Ritual to Celebrate the Spring Equinox
Huddersfield on Sunday 24 March 2019 @ 2:00pm
Just a quickie to let you good folks know … we’ve decided not to pre-order food at the pub cos they want £9.95 each and we think that’s a bit much if you’re on a budget and are a family of 5. Although, LPC is willing to subsidise the cost, it will still be a fair whack if you’re a large family.
Sooooo … we’ve decided we’re going to provide some food ourselves. It won’t be a lavish buffet but we’re thinking things you can eat al fresco with your fingers or drink from a cup … soup, sandwiches, savouries, crisps, cake, hot drinks & pop … that sort of thing. If you want alcohol, you’ll need to provide that yourselves or wait until we get to the pub afterwards.
Because we want to recoup some of the cost, we’re going to charge £2 per person to attend (babies & dogs free). Trying to organise these things where people are all choosing different options is a logistical nightmare so the cost applies to everyone whether you plan to eat with us or not.
If you’ve already told us you’re coming, then I’ve got your name on a list and will be in touch later with final details but, in the meantime, you can pay via PayPal or bank transfer.
Paypal addy = firstname.lastname@example.org. If you pay this way, please choose pay friends and family so they don’t deduct interest.
By bank transfer:
A/C Name = Leodis Pagan Circle (or LPC if there isn’t room for full name)
Sort code = 55-70-23
A/C number = 83268324
Whichever way you pay, please put Ostara and your name as a reference so we know who’s paid for what.
Obviously, we have no idea what the weather will be like (and some past events at this time of year have been in torrential rain) but we’re taking a shelter and will plow on regardless … as we always do. Remember, be there or be square!
Ritual to Celebrate the Spring Equinox
Huddersfield on Sunday 24 March 2019 @ 2:00pm
Children & Dogs welcome at both the Stone Circle and the Pub
LPC is hosting a short ritual in Huddersfield to honour the season and there will be a craft activity for the kiddywinks. And everyone will be gifted a chocolate egg. These activities are free to attend.
I’m negotiating with a nearby pub to provide some nosh but, although we’ll subsidise some of the cost from funds, we’ll need to make a small charge to cover the balance (I’m thinking between £3 & £5 each). I can’t say exactly what food will be served or how much it will cost until I know how many we’re catering for. We’ll also try to link people up with a lift but, again, we can’t do that until we know who’s who and what’s what.
I know some of you have already indicated your attendance but to keep things neat please will you comment below to let me know how many of you are coming (how many adults, how many children). I also need to know whether you need a lift or can give a lift and whether or not you want to be included in the pub grub? If I can’t get people to fully commit to paying up front for food, I’ll let it drop and folk can just order their own (or not) when we get there.
NB: I’m not being secretive about the exact whereabouts of the circle but the location and directions need to go on a separate post.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
I have the privilege and honour to be able to organise the Mabon celebrations at Thornborough Henge. Along with the many helpers and volunteers who enable the event to take place we also have my friends at Leodis Pagan Circle who write, lead and perform the annual ritual for the Autumn Equinox. For me this is the whole reason for the event and why so many people gather at the close of summer to celebrate the harvest and the turning of the wheel. One last gathering before the dark time.
Almost immediately after last year’s gathering Debs was already thinking of the theme for this year, where her inspiration comes from I can only guess, but year on year she comes up with the goods and once again a wonderful ritual is created.
In the weeks running up to Mabon there is a frenzied rush to get everything in place, no good trying to write rotas or schedules months in advance, too many changes happen, people drop out for various reasons so a month before my time is taken up with chasing up performers, caterers, you name it, they have to be contacted, throughout all this Debs is there with a calming influence even though I know only too well she has more on her plate than me.
The day dawns, Sunday 21st September 2014 and the rain has gone, Sol is in the sky and it’s promising to be a good day. Drag myself out of my cosy bed at some unearthly hour, run across the field to the portaloos, what joy! Gate duty beckons so a quick breakfast and away to greet the visitors. Where is Debs and the rest of Leodis, why am I panicking, it’s only 9am lol. As the morning wears on more and more people come through the gate, smiling and looking forward to a day in the henge, a bit of shopping at the craft stalls, entertainment and workshops and of course the highlight of the day, the opening ritual. The Leodis family arrive, joyous and encouraging, it’s going to be a lovely day. Meanwhile, it’s now 11.20am and I am still on the gate in my jeans and hi viz, where is everyone? All getting their best clothes on ready for our sacred ritual. 11.30 and I start shouting down the radio, I need to get changed, please come and replace me, eventually help arrives and I dash to the tent, frock on, make up slapped on and a quick brush of the hair, phew, in the henge just in time!
What followed took me far away from everything and everyone, the theme of balance struck home, the need for balance in my life, the need for balance for the entire world. I drifted into a kind of meditation, I was aware of the ritual and the deep meaning behind it but I was also aware of the ancestors gathering around us on the earthworks, some coming a little closer, listening to Deb’s words and nodding their heads in agreement. My heart was beating loudly and the emotions welled up within me. Marie’s poem became alive, many things seem to fall into place, the whole point of the weekend was for these few precious moments in time, this wonderful ritual that some special friends were performing.
Spirit was with us that day, the Gods and Goddesses were smiling upon us, the weather was wonderful, our reward for honouring the sacred henge, I felt uplifted and grateful beyond measure that I had a small part in this celebration. This feeling remained with me right through the rest of the weekend and is still with me now, life is about balance, light and dark, warm and cold, good and bad, you cannot have one without the other, I accept the rough with the smooth, I learnt something and I shall keep that lesson with me always.
All too soon we were thanking Spirit for joining us and the circle was opened, everyone went about their business and the Leodis family dispersed, I still had things to attend to but the lightness in my step and the smile on my face must have been noticeable to anyone who looked.
There was a feeling of joy all through the weekend, laughter and music throughout, no one seemed to want the time to end but end it must.
Monday morning, ugh, clean up time. Again a small army of volunteers patrolled the entire area, barely a sack of rubbish was found, everyone had cleaned up after themselves so well, I walked and walked around and around, nothing, people had really taken good care, what an amazing feeling I had that not only did I care, everyone else did too. I couldn’t help but feel that many had been moved by the ritual, some magic was created and had affected everyone present.
Well, a few weeks rest and then back to planning next year’s event, great helpers on board now and with Leodis Pagan Circle with me we shall again create a celebration to be proud of.