May 20, 2011

First Crop Circle in Beautiful Barley

Today Cameron and I went to find the new formation at East Kennet, the first of the year in barley crop.
From our cottage it was a short journey of just seven miles but one packed with fabulous sites on the way.
The Cherhill White Horse was the first to be seen, gleaming in the bright sunshine of this May afternoon. Only a mile further on and completely unmarked except for the layby parking sign was Knoll Down, the sacred grove of trees that marks the tail of the Avebury Landscape Serpent. Crossing Beckhampton roundabout, with the Beckhampton long barrow hidden off to the left, we ignored the road down to Avebury itself and took the Marlborough road. Very soon the colossal figure of Silbury Hill loomed large in front of us, majestic and awe-inspiring in any weather, and today looking resplendant in her new green cloak of fresh spring grass.

No sooner do you pass Silbury than the outline of West Kennett long barrow can be spotted on the hill crest to the south. This area is packed with sacred sites around every corner but today we're not stopping or we'll never get to the crop circle!
We had a pretty good idea of which field the circle was in from the aerial photos on Crop Circle Connector, so we turned off down a side lane and crossed a charming bridge over the River Kennet.

All of these places have stories to tell but that will be for other blog entries, today we contented ourselves with watching mum duck and her brood of chicks enjoying their watery home. A nearby Hawthorn tree in full bloom confirms that Spring is in full flow here. In some country regions this tree is still referred to by its other name - the May. I smile at the sight of this because every year when I was little my aunt would remind me of the country rhyme "Ne'er shed a clout 'til May's out!" meaning don't discard your winter clothing until the May blossom is out.

This straight lane called Gunsight Lane ends at a farmyard where we know we can park right by the field, and as we park we know we're right because there's a car here with dutch licence plates and we see two people in the middle of the field. I suspect its the dutch researcher Bert Janssen as he was the one to initially report this circle. This field has had other circles in recent years including the yin/yang formation and the famous Mary earth energy current associated with the St Michael leyline passes through here on her way from West Kennett Longbarrow to the Sanctuary. Round the back of a small brick barn we enter the field and follow the tramlines (tractor trackways) through the crop, you should never walk through standing crop itself. Oh what a treat to be back in a field of young barley again!

In our opinion its the most beautful of all the crops to be blessed with crop circles. The whispy tendrils that  flank the seed heads are so soft at this time of year and they create the visual effect of walking through waves when the wind is blowing. There's no wind today, just glorious sunshine and I notice that all the barley heads are angled over to the east, to the rising sun? I make a mental note to check other fields to see if this is always the case with barley.

Reaching the crop circle just 100 yards into the field we greet Bert and his American wife Heather and compare notes. Bert is keen to show us something he's never seen in a crop circle before, a white powdery substance on just the twenty standing stems that mark the centre of the formation. We've never seen this before either. Rubbing a little between my fingers this odourless substance felt gritty or crystalline and seemed to be held together by gossamer like threads, in appearance almost like cobwebs dusted with icing sugar. Bert took some samples to have analysed in a laboratory, so we look forward to hearing the results.

None of us felt that we should venture beyond the tramlines as the crop was laid so lightly. It was very unusual, not at all like the usual clearly defined areas of laid and standing crop. This was almost like half the crop was downed loosely and the other was still standing and the two merged into one another. Using the analogy of colour, most crop circles are black and white whereas this one is definitely gray. Without the aerial photos it would be hard to imagine that this would look anything other than a mess from the air. The lay appeared to form a spiral clockwise out from the central standing stems. This continued forming a large disc that has a ring surrounding it, the whole being about 30 metres in diameter.

Thanks to Steve Alexander of Temporary Temples for these aerial photos.

This is a lovely field in a gentle dip in the landscape with West Kennett Longbarrow on the rise to the west just one field away and half of Silbury Hill visible to the right of it. I looked to see if East Kennett Longbarrow was visible but it is over the crest of the hill to the east. I did wonder however if thic circle aligned with these momuments in any way. Back at the car I studied our detailed map of the area with a woman who had come to visit the circle and noticed that a line projected along the length of East Kennett Longbarrow going northwest would pass through the crop circle and continue on to tangent the right side of Silbury Hill. This is a rough calculation at the moment not having a GPS reading of the circle's exact location. We may have to climb Silbury to get a visual sighting.

We were very pleased to see that the farmer had put up a donation box and was allowing visitors into his field, thankyou Mr Hues! Leaving this circle we went to try and see the ghost circle of last year's formation below the white horse at Milk Hill but the oilseed rape is now so high that the tramlines are impassable without a lot of effort so we abandoned this adventure.
It was now 6.15pm and we were in need of refreshment. Knowing that Richard at the nearby King's Arms at All Cannings wins awards every year for the quality of his locally brewed beer we concluded our trip with a well-earned pint and convivial conversation.

Having  spent the afternoon on a dragon energy line I thought it very appropriate to sample their seasonal beer - St George and the Dragon!

Feb 15, 2011

Power of Stone and Water

Here is a lovely example of ancient knowledge being passed to us down the generations. Writing in AD 1200, Layamon recalled an even more ancient folk memory when he described a ritual use of Stonehenge in his poem "Brut" -
The stones are great
And magic power they have
Men that are sick
Fare to that stone
And they wash that stone
And with that water bathe away their sickness

Why would they think to do such a thing?
Reverence for flowing water as a sacred entity was once a worldwide attitude. Today it is only found in native cultures and ‘new age’ thinking. The problem arises when we look at water as merely a physical substance and only look at how it is physically needed by living organisms. There is much more to water if we see it as energy.

We find gems of truth in folktales if we take the time to interpret the symbolism. For example, it is said of several stone circles that the stones go down to the water to drink at midnight or on a full moon. This folktale speaks of the connection between the stone circle, Earth energy and underground water. It is now known that there is underground water present beneath every sacred site in the world. In fact, dowsing shows that most sites are animated by the serpentine currents of electromagnetic energy which course through the ground following the subterranean streams of water, and which vary according to the seasons, the phases of the moon and even day and night. All holy wells have stories of healings attached to them. When we realize that strong Earth energy currents have turned the waters into something akin to a homeopathic remedy, these folktales make perfect sense.

Our ancestors also understood the energetic properties of stone. The stone circle builders utilized primarily crystal-studded granite or sandstone blocks. Both stones have a quartz crystal content of over ninety percent. We are all aware that our wristwatches and computers operate because of the energetic properties of their silicon chips. Well silicon is the same thing as quartz. So the circle builders chose these energetic stones in order to have control over the build-up of earth energies in the stones and within the space they enclosed. Tom Graves compared them to acupuncture needles in his book ‘Needles of Stone.’
Here are two ways of looking at it.
The Earth is a huge generator with a crystalline iron mass core spinning at 1100 miles an hour ringed by a gravitational field. The resulting electromagnetism that is generated makes its way to the surface via geological fault lines, beds of crystalline rock or underground watercourses. The water rises under pressure towards the surface but is often blocked by a ‘dome’ of solid impervious rock that diverts the water laterally. However the energy, having no physical substance, carries on vertically to ground level where it is detectable as an energy hotspot or vortex. The frequency of this energy is approximately 8 hertz, the same as our brainwave emissions when we are in a deep meditative state. Place a crystalline stone in the ground at this point and –bingo, you have a healing stone.
The Earth is alive and is our mother, creating us, nurturing us and taking us ‘back home’ at the end of our lives. All life comes from Gaia, or the goddess, she is the great giver of life. The underground streams of life-giving water are her blood supply maintaining her well-being and nourishing all life on the planet. She sends vitality to all parts of her body through potent currents of energy that we can access for healing and spiritual purposes. Her breath is our breath and we share the same heartbeat and pulse. If we honour her we honour ourselves, if we abuse her we abuse ourselves.
So now re-reading Layamon’s poem it makes perfect sense. The only question is ‘Why don’t more of us still perform these ceremonies?’ Will sacred sites ever look the same again?!

Glenn presenting on Sacred Water Sites

Feb 2, 2011


The Celtic year was divided into eight segments of equal length. The winter solstice (shortest day of the year) and summer solstice (longest day) divided the year into two halves. The spring and autumnal equinoxes (days of equal length day and night) then divided it into four quarters. These quarters were then bisected by the major sabbats or festival days of Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain.

We are now approaching the fire festival of Imbolc traditionally celebrated on February 2nd or the full moon nearest to it. Imbolc in gaellic means 'in the belly' and some have said this is because we are approaching lambing time, whilst others take a more spiritual perspective and say it means 'in the belly of the goddess' or the Earth Mother and refers to the growing new year that was conceived last November at Samhain or the growing light that started to make a return from midwinter day.

It is also known as Brigid or Bride's day in honour of the Irish goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft. The Christian name is Candlemas, not surprising when we realize that Brigid was also a goddess of fire and a perpetual flame was kept burning at her shrine in Kildare. Hilltop fires were lit and candles placed in windows of every house.
Corn Maidens or Dollies were fashioned from corn or wheat and were then dressed up and placed in a cradle or 'Bride's Bed'. These were then kept all year as a symbol of abundance and fertility. The homefire was extinguished for the first time all winter and the ashes raked smooth before going to bed. In the morning the ashes were examined for marks of Bride's passing through the house as a blessing and then the fire was rekindled as a sign of a new start or rebirth.

In northern New England, from where I write this, it seems inconceivable that new growth or even the beginnings of Spring could be marked by this festival as we still huddle up against sub-zero temperatures and the skiing season still has a long way to run. However, in Celtic Britain where I was raised and have spent most of my life, February is an exciting month for gardeners as this is when the first seeds of broad beans and garlic cloves can be planted out into the earth. It is also when snowdrops and crocuses thrust up through the earth and come into flower, the first signs of new growth in the new year.

So it is appropriate to celebrate by lighting a fire or a candle and having a celebratory meal to give thanks for the blessings of the dark winter now passing and to welcome the return of the light and new life. We can also do the same for our inner life giving thanks for the time of reflection and self-nurturing during the hibernation period and starting to sow the seeds of our wishes and dreams that we will nurture in the coming months and welcome into our lives later in the year.

Blessed be.