Posts Tagged ‘stone circle’
On a hot summer evening after work we drove through the back end of Derbyshire to head for a stone circle that we only rarely visit. The circle (also known as Stoke Flat) stands upon the imposing cliffs of Froggatt Edge. The walk up is delightful through the birch and oak trees, with the sunlight shading your ascent. Even so, we arrived at the bottom of the section used by climbers and our clothes were sodden – the heat was still very strong even getting close to six in the evening.
We stopped for a moment to admire our efforts and the accompanying views. All around us were the scoured and shaped forms of sandstone weathered by the ages, and producing the most incredible features. Almost everyobody we met stopped off to have their picture taken with one of them as a backdrop.
At this time of year finding the Froggatt Edge stone circle isn’t easy. It’s well hidden in the tall ferns, so we were lucky that I remembered the location from a previous visit. I hurried ahead to locate the path and take some pictures before the sun dipped down too far for a good photo. Only the tip fo the tallest stone was visible from the path.
A little hop back in time for this one. It’s out of sequence, but it shows that the preparations undertaken before a Festival date like Lammas are done well in advance, and often with a certain amount of “unknowingness”, at what psychologists might call a subconscious level. I prefer to call this the natural unfoldment of The Path, like the descent of a hill might lead naturally to a stream at the bottom.
Here, then, is my account of some preparation work done before Lammas this year at Mitchell’s Fold stone circle in Shropshire. Having now gone through the Lammas work I can see how useful the preparation was! Hindsight, eh?
An Unusual Approach
I rode to the circle on my motorbike as the weather was still fine. We were having a long spell of dryness that was encouraging me to go further and out more often than usual. The track to the circle was fun on a bike! I left my things at the King Stone outlier and then took some photographs.
I used dowsing rods to determine the correct approach to the circle. Unusually, it was from the East – a direction I’ve never come to the circle from before. Was this a signal that something different might be about to happen here?
Yet another stone circle – Tregeseal - was crammed in before we made our way north to Tintagel. We were both eagerly waiting to get to Tintagel, believing that it would be a very suitable site for learning about our respective quests. So, it was with mixed emotions that we drove up the rutted narrow track to the top of the hill to the north-east of the village of Tregeseal. Excitement at the prospect of a new circle, trepidation about the state of the circle and whether it would be worth the diversion. The circle had better be worth the delay and the threatening weather!
As it turned out, it was delightful, and judging by the gift of bright yellow flowers in the centre of the main circle (there are remnants of others nearby) then it was a circle that was visited often too. After taking some photos I began to think about what it was I wanted to learn at this circle. As I stood overlooking the site I felt a presence I had felt many times before – it was Merlin. My old friend and mentor. Hadn’t felt him in ages. What advice was he offering me this time?
- I should be asking about the Arthurian Cross.
- This was a suitable place to discover such information.
Well, I had been finding Arthurian energies at Glastonbury Abbey recently, so that tied in. “Follow me!” said Merlin and moved into the circle. I followed, dowsing to see where he had gone. Because he was invisible, a figment of my fevered imagination, and only my swinging two metal rods around in a random fashion could hope to locate such a being.
The circle was nestled in the lee of some imposing stones on the adjacent hill, which offered a beautiful and intriguing backdrop to the site. Kal set off dowsing the circle, and I went about my dowsing business too. It was time to find Merlin, and then to see what it was he was trying to tell me about the Arthurian Cross – a collection of psychological archetypes, symbols, and stations that, as a concept, was becoming ever more complex by the week! Would Merlin be able to straighten it out for me? The rods found him, standing by one of the stones in the eastern side of the circle.
Still the first day of our Summer Solstice outing in Cornwall. Dragging on a bit, isn’t it? Well, there are a lot of places to see in that area, and we had all day to see them in. Long warm days full of sunshine make us go a little bit crazy. However, this was our last site for this first day, and it would turn out to be the one that had the biggest impact on me personally because I would be taught a very strong lesson about attachment.
Death and the Maidens
Finding the Merry Maidens stone circle should have been easy. Kal had been there a few times before, and he told me “you can see it from the road“. Well, we scoured the road, passing by sights which Kal recognised and then we got into that grey area of “…and it’s somewhere around here.” Next thing you know Kal was putting the anchors on, “We’ve definitely gone past it.” We had been approaching from the Penzance end through Newlyn on the B3315, but if the site is approached from the other side, then it’s much easier to find. Soon we were parked up in a layby next to an information board, and then over the stile and up the slight hill through a green meadow towards the visible stones on the top of the slope.
As I parked myself by the outlying “heel” stone Kal zoomed off towards a stone which was seemingly embedded into the nearby hedgerow. I waited for a while and then couldn’t resist going over there too after he wandered off elsewhere. Something was inviting me to take a look, and the dowsing rods confirmed that the spot had some form of energy. But what? I peered into a circle of flattened grass – there was the corpse of a dead rabbit! It looked like a natural predatory death, but everything like this raises suspicions of peculiar rituals when they are close to stone circles.
We started our Cornwall adventure on a sunny Summer Solstice morning by visiting the last stone circle of these Albion islands – Boscawen Un. Having just come from Glastonbury where I had been given the task of engineering a meeting with a faery I was eager to find out whether the next few sites would reveal any more information about this new quest. Bodmin Moor had then supplemented this concept – I found out that I could use water as a means of moving between this reality and The Otherworld. That was very promising too.
As we walked down the long secluded path towards Boscawen Un stone circle the air was humid and pungent with the aroma of foliage and flora bursting into full bloom and throbbing with chlorophyllic life.
At this time of year the path to the circle was lined with a stunning procession of colourful wild flowers – foxglove, cow parsley, sorrel and many others that I couldn’t name. In fact, I began buying books to help identify flowers and I am making it my mission this year to learn the names of as many as I can. This time of year is perfect for starting such an education, and Cornwall was my inspiration.
As a druid The Summer Solstice is an important time. For me, this importance derives wholly from the energetic aspects of this date, and has very little to do with its symbolic or cultural context. In previous years I have paid little attention to the Solstice event, preferring to take myself away to Glastonbury in an attempt to find some level of spiritual connection simply by being in this place at this time. However, this year the Solstice has a powerful energetic significance – it will be the fullest empowerment of the Sun, and also a Full Moon (Hay Moon).
In preparation for the Solstice weekend I reviewed the task I had been set between Beltane and now – to be able to create a Perfect Shield of energy. Yes, I could do that. It took a strong will, and focused intent, but in Thor’s Cave I had demonstrated to myself that it could be done. Was there anything else I could do in preparation? I decided to get Kal to come out with me to some sacred sites to check. He suggested Derbyshire, and so we went to some old favourites – Nine Ladies and Doll Tor.
The Stanton Circus Comes To Town
It’s not unusual to see people around the Nine Ladies stone circle. Around this time of the year, though, preparations are underway for an informal gathering of like-minded revellers and … well… let’s just say “pagans”. So we didn’t have the area to ourselves this evening, we were sharing it with a practising witch and a visiting couple with Midlands accents.
Nevertheless, one thing I have learned to do recently is to use the Sword of Will to really focus my intent upon my own work. Initially, however, I bimbled around taking photos, feeling the energies (nice) and speaking to various trees (loon). Today I was attracted to a bifurcating birch so I perched myself there and made it my base camp. No tent required!
When I felt ready I set my goal: to be taken to something that would prepare me for the Solstice.
In early June Kal and I visited The Druid’s Circle at Penmaenmawr near Conwy. We arrived there in time for sunset, and the western skies filled out with ever-deepening shades of red until the whole sky turned inky-blue as the sun retreated beneath the sea. Before the light around us completely faded I had some work to do. I was here to try to find out more about my spirit guide who was relatively new to me. My previous guide Theodora had been unfathomable, but honestly I had stopped trying to know more at the first hurdle, not wanting to upset her. Now I had Ash, and he seemed more amenable, so I felt it was incumbent upon me to make the effort to forge a strong relationship that could be mutually beneficial.
With that in mind I made my way towards the stone circle’s long teeth and stood poised at the edges while I worked out what I needed to do next. I needed somewhere to “be”, so I used the dowsing rods to find me a suitable location to make the connection. Surprisingly they led me not to my usual stone, but to one of the larger stones next to it. I hadn’t worked at this stone specifically before. I had worked at those on either side of it, but not this one. I stood in the lee of the stone, against the flat of its back. The stone was almost my height at its peak, and I’m tall.
It was time to get to know this guide of mine. I was eager to know whether the tarot reading I had done fitted with how he revealed himself through this spiritual connection, rather than through divination. What was he here for? What could we learn from each other? Time to find out.