Posts Tagged ‘summer solstice’
My quest for the previous part of the Wheel of the Year (Solstice to Lammas) was to open my Third Eye. This was quite a hefty challenge, I felt, and Kal had said to me several times (with blowing of cheeks, and shrugging of shoulders) that it would be a lot to attempt in the few weeks between “spokes” of The Wheel. So it turned out to be. The Third Eye opening quest turns out to be something that I need to work on for the whole of the remainder of the year. It’s a “half year” quest that will take me up to Yule.
The quest began to take full effect in July. I felt that July was a “good time” to try opening my Third Eye. I took this process to mean that I would be attempting to find ways to enhance my spirituality, to increase my psychic awareness, divinatory capabilities, and to enhance my visions. As I ventured into the month of July the first thing I noticed was this news article about the increase in solar activity forecasted for the month of July:-
“Electromagnetic activity from the sun affects our electronic devices and human electromagnetic field. We are physically, mentally, and emotionally altered by electromagnetic charges from the sun, our body can feel sleepy but also become highly energized.
Psychological effects of CMEs (coronal mass ejections) are typically short lived and include headache, palpitations, mood swings, and feeling generally unwell. Chaotic or confused thinking, and erratic behaviors also increase. Solar storms can drive our emotions and maximize it to both good and bad side – the point here is to be aware of it.
The pineal gland in our brain is also affected by the electromagnetic activity which causes the gland to produce excess melatonin, a hormone which can cause sleepiness but it’s also known that some people have opposite side effects, usually those that are aware of the effects.” (source: thewatchers.adorraeli.com)
Now, I know a thing or two about the pineal gland. Our old friend Dr Serena Roney-Dougal gives a good account of the pineal gland in her book “Where Science and Magic Meet“. If there was a time in the year when I could benefit from increased pineal gland activity then it would seem that it would be when the sun was particularly active too. And that was July (and into August, it turned out). The coincidence seemed … fortuitous at least, pre-ordained at best.
I began to think about what things would help me enhance my third-eye opening. I had already discovered a number of techniques that I think would enhance such work:-
- Chanting the “i” vowel sound to tune and open the third-eye chakra point
- Facing a source of light (sunlight) with your eyes closed but looking at the point where the Third Eye is located
- Imagining a spiralling bridge connection to whatever the focus is (the Open Portal technique)
In practise, here are the things I have found that are useful specifically to promote the activity of remote viewing, which is an activity that I have concentrated on most as a means to open the Third Eye:-
- Being in a altered state of consciousness, grounding and centering
- Having either strong sun or full moon energy available
- Transferring my vision into an imaginary hawk that is flying over the place that I want to remotely view
Here are some examples of how my third-eye powers have been increasing whilst using these techniques:-
- Seeing the aura of a gnome, and of the Spirit of Place at Penmaenmawr
- Sensing the location of spirit forms even when i can’t see them visually – Moel Ty Uchaf’s spirit of place, and the dog spirit in Sherwood Forest (via sense of smell)
- Getting stronger and clearer visualisations, and being able to see the location of the object being shown to me via an energy bridge/connection path or as an aerial view of a hawk
Third-Eye Quest Tarot Reading
As I often do when I am at a major decision point, or facing a quest that needs the kind of enquiry that cannot be reduced to a simple binary “Yes” or “No” answer, I turned to the tarot cards to explain some aspects of the quest I was facing. Here are the cards that I drew in response to specific questions held in mind as I drew:-
- WHAT DO I NEED TO TAKE INTO THE PROCESS? – The Great Bear (Arthur – leadership, power of the land)
- WHAT DO I NEED TO CHANGE? – 6 of Vessels (Reunion) and Page of Stones (Lynx)
- WHAT WILL HELP ME MAKE THE CHANGE? - 4 of Bows (Celebration), 8 of Stones (Skill), 2 of Stones (Challenge)
- WHAT WILL THE OUTCOME BE? – Ace of Arrows (Breath of Life), Queen of Vessels (Salmon)
Some recurring cards there, as previous draws recorded on this blog will attest. From this reading I drew several important pieces of information:-
- I need to go somewhere where I can connect to the land in order to begin this process – somewhere connected to King Arthur.
- 6 of Vessels is talking about re-uniting with old memories and resolving them. Like Kal has done – to go into the past to absolve an old memory of energy.
- Something physical at a mound is suggested,
- I will overcome a challenge using skill at a time of celebration (or the effects of celebration – joy -will be the key to unlocking the ability).
- Wisdom and the Breath of Life are the rewards of opening the Third Eye
Armed with this useful information I felt empowered to take the quest further when it came to the Lammas Festival date – August 1st. In my forthcoming post about that you will see how the tarot card interpretations fitted into that day’s places and events.
Finally I get around to the Summer Solstice post! This year I spent Summer Solstice on June 22nd, and I spent it in the heart of Wiltshire on a tour round my favourite megalithic sites with Kal in tow. As we arrived we found that the remnants of the solstice celebrants were camped all around the sacred hills and places. In many ways my heart yearned to be with them – to live their nomadic life, to live so close to the places I loved and to move with the seasons and the celebrations. Yet, I have walk a different path and I have come to accept this. I live a balance between ordinary and extra-ordinary events, between the so-called mundane and the esoteric. “Balance in all things” – the hedge druid motto.
The day was being reported by the weather-predictors as being a downpour and a washout. We had driven through almost continual rain to get here, but when we arrived the weather seemed to be better than further north, and so we counted ourselves lucky. As we passed through the market town of Marlborough Kal finally asked where we were going. My reply was simple – “I don’t know. We’ll have to see what happens.” And so the tightly-packed mystery and potential of the solstice day began to unfold.
1) The Sanctuary
Our first stop was the remains of the stone circle known as The Sanctuary. Even though I have been to this part of the land many many times, and so has Kal, we have rarely been here together. However, it came as a surprise to me that Kal had never been to The Sanctuary yet, so when the impulse overcame me I stopped and we got out to have a look. Kal was hugely underwhelmed by the spectacle of some concrete markers on a vague circle. I knew what to expect, though, having been here a couple of times before.
Of course there’s nothing to see, but we still took the opportunity to FEEL for what was there. I felt that I should walk into the set of concentric circles via a particular path, and I decided to try and feel that path rather than dowse it. I would use the dowsing rods to confirm the final position when I got there. Minutes later of wandering in and out of the concentric circles, each time getting deeper towards the centre, I found a spot that appealed to me. When I dowsed to see whether this was where I should be – it was. I didn’t ask about the energies – male/female, strength, or anything else. This was just the place I needed to sit in. And it was raining. So whatever was about to happen should just get on with it. I put my hood up on my waterproof coat, and Kal did the same. Lucky I brought a spare, eh? Every time.
It was now really raining very hard. Even the hardcore crusties who had popped in to admire the remains of a once-powerful place didn’t stay around long in the wet. Luckily we were equipped for all seasons and weathers. We hunkered down against the summer storm. In many ways these kinds of weather conditions favour getting into a quick trance, and sure enough I quickly found myself emptying my head of the day-to-day junk thoughts.
As my energies re-balanced themselves to their new surroundings everything went calm inside. I knew this was the time to ask a purposeful question. “Please show me something that will further my spiritual quest.” I pleaded. There was a moment’s deliberation, and then a vision emerged in the dark stillness….
…It was me, sitting where I was, but I was seeing myself from above. Then a trackway, a path of electric green lines thrust across the landscape like two bolts of lightning and made their way over the hill nearby towards Avebury. In my mind I followed the lines as they arrived in the Avebury stone circle. They stopped at a stone that was shaped like a lion’s head. Here the vision zoomed into the stone and showed me a hole. I couldn’t gauge where the hole was on the stone because the image was just too fast, and I was barely picking up the plot line, never mind the intricate dialogue and the nuances of the word-play, so to speak! Then I knew something gnostically – in the hole I would find something that would guide me on my quest.
Oh blimey! We’re so far behind with our posts. Here’s one from the early part of June that I’ve just got around to. It’s the second part of the story of our Wales visit during the Venus Transit early in the month. I think I put “Mid June” at the start of the last post, but actually it was early June. Wishful thinking! I’m determined not to fall further than a month behind with these posts. We’ve got so much to tell you still! Onwards!
In this post I will tell you about some dowsed history of Dinas Emrys, and then another experiment we did with sound and chakra points. The scene starts with curtain up on a wide valley steeped in wisps of flowing mist like the breath 0f a Welsh green dragon filling the world with its presence.
Breath of the Dragon
As we turned the corner and passed over the crest of the A498 heading towards Beddgelert were were greeted by a sight that literally made us gasp in astonishment and wonder. The sweeping panorama of the lake and valley of Nantgwynant is stunning on any day of the year, but today there were wisps of cloud hanging on to the sides of the mountains that made the whole scene magical. Snowdon had never looked more mysterious, and broad smiles were pasted to our faces for the rest of the journey into the valley below.
Parking in one fo the handy lay-bys at the side of the road we got our wet-weather gear ready, despite the humidity. It was definitely going to rain. It had been raining all morning everywhere around us on the journey in. All surfaces were wet and slippery. I put my sturdy boots on. Kal went in trainers. He surely had to expect wet feet again?
We climbed over the iron gate, got to the path, and climbed up past the static caravans up the less steep side of the hill to the first plateau. Once reached I reminded Kal that this was the place where the mythological red and white dragons had their battle as Merlin and King Vortigern watched. Kal ignored this wonderful piece of information and reminded me that his vertigo had gone. I’m sure he misheard me!
There is a curious spirality to the path we wander when we follow the Flow of the Universe. As many observant and wise people have pointed out Creation seems to be based upon the spiral, so it should come as no surprise to followers of this path when subjects come cycling around to meet them again and again. As Kal has described on several occasions, each turn of the spiral ought to be a little higher, and therefore when the spiral comes around again one finds that one is meeting it at a different level. Such was the case with my task described to me as “See like the Hawk of May“.
Here are the related posts:-
When I sat in Alderley Edge forest I asked my teacher and guiding spirit whether there was anything else I needed to work on for the coming weeks until Midsummer’s Day. I thought that I might have done enough by all the work that I had done in Ireland to recover my ancestor energies. It would seem that there’s always something else to learn, and I was offered another skill improvement task should I wish to take it on.
I got the message that I needed to “See like the hawk!“. I thought this seemed rather familiar and even chimed with recent work I had done with the spirit of Bran. My initial interpretation was that this could mean that I should practise remote viewing, and this was reinforced by subsequent images of Dinas Bran and seeing through the eyes of Bran. Seemed logical. When I tried to call a hawk in the forest later that day it should have been a sign that I heeded when none appeared to answer my call.
A few days after I had the urge to connect with Gwalchmai. When I considered this call I realised that it was the last week of May. As Gwalchmai is The Hawk of May then the call began to make more sense – was there something I needed to learn from the hawk spirit? Maybe the Bran imagery had been conjured up by my own mind in response to the request to see like a hawk and my initial thoughts of remote viewing?
I biked out to the place that I knew I had connected with Gwalchmai before. The afternoon was stiflingly hot. Even in my new lighter bike jacket and jeans the sweat leaked from me and I gave thanks that the long walk to the power centre that I used to connect with Gwalchmai was shaded all the way. A little oak tree marked the place and I sat ready to meditate. When I was still I felt a connection but no information was forthcoming at that moment. I stated my request to know more about seeing like a hawk and then I lit some incense in celebration.
I rose and walked back along the shaded path. As I was high up on a ridge of sandstone rock I caught occasional glimpses of the fields below through the trees. When possible I began to look at the distant fields and a revelation came to me in snatches, like the patchwork quilt of farmed fields below:
- Seeing like a hawk meant changing my perception
- The hawk climbed up on high to get a good aerial view
- From a lofty position he was looking for the tracks left by passing animals which shone like silver in contrast to their backgrounds.
- Because his prey travelled by the trails he could use the tracks to follow the food to its home. The more trails converged the more likely the prey was congregating at the end point.
I could see how this related to energy. I needed to learn to spot the silvery trails of energy from on high, from a vantage point. When trails converged so the place would be a special place with strong energies. This sounded much more in keeping with a quest that I should be following to learn a new skill.
I thanked Gwalchmai for the revelation and burned the rest of the sandalwood incense to clear my presence. Seems like I had another skill to learn before the Midsummer Solstice. Would I get a chance to practise this before then?
You may have noticed the lack of podcasts this year on Hedge Druid? There’s a reason for that. In the first half of the year the reason could be put down to a mounting pressure of “work”. Mostly this was spiritual work, and with all the good weather we have had in England this year then the Great Outdoors claimed a large part of my time, and this was reflected in the amount of time-consuming podcast work that I could do. Right, that’s my pathetic excuse out of the way. Now, what about the recent months? I did intend to re-establish the podcast once the weather got worse. It has worsened, but still I don’t feel inclined to get back into the studio to record and edit an hour’s worth of audio. Why not? I think there’s a deeper and wider reason.
I have been noticing that other pagan blogs have also begun to falter in their regularity and their commitment. Could it be that we all expanded too quickly, and pushed ourselves too hard to produce content? Possibly, but I think the real reason is due to a difficulty in maintaining momentum when this year has been out of synchronisation with itself. Let me explain.
The Moon, The Sun and The Earth sources
Last year our blogs flourished. Mostly these are blogs that are talking about magickal work, mystical happenings and spiritual progress. What general effect has happened that could account for the difference between last year’s ease and this year’s difficulty? Simple. It is the synchronisation of the phase of the Moon with the Celtic Festival dates. Last year the high points in the solar cycle were matched by high points in the lunar cycle. In other words, at the major lunar festival dates the Moon was also usually in its Full Moon phase.
The Celtic Wheel of the Year is a cycle that records the high points of the year’s energies. It tells the pagan watcher when the Earth itself is producing the most energy in its co-operative cycle with The Sun. In my experience, and I speak only for myself here, I do not use The Sun as my primary magickal power source. For me it is The Moon. Last year was therefore a “bumper year” in terms of the number of coincidences between the Solar and Lunar high points. Magick was abundant and easy. Motivation was plentiful, and so a great deal of work flowed, and many posts got produced. Blogs flourished that dealt with these subjects.
This year the story has been completely reversed, and how dispiriting must that have been to many of our pagan friends whose magickal sources are Moon-dependent? This year the Full Moon phases NEVER coincide with any of the Solar Festival dates in the Celtic Year. Only Spring Equinox came close. The result of this, goes my tenuous hypothesis, is that motivation has taken a battering. Magickal people must have found themselves either doing Sun OR Moon work, but never being able to being the two together.
Talk about a quest! In a previous post I told of how I had to incorporate healing my diabetic condtion as part of the “strength of arm” blue key on my knights quest.
And then last weekend I was out at the KnightsHeys national trust site having made a potetial list of ways and means of healing trying to figure out what and which would help me towards achieving this key.
I came back with a good set of answers and had spent a couple of days refining them into a program of change. With this program already in action I set off for Glastonbury on the summer solstice of 2011.
A curious note. I was waiting for news of a contract extension at work, having predicted that I would get one in this post here. After waiting all day and an extra hour to boot for this news, I found myself frustrated at not having the answer on the Solstice day. Finally I left my work place vowing to the my manager that I had the extension, and to just sort out the details. He was non-plussed of course. But the signs are the signs, right?
This post is the second half of a post I did after the Summer Solstice. My purpose was to record the eight points in the year because at each of these artificial stages which were roughly aligned to the Celtic or Neo-Pagan calendar I would be seeking a task by communing with Nature. The task would be a guiding principle that I could use in order to develop spiritually along my chosen path of being a hedge druid.
You can read about the first four “folds” of the year in my previous post, here. However, I will briefly recap the first four, before going on to describe the final four:-
- Yule to Imbolc – to be still, and to cleanse myself in preparation for the unfolding year. Accordingly I did nothing at all!
- Imbolc to Spring Equinox – to awaken the energies of sacred sites; to contact spirits of place and prepare myself and sacred sites for the work ahead. I spent time communing with Spirits of Place and walking circles to awaken them.
- Spring Equinox to Beltane – to connect to the earth’s energy grid; understand the nature of Neutral earth energy forms and to extract and utilise Neutral energy. I began to link to various sites, and connected myself to the earth grid. I investigated neutral energy and found something that I later called Primal Energy.
- Beltane to Summer Solstice- to learn how to diffract, dissociate and extract the different frequencies that my energy field can generate. Then to learn how to bring those frequencies together again to form a pure white energy form. I learned how to extract a single energy colour from my whole field, and how to combine them all into a white light energy.
All of this work seemed like a preparation for something. Little did I know! Now I present the final four folds of the year, and their increasingly complex task assignments:-
SUMMER SOLSTICE to LAMMAS
The Summer Solstice is the easiest point in the year for us to define. Being sun-based this day is fixed upon the rise of the sun on the longest day of the year. As has become our custom this year would see Kal and I in Glastonbury for the Solstice, working on our heart chakra and finding out what the next part of the year was about.
- To wake The Dragon and let it fly.
I firstly had to ensure that my heart chakra was well balanced and filled with the energies of the sun and the solstice. With the sun at its peak the perfect place to be for the Solstice always seems to be Glastonbury with its reputation for being the heart chakra of these islands, and Glastonbury Tor has a reputation within that reputation for being the heart of the Glastonbury. Well, yet again, we were not disappointed, either with the copious amounts of heart energy available in this town, or with the wonderful energies of this time of the year.
My task to waking the dragon would take me eventually to Cadair Idris where I would walk along the back of the dragon to its head. There I did a walking meditation, collecting dragon’s teeth and using them to act as acupuncture points to release the spirit of the dragon. All this was done surrounded by the dragon’s breath – the mist.
Since doing that act I have been able to feel energy much better than before. My dowsing response is also much stronger, and I often don’t need the rods to feel auras or to follow energy lines. I have also taken on a new appreciation for the power of the mountains.
LAMMAS to AUTUMN EQUINOX
As the summer ripens the crops so the year’s quest began to get more juicy. Rather than receiving some kind of prophetic vision instead I was given three little words, and from that phrase I had to extrapolate my own tasks. This was beginning to make me more independent.
- To make magic manifest
- To bring magic into daily use
I began to find meditation spaces in nature that I could retire to in order to do more work regularly. This worked while the weather stayed good and I got out often and did an almost daily meditation in nature. I began to work with my navel chakra and learned how to draw out invisible threads of energy that could be used to perform magic with. I incorporated several methods of connecting and drawing energy from nature to form energetic shapes around me for different purposes.
At the end of this phase of the year I was much more familiar with, and happy to use, natural magick on a daily basis. It had become a part of my routine and was now woven into the fabric of what I was trying to do to progress. Incense and crystals were valuable tools in this work, and I was using them often.
AUTUMN EQUINOX to SAMHAIN
As the leaves turned brown and fell I found myself enveloped in a long-term quest to re-energise particular sacred sites. The first one was local to me, but the second was in the town of Llangollen in North Wales. I found myself going to the hill of Dinas Bran a few times at all hours of the day and night after I received a curious riddle concerning Merlin.
- To journey into the Underworld and wake the Spirit of Merlin from his sleep
The instruction was accompanied by a riddle that gave me directions to follow in order to fulfil the quest to meet the spirit of Merlin. This quest involved the preparation of a wand of rowan, the location of a special stone church surrounded by ancient yew trees, and a deep meditation into the Underworld. This journey required me to learn new skills such as how to protect my energy body and make myself invisible to shades.
When the quest was completed I had new stronger keener abilities, and I had performed a sort of alchemical wedding by combining within myself the forces of male and female energy.
SAMHAIN to WINTER SOLSTICE
A time of the year associated with the veil between worlds, with death and the Underworld, with spirits and ghosts. It came as little surprise then that my new quest would be revealed at the tree most symbolic of this threshold – the yew.
So many of this year’s quests have involved the ancient yew tree at Llangernyw that I have lost count. It seems to be our natural starting point because of its incredible energies, and its association with the concept of shamanic journeying. It is truly a gateway between worlds. The Samhain quest began with the tree too. As with many of the quests it sounded simple, but was actually the most complex and dangerous yet.
- To free spirits.
Such a simple statement, but when unpacked, so complex to deliver. For this task I have had to do a lot of background reading about the concept of spirit rescue or release.
I have also had to confront a great deal of my own inner philosophical prejudices concerning the way that the world is constructed, and what it means to venture beyond the veil of death. This feels like a natural extension of my journey into the Underworld, which at the time I took to be a metaphorical journey until the seriousness was impressed upon me. It was a real journey, and failure to prepare could result in actual physical repercussions.
This quest also has a serious side. Whilst I am tasked with learning new skills, and understand that performing spirit rescue is a question of choice, nevertheless there could and no doubt will be some hairy and scary moments along this path, for which I have to prepare properly.
The first half of the year was concerned with me locking myself into the rhythm of the seasons. It involved tasks that were mainly preparatory – at the start of the year I was idle, resting, recuperating my energy levels and winding myself up to race headlong at the year. Then I was gently re-introduced to the energies of the land as they returned, and was given the task to co-operate in the re-introduction of energy back into the sacred sites that I love.
The turning point was the Summer Solstice. From then on the quests became very personal and very challenging. They began to involve me having to learn new skills. The quests sometimes included riddles for me to solve, clues to information that would help me to achieve the results. I worked hard to embrace each new quest, and tried my utmost to meet the requirements in the timescales laid out by the passing of the year. I was rewarded at each stage with new powers, new skills and new insights into the world of Natural Magick, subtle energies, and the world beyond the senses.
I know that each of the quests that I undertook was but an introduction to the breadth and depth of the skills that a hedge druid could be required to master. I now look forward to repeating this process next year, and once I have a second year to compare this year to, I will look to see whether there are any obvious correspondences and patterns which will allow me to be even better prepared in the following years.
The Wheel of the Year has rolled forward and I have moved with it. Now I feel the wind rushing through my hair and it is exhilarating!
Related post: My Eight Fold Year – the first four folds