Shuyet and I had been touring Scotland for a couple of months in a Camper when, for the first time, bad weather hit. We were on a tiny coastal road in the north of the Highlands which meant that we were very vulnerable to the 40mph cross winds and torrential rain that appeared as if out of nowhere.
As the headlights lit up the welcome sign to Durness I have never felt so relieved – there was sure to be somewhere sheltered to park for the night, along with some amenities.
We parked safely in a spot carved out of the side of a hill and prepared to take Shuyet out on his final walk of the day; this doberman would walk in a hurricane.
After 5 minutes of walking along the road I noticed signs for Smoo Cave, I’d never heard of it but who doesn’t love a cave right!? The sun was long gone and night was approaching but I figured we could make it as there was a well made staircase down the side of the cliff.
Not too shabby.
Making our way down the steps was a little treacherous; between the gusts of wind and the rain all my focus was simply on putting one foot in front of the other, whereas Shuyet was in his element with sprinting ahead with a look of impatience.
Three quarters of the way down and all of a sudden the cliffs were protecting me from the elements, I looked under my hood and saw it for the first time. Smoo Cave.
It was astounding.
Thankfully the locals had installed uplighters which meant we could see the entrance to the cave in all it’s glory, almost meeting the sea.
As soon as my feet hit the sand at the bottom of the cliffs the air around us changed.
This was a place of power, huge power. A place where the dead resided, land spirits called home, exchanges were made. and realms collided.
Shuyet is a very goofy dog and can usually be spotted in the distance when we are walking, searching for that next squirrel or chasing those pesky birds, and as we were on the beach there was plenty of them. For the first time I saw why my Allies had put us together, as I stepped towards the entrance of the cave he appeared by my side with a demeanour I hadn’t seen before. He continually circled me as we headed into the opening of the cave, eyes wide and very alert.
It was as though we had stepped into a completely different world and I had gotten a completely different dog.
Under the caves shelter I could finally take off my hood, and that’s when I heard it – water. Fast moving, powerful water.
My heckles were now at full mast.
The residual energy in the entrance to the cave spoke of men building ships, arguments and making up with the necessary beer and whisky. It spoke of meetings under moonlight and rituals done by those who see and believe in a little more.
It spoke of decisions made and blood spilt.
I snapped out of the residual and headed straight for the water.
I have to admit I didn’t want to, I wanted to find an excuse, a reason not to go into the second cave where the noise was coming from, and the closer we got the thicker the energy became.
We got onto the rickety drenched walkway and headed in. Shuyet refused to cross the line into the other cave as the noise became deafening, the energy so dense it was hard to move.
I was met with a huge tyrant of a waterfall.
The water and space felt angry, full of rage and boiling with contempt. It was strange experiencing the two together as I was so used to going to water for healing or cleansing.
The water did not heal, it destroyed.
I disconnected my senses from the water and realised I wasn’t alone. There was something big that lived here, it’s head as bigger than I was. The energy felt very much like a dragon – primordial, fierce and territorial – holding my breath, I nodded, put a shiney stone I had in front of me and backed out of that chamber of the cave very slowly.
Once at the cave entrance I stood and ‘touched’ the energy that was surrounding us; terrifying and potent. Never have I felt a place like this.
We will go back.
What’s a Place of Power?
Places of Power are locations where the energy is more potent and you can feel the tingle in the air. Some are naturally occuring like waterfalls, where the river meets the sea or volcanoes and some are man made like cemeteries, hospitals and crossroads. It’s where worlds collide.
As these places of power emit just that, power, you aren’t going to be the only thing in the room.
Which is why many traditions have rituals for when you enter or leave such places so you are more likely to get safe passage and not leave with added extras.
Basically not anger the spirits in residence.
Why visit a Place of Power?
Here, because the world of spirit and ours is much closer, communion with your spirits and guides will be much stronger.
You are more likely to see and hear messages that are sent your way, but that is if you appease the spirits first rather than rocking in with expectations.
Places of Power are also great for leaving appropriate offerings to deities and completing potent workings. Obviously I’d make sure you aren’t just randomly doing a love spell in a graveyard unless you have a particular death deity in mind.
Some will leave offerings in the place of power and take a piece of the place with them. Many take graveyard dirt, sand or something natural that will hold the vibration of that place. This is then added to a working at a later date for an added bit of zest.
What to do?
If you stumble into a place of power and you don’t work within any particular magickal/spiritual system, then simply be respectful. You are in someone’s home and are surrounded.
Do not walk across graves, do not spit, watch your language and be aware of what you are saying. If you begin to feel uncomfortable and make a random joke about ‘maybe a spirit will follow me home’, that is beautiful opening for exactly that to happen.
Please do not think the spirits here are trapped – far from it. It’s like a dive Bar or a Spa for us, they want to be there as it feels amazing. Any thing you do to disrespect or threaten their home, their source of energy, will not be taken lightly.
Above all, do not take anything if you haven’t given something of equal value in return.