I experienced my first fire vision quest back in the summer of 2012. I woke from sleep after around half an hour or so. I couldn’t see my watch because it was dark, although it wasn’t as pitch black as I had anticipated. In fact, I have sat for hours in pitch-black rooms before now, on my ghost hunt investigations over the years. Therefore, at this time, sitting comfortably on a hillside in rural Derbyshire in the middle of a summer’s night, was very relaxing and peaceful.
Sitting up and looking around, I heard the steady beat of the drum echoing through the hillside, pounding its heartbeat into each one of us. I was aware of my friend the oak tree at my side, her huge leafy branches overhanging me, sheltering me from the rain. We had only a small shower, and the rain was neither heavy nor unpleasant. In fact, I found it quite refreshing. I was dressed in jeans, walking boots, a waterproof jacket, and with a couple of blankets for warmth. I sat on a plastic bin bag that acted as a groundsheet.
As I looked all around me, turning my head from left to right, and shifting round in my square, I saw things that I take forgranted every day. There were the trees bordering the hill. To my right was a thick hedge that formed the boundary between the next field, and behind me was another hedge with a gate leading into another field beyond. I was essentially sitting in the top corner of the farmer’s field, at the top of the hill, looking down on the site where our facilitators sat around the bonfire. I heard the river below, and to my right I realised there was another stream bubbling noisily. I hadn’t seen it earlier in the day.
Listening to the beat of the drum, I became aware of another sound coming from the field to my right. I thought there were people in there beating their own drums in tune to the central rhythm. But I knew this wasn’t true. Our facilitators were all sitting around the fire, with only one or two people at a time wandering around the two hills checking on my fellow spiritual travellers and me. Nobody had any need to enter the adjacent field, and there were no dwellings or gathering places in the vicinity. But there was definitely somebody in the field beside me. I wasn’t frightened. They were simply joining us with sound, enjoying the drums.
As I listened, my senses focused on the bubbling stream beside me. I became aware of three gnomes, emerging from their underground homes in the riverbank. They marched solemnly up beside the stream, each beating their own drum, and I was aware of them walking steadily down the hill, to sit beside the fire and enjoy our party. I realised that they are very serious creatures, but not at all unfriendly. They simply live their own quiet lives, hidden from humans, and they don’t interfere unless they feel it is necessary.
Looking across at the darkened hill opposite, my eyes settled on the hedges and trees that bordered the field. I saw the shadow of a giant race down the hill, his legs stretching wide as he leaped forward. He kept close to the hedge and was very skinny. In fact he reminded me of the BFG, from the popular children’s story by Roald Dahl. He made me smile, and I was surprised, because I never expected to see giants and gnomes on my vision quest! All the while the drum beat steadily, and I continued to watch my surroundings in the dark blue of night.
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