I have told this story at different times, in different places, to different people, but as I am hoping to arrange a group outing this summer, it has made me think of this place again recently.
Have any of you had a profound experience at a sacred site that you can honestly say changed your life?
This is mine:
To get to the huge stone circle at Arbor Low, you have to walk up through a farmyard, and always used to be greeted by a friendly border collie dog (I am not sure if this is still the case as I have not been for three years). Now I had been going to this site for at least 22 years the last time I went, and so I know this can’t have been the same dog as when I first went, but nevertheless, there one always was, ready to greet the visitor.
The first time I visited this site was 25 years ago, and I won’t say I was not a druid then, what I will say is that I had not realised I was a druid! I visited it with a friend, who later became my 2nd husband actually, but maybe I should have taken more note of what happened at Arbor Low, but no, if I had have done, I would not have had my beautiful daughter Emily.
So, why exactly did Arbor Low change my life? Well, I asked this friend to take me there (on the back of his large Italian motorbike!) because I was interested in ley lines and had been reading up on them and had realised that in the Peak District in Derbyshire, Arbor Low was where all these lines seemed to converge, or perhaps issue from, and I wanted to see if they could be felt. I don’t remember what time of year it was, but it was not cold, so must have been late spring or early summer I should think, but the thing was, we were the only people there. I stood in the centre of the circle, I walked round the edge, I explored every inch …………… and to me, the whole place was buzzing! The energy positively throbbed through the earth. I had never felt anything like it before!
All the stones seemed warm to the touch, and I was glowing. The thing that struck me as odd was that the person I was with felt none of this, I couldn’t believe it ……… how could he not sense this enormous amount of energy coming up through his feet. I tried to tell him about it, but he looked at me as if I was mad! So I began to think that maybe I was …… but there was no mistaking that this energy was real. Then, as I stood in the centre and looked out towards the distant hills, I could see faint lines running out along the ground, and as I turned, they were going out in every direction! They looked like lines of light on the ground,and they were only visible to me for a moment, which later made me doubt whether or not I had seen them at all, but as I stood there looking, they were as clear to me as the lines on any map.
This, I feel, was the afternoon that changed my life, changed my direction, set my feet upon the druidic path. I began investigating more, in addition to the leylines stuff, I found books on herbal medicine, and it was a short step, it seemed, from there to witchcraft, which is where I started out on a pagan path. By this time though, I was living with the person I had been to Arbor Low with, and when he saw the books on witchcraft I had taken out of the library, he made me take them back and forbid me bring any more like it into the house! I should have made a stand, but I didn’t ……….. but as soon as we split up a few years later, I started to research again, and haven’t looked back since!
I have been back to Arbor Low many times since that first visit, and have never again seen the lines, but I can always feel its incredible energy, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the time of year and also the number of people there. As the years went on, it seemed more people were visiting it again, and it was very rare in later years that we were ever the only ones there.
Last time we went, I noticed a disturbing trend which had been growing, seemed to be worse than ever, the need for people to leave their (albeit temporary) mark,
Although it is harmless enough I suppose, these offerings and artworks that people leave at these sites does seem to subtly alter the energies of the place, and personally I feel you should take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints. To me these are very sacred places, and should be left as we find them.