Sunday, 6 February 2011

Aberfoyle - Doon Hill and the Fairies

My next trip was to one of the most well known and magical fairy locations in the British Isles. Doon Hill in Aberfoyle, Scotland is where the Reverend Robert Kirk had many encounters with the Fae back in the 17th century. He wrote a book about his experiences entitled "The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies" which is now famous amongst fairy folklorists. But his obsession was to be his undoing, because one day he was abducted by the fairies and was never seen again. People say that there is an entrance to the Otherworld on Doon Hill through which the reverend passed and some say that he dwells up there still in the Land of the Fae.

Doon Hill lies just south of Aberfoyle on the other side of the River Forth on the edge of an area of extensive woodland. The hill itself is shrouded in forest giving it a mysterious appearance from the start.

I walked down the lane from Kirkton and approached the hill from the west. As soon as I entered the woodland at the base of the hill a magical atmosphere pervaded all. The trees looked spindly and twisted, and dewy moss shone bright and green on the boughs. 

Strange rock formations sprang up all around covered in gnarly trees, looking like little fairy mounds themselves. I spotted a forked tree on top of one these small mounds which looked invitingly like an entrance to the fairy realm, so I climbed up and stepped through it, dropping down into a magical land on the other side.

I had stepped through a portal and from now on the edge between reality and fantasy would be blurred for me and all the events that happened subsequently happened for me in a kind of half trance.

I continued walking through the open woodland towards the summit of the hill. It was quite visible ahead of me and stood tall and proud like a fortress. 

I could sense figures up there like soldiers standing on battlements and then I could see multi-coloured banners flying, I was surely approaching a fairy fort! I stopped and stared cautiously, and then I saw of couple of the elven soldiers descending from the fort to greet me, but they didn't look particularly friendly. They wanted me to relinquish all my weapons and amulets and then accompany them unarmed into the fortress, but fearing a trap I declined and they retreated.

Summoning my energy and will power I stepped forward but immediately I sensed missiles like arrows being fired at me. They struck me like bolts of light energy but seemed to bounce off harmlessly. Perhaps I was protected? I asked to be allowed entrance to the fortress but again they refused and launched more missiles, so I decided to back off under the onslaught and try a different approach.

I retreated out of range and left an offering of honey by a tree, and then covered myself in the pleasant scent of lavender oil to make myself more agreeable to the fairy folk. I headed northward, skirting around the western edge of the fortress and unexpectedly came upon another path! Instinctively I knew that I was now on the correct path to approach the fortress, the path just seemed more natural and had a gentler approach. Clearly I had been trying to enter the wrong way before! I followed this path until I stood at the foot of the fortress on the northern side.

I then gazed up at the battlements and this time a beautiful blonde elf-maiden came down to greet me. She took me by the hand and led me happily and eagerly up the slope, almost giggling to herself.

At the top of the hill lay a magical clearing where people had left all kinds of offerings both around and in the trees there. Everything from clootie rags to crystals to fairy statues to wind chimes, the clearing was full of the stuff! 

At the centre of the woodland clearing stood a lone tree, on the very spot where the reverend Robert Kirk disappeared into fairyland and was never seen again! 

I was guided by the elf maiden directly to this tree and I knelt down before it. 

Beneath the roots of the tree was a small hole like the entrance to a animal burrow that led deep underground, and beside this hole several offerings had been placed around, candles, statues and ribbons. I found a green glass half filled with rainwater and dirt and decided to clean it out and leave another offering of honey there for the fairies.

The maiden took me by the hand again and this time led me straight down into the hole. Now I felt like I really was entering the Otherworld! We went down and down and down through the darkness and then suddenly emerged into a grassy meadow by an old-fashioned farmhouse. The sun was shining and the elf maiden was still holding my hand, except she was no longer an elf maiden she was a little girl, and I was a little boy! She giggled playfully and memories came rolling back to me. I was in a past life! The little girl was my true love, we grew up together all our lives from being little children. I never knew this before, but it explained so much! It explained why she had meant so much to me and why her eventual loss was so unbearable, even after many lifetimes. She was my soulmate, happy, playful, mischievous and completely without malice, she meant everything to me. 

The scene passed and I was back with the elf maiden again, and now the tears were filling my eyes.

"Show me more," I said to her.

She led me once more down through the roots of the tree, this time down a pink spiral staircase like the inside of a giant conch shell, through pink-walled chambers and past a gruff ogre-like guard. We then emerged into a paradise world of lush greenery that was full of tame animals going about their daily business. Or at least they seemed tame because they were totally unafraid of us. The elf maiden and I had shrunk to a small size and were now flying through this world on butterfly wings. We flew through clouds of more multi-coloured butterflies, over the tree tops and then across vast plains teeming with wildlife. I had surely now entered the Otherworld realm of the Fae! A completely unspoilt land of beauty, perfection and unceasing natural harmony.

Ahead I could now see a castle, a fairy castle standing alone in the plain. We were heading directly towards it and I started to get fearful. I could sense dungeons within, darkness, dampness and solitude. I feared a trap, of being stuck in faeryland with no means of escape like Robert Kirk. I refused to continue and the elf maiden grew angry and ugly, she hissed at me! 

Suddenly I was back in my body, back in the clearing on top of Doon Hill. What was that castle? Was she showing me my fears or was it another scene from a past life?

I was standing facing the tree again with its entrance to the Otherworld, but when I turned around to face the clearing I had another vision.

I saw standing there a gathering of noble elf lords in long shining silvery silken robes. Their long straight silken hair hung down past their shoulders and they wore circlets upon their brows. They stood in a semi-circle around me and stared towards me with arms hanging by their sides, fingers interlocked before them, looking rather solemn.

"What have you brought us?" one of them said.

I remembered the green flourite eggs in my bag, so I took them out and started to lay them out on the ground before me in a the formation of a 12 pointed star.

"Too small!" said the elf lord.

I instinctively knew what he meant. The star should cover the entire clearing, with the otherworld tree at the centre. I looked around the clearing and could see that six trees formed a circle around it. These would be the six points of the outer star, and I would place the other six crystals slightly nearer the central tree to form the inner star.

So I walked around the clearing planting an egg just before the foot of each of the six trees. Curiously these six trees all had offerings placed around them and ribbons tied to them, just as much as the central tree had. I then placed the six inner crystals at a point midway between each of the outer crystals and returned to the central tree to see what would happen. 

The elf lords stepped forward, one of them standing over each of the crystals, there were 12 elf lords in total! I took out my wand and stood with one hand touching the central tree while my other hand held the wand aloft. I called in white light from the sky, that endless source of power and energy. The white light collected in the crystal at the tip of my wand and passed through me into the tree. It then spread out underground as if following the tree roots and emerged beneath each of the elf lords.

The elf lords started to glow a pale luminescent green which slowly increased in intensity becoming brighter and brighter until they were engulfed bright glowing columns of intense green light. These columns then became trees and at their tops they grew branches which started to spread out over the clearing, while underground the roots of the trees grew outwards, interconnecting with each other until the twelve trees were linked into one living network. This network spread outwards and outwards until it covered the entire land in a dense canopy of trees, a single, breathing, interconnected web. It was like a vision of the future, and the past, the land as it once was, and will one day be again, a land fit for the Fae to dwell in.

The vision slowly faded and I took a walk around the clearing but was soon disturbed by visitors, this time of the more mundane human kind! We exchanged a few stories and the guy told me that I should visit a famous Neolithic ritual landscape called Kilmartin. I hung around until they left and then decided that I should do the fairies a favour by clearing up some of the rubbish that had been left around and some of the less appealing items of junk that had been tied to the trees. I stuffed a whole carrier bag full of rubbish and just as I was about to give up for the day I turned around and there dangling right in front of my eyes was a blue teardrop-shaped crystal!

It was exactly like the one I had seen myself wearing in the vision I had on Lindsaylands Fairy Mound, the very first time I had seen myself as Aurvandil! The Fae had told me then that I should find myself one exactly like it and I had spent a whole day searching through one of the largest gemstone warehouses in the country but could find nothing to match it. Yet here it was, on Doon Hill, dangling right before my eyes! I knew instantly that this was a gift from the Fae and that I was meant to take it. So I snatched it up and pocketed it gratefully, giving thanks to the Fae for their gift.

Now I had surely done everything that I had come here for, so I decided it was time to head back down the hill. Before I lost sight of the clearing I stopped and turned around for one last look. The place looked magical in the late afternoon light. The outer trees seemed to glow with a green luminous light while the central tree stood there pale and grey. Movements flickered on the edge of my vision. I was sure that the Fae were hidden there in trees all around.


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

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