Tag: Simone Lipscomb

Long Meg and Her Daughters

Long Meg and Her Daughters

_tsl9419We had directions from Keswick to the stone circle and a road atlas but I found myself pulling into a small auto repair shop in the middle of beautiful English countryside to ask directions. The SAT NAV system was no help at all and wasn’t like SIRI who will at least apologize for not being able to find something.

I asked the delivery guy leaving if he knew of the circle and he said he wasn’t local, to ask inside. The roll-up door was open and a gentleman was spray painting a car bright green. He didn’t hear me over the compressor motor. Finally I got his attention.

“Excuse me, do you know directions to Long Meg?” I asked.

“Oh, sure. You’re really close. You just passed the turn. Go back, take a right. Go across the next crossroad, then make a right and stay on the dirt road. Take a right at the fence and just keep going. You can’t miss her.”

Having been used to the SAT NAV who reminded me at every turn, I asked to hear the directions again and then repeated them to him and then thanked him and flashed my most genuine smile and did a little bow with hands over heart.

It didn’t sound that complicated but there were no signs pointing the way, nothing to suggest there was a historic stone circle anywhere around…except the red lettering on the atlas page near Penrith. I drove down the small, one-lane road onto the smaller, one-lane dirt road and glanced at sheep and cattle near the fences. Hmmm…..

A very large tractor was coming and I had to pull over and stop and the driver of the tractor did the same but was able to pull onto the shoulder and create a larger space. I waved and then stopped beside him and hopped out.

“Is Long Meg nearby?” I asked.

_tsl9403“Oh, yes love. The stone circle is just up the road. But she’s not in today. She’s gone shopping,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes.

I laughed and thanked him and continued driving on the farm road. That’s the best way I can describe it. In a few minutes we pulled under a very large tree and parked. The road went right through the circle.

_tsl9413Long Meg and Her Daughters has one of the largest diameters of any stone circle in the U.K. At 300 feet long, it’s quite impossible to photograph the entire circle at once.

Walking around the circle was challenging. Not so much from the size of it but from the number of piles of slippery sheep and cattle poo. Evidently, they loved the circle of ancient stones.

_tsl9401I felt immediate joy and laughter at this circle. It had a very different energy than Castlerigg. I walked up the slight hill to Long Meg and stood beside her. She seemed to emit the sound of women singing. When I stood in the vast space at circle’s center, I still ‘heard’ women singing and felt laughter and joy vibrating around me.

_tsl9523After about half an hour, a small school bus pulled up and several children emerged with two adults. They had on colorful stocking hats which caused the world to waver a bit. Just two days before, after visiting Castlerigg and having a very powerful experience there, I had drifted off to sleep with a vision of children running and playing in brightly colored hats among standing stones. Here was the exact scene manifested in physical reality.

_tsl9521I paid very close attention to their energy since they embodied a vision. They walked around the circle in pairs counting the stones. Then their teacher gathered them around Long Meg as I knelt among the cow paddies and began talking about the circle, teaching them the known history. How amazing to be a child and grow up among ancient stone circles over 5000 years old. That must add to their human experience a great deal.

_tsl9502After listening, I wandered away to take more photographs. The sun finally decided to show up after four days of gray skies. I had been struggling with gray light for days. To have warm, sunny light to work with made me incredibly happy.

_tsl9461It was very cold and windy and even the sun’s appearance didn’t keep me from wanting to retreat to a warm coffee shop. We decided to try Ed’s route, a scenic drive near Grasmere after leaving Long Meg. But that’s another story for another day.

 

 

The Stones Speak

The Stones Speak

_tsl9187Day dawned dark with news from afar;

Earth, water no longer sacred?

Money won—gods of greed and tar.

Now civil rights mired in hatred.

 

To my knees I fell, sobs escaped my lips;

Oh, my God! Has sanity been eclipsed?

 

_tsl9288Darkness gathered and shadows grew.

Hope dimmed, panic began to rise.

My mind raced, whatever can I do?

Darkness comes in golden disguise.

 

A voice then came through, so clear and so loud:

“Go to the stones and walk among the clouds.”

 

_tsl9141My grief and I put on our boots

And went out in the cold and snow.

We stood with stones in armored suits

And listened as the wisdom flowed.

 

“It’s time to wake-up and see the truth here.

None of this matters in five thousand years.”

 

_tsl9304The stones spoke—ages, wars went by:

Ancient wisdom, patience and trust,

I saw time make the darkness fly.

Peace grew strong, swords crumbled in rust.

 

“This is a moment in time, a heart beat.

Cry your tears, but don’t forever you weep.”

 

_tsl9099The peace of snow and ancient times

Enfolded me with grace and calm.

I walked along those Druid lines

And there I found the sweetest balm.

 

“Wake up and shine and know love is the key.

This world can heal and be one, you will see.”

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Castlerigg

Castlerigg

_tsl8867When I was invited to speak at a weekend gathering in the U.K. I put the question out to the Universe, Where shall I journey the week before? If I was going to make the long flight across the Atlantic, it made sense to extend the journey and connect with this most beautiful of countries. Almost immediately I saw a post on Facebook about Castlerigg and so it was this stone circle that called me to Cumbria, that called me to this pilgrimage.

_tsl8870Much of the preparation for the journey centered on researching the Lake District, where the stone circle is found. The nearest town is Keswick (pronounced kez-ick) so the cottage that stood out as the right one was only two miles from Castlerigg and outside of town, in the rural countryside.

_tsl8877Upon arrival at the ancient circle of standing stones, I was expecting to feel strong emotions and awe but I felt nothing….at first. The energy felt flat which truly surprised me. Nevertheless, I approached the circle with reverence and openness and began to connect with it through an inner prompting or voice.

_tsl8872heard to walk clockwise or sun-wise around it twice and then enter a small sanctuary area near the largest stone. I walked three times around the sanctuary and knelt at a small, flat stone. It felt as if I was laying down everything in my life, surrendering it all…letting go. Then I exited to the main stone.

_tsl8891My hands then found a ledge and rested there. I dropped into silence, into meditation and soon heard, What do you desire? “To serve the light,” I whispered. As if unsatisfied with my answer, the same question arose and I repeated the answer. After I heard it a third time I paused before answering to contemplate. “To be the light,” I replied.

img_6760You are light so it is your task to be transparent and allow the light to simply be, as you are. Be your truest self, be genuine. Remove all masks and preconceived notions about who you think you should be and simply allow the light within you to shine forth.

_tsl8902I felt gratitude for the reminder to be myself and whispered a thank you to the sacred energies of the place. Then I heard to walk three times around the inner circle.

_tsl8901I began to walk sun-wise at the edge yet found my feet taking me on a spiraling path to the exact center of the circle, as if they already knew the way. I stood in silence facing the large stone and dropped once again into meditation.

Soon a vision began to arise. Two blue snakes came crawling to me and intertwined around my forearms and became blue snake tattoos on the inside of my lower arms with their tails wrapped around my wrists.

_tsl8889I contemplated this for a while and then walked back to the main stone and exited the circle.

After the meditations, I enjoyed photographing the circle and being present with the beauty of the area. It was later that I explored the meaning of my experience.

_tsl8895It felt like another dimension was experienced at the stone circle, a place where the ancestors offered guidance and support that reached from ancient times to the present. The Druid-like vision of the snakes felt like an initiatory experience. Snakes have been used as symbology for healing for millennia, the caduceus being one that has made its way into modern medical symbology of physicians–two snakes intertwined on a central staff. In ancient Celtic art, snakes are often depicted with healers or shaman holding them. In the Celtic tradition snakes are symbols of rebirth, awakening, and renewal.

_tsl8882Perhaps the most powerful outcome of the experience within the stone circle was the resulting conversation with my spiritual sister, Maria, who was on the pilgrimage with me. As we talked that evening it felt as if my life opened up before me and I could see the path stretching out before me in a most beautiful way.

That night as I closed my eyes I saw *children gathering in bright, warm hats around stones…running and playing and laughing. The image of a man with antlers on his head came into my mind and a great, joyful chase in the woods took me into a restful night of sleep.

_tsl9003It felt as if I had participated in an ancient dialogue with the sacred world. The timeless message I received was one Buddha shared, “Make of yourself a lamp.”

—-

Castlerigg is on a flat crown of a low hill surrounded by mountains. The stones are of local origin and the largest weighs about 16 tons. The setting of the stones corresponds to the features of the mountains around them. It is connected by a line of force between the two tallest mountains surrounding it. Two of the construction lines correspond to sun and moon positions. Because of its positioning with the sun, moon and surrounding landscape it was apparently designed as a temple. It provided an accurate solar calendar for the year and its lunar cycle tabulation helped herdsmen and farmers.  It dates back to 3000 BC. (Information from Sacred England).

Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle
Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle

*When we visited Long Meg and Her Daughters two days later in a field outside of Penrith, a small bus with children dressed in brightly-colored hats arrived. The young ones gathered with their teacher to learn of Long Meg’s history. It was the exact scene that arose when I first closed my eyes after the experience at Castlerigg.

 

 

Magical Britain

Magical Britain

Dawn at Castlerigg Stone Circle
Dawn at Castlerigg Stone Circle

It is nearly 2 a.m. as I awaken here in the U.S. but my heart is accustomed to the beat of time in the Motherland. I would be on a rambling walk through the countryside by now in the U.K. The mists would be rising along the fells, sheep would be beginning to awaken. The sun would be low in the gray sky. The chill of the frosty air would feel so fresh on my cheeks.

Foggy dawn below Castlerigg Stone Circle
Foggy dawn below Castlerigg Stone Circle

For over a week I was immersed in the gentle beauty of England. Her mountains, rolling pastures, woodlands, lakes, ancient stone circles and kind people surrounded me and welcomed me home.

Snowy dawn at Castlerigg
Snowy dawn at Castlerigg

It doesn’t matter that I had been awake for twenty-three hours and am fatigued after a nine hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean and an hour flight to the Gulf Coast and am experiencing a time warp after journeying over six time zones. Every part of my being is awake and ready to roam among ancient stone circles or greet sheep as they chew lush grass that is permanently green.

Sunkenkirk Stone Circle
Sunkenkirk Stone Circle

I walked paths that Wordsworth and Coleridge walked, visited areas where Beatrix Potter wrote magical children’s stories and initiated conservation practices that helped preserve much of the area now known as the Lake District. If I allowed myself the freedom of regular roaming along the shores of the water and woods and mountains of the Cumbria, I am rather sure inspiring and enchanting words would pour from my pen in the style of Wordsworth and Potter.

Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle
Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle

Whispers of the Ancient Ones echo within as I reflect upon the otherworldly pilgrimage experienced with my spiritual sister and friend. Conversations with Companions from a weekend retreat, that closed the journey, still weave a web of light around me. My orange tabby Stanley lays in my arms as I write while my beloved Buddy dog is curled against me on the blanket. They feel the fullness and lingering energies of this most amazing journey.

Ancient Horn Beam Tree
Ancient Horn Beam Tree

Invasions by Romans, Saxons, Vikings and others have perhaps instilled into the collective unconscious of the people there a maturity of spirit, a way of being civil and gentle with each other and with strangers. Every person I met was helpful, generous, supportive and kind. I miss that kind of civility and maturity on this side of the Pond. Our nation is like a spoiled, young teen in comparison.

Applethwaite Village
Applethwaite Village

The individual journeys and experiences will be told over time but for now, in the afterglow of it all, I feel profound gratitude for the embrace of a land and people that welcomed me home as one of their own.

Maria and me in Sunkenkirk Stone Circle
Maria and me in Sunkenkirk Stone Circle

My heart beats in sync with the land through ancestral ties and already longs to return and feel the ancient stones vibrate their wisdom and the land embrace me as a daughter. From magnificent caves to snow-covered mountain tops, from villages much older than the country in which I reside and stone circles dating back to 3500 BC, I traveled the path of a pilgrim–open to hearing and learning the lessons given by magical Britain, my Motherland…home of my spirit.

Cave Spirit
Cave Spirit
The Ancient Ones are Calling

The Ancient Ones are Calling

_tsl8791It was nearly 4 a.m. when I awoke. I glanced up and Orion was shining through the skylight so I repositioned myself and laid directly under it. For over half an hour I gazed into the Hunter constellation and then moved downstairs for yoga practice.

_tsl8835I lit a candle in the cottage window and put on a playlist I enjoy and began my practice. The elemental energies of the hills, valleys, meadows and caves seem to fill the space as I opened myself to the beautiful spirits.

_tsl8700Afterwards I enjoyed a cup of tea and reflected on the wonderful hike yesterday in a bit of sleet with a few flakes of snow drifting around in the wind. My excitement and appreciation were deep as I was guided up a muddy hill to two sacred caves. The energies were so strong and the beauty exquisite.

After writing in my journal, I dressed for freezing, windy weather.

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_tsl8807Then I took a walk up the driveway to the tree planted near burial cairns. The rural, quiet, pastoral places of England call so strong to my soul. Here I feel so peaceful and ‘in’ myself and could see myself living here–I come alive here. The Ocean is home to me and where I find my work but if I must come up for air and walk on two legs, then I cannot think of a place that calls me more strongly than rural England.

image1Later my friend Maria and I drove up from Strattfordshire near Butterton to Applethwaite near Keswick. It’s near the border of Scotland and is called the Borderlands. It’s the Lakes District–the home and inspiration of William Wordsworth, a fellow birthday celebrant and lover of nature.

Wordsworth walked these mountains and enjoyed the magnificent scenery. They inspired his poetry that has been inspiration for hundreds of years. He is the romantic poet that most-calls to my wild heart.

img_6720Sacred places are such gifts to those who take the time to slow down and listen to their wisdom, their beauty. They don’t speak in words but in long sighs of the wind, in rippling water as it cascades over rocks, in snow as it softly falls against dried leaves, in magnificent vistas that cause us to sigh with wonder.

_tsl8685Let us remember to pause and reflect upon nature…and listen. The Ancient Ones are calling.