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