Away Day to Cumbria

Never before had Bishopgate seen the like of the attractive and fragrant bunch that graced it that Saturday morning. Before the day was truly begun we had taken our erudite and fascinating conversations on board the minibus for adventure and fun.

The drive over to Cumbria was pleasant and we spotted various birds and farm animals including llamas! Though it was not quite yet Ostara the promise of Imbolc was being fulfilled in the greening of the land.

The first stop was Castlerigg. We immediately piled out of the bus to admire the site. It was very impressive. Impressive and wet. Castlerigg was admired from every angle. Its stones were gazed upon individually and felt, their different characters glimpsed. The landscape surrounding the circle is magnificent and invited comparison between the arrangement of stones and the landscape which framed them. In the distance Helvellyn and Skiddaw, shrouded in mist, add to the atmosphere and drama of the circle.

Having ascertained that the ground was far too wet for a picnic we ate aboard the bus before venturing back out for a ritual.

Though the weather brightened, the wet ground and need to avoid puddles (pools?) made for some interesting quarter calling! Tina and Brian led us in a lovely ritual welcoming the spring and renewal. Nano read for us around the symbolism of the egg and we were all given chocolate eggs as a symbol of the sweetness of new growth. I personally took a moment to weave a ring of grass which I wore on my finger throughout the ritual, and placed in a hollow of the stone as we left.

Back aboard the bus we headed off to our second stop.  Long Meg, adorned with ring marks, sits higher than her ring of daughters, and is older too. The nearby river Eden is one of few north flowing rivers in the world and as such comparisons are drawn with the Nile.

We explored the stones which are threaded with quartz before we gathered together.

We were invited to write our wishes and hopes for the coming season upon pieces of paper. These were placed inside wooden eggs which could be decorated. Our intentions set, we nestled our eggs at Long Megs foot while Sally told us of the site’s link with the constellation Cygnus and the significance of the swan cult. Sally then led us on a moving path-working exploring our relationship with the swan which gave the group an atmosphere of connection and quiet contentment. We gathered up our wooden eggs, full of wishes. As I walked round the stones I gathered wisps of wool left by the sheep. I spun these between my fingers and wove the resulting yarn in to a pair of rings. One is still with me, one remains at Long Meg’s daughters, beside a particularly sparkly quartzy stone.

Back on the bus we headed over the Pennines once again. Stopping at the Fox and Hounds in Boroughbridge we were fed soup, chips and sandwiches which were included in the cost of the trip. The beer we bought wasn’t, but I’m sure it made the last leg of the journey back more fun. It wasn’t far till Leeds now, at which point most made their way home, though a few malingerers fell in to BAHT’AP, the moot’s home, keen that such a wonderful day shouldn’t end.

As ever the Leodis trip was a perfect blend of laughter, discovery and spiritual connection. I can’t wait for the next one.

by Dawn Todd

Paranormal Investigation

Paranormal Investigation
Swarthmore Education Centre
Saturday 16 November 2016

We started the investigation with a walk round the entire building with Sting Wray who gave us brief histories of the houses before they were opened up to for the centre. Noting the rooms with little or no IT where we felt we would be able to use the electronic equipment. Chris set up a control area in the coffee bar with motion sensors linked to the computer.

Room 17 was chosen randomly for the first vigil, a small room at the rear of the building… Started by calling out to spirit to join us.

Jane set up the EMF meter and we waited. Dave made contact very quickly with a female spirit, very weak but able to communicate. She was sitting at her desk writing. Showing him the letters F & J in particular. He felt she was very proud of her handwriting. He tried some automatic writing but as he is left handed and she right handed it was difficult. He got the name Florence Joyce, she passed aged 19. Died suddenly after a pain in her neck, her brother found her. Tina got the name Robert. Debs felt cold on her left side and Lavina felt she was being tapped on her shoulder.

We tried the spirit board with Karen, Stephen and Lavina, had more success just with the glass, it moved slowly and shakily but did respond to us.

Dave said the brother’s name was Sam or Samuel. Jane checked the temperature near Debs and Lavina and noted there was a distinct drop compared to the rest of the room.

We then moved to room 12 and Dave felt it was active but could not make direct contact with spirit, the EMF meter did not record any activity.

Moving around the building we tried various rooms but apart from everyone feeling there was some activity little communication was achieved.

In room 2 Mark and Tina called to spirit and felt we were being watched. We moved the chair belonging to Maurice Rowntree to the centre of the room and waited. Tina distinctly saw the chair back move as if vibrating for a moment. The rest of the group joined us and we sat in circle around the chair asking for a sign that spirit was present. We then moved the chair to the control area and left it in full view of the cameras and movement sensors.

Whilst we were in room 17 Chris had stayed with the equipment in the coffee bar and tried calling out for spirit to join him and got a distinct response that was recorded on his laptop. Sadly no movement was captured.

After a tea break we all gathered in Room 3. Forming a circle, we held hands and invited spirit to join us. Dave picked up on the spirit of a gentleman, Major Rathbone, died there possibly just after World War 1. Possibly consumption. He smoked a pipe and several of us could smell cherry tobacco. Jane felt her chest tighten and started coughing quite a lot even though she had felt well before we entered the room.

Major Rathbone was a very stern chap. Not impressed with our presence and not happy with the current use of the building. Debs asked him who was on the throne and Dave said his reply was ‘the King you stupid woman’.

Tina got the image of a very dark chestnut horse and we all concluded that was the Major’s mount as he told Dave he was very proud of his horse. He kept looking in the direction of the TV screen but Dave said it was a portrait on the wall he could see, the wall being where the archway opening the two rooms into one would have been.

Dave said he did not think he was one of the gentleman in the photographs on the wall, might have been the one on the left but the age difference was such he couldn’t be sure.

We thanked the Major for joining us, he didn’t respond but Dave said he was still there standing straight and ignoring us.

We then went into the computer room, the EMF meter was very active but because of the volume of IT equipment it was decided the readings could well be false although when held close to a computer did not register.

All in all for a first investigation we felt it had been a worthwhile evening, spirit were present but reticent to make contact with us. The building is so large to do a full investigation would take several visits, with more people to help build the energy. We had visited several rooms briefly and established they were probably active but more time would be needed to investigate further.

As we were loading the cars in the rear car park we all distinctly saw movement in two of the first floor rooms although no one was in the building, we decided the spirits were checking we had all gone!

With many thanks to the management of Swathmore for allowing this investigation, we would welcome the chance of another visit in the future to continue what we have begun, we feel there is more to uncover as we have just touched the surface with this first vigil.

Tina Dyson

Summer Picnic at Boggle Hole

Leodis Pagan Circle’s summer picnic was held in North Yorkshire on Sunday 12 June 2016. People were invited to meet up for a ramble to the Bronze Age Ramsdale Stones followed by a picnic at Boggle Hole near Whitby.

Only 8 of us made the trek to the Ramsdale Stones but what a quality group that was. The friendship and camaraderie was noticeable as we made our way through the misty, muddy fields. We laughed and joked and squelched our way through the ethereal scenery to be greeted by the majestic stones as they stood proud in their isolated spot. Nano (our group’s historian) gave us a brief talk about their history and then Jeff addressed each quarter and spirit at the centre. His beautiful, evocative words made the site come alive and then Eleanor led us in a magickal ritual to honour the site. By the time we left, the stones and surrounding area were thrumming with renewed vitality – and so were we!

When we arrived at Boggle Hole, several of our friends had already gathered there and we picked our way through the rock pools to our chosen picnic site. Although the weather was misty, we only had sprinklings of rain and we were comfortably warm all day. I, for one, love the mist so it certainly didn’t spoil anything for me and I didn’t hear anyone else complaining.

Friends old and new were busily settling down, chatting and laughing; families were rock pooling and making sandcastles. A beachcombing competition was soon underway and every generation joined in the search for the most interesting find. After some free time spent chilling, chatting, eating and drinking, we were ready to honour the sea gods and goddesses with a ritual specially written for the occasion by Sally.

The ritual was expertly led by Sally and Nano but several people were invited to take part; the star of the show being young Alex in his first role, closely followed by an awesome performance from Jeff that left everyone flabbergasted. ALL the participants and spectators were stars though – it’s only because people turn up to support our events that it becomes worth making the effort to organise them. After a visit to the free sweetie stall and judging of the beachcombing competition it was time to wend our way home; having enjoyed another joyful occasion when the less-than-sunny weather didn’t spoil one single second.

See our photos from the day.

LPC Ostara Trip to Alderley Edge & The Marton Oak

We were blessed with an unseasonably warm and sunny day for our day out and I for one wished I’d not put on so many warm clothes! After meeting in the car park at Alderley Edge our Events Co-Ordinator Nano Skald led us off into the beautiful woodland, which looked lovely dressed in the early colours of spring. Leaves were beginning to unfurl in the sunshine and fresh young shoots were starting to emerge from the dark, rich earth. We paused by the old mine workings and learnt a little about the work that went on here in centuries past. Our next stop was at the Armada Beacon where a memorial stone commemorates the site of a beacon here which warned of the Spanish invasion in 1588. We also learned that this was probably also an ancient burial mound and in fact there were thought to be many such mounds in the area. We then continued on to Stormy Point where there was a fabulous view across the surrounding countryside of the Cheshire Plane. We paused here a while as Sally Nemesis told us the Tale of the Sleeping Knights, a magical story which relates some of the mythology associated with Alderley Edge. We continued through the woods, several times stopping to admire the wonderful trees on our path many of which we felt were deserving of a hug! Arriving at the Druids Circle Nano told us of the history of this stone circle and how it had been used by a local coven up until the early 70s but that adverse and unwanted publicity about their activities had caused them to move elsewhere to celebrate their outdoor rites. Debs then led us in a short ritual at the stones to celebrate the Equinox and the return of Spring, which culminated in us all getting a chocolate egg! As we continued on our way we soon realised how easy it is to get lost at Alderley Edge, this is a frequently reported problem hereabouts which some think is due to the earth energy lines that criss cross below our feet. However, with a bit of help from GPS we were soon back on track again and making our way to a series of natural springs – the Healing Well, the Wishing Well and the Wizard’s Well. Many of us made a wish or took the waters at the springs and they are certainly places of great power. I’m sure we all felt the nature spirits were gathered all around us.

Returning through the woods we stopped for a picnic in the sunshine before the second part of our trip – a visit to the Marton Oak. Situated in a private garden in the pretty little village of Marton we were all lost for words when we gained our first sight of this majestic tree. The mighty Marton Oak is 1,200 years old and whilst the trunk has been split by rot in the bole of the tree as it travelled downwards it still has one root system even though it now looks as if there are three separate parts to the trunk. We spent some time exploring the tree and heard from Nano about some of its history, learning that in times past the tree’s acorns, leaves and bark were used in healing remedies and that this may be why it had escaped being felled long ago. We all took the opportunity to collect fallen leaves, the remains of acorns and small bits of bark that we found on the ground around the tree – just in case we might need some of those healing properties ourselves!

As our Ostara day out drew to a close we all bade a fond farewell to the Marton Oak and to each other as we departed homewards after another wonderful Leodis Pagan Circle trip. Thank you to Debs, Nano and Sally for their hard work organising all the different aspects of the day in order to make it so enjoyable, informative and magical.

By Anna Rayner

See the photos from this trip: Ostara Trip to Alderley Edge and The Marton Oak.

Pagan Pride 2015

Having driven down it was time to park up in the Park & Ride area for the short trip to the Market Square which was the meet up point for the Parade to the Arboretum where the main event was taking place.

This was my first time with Leodis Pagan Circle and I was so looking forward to being there with my ‘Pagan Family’.

As we arrived at the Market Square there were lots of people milling about and lots of greeting of friends and people we only see once a year at the event but still remember each other from year to year.

And so it begins… The orderly queuing as Esme (the founder of Pagan Pride) walks up and down with loudspeaker in hand getting us all in to some semblance of order with our excitement building to make our way to the Arboretum.

Some of us had brought drums and whistles to make as much noise as possible which made for a very musical procession.

We start off (fashionably late on PST as I call it or Pagan Standard Time) snaking our way through the streets of Nottingham. Chants start up and the familiar replies, “We all come from the Mother… And to Her we shall return” and “We are Pagan, We are Proud!” are the most common two you will hear.

Passing various landmarks and buildings along the way with comments being made by members of the public watching us and the fed up looks from bus drivers as the traffic is held up for the hundreds of us that are on the parade route. We all have a laugh and a joke at how the Pagans have taken over the streets. It truly is a sight to see.

We eventually arrive after around 45 minutes where the fun really begins. The many Pagan themed stalls and talks then commence.

We staked our claim to a patch of ground under the trees near the refreshments stalls as a rally point and then it was time to explore the various stalls and listen to some of the talks and demonstrations, checking back occasionally to make sure everyone was ok and nobody was ‘lost’.

Quite a few of us met up for lunch and tucked in to pulled pork sandwiches and shared stories of our various paths and what we had discovered that day so far.

The highlight of the day had to be Inkubus Sukkubus headlining on the main stage. I also got to have my pic taken with Candia! RESULT!!

All in all a fantastic day for the whole of Leodis Pagan Circle. I think it’s safe to say we all came home happy, chilled and relaxed albeit with achy feet and in my case, shoulders.

Tony Howell

34.Tony, Ellie, Debra, Trina & Nicola chillaxing back at Team Leodis HQ

Leodis Pagan Circle’s 3rd Magickal Mystery Tour – Sunday 19th July 2015

After early morning heavy rain we boarded the bus in Leeds in light drizzle and were soon on the road for our third pagan mystery tour with Leodis Pagan Circle, organised by Debra Scott and Nano Skald. As we bowled along the motorway to who knows where the sun started to break through the clouds and we shed our waterproofs in anticipation of a great day out.

Ripon Spa Gardens Sun Parlour Cafe
Ripon Spa Gardens Sun Parlour Cafe

Our first stop was in the delightful market town of Ripon, where we met up with Nano and the rest of the mystery tourers at the Sun Parlour Café at Ripon Spa Gardens. The weather had now dried up and stayed kind to us for the rest of the day. After a reviving cuppa and a slice of delicious cake from the café we were called to order by Nano. He welcomed us all and sent us off round the gardens on the Green Man Trail, with the enticement of a prize for the team who found the most Green Men. What a lovely way to appreciate the gardens as we had to search high and low to find the foliate faces hidden above our heads on the trunks of trees and hanging from branches, with one particularly beautiful nature spirit painted in green splendour on a shed door! Scarlett and Kitty were the winners and proudly accepted the prize of a Green Man book from Nano.

Ripon Labyrinth
Ripon Labyrinth

Next we crossed the road to hear about a labyrinth which has been created on the grass opposite the park. Whilst this is a modern labyrinth, created by the local Rotary Club, it is thought that there may have been one dating from ancient times in the area which has now sadly disappeared. Peter Quinan read out a wonderful poem about travelling the labyrinth and taking our spiritual journeys one step at a time. Then we all had a go at finding our way through the maze before heading back to the bus for the next leg of our mystery tour.

Our next stop was at the site of Nunwick Henge. Now almost completely obliterated by ploughing this was at one time a part of the vast sacred landscape of this area. Nano explained that the henge was in line with the Devil’s Arrows monoliths at Boroughbridge, Cana Henge and of course Thornborough Henges which we were all pleased to discover was to be our next port of call.

Thornborough Henge
Thornborough Henge

It’s always a joy to enter the Central Henge at Thornborough but what a different experience it is when it’s not full of stalls, noise and crowds of people for the Beltane and Mabon festivals so many of us enjoy attending each year. Nano told us some theories about the reason for the Henges being built, i.e. to act as a giant telescope in order for our Neolithic forebears to view the movements of the planets in the natural bowl of sky that is created above the Henge due to its location. It is reasonable to assume that it would also have been a meeting place for ritual purposes. It is certainly a deeply atmospheric site and to enjoy this special sacred place with only the sound of the wind in the long grass that swirled around our legs and the occasional cry of birds in the vast sky above us was a very memorable experience. Debra brought our visit here to a close with a very apt prayer giving thanks for the gift of having friends with whom to share such special times as these.

We must have all been affected by the energies of Thornborough as the mood on the bus as we set off again on our mystery tour was euphoric to say the least, and this was before we’d been to the pub!

Druid's Temple, Ilton
Druid’s Temple, Ilton

Fortunately we soon had the opportunity to ground ourselves with some food as our next stop was the Druid’s Temple at Ilton, where we were to have our lunch. Nano filled us in on the history of this Regency folly before we spent some time exploring and then tucked into our picnics, seated together on the grass next to the temple.

Suitably fortified we were soon on the road again and before long found ourselves back off the bus and toiling up a hill towards the next place of interest on the mystery tour – carvings on the huge rocks that litter the hillside at West Agra. We discovered several cup and ring markings here before going further up the hill into woodland to find a fantastically preserved labyrinth carving on a rock in amongst the trees, this is known colloquially as the Dinner Plate.

By now the pub was calling to us and we headed back to the Black Swan at Fearby to enjoy a few pints and a chat in the beer garden before our last stop of the tour.

Hackfall Woods, Grewelthorpe
Hackfall Woods, Grewelthorpe

Hackfall Woods at Grewelthorpe is perhaps the most magical wood I have ever visited as there is a surprise round every corner due to the hidden water features, cascades and fountains as well as numerous follies and grottoes that are dotted around this beautiful place. Nature was truly flourishing here and we were amazed at the endless varieties of trees and plants that we saw along the way. It really is a place to inspire the imagination and we all agreed that we must return to carry out a ritual here sometime.

Tired but happy we now all got back on the bus for our journey home, reflecting upon all the wonderful places we had visited and the fun and laughter we had shared with friends old and new.

Thank you Debra and Nano for once again organising such a fantastic, memorable and educational pagan-themed mystery tour for us. Roll on the next one!

Anna Rayner

Read more about our mystery tour.

The Origin of the Norse World

At the beginning of time, when there was as yet no earth, nor sea, nor air there was a powerful being. He existed in the depths of space and time formless and unseen. Before even heaven and earth were created he dwelt in the darkness with the frost giants. Whatever he willed came to pass. He has many names but in our language he most commonly goes by the name of Allfather.

At the dawn of time, in the centre of space, there existed a great abyss called Ginnunga-gap, a yawning gulf in space, whose depths no eye could fathom as they were enveloped in perpetual twilight.

Many ages before the earth was created the world of Niflheim was formed, north of the Ginung-gap. This was a world of ice and mist and darkness, in the centre of which bubbled the exhaustless spring Hvergelmir (the seething kettle), a seething cauldron, whose waters supplied twelve great streams known as the Elivagar. As the water of these streams flowed swiftly away from their source and encountered the cold blasts from the yawning gulf, it soon hardened into huge blocks of ice, which rolled downward into the immeasurable depths of the great abyss with a continual roar like thunder.

South of this dark chasm, and directly opposite Niflheim, was another world called Muspellsheim, the home of elemental fire, where all was warmth and brightness and whose frontiers were continually guarded by Surtr (the black one), the flame giant. This giant fiercely brandished his flashing sword, and continually sent forth great showers of sparks, which fell with a hissing sound upon the ice blocks in the bottom of the abyss.

As the steam rose in the clouds it encountered the prevailing cold, and was changed into hoarfrost, which, layer by layer, filled up the great chasm. Through the continual action of cold and heat an ice giant called Ymir (seething clay), came to life amid the ice-blocks in the abyss.

Groping about in the gloom in search of something to eat, Ymir saw a gigantic cow called Audhumla (the nourisher), which had been created in the same way as himself. Hastening towards her, Ymir noticed with pleasure that four great streams of milk flowed from her udder, which could nourish him.

The cow, looking about her for food in her turn, began to lick the salt off a neighbouring ice-block with her rough tongue. This she continued to do until the head of a god appeared from its icy envelope, out of which eventually Buri (the producer) stepped.

While the cow had been thus engaged, Ymir, the giant, had fallen asleep and as he slept a son and daughter were born from the perspiration under his armpit, and he produced the six-headed giant Thrudgelmir, who, shortly after his birth, brought forth in his turn the giant Bergelmir, from whom all the evil frost giants were descended.

When these giants became aware of the existence of the god Buri and his son Borr (born), they began waging war against them, for as the gods and giants represented the forces of good and evil, there was no hope of their living together in peace.

odinThe struggle continued for ages, neither gaining an advantage, until Borr married the giantess Bestla, daughter of Bolthorn (the thorn of evil), who bore him three powerful sons Odin (spirit), Vili (will) and Ve (holy). These three sons immediately joined their father in his struggle against the hostile frost-giants, and finally succeeded in slaying their deadliest foe, the great Ymir. As he sank down lifeless the blood gushed from his wounds in such floods that it produced a great deluge, in which all his race perished with the exception of Bergelmir, who escaped in a boat and went with his wife to the confines of the world.

Here he took up his abode, calling the place Jotunheim (home of the giants), and here he begot a new race of frost-giants, who continued the feud and were always ready to sally forth from their desolate country and raid the territory of the gods.

The gods were called the Aesir (pillars and supporters of the world). Having triumphed over their foes, and being no longer engaged in perpetual warfare, they now began to look about them with intent to improve the desolate aspect of things and fashion a habitable world. Borr’s sons rolled Ymir’s great corpse into the yawning abyss, and began to create the world out of its various parts.

Out of Ymir’s flesh they fashioned Midgard (the middle garden) as the earth was called. This was placed in the exact centre of the vast space, and hedged all round with Ymir’s eyebrows. The solid portion of Midgard was surrounded by the giant’s sweat, which formed the ocean, while his bones made the hills, his flat teeth the cliffs, and his curly hair the trees and all vegetation.

Pleased with the result of their first efforts at creation, the gods now took the giant’s unwieldy skull and poised it skilfully as the vaulted heavens above earth and sea; then scattering his brains throughout the expanse beneath they fashioned from them the fleecy clouds.

To support the heavenly vault, the gods stationed the strong dwarfs, Nordir, Sudri, Austri, Westri at its four corners, bidding them sustain it upon their shoulders, and from them the four points of the compass received their present names of North, South, East and West.

To give light to the world, the gods studded the heavenly vault with sparks secured from Muspellheim, points of light which shone steadily through the gloom like brilliant stars. The most vivid of these sparks were reserved to create the Sol, the sun, and Mani, the moon, which were placed in beautiful golden chariots and carried into the sky by the steeds Arvakr (the early waker) and Alsvin (the rapid goer).

But as evil always treads close upon the footsteps of good, hoping to destroy it, both Sun and Moon were incessantly pursued by the fierce wolves Skoll (repulsion) and Hati (hatred), whose aim was to overtake and swallow the brilliant objects before them so that the world might again be taken back to its primeval darkness.

At times the wolves overtook and tried to swallow their prey, thus producing an eclipse of the radiant orbs. Then the terrified people raised such a deafening clamour that the wolves, frightened by the noise, hastily dropped them. So, thus rescued, the Sun and Moon resumed their course.

The cold winds continually swept down from the north, chilling all the earth. The great giant Hraesvelgr, who, clad in eagle plumes, sat at the extreme northern verge of the heavens blighting all things with his icy breath.

While the gods were occupied in creating the earth and providing for its illumination, a whole host of maggot-like creatures had been breeding in Ymir’s flesh. These beings now attracted divine attention. Summoning them into their presence, the gods first gave them forms and endowed them with intelligence, and then divided them into two races.

Those which were dark, treacherous and cunning by nature were banished to Svart-alfa-heim, the home of the black dwarfs, situated underground, whence they were never allowed to come forth during the day, under penalty of being turned into stone. They were called Dwarfs, Trolls and Gnomes. They spent all their time and energy in exploring the secret recesses of the earth. They collected gold, silver, and precious stones, which they stowed away in secret crevices.

The remainder of these small creatures, including all that were fair, good and useful, were called Fairies and Elves, and they sent them to dwell in the fairy realm of Alf-heim (home of the light elves), situated between heaven and earth, where they could flit downward whenever they pleased, to attend to the plants and flowers, sport with the birds and butterflies, or dance in the silvery moonlight on the green.

Odin, who had been the leading spirit in all these undertakings, now bade the gods follow him to the broad plain called Idawod, far above the earth, on the other side of the great stream Ifing, whose waters never froze.

This became the sacred space the gods reserved for their own abode and was called Asgard or home of the gods. The twelve Aesir or gods and twenty-four Asynur or goddesses all assembled there at the bidding of Odin.

Then was held a great council, at which it was decreed that no blood should be shed within the limits of their realm but that harmony should reign there for ever. As a further result of the conference the gods set up a forge where they fashioned all their weapons and the tools required to build the magnificent palaces of precious metals, in which they lived for many years in a state of such perfect happiness in a period known as the Golden Age.

Although the gods had from the beginning designed Midgard as the abode of man, there were at first no human beings to inhabit it. One day Odin, Vili, and Ve, started out together and walked along the seashore, where they found two trees, the ash and elm hewn into rude semblances of the human form. The gods gazed at first upon the inanimate wood in silent wonder; then saw how they could be put to use. Odin gave these logs souls, Vili motion and senses and Ve blood and blooming complexions.

Endowed with speech and thought, and with power to love and to hope and to work and with life and death, the newly created man and woman were left to rule Midgard at will. They gradually peopled it with their descendants, while the gods, remembering they had called them into life, took a special interest in all they did, watched over them, and often came to their aid and protection.

Allfather next created a huge ash called Yggdrasil, the tree of the universe, of time, and of life, which filled all the world, taking root not only in the remotest depths of Nifl-heim, but also in Midgard and in Asgard.

From its three great roots the tree attained such a marvellous height that its topmost bough overshadowed Odin’s hall, while the other wide-spreading branches towered over the other worlds.

As the tree Yggdrasil was evergreen, its leaves never withering, it served as a pasture-ground not only for Odin’s goat, Heidrun, which supplied the heavenly mead, the drink of the gods, but also for the stags Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr and Durathor, from whose horns honey-dew dropped down upon the earth and furnished the water for all the rivers in the world.

It was, of course, essential that the tree Yggdrasil should be maintained in a perfectly healthy condition, and this duty was performed by the Norns, or Fates, who daily sprinkled it with the holy waters from the Urdar fountain. This water, as it trickled down to earth through the branches and leaves, supplied the bees with honey.

From either edge of Nifl-heim, arching high above Midgard, rose the sacred bridge, Bifrost (the rainbow), built of fire, water and air, whose quivering and changing hues made it appear like a rainbow. The gods travelled to and fro to the earth across this bridge. Of all the gods only Thor, the god of thunder, never passed over the bridge for fear lest his heavy tread or the heat of his lightening would destroy it.

Now although the original inhabitants of heaven were the Aesir, they were not the sole divinities of the Northern races, who also recognised the power of the sea and wind gods, the Vanas, dwelling in Vana-heim and ruling their realms as they pleased. In early times, before the golden palaces in Asgard were built a dispute arose between the Aesir and Vanas, and they resorted to arms, using rocks, mountains and icebergs as missiles in the fray. But discovering that in unity alone lay strength, they resolved their differences and made peace, and to ratify the treaty they exchanged hostages.

freyjaSo it was thus that Niord, one of the Vanas came to dwell in Asgard. He lived in a place called Noatun or enclosure for ships because he ruled over the winds and can calm or enrage the sea. He had a wife called Skadi, the daughter of a giant. Her home was in the mountains at Thrymheim (the thunder home). They came to an agreement to alternate their abode between the sea and the mountains. Niord had two children, a son Frey and a daughter Freyja. They were both beautiful and powerful gods who took their place amongst the Aesir.

Jesus Christ Dragon Master by Nano Skald

Copyright: Nano Skald

“Ok Nano, just leave the pitch to me. I know how these things work, dude. You need to grab him by the balls and get his attention straight away or you’ve no chance. I’ll call on you for any detailed stuff, but leave the hard sell to me.”

I was sitting nervously in the waiting room of the offices of Karl Weinberger, creative director for Sony Pictures with film producer, Jake Hellman. Basically, Weinberger is the guy who decides which films get made. I couldn’t believe my luck – my screenplay had been picked up by a Hollywood producer and was being pitched to a movie executive. And I’d been flown over to Los Angeles for the pitch. I had to pinch myself to remind me this was really happening.

“Mr Weinberger will see you now gentleman, if you’d like to go through,” his secretary announced.

“Come in Jake. It’s good to see you again. How’s it going, dude.”

“Hey, great to see you Karl. I tell you, you’re gonna love this pitch. This project is awesome. It’s the next great movie franchise and I tell you it’s gonna be big. I’m so committed to making this movie I’ve brought the script writer over from ‘Ingerland’ to help me with the pitch. Let me introduce you to Nano Skald.”

I reached my hand out and shook Weinberger’s nervously.

“Oh, hello, very nice to meet you, Mr Weinberger,” I said.

“Ok Jake, as you know, I’m a busy man, so what have you got for me?”

“Get this Karl; Jesus Christ – Dragon Master!”

“Woa, wait a minute dude. Are you telling me there’s dragons in the Bible? How come I don’t know about this?”

“I sure am. And I tell you this is gonna make a kick-ass movie. I’ll let Nano here explain. Go ahead, dude.”

“Well, indeed, yes in a sense there are. You’ll have heard of how Mary and Joseph fled with Jesus to escape from Herod’s men who’d been ordered to kill all male children in Bethlehem. Well, on their flight from Egypt, Jesus and his family went to hide in a cave. Just listen to what happened next.

And, lo, suddenly there came forth from the cave many dragons; and when the children saw them, they cried out in great terror. Then Jesus went down from the bosom of his mother, and stood on His feet before the dragons; and they adored Jesus, and thereafter retired.”

“Hey, this is cool. You telling me Jesus tamed dragons! Woa, that’s awesome stuff,” exclaimed Weinberger.

“That quote comes from the uncensored version of the Gospel of St Matthew,” I explained, “You see there were thousands of stories about Jesus before the Bible was moulded into its present form, which was done hundreds of years after his death and formalised by Emperor Constantine when he had fifty Bibles published in the years after the Council of Nicea in 323. Now although there’s some…”

Jake interjected, “Hey Nano, we don’t need to hear all this historical stuff, man. Mr Weinberger’s a busy man, just stick to the pitch, dude.”

“Ok, I’ll keep it simple. Some stories got chosen for the final version of the Bible, others were rejected. So, to use a movie analogy, this story is from the director’s cut of the gospel of St Matthew. So, yes, it’s true, there are dragons in the Gospels and Jesus was a dragon tamer.”

“Oh, alright, so this story is like an out-take from the Bible?”

“Yes, that’s it exactly. it’s a deleted scene that ended up on the cutting room floor.”

“And all this stuff about the dragons is in the screenplay?” asked Weinberger.

“Yes, the script runs with the idea of what might have happened if Jesus had actually used his dragon taming powers during his life.”

Jake intervened to continue the pitch, “Believe me Karl, this will be HUGE. What you have here is a franchise that combines the Lord of the Rings, the Da Vinci Code and the Avengers. You turn Jesus into the most kick-ass super-hero in movie history, who takes out his enemies with his army of dragons. And he faces the greatest super-villain of all time, more evil than Darth Vadar and Sauron combined; the Dark Lord, Satan himself. It’s got everything.”

“It’s got potential for a trilogy,” I added, “At the end of the first movie Jesus defeats Satan but doesn’t kill him outright. So, in the second movie Satan comes back even stronger.”

“Oh my god, like The Empire Strikes Back. This gets even better.”

“Yes, at the end of the second movie, you leave Jesus crucified on the cross at his lowest point. But in the third movie, he’s resurrected and comes back to lead his dragon army in the apocalypse, the final show down with Satan. There’s the angels of heaven, 144,000 of all the tribes of Israel and the four horsemen of the apocalypse with breastplates of fire!”

“God, the special effects guys are gonna love this.”

Jake explained, “In fact, we’ve even got a title for the third movie. Jesus Christ Dragon Master: Apocalypse – The Final Reckoning.”

“Oh, I love it. I love it! There’s just one thing that bothers me. The story really needs some love interest for Jesus.”

“Don’t worry we’ve got it covered, dude. You explain, Nano.”

“Yes, of course, we have Mary Magadalene as the love interest.”

“And I tell you Karl, this Nano dude has written some really hot sex scenes.”

“I’ve got one more reservation about this, man. I mean I have to think about the studio here. I’m worried we might offend some Christians here.”

“Hey dude, you’ve already offended the supreme leader of the Communist Republic of North Korea, I mean, how much worse can this be? Besides, this is about freedom of speech, right. Freedom of speech – you simply have to make this movie man.”

I add, “Besides this will be great for Jesus’s image. It will reinvent him for a 21st century audience. Jesus Christ, dragon master and super-hero. The church will love it; they’ll get a whole new audience of spotty teenage nerds. They’ll get to convert all those millions of Game of Thrones fans!”

“Yeah, that’s true, you’re absolutely right guys. Had you thought of actors for the main characters?” asked Weinberger.

“If we could get Chris Hemsworth as Jesus that would be cool. I mean, he would be perfect – those good looks and rippling muscles. It would beef up Jesus’s image. And hell, if he can do Thor, then why not Jesus?”

“Oh dude, yeah, I can see it now. Hey, I’ve just had an inspired idea. Angelina Jolie as Jesus’s mother!”

“She’s been Alexander’s mother.”

“And Grendel’s mother in Beowulf,” I added.

“It’s the perfect role for her!”

“Any ideas for director, Karl.”

“Well, of course Peter Jackson does an awesome dragon.”

“I was thinking maybe Michael Bay. Just think of the explosions man! The Philistines – poof, taken out with one blast of dragon breath; the Cannanites – zap, reduced to ashes with one blast of fire; the Ephraimites – kablam, burnt to a sizzle by Jesus’s dragon army. And there are a whole lot of tribes in the Bible, man – that’s a helluva lot of explosions.”

“Ok guys, I’m convinced. I’m so excited by this. Let’s get out there and make this movie!”

***

So, after three years, a few re-writes, several billion dollars and a film launch later and here I was back in LA yet again, this time for the Oscar ceremonies no less.

Jake met me at the airport.

“Hey, Nano dude, great to see you again. We’re up for nine Oscars man, how awesome is that? How’s the script for the sequel coming along?”

“Yeah, great Jake dude. It’s cool, man.”

In the intervening years I’ve learnt to speak Hollywood, you see.

“Hey, I’ve got you the in the best seats of the house tonight – right next to Angelina Jolie!”

“Wow, no kidding.”

So, there I was in the Greek Theatre in Hollywood, sat next to Angelina Jolie.

“Hey, great to see you again Angie. Fabulous performance in the movie. I mean, the mother of Jesus – you have to be a shoe in for best supporting actress. Hi Brad, how’s it going, man? How are the kiddies? Oh, speak to you later; this is my gig coming up.”

“Hey, good luck, Nano,” said Angelina.

Aaw, that Angelina, she’s such a sweetie.

“We welcome Academy Award winner, Meryl Streep, to present the award for best adapted screenplay.”

“This is the moment when the Academy recognizes the crucial role played by screen writers. These are the people, who toil away (for a mere pittance compared to an A-list celebrity like me), to craft the words that allow Hollywood to weave its magic.

These are the people who take the books you love and cherish and turn them into utter Hollywood shite (does it really say that, I’m only reading the card!)… And the award for best adapted movie script goes to…”

There’s a moment’s hesitation and tension as the envelope is opened. I’m on the edge of my seat.

“…Nano Skald for Jesus Christ – Dragon Master.”