The Moon Maiden Stone Circle
by Ivan McBeth
at Jan & Pete's --- July 6-10, 15, 2005
This article first appeared in the September 2005 issue of the Toronto Dowsers  newsletter.  This is a mostly monthly newsletter.

Ivan McBeth, from England, Stone Circle Builder, Druid Extraordinare and our October 2004 speaker,  travelled from England to our area in July to fulfill the agreement he made in October to lead a Stone Circle Workshop at the home of Jan and Pete Coles, near Guelph.   This is the first stone circle he has built in Canada.

The site was prepared, the stones and circle construction materials --- totally lo tech and all by hand, no machine --- were waiting for us...  Also waiting for us from sunup to sunset was that broiling relentless huge yellow sun.

We struggled at times, but always with passion, committment and dedication to bring in to form something that we knew was bigger than we were, that was bigger than anything we could imagine.

The site was clear, the stones, chosen weeks earlier by Jan and Pete and originally from the French River, in Northern Ontario, were waiting patiently.  The French River area is one of the best examples of a glaciated Canadian Shield river environment.   Our tools were trees that we used as rollers, wooden planks and blocks that we used as guides for the rollers as well as supports, shovels for digging holes, a pry bar for loosening boulders and levering the stones, a spade to line up the stones, a wheelbarrow to carry dirt or tools.

Ivan, Jan, Pete, Donna, Steve, Meghan, Ann, Diana and Marilyn were the bigger people on the crew.   Ruby Tuesday and Ben were the younger generation, with Ben's twin Xaniel as the vigilant firekeeper.  Everyone worked, to the best of their ability.

Ivan, mentoring Jan, determined the names for the stones and their purpose, their connections to the Sun and the Stars.   Using simple tools Ivan determined the placement of each stone.

By levering the stones, a few inches at a time, we raised them on wooden platforms that we built  in each place for each stone, until they were high enough to get the rolling assembly underneath, would oh so carefully lever the stone on to the rolling assembly, roll it to the next location, create a new platform, dig a hole and manoeuver the stone in to the hole, ensuring that its positioning was perfect to the centimeter.  Each of these steps could take an hour or more.   Using these methods, we were able to emplace 2 or 3 stones per day.

The heat was brutal.  Most days it was 32  C  (90F)  accompanied by high humidity.  No clouds.  We were drinking water constantly.   Diana, our alert Safety Officer, never lost her concentration and her watchfulness and caution saved us from many an injury.  Because it was so hot, some days we could only work with 2 stones and the circle took an additional day to complete than initially planned.    Ivan came with a severe head cold which was passed on to Marilyn and to Pete.  Although some were feeling lousy, we all knew completing this --- and doing it the proper and right way was a mission we had to do, wanted to do and would do.

When Ivan came to speak to our group, October 2004, he told us about a ritual dance, "The Dance of Life" he learned from D'Hyani Wahoo, a respected Cherokee.   A dance he would do every day and it was energizing, as well as accompanied by singing.  He taught this to us and we would begin our morning, together, in a circle with this dance.

He had also told us that in building other stone circles, they would talk to each stone, greet it, honor it, offer it respect and ask it to come in to its selected position in the circle with ease and safety.   He said that sometimes they would forget this and they were unable to budge the stone.   When they remembered, it was almost as if the stone would then jump in to proper position.

We did the same thing.  Sometimes when the stone was not moving, Diana would remind us that we needed to connect and communicate with the stone.  We did, and it was much lighter and moved effortlessly.

Before each stone was placed in to its hole, we had a brief ceremony.  Each stone had a purpose.  For example the North Stone is usually black or white so it can point to the North Star -- true North rather than Magnetic North.  Our North Stone is black and white.  It is to keep us on course so it will help all those who ask and who were building the circle to stay on track and not lose their way.   Each one would place in the hole items which we felt symbolized its purpose it a personally meaningful way, with a blessing.

This circle  is called the "Moon Maiden Stone Circle",  named for Jan's company:  "Moon Maiden Healing Arts".  The Moon Maiden is the healer in Native Indian tribes.

Working this way, together, being so close for so long under conditions that were more strenuous than most of us were used to, brought out personal issues for some of us that needed facing.   The kindness of the others made it easier to get through them.

By Day 2 we were functioning as a team.   We knew not to begin any step until Ivan gave the go ahead, after he checked with Diana for safety reasons.  We didn't need to do a lot of talking and we were working more and more smoothly as a unit, appreciating one another's abilities, making up when possible for each other's weaknesses.  There was no resentment, no envy, no ego or power plays.

Jan and Donna were amazing.  Not only did they do most of the hole digging, but they also did 90% of the work for meal preparation --- this was 3 meals a day, making food, preparing the table, washing the dishes and offering occasional snacks.  The Stone Circle Workshop started a few days after Jan returned from a trip to California to learn advanced Cranio Sacral techniques.

The hole that was dug for the stones was about 1/3 the height of the entire stone.  Each stone weighed about a half ton and when it was upright and dug in stood about 5' tall.

I wasn't there for the placement of the final 2 stones.  It was held a few days later and I was in bed, recuperating.  Jan and Pete said that night they had a celebration for those present. to awaken and welcome the circle.  "It was a simple, yet beautiful and very profound ceremony," says Jan.  "We welcomed the stones and all that they bring.  The participants acknowledged all the attributes that they saw in the circle.  We celebrated with singing and music and story telling.  Steve played his guitar and Diana played her flute.  Then we had a taste of mead!"

I returned a month after its inauguration  under a full August moon.   A dinner party was planned for that evening, family and friends were invited.  Even guests who were not familiar with our kind of activities commented that they felt the spirituality, that being in the center of this circle held the vibration and feeling of being in a holy place.

Looking back a month later, Jan tells us:   "It was a very magical experience that altered my life.  It was amazing to watch the shifts within myself physically, emotionally and spiritually that evolved over the six days and are continuing to evolve, to feel the shift in my strength and how using my body physically felt good, to see myself in group dynamics and my spiritual connection to God, Goddess, the Earth and Nature was deepened and strengthened.  I felt as though I was standing on plates of stone that were shifting and settling so that changed everything in my body."

Pete comments that he has more calm in his life.  He looks at issues differently.  He doesn't get as angry or as upset as he used to.  Pete thinks the building and completing of the Stone Circle was "the most amazing miracle of group dynamics, determination and magic".

Although this was too strenuous for me due to the weather, strength required and condition I was in and it took me 2 weeks to recover, I am glad and proud to have been permitted to partake in this creating.  I hope I can participate in another one, now that I understand things better.  I'll have more appreciation of each moment.

Each one of us is now an apprentice Druid in The Megalithic Order of Druids (MODs).  Ivan has declared that  "Anyone helping to build a stone circle is automatically an apprentice Druid in the Megalithic Order of Druids. Over time, depending on experience, the apprentice will become a full Druid with full ceremony and honours."

Stay tuned to this newsletter for another installment, the next time from Ivan McBeth after he sends us his Moon Maiden Stone Circle Story.  And stay tuned for information about Ivan's first book --- an astonishing autobiography which we hope to have for you soon --- which was published and released at the same time we started the Circle.  The birth of 2 awe inspiring events, both coming to us from Ivan McBeth.

Thank you, Jan.  Thank you, Pete.  Thank you, Ivan.  Thank you, Every One.
If anyone gets the Halton Compass newspaper, there is a lovely article, and pictures, in the July 15th issue.