A Walk in the Woods with Tess & the Offering of Feathers: My Final Day in Cumbria #england #cumbria #travel

After the experience at Castlerigg, I needed some time to process, accept, and surrender as best I could to what was. We had planned for a laid-back morning for my last day in Cumbria, and after I awoke I asked if I could take Tess for a walk. I should probably clarify that. Tess is not a dog you actually have to walk. She’s one of those rare gems that walks herself, and you, without the trouble of a leash to bind you together. I didn’t have to worry about finding my way, getting lost, or losing sight of my companion. Tess not only leads the way, she stops to wait for you and makes sure you know where you’re going. It was quite the treat for me, as I am used to walking two over-zealous dogs (on leashes) who could care less if I want to go where they want to go, which is often in a completely different direction from each other, and me.

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Tess during our morning walk stopping to check on me.

Anyway, back to my walk with Tess. It was another glorious morning. Filled with sunshine and just the wisps of clouds to compliment the blue, blue sky.  And as we set out, down the old canal path beside Bernie & Steve’s home, I began to allow the beauty of the day to sink into by body, as well as the many unexpected gifts the weekend had offered.

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Fairy Woods

The paths that I had traveled these last few days had been filled with the warmth of the sun and of friendship. There was the ever-present reminder, albeit sometimes difficult to accept, that I do not walk this path in life alone. Although Castlerigg was not appreciated in the way I had intended for myself, nor revered in the way I might like to see other visitors revere it, it had still been appreciated for its outer beauty on a beautiful day. Long Meg and Little Meg had offered to me a more intimate visit in contrast, reminding me that the magic is always there, even though it may sometimes go into hiding.

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The green, green land of England.

Another day was unfolding before me. A quiet day filled with the grace of the present moment, if I chose to reside in it. Tess and I passed only two other travelers during out walk, and our passing was uneventful and unobtrusive. It was easy to allow peace to settle in and take the place of heartbreak as I walked in the beautiful land of Cumbria.

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It was nearly impossible not to appreciate the beauty that surrounded me.

I could have walked for miles, and so could Tess, as she reluctantly turned around after  we got to our third “bridge to nowhere” to lead the way back home. We, or rather I, had toast and Bernie’s prize-winning marmalade waiting for us. And, boy did it taste good. Rather like you might expect a drop of sunshine to taste, if one could taste sunshine.

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The gift of white feathers

The four of us, Tess, Bernie, Steve, and I, spent the afternoon at the seaside, enjoying the beauty of the day and the presence of good company. Following tea beside the water, Tess and Steve played frisbee on the grass, I took photographs and breathed in the sea air. Along the path of my feet, white feathers scattered the grass. I had been well taken care of by my wonderful hosts and Mother Nature during the weekend, and perhaps that’s just what I needed most.

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Steve overlooking the sea

But the journey was not yet other. I had more time adventures awaiting me in London and a magical day with Sue and Ani in the land of dragons and “castles.”

To be continued…

To read the previous posts in this series about my recent visit to England, please follow the links below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

 

Castlerigg at High Noon #castlerigg #stonecircles #cumbria

I had been forewarned. Silence can speak volumes, and the early spring was impossible to overlook. Yet, there was that glimmer of hope that the mysteries of Castlerigg would somehow be open to me.

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The Welcoming Information at Castlerigg, which sits atop the charming town of Keswick.

We are waiting for you.

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Unlike some stone circles, Castlerigg is easy to find and access, and with unbeatable vistas it’s nearly impossible to have the place to yourself.

I had heard the ancestral call. I had felt the cells stir through centuries past with a visceral memory that fired my body into deep longing in the weeks, months, and even years before I made this journey. Yet it was not to be. Not this time anyway.

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The stones felt lifeless to me, as though their energy had retreated deep within their forms.

We drove up the hill that holds the stone circle known as Castlerigg at high noon on a brilliantly warm spring-like Sunday. Cars flanked the roadside, and at its crest an ice cream van sat in wait for the throngs of hungry tourists. The urge to turn around and hop back into the car nearly consumed me. You can’t erase first impressions.

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Castlerigg is an undeniably beautiful place any time of the year.

Sometimes, though, we must face our must crushing moments head-on and take the lessons they give us. Disappointment can be a gift, leading to surrender and acceptance. And so I climbed to the top of the hill and met the stones filled with visitors.

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I wanted to spend some time with this stone in particular, but as you can see it was a popular spot.

It’s a beautiful place, I am sure, in any season, and that day Castlerigg shone with the light of the noonday sun. Bright and golden. It lit the faces of the picnicking family having lunch in the sanctuary (hence the absence of photos of this intriguing area of the site). Its rays played through the shadows of bodies as they wove in and out of the standing stones, and lit the smiling faces of selfies posed amid the inert bodies of rocks.

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Although I didn’t do a great job capturing it, the stones of Castlerigg shadow the contours of the surrounding landscape.

The site was filled with energy, but it was not coming from the stones, or the distance hills that rim the landscape. Instead, it came from the revelers of humans visiting the site.  It was, in many ways, the antithesis of the encounter with Castlerigg I had envisioned.

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Even the faces one expects to find in ancient stones were virtually absent during my visit.

If I could, I would take it all back. I know that this may be the wrong response, but it’s the truth. There’s no point in lying to oneself, it merely pushes the truth into dark corners where it festers for light. It is not an easy thing to do, writing this post. It would be impossible to describe the full impact of my first encounter with Castlerigg, and its effects on me. Yet, it is for me, and me alone to process as I attempt to dig inside and find the gifts from this experience. Not the “why,” as much as the acceptance of the “is.”

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It was as though the spirits in the stones had turned their backs to me.

What felt, in the moment, as the ultimate betrayal and rejection — a date to meet the beloved, only to find the beloved had receded back inside the the distant hills — led to the inevitable acceptance that the beloved resides within. Always present. Yet, this is not an easy acceptance. I still long for that promised (re)union. To place my body supine upon that open hillside in the middle of the ancient stones and hover in the liminal space that bridges the Earth to the heavens. I still long for that moment where I can open myself completely to the spirits of the land and listen to all they have to say. To feel the wild wrap of the elements and the stirrings of a long held magic waiting, just waiting, to be brought to life in that perfect moment of union.

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Below Castlerigg, the lakes of Cumbria mirror the glory of the land.

There is, though, a comfort in the mundane, and the knowing that I made it through this trial. This test, of which I am still unsure of the answers. That I am unscathed, albeit a bit heartbroken. My beloveds surround me in physical form back home in New Hampshire, and little, in the greater vista of life, has been lost.

Later that night, when I closed my eyes to sleep I saw the girl standing in the hallway and the wrap of cloth around her eyes had disappeared. I still had two full days ahead of me, and I was determined to make the best of what was offered to me.

To be continued…To read the previous posts in this series about my recent visit to England, please follow the links below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

The Return of the Feathered Seer #setting #writphoto #suevincent

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The Feathered Seer hovers above the stones. Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

Note: I started writing this post and then came across the #writephoto prompt post by Sue Vincent and opened it up to this image. Therefore, the blog post has now become my response to her weekly photo prompt

In April of 2017 I played the role of “The Feathered Seer” during the Silent Eye School of Consciousness’s annual ritual workshop weekend. Although acting is not my element, this role that I was asked to undertake did not feel like acting. It felt like home. Yesterday, I wrote about the concept of home and how I feel most aligned with that state of being when I am in England, walking the ancient lands. I have no doubt I have walked these lands, perhaps many times, in former lives. It’s a knowing so deep it goes beyond the visceral and straight to the heart of the soul.

The Feathered Seer is a part of me, woven into my being. She is my guide, but she is also me. Through the ancient lands she follows me, and I follow her. She takes my hand and leads me so I will remember. And, I believe, so that others will remember too.

In physical form, she adopts the form of the pileated woodpecker. That other-worldly creature who flies through the woods with her red head, calling the soul home to the roots of being, and drumming the language of the ancients back into the heart.

Last night she came to me during dreamtime as I stood atop a sacred Native American hillside. Flying her feathers of darkness before my face to peer into my eyes. Weeks prior, she had arrived in physical form. Flying before my path before the Silent Eye group gathered at Castlerigg.

Do not be afraid to see… she tells me

#writephoto

 

 

Castlerigg from a distance #acceptance #castlerigg #sacredsites #ancientengland

 

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Castlerigg at dawn. Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

I went as far as the hills in dreamtime while they gathered to greet the dawn below. Disappointment comes in many forms and sometimes it reaches out to hold the hand of acceptance. I’m not going to lie. This has not been an easy one to come by. The land at Castlerigg calls to me in a language the predates words. It speaks to the very heart of my being and fills me with the irrepressible longing for home. Yet, it is not my time to return here, and I know when it is, this body I wear must accompany my spirit. Sometimes the cells need to remember wholly and completely. And, Casterligg has called my whole being to be present someday. But not yet.

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Photo Credit: Lara Wilson. I love how the blurred image reveals the faces in the stones.

 

I didn’t know you wanted to go so badly, my husband told me afterwards. After he overhear words spoken with my dear friend who was there. I had, though, already chosen the hand of acceptance months ago, although sometimes I held only its finger tips. What do you do for yourself. I mean, only for yourself. You know, just for you? A friend had asked me a week before while the tears called despair rained from my eyes.

England, I told her. I go to England.

Yet, I was born here in New England. A cruel irony it can seem at times when one feels like she belongs in another land. This, though, is where I am, right now, and I have chosen to take that hand called “acceptance,” along with the belief that there is a purpose for me being here, and not there, for most of my time. This past weekend, instead of visiting a landscape that feels like home, I was home with my family. And, that was okay. More than okay. Love is limitless, even when it feels as though it is being pulled apart by longing.

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The season of long shadows. Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

I was here, but also there. You were never not with us, my friend assured me. I called your name as I walked up to the circle, you must have heard me.

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The hills that called me home years ago, still enfold me in wait. Photo credit: Lara Wilson

I was hovering in the hills, though. The stones below obscured by the body of giants. They called me back home before the stones did. Opening the body of the goddess to enfold. I can stay here for awhile longer. I can wait. Even though the head of the dragon beckons in stone.

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There is a deep sense of comfort knowing how much these stones and the land is loved, even though I am pulled with that longing. I read gratitude and love in the face of the stone gazing at Sue Vincent, while the guardian stone reminds me of the slow time of patience. Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

My lower body has been vibrating all week. Kundalini. The roots healing before the rise. We are often called to tend to the roots first. Healing the core of stability. Of origin. Our roots that bind us to one family, before we can return to another.

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Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

Acceptance holds my hand. I have taken her grasp in a firm embrace and she is becoming a part of me. I can wait. You asked for patience, did you not? I am reminded.

How lucky I am, that I can return to this place that feels like home. That I can allow myself to become lost only to become found, over and over again, filling each cell of my being with the memory of home. Until we meet in this lifetime, Castlerigg, I will hold the hand of acceptance.

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Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

A special thanks to Lara Wilson for lending me the use of her gorgeous photographs, and  to her, as well as the others who were at the Silent Eye School of Consciousness event this past weekend for taking me with them in spirit.