Two years ago the weather was the same. The New Hampshire climate is not so different from the Peak District of England. April can be sunny and warm, or it can return, in a moment, to the icy hands of winter. Today in New England it is raining sleet, which is collecting upon the ground in growing layers of white. I imagine the still unopened buds on the daffodils and crocuses are pulling inward.
My own mind travels to the Nine Ladies Stone Circle in Derbyshire. Recalling the same pounding sleet that challenged our four seeking forms on the second day my family and I ventured out to find the circle. Or should I say evening? We chose the impending arrival of the night both times we sought the vaguely marked landmark. I, much more urgently seeking than my husband and children, who seemed more to indulge me than feel the need. The body, though, remembers the past, even the past that extends beyond its lifetime. There is an imprint that is made deep within the cellular matrix that connects to the soul’s lifetimes and it behooves one to take note of the triggers that bring the memories back to life.
I knew the land was testing me. Asking me what I was willing to remember. Asking me if I was ready to return to a time that pressed me beyond the brink of conscious memory. The forces that reside in these sacred sites of the moors are strong and very much alive, yet they are mostly unseen, serving as the haunting imprints of a past that was filled with a magic that we have mostly chosen to forget. Walking with the intention of awareness, though, one cannot help but feel it.
Or hear it. On the first night, there was the cry. Like a woman calling for a lost child. My daughter heard it too, so I knew I wasn’t going insane. Put the pull inward was fierce, and I could see an emotion that approaches fear on the faces around me. We left as the darkness began to descend to reveal the shadows of the far distant past more acutely. There are legends about people being lost in the moors and never returning. The elemental forces hold a rein here that is strong and often unrelenting. It serves to test your notion of survival as well as your willingness to remember what many have chosen to forget.
Winter is the season of dreaming. Of a hibernation that turns life inward toward the soul’s truths if we are willing to sleep with awareness. It seemed fitting, in many ways, that the sky chose to release winter’s return on our second venturing out to find the stone circle we never found on the first night. This time I was determined not to allow my body to be pulled to other landmarks, no doubt equally, if not more, significant for the journey. Yet, there was a reluctance, a fear, to venture into these shadowed lands that felt threatening. I was, simply, not ready to understand and to feel fully what it had to reveal. There is an initiation or re-initiation, that must occur, and I was not ready. I also had my family with me. A family that was there because of my urgings. The fierce need to protect over-rode everything else.
Despite the unrelenting skies, we found the circle. It seemed so small, and in many ways insignificant, or rather forgotten. The tree that hovered beside it was draped in gaudy finery, which I found repulsive. A desecration of the sacred. I resisted the impulse to pull down ribbons and naked plastic bodies of miniaturized women. Who does this? I wondered. This was not the worship of the past my cells knew. A place visited often enough, perhaps, but forgotten.
But still, the whispers of the past were there, haunting the sacred ground. They called through my body in a language I was trying hard to resist, but also to remember. It would take me another year to be ready. To willingly return to the moors (in a different area) and visit the sacred land with a memory fierce and very much alive. Thankfully, a year later, I walked back through time under the watchful eyes of those who are familiar with the forces of the land, lest I go too far astray.