Hag Stones

I have inadvertently started a collection of hag stones. Not intentionally, I just find them rather intriguing and can’t help picking them up…

There seems to be a long history of humans fascinated by natural holes. Large stones with holes in them, such as the Tolmen Stone on Dartmoor, have been used for people to pass through in initiations for thousands of years. If it is difficult to access, or dangerous to egress, so much the better. Caves have formed a similar purpose, particularly when it is possible to emerge somewhere other than where you entered.

Initiation by a stone works because it changes the consciousness of the person passing through. In shamanic journeying, it is usually necessary to find a natural hole to pass into different worlds; a hole you can physically pass through means you also take your body with you. A hag stone is a tolmen on a small scale, as only your consciousness may pass through. For this reason they can be a useful aid when you want to look at something in a different way, and I have used them for middle earth travel. This may be why they gained the reputation of being a way to see fairies.

Holes have also been thought to cure disease, or infertility. Where a holey stone of the right size cannot be found, then for cures trees were often used; these have the added benefit that the hole can be sealed up again by binding the tree back together and the time of spell is lengthened to include the regrowth of the tree.

The hole can be used as a doorway or portal even without passing through it, in order to draw or repel energy. For example, they can bring luck, or wealth, or protection, and banish misfortune, poverty or psychic attacks. Common places to find them in use are attached to fishing lines or nets, to keys, or as an amulet. They have also been used for divination, looking at the moon through the hole.

Here is my collection, found on various beaches around the British Isles. Most of the holes have probably been made by bi-valve molluscs to live in, when the stones were still attached to bedrock.

Hag stones

Hag stones

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Birthdays

I had a birthday this week – like most people it comes around once a year! So I have been pondering age, and my approach to it.

It seems to me that we all strive to be approximately Twenty Two. I have read that in the spirit world everyone either ages or regresses to Thirty, but here on planet Earth that seems ‘old’ to most people – a term that is most often derogatory, rather than implying any advantages of wisdom and experience. Twenty two (or thereabouts) is an age that teenagers aspire to, when they will be ‘grown-up’, taken seriously, able to do whatever they want. Most people at twenty two are unlikely to have many responsibilities yet or be weighed down by cares; by thirty many people are coming to terms with the fact that they are no longer ‘young’, and would happily regress back a few years.

A year ago I reached the proud age of forty. There had been a time in my thirties when I was so ill that I really didn’t reckon I’d reach forty, certainly not to see the whole year, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be sharing the day with a child of my own. The ‘dis-ease’ had been building in me for many years, and it was only when I walked out of hospital and took responsibility for my own life, my own destiny, that I was set back firmly on the road to health. Interestingly I have heard many stories since then of people who have been through an initiation to dedicate themselves to being their best selves then find that their life falls apart in some way. Health, family, work; Spirit has ways of ensuring you deal with any problems in your life that are not being faced up to! In my case my health spiralled out of control, forcing me to look beyond ordinary boundaries and see new connections. I had choices, and I now try to be conscious of them. Like other people who have been through this kind of fire, my only regrets are not making the changes and following my intuition earlier – but I also accept that I was not ready earlier. Things happened as they needed to.

So now I feel as if my life restarted, I get a second chance, and every year is a bonus to be filled with good experiences and lived as fully as I am able. In the present. I feel neither old nor young, just take each day as it comes and find something good in it. Make the most of my ‘bonus time’ and see where I am led.

One aspect of living in the present is enjoying M’s company. Many people tell me to enjoy it, because babyhood lasts for such a short time. Some days I want to reply ‘Thank goodness!’ as fascinating as it is, like most people I also look forward to her talking and doing things independently. But she has always had her own character, her own personality, her own interests and as she mostly lives for and in the moment, so do I. The switch from crying or frustration to laughter can happen in the blink of an eye, and we spend hours giggling together. I will have no regrets of having missed anything, or not having done a thorough job!

However M has also taught me how life is a continuum. There should be no point at which we cease to grow and develop, unless of course we resist change. The changes happen in a very obvious way in the early years of life, but continue every year right up until the end of our incarnation on Earth, when for most of us we will be old. I haven’t stopped changing yet, and no longer expect to. I really don’t know why I ever did! And finally I have learned to enjoy if not every moment of my life, then most of what I am doing at the time I am doing it.