Posts Tagged ‘sun’

The Yew Tree starts the Year

The year has only just started and already I am way out of line with my posts and the dates upon which the action took place. I fear this year is going to be SO busy that we are going to have to start posting smaller and faster just to keep up. In this post I revisit the Llangernyw Yew tree that is the starting point for many of my previous years’ quests and adventures. This year was no exception. This episode occurred in late January, before Imbolc. Yes, we have all the Imbolc posts still to come! So much to tell you about already this year. On to this story.

It is a philosophical point as to whether the tree really communicates with the druid. Perhaps its still nature and deep-rootedness simply allow you to go deep within yourself and find a small reflection of your own wishes that are then brought out to serve as an inspiration for the elaboration that is to come? Certainly, that is often how it appears, yet there is always something that you never actually know yourself, something that you couldn’t have known, something that surprises you and this element is the unquestioning influence of the yew tree itself. It is for this reason that I visit the tree so often, and always at the start of the year. The yew tree starts the year, offering me its guidance on the theme of my work for the coming turn of The Wheel.

The massive Llangernyw Yew tree

Kal and I split up as usual, he going off to tour the graveyard briefly before settling into his own meditations around the tree, whilst I got straight to work beneath the mighty ancient yew. The weather was cold, but crisp and the sun was shining which made the day feel warmer than it should have been at that time of year. The yew tree would normally have been subdued by a biting frost and a layer of snow in January, but instead it felt ready to burst back into life as though Spring were upon us, even though Spring was still two full months away.

I settled into a meditation after dowsing for the best place to work from, and a direction to face – into the Sun, unusually. Little did I know that this would become a recurring theme for this year, as I will show in later posts. Within minutes I was deep inside the yew tree after setting up protection and doing my grounding and centring visualisations. They came easily, and the yew responded with a warm and deep hum like the clearing of an ancient throat at length. In humility I directed a question, a thought-idea at the yew and hoped for a response: “What is my direction for this year?” I asked. Deep quiet. Long silence. Then a stirring, and a word moving up from the depths of the roots into my consciousness: “Renown”. Just that one word!

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Marianne Williamson and Feminine alignment

I was at a talk recently given by Marianne Williamson, in her talk she often described various aspects of the Feminine. She related this to Earth quite effectively and I wondered whether there was any connection between this and female aligned people.

Currently I have learned the female aligned people are aligned with the moon. But it is one of them obvious questions that has never been asked directly. E.g. “Am I aligned to the moon?” Or rather is Gwas, since I am Sun aligned.

What we have kind of assumed is that since Male aligned people are also Sun aligned. So Female energy aligned people would be Moon aligned.

I did some dowsing at Avebury this weekend and came across some interesting results.

Here are the results:

  • Can people be Sun aligned? Yes
  • Can people be Moon aligned? Yes
  • Are people who are moon aligned also female aligned? Yes
  • Are people who are Male aligned also Sun aligned? Yes
  • Is it the same to say that Male alignment is the same as Sun alignment? Yes

That was a good and confirmatory start, right. Now take a look at this:

  • Can people be Earth aligned? Yes. Interesting.
  • So there are three alignment types of people? No.
  • Is there more than 3 then? No. Curious!
  • Are people that are male aligned also Earth aligned? No
  • Are people that are female aligned also Earth aligned? Yes.

Ah…Can it be said that being Earth aligned and Moon aligned is the same thing? I got the old half Yes answer, as if there was more. I pondered this for a while wondering what it could mean. Plus it wasn’t too fair that female aligned people got two astronomical connections! Then a thought from a far flung theory came to mind…

Are female aligned people aligned with the moon because it was once a part of the Earth? Yes.

Ah, a picture was forming. Are people aligned with the Sun or the Earth, but also the moon because it was once a part of the Earth? Yes. So, if the Moon wasn’t was a part of the Earth would female aligned people still be aligned with it? No.

A fabulous set of dowsing I thought.

Kal Malik pushing the boundaries

Note from Gwas:

I found it was with the Moon. Who says otherwise? Will check again tonight. Just because the Earth has been given a female “character” doesn’t mean ‘she’ attracts all female-aligned energies and people – that’s my opinion.

Absorbing Orion at Lud’s Church

This is the first of a three-part tale which was introduced in The Three Stars of Fertility. My Spring Equinox task has been to place myself at sacred sites that are currently reflecting the energies of three stars whose emanations will transform my energetic structure, change my aura, in such a way as to enable me to have the ability to promote the growth of plants. This is the first site visit, and as you might expect it was filled with wonderful coincidences and magickal happenings that convinced me that I was on the right path. This first episode takes place one early morning at Lud’s Church just on the edge of the Shropshire and Derbyshire border.

For some reason I had to get there early. I awoke unexpectedly early for me and had everything already packed and ready, so I began the drive into the Derbyshire hills above Macclesfield which were at least an hour away from home. I arrived and parked in the car park just outside of Gradbach village, on the way to the Scout Camp that is along the small road that follows the River Dane.

As I walked alone, enjoying the fresh sunlight and the sound of birds still making themselves heard in a variety of songs, I breathed in the air and drank in the beautiful countryside. Soon I had to ford the narrow Black Brook that crosses the path up to the rock formation that is Lud’s Church. At the foot of the long path up the hillside is a great beech tree to whom I have learned to pay my respects. I visited the tree and told him of my purpose, and asked if I might continue with his blessing. I felt that he was both intrigued as to what I might do, and delighted that I had bothered to ask permission. Maybe trees only reflect back what we wish to feel – who knows – but those were my feelings and they made the climb up the hill easier and I walked taller.

The guardian tree of Luds Church

The Cleansing

As has become my preference recently I next needed to find a space within which I could cleanse myself of my worldly energies – the kind of detritus that builds up around you as you shield yourself from wi-fi, radio, electrical waves of all frequencies and colours that stick to your energetic body like stains to a shirt. It is my experience that the ‘cleaner’ you enter a sacred site the more intense is your experience and the easier the communion or communication.

For this cleansing I went to sit atop the rocky outcrop that forms two small ravines at the top of the Dane Valley, and which gives an uninterrupted view over the whole valley towards Turn Edge. With the sun low and in my eyes it was easy to begin to enter a trance. I set up some magick-working crystals around me, lit some incense to scent the air and give thanks to the fire element, and then began to open my five principal chakras using my special vowel-based vocal technique.

Soon I felt the sun empowering me, filling me with its divine light as it streamed in through my energy body, and then I mentally cleansed myself and put up a light protective shield around me, which is now my regular practise whenever I enter any sacred site. The shield prevents unwanted or unhelpful energies from entering, but allows anything which is deemed to be of use to me. I am not the one who decides that, by the way. I leave such decisions to Nature herself. With the cleansing done I made my way slightly further up to Lud’s Church itself to see what awaited me.

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Spring Equinox 2011 Part 1 – The Serpent at Castlerigg

Castlerigg stone circle - [Megalithic] [Map]

Our Spring Equinox adventures began at the most beautiful stone circle in England – Castlerigg in Cumbria. As if that weren’t enough of a good start to the day we had a clear run to get there, and when we arrived the sun had cleared the sky to imbue the scene with such photographic potential that even a ham-fisted amateur photographer like myself could get a picture that was worthy of being a regular feature in any scenic calendar.

I didn’t know what Kal wanted to achieve this day, but my own personal agenda was the usual – to ask what my quest would be for the next eighth-part of the year. I wanted to know whether I had successfully completed the previous quest – to learn the sonic vocal qualities required to open my chakras – and then to know what my next quest would be. What would I need to learn next in order to progress on this spiritual path of druidry?

I remembered one or two things from our last year’s visit here – that the entrance for me was at the “back” or southern end of the circle, and that there was an in-built area which was specifically for cleansing myself of “ordinary world” energies. These two aspects were what I would concentrate on first.

Castlerigg at Spring Equinox

I walked around the edge of the stone circle’s aura, which I felt rather than dowsed. Today was an experiment in deviceless dowsing wherever possible – I wanted to feel rather than find the energies. At the unfashionable end of the circle I approached in reverent silence, head slightly bowed, and I felt for an answer to my question about whether I might be allowed to enter – I felt the familiar tug of acceptance. Off to a good start!

Inside the circle I walked straight to the Sanctuary enclosure – an array of stones laid out in a rectangle. There I positioned myself where it “felt best” and that happened to be on a small tuft of lush green circular grass - a power centre, clearly. I felt for the direction to face and it was West. I lit two sticks of incense (suitable for me) and admired their flavours. I turned West and asked to be cleansed of the world’s detritus energies – energies I may have accumulated form elsewhere, bad energies I may be carrying with me, foul energies I may have generated myself. After a few minutes Kal came over to chat and absent-mindedly I wandered off with him. “Have you finished?” he asked. “Could you check for me?” I asked, seeing as he had his rods handy. NO – not finished! I went back into the Sanctuary with a wry smile – it was worth a try, but this was one aspect of the energies that I wasn’t feeling – I had no idea when I had finished with the cleansing process.

Castlerigg at Spring Equinox - view of The Sanctuary

Luckily we pretty much had the circle to ourselves early on, but by the time I had emerged from the Sanctuary there were people milling around and observing our antics. I now moved to a place that I felt was my empowering power centre (as opposed to a cleansing one – two types: filling or emptying, draining or empowering, cleansing or energising – any of those diametric concepts will suffice). Again I felt I should face West and I brought my incense sticks with me. I also laid out the one set of crystals that I had brought with me from the car – my protection set, but this set also doubled up as the set that I used to align to significant stars to attune to their energies. You’ll see how this comes into play in a moment.

I placed the five stones around me in my usual protection configuration, with the pillar quartz stone pointing West – the direction that felt right. I set an intention of being guided successfully on my quest today, and for enough energy to get through what was likely to be a long and arduous day of physical, mental and spiritual effort. In my mind two spiralling strands of thick energy (they used to be thin, now they’re fatter – aren’t we all?) coursed up through my body to reach to the sun, moon and then back down into the earth’s core. I remarked to myself how much thicker these energy lines were than the last time I had performed this meditation. Progress? This went on for about five minutes until I brought the energies “to heel” and created a sphere of protective energy centred on myself. I was sparkling with effervescent “aliveness” and jumped up refreshed and smiling. All psychosomatic, of course. I felt I had created a protective shell that would see me through my work this day, and also recharged my batteries, as it were.

The ancient battle between Summer and Winter played out in the sky

Kal had been sitting directly opposite me in the circle, which we thought was notable given that this was Spring Equinox and the Sun and Moon were in exact opposition today. I also felt as though I had been facing West for a reason, so I asked the dowsing rods whether this stone circle was aligned to a particular constellation? YES. I then asked them to point to the constellation – they pointed West, in the direction I had been facing. Was the constellation visible now? YES. I used StarWalk to find some possibilities, but there was one obvious one staring me in the face – Serpens. Now, this opens up a whole facet of synchronicity. Let me explain.

The quartz pillar of my crystal layout had been focused on the constellation Serpens - the Serpent. As I did that my meditation has taken for the form of strong twin energies boosting my inner serpents – my twin coils of energy – my inner double helix. Not only that, but the constellation Hercules (Ophiuchus), the solar hero, is seen wrestling Antaeus (Serpens), the sea snake in the ancient depictions of the two neighbouring constellations. This is the old ritual of the Summer King battling with the Winter King (The Oak King and the Holly King) and on this Spring Equinox day they were in complete deadlock with the Oak King on the verge of achieving ascendancy. Interesting that this day my crystal layout was aligned to exactly that constellation, the very one which astrologically symbolised the Equinox point! Honestly, this stuff writes itself sometimes.

Castlerigg at Spring Equinox - layout


So there were three primary themes emerging from this work:-

  1. Forces in opposition creating energy – the astrological Hercules and Typhos, the equinoctal Sun and Moon, the druidical Kal and Gwas
  2. The double helix and the serpent energies, and their link to our human physiology – feeling empowered, cleansed, alive.
  3. The stone circle being aligned to a constellation that was suited to the time of the year. Does this mean that all stone circles change their star alignments over the course of the year?


Arbor Low – Sunshine and penance

I am writing this post because I lost a bet. When I last went out with Kal to Derbyshire a few weeks ago the clouds were thick and black. All the way there we had persistent rain threatening to make our day out a rather damp one. We didn’t have much time and I only had tow things on the agenda – to take more accurate bearings at Arbor Low in preparation for my book research, and then to visit a cave near to Buxton to practise my chakra awakening using sound. As we approached Buxton it seemed like my second choice was looking like the best one – being in a cave seemed like the most sensible choice.

It was at that point that Kal made his bet – he bet me that he would be able to make the sun appear as he usually did, and that we would therefore NOT get wet at Arbor Low. Not get wet at Arbor Low? Today? With these dark clouds all around? And with Arbor Low’s reputation for wind, cold and rain? I took the bet. I said that if he managed to make good on his promise of sun I would write a post as penance, explaining how I should believe him, not doubt his faith, etc etc. Yeah, yeah. I took the bet.

As we got out of the car I was chuckling to myself – it was still raining and I advised Kal to take one of my spare waterproof coats. “No need” he explained, “I’ll be fine – the sun will come out soon and I won’t need it.” Unbelievable! The sky was dark slate grey with not a hint of the sun making an appearance for the whole day in any direction. We walked up to the large embanked circle and I began to take readings in the rain and freezing cold wind. It was not a nice experience and I may have hurried the measurements a little in order to get the exercise over with, and this may necessitate me going back again when the weather’s a little warmer. Hey – I’m human!

Johann Bode's depiction of the Phoenix constellation

I took some other measurements too – like finding out that the stone circle was built aligned to the star that Andis Kaulins had said it was – Altair in the Aquila constellation. I also got agreement from the dowsing rods that each stone was in itself a star map. This was very interesting, but it wasn’t making the experience any warmer of less wet. I dowsed for the current star alignment to see if it had changed. Using StarWalk on my iPhone I identified that the current star that Arbor Low is aligned to is … Ankaa, in the Phoenix constellation. Ankaa means Boat in Arabic. That was it – my hands were freezing – I had to stop now.

Kal was doing his own research with the stone circle, but when I called him over to mention this interesting information he reminded me that his book cover (see Active Enlightenment) is also a phoenix. Then, just as we were discussing that coincidence another one happened. Through the thick grey clouds the sun somehow managed to cut a hole and shine down upon us. It was like something out of a dream.. I couldn’t believe it was happening. Kal just smirked and said, “The sun, at a sun site, with a sun person…like a phoenix!”

The impossible sun

Just look at that picture! How…? Kal had won his bet. I knew that I would have to write this post, and that I would have to tell the whole Hedge Druid-reading public that yet again Kal’s faith in the miraculous powers of the sun are undeniable, and I should never doubt them. That is my penance done now.


Tyfos – The Battle of Sun and Moon

On our Llangollen day out the furthest point away from home was close to one of our favourite circles, Moel-Ty-Uchaf, but this day we were not going to climb up the incredibly steep track to that circle. This day we were parking mere feet away from the entrance to the circle called Tyfos.

The Legend and Symbolism of Typhon/Tyfos

The stone circle is named after one of the many names for the god Typhon- the great snake of Greek mythology that Hercules is destined to wrestle into submission. We see here the replaying of the battle between the God of the Sun (Hercules – the ultimate solar hero) and the God of the Moon (Typhon – the ultimate lunar god).

On the subject of Typhon being associated with the lunar aspects – the professor of astronomy Gerald Hawkins recognised that the 56 holes that Aubrey had identified around Stonehenge represented a method of plotting the lunar cycles over long periods of time:

“Hawkins argued that the Aubrey Holes were used to keep track of this long time period and could accurately predict the recurrence of a lunar eclipse on the same azimuth, that which aligned with the Heel Stone, every 56 years.

On astronomical symbolism several analysts from Gerald Hawkins to Anthony Johnson (ref. 3 ; pages 259-260) have noted that Plutarch ( in the Moralia, V) reported that Typhon / Seth in Egyptian and Greek myth was identified as the shadow of the Earth which covers the Moon during lunar eclipses. Plutarch further records that the Pythagoreans symbolically associated Typhon with a polygon of 56 sides. The connection of 56 to lunar eclipses is explicit.” (source: Wikipedia and Stonehenge Decoded)

What could Tyfos be a symbol of? The snake image seemed to hint at the earth energies, always described as serpents, later to become demonised by western cultures such as the Romans or Greeks and then on through the advent of Christianity. Also, we find that Typhos is a giant too. Again, the connection between the supposed construction of some of these megalithic sites by giants, or by people of ‘great stature’, if we can put it that way.

How can we therefore reconcile this mythological information with the information that we gained when we were there? One of the first things I did when I got on site was to check the astrological alignment of the circle. It was not aligned to any star except our own – The Sun. The site was solar-aligned and filled with solar energy. The only power centres that we found were three joined male centres – sun-aligned energy forms. If Tyfos was a lunar god, why was the site now solar aligned? One theory could be that the site was transformed. or re-aligned, maybe even rebuilt to reflect the “new” god of the Sun – to wrestle the power from the older Moon god. Pure speculation – I don’t have any evidence for this. Only archaeology or archaeological dowsing would find good evidence for such an idea.

Our visit

Kal seemingly picked the site at random because it sounded nice, but now he feels there is more to it than that. I will leave him to explain that aspect, but for me the Tyfos visit was a purely practical encounter with the energies. Once we had obtained permission to visit the site (easily done – the guy was very nice) we set about tracing the energies. I found one problem line which permeated the circle and when I dowsed for the source I was led back towards the house. Not wanting to appear rude I didn’t go all the way up to the house, but my intuition was that this was the source of this unhelpful and unhappy energy leaking into or being attracted into the stone circle.

Tyfos circle and nearby house

I asked if I could do anything about blocking or healing this energy and found that I could. Well, that’s all well and good but SHOULD I re-balance these energies? Could it be done without having any detrimental effects anywhere else that this site was linked to? The answer was a strong YES. Then clearly I should do what I could. To re-balance the energies I would need to re-balance the energies. How does one re-balance a male-dominated site? By introducing some female energies of course! But where from? As I asked the question I looked up slightly to scan the surroundings and found that I was already starting at a tall evergreen yew tree that was growing healthy and proud in the corner of the house’s garden bordering the field containing the stone circle. This tree would be the source of the female energy.

I wasn’t happy just to begin linking up to it – firstly I had to approach the tree to ask for help. Kal and I wandered over to see if the tree would agree to this idea. Surprisingly almost immediately we both got a pleasant positive feel from the tree and agreed we had the go-ahead signs to continue our work.

A helpful tree at Tyfos circle

I lit some sandlewood incense in the increasingly strong and cold wind, and placed three sticks at specific places where the dowsing rods indicated I should. Almost the moment they were placed and the tree was invited to let its energies flow into the circle Kal was dowsing a zig-zag flow of energy back into the stones that formed the low-lying circle. I followed his dowsing up by doing the same – dowsing back from the yew tree to the circle and I got the same Z-form path from incense stick to stick until the line ended at the very stone that Kal had placed his water bottle on top of. More than a coincidence, I felt. Female energy <- > water. This was the stone that Kal had intuited would be the best place to charge up his water bottle when he first arrived.

View across Tyfos

With the job done and the sun creeping lower and giving off less warmth than we would have liked we dowsed if our job was complete – it was. Time to retreat to the car and get ourselves warmed up ready for the next few sites of that day. As we left we discussed the coincidences that had arisen, and the way in which Kal had felt he was called, nay directed, to do particular tasks that had all turned out to contribute to this re-balancing work here at this stone circle. Sometimes it is difficult to gauge just how much our own free will is involved in these processes, but that’s a philosophical conundrum – for now we had done good work and were proud of our invisible mending.


Hill of Slane: A Vision of Slaine

Sunday 30th May – Hill of Slane 

In the latter half of what had been a busy Sunday (and a full weekend, really) we were on the hunt for two final places to visit. The first needed to be somewhere suitable for working on the third eye chakra (or ‘brow’ chakra as it is also known) and then we would go back to Tara to work on the crown chakra. I say “we”, I mean “me” because Kal had his own quest to do, and that didn’t really involve working on the chakras. I’m sure he will explain in good time. For me, the third eye chakra symbolised the concept of mystical vision, whilst the crown I believed to be linked to higher intelligence. 

As we had found before with Four Knocks, sometimes our dowsing took us to the right area (town, village) but not the exact location. Same here. We were directed to be in Slane (even though we had visited it the previous day and vowed never to return because it had nothing we wanted to see, or so we thought). The dowsing rods, combined with the iMegalith app on the iPhone [get me - I'm a  techno-pagan!], took us back to Slane. It directed us to a small barrow (or ‘souterrain’) in a field. We parked, took one look at the “leprechaun hole” that we would need to squeeze through (thorns, hedge, barbed wire) and gave each other a knowing look. Oh no! Not that again! Lesson learned on this occasion. We retreated back to the car to see what else was around the area. 

I found a web site that mentioned Slane Abbey but we couldn’t find any directions. Oh well, let’s just drive up the lane we were on and turn around and maybe go somewhere else entirely. So, we drove a few yards up the hill and within ten seconds we saw Slane Abbey sitting on top of the hill as it opened out before us. How convenient! 

Approaching Slane Abbey

The information on the Mythical Ireland web page included information about how the monastery was once the kingdom of an Irish King called Slaine, a Fir Bolg (giant warrior). Other sites recount the written description of Slaine as an Irish King of the domain of Leinster:

“Slaine, whence the name? Not hard to say. Slaine, king of the Fir Bolg, and their judge, by him was its wood cleared from the Brugh. Afterwards, he died at Druim Fuar, which is called Dumha Slaine, and was buried there: and from him the hill is named Slaine. Hence it was said: Here died Slaine, lord of troops: over him the mighty mound is reared: so the name of Slaine was given to the hill, where he met his death in that chief abode.” (Source: Edward Gwynn – Metrical Dindshenchas, vol 3. Published, 1925)

Note “the Brugh”, as in the “Brú na Bóinne“, the name of the surrounding Boyne Valley area which incorporates the Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange sites among many others. From his perch atop the Hill of Slane the King had an unparalleled view of his kingdom for many miles around.

The Slane Abbey tower

 OK, history lesson over. Slaine was an ancient Warrior King who was reputedly one of the race of giant Fir Bolg who are supposed to have been an early invading race that conquered Ireland. That sets the scene quite nicely for what was to come. None of which I knew about before it happened, by the way. All I knew was that the place was supposed to be the home of some bloke called Slaine, former King of Ireland. I didn’t want to read the information board’s detail – this chakra work was supposed to be using the third-eye chakra! Surely intuition was the order of the day?

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Who wants to learn about dowsing? Coming soon!

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