Surrey 4 – The Matron and The Ancient Yew

Surrey 4 – The Matron and The Ancient Yew
On a bright clear morning I made my way south and west of the M25 ring road around London, and down into the heart of Surrey’s scenic surroundings. I saw signs for Bognor Regis and Worthing and realised that I was closer to the South Downs National Park then I had imagined. Yet it felt like the very heartlands of England – pretty narrow roads with passing places; rustic detached houses with plenty of land; beautiful villages with quaint pubs; and avenues of deciduous trees in the full flourish of autumn colour. Every mile was a delight.
I stopped at what I have to day is one of the prettiest villages I have ever seen. Dunsfold is a collection of a few large houses with delightfully landscaped gardens, a kempt village green, and a valley view to top it all off. Parking was no problem here. On the edges of the village I could see the old church and I wandered across to see if I could find any clues as to where the well would be that I intended to visit.
The church was dedicated to Mary and All Saints. In my experience this is usually an indicator that it was built upon a site which was originally dedicated to many gods, and these had been appropriated into “all saints”. The ‘Mary’ clue told me that we were dealing with a predominantly female energy  in the area. And so it felt to be the case. Colour everywhere, gentle hills and curves, and a welcoming feel.
I found the clue that I was looking for. Outside the church was a sign pointing to the “holy well”. Perfect. I headed down the track indicated and soon I was at the bottom of the village’s hill, and the well’s canopy was just there, next to the looping slow-drifting river.
As I arrived I felt drawn to a spot within a shallow band of hawthorn trees just opposite the well. As I climbed the rise I saw that there was some form of inlet, or well head. This is where I was being invited to attune, and so I did. Once I was ready I climbed back down and stood admiring the well’s wooden canopy.
As I stood admiring the well’s structure and considering what I might need to do to tune in, I was distracted by a lady working in a field slightly further up the track. She was in a field attending to the horses there. I could hear her hacking cough every few minutes – seemingly timed to perfection to interrupt my attempts to get attuned to the site. I therefore took a moment to direct my thoughts towards this issue. I felt a female presence at the well, and the presence was trying to offer me ideas to help this lady…. I cleared my head and let the thoughts arrive.
A tincture of coltsfoot“.
When I later researched the remedy I found numerous references to its efficacy, and in fact its old name was “Coughwort“:
Medicinal Action and Uses—Demulcent, expectorant and tonic. One of the most popular of cough remedies. (source: A Modern Herbal)

At this time of year I feel the presence of The Dark Lady – The Morrigan – The Cailleach. As I moved towards the well with respect, and choosing the correct entry point, asking for permission to enter – I felt her presence clearly. I used my dowsing rods to find the best place to be. There are two iron lids on top of the well, and I was shown to stand at the one nearest the river, and to raise the well’s lid to let in the light (or was it to let out the dark?).


As I tuned into the spirit of the well I felt it was a Matron form of the goddess. Very strongly, this was a caring, healing, matronly form – mature and kind, yet powerful and needing respect.

I asked whether the well had any healing properties in the water, and I was given a twinge in my bowel and at the area where a woman’s ovaries would be. These waters were to heal bowel, bladder and ovaries (fertility for women).


I gave my thanks and stood watching and listening to the birds as they swooped and sang in the nearby field, and watched as the sunlight twinkled through the branches and reflected in dapples off the river. Sigh, this is relaxation. This is a holiday. Why would you need a hot beach the other side of the world?

I felt that I was done here. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to speak to the lady in the field with the cough. She had gone far into the field and I left her to her hacking. Had I had a piece of paper I would have written the remedy and left it on the windscreen of her car. Now I publish it for you all. Got a cough? Get a tincture of coltsfoot!

A Brush With Death

I walked back up the track, uphill for a minute, and then I was back at the church. Something was telling me to go inside. The morning frost had receded now, and the grass dripped with clear morning dew. It felt inviting. The sun lit up the old church’s interesting stonework and rendering, and I wanted to get closer.

Once inside the churchyard I suddenly saw the reason why I was here. Before me was an ancient yew tree – it’s hollow bole inviting me to climb inside.


I did a proper approach – respecting its aura, and asking for permission to get closer before I moved anywhere near. I felt a lovely invitation to another dark experience, and I walked around to enter into the amazingly beautiful interior of the yew tree.


Inside I was able to get into meditation easily. The way the light sparkled through the yew needles just set me off into a trance straight away, and I felt the ancient presence of the yew tree very soon. It was like being back in Llangernyw with that ancient yew, yet this had a slightly brighter feel.I asked the yew of it had any words of advice for a young whipper-snapper like myself. It very clearly and slowly said to me:

Do not hurry yourself towards death. Move in accordance with your time.”

Given the way I was feeling that morning that felt like just the right kind of message for me. Chill. There’s plenty of time. Don’t rush towards everything. Let is come in its own time. I resonated with that, and a resonance came back to me that this had been a message that had been given to Kal as well. He tried hard to follow that advice, but he was always pushing at the edges. Only very late in his life did he turn to me once and say “I think I’m there now. Everything feels like clockwork.” He didn’t get long to enjoy that feeling, though.


In return I gave some of my energy to the yew tree to see it through the winter. I released some of the Solstice sunlight power that I had gathered in the Summer, and I mixed that with my own personal energy to form a unique gift to the yew tree. I have had experience of offering trees gifts to see them through the Winter. I had done the same once in Alderley Edge forest.

As I emerged refreshed and vibrant from within the tree’s bowels something caught my eye. It was one of those moment where you can’t actually believe your eyes. Here, in this delightful quaint Surrey village churchyard, there was a floating skull:


I had to do several double takes, and then wander over to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. No, there it was – a balloon with a decorative skull motif was tied to a recent gravestone. Mad! It was so out of place and unexpected! It properly jolted me out of my dreamy state and back to reality. What was a Mexican Day of the Dead skull doing here?

Time for me to make my way to the next place on my list. I got out my phone, though. I wondered if there was anything else in the area around here before I set off for the next place? I used the iMegalithic app to search but the reception was so poor it would only load the pins and not the map. I picked one at random – “St Catherine’s Hill“. Sounded great, but as I couldn’t tell the distance or see any nearby towns I would have to just carry on to the next place on my list: Artington Well.


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