So about a year ago, maybe a bit longer, I started going to a spot down the road from me where a small river runs. Well, more of a stream than a river I guess, let’s just go with a running body of water. Anyway, to get to the actual water I needed to climb down to it, and there wasn’t any general access that I could immediately see. The other issue was that I needed to make sure the Land Spirits didn’t gobble me up because when I started going to the spot I would get to a certain point, several meters from the actual river in fact, and it was like walking into a fog of energy. My head would start to spin and I could feel the power of the place.
Because of that I took several months to just visit, give an offering, and sit a distance away, letting the Spirits of Place get to know me, and understand that I would not be a threat. There is a large tree that is the focal point of the area, and at its base is a hollow. This is where I leave the offering, which is often milk. It felt appropriate and I felt like that is what they were asking for.
This is the tree, which I started calling The Crone Tree.
The Crone Tree
Anyway, that was the general flow of things, and then when winter came I stopped going to the river. When spring was on the horizon I decided to pay the Spirits a visit. What I found interesting was that everything was still asleep. We often think of the Land in winter to be dead, but it didn’t feel dead, it was in slumber, waiting for life to start surging again, for the Serpent to awaken in the Land.
I gave the usual offering and sat a distance away from the river for a few weeks. I then felt I had the permission of the Spirits to explore a bit more, so I found a spot further down where I could safely climb down into the river/stream bed. There is however a spot further up that is the spot I wanted to get to, but there wasn’t access to it. I did however decide to go from this new spot at the river bed over to the other side. It was a bit of climb but luckily there were some sturdy trees growing out of the side of the embankment, so I had something to climb up. I walked up the river on the other side, a short distance and found access down the embankment, again climbing on trees and roots to get down. Almost got my foot stuck in one of the roots, but made it safely down. Then I was at the spot that I wanted to get to. It felt like I was home, however there was a lot of trash.
I made a promise to come back every week and start to clean up. This however didn’t quite happen. I would either forget to take rubbish bags with me or I just got plain lazy, and sometimes my ego just said, “We’ll do it next time.”
Today however, I left my place at just after 5am and walked to the river. Sunrise was at 5:30ish so by the time I got there, the sun was up and shining, although it was very overcast today. I did remember a rubbish bag and gloves, so I was prepared and decided to not make any excuses today. On the previous visit where I managed to get down to the spot I was trying to get to, I did find an easier access which is hidden from plain sight when you are standing at the top, so I now have a way to climb down without putting my ankles or my life at risk.
I climbed down and had the intention of taking some photos of before and after. When climbing down I get onto a small concrete man-made dam like structure where the water runs from one level to the other, but because of the control of it, I can easily step across and then walk down and jump across rocks etc.
I was about to step off this man-made structure and walk down the river to my spot when I was faced with a wall of energy that was so tangible and visceral that I couldn’t move. When I say visceral, I mean you could feel it twisting your guts and making your head spin so much your vision blurs. It was so strong that I feared for my life if I tried to ignore it. The message was clear. I promised to clean up, now I need to prove it, and unless I took the rubbish bag out of my bag and start picking up the trash, I was not allowed to go any further. I did just that and picked up an empty spray can, put it in the bag and my head stopped spinning.
Lesson learnt, don’t promise the Spirits something and then think you can get away with not doing it. I did however underestimate the amount of rubbish that was there. I filled that one bag and there was probably another 3 or 4 that I could have filled. So, next week I will continue.