The Knell of Dark Matter


“Dark matter” – a whisper from a guide from another world.

I google it and find out that on the 7th of May the US Department of Energy approved $19 million for the Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search at the SNOLAB facility in Ontario, which will be led by SLAC.

Scientists posit the existence of dark matter because the movements of galaxies cannot be explained in terms of visible matter alone. Measurements suggest 80 per cent of the universe is dark matter. Unfortunately dark matter has not yet been detected because it doesn’t emit light or energy.

According to a popular theory it is made up of weakly interacting particles (WIMPs) that ‘pass through regular matter like ghosts, but every so often may collide with an atom of regular matter, causing a reaction scientists can note’. Detecting this reaction is the aim of the SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment.

SNOLAB’s laboratory, located 6,800 feet underground in an abandoned nickel mine, is the deepest in North America. This ensures it is shielded from unwanted background signals from cosmic radiation.

The apparatus will consist of four detector towers containing lattices of silicon and germanium crystals, which will vibrate if struck by a WIMP. To measure these tiny vibrations, these ‘atomic jiggles’, ‘the crystals need to be cooled to less than minus 459.6 degrees Fahrenheit – a fraction of a degree above absolute zero temperature.’ Absolute zero is the coldest matter can be. ‘Near this state any movement on the atomic level should be detectable.’ Therefore the towers will be placed in a cryogenic container called a SNOBOX. Hopefully a WIMP will ring one of the crystal detectors ‘like an atomic bell’ and leave its mysterious ‘fingerprint’. The experiment will begin in the 2020s.

My initial reaction was “how very Annuvian!” Way before science most ancient peoples have been aware of a invisible otherworld of ghost-like matter, a vast otherness that holds and shapes the visible. Within Brythonic tradition it is known as Annwn, ‘the Deep’, and later became Faerie. Frequently located underground, across water, in the starry heavens, it is a realm of ghosts, fay, chthonic gods usually visible and audible only to the eyes and ears of the soul, although the vibrations of their presence can sometimes be detected in the liminal and deep places of Thisworld.

So this quest is to capture a particle of Annwn, a particle of Faerie. No surprises it must take place so deep underground in conditions of ultracold. This brings to mind the sleep of Pen Annwn, Winter’s King, Gwyn ap Nudd, from Calan Mai (1st or 8th May) throughout the summer. His place of rest is Caer Ochren, the castle of cold stone. It is colder than ice. Near absolute zero. At this temperature the restless spirits of Annwn who threaten to destroy Thisworld are also more restful. Could one be caught in frozen slowness, ring that bell, a knelling from Faerie, give the scientists proof?

Following these contemplations I checked out the astrology. Several years ago, Brian Taylor, who sadly passed in February this year, made me aware of the influence of Pluto over events concerning the underworld and atomic science. In 1985, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, he began an astrological essay tracing ‘the exteriorisation of Pluto in the history of the nuclear era’ which he completed in 1995.

Brian also mapped the synchronicities surrounding the photographing of Pluto on the 14th of July 2015. These included the culmination of the deal between the West and Iran over the Iranian nuclear programme which, perhaps not so coincidentally, Trump recently withdrew the US from this week.

In ‘Shock and Awe: The Astrology of May 2018’ Anna Applegate says ‘on Monday, May 7, in the wee hours of the morning (3:52 CDT), Mercury in Aries forms a square to Underworld Lord Pluto in Capricorn.’ This was the day of the press release for the SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment.

Anna continues, ‘The Taurus Sun will also make a trine to transformative Pluto; it occurs on Friday, May 11 at 6:10 p.m.’ ‘After Mercury enters the sign of Taurus on the Sunday 13th, the square to Pluto will transform into a more “benevolent” trine, as Taurus and Capricorn are sister signs.’

Although I have little knowledge of astrology I have long been aware of the influence of Pluto in my life. I’m a Scorpio, which is ruled by Pluto. According to Brian, who read my birth chart, I ‘have Pluto rising’, ‘angular Pluto is a powerful placement’ and ‘the moon’s nodes exactly square Pluto’. Sun and Mercury are also in Scorpio. Brian also charted transits to my natal Pluto for the day I met Gwyn.

For me, Gwyn is the Brythonic equivalent of Pluto, ruler of winter and the underworld, and the primary guiding force in my life. The synchronicities between the transits of Pluto, the inaugration of the SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment deep underground with its cryogenic SNOBOX, and the sleep of Gwyn and his spirits in the castle of cold stone feel important. Is this a portent? A warning about something that will happen if the bell is rung and the knell of dark matter begins to echo from Annwn?



Anna Applegate, ‘Shock and Awe: The Astrology of May 2018’, Amor et Mortem, 1st May 2015
Brian Taylor, ‘Photographing the Underworld? A Note on NASA’s Pluto Fly-By’, Animist Jottings, 18th July 2015
Dana Dovey, ‘What is dark matter? Scientists may be on cusp of detecting of finally detecting elusive material’, Newsweek, 10th May 2015
Jay Bennett, ‘The Search for Dark Matter Continues, More Than a Mile Underground’, Popular Mechanics, 9th May 2015
Manuel Gnida, ‘Construction Begins on One of the World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Experiments’, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 7th May 2015

Prayer: A Little Window

Following Anna Applegate’s comment on the lack of discourse on prayer in the Pagan communities I’ve decided to share a little window into my prayer life. I’ve never done this before because, rather than saying set prayers, I simply speak to the gods and spirits from the heart. These are examples of heartfelt words rather than literary masterpieces. I’d be interested to hear from others about their daily prayers.

Altars April 2018 II


Spirit of this house
Spirits of Greencroft Valley
Spirits of this land on which I stand
I give thanks to you.

Lady of the Marsh
Lady of the sacred hill of Penwortham
Lady of the wells now lost
I give thanks to you.

Belisama, Goddess of the Ribble, flowing
from Gavel Gap through Settle, Clitheroe, Ribchester
bringing your gift of sacred waters
I give thanks to you.

Nodens and the Weather Shapers
cloud-makers, wind-bringers
mist, fog, and rain-bearers
I give thanks to you.

Gwyn ap Nudd
first amongst my gods my forever patron
who leads the dead and living to Annwn
I give thanks to you.


Gwyn ap Nudd,
Lord of Annwn,
Guide of Souls,
Light of the Mist,

God who dwells
in the Otherworld yet
close as my heartbeat
close as my breath*

grant me guidance
from Annwn’s dark heart

and inspiration
from Annwn’s deep depths.

As I walk each step
in service to you.

(Followed by a recital of the Annuvian Awen and a meditation, journey, or divination).


Gwyn ap Nudd
Gatherer of Souls
Walker Between Worlds

God who guides the dead
God who walks the brink of madness
God who contains the fury
of the spirits of Annwn

I come to you in awe and reverence
I come to you in love and service.

Let us share our journeys…

(Followed by communion with Gwyn)


Nodens Lord of Dreams
God of that deep and absurd world
that I vow to remember the next morning
before it slips from my mind with
the waters of forgetting

I give thanks for the joy of sleeping
I give thanks for the joy of dreaming

and these were last night’s dreams…

Nodens Lord of Dreams
guide me in this night of deep dreaming.

*Phrase borrowed from Greg Hill.