In the beginning…

I have worked, energetically, with stone circles for twenty years, but it was on a trip to the remains of a stone circle in Cumbria, deep in a forest plantation, that I was granted a wonderful insight into one way in which our Bronze age ancestors used the circles.

From that experience, I understood that some circles were associated with maintaining fertility. They were used ritually at certain points of the year, (solstices, equinoxes, etc) and at that time priests, priestesses, and the entire community channelled the energy of the solar light into the circle to fertilise the wheat they had harvested the previous season, and to fertilise the waiting earth beneath; the masculine creative force of the sun, fertilising the female earth.

At the end of the Mesolithic period, ancient communities moved from hunting and gathering, to growing and tending. Their focus was on the growing of food, so taking care of both the physical landscape and the energetic landscape meant they had a better chance of survival. Their awareness of the Oneness of life was a part of them. They did not simply live on the planet, separate to it as we do, but they understood they were an integral part of it.

But how did the Early Neolithic farmers begin to use stone to contain and hold the energies they built in the landscape? How did they learn that particular form of energy-work in the first place? I have found no evidence of fertility work of this nature in the earlier Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. It seemed to arrive with people who grew their food on a large scale and who needed specific energetic help to accomplish that.

Before agriculture, hunters worked shamanically to connect to the spirit of the animal they were about to hunt, communicating with it before the hunt and asking for, and acknowledging, the creature’s sacrifice to feed them. But, with the advent of agriculture, some of these practices changed. To the ancestor, everything was energy. Every living thing, including apparently inert objects, such as stone, soil, etc, had a spirit and therefore deserved respect and acknowledgement. (You only have to look at the current indigenous people of the world to see how our ancestors might have lived).

It has always been a mystery to me how practices changed, from hunting and gathering, to include the growing of crops. Once you begin to grow food, the process and focus changes. But when did they begin to associate stone circles with corn-energising rituals?

It was only while reading Home by Francis Pryor, that I found a possible answer. Francis had been working on a Neolithic causewayed enclosure site in Etton along with his wife. The enclosure was part of a complex of enclosures, like Salisbury Plain, and comprised a single circuit of interrupted ditches. They discovered, at the end of each ditch segment, objects which had been carefully placed there. The deposits in the segmented ditches were laid in layers, each protected by a birchbark mat, which would have been naturally waterproof. Intact pottery vessels, turned upside-down, skulls, and broken quern stones, for the grinding of grain into flour, were also placed in layers in the ditches.

Upright Saddle Quern Deposit.

According to Prior, the objects placed within the ditches were crafts traditionally carried out by women: pottery, weaving, bread-making, etc. That makes me wonder why they deposited these particular objects in the ditches? Was the site traditionally viewed as female? Just as with the Cumbrian circle? The female energy was believed to reside in the earth, so it makes sense that if they wanted to ensure the positive flow of energy into their own home and tribe they would make offerings of gratitude for the resources already received and the petition for that flow to continue for the coming year.

Quern stones at each side of causeway.

Within the henge, there were also multiple pits filled with ritual deposits, but the most striking thing for me was that in the ditches on either side of the causeways, quern stones had been placed on their sides, so that they stood upright. Stones were placed on either side of the causeway, of which there were possibly four, oriented North, South, East and West, although the South entrance was subsequently destroyed. The deposits seem to have been placed, on separate occasions, but in the same place each time, in layers, perhaps during large gatherings, and by kin groups. Each time they gathered, they carried out ceremonies and a new stone was placed there; again on its side so that it stood upright, but above the buried layer of the previous celebrations.

Grain was an important part of their survival and the excavators of Etton discovered evidence that “cereal crops were both grown and processed within the immediate vicinity, perhaps within the enclosure.”

Datchet causeway. Example of how ditches were spaced.

When I read this for the first time, it immediately reminded me of my visit to Cumbria. and the importance of the stone circle in charging the wheat for the following growing season. The deposition of saddle querns, upright in the ditches, signalled for me the mental leap made by the Neolithic communities from ritual deposits of stones for wheat-grinding to standing stones. Wheat was such an important part of their survival that it stood to reason that the objects associated with grain processing should be held in such sacred esteem. I imagine, through the deposition of these stones, each family was both manifesting their food for the coming year but also giving something back to the Mother, in gratitude for feeding them; for taking care of them. And, as the quote above suggests, if the site was used for the processing of wheat, then corn rituals might well have been carried out in the centre too, creating what later became, the stone circles.

Knowth Basin.

In Knowth, there is the huge concave stone in one of the recesses within the burial mound. Burial mounds represent the womb of the Mother. Knowth is part of the Newgrange complex, where the sun enters the chamber at Midwinter, to light up the darkness within. Again the solar rays fertilising the Mother. The large concave stone is like a huge ceremonial saddle quern and may well symbolise the fertilising of the grain. A gift to the mother and holder of the ashes of people who may have been the ones who carried out the sacred ceremonies.

The carving inside the stone is interesting too: To me, it looks like an energetic representation of the solar rays fertilising the seed within the womb of Mother Earth.

Knowth Inner carving.

Of course, it may have had multiple meanings. As modern humans, we see symbols as representing things we only have understanding of ‘in the present’. We see things one-dimensionally. Our ancestors may have had access to knowledge we can only imagine, or re-learn, as we work in the energetic landscapes of the Mother.

The positioning of the saddle querns in the site in Etton also made me think of Mecca, where before Islam, tribal communities gathered there yearly. Each tribe had its own stone statue representing the energy of their tribe, their over-ruling deity, part of a circle of stones around the sacred site. Only with the coming of Islam was this practice destroyed and now only the ruling family have their ‘stone’, contained in the Kaaba. (Mecca had been a sacred site for many centuries, sacred to a triple goddess. One of these goddesses, Al-Uzzah, was a grain goddess).

Old Mecca.

As I was writing this, I found this very interesting article: https://www.hunebednieuwscafe.nl/2017/10/british-stone-circles-were-used-for-parties/ The article states: The research into the Ring of Brodgar also showed that each stone comes from a different part of the Orkney Islands. Apparently, each of the diverse groups of people brought its own stone and placed it in the monument. Remarkably, Professor Bayliss’ research also found evidence that people travelled to the Orkneys from as far away as Belgium. This fits very well with the idea of family groups/tribes having their quernstone in the circle.

Many ancient Mother/Goddess sites were symbolic womb; places where, at certain times of the year, the energies of fertility were strongest. The midwinter ritual of the sun piercing the darkest recesses of burial mounds, and temples, were fertility processes: the male sun sending his fertilising principle into the dark womb of the Mother to activate the egg waiting there. These were no empty rituals, however. Our ancestors understood the active energies that revitalised the energy lines in the earth, that brought new vitality after the dark of winter, warming the earth; bringing new growth. Where energy flows, so too does life.

There are naturally powerful places on earth where the energy is palpable, such as volcanos, places where crystals have formed, and deep underground caves. Places too where elemental energies are strong: rivers, lakes, mountains, and forests. But energy is also built through ritual and intention. I have never been a ‘ritual’ worker. I never really understood the purpose of ritual except as a focus for creating and for intention. But, I recently had an experience in a Cathedral Church in Arundel where I saw the result of ritual actions on the energy of a place over time.

We were working on making a triangular connection between the sea and the river Arun. I wasn’t sure where this connection was supposed to be anchored but we went into the cathedral, just in case. I had been given water energy by a wonderfully loving sea elemental on Littlehampton beach and although I knew I had to put it somewhere; I didn’t know where, until it happened. As I approached the altar, which was built on top of an ancient spring, I saw the blue column of light behind it, which had been built up over the years by the priests doing the bread and wine ritual. This was a surprise to me. The energy had built up over so many years and had created a healing channel in the cathedral. This is also where the water energy gift was anchored, which was also a huge surprise. (One of the important things to remember when doing energywork is that religious belief plays no part. It is the positive intentions to help humanity which are important. Although saying that, the ancientness of the catholic ritual contains an energy that I have not found in other, more modern religious rituals).

But this ritual also involves the energising of bread, just as the ancient ritual in the stone circle Cumbria showed. (I think the energising of the wine might have been Roman in origin and added later as patriarchal religions became more prominent. The wine is energised from ‘above’ whereas the bread should be energised by the mother-energy ‘below’).

So that brings us back to the quernstones. We know that causewayed enclosures were the forerunners of stone circles so if the quernstones were placed as sacred objects and connected to a particular kin-group, (as in old Mecca, and Orkney), then it is not such a stretch to see that the later ‘standing stones’/quernstones in a circle came to represent each kin-family’s offerings to the Mother Goddess. The rituals building up over time gave these places their sanctity but there may well have been an extant ‘energy’ that told them where to build these sites in the first place.

The alignments of the main causeways appear to be directional, and the east/west entrances align with the sun. (We have often found main energylines crossing over in these sites, although not necessarily NSEW aligned). The astrological alignment aspects of stone circles might have come into play as a way for them to be sure about the timing of important events. I’m sure the simple beginning of the ritual circles became more complicated over time.

A very good book which explains how Glastonbury abbey was created is: The Gate of Remembrance by Frederick Bligh Bond, F.R.I.B.A. It is a book about the discovery of The Edgar Chapel through automatic writing and gives very interesting energetic information on how a sacred site is created.

Here are some more links for information.

https://www.historyscotland.com/exploring-scotland/stone-circles-and-henges-c-3500-1000-bc-history-map/

https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/things-to-do/historical-places-to-visit/stone-circles

Durrington Walls and the Cuckoo Stone.

On the 2nd of January, we felt an impulse to drive to Durrington Walls, near Stonehenge. It was our first trip to do energy-work in months and it felt really good to connect to the ancestors again. I had been weighed down by the darkness of winter, and the constant rain, and felt permanently rooted in modern life and its stresses having been in the UK for far longer than originally intended. As result, I had lost my focus, so the trip to Durrington felt like a positive step and as we drove there, feeling the intention, I remembered how much I loved doing this work.

Durrington Walls, Wiltshire.

When we arrived, we walked into the henge, looking with archaeological eyes at how the settlement had been constructed. We then tried to find the site of the two circles that originally lay within it. It felt very Avebury-ish and we thought about how close the settlement had been built to the river Avon that passed just below.

Having spent time discussing the possible thinking of the original settlers, we wandered back, but as I crossed what would have been one of the entranceways to the river, I felt the urge to connect. In my mind, I raised my arms to the sun, or to where the sun would have been, had it been a cloudless day. (I am far too self-conscious to do physical arm-raising in public so I see myself doing it in my mind). I raised up and connected to the sun. As I did so, two ancient people, one male, one female, appeared. The man held a brown book which he handed to me. It felt like a bible, and he explained that it was the spiritual and historical beliefs of his people; the two being connected, just like the Old Testament is both the history, and spiritual beliefs, of the Israelites.

Avon River from the settlement.

I began to get an understanding of what had brought these people here and why they had left. I was told that they had originally come from the north – it felt like Orkney – and they came to create a new colony down south, where they had people they were connected to. They had been told that it was warm here and that the land was fertile, good for crop growing. This felt like the beginnings of agriculture when they were learning how to work with the fertility in the landscape in a new way. At first, it was good, and they were successful enough but then the climate changed. It became wetter and there was less sun to ripen the corn.

The bad weather continued for several years and they could not survive, forcing them to go back to an older way of life – more a foraging and hunting lifestyle. There was a feeling, that in their fear, they focussed more on learning how to work with the earth’s energy-field, and the serpent lines, and less on the more physical aspects of survival. In the past, hunting and gathering had been their way. It was a shamanic way of living. In order to survive, rituals were performed before the hunt, rituals that connected them to the essence of the animal, ensuring the creature’s participation in the hunt. They had no real control over the animals. All they could do was connect with their essence, communicating on subtle levels their intention and need to feed themselves. We are familiar with the Nat. American way of life. Our ancestors were no different.

Transitioning to agriculture took a long time. Not only were they learning how to farm, and how to tame animals that originally roamed free, they were also learning how to work with the earth’s forces differently. It was an entirely new world for them.

However, the efforts of the early people of Durrington Walls were not successful. With the change in weather patterns, food supplies ran out and their people dwindled in number until eventually, they decided to return to where they had come from. They knew there would be food there. Fish was always plentiful, as were mammals, so they had to go backwards for a time. This feels like an important message for us in our time too. Climates have cycles, they change. We are currently in one such change. There may come a time when we too have to go ‘backwards’ for a time, back to an older way of doing things. But it is a temporary going backwards. Things will move forward again and things will progress.

The Ring of Brodgar

Some of the tribe did not want to return, telling the others that if they only waited the weather would get better. But they did not know how long it would remain like this so they opted to leave. Before they left, before it got too bad, they had tried to improve the fertility of the soil by working energetically in the landscape but all their work was for nothing. They spent too much time doing that without realising that they could not control the world’s weather pattern changes. They could only improve the earth’s fertility in the soil. (This also answered a question I have had for years! You can improve the soil and growing conditions but not the global weather).

After receiving this information, which continued coming in as we walked and explored, we next made our way to The Cuckoo Stone. Before we had left the house, we had been instructed to take a bottle of water to make an essence and as soon as we got to the stone, ( which I never knew about), I understood why.

The Cuckoo Stone

Our first impulse was to walk three times around it sun-wise, (clockwise). This meant that it was a masculine sun-stone. (At feminine sites, you usually walk anti-clockwise. When you walk around a stone, or site, it energetically opens it, creating a doorway into its energies and functions.) Walking around this stone made me feel dizzy on the third pass, which I thought I was imagining, until Chris said it was making him dizzy too. It’s always good to have confirmation. Again, this dizziness is something I have experienced before at the stones at Avebury. Years ago, a friend and I were at that circle. It was my first visit, and I felt so excited to be there having wanted to see it since I was a teenager in Dublin watching Children of the Stones on TV. Coming close to the circle at Avebury then was like coming home after many years away.

At that time, my friend and I walked around the stones but experienced a dizziness as we did so. It was as if each stone was a battery with both positive/negative energies. Each stone too was either male or female making a huge force-field around the circle. The entire Avebury complex was a giant male-female balancing in the landscape.

This Cuckoo stone also had a magnetic field, even though it no longer occupied the same site it had originally, and was only half the size of what it once had been. But it was close enough.

Once we had activated the stone, we sat on it and tuned in. Almost immediately, we saw a youngish woman with dark, curly hair and wearing a band of flowers around her head. Behind her stood a male priest dressed in a creamy white robe. He was older than her and seemed to be her mentor. He remained behind her while she carried out the ritual. This felt to be a later time than had our previous Durrington information.

While we sat on the stone it was as if we were both the stone, and ourselves. The young woman placed a garland of flowers around our shoulders but she was really dressing the stone, just as they still do in Ireland at holy wells. The ritual was to welcome the sun from the east after the long winter. It was an acknowledgement of the life it brings and in recognition of the stone and its importance to the vitality that flowed from the sun, through the stone, and into the earth’s energy-circuit. The couple placed the garlands facing Woodhenge, where the sun came up, but we did not feel that Woodhenge was significant to the ritual. Chris was aware of a Mayday reference to this too, so perhaps the stone was dressed at more than one time of year.

West Kennet Long Barrow. What our Long Barrow might have looked like.

Once they had finished at the stone, I saw the woman, followed by the priest, carrying a shallow, pottery, bowl of water with flowers in it, over to where the Neolithic long barrow once stood, meters away from the them. The bowl had been at the foot of the monolith while she did the ritual dressing and the water in the bowl was charged by stone and sun. The barrow was still there in their time and we could see it’s energy clearly. The woman laid the bowl at the entrance, as a gift to the ancestors and an acknowledgement to them. Their line of kinship was still intact and important. If it hadn’t been for the lessons learned by their ancestors, these people would not have survived and thrived, so they offered their gratitude. Death and life were One, the two sides of life. The ancestors still lived, but in another form, their presence still recognised.

(This reminded me of the St. Mullin’s Pattern when I was young. At the feast day of St. Moling, all the locals from local towns came to the ruins of St. Moling’s monastery and his holy well. Traditionally, the people walked three times around the well, sun-wise – called ‘Doing the Rounds’ – in their bare feet. They then dressed the graves of their family; ancestors who had been buried there for generations, and some more recently. There were certain other traditions associated with the day, namely that of spending a number of hours in the only pub in St. Mullins and spending money on the stalls. The water of the holy well was reputed to cure all manner of illnesses and everyone in my town had a bottle).

St. Moling’s Well.

Next we were instructed to make the essence. I put the bottle on the stone and saw the dark-haired woman place a garland of flowers around it, as if the bottle of water was also the stone. Next, to my surprise, she put a fat earthworm in it then told me to close the bottle quickly. The worm had to do with the fertility of the soil as though there had to be a combination of both energy-work and physical work to ensure fertility. Energy alone cannot grow things.

Next, we were told to bring some of that blessed water to the site of the long barrow. As we walked towards it, I felt a sudden powerful flowing in of energy that made my whole body tingle. I love that feeling! I poured the water onto where the barrow once stood, connecting to the ancestors and sending our gratitude to them and once we were finished we began to walk back to the car, towards Woodhenge. As I did, I became aware of an image of the long Barrow behind me and I stopped walking. It was as if we were walking out of the darkness of the winter/death and into the light of a new phase and I had to walk with that intention.

It was a very welcome ending to a very satisfying day’s work.

The Shining Ones.

Channelling Received 6th July 2015.

mesolithic campIt was on a moonlit night when we first left our shores. None of us knew when we would return as we faced into the West, heading into an unknown future.

We knew we could not look homewards, for in so doing, we knew that our hearts would surely break. Our destiny lay ahead, on wayward shores. Would they welcome us with open arms, or repel us with swords and shields? We knew not where our destiny would lead us, but we knew, without a doubt, that it would lead us somewhere.

Our lives, whilst on that journey wore long and hard, and there were times when we believed that we would never reach those distant shores, but we did, eventually.

When we landed we were greeted by our fore-runners, those brave souls, who by dint of their upbringing, were the privileged few to come to this new land. We knew not what to expect, but they were older souls than we, and knew how to live on these wild shores.

They greeted us as though we were family and welcomed us into their homes. We wined and dined and ate to our fill, but soon it became clear to us that this was not our home. We were needed elsewhere, somewhere wilder and forgotten.

We packed our belongings and set off into the wilderness, hoping to find the place wherein we could settle. Ours was a heavy burden and at times we despaired of ever finding a place to settle down. After years of moving and searching we came to this land, the land of your ancestors. It was a wild place, full of forests and wild beasts. No-one had yet settled here and so, in the beginning, we could only inhabit the outer edges, close to the sea.

The winters were harsh and the summers short and food was often in short supply. We learned how to fish and how to hunt in these surroundings and learned how to live, and survive, in this New Land. But we still did not feel that this was our home, so one day, we picked up our belongings and began to move again.birch pine forest

The going was slow, due to the dense vegetation and many of us lost our lives, scrambling through the thickets only to fall to our deaths over a sudden sheer cliff and into the deep valleys below. We were lost indeed.

But one day we found an area close to the sea, but on a rise in the land, and we decided to rest here for a while. We cleared away the trees and scrub and made an empty place in the forest. In order to keep out wild animals we built a palisade with a ditch outside of it and inside we built simple roundhouses of mud and wood. This became our home for a while. We fished, we hunted and life became less of a struggle.

One day a new person arrived. He had been travelling alone, lost and scared and had found our settlement. We let him in and listened to his story.

His settlement had been some distance away and it had been a good place to live. His father had been master of their people and his Mother, the living representative of the Great Mother in form. But there were those amongst the people who took no part in the running of the settlement. They wanted to contribute nothing, but spent their days in lazy self-indulgence. Their settlement began to split in two, some people supporting the camp and the others taking from it.

It was decided that those who took from it could no longer dwell within it, but the Takers disagreed and rebelled. The young man’s parents were both killed and the settlement burned to the ground. The survivors went out into the forests to try and find other settlements, as no-one knew where the other ones were, or if indeed, there were any others!

newton stoneWhen we heard this man’s tale it was unanimously decided that a network of lines should be established, which connected the settlements to each other. Marker stones would be erected showing the position and directions to each one. People were elected to find the other settlements and to put this idea to them. We reasoned that we would be safer if we knew the whereabouts of each other. We could form alliances to keep ourselves safe. Now not only were we protecting ourselves from the animals, but from people too.

And so they set off and, in time, many settlements were discovered, and nearly all of them agreed that it was a good idea. It would be harder for the rebels to rebel if they knew that other settlements would come to the aid of their leaders, most of whom were fair and devoted to maintaining the integrity of the settlement.

Then it was decided that there should be central communities, whose job would be to oversee and feed their own group of settlements. They began to create huge banks and ditches to mark out their own territory and all of those settlements were under the protection of the larger ones.

In order to maintain balance, the larger settlements were built on hilltops and most could be seen by the others.

All worked, for a time. The people lived abundant lives, peace reigned, with only minor grievances. But came a day when the invaders rolled up on our shores and everything changed. Our lives, our way of life, changed dramatically. We were no longer lords of our lands and one with the God and Goddess. Now we were outcasts, sent to the margins to live, but still under the central control of those who wished to take everything we had created.

Our people became the unwanted ones, as everyone joined forces with the new invaders who promised them power and wealth. Some of us remained; separate, nomadic travellers. We had returned to the old ways, but it was harder now. The invaders had taken our land, which they now controlled and so, they also controlled the food. WE returned to hunting and fishing to feed ourselves. What we had created in order to serve and support the communities, was now being used to control them, and there was nothing we could do to stop them. Celts1320

In despair we turned to the Goddess, and she told us to bide our time, that soon her ways would return and the ‘takers’ of this land would be gone. All that had once been, would be again.

Reassured, we waited, ever staying in the background, watching as waves of new invaders arrived, taking from the takers. But alongside them, came people from another land and they could see our handiwork. We rejoiced, for we thought that this was the time spoken of by the Goddess. But we were disappointed. They too were overtaken by the takers and all they had built, they lost.

Over and over again we watched those who would take, overtake those who tried to bring the balance back. To us it seemed like ‘soon’ was just too far away, so we shrank back into the forests and woodlands, slowly giving up hope that the Goddess would return. The land was a wasteland and we could no longer look upon it.

Then one day we noticed that something was changing. The world was getting brighter. At first we did not understand what this meant, but then the God and Goddess appeared to us and told us that it was Time; Time for their return to the land of men and to the honouring of each other, and of the Earth.

astraea_and_altennimer_by_irulana-d5m85vfWe were overjoyed and celebrated with huge feasts and dancing in the moonlight, for we still did not wish to be seen. But, we began to notice that there were people appearing in our world. Modern people who could see into our hidden places; people who desired to bring back the ways of the Old Ones.

We collectively decided to share our knowledge and wisdom with these people, for we could see who was pure of heart and who was not. Those whose intentions were true, we passed the knowledge to, making a pact with them that they would share this knowledge with others, who like them, also wanted peace and balance once more.

And now you know our story. We are the Sidhe of Old, the ancient energies who live in this world and who have been waiting for this time. We hope that our collaboration with you, and the ones like you, who are trying to ‘right’ the imbalances in the world, yields positive results. Only in working together can this work be established, and only in this collaboration can our lives mean something again.

We are glad that the humanity of the new World is working in partnership with the humanity of the Old World. Together we create a bridge of Light, a bridge that we hope many will cross, bringing our worlds together once more; bridging the wide gap of Time and Space to become One once more.

All of this we hope for and in our hope lies our deepest desire for communion. All for One and One for all. That is our hope. We greet you on this bridge, so that together we can walk into the future, hand in hand, as One.

The Shining Ones.

http://www.socialphy.com/posts/off-topic/25732/_British-History_-Neolithic-to-Bronze-Age.html