The Michael Mary Line Part 4: White Horses and Dragons

A few years ago, we journeyed along the Michael/Mary line beginning in Ogbourne St George, Wiltshire, and headed west to Dartmoor. Sometime later, we returned to the Wessex Downs but this time coming in from the opposite direction (Caln, in the west). As soon as we entered the chalk scarp, we were struck by the huge telluric, geological currents surging through the porous rock, pushing up gentle hillocks and forming combes that looked like nodes in the land. Green fuzz now covers the chalk, which is therefore no longer visible – unless a white horse has been carved in it, that is.

Alton Barnes White Horse (credit Wikipedia)

White horses and hill forts abound in these vales demonstrating how important they once were to the people who loved and lived in them. The White Horse of Alton Barnes gracing the side of Milk Hill is visible from the A4, itself looking out towards the famous White Horse of Pewsey, where a new white horse replaces an older and now faded older version. A gentle walk along the top of the Wansdyke brings the relief of the land into clear focus, and places the white horses firmly in the context of the a broader landscape that undulates across to the Mendips and Cotswolds far into the distance. The Wansdyke itself is an intriguing feature and was probably built by the ancient Britons to keep the Saxon invaders out in a time of invasion and flux.

We continued north passed Windmill Hill and joined up with the Ridgeway. Part of a massive chalk escarpment some four hundred miles long and extending from Dorset to East Anglia, the section between the Sanctuary and the Ivinghoe Beacon in Berkshire is the most famous uninterrupted national walking trail in the country. It is along this pathway that the great dragon energies emerge from the chalk as telluric currents and intermingle with the more precise energies of the Michael/Mary line that we had been dowsing since Dartmoor. Iron Age hill forts, often built over more ancient Neolithic causewayed enclosures, become a stronger feature of the landscape, holding these powerful energies in a way that churches are unable to.

Barbary Castle (credit Wikipedia)

It was exciting and exhilarating to feel the energies swirling through Barbary castle with its three rings and ditch enclosures. Circling and dancing like a coiled snake, the earthworks contained and amplified the energies in an honouring and respectful way. This joyful dance continued along the Ridgeway to Liddington Camp, one of the earliest of the hill forts and dating back to the Late Bronze Age (around 700 BCE). These ‘forts’ were primarily used as places were clans met and feasted, traded goods and worshipped, though some defensive function is also not excluded. Therefore the term ‘fort’ does not do them justice, and neither does the medieval word ‘castle’ that implies a form of conquer and control that was not present in the minds of the people who created these structures.

In the centre of the Liddington earthworks, the energy was particularly intense and demanded some form of acknowledgement. Later, further research revealed the existence of a ritual shaft, used by the ancient Britons who occupied this site to ritually connect more deeply with the land, and harness the protective and abundant energies in a mutually honouring way.

Vale of the White Horse (credit author)

The Ridgeway continues northeast, and is cut across brutally by the M4 motorway, contrasting strongly with the respectful energies we had felt previously. Now we were in Oxfordshire but the underlying chalk knew no such boundaries and the great dragon currents surged towards the most famous vale of all – the Vale of the White Horse. According to Miller and Broadhurst, [1]the Mary current sweeps round the nexus point containing some of the most important sites in the country – The White Horse, Ufffington Castle, Dragon Hill and Wayland’s Smithy – and is anchored at the church of St Mary in Uffington. It is also just north of this area that the Belinus line crosses over the Michael/Mary line, forming a major omphalos (more on this to come). We went into this centre to explore the energies in more detail.

Wayland’s Smithy (credit author)

Just beneath Fox Hill, the Ridgeway now passes through one of the earliest Neolithic long barrows in Britain – Wayland’s Smithy. Set in a secluded grove ringed by trees, a stone burial chambers covered by a huge earth mound are surrounded by an enclosure of sarsen stones. Built during the Neolithic by the mysterious early agriculturalists in two stages, an earlier timber barrow could date back as early as 3590 BC.[2]

 The Saxons were probably the first to link the Germanic smith-god Wayland with this site, a rather ambivalent mythological figure who emerges, often in an unfavourable light, in a range of contexts from the Icelandic Eddas to the exquisitely carved Frank’s Casket, where he is depicted holding a severed head with the aid of tongs in one hand and a goblet in the other. Though the myth has him slaying a king’s son and cutting off his head, plying the same king’s daughter with wine and raping her, he is also associated with making wings from birds feathers that enable him to fly. This could account for why he appears in a variety of places plying his trade of smith, possibly linking this site (mythically at the least) with an early phase of metallurgy in pre-history. In more favourable contexts, Wayland is associated with forging magical swords and also the mail shirt worn by Beowolf in the epic poem of the same name. [3]

White Horse of Uffington (credit Wikipedia)

The White Horse itself is situated on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill, a distinctive undulating steep-sided valley formed by the interplay of land with the repeated freeze-thaw cycles of the last Ice Age. It can only really be appreciated from above or at a distance to see its full extent, emphasising its role as a beacon or orientation point in a sacred landscape. The White Horse itself has been dated to the late Bronze Age (1380 – 550 BC)  as has the (once again misnamed) Uffington castle on top of the hill, a huge square structure surrounded by earthworks. Not much of the original remains but to walk the parameters of the site gives some feel of its scope and scale. As the highest place for miles around, it would have had great ritual (and therefore economic) importance for the ancient Britons who inhabited the area.  

The energies are still palpable in the earthworks but do not have the joyful innocent quality that we had felt previously. These ancient walkways were fed by pilgrims and travellers that kept the energy flowing between nodal points, often represented by barrows and mounds, through a mutual honouring between land and walker. When this is no present, the flow and therefore the energies recede into the background, or indeed stagnate, waiting patiently to be acknowledged and activated once again at some future time.

Dragon Hill (credit author)

The White Horse itself is no longer accessible and when standing in the physical landscape, it is hard to see the horse at all. Indeed, it is now Dragon Hill, a small chalk hill with artificially flattened top siting sitting just below the White Horse, that draws the visitor in both visually and energetically. A large chalk circle marks the eye, said to be the spot where St George killed the dragon, the blood preventing grass from growing on its summit. As ever the myth of dragon slaying going hand in hand with the presence of huge telluric landscape currents, which is one of the reasons that these energies are called dragon energies.

It is significant that both the dragon and horse are present in this landscape. There are many theories as to the meaning of the White Horse. Some see it as a solar horse, whose origins stretch back into the deep past of an Indo-European mythology that perceived the sun carried across the sky by a horse or chariot. [4] Archaeo-astronomical investigations have suggested a link between the horse and the midwinter sun, others discern a connection between the landscape and the constellation of Draco, all of which warrants further investigation.

‘Rhiannon’ by Alan Lee

There are other land based alternatives. To the Celtic and the ancient Britons,  the white horse was the ultimate symbol of Sovereignty, who was both the goddess of the land and the land itself. She bestowed kingship in exchange for protection and when this was honoured, the land was fertile and all life forms were happy. The Brythonic Sovereignty goddesses Rhiannon is closely associated with the white horse, as are the Celtic goddesses Aine and Maeve.

White Horse (credit author)

At this place of great power, we can stand and reconnect with this aspect of the land, take back our own Sovereignty and empowerment and come back into harmony with the energies of the Earth herself, and therefore with the energies of the wider cosmos. That the horse still holds energetic sway here is reflected by the land in the numerous horse racing stables that cluster at the foot of Lambourne Down, serving as training grounds for hundreds of race horses that still gallop through the Vale to this day.


[1] Broadhurst and Miller, (1998) ‘The Sun and the Serpent’

[2] ‘Wayland’s Smithy’ available at http://www.en.m.wikipedia.org

[3] As above

[4] Pollard, J. (2017). ‘The Uffington White Horse geoglyph as sun-horse.’ Antiquity. 91. (326): 406 – 420 (Accessed 10.4.21)