Archive for October, 2013

21st Century Labyrinths

Late this summer I went with a friend to have a look at some of the crop formations in Wiltshire this year, something I used to do regularly over ten years ago. I always thought this phenomenon would become bigger and more organised, especially in England, and indeed a new information centre ( has been formed, organised in such a way that farmers get compensation for any losses sustained by visitors and by the formations.

As it turned out, we were too late, the pick of the season were gone and we settled for a nonetheless fascinating time in Avebury.  Since the 1990s  I have had a lot of encounters, exploring this phenomenon, and a lot of adventures which maybe one day I’ll relate in a book. Each formation I went into – ah, Freudian slip there.  I meant to say ‘went to’ but the truth is one enters these places in order to understand them, it’s not just a case of visiting them like a tourist. Of course, there are many views and theories regarding this phenomenon, and an amazingly high number of people who are convinced they have the whole truth, whatever that truth is. People in the past have slipped up here regularly, pronouncing formations ‘authentic’ which were then proven to have been done by hoaxers; or hoaxers claiming to have done some which demonstrated complex geometrical theory, knowledge which the hoaxers did not actually possess. And then there are the farmers, many of whom I spoke to, who were very aware of when people were and were not on their land at night. Sometimes the formations appeared when they were adamant no one had been there.  Personally, I’m not bothered what is causing the formations – and there are a lot more now, it’s a worldwide phenomenon, many of which are not reported even on the internet – I am more interested in how they are aesthetically and experientially.  Here is a case in point:

The images here are taken from which really goes to town with esoteric analysis. My own take on these is more direct.

Both formations appeared near Barbury Castle in Wiltshire in May 1997.  Soon after they appeared, I saw them on the internet and immediately dismissed them as hoaxes’. The cog formation was simplistic, and the Tree of Life could have been taken from any basic book on magical symbols. They were obviously done by people who had nothing better to do that night. (What’s wrong with just sleeping, I don’t know.) However, I myself had nothing better to do that day and so decided to go and take a look. ‘It got me out of the house’. The weather as I recall was pretty horrendous, and had been all week, so it wasn’t going to be pleasant driving.  I also had a television advert stuck in my head.  The advert showed two children sneaking into their father’s office and accessing the computer, where they find a programme going into all the details of a supposedly amazing car.  As they’re doing this, they don’t see their father arriving home, looking stony-faced and serious – not a man to be messing with.  He enters the house silently, then surprises the children who look up from the computer – BUSTED!  Then his face relaxes into a smile and he says, ‘What do you think?’ about the car on the computer, and the children relax.  It was an annoying advert to get stuck in my head, like one of those jingles that just won’t leave, and I had no idea what it was doing there.  But it accompanied me for the whole trip.

I didn’t have the precise coordinates of the formations but had found Barbury Castle on the map, and as it was an Iron Age fort high above the Wiltshire landscape I figured I could see the formations from there.  I was half-right.  The ‘cog wheel’ was visible to the west but not the Tree of Life.  As an experiment though, I decided to dowse and see what I could pick up. I had done so before around formations and often sensed (Third Eye-wise, that is) a vibrant straight line of energy emitted from these formations in the past. Here indeed I found a  line emanating from the cog wheel and running across/through the castle.  The line seemed to be bright silver in my mind.  I walked around the castle until discovering another silver line, this time more towards the north.  I was convinced it was coming from the Tree of Life.

On driving back down from the castle, I went first to the cog wheel.  Inside the formation I experienced none of the ‘bliss’ that often accompanies visits to these places, but a sense of paranoia, that I was being watched.  I was happy to leave, then went to the field where I’d sensed the other silver line coming from.  It turned out it was a field of rapeseed.  I still couldn’t see the formation, and this was where it struck me how near-impossible it must have been for people to have done this symbol.  The crop was too tall to see over, yet ‘they’ had supposedly managed to do their art in the middle of the night, in a storm, without leaving footprints and without any lights being seen by the farmhouse on the hill overlooking.  In broad daylight, I couldn’t see more than a couple of feet and although I was being careful not to damage the crop, every step I took left a clear print in the mud.  On top of all this, I still couldn’t see the formation but was being guided to it purely through dowsing.

When I did step into the first of the kaballah stations, it was like magic.  And yes, it was blissful.  As I wandered around from station to station, I realised I had truly entered the symbol, I was experiencing its truths.  Accompanying this revelation was another one about that stupid advert that kept going round and round in my head: it was about the Patriarch. Personally I had always been hugely sceptical, cynical even, of the world’s dominant patriarchal religions including Judaism, but the advert – and the formation – were teaching me about the positive side of a patriarchal spiritual discipline.  The father smiles, revealing his softness and warmth under the stony visage of duty and responsibility, that he wasn’t a bully.  And the bent path between  two of the stations – not so obvious in the photo – that provided extra fuel to the detractors, as it suggested the circle makers had made a mistake – I experienced that now as a signature, like a flourish in a Chinese character adding the individual’s own energy or ch’i to the symbol.  It was the ‘mistake’ that made it not just a textbook copy.  I came away from this formation, still not caring whether it were done by people or not – though becoming more inclined towards believing the latter now – but grateful for the chance to experience so much.  As for whether it’s ‘real’ or not, what does that even mean?  The experience was certainly real.

Let me depart with a few more to enjoy without getting your boots muddy!


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