I maintain a small circle of small stones in my back yard garden. When I moved in I was sure I would soon be bringing in a collection of huge boulders to raise up and do my rituals and meditations within. As I lived with the land here I learned that there is a reason it took my ancestors so many years to complete a great work like the standing stones I have visited in Britain and Ireland. To do it correctly takes reaching into magic that just isn’t possible to carry out rapidly because it is in tune with the speed at which stones respond and move. So I have abandoned grand dreams of tall stellae and have been slowly collecting and placing pebbles to carefully mark the important points that resonate with my family, with what I do in the circle and with the land it is a part of. It took four years until it was right to ask a beautiful piece of sandstone filled with fossilized shells that I carried back from a beach half a day’s journey from my home to become the first stone set into the earth so that it truly could be classified as a standing stone. The other stones are still laid in small cairns or arrangements at the locations that are right for them to sit.
Over the four years of waiting and learning, I have spent a lot of time inside the circle listening carefully. One day it became apparent that I needed to remove the little plants that were starting to grow within the circle. I wondered why this was so. As I did the slow and careful work of pulling each one out, then sweeping them into the compost, I received an answer. I offer it here for consideration.
Sacred places of the ancient past are often also places of death by virtue of the living things that would normally be present having been removed to create them. Stones in a circle set into bedrock such as the Nabta Playa, areas of land that were cleared with the Land’s permission such as the Nazca Lines or the Long Man and the interior of barrows all have this quality. Talking to Within and Below is easiest to do when the small music of growing things is silenced for a time. Visiting these places is the best way to hear the voice of the Earth speaking. That is also why people were buried in the megalithic structures, even after nobody remembered precisely why the were built. The presence of the silence and the sacredness of its position as a doorway could and can still be felt.
Places where a human can go and remain living while in the presence of deep silence are few. The only naturally occurring one is a cave. To find or build such a place is to be in relationship with a passage to the uninterpreted voice of the Mother of existence singing Her song in its undiluted form.
So I clean my circle now even more often. And I do not speak while I do it.