A druid is asked to work with both light and darkness. The concepts of druidry seem to me to be centred around the concept of balance. All too often the concepts of life and death are separated out into their extremities. I like to think of existence as a sphere across whose surface we move from the reflected light of life through to the shadowed dark side of death. Often clouds of darkness move over our existence, or spots of intense aliveness light it up. This particular experience made me think about a darker aspect: death.
I was thinking about how much of this blog deals with a balance of light and dark. I have skills that I used with the darker aspects just as much as I work with the light. I do healing, but it could as easily be used to harm. I do death eating, yet I use it to ground spirits for their benefit. I clean and clear sites, but that is a destruction as much as a creation. I energise people and places for their benefit, but I could as easily taint. The differentiator is only intention. I have almost exclusively chosen to work with good intention.
My wife is becoming more psychically aware. She’s doing a course on energy healing, and in a moment of inspiration she needed to find a way to get some of her questions answered. Speaking with her I said “Well you know, really it’s all about you…”. She stopped the sentence before I could go on. “‘All about yew’….’ she echoed. “Which yew tree?” she asked, “The one you visit?“. She meant The Llangernyw Yew. I knew this was the right place to take her for inspiration, so we decided to go that afternoon.
Traditionally (for us) Imbolc has been a time that is filled with promising freshness of the year and quite frankly one of the best sacred pilgrimage times. Over the last few years Imbolc has proven a beautiful entrance into the coming year and this year we were not disappointed by the days events.
We began our journey looking for (one of) a church that Chris said was worth visiting. After a few attempts to find it, we decided to leave it and go for our main first objective which was a Sacred Well dedicated to St Helen which was an interesting correlation to a well that we had visited a few years ago (at Imbolc) and I was blessed with the quest of Becoming a Knight.
As is my modus operandi, I asked whether there was anything that I could do for this sacred place, No. Is there anything I can learn here? Yes. Great! I found a place to prepare and sat listening to the wind. Moments later I felt that enough preparation had been had and was ready to continue.
Again I followed the rods a short distance and was led to the eaves of a tree, which isn’t really saying a lot since pretty much all of the place was either under or near the eaves of trees, but hey! I settled in against a convenient trunk and open my mind to communing with the Time, Space and Place.
As usual within minutes that feeling of connection arose within me and I left this place for the in-between places. In my mind were three things. The Wand Quest, the Knights tour and the Fourth element, Air. Of all of these I knew a fair bit already and certainly enough to continue. However since the rods indicated that something was in the offing. I searched the place for knowledge, meaning and understanding.
My thoughts went to the Knights tour. My understanding was this was some remnant of the Knights Quest that I had undertaken a few years ago. That assumption was incorrect I was told. The Tour is the conclusion of your cavalier quest. Ah… that makes more sense. So this was some kind of upgrade? My words are a bit clumsy but you get the gist. Yes, came the voice and with it will come more responsibility.
If you’re wondering whose voice it was then you haven’t been visiting here for long. It was of course my mentor (or should I say tormentor) Caileach. At least this Imbolc was not going to be a reflection of last years Dragon and Ice episode.
With this simple addition to my understanding and knowledge the wench vanished, leaving an odd feeling that she would appear again at another place.
I thought that I was done and readied to get up when I felt the presence of another being there. Perhaps it was thinking of the Knights Quest but with a mysterious and gentle note of sound a being rose from the ground. I recognised her as St Sarah (or at least that was what I had called her).
Note: Important or not. The well was dedicated to St Helen, but I saw/communed with St Sarah.
What ho, I said (I know, not the way to address a Saint really).
She pointed at the ground next to me. I looked down and saw a chrysalis there.
Frozen, ready to be reborn anew, to be awakened, to leave behind, to let go.
All these descriptors flooded my thoughts in those few seconds. I looked up at the Saintly figure before me. She nodded.
“This year will be my year”
I was puzzled by this for a few moments and then my memory returned. Sarah was the Saint of Laughter. Was she saying that this would be the Year of Laughter? What a thing! As usual with these encounters. Beings seem to have the ability to read minds or at least see our thoughts in our faces.
Recently I had done a Tarot reading and had explained (for that subject) that the Ace card was one of beginnings. My thoughts shifted to that card only to have it replaced in my thoughts with the Page. Which in this instance meant for me that this was not a new beginning but rather a new floor built on the understandings and lessons of the previous one.
Again, I thought that I was done, only for Sarah to give me another direction. As above so below is the directive of magic and she intimated that I needed to do something in accordance with this ancient law. What? Leave something behind.
I had two items of note on my person. A Heart shaped Rose Quartz crystal and the coin that had been blessed by the Fairies of Brittany. With a lot of trepidation I dowsed as to which of these was to be left behind. Frankly, I didn’t want to leave either. The rods pointed at the crystal and so with a good deal of reluctance I left it behind.
Now, the place and I were in agreement. It was done. I looked up and through the trees. Chris was done too. As we prepared to leave two signs caught our joint attention. The sun came out to greet us and a Robin redbreast flew in and spent some time with us. Beautiful!
Kal Malik – informed
Whenever I go to London I wonder about the spiritual possibilities. Should I go to a lecture? Buy some esoteric books? Are there any places of historical or energetic interest that I could visit? On this occasion my mind was turned towards Primrose Hill.
Primrose Hill has a loose and unclear association with druids. I knew that a clan of modern druids have used the hill for ceremonies, but its more ancient association was not readily accessible. It turned out (coincidence) that my wife’s weekend course happened to be in the Regent’s Park area, and Primrose Hill is at the edge of the park. With such an astonishing coincidence in play I had to make the hill my primary objective for a solo excursion.
I wandered around Regent’s Park in circles taking photographs like a good tourist, and then set my course for the hill. Soon I was amid the clans of footballers whose tribal clashes pealed through the dull grey air like scalded seagulls. As I reached the back of London Zoo I was surprised to find a canal, then a road – two artificial separators keeping the green spaces of the park and the hill apart like squabbling siblings.
As I dodged the flocks of senior citizens wielding their over-priced bicycles like unfamiliar weapons I found myself in a clear space with a view of the hill. I say “hill”. In Northern England this geographical feature would be called a “rise” to indicate its shallow and un-daunting nature. “Hill” is a term reserved from something that would take some effort to scale. “Scale” was definitely the watchword here! Still, I switched off my “tourist mode” thinking, and began to relax into a more sedate state of mind. I allowed my thoughts to disperse, and after protecting myself energetically I let myself begin to connect to the feel of the place.
I began to walk. A serpentine lethargic walk with a vacant gaze, in stark contrast to the focussed intent and spear-like paths of the joggers and cyclists around me. They stayed firmly on the designated tarmacked paths whereas I wandered off-piste almost immediately. Where would the energetic path lead me, I wondered?
This is just a little story about following intuition and guidance. It’s an illustration of the way that we can be afforded opportunities to let ourselves follow the flow of the universe, and the results are always “meant to be”. We may not always like them or understand them, but they are meant to be.
The story begins on Friday. I’ve been to London many times before, and I kind of know my way around now. So much so that I finally bought an Oyster Card in order to facilitate travel. First on my list was Treadwell‘s due to having seen it recently associated with some Order Of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) events. I happened to be around Covent Garden at the end of the day and so thought about visiting the bookshop. I looked the place up on Google Maps and felt I knew approximately where it was. In my mind it was near Covent Garden, and so I headed out that way. I spent a long time walking around before I realised that I was actually nowhere near Treadwell’s. I’d made a mistake, and just wasted my time! I gave up.
I had a few hours on Saturday morning in which to find one of the several esoteric bookshops. I planned a visit to Atlantis Books which, when I arrived, turned out not to be the bookshop I was thinking of. Again? What was happening? Was the city confusing me? I know I spend a lot of time in the countryside, and…yet I had my phone so why couldn’t I follow a simple map?
We have been to the interesting island of Anglesey many times. We have scoured the island for sacred sites on many occasions. We have spent literally days of time researching places to visit. Somehow, two startling omissions had occurred. Firstly, Kal had never seen the reconstructed chamber of Barlodiad Y Gawres. Secondly, we had never found the Trefignath monuments. We set both of this things right for Imbolc 2015.
We’re not going to cover the reconstructed barrow of Barlodiad here. Let’s just say we visited it. It was cold and windy (as it always is) and there was nothing energetically significant about it. Let’s move on to the fun stuff!
We were at the end of our Imbolc day. The trail of Arthur-related sites had reached the furthest tail of The Great Bear and was pointing us to Trearddur Bay near to Holyhead. That’s where we headed now, knowing that we had never found these sites before, but today we were in luck.
Ty Mawr – The Trefignath stone
Ty Mawr standing stone is set alone in a fenced field. In the background it has the delightful soundtrack of swooshing vehicles hurtling along the A55 trunk road carrying potential ferry passengers and lorries to Holyhead on their way across to Ireland.
As a backdrop it has Holyhead Mountain in one direction and a skyline of dark and square geometric buildings from the neighbouring industrial estates. It’s not a pretty setting, and yet the local council have tried their best to give the stone pride of place.
This seemingly innocuous and out-of-place stone turned out to be strangely synchronistic!
Having spent a lovely half hour at the church dedicated to Michael at the foot of the ridge known as Bwrdd Arthur (or “Arthur’s Table”) it was now time to find a way up onto the ridge. One of my objectives for this Imbolc was to connect more of the sites that I had identified as having a reference to Arthur, and which were part of a landscape zodiac that I was forming across Northern Wales and England.
At a junction in the road near to a signpost we found the entrance to the ridge and followed the steepest path up on to the crest of the ridge. Kal soon found a comfortable spot in a shaft of sunlight, and I used my dowsing rods to locate one too. The sun at its peak now, and as warm as it was going to get!
Adorning the Table
It was close to lunch time but not time for us to eat yet. I had work to do. Bathed in sunshine I began a process of protection (new site – good practise), meditation, then connection with the spirit of the place. I felt that the spirit was keen to work with me, and so I began to mentally cross the country linking this site by an energy bridge to all the other Arthur-related sites I had visited so far on this quest.
After Arthur’s Well (or close to it) we were heading out to Anglesey. I set the satellite navigation in order to get me back to some major roads that I recognised. On the way in that morning I had wanted to visit near to Llandeiniolen but we had searched in vain for it so I had given up in frustration. We had gone to visit Arthur’s Well anyway. Now, on the way back out – where did we arrive? At the damned church of course!! And I use the word ‘damned’ with intent, because no sooner had we stopped to admire the huge ancient yew trees than I got a dread feeling.
Yews at St.Michael’s
The old church at Llanddeiniolen seems to have changed its name, perhaps to disguise itself? Perhaps it is seeking to prevent visitors from finding its ancient yew trees? I have a fix on it now, though. The church is moments away from the nearby B4366 on a small back road heading to Waun. It used to be called “St Deiniol’s” but now seems to be calling itself “St.Michael’s”. It would turn out that the new name was highly appropriate to the work I was about to do.
We had been here before and so we knew there were some ancient yew trees, huge and hollowing. I had a feeling that there was some other reason I was being ‘directed’ to visit here, though. Intuition is a wonderful sense, but it doesn’t always deliver the information like a map. Sometimes the information is more like a painting.