I arrived there on an early November afternoon under an overcast sky. The minor road through the village of Pontneddfechan led over a bridge to a small car park right at the base of the craggy hill. A couple of climbers wearing hard hats were scaling one of the rock faces, while another rock face had been completely covered over in a wire mesh, presumably to avert rockfalls. This was disappointing, I was hoping to have the place to myself, and fairies really don't like iron!
I avoided the climbers and managed to find a small trail to the right that seemed to lead right up the side of the hill. As I crept up the path got steeper and the rocks got slippier, until eventually I was climbing on all fours, hauling myself up the side of the crag through narrow gaps in the rocks or around precipitous ledges.
With relief I made it to the top and admired the spectacular view. It was then that I noticed that this rocky promontory sat in a fork between two rivers that joined together just beyond the car park. I had always found these no-man's lands in the fork between two rivers to be especially magical places, and in that respect this was the most magical place of it's type I had ever been to! I could clearly hear the roaring of the rivers on either side of the fort, even though they were out of view down deep wooded gorges.
Closing my eyes I stood there on the summit of this high windy place and tuned in to the energies. I was immediately transported to the face of the cliff, just in front of where I was standing. Floating there in mid-air I saw a fairy door open in the cliff face before me, so after a slight hesitation I stepped inside.
The interior of the hill contained a rabbit-warren of dark corridors populated by elves in dark shiny armour, who all seemed to be preoccupied, either going about their business or just standing there as if on guard. I didn't find anyone to talk to and soon found myself transported back outside to the summit where my physical body was still standing.
My guide Atheron was there, himself one of the 'dark elves' he told me to link this fort to the others, as I had done oftentimes before.
"The dark elves are hidden here, not departed," he told me. "Connect them to the web!"
I raised my wand over my head and did as I was instructed, bringing down the pure white energy from the sky, conducting it through my own body, and down into the ground through my feet where it entered the chambers below me. The energy then spread out in many directions on beams of white light, connecting this fort with all the other high places I had visited, both in this land and in others, linking it in to the web which now seemed to cover the entire earth.
Then I remembered the tale associated with this fort of the sleeping knights of King Arthur who are said to dwell within it. All at once I knew! The knights had now been awakened! The knights were the fae! Sleeping, waiting for the day when they would return once more to the surface as beings of light.
I wandered over to the very edge of the cliff and sat with my legs wrapped around a young oak tree which was perched precariously over the void.
I was sitting right on top of where I now knew the fairy gateway to be. I could see the car park far below my feet and the forest rolling off into the distance ahead of me. Below and to my left I could see a long slope of bare rock reaching all the way from the clifftop to the base of the hill. Closing my eyes I could the days of long ago when beings of light happily danced and played and span cartwheels down the long slope, to the amazement of any local people who happened to be out wandering on these auspicious nights.
With a slight sense of vertigo I hauled myself back up and went to explore the hilltop further. I soon came across a strange shaped rock that looked invitingly like a throne.
I couldn't resist settling down into it and as soon as I did so I found myself uttering the following words:
"O fairies of the sacred hill
I come not here to wish you ill
I come here but to send you forth
To east, south, west and north
To carry forth across this land
The members of the secret band."
I then stood up from the 'chair', surprised with myself again! I wandered over to the cliff edge, this time to a deep crevice in the rock that overlooked the wooded gorge containing one of the raging rivers. A dangerous looking path seemed to lead down through the crevice to the cliff face where it turned a corner and disappeared from view.
It made me think of the tales of fairy treaure that had been found up here and I wondered if any of them were true and where this mysterious path led.
I closed my eyes and summoned Atheron again, but he had other things on his mind:
"It's time to step into your power!" Atheron told me. "Time to become one of the beings of light!"
It's a message I had got many times recently, but I still did not fully understand what it meant.
"Most will be left behind in this fourth world, but some will ascend to fifth world to join the shining ones. Others will be inspired to follow, but your real job here is to help prepare the world for this ascension."
He was refering to the Hopi prophesy that I had learned about recently in Arizona. They believe that this present world, which they call the fourth world, will soon be coming to an end, and only those who remain of one heart and follow the teachings of their god Maasaw will survive to populate the coming fifth world. But Atheron seemed to be giving me a slightly different message, that somehow some people would 'ascend' from this world, leaving the old world behind. To my mind it meant that those who ascended would enter a different reality, a different consciousness, while to those who were left behind it would appear like nothing had happened. This would all become much clearer soon, but at this point my understanding was still rather vague.
I stepped back from that hollow place near the cliff edge and decided to go searching for Ffynon Ddu, the black sping. I continued down the path that passed down the spine of the hill until eventually I came to a tiny little rivulet of water that passed over the path. "This must be it!" I though. Now all I had to do was follow it to its source.
I scrambled through bracken and briars for a couple of hundred yards until I noticed that the gurgling rivulet to my right was no longer there. I backtracked a little and there hidden under a mass of brambles and ferns was the spring, bubbling up from between some rocks.
After dowsing to ascertain if this spring carried the correct vibration, I placed a crystal deep into it's source, energised it, and then drank the water.
I could see the web of light in the sky that connected this fairy fort to all the others, immediately to my mind came the Hopi prophesy that one day a web would cover the entire land. This has been interpreted as meaning the internet, but was this the real web that was prophesied? I then saw all the springs, and the web of energy that they created over the land too. The male energy of the sky web, and the female energy of the earth web.
I sank deeper into a trance and was told that I should soon ascend into the light and leave this mortal body behind. It's worries and concerns were not mine. My work here would soon be done, the old me would die and a new me would be reborn.
Suddenly I felt a powerful presence to my right, it was the god Pan. I felt humbled and called him my master.
"I am not your master," he retorted. "Your love of the wildwoods comes from your past lives that you're still holding on to. You must truly let this go before you can ascend into the light."
I knew that he was right, but right now I did not feel ready to let go of my attachments to this earth and all its wild wonder.
I was then given a revelation concerning the shamanic worldview of lower, middle and upper worlds: The lower world is the previous third world, where mankind and nature were one. The upper world is the coming fifth world, a magical, spiritual realm where the current laws of nature do not apply. I had nothing to fear from the fifth world, nature is still there, but in the fifth world it would assume its perfect form and I could commumicate directly with nature's devas.
"Step into your power! Become Aurvandil!"
Coming back down to earth I returned to my human body and continued walking through the woods, down the slope on the far side, and down to the river encased in autumnal forest, thinking of how attached I was this this world and all its natural wonders, despite the cold gloominess of the day and all the imperfections of this world.
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