(Continued from Part One on Sun in Gemini)
The rain has abated… for now.
After the morning of the second day, we return to East Aquorthies to have more revealed to us by our guide, Allan. The morning had contained a visit to another stone circle which had drained and saddened us all. The details will be written up in the next post in this series. The key thing was that, a few miles away and two thousand years later than the construction of this first stone circle, the women had gone…
This is not a linear telling. Sometimes, deeper things emerge and make sense when you reconstruct them out of sequence. The shamanistic spirit will often tell them out of sequence… you only realise why, later.
There is also the matter of cycles. We can only digest so much in one go. Understanding is greater than knowledge and moves at its own, rythmic rate. The trivial can easily be digested, for it contains no nutrition for the soul. The deep and truly connected experience has an intense emotional component as well as the facts of its skeleton. The two make up a body. If that body is conveying the real – the definition of the spiritually-connected – then a very different experience results.
The priestess women had gone…. But not here. Here in the East Aquorthies stone circle, we were in a space that was at least four thousand years old, and Allan, our guide, was about to reveal some little-known facts about its real nature.
I took my place from the day before–the place with the small marker stone where the spiritual history said the ley-line’s female component came into the circle from the giant woman’s breast now revealed as the mist finally cleared on the western hills. I am skeptical about such things, too many people accept without experiencing; but, the day before, my right side had burned with an energy I had not felt, previously.
Not long afterwards I had taken a simple photograph of several of us wet with the streaming rain. In one half of the photo, reproduced below, there is clear image of the circle’s Maiden Stone, and a maiden’s face on it, together with a wolf. She is smiling and looks about to kiss the wolf…
The disconnected parts are beginning to form a whole, a whole that our guide is guiding…
He hands out a hand-drawn diagram of eight points which have an exact mapping to the celestial geography of the circle. For the Sun, they show the summer and winter solstices – the rising and setting positions of the Sun on the longest and shortest days. For the Moon, the marked positions of the stones’ alignments show the extremes of the southern moonrise and moonset; and the corresponding points for the northern equivalents. It’s a map of where to find, using the stones, the boundaries of the seasons and the light that goes with them.
“Forget what they told you at school,” he says, ensuring we were awake. “They said the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Rubbish…”
It’s hard not to grin when he does this. You know he’s speaking from a position of great knowledge. You sense that this professional man, whose career is centred on exactness, is about to say something precise. His shaman staff is white and quite short–a contrast to his own considerable height. He points it at a position in the South-East, where the horizon is hidden behind a cluster of young trees. “On the winter solstice, that’s where the sun rises.”
He moves his stick a relatively short distance across the imagined range of hills in the distance. “And that’s where the winter solstice sun sets…” he nods his head, remembering the yearly dearth of sunlight on that day. “…it’s a very short day, here in northern Scotland”.
“And because of that,” he continues. “the cycles of the moon were very important, indeed.” He pauses to survey the temple of the goddess encircled by his guests. “This is a temple of the moon…”
You could hear a rain drop falling.
I remember the ancient word for the sun and the moon: they were both referred to as luminaries. A luminary shines. Only thousands of years later would science reveal that the light of the Moon was a reflection of the Sun’s. A moon whose incredible rotation meant that, though it was rotating, it kept exactly the same face presented to the Earth at all times. For mankind’s living memory and deeply beyond, the ‘man in the moon’ has looked at life on Earth, while spinning once every twenty-four hours. For these ancient women priestesses, whose spiritual home this was, there were two suns…
With two suns, you could hunt at night, when the night wasn’t cloudy. This was a culture that knew two worlds.. intimately.
Maiden, mother, crone, the name of the Silent Eye’s weekend workshop… in the Maiden stone directly opposite me across the circle, Kissing Wolf is smiling.
To be continued…
Stephen Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit organisation that helps people find the reality and essence of their existence via low-cost, supervised correspondence courses.
His personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at stevetanham.wordpress.com