Thursday, 25 February 2010

Stanton Drew Stone Circles

Shortly after our visit to the Tor we were having a chat with the people we were staying with and talking about the amazing energy experiences we had been having for the last few days. They then told us about a little known site near Bristol that was well worth a visit; Stanton Drew Stone Circles.

Set aback in a large field it is accessed by a little gate with an honesty box for the £1 donation asked for entrance. Sharing the field with a few sheep the stones are obviously ancient and span over a pretty large area. The best thing was the place was deserted apart from a few other visitors who were scattered over the site, you could really take your time and explore, touch the stones and feel their energy and that of the land.

I was immediately drawn to the Northeast Circle (there's a picture of the layout of the stones at the above link in the first paragraph, and photographed in the above picture), the energy was far more concentrated here and it was obvious as we explored that people come to this particular area to do rites and workings.

This one (above) really grabbed my attention in the North east Circle, and when I investigated I found small crystals, herbs and candle remnants placed within the crevaces of the stone.

This cluster also seemed important, drawing my attention and I felt a fair bit of power eminating from the 'valley' running down the centre of the cluster, pictured above.

We stayed for quite a while looking around this very peaceful site and would have stayed longer had it not been so very cold that day, it would have been very easy to spend a good few hours there just sitting, connecting with the land and taking some time for quiet reflection. Indeed the people who told us about the place said that when they stumbled upon it they spent the best part of 2 hours there, who knows, with any luck if we return one day it will be warmer and more pleasant for spending a greater amount of time there.
The evening after our travels here, which was the last place on our itinery that we did visit (we had planned to attempt to find Gog and Magog before we left the next day but lets just say that neither of us are morning people) I had a peculiar experience for an hour in the flat, my third eye was tingling like crazy and I was completely spaced for a good hour. In that time I decided to read my Faery Oracle Cards, which gave me a wonderful reading relating to the whole experience of the holiday, what I had and could draw from it and where it would lead me soon enough. Sure as anything it's advice and predictions have been coming true over these last few days as things have been falling into place for me once again.
My man told me before we went away that once I really reconnected and 'found my mojo again' the things that had been worrying me and getting to me wouldn't seem so bad. Of course, I knew this to be true, it always is, but sometimes when you lose sight of the bigger picture and your place in it darkness can settle in your heart. Thanks to our trip to Glastonbury, it's community and energy, the sites we visited and felt and of course the time we spent together I can now truely say that I feel balanced again. Reading back over my last pre-holiday posts I can see them and how I was feeling for what they really were, I can accept it, push it to one side and confidently get on with living instead of fretting.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Glastonbury Tor

Steeped in myth and legends relating to Celtic deities, the Fey and the Arthurian legends to name but a few, Glastonbury Tor is probably the best known icon of the town. Sitting atop a steep hill and overlooking the countryside for miles around it provides a beautiful vantage point for admiring both the views and the very individual energies of the area. Deep within the hill the ley lines cross once more and water flows freely.

We decided to climb to the Tor to watch the sunset on the Monday, which happened to be Lupercalia (the festival of Pan, my patron God, which made it all the more special for me). While the weather had been nicer on the Sunday when we visited the Abbey and Chalice Well Gardens, it felt right to do this on the Monday and despite all the clouds it was still a wonderful experience.

Eventually, as the sun began to lower it peeked out of the clouds briefly to dazzle and shine a patchwork of golden light over the countryside below, though the photos don't really do it justice, but then isn't that always the way...

There is far too much folklore and mystery relating to the Tor for me to write about it now. In fact I would probably end up writing a full essay on the topic if I let myself, so I have included a couple of links at the begining of the post that has a comprehensive overview of the stories and beliefs surrounding this mysterious icon. If you are interested in the history and folklore of the place then please do take the time to have a look as it makes for a very interesting read.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

White Spring

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of White Spring for two reasons, the first being that you are asked not to take any and the second being that even if we had been permitted to it was so dark in there it wouldn't have been worth it.

The White Spring is an old Victorian Reservoir that has been converted into a sacred temple space where the chalky water of the Tor flows through and is collected. It is the balance to the Chalice Well Gardens, the two positioned around the corner from each other one iron, one chalk... one 'male', one 'female'.

Walking in it took a while for my eyes to adjust to the depth of the dark. The room was relatively small and the sound of water flowing through was all encompassing and yet very relaxing. In the centre of the room was a large circular stone pool where you could get in and bathe. Water flowed down alleys in the stone floor and as you can imagine it was very slippery and wet footing.

The edges of the room were lit with candles, a rough guide to help you traverse the walkways around either side of the pool where there was rough seating and small shrines for prayer and meditation. To the left as you walk in the main entrance was a large board painting/picture of Brigid. As I'm writing this I'm actually looking for a copy of the picture that was in the shrine to link to and can't find one online. Strangely enough a couple of weeks before leaving I came across a picture of her that I used in my BOS when writing about Imbolc, I have just realised it is the exact same picture that was in the shrine so I'll scan it up to share:

It's not the best quality I'm afraid but it will have to do :)

Anyways, just to the side of this portrait of Brigid was a little walk-in alcove that housed the main shrine and by the gods the energy in there packed a punch! If we had realised we would have planned going there first and the the Chalice Well just to help 'come down' from the experience of being slapped with energy, lol. It was crazy, my hands were immediately tingling and hot, swelling up just like they do when I heal and again it took me ages to ground myself. I find this happens a lot with my hands, especially since I have been healing as I've trained them to be particularly sensitive to differences in the energies I come into contact with.
I think it would be very interesting to experience the energies here at another time of the year as well, we quite fortuitously visited this Brigid Shrine, unknowing that it was dedicated to her, at 'her time' of the year it being just a scant few days since Imbolc so it is perhaps unsurprising that the energies were so strong an experience.

The White Spring is opened and run by volunteers so it's pot luck really as to whether or not it is open when you walk by. We were lucky and managed to get in to see it, but we tried every day after to go back and experience it again but found it closed each subsequent time. Just like with the Chalice Well Gardens you could drink the water, in fact there was a tap outside for you to come and fill a bottle up regardless of whether the place was open or not.

Glastonbury Abbey

Ah... Glastonbury Abbey, other than Stonehenge this was the most 'touristy' place we visited. It is situated in the middle of town, the entrance being down the bottom of the main highstreet and like the Chalice well Gardens it is just hidden away. For such a big place you wouldn't even know it was there until you get in past the entrance building and are struck by clusters of stone and the surrounding massive green parklands.
Even though it's all in ruins the place and grounds are just immense and very peaceful. This is also another site where the two leylines cross and you can really feel the power eminating from the vacinity around the spot shown in the below picture. The large fenced off area visible is where the main altar was situated and roughly where the people closest are standing is the site where the bodies of Arthur and Guinevere were said to be buried. Between these two points is where the lines cross.

This smaller building is where the food was stored and prepared, there was a cool educational walkaroundy bit in here with examples of recipes that they would have eaten. This felt very familiar to me, the style of cooking and food available, as did the herb garden in the grounds... past life familiar? Possibly, it's hard to describe only that I felt like I had done it before, kind of like de-ja-vu I guess only not...

(above) the remains of another small chapel to the side of the main altar space.

There were remnants of wax and candles down by this pictured stone altar (above) when we went down there along with a sign. This area is obviously used for ceremonies and rites by those who gain 'written permission' from those who have guardianship over the whole site.

I always find it astounding to see the work and detail of the stonework that went into these places, even as ruins you can still appreciate and imagine the grandeur and beauty of the building and what it would have looked like in its prime.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Chalice Well Gardens

This was one of my favourite places to visit, and the photographs kinda speak for themselves. The Chalice Well Gardens span over 4 acres and even in February were very beautiful. A healing stream running from the Tor goes through here and the whole space is designed as a place for meditation, quiet reflection, prayer and healing. The energy here was powerful but very soothing and mellow, it would have been so very easy to spend a whole day here just lost in peace. There are focal points and shrines throughout the Gardens making for a beautiful, natural and highly spiritual experience. The photographs start at the bottom of the garden and work up, following the water source back to where it enters the gardens.

The design of this waterway at the very bottom of the gardens had the water moving around these kidney shaped bowls mimicing the motion of the tide as the water swirled down and around the bowl before pulling back into the centre and dropping down to the next level.

We think this is a covered well and is just on the higher ground above the previously pictured water feature. What is curious is the position of the structure, you can't really see it properly from here, but it is directly central in between these two ancient trees.

Further up the levels is this small waterfall which continues to the right into a healing pool that you can bathe in. The orange colouring of the waterway is made from natural deposits of iron present in the water, it has not been in this colour. The rusty hue really stands out drawing attention to the water and it's journey through the garden, I can only imagine what it would look like in the Summer, surrounded by the vibrant greens of full growth.

Dotted over the place were benches and little cubby holes, huts and swings with prayers and meditative phrases and inspirations within, each places off the main walkways and in view of the focal point of the part of the garden you are in.

This part of the stream is where you could sit and drink the healing waters. They were surprisingly warm, extremely clear and pure and you could really taste the high iron concentration (I think I could have really done with bottles of this stuff to drink during my last prtegnancy when I was diagnosed with Anaemia... it certainly would have beat the horrible iron tablets I had to take every day, and their side effects, lol).

The Holy Chalice Well

We were also lucky enough to spot this little fellow as we wandered quietly round... well technically my man found him, but I did snap this picture :)

This is the Gardens main shrine where you can light candles.

All in all, definitely worth a visit if you go to Glastonbury. The energy in the place was astounding and though it was a very cold day that we went it was very warm in the garden itself and peaceful. You could easily forget you were on a main road and near town as the sounds from outside the garden walls were just non-existent within.