My Other Half of twenty years, who hails from England, and I went to England for my first ever adventure there last year. I had always felt there was something mythical about it, something otherworldly, and not having had the opportunity to travel there before made that feeling more intense. I recall thinking toward England, or possibly the mystical/magical part of England which exists partially in real time and space and partially...not. I was in "approach" mode in the lead up to the trip. Similar to approaching a throne, or a judge. Respectfully asking permission to enter in my thoughts.
Of course, even my thick-headed idealism is tempered with reality, so it wasn't all stars in my eyes. In fact, I was somewhat startled to find that when we headed for Glastonbury, a sacred place I had heard many things about years before, I was battening down to focus on the physical. It was beautiful; warm and sunny (we were told they hadn't had real summer for years and it was in the mid 80s F) and warm enough that it threw a lot of cool-weather Brits into a state of confusion.
The first day we were there, we sat in the outdoor part of a downtown restaurant, looking around, feeling the hardness of the chairs and listening to the clink of glasses and the conversation, looking up at blue sky and around at bricks and weathered windowpanes and aging side doors, and enjoying the flowers and trees in planters and along walls. To my surprise, one of the waitresses turned out to be from close to my hometown, and had also lived in the U.S. state I live in now. It got me thinking about how many people wind up going to places such as Glastonbury. It is a place for pilgrims, a magical place, with divine energy infused through it. So, why was I barricading? I who am in love with the divine energy which flows through places like this? It seemed to be a reaction that kicked in automatically, without my being able to first grasp why.
My home state and hometown proved to be the key. It is one of the oldest places in the United States, tri-cultural and in an intensely magical land, although its climate is completely different from Glastonbury's. Divine energy lives in and all around it. It is arid, high desert, surrounded by mountains which enthrone the Goddess. "The Land of Enchantment", they call it. Its wildlife, apple orchards and concentrated rainstorms are made more precious by the precarious hold they exert in the desert. Sky is everywhere. A deep Catholic spirituality infuses everything,even the mundane, or Protestant, or New Age, with even deeper Native spirituality as an underpinning. It may have been this energy, oddly enough, that opened me to the land of enchantment that is England. I have not yet been to Ireland but I have felt similar longings for it dating from Back Then.
But I knew fear there, back "home", an intense predatory and dark energy manifesting itself in all-too-routine ways: stalkers, criminals, users, and "ordinary" people. It's one big reason I don't call it home any more. Looking back, it could have been stirred up by all the energy of Light surrounding the place, if it is true that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Why would this principle of physics not apply to the spiritual?)
Being what some would call an "oversensitive" and socially inept teenager opened me to both aspects. I crossed a magical threshold with the energy of adolescence before I could figure out what it was. And in the mix, Tolkien happened along with my already entrenched habit of reading everything myth-and-folkore I could get my paws on, while I struggled with grownup debates over good and evil and their neverending battles. And there in a battered paperback, now falling apart but still with me, was Tolkien's essay "On Fairy Stories". Voila! Tolkien, a Catholic with pervasive Christian themes in his work in a Pagan environment, suddenly flings aside the dark/light polarity by citing the Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer as an alternative. He talks of the Road to Heaven, the Road to Hell....and the Road to Faerie. And it's pretty obvious what he is drawn to.
Anyway, back at the Glastonbury restaurant, I blurted out "this place vibes like home." And I remembered a visit by The Intrepid Other Half, a sensitive herself, where she got blasted by that creepy energy because it was lurking there and she hadn't seen it coming. So I became aware that this could be why I was partially shut down. It could have been that part of my higher self moving to protect me till I became more aware.
There have been some high profile or otherwise widely discussed strange events over the past year or so at Glastonbury which would make anyone pause. From the political to the criminal, from vandalism to theft to unexplained or illogical human choices, the shadow is showing.
Maybe the third road is the way through ....