Because it is designed to be potentially scary, read all the text through before doing it, to make sure you want to attempt it as a visualisation. You could also record the words and then listen to them with your eyes fully closed. Before doing the visualisation, make sure you are sitting comfortably and are somewhere safe where you won’t be disturbed.
Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths in and out and relax, then visualise the following:
Close the cottage door behind you and walk down garden path towards the front gate. As you do so, you notice that the flowers that in the summer bloomed in the garden are mostly dry and brown and dead. Even the late Michaelmas daisies, which flowered at the start of autumn, are dying. This is the natural cycle of the seasons, and summer is dead.
You leave by the garden gate, into the narrow country lane that runs past this cottage. It is a hollow way. It is an ancient trackway, worn down by thousands of years of feet and wheels until the path was dug deep into the ground. On either side, high banks are topped with hedgerows, speckled with berries, red as blood. Trees grow along the hollow way too, and their branches, bearing autumn leaves, arch overhead, touching each other, so the way is enclosed. Many people have walked this way before, many more who are now dead, than those who are living. You follow them on this night when the veil is thin. Perhaps you see the shades of their ghosts walking along the path with you. If so, they do not seem to see you. They are but memories held by the earth and stones on which they walked. The only sounds you hear are the rustling of dry leaves in the wind.
You follow the path through the woods. It is dense and obscured. You must push through brambles to following it through the wood.
After a while, you come to the edge of the forest, Beyond it, over fence of wrought iron railings, you see a graveyard. In the middle of that is a small, old chapel. Walk along the outside of the railings, between the wood and the graveyard, until you find the gate.
You come to the chapel, but it is dark and locked. This is not where you are bound tonight. The path goes around it, and you follow. The graves beyond it are older, more crumbling, covered in lichen and harder to read, sunk deeper into the ground, as though the earth is reclaiming its own. You walk on through the graves, to the other edge of the iron railed boundary around this resting place for old bones, then through another gate to a field beyond.
You are in an open field now, the edges of which are lost in darkness, although you can just make out the narrow path to follow across it, into that darkness ahead. You follow the path, and as you walk, out of the gloom you see huge stones rising. They are ancient megaliths standing at the entrance to a long barrow, the mouth of which gapes blackly beyond the tall stones.
You approach the long barrow. You realise that the candle in your lantern is burning low and fluttering. It is your choice – do you enter the barrow or turn around and go back the way you came?
Long barrows are places where the ancient ancestors of the land were laid to rest, long, long ago, before the time of written history. Legends talk of spirits and guardians and even gods that might be encountered here. Who knows what you will meet on this night when the veil is thin?
If you choose to, step inside and walk into mouth of the barrow. There is room for you to walk, but still it feels enclosed around you. By flickering lantern light you can see the bare stones of tunnel walls going into it, but not the end. Then, your lantern splutters and goes out. You are in total darkness. It is a place where even starlight does not shine, where there is nothing except you and the darkness. And you do not know whether you are in the world of men any more or the world of the spirits of the ancestors.
You stay stationary in the darkness for a while. It is hard to tell the passage of time as there is nothing to judge it by. Then, you begin to perceive ahead of you pinpoints of light, like tiny distant stars. Perhaps it is your mind playing tricks with you in the darkness, or perhaps it is something else. They move closer, or get larger, spreading out in the space ahead of you. And in their centre is a shape, a silhouette of a being. The being moves closer, towards you. The lights or stars around them start to turn, to spiral. You watch as this swirling spiral of stars seems to spread out around you, and then the silhouette of the being is right in front of you. What do you do? What unfolds between you and the being?
Take your time to let this encounter play out to its conclusion.
At last, the encounter comes to an end. The being turns and slowly retreats, returning back into the swirling spiral of stars, which seem to diminish in size, or move away, until you can see the silhouette of the being no more, and the stars are just tiny pinpoints of light. And then they are gone, and you are in darkness. You can sense the floor and walls and ceiling of the long barrow around you. Turn around. You see the mouth of the long barrow, and beyond that a starlit night sky, with all the stars in their normal place.
You leave the long barrow, walk past the megalithic stones at the entrance and cross the field to the railings at the edge of the churchyard. As you do so, it seems that your vision has become more attuned to the night, and you can see more easily by starlight as you walk back through the graveyard. You go through the gate beyond the chapel and enter the path through the trees. Now the wood does not seem so dark either. You easily follow the path to the stile in the hedge. You cross the stile again, and go into the hollow way. You walk back along the lane, go through your garden gate, up the garden path and through the front door into the warm and comfortable cottage. You close the door, and hang your lantern on its hook. Your journey is complete.
After you have finished, it is important to ground properly. This can best be done by having something to eat and a non-alcoholic drink, but you can also stamp your feet on the floor a few times to feel its solidity, or grip a solid surface, such as the edge of a table, to feel a physical connection with reality. You might also want to take notes of anything you experienced.