My pilgrimage on The Camino is now under a month away and alongside some physical slog to get the muscles in a worthy state, I thought it would be good to do some UK exploration to start to focus on my intentions for Spain. Here’s where we travelled:
I have driven through before but never stopped. In my view, the site is far more moving and easy to connect to than Stone Henge, its near neighbour. The reasons seem obvious: despite English Heritage’s pot-holed car-park costing £8, this is the final dealings you need to have with any modern apparatus before going to spend time with the stones. Stonehenge’s cloak of tourism and its barriers, shuttle buses and glitzy cafe shroud anything deeper for me. And of course with Avebury you can get up close at any point around the huge circle. There is undoubtably a special energy to this place (see lady dowsing above!) and whilst it will always be speculation to try and pin down historical reasons for what and why these sarsen stones were erected here, it is not hard to feel in touch with the ancestors and their reverence for the land around them – hopefully not to romanticise too much.
An unexpected joy was what I will ignorantly call “The Clootie Tree”. I am not sure if there is any wider significance to the tree amidst the stones that carried hundreds of prayers in the form of cloth and ribbon, but to me it stirred up and then made still a beautiful pool of peace inside. Since walking a Bardic path I see more and more expressions of “old” spiritualities still breaking through the modern consciousness. Little rituals and signals that an undoubtably Pagan spirit that was either co-opted or suppressed by Christianity still lives on in these lands.
After the June OBOD gathering, this town has become a special place for me, as it has for many before. It was where my spiritual meanderings coalesced into something concrete, performing my first Pagan songs at the Eisteddford and more importantly meeting The Setantii Grove who reached out and gave me so much warmth and welcome. It was wonderful to come back so soon and introduce my wife to just some of the incredible spiritual heritage and present spiritual activity of the place. Here are some pictures from our stay:
This is a place that is so imbued with spiritual heritage and contemporary New Age spirituality that anyone with Pagan leanings must be affected in some way. If my Bardic Path could in one way be simply described as “the search for Awen”, this place allows it to flow, and like last time, I could tangibly feel creativity stir and managed to write a new song that I hope will fully take shape and be played to an audience at some point down the line.
3. Becky Falls, Dartmoor
After Glastonbury we headed West. Planning to sleep out wild-camping in Dartmoor we first visited the majestic Becky Falls. It is a waterfall, running over huge boulders through a deep forested valley. Away from the coffee shop, petting zoo and kid-infrastructure, it is a cathedral for any Druid. There are paths where you can get away from the crowd and spend time with the society of the forest. We spend considerable time here and both agreed that it was one of the most stunning places we had been in the UK – not for the “size” of “scale” of any of the natural features, just for the energy of place. The “money tree” photographed below yet another sign of ritual activity in the land, not deemed Pagan even by its makers, but a sure sign of the enduring need for ceremony, symbol and union between us and the land.
Final stop was the South-Western end of things in England. We camped near Mevagissey, enjoying the Cornish coastline, beer and chips on the beach and the terrifying roads that luckily were dealt with in the trusty Volvo! A great end to a journey that allowed much thinking about the longer journey ahead and a reminder that these islands hold so many doorways to move through into other realms of mind and Spirit.
Peace to you all.