I never made it to Peter’s Rock, although we passed close by it in the car, and as we did I made a vow to visit in a future trip. It is said to be a place of initiation, where one must face fear to move beyond the veil of illusion into the Light of Truth. The shaman took us there during ritual 4, and I felt I knew this place, at least in essence. But to feel its actual presence would have to wait.
During the week, I thought often of the snake I had found coiled like a sacrifice in the middle of my basement floor before I left for England. A symbol of the cycle of life that moves through birth into death in an endless repeat. I knew before I left my home that I would be going through an important phase in this cycle during my journey in England. The stones had whispered this in my dreams, and they did not disappoint.
After visiting the site where Bratha lived out her life as a Seer, the five of us refueled at a lovely pub, then made our way to the Serpent Stones. It was time to feel the enchantment of the land. Although I had heard Sue, Stuart and some of the others hint about the secrets of these stones, I was not wholly prepared for what I would encounter among them. Which is, I believe, just the way it should be. I had already discovered that stones hold the memory of the land and its children, but I had yet to experience the awesome force of their enchantment. This site, as I soon saw, is not asleep. The serpent stones are more alive than those who walk among them. It is like nothing else I have experienced before. It is, quite simply, magical.
The path to the stones, like all journeys, can be taken more than one way. The land surrounding and containing them is, without a doubt, holy ground. Here one walks the body of the goddess in all her power and glory to rebirth anew in the continual cycle of life. The guardian of Arbor Low takes the form of the living. It resides in the balancing energies of cows, chickens and the humans how tend to them below the mounded earth. Here the magic of the stones is settled into the grounding energies of daily life, neutralizing their force. The mundane nature of these seems necessary once one experiences the effects of the stones.
At Arbor Low, I discovered that when you are open to the magic of the Land, it does not disappoint. The memory of it makes me smile with shear joy, just as I did when I walked among its stones. Here is where the Light of Hope is very much alive, and has been for thousands of years. The land here is in control, protected by a force much larger than the Earth itself. Here, the sacred is not broken by human hands (at least not enough to break its magic).
There is a point, when approaching the circle from the head of the goddess-like form of mounded earth (for more on this, read the words of Sue Vincent here, as well as her piece, The Serpent Stones), when you feel as though you are reaching the threshold of something sacred. I felt the impulse to pause. To pay respect. To ask permission to go forth and enter the body of the Mother.
If you read Sue’s accounts, you will discover that many who visit feel and see the serpent energy of these recumbent stones. They face outward, but they also face inward, and their clock-like appearance tells of a time that is not linear, but cyclical. There are two stones in the center, also lying flat. “These two may have been standing at one time,” Sue told us, and I nodded my head. My inner eye saw them as two pillars pointed to the Light as it was brought down to Earth. I couldn’t help but wonder at the magnitude of the energy that must have been felt in a place that still held such power to awe and transform.
I now that I did not take a few moments to photograph the circle once inside of it, but I spent my time absorbing and witnessing the site. You can, though, find images of Arbor Low in Sue’s posts and online. Even in photographs, the images in the stones are quite clear, but they too are subject to the observer. I saw serpents in some, but I also saw other forms as I walked the stones. Sometimes they told me who they were before I could guess. “I am the face of the west wind,” the stone, which I later discovered was in fact facing west, whispered to me as I passed. It’s outward face was chiseled with strength, harnessing the force of endings. It pulled me to the center, and I walked beside it and the stone that looked like a coffin, to shed what I was ready to leave behind. I reached the center to be reborn, over and over again, as I walked their gateways. Each stone seemed to channel a different energy, which was equally transformative and magical. It was wildly exhilarating, and my smile grew with each step. Although, there was a point when my body stopped me in warning, Be careful you don’t over-do it.
Where some of the stones spoke of endings, others spoke of strength and new beginnings. Because I walked the stones as gates, I saw them as having two faces. There is an outer face to most stones (some are sunk into the ground at their ends), which is easily seen from the mound of earth surrounding the circle, and tells of the outer forces of life, which can be used to go inward. Once inside the “womb,” you can view the smaller circle of the inner world, which is akin to the soul. Here you can make out different faces of the stones, if they have faces. Again, some of the stones slope into the earth, which adds to the effect of being pulled inward when you are standing in the center. Others rear up at you, as though challenging you to rebirth yourself anew. Standing in the center of the womb, closing your eyes, you can image the light harnessed from two pillars once, drawing its energy into the Mother. Here is where the Divine Masculine joins into the womb of the Goddess. It is a site to behold and to feel. I can only imagine what it once was…and maybe still is, but I couldn’t help feeling like those center stones needed to be standing…
This was my experience as I walked the stones. A fitting end to the path I had walked through Bratha during the weekend’s workshop, which extended out to the physical body of the Land that she loved. Although I touched the stones at Arbor Low, I did not meditate upon them to learn more of their secrets. This will have to wait for another time. The storms were beginning to roll in and it was time to make our way back to the cars. We arrived at our vehicles mere moments before the storm rolled in, bringing a mix of wind, rain and snow with it. Apparently a not uncommon occurrence here, and I was not altogether surprised. Energies can’t help but be stirred when this circle is walked.
The End. For now.