Sacred Sites and Magical Landscapes
It is my belief that some places are different to others in that they seem to be set apart, separate, dedicated even. Why and how this has come about was the subject of a recent discussion at Pagan Pathways, led by myself. These places are by no means the same as each other. My investigations lead me to believe that they can be divided into three different types with multiple sub divisions.
1. The first kind of place is one of great spiritual Power; of which Glastonbury, the Isle of Avalon, must be the dominant example. These are places that bestow a heightened form of consciousness on the pilgrim, to a greater or lesser degree.
2. The second kind are places of great elemental power, where the forces of nature are so powerful that they swamp the individual, allowing a greater consciousness to dominate for a time. Local examples are the Upper Derwent Valley and Sherwood Forest. There are many examples in Cornwall and Wales, giving these lands their uniquely mystical character.
3. The third kind are places of ‘High Strangeness’ where strange phenomena occur regularly. These places have no great spiritual value as far as I know but they are interesting in their own right. A local example is the area around Stocksbridge. One of the best examples is Cannock Chase which is not so far away of you should wish to visit it.
I hope that these notes are of some value to people and a reminder of the very pleasant discussion, which opened the 2013 season for Pagan Pathways.
There was also a lot of discussion around the different effects these places have on us, why this should be so and how we recognise such sites.
‘Magical’ landscapes were equated with then places of ‘high
strangeness’ where things happen that seem to outside the order of nature –
dragon sightings for example. Such
places may appear to be on the edge of reality or the boundaries of
The ‘Spiritual’ sites need to increase/alter consciousness in some way – this could be in a positive or negative manner. The negative sites may leave one depressed for example.
In some cases the phenomena may be caused by natural physical or geological effects such as altered magnetic fields or low frequency vibration or sound. This has been thought to cause certain hauntings.
We discussed how these sites could be recognised and the possibility that this could be some residual human instinct. Magical places may create in the individual a feeling of excitement or that anything is possible. Spiritual places can give a feeling of the sacred or interconnectedness. Perhaps a better word would be ‘Powerpoint’ rather than ‘Sacred’.