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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Warning – nudity and flashing images

Oh dear, sorry about the gratuitous title, but there may be some readers who will find the image shocking or upsetting.  I’m certainly not sharing this to shock or arouse.  It’s just that it helps me to tell a most interesting story.

Last Wednesday was Imbolc – February 1st: the celebration of the first stirrings of the Celtic year.  Such events are taken seriously here in Glastonbury, and I’ve always thought it a lovely festival, with the promise of renewal and springtime to come.  Be that as it may, on this particular Imbolc, I wasn’t feeling at my best.  There was a keen wind, the usual grey cloud cover and I’d been to the doctors (something I only do when absolutely necessary – about once every 3-4 years, on average) as I needed medication to clear up a persistent infection.

As the sun was getting low in the sky, I started the ten minute walk home from the town centre to my cottage, which is on a busy road leading towards the famed Glastonbury Tor.  Although I’d stopped to admire a garden full of snowdrops, I couldn’t claim to have been celebrating Imbolc in any sense.  One of my fellow pedestrians, however, had chosen her own unique way to do so.  I heard the light slap of feet on the pavement behind me (feet, mark you, not shoes) and was overtaken by a completely naked woman, jogging lightly towards the Tor (or maybe Chalice Well or the White Spring – they’re all clustered together).  She appeared calm, intent and focused, not in any distress and quite comfortable with her condition.

My first thought was how cold she must be; I was huddled in my padded waterproof.  My second was how easy, comfortable and confident she must feel in her body, to allow the world to see her that way.  My third thought, I have to confess, was that this incident would make a most interesting remote viewing subject for Will.

Consequently, the following Sunday, I suggested he tune into the street outside my house (which he has never visited) at 4.15 on the previous Wednesday, to see if he could locate something incongruous and unexpected.  This was his response:

Got strong feeling of a large animal like an elephant or hippo, a large flat high visibility reflective-like board or screen. Generally a lot of bright colours across the scene. Weaker feelings of a lot of brightly coloured balls moving around.

Right.

Well the large wild animal made me laugh, obviously.  As you’ll see from the video below, the poor lady was by no means hippo-like!  On the other hand we are very rarely exposed to so much bare skin outdoors – especially in an English February – and there was something of the wild animal about her, but not one with fur (and as Will pointed out, the wild animals you would expect to see are far smaller than humans, which could be why his mind gave him a large animal).  As chance would have it, someone had taken this video of her walking past my house in the other direction, earlier in the day and posted it on You Tube, so I was able to show Will what he saw.

But the bright lights and coloured balls??  That had me foxed completely…. until later in the day, when I was mentally replaying my journey home from town in my mind.

Signal Lamp, Siren, Ambulance, PoliceSuddenly it came to me. Moments before my encounter with the lady, an ambulance had gone screeching past – a riot of bright colours and high-vis yellow, momentarily lighting up the grey day.  Its signal lights flashed on and off – balls of light appearing and disappearing.  To William, viewing the scene remotely some days later, the image of the vehicle would have moved across the scene so fast it would have appeared like a screen flashing past.

When I shared that information with him, Will commented:

Yes that fits well.  I only saw it from the side but did wonder if it was an ambulance.  Not usually very good at identifying specific objects unless they’re something that can be expected, due to the scene.

For me – and I hope for you – it was a fascinating insight into how visions are interpreted by the mind.

Out of Time

Yes, it’s complicated.  What I’m discovering about LIFE isn’t the way we expected things to work.  It flies in the face of just about everything we’ve been told and there will be some – probably many – good, wise and thoughtful people, who just won’t be able to understand this, or fit it into their world view.

Note:  It is nothing like what The Matrix portrays.  It is not sinister.  It is not a tale of cruelty and exploitation.  But, like Neo, once you are exposed to it, there’s no going back.

My world view is being expanded by it, and a few people may want to similarly expand theirs.  If you are one of them, I bid you welcome.  If not, take the blue pill, dear friends, and simply click off here.

So, how deep does the rabbit hole look?

On Sunday 11th September, I texted William, my remote viewing partner, who was, as usual, right across the country in London.  I told him I knew where I would be the following Saturday (17th) at 12.45.  I asked him, as he’d done on a previous occasion, to try remotely viewing this future location of mine and to tell me what he got.

Fifteen minutes later, Will sent me this text:

I got initially two large tanks of water with something large floating/submerged in them.

A room with a curved ceiling and tiled walls, possibly yellow.

Loads of bright colours a bit like a rainbow.

Not so sure about this but did think maybe a tall round tower a bit like a helter-skelter.

Later got a circular arrangement of tall pillars.

A dome shaped thing with something tall on top – possibly a cross.

Some concrete steps.

A strange kind of triangular-shaped wall that has a door/gap in it – possibly white.

Something like trenches with a small thing sticking up by them.  I think it’s red.

Got an image of a board-like thing with lots of information on.

Also did briefly get an image of you in a darkened room but with lots of extremely varied and brightly coloured objects around.  Some at least were like hanging sheets.  I think there was someone else.

I knew that on that future date I would be at my hairdresser’s.  I had the appointment card in my pocket.  I hadn’t, of course, told Will that, and he has never seen the place.

You’re wondering, now, what kind of crazy hairdresser’s I attend!  How could he have got those wild images from a hair salon?

Well, the last section was a pretty good fit for the room I’d be in.  It’s eclectic, with those trendy, rather dim light bulbs, where you can see the filament, and lots of pretty hanging things and mirrors.  On the day of the appointment there was, very unusually, only me and my stylist in the salon, so he’d got the number of people right.  (A week in advance, remember, yes!)

20160919_105530_resized_1Now I’ll show you a picture of the building I was going to be in.  I’d be in the ground floor room, behind the purple window, just the other side of this mural.  He always tends to pick up the outside of a building if I’m indoors, and I was really hoping he’d get this.  (I took this photo today.  Someone has dumped an old mattress beside the litter bin, but that wasn’t there on Saturday, so of course it wasn’t viewed.)                                     Let’s look carefully:

The ‘two tanks of water’ are the lake, split by the black framed information board into two as you look at it.  The hand of the – submerged – Lady of the Lake floats out of it, holding the sword.

20160917_122403_resizedWould you see the whole image as a ‘room’ with a curved ceiling, if you had no idea what you were looking at?  There’s a yellow border all round it with a design reminiscent of  tiles.

 

The rainbow is obvious.

20160917_122119_resized

And this has to be what he saw as a helter-skelter.  Can you just see the spiral energy lines around King Arthur’s sword?  No wonder Will was doubting himself by this point!

20160917_122133_resized_1

 

 

 

The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey – an arrangement of tall pillars.

 

20160917_122151_resizedBetween the eye and the rainbow is Glastonbury Tor – dome shaped, with concrete steps and the famous ruined church tower on top.

Next I think Will’s viewing pans out to see the whole wall with its triangular gabled top and the tourist information board (which he later identifies) appearing like a doorway in it.

20160917_122245_resizedThe trenches are probably the black base of the wall with a course of brick paving below them.  This detail shows why they made him think of trenches, perhaps.  And the small thing sticking up is the litter bin, I suspect.

Apologies for the dreadful formatting, but I hope you can see enough of it to get the idea.

I’m not going to attempt to explain or theorise about it today.  All I’m saying is that this seems to me to give the best proof I’ve yet received that my friend is able to ‘see’ my location at a specified point in the future in considerable detail and to describe it to me a week before I get there.

Image result for glastonbury mural

Stone Mullions

2014-02-28 11.01.26A lovely word – mullions – don’t you think? And the sheer romance of having stone mullions (window frames) was one of the factors that induced me to buy LIME Cottage.

Of course they’d been painted and were yellowing and peeling when I first saw the house, but my meticulous builder and his lads cleaned the outside windows back to the original stonework, even going to the local quarry at Doulting (from where the original stone came, all those centuries ago) and bringing back stone dust to mix with the filler for any cracks that needed repair.

The results were fantastic.  I was delighted.

IMG_20150708_100309Then I began decorating the upstairs front room.  Without a thought I started removing the flaking paint on the window frame, expecting to sand it down and paint over it.  That was when I discovered that with minimal effort, I was revealing the stone on the inside too.

Exciting!

I beavered away with the paint scraper – some parts were easier than others, and had soon exposed a decent sized chunk of stone.

My Man Monday arrived the next day.  LIME Cottage and I like our Man Monday.  He’s a wonderful, intuitive odd-job man who adores old buildings and knows exactly how to treat them.  He comes on Mondays because that’s his day off from running his organic wholefood restaurant.  He was as thrilled as I was to see the stonework and agreed that it had to be cleared.  He showed me how to use various parts of a chisel to remove the paint and buff up the surface.  IMG_20150708_100316A YouTube video taught me how to re-putty the glass (surprisingly easy and fun – like playing with Plasticine) and I was happy.

I suspect the stone had remained untouched for centuries.  Then someone – probably in the 1950s, judging by the materials used, had skimmed a layer of plaster over the stone and covered it with a thick golden lacquer of some sort.  I remember the front door of my parents’ new-build house, in 1956, being covered with this same material, and my father’s deep delight and pride at having this new state-of-the-art finish applied to it.  Maybe whoever was the cottage’s custodian back in those days was equally proud of their work.

The next layer – in the sixties perhaps – was a very pretty pale turquoise – just the colour I probably would have chosen myself, had the mullions not decided it was their time to breathe again.  A few coats of ‘brilliant white’ gloss topped things off, but sun and many years of neglect had worked their magic, providing cracks and crannies for my chisel to get a hold.

IMG_20150711_172246I’ve left flecks of the earlier coats here and there.  They are, after all, part of the cottage’s rich history, as are the dents and chips in the stone.

Sometime in the future, no doubt someone will decide to cover the stone again, with some new technological breakthrough.  That’s fine, and as it should be.  History doesn’t stop.  The cottage will do as it’s always done, adapt and change with the ages.

The stone mullions will continue to look out on the road below, The camper vans and hatchbacks, delivery lorries and tankers, tourists and neo-pagans added to their store of memories.

I love to imagine black-clad puritans and straw-chewing ploughmen passing beneath them; earnest men with pitchforks and muskets rallying to Monmouth’s rebellion; gents in curly wigs, smoking long clay pipes; ladies in lace and sprigged muslin frocks; farm carts and haywains; ponies and traps; horse-drawn coaches filled with journeying Victorians, keen to view the Abbey’s ruins; Dion Fortune and her retinue heading to secret ceremonies at her house, just down the road; eager young farm boys hurrying to sign up to fight in the Great War; heartbroken parents heading to church to mourn for them; hippies with flowers in their hair off to climb the Tor…

My beautiful stone mullion windows have seen all that and more, and caked as I am in stone dust and lead paint chippings, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my intimate encounter with their story.

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Writing on My Wall

Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor (Photo credit: Nick Kenrick .)

 

Over the next few posts, I’ve decided to share some of the words that are pinned up on my study wall.

 

This is the room where I do my writing, plan my lessons and tutor some of my students, so it’s a special place where much of my waking life is spent.  The window looks out onto a northern roof-scape of Glastonbury, with St Edmunds Hill towards the west and – if you know where to look – St Michael’s Tower (the one on top of Glastonbury Tor) just visible above treetops over to the east.

 

Above the door there’s a small metal sign, bearing the word:

 

INSPIRE

 

That’s to remind me what I’m here to do.  It’s what living, educating and writing are all about.

 

Ranged around the walls are other texts from various sources, which have shaped my thinking – and consequently my life.

Today I’m going to share a passage written by a fellow Glastonbury resident – a mystic and visionary who, among other things, created the trust which still runs the beautiful Chalice Well Gardens – my number one favourite place in the world.

His words, having been written in the early twentieth century, pre-date our rather wafty New Age terminology, but the sentiment is clear, and his uncompromising words have helped me to take stock and refocus when doubts and worries have threatened to take over.

 

Pennies from heaven

The importance of positive, constructive, optimistic thinking all day long cannot be over-estimated.  The fight on which you and I are constantly engaged is against the so-called forces of fear, depression, self-centredness and frustration.  Bar your gates against these negative forces as the first step towards making yourself and your life of greater service to others.

Wellesley Tudor Pole

 

 

 

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Shifted or Shafted – Whatever Happened to 2012?

new dawn over Tor
Sunrise at Glastonbury Tor on December 21st 2012.

Erm, was that it then?

You were expecting what, exactly?  Epic, Hollywood disaster movie scenarios?  Beams of something-or-the-other from that cosmic alignment with the galactic centre?  The much vaunted birthing of the New Earth/Age/Consciousness?  The End of Time, perhaps?

Hasn’t it all gone quiet?  Apart from this, of course……………

What if I were to suggest that everything has shifted – in the most fundamental way possible?  Allow me to share my take on the 2012 Shift with you, but remember this is just MY truth.  It may not be yours, and that’s fine.  We all have our own truths now.

So – A New Cycle:

When we were very young and new to all this, it was made nice and easy.  If we wanted to cycle, we were given a dear little toddler trike with three wheels for extra stability and in most cases a watchful parent who checked up on us continually.  In Life: A Player’s Guide I call this humanity’s infancy – the time when all the rules were made for us by ‘God the Father’ and we would be rewarded or punished according to how well we behaved.

As we got older we wanted a bit more independence.  We graduated to a bigger bike – one of those brightly coloured ones with the two little stabilisers at the back, just to hold us steady.  We pedalled off, ever further from Our Father and into what we called The Enlightenment.  Here, the twin stabilisers of Reason and Science allowed us to think (or ride) for ourselves, but they held us in check, saving us from tipping too far.  This was humanity’s childhood.

The time was bound to come when we wanted the stabilisers removed.  We longed to ride off by ourselves, taking true control of our journey.  No doubt you remember that transition from your own childhood.  It involved some very painful falls and knocks before you mastered the skills.  Possibly that patient parent was called back into action, holding on to the back of the saddle and puffing along behind you, wheezing, “Keep pedalling! (puff… gasp) I’ve got you…”

I’d argue that this is exactly where we’ve been for the past few decades.  We’ve had an explosion of channelled material,  self-help books, articles, workshops and gurus offering all the support we could possibly need.  Many of us have had dreams, inspiration and ideas from guides, spirit, angels or whatever aspects of Consciousness we believe in.

Cycling

Cycling (Photo credit: Neo-grapher)

We’ve grown in confidence with that  guiding hand on the back of the saddle.  But then there’s a moment when we realise we can’t hear the footsteps any more.  They’ve let go!  For a moment we wobble madly, but we stay upright.  We’re doing it – we can ride on by ourselves!

 

You can build your own reality now.  It’s all been building up to this.

You know that you are made of atoms, and those atoms are made – quite simply – of energy.  It’s your consciousness that decides where you put all that energy.  You’re steering the cycle yourself.  Those are your hands on the handlebars.

So give it a try.  Put your energy into, say,  catching a cold.  Work at it  and you can have one within 48 hours, or decide not to.  It’s not luck or chance.  Many people put huge amounts of energy into being ill.  Others don’t.

I’d suggest getting into the habit of directing your energy into positive places all the time.

I’d suggest giving none of it to judging or condemning yourself or others.

I’d suggest searching out the wonderful, the inspirational and the beautiful – in the world and in the mirror.

I’d suggest – because I’ve no right to do more than suggest – that when you’ve mastered that, you’ll find that you’ve shifted into a New Cycle.

More advice – should you want any – is available in my book Life: A Player’s Guide