It always strikes me than many practitioners of the craft seem to shy away from, even seem repelled by the hustle and bustle of our big towns and cities. This week my other half and I took a trip to London. Good friends and co-workers had chipped in for a lunch cruise for 2 on the Thames last year and with the weather perking up significantly we thought we’d make the most of it and enjoy a mid-week jolly up town.
I must be quite odd in my love for London, I don’t know many others who like it as much as I. Not only is it the capital city of this fair and green land but it is also the home of my ancestors on my distaff line. My maternal grandparents and their parents before them all originate from London’s East end, only moving south towards Kent after the destruction of their homes during WWII. My grandfather worked at Billingsgate Fish market which I had never even seen before until we passed it on the Thames, despite receiving a pint of cockles and a box of crab sticks from there every time I visited them!
Cities like London should be given a chance; it’s very easy as practitioners of the ‘old ways’ to presume the Gods have abandoned the concrete jungle. Yet if you know where to look, you find that is simply not the case.
All along the banks of the Thames, bronze-esque Lion heads hold hoops and chains of Iron, a testimony to Britain’s Mythraic past. London Bridge itself was fist built by our Roman ancestors and was the first bridge to traverse the great River which was once thought of as holy waterway. Blackfriars Bridge was erected solely by women whilst all able bodied men were away at war and this bridge is said to mark the place where the Thames turns from Salt water to Fresh water…a magical threshold indeed!
The Tower of London, home of the most treasured crown jewels is rich in lore and mythology, with its resident community of Ravens signifying the presence of the Head of their patron, Bran the Blessed which is said to be buried beneath tower hill facing France to ward off invaders.
We visited Camden, a town set around a beautiful canal with a busy market selling all manner of trinkets. Camden has become a bit of a refuge for the colourful and eccentric, a place where I always feel welcome and at home. I even bagged a bargain…something I have been on the look out for some time…
Westminster Cathedral was next on the agenda and is a place which I cannot adequately put into words. When we walked in, Mass was underway so picture taking was strictly forbidden however I highly recommend anyone visiting the city to go to this stunning place. My maternal Grandmother converted to Catholicism in later life so I always light a candle for Her and Our Lady. The Cathedral is full to the brim with Pagan, Masonic, Templar and Cabbalistic imagery…in fact I was virtually tripping over hexagrams, Tudor rose images above doors, equal armed crosses, the cross keys of St Peter and of course a humble statue of Our Lady and Holy Child of promise…her feet worn and polished from the touch of a thousand dedicants to Her…Yes! She lives! Even in the most corrupt of houses, behind a myriad of different masks and guises but… She lives! Even in our cities of hostility, hustle and bustle and corporate business … She Lives! In the face of every man and woman in that Cathedral, every man, woman and child making their way through London’s busy streets and even in the streets themselves full of millennia upon millennia of history…She Lives!
A chapel dedicated to St Augustine; formerly King Ethelbert of Kent, our last Pagan king warranted some consideration… A candle was lit for him and for all my ancestors in fact, be they Saxon, Roman, Pagan or Christian.
We left the Cathedral as the Choir sung out, the sacrament was offered to those members of the entitled congregation…it angered me that I, not being a card carrying ‘Catholic’ could not partake of this Holy feast…His body is for all and all deserve to be washed in his sacred blood and once upon a time it would have been freely given, and freely offered for this was the way of the land and the people who worked upon it. A few more days and a Dark Moon will sail unseen across the skies…then I shall partake!
The cult of Our Lady was / is without doubt a worldwide phenomenon, our last stop off at the British museum confirmed as much where her face was watching me from glass cabinets within every gallery, every era and from every geographical location!
And Our Master was there too… in Greece, in Britain, in Rome, in India, Tibet, China… I couldn’t help but marvel at the progression of Man from Stone to Bronze and Iron… the power of Fire, the majesty of the Smith, the Mystery of the Forge. Capabilities of early man, bestowed upon us by one I know as God…
Yesterday completely changed my view of City life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my little suburban lot and thank my lucky stars I have the choice, with the country side 10 minutes one way and a large town 10 minutes the other… but please, don’t flee the stone and concrete cities like London for the Old Ones live there too, hidden in plain sight!