Sunday, 14 August 2016

Bridget's Shrine, Faughart

Today I watched ancient pagan rituals being performed at St. Bridget's Shrine in Faughart near Dundalk, only nowadays, and for the past 1500 years, these rituals have been Christianised with the reciting of Hail Mary's etc. I wonder how long this has been a place of healing and how old these rituals really are?

St. Bridget's healing waters

Lying out on the eye stone

This pilgrim performed a whole series of rituals while here, the whole time reciting Our Father's, Hail Mary's and Glorias.

Wishing well

The knee stone, where you kneel for cures

While at the waist stone, I saw a pregnant girl being told by her father to wrap her legs around the stone. "It's for pregnant women". 
"How do you know?" she asked. 
"Because people have been doing it for hundreds of years!" 
She also splashed the healing water on her belly, and the whole family, including the babies, had their faces and hair wetted by the healing waters.

The waist stone

The head stone, another curing stone

Reciting prayers with one foot planted on the hoof stone

Shrine to St. Bridget


Skellig Michael

Today I headed for Skellig Michael, a remote monastery off the West coast of County Kerry in Ireland. It is famous for its remarkably preserved state, having been founded as early as the 6th century and abandoned in the 12th century, it has changed very little since that date.

The boats to the island were all booked up weeks ago but I was hoping for a cancellation so I could get on board one of them. When I got there, early so I thought, there were already eight other people there waiting for a cancellation too, and we were told that there weren't any cancellations that day, so my hopes were not high! 


This was the second time I had tried to get to Skellig Michael, the previous time was a few years ago and the trip was cancelled due to bad weather. Perhaps I was not ready to go at that time because this was before I had heard about Apollo/Athena ley line, that makes its first major crossing on Skellig Michael.

After driving all the way across Ireland for 6 hours, I really felt ready to go this time, and trusted that everything would work out as it should, even if I had to try again tomorrow… Suddenly I overheard an old lady tell her friend that she couldn't go and wanted to sell her ticket, so of course I jumped at the chance and offered her the money immediately! I couldn't believe my luck as I walked down the pier to the boat, the other eight people who were waiting didn't say a word (though I’m sure they were giving me daggers!)

As the boat headed off towards the island I still couldn't believe that I was actually on my way to Skellig Michael at last! All those other poor people were still standing by the pier as our boat chugged off along the calm sound between the mainland and Valentia island, and then out through a narrow channel onto the big rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Immediately Skellig Michael was visible in the distance, a tall black pyramid of rock jutting out of the limitless ocean. I imagined the poor monks in their small coracles making the treacherous journey out to this remote windswept island all those centuries ago, where all that waited for them was a life of isolation and austerity living on fish and seabird eggs.


The name Skellig derives from Sceillic which means 'steep rock'

To avoid seasickness I kept standing and focused upon the distant island, and within 45 minutes we were there landing at the tiny dock. The climb was a hard slog up, and the tiny monastery at the top was flooded with tourists, making it difficult to get any good photos.


Steep flight of steps leading to the monastery 

View of Little Skellig

Series of cells and the monk's cemetary

The monastery may have been founded as early as the sixth century

I located the Apollo/Athena node in a roofless monks cell, but unfortunately the entrance was sealed off with a block of wood. I had already been told off once for walking somewhere I shouldn't, and clearly this cell was out of bounds too. What to do? Well eventually there was nothing for it but to brazenly climb under the block of wood, plant my crystal in the cell, and perform a little ritual there which would activate the whole of the Apollo/Athena line starting at this point. Luckily the guides didn't notice and the tourists paid little attention. 


Location of the Apollo-Athena node

As I sat there I felt a warm peaceful feeling take over me, I envisioned all the energies rising up from this place, the heat from the Earth rising up through this pyramid-like volcano, surrounded on all sides by sea and sky. All four elements were here in great abundance and this was surely one the key anchor points for the whole of the Apollo/Athena line, the wild energies of this place would be carried all the way along the line across Cornwall, France, Italy and Greece, into the Holy Land, bringing with it the peaceful energy of this place and the vitality of its raw nature!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Icelandic Elves

Today I'm in Iceland and I've been studying with Magnus at the Elf School! Magnus told me many stories about encounters with the elves, told me about some more magical places to visit in Iceland and showed me the rocks and mounds in Reykjavik where the elves still live. So I headed down the coast to Vik taking in some interesting elf locations along the way.

Elf Hill

This location has more elf stories associated with it than anywhere else in Iceland. On one occasion they actually tipped over a large cement truck for driving over the edge of their mound! 


The Gray Stone

The construction of this highway had to be halted due to all the trouble being caused by the elves. After a week of negotiation with the elves they finally relented and allowed the constructors to move the stones fifty metres out of the way, so here they still are!



Chicken Farm Stone

An elf came in a dream to a local farmer and told him not to harm this stone. When the new owners of the chicken farm decided to extend the barn and destroy this stone the chickens stopped laying eggs, hundreds of them! It lasted for weeks and was in all the newspapers as the 'chicken farm strike'! Scientists and others sent to investigate were baffled. Eventually the new owners relented and decided not to destroy the stone, and the chickens soon started laying again.


Eyjafjallajokull - Famous volcano since it's recent eruption!



Helgafell - Sacred Mountain 




Magnus told me about elves living in these cliffs

The story at Vik is about some fishermen who used to fish out in the bay, but the conditions there were quite treacherous so it was not uncommon that somebody would drown. One day a new fisherman joined the crew after just such a drowning, but he was different, he had the sixth sense and could see the elves. Each day he would watch the elves pushing their boat out to go fishing, and he would wave to them and say good morning.

These elves lived in the cliffs behind Vik and it is often said in Iceland that the elves live in the cliffs in an Otherworld realm.

One day the fisherman noticed that the elves were not putting their boat out and he warned the other crew members that something must be terribly wrong if the elves are not fishing. They had a vote and decided not to go out that day, but unfortunately their boss would not hear of any talk of elves and so he forced them to go out fishing.


The bay at Vik where the elves used to fish

The crew were afraid and so didn't go out far and kept close to the shoreline. Very soon an incredible storm blew up out of nowhere! The storm raged for a couple of days but the crew managed to make it to shore and took shelter. When they finally made it home their friends looked at them like they were ghosts because they were convinced that they must all have died out there.

Their boss was very sorry and said that he would take note of the advice of the elves in future, which he did, and so no one from Vik ever drowned again.

Although one day the elves did not go out even though the weather was fine with a clear blue sky. So the boss made them go out fishing that day and they fished all day and didn't catch a single fish! How the elves laughed at them when they got back, they knew there wouldn't be any fish out of there that day. Will the humans never learn!

This story took place at the beginning of the 20th century and was collected by Magnus from a first-hand account. He has been collecting these stories for many decades and has recorded thousands of interviews with eye witnesses during this time.

When I visited the cliffs at Vik I found a flat wall that appeared to me like a portal. I meditated there and had a vision of entering the cliff and passing down into the underworld through a cave. I had a vision of Fingals Cave on the Isle of Staffa near Iona, with the hexagonal basalt columns all around it. 


Portal to the Otherworld...

Not ten minutes after having this vision I noticed an information board which told of exactly such a cave in the next bay! I quickly drove around there and found the cave known as H√°lsenefshellir which was indeed composed of hexagonal basalt columns.

The cave has a legend associated with it telling of selkies that used to gather in there and leave their sealskins lying outside. One day a local man found them and stole one of the skins, when he came back the next day he found a naked woman looking terribly unhappy. He took her home and eventually they were married and had seven children, but inevitably one day she found her sealskin and returned to the sea. She quoted this rhyme:

"Woe is me!
I have seven children in the sea 
And seven on land."

She never came back to her husband but was on occasion spotted in the ocean looking towards her children on the land.

Quite a find, and a really magical place!

H√°lsenefshellir - the Selkie Cave

Basalt formations

Cottingley Beck & the Fairies

Cottingley Beck in Yorkshire is where the famous photos of fairies were taken in 1917-18 by two girls, Frances and Elsie. Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle believed in the authenticity of the photos and had them tested by Kodak who confirmed that the negatives had not been tampered with. 

The bridge near the housing estate, where I entered the hidden world of Cottingley Beck

Wading down through the waters of Cottingley Beck

An old ivy-covered bridge over Cottingley Beck

 A magical hidden waterfall in Cottingley Beck

As adults the two women maintained for decades that the photos were real, but under intense pressure and ridicule they finally admitted in 1983 that most of the photos had been faked, although Elsie maintained that the fifth and final photo was real.





The fifth and final photo, perhaps the only 'real' photo?

Both women maintained that they really had seen fairies though. No conclusive evidence of the faking has ever been found. If it was a hoax then it was a particularly ingenious one that fooled many experts, one wonders how two little girls could have achieved this?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

French Ley Lines, Melusine and the Spring of Barenton

In France recently I made a couple of amazing discoveries. I’d been following another ley line, one that I believe has never been mapped out before. I heard about this ley line recently in a talk by Yuri Leitch, it connects Glastonbury Tor with Mont Saint Michel in France and has been called by some the Excalibur Ley Line.


 Mont Saint Michel 

 I’d been following it for two days through France and had come across several churches and menhirs, and lots of really beautiful French villages, towns and chateaus, but nothing really out of the ordinary to convince me that I was onto something.

 Granville - Notre Dame du Cap Lihou
 
Corolles - Notre Dame de la Baie 

 Menhir near Champeaux 



 
La Guerche de Bretagne 

Pouance Castle 

Mary Magdalene


 Le Menhir de Pierre Frite

 St Florent le Vieil

 St Florent le Vieil, stained glass window of Charlemagne, the first ruler to be crowned by the church! 

Than suddenly I came across a classic hilltop Saint Michael church, complete with crowning golden statue reminiscent of Mont Saint Michel or St Michael’s Mount! And what’s more there was a sign in the church saying that on this location there was once a temple to the Roman god Mercury (the dedication to Mercury is still preserved in the name of the place - Saint Michel Mont Mercure), and before that there was a shrine to the Celtic god of light Lugh! So here is the confirmation that these St. Michael sanctuaries were once pagan temples to the god of light.



   
 Saint Michel Mont Mercure

  
View from Saint Michel Mont Mercure

 That was a great discovery but then it got even better… Recently I’d been reading about the fairy/dragon princess Melusine and her descent through the house of Anjou. I did wonder vaguely where these legends took place, but I hadn’t got around to looking it up, but there on the map, right where I was heading was the “Tower of Melusine”! This is the tower is one that she supposedly built in a single night, before her husband spied on her and saw her serpents tail. After revealing her secret she then grew wings and flew from the tower never to return, leaving a curse on the family and it’s castles. 


 The Tower of Melusine in Vouvant 


Image of Melusine on her tower; she incorporates both dragon, mermaid and fairy

Modern image of Melusine on a cafe

I’d recently been reading a fascinating book called Realm of the Ring Lords which traces the matrilineal descent of the 'Grail Queens' and 'Ring Lords' from the ancient Sumerian Anunnaki ('those that came down from on high') through the Egyptian pharaohs, the House of David (including Jesus and Mary Magdalene), Scythians, Scots Gaels, Picts and Merovingians, down to Melusine and the house of Anjou.
 
I then went on to visit other castles that were said to have been built by Melusine, before returning home via Brittany where I visited the Spring of Barenton, hidden deep within the mystical forest of Broceliande in Brittany.




 Vouvant Church, built by the Lusignan family in the home town of Melusine

Mervent Castle, one of the five castles said to have been built in a single night by Melusine





 Pouzauges Notre Dame de Vieux, one of the five castles said to have been built in a single night by Melusine

 Chatelliers Chateaumur


Tiffauges Castle 

 According to Breton legend the spring of Barenton is where Merlin met the water nymph Vivian and fell in love with her. He stood on the slab (to the right), now known as the Perron de Belenton, and taught her the spells that would enchant him.
 
Fontaine de Barenton

The slab has a magical property, if one takes water from the spring and sprinkles it on the slab then it will bring storms and thunder. Villagers in the middle ages used to come here in times of drought to summon rain.

The spring was originally dedicated to the Gallic god of healing, fire and light, Belenos, and its waters are said to cure madness.

It appears in several medieval Arthurian romances, including Chretien de Troyes, Yvain, where the spring is guarded by a black knight.


Ancient oak tree in Forest of Broceliande, Brittany


 

Menhirs de Monteneuf