Tags: Guidance, healing, insight, inspiration, meditation, nature, personal development, sacred site, travel
Some places feel special, in ways we don’t fully understand. One such I visited recently is Snaefellsjokull. This ice-capped volcanic mountain rises from a remote Western peninsula in Iceland. Its name translates as ‘Snow-fell glacier’.
Perhaps it feels remarkable because of the near-Arctic juxtaposition of ancient fire and eternal ice, enhanced by the mystery of ocean clouds.
Or maybe it’s because the myriad volcanic peaks in this region take on their own fierce presence in a stark landscape created by the slow separation of two major continental plates.
On the slopes of the glacier itself, the sense of presence grows stronger, along with a distinct chill. It’s easy to see why Jules Verne chose Snaefellsjokull as the entrance to the earth’s core in his novel, Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
There’s a purity and absolute freshness to the air, as though all human preconceptions have been blown or blasted away.
The ancient volcano brings gifts to the watchful. My daughter found a piece of obsidian – black fire glass. And I discovered the subtle, changing image of a fire sprite on a smooth piece of basalt.
Snaefellsjokull is said to be one of the sacred centres of the earth, a portal to other realms.
Standing on the glacier, it’s possible to see things differently… to recognise the true landscape of our own lives.
An ice mountain can tell you much about yourself.
Each of us carries within us the qualities of Snaefellsjokull: the ice and fire, the mystery and the deep, all held within a shimmering equilibrium that is subject to disruption when inner or outer forces overturn the state of balance.
Witnessing this in nature is to witness it in ourselves. We can open up to these qualities, and allow them to flow through the meridians, our own subtle energy channels.
There are four burning questions an ice mountain draws out of us:
What in you is ready to be expressed?
Look deeper now. What are you suppressing?
Do you always recognise your own inner promptings towards action?
And, above all, do you honour the passions and visions that ignite you?
Take time to answer these questions. They are a recipe for life-long wellbeing.
Tags: Mind body spirit, mindfulness, pre-history, sacred site, Spirituality, travel, wellbeing, wisdom
Standing stones are scattered over the mistiest reaches of the British Isles. Each one is different, and highly distinctive. I wonder how many you know, and whether you have a favourite?
These are the Standing Stones of Stenness, on the mainland of Orkney. They are part of what may be the oldest henge in Britain. I visited them last week with my partner, Steven, on a rare child-free holiday. We found these giants bathing in the evening sun, framed by a rainbow. They seemed magical, and mysterious: reassuring presences on the landscape.
The thing about standing stones is that they predate our written history. Perhaps we can say that they are a form of writing in themselves: rocky runes, inscribing messages on our horizons. And it’s a language we don’t understand today.
But it’s possible to pick up something. I walked up to the monolith on the left in the picture above and leant against it: warm sunlight at the front of me; cool rock at the back. Imagine yourself doing that now. The stone is more than three times your height. As you lean back, it supports you. Perhaps it even feels as though it is scanning and recording your energy – that’s how it seemed to me.
As you stand there, it feels easy to have a silent dialogue. What would you like to confide in this silent stone, and what subliminal messages might it give you?
At the simplest level, stones speak of continuity and the steady rhythm of change. The people who first raised these megaliths were fully aware of the annual dance of sunrise and sunset along the east and west horizons. They had a deep understanding of how sunshine brought life to crops and humanity. Bringing this awareness to our modern world of distractions is very good for us – It can keep us sane.
After a while, the sun neared the horizon. The Standing Stones of Stenness became dramatic silhouettes.
The view reminded me of a powerful insight I received at Avebury Stone Circle: “It is not the stones themselves that matter. It’s the spaces in between.“
The spaces in between the Stones of Stenness reveal a most amazing landscape. You can catch glimpses in this picture. There are two lochs: one is saltwater, and the other is freshwater. They are separated by a narrow causeway, which takes you to a Stone Age collection of buildings which are thought to have been temples. Beyond them is another henge, the Ring of Brodgar, and beyond that… the sun.
The Standing Stones of Stenness from this perspective are a portal to the elements of life. They reveal to us that we and our world are composed of earth, fire, air and water. And sometimes, just sometimes, it feels good to remember that.
Tags: Guidance, inspiration, Intuition, Mother Earth, poetry, pre-history, sacred site, Silbury Hill
Mother Earth is stirring,
Mother Earth is waking.
Changes are occurring
in every stone and flower.
Touch me with compassion
at this electric time,
and I will realign.
This is what you do:
hold the planet in your hands,
hold the planet in your heart,
and you will be a channel
for the Mother.
Mother Earth is stirring,
Mother Earth is waking.
Changes are occurring:
can you feel the power?
The image: Silbury Hill is Europe’s tallest prehistoric human-made structure. Why it was built is a mystery. One theory is that Silbury is a representation of the Earth Mother – specifically, her pregnant belly rising above the ground. The water is only present during rainy times such as now. This is the most watery I have seen it.
A seer’s tip: Sit comfortably in front of a body of water such as this one. Formulate a question in your mind. Study the surface of the water, taking your time, noticing every detail. Then, let your mind go a little out of focus. Remember that the surface of the water is an illusion, and let your mind, and the question, slip between the molecules of your perception and into the mystery beyond. Let the question go. Let any expectation of an answer go. Simply be. Simply breathe… simply breathe. And be open to any answers that emerge.
Tags: Guidance, healing, Intuition, meditation, psychic development, sacred site, Spirituality
John Wilding lives with his family in the centre of Avebury Stone Circle. It must be a little like living in a fairy tale, full of myth and magic. Do you know Avebury? It’s a picturesque Wiltshire village which contains the largest stone circle in the world. (Or maybe, even, the stone circle contains the village).
John runs the Henge Shop, which is full of delightful mystic gems and esoteric books. It’s a hub for spiritual travellers from all around the world.
To help the visitors, John is setting up a new website, to be called Visit Avebury. Last week he asked me to write 200 words on sacred sites and meditation for the new website. “I’d love to,” I emailed back.
It then occurred to me that I can’t remember the last time I meditated at Avebury. How can that be? I only live 15 minutes’ drive away. So I decided to get up early at the weekend and do my usual morning meditation there, within the circle…
First, I share a quick breakfast with my nine-year-old daughter, who usually loves a trip. She wants to know why I am going to Avebury. She doesn’t look impressed when I explain.
“Are you definitely going to meditate at the stones?” she asks.
“Then I’m definitely not coming,” she decides.
I smile. It appears that my daughter has just started to understand that parents can be Seriously Embarrassing.
As I walk down to the garage, I happen to glance into our front yard. I see the words ‘hope’, ‘joy’ and ‘love’ chalked onto the stone slabs in a childish hand. I smile again. Maybe she and I are not so different after all.
At Avebury, I walk over to my favourite part of the circle, the quieter north semi-circle. There are no people here, just sheep. I go up to several of the stones and place the palms of my hands against their rough surface. It feels like a form of greeting, a ‘signing in’ as it were. I study the patterns of rock and lichen. I am tuning in.
I notice that I am feeling distinctly light-headed, and the feeling persists.
Carefully, I choose a stone in the outer circle to sit by – then walk to an entirely different one. I sit on the ground and lean back. The stone supports my back so well, it almost feels soft.
The sun is warm in front of me. The stone is cool behind me.
A gentle wind brushes a few hairs against my face. I hear wood pigeons cooing placidly high in the trees.
I decide to do a listening meditation. Simply breathe, and listen, and feel, and listen.
Meanwhile, my mind has decided to do its bit to unlock the mysteries of the circle. No one really knows why Avebury Stone Circle is here, and there are countless theories. My mind is intrigued by the fact that there are two smaller inner circles within the outer circle. Within the best surviving inner circle, near where I’m sitting, there are two giant stones which many people call a female and a male stone. Guess which is which…
And then I remember that I am here to meditate. I am here to breathe, listen and feel…
Maybe, my mind points out, the stone circle is a Neolithic depiction of Yin and Yang? All physical matter is composed of binary opposites: sun and moon, male and female, hot and cold and so on… surely Avebury is a beautiful representation of that?
And then I remember, once more, that I am here to meditate…
The area around my heart begins to feel warm: a spreading, pleasant glow.
It’s then that I notice that a particular, unusual word keeps popping up in my mind:
“Locus. The circle is a locus.”
Just in case there is any doubt, the voice repeats itself.
And then… it happens.
I hear these words:
“It is not the stones themselves that matter. It’s the spaces in between. “
Without any warning, there is a whoosh!
I see a gateway to the All That Is. The stones are the gateway. Through them, I can see the Universe.
And on my right side, between the stones, laughing, I can see women, very like those I have seen before. Maybe they are the same. Natural, lean and bare-limbed, they are laughing at me, though not unkindly.
“At least you are beginning to get it,” they are saying.
And then I am through the gateway and I am dancing between the particles of matter.
I am bigger than the stars and smaller than the atoms.
My previous light-headed feeling has gone, because I am now in the space in which I am meant to be. This is my normal state of being, I realise. The rest is just a crammed up, box-like dream.
This is real life. This is reality.
I am in bliss.
I am bliss.
There is only bliss… bliss stretching out to infinity….
Gradually, as if from above, I become aware of the pattern of the stones again. I understand now how they act as a locus. The circular structure is helpful for returning back to your body.
We can think it, perhaps, as a Neolithic landing pad for the soul.
And then I am back again, sitting on baked bare earth, the sun on my face, cool stone behind my back. My heart area still feels pleasantly warm and glowing.
I am happy.
I return home via Silbury Hill, the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe.
In my psychically open state, I can see a man directing others in front of a younger and smaller mound. A wise woman, well-regarded, is behind him. She is in the light. Younger men are asking why they are building up the sky.
The old man says, “It will remind them.
“The time of forgetting will come.
“The time of forgetting is necessary.
But then, the time of remembering will come. “
This is fascinating, and I want to stay, to learn more. But I am feeling a growing pressure. At home, my family are waiting for my return. So Silbury must be a story for another day.