Meeting The Knaresborough Ravens

Knaresborough Castle

At the beginning of the month we visited Knaresborough Castle and had the amazing fortune of meeting the Knaresborough Ravens with their Raven Master. We had an interesting chat with her and found out all about the history of the castle and how the Ravens got to be there. She told us that:

“Not many people realise that Knaresborough Castle is actually a royal castle, King John to King Edward’s the 2nd and 3rd have stayed here, to this very day the castle still belongs to the English monarchy as part of the Duchy of Lancaster. This confuses a lot of our visitors. Why is a Lancastrian castle in Yorkshire? It has nothing to do with counties. The Duchy of Lancaster refers to the House of Lancaster, to the Tudor dynasty.

In 1999, I acquired a raven who was named after the main character in a children’s book I had written, at the time I knew the then raven master Mr Cope at the Tower of London.  He was very helpful.  I love history, and Knaresborough has so much, but many local children are not interested, I wanted to change all that, so made my story revolve around several historical places in Knaresborough, the castle, The House in the Rock, The Chapel of the Lady of the Crag, and of course Saint Roberts Cave where my story starts. My idea was to go into local schools to encourage children to read this story, and then learn the true history of the various places. I also wanted to take Ravenelf with me, but was unable to get the necessary public liability insurance.

He suggested I approach the Duchy of Lancaster, and the local borough council to see if I could take Ravenelf into the castle grounds, because then I could use the insurance that Birds of Prey displays use , only my cover would be for a raven. Not only did I get the relevant insurance, but I got permission from both the Duchy and the council.

Igraine Hustwitt - Ravenmaster

Then the following year again with advice from Ravenmaster Cope, I put forward the idea of being a Northern version of the Tower of London to celebrate the millennium, as the castle was part of the crown estate. This was well received and not only that but we got a royal raven chick from the Tower of London. So was born Knaresborough castle ravens. We were only going to be at the castle for a year, but the ravens went down so well we have been there for 15 years, we had a collection of 13 ravens but sadly that now stands at seven ravens.”

To read more go to http://knaresboroughcastleravens.webs.com/

Knaresborough ravens

We got to meet some of the Ravens and learn about their individual characters, one of which, an African one, instead of being all black has a white neck and breast and is often mistaken as a Magpie. Best of all we even got to hold one of them! The majesty and power of these birds made it a truly magical experience. I have always felt drawn to Raven energy so for me it really made my dreams come true to meet and hold one. Interestingly as they are still only young birds they are only  1/3 of their adult size. I look forward to visiting them again and seeing them as grow to full size.

If you are in the area and would like to meet her she is there Wednesdays and Saturdays through the Summer.

Raven Medicine

Raven medicine teaches us about the magical act of creation, internal magic and transformation along with miracle of a rebirth. Raven tells us to be aware of omens that become a harbinger of the mystical and exotic. He can show how to stir life without fear and teach to balance life’s playful aspects. Raven also brings in the light of awareness and knowledge with opportunities of great changes that are in store for you. Raven will teach how to usher in these new energies. He shows how to dive into the depths of the inner being to illuminate the true self. Are you ready to uncover past conflicts and long forgotten emotional issues? Raven will teach how to transform your spirit. From the deepest part of you healing begins. What has been in darkness will now emerge into the light.

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Walking With My Ancestors

Map pf Europe

As a unique way of celebrating our wedding anniversary Phil and I decided to have our DNA ethnicity tested. It is something which has fascinated us for a long time and with our interests in different cultures, spiritual paths and belief systems it would be interesting to see which ones we were linked to through our DNA

Once we returned our DNA kit we spent 6 weeks speculating where we may have come from. We received our results yesterday and much of it was a huge surprise, but there were also a few “Aha” moments too, and I guess more will follow in time as we explore more deeply. Interestingly for me was discovering that my main DNA was firmly rooted in Western Europe, with Ireland the second largest data base, while my British roots were incredibly shallow. Being born, and other than a few holidays aboard, living my whole life in one country it is incredible to think that the blood which runs through my veins is the result of so many of my ancestors all around the world, many places I never thought about yet alone visited. However, now with hindsight I have been able to see some parallels in my life.

I visited France very briefly many years ago, and although I have experienced past lives there and know my connection, in this lifetime, there was certainly a familiarity with it.

Spain, however, was another thing altogether, the first time I visited was a huge experience for me. I made a powerful connection to the place. In truth I was drawn to it even before I went, reading and watching everything I could about it beforehand. Once I arrived, even though I knew little Spanish, I quickly somehow seemed to understand the language. It all just felt so familiar to me, like I had come home. There was a familiarity with the people, the way of life, the whole energy of the country. When I returned to England I felt bereft, more than the usually post holiday blues, I felt as if I had left a part of myself there. I began to have powerful out of body experiences each night where I would find myself back there walking through the hills. I returned to Spain several times physically over the years and although it will always have a special place in my heart, I never had that kind of overwhelming experience again.

At school I found learning the German language very easy, perhaps this is a result of my DNA. I have never seriously pursued learning other languages but after this I might have another go.

I have always felt very drawn to Ireland, also a large part of my DNA. I look forward to visiting one day; I have some wonderful friends from there. I was born in England, my father is English with Scottish roots. My mother is half Welsh so the Celtic energies and ways have always been an influential part of my spiritual path.

I know religion, both Catholic and Protestant, is a recurring theme through my family tree, the church has formed the foundation of many of my ancestors lives. I was brought up a Christian and this is important to me, although I can’t say I agree with many of the ways of the church. I prefer to connect and worship in my own personal way.

The Fey has also been an important aspect of my spirituality since I was a small child; I really was the little girl who played with the fairies at the bottom of the garden, something which is close to the hearts of many Celts. I find there is something deep and timeless when I connect in my spiritual work, as if it has always been a part of me and now I know why. I studied Druidry with OBOD (Order of Bards, Druids and Ovates) for many years and this helped to strengthen my connection to my Fey path and also how taught me how to integrate different belief systems into my spirituality. Like many on a similar path to mine I consider myself a Celtic Shaman and by embracing my Christian roots I have an interest in Celtic Christianity. For me this provides the perfect blend of my two sides.

The Scandinavia connection is an interesting one for me as I feel drawn to Nordic energies and legends and often work with Freyja in my spiritual practice. Many of the countries I am connected to are part of the “Elen Ways” of how I work. Elen as an antlered woman is often called a deer woman, though there is only one deer species where the female has antlers and that is reindeer. Elen is The Reindeer Goddess of the tracks, these being the migratory ways of old; before the seas cut Europe off from Britain some eight thousand years ago there was a great forest and this connected one huge land mass. Along this stretched the great tracks and trails, where beasts and men moved with nature, rather than against her. These then were her Ways. She is also associated with Ley lines.

The Sami people are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area ofSápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sami are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and are hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe

One day I would love to visit these places and see how each affects me energetically now I am more advanced along my spiritual path. I think learning about our roots can really enhance all aspects of our life. There is something comforting knowing that we are result of the love of generations of people from all over the world. We often hear the terms we are all One and for me this really brings it home in a heartfelt way. We are all citizens of the world connected to one another. I am proud of who I am and below is the DNA which flows through my veins.

51% Europe West

Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein

32% Ireland

9% Great Britain

England, Scotland, Wales.

2% Europe East

Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia

2% Iberian Peninsula

Spain, Portugal

1% Finland/ Russia (northwest)

1% Scandinavia

Sweden, Norway, Denmark

1% West Asia: Caucasus

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey

1% Asia Central

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

 

vintage map of the world

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The Devil’s Arrows

Devils Arrows 1

On a beautiful sunny summer morning while on a trip to the Yorkshire Dales we stopped by a field in Boroughbridge and found ourselves in the presence of 3 magnificent standing stones known as the Devil’s Arrows. Originally believed to be either four of five in total, the other two removed either in the belief that treasure was buried beneath them or simply to be used as building materials many years ago.

The stones are believed to date back to either the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age period. The tallest standing stone is greater in height than those at Stonehenge and stands by the roadside among trees immediately on the west side of Roecliffe Lane, the other two are across the road in a field which is flanked by the lane which leads to Boddy’s timber yard and the Boroughbridge Marina. The lightest of the Arrows weighs over 25 tons.  These are all made of millstone grit which over time has worn away leaving various lines and indentations in the surface making them look as if they did indeed once streak through the air.

Also known as The Devil’s Bolts, The Three Greyhounds and The Three Sisters, legend says that up until the 8th century the fair of St. Barnabas was held near the stones on Midsummer’s Day each year. The standing stone became known as the Devil’s Arrows from an account of the Devil firing arrows of stone on a nearby Christian settlement at Aldborough. The area powerfully protected by the prayers of the faithful prevented any damage, and causing the “arrows” to fall harmlessly into a nearby field.  It was also claimed that walking 12 times around the stones anti-clockwise will raise the Devil.

It has also been suggested that the stones were erected by the Romans to commemorate some great victory and there certainly was a Roman fort immediately to the west of the stones. Others have attempted, without much success, to connect them to Ley lines. More feasible is the theory that the line was built in prehistoric times to align with the southernmost summer moonrise. Inevitably a religious purpose is ascribed to the stones more than any other. But it has also been suggested that they are monuments to the power or prestige of a local chief, that they are an avenue leading to a henge, or ford, or burial area. (http://www.boroughbridge.org.uk/Devils_Arrows_3069.aspx)

There are many other stone circles and henges in this area forming a large fascinating prehistoric area of great importance in the valley of the River Ure. I look forward to returning one day and spending more time in this area exploring the other stone circles and henges. Whatever the true story behind these stones the spiritual energy radiating from them was just incredible, forming a fascinating link between the past and the present.

Devils Arrows 4

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Beverly Minster – A Truly Spiritual Experience

Beverly Minster

Whenever we visit the busy market town of Beverley our trip is never complete without calling into Beverly Minster to escape the hustle and bustle for a few moments of peace and quiet reflection. Not only is the building an incredible work of art, widely recognised as one of the finest examples of Gothic churches in Europe, the energy of this beautiful place never fails to enthrall  me. I have visited many churches, cathedrals, and minsters over the years but so many have left me feeling unmoved energetically. There is often a feeling of aloof coldness that comes from them, as if you are somehow intruding and don’t belong.

However, there is something so friendly, warm and welcoming about Beverly Minster. The multitude of layers of faith and belief, strength and devotion, love and compassion built up over the years has such a soothing effect on my soul; as does standing in the presence of the shrine to St John.

John of Beverley (died 7 May 721) was an English bishop active in the kingdom of Northumbria. He was the bishop of Hexham and then the bishop of York which was the most important religious designation in the area. He went on to found the town of Beverley by building the first structure there, a monastery. John was associated with miracles during and after his lifetime, and was canonised a saint by the Catholic Church in 1037.

The minster owes its origin and much of its subsequent importance to Saint John of Beverley, who founded a monastery locally around 700 AD and whose bones still lie beneath a plaque in the nave. (Wikipedia)

We last visited the minster a couple of weeks ago taking lots of photos but the final one that Phil took we later discovered had captured so many orbs we were amazed. There was nothing in any of the other photos we had taken, just this one below. I love that there are some high above looking down, one clearly moving through and below several sat beneath as if they are praying. It made our visit extra special. I wonder if one of those was St John 🙂

Spiritual Orbs at Beverly Minster

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How to Activate & Use A Hag Stone

Hag Stone

While walking along the beach we were lucky enough to come across this beautiful Hag Stone. Some have one large hole through them whole others have several smaller ones. Ours has three, which was perfect for us as that day we had our youngest daughter with us so it felt as if it was a gift for all of us. We weren’t looking for one intentionally, and often if you are, you will never find one as they tend to find you when the time is right.

Hag Stones have been used for protection, charms, and other forms of magick for generations. You may have heard of them being called Holy stones, Holey stones, Wish stones, Fairy Stones, or Witch Stones. They were often hung on keys, doorways, over beds, or around the neck of a person or their animals (pets and livestock) to protect them from negativity and the influences of evil spirits. You may have even seen one featured several years ago in the movie Spiderwick, one of our favourites!

Ritually they can be used in weather magick for breaking up stormy weather. This is done by threading a cord through the hole and swinging it around you through the air visualising it breaking up the heavy clouds and strong winds.

The Element of water powerfully forms and at the same time protects the Hag Stone from adverse energies and enchantments. This very fact makes it an ideal amulet to wear or work with. Some use these for Faery work as it allows you access to their realm without them influencing you. Hag stones were also used as truth or pledge stones, when looking through these the wearer would know if the other person was being true to them.

Depending on where you found your Hag Stone it may determine the type of Fey you may be more inclined to see. If your stone came from the sea you may be more inclined to see the Fey who dwell there such as the Merfolk or other sea spirits. If it was found in a stream then you may see Water Nymphs and any other Dryads or woodland sprites.

If you are lucky enough to find a Hag Stone to activate the energies of it, leave it outside from sunrise to sunset to charge it with solar energy and then the same when it is a full moon to charge it with lunar energy. Anoint your stone with early morning dew; in fact very early morning is one of the best times to scry for Faeries, the other time being dusk. These are known as the in-between times, and while glimpsing into the realm of Fey you are entering in-between places with your Hag Stone acting as a portal. Place a dewdrop on each eyelid and one on your 3rd eye/brow chakra area to enhance your psychic abilities and attune you to the energies around you.

First you need to find a comfortable spot as this will take time and patience. Close or cover one eye and then gaze softly through the hole at the nature around you. You need to do this while in a state akin to daydreaming so defocus a little and relax. For those who used to enjoy looking at the Magic Eye pictures back in the 80’s and 90’s this is the same technique we can use to scry. To begin with you may find everything turns a little misty or hazy around you and your vision blurs, keep at it, this is part of the process. You may then see flickers of movement, flashes or light, or if you are lucky enough they may show themselves to you.

If you can’t see anything don’t be discouraged it may be that you need a little more practice or perhaps you need to try a different spot. Also like humans, some of the Fey are very private and not all may show themselves known to you. It can also help to bring an offering with you, this could be some food for the birds or other creatures around you, or you could gift a crystal or stone to the fey. Also helping the environment is important, keeping the area you are in clear of rubbish is more likely to attract them to you. If you are doing this in your garden look at planting flowers which will attract butterflies and bees, Faeries love those too.

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Express Angelic Intervention

Angelic Intervention article

Last week as we were on the train coming home from our trip we stopped at a station about halfway through our journey and were unable to continue for some time. The conductor, driver and other station staff joined them walking up and down the train examining all the doors and windows to ensure they were safely locked and still the safety mechanism in place refused to allow us to proceed with our journey.

It was very hot and crowded on the train, everyone was becoming restless and irritable, some were marching up and down trying to see what was happening, demanding answers from the staff. I realised with annoyance we would miss our connecting train and would have to wait another hour for the next.

Angelic Intervention article 2

To my surprise the next thing I noticed was an incredible sense of peacefulness and acceptance sweeping through me and I knew this was meant to be, that I was where I was supposed to be,right here, right now in spite of it messing up my perceived travel plans. I saw a golden shimmer pass me as it made its way down the aisle of the train accompanied by that overwhelming breathtaking sensation that Angelic contact brings. I knew that in this moment something important, something life changing was taking place for someone on this train or associated with the passage of it.

Perhaps by us stopping as we did we avoided a crash further up the line, or maybe an ill advised meeting someone had set up wouldn’t be able to take place. There may have been a child playing on the railway line, or someone considering ending their life. Or even by altering the timeline two people’s paths crossed for an important reason that otherwise wouldn’t have. I will never know the reason for our 20 minute delay and a part of me likes the magic and synchronicity in that. So next time you are delayed and miss out on something you think is so vitally important take a step back from the moment and the situation you are in, be thankful, and then be alert to see what other opportunity has been presented to you.

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