Posts Tagged ‘spring equinox’
The Spring Equinox was complete. We had been all around the mid-eastern side of the country from Rutland, through Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, and now we were heading home via Derbyshire. Did someone say “heading home”? Not yet! As we dropped down into the end of Bakewell and idea began to stir in our febrile minds. What if… we went to Arbor Low? The sun was dropping behind the tall hills and ridges that line the route between Bakewell and Buxton, but it was still a relatively pleasant Spring day. There was life in it yet!
It took only a few seconds of discussion to say “yes”, but then we ended up having to circle around to get back to the A515 near to Monyash. We went in a gigantic loop, but then everything about Arbor Low is gigantic – its scale, the size of the stones, the strength of the bitter wind!
Despite being out all day we were relatively spritely when we arrived. Hunkered up against the inevitable cold we raced for the huge earthwork surroundings, hoping for respite within its deeply-trenched interior. The long shadows mimicked our long day and made us look like giants striding across the landscape as the sun dropped quickly into a pool of red light. We had paid our dues in more ways than one as Kal pointed out that we had been on the go for about 13 hours.
It was twilight when we arrived. Kal strode into the earthwork and off to the right-hand side. I got my dowsing rods out to find an entry point. It was the main entrance this time – a rarity. What wasn’t a rarity was the location that was to be my workplace – it was the usual recumbent stone that I have come to know and love. I sat facing East. East and Spring – such a powerhouse today, that orientation!
As I sat and meditated with nothing to disturb me except my own mind and the distant lowing of cattle, I began to ask whether I had completed my quest to germinate the seed. The answer was that I had done so. Whatever that might come to mean over the course of this year, I had prepared the soil, as it were, for growth.
That turned my focus to the question of a new quest. Was there any new quest that I could be undertaking at this time between Spring and Beltane? I sat in expectation, and soon a single phrase emerged in my mind.
As has recently been the case it came in the form of a riddling phrase whose meaning was laden yet obscure:
“Become the giant”
Simple. Inexplicable. But somehow so entirely appropriate for the imagery and sentiment of this place.
Now all I had to do was to figure out what that could mean for me over the course of the next few weeks until Spring really got going and Summer was beckoning. Everything, it seemed, was on the increase.
For a while I’ve felt that I needed a staff that is more practical than my too-obvious antlered yew staff. The yew staff was right at the time, and is good for ceremonial occasions, but is impractical, too decorative, and was fashioned by someone else. I felt I needed something more subtle that I can carve and work myself. Something that I more “me” and “now”. An oak staff, perhaps?
As we travelled homeward from Dale Hermitage we discussed potential source forests. The New Forest? No trees, mainly gorse bushes and not many oaks. The Forest of Dean? Lovely place, but it had the wrong vibe for me personally. The conversation paused for a moment while we assessed where we were.
We just happened to be around Nottingham heading towards Mansfield. Did we have time to search in Sherwood Forest? Wouldn’t that be a perfect place to get a new oak staff? We set the navigation and within the hour we were parking and preparing for our new outing.
How To Find A Staff
Dowsing is a great method of finding your way on a spiritual path. It can lead you efficiently towards your goal. When dowsing leads you back to the same place but by a different route then you know that you are being taken to a special place. Such was the case as we made our way through Sherwood Forest, visiting the Major Oak first, then moving off the paths following the dowsing rods in meandering trajectory into the woodland.
We passed many fallen branches on our journey. Each time we assessed their suitability, but the rods carried on regardless. They were all clearly “wrong” in some way. Mainly because they weren’t oak, I suspect. After fifteen minutes walk the rods swung together and crossed at a point in the forest where the trees were taller. I stopped to assess the area.
The next stop on our Easterly journey was to another place that we had visited only once before – Dale Hermitage. The hermitage is a rock-cut chamber scoured from the sandstone above the village of Dale Abbey. The abbey of the village name if a scant ruin now, and the hermitage is much more energetically interesting.
As we walked through the wood the chill wind reminded us that last time we had visited it was Beltane and much warmer than today. We walked swiftly seeking out the sanctuary of the hermit’s shelter, yet I had time to stop at some new rabbit holes in order to pick up three small white quartz pebbles that caught my attention. We are just rock-shifters, after all.
The Hermitage feels too nice to have Underworld qualities, despite being down some steep steps. Inside it relatively light and airy. We had lunch, took photos and milled around. It was like we were waiting for something to happen, or afraid to start something! I casually asked Kal why the place was considered sacred. Kal looked at me as though to say “Read The Flaming Manual!” and pointed me to the nearby information sign. Didn’t I have legs? I was just being lazy, so I went to read the sign.
The information sign told me that the Hermit of the Hermitage was guided by the appearance of Virgin Mary. Given what I had been reading recently this could just as easily have been Bride/Brigit. That’s a long discussion for another time.
In the second of my Spring Equinox 2015 posts I recount a short tale about memory and stone.
We had travelled northwards after scooting around the area of Rutland – an unusual area that very few people would be able to point to on a map of the country. Our searches for some sacred springs and well needed more time than we were prepared to give it. Therefore we settled on finding the Grimston Monolith at the small village of Grimston.
You know what? Turns out we got the wrong stone! I thought it stood inside the churchyard, so when we found a stone in there we latched on to that. No wonder it didn’t have any energy! What it DID have was a story, however.
I was surprised to find that the stone had no subtle energies. I believed it to have been excavated and the re-sited. Now I know it wasn’t even the right stone. Nevertheless, the rods indicated that there was something I could work with. Knowing that they wouldn’t tell me more I tried my hand at psychometry – the art of obtaining information from ‘inanimate’ objects.
I felt “death energy”. Why, I wondered? I asked for a direction, and in response my mind was filled with a wandering path that went off to the back end of the church. I could see the energy trail stop at a specific gravestone, even though it was currently out of sight of the stone where I was standing.
Spring began properly for us with a long drive across country to the barren eastern parts of these islands. We had been this direction before, and this area really makes you work for your visit! I had chosen to go East as this direction is associated with Spring, and it was a direction in which I could find an old turf maze. Given my recent tarot draw, I knew that labyrinthine paths could be the order of the day, and so it was.
Wing Turf Maze
The day began early. We had long miles to cover. As I drove down the motorway I was gladdened by the sight of the dawning sun. Such a good omen for our outing – clear skies and sunshine.
On arrival at the small village of Wing the day was shaping up nicely. Kal had a portent of what was to come soon and half-jokingly said that we should just go to the maze then drive home. We were here now, and Nature was calling us both and so we nipped into the nearby woodland.
On the way out I felt like I was walking the wrong way. I got snagged on branches and dead brambles. Nature was telling me that I was going the wrong way, and so I back-tracked and followed the dowsing rods on a more energetically compatible path. Heed the signs!
I emerged onto the main road where an ash tree’s unusual bent bough met the top of my head. This was the place to stop, I felt, and so I began the cleaning process that has become a regular preparation feature of any sacred visit. This process included a vision, though, which was of a lightning strike from above and below meeting in the middle, meeting in me. I felt instantly cleansed!
Now for the maze itself.
I wasn’t going to let the solar eclipse pass without doing something. As it happened it provided a perfect space for me to finish off my current quest of “Germination”. Yet, possibly because it was an unusual situation the results were unusual too.
I had only one day left to conclude my “germination” quest before the Spring Equinox. On the morning of the eclipse I went to a local churchyard (the closest sacred space) in order to view the special event, but also to try to draw together one red (male) and one white (female) energy stream to unify into one rosy pink fertility energy. The focus of this work would be some soil that I had had energised by working with Debra Delglyn in one of her shamanic workshops (see The Bodyworks).
It just so happened that I was working in a graveyard. One does what one can where limitations are imposed. After putting up protection against anything “sticky” I used my dowsing rods to quickly able to find the best place for me to be. I had in my hands a red jasper stone and a white moonstone. These would be my entry points for directing the male and female energies to the container of soil that I was carrying.
It was 9:21. The peak of the eclipse was due at 9:30. The light was fading and there was a strange tinge was over everything.
As we crawled at a few miles per hour towards the dead end that is Seathwaite in the Borrowdale valley we kept our spirits up and our frustration levels down by focusing on the end point – a set of three yew trees which I knew to be of ancient origin. They were among the oldest trees in the country, and I wanted to see them on this special “gateway” day, because the yew tree was such an important part of the start of my ritual year. Kal was excited too. Over the years he’s grown to like visiting these ancient trees, and now he was curious to see what these old specimens might have to offer.
The rain got worse. The tractor pulling a trailer was going our way – all the way to the end of the road! We parked at the ample parking area – no other visitors today – then got kitted out with waterproof gear. Luckily for Kal I had a new waterproof coat that I wanted to test out. He got to wear that and it was excellent. The rain was now horizontal and coming in waves of deep powerful droplets which soaked anything they touched. I asked Kal one last time if he wanted to brave these elements – the water angel’s expression of herself in full glory. Amazingly, he said he did, so we headed off on the well-signed path across the fledgling River Derwent – a river which I knew well from my childhood.
The Fraternal Four – Now Three
The yews were easily spotted despite the terrible conditions and the proclivity to keep our heads down. They stood majestically and apart from other trees of lesser standing. As we approached up the incline we saw the information sign which gave us a timeline for their existence. On a sunny day this might have been fun to read. We moved on. Facts and figures were irrelevant to our meeting.
We visited each of the remaining three yew trees in turn. Each had their own character, and each revealed something which could be immediately tested at the next tree. My meditation was a series of incredibly profound experiences, and so informative. Read on to find out what these ancient yews told me.