by Julie Nicol
Hi there. Greetings from Sussex. I thought that my experience in Avebury may be one that would interest you, and that perhaps others have had similar experiences they would like to share.
I belong to a small group of Shamanic Healers, called the Earthkeepers, who meet one day a month to teach and support each other. A few months ago we organized a two day trip to Avebury, in Wiltshire.
Avebury represents the most important Stone Age ‘monument’ in Britain, comprising of stone circles; standing stone avenues; a Long Barrow; a labyrinth and Europe’s tallest artificial hill, Silbury. All this is linked within an eight mile ‘round’. It is stunning that so much of it has survived.
Having said this, I had never been there and knew nothing about it before this two day visit, where we walked the ‘round’. And this is in spite of the fact that I live only a few miles from The Long Man of Wilmington and have stood at his feet, poles in hand, doing a Trance Posture, to great effect!
At Avebury, you start the ‘round’ by walking a labyrinth, known as ‘The Sanctuary’. After this there is a long walk across fields to the start of a long processional avenue of standing stones, called the Bride Stones. As we crested the top of the hill that allows a panoramic view of this avenue I was taken straight back to the Kiva at Cuyamungue and into the Posture of the Poppy Pod Woman of Gazi, where I had found myself paddling a canoe along a wide canal, with stone statues, all worn with age, lining the banks. There were thousands of them. I was told in the posture that I had to touch them all, and as I did so, each Stone’s energy returned. At Avebury, the Avenue that lay before me took the exact form of this river. Only the water was a field.
I lay down at the first of the Bride Stones and took on the South American Posture and allowed the energy of the earth to enter me. When I sat up the stone opposite me had taken on the form of The Corn Goddess, and as I slowly walked the Avenue, touching the stones, more and more of them took on the energies of different postures, The Bear; The Birthing Posture; and then the very last one before the Avenue ended, The Venus of Galgenburg. This last one in particular was an extraordinary emotional experience; a connection and an understanding that are hard to put into words.
After this experience I looked up numerous other sites in Britain where there are significant stone circles and avenues and there are quite a few of them, and had intended to work my way around the country visiting and performing Trance Postures where ever I could, but then I had another very significant experience, the meaning of which is only just sinking in as I write this brief account.
Shortly after our visit to Avebury, the Earthkeepers had our annual two day vision quest in woods in Hampshire and I was to hold space for the other participants during this time. I had decided to build a labyrinth that we could all walk the next day, so, armed with a compass and several balls of thick yarn, under a new moon, during the night I built a labyrinth. As I was completing the last curve I had a sense of not being alone and when I looked up and over my shoulder the mist had formed into the Avenue of standing stones. Each individual stone was there, and together they took on the very same curve in their movement towards me. I felt that the energy of the ancestors and of every posture had come to visit.
There is no real ‘ending’ to this short story, except to say that I intend to keep working with the Postures with the Stones at Avebury. I have no idea where this may lead, but I am certain to let you know.
Julie was first introduced to ecstatic body postures during a year-long Shamanic course in 2003. Although The Bear Posture and the Nupe Mallum were just two of the dozens of Shamanic rituals that she undertook that weekend, she was drawn to spend the next five years studying and practicing the postures alone, until, in 2008, she finally tripped over to the Cuyamungue Institute! She is delighted to be a certified teacher, holds workshops in Sussex, England, and attends summer festivals where she can introduce people to the wonders of the postures. Recently, Julie has been appointed as the Adult Education teacher in Shamanism for West Sussex County Council! What a leap of faith for a government body! She would love to hear from you.
Julie Nichol firstname.lastname@example.org
218, High Street
West Sussex, England