Galway - Ireland
According to legend, the healing properties of the natural thermal springs at Bath were “discovered” by King Bladud around 863BC, when his skin disease was cured after bathing in the waters (or possibly when his pigs were cured of leprosy after a romp in the mud, depending who you ask). Today, the springs can be enjoyed in two ways: by touring the 2,000 year old Roman Baths, and by experiencing the mineral waters firsthand at the nearby, state-of-the-art “Thermae Spa.”
We arrived after a fairly harrowing time negotiating the trains, during which we were rerouted out of our way to Didcot Parkway (however as soon as we pulled in and saw the nuclear power plant situated less than a mile from the station, we knew we were there on a Divine Mission and happily sat on the platform playing guitar, singing and dropping flower essences until our train arrived). We were also suffering from a mild case of PRD (Post Reunion Depression), so we decided it would be in our best interest to start at the Thermae Spa, a futuristic building of glass and stone appearing like an alien mother ship that’s landed among its historical honey-stoned neighbors. There, we were tempted to use the provided foam noodles at the Minerva Bath as light sabers- or alternatively, laser controls for our rocket ships- but we figured that wouldn’t be appropriate in a spa setting. Instead we enjoyed floating in the built-in current and ogling the city views from the rooftop pool, followed by a visit to the Steam Room, where each chamber had a different aromatherapy scent!
First thing the next morning it was off to tour the impressive Roman Baths, followed by the most mysterious (and mystifying) part of our Mystery Tour: getting around in our rental car. As I am dangerous enough behind the wheel of a manual even under normal circumstances, Marlon the Manual Master deftly tackled driving on the left side while I “navigated,” which essentially involved frantically scanning signs as we entered a roundabout and then screaming, “Right!” or “Second Left!” or “I have no idea—go around again!” And around we’d go. (For whatever reason the English rarely put compass directions on their signs, such as East or West; they say “A330 towards Brandyshire” or “R597 towards Wheedleton,” so essentially if you don’t know your England geography, you’re royally screwed. Additionally, there are no signs indicating what road you’re actually on at the moment, so you might think you’re on the A330 towards Brandyshire, but in fact you’re on the A445 towards Sheepbury, and the only indicator you’ll ever have of that is when arriving in Sheepbury going, “#$%*!”)
Next on the itinerary was a night in the New Age-y hamlet of Glastonbury, which aside from being considered one of the planet’s most potent spiritual energy centers, is believed to be the mythical Isle of Avalon and the hiding place of the Holy Grail, among other things. We found the village a bit claustrophobic and the “vegetarian” restaurants somewhat of a joke, at least as far as breakfast is concerned (tofu sausage, beans and mushrooms, anyone? How about some 25% juice?), but the legendary Tor did not disappoint! I practically danced up the 521 ft. high hill, frequently pulled off the path to converse with the sixth-dimensional Ladies in White, priestesses of Avalon, and the third-dimensional sheep (who were actually one and the same). Afterwards we refilled both our water bottles and our spirits at the impressively beautiful and serene Chalice Well & Gardens, before it was back to the roundabouts!
We pulled into Avebury in the early evening, when the sun was low enough to give the standing stones a warm candlelight cast. (They say in ancient times, Glastonbury and Avebury were linked by a sacred track, which is now a narrow country highway… Was that the route we took? We have no bloody idea, but we like to think it was!) As promised, our B&B—along with a portion of the village—was actually inside the monumental stone circle, which was additionally quartered by the main road and highway (one can only assume the village was built during a time of anti-pagan sentiment… ya think?). We spent all that evening and the next morning playing among the stones— and with the sheep, who served the material purpose of keeping the weeds down and the spiritual purpose of acting as guardians to the site. Periodically one of them would baa plaintively for up to several minutes, until answered by another sheep across the field; then the first sheep would break into a mad dash, throw itself to its knees before the second sheep, and start suckling wildly, its cotton ball tail wagging like a puppy dog’s the entire time! (Sometimes two would even do this simultaneously, to great effect.)
While the presence and energy of the individual stones was still very much intact and they each had a distinct personality I would have happily chatted with all day, the energy and integrity of the circle as a whole felt markedly broken, or nonexistent. (Apparently the majority of the stones were buried or moved by the medieval church and an archaeologist restored the henges to the best of his ability in the 1930s.) To the best of my own ability, I redrew lines and filled in gaps in the circle with flower essences, and Marlon and I laid our hands on the stones and whispered to them.
Around noon the next day we hiked across the cow pastures to view Silbury Hill, the largest artificial mound in Europe, believed to have been built to represent a pregnant goddess. However as soon as we arrived we were distracted by something imprinted in the wheat field on the other side of the highway. “Look…” “What the…” “Is that a… ?”
I always imagined that when I saw a crop circle it would be like lightening: a hair raising, flesh pimpling, electric zing of higher consciousness, and that sense of being touched by something greater and beyond one’s understanding that leaves a lasting impact (I’ve had a similar experience even just viewing images of genuine crop circles). We stood on the hill gazing over at what appeared to be a crop circle before our very eyes, and we said: “Hm.”
“It looks like ET Junior got a hold of Daddy’s toys,” Marlon remarked. The shape did seem rather elementary: a solid circle surrounded by two rings. And the edges seemed… sloppy. Things were further confused when a local man came by walking his dog and said, “Oh yes, that’s a crop circle. The man who used to make them died a few years ago so I don’t know who’s doin’ ‘em now, but there you go.” The man who used to make them died a few years ago?! With a statement like that, we could have just as easily been talking about ceramic squirrels as massive geometric shapes mysteriously appearing in the middle of the countryside.
Nonetheless, we had to go see for ourselves. And ladies and gentlemen, I am sad to report that it was a genuine “crock circle”: the wheat stalks were broken, big tufts were sticking up all over the place, and above all, it just felt energetically dead and uninteresting, like tractors and smirks. I was heartbroken, and sulkily complained to the heavens, why couldn’t I see a real crop circle… to which I received the rather wry reply that the girl who sees spirits and talks to rocks isn’t really their target demographic! I’m here to do the waking, not have the luxury of being woken. And— there would be other opportunities.
Last on our itinerary was of course, the quintessential site of Stonehenge. Initially I was horrified by the thick caterpillar of bodies carouseling around the monument, however once we made the commitment to go in, we flew on angel’s wings, in full MarandAr Style: a couple on the way out handed us their tickets so we had free admission, and we magically had a good five feet of personal, tourist-free space directly in front of the henge for picture taking (or perhaps we were just that smelly)!
It's been a week or so out in the Wild Irish West, without (convenient) Wi-Fi... We are in the edgy bohemian city of Galway now, with a couple more nights on the Emerald Isle before we head back to the England capitol for our final few days before flying out. Apparently there are riots in London (how unEnglish!) so we may spend our time hiding out in our B&B on the outskirts... I will be disappointed if we do not make it to the Tate Gallery and some other quintessential city sights, but on the plus side, I may be able to actually finish up the trip, Log-wise, before we leave European soil!
Love and genuine Irish blessings to all of you,
Arielle & Marlon
Vibrational alchemist, writer, artistic mystic, pack mama and spiritual adventurer living in The Goodland - Goleta, CA. Creator of Lioness Energetics.
*Disclaimer: The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and none of these products or content herein are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please use my products responsibly, as an adjunct to any medical treatment or other care your body requires. You know what is best for your own healing.
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