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Death and Rebirth
St. George slaying the dragon and other symbols for inner death and rebirth were all around me early in 2007. It was showing up every day in some way or other. Draw a medicine card and it was there. Open a book and it was there.
There were many things which were yet unresolved on my spiritual journey and I felt that it was time for a little self-challenge. A little bit of facing the fear.
I knew that there was still unfinished business at the sacred site where I was given the insight. I felt perhaps that due gratitude had not yet been given, as the insight had arrived the morning after my last visit. It was now March 2007 and that old cromlech was calling me back again. I determined that I would challenge my fears and spend a night in the ancient forest over the night of the equinox, when the vale is thin.
March 21st, 2007 - The Spring Equinox
It was freezing that week with severe weather warnings and roads closed with snow. Rather than dig a hole in the earth and cover it with a blanket, as do the Native Americans, I bought myself a new four season sleeping bag and a small mountain tent to be on the safe side and avoid possible hypothermia. On Wednesday 21st March, I set off on a 200-mile drive through Wales to visit the forest and the cromlech.
I knew the power of this forest, I had seen it in action previously when the spirit of the forest raised itself up to teach us and so it was with some trepidation that I travelled. As I crossed the Afon (river) Taff in the valley, sleet began to shower from the sky. Clearly, it was a welcome, or an acknowledgement. Within a half-mile or so, I pulled off the road and sat for a short while in the car until the sleet and snow flurry had passed. It was around 4.00pm. I then hoisted my rucksack onto my back and walked into the forest.
As I arrived at the cromlech some half hour or so later, there was a Merkabah made from sticks on the floor in front of the entrance. An interesting sign, I thought, as this is the symbol for transformation.
I made an offering of sunflower seeds to the sacred site and then proceeded into the pine trees to pitch the tent.
During my journey, I had been roughly guided as to where to pitch the tent in relation to the cromlech. I was also told that I should spend at least 12 hours in the forest, which is a nice balance on equinox as we get equal measures of light and dark.
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I set up camp and then busied myself taking photographs of the site. One person came past with a dog and returned some time later, well before dusk, then all was silent other than for the birds.
It was a pleasant sunset and dark fell by about 7.30.pm. I sat in the entrance to the tent and boiled some water to drink and ate a few seeds. I had determined to fast for most of this day so seeds and water were all I had with me. As 9.00pm approached there was not much to do but sit and listen. Although I had a torch and a pad and pen, I had determined not to use light unless for emergency. The blackness was complete. There were occasional flurries of snow, but I was well sheltered in the trees.
As I gazed around me into the blackness, pinpoints of starlight appeared through the canopy from time to time. The temperature was about zero as I bedded down around 10.00pm. Ensuring that I was well covered, I began to drift and doze.
During the night some strange things did happen, but perhaps not as I might have expected. Around 11.00pm I awoke with extreme shaking all over my body, coming from deep within, it was as if I had a terrible fever. I wasn’t cold, so I knew I wasn’t shivering. It was bizarre and a little bit scary, but then it began to subside. I had never experienced anything like it before, but it calmed and passed within a few moments. There were two more of these shaking episodes during the night, but not as severe as the first. Quite alarming when they suddenly came on, but I have not experienced them since.
At one point something brushed up against the tent waking me in alarm, triggering a pounding heartbeat, as if I was in some kind of terror. Again, bizarre as the reaction of my body seemed quite out of proportion to the event. Then later, in the early hours of the morning what must have been an owl, screeched a tremendously loud and blood curdling scream.
At another point, whilst sound asleep and curled in the foetal position for warmth, my legs suddenly extended perfectly straight, waking me instantly. A completely involuntary movement driven with great force by some internal mechanism.
As the night went on, I did get some deeper and restful sleep. The dawn had broken and the birds began to sing. I was aware of the call of the blackbird as I opened my eyes to a bright morning sky. Quite by chance, I had pitched the tent in direct line with sunrise and sunset and was fortunate to observe both events.
Perhaps the strangest thing of all was that I could hear voices all night long. Earlier in the evening, I had walked around to see if I could tell where they were coming from. It was as if there was a party going on about a half mile away through the forest. There were cottages and farms dotted about and even a pub in the nearby village, but as the night progressed, I could still hear them, long after ordinary folk would have gone to bed. Whenever I awoke, they were there.
All in all not a terrifying night, but certainly one which had elicited some unusual and powerful physical responses in my body. Extreme shaking, times three, pounding heartbeat times three and a double leg extension energy release. I felt that the accumulation of these things had certainly been powerful enough to create an environment of change at a deeper level.
As the days unfolded afterwards, I felt that this interlude had been very necessary, as I was aware of moving beyond certain patterns that had been holding me for some time. Certainly, I was being released at some level and I noticed a marked change in my work with my clients in the weeks which followed. It was good to have entered into the ritual.