Posts Tagged ‘ritual’
In the fourth part of this Spring Equinox story I visit a new stone circle (or two), working with the energies and completing the sigil shape that I had been tracing in the Llangollen landscape.
Bryn Beddau cairn circle
Hidden in the murky depths of the Clocaenog Forest are two small cairn circles. One or maybe both of them are named Bryn Beddau. It’s difficult to tell from the Megalithic Portal article, because it shows both of them in the same description. They are very close to each other, though. One is accessible from one of the many compacted gravel forest roads, whereas the other is further inside the forest, accessible from a path linked to the first circle.
I was grateful that I had Ordnance Survey GPS and maps on my phone. Without that it would have been hard going. As it was I found the sites pretty easily, but first I had to traverse along the “new straight tracks” that Alfred Watkins would surely not have approved of. These long straight roads were not good for retaining energy! It was an effort not to lose all the energy I had gained so far while walking these uninspiring grey roads that vanished into the distance, then turned 90 degrees to get anywhere. A kind of Roman efficiency. I walked with a rapid stride and a musical rhythm.
Occasionally a scene of beauty emerged by the roadside as snow dripped from coniferous branches, water languished in near static pools and tall trees braced against the cold air. The only sounds were the occasional movement of birds in the treetops, signalling my presence to each other.
The first circle I discovered by treading carefully down a deeply rutted track that veered off at an angle from a junction of two forest roads. I was glad to get into the trees and off the grey gravel road. After only thirty feet of careful walking a clearing opened up and I got my first sight of a new circle in ages.
At the start of the year I remembered that I had been chatting to Kal about the idea of questioning everything. Not absolutely everything – I had done that once before during a Philosophy degree. Rather, this was the idea of taking all of the things that I had come to rely on in the magickal druidic sphere, and then checking whether everything that I was working from as a basis was still valid to me at this time and for the coming year.
After all – things change, people change – and it would be an interesting test to use my dowsing rods to check whether all those little aspects of ritual, or belief, that I use as a basis for working in Nature – do they still apply to me now or have I tied my rudder down in the wrong direction and it’s taking me off course?
I decided to check a number of things, only some of which I will document here. The things I wanted to check were:-
a) Is my teaching Spirit Guide still the same guide? NO. I have to find another spirit guide to work with.
This wasn’t the answer that I was expecting! I had prepared two subsequent questions on the basis that I still had a tutelary spirit guide, and now I had discovered that this guide has moved on! A bit of a shocker. I did some more dowsing about this to confirm it, triple check it, then ask some questions about the change.
It seems that the change occurred because we had got to the point where the guide had got everything they wanted from the relationship and i too had got what I needed from them. The change was related to the point where i took on responsibility for my own druid work, and had occurred at Samhain last year. No wonder I had said an extra log thanks to this spirit at that time! I was saying good bye even though I didn’t know it at the time. Why didn’t I know it then? Because I had been “stuck in my ways” and expected that everything would just continue “as normal”. If I’d been listening properly I would have known this was happening.
- Are my crystal sets still valid in the current configurations? Only my elemental, healing and protection sets are valid. The others are useless in their current configurations.
- Is the incense that I use still the correct incense for the year ahead? YES. The frankincense and sandalwood incense I have been using will still be useful in the coming year.
- Are the stations that I work with correct for me? YES. Sea to the West, Air to the North, Sun to the East and Land to the South are my correct stations.
- Is my Arthurian Cross correct for the coming year? YES. Merlin is associated with North, Arthur with South, Gwalchmai with West and Gwalchaved with East.
Questioning my assumptions about my work had been both a challenging and a reassuring exercise. At first I was concerned that everything I had been working with was wrong when I found out that my spirit guide had moved on. Then, when I checked all the other aspects of my ritual work I found that it was all solidly based in useful customs and objects that I could continue to use for my work in the coming year. Having that sense of stability meant that I was reassured that my work was not going completely off course!
Now I can proceed into the new year with a renewed feeling that I am heading in the right direction. The new challenge is, do I need a new spirit guide for the coming year? I think I need to visit my friend The Yew at Llangernyw in order to establish this, or perhaps a Tarot reading would throw some light on it? All that is to come. For now – it’s still The Quiet Time, and I won’t be starting any work until Imbolc on February 1st.
I’m always at a loss as to what to do for Yule. Not being a sun-aligned person I just don’t get with the whole “welcome in the sun” thing. However, this year I was given the notion that I needed to be more welcoming of the sun, so for the first time I found a suitable place to welcome the sun back at Yule – Castlerigg stone circle.
When I had been trying to find a suitable location I had first considered some of the sites listed on the Aenigmatis.com we site:-
- Crick Barrow
- Harold’s Stones
- Long Meg and Her Daughters
For various reasons these were not suitable on this Yule day, either due to the distance I would need to travel. The only one that seemed a likely candidate was Long Meg in Cumbria. I made note of the useful information about the Winter Solstice at the excellent TimeandDate.com web site. Here are the sunrise times for the Winter Solstice as taken from the west of England:
Dec 20, 2012
Dec 21, 2012
Dec 22, 2012
Dec 23, 2012
Just before I left, though, I found out that Long Meg’s Solstice alignment is with the setting sun! Oh no! A quick change of place, then. Same area, but now I would go to Castlerigg – a circle that held particular resonance for me this year, being the site at which I had freed and merged with a Merlin energy. With a time and place set I now began to consider what this particular Yule sunrise signifies for me this year.
I have been re-visiting some of the essential elements of the magickal work that I do. Sometimes when working I forget various parts of these elements that I have found to be essential components to the success of such work. When I forget to employ all five of the elements in the process of doing energy work or interacting on a magickal level with nature then the likelihood of the success of that work, or rather, the strength of the outcome, is compromised by relative degrees. Often it can cause such work to fail altogether.
Usually one puts failure down to any number of other factors such as tiredness, low energy levels or some other personal or environmental failing. On reflection the work has failed because one of the following five essential elements has been missed out or performed as a gesture.
Here are the five essential elements that I have found contribute to the proportional success of natural magick.
- Prepare for the work by becoming humble and sincere in attitude
- Set your intent clearly at the outset, before performing actions or visualisations
- Engage with the surrounding or called-in spirit forces and negotiate their co-operation in the work. This is another reason why clear intent is useful.
- Provide your own energy into the work at a frequency that we associate with the feeling of love.
- Give thanks to the forces that interacted in the work when you have completed the intention or energy exchange
Every time I work I will try to keep these five elements in mind during my work. How hard can it be?
In the second of my posts on recovering my ancestor energies we visited two sites for the price of one - Kilronan Abbey next to Lough Meelagh has a holy well dedicated to Saint Lassair right opposite it. As ever, we were driven by our findings rather than our curiosity, and my quest was directed by some higher intelligence, for I had only done a glancing amount of research to pick this site out before we arrived in Ireland. As usual, something else had decided that I would be in the right place at the right time. Here’s the tale of these two personally special places, starting first with Kilronan Abbey.
The most convincing information I have found about the origins of the abbey at Kilronan Abbey is this account by James McGarry:
“The first Church at Kilronan, Ballyfarnon, Co. Roscommon, was built in the 8th century by St. Ronan and his daughter St. Lasser (Lasair), hence the name Kilronan (kil or cill meaning church). It was replaced in 1339 by one built by Fergal O’Duigenan which was burned down in 1340 and replace three years later by the Church, one gable of which stands today. Sheltered by that gable is the vault of the McDermott Roes, in which Turlough O’Carolan was interred in 1738.
This gable is a memorial to the Gaelic Literary tradition from the 13th -18th century as represented by the O’Duigenans, hereditary erenachs of Kilronan (lay abbots who held church land from generation to generation), and chroniclers (as well as bards and ollavs-hereditary poets) to the Mac Dermotts, Princes of Moylurg, down to Turlough O’Carolan, sometimes styled “The Last of the Bards”. The O’Duigenans maintained a School of History on this site. The origin of the bards is lost in the mists of pre-historic Ireland.” (source: Freepages Geneology)
‘Erenach‘ – such a lovely word. It means ‘an ecclesiastic having duties akin to those of an archdeacon‘. More about Turlough O’Carolan later too.
There’s that name again – “O’Duigenan“. Followers of the blog may remember my encounter with the spirit of ‘Dignan’ at Vale Crucis Abbey in Llangollen. In that episode he gave me his name and then challenged me to follow him when he disappeared in a westerly direction. By meditation and dowsing I discovered that this spirit had re-located itself back at its source – Roscommon in Ireland. This was the reason I was here – to find this spirit again and fulfil whatever the next part of my challenge was.
At this point I had no clues about the nature and direction of my quest other than these two sites and the snippet of a vision I had obtained from Carrowkeel where I had seen a sword fight between myself and an ancient warrior. Where would I be led next, I wondered? What links would it make in the chain of the quest of recovering my ancestor energies? I was about to find out.
What I most enjoy about the work I do with sentient entities is the way that it is possible to get both immediate feedback, and then sometimes you will get a sign or a little gift later on when the whole episode has been integrated into your being. Such was my double dip reward at The Bridestones this Imbolc. Firstly I had the absolute pleasure of spending it with some good friends – the best I have – and secondly I got a visual reward when I found that Brigid herself had made an appearance on camera.
Signs for Britain’s Sickest Village?
As this was the final site visit of Imbolc we happened to arrive very close to sunset, with just enough time to prepare for the setting sun. Very little of our visits are planned in terms of timing, and this was another occasion when we just happened to have arrived when we needed to. Something was certainly involved in guiding us that day as a whole. We had encountered “signs” related to being stuck, and having barriers in our way as we travelled around the Derbyshire countryside. For example, Mike had mentioned that one particular village – Swythamley – had some terrible energies, and that we should go an experience this for ourselves. Kal was not keen on this at all, but I dutifully followed navigational directions in order to drive through the place out of curiosity. As we got closer to the village we encountered a huge lorry stuck in the middle of the road on a bend. We narrowly missed being squashed as it squeezed past the car. Then there were two near misses with other lorries that also caused us to have to either brake severely and swerve, or stop completely to allow the lorry to pass. Not particularly unusual in Derbyshire, but it was the coincidence of these events happening as we approached Swythamley that made Kal in particular take notice of the signs, and begin to express his dread fear that we might not get out of the village alive!
I noticed the energetic field around the village as we approached the outskirts of the first buildings indicating the village boundary. The place began to feel increasingly dreadful. Awful, horrific energies pushed my sacral chakra point relentlessly making me feel more and more nauseous. I nearly vomited as we reached the centre where people had parked their cars to go walking in the nearby hills. “Why would they park here!” I opined, disbelieving that we were the only ones that could feel this awful throbbing darkness. As we left the village, to the relief of everyone, particularly me, I noticed that the village lay at the end of two long straight rods that were channelling energies into the basin of Swythamley village itself. A warning: if you’re energetically aware, please don’t ever go there! Not even out of curiosity. For the next five minutes I spent my time energetically cleansing myself with silver and gold light visualisations.
As we arrived at The Bridestones a lorry tried to turn into the tiny lane leading to the quarry next tot he site. We sat for five minutes in the road watching in disbelief as the strange stuck lorry syndrome was repeated. Please, I begged, don’t let this be another sign that the energies are terrible. Not after all the work that Mike and I had done to try to repair the energetic framework of the site. We entered the site after the lorry abandoned its fruitless task and as we walked through the gate and the yew bower everyone agreed that the site felt much much better than they had ever expected. Phew! Things were looking good.
Diversions aside, we began our preparation for the Imbolc sunset.
As the nights draw in here for the Northern Hemisphere countries our lives begin to change in subtle ways. We lose the lightning power of The Sun in the mornings and evenings. As this power is depleted the changes may even be mirrored in our body chemistry, and consequently in our thought processes. For many people “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD) is a fact of life – they get more depressed in the Winter months. Luckily, I don’t suffer from this, however that doesn’t mean that I am not prone to dark influences. Here is my very personal story about how my psychic shield got breached, and I became a victim of my own dark shadow. If ever there was a horror story to accompany a Winter evening, this is one that will chill your bones!
I can’t tell you how difficult this is to write. I am a strong independent person with what I often believe is a will of iron. Once my mind is set I generally achieve what I set out to do. In addition, I am very healthy. Physically I am in peak condition, my immune system is very strong, and I pride myself in keeping myself in good condition mentally, physically and spiritually. That is, after all, my whole reason for being – to keep my soul’s cage in the best of working conditions. So, it is with some level of embarrassment that I found myself getting ill in a number of ways recently, most particularly not being in total control of myself. I was being influenced by a shadow self.
Jung and The Shadow
In Jungian terms I was encountering what the great psychologist termed The Shadow. This concept is so prevalent in film, television, fairytale and mythology that it hardly needs an explanation. We know it as the often sublimated and suppressed urges arising from our usually latent desires and instincts. Almost every horror film is a depiction of the struggle with The Shadow. When it is let loose it has the capability to put the ‘light’ self in a tricky situation, because it does not obey the rules and the established norms of society. In my quest to be a “good person” I may have pushed these instincts too far under the surface, and now they had chosen to re-emerge at a time when I was physically and energetically weak.
I have an inkling now about what triggered it to become dominant, but only because I have managed to dowse it after the fact. The Shadow creeps up on you from behind. What I did know at the time was that I was acting out of character with how I perceived myself, and out of step with my spiritual goals. I first noticed The Shadow emerge in the dream world, where my dreams began to include unusually violent or sexual situations. I put it down to any one of a hundred reasons, and carried on. It would go away.
Next it began to make itself mentally present during the day. My thoughts began to turn to matters that I didn’t usually allow. Forbidden subjects. Deviant topics. If you’ve had these thoughts yourself you know what I’m talking about. I began to wonder what was going on now. How could I be having these thoughts? I hadn’t had thoughts like this since my early teens, the years when my mind was struggling to define itself in its emergence into the world of adulthood, when laws and ethics were being created and challenged with equal rapidity, when I was defining the boundaries of my self.
The final straw came after a few days of The Shadow manifesting itself within me physically. I was now doing things, making things happen in the physical world that my poor helpless moral self was appalled at! Finally, it rebelled with sufficient force as to cause me to stand up and summon the forces of my will power to re-assert control, if only for long enough to decide to do something about it. This had to stop, or my world was going to come crashing down around me and I would be left in the middle of it, alone, wondering what the hell had happened! Hell indeed. Time for action!