THE WISE SAGES OF OLD knew how to bring Heaven down to Earth because they knew the Mysteries of Time and Space. They were cognisant of the sacred measurements that gave life and movement to the cosmos and that found its expression in every living thing, including man. Thus, they understood that the timings and locations of spiritual practices were key to their success; that for the most auspicious outcome of any human endeavour, all actions associated with that petition needed to be properly aligned with the stars.
This vital practice is inscribed on the ancient Egyptian Emerald Tablet of Thoth: “As Above, So Below,” and so the pyramids and Vedic fire altars were built accordingly. The Vedic Indians described these cosmologically-aligned sites as yantras. Yantras are described as devices that optimise our connection with the hierarchy in the heavens above – in other words, the eternal gods who live in the arch of the Milky Way – with the people on Earth below.
The most powerful location for any religious building would be divined by diviners – astrologers, astronomers, alchemists and dowsers – who would follow energetic lines across the land and then build their sacred temples, cathedrals, mosques and synagogues accordingly. These twisting, serpentine, electromagnetic lines became known as dragon lines, or serpent lines.
Sometimes, whole cities are in fact yantras – for example, the holy Indian town of Varanasi (also known as Benares) is a yantra. There is also a yantra on the land of Avalon, which I’m now going to tell you about, and it is where we celebrate Oestre (Easter).
This yantra is also known as the Diamond of Avalon since it was discovered by local artist Yuri Leitch, after he combined two landscape triangles found originally by the 17th century antiquarian William Stukeley and the 20th century esoteric author and sculptor Katharine Maltwood.
But first you need to know, if you don’t already, there is a dragon line, known today as the St Michael line, that passes through the summit of Burrow Mump in Somerset, on its way up from Lands End in Cornwall.
We think the St Michael line was originally known as the Bel line, after the sun god, Bel. But it is certain that it was named by Benedictine monks in the 7th century as the St Michael line, and they built churches on the summits of the hills it passed through. The churches and abbeys of Avalon are full of images of St Michael slaying the dragon. The dragon-slaying hero is a metaphor for someone who has the knowledge of how to bring Heaven down to Earth, and thus how to build yantras accordingly.
The St Michael line’s ultimate destination is the east coast of England but after Burrow Mump, the next place it visits is Glastonbury Tor, and this creates a part of the sacred Diamond of Avalon.
The dragon line from Burrow Mump up to Glastonbury Tor is ‘drawn’ in the skies by the Sun’s passage at sunrise on Beltane (May 5th) and Lughnasadh (August 5th), and at sunset on Imbolc (2nd February) and Samhain (2nd November). At the same time, another line is ‘drawn’ by the Moon from Cadbury Castle and Glastonbury Tor as these are the two points from which its furthest northern and southern points can be observed. This creates the sacred marriage on the land, known to alchemists as the Marriage of the Sun and the Moon.
The word ‘Cadbury’, denoting the burial mound of Cad, may be associated with the serpent-slaying Cadmus of the ancient Greek myths.
Dowsers have discovered that these dragon lines expand and contract according to the cycles of the Sun and the Moon, and so sacred festivals and ceremonies were sited and timed accordingly. They were perceived by the Druids to be alive and wriggling their way across the land, like serpents whose sloughing off of their skin was used as a hermetic metaphor for rebirth.
Serpents lay eggs, and this is why painted eggs were, and still are, given as symbolic fertility offerings in acknowledgement and thanks for the rebirth of Spring. The Russian jeweller Faberge created beautiful, elaborate, ornamental eggs for the same reason. The cross on our hot cross buns also comes from this old traditional practice, because it represents the wheel of the seasonal cycles of the year.
The apocryphal tale about King Alfred the Great burning the cakes at Athelney monastery in 878 CE, which is about a mile from Burrow Mump, is a hidden magical reference to this ancient, traditional practice of burning a cross on bun offerings to the gods at Easter, or Oestre. Even today, we still stand on Moon Drove to throw our hot cross buns into the River Parrett at Oestre-time.
True Oestre in on the first full Moon after the Spring Equinox, whichever day that falls on. The Christian church marks Easter on the first Sunday after that full moon day, but I prefer to hold my shamanic ceremony within the yantra of Avalon on the day itself and this year, it will be under the Worm Moon on 28th March.
I tell the story of the magical, druidic knowledge of the Wessex court of King Alfred the Great, which helped him to win the seminal battle againt the Vikings at Edington in 878 CE, in Chapter 13, The Sovereignty of Land, Stories in the Summerlands, which you can buy here on Amazon.co.uk, and here on Amazon.com.