Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Cropton - Water Nymphs of the Lady Keld Spring

On a cold and misty day at the tail end of the year I drove to the quant little moorland village of Cropton and parked my car up by the old church of St. Gregory's.


I had been drawn to Cropton by the following piece of folklore:

“About the middle of the eighteenth century the people of Cropton were sadly troubled by "a company of evil water elves having their abode in a certain deep spring at the high end of that village," and in order to rid themselves of the sprites, a most heathen ceremony was conducted at the spring, "three wenches" taking a prominent part in the proceedings which are quite unprintable.”

After scouring a map of the local area I settled upon the Lady Keld Spring as being the only likely location where this "heathen ceremony" could have taken place.

The mist hung heavy over the land as I trudged my way down through the snow-laden woods behind the church. I was following an ancient pathway that monks and pilgrims had once used on their way to visit the magical healing waters of the spring.

The air was silent and mysterious and I passed further and further down the hill, through woods and fields, until finally I could hear the sound of trickling water in the trees ahead of me, just over a barb-wire fence.

As I stepped over the fence I could feel a sudden change in the energy, from the heavy stillness of the fields and woods to the crisp fresh energy of the springs. The air was buzzing and alive!

As I stepped forward I could see a central rivulet that was being fed by many small springs all around, causing a lively flow of water to pass through the deep snow.

I knelt down and left an offering there by water, and suddenly found myself saying:

"Fair maidens of the Lady Spring,
A humble gift I for thee bring,
With words of hope and healing hand,
I call thee forth across this land!"

Where did that come from?! I'd never been much into poetry...

I decided to follow the rivulet upstream, as clearly there must be more springs above that were feeding it. The snow was deep but the spring water was cutting through it to leave dark patches in the snow wherever a little spring or rivulet appeared. Despite the ice and frost all around this lively water didn't look like it was about to freeze up anytime soon.

Eventually though I came to a large frozen pond.


It seemed like a significant place and so I drew forth my wand.

The quartz crystal on the tip of my wand shone, casting a halo of white light all around it. The halo spread out until it was several yards wide and I then swept the edge of the halo over the frozen surface of the water until eventually the crystal itself was pointing directly into the heart of the pool. A shaft of pure white light beamed out from the crystal and penetrated the ice, entering the water's hidden depths. Energy was being tranferred into the water, creating a vortex.

I could see small glowing creatures about a foot long flitting about under the ice, anthropomorphic figures with mermails tails; water sprites? They swam from the edges of the pool towards the vortex in the centre and seemed to swirl around, bathing in the energy.

The white light eventually filled the whole pool and then passed down the rivulet and into all the springs in this hidden little valley. More sprites seemed to emerge from all the springs where they had been sleeping and hiding from the world, they passed down into the rivulet and in a glowing torrent of bodies passed out into the wide world.

I now felt like I needed to anchor this energy, but my wand would not stick into the ice, so I stuck it into a small patch of turf in the pool instead. I felt red fire pass from wand into the earth.

Walking around the pool I discovered that the rivulet continued even further upsteam, so I followed it until I came to another pool. This pool was not completely frozen over like the first one but was matted with bright green pond weeds.


I drew forth my wand and prepared to repeat the process I carried out on the first pond, but this time the result was quite different!

Three beautiful naked women emerged from the water. They beckoned me in a tempting way, but occasionally I would catch a glimpse of them looking like old hags, with sharp pointed teeth and pond weeds in their hair. Were these the "Jenny Greenteeth" of folklore?

I sent white healing light towards them with my wand. I saw their shadow sides being driven out and sent skyward. Had I dispelled these evil spirits? The now beautiful nymphs approached me and started stroking me.

"We would have of thee! We would have of thee Aurvandil!" they hissed.


I could still see flashes of evil in their eyes but they were beautiful and tempting indeed! They led me into the water and then slowly down under the water to their watery home. At the last moment I snapped out of it and broke free! I swam back to the surface and climbed up onto the bank.

"Fare thee well then Aurvandil!" they said.

One of them tossed me a golden ring which I caught in my hand. They said that the ring would protect me so I placed it on my finger. Did this mean I could use it to call up the water nymphs in future?

I was left wondering as I walked back up the hill towards the village. Did I just have a lucky escape or was Aurvandil immune from such human failings? It was certainly an interesting experience in any case! And I seemed to be doing good work bringing the energy of the water sprites back into the land.

Back in the village I paid a visit to Cropton's other famous water supply, a 300 ft deep well in the centre of the main street.


Did this well too have sprites and magic lurking within it? I didn't detect anything at this time, and in any case the local villagers were eyeing me suspiciously so I wandered back to the church. I had a look around inside and found a leaflet about the nearby crypt beneath the church at Lastingham, an ancient sacred site full of old Saxon and Viking stonework and said to be the centre of many Ley lines and strange phenomena. A place I would soon have to visit of course!

By this time twilight was fast approaching and something drew me back to the medieval trackway beside the church. I was sure that there must be Fae associated with this place. Behind the church was an old Norman motte which I had missed earlier. I walked up and climbed it and then from the top gazed out into the mist. I half expected the Fae to appear from twilight at any moment, but I saw nothing.

I wandered back across the field beside the motte and soon found myself walking back through the woods towards the Lady Keld Spring. I crossed the barb-wire fence and the fresh air and energy of the springs hit me again! What a difference! One side of the fence heavy and still, the other side sparkling with energy!

I stood with my feet on either side of the rivulet, soaking up the energy of the place, letting it invigourate me! The trickling water passing beneath me and the sparkling energy electrifying the air all around me. I closed my eyes and suddenly found myself gushing in rhyme again!

"I come to thee to set thee free,
Along the road to what may be,
I've travelled down to misty dell,
To learn the secrets of the well,
To take them with me far away,
To use in earnest one fine day!"

Not prize winning poetry by any means, but how was this coming spontaneously to my lips without me even thinking about it?

As I pondered this I was startled by a sudden sound! I opened my eyes and saw two roe deer leap over the barb-wire fence just feet away from where I had crossed it. They landed just a few yards from me and sniffed the air. They hadn't seen me! I stood perfectly still over the stream in the twilight, hardly daring to breath. My leg started to cramp up as I watched the uncertainty in the deer's face. She had sensed something but she wasn't sure! We all stood there in perfect silence until the lead deer suddenly made a decision and started to walk, straight towards me! At the last moment she noticed me and almost leapt into the air! She shot off in the other direction as fast as her agile limbs would carry her!

At last I could relax. What an experience! Well I hadn't seen any Fae but if anything this had been just as good! Nature was truly as magical as anything the Fae had to offer!

As I walked back up the hill in the darkness the doubts started to creep in. Maybe I had missed an opportunity? Maybe this animal wanted to communicate with me? I had been been too overawed to think about it at the time though. As I stepped back into the forest owls hooted at each other in the darkness. No, nature goes on regardless of us I thought, our concerns are not theirs.

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Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com


Sunday, 26 December 2010

Return to Hood Hill - The Dark Elves

A few days after the solstice I returned to Hood Hill with my newly energised crystals to try to find out their true purpose.




I climbed straight up the hill through the wet snow until I reached the fairy fort at the summit. Once there I placed a large quartz crystal before me and tuned in to the energies. I was told to place the quartz crystal in the large sycamore tree that seemed to be the centre of the energies up here. I was also told to remove an electronic device which is hanging there.




I inspected the electronic device which was hanging from the tree, it seemed to be some sort of GPS device used by an orienteering club, and it was firmly attached with thick wire. There's no way I could remove it without bolt cutters and so I took down the telephone number on there and phoned the club later to tell them to come and collect their discarded device.


I then walked around the tree and inspected its trunk and branches a bit more closely. After a while I found knotty hole which fitted my crystal perfectly. I stuck the crystal in the hole and left it jutting out like an extra limb.


I was then disturbed by a local farmer out for a stroll. I got talking to him and he told me about a hidden spring and stone water trough further down the western side of the hill, so I made a mental note to go and look for it later.


After he left I turned back to my crystal. It was jutting out between a large fork in the main trunk. Either the tree had split very near to the ground, or this was two trees that had grown together. I stood there and meditated, trying to work out what to do next. Suddenly I realised that the fork in the tree was a magic gateway to the otherworld! I opened my eyes and all the moss was glowing a vivid green, just like it had done in Lindsaylands a few days ago.


I closed my eyes again and stepped through the gateway...


I was in a dark cavern with tall guards dresses in dark, horned armour. They led me down a passageway and there was the dark elf king sitting behind his desk. He greeted me and I asked him what I was to do with my crystals. His answer was that I should make a 12 pointed grid around the moors, with one point on Hood Hill, and the opposite point on Jenet's Foss in Mulgrave Woods. A large quartz crystal should be placed in the centre of this grid, this would protect the moors from the coming pestilence!


I returned to my body on Hood Hill and thought about what he had said. I still wasn't sure what I really had to do. Should I be using my fluorite eggs, or should it be green beryls? Did I even trust this dark elf king? Something felt strangely sinister about him and about this whole place. In any case I did not leave any crystals there that day, I felt like I had to go away and find more clarity first.


I took a wander through the thick trees on the far side of the hill, and some intuition led me to very spring that the farmer had just told me about.




There was something special about this spring, but at the time I didn't realise it. I would be back this way another day...

====================================================

Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse with the Fae!

This was going to be a special day, not only was it the winter solstice, and a full moon, and a total lunar eclipse, but it was also the day when the clans of the Fae were going to have their gathering!


The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, is one of those magical times when the veil between our world and the Otherworld is thinnest; the night of the full moon is a time when people have commonly seen the Fae according to folklore; and the total eclipse is a time of dark magic, when normal rules do not apply!


A total eclipse of the moon can only occur during a full moon, as this is the time when the moon is opposite the sun when viewed from the Earth, so the Earth can pass between the sun and the moon and therefore cast its shadow upon it.


The night before the solstice was bright and clear, and the moon, looking completely full, beamed down from a clear black sky peppered with stars.




I stood and meditated under the full moon and had a vision of the Fae pushing a large cart up a hill. The cart contained a huge glowing white disc which I assumed represented the moon. The cart reached the top of the hill and hundreds of Fae were gathered around, perhaps having some kind of ceremony.


For weeks now we had been getting messages that the Fae were going to gather on the solstice near to the fairy mound in Lindsaylands. It seemed like the gathering had already started, but exactly where they were and what they were doing I could not ascertain.


I got up at 6 o'clock the next morning in order to see the eclipse. As I stepped outside I could see that the sky was crystal clear and the moon was a glowing white ball, filling the sky with its radiance.


I drove to the fairy mound in Lindsaylands and by the time I got there I looked up through the trees and could already see that part of the moon was being eaten by the shadow of the Earth. I tuned in at the fairy mound but there were no Fae there, none at all! Were they all away performing their ceremony on the hilltop somewhere?


I decided to drive to Tinnis castle to get a better view of the morning sky. I wanted to walk to the top of the hill but it was intensely cold, at least -15 degrees, and in any case the eclipse was now almost total. I didn't want to miss it and so I got out my camera and tripod and tried to get some shots, despite my freezing cold fingers.




I was disappointed that I hadn't had any encounters with the Fae that night, but today was the solstice and tonight was the longest night, so there was still time...


Alphedia was running a fairy magic course in her yurt that day to coincide with the solstice and the Fae gathering. It was icy cold but soon warmed up inside the yurt. We did some meditations to get into the right frame of mind and connected with the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. I particularily remember becoming at one with each of the elements, like I was an elemental myself, merging with the earth, and then with the air, fire and water. Feeling what it was like to become a flame or to disperse on an ocean current.


Once the light started to fade we all walked over to the fairy mound, passed by the folly of a greek temple, and stood facing the magical beech tree.



We had come in the twilight to meet the fairy king, so we left an offering of honey beneath the tree, closed our eyes, and then tuned in to the faery realm.


The king and queen were seated on their thrones surrounded by the fairy court. We each stepped forward, one after the other, to receive our gifts. I knelt down and had a glowing necklace of light placed around my neck and a glowing circlet of light placed on my head. I was wearing a blue crystal and silver necklace which I had been inspired to purchase earlier, and I felt the magical light enter it. The king called himself Erowyn and I also got the message that my guide Atheron was dark elf from underground.


Before I got chance to find out more it was time for us to leave. We were walking back at the most magical time of night, the deep twilight, when your day vision gives way to your night vision. The moon had not yet risen and a slight haziness hung in the air. Alphedia paused and turned to look at the field by the fairy mound. We all stopped to look and suddenly I saw a twinkle of light, then another, and then another! Each time coming from an entirely different part of the field, a sudden twinkle that disappeared faster than you could look at it, somtimes blue, somtimes white. I stood gazing in wonder, I had never seen anything like this before! It seemed like at the most magical time of the night on one of the most magical days of the year that anything was possible!


Alphedia soon turned and walked away, she had seen the fairy lights many times before, but I stood entranced. In addition to the twinkling fairy lights I was starting to discern faint patches of light moving back and forth across the field, like faint clouds of luminesence; but after a while I too had to pull myself away before I froze solid! In any case the twilight was passing and a hazy moon was just starting to rise above the trees on the opposite side of the field, banishing the twilight with its luminous glow.


We returned to the yurt and ate our fairy feast, but something was drawing me back to the mound, I felt like the day was not done yet! Sara also wanted to return and so just before midnight we made our way back in the darkness and extreme cold to the fairy mound.


I entered their realm again and spoke some more with King Erowyn. He called me 'Arendil' and told me I was the wayfarer / waymaker. How back in the faery realm I had travelled from rath to rath connecting the web and joining the points of power. It started to come back to me, my long travels and my warm greetings in the fairy forts (raths) which I seemed to visit in some kind of circuit; but it still seemed like the purpose of my work in the Otherworld was beyond my comprehension, even the word 'work' seemed inappropriate, it was more like a calling, a purpose for being.


Sara was meanwhile having an experience of her own, being carried off into the stars to meet the "creator", an experience which seemed to completely blow her away and overwhelm her! In the end I had to help bring her back down, before we made our way back from the dark frozen landscape to the warmth of Alphedia's cosy house.


********


A few days later I did some research on the internet and came up with some amazing facts and co-incidences. Aurvandil and Earendil are one and the same! Aurvandil being Norse and Earendil being Saxon, they both mean "Luminous Wanderer" and could refer to the morning star (Venus) or the star Rigel (Aurvandil's toe from Snorri's Edda).


The Anglo-Saxon poem 'Christ I' has this:


"Hail Earendil!
Brightest of angels!
Over middle-earth to men sent,
The true radiance of the sun,
Bright above the stars,
Every season thou of thyself
Ever illuminest!"


Tolkien, being a scholar of Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon, picked up on this and used the name for one of the elves in 'The Silmarillion':


"Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!"


He carried the light of the moning star upon his brow. His jewel was a green beryl (emerald) which was set into a silver brooch in the shape of an eagle with outspread wings. Looking through the stone would see burned and withered things heal again. "The hand that holds it heals", he says.



Eärendil married Elwing who was forced to cast herself into the sea with one of the Silmarils, but was saved by the sea god Ulmo and turned her into a great white bird.


Is Tolkien tapping into some ancient knowledge, or did he just make it all up? It's interesting to speculate that perhaps he received his knowledge in the same way I do and spent a long time trying to collate it all and make sense of it. He never did finish the Silmarillion but just left a huge pile of incredibly detailed and extensive notes, including maps, histories, geneologies and two complete Elven languages!


As well as my research I finally got around to attaching the crystal I had found in Merlin's cave on Bardsey island, to the end of my wand. Now it really felt like a powerful tool, capable of chanelling and anchoring energies. I looked forward to using it out in the field again!

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Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Lindsaylands Fairy Mound (Second visit)

After my first visit to the fairy mound in Lindsaylands I was told by the Fae to collect some crystals. I wasn't told which crystals to collect, just that I should use my intuition to guide me. With this in mind I visited a crystal wholesalers in Yorkshire and was immediately drawn to the green flourite; green crystals with purple inclusions, formed into the shape of small eggs. I bought these along with several other crystals and then returned to Scotland. (I later learned that green flourite had an association with the Fae, so my intuition had been spot on!)


I returned to the Lindsaylands fairy mound on a cold December morning.

Immediately I could see my guide Atheron, the tall, dark-haired fae I had met on my first visit, and he led me back to the great beech tree on top of the long mound.


I felt drawn to give some energy to this tree so I closed my eyes and placed my hands against the trunk.

I could feel the energy passing from my hand, coursing through trunk, branch, root and twig to fill the entire tree with healing light.

I was starting to realise that I really had this power to heal and to impart energy where it was required!


I opened my eyes and was astounded to see all the moss covering the tree glowing a vivid green, the colour was so bright and intense that everything seemed lucid and magical, more real and intense than everyday reality ever was. The green sheen that covers most of the tree is barely visible normally.


I closed my eyes again and this time travelled with Atheron deep inside the tree to meet the faery king. He stood there with his court and came to greet me like an old friend, which indeed I was, as I could suddenly remember having visited this place many times before in long ages past. Somehow I felt like I was one of them, one of the noble race. I looked down and saw that I was wearing a white shirt of silky appearance and on my chest sparkled the deep-blue teardrop shaped gem.


"Greetings Aurvandil!" he said to me as he hugged me.


Was that who I was? Aurvandil? It certainly felt like I was him now. The human being I was on Earth seemed like another person, a strange shell that I had been inhabiting, full of negative emotions. Had I forgotten my true identity in order to live as a human and carry out my task here on Earth? Now I will start to remember, slowly it will come back to me who I really am...


I don't remember if he spoke to me, or if the information suddenly just dropped into my head, but I remembered the world of the fae, a beautiful and undying land where nothing ever faded or decayed, everything remained constant and true to its perfect form. The Fae had no wish to come back to Earth, they were content in their own land, but Earth is under attack by dark forces. The balance of nature is slowly being destroyed, but the "day of reckoning" is soon to come when mankind will have to pay back for all they have taken.


I was told to take my 12 green crystal eggs (seeds?) and plant them in the Earth, to return to Hood Hill and start my task there, planting my crystal-tipped wand into the ground to bring energy into these locations, but more than that I could not ascertain, the true meaning of my quest and the meaning of the coming solstice gathering still eluded me.


I knew that once my task was done here on Earth I would return to Elfland. There was an elf maiden there, I could see her standing in the background, and I knew that one day I would return to the undying lands and be with her.

I was told that dark forces were against me and would try to sabotage my mission. This included fears, doubts and suspicions that would enter into my consciousness.


I walked away from the mound with much to think about. What a revelation to suddenly remember a whole existence that I had completely forgotten! But it didn't feel strange or odd, it felt perfectly natural, like I had always known it.


I returned to the mound later to leave my flourite eggs under the tree. They would be left there overnight and while resting there would be infused with the energies needed to complete my task.

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Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Lake Gormire - Awakening the Dragon

Lake Gormire is a Ice-Age lake, tucked away behind its glacial moraine just beneath the edge of the North York Moors. The lake had always intrigued me, it is semi-circular in shape, and yet entirely natural. It is said that an ancient village lies buried beneath the waters which can sometimes be glimpsed on a clear day or the sound of its bells heard.

(Photo I took some weeks before)

I had been at the faery rath on the nearby Hood Hill the day before. There I got the message to go to Lake Gormire to "Call upon and heal the selkies of the lake with a smooth white pebble". It's odd that the name 'selkies' should come up, as these female spirits wear seal skins and are usually associated with the sea, but who am I to question? The smooth white pebble was easy to find, as I had one with me that I had picked up in the bay at Findhorn, my 'selkie stone'.

I parked my car in a lane at the far side of the lake and then slipped and slid down an icy path through the woods until I reached the lakeside. There I got a bit of a shock! The entire lake was frozen solid! In Yorkshire that's quite an unusual sight, as rarely does it get so cold as to freeze over a lake of this size, and there had been a thaw on for several days.


I placed my pebble down on the frozen edge of the lake and called upon the selkies.

I had a vision of naked women with long flowing hair gliding over the lake towards me. At the bottom of the lake, deep down at the bottom of a cone, I could sense an awesome and powerful presence. I sensed the form of a sleeping dragon!

I planted my wand into the snow at the edge of the lake, attached the crystal, and then called upon the spirits of the place to awaken:

"Selkies of the lake,
Dragon of the lake,
Spirit of the lake,
Awake!"

I cast the pebble out onto the lake and it slid across the frozen surface until it skidded to a halt in the snow.

The selkies were drawn to the pebble and began to dance around it and draw energy from it. They span around and around it until they transformed into a cone that rose into the air like a whirlwind. The selkies could still be seen dancing in the cone as it extended all the way up into the sky, and down to the very bowels of the lake, connecting heaven with earth.

It felt now like I must join them, so I took a tentative step onto the edge of the frozen lake. But how thick was the ice? Could it hold my weight? Who could rescue me if it cracked and I fell in? Isn't this what water spirits do? Lure people to their deaths?


I slid my other foot forward slowly and the ice began to sing as it adjusted to my weight! Waves of sound rippling across it like a sheet of metal being flexed. Having lived in the frozen wastes of Scandinavia I wasn't too freaked out by this, but I slid forward even more gingerly after that surprise. Step by step I slowly made my way forward, I could sense stirrings deep in the lake below me. The dragon could rise up and consume me at any moment! I would never be seen again...

After what seemed like an age I finally reached the pebble far out in the lake, I could sense the depth of the water beneath me which at any other time of the year would have swallowed me up and consumed me. I was walking where none were meant to walk; but I soon settled down and tuned back in to what was going on.

The selkies were still dancing in their cone and chanting:

"We dance for energy,
For happiness,
For joy,
For life!"

I joined them in their dance and span round and round. I became part of their cone connecting the sky with the earth dragon, drawing down energy and sending it deep into the bottom of the lake. The dragon stirred and cast up bubbles from his nostrils. We had awakened him!

I felt like the job was done so I took up my stone and returned to the bank of the lake with more than a little relief!

I set off walking around the lake and heard a gentle trickling sound ahead. I'd heard that the lake had no outlets or inlets so I was surprised by this. As I approached the trickling stopped! I searched around and found a small wet outlet that seemed to disappear underground, but I couldn't catch a sound of the trickling again. I'd heard a folk tale about a goose that disappeared through one of these holes and was later found miles away without any feathers on! Perhaps this was the place from the story?

As I turned back to the path I noticed a large ring of melted ice far out in the lake which I'm sure hadn't been there before! Was this the dragon's breath causing the ice to melt?



I continued around the lake, viewing it from all sides, struggling along the icy paths through the woods until I reached my starting point again, and then for some crazy reason decided to circle the lake another two times!



Feeling quite exhausted I finally completed my thrice sunwise circuit and sat down. I felt that there was still more to do here and so I sent my spirit out into the lake.

My spirit, or avatar, took the form of a large muscular horned being made from pure white light. He stood over the melted ring of ice, plunged his arms into the water and hauled on a huge chain. He pulled and pulled with all his might until a dragon's head emerged from the water, attached to the other end of the chain! He held on to him using all his strength, I could feel him straining at the chain and knew he wouldn't be able to hold him for too long.

I picked up my crystal-tipped wand and pointed it at the dragon.

A burst of energy immediately shot out from the dragon and sent a beam of light all the way to the top of Hood Hill. The energy hit the crystal that I had placed there the day before and spread out in all directions. Perhaps the beams of energy were connecting to other similar places, forming a network of energy lines all around the Earth?

Well I can't say that it hadn't been an eventful day! What an experience! But what was I doing? Creating ley lines?? This energy grid connecting the fairy forts together certainly seemed to be something important. Was this my task? Was this why I was planting crystals? Who can tell?

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Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Hood Hill - Faery Rath

Hood Hill juts out from the edge of the North York Moors and makes an imposing sight when viewed from cliffs above Sutton Bank.




Legend has it that the Druids used to make sacrifices on an altar atop Hood Hill, but now somehow I felt drawn to the place.


I parked near the bottom of the hill on a cold December day and headed up through the conifer woods using my intuition to guide me in the right direction. I scrambled uphill through the trees until I reached a small clearing about halfway up the hill, and there I found what looked like an altar stone.




I left an offering there and tuned in...


I was met by a faery guide who told me to continue up the hill.


I made my way up through the rest of the spruce forest until I reached a more open area on top of the hill. This was more natural with oak trees dotted around waiting like sentinels for the time to come when they could dominate the land again. I gave them healing and put my intention out there they would grow strong and repopulate the land below.




I continued along the ridge until I approached the highest point on the hill where ancient earthworks were marked on my OS map. I was faced by an obvious bank and ditch enclosing a small circular area right on the crest of the hill. Small steps had been set into the bank and beside them sat a large boulder that seemed to be gaurding the entrance somehow.




I left an offering there, lit a candle, and asked permission to enter.


A feary woman with wings appeared, possibly the same one I'd seen earlier, and she beckoned me onwards.


I entered the fort and climbed to the top of the hill where a large sycamore tree sat.


The views all around were stunning!





I stood in front of the sycamore tree, on the highest point of the hill, and planted the pointy end of my hazel wand into the ground. I then felt like the crystal I had found in Wales had to be placed on top of it (This crystal needs attaching to my wand!)

As I did so a beam of white light shot out in all directions like a beacon. It felt like I had drawn energy into the place and then transmitted it outwards. I sat under the sycamore tree and was met by my faery guide Atheron. He told me the faeries here were pleased by what I'd done. The noble people here have stayed well hidden for a long time, but they could now come to the solstice gathering! I must now go to lake Gormire to call upon and heal the water spirits there with a smooth white pebble. Atheron asked me if there's anything I would like in return, and I told him that I'd just like to meet some of the animals of the forest.

On my way back I saw three roe deer who reminded me to be happy and carefree, and a group of long-tailed tits who were whistling all around me.

As usual the information I was getting was puzzling and cryptic, but by now I was learning to just go along along with it, and not to expect too many answers. Sometimes the tasks I have to perform are so small and simple it leaves me thinking there must be more to it; but somehow I am carrying energies around from place to place, and perhaps that is all that is required of me.

Lake Gormire is glacial lake left behind after the last Ice Age. It is very near to Hood Hill and I would return to perform my task there the very next day.

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Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com





Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Lindsaylands Fairy Mound (First visit)

The next time I went to visit Alphedia she took me to a fairy mound she had just discovered. So we walked over there with her husband Auraengus to investigate.


The wooded mound was in the grounds of a country house. It was a long hogsback shape and was topped by three large beech trees and a small folly of a Greek temple.


Alphedia stepped forward and made an offering of honey in a scallop shell there beneath the most imposing of the beech trees. Me and Auraengus closed our eyes and tuned in to what was going on, and then we stepped forward too...


We were immediately surrounded by tall, slim, imposing beings in white robes with a serene air about them. These were the trooping faeries, or the Sidhe. Alphedia was speaking to them, but I don't remember what she was saying as at that moment I was approached by a rather flamboyant looking male Fae wearing a lace-fringed shirt. He had long, straight, dark hair and eyes that were upturned at the corners. He took me aside and gave me information that was for my ears alone.


"I am Atheron", he said, "I will be your guide. You are a faery-friend. You work for us and you will work alone. You must collect some crystals to plant."


He took out a silver necklace hung with a large, blue, teardrop-shaped gem and hung it around my neck.


"You will get one of these for real", he told me, "Wear it with white clothes to show that you are a lightworker. When your work is done you will be rewarded. Your fairy-maiden awaits."

That was all he would tell me for now.


Alphedia was still performing her ritual so I joined her again. It seemed right to keep this information to myself for now. He had specifically told me to work alone, and Alphedia was busy pursuing so many other avenues that would just be a distraction to me.


When Alphedia was done we left the mound. My guide Atheron accompanied me until we reached the exit between two tall trees and then I couldn't see him anymore. Alphedia told me that there would be a gathering here at the winter solstice where clans of Sidhe from many raths would meet. This was going to be a very special winter solstice with a full moon and a total lunar eclipse!


It seemed like at last I had a mission, but as usual it left more questions than answers. What crystals should I use? Where should I plant them? The only answer I could get was that I would be guided. And why did they consider me a faery-friend? And who was this faery-maiden?? 

Answers would be revealed to me slowly over the coming months and years, and my understanding of them would one day change my whole perception of myself and the world around me!

====================================================

Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com



Thursday, 4 November 2010

Tarn Hole - The Wild Man of the Woods

My research into the Hobs of North Yorkshire brought me next to Tarn Hole, a small, remote valley off the Eastern side of Bilsdale in the North York Moors. Nothing is known about the Tarn Hole Hob apart from his name but I thought I'd visit the area just to see if I could discover anything.




I drove deep into the valley down a farm track and when I'd gone as far as I could go I parked up in the woods by Tarn Hole Beck.




I continued on foot up the dale, following the riverbank past large boulders left there by the ice age and old gnarly oak trees interspersed with bracken. The riverbank rose to a great height and I soon found myself creeping along the edge of a deep gulley with the river gurgling far below.


After a while the gulley became less deep and looking down I could see a beautiful little glade by the river, with a tiny waterfall.




I scrambled down and found the place to be totally enchanting. A place of high energy where I could recharge my batteries. This was not a place that needed healing, it was a place that could heal me!




I felt a great urge to connect totally with this place and so I stripped off completely and went bathing in the icy cold water.




I bathed in a pool and by a waterfall and then followed the river downstream, scrambling over rocks and sliding down small cascades while all the time I could see, hear and feel the rushing water all around me.




About 100 yards downstream I came to a muddy, gritty riverbank. I scraped out some of the mud with my fingers and started rubbing it into my arms, then my chest and pretty soon I was covered all over in mud! I wanted to mask the smells of the modern world, the shampoo, the deodourant, and become at one with this place. I started to feel like a wild man, a primitive, living in the deep forest. I rooted through the leaf litter and soon I was covered in twigs and dead leaves too. I was the Green Man!


I understood now what it really meant to be the Green Man; he was the wild man! The Wild Man of the Woods!


I started to tune in now in a way I never have done before. I felt like I was at one with all the vibrations of nature all around me. It felt so vibrant and alive! Not peaceful and quiet, like we imagine on a sunday stroll, but buzzing with electricity! Everything around me was alive, really alive! It was humming and interacting in a way that is indescribable unless you've experienced it. Somehow everything was connected, sight, smell, hearing and the static hum that connected all things. No wonder wild animals had such sharp instincts and could detect people approaching long before we could detect them!


I could just imagine what a clumsy discordant note modern humans must sound when they come clumping around these forests with their big rubber-soled boots and trivial conversation. How completely disconnected from what is really going on here!


I realised then the importance of becoming connected with your own patch of Earth. To truly connect you must bring nothing in from outside. Eat what you find there, clothe yourself and shelter yourself using only what you find there, only then will you be able to connect fully and truly feel like you're a part of the land.


Now that I had found this special place I would return again, to discover more of its magic and connect again with the raw spirits of nature.

====================================================

Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Pudding Pie Hill - Fairy Mound

Local folklore states that if you run around Pudding Pie Hill nine times sunwise and then stick a knife in the top you will be able to hear the fairies revelling inside the mound below. Well the mound is not far from where I live so of course I had to give it a go!

The mound now lies in the neglected corner of a field near a busy bypass, but despite this it still has quite an atmosphere.


I started making my way clockwise around the mound but it wasn't easy as it was muddy and one side of the mound runs into a hedge and ditch, but I persevered and tried not to lose count and eventually reached nine (I think!) then ran to the top and plunged my wand into the soft earth. I placed my ear against the ground and heard... nothing! Perhaps I hadn't done it right, or perhaps the fairies left a long time ago, annoyed by all the busy traffic. So I sat there on top of the mound, my legs astride the wand, and meditated. But try as hard as I might I still wasn't picking anything up.

Despairing now I opened my eyes and there sat on my leg was a perfect little two-spot ladybird. Well it wasn't what I had come here for, but clearly he had a message for me...

He told me that his name was Azimoth and he was here to guide me. He said I had to heal the land by drawing in 'life-force' at nodal points. The land will become wasteland without this life-force to fight pollution. My work with the land is all-important, all else is just a distraction to me.

As usual it felt like a riddle. What nodal points? How do I heal the land? But more than this I could not ascertain at this time.

I tried to place Azimoth back on the ground, but he didn't seem to want to leave and so joined me as I returned to my car. As I sat behind the wheel I noticed him crawl away into my car, but after that I never saw him again.

I later discovered that an 'Azimuth' is something used in navigation. It's the angle between a point of reference and the place you want to get to. Was this another clue?

====================================================

Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bardsey Island, Merlin's Cave

While researching on the internet I came across mention of a small cave on Bardsey Island (Ynnis Enli in Welsh) off the far tip of the Lynn peninsular in Wales. The cave was associated with Merlin who was said to be imprisoned on this island in his tower of glass, along with the 13 treasures of Britain. I knew it was a place I had to visit! So the next day I set off on the long journey to north-west extremity of Wales...

Arriving at the very tip of the Lynn peninsular I was lucky enough to find a boat to take me over the sound to the island. The boatman, who had been brought up on the island, knew about the cave. He told me that the cave was very tiny and he had played in it as a child. He also told me a story about a local priest who had once lived in the cave as hermit, perhaps as a form of penance.

I asked the boatman if he'd ever heard of any strange occurrences on the island, but all he could tell me about were some lights which were often seen floating around from floor to floor of a deserted cottage.

The boat rounded the island and pulled into a bay heavy with seaweed, we were then hauled up the slipway by a tractor and trailer. The boatman pointed to the side of a nearby hill where I could just make out three white rocks forming a kind of triangle. The cave was there, just by those rocks, he told me.

I walked along the green lanes of this quiet, enchanting little island, past the occasional old whitewashed cottage until I came to house called Plas Bach where a literally unique apple tree grows. The apples are unusually free from disease and grow nowhere else in the world apart from on this one tree. After asking around I found the tree, but unfortunately it did not bear any fruit at this time, so I took a small sprig of leaves to carry along with me for good luck. The tree is known by some as Merlin's apple tree.

Opposite the cottage I followed a little passageway and started making my way up the heather-covered slope behind. By now I had lost sight of the triangle of white rocks and the hillside seemed to be criss-crossed with a maze of little track-ways, so I was wondering how I was going to ever find the place again.

As I rose I higher and higher I turned around and got an excellent view over the whole island, from the bay to my left where I had started, to a rocky peninsular with its lighthouse, and across to the haunted cottages and ruined abbey to my right.


Beneath me I could see black crow-sized birds with long red curved beaks flying by, the famous choughs of Ynnis Enli. After a while I came to three likely looking rocks and started scanning around for a cave entrance. Beside one of the rocks I found a tiny little hole, barely big enough to sit up in.


I crawled inside, first on my hand and knees and then on my belly. It was pitch black inside so I was glad of my head torch.


After about 3 metres the passageway came to an end, so I scanned around with my torch to see what I could find. I explored all the hidden crevices and deep within one of them I found crystal! A clear quartz point about 2 inches long and half an inch wide. One of the 13 treasures of Britain? Or left here by a passing hippy?? I preferred to think of it as a gift from Merlin and would very soon discover its usefulness...

To my left was a ledge and above it a wide hole just big enough to crawl into. Brushing aside spiders' webs I managed to twist myself around and poke my head into the hole. I shone my torch down and discovered that the hole dropped down into a small chamber, about big enough for two people to sit up in. As my torch shone down to the floor of the chamber I got a shock! There was the perfectly preserved skeleton of a sheep, lying exactly as it had died, but without a trace of flesh or wool on it. Instead there were just bare bones and a thin coating of green mold on the skull and spine. Judging by the state of the skeleton no-one had entered this chamber for a long, long time...

After my heart had stopped pounding I decided that I had to go in. Crawling in head first would have put me face to face with the mouldy sheep skull, so I decided upon entering feet first, with my back to the floor, head facing the ceiling. As my feet dropped down into the darkness I felt them crunch against the sheep skeleton and the spongy floor below. Yuk! But I continued to ease myself in through the small gap until I got my whole body inside. I was now squatting in the tiny chamber, the crunch of sheep bones beneath me along with big spongy patches of what seem like moss but could have been anything... big blue shiny beetles crawled over the 'moss' beneath me.

As I shone my torch around I found several large crevices containing bird skeletons, looking like the choughs I had just seen outside, as well as an egg shell and many big shiny black spiders, webs and silk cocoons. I also noticed that the ledge I had just crawled over seemed to be man-made, perhaps constructed by the hermit priest I had heard about?

As I squatted there I tried to meditate and tune in to get some information about this place, but you'll forgive me if it was not easy, given the surroundings, so instead I decided to try to contact the spirit of the dead sheep.

As he lay there he asked me what I wanted and answered me in a deep voice. He told me to go above the cave, not inside. He also told me that is not Merlin's cave.

I apologised for disturbing his corpse and stepping all over him, and with relief I made my way back outside.

I was happy to be back in the sunlight again and breathing the fresh sea air! I stepped back from the cave entrance and surveyed the scene. Above the cave, where I had just been crawling, was a huge white granite boulder, glittering with crystals in the sunlight. It made an impressive sight!


I decided that it was time to activate the crystal I had just found, so I held it in my hand and focused on it. What I expected to happen was that white light would slowly fill the crystal and then spread around my whole body until I and the crystal became one, but instead what happened was more like a nuclear explosion!

White light instantly burst forth in all directions, spreading out to the horizon in a huge burst of energy.

“Wow! This was some crystal!” I thought.

I climbed to the top of the huge granite boulder, directly above the hollow cave, and placed my new found crystal on top of it.


A massive amount of energy instantly shot down from the sky in a column of white light and entered the boulder.

I had never felt anything like this before! I now knew that this place had been transformed into a place of power.

I left the cave area and climbed to the top of the hill, and then explored the rest of the island with its rocky shoreline and hidden bays. I walked all around the island and then watched a colony of seals playing and squabbling as I waited for the boatman to leave again.


I arrived back on the Llyn peninsular and later on drove up to a remote headland to watch the sun go down over the magical island of Ynnis Enli.


I later found out that dowsers attach quartz crystals to standing stones in order to amplify their power. Is that what I had done? Perhaps the cave had been energised and should now be revisited? But perhaps that is for others to do and not me...

====================================================

Rob Wildwood (Aurvandil) has now released a book containing hundreds of his own stunning full colour photos of many of the magical places he has visited in his travels. The images capture the magic and mystery of each place and are enhanced by extracts of local folklore that reveal the magical lore of each place and tempt deeper investigation. Every site listed has full directions and map grid references that can be checked online, so join Rob Wildwood as you discover Britain's magical places at www.themagicalplaces.com