12 noon, local time,
Sunday, 5th July, 2020
Sun in Cancer, Moon in Capricorn
“I build a lighted house and there in dwell” – Alice Bailey
Whilst the sun is in Cancer, Local Contact for the Peak District, Vicky Wade, takes us with her on one of her regular ‘walk and talk’ pilgrimages in her land…bring a thermos and good boots! (Many thanks Vicky, for your wonderful photo @Moon-rise at Arbor Low’.)
“Arbor Low is often given the soubriquet ‘the Stonehenge of the North’, but it is actually nothing like the unique temple on Salisbury Plain. For a start it lies 1200 ft above sea level on a barely discernible plateau. It contains no huge sarsen stones 13ft high but recumbent weathered limestone ones, some deliberately broken, nestled on a platform surrounded by an ovoid bank and ditch. From above it seems to resemble a clockface with a strange indented mound at’ 5 ‘clock’ and two of the largest stones positioned centrally where the clock hands would be fixed.
The stones themselves vary in shade depending how warm the summer day is and can appear white or a light grey. One stone to the west side is considered to be standing. It is not upright but the side jutting inwards towards the centre is still inches from being totally recumbent. The rest have strange weathered markings, the remains of drilled holes, ghosts of fossils and pale lichen stains.
The monoliths rest on a platform surrounded by a rockcut ditch and the earthwork or ‘henge’. The one here is elliptical and has two portals. If you enter from the North west side you will see in front of you the stones and the other entrance but no feature above the bank. A blind horizon. In contrast if you enter from the Southern entrance you have a great view of the northern landscape which contains some interesting mounds, cliff edges and hillside notches.
In the Gatekeeper Trust British Zodiac Arbor Low is found in the watery star sign of Cancer. However, in terms of the geology of the landscape around it, especially at midsummer, there is very little of the element naturally occurring nearby. The River Lathkill in the nearest Dale a couple of miles to the East often disappears in summertime. This is partially due to the legacy of lead mine workings, however the river is special to the region as its entire 6 mile course runs over limestone.
Cancer is connected with The Guardian and the monument overlooks several ancient routes and much older manmade funerary monuments such as the Minninglow (which is highly visible and can be seen from parts of Staffordshire and South Yorkshire) and the obscured Ringinglow long barrow. Arbor Low was also rediscovered by Jill Smith to be central to the Gypsy Switch as part of the travelling peoples’ seasonal round. Another interesting point is that in geodesic terms the monument forms a gigantic right-angled triangle across the land with Glastonbury and yes…Stonehenge.
Our party arrived on a very warm day and before entering Arbor Low made our way to Gib Hill a mysterious mound made up of layers of organic materials like a mini Silbury Hill which rests on the remnants of a flattened long barrow.
On the crown of the mound is a kist cover, part of a stone box which contained cremated remains from around 1,600BCE.The name Gib may have arisen from the placement of a gibbet close to the ancient track known as the Street which intertwines with the modern day A515.
Also visible from Gib Hill is low earthern ramp. Although partially obliterated by ploughing, a bird’s eye view would show that it appears to form a crescent through the surrounding green fields before it gently collides into the side of the henge. The whole complex is situated in an epic geography and skyscape with an open and upward feel as though there is a cone of energy rising above…a fine place for a Gatekeeper lantern to glow.
We moved a few miles to the south west to experience Lud’s Well which is mentioned in the Domesday Book. This is a holy place which is found close to a narrow lane that passes through the quiet valley of the Upper Dove river. To call it a well is perhaps a misnomer, as there is no trough or manmade structure but a spring which issues out of a cave that lies beneath a small tree covered cliff. The name Lud can be interpreted in 2 ways as either the ancient Celtic god Lud, or as ‘loud’.
When the weather is dry the water that flows out of the rocky cleft can be heard to bubble up making a noise similar to that of an office water dispenser. However, on the day we visited, the spring was vibrant and fast flowing. One could feel the negative ions in the atmosphere among the peaceful surroundings only disturbed by an occasional sheep grazing and one of our party enthusiastically blowing a horn whilst paddling towards the mouth of the cave.
Our last stop of the day in the Upper Dove valley was to the mysterious castle of Pilsbury. Historically nothing much is known about the area but there are enough humps and hollows in the landscape encompassing the motte and bailey remains to show it was a settlement probably created in the reign of King Stephen to emphasise the border of Derbyshire from Staffordshire and to defend the old route which is traceable towards the Dragons Back. This name is applied to the distinctive hills of Chrome and Parkhouse which millions of years ago were a coral reef and now are so outstandingly weathered as to be associated with a mythic creature.
A closer inspection of the castle reveals it incorporated a natural feature into its defences, a tall pinnacle of rock. A thousand years before the castle was considered a necessary addition, this outcrop would have been highly visible, a sort of sentinel rising out of the valley floor. Perhaps it was once revered as a giant that contained the spirit of the place.
As we sat on the castle bank, we pondered how many people had passed this way and their purpose. Hunters, soldiers, pilgrims, traders…all treading alongside the waterway. This border location seemed liminal and transcendent. A region where telluric forces meld with those of a rivers course. And that day our merry band had the luck to experience it all in full sunlit awareness.
With thanks to Vivienne and Mike Newton for the photos.
THEME FOR REFLECTION:
We celebrate the dance of the Sun in Cancer representing our inner ‘Guardian’, with the moon in Capricorn our inner ‘Consolidator and Initiator’. As we quest for good boundaries, we realise that our collective wisdom of our ancestors provides good grails of support from which to initiate new plans for ‘love in action’: research, reflect, ask ourselves ‘What is the common good, is this inspiration good, true and useful?’
The landscape inspires…here are some personal musings…
Consolidating our understanding, provides good boundaries to our dream of beauty, love and harmony, this is perhaps a ‘lighted house’…a personal pool of calm and peace in which intuition can develop into vision.
Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson
from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Capricorn Moon: ‘The Consolidator/Initiator’ quests how we consolidate our collective wisdom and learning from our cultural roots in the landscape of Cancer. This sheds light on protecting our intuitive dream of harmony and beauty, as we celebrate the shape, pattern and position of landscape structures and sanctuaries in relation to an ancient cosmology. Collective wisdom sheds light on the eternal Truth.
There is so much to learn about the land…here are related articles with further experiences and research. Enjoy!
“Was King Alfred one of our ‘sun kings’ who established a kingdom and a language for the European diaspora into Britain?” https://gatekeeper.org.uk/2020/06/king-alfreds-landscape-journey-to-kingship/
“As we are questing ‘how can I embody our inner Guardian?”
Overview of the landscape in Capricorn…
Silver Wheel – Capricorn (Winchester)
“We hope that you have enjoyed your visit!
Charlotte Yonge, GK Trustee
With thanks to Vicky Wade, Local Contact, and Anthony Thorley, GK Elder, for their extensive research into their landscape; and Editors – Vivienne Newton, Vicky Wade and Jane Withers.”