This is a guided visualisation - or pathworking - that is ideal to do at the time of the full moon.
Before doing the visualisation, make sure you are sitting comfortably and are somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, in and out, and relax.
Imagine you are in the main room of an old-fashioned cottage. It is sparsely furnished, but comfortable, with armchairs by the open fireplace, a wooden dining table and a besom broom propped against the back door for sweeping. It is dusk. The room is lit by the glow from the fire and a lantern which hangs on a hook from a ceiling beam, but you can still see a little light through the window at the front. It looks out onto a small garden leading to a country lane bordered by an ancient hedge. Beyond the hedge there is a hill, silhouetted in the twilight sky.
On a hook on the wall by the front door of the cottage hangs a warm cloak and next to that is propped a wooden staff. Take the cloak and put it on, then take the lantern and staff and leave the cottage by the front door.
Walk down your garden path and into the country lane. Past your garden, the hedge rises high on either bank of the lane, so you cannot see what lies the other side. You walk for a while, aware of your footsteps and the sounds, sights and scents of the country lane in the early evening.
After some time, you come to a gate. It is a very old gate, worn by the elements – the gales of spring, the sun of high summer, the storms of autumn and the frosts of winter. Yet it is still a sturdy gate, latched and closed to all except those who know the way to open it, such as yourself. You go to unlatch the gate. Pay attention to how easily or difficult it, the stiffness of the mechanism, the weight of the gate.
Unlatched,the gate swings open and you step through.
On the other side, a short path slopes gently upwards into a dark wood. Night has encroached, and only the glow of your lantern illuminates a few steps ahead. You know you must tread carefully.
The path continues through the trees, but the way is not easy. Fallen branches and twisted roots are obstacles hard to see in the darkness. You hear sounds around you – wind in the branches, rustling in the undergrowth, a distant bark, a hoot. Twigs catch your hair, a spider web brushes against your cheek. Find your way through the dark wood, but beware of dangers, and keep to the path.
You follow the path through the dark forest for some time.
Eventually you notice that the trees start to thin and that silvery moonlight shines between the trunks and through gaps in the branches overhead. The path is illuminated by the moonlight now and leads you safely out of the woods.
Once out of the trees, you see the hill rise in front of you – a high mound with grassy slopes and a ring of trees at the very top.
The path continues. It spirals up the hillside, around and around. There are no obstacles here except the incline. You will need stamina and perseverance to make it to the top. Yet you have your staff to lean on, and you walk on up the hill, around the twisting path.
As you round the bends in the spiral, ascending the hill, the path takes you up above the canopy of the forest. The moon has risen. It is a full moon. It shines brightly in a clear, starry sky. You stop to catch your breath. Climbing is hard work and the path ahead looks steeper still. As you pause in your journey, you look around. You see the landscape stretched out below, distant. It is the world you left behind when you walked through the gate. You could turn back, you could decide you have come far enough, you could retrace your steps and decide this is enough for tonight.
But you decide to go on.
You continue on the path as the spirals get steeper and climb higher, towards the very top of the hill. The hilltop is crowned by a ring of dense, ancient trees, which you approach as the path winds higher and higher. The last curve of the path is the steepest yet and you find you must lean heavily on the staff to reach the top.
Finally you round the last bend and see before you an opening in the ring of trees, a gateway to the top of the hill.
You step through the gap into the circle within.
The moon’s silvery light shines down and illuminates the ground within the circle of trees. You see the silhouettes of the trees upon the ground, cast by the bright moonlight. In the centre is a dew pond, full of collected water, reflecting the moon in the starry sky above.
You walk towards the pond and look into it. You can see in the water the image of the silver disc of the moon and the image of your own reflection. Then you see a third image; that of someone standing next to you.
For a moment, you are surprised. How did they get here? Where did they come from? Who are they? Then you realise that you know. You know who they are, you know where they came from, you know how they got there.
Turn to face them. Greet them. Talk to them.
Spend some time conversing with them; say what you need to say and listen to what they reply in return. Perhaps they have a message for you.
After a while, your conversation comes to an end. The person you are talking to tells you to look once more into the pool. You do and once more see the reflection of the moon – now directly overhead. You see the reflection of your own face too. But the person you met is no longer reflected there. They are gone.
You know that it is time for you to leave too, to return home.
You retrace your steps to the gap in the circle of trees, down the spiral path around the hillside and into the dark wood. Yet now the wood does not seem so frightening, perhaps you know the path better now. You easily find your way through it to the old gate in the hedge. You open the gate and pass through it to the lane, latching the gate carefully behind you. Then you walk back along the lane, up your garden path and into your warm and comfortable cottage. You close the door, replace your staff and lantern and hang up your cloak.
Your journey is complete.
To return to your normal world, shake your fingers and toes, stretch your legs and arms, then open your eyes.
My inspiration for this pathworking came from walks I have done on the South Downs and also two beautiful old cottages I stayed in while on holiday in Avebury, Wiltshire, and Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. You can view more guided visualisations I have written in my book Pagan Portals - Guided Visualisations.
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