by Eowyn OR
There are times in our lives when wyrd plunges us into some very difficult circumstances. So when synchronicities suggest that you do something, which ostensibly is going to contribute to their deepening, one questions the sanity of the decision! Such has been my situation with practically no income to replenish my dwindling reserves. So when synchronicity tapped me on the shoulder and showed me an opportunity to fulfil an ambition to visit and experience the energies of a couple of crop circles, I had the most seriously sombre conversation with my inner Bag lady! Happily, the loopy lady consented with a toothy grin- and is still smiling manically!
Crop circles are an enigma of our time. Essentially, they are seemingly spontaneous patterns that appear in fields worldwide, but are particularly abundant in the areas of Wiltshire and Somerset in England. Typically, they occur on- or very close to- leylines (although this year was an exception for some unknown reason). Crop circles are patterns that have appeared like mazes, animals, mandalas, sacred geometric shapes, maps, constellations and some encode numerological principles and mathematical equations. Their styles will also vary from one country to the next. The first recorded crop circle appeared in a woodcut from 1678; the early ones were mainly circular but in recent years- and particularly the last two decades- their complexity has evolved. In many ways, this fact lays to rest the absurd idea of crop circles being a hoax- that a couple of “plankers” can go out in the middle of the night in the pitch black armed with a board and flatten the crops into such intricate designs! To obtain the often 3D images they relay would, at minimum, surely require somebody directing the operations from a helicopter- hardly the way to make it a covert operation! Besides which, analysis has revealed that the soil is microwaved from within the earth and it is as if it has been struck five hundred times by lightening. Silica- once thought not to exist at all on earth (but now known to exist deep within the earth’s core)- is found in great abundance around them. The area of a crop circle has increased magnetic activity and attracts about five hundred times more cosmic dust than other places. The crop nodes are bent, some are exploded and burn marks appear on the stalks and crop ears. It has been found that the wheat from crop circles holds more seeds in their heads: wild wheat typically has about twelve whilst farmed wheat has about twenty five seeds; that from crop circles will hold up to one hundred seeds. Of particular significance is the fact that- as with approaching earthquakes, animals will sense their immanence and become worried: if they can, they will hastily vacate the area. Those creatures such as hedgehogs, frogs etc. that tend to freeze in the face of danger are found microwaved if they are within the crop formation.
Animals and people alike can sometimes have quite dramatic responses to being within a crop circle. Healing has occurred for both alike. Yet others have had obvious negative responses such as vomiting and giddiness; the variations are endless and as with any other energies, one individual can be extremely comfortable whilst another in the same circle experiences the opposite effect. Some dogs- and even cats- have become obsessive about eating the grains or had overt behavioural changes lasting for some while after the event. Animal responses are particularly interesting since they do not work with egotistical projections the way we do; so I definitely believe they should be heeded as part of the quest to unravel the mysteries of crop circles and their source.
So it was that on July 21st, I set off with great anticipation upon my short Odyssey that would total three days- the two flanking days being the sweltering 5.5 hour out and return haul on public transport between Norfolk and Wiltshire. It was late afternoon when I arrived at my bed and breakfast, tired but hungry enough to set straight off into the town to secure a much needed sandwich, which I proposed eating upon my return to base. It was then I noticed a sign to say the Tor was just a mile ahead, so I thought I could just nip up for a peek. (I visited Glastonbury briefly many years back but perspectives are a whole lot different from a car!). Fifteen minutes later, I found myself ascending the steep path upwards grateful that I hadn’t known just what was entailed beforehand since I would probably have postponed the idea! But I had started so needs must I had to finish! St Michael’s Tower at the summit of the Tor dates from the fourteenth century and was built to replace an older one destroyed by an earthquake in 1275. However, the whole area is steeped in mythology and has been a place of pilgrimage for ten thousand years. There isn’t the scope to delve into anymore here suffice it to say that it is certainly one of England’s major earth energy spots. Additionally, the relief carvings- in particular on the west wall showing a woman milking a cow on the right and a set of scales on the left- are in themselves, a source of wonder as to their origins. Could the woman milking the cow be a memory of Audumla, the first great mother in our mythology? Or is it perhaps the symbolic acknowledgement of the sacred lunar cycle common to both and the foundation for our calendar? Or both? Do the scales symbolise the infamous scales of justice or perhaps the balance of our actions in wyrd in this life and all our lives? One can only speculate and hypothesise about their true origins; but doubtless, the fact they have been carved onto the walls of such a holy place means they were almost certainly revered symbols for our ancestors.
The Tor is a very busy tourist attraction so the opportunity for obvious ritual work is extremely limited. However, I walked the quarters and silently invoked the gods and ancestors: a few minutes later, a powerful wind blew up and I was greeted by the awesome spectacle of a crow rising from the ground below to soar and circle around the Tor, riding the powerful wind currents. It landed on the map by the east side. So as part of my toast and feast, I shared some of my hard won sandwich, which I gather by the speed with which it disappeared was appreciated. After imbibing the atmosphere, enjoying the view and taking some photos during what was a timeless hour of communion with the spirit of place, the sun was beginning to set and I knew it was time to set off back to the B and B. It was then I noticed Mani rising in the south so I acknowledged his presence by very quietly singing the runes, only to then have five crows appear soaring on the wind followed by one swallow! Then it really was time to go so, feeling revived and invigorated, I descended the Tor in a whole lot less time than it had taken for the ascent!
The next day was the Odyssey’s centrepiece- an organised coach tour taking in two of the season’s crop circles. Most of the folk gathering were booked to attend the annual Glastonbury Symposium starting the following day and as one might imagine, they are from all walks of life with an equally diverse array of opinions and sanity! What is interesting is that there is international interest in the crop circle phenomenon and as such, this is at least encouraging the local people to take pride in their towns and villages and to gain some financial benefits with it. Such this year is the situation in Yatesbury where, with a crop circle appearing in the vicinity, the folk opened the doors of the church hall as a temporary “Crop Circle Café” where home baked cakes, beverages and relevant literature was being sold. The proceeds will fund a much needed roof for the lovely little thirteenth (possibly even twelfth) century village church of All Saints. This café was our first port of call during which there was time to have a quick peek into the lovely little musty old church itself and to admire the Yew sentinel in the yard outside. After this welcome break, the coach drove us passed Uffington and Avebury (known as the land of the white horse) for a quick glance at Avebury’s stone circle. Silbury Hill was the next landmark: this has been the epicentre of crop circle formation in previous years and so-called UFO activity. Built near Westbury Longbarrow, it is a man-made conical hill from which four springs emanate and form a moat around the cone during wet weather. One of the springs is called Swallow Spring. One particular year (I’m not sure when), a swallow crop circle formation appeared in a nearby hill. Strangely enough each year, when the vegetation dies, the shape of a crow emerges with the hill appearing as its belly. It is a fact that in subsequent years, the imprints of crop circles from previous years remain very much apparent due to their magnetisation of the soil. The fact this one has morphed from a bird that often represents fertility, renewal etc. into another so often associated with death (as much as Odinism) at a time when the vegetation dies back is, I think, quite mysterious.
Next on the agenda was a drive through the old marketplace in Devizes where we passed the infamous school for the rich- Marlborough, which is a beautiful old building, apparently with its own mound and white horse. Devizes, Marlborough and Hungerford all have a preponderance of Bear hotels, etc. suggesting that in ancient times, the bear was an important symbol for the folk in the area. Certainly, this creature is associated with King Arthur (where “Art” means bear) and the Ursa Major constellation. The Devizes area sits upon the Michael/Mary leyline or Serpent Line, which stretches across southern England at approximately twenty seven degrees from Land’s End to Great Yarmouth. Three counties meet at Devizes and at one time, it was a Cromwellian stronghold. In more recent political history and under Tony Blair’s dubious government, a number of trees in the Devizes marketplace were earmarked to be pulled down to make way for development- that was despite ardent local opposition to the proposal. So at 5am one morning in great secrecy, the machines drove in and pulled all but one tree down: the latter was saved by a young local lad who, upon witnessing the carnage, allegedly dived out of his room, ran over to one of the remaining trees and sat up it so that the workmen couldn’t take it down. Hael to that local lad: sometimes, direct action is the only way to achieve an end, particularly where the current times of wanton environmental destruction are so prevalent.
Finally, we reached the first destination- a farmer’s field in St Martin’s Chapel, near Chisbury- where on the 3rd of July, a stunning star shaped crop circle had been formed. There is a lovely little flint walled chapel on the farm overlooking the field, which we walked passed on the way down the hill. Since it was once a Templar site, one can bet the land energies are inherently powerful as whatever the reality of their order, the Templars most certainly knew how to work with the mysteries of the land energies. The sight of this cute little chapel was perfect for preparing one’s mind for the approach down the track and along the tramlines into the formation.
Once approaching the actual formation, what becomes immediately apparent is how different it looks from the ground level as opposed to above; the former really does not convey the 3D effect created by the light’s play upon the lay of the wheat that can be observed from the air. The procession up to the formation was notably quiet; then once inside, individuals dispersed to find a quiet spot within in which to ponder and experience it, take pictures and so forth. It was a very interesting and informative experience for me. Towards the end of the sojourn, a few dark clouds gathered and there were several mighty cracks of thunder, which heightened the atmosphere; then the rain began. Mercifully, the gods were obviously in benevolent mode as the downpour only began in earnest once the party was safely back on the coach! Then it was off for a welcome lunch break in “The George Inn” at Burnham Dee, another quaint old low beamed building with an amazing tiled wavy roof. These local folk had very kindly remained open that day especially to receive the crop circle tour parties: they were most welcoming and anyone who has cause to venture to Burnham Dee might like to patronise the place and help keep a beautiful old English pub ticking over in these tough times.
Next stop was just around the corner at Haydown Hill in Fosbury where on July 17th, a crop circle shaped like a cube in suspension with a maze like structure had appeared. Once again, the slow procession walked the tramlines into the formation and people spread out, each on their individual quest to perceive what they could of the place. Happily, the rain had also stopped thus making for a more comfortable time than might have been. Finally, it was all aboard the coach, a whiz passed Stonehenge and back to Glastonbury town centre from where all went their separate ways.
Of course, no trip to Glastonbury is complete without visiting Chalice Well. Once again, synchronicity had played its part. In having inadvertently booked a later train back to Norfolk, I had the time to visit the well; otherwise, with a 10am-6pm opening time (I learned that places in Glastonbury are notorious for opening later than in many parts of the country!), I wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Chalice Well is amongst the best loved holy wells in Britain and in times past, it was known as the Red or Blood Spring because of the red iron deposits the water leaves on everything it touches. These are known as chalybeate waters. Its waters flow ceaselessly at a rate of 25,000 litres daily at a temperature of 11 degrees centigrade (52 degrees Fahrenheit) that amazingly, never varies. One legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea buried- or washed, depending upon the information source- the cup used at the Last Supper here; others acknowledge such springs as direct expressions of an unbounded lifeforce. Indeed, there is no doubt that our ancient ancestors regarded wells as gateways and places where the veils between the realms are thinner so that access to the Divine is easier. The whole place is replete with symbols of the Vesica Piscis, a sacred geometric symbol comprised of two interlocking circles that symbolise the union of spirit and matter. The Vesica Piscis is also the basis for all sacred geometric shapes- those very shapes which underlie the formation of matter and can be seen pervading nature. Sacred geometry is an eternally fascinating subject in itself that raises all kinds of questions about the nature of being.
The first stop on the walk around the gardens is a flow form of seven bowls whose rhythm creates the swirling vortex eddies of natural mountain streams before falling into Vesica pool. This is a great example of technology that harmonises seamlessly with the environment, is beautiful to behold and serves to energise the water and hence, enhances the natural energies of this tranquil garden. Virbela flowforms- as they are known- were created by John A. Wilkes in the UK and inspired by the work of those visionaries in natural systems, Theodore Schwenk and Viktor Schauberger. Just past the flowforms and of course, after briefly contemplating the Holy Thorn (which traditionally flowers twice annually at
Yule and Ostara), one passes under the shade of some lovely Yew trees and enters King Arthur’s Court and Healing Pool where the spring’s waters create a lovely little pool and there are seats in which to relax and contemplate- sadly, there wasn’t enough time available to spend all day there! So then it was onwards through the gate guarded by a pair of gigantic ammonite fossils where one is compelled to pause in front of the Lion’s Head and make private communion with the spirit of place before tasting of the vivifying waters issuing from his mouth.
Leading away from him was a beautiful and divinely scented garden with a stone seat in front of a carved angel- a place where the earth’s heart can be felt beating powerfully. Beyond here, one descends some stone steps to the well head, whose wooden cover features a wrought iron Vesica Piscis with a lance passing through it. This is a lovely mediation area and the chythonic power of the land’s wells seeps into one’s being. Sadly with a bus to catch, there simply was not the time to meditate deeply or for more than a few minutes. But nevertheless, Chalice Well was the perfect finale to an incredible three days.
And so it was with a final salute to the Tor I found myself once again on the bus to Temple’s Mead Station from where my train would transport my body from a place of holy pilgrimage to the centre of political and economic institution in Britain- London. It struck me as ironic that these two seemingly opposed principles of holy pilgrimage and ceaseless commercial activity met within and outside of me at Temples Mead Station- a power spot that at one time, was obviously holy (implying peace and quiet); now it is a hustling bustling locus of endless noise and activity- the total antithesis of silence and the pursuit of contemplative meditation. Such seems to be the fate of many beautiful old and once holy buildings in Britain. Temples Mead Station may have been purposely built as a station in the 1870s, but its name derives from the nearby Temple Church originally built in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 14th century by the Knight’s Templar. Until the construction of the station, the area was open land. One cannot help but wonder if there is a malicious intent in the apparent madness of taking a location naturally and purposefully suffused with the holy energies of the land, our Gods and our ancestors, then turning a pre-existent holy building and/or surrounding area into a servant of commerce. It seems particularly anathemas when such places are not merely a commercial building (where more aware folk might stop and ponder), but rather being used as something such as a station where people barely even have the time- or inclination- to raise their heads as they hop from one platform to the next. I see this as just one more great tragedy of our times that serves to disconnect the folk from their gods, heritage and lands.
So ultimately, did I experience anything profound within the crop circles themselves? There is no doubt that each affected me differently. This is hardly surprising as magnetic force fields create the formations whose effect is modulated by their geometry. Indeed, this is the power of any mandala and in turn, the land and water table will be potentised by the imprint- just as the water in our cells receives the imprint also. Indeed, this is the principle upon which homoeopathic medicine works. I also know that the sound from a singing bowl seems to resonate for longer as though an invisible force field acts to contain the resonance, much like a sound box. This accords with the findings of some other serious and sensible investigators of crop circles. And I do know I felt a sense of peace in one akin to the experience of being in an old cathedral. I also know that the energies feel very different to the powerful and ancient earth energies of Chalice Well and different yet again from the Tor. At this time, nobody knows the secret of the crop circle mystery. But however they are formed, I consider them to be like temporary temples upon our lands whose current effect is to attract people from all walks of life to take time out from their hectic schedules and commune with the land in whatever way they see fit once inside the formations. Who knows, maybe crop circles have a role to play in the long overdue reinstitution of the sacred in people’s lives where the land and the people once again become harmonised with one another. And I think that providing the origins of crop circles are benign, this is a most desirable outcome for all.
One other thing my mini odyssey brought to the forefront of my attention is this. As many folk will know, places such as Glastonbury are saturated with New Ageism and nowhere did I see the manifestation of this being made more overtly apparent than in one shop window display where some different coloured crystals had been attractively arranged as cup cakes on a platter! This epitomises New Ageism perfectly- a sickly sweet spiritual candy with little or no truly vitalising substance to it! It is therefore natural that as serious Odinists seeking to be true to the ways of our ancestors, such places may to some be at best off putting: spiritual candyfloss, vulgar tourism and the types of people the place attracts don’t always sit well in the Odinist’s heart. However, it must be remembered that such places were holy to our ancestors and they still live within the land, in these potent power points and the old buildings that were once sacred, just as they still reside in our blood, bone and sinew. But it is our responsibility to use our emotional energies to mediate the connection, thereby ensouling these places once again. And so it is vital that we visit such places and call upon those powers in any way that we can, whether by full ritual, silent invocation or even just sitting in silent contemplation for a moment in a busy station that sits upon sacred ground. We might not have the numbers; but our faith and folk soul mediating the Odic force in these power spots is like a potent homoeopathic remedy, which will once again vitalise our lands, spirits and our own beings simultaneously.
What better way could one have found to celebrate the Festival of Life?
Hael the Revolution!
Hael Bright Berkana: may she once again dance upon our lands and in the hearts of our people!
Sig Wunjo Wunjo Sig!