In June of this year I attended my first Pagan Spirit Gathering along with my friends Dash, Wandering Woman, and the Lady of Bones. This was also the festival’s first year at a new location, Stonehouse Park near Earlville Illinois, in the northwestern part of the state.
One evening, we all gathered inside Wandering Woman’s tent to drink mead, engage in witchy business, and wait out a storm. I had mentioned to the Lady of Bones that I wanted to do some energy work with her, as she has a lot of skill and practice in drawing up and moving raw energy. While I’ve drawn up energy and attempted to direct it, I’ve never really had any one double check my technique to see if I was raising energy properly or efficiently, or to check that my efforts were having any effect at all! In any case, on this evening the Lady of Bones and I engaged in some energy work, which did build my confidence. It turns out that I knew what I was doing, of course, but she showed me some new methods and techniques that I’ve since found quite helpful. This session also led to unexpected contact with a local land spirit, which was pretty awesome as well.
After showing me how to draw up energy from the earth, or down from the skies overhead, without first channeling it through my own body (something which I had never done before), we began talking about lines and pools of power in the earth, and how to sense them and draw from them. Many practitioners refer to such flows of power as ‘Ley Lines’, even though this term was originally applied early in the last century to old straight roads that run between ancient sites scattered throughout the countryside of Britain.
In any case, the Lady of bones asked if I could sense any Ley lines nearby, and if so, could I pinpoint where they might be. I reached out with my awareness and searched. I could feel a strong flow of power beneath the earth like a river, running through the hill behind us, atop which was the Festival’s central bonfire and drum circle. I could feel this current circling through and around the base of the hill and running down to the nearby creek, whereupon the flow of energy turned, rose closer to the surface, and ran concurrent with the creek bed. In my mind’s eye the Ley line pulsated with energy, and I was surprised to see that its surface was rough, more like the bark of a tree or a snake’s scales than a smooth conduit. It appeared that the energy flowed within this rough exterior like water through a pipe.
As I was concentrating on trying to perceive this flow of power more clearly, I suddenly sensed something else. It felt different somehow, and was concentrated in a specific area. It wasn’t another Ley line, but was, I realized with surprise, an entity!
I had a brief, clear image of an immense toad, crouched deep under the earth, below the hill and below the current of power, glancing up with one coppery-golden eye. He slumbered under the earth, feeding the Ley lines and feeding upon them in turn. He had felt us looking, and had stirred. A single phrase rang suddenly clear in my mind – Guardian of the Waters. So, this Wight might be the keeper of the power inherent in, or associated with, the local waters. There is a large, deep underground source that provides water to the park, as well as the nearby creek that had recently risen in flood in the rainy summer. (In fact, at the beginning of the festival, the owners of the park had proudly proclaimed that their water was among the purest in the state, although I can attest that it did taste of iron).
I told my companions that I had sensed a land-Wight, that it seemed to me to be a toad. The “Great Toad, Guardian of the Waters”. They too had sensed something while examining the Ley line; a large presence, the impression of being watched. Some might have guessed ‘dragon’ if encountering this slumbering spirit beneath the earth, a guardian of power, but I had seen the arrow-shape of the plump body curled beneath the ground and the unmistakable metallic eye. We were all surprised but pleased to have made unexpected contact with a local Wight, and agreed to make offering to this spirit as a sign of respect before the festival was over.
On that Saturday, the last night of the gathering, we did make offerings to the Great Toad, Guardian of the Waters. We thanked him for the use of the water, and for the use of the land on which we camped. We thanked him for letting us draw up energy from the earth and from the lines of power that he oversaw. Into our fire we offered cedar tips and tobacco, favored of native Wights (for we sensed that he was ancient and had been here long before our people came to this place), and also an essential oil blend that we had purchased at the festival (unfortunately, I don’t remember which one).
The next morning we took down our campsite and packed everything back into the car. Luckily the storms and rain that had beset the festival had cleared, so the camp wasn’t quite as muddy as it had been earlier in the week. I had taken my tent down, and the only thing left to do was fold up the tarp that kept my tent floor separated from the wet ground. When I peeled up the tarp, what should be crouched beneath it but a fat, black toad! How wonderful! I carefully scooped him up and showed him to the others, before setting him in the undergrowth away from the camp, where he was safer from clumsy feet.
I believe our offerings were accepted.