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

silhouette.jpg
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

 

 

The Raven Crystal

IMG_1689

 

I didn’t know why I felt compelled to bring it, but I had a feeling I would never wear it again. There had been the sense for some time that it was no longer meant for me. Perhaps it never was. For more than a year I had worn it often around my neck, and felt the comfort of its presence against my heart. Last year at the Silent Eye’s annual workshop, The Leaf and Flame, where I played the role of Queen Guinevere, the rainbow crystal wrapped in wire rested against my velvet gown. It gave me the sense of strength and protection as I experienced my first journey with ritual drama.

This year, the crystal stayed tucked into the folds of my bag, until I brought it out when we ventured into the land of the Feathered Seer.  At the Raven’s Nest, where I had felt the longing to re-enchant a land that had been defiled by mankind, I thought about the small pile of stones I had with me from the workshop. Stones now energized with the collective love and light from our group, which would be seeded back into the earth from which they came. These stones have now traveled to places in the states, and have even made their way back to the United Kingdom. They will be planted by people with the loving intent of repairing the Web-of-Light in Earth.

For the next day, after I left the Nest, I thought about the small round obsidian stone I had with me, and berated myself on not leaving it where I had found the remains of a dark offering. Yet, it didn’t feel quite right.

Before we left for Barbrook to visit the final home of the Feathered Seer, I impulsively grabbed the rainbow crystal I had brought with me from the States, and tucked it into my pocket. It stayed there, almost forgotten, until after I had visited the waters that divide the moors into the lands of the living and the lands of the dead. Before we left, I visited the stone circle, and took my turn sitting first toward the outer-world, where the living dwells, and then the inner-world, where the unseen speaks through the veil.

By the time I rose from the Seer’s stone, I knew my answer. Removing the gloves that guarded against the cold from my hands, I dug into my pocket to retrieve the crystal I had brought with me. I had already removed the chain, but wire still wrapped its body. My hands, driving my intent, uncoiled the strands that bound it, until the crystal lay freed upon my palm. I held it up to the light for one last look, and saw the face of a raven in its form. I now knew why I had brought it to England, and why I had not chosen to leave the black obsidian at the Nest. A sense of comfort began to replace the unease that I had felt since my visit to the Nest. I imagined the rainbow light of the crystal nestled into the bracken under the rocks. It’s light coursing through the broken veins of Earth. Re-weaving. Re-enchanting. Bringing hope and love back to the land.

A couple of years ago, I had a dream about the stones of Earth, which are mined for beauty and adornment, as well as for healing intentions. In the dream, I saw a stream of water, not unlike the brook at Barbrook. I had a stone in my hand, and felt the loss of its connection to the land from which it came. The stones need to be returned to the land, I was told by a guide inside of my dream. Many others, including the companions of the Silent Eye School, have been hearing the same message. Do you have a rock or crystal that calls for a return to the land? Have you infused a special stone with your love, which is now ready to spread its light into the body of Earth? I like to imagine the threads spreading like the silk of a spider’s web, deceptively strong and clear, and holding the wavelengths of the full spectrum of the rainbow, as they grow and weave. Threading the Light back until the Web becomes a circle, connecting all life, once again.

The Journey of the Feathered Seer Part 4: The Magic of Arbor Low

IMG_1528I never made it to Peter’s Rock, although we passed close by it in the car, and as we did I made a vow to visit in a future trip. It is said to be a place of initiation, where one must face fear to move beyond the veil of illusion into the Light of Truth. The shaman took us there during ritual 4, and I felt I knew this place, at least in essence. But to feel its actual presence would have to wait.

During the week, I thought often of the snake I had found coiled like a sacrifice in the middle of my basement floor before I left for England. A symbol of the cycle of life that moves through birth into death in an endless repeat. I knew before I left my home that I would be going through an important phase in this cycle during my journey in England. The stones had whispered this in my dreams, and they did not disappoint.

IMG_1529

After visiting the site where Bratha lived out her life as a Seer, the five of us refueled at a lovely pub, then made our way to the Serpent Stones. It was time to feel the enchantment of the land. Although I had heard Sue, Stuart and some of the others hint about the secrets of these stones, I was not wholly prepared for what I would encounter among them. Which is, I believe, just the way it should be. I had already discovered that stones hold the memory of the land and its children, but I had yet to experience the awesome force of their enchantment. This site, as I soon saw, is not asleep. The serpent stones are more alive than those who walk among them. It is like nothing else I have experienced before. It is, quite simply, magical.

The path to the stones, like all journeys, can be taken more than one way. The land surrounding and containing them is, without a doubt, holy ground. Here one walks the body of the goddess in all her power and glory to rebirth anew in the continual cycle of life. The guardian of Arbor Low takes the form of the living. It resides in the balancing energies of cows, chickens and the humans how tend to them below the mounded earth. Here the magic of the stones is settled into the grounding energies of daily life, neutralizing their force. The mundane nature of these seems necessary once one experiences the effects of the stones.

At Arbor Low, I discovered that when you are open to the magic of the Land, it does not disappoint. The memory of it makes me smile with shear joy, just as I did when I walked among its stones. Here is where the Light of Hope is very much alive, and has been for thousands of years. The land here is in control, protected by a force much larger than the Earth itself. Here, the sacred is not broken by human hands (at least not enough to break its magic).

There is a point, when approaching the circle from the head of the goddess-like form of mounded earth (for more on this, read the words of Sue Vincent here, as well as her piece, The Serpent Stones), when you feel as though you are reaching the threshold of something sacred. I felt the impulse to pause. To pay respect. To ask permission to go forth and enter the body of the Mother.

If you read Sue’s accounts, you will discover that many who visit feel and see the serpent energy of these recumbent stones. They face outward, but they also face inward, and their clock-like appearance tells of a time that is not linear, but cyclical. There are two stones in the center, also lying flat. “These two may have been standing at one time,” Sue told us, and I nodded my head. My inner eye saw them as two pillars pointed to the Light as it was brought down to Earth. I couldn’t help but wonder at the magnitude of the energy that must have been felt in a place that still held such power to awe and transform.

I now that I did not take a few moments to photograph the circle once inside of it, but I spent my time absorbing and witnessing the site. You can, though, find images of Arbor Low in Sue’s posts and online. Even in photographs, the images in the stones are quite clear, but they too are subject to the observer. I saw serpents in some, but I also saw other forms as I walked the stones. Sometimes they told me who they were before I could guess. “I am the face of the west wind,” the stone, which I later discovered was in fact facing west, whispered to me as I passed. It’s outward face was chiseled with strength, harnessing the force of endings. It pulled me to the center, and I walked beside it and the stone that looked like a coffin, to shed what I was ready to leave behind. I reached the center to be reborn, over and over again, as I walked their gateways. Each stone seemed to channel a different energy, which was equally transformative and magical. It was wildly exhilarating, and my smile grew with each step. Although, there was a point when  my body stopped me in warning, Be careful you don’t over-do it. 

Where some of the stones spoke of endings, others spoke of strength and new beginnings. Because I walked the stones as gates, I saw them as having two faces. There is an outer face to most stones (some are sunk into the ground at their ends), which is easily seen from the mound of earth surrounding the circle, and tells of the outer forces of life, which can be used to go inward. Once inside the “womb,” you can view the smaller circle of the inner world, which is akin to the soul. Here you can make out different faces of the stones,  if they have faces. Again, some of the stones slope into the earth, which adds to the effect of being pulled inward when you are standing in the center. Others rear up at you, as though challenging you to rebirth yourself anew.  Standing in the center of the womb, closing your eyes, you can image the light harnessed from two pillars once, drawing its energy into the Mother. Here is where the Divine Masculine joins into the womb of the Goddess. It is a site to behold and to feel. I can only imagine what it once was…and maybe still is, but I couldn’t help feeling like those center stones needed to be standing…

This was my experience as I walked the stones. A fitting end to the path I had walked through Bratha during the weekend’s workshop, which extended out to the physical body of the Land that she loved. Although I touched the stones at Arbor Low, I did not meditate upon them to learn more of their secrets. This will have to wait for another time. The storms were beginning to roll in and it was time to make our way back to the cars. We arrived at our vehicles mere moments before the storm rolled in, bringing a mix of wind, rain and snow with it. Apparently a not uncommon occurrence here, and I was not altogether surprised. Energies can’t help but be stirred when this circle is walked.

The End. For now.

The Journey of the Feathered Seer Part 2: The Raven’s Nest

The ravens travel the skies above the high cliffs of the moors. They appear to both lead and follow, watching to see if you remember the way to the Nest. There are as many ways to get there as there are travelers, and the keen eyes of the raven know the paths of darkness and of light. They observe and take note, recording each footstep in the stones.

IMG_1444

As our car began its climb away from the valley, I felt the pull of the moors, stirring my cells to life. We parked at the foot of a hill where the raven clan dwelled before man forgot how to live in harmony with the land. Here, at the base of the Nest, a river runs turbid memories under a bridge. Its waters sing of fear, but also of hope. They carry the memory of balance.

I turned toward the hill, where a young seer once traveled with her guide to learn the language of the soul. A grove of trees marks the beginning of the ascent, and the fey hold reign of the shadows. They watch like the ravens do. Reading the intent of the seeker, they are eager to play with the mind that likes to wander. I thought of my journey to the Nine Ladies one year ago, remembering the wild urge to roam and never return.

IMG_1395

I stood on the threshold, where the uninitiated can become reckless. The impressionable mind is easily confused, and the moors are places of magic. Both dark and light. Voices call from the shadows. Sometimes it sounds like laughter, sometimes like a scream. Here, in the trees below the Raven’s Nest where the canopy breaks open to sun, sorrel blooms white above green.

IMG_1396

The path beyond the trees quickly turns to the faded browns of winter. Spring arrives slowly here, and the mind can easily imagine a life amid the forces of the elements. The climb is steep, unless you take your time, and the wind is not gentle. At the side of the hill, there is the face of a stone guardian. For thousands of years he has guarded what lies above, looking outward, watching, warning. Paths are hidden by the folds of the grasses trapped by feet who search, but don’t always find their way.

IMG_1411

I felt the urge to climb when my feet left the shelter of the trees. To break away from those who had traveled with me. The force that took over me was so strong, I could do nothing but heed its call. And the call was to walk alone, to find the path by sense and a knowing so deep I felt haunted; not wholly myself, or rather not the self I was used to. But I was unafraid. I knew I was stepping beyond the threshold of time, and Bratha, an unseen, but felt, aspect of the goddess, was with me as my guide.

She seemed to be waiting for me at the base of the Nest, knowing I would come. Knowing it was time to show me the way. Her energy took hold of my hand more firmly than any human grasp, and I willingly followed her urgings, which coursed through my left palm and filled my body with a longing that broke the fears that surround the heart and left me open and raw. I became her willing vessel, feeling everything that she needed to show me with an unfiltered force that defied the language of words. I can only describe it as the deepest longing to return Home. To find, once again, the Sacred.

There is a moment when the heart opens to the Sacred, and the land becomes you, and you become the land. When the individual heart recognizes the heartbeat of the Mother, and they become one pulse. Time has no meaning, but its history is felt as One. It is Joy and also Pain. It is the Dark, and also the Light. It is the language of Life, which also includes Death.

The pull to return; to remember the light, but also the darkness, is like nothing else. One cannot turn away, even though every memory of pain held inside the body of Earth blends with joy and harmony. It is felt with each beat of the heart, now one.

So I walked the path of the stones. My hand, her hand, traveling a truth that needed to remembered, touched their gray bodies to find the wisdom they held within. Each stone tells a different story. You can read the subject in its face. This is only the surface, though, what lies hidden must be found through the open-heart of the seeker. I suspect the story is not told, or felt, the same way for each traveler.

You always get what you need, and not always what the mind seeks.

As the memories of the land, and what it had endured, flooded my being with each touch of stone under my hand, my need to remember intensified, testing my endurance. The pulse inside grew wild with each footstep in the longing to be remember for Her. For me. For Earth. For all who walk her sacred form. I needed to drink the landscape with all of my senses.

The human body has a limit to how much it can absorb and process. It has grown accustomed to deadening its senses.

Somewhere in the distant, reasoning centers of my brain, I knew my human companions were moving around the center, experiencing the Sacred where the rocks form a circle. Although I had left time, I also knew it was counting minutes without me, and there was a limit to how long I would be allowed to stay in this place I didn’t want to leave.

I had no desire to step into the circle of stones, although I did once I was brought back to the group, instead, I felt Her pull to travel the stones at the edge of the cliff. The outer reaches often forgotten and partially hidden by the heather and grass.

The circle may be the center, but the lines run deep and vast. They are all a part of the whole, joining the vast network of forgotten light. They too need to be cleared. Made sacred once again. Their memories are felt as Truth.

Our human guides had already told us that the Sacred here, like other places, had been tampered with, and defiled by darkness. They had cleared it before, but the drive toward darkness still exists within those who choose to turn away from the Light. I was not prepared for what I would be shown by my unseen guide.

She brought me to the place where life was birthed over and over again, and the dead were laid to rest. Two white skulls that could have been the prey of a raven were laid upon the matted grasses, but I knew they were the prey of humans. A dark offering to a force that did not belong. Her sorrow rushed through me with such force, my body folded with grief, and longing. What do you want me to do? I asked without words as my hand reached to feel the sacrifice that needed to be honored.

My heart already knew the answer. It was simple, unchanging. To clear the darkness. To seed the Light again so that it can flow clear and strong through the veins of the Mother, which are within each of her children, born from her body. She wanted me to remember the Sacred, and the deep knowing that we are all connected as One.

My heart bears the grief of her memories, which are now mine. The land holds me in its grasp, but there is hope. The flame she bore, also burns inside of me. It burns within all of us. It is the heartbeat of the Divine. It beats to the rhythm of Truth.

She tells me, as she has told my human guides, and others who seek to hear her story:

I was once a part of the Raven Clan. We lived as One with the Land and the Stars. There was no separation, and we were strong in the Light of Truth. We are here still. You have opened your heart to the Land and to our presence. I have brought you to the Nest, where the dead were buried to be reborn. What you see is not what it once was. The Land is troubled, but it stirs to be awakened back to the Light. Here I was given my wings, just as you were given yours. My task is yours. There is no separation, but there is always choice. 

We left the place that held both life and death, to wipe clean my eyes and stand witness to the magic still held within. I stood and looked through her eyes, that were also mine, at the two pyramidal hills in the distance and saw their connection to the stones of the Nest as a part of the Sacred that flows through the body of the Mother. I saw where the Light of the Divine, ever-present, rained through the darkness, waiting for us to thread its golden strands back through Her body. Back through our bodies, as One. I felt the tenuous stands of hope begin to form once again within me as I turned away, reluctantly, to join the others and make our descent down the hill.

I didn’t want to leave the Nest, but I knew this was only a temporary refuge. As I walked, feeling the gradual loosening of her grasp, I found myself wondering if I would find this connection again. Would it fade into a distant memory, or worse, forgotten, after I  rejoined the routines of my life? Yet, I also knew I would never be the same. I had felt something profound. I had felt the sacred web that joins us all. I had felt its darkness and its light as one, and this knowing would never leave me. What I did with the gift was up to me.

My journey with Bratha and the Land was not over after we left the Nest. Soon we would travel to two more sacred sites, and with each step, the light of Hope would grow within.

To be continued…

Click here to read Part 1