Burley. The New Forest’s dark secret

A couple of years ago, I was looking at taking a weekend break and visit my brother who lived in the New Forest.

Lyndhurst.  A quaint English village with ponies, deer, tea rooms, antiques shop and a Ferrari dealership!

I love the New Forest, in 2008 I had the chance to work for the New Forest NHS trust fixing computers in hospitals and clinics in places like Ashurst, Lyndhurst, Tatchbury Mount, Beauliu, and Lymington.   This jobs was a dream for me, as I have spent times hiking and camping there, and this job let me do some brief walking around during.

I was talking about trying to book a youth hostel in the New Forest, and found a listing for just one, in a village called Burley.   My mum overheard me and told me not to got there, it has a reputation for having a history in witchcraft.

So I thought my mum was joking until I looked it up on Google Streetmap view.  Who would know a sleepy English village would be based around the occult?


Witchcraft, occult and spiritual warfare is not just something of curiosity horror films and goth meet up parties, its very real.   Certain places I have visited you can sense it.  I’ve seen a friend delivered from an evil spirit, (who immediately accepted Christ and threw out loads of New Age stuff she previously had)  I’ve seen grown men had nervous breakdowns whilst working in the Holy Land and need to get a family member to escort them home on a plane.   I’ve seen things move around the room at 3am in my friend’s flat in a town in the Galilee, which I realised in the morning what it was later.  Actually thinking about it historically and biblically, Jesus dealt with casting out demons all the time in and around the Galilee area.

I’d still like to visit the New Forest, but not Burley. 🙂  I’m really glad I heard my mum’s advice now!

Finally I’ve used this passage lots of times regarding the occult, new age and spiritual warfare but it deserves a mention again.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Switching off and tune into God

My friend Jon Butler blogged a few months ago about escaping from technology to spend time with God here: http://jonbutler.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/time-to-hear-god-speak-as-ifast/  I think this is a great idea.

Often, for me; tasks at work may overflow into an evening or weekend as I am trying to research a particular software for projects I am doing at the moment, or using social media, or looking at comedy, news and other things the internet has to offer.

This often means some stuff get put aside by all the things the digital age has to offer.

I have been thinking, something I think helps with this, is a some sort of zone or isolated spot away from everyday routine.

Back in Portsmouth there’s a cemetery near my parents thats quiet for walking through, but also Old Portsmouth and its seafront makes a good place to pray and walk around.

This a really idyllic place to spend quiet time, this is Ashurst in the New Forest, its a small town on a main road, not much more than a few shops, couple of takeaways, a pub close and a hospital I used to work at, down this little lane on the left…

This is Ashurst’s camp site, a place I spent time camping as a teenager, during the winter its shut, and its used as a drive in Christmas tree store about this (beginning of November) time of the year, and certainly also it seems when Google took these pictures as these forest ranger chaps are busy (click to get a better view)  you just drive in the entrance, pick a tree and stuff it in your car. 🙂

The truly best part of this, is the woods you can walk around and places to pray in solitude during my lunch break back in the job I was doing in 2008.

Lately despite being last couple of years in Jerusalem, I find myself just indoors on Saturdays just wanting to relax, although its Shabbat (Saturday is day of rest for Jewish culture) and until a month ago, it gets fiercely hot during midday in a climate like this, I really need to get out and find places of quiet to contemplate and seek God I think…

This my balcony on my flat.  I really like it, I think from now on this is the perfect place to sit with some coffee and pray before leaving the house in the morning.  Actually my old room mate was a smoker so this part of his routine was being out here.

Would be interested from anyone on suggestions on how you cope with quiet places to spend time with the Lord…