By Nanci Shanderá, Ph.D.
In 1996, I led a tour to Southwestern England where, near the end of the trip, we visited an ancient stone circle in Cornwall, called Bosca-wen-un. The day was cloudy and the moor on which we hiked to the circle was misty and hauntingly quiet. The vegetation was lush. There were masses of bluebells and yellow broom everywhere.
When we entered the copse that surrounded the circle, we silently began exploring each stone, particularly the one in the middle, which was a tall, narrow one, leaning toward the sea. I sensed it had been placed in its tipped position for a purpose. I pressed myself up against it and began listening. I quickly entered a deep state of consciousness and the stone told me of how it served as a symbol of the Whale, which was a sacred being to the ancient people, who revered it as a Shaman. They were guided by the Spirit of the Whale in their needs for sustenance from the sea, as well as for spiritual inspiration and learning. The stone told me the people closely watched the Whales’ activities and even followed them to the western hemispheres.
I was drawn to another stone, which was unusual because it was made of quartz rather than granite. It was quite beautiful and I began running my hands over it to feel and memorize its energies and physical qualities for future use. I rested my forehead on it, stimulating the “third eye” or “seer” chakra, and began having extraordinary light experiences. When I stood up again, everything was bathed in light, even though the physical area was still shrouded in fog. The lights began taking the forms of Celtic Knots, which I deeply sensed were symbols of how light energy configures through and around everything. I sensed that the ancient people could naturally see these light patterns and learned much about the natural world. The knots were representations of the energy patterns and were used in ceremonies as well as in everyday life. Since this experience in 1996, I’ve continued to work with this concept and now believe that Celtic Knots, as well as many other symbols actually hold the energy of the multitudinous forms in nature in order to safeguard them as Divine creations. I now doubt that anything can truly be extinct - just because we can’t see them with our physical eyes doesn’t mean they don’t exist on another plane of reality.
As the lovely stone revealed important information about my life, I was touched to my core by the profound communion between us. I began to think of it as my Sister Stone whose energies I could call upon for healing or divination anytime, anywhere.
Wiping tears of gratitude, I rose and realized everyone had left me alone to complete my experience in privacy. I thanked all the stones and left.
But outside the circle of bushes around the stones, everything looked completely different from what I remembered on the way in. I tried two different paths, but nothing was familiar and I returned to the circle entrance, knowing by then I was lost in an entirely new reality. The lush vegetation was gone and I could see only a vast expanse of flat, plantless moor. No bluebells, no bushes. Nothing recognizable except the stones.
Because of my disorientation, I didn't fully comprehend how dramatic a shift this was until later reflection. While I was trying to find my way back to my group, I experienced a wide range of feelings, from euphoria to panic. Thoughts of old movies in which people became lost and died on the moors kept intruding in my mind. I began to sense this was the first time, after years of Shamanic journey work, that I'd ever traveled physically into an alternate reality.
I decided to strike out once again, this time to consciously explore this new and unnerving landscape. A part of me was close to hysteria, but I knew this was an important event and I kept going, even though thoughts that I’d never be found were close at hand.
I tried communicating with the nature spirits, my own guiding spirits, and any spirit or elemental that would listen, but everything was eerily silent. I knew I must fully trust my own inner guidance and the clear fact that I was being initiated into another, deeper reality than I’d ever experienced.
After wandering for quite a while, I suddenly saw one of the members of the trip just standing several yards away in the mist. She didn’t say a word, didn’t smile, didn’t wave. She just stood looking at me. It shocked me and I felt as if I were in a kind of Carlos Casteneda state of reality.
I just stood, looking at her. I questioned myself as to whether this was her ordinary self or her energetic double. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing but something urged me on. The moment I moved my foot forward, it was a step through what felt like a misty membrane. It felt like a birth experience. As I moved through it, everything suddenly looked familiar again. The vivid colors of the flowers, the smells of the musky earth, the sounds of birds awakened me back to ordinary reality. I looked back from where I’d come and knew the veil had closed the other reality because all I could see now were flowers surrounding me and the flat plain was no longer in sight.
As I followed my friend back to the van, I began realizing that this was the first time my physical body had traveled to another state of reality. I felt that I had visited an ancient time when the moor actually was bare and sparse, with very little vegetation. I understood how everything, including my friend, appeared differently because I had been observing from within an alternate reality. I realized that the Celtic Knots of light held stronger patterns and frequencies than in present time. I knew before leaving for the trip that I would learn something about my ancestors and would be given information that I would use in my work, but I couldn’t have known how powerful it would be. I felt awed by the gifts I was given by the stones, the moor, and the spirits there. I sensed I’d never again be the same.
Upon arriving home, I was surprised that, unlike other extra-ordinary spiritual experiences, this one did not diminish in vibrancy and meaning after time. In fact, it has continued through the years to become even stronger. Through regular communion with the Sister Stone and feeling its dynamic energies, my attitude toward people and life itself has been influenced dramatically. I feel a part of every living being and can appreciate the light patterns in nature as never before. I have committed to offering people these kinds of opportunities on all my tours to Britain. The expansive energies and spiritual support is available to everyone. It’s merely a matter of being willing to trust and move out of ordinary consciousness and into ones that can transform us!