In the summer of 1987, when I was 18, I studied at the University of Warwick, England. The quotes in this post are from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts. I visited the British Museum, cried when I saw the real original Beowulf, and encountered a real rune stone.
“It was taller than me and must have weighed more than a truck, and unlike the ancient tome I’d perused, it was not protected by a barrier. Cautiously, I touched its surface, traced the carved design, looking for traces of old paints.”
The only psychic impression I got off of it was great age. I did receive strong psychic impressions from places I visited in England, though. Object reading and place reading was not one of my natural powers, but I had developed it through reading the set of runes I had made.
The image that accompanies this post is of Avebury, a henge more primitive than Stonehenge. About 4,500 years old, it's the largest stone circle in Europe.
In the following quote from my memoir, mom and I had rented a car and were traveling around on the weekend when we did not have classes. Mom was taking a class at the University of Warwick, too, a graduate level course for professional development for her career as a public school teacher.
“Mom and I went to Stonehenge, but it was fenced off, and tourists were kept so far back it was like looking at a picture instead of being there. I stretched and stretched with my mind but I couldn’t get any impressions off it; it was out of my range.
Then we went to Avebury. Not just people but sheep as well were allowed to wander among its stones. There I felt power. Each stone was a spearpoint piercing the sky, a conduit by which earth and wind, rain and sun spoke to each other. The ditches and roads, the circles and lines, formed a web that radiated unto infinity. Life-force, numina, mystery, magic, god, these were the words invented for such a feeling. Solid stone, green grassy earth, the caesura in the movement that was an old green ditch, filled with emptiness, by these symbols the ancients did invoke the holy.
Then there was music. It flowed like fog across the greensward, ancient instruments, young women’s voices, words hovering on the edge of intelligibility, like a forgotten mothertongue. It fit so well with the mood of Avebury that for a moment I did not did realize it was real physical sound waves, and not something originating in my head. Then the words switched to English and I caught, “ancient ring, magical ring of stones.” Drawn as if by elvish minstrels, we followed the music to its source: a little shop at the edge of the fold, built of the ubiquitous golden brown stone. The tape playing was Clannad: Magical Ring.”
Somewhere in England, I had a profound spiritual experience in a Christian church.
“In some town or other, mom and I went into an old church, in the idle way tourists will enter any old building. I was not trying to sense anything, being uninterested in Christianity, but the power hit me as if walking in its threshold were like plugging into a socket, eight hundred years of history flash-downloading. My eyes noted high, arched windows, and wooden pews mostly empty, but my mind saw bare earth, a grove of trees, a holy place long before the Christians came. Then the foundations were dug, and it surprised me to feel no animosity between the pagan and the Christian ways of using this place, as if both were mere costume-changes in the same play. Stone by shaped, grey stone, bit by bit and pane by pane of colored glass, over generations, the loving hands of simple craftsmen and the gold and silver of merchants and lords built high toward heaven a defining structure. The brightly colored banners on the walls spoke of armies, soldiers and knights contesting outside these walls, but inside coming to beseech their god for victory, or afterward, for forgiveness. All the hopes, all the pain, all the fear and joy and guilt of every villager who passed within these walls welled up within me in an instant, discreet from each other yet massing like an army of the ancient days. Then times changed, the clothes on the villagers, the soldiers, and their betters changed, and there was more joy, more grief, weddings and funerals and births and confessions, and then times changed again. The lords and ladies, knights and wealthy merchants went away. The villagers became townsmen, sophisticated and agnostic. The ranks on the pews thinned. Then the tourists came. In the church bareheaded they came, with cameras and laughter, more interested in the building than in the purpose for which it was built. It was so sad, so sad, I couldn’t bear it. I swayed on my feet, and had to sit down, there on a wooden pew.”