Posts Tagged ‘stone circle’
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.
In England one cannot fail to take advantage of sunny days. They are as scarce as hen’s teeth. So it was, on a Hen’s Tooth Day, Kal and I agreed to meet up to explore some places in Staffordshire that had been recommended to us. I had already been to Thor’s Cave myself, but the stone circle called Nine Pins was new to both of us, which is always an exciting prospect.
We drove past the Abbey Inn at Abbey Green village near Leek. Something tugged at me in a familiar way. I ignored it because I was “following a map”, however ten minutes later I was back at the pub parking in their car park. When will I learn to follow my intuition? Not only was the parking easier than the narrow hill road, but actually it turned out that the pub was the best place to walk to the circle from anyway. The helpful landlord of the pub directed us to the footpath to start us on our way. We would meet him again later when we sampled his excellent local ales.
On the way up the hill behind the pub you’ll pass the site dedicated to the memory of “Tony Squires“. This is a combination of a bench with a breath-taking view and a quaint fence whose posts are carved with Tony’s memorial details. A wonderful tribute.
His shade is hanging around on the bench. Maybe it’s admiring the view? Or maybe it’s pinned there by the intention of his family? I imagine that shades see our world like the landscape in the film Constantine:
On this occasion we left the shade to remain where he was. He wasn’t creating any energetic imbalance. On to the circle…
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.
In this second part of the Spring Equinox tale I begin with a bit of a soap-box moment, but quickly move on to talk about my favourite stone circle, and finally introduce a new sacred site. Let the wordage begin!
I begin this post with a bellyache. I’m going to get riled, spill bile, make a pile of fuss. Possibly about nothing, but let’s get it out of the way first. I’ve been stewing on it for years, and I think it’s about time I got it “out” into the open.
It pains me the way modern farmers slash hedgerows!
To me this is akin to punching small children in the face. “Look,” you could say, “They’re bleeding now, but in a few weeks they’re back to normal.” Hardly the point, is it? Just because something heals doesn’t mean we should make them go through the initial trauma of being battered. Ask any victim of domestic violence. “Ah, but you’re alright now, yeah?”
I’m not saying that I’m an advocate of the Backster experiments on plant feelings. Instead, this is a respect issue. I was under the impression that part of the duty of care that farmers were supposed to adopt as custodians of the land could be employed in their treatment of the trimming of plant life. This “hack and slay” policy, done for expediency and efficiency, is not only damaging to the main trunk and branches of the plant, but it’s also a display of contempt for the hedgerow, and damned ugly to look at!
Phew – I’m done. It’s in print. but I’ll still die a little when I see such a close haircut. I urge anyone with influence over these things to try to find a better way. I keep putting my thinking cap on to come up with something. One day.
</ END RANT>
Moel Ty Uchaf Un-Spring-Like
As I climbed slowly up the steep road to the circle at the top of the hill there were several things that caught my eye. Firstly, there were the lambs bouncing around in the lower fields as though Spring had arrived. There was certainly spring in their legs, so perhaps they were just keeping themselves warm. Such a bad year to be born into a cold snap, I thought. A week later there would be reports of many sheep and lambs dying due to the snowfall in placed like Derbyshire and North Wales. Joy and sorrow are close companions.
In the clear blue sky day of Imbolc this year the sight of Skiddaw mountain was a breathtaking, awe-inspiring experience. The mountain formed the scenic backdrop for your next sacred site – a stone circle that we had never visited before. The circle is called Elva Plain stone circle near the village of Embleton just north and west of Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria.
You can’t see the circle from the road,nor can you spot it when walking up the muddy track to the farm that manages the fields around the circle. Some advice tells you to try to reach the stone circle via the farmyard. Maybe in Summer that would be feasible. In Winter after much rain I don’t recommend that. Kal and I struggled up the sides of the track trying to avoid the worst of the mud whilst wondering how a couple who had set off just before us had managed to get so far so quickly. It was heavy going! Only for the dedicated, this one.
Once we reached the top of the track – not much of a climb compared to many circles we visit – then you get a fine view of Skiddaw and the surroundings. The circle can be seen in a field behind the farm below. The easiest approach is from the hill behind the circle where you could get a good view of the approach, and decide for yourself whether you wanted to wade through the mud patches.