Posted in elemental kingdom, Mother Earth, nature, Personal Story

A Sacred Grove

Yesterday, I set off from my home on foot to walk up my mountain and there I found what I’ve been looking for ever since I moved to this locality six months ago.  I found my sacred place in nature where my own special tree was waiting for me.

I finally reached a place I’ve been meaning to go.  It’s an old quarry, a sunken world, now totally reclaimed by nature.  More than that, it has become nature’s temple. 

This sacred grove is isolated, on private land that I have unrestricted access to, it sits far away from paths or human places.  It is left entirely in peace.  It’s a wet, soggy hollow with woods of oak, willow and hazel, some birch on the higher slopes.  On one side hangs a high cliff-face of earth and greenery.  It abounds with bracken and bramble, ferns and moss.  There are sparkly drusy quartz-covered stones, glinting in the undergrowth, bedrock long since quarried and abandoned.  Corvids hold court here, the jackdaws, rooks, crows and majestic ravens are all around, calling and swooping through the woods.  Also in attendance are robins, blackbirds and little jenny wrens.

It was exciting when I finally came upon the narrow entranceway that led down into the wide amphitheatre of lush green mystery.  Three oaks called to me as I passed, on each I saw the face of its accompanying tree spirit.  I knew the moment I approached the third oak that this is the one that’s been waiting for me.  All the trees are bedecked from head to toe in moss, a veritable green world, this is. 

Having formally approached up to the edge of the canopy, I asked permission of the oak to draw near.  I placed my hands on the broad trunk and bent my forehead to the bark, giving my name and asking the tree for his, which was received.  I sent my love to this tree, and through it, to the great oak consciousness.  Then, I sat at the foot with my back to the trunk and opened myself to the energy of nature, but not before opening my mouth and throat to sing of my power from the depth of my lungs.  As shamanka, my song lets the spirits of this sacred place see me, know me and feel my authenticity, integrity and power. I am demonstrating my right to be here. My raw notes rang out loudly, echoing through the grove, unheard by human, but a wind appeared from nowhere and met my song, letting a shower of oak leaves fall with each piercing note, ceasing to stillness only as the last note trailed away. 

Eventually, I moved further down the wide corridor of the grove into further wetness until I reached the opposite end.  Thank goodness I wore my wellies.  From there, I climbed up to find the sky and summit as I tried to find a shorter way home, but it was not to be.  All in all, I was up on the mountain for just short of five glorious hours yesterday.  Now, I sit cosy in my little tree house, knowing my sacred grove and beloved oak tree await me for another day and another adventure.            

Posted in Celtic festival, Goddess, nature, Personal Story, Storytelling

Beltane Story

Today is Beltane and here is a rare Saturday post.  When I was a child, I began to receive glimpses of one of my past lives, the one that I learned about first.  I remembered being a young woman living on an island off the coast of present-day Wales, called Ynys Mon, otherwise known as Anglesey.  I was there in 60AD. I will try to recount a little of what I remember. 

I didn’t grow up on Ynys Mon but nearby Snowdonia, travelling to Ynys Mon for sanctuary because things were unstable in Britain.  There was no England, Scotland or Wales at the time, only Britain, we called the land Pryd or Bryd back then.  There were Romans in Britain, they had come to claim our lands. It was said they traded British people as slaves throughout their empire, as well as British dogs and horses, which were highly prized throughout the continent.  I could go on about all the horrible things they did but I won’t, suffice it to say, they were the enemy to me and mine.  British tribes, across the lands were making individual decisions whether to go in with them, try to keep their heads down or downright resist.  I lived in an area that resisted and, luckily, the mountainous landscape made things difficult for the Romans. So, a fighting resistance was created. My brothers, mother and father left to fight and support the resistance.  Only I stayed to tend the homestead.  But the day came when I had to pack up and leave.  I travelled with my animals and others of my tribe to Ynys Mon, for that was the safest place we knew. 

I already knew the island, my mother had taken me many times since childhood to visit the Temple of the Goddess cradled below what is now called Holy Mountain. I made my way to the head Priestess who knew me well.  Soon, I was immersed again in the wisdom, mysteries and blessings of the Goddess.  I loved it there.  Ynys Mon was known as the stronghold of the Druids.  There were a number of Druid strongholds throughout Britain but this was the main headquarters.

It is believed today that British people were Celtic then.  I must explain, people in Britain were, for the most part, British, and belonged to an ancestry that led back to the oldest days in the island.  What was Celtic was the new culture, fashion and style that people adopted.  It came from the continent, brought in by traders, travellers and a handful of wealthy settlers.  Clothes, artefacts, attitudes and behaviours had taken on a continental flavour but we didn’t know the word ‘Celtic’ back then.  

We celebrated the yearly festivals, more than the four we know today, my favourite was Beltane.  The sacred festival fell from dusk, when fires were lit to ignite the dark, to the next dusk when fires were quenched to invite back the night, safe in the knowledge that light and heat had been kindled for another year.  There were fires everywhere throughout the land, big and small.  They were often built in avenues and everyone drove their animals along the middle as they invoked the fire spirits to purify the animals. 

The festival atmosphere started a moon earlier and lasted the entire moon’s turning, since many came from far and wide and stayed long with friends over the festival.  It was a joyous, raucous time of celebration and passion.  It was also the time of hand-fasting and twelve-month bonding when couples entered into a trial marriage of a year and sealed or broke the bond at the year’s end. One Beltane, I entered into a hand-fasting with a man who was a Druid of the island. We had a strong soul connection and our union was destined. He died in the carnage when the Romans attacked in 60AD, as did all but a few. I was one of the few. I lived to be old in that lifetime and through many more lives, holding inside that terrible trauma, clearing it at last in this life time.   

Back to the Beltane fires. There were several people in those days who could still perceive the little people, they were the spirits who looked after nature and water and fire and some folks could talk with them.  During the festival, I saw the fire spirits dancing in the flames and amongst us in our dancing circles.  At Beltane in the season of Spring, we honoured the living fires.  We asked the fire consciousness to protect, purify and bless us.  As we left, we each took a piece of Beltane fire home to restart our hearths. Taken from the main fire, it had been circled and blessed by the Druids and Priestesses.  Beltane was the only time we put out our hearth fires, so we could light it again with the blessed Beltane flames. And that fire was kept alive in our hearths and hearts throughout the coming year, until the next festival of fire.     

Beltane Blessings to you, my dear reader.  May you kindle fire in your life today and invite the fire spirits to keep the passions ignited in your heart.