Web of Light…

The Hero’s journey, Sunday, 8th May, 2022…

She carries their gifts… the dead ones, their souls in hers, more than memory.

– Giants Dance

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Take the pouch of seed-stones and hold them close to your heart centre…

Close your eyes… And place into the seed stones your loving intent for growth… And completion…

And a link to attune with them at will…

And then open your eyes, turn and plant some seed stones close to the standing stone or stones with which you have felt resonance…

After you have done this leave your blessing on the stone or stones…

And then walk to the centre of the circle…

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After the gestural keys of the Chariot and Lovers our adventurers are given time alone with the ancestors…

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Let us open the doorway through which all may pass and join together to weave the Web of Light.

At this time, when our word is in turmoil, when the bounty of our planet is being stretched beyond endurance and so many of its creatures face extinction, let us add our voice to the Web that is being woven by Seekers of Light across the earth.

Alone, we can do little, but when hearts come together to work in harmony, we can change the world.

Wherever the sacredness of the earth is remembered, wherever the ancient places are revered, wherever a single heart turns away from fear and hatred to Love, a point of Light is added to the Web.

 

Let this Circle be a point of Light within the Web.

Close your eyes. Find a place of peace within your hearts… and prepare for meditation.

Let us weave the Web of Light together…

 

Feel your body, rooted in earth.

Feel the air as you breathe, in… and out… filling your body with its gift.

Your body is a creature of earth.

Your soul is not of the earth.

Your soul is of a finer substance, your life no more than a chapter in its story.

It is eternal… your body a temporary garment that it wears.

Let it fly free…

In your mind’s eye, see the body of the Circle where we stand…

Your Companions are with you, their bodies too relaxed and resting…

Now see the soul of the Circle.

It too is other than its body.

Its stones are a grove of standing pillars in a vast space filled with Light.

Its shape mirrors the universe…

The Circle beyond represents the evolution of your soul… Above the central point imagine a single, brilliant flame that reaches up into the sky.

Follow the path lit by the flame and rise, higher and higher… passing through the sky and out into the darkness of space.

Look back; you can still see your body, perfectly safe and relaxed within this hallowed space and the single point of light that is the sacred flame…

 

…Turn now and rise higher… higher still.

Around you, the stars wheel in the heavens, bright points of dancing light against the indigo sky.

The land spreads out beneath you, a living shadow that reaches as far as you can see and beyond…

From the central light, silver flame spreads, pulsing, across the earth in a great web of light.

Where the threads cross, you know that stones have been set, groves, mounds and pools… places of worship…sacred centres like our own, harmonising the flow of cosmic Life and Light.

You are part of that web, part of its warp and weft.

You are a tender of the Flame.

Feel the life of the earth coursing through its strands… and through you.

Give yourself to its glory.

See the web blaze bright and clean… burning away all shadows, healing all rifts and lighting the land.

Within you, the flame also burns…

Its essence is a steady point of brilliance in your heart, small as a seed, but vast as the universe.

 

You are its guardian.

 

Now slowly, gently, return to the Sanctuary of our Circle, carrying the vision of light within.

Return to your body… meld with it once more…

Allow yourself to feel… your chest, rising and falling as you breathe… your feet on the earth…

And then… When you are ready… Open your eyes… And this guided visualisation… Is over.

*

‘From a towering ego to the magic and hidden strength of starlight balancing the soul in love.’

*

Mist on the Moors

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… We met up with author and blogger Graeme Cumming and his partner for another wander over the moors. We followed a path that leads from a place of hoary legend and gory history, where a headless body was found, up onto a moor cloaked in low clouds.

We climbed to the plateau, sharing the archaeological features on the way… features mostly hidden by mist and bracken. In the distance, limestone cliffs shelter this place that is hidden in plain sight, unseen from the road that snakes through the valley.

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From here you can see the distinctive shapes of the hills that are shadowed in stone… except that we couldn’t as they were wreathed in cloud. But what you can see, if you know where to look, is a stone circle.

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Like all the circles in this area, the stones are quite small…as if their builders knew that power resides in what lies behind the symbol, not in the form itself. The land seems to centre on the circle and we have passed hours watching the dome of the sky sparkle above us.

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But we haven’t been back for two years… and here, as at Barbrook, reeds and bracken begin to encroach on the space within the stones. For the first time here, there is a sense of unease… not about the land, but an overlay, imposed and alien.

Looking at the stone named for the Fae, where their lights, it is said, can sometimes be seen dancing, we saw a possible reason why. The hollow  in the top of the stone was filled with something that I hoped, just for a second, was a mangled plum… but which I knew was nothing so acceptable.

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The fresh entrails of some small creature… no fur or feathers, no bones of sign of predator, were neatly placed in the hollowed stone. A fire pit in the centre of the circle held newly burned cinders…evidence of a Friday night sojourn beneath a full moon. It is not the first time we have found offerings here, though usually they are just flowers. Nothing so darkly disturbing as this.

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We walked the circle, weaving light about the stones and did what we could. I love these moors and the ancient places they shelter and feel a responsibility to care for them. There was no caring in what we had found. For the first time, we did not linger and I, for one, felt nothing but anger and distaste for what had been done.

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Last Call for Castlerigg…

sculpture, abbots bromley

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Tarot Card – The Fool: Penetrated Egoic Nature

results in a ‘reckless fool’.

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‘There and back again…’

*

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

*

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

J.R.R Tolkien

***

‘The Hero’s Journey’


Photograph – courtesy, the estate of Sue Vincent

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‘…For three days Gwythyr-the-Bright journeyed

in the gullet of the Black Salmon of the Lake of Light.’

– Crucible of the Sun

*

In his book, ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’,  Joseph Campbell used knowledge of philosophy and psychology to describe how many human myths share a common fundamental structure, which he called the Monomyth.

What does the Mono-Myth describe?

What relevance does it have to seekers of light in the 21st Century?

How are the Ancient Sacred Sites of all lands linked to these questions?

And what techniques can we bring to bear when departing the ordinary world and embarking on adventures in the sacred realms of the Supernatural Order?

Join the Silent Eye on this magical landscape workshop in the Cumbrian Hills of the Lake District, UK which takes place over the weekend of  May 6th-8th, 2022.

Click below to
Download our Events Booking Form – pdf

For further details or to reserve your place: rivingtide@gmail.com

 

Derbyshire’s Green Man…

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Beyond the forest’s leafy shade,

The hooded one, with giant’s pace

From pinnacle to pinnacle

Leap’t silently, in moonlit grace… 

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In eremitic solitude

In caverns deep to meditate…

Within, the riddle of the night,

A key that will elucidate…

 *

Beyond the stones, to four once nine

To where the goddess meets her mate

And heavens dance at winters turn

Bends earthwards to illuminate.

*

A Journey at Solstice

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I wrote this  a few years ago after a journey through the English countryside one Solstice. As the vernal equinox marks the turning of the year once again, I thought I would share this again today.

I have always been aware of magic. A strange, eclectic upbringing allowed me to grow without religious prejudice in a world where Bast and barguests were as possible as any other cat or dog and where Jehovah, Allah and the Buddha were held in equal respect.

I was taught to love the Earth in all her beauty and mystery, through folk tales and science in equal proportion. There was nothing of glamour attached to magic. It was simply there. Always and everywhere.

So what happened at Solstice…just happened…

I work in field sales and one of the privileges of that job is to organise one’s own workload. So, as Thursday dawned windy, but gloriously sunny, I decided to visit customers in the Cotswolds and treat my city–sated soul to the beauty of thatched cottages and rolling English hills. For some reason, I threw a pair of jeans and my painting easel in the car along with the files, which I’ve never done before.

I had a good day with customers and my final visit took me within a stone’s throw of the Rollright Stones, a stone circle set in a ring of trees on top of a hill. I went there once before with a friend and had shown him how to dowse with copper rods. This was the first time I’d been on my own and, being midweek, I had the site almost to myself.

I parked in the lane and stripped off my business suit, feeling that as I did so, I was stripping away the world’s perception of my persona. Donning jeans and T-shirt brought me back to simplicity devoid of pretension or pretence.

Leaving the mobile phone behind I stepped away from the humdrum need to make survival money and felt I crossed more than one threshold as I walked between the gateposts.

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The circle, though weathered, is almost complete. The stones stand like broken teeth around a green lawn, not manicured, but scattered with daisies like little bright stars lifting their faces to the Light. The path enters the circle at the wrong place. A stone there has fallen, leaving a natural entrance, but it was never the original portal. Nevertheless, I enter the circle and as there is no-one around to notice, I bow to the Light and enter barefoot, treading deosil around the perimeter.

The sand is hot underfoot, the circle is sheltered from the wind by a horseshoe of trees, but here and there little dust devils dance. At the four quarters flowers have been left as offerings, sweet williams, with their heady scent and blood red petals, stark against the white and ochre of the lichen covered stones. Last night was the summer solstice and I have heard that this ring is still used by devotees of the Craft. I know that I will find the same flowers at the King Stone, a single monolith, as well as at the fallen burial chamber called the Whispering Knights, which form a triangle with the original entrance to the circle.

Circles and triangles take my mind to the Tree of Life with its great inrush of Cosmic Force and I wonder what the ancients were doing when they built this Temple of Light.

I walk to the centre of the lawn and sit, cross legged, in the circle. I am no longer alone; four men are also seated on the grass, talking quietly. We are isolated here and perhaps I should be careful. Yet I know there is no threat and a deep serenity enfolds me. One of the men stands to leave and I hear the words “Blessed be” repeated softly.

The sky above is a clear blue, scattered with clouds chasing each other in the wind. There is no road noise here; the only sounds are the birds and the rustling of leaves, overlaid by the muted conversation of the men. I close my eyes and begin the fourfold breathing as I have been taught. My body relaxes and I sink into the landscape.

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In my mind I see the circle as a great chalice. It is empty save for its memories, yet I feel it was meant to be full of Light, a beacon for the soul. An empty vessel fulfils no purpose. The chalice is a vessel which gives form to that with which it is filled.

From the centre of the circle I renew my pledge of service. Around me I feel the wind spiralling into a great silver vortex, carrying me skywards on the wings of faith, yet the Earth is steady and solid beneath me and the grass tickles my feet in the slight breeze. Reality contradicts itself and I let it carry me with it, humbled and awed.

The vortex climbs through the azure haze, upwards, outwards, expanding and encompassing, the rhythm a great heartbeat, a counterpoint to my own, carrying reflected Light back to the heavens. The spiralling slows, stops climbing and rests, perfectly balanced on the point of the vortex in the circle where I sit. Then I am falling, in decreasing circles as it winds down and down, until the wind rushes through the Earth, in a subterranean vortex of white fire, funnelled from on high. The afternoon sun is warm on my upturned face as I swirl ever faster in the rushing fire. I can feel a pressure mounting. Suddenly, like a great star bursting, the fire spreads through the stones and out across the landscape. I can see it from my vantage point among the stars, a vast net of pure white force, veins of lambent silver spreading out across the land, carrying Light like blood.

One of the men laughs softly and that seems to fit. Joy is allowed. I open my eyes and smile, a smile shared by the men. Inside I feel different, a golden serenity which carries me home to my hearth.

Later, leafing through a book while I wait to kidnap the bathroom from my hoard of teenagers, I read the author’s words on how to honour the ancient places and smile. Perhaps those who work still at Rollright have kept it alive. It is I who was honoured today. Call it imagination or daydream if you will. I only know how it has made me feel and that today was a day of unforgettable beauty.

Leaf and Flame – Trust and honour

From Leaf and Flame – 2016…

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The Saturday night ritual drama saw Gawain taken to meet his fate. The Green Knight waited in the Green Chapel to return the blow traded so long ago… and Gawain’s own actions left the outcome in doubt. How can he survive a beheading? Only by bringing all his being to a single point and acting through the higher heart…

It is in this melding of body, mind and heart in perfect balance that freedom is found. It is in the relinquishing of the unquiet ego that knots the mind, shuns the perfection of the body and sears the heart with sentimentality, that the true and higher Self can take its rightful place in beauty.

To Gawain, blind by torment and guilt, the true nature of his Hunters remained hidden. The calls and whispers of the animals were a threat… the perception of ego is often clouded by fear. He could not see that they came in love and in compassion, bringing their encouragement and the gift of their presence.

He could not see that the tortuous paths upon which we are led fulfil not desire but need. Nor could he know that, in laying his head upon the block… in surrendering self to Self… he could pass beyond the veil of death and return with the Grail… Sometimes, there is only Trust….

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Photos by Morgana West and Chris Hutchison

Thursday in the north

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Thursday dawned hopefully over Derbyshire. It was the day of our monthly meeting so we headed out for Great Hucklow, where our party converged from various directions on the Queen Anne for lunch before wandering out to Chapel en le Frith in search of a church and a Saxon Cross. We found the medieval market cross first and the stocks, still in the centre of the little town.

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It is a nice little town, all square and solid, built of the local stone that seems to carry stoic resilience in every weathered line. The golden tones that reflect the sun in spring, were darkened by the perennial damp of the winter beneath skies rapidly turning sombre. The wind was bitter, carrying the chill of the distant snows we had seen lingering on the hills.

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Passing Church Brow, a typical old street with its odd mix of ancient cobbles and modern telephone lines, we entered the churchyard. The parish church of St Thomas Becket was first erected by the Normans around 1225AD. Most of what can now be seen is much later, dating back only to the 14thC, with the ornate tower and south front built in 1733.

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The church has a long history, beginning as a forest chapel. Much later, in 1648, 1500 Scottish soldiers were taken prisoner after the battle of Ribbleton Moor, during the Civil war. The prisoners were incarcerated here by Cromwell’s troops in horrendous conditions for sixteen days. When the church was reopened, more than forty soldiers had died and another ten perished as they were marched away.

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We, however, were here to see the Saxon Cross, older by far than such a squalid episode of human history. The carvings are worn and weathered, yet they still hold their mystery and forgotten message… a visual language we can no longer decipher.

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The church was locked, so we were denied all but the briefest glimpse of the interior, stolen through the clouded pane of a window. Even from outside we could see the vibrancy of the stained glass in many of the windows, including an unusual juxtaposition of St Aidan, the Venerable Bede and Melchizedek… a window which will, doubtless, call us back to visit in summer when the doors will stand open with any luck.

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So we wandered around the churchyard, where ancient and modern grimaced at each other in what felt like a good natured battle. The significance of the expression was debated… what does that pulled mouth really mean… and did those who reproduced the expression in later centuries actually know? january hol 2016 030

We repaired to a little tea shop and, thwarted in our desire to see the inside of the church, debated out next move. We still had time before the meeting and we can work equally well on foot…or in the corner of a cosy pub. We had passed a sign for Edale… and it ran in my mind there was something there worth seeing. Certainly, there was a church…and probably a pub. There were also hills, and Mam Tor dominates the skyline. It wasn’t far… We retrieved the cars and off we went in search of Edale… january hol 2016 013

 

Petals, wood and stone

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Friday the four of us met as usual at the Queen Anne in Great Hucklow for lunch and business before the evening’s meeting. It was a damp day, not particularly summery, which was disappointing in the middle of August… but it didn’t matter where we were going. First, though, we had to take a look at the well dressing… the pictures made of flower petals and seeds pressed into damp clay that are created every year for the blessing of the village wells.

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This year the theme was Alice in Wonderland, and in addition to the main well dressing, there was the children’s one by the chapel. Many homes had added extra touches of humour and Alice-style signposts led visitirs on a trail of discovery…

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We work on the hoof much of the time, so we decided we should take our companions to Bakewell and show Steve the scene of the ‘Ben’s’ misadventure… it seemed only fair as he had just finished reading Scions of Albion… and was  now exploring Ben’s thought processes from the depths of Bakewell Gaol… We parked up and crossed the bridge over the river, now hung with lover’s padlocks in a pale imitation of the Parisian bridges now struggling under the weight of too many such locks. I have always found it an odd thing to do… Love shouldn’t need to be shackled to a bridge, but should be as free and as full of life as the river.

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We wandered through the town, the damp bringing out all the colour in the stone. For once we managed to avoid the calorie-laden Bakewell Tarts and headed, instead, towards the churchyard. I have shared so many photos of this church… and yet it is as impossible to share everything as it is to see everything. Each time we visit there is something new… even though it may have been waiting there hundreds of years for us to notice.

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First of all, we had to show our comapnions the stone crosses dating back to Saxon times and carved with images from the Norse myths and Celtic patterns. The larger of the two still shows Sleipnir and Ratatosk quite clearly, while the smaller holds the sensuous spirals that seem to hold a forgotten language in their curves.

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We walked around the outside of the church, admiring the beauty of a huge Rowan in berry and pointing out the ancient arc of the doorway, the Book and Grail carved near one corner of the roof, the strange carved faces, both Victorian and far, far older that dot the walls and guard the windows and the weathered Norman figures, flaking away as the sandstone erodes.

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We finally got as far as the porch and were able to stand back and enjoy the amazement of our companions as they realised the sheer scale and antiquity of the collection of stonework that lines the walls. Even if the church was kept locked, it would be worth the trip just to see what is outside the doors, with almost a thousand years of history looking back at you, tantalising with details half seen and figures from myth, legend and the stories of faith. And that was before we went inside…

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Wells…

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It is a goodly while since I was last at Wells Cathedral in Somerset. Three years, when I think…Back then I took fewer photographs…though my friend still commented upon quite how many… Now, of course, I hate cathedrals… but only bacause I would need to be there for a week with the camera to do these wonderful stories in stone full justice.

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Wells has been described as being one of the most beautiful and poetic cathedrals in Engalnd. Certainly it is one of the most pleasing, being almost entirely built in a single style when seen from the facade. The orginal church is long gone, a structure built in 705AD and replaced nearly five hundred years later by the current cathedral. The original font, however, still stands in the cathedral, a beautiful link with those whose faith had built the first church here some 1300 years ago.

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Begun around 1175, Wells is thought to be the first example of pure Early English Gothic architecture in Europe. The facade is completely covered with statues and niches for those damaged through the years and changes in worship. many still bear traces of paint and the colour scheme can be determined from these, allowing specialists to recreate in virtual  terms a vision of what the frontage would have looked like long ago. The facade has statues arranged in nine areas, with The main gable holds a scene of Judgement, with the Virgin and the Baptist beside him, below there are the Twelve Apostles, and beneath them nine archangels. It must have looked incredible to medieval eyes. Now, though, it is all mellow stone and the Four Holy Creatures silently guard the door.

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The interior is as spectacular as the outside. For once, however, it was not the architecture that I remember with the greatest clarity, but the clear soprano voice of my friend raised in song in the fabulous acoustics of the Chapter House with its delicate pillar and ceiling, and later the choir, at Evensong for which we stayed.

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Yet, looking back, I saw… and missed… so much. Not through lack of interest, but through lack of experience and knowledge. I knew so little then in comparison to what I have learned of these places over the past three years. I’d had no reason to know before… the Silent Eye had but barely come into being… I was yet to meet up again with Stuart and begin our journey into the landscape and history of these isles and we could not have guessed that those adventures would lead us to write so many books together.

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I had little idea at all about stained glass, was completely unaware of the fact that the Jesse window is in exceptional condition for something that dates back to 1320AD. I didn’t realise back then the significance of an 8thC font or even recognise that the great internal scissor arches, added to support the ‘crossing’ and prevent it from collapsing are in the shape of a St Andrew’s cross, the patron saint of the cathedral. I certainly would never have guessed that these beautiful curves were the product of such an early time, being built by master mason William Joy in around 1329…

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In fact, I probably need to go back… one of these days. Not that it would be a hardship… there is so much to see. And never enough time to see all that we would like.

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