The Gatekeeper Trust – a brief history

The Gatekeeper Trust was founded in 1980 by a group of people including the late Sir George Trevelyan, Stanley Messenger and Peter Dawkins. Individuals and groups in many parts of the country have been exploring and walking the Earth in a new and yet ancient way for more than thirty years.

At this time when we are desecrating our planet as never before, there is a real need to rediscover our connection with our environment, to be in tune with the landscape at a deeper level, and to realize how it affects us, and we it.

It is known that we are affected mentally and emotionally for the better by living in peaceful and beautiful surroundings. Each of us knows at least one place where we feel special – somewhere that makes us seem more alive, more truly ourselves. It is here that we connect with the spirit of place and find universal harmony. By going to places to which you feel drawn, and offering your healing love through meditation, dance, song and prayer, or whatever feels right, places and communities can be transformed, atmospheres made lighter and more harmonious. Often a corresponding change takes place in you too! “We live in the landscape and the landscape lives in us.”

Just as acupressure can restore the healthy flow of vital energy in humans, so walking with awareness can help Mother Earth. Historically, caring for the Earth through pilgrimage formed a central core to society. Many old pilgrim routes or Druid track-ways still exist today, especially to and from sacred wells and abbey sites, which were frequently revered places long before their monastic pasts. In medieval times pilgrimage routes were established all over Europe. The Australian Aborigines still walk the ‘song lines’, following and listening to their landscape. Walking in a simple, sacred way can enhance the Earth’s natural energies, helping to bring healing and balance to the environment and to the Planet as a whole.

These activities reveal the importance of experiencing the Earth as a living Temple and the landscape itself as a Kingdom of lesser temples. Such temples, visible to the sensitive as living etheric forms and power centres, await only the Light of human consciousness to burst forth into renewed Life appropriate to our times and tasks.

As Peter Dawkins explains, “The overall archetype of all sacred form (ie a ‘temple’) consists of three principle archetypes: the Wheel of Life, or Mandala; the Chakra System; and the Tree of Life. Every temple, natural or man-made is based on these three design principles. Every natural and human form of life is designed according to and is striving to express these three principles in their fullness. This includes the landscape as well as the whole Planet and each human being (with freewill to strive for such an expression, or not). Like ourselves, the world is in a process of evolution that is manifesting this archetype gradually, stage by stage, in cycles of progressive development and unfoldment. When each form reaches its fullness of expression, it transmutes (ie resurrects) into a body of light – a temple of light, referred to in Western tradition as ‘Solomon’s Temple’. Such a body of light consists of shining, exquisitely structured etheric substance. The process by which this occurs is alchemical.”

Many of these temples, whether discernable as physical features of the landscape, eg stone circles, dolmen and cathedrals, or more subtle elemental places, remain to be discovered and acknowledged. All are formed out of the very substance of the Earth itself, rock and stream and waterfall, woodland and hill and herb, all consorting together and interacting with the angelic realms; “as above, so below” – a myriad of sacred centres as varied as our own organic centres of crown and brow, speech and heart, plexus and gland, and deepest kundalini power. We have not so much to dig for these temples as to develop the insight to see them. Connecting with our own guides and the guardians of spirit of place can have a powerful effect.

The Gatekeeper Trust welcomes the interest and support of all who respond in their hearts to the adventure of Temple seeking and renewal, or simply enjoy walking with mindfulness. We not only exchange consciousness with the land, but also explore history, mythology, archaeology, poetry and the arts, and their relevance in today’s changing world. We have a programme throughout the year of local and national events. Groups frequently meet at the equinoxes and solstices and other traditional festival times to celebrate The Wheel of the Year through pilgrimage. Journeys through the outer landscape can create within us new frontiers of inner perspective, new depths of potential within ourselves. The Earth has an abundance of simple gifts to be enjoyed and released within us.
We invite you to discover them with us.

The Butterfly is our symbol – the Gatekeeper or Hedge Brown has orange-brown wings and a black spot with two white pupils on its forewings. Known for its guardianship of gates and hedges, it is most often seen as one goes in and out of fields and woods and along roadside verges. The butterfly is the Earthly partner of the elemental kingdom, its presence frequently accompanies us on pilgrimage – a sign as one crosses the threshold of a sacred place and seeks permission to enter. Engaged with the fairy and nature realms, the butterfly reminds us of the alchemical transformation of Earthly substance, keeping the Temples mysteriously tended and alive for humanity to rediscover.

Roma Harding, Gatekeeper Friend