There are alignments that happen in life in which you truly feel the presence of magic, even if you are unfamiliar with such things. For most people the feeling is associated with awe, Druids would call it Awen.
Awen is the spirit of creativity, and Druids believe that for anything to manifest there must first be a moment in which thought is transformed into being. We have all experienced it. For some experiencing Awen is accompanied by goosebumps, for others there is a deep sense of knowing. Like when you wish upon a star, and know that wish will come true. It is a time of deep magic.
I experienced such a moment while visiting the Piper Stones in County Wicklow, Ireland.
We had traveled through the Wicklow Gap with our host, the O’Hanlons. The gap itself is quite stunning, with mountains covered in icy mist and winds that could easily knock you off balance. It was a place of raw energy, that made me think of the difficulty early man endured…for I was wearing a long raincoat, an insulated under jacket, and high leather boots. Early man had traveled through such terrain wearing nothing more then sandals, scraps of wool wrapped around their legs, and woolen cloaks.
The Piper Stones, also known as the Athgreany stone circle is not a tourist destination. http://www.megalithicireland.com/Athgreany%20Stone%20Circle.html There is no monument center, or tour buses. It is relatively unknown to anyone but locals, or those obsessed with such things who know how to Google search. There is a small sign on the side of the road, next to a pull off, and a short walk through a field populated by sheep.
The circle is on the top of a small mound, overlooking the surrounding fields. It consists of 14 granite stones, most standing upright but a few lying down. There were originally 17 stones, but 3 are now missing. In early days, farmers often re-purposed stones for use in stonewalls and the likes. Along with the stones, there is a beautiful Hawthorn Cloutie tree https://salicrow.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-cloutie-tree/ present in the circle.
The Piper Stones was one of two stone circles I visited on this trip to Ireland. As much as I love them, my visit was filled with other sacred spaces, such as the Giants Causeway, the Blarney Stone, Newgrange & Knowth. So naturally getting to stand within the stones was powerful for me, as stone circles are often aligned to astronomical and earthly locations. They were places of worship, particularly by those with a close relationship to the earth.
I placed my prayers among the Hawthorn cloutie tree, and opened myself to the energy there. I gave offerings and sang songs of Spirit. It was powerful, and I felt truly blessed.
photo credit-meagan o’hanlon
When as I stepped away from the Cloutie tree, I saw another Hawthorn down in the field and it called to me. To say it called to me, means that I felt its presence from a distance. I knew it wanted me to visit it as well, and I knew that in many ways it held deep personal magic for me.
As I approached the tree, I began to sing to it. I noticed that plants grew at its base, plants that I knew to be sacred, known for their healing powers and magical potency…nettle and holly surrounded the base of the tree. I reached out to the touch the tree, feeling that my presence was welcome, and it communicated to me that I was allowed to harvest thorns from it.
Hawthorn is a magical tree, with a deep connection to the Fairy folk, it is said that one should never take anything from a fairy tree; particularly one standing in a field by itself, unless permission is given. My advice here is “If you are unclear to whether permission is given or not, then it is not!”
In my case permission was not only given, but instructed. I was allowed to take take 7 thorns for myself (the Hawthorn tattoo on my left shoulder has 7 thorns on it), 3 for my sister, and 8 for the magical family, I reconnected to in England last year.
I was deep in trance as I collected the thorns, singing and listening as I went. I was completely in tune with the tree, knowing that I was taking part in a magical blessing and receiving a powerful gift. After collecting the last thorn, I looked up from the tree and saw a rainbow before me, or the end of a rainbow more accurately. Seeing this brought tears to my eyes and reinforced my belief that I was receiving a great blessing.
As I was down in the field near the Hawthorn tree, my husband and our host/friends were standing in the stone circle. The rainbow was fantastic from where they stood. They told me later they had tried to get me to turn around for the picture, but I was too deeply involved in my work to hear them. I think the picture is better this way, as it shows the nature of what was really going on.
Small acts of magic happen all the time, but most of us miss them. Sometimes though we are blessed with exceptional moments of spirit, that we simply cannot help but see for what they are. My time in the Piper Stones was one of those moments. I am sure to return there in the future.
An interesting fact about the circle is that when we arrived there was a local man rolling up a yoga mat. He said he came there daily to meditate. What a joy that must be.
I hope you enjoyed the read folks. I will be back in the States on September 13th, ready for the Mabon season and my work with the Beloved Dead.