Many hundreds of years ago, wherever there was a hermit, there was a sacred site – a site so powerful it was worth protecting from the people still following the old ways. Hermits Cave at Robinhoods Stride in Derbyshire is one such site.
We have taken groups there several times to lie under the cathedral canopy of yew and oak, resting on the sweet smelling soil and listening for messages and insights from no less than the horned god himself, Cernunnos
What does this image speak to you of? A place of such importance that its worth putting behind six foot bars and a three foot wall. What was engraved there before the crucifix was imprinted in the stone? What secrets does it hold?
Devoid of many teachings passed down from our ancestors we are left with folk tales, fairy tales and sacred etchings in the landscape to help us piece together our ancient spiritual wisdom. That, and journeying to the Spirit of the Place, our guides and teachers, the plants, trees and animals and the Upper and Lower Worlds to receive guidance and insights from them. Through this we can start to piece together the lost knowledge which is relevant for our time now here on Earth.
The wall and bars cannot shield the caves real power. The attempts of control and oppression taking from us what is naturally ours in the form of these barriers is very symbolic of our time. But these measures are insignificant when compared to the awesome beauty of nature all around this site. The two yew trees, one on either side frame the high alter space, like pillars holding up the canopy above. Oak rises beyond following the rock line as it climbs skyward. The cliff face shadows us, punctured by trees and shrubs adding to the richness of this special place.
Further beyond is the natural temple of Robinhoods Stride, with sweeping views across the rolling hills of Derbyshire and beyond. Nature is our Church, this is our temple and that can’t be put behind bars, locked up and taken away from us.
Our slow drumbeat echoed through the valley and drew people to us. We opened our eyes to see ourselves surrounded by walkers and climbers who had come to sit with us in the stillness of this remarkable place. Quietly resting together, as one, reflecting, pausing in a moment of time.
That is the magic of Hermits Cave this Autumn Equinox day.