Restormel is a 12th century castle in the round that sits on top of a hill overlooking the valley about a mile outside of town. At the risk of repeating myself, I had bicycled to Restormel 31 years ago, and much to my surprise, had an unexpected and unusual experience that changed me forever. Perhaps it even diverted my path in the most positive of ways! As I've looked back on this experience, and I have many, many times, I have called it my first mystical experience. I was standing at one of the openings of the castle, looking out across the valley, when I knew from deep within myself, that I had spent many hours looking over this very valley from this very window. I knew this place, this landscape intimately. I experienced in a moment the feeling of being home. For the first time in my life, in every cell of my being, on every level of my existence, I experienced being home.
Not one who was used to such experiences, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. So I walked down and away from the castle, altered and opened. The herd of cows came to meet me and surround me as I retrieved my bicycle, as if to let me know that they knew, and that they too recognized a kindred soul. I then went back into town, to do what any good English person would do under the circumstances, and had a cup of tea at a local tea shoppe. I actually opted for cream tea, and while I was waiting for the scone, cream and jam to come (and probably David to return from the bathroom), I looked at the painting on the wall beside our table and saw that the artist's name was HOSKIN. They say it happens in threes, and there, in a span of at most an hour, I had my threes that changed me and my life forever. Obviously, it didn't happen overnight. It has taken me thirty years to return, but the feeling of home, of something bigger and greater than me, and of something inexplicable has stayed with me, always nudging, guiding, and prodding me. This experience never allowed me to get too comfortable, too weary, or too casual about myself, my choices or my life.
So here I am, 2013, and I am back in Lostwithiel, and on my way to Restormel Castle. Yes, I did come back briefly last fall with my father, stepmother and husband, and while wonderful, that visit was not about me. It gave me just what I needed, which was the desire to return on my own very soon. And here I am, only eight months later.
It was important to not put too much pressure on this visit, and yet at the same time, be open to and invite in the magic. The fine line of being open without being attached to expectation. As I paid the Heritage Society to visit the castle, the woman remarked that I had the castle to myself, and how unusual that was. I stopped at the little bathroom on the way to the castle, and begin to connect with my reason for being there. I am reminded that I am here, at this spot, this castle in the round, to reconnect with my tap root, my core. I am not here to retrieve an aspect of myself, but to retrieve and connect with my Self. I became the aspect of myself and somehow split off from my core, and left her behind, all those lifetimes ago, at this very sacred spot.
The time was now to reconnect with Her, with me, with my Self. I actually had no idea "how" to do this! So I started by giving thanks and acknowledging that I was meant to be here, at this time, on my own. I walk a full circle around the outside of the castle, as if casting a sacred circle for the ceremony that is about to take place.
The entry way comes out of the circle of stones to invite and welcome me in. I walk into the center, on the green lawn peppered with small white daisy flowers. I stand and turn in circles, in awe and gratitude that I am back, I am here, and I am home. I ask for my angels and guides to hold me, support me, and direct me what to do.
I ask to heal the split, and to reconnect and be reconnected on all levels, lifetimes, and dimensions of my being with my taproot, my Self, the core of my being and Soul, for now and forever, and to never be separated again.
I root down through my feet, and connect with the crystal core at the center of the Earth. What is important is that I am connecting through this particular place on the surface of the planet, here at Restormel. Rooted in Earth, I simultaneously connect to the Sun, stars and heaven. Sacred Feminine and Divine Masculine in me, through me, as me. I am then directed to walk a spiral out from the center. I walk slowly, deliberately, giving thanks, being open and receptive. I walk around, and around, and around, until I am at the base of the inner walls. I walk next to the walls, and touch the stones with my left hand as I walk around. Just as I am completing this last round, I hear the noises of a family with young children. Perfectly timed, they come in and enter my chalice. Two young children, a young girl of age 4 or so, and a little boy, nearly 2 years old, their parents, and two grandparents. I walked up the stairs and proceed to walk around the circular walk at the top of the castle. I often stopped to take and receive the view of the surroundings, especially of the valley. I asked this family's presence and joyful children's voices to contribute my experience. I spent quite a bit of time "upstairs" to soak in the view, the presence of the stones in the castle, and my presence and experience in the castle. I didn't want to rush through it. I had walked too far, and waited too long, to rush through this experience now. I had to practice returning to center, into my core, in spite of and actually because of, the presence of others. How perfect! I then came downstairs and walked around the inner base of the outside walls and went into the chapel where I asked and gave thanks for all that was happening, and for my reconnection to my Self. I especially gave thanks to Mary and Michael, Sarah and Green Man, in this sweet chapel. I felt myself root deeply into the Earth as I opened up to the Sky.
I went back to the center of the grass in the center of the castle, expressed my thanks and gratitude, and went back outside. I was then called by two trees to eat a snack and drink some water. I believe that the bigger tree had been where the cows had come to surround me in recognition thirty plus years earlier. I knew that I had done something powerful in the castle, I knew something had happened, although I didn't know what. I wasn't even sure if I was feeling it, or just thinking it.
Knowing that I had to trust my experience and be open, I somewhat reluctantly knew it was time to leave. I was hoping to find something in the store that would be the confirmation that something had happened, but no, there was nothing that spoke to me. As I walked back down the hill, and past the gate for my final view of the castle, I got the image of the circle of stones with the vertical stone in the middle.
It was the stone in the middle that has puzzled and challenged me. What is the stone in the middle? What is the true nature of the masculine? Where was the masculine at Restormel? Obviously, the circle of stone was present. I had stood in the center, wishing that I had a sword to plant in the middle.
And then I got it. My desire, longing to return home, to come home, to be home is the stone in the middle, is my stake in the ground.
I WANT TO COME HOME. I WANT TO BE HOME.
This is all I have ever wanted. So simple. So obvious. So clear.
And here I was, home at Restormel, yet walking away from it, without putting my stake in the ground, that this is what I want and all I have desired for as long as I can remember.
I DESIRE WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND SOUL TO LIVE AGAIN IN ENGLAND, AND TO BE VERY SPECIFIC, TO LIVE IN LOSTIWTHIEL, IN THIS VALLEY, NEAR THIS VERY CASTLE. I am home here. I deeply, deeply desire and long to come home, be home, live at home.
I have wandered and been a Bedhouin only because I got cut off from my roots and I have been looking for home. And here it is, all along, even making itself known to me all those years ago.
I became alive with this recognition and awareness, and immediately turned around, went back up the hill, and back into the castle. There was an older man sitting on a bench with his golden retriever, but no one was going to stop me from doing what I came to do. I turned my back on him, sat down and faced the other way. I had been directed to get out a penny and to pick up a rhodadrendrum flower on my way in. I actually chose my oldest twopenny piece, and declared my desire and intention to return to England, and Lostwithiel/Restormel to live (all the while being open to how this unfolds and in the highest good of all concerned) as I dug a small hole and planted the penny in the ground!
I placed the flower on top of the planted penny, turned in three circles and stomped on the ground three times with my walking sticks! I laughed, gave thanks, and walked out of the castle in joy, completion and delight.
I felt so happy, so joyful, so in love! I knew that I had completed the ceremony and that it had met me completely. The energies were moving, and celebrating with me as I just about skipped down the hill!
And then, in asking what else was possible and opening myself to receive even more, I stopped and stood in the presence of the most magnificent tree I have ever seen in my life. The grandmother of all trees. An ancient oak, whose trunk was thick and round, whose roots were fed by the stream of holy water at her base, who limbs wound down and around in spirals all around her, whose leaves created a luscious, green canopy above her. I had walked right by her on my up, and hadn't even noticed her. Now, on my return from Restormel, I was stopped by her magnificence and asked to receive her presence in the core of my being.
I am the grandmother of all trees. In the core of my being, I AM this beautiful, magnificent oak tree, who grew from a tiny acorn into the beautiful, ancient, alive, rooted being.
She holds a gate in place with her trunk, the rusted nails cannot wound her, the cave at the base of her trunk provides a safe haven for small animals, and her sacred waters provide ample nourishment right beside her. She stands tall and proud, in conjunction with the Restormel. One is man made. The other watched the men build her. They stand for and with each other, each an auspicious display of Magnificent Manifestation. One created by Nature. The other created by Man.
I sat next to the gate across the lane and drew her with my pencils, wanting to remember her graceful limbs, her powerful trunk, her ample roots and her beautiful presence. I felt such a profound honour to see her, to feel her, to connect with her.
She embodies MAGNIFICENT MANIFESTATION. And she was stopping me, and asking me to embody, embrace and receive MAGNIFICENT MANIFESTATION too. She has waited a long time for me to return and to share in the message she stands for, and now it is time, for me to fully become this, and to share the message of MAGNIFICENT MANIFESTATION with the world.
The time is now for all of us to be in right relationship with creation and manifestation, and for each of us to step into being the Divine Co-Creators that we are.
Thank you, Grandmother. I accept fully your invitation and receive fully to become the MAGNIFICENT MANIFESTOR that I am. I am here to show others the way, to provide the map, and the path.
I am the Tree of Life.
We are all the Tree of Life, and Creation, and Sacred Manifestation.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
My pilgrimage is complete. Restormel is my Holy Grail. She is my destination and my reason for walking. I have come home- to myself, my wholeness, my purpose, my path.
I chose to stay in Lostwithiel rather than head on to Liskeard. Liskeard is my father's home. Lostwithiel is my home. I had been attracted to a quiet place on
airbnb.com and contacted David, the owner, when I returned to the Chatham Pub to collect my backpack. Sure enough, he could have me stay as long as I could wait until
So here I am, in my sweet, quiet, open, sunny room across the valley from Restormel.
How does it get any better than this?!
With my nearly six hours of writing today, I am completing this phase of my journey and get to move into the next phase. I spend the day with Maureen, the Grand Bard of the Gorsedd tomorrow, meeting her at the train station in Liskeard and heading up for a walk on Bodmin Moor, before taking a train tomorrow evening from Plymouth to my cousin, Liz's house near Bath. I will spend a few days with her and family,and then head to Celia's outside of Bristol for the Solstice, then Diana's for a few days before picking up Michael and Malie on Wednesday morning. Gears will start shifting quickly tomorrow and I am so grateful for this time, space, and quiet solitude to write today.