Posts Tagged ‘yule’
My summary of the year could easily take up several posts, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to highlight the many important distinct elements that have taken place this year, and then provide links to the posts that illustrate these elements.
On the whole it has been an amazingly packed, dense, active year. If I were to summarise the whole year in one sentence I would say that this year I have ‘come of age’ in my druid work. I have accepted a level of responsibility, been given many new ‘powers’, skills and abilities, and I have seen a startling increase in my use of intuition. There have also been many surprises. I began the year expecting that I would be working with one type of energy which actually turned out to be something else. I have been to many familiar places, and some new ones too. Each time I have been astonished by the power of the experiences I have had.
It has been a truly rewarding and remarkable year for me, and for Kal too, I know, and yet again I couldn’t have done half of the work I do without his enthusiastic and sometimes madcap influence. So pleased to have such a great friend to work alongside.
Here are the main elements of my year, in roughly chronological order:-
Year of the Dragon.
First there was the dragon vision at Dinas Emrys – a vision of a Dragon at the “Solstice Centre”. This idea led me on a quest to find the dragon energy or spirit form that might exist at the centre of the land, and to do that close to the Summer Solstice. The vision of the dragon at the centre of the land, followed by seeing the dragon sylph in the clouds at Moel Ty Uchaf.
I was then urged to visit Hanger Hill in Sherwood Forest for a second time in the year to find this centre, and there I had a strong vision of the dragon energy covering the whole island. Finally at the end of the year I would see the sleeping dragon in Spain and wake the fire dragon when I linked the two mounds in Antequera with my friend Mike.
That was the prediction I made at the start of the year. How much did that come true? I have certainly felt that I have followed a path that had led to an increase in my personal spiritual power.
Renown has come to the fore in many ways – increased recognition (popularity of the blog), increased personal power (magickal energy), and through research into many historical and mythical figures that are closely linked to my own history.
This year I expanded the number of Arthurian archetypes that I work with to four. 2010 was a Merlin year, 2011 an Arthur year, and this year has been a Gwalchmai year. I thought it was Merlin at Lud’s Church, but now I realise it was a knight figure and that was Gawain/Gwalchmai.
Time and again I would refer to The Green Man and associate this with Merlin. Looking back I can see that actually this was totally the wrong association. It should have been Gwalchmai all along!
Start of the year was the start of the quest at Vale Crucis. Being directed toward Roscommon, Ireland by the shade of St Duignan. Finding my ancestral home, and its warrior kings. The wonderful and strange encounters in that land. Finally feeling a true link to the land. The rewards of this journey were instructions about how to access ancestor energies that I had received as ‘a download’:
- The first stage to unlocking the energies is to remember the quest that gained them, especially the moment when they were downloaded into me when I held the Eel Sword at the edge of Lough Key.
- I should let my mind go free and let it link with the land. It also represents will. Some willpower is required to unlock these energies.
- Use a feeling of joy to unlock the access to the ancestor energies once linked to the land and mindful of the downloaded energies.
Influence of the Stars
The link between my energy body and the stars that influence it. It started with Venus, but at the end of the year I was shown other specific stars that form a personal astrology – specific stars that influence some of my emotional traits.
The work came full circle on that subject. I now understand the very personal nature of astrology and its energetic effects.
POSTS: New dimension to stargazing
Predictions for crop circles
Certainly it has been an incredibly poor year for circles to say the least. People put that down to the amount of rain. I don’t know what caused it – but oddly I felt a compulsion to predict it at the beginning of the year. The quality of the circles was astonishingly poor – I felt like most of them were clear and obvious man-made circles, which is different to other years.
Re-balancing via the Sun
At Imbolc I was told by the spirit of Brigid that I needed to re-balance. I would do this by allowing more sun energy into my energy field this year. I have certainly spent much more time using male/sun energy than in previous years where I was almost exclusively using female energy forms. An orb makes an appearance at The Bridestones as though to confirm this requirement from spirit.
At the Spring Equinox Kal and I did a map dowsing experiment. We decided to choose a place to visit anywhere in the British Isles. When we compared notes we had map dowsed exactly the same square mile.
This is a skill that I have significantly improved this year. In fact, in many ways map dowsing started my whole year off with a bit of recuperation and some early site visits that would open a whole side to the country that I had neglected.
Becoming a Druid
Feeling like I had been “upgraded” to the “oak” level – the druid level in Ireland. Understanding that this would mean turning my thoughts to teaching the information I had gained, rather than just obtaining it.
Also, a new sense of responsibility and a duty to give something back comes with this new level of ability. I have felt this as a deep connection with the land, and a desire to plant trees.
The final aspect of this evolution was to discover that my druid name was closer to “Vassal” or “Son of Merlin” than “Servant”. This moved me a stage closer to that energy frequency. I feel just a touch more integrated with that energy now.
The Elemental Year
- Earth from Feb to May;
- Fire from June to Aug;
- Water from Aug to Oct;
- Air from Nov to Feb.
Later in the year I began to say “Sky, Land, Sun and Sea” instead of Earth, Fire, Water and Air.
POSTS: Considering the Stations
Powers of the Staff
Finding out that my staff has its own powers courtesy of the Elemental Masters of Tinkinswood. It became an indispensable and valuable tool this year. I have been guided to learn about the powers vested in it, and am now able to utilise those powers to define energy changes in an environment. This has been incredibly useful, but I have been led to realise that some of these powers have still to be mastered, and that invoking them is not enough. They also need skilful use.
This year more than ever people remarked on the staff and how beautiful it looks. I nearly lost it several times, but on each occasion I made a supreme effort to recover it. We have a strange relationship – one in which I mustn’t take it for granted. It has its own inherent powers now.
Bran The Raven & Seeing like a hawk
This was part of the Gwalchmai training. Ariel viewing, seeing hawk lines, silvery trails in the landscape. I would be taught by Bran the Raven about some techniques for remote viewing. He taught me how to use the raven’s bird’s-eye view to see far away, and how to project my attention to a far point.
I didn’t know why at the time but later I came to understand that remote viewing wasn’t just for acquiring knowledge of events distant in space but present in time. It could also be used for finding and healing past events.
Opening the Third Eye
This long-term quest was presented to me to encourage me to spend more time trying to see psychically rather than dowsing for answers. I think it has worked because my visions are more frequent and much clearer.
I have also begun to feel the energies, rather than needing to dowse for them. Finally, I have begun to trust my intuitive responses and intuitive information much more than ever before.
So many aspects of the year’s quests and events were related to the idea of Re-Union. At Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall I was shown that union could mean recovering past energies that were left like stray threads through our lives,
Later, in Ireland, I was re-united with my ancestor energies,and integrated energies from people connected to me in the past into the present to make the present a unified and more powerful whole.
The whole Iona visit was centred on the energy of union – the island resonated with it. I also found out that the colour of Union is fuchsia pink. Odd! The walls around my desk at work have recently been painted this colour by a strange coincidence. It’s the first time they’ve been painted in 10 years, and before that they were beige.
Although I have learned some useful techniques for providing readings for others, the majority of the work I have done this year, and the most astonishing, has been when I have done tarot readings for myself.
I seem to get most out of these readings if I do them immediately before or after a significant quest.
I released Merlin energy from the Underworld in 2010. Now in 2012 I was releasing Merlin energy from The Otherworld. I still don’t know the true significance of this, other than it required me to engage with some bardic skills, and this has re-kindled a desire in me to re-awaken many of the old bardic skills I used to use, but have since forgotten in all the excitement of my questing.
I had to visit several sacred sites to recover fragments of poetry in Old Welsh, then translate them, put them in order, and learn to recite the poem! I used to play musical instruments, write poetry and be able to recite some of it. I think I need to do this once more, so I will use Winter to begin again because I rather enjoyed the challenge of learning the poetry.
Aliens, Angels and Giants
Towards the end of the year things veered away from normality and into the kind of territory that I usually enjoy reading about but would not contemplate getting involved in. I got involved. I found that an energy that I had simply identified as “alien” was in fact angelic in origin, and on Iona this energy had been deliberately infused into a stone that had been placed by a giant who had come over from Ireland. Well, I’ll leave that one there, I think! This kind of thing was the very reason I stopped looking at crop circles. Things got too weird!
As might befit a move into the realms of the “Druid” level (my own certification, I hasten to add - I’m not on the OBOD course or anything like that) I have begun to involve myself in local ecological campaigns. I have been supportive of the bees, the ash trees and local tree planting initiatives. I have also been working on a subtle energy level to re-balance and re-energise several sacred sites. This has not been arbitrary work done in passing, but work that I was called to do.
Most of my charitable work I do not advertise here on the site because it’s personal, and I’m not trying to tell people what they should do. You are your own example, I believe.
POSTS: The Bee Campaign
The year began with a frisson of anticipation. Would this year bring the catastrophe predicted for a long time? Would it bring the energy shift that was a hot topic in energy-worker circles? Would it bring an alignment with a galactic centre and a rush of transformational celestial rays that would sweep mankind into the next generation of being? Well, even in January I had the feeling that the answer was “No”. All through the year I was re-iterating this to all and sundry. The only transformation possible is within YOU and initiated by yourself. I have found this year that our personal energies ARE linked to the celestial influences, yet there has been no general “cosmic download” this year. My cosmic download came in May when I visited Ireland.
For me the year has been one of working with The Past. I have been healing energy ripples from earlier in my life, re-uniting my current self with my ancestral selves, and learning about the power of re-unification generally from bathing in its frequency, to discovering its colour vibration, to washing myself in the uniting waters of three waterfalls. The year has all been about re-unification. The energy that has come from this process has been what I call “renown”. This is the energy that increases one’s personal power. A signifier that this was happening was my move into the druidical final grade – “druid”.
Thank you for reading our exploits on this year’s turn of the spiral. We are very grateful, and as we await another amazing year beginning in February 2013, we hope you continue your journey with us.
I’m always at a loss as to what to do for Yule. Not being a sun-aligned person I just don’t get with the whole “welcome in the sun” thing. However, this year I was given the notion that I needed to be more welcoming of the sun, so for the first time I found a suitable place to welcome the sun back at Yule – Castlerigg stone circle.
When I had been trying to find a suitable location I had first considered some of the sites listed on the Aenigmatis.com we site:-
- Crick Barrow
- Harold’s Stones
- Long Meg and Her Daughters
For various reasons these were not suitable on this Yule day, either due to the distance I would need to travel. The only one that seemed a likely candidate was Long Meg in Cumbria. I made note of the useful information about the Winter Solstice at the excellent TimeandDate.com web site. Here are the sunrise times for the Winter Solstice as taken from the west of England:
Dec 20, 2012
Dec 21, 2012
Dec 22, 2012
Dec 23, 2012
Just before I left, though, I found out that Long Meg’s Solstice alignment is with the setting sun! Oh no! A quick change of place, then. Same area, but now I would go to Castlerigg – a circle that held particular resonance for me this year, being the site at which I had freed and merged with a Merlin energy. With a time and place set I now began to consider what this particular Yule sunrise signifies for me this year.
On a path such as mine I have a few rules – “reciprocal investments” you might call them – tacit agreements. The idea is that if I “tune in” to the Flow of the Universe in search of inspiration, then I must be prepared to act upon its motivations. In other words, if I ask “What is there to do?” then I can’t argue if it comes back and says, “Go to this place!” I just have to go. No arguments. So, I time my ‘requests’ carefully, and make sure that I have every possible opportunity to take advantage of such moments because I could be asked to go anywhere.
Your next question is probably, “But why?”. Well, my motivation is always to progress on my spiritual path. Therefore, my question is always, “Is there somewhere I could go, or something I could do that would progress me on my spiritual journey?”. Then I wait for a response. Who from, you ask? Well, that’s where it gets interesting, but I’ve spoken about that on many occasions – sometimes in a veiled way, sometimes quite explicitly. If you need to know, then check back on previous posts. For now, let’s move on with today’s tale.
It’s difficult to say whether I had put my ‘feelers out’ or if an overwhelming idea came upon me. It doesn’t really matter. The culmination was that I knew I had to go somewhere. I turned my attention to discovering where this was. I had just got back from punishing fitness class and frankly all I wanted to do was collapse and eat unhealthy carbohydrates. Instead I began to prepare for an excursion – I was going somewhere and I’d better resign myself to it. I asked where I would be going and the shape of a familiar tall and steep hill came to mind. Oh great – s tall steep hill – just what I needed! Thanks.
I would be heading to Llangollen and climbing up Dinas Bran.
I wondered whether this was to do with my stars quest, or perhaps it was a chance to renew my elemental connections – something I had been planning to do? Apparently neither of those, as it turned out, but this was what was uppermost in my rational mind as I made my way through the deserted Welsh villages and towns on the way to Llangollen. Monday night, stars aplenty, and not a soul to notice them. Sigh. Hey – TV is a powerful drug. Drug of a nation, if I remember my Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy correctly.
A Twist in the Mist
I decided to try to find the road that wound up the back of the hill. In late summer Kal and I had walked around the base of the hill and found this steep and narrow road, and we saw that cars could park much closer to the top than on the town side. Given it was late I thought I would try to save my legs by finding this “easier” route. I hadn’t bargained on the fog.
I found the road, but above a hundred feet in altitude the road disappeared in thick patchy fog. The road was barely passable for one car. If anything had come the other way there was simply no way back. A challenge – a test of faith. How much was I prepared to endure to heed the call of Bran? I endured. On the way up the hill I had several moments where I couldn’t see where the path was. I had only been up the hill this way one and it had been in daylight, oh and they had been repairing the path so there was a diversion to the normal route. Hmmm.. would I make it back alive or tumble off the sides into a pit of mud and gorse bushes? Half way up I wished I had changed into my walking boots. Now I felt like Kal – climbing in terrible conditions with inappropriate footwear.
Something moved towards me out of the hazy gloom and a scuffling noise was approaching… it was a pair of sheep wondering who would be stupid enough to join them on their hill in the middle of the night. I put my hand up – me, sir, I’m stupid enough.
Making a home in fog
As I reached the top I found the path again. It had been there for some of the journey and then absent again. Now I stood at the entrance to the great fortress but something was different There were new paths, and curious piles of chipped slate everywhere. Looks liked the reconstruction of new paths included inside the fortress too. I found my bearings and, after introducing myself again and asking for permission to enter, I walked in.
Inside I felt completely at home. Bear in mind this is late at night, it’s dark, and I’m on my own. I felt at home in this netherworld of fog and shadows. Nevertheless, I put up double protection so that I could occupy my mind with more useful thoughts should I feel anything untoward up there. You never know what’s been going on since your last visit. It felt redundant, however. I was in the hands of Bran – here at his request. That felt good.
A solitary candle was lit and placed into a crevice in a remaining wall, out of the way of the teasing draughts. This is not something I usually do, but it made me feel less alone up there, and again added to the sense of homeliness. The candle was also a good meditation point to concentrate on until it went out, then my eyes got accustomed to the gloom anyway. Three incense sticks provided me with a working cleared circle. The staff drew the rest of the circle around the swirling scent, and I stood with my staff, poised and awaiting a connection.
Bran’s Head re-discovered
My eyes were drawn to one point in the sky even though I couldn’t see anything. It was Sirius. I simply knew. For a fleeting moment I thought of confirming it with my phone’s Starwalk application, but that wasn’t what I needed to do. I needed to keep connected, so I stood where I was and followed the connection. I was drawn along a tunnel of subtle energy that I was now noticing (co-creating) between Sirius and this power centre – the place where I usually found the spirit of Bran here on the summit of his hill.
Then I concentrated on what this meant – an uncomplicated request to whatever was allowing me to notice this connection. It was Bran, and he directed me to my Castlerigg quest which had been to free Merlin from a spherical cage of tree branches. What was the significance, I urged to know? Now it was time to free the Gwalchmai energies. Gwalchmai is linked with Sirius and I should concentrate on doing this for the next part of the year from Samhain to Yule. Gwalchmai is also linked with the West and Water (sea), I found afterwards.
That wasn’t the end, though. Even though I was being given a quest to cover the next part of the year from Samhain to Yule, and it was being given early too, there was more. At Yule I should switch my attention to freeing the energies of Gwalchaved (Gawain). He is linked with the Sun and the East.
Looks like I’ve got my quests early, and a double quest at that! See – if you answer the call, are prepared to work for your rewards, then they are given multi-fold Saying that, I’ve got one heck of an agenda lined up for the next few months until Yule. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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.
Roll up! Roll up!
I managed to complete a hasty but content-packed podcast and it is now ready for your aural pleasuring on the podcast page, or from the link on the right-hand side of the page (as soon as that automatically updates).
Lots to savour this month including verbal mini summaries of the year from both myself and Kal.
You’ll find reviews of books I’ve read this month on subjects such as nature spirits and fairies, poltergeists, sacred sites in Canada and shamanic witchcraft.
There are also recommendations for podcasts to listen to and new music to check out.
Due to the “freak” weather in England (we had a slight bit of snow – the kind that Canadians laugh at) I was unable to get back from Canada as planned. My plan was to return before the Winter Solstice so that I could spend that day going out to a sacred site, communing with my favourite ancient yew tree, and getting some guidance on the activities for the next part of the Wheel of the Year. All that was scuppered by a few inches of snow at the major European airports and so I was delayed by several days. I could have been far worse, and apparently was for many people, so I accepted our lot and bunkered into the Calgary airport hotel at the expense of the Dutch airline KLM. Thanks KLM – you did a great job.
This opened an opportunity up for me that I hadn’t realised, though. It was widely reported in the Canadian media that there would be a lunar eclipse on the night of the 20th December, going into the 21st. This was an opportunity not the be missed, and despite the fact that I would be flying for 11 hours the next morning at 4:30am I decided I could sleep on the plane instead of miss this great celestial display.
Whilst my wife slept (sensibly) I stood alone outside the Delta Hotel at Calgary Airport at 11:30pm waiting for something to happen. As I stood there several things came to mind in that quiet (quiet? aircraft were taking off left, right and centre!) space as I waited…
- It was the first total lunar eclipse on a Winter Solstice for over 450 years
- It was the Winter Solstice when the eclipse would occur – a special day in my calendar and a day of special energies
- The moon would be full when the eclipse occurred – a prefect time for a magickal encounter
I began to take pictures at ten minute intervals in order to capture the event in a sequence. Here are the pictures from that night:-
Click here for a time-lapse video of the event.
As the eclipse unfolded, one of the chefs from the hotel came out occasionally to join me. He introduced himself as Davide, a French ex-patriot who now lived in Canada and we chatted in the minus 20 degree night air. I explained the significance of the phenomenon to Davide, and he began to get increasingly excited as I explained the trinity of alignments: date, full moon, and eclipse.
When he couldn’t stand the coldness any longer (I was dressed for it – he was in his kitchen whites) I was once again alone to ponder the event as it reached its dark climax. I called upon my spirit guide to see whether anything could be revealed about what actions I should take in the next part of the year, fully expecting a message along the lines of “Take a rest now, consolidate the year’s work, and don’t do anything until Imbolc.” That wasn’t the message I got!
In my head I heard the phrase “Celebrate Death“. Perhaps this was in response to the “death” of Winter and the moon that night? On my return home this message would be hammered home in two significant ways. Firstly there was a note form my father-in-law who had been minding our house during our absence: our dear old neighbour Dolly had passed away a few days before the solstice. I also noticed that the old beech tree that had been standing at the end of our neighbour’s drive and which gave us such resplendent view through the seasons had been cut down! Nothing now remained but a stump. I’ll tell you more about how that came about soon in another post, but needless to say, although we knew it might happen it was as shocking as any human death to me.
So I can see now how this Winter Solstice event was symbolic of Death – the death of The Moon and the death of the Year 2010. I was being asked not to mourn for the deaths that had occurred, but instead to celebrate them. This is what I did on my next visit to a sacred site, but I also found out that my quest was not what I thought it was, and that the celebration was to be a one-off, not part of the Wheel of the Year after all. More on that soon.
Both Kal and I wish you the fondest of Yuletide wishes, and the hope that the next year will see you fulfil the tasks on your own spiritual path.
We also have to say a big ‘Thank you’ to everyone who has found us this year, and a special thanks to those who have regularly returned to read our humble blog. The viewing figures have gone up to SIX TIMES what they were last year, which has served to make us feel that we must be doing something right, and that you are hopefully finding the inspiration to pursue your own quests as we make progress with our own. Sincerely – thanks for your interest.
A special thanks to all of you who have added your comments. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and many have added wonderfully insightful additional information to help us further on our way.
We hope there is plenty more to come next year as we aim to discover whether the coming year has any similarities with the previous wheel of the year. We will measure each turn and report on the findings, of course. That’s what we do.
We wonder, too, whether 2011 a special year for energies? We will be watching out for changes, and planning accordingly to take advantage of energetic times to change our consciousness. Come along with us for the ride – who knows what we will find?
Soon we will be posting our reviews of the year, so look out for those.