Pictures from our Imbolc ritual

Thank you to everyone who came along to support us again yesterday.

What a fabulous turn out for such a cold, February evening. So many people helped behind the scenes that it might be a mistake to try name anyone (cos I don’t want to leave anyone out) … but here goes:

First of all, thanks to Jeff Gants (our Keeper of the Stones) for tidying up the circle and for supplying the rosemary. Thanks to Andy Norman for manning the gate. Thanks to all those who helped with decorations – especially Tina Lark Dyson and Helene Foxglove who made the magnificent Bride’s Cross and did SO much more. Thanks to Philip Jackson for supplying us with an arch to walk under and a lovely warm fire. Thanks to Nicola Deplacido and her family for painstakingly getting rid of the manky handles on our candle jars and supplying us with new. Thanks to Peter Quinan for doing such a great job of leading the ritual with me and to all those who joined in. Thanks to John Baker for taking photos.

But most of all … HUGE thanks to EVERYONE who made it such a lovely, friendly atmosphere. I hope all the wishes you made come true.

Lunar Masquerade Ball

LPC held a Lunar Masquerade Ball in order to raise funds for a new charity run by one of our members.

Everyone looked magnificent in their ball gowns, best bib and tucker and in their masks. It was wonderful to see so many people laughing and dancing and just generally having fun.

So many people contributed to the entertainment but the highlight of the evening was the AMAZING award-winning band, Spriggan Mist. Their rocking performance had everyone up and dancing the night away.

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.