, but would it feel good too? It was a wet day everywhere, especially through Derbyshire, and the sky was grey and the air filled with drizzle. We got kitted out for the occasion. It was New Moon, and only days before Ramadan. New Moon generally means a time of difficult energy working for me, given that I am a moon-oriented energy person. So it would turn out to be.
There are many ways that people have devised to find the centre of lands. From the beginnings of recorded history and probably much before then humans have established centres of land masses in order to establish a “pole” – a symbolic tree whose roots are planted in the core of the planet and whose branches stretch up to connect to the heavens. The World Tree, The May Pole, the Pole Star – these are the anchor points of civilisation.
When Britain was colonised by invaders they each re-worked the centre to fit their own surveying techniques. For example, one of the naming conventions used by the Viking race was the word “Ting” or “Thing”. On many of the islands to the north and west of the mainland we have place names at the centre prefixed by this word. These places, the moot places, are often mounds – artificial hills created for the purpose of providing a meeting place. It was always more than just a meeting point though. It was the very centre of government, and a meeting point for celebration and festival at special times of the year.
You may remember that in a recent vision I had been shown a dragon rising from the centre of the land. I knew that I needed to find where this place was. There are myths often associated with the central point, I later discovered, that recount tales of two dragons fighting. This was a myth that I knew related to Dinas Emrys, and which involved Merlin. Now I wanted to find the centre of all of the land mass on which I stand – the central point where my visionary dragon would emerge, somewhere in England, I guessed.
I set off with the idea it was a geographical place located in these lands, but my first question received a NO response when I asked – not with the current idea I had of the place. I would need to learn more about it to find it. The centre should not be thought of as a physical place. It’s tied to a physical place only in the sense that it can be placed in the third dimension. Here are some of the properties of the place I needed to find:-
- it is symbolic
- it is mobile, not static
- it’s location and nature changes over time
- it is created by the interaction of humans and the land
- it can be located to a specific place when coordinated with a specific time (i.e. one can find where it is now)
- the centre moves due to human interaction
- it moves at irregular intervals (not associated with the movement of stars, moon or sun)
I map-dowsed the country using the Megalithic Portal Map. The square that reacted to the dowsing rods was ‘SK’.
I zoomed in. What kind of site was I looking for? I dowsed the list of types of site. The result was “artificial mound”. I filtered the list. Only one – Thynghowe Mound [link]. This mound was only rediscovered in 2004-5. From what I read it has been recorded as a place of feasting, celebration, meeting and racing. Sounds like a fun place to be! It was later renamed “Hanger Hill“. Oh some people will go to any lengths to choke off a place of pagan fun, won’t they? “Don’t go to the hanger hill – it’s a place of death!!!” For a thousand years or more it sounds like it was place of life.
I got to Steetmap – show me the OS map of this mound’s position. It’s a few hundred feet away from where I found the Spirit of Place in Sherwood Forest! A few hundred yards away from the mound – an ancient meeting place between three parishes and possibly two Anglo-Saxon kingdoms – is a tree called “Centre Tree“.
If this turns out to relate to the movement of the Spirit of Place that I did earlier in the year then I will know why it is movable! Something is telling me I have to go back to Sherwood Forest!