Silver Wheel Pilgrimage




While we are in the process of shaking our foundations with challenging planetary alignments, let us consolidate our understanding of where, why and how we pilgrimage in our beautiful landscapes and what they reflect to us of our own individual wisdom and truth.
Making reminiscences with pictures and reports are one way to channel our intuition like rivers and tree-roots, into the earth, and through recalling our deepest commitment to our Planet, we are grounding and holding in our heart-grail, a collaborative vision of ever unfolding harmony, wisdom and love.

The Gatekeeper Trust Annual Conference at Pewsey,
within the Capricorn Zodiac landscape:

This conference has been held in Pewsey within the ‘Millky Way’ of the Capricorn zodiac, for some years, and bit by bit we have been discovering the significance of this landscape with talks by Anthony Thorley, and pilgrimages to the River Avon. Within Peter Dawkins ‘Round Table’ design, this sign represents ‘The Consolidator and Initiator’. We follow this symbology as an inner quest round the wheel of life, in order to find our own creative power and wisdom.

Courtesy Peter Dawkins, 1984, graphics by Caroline Danby 2017.

Anthony Thorley discovered many precise alignments and symbols in the 20 mile diameter landscape centred on Upavon and the central position of Scales Bridge. In his view there could be found in this area a ‘prototype’ or ‘blueprint’ for the future Aquarian Age. What is this blueprint? Over the years since we explored it, the area has revealed itself to be very full of henges, stone circles and rivers, which created symbolic shapes accessible to the public. It is literally a publically significant area which contains the Rollright Circle, Henges under Oxford City, Avebury Circle, Marden Henge, Stonehenge, Amesbury henges and the ancient occupation of flint-makers’ village. In the North-West there are five spring sources of the River Avon and the remains of a stone circle under Alton Priors Church. In the original research, a chakric landscape temple was discovered which included King Alfred’s Journey of power and kingship, the Glastonbury Zodiac, and the Capricorn zodiac as the ‘third eye’ with Fosbury Camp on Haydown Hill as the crown.

Draft sketch of the Wessex Landscape Temple by Anthony Thorley 2003)

[LINK to article: ‘Wessex Landscape Temple’].

King Alfred worked to ground a blueprint of liberal, democratic education through translating Latin texts into Anglo-Saxon. What spiritual or evolutionary blueprint do we discover for modern times? How can we be inspired for the future in exploring the role of water in the landscape, and our own physical lives as spiritual metaphors for the future?

The Pilgrims’ Weekend 2019 at Oare, Pewsey Vale (Milky Way).

Following on this research, we held as our theme the Avon Valley ‘grail’ landscape, as it the river flowing South to Christchurch, Dorset.

The Rose, the Shell and the Avon Valley ‘Grail’
By Fiona Hopes.

The Sword in the Grail, by David Furlong,
An image representing the Wessex Zodiac and the Avon River Valley.

In 2019 our Pilgrims’ Weekend explored the Avon Valley landscape leading from Christchurch in the south, to Avebury and the Marlborough Downs in the North. David Furlong presented his findings of the Great Pyramid in these downs, which holds at its heart at the right place for the Kings Chamber, Temple Farm. This was called after the Knights Templar who were created by some of the great geomantic sages of the Medieval world, and seen as mystic warriors following a path of devotion to the invisible ancient wisdom traditions.

Wheel of Life pilgrimages to Winchester, St Catherine’s Hill and the South Downs

Within Capricorn we find Winchester and a chakric landscape temple reaching South East into the South Downs. Winchester could also be said to contain an important link to the South Downs Pilgrim Way. Coming up due South from St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight, is a North-South line through the British zodiac. Along with this are Gary Biltclife’s Elin and Belinus Lines, (‘The Spine of Albion’ 2013) which cross over just outside the East End of the Cathedral at a deliberately sculpted water shrine with two pillars and a pool This has been the focus of pilgrimage over the last three years of the Encircling the Land with Sacred Dance group celebrating Capricorn.

The following ‘Silver Circle water weaving pilgrimage (January 10th) in Hampshire, is reflected as a wonderful example of the precision timing that can happen when honouring the partial lunar eclipse and full moon

A Silver Wheel Pilgrimage in Capricorn January 10th 2020

Making connection with King Alfred’s ancestor trails, we traced an earlier pilgrimage in 1984 to the Meon Valley with its sanctuaries and sacred hills, river springs and barrows. We brought our Peace Lantern from St Catherine’s Hill along the chakric landscape to the South Downs Way.

OUR THEME: The sun in Capricorn symbolises the consolidator and initiator and the moon in Cancer symbolises guardianship holding and protection with good boundaries of protection and nurture.

OUR QUEST: What are good boundaries for our dream of beauty, and how do we consolidate our inner wisdom? These are question for our time of year, as we get ready for major planetary conjunctions that will bring open doors of commitment to the earth. As we initiate a new seed vision for 2020, how can we give it a form? Cancer the constellation where our full moon rises, represents our roots and creating safe, nurturing boundaries to our spiritual quest. How can we give our intuitive vision a protected channel, a crab-like heart-shield to carry us forward?

In this Winchester landscape we created a grail with our heart-field, balancing and blending as a group in a creative and playful way. Our aim was to create a ‘silver circle’ water weaving pilgrimage, working with Cancerian ancestor wisdom, the great boundary hills of the prehistoric Hampshire Highway with its barrows and mystery. This grail symbolised our own inner waters of love and inspiration: How can we channel our intuition, activate reminiscences and reflections on our subtle experience of the landscape’s messages for us, and take our next step into the future?

Winchester as a landscape came into being as a place of significant civilised community. We began at St Catherine’s Hill and spoke to the canal, the guardian tree and our inner senses, sharing insights, playing with Tibetan bowls, African drum and song, while the Peace Lantern held the roots in light.

St Catherine’s Hill seems to be a power point at the start of the North and South Downs, with a chapel in its crown, and an ancient maze – a reminder that William Rufus ‘an honourable pagan’ visited the hill before he went to the crusades.

Now it is connected to the city with both the Itchen canal and river, through the water meadows, past St Cross and in through the city walls at Eastgate.


The Rivers Itchen and Meon connected the root and crown of this landscape in the early Neolithic age when hill forts were places of settlement, while the valleys were places of water-shrines. Winchester developed from the re-settlement from Old Winchester Hill defences and barrows, becoming a Celtic water sanctuary whose altar (now in the British Museum) was dedicated to the ‘Mother Goddesses’ (Matronae) of Europe.

The Neolithic South Downs Way

We set out to create an adventure of connectivity, linking with the past, and making a silver wheel with the water to symbolise the qualities of intuitive inspiration and reflection. We were linking with a landscape of chakras, rivers and symbols that showed how our ancestors before us worked with the earth energy,

We met at the St Catherine’s Hill Café sculpture of a ‘musical bicycle’ which seemed to fit our lyrical theme of turning the silver wheel, a happy pilgrim image:

St Catherine’s Hill sculpture with bicycles and musical instruments,
we see ourselves as musical pilgrims weaving along a silver wheel of rivers.

Then we walked to the canal where the guardian tree and swans greeted us with our singing bowl and chants. We honoured the theme of the Cancer full moon: a ‘boat of light’ to carry our intent and vision, with cycles of tuneful at-tune-ment!

We sang to the swans on the Itchen Canal beneath St Catherine’s Hill.

THE ITCHEN CANAL – This is a Roman structure designed to stablise the foundations of a new city. Gathering at the canal at St Catherine’s Hill, we honoured the guardian tree, river and swans. We used our senses to reflect on the cycling of water, using the sound from our bowls and voices and flower colour and shape to carry an attunement with the element of air as part of the water’s own pilgrimage carrying oxygen for us and carbon dioxide for the trees. The trees circulate water into the air. The river reflects and ripples.... the swans float in their own reflections, I also felt I was like the swans in a kaleidoscopic synthesis of fantasies and observations. The sun’s rays of light creep through all the winter twigs and trunks, it is a landscape of shadowy mystery. The swan family connected with us, and the ripples they made carried our reminisces onwards.

The earth was muddy and wet. We gathered our reflections in our consciousness and celebrated cycling nature of water as being like our intuition, flowing and seeking form and focus…and we quested ability to circulate hold and protect our intuitive understanding represented by the midsummer Cancer point in the year when the full sun stands for our understanding. We were beginning to understand how to hold our intuitive vision, while we meet the need to be prepared for the planetary constellations on conjunctions that will open doors of transformation for humanity in two days time.

Swans stirring water reflections, as they come to listen to our chant.

We floated like the watchful swans, travelling along the Hampshire highway, past the Devils Punchbowl, Telegraph Hill, Beacon hill and recalled the story of light work done in the 1980’s by a small pioneer group of pilgrims, connecting Winchester with Old Winchester Hill. This is the original settlement. We recalled the story of ‘processions of ancient people’ chanting between hills, which ‘fertilises’ the valley with light. Our stories connected with the ancient mystery traditions of the science of earth energy and transformation.


The 2,000 year old yew and church are on the top of a large marrow – the guardian tree spoke to us of deep rooted protection and wisdom. The Yew Dragon peered out at us from its huge, gnarled and weathered trunk.

The ‘guardian’ yew dragon in the wrinkled trunk.

Nearby a tombstone displaying a saint holding a large anchor, which seemed to expressed our sense of connection with both Christian and Pagan ancestor roots.
Is this St Wildred?

The Churchyard of St Wilfred is situated on a large barrow
With the ancient yew of around 2,000 years old.

We took flowers and lanterns into the church, then blessed the river, the ancient yew tree and St Wilfred. As we finished, a lady who lived nearby approached us and was delighted to hear of our peace lantern walk. She told us of King Alfred’s sundial on the wall to the right of the porch and when we found it, we realised that it had eight spokes and must therefore have represented the older science of the seasonal festivals of the year. This natural wisdom pointed to older Pagan knowledge of the annual cycles, and the natural symbology of human initiation.

King Alfred’s sun dial or eight-point ‘wheel of life’?

It was wonderful to make that connection with local householders, as well as discover the secret wisdom that guided King Alfred in his revolutionary reign and advancement of literary civilisation. His sundial was more an eight pointed ‘wheel of life’, and this links to his ‘alchemical’ journey through Wessex

To complete our ‘wheel’ in the landscape, we travelled back up Wheely Down road. The angelic shape of the landscape between Old Winchester Hill and Beacon Hill is like a bird with its heart at Corhampton. We travelled up its wing along ‘Hanger Lane’ to it’s head and beak at Beacon Hill, then along the ridgeway towards Winchester, bathing in sun-moon light.

The bird in the landscape, had ‘Wheely Down Road along its back, signalling a sacred site in the downs. Its beak pointed towards Temple Valley, is throat at Beacon Hill signified ‘sounding the word’, Warnford Park at the back of its head-throat, hosts ‘St John’s House symbolising the ‘altar major’ through which the ‘word’ of inspiration is heard, its heart is at Corhampton after ‘core’ meaning heart, and its root is located at Old Winchester Hill.

The Meon Valley ‘dove’ linking Old Winchester Hill and Beacon Hill.

The Wolf Moon: Caught within the meeting place of rising Moon Light and setting Sunlight.

This is also the time of a partial eclipse, barely visible. The synchronous timing of Nature amazed and touched us deeply, as the final touch of our journey in attunement to the time, the place and our hearts.

The setting sun and the rising partially eclipsed moon, viewed
from the Hampshire Highway ancient route to the South Downs.

The return to create a full circle was powerful. As we drove we caught the sun as it was setting in orange-gold light and within a minute along the road we caught the moon rising. A miracle of timing that could never have been planned consciously.... it was a manifestation of the creation of perfect timing using intuitive flowing and reminiscing as a function of attunement with Nature and the landscape angel. The landscape bird’s beak became the final focal point for completing our circular silver journey and just after passing its triangular beak the sun-moon conjunction caught us up in its gloriously beautiful embrace of liquid gold light on which the pink balloon moon floated like a happy ghost of future glory. It is going to be a magical new year, and our grail felt full of a new synchronous wisdom. [Little did we know that the 2020 pandemic Lockdown would bring deep inner reminiscence – the planets had predicted a shattering experience, which we now integrate as a new spiritual tool of ‘holding our ground’ and the sacred home fires.]


Holding intuitive wisdom within the ‘grail’ of our heart, involves a questing mind that brings focus for transforming energy. We also stand in our own individual sovereignty, holding our sacred ‘self light’ within our heart grail. The concept of the grail cup is that it holds the waters loving of kindness, the grapes of sweet nourishment of friendship (agape) and the volatile spirits of inspiration ... as the metaphor of the water element is building up as an image for the intuition, channelling the intuition wisely like a river, through the paths of possibility, over the rough patches of challenging earth, guiding with the handlebars of wisdom, our chariots of emotion create a moving yet stable platform of creativity .... weaving as well as holding steady .... the Round Table is a great metaphor we can build on, as an inspiration for our inner wheel of questing and intuitive reminiscing.

King Arthur’s Round Table in the Great Hall, Winchester

Our linking pilgrims:

‘I especially loved the Yew Tree. Not far from where I live are the ancient yew trees of Kingley Vale. I always find them rather 'forbidding' possibly because many people go there and perhaps do not respect their presences.’ [Kingley Vale is under a sacred hill with a barrow, its trees around 2,000 years old]

‘The Yew Tree at Corhampton was welcoming and ‘enfolding’, or so I thought, a very feminine tree. I was a little sorry to see the busy road so close by and wished these ancient places were better protected. This is surely one of the reasons for the pilgrimages, bringing recognition both in the subtle spheres and in the human!’

Wolf Moon at Beacon Hill:

Angela: Visiting the Beacon Hill with her dog Twig on her way home, was a very magical meeting of the sunset-moonrise phenomenon between the trees.

Beacon Hill sunset (Angela Shaw).

The Wolf Moon partial eclipse viewed on Beacon Hill. (Angela Shaw)

Following our 2019 pilgrimage to this sacred meadow of five pools, Gail wove the silver water wheel of Capricorn to become an extension of the eclipse and solstice of last year, as well as contributing to the Hampshire Silver Wheel.

‘I went to Alton Barnes and Avebury with my sound bowl healer and choir leader friend Joanna, from Belgium on 9th January, and we did a little water blessing ceremony at the wonderful springs behind the churches at Alton Barnes. I also walked around the churches gently singing the Aramaic Lord's prayer/heavenly prayer, which I feel is a medicine prayer for the human condition, (as well as there being something very special and sacred about the Aramaic language, like Sanskrit). The water came up along the bed of the stream as it did at Blick Mead, from little sink-holes and seemed to respond - very bubbly. I have also been twice, with 2 different friends, to Salisbury cathedral and the wonderful tubular bell, which is situated in the Trinity Chapel, on the right side of the Prisoner of Conscience window and on the ancient energy spot there. I have recently been told the bell has a name, which I will share when we next meet. It feels perfect.’

Water blessing river north Esk at Roslin 15. 10.18,
And river Nadder Salisbury 31.10.18. (Gail Smaley)

River attunments during previous years, including following on from the Pilgrims Weekend at Oare, near Pewsey when we visited Amesbury, and Old Sarum in the Avon river valley. A small group visted the river source at Alton Barnes.

The Avon River floodplain.

The sword in the grail above Old Sarum (collage by Angela Shaw).

Old Sarum (Angela Shaw)

Salisbury spire from Old Sarum surrounded by water meadows.
The new city was built upon the river valley,
when the deep wells on the hilltop fort became inaccessible.

Linked river blessing at Bodenham, where the 5 rivers of Salisbury meet,
and the river Bourne taken at Winterbourne Dauntsey on 21. 1.19. (Gail Smalley)

A linking network

A small network of pilgrims were also travelling through Capricorn, visiting Alton Priors springs and Avebury, as well as between the Rollright Stone Circle (in the sign of Cygnus) and Bath. This is an example of how links can be made around the same dates, building the sense of a ‘silver wheel’ in the landscape. This ‘wheel’ represents how we channel our intuition, a silvery subtle energy of insight and open-hearted response to the beauty of Nature and its ancient sanctuaries.

Following this two weeks later, as another part of the 2020 Wheel of Life Project, a small group pilgrimaged with Peace Lanterns to the water shrine, after Peace Dancing in St Lawrence’s Church off the Close.

Throughout the Wheel of Life Project, pilgrimages in Capricorn have included the Avebury Stone Circle, the Cygnus landscape, The Rollright Stones, and Salisbury.
[See archives for more information: LINKS]

Charlotte Yonge and pilgrims, 2020

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