The Hills are Alive

2014-10-13 14.51.20.jpgThe huge pyramid shape of The Reek, more properly known as Croagh Patrick, reared ahead of us as we turned out of the airport.
“Wow!” I exclaimed.
This was my first view of Ireland – and what a view. Atmosphere and distance had smoothed out the bumps and crags, showing us a smooth, straight-sided, magical mountain.  I knew nothing – at that stage in my journey – of the history, mythology and symbolism connected to the island’s holiest mountain. I didn’t need to. It’s majesty simply took my breath away.

I see the same phenomenon with my local sacred mound – Glastonbury Tor – which is a few yards down the road from where I’m writing this.

Glastonbury, Tor, Somerset, EnglandSeen up close, it’s an uneven, sprawling hill. Sometimes steep, sometimes less so.  It has grazing sheep, pedlars selling scraps of jewellery, small screeching boys with wooden swords, pagans with dreds and drums, panting tourists in Adidas tee shirts, dog walkers, portly goddesses in pink and purple frocks with floral wreaths in their hair and parties of French schoolchildren with designer backpacks.
There are neat concrete steps inserted by the National Trust, a green bin for dog waste and a couple of benches.  At the top is an empty tower – all that remains of St Michael’s Church.  Inside, it’s usually littered with a coke can or two, sweet wrappers and some withered flowers.  At what would once have been, presumably, the other end of the church is a concrete table with one of those round view-finder compass things.  Strange undulations, variously defined as medieval terracing, a ritual maze or soil erosion adorn the sides of the hill.

2011-08-22 08.42.06.jpgDon’t get me wrong; even close up, it can be a magical place if you time your visit right, or can block out the distractions.  For me, though, the Tor’s true magic is glimpsed from afar.

Travel along almost any road in the area and, sooner or later, you’ll catch a glimpse of what appears to be a perfect conical shape, topped with its tower, rising out of the flat, featureless Somerset Levels.  (My personal favourite is the view you see as you round a bend coming down Bristol Hill into Wells.)

There are hills, mountains, pyramids – sacred high places all across the globe that have this effect. It matters little whether they were created by human hand, naturally occurring or a combination of the two. What matters is the ‘WOW!’ effect.  It’s a moment of sheer awe and wonder.  It can’t be captured in words, or even photographs.  There is a deep, stirring connection between the self and the structure.  It calls to you, reaches out to you, pulls you up short and fills you with a recognition and knowing that has affected your ancestors, back through the ages in exactly the same way.  Not every high place stirs us this way; it isn’t simply the height or the shape which affects us.  In these special sites, though, there’s a palpable dialogue between you and the structure.
“Remember?” it says into your mind.
And for that brief moment, you do.

 

 

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The Illusion of Ordinary Life

Audience, Chairs, Show, Hall, AuditoriumI wanted to tell you about my weekend.

That simple intention has taken me on a brief but fascinating journey this morning, so I’ll probably end up telling you about that, too.

Let me start by saying that both the weekend and this morning’s journey have involved little more than sitting in a chair.  As we all know, huge and wondrous journeys can be experienced that way.  We sit in chairs and watch screens, read books, listen to speakers, and new worlds open up.  Then – for the majority of us, at least – the desire to move beyond this vicarious existence kicks in, and we feel the need to head away from the chair and to once again immerse ourselves in ‘ordinary life’.

Ancient, Art, Cemetery, EnglandI’ve spent two solid days sitting in a darkened hall at a conference, listening to a glittering array of speakers – academics, field archaeologists, explorers and the odd metaphysician, all immersed in the study of ancient megalithic sites.  They had devoted huge portions of their lives to the meticulous observation and measurement of structures, carvings and rows of standing stones and now they had gathered to share their discoveries with us.

Flower Of Life, Spiritual, TrippyAgain and again we watched aerial images upon which intricate patterns of geometry had been superimposed.  The golden mean, perfectly dissected circles and squares, Pythagorean triangles and Platonic solids hung ethereally above and within structures created – who knows how? – in times at least as far distant from Pythagoras and Plato as those gentlemen are from us.  We were shown how only by building at that exact latitude could this or that angle exactly mirror the one created by the sun, the moon or some other significant heavenly body with the Earth at a given time.  We marvelled at the accuracy, the deliberation, the sheer effort made by our ancestors to achieve this perfection, only now clear to us thanks to the devotion and vision of the researchers, aided by Google Earth, drones and sophisticated software programs.

I was hunting for a title for this post, and found it in the name of a fine art card I’d purchased at the conference – a sublime piece of artwork by one of the speakers, Nicholas Cope RCA.  I’d love to reproduce it here, but didn’t gain permission, so please momentarily click on The artwork to take a look.

This beautiful image sums up the content of the conference I’ve been discussing here rather well.  However it was the title which intrigued me even more.  It encompassed an idea that had been tugging at my consciousness – just beyond reach of words – throughout the weekend.  ‘Where does the idea come from?’ I asked myself.  That led to this morning’s journey.

Image result for rene guenonI typed ‘The Illusion of Ordinary Life’ into the search engine and found myself reading an article by V Susan Ferguson, based on the work of one René Guénon.

Yes!

I’d never heard of him until today, yet here was this French Catholic, turned Sufi, metaphysical intellectual, writing back in the 1940s and encapsulating the very idea that had been nagging at me:

We are devoted to measuring the endless surfaces of what we imagine to be solid matter.

The full article (well worth reading) can be found here.  I suspect I’ll be getting better acquainted with Monsieur Guénon over the coming weeks.

You see there were hints – tiny subtle numinous ones – throughout the weekend nudging me towards that utterly obvious idea.

There was the speaker who marvelled that many of his measurements of an ancient artefact came out at an exact, and significant, number of centimetres. (Did the ancients use centimetres??)  There was the story recounted by one of my companions of a sarcophagus in Egypt which – she’d been there and experienced it – despite being solid granite was an exact fit for everyone in their party who lay inside it, from a guy 6ft 5 tall to a lady of barely 5ft and all in between.  There was a symbologist who  showed a dizzying array of connections between words and symbols from widely different cultures and time-frames which could be meshed together to create a perfect whole, with each element adding greatly to the gestalt so formed.
“What’s real,” this lady told the audience, with a knowing smile, “is the space between the forms.”

Cpu, Processor, Electronics, ComputerSo, if I can tear myself away from the magical information technology that seamlessly brings me together with concepts, images and ideas from other times and places via electromagnetic waves in the aether, I’ll head off to the garden, to ground myself in the ‘ordinary world’ – the sensory feedback that is integral to my physical experience.  As I do so, though, I won’t fall into the trap of pondering the wonders I’ve been shown in the past two days in terms of physicality alone.

We have far more gnosis available to us, far more ways of connecting to the Ancients and their megaliths than with software, tape measure and protractor.  Just as the archaeologist’s meticulous drawing of a ground plan gives us only a limited idea of the 3D structure, so that physical structure, as we perceive it in terms of length, width and height, gives only the smallest hint of its full conception and significance.  For that we have to relinquish our addiction to the illusion of the physical and move into realms that are not governed by time and space; move into realms more like the ones we connect with on our computers, yet very different.

O Brave New World

I love the Flammarion engraving.  Its an image that feels hard-wired into my mind.  It is, quite simply, my mission statement.

Yesterday I sat for many hours with a dear friend, engaged on one of those rambling metaphysical discussions that sometimes go round in circles and sometimes find a new, untrodden path.  I’d like to share what happened with you – my wider community of dear friends – and would welcome your comments and ideas on the implications of what was suggested…

So, specifically, we had agreed on several points:

  • That there are certain places on our planet – sacred sites, as they’re commonly known, and certain artefacts – usually behind glass in museums – which in some mysterious way hold a key to piercing that veil (see picture above) and accessing the akashic realms.
  • That it’s possible to enter an altered state and reach this akasha in the presence of these places or objects, but equally possible to be totally unmoved by them.  It appears to depend on your state of mind.
  • That the ideal way to approach these sacred places and objects, should you wish for the enlightenment they may facilitate, is what’s known as ‘A-thought’ (see here for a fuller explanation of this concept) – the state of mind we enter when following synchronicity or remote viewing, for example.
  • That it’s difficult, sometimes, to enter that state at will, as we so easily get sucked back into the ‘common sense’ world of cause-and-effect and logic.  That’s why so many seekers have used ritual, psychotropic substances, drumming, dance or sensory deprivation to jump-start such an experience.
  • That we could do with a bit of guidance before we next set off to hunt down the hidden realms and the treasures lurking there.

“We could try asking my Guides,” I said.

Koimul, the guide I can sometimes channel, has, as regular readers will know, taken a recent interest in my explorations of metaphysical realms.  It felt like the right sort of question to ask.

As we’d hoped, Koimul was right on the case and happy to discuss our questions.  It soon became clear, in fact, that Koimul had been tuning in to our conversation and made several references to it in what followed.

We were told that certain sites we’d considered visiting  ‘WOULD ATTUNE YOU TO THEIR ENERGY’ and provide ‘ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE FOR REACHING WHAT [YOU] SEEK.

We asked for a definition of what – exactly – we were seeking. (It’s so easy to get mired in obscurity when discussing these numinous ideas.)  Koimul called it ‘MAWDEN’ and defined it as ‘REALITY BEYOND FOUR DIMENSIONS’.

Next we asked about the ‘sacred’ sites and artefacts.  I’d read in Seth’s books that no place is, of itself, more sacred than any other, but is made so by the energy placed there by those who use it.  I’d always wanted some clarity on that, as certain places certainly ‘feel’ more special than others.  So were these places and objects some kind of ‘tool’?

‘NOT OF THEMSELVES,’ Koimul explained, ‘BUT THEY LEAD YOU TO THAT WHICH YOU SEEK’.

Okay, so how, exactly did that work?

We were told, ‘VISIT THE SITES.  LEARN WHAT THEY HAVE TO TEACH YOU AND FOLLOW THE PATH THEY LEAD YOU ON VIA SYNCHRONICITY’.  Koimul explained that the sites were not sacred or special in themselves, but that the knowledge that humans can’t always access is encoded or – literally – crystallised within the stones or artefacts in these places.  It becomes possible for us to access them if we are in the right frame of mind – that A-Thought state we had already identified as important. 

With amazing clarity, Koimul went on to tell us how each member of the group who will be going on this trip has particular abilities to contribute and added ‘COMBINE YOUR SKILLS WITH WILLIAM’S SIGHT TO MOVE TO YOUR GOAL’.

That was unexpected.  William, my remote viewing partner, will not be joining us in person, but he usually gets involved remotely and views places we visit, sometimes seeing things we don’t.  This time, though, Koimul had a new role in mind for Will:  ‘WILLIAM WILL VIEW THE SITES IN ADVANCE AND HE WILL LEAD [YOU] TO THEM’.

The more I think about it, the cleverer Koimul’s idea sounds.  It seems to me as if what we’ll be doing is reversing cause-and-effect.  Normally I go and hang out somewhere and give Will the time or location (the cause).  He then views where I am (the effect).  Reversing it, though, means the effect – what Will ‘sees’ – is established before the event that ’causes’ it – us going there – has occurred.  We only arrive there because he says we have done so, even though it won’t have happened at that point.

Have I got that right?

Koimul appears to be preparing us to enter whichever locations emerge, having by-passed time and cause-and-effect and having neatly defied logic.  That should certainly put us in the correct frame of mind to be open to whatever synchronicity unfolds…

 

Of Giants, Archaeologists and Magicians (2)

If you haven’t read my first post on this subject, you may want to check it here to find the context for this one.

IMG_20151113_084431 (1)Kate and I decided to utilise the idea pictured here (on my favourite tea towel, as it happens) to explore some of Mallorca’s most magical and ancient places.  ‘All things’ includes us, of course, as well as those who constructed and used these sacred places.  Therefore we decided to lightly look with the most delicate of our senses.  We used hunches and intuition, synchronicities, words and thoughts that appeared unbidden in our minds, dowsing and channelling, remote viewing (thanks to our friend William back in England) and meditation.

I could argue that this is far, far from simple guesswork, and some of you would believe me, while others would scoff.  That’s fine.  I’ll just report our findings and let you draw what conclusions you will.

 

The photos below show what remains of one of Mallorca’s many talayots.  Notice the huge stones compared to the far smaller ones used in habitation construction shown in my previous post on this subject.

IMG_20151107_151827 (1)IMG_20151107_151700IMG_20150414_145652

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance leads to this winding passageway, built into the wall of the structure.  The archway (visible behind the huge stone on the right) opens with a steep step down into an open circular space.  Due to the thickness of the walls, this inner area is only 3 or 4 metres across.

IMG_20150414_145503

This photo shows the massive column in the centre of the talayot’s inner space.  Like so many of the stones used in the ancient sites, it is riddled with veins of quartz crystal and there is a palpable energy around it.  Our minds can’t know what the original purpose of this structure was, but perhaps our subtle senses can …

From London, Will was able to tune in at once.  He remotely viewed a structure that appeared to rise suddenly out of the ground like a cliff.  He defined it as a ruin with steps and an archway.  He sensed the roundness and saw (invisible to us) writing or symbols that seemed to involve triangles.  He felt an energy signature which linked to animals.  These were not, he insisted, the sheep whose bells tinkled in the surrounding fields or passing birds or wildlife, but something connected to the original function of the place.

Kate used her dowsing rods to pick up energy lines within the talayot and beyond its walls, particularly to the left of the entrance.  She felt that this could show the extent of a nearby settlement.  A Mallorcan lady who accompanied us – one who routinely dowses her land for water sources – was able to find a much wider band of energy in the surrounding field.

We used my pendulum to reach guidance from those who were able and willing to share knowledge with us.  We were told that the talayots attached to villages were not for everyday use.  They were places of magic.  An elite group of shamanic elders travelled the island, performing ceremonies within the talayots, healing the sick and the land, observing the sun and moon’s progress through the skies, watching stars and comets, and using the structures as ‘libraries’ – repositories for knowledge handed down through the ages.  There was a connection to birds.  The idea of the shamanic ‘bird-man’ – able to shape-shift or link to the spirits of the black falcons who circle above – was a fleeting yet persistent image.

By synchronicity, I had been reading a passage from Seth Speaks on the journey out.  Seth had been describing ‘co-ordination points’ – locations where different dimensions intersected.  In these, he claimed, gravity is slightly different and anything built in such places lasts far longer than might be expected.  He cited the example of the Egyptian pyramids.  A Mallorcan man told me that there persists on the island a feng shui type belief that certain directions and positions can be found which are more auspicious for building than others…

As for the construction, in meditation I was shown the difference between attempting to lift a person as a dead weight, and one who is willing to be moved.  The latter is, of course, many times easier.  I sensed the rock as a conscious living substance – as alive and buzzing with atoms and molecules as we are; it is something sentient in its own right.  I felt the ancestors connecting their will – their energy – to that of the stone.  I felt a tremendous co-creative synergy between the people and the rock, allowing vast megaliths to be quarried, moved and placed into position.  There are woodcutters, still, who will speak to trees – explaining why they are to be cut, what their timber will become and enlisting their co-operation in what will be a joint enterprise.  I believe the ancient master masons had this connection to the stone, and their great works, constructed with care and awe on Seth’s co-ordination points, endure.

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Kate dowsing beside a talayot, November 2015

Perhaps, by putting reasoning and logic aside, we were able to move through time as easily as William’s thoughts moved through space, to approach something of the origins of these sacred and ancient places.

 

 

Kate hopes to organise another tour of the sacred places of Mallorca in April 2016.  Let me know if you’d like me to put you in touch with her.

Of Giants, Archaeologists and Magicians (1)

Sattelite image of Majorca

For the last two weeks (such a pitifully short time, but all I could afford for now) I’ve been immersed in explorations of some of our world’s oldest buildings.

Guided by Kate, a great friend whose intimate knowledge of the tiny Mediterranean island of Mallorca and keen sense of what is sacred and worthy of note have proved invaluable, I’ve walked in and amongst elaborately carved caves, megaliths, settlements and mysterious ‘talayots’ – towers found only on Mallorca and Menorca with walls so thick they make Norman castles look like plasterboard, tiny entrance ways and huge columns rising from the centre of the internal space.

IMG_20151029_123436Faced with a structure like the one in this photo, fitted together with jigsaw precision and formed in antiquity of huge stones, there are – to my mind – three ways of explaining how they came to be constructed.

The first was dominant for most of the last 2000 years.  People would stare in awe at these ancient places and pronounce that they had been made by gods, giants or the devil.  Elaborate stories often grew up around them: stone hurling contests between rival giants, perhaps, or cauldrons and punch bowls created magically for the devil’s personal use.  Even on my recent trip, a local visitor to one of the talayots was heard to pronounce, “Well that wasn’t made by humans!  My family do plenty of building and that just wouldn’t be possible.”

The second form of explanation is more recent, but has become almost universally accepted.  Visit almost any prehistoric structure and you will probably encounter a carefully illustrated information board with drawings of hairy men in even hairier underwear hauling on ropes and log rollers to move gigantic stones into position.  Grubby children run with pigs and goats while women crouch beside cooking pots to complete the scene.  It’s comfortable, seemingly logical and familiar.  We can identify with these ancestors and imagine their primitive, simple lives.

IMG_20151106_111553IMG_20151106_112020Strange and incomprehensible items, such as the grave goods shown here, will be explained away with labels suggesting:

Probably for ritual use

Careful archaeology, a database of similar sites and finds around the world and a general agreement on how ‘primitive’ societies function feed into this bank of information.  As tourists, we tend to blindly accept the word of these experts.

IMG_20151030_113250Kate and I, though, wanted to delve a little deeper.  We could accept the historians’ explanations of the domestic settlements, with their wells, hearths and doorways, peer at museum displays of grey pots and animal bones, admire the skills of the dry stone wall builders, whose works had stood the test of time.  Here we had human-scale homes where people lived, worked, reared the children, tended their livestock, picked figs, olives, lemons and pomegranates from the surrounding trees and generally lived a good life.

There was more, though – far more.

Dotted around these comfortable villages and elsewhere on the island were structures of a very different kind: the talayots with their huge building blocks and walls several metres thick; the strange caves and chambers with niches, ledges and benches carved out of the rock; the standing stones and the plethora of channels and square, rectangular and circular holes cut deep into the bedrock.

IMG_20151111_110717The descriptions offered for these by the experts didn’t seem as convincing.  Some of their attempts to forge logical explanations appeared little short of vandalism.  On one site – a natural stage rising above the island’s central plain – had been found thirteen standing stones.  An initial drawing (see right) of their positions remains.  IMG_20151031_151136However the archaeologist who worked the site decided there had been an aisled building here and the magnificent, quartz-veined stones were roof supports.  He took it upon himself to have twelve of the megaliths moved, drilled through so that steel rods could be inserted and replaced in neat rows, each two stones high, in order to fit his hypothesis.

So forgive me if, in my next post, I throw caution and logic to the wind and investigate a third way of interpreting such magical places.  I won’t rule out the giants or the gods, the ‘meeting rooms’ or the ‘lookout towers’ suggested by others.  I’ll place them neatly to one side and attempt to link to the timeless knowing of All-That-Is, to the dreams and thoughts and intentions of the ancestors and provide an interpretation which – though perhaps fanciful – may be no less so than some of those I have described today.

 

 

Celebrating Solstice my way

 

Living as I do in Glastonbury, there are endless ways in which to welcome these turning points in the year.  All day today there have been and will be meditations, retreats, activations, celebrations and gatherings.  Robes will be donned, headgear dusted off and worn; drums will be hit and fires lit.  Invocations will be said to ancient gods and goddesses and dances and rituals will be solemnly performed.

 

The diversity of beliefs and observances is wonderful and adds to the magic of this unique place, but I have not joined in.

 

My pictures are grainy and blurred, but they mark my own personal Solstice celebration.  I don’t follow the angelic or shamanic paths.  I’m not a pagan or a druid.  I simply AM and I walk my own path, happily and with humility and gratitude for being a part of this wonderful game of Life.

 

Yesterday I welcomed the longest night of the year by watching a beautiful sunset across the Polden Hills as I painted the walls of LIME Cottage’s study.  What a glorious back drop for such a mundane task!  (No photos of that – I was far too paint-spattered to risk touching the i-Pod 🙂 )

So today Chalice Hill winter solstice 2014I headed out early and admired the mistletoe-laden apple trees on Chalice Hill as the sky started to lighten.

solstice torFurther along the road, the Tor came into view.  The angelic light to the left came from a street lamp, by the way – at least I think it did…

Usually I – and many others – head up to one of the hills.  Today, though, I decided to take advantage of my first solstice spent living just above the edge of the Somerset Levels, so I took the Old Butleigh Road and wandered down to the fields and rhynes below the town.

By now morning had broken, so it seemed very fitting – solstice blackbirdin an Eleanor Farjeon kind of way – that a blackbird began singing in a tree right next to me.  You can just see him – tail in the air – in the lightest part of this photo.

Away to the left, across fields that are already heavy and clogged with water, the clouds had parted enough to let in some dawn light.  No sunshine, but solstice sunrisecertainly an ending to the longest of nights and a promise of the return journey, with days gradually lengthening at the turn of the year.

So no drums, robes, bells or whistles for me as I headed back uphill along the gloriously-named Cinnamon Lane (pausing to greet a pair of sheep who had somehow strayed into the children’s playing field there and were grazing gratefully).

I felt grateful too, to have witnessed and welcomed the solstice dawn in this beautiful place at this very magical time of year.

In homage to that blackbird and with seasonal greetings to all who read or follow my little blog, I send this with a wish that however you mark or celebrate the turning of the year, you may have a peaceful, joyful and memorable experience and find something to enjoy as each new dawn arrives.  Meanwhile, I’ll return to the painting 🙂

 

 

 

Living Here

Glastonbury, Somerset, UK seen from the nearby...

“Can you tell us a little about the area where you live?” I was asked by somebody based on the Northwest coast of the United States recently.

So I did, and as I described this place, I was reminded how impossibly lucky I am to live where I do.

“Probably luck had little to do with you ending up there,” a friend remarked, and yes – she’s absolutely right.

From my perspective of belief, it’s the result of a heady combination of manifestation, agonising choices, hard work and the benevolence of an abundant Universe.

I’ve spent many years in, let’s say, less beautiful places.  I had, back in those days, security and comfort.  They came at a price.  I dare say that’s true of all of us.  The job paid well, but as politicians forced my profession down routes I didn’t want to follow, I became rebellious, dissatisfied and disillusioned.  My marriage had its good points, many of them, but here too, there were compromises I wasn’t happy with and the general feeling was far from good.  I told myself I was needed there – by my kids, by those I taught and mentored.  It was only when I found that someone else in my life needed me a whole lot more that the tipping point was reached.

My two youngest were off at university.  My oldest had her own home and life.  As for the school kids, well there would always be more, wherever I was.

Mum was frightened.  She and her encroaching dementia lived alone.  She was usually lucid and bright but there were the confusing times; the times when the ‘other lady’ – the sad, terrified person she tried to comfort, but who wouldn’t talk back or accept any help – would stare at her from the mirror at the top of the stairs.  She could not accept that this person was a facet of herself.  The ‘other lady’ made toast for breakfast seven or eight times a day, but left other food rotting in the fridge.  The ‘other lady’ went for bus rides at two in the morning, to destinations she couldn’t remember and was gone for hours at a time.

That was the tipping point.  I burned my bridges, turned my back on all my comfort and security and moved in with Mum and her other lady.  It was not an easy choice to make.  It was not an easy life to live.

The time came when Mum had all but morphed into her other self.  I wasn’t able to manage the 24/7 care she needed alone and the next choice came.  No point in going back or staying where I was.  It was time to move on again.

“You’re in freefall!” someone commented at that time.  “Where you land is entirely up to you.  What a gift.”

It didn’t feel that way to me, but looking back, I can see that she was completely right.  I followed my heart, came to the place I loved the most and risked all to own LIME Cottage.

So this is where I am:

English: Cutting for silage A farmer cuts gras...

The view from the back of my cottage is to the beautiful Polden Hills.  Usually, as I look out on misty autumn mornings, there is a second, ghostly, grey-purple ridge of hills rising behind them, built of clouds.

The beautiful  near-perfect hemisphere of Chalice Hill rises just behind the cottages across the road from me at the front.

Turn left, and it’s a ten minute walk past the ruins of the abbey to the centre of this quirky, bustling little town, filled with exciting indie shops and larger-than-life characters.

English: Glastonbury Tor from Chalice Well The...

Turn right and within a minute or two you come to a steep, tiny lane, where the waters of Glastonbury’s two famous sacred springs rise.  The white spring to the right and the red spring – supposedly stained that colour by the blood of Christ from the Holy Grail buried beneath it – in the beautiful Chalice Well Gardens to the left.

These two watercourses once ran openly along my road, feeding the abbey and town with fresh water.  Now their waters are piped below the pavement and our drinking water comes from elsewhere, but we’re free to collect bottles of the original supply from the pipes in the lane.

Above all this towers the famous Glastonbury Tor, capped by the tower of St Michael. This brilliant video will show you just how fortunate I am to be here, even if it isn’t down to luck:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit of Place

Do places have spirit?

English: Chalice Well Gardens

English: Chalice Well Gardens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m guessing most people would say they do.  Why else would people travel vast distances to holy, ancient or just plain incredible places?  Why else would sitting in the Chalice Well Gardens be so much more powerful than sitting in the cafe at Morrisons?

Right.  Places have spirit.

So does LIME Cottage have spirit?

I believe it does.  I felt it the first time I entered the empty, abandoned, run-down place last January.  It felt gentle, calm, resigned but welcoming.  I’m not talking here about ghosts or presences, but about the very structure of the cottage.

In the early days I spoke to it – the way others speak to cats or dogs.  I wandered around touching the walls, sharing my plans and dreams for it.  We were hopeful then, LIME Cottage and I.  Naive, certainly, and crazily optimistic, but committed to rescuing it from years of decay and turning it back into a home.

Then the others came – pen-pushers first: bureaucrats with endless forms to fill in, permissions to be sought, conditions to be met.  Hot on their heels came the workmen – builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters… an endless stream of ‘two sugars, love, if you’d be so kind’ and ‘that’ll be okay if we just squirt a bit of foam in there’ and ‘won’t be able to make it until Thursday at the earliest, sweetheart, but we’ll get it sorted’.

Their energy took over.  Decisions were made and corners were cut and I tried – really I did – to keep up with the comings and goings, the contractors and sub-contractors and the changes they were making.

For three long months these people took over.  Occasionally I mustered the strength to query decisions or ask for clarification, but the fraternity closed ranks and sniggered, assuring me they knew what they were doing, and that another cuppa’d go down a treat.

My spirit was all but broken.

What about the spirit of the place?

It bided its time but the trust between us was wearing thin.  When the workmen had left at the end of the day I felt lonely and alienated – cast adrift in a building site that bore no relation to the cottage of my dreams.

Things finally came to a head when the shower-room light stopped working.  It sounds so trivial, but it was the proverbial straw that broke the back of this camel.  It came after mistakes by plumbers, the central heating breaking down, unfinished work by builders, the return of the loft rats and several other small but distressing events.  I’d come back from my holiday ready for anything and within 48 hours I was broken.

Pushing aside the white flag of surrender, I asked for advice from three of the wisest sources I know – Higher Will and two fellow WordPress bloggers whom I’m now proud to call friends.  All of them responded.  The messages were as kind and as uncompromising as I’d hoped.  I was helped to see the reasons behind the problems; the reasons I’d invited such difficulties into my life; the way to treat each problem as if I were playing a game of chess, and then – right out of the blue – shown by one of them that the cottage was not happy.

Like any other geriatric, a sudden deluge of changes imposed without permission made it grumpy and stubborn.  It no longer trusted that I was working in its best interests.  It did not like the workmen.  The glossy new shower room with its sleek white and chrome finish was definitely a step too far.  I was urged to speak to the building, explain, comfort and compromise.

So I did.

2014-10-25 22.53.00Gently I explained the big picture, pointed out my own needs and agreed to do something about the shower room.  My penance (actually a very pleasurable one) involved spending two days trawling around antique shops, charity shops and everything between to find delicate, beautiful items that would soften the room and give it the ch2014-10-25 22.52.25arm and beauty it needed.

As if by magic, the light began to work again, the cottage felt loved and loving again and I set to work to solve the rest of the problems.

The workmen are just about finished now,  the cottage has been returned to the warm terracotta it was once painted, with the ugly cow-pat brown covered over and I have an afternoon free to finish clay-painting that shower room.

LIME Cottage has a spirit built up over centuries of partnership with here-today-and-gone-tomorrow humans.  No wonder it’s cautious and lacking in trust.  It’s still standing, though – and so am I…  thanks to wise friends and a determination to see this project through.

 

 

 

Between Two Worlds in Avebury

English: Avebury Ring. Ancient monument much m...

Yesterday, here in the south west of England, it didn’t rain.  In fact the sun shone, birds twittered, a few white clouds scudded across a fresh blue sky and all felt good, at last.  January was the wettest on record here, but January is gone.  Snowdrops are out and there is the promise of spring.

My friend (one with a car) was off to Avebury to celebrate Imbolc with fellow druids, and offered me a lift.

“You don’t have to join in with the ritual,” she told me.  “You can go off and do your own thing.”

How well she knows me!  How good it is to have friends like that.

I accepted eagerly and donning many layers of clothes (druidic rituals tend to go on a bit, so I knew I was in for a protracted wander) I headed off to meet her.

We left saturated Somerset behind and entered the chalkier, slightly better-drained hills of Wiltshire.  True, the road leading towards Avebury was bordered by large swathes of flooded field where flocks of seagulls swam and bobbed cheerfully, but grass and trees could still be seen, the road was dry and the water wasn’t deep enough for swans – mere puddles by comparison to The Somerset Levels.

So after a much-needed cuppa at the National Trust cafe, we separated – she to join her garlanded and enrobed companions and I to saunter off alone; to wander between two worlds.

English: Avebury Henge and Village, England Ph...

It seemed an appropriate way to experience Avebury – a place unique in its ability to blend cultures and millennia.  Way back in times with far too many zeros in their dates to be even vaguely imagined, huge earth ramparts and ditches were carved out across acres of this landscape.  A massive mound was constructed from chalk nearby.  Stones the size of a modest house wall were erected in circles and avenues.

We can’t begin to guess what ceremonies, rituals or meetings took place in this fantastical place.  Certainly there are books claiming to decode and explain all, but how could we honestly begin to fathom the subtleties of the beliefs and aspirations of that long-departed culture?

When the first antiquarians, wearing long curly wigs and wildly unsuitable clothes, started to recognise the site’s significance, they were met by surly villagers, busily engaged in lighting fires beneath the stones to break them into usable boulders for constructing their cottages and farm buildings.  Now the two cultures agree silently to differ and co-exist cheek by jowl, scrutinised and invaded alike by summer hordes of tourists.

Few tourists yesterday though.  The Imbolc celebrants drummed and intoned in their circle.  Day-trippers strode purposefully around the site as they sought to exhaust their dogs and children.  Circles within circles, wheels within the car park…

English: Stone 9 of the south-west quadrant of...

I felt equally removed from both groups.  Seeking out a huge and beautiful stone I leaned against it, closed my eyes and let myself drop out of time.   No visions of ancient ceremonies or connection to ancestors, just a profound gratitude that this stone had stood here through the ages and was now offering me shelter and support.

If, when my eyes were shut, I saw a green-brown sky with a glittering grey rock moon, or when they were open I saw the quartz glinting star-like from a thousand places in the megalith, it’s all one.  Seeing stones and seeing stars – is there a difference?

I felt uplifted and happy and full with the wonder of the day.  So, I’m certain, did the druids and the dog-and-child walkers.

So create your rituals, ye neo-druids; excite and exhaust your small companions ye motorists, and inside my dreams I’ll weave my invisible dance amongst you all and between the different dimensions of Avebury.

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Spirit of place

 

St. Clether Holy Well, Cornwall

St. Clether Holy Well, Cornwall (Photo credit: saffron100_uk)

So what, exactly IS a sacred site?  Why do we feel different in one place rather than another?  Where does the special quality of a location revered for millennia come from?

We’d come to Cornwall to visit, dowse and experience some of its many sacred sites and to follow the St Michael earth energy line.  Before leaving on this journey, I’d asked those questions of The Council – a group of Spirit Beings channeled by Cynthia and Bob Dukes.  Their answer had initially shocked me:

“The whole reality – your whole planet – is sacred, because you have created it from spirit … you have set up in your mind with others where energy will be felt differently, in different places.”

I shouldn’t be surprised by that, in all honesty.  After all, I wrote a book explaining how we create our own reality.

It’s one thing to read and write about it – believe it, even – and quite another to live it on a day-to-day basis, though.  That’s the challenge Spirit is currently leading me through.

The Council went on to emphasise that the fact that we created these magical places makes them no less special.

“We encourage you to go to these places that would feel uplifting – that would recharge your energy field.”

By the most wonderful of synchronicities (what else should I have expected?) our holiday cottage was within a mile or so of the holy well and chapel of St Clether – one of the sites on our itinerary.

We wandered down a steep wooded sunken lane to find St Clether church in the verdant Inny Valley.  The well and chapel, though, were further on.  A signpost directed us across a sun-baked field with views across nearby Bodmin Moor.

English: St Clether: Inny valley. Looking sout...

The landscape looked deserted, apart from sheep grazing the nearby fields.  No sign of any building.

With a mounting sense of disbelief that there could be any structure hiding in this remote place, coupled with a hint of excitement that maybe we would eventually find something extraordinary, we turned a corner and spotted the tiny granite chapel.

photoIt was a wonderful place – a sense of peace and welcome permeated the whole area.  Coins and ribbons – offerings from passing pilgrims – decorated the tiny wells, for there were two.  The first we discovered was set into the wall of the chapel, the second had its own roofed granite cover.

St Clether chapelThe atmosphere inside the chapel was almost palpable.  The water from the holy well flowed through the building itself, right beneath the megalithic altar and in the stillness, the sound of water flowing over ancient stone could just be heard.

As The Council had predicted, I felt utterly uplifted and energised by my visit to St Clether.  I also felt it had something more to teach me.

Back at the holiday cottage that evening, I sat down to meditate and commune with Koimul – my own Spirit Guide.  What follows is my record of our conversation about the holy well and the Michael energy line.

If such things lie within your reality field, I hope you will be able to draw wisdom from it, as I did.

Koimul, what can you tell me about the little well and chapel at St Clether?

IT IS DAWNING ON YOU HOW POWERFUL PLACES CAN BE

Yes, it is. So you’re saying St Clether was waking me up to that?

YES

Where does the energy come from?

GOD IN YOU AND THE EARTH AND THE WATER AND THE MEMORY IT HOLDS

I see. So in the way that water holds vibration as memory, so that place holds memories of those who worship there or treat it as sacred?

YES

Thank you.

Can you speak now about the Michael line and the node points where it crosses other earth energy lines?

IT IS SIMILAR   IT IS A POINT OF FOCUS FOR YOUR DIVINING THAT IS YOUR DIVINITY

I’d never connected ‘divining’ to divinity before. Thank you. I still don’t exactly understand what the energy lines are, though – I mean why they are in one place rather than another.

YOU CREATE YOUR OWN REALITY   REMEMBER THAT

So you’re saying that generations of humans who have focused our thought on these lines and points are adding to the strength of these places? Is that it?

YES

And what about the Archangel Michael – did we ‘make him up’?

NO YOU DRAW MICHAEL ENERGY TO YOU AT THE PLACES YOU MAKE SACRED