Posts Tagged ‘sacred space’
At the end of August 2011 I found myself with an evening free and an urge to visit a sacred site where I could learn more about the five healing rays that I have been studying. As a reference for those of you who haven’t been following this particular series from the beginning, here are the related posts:-
- My five healing rays - in which I identified the rays, and their basic principle
- Five healing rays get the Tarot treatment - in which more properties were discovered
In this visit I was hoping to have some information revealed to me that would show me how these healing rays could actually be used, in other words – how does one invoke them, and how are they utilised once invoked? The beautiful circle of Moel Ty Uchaf was to be my teacher this evening.
On my journey up the steep trackway to Moel-Ty-Uchaf stone circle I was welcomed by a rainbow, which was somehow fitting considering I was here to try to get some more answers about the nature of the healing energy rays that I can work with. Apparently I have until Samhain this year to get my theory and practise all sorted out, because then I will face a challenge, a task, a test of skill, perhaps an opportunity to progress. I knew what failure meant – another turn on the Wheel of the Year to go around in a circle rather than a corkscrew movement upwards. I was taking every opportunity I could to do my homework.
As I passed the trees that line the lower part of the route up the hill I asked them about their energies. Are they male if the tree is male, and so on? The answer was that trees have no gender, they are both male, female and neutral, and so they can create living energy lines that are of any of these “flavours” depending on what the tree wishes to harmonise with, draw from, or support. Its own intent creates the required alignment.
With all my physical training I found that I didn’t need to stop once going up the hill. At the top I was breathing deeply, but not out of breath for once, nor tired or leg-weary. My calf muscles were also intact for once. Amazing result! But nowhere near as amazing as the view that I was about to be presented with as the clouds that had dogged my ascent began to part letting through the rays of the setting sun over the Conwy Mountains. In the picture below, look for the unusual photographic artefact of the sun converging to a turquoise point! Or is it something from the ground opening a hole in the clouds?
I ate my Co-Op convenience catered tea at the King Stone and began to introduce myself once more to the Genius Loci, asking for permission to work with her to ask questions about healing. Using my rods I determined that she would co-operate with that, but I felt that I would have to offer her something in return. Intuitively I was given the sense that there was some earth energy healing that I would have to put into practise here. This wasn’t going to just be a one-way theoretical lesson!
A bit of a break from the reports of visiting ancient sites and dowsing. In this post I want to tell you how I found my own sacred grove. As a fledgling druid I have got to a stage in my training where I want to be free to experiment with the suggestions that I am reading and hearing from other people. I have my own ideas about what it means to be a druid too, and now I need somewhere that I can be free to try these things out. A place where I can feel totally alone, uninhibited and yet within a protective space. I’m looking for my Nemeton, my sacred grove. Yesterday I found it. Here’s how that came about.
For many months I have been driving past a hill on my route to work. It has been catching my eye many many times. Sometimes I have not been able to ignore this impulse, and I have had to stop off on occasion to go for a walk, either away from the hill, or up past the hill where there is a defined path regularly used by walkers. No-one seems to go up the hill, however, because it if fenced off with barbed wire, and covered in bracken and undergrowth. I too have been content to wander all around it for several weeks. It “just so happens” that I have been spending more and more time in that area for “no apparent reason”.
Yesterday, on the way home from work I felt an urge to stop off. Occasionally, and particularly when the sun is out and the day is fine, I get these urges to stop off. Usually I go dowsing some question that is in my mind, or a topic that I am working on at the time. This evening I stopped the car at the usual place and wondered if I should take my dowsing rods. “Not tonight” came the response in my mind.
For some reason I walked up the side of the hill, along the path taken by walkers. I passed a field in which I knew there was a solitary stone that emanated bad energies, and I made sure I walked around its area of influence before I got up onto the side of the hill that provided lovely views over my local area. I stopped, admiring the view, then began to look for a way into the fenced off part of the hill. I soon found an animal track, and noticed that the wire was a bit looser where the animal track entered the hill’s sparsely forested side. Squeezing myself carefully under the barbed wire I began my ascent through swathes of bracken, climbing upwards all the time towards the summit. I found it was easier to follow the animal tracks – clearly they knew the best way!
I got to the top of the hill and found an old oak tree with a long low branch that was positively inviting me to sit on it. So I did. There was no view to speak of here, because the trees all around obscured it. So, I thanked the tree for offering a seat to me, and I pushed on, heading towards the heart of the hilltop. Only a few minute’s walk and I was in an area that was both wilder and yet lighter than the other parts of the hilltop. A vaulted canopy was created by some very old oak trees whose top branches formed the slightest roof. Beneath this canopy was a wide space, almost like a natural church aisle. I stopped to look at it, resting my back against an oak tree that formed the ‘font’ of this natural church. I marvelled at this formation, and began to wonder if this was a place where I could find some freedom and peace? The Sun was behind some clouds at this point, and there was no wind, so it seemed incredibly peaceful.
I stood up. I projected the thought out into the wood, “Am I welcome here?” – to which a crow in a nearby tree top cawed a response. “Would I be permitted to use this place as my sacred nemeton – my place of free expression?”, I asked to the trees and any nature spirits that might inhabit the area. A wind blew up out of nowhere and rustled the tops of the trees in response to me. I have become more accustomed to the signs that Nature gives now. I knew this was a positive response, but I wanted more assurance. I called out to the elements to confirm this, asking them to show me a sign if they agreed with the trees. A gust of wind blew stronger now, visibly shaking all the trees on the hilltop, then going completely silent again. At that moment, as I looked up imploringly to the sky, the sun moved out from behind a cloud. A shaft of sunlight streamed through the trees and threw a spotlight into my ‘church’ illuminating its length, and then the sun faded behind a cloud again. There was no delay between the asking and the receiving a response – it was within seconds, that was what was so astonishing.
I had my answer. This was my place to work with druidry and natural magick. Permission had been granted. I thanked the trees, and everything that had got involved in that decision, and I followed a more natural path down the other side of the hill. Going home I felt utterly contented now. I had a special place to work, one where I felt I could be truly free in Nature. Let the summer days be long and fruitful!
The concept of hydrotherapy, i.e. healing with water, goes back such a long way into the past that it is probably safest to assume that humans have always used water to effect cures. If you try to read about the origins of water healing you will undoubtedly be told to start with the Roman civilisation. This is clearly based solely upon archaeological evidence to substantiate the idea that a culture systematically embraced an idea. Let it suffice to say that Holy Wells were sacred before they were holy to Christians, and sacred springs have been venerated since before written record of any form. Bathing in sacred springs is not a new concept!
That water has healing properties seems to be something that is generally recognised in the modern ‘alternative’ health arena and seems to be a slow revival of something very popular during the Victorian era. Quotes like this are typical of the modern perspective and marketing slant:
“There is no drug on the market that can rival the number of beneficial physiological effects that water is capable of producing, and it is widely available (unless you happen to be in a desert) and cheap. In fact, there are no substances known to man that possess as many remedial and health-promoting qualities as water. Its therapeutic qualities include sedative, antipyretic (reducing body temperature, anodyne (analgesic,), anticonvulsant, astringent, tonic, anaesthetic, and derivative.” Source: Internet Health Library
However, this post is about one particular aspect of the healing powers of water that I can find only scant reference to, more in myth than in fact and that concept is that flowing tumultuous water has inherent healing qualities for human beings. When you think about it, it is probably something that you always felt would be true but have never vocalised or integrated that intuition. Neither had I until recently, then an experiment in following intuition opened my eyes to the qualities of water. I suppose the idea of healing water had been revived in my mind by my stay in a German spa town recently.
I remember being told in the Scouts that if you were going to drink from mountain streams you should always seek out a place where the water was enlivened and agitated by rocks: drink from the white water, not a still pool, was always the advice. This advice must have stayed with me always. So, perhaps the concept of water in tumult being beneficial was already embedded in me.
Pistyll Rhaeadr is the largest waterfall in Wales. I have posted about this waterfall and its beautiful surroundings before, but this visit turned out to be a special occasion. It was a lovely summer’s day and I decided to take M along with me so that she could see what all the fuss was about. She was not up walking much because two days earlier she had been on a long walk, trying out her new “blister proof” walking socks in preparation for walking the Sandstone Trail in Cheshire. Her sixteen-mile walk had left her with horrific ‘burns’, or some kind of reaction to the lining of the walking socks and she was covered in very sore rashes that spread from her ankles across her feet. She wanted to come long, but she was not keen to walk at all it was that painful to her. I assured her it was worth it.
We had some lunch at the lovely and friendly café at the foot of the falls. We felt totally relaxed from the tortuous drive to get there by the time we had finished – the sound of the waterfall, the flowing waters, the sleeping cat on the table with us…all lovely. I persuaded M to accompany me on a walk up the waterfall to the hooded rock at the head of the falls, with its limpid pools and soothing sounds. She agreed, but complained every two minutes about her feet! I hoped that the end result might quieten her down a little. After a steep climb up the path we arrived at the head of the falls where there must have been around twenty people milling about.
The water of the Afon Disgynfa river that forms the waterfall seem to me to be chalybeate, i.e. full of iron mineral content – certainly the waters contain a dark brown tinge to them. Whether it was this characteristic that set off the idea in my head that the waters would have healing properties I can’t say, but the idea came to me that they would be of benefit to M and her stinging feet.
I got my dowsing rods out and asked whether M’s rash-ridden stinging feet could be healed – YES. Where should she sit to be healed? I followed the rods to a narrow flat rock very near to the edge of the falls, at a point where one could dangle one’s feet in the running and bubbling waters. OK – we’ll do it! M sat there for about five minutes admiring the view, feet immersed in the cold running and churning water.
When M had finished I wanted to try it too – just to see what it felt like. After five minutes each of enjoyment and cold numb feet we dried our feet and then made our way back down the steep slope to the car. On the way up M had complained at almost every bend in the path. Now, not a peep! And that was literally miraculous! Two days of constant complaining had been cured in a few minutes of ‘treatment’ by the flowing waterfall. The rash looked visibly reduced, and all tightness and soreness had gone away. If you have problems with your feet, even if only from the climb up Pistyll Rhaeadr, I recommend this particular therapy – get your shoes and socks off!
Following an alternative healing path.
The phrase, “You shoudn’t judge a book by its cover” has never been more starkly brought into focus for me as when I received a copy of Philip Heselton’s “Secret Places of the Goddess: Contacting the earth spirit (1995)“. Bless Capall Bann publishing, their repertoire is excellent, but the covering artwork and styling of the book leaves a lot to be desired and made me feel quite nauseous!
Capall Bann have a range of fantastic books that I have already picked several titiles from and will continue to do so, for they seem to support pagan ideas and have a largely sensible and useful catelogue. A worthy pursuit, but please, ditch the toffee brown washed artwork!
At various points in the book Heselton refers to the possibilities of dowsing as a viable method of discovery of earth energies and of validating the presence of unseen forces in general. It wa only when I came to research Mr Heselton that I dscovered this excerpt on the Controvescial web site:
“In 1962, together with Jimmy Goddard and other UFO enthusiasts, Philip founded The Ley Hunters Club, a revival of The Straight Track Club (1927-1948) first founded by the earlier pioneer of leys … Alfred Watkins. In 1965 to support growing interest in the club’s activities and findings, they also founded: The Ley Hunter magazine. Philip edited the first few issues of magazine from 1965-66, before handing it over to other members so he could concentrate on his University studies.”
Source: Controverscial web site
In “Secret Places” Philip Heselton takes the reader through a structured introduction to the fundamental naturalistic elements that form the basis of pagan understanding of the world around them. I won’t spoil the book, but instead I will urge you to read it. Whether a dowser or a druid the book has lots to offer in terms of explaining the power of place, the spirit of nature, and the ways in which anyone can begin to acknowledge, then work with those energies. Depending on how far you wish to take it there is something here for anyone interested in rediscovering the landscape around them, wherever that may be.
To give you a flavour of what you can expect I have reproduced the chapter headings, but thy do little justice to the uality of the material within them, and the very easy-to-read style that Heselton has adopted for his work. The chapter headings are:-
- The Magic of Place
- The Earth Spirit
- The Wild Wood
- The Body of the Earth Goddess
- The Waters of Life
- Spirit Paths and Holy Hills
- Finding Our Place
- Entering The Presence
- Inbreath – Experiencing the Sacred Space
- Outbreath – Responding to the Spirit
- Embracing the Site
I hope that has whetted your appetite. If you regularly read this blog then I am confident that you will find that this book is an indespensible guide to your interests. It is also a good waymarker for where my own studies are heading, and accurately matches my own thoughts at every turn of the page. In many ways, this is the book I always wanted to write!
Guided by masters.
In August of 2008 Kal and I visited several sou-terrains (chambers constructed by the placement of supporting stones and a large capstone, often beneath alternating layers of clay and earth). At each site we visited we asked the dowsing rods whether the purpose of the site was the burial of the dead. Our responses led us to the following conclusions:-
- Dead people had been buried at these sites, but in very small numbers
- The burials we performed much later in the development of the site, not as part of its initial construction
- The primary purpose of such sites was for the transformation of consciousness (to connect with another form of intelligence)
During these investigations we repeatedly got this intuitive response – so much so that we began to get rather annoyed by the labelling of the sites as “burial chambers” because to us this was clearly not the case to us.
During this Winter I have started to dig into my ever-expanding collection of books about earth energies, and thankfully I have re-discovered David Cowan‘s amazing work that he did up in Perthshire decoding the cup-mark ley systems that he spent many years travelling with dowsing rods.
As well as opening my eyes to a previously unexplored connection with The Dead, in terms of the energy that recent or notable burials can engender into such circuits of energy, he has confirmed for me the true purpose of the chamber sites that we have been exploring. Here is what he says about it:
“If the energy from cup-marked stones can, indeed, allow access to the system for the spirits of the dead, then it must also do the same for the living, so building an underground chamber or souterrain with a powerful cup-marked capstone in the roof and below it, in the passage, another upright inside the entrance so that initiates, wizards or shamans could meditate or perhaps retrieve knowledge would be an important part of the ceremonies of the ancients. The Native Americans had a similar procedure, building subterranean kiva (magnetic chambers), where they could achieve lucid dreaming and imagery, helped by hallucinogenic plants.”
“Ancient Energies of the Earth” – Ch.14 ‘Rebuilding the Ancient Magic’ pp.170-171.
It seems that field work does eventually yield concrete results, even if you can’t immediately get the confirmation that your rational side craves.
- Trance-formations in Lligwy Chamber
- Lligwy Chamber: a tranformational vision
- Bryn Celli Ddu visit in August
- Bryn Celli Ddu visit in July
Follow to the hollow.