Stratford Upon Avon – Wisdom in the Land Pilgrims’ Day

The Stratford Pilgrims’ Day on 2/7/22 was a day of initiation and illumination into understanding the complex layering of myth, meaning, history and mystery which overlay this powerful landscape temple. In his morning talk, Peter Dawkins explained the symbolism behind the twin swans (which represent the mortal and immortal, the masculine and feminine, the seen and the hidden) and the connections to the cross (with its message of sacrifice, truth and love) and the rose. Peter’s research included Egyptian and British geocosmology.

Stratford Upon Avon marks Deneb in the British Zodiac, the brightest star in the sky, used for centuries for navigation. It lies on important leys, The Spine of Albion N/S alignment and the Oxford Spirit Path from Uffington (site of our previous Pilgrims’ Event). The two swans in the landscape extend from the Rollright Stones to Guy’s Cliffe near Warwick. The 2nd swan only revealed itself in the time of Shakespeare.

The townscape of Stratford Upon Avon has an energetic bow with string and arrow marked by buildings, monuments and ancient trees. The Guild Chapel and Church of the Holy Trinity are important energy points which both resonate with history and connection. The River Avon with its many swans runs alongside and leads to the Swan Theatre of the Royal Shakespeare Company. From here bards have passed on truth and wisdom over time.

The 20 Gatekeeper pilgrims started their afternoon tour tracing the bow in the town under rain-laden clouds. By the time they emerged from the Guild Chapel, the sun was shining and everyone felt positive and uplifted. The final stage of the pilgrimage was to follow the arrow sending out the accumulated energy to The Firs, mature trees that transmit it onwards. Significant trees, including a Cedar from Gethsemane, a dragon tree and an ancient willow featured on our route.

Stratford Upon Avon is at the very heart of England. Here Tudor and Elizabethan half-timbered buildings stand alongside modern edifices to culture and wisdom. Stratford continues to enlighten and inspire visitors. The Pilgrims’ Day felt very connected to the ancient and to new potential, to the land and to each other. Heart-felt thanks to Sarah and Peter for leading this wonderful event for the Gatekeeper Trust they co-founded.

The next Pilgrims Day will follow the Spine of Albion northwards to Alderley Edge and promises to be another inspiring pilgrimage with Gary Biltcliffe and Caroline Hoare on 17th September 2022.

Angela Shaw
Gatekeeper Co-Chair

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