About 16 months ago I suffered from a bout of depression. It is still with me but things are very much brighter now.
I was off work for 13 weeks, and in that time I did alot of thinking about my life and spirituality. I got a great deal of comfort visiting the local country park where there are woods and a lake. One fine day in early September 2010 I came upon a quiet clearing of oak trees where the Rose Bay Willow Herb grew high enough to obscure me from the path. I did a bit of drawing (a green man) and sat and closed my eyes for a while. In the same clearing was an old oak tree. It was a V-shape: one large branch was leaning away from the clearing and another had at one time leant towards where I stood. It looked like it had splintered and fallen, so the rangers had lopped off the remainder. In the stump was a hollow containing a small pool of water. I determined that this would be a small shrine and that I would make an offering. I made a small request to the goddess for help and deposited some small change.
A few days later I went with my partner for a walk by the sea. The tide went out and out and we followed it. We picked up shells and driftwood and explored the pools. The sun was shining and the air was bright and clear. When we got to the water I had an overwhelming urge to jump in - despite the cold. This was strange for me because I had not swam for years, a paranoia brought about by bullying and body image. My partner watched dumbfounded as I took of all my clothes and ran naked into the water waving my underwear over my head and whooping. The water was shallow but I managed to swim a little. I got out, put my sagging underwear back on and donned my clothes. I felt great.
As we walked back we scanned the sands for more treasures, perhaps a shell or a piece of driftwood to take home (I love driftwood). Then I saw it. Something I had always wanted to find on a beach.....a piece of Amber. We were not sure at first but when I felt its texture and we held it up to the sun we were sure. Fresh from the sea it was strangely sticky and smelled intensely of pine resin. We were smelling a forest from 40 million years ago! Now, its not unusual to find amber on a British beach if you are on the east coast. There it is often found, around East Anglia in particular. But we were in the North West, hundreds of miles away. Perhaps there is a small deposit in the Irish Sea, or maybe it was carried over land to coast by ice age melt waters. Perhaps a ship lies off the coast, sunk with a cargo of Amber still aboard. It had travelled some way because it was worn round. A very, very rare find and a good size too. Here is a picture taken on the day.
The Amber has now dried out, shrunk a little, lost its smell and developed a surface patina. I gave it to my partner, she loves Amber, but we both treasure it.
Now to the present time. I have been thinking about pagan spirituality and reading about the different paths followed by others. Thinking about the God and Goddess and what kind of path I might follow. From the start I have felt firmly British. When I think about this I guess I don't feel particularly Celtic. I have some Scottish forebears but this doesn't mean Celtic (especially in the Viking-raided Western Isles). So I feel more English. I have always loved the Norse myths but feel more Anglo Saxon in character - again more English. So I have always been interested in Anglo Saxon spirituality. To this end I have been looking into Anglo Saxon magic.
Yesterday I was reading and came across reference to Freya being venerated in East Anglia. I then read about how she wept for her lost husband and where her tears fell on land they turned to gold and over water - Amber! And her father was Njord, god of the sea. And she has an amber necklace, Brisingamen that shines like the sun (we live near Alderley Edge where Alan Garner set his classic book "The Weird Stone of Brisingamen"). And Freya as a primal goddess appeals to me, and her twin brother Frey as her male counterbalance. Even references to them as Lord and Lady (the balance I am looking for between male and female principles).
I am a big sceptic, and coincidences can happen, but could this be the Goddess contacting me as Freya?
What do you think...........?