I woke at midnight ravenous. After tossing and turning for an hour, I crept upstairs to get the sandwich I had bought for my train ride to Cumbria. For some reason I found it wildly amusing that I was indulging in a midnight (or rather post-midnight) snack. Blame it on the jet-leg, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Until I tried to get back to sleep. Once again, all I could see was that blindfolded girl in the hallway when I closed my eyes. I knew she was trying to tell me something, but I still didn’t know if it was an actual specter I was seeing, or my higher self trying to get my attention. I suspected the latter, but sometimes the mind can wander into that realm of freakout. And, she was always in the same place. The stairwell outside the flat. Standing with her arms at her side, her head facing inward to where I was trying my best to sleep. Eyes covered in a thick, white wrap of cloth.
Eventually sleep came to me, and soon after it was time to start another day. I needed to catch an early train to Cumbria, and there was a particular stone circle waiting for me, or so I thought. The stones had been calling to me since Sue Vincent had posted a photo of the hill of giants behind them, laced with snow, years ago on her blog. Castlerigg. The very words could bring the tremor of cells stirring memory through lifetimes long past followed by a wash of tears. We were both waiting for each other, I was sure of it, but something didn’t feel right.
As I mentioned in my first post in this series, I had felt a shift in the weeks after I had committed to this trip. The whispering of the land and its spirits had ceased into an uncomfortable silence. Sometimes, when we are called to a place, we are meant to work for it. To undergo an initiation to get there. It took me two tries, wandering the haunted moors at sunset with sleet and wild winds, to get to the Nine Ladies. And that is a small circle in comparison to Castlerigg. This trip, I was reluctantly realizing, had fallen too easily into place. And, where I had imagined the rugged hills of Cumbria in winter, spring had arrived unseasonably early to England in February.
I was greeted at the train station in Oxenholme by my Cumbrian host, Steve, who is one of the directors of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness. Although I was to spend time with both Steve and Sue during this visit, I was not in England to attend one of the School’s organized workshops. I had missed the latest one in December, which was centered in Cumbria. An even that had stirred a longing so intense that I was now on my way to visit some of the ancient sites I had missed by not being able to attend the workshop.
Steve, knowing I regretted missing the December workshop, graciously offered to host me for a few days in Cumbria, where he resides. After he retrieved me from the train station we headed to his home to pick up his lovely wife, Bernie, and their charming dog, Tess. We had just enough time left in the day to see Long Meg & Her Daughters before the sunset.
On the way to Long Meg, we stopped for tea at a mill where organic grains are ground into the makings of bread and porridge.
We ate outside on a picnic table, enjoying the warmth of our soup, freshly baked bread, and the early spring sunshine.
Long Meg and Her Daughters is one of several stone circles in Cumbria. It sits just outside of Penrith, down a small country lane that runs through the bottom third of the large oval configuration of stones.
We parked outside the stones. It does not feel right to enter them via the road inside a car. Thankfully the only other car there was also parked, respectfully, outside the “circle.”
My eyes turned first to the face. Not in the stone, but in the tree behind it. I saw it peering at me, watching. Trying to determine, it seemed, whether I was friend or foe. There was no denying I was being observed, and perhaps judged. One expects to be in these ancient places, and I was not unsettled by the guardian watching me. I found the presence of the magnificent old trees comforting as they leaned over the road in protection of the sacred energy surrounding them. It reassured me the energy was still very much alive here, despite the road and the many footsteps that went through the circle…Despite the thousands of years since it was actively used by those who had built it…
After greeting the guardian in the tree, I began to walk the perimeter of stones. At its longest point, the oval of stones measures 100 meters. It is not a small “circle,” and it takes some time to travel it with deliberation. I find these sites are best guided not with the mind, but with the heart, and I allowed my inner guidance take over as I followed a counterclockwise path amid the great rocks.
The earth ripples in gentle waves rising up a slight hillside to Long Meg, who stands removed, like a sentinel, above her “daughters.” She towers 12 ft. above ground, and is 80 ft. removed from the nearest stone within her “circle.” Her face is turned in profile to the stones below her. Lips pursed into a slight frown, she faces the distant land as though she is guarding and watching.
I approached Long Meg filled with the awe of her magnificence. She has a presence that is difficult to describe. Not entirely foreboding, but also not wholly welcoming, Long Meg is majestic and emits an aura of purpose and mystery. One almost feels the impulse to bow before her and wait for permission to rise…I approached her slowly on foot, stopping mere inches from her surface. Initially I had thought I might hug her, as I had asked my friend to do for me in December. Perhaps I would have, if I had not been stopped by her red light. It reached toward me, pulsing red. This spiraling of light emanating from her form.
Long Meg’s eye had opened to see me, and I had seen her in return…
To be continued…