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Green Village
Nov 06, 2009 at 10:03 PM

"The End of the World"

"Many beings from other realms visit these vortexes to study your stories because the vortexes are records of stellar intelligence, the Galactic Mind." 
- Barbara Hand Clow, The Pleiadian Agenda 

"Frequently Orkney has been termed the 'Carlsbad of America' because its chief mineral spring, the Bear Wallow, by chemical analysis has been found like no other water in the world save that found at Carlsbad."
The New York Times, July 22, 1884. 

Route 263 is the only Virginia state highway that dead-ends. Well, actually it doesn't end - it veers around an enchanting village green and returns upon itself, like the upper circle of an ankh. Or, to complete the Egyptian metaphor, it loops like a sandal strap around the ankle of the goddess. images/stories/shrine_main_200.jpgThe place where this happens is the tiny village of Orkney Springs, VA - a quiet settlement of white-painted houses, a post office, a nonremarkable store / deli with odd hours (it never seems to be open), a historical hotel complex, springs with a reputation for healthful waters and, not the least of all, a unique open-air church without walls or roof: the Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration, part of Shrine Mont. Astoundingly, many people visit Orkney Springs, drive around the green and then out the way they came, without ever realizing that a jewel of religious and architectural history sits up along a hillside behind a grove of trees, at a distance equal to a city block, or less. 

But it is a question of more than history: the circa 1925 cathedral under the trees, brainchild of one Rev. Edmund Lee Woodward, is a visionary structure whose roof and walls are conceptual, suggesting a body made of energy rather than dense physical matter. To some it embodies an example of what yogis call the higher vehicle, helping us understand what the term "energy vortex" means. The images/stories/shrine2c.jpggoddess metaphor is apt as well -- but more on that below.

"The Misses Jennings and Brock"

Orkney Springs, "end of the road, start of infinity," is located 1.7 miles past Basye on Rt. 263, and less than that from the border with West Virginia. Almost from the first, this settlement had been a natural sanctuary. According to legend the springs had been sacred to the native Americans -- no one knows for how long, which tribes or cultures. Sometime in the eighteenth century there was a transfer of stewardship -- whether gradual or abrupt is not known -- from the Virginia Indians to the settlers spreading westward. The Virginia House in the center of the village, a massive 96,000 sq ft wooden building, was reputedly an infirmary during the Civil War. Later Orkney became a resort, offering gambling and other pleasures to complement the more genteel healing powers of its waters, the seven or eight springs of legend, which became five and then eventually the three we know today. But after the Civil War, into the early twentieth century, Orkney Springs was on the social calendar -- it signified leisure, and perhaps because just getting there from Washington DC or Richmond in good array was notable, appearing there in polite company was a mark of social standing. In the curiously self-conscious diction of the era, newspapers meticulously named the patriarchs, matriarchs and offspring of respected families who made the scene: "Between the hours for the band concerts each day," recounts a well-mannered writer for the New York Times, "the parlor is made attractive by the Misses Jennings and Brock of Lacey Springs, who render many instrumental pieces." 

Alas, the renderings of the lovely and charming young misses have been lost to us; but we do have the vortex in which 19th C. visitors basked, most without consciously realizing it. Whether the vortex was as powerful then as it is today, no one knows.


Bezel of Liberation

The Bear Wallow Spring referred to in the same New York Times article from 1884, was one of five springs in the village producing "restorative waters" in the village at that time.  Another NY Times piece, published the previous August,  named Orkney in a longer presentation of "celebrated health resorts among the Alleghenies." This star-status was not to last -- but it is all to the good, from a vortex energy point of view, because Orkney Springs has not been ruined. 

Today both the gambling and the glory days of the social calendar set are behind it; the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia acquired the Virginia House and 1000 acres around it in 1979. The quiet village now hosts curious tourists, weekend explorers, vacationers and an intermittent stream of conference participants. Indeed if you were to discover Orkney Springs by happenstance it is likely to be because of a religious retreat, a summer music festival or an arts and crafts show on the green. And on a casual foray you can be in and out of Orkney Springs without hearing the word "vortex" or knowing about the hidden springs, the art collection in the Virginia House, or the cathedral among the trees.

With this sporadic traffic, most of the time Orkney Springs is subdued, suspended in silence, and it offers little guidance to the visitor unless specifically asked for. And even then you need to find the right person to ask. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is a modest steward and conference center operator, and if the church does not relish finding it has been vouchsafed the role of landlord to a pulsing bezel of New Age energies, it will be perfectly understandable. 

For devotees of mythology, esoteric religion or for followers of the goddess, the village shines and pulses; the vortexes are becoming more important on the energy level. Also, the seven ancient springs remain a focus of interest. Only three are known today -- the waters of the rest have been reclaimed by the underlying karst terrane, a network of hollowed out limestone, underground streams, appearing and disappearing springs, which characterizes the Shenandoah Valley floor. The known springs today are the Orkney Spring, the Tea (located on the sloping green, next to a seasonally gurgling, stone-lined rivulet), and the Bear Wallow. The Orkney Spring, also known as the Chalybeate Spring or the Chalice Spring, located right next to Rt. 263 and hard to miss, is a magnet and destination. It has a stone facade built around it, as well as a shallow stone-walled pool just deep enough for immersion. The dedication plaque, fixed to the stone facade, commemorates Georgia Moore, 1861-1931: "The Orkney Spring, 1783. Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

The Seven Sleepers: Time Capsule of the Pleiades

It is generally believed among New Agers that human civilization and the earth are engaged in returning to what is sometimes called Gaia consciousness, and this involves the "reawakening" of points of energy all over images/stories/sevensleepers.jpgthe planet. If you are a literalist, these points are part of the body of the goddess, and just like sacred sites dedicated to the Magdalen, they serve as places of illumination and guidance humanity.  Our spiritual faculties are being stimulated so what we can respond to the challenges with which we are faced. Orkney Springs is such a reawakening center. Because of their number the springs provide a certain parallel to the "Seven Sleepers of Ephesus" in Christian legend.  The story is that the sleepers were seven young persons who hid themselves in a cave to be safe from persecution directed toward Christians during their era. They fell asleep, the cave was sealed, and almost two centuries later, it was reopened; the seven woke up, thinking they had slept only one night, walked into town to discover Christian crosses everywhere ... 

[ image: Russian icon showing the seven sleepers of Ephesus. ]

The Baptismal Font of the Alchemists: the Mayan Connection 

The situation for vortex energies is thought to be similar: the mystical knowledge and higher awareness of native Americans and Pleiadean energies have been sealed, as it were, in a cave (and Shenandoah Valley has many caves -- seven major cavern systems, in fact), waiting for a time when they could emerge into full expression. Some people feel that now is that time. It is tempting to see the energy of Orkney Springs as a bezel in the astronomical clock, the maize clock, for which 2012 was a major milestone. 

Shrine Mont's baptismal font is made of a hollowed out stone used by the Indians to grind corn. Ritually the font is a basin within which the infant is connected to divine blessing. The alchemical lexicon has a symbol corresponding to such a basin: it is called athanor (ref. to quote from Ralph Metzner, below), and it is the vehicle within which liberated consciousness is formed, until it individuates sufficiently to reach wholeness, that is to say, to become aware of its connection to higher planes of consciousness -- the very reason why people seek vortex energies.

There is every reason to believe that the Mayans, who were among the cultures whose mystical imagery depended on agricultural emblems such as maize, were (or had been at one time) in fact cosmically aware, in that they understood liberation, the relationship between the body and consciousness, earthly time and divine timelessness, in a highly spiritual way. Although Mayan imagery can be savage, they had a concept of illumination or enlightenment similar to that of the Buddhists, and the Mayan maize god was a symbol of liberated consciousness. First of all, maize was consciousness, and predictably the Mayan maize god is a symbol of liberation; and maize was the stuff of which humans were fashioned.

The Popol Vuh makes clear the importance of maize for the Maya culture: it was of maize that the gods fashioned human beings, and maize has been the staff of life for the Maya every since.
[J. Eric Thompson, The Meaning of Maize for the Maya, p. 86] 

"The concept of such advanced men, those who have become what in Oriental thought are termed buddha or fully 'awakened,' fully 'freed' units of consciousness coextensive with the consciousness of the solar cosmos, is firmly embedded in ancient American esotericism [...] [Let's] examine the various carved stone figures of the Mayan "maize god" of Central America. Above the serene countenance of this personage can be seen in floral wreath a form of the protuberance of the ushnisha [symbol of enlightenment] such as is found in numerous Oriental Buddha and Bodhisattva figures. Moreover, the hands of the Mayan "maize god" are extended palms outward, one raised and one lowered, in a classical mudra or gesture of the Bodhisattva and Buddha as also seen in Oriental iconography."
[from Blair A. Moffett, The Theosophy of Ancient America - IV. Read the whole chapter here.] 

In the western European tradition, alchemy provides a set of symbols paralleling what Blair Moffett is referring to above. C.G. Jung spent a great part of his life articulating the world of symbolism which the psyche (consciousness) has developed or inherited. Evolutionary psychologist and ecologist Ralph Metzner explains this succinctly:

Jung interprets the opus or "work" of alchemy as being the individuation process -- the individual's moving toward wholeness. The alchemical vessel, called athanor, in which these processes are taking place, is the individual psyche, or one might say, the field of one's consciousness. 
[Ralph Metzner, The Expansion of Consciousness, Green Earth Foundation and REGENT PRESS, 2008, page 8] 

The Shrine Mont Vortex of Orkney Springs:
lighting up the subtle energy grid in America

View Larger Map

The map above (courtesy of GoogleMaps) shows Shrine Mont Circle (the Ankh Loop). You can "x" out the Address panel to view it unobstructed. Biscecting the Sandal Loop horizontally is the straight rivulet which is the center of the Loop Vortex. This vortex has a pulse -- its power varies on a schedule no one has figured out yet. Shrine Mont itself, the open air stone church, is also visible. On the lower left edge of the image, where St. George's Camp Ln goes out of the picture, right above its point of exit is a house; and above that house, on the very edge of the image, you can see the faint semicircular parallel lines of the cathedral pews, like a seashell fossil etched in the hills. The iconic tower bearing the cross is a tiny dark blur among the trees.

It is the kind of place that can leave a lasting impression on a visitor. If nothing else, perhaps the sheer poetry of the setting, the legends of ancient springs and of the mysterious Senedo tribe collectively lower the resistance to higher consciousness and lend themselves to powerful inner experiences. You are on the edge of the George Washington National Forest, and may experience a haunting sense of a sacred past.

The material world has a powerful hold on awareness, and those places which loosen it effortlessly are truly remarkable and all too often facts sink indistinguishably into legend. But the springs of Orkney Springs, VA aren't merely legendary. images/stories/spring43_200.jpgThey are real, and documented in written materials of the period. 

The Camping VA web site (now defunct) named them: Bear Wallow, Sulfur, Healing, Arsenic, Iron Sulfur, Chalybeate, Alum, and Freestone. Another name for Chalybeate is the Orkney Spring. [image: Chalybeate Spring, a.k.a. the Orkney Spring]

In any case there is clearly a special feeling in the Basye-Orkney Springs area. It might seem that the more secular Basye, with its resort, its bars and golf courses, serves as a mere portal to the hidden spiritual sanctuary of Orkney Springs - but in fact subtle energies unite the villages. The Lake Laura vortex, though like the Orkney ones it fluctuates, is generally strong, and the bridle path has two separate spots, the Red Serpent and the Horseshoe, to be visited. The waters of Lake Laura come partly from the subterranean headwaters of Stoney Creek in Orkney Springs. 

Basye & Bathsheba. From Finland, to India and Egypt, streams and rivers are the cradle of rediscovered divinity. By an odd coincidence, Basye is named after a feminine Biblical figure related to rivers and springs: named Batya -- of which Basye is a variant -- in the Book of Jasher, referred to in Joshua and 2 Samuel, she is the Egyptian princess who found Moses in the Nile. She is also mentioned, in another context, in 1 Chronicles 4:8. In Hebrew, "bas" and "bat" both signify daughter. Many believe that Orkney Springs is the seat of goddess energies on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. 

There is also something uniquely American, as well as something universal, in the Basye Vortex and about Orkney Springs -- just as there is in Sedona's "vortexes." The setting at the foothills of the Appalachian chain is spectacular, of course, but the history of the place is a story that, like the lost springs, is being rediscovered. The Orkney Springs treasure of feminine and mystical energies awaits discovery by a larger audience and the the whole Basye region recalls events reminiscent of mythology. 

The vortex area, in a curious parallel to Sedona, was a site where a native American people lived and, if we are to take our lead from the venerable Julia Davis, historian of the Shenandoah Valley, these inhabitants then disappeared without explanation. images/stories/spring2.jpgThe common assumption is that the Senedo, a branch of the Iroquois, were massacred, variously, by the Catawba who marauded from the South, or by the Shawnee. The Senedo (or Shendo) tribe or the older tribe which preceded them, whose name is unknown to us, are referenced in Julia Davis's book  (The Shenandoah). Sedona's parallel "vanishing tribe" were the Anasazi. But unlike Sedona's rocks - Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, the Kachina Woman and Airport Mesa - which act like transmitting stations, the "power areas" in the Basye area are often near verdant openings in the earth - springs, creeks, stream-beds, rivers. Not only that, Basye vortexes fluctuate in power, and the vortex area seems to be about 13 miles in diameter. Meems VA, a power spot some 12 miles from Basye, is on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, and is famous for a covered bridge burned down by Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War. It was also said to be the site of a Senedo native American settlement. The bridge is located just off Rt. 11, on Wissler Rd., south of the town of Mount Jackson. As with Sedona, one of the mysteries is how this native American influence colors the energies of the place today.

It might also be noted, in view of the water symbolism of Orkney Springs, VA and of Basye, that the Shenandoah Valley is synonymous with two emblems: the derivation of the name "Shenandoah" from a Senedo indian creation legend called "
The Daughters of the Stars" - a story which also concerns water - and the famous "Seven Bends of the Shenandoah River."

For more photos and basic information on Orkney Springs.

For an excellent short article by Daisy Khalifa. We will forgive her for not even mentioning the vortexes.

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