Friday, 1 August 2014

News: Sekhemka Statue, Persecution, Occult, History

"Sekhemka statue: Northampton Museum loses Art Council accreditation" - story at BBC News Northampton:

"Woman branded witch, stripped and paraded naked" - story from Reuters:

"UKIP candidate for Wells Jake Baynes resigns: claims Glastonbury occult infiltrated party" - story at Western Daily Press:

"Spooky tales and witches: Horrid History tour comes to Mountfitchet Castle this weekend" - story at Saffron Walden Reporter 24:

Lammas Folklore: The Orkney Straw Dog

This rather cute looking straw dog was actually something no farmer on Orkney wanted to own as it was the booby prize for being slow to get the harvest in.

The straw dog, or "bikko" was on display at Corrigall Farm Museum, which I visited when I was on holiday in Orkney last month. The description next to it in the barn explained that in parts of Scotland and Norway the bikko was traditionally made from the last sheaf to be harvested. It was hoisted into a prominent position on the farm building - or "steedeen".

In Orkney, "The bikko tradition evolved into a bit of fun where it was given to the man who was last in with his harvest. The dog would be secretly attached to the roof of their house during the night."

Links and previous related posts

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Pagan Events over Lammas and the Week Ahead

Lammas - the first harvest festival - is on August 1, but celebrations are taking place over the week ahead. Here are a list of events that could be of interested to pagans - most are in the London area, but some are in other parts of southern England.

Thursday 31 July; PFL Lammas Open Ritual facilitated by Amherst Grove. Venue: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn London. Time: 7.30pm for 8pm start. Ritual ends around 9pm followed by feasting until 10pm. Entrance: £6/£5 PF members. Please bring seasonal food and drinks to share at feast after ritual. For more details, visit

Thursday, 31 July; The London Salon: Exploring city stories and curious cartography with the makers of Curio City. Venue: Waterstone's Piccadilly, 203-206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD. Starts at 7pm. Free, but reserve your place by email: Details:

Thursday 31 July; Talk at the London Fortean Society. Venue: Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4NR. Time: 7.30pm - 10.30pm. Entry: £3/£2 concessions. For more details, visit

Thursday 31 July; Book Launch Party for Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin - Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic by Tobias Churton. Venue The Atlantis Bookshop, Museum Street WC1. Time: 7pm. This is strictly a guest list only event. Contact The Atlantis Bookshop on 020 7405 2120 if you want to ask about being put on the guest list.

Friday, 1 August; Wheel of the Year Festival, Fruition Meditation at Chalice Well World Peace Garden, in Glastonbury. Gathering at the Well Head at 12pm for celebration and meditation until 12.30pm, then gather on the lower lawn for quiet conversation. Free admission from 10am until noon, then normal price admission. For more details about Chalice Well, visit the website

Friday, 1 August; Circle of Ankerwycke Lughnasadh/Lammas open event at the Ankerwycke Yew. Meeting location: Magna Carta Lane, Wraysbury, TW19 5AF. Time: 7.30pm arrival for start. All are welcome. Contact Gina on 07735528320 and email

Saturday 2 August; Sigil Magic. Half-day workshop with Mark Vincent. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 1pm to 5.30pm. Tickets £30, advance booking and £30 deposit required. For further details:

Saturday 2 August; Remembrance Ceremony For The Fallen Of The Great War at Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire. The Cauldron of Cerridwen will be holding a Remembrance Ceremony at Avebury to mark the start of The Great War and to remember those who died, followed by laying a wreath at the war memorial in the village. Starts at noon. Free event, all welcome. More details:

Saturday 2 August; Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Aribi Lughnasadh Ritual. Druidic ceremony to celebrate the First Harvest and the festival of Lugh at Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire. Time: meet at the Red Lion pub from noon; ritual 1.30pm - 3pm. Free event but offerings of bread, cake, mead and Bardship welcome. Camping in tents in the overflow car park is allowed on the nights of Friday 1 and Saturday 2 August.

Saturday 2 August; The Grey Soul of London - a guided walk lead by Robert Kingham into the London of Arthur Machen. This is to celebrate The Three Impostors' launch of their edition of Arthur Machen's The London Adventure, one of the inspirations behind this walk. Time: 2pm to 6pm. Tickets are £9 (£7 concessions). For more details and to book tickets, visit,

Sunday 3 August; Anderida Gorsedd Lughnasadh open ritual at the Long Man of Wilmington, Sussex. Meet near the car park between 1.30pm and 2pm for a walk up to the chalk hill figure at 2pm. Afterwards back to the Giants Rest pub in Wilmington for a social drink together.

Monday 4 August; Psychic Circle run by Shamanic Spirit at a venue in Croydon, South London. The circle is held on Mondays fortnightly starting at 7.30pm. Cost £5. For more details and to book places call 07952 041477. For more information, visit

Monday 4 August; Sacred Heart Awakening: The Water Element with Aang organised through the London College of Spirituality. Venue: Latvian House, 72 Queensborough Terrace, London, W2 3SH. Time: 7.15pm to 9pm. £15.

Monday 4 August; Healing and Meditation Circle - no experience required. Venue: Spirit of Isis, Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, Essex. Every Monday 11am - 1pm. No booking required, £7. Free parking in the Abbey Gardens car park.

Wednesdays-Sundays, 6 - 31 August; The Ring Cycle - free open air theatre at The Scoop. Series of plays adapted from Richard Wagner's librettos by Lisa Kuma. Times: 6pm: The Rhine Gold; 7pm: The Valkyrie; 8.30pm: Siegfried; 9.30pm: Twilight of the God. The Scoop at More London is on the South Bank of the Thames between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. Nearest station is London Bridge. Free event, just turn up. More details:

Tuesday 5 August; Cobwebs and Cauldrons Moot. Venue: White Horse Pub, Chadwell Heath, Essex. Moot normally takes place on the first Tuesday of every month. 7.30pm start.

Tuesday 5 August; Sensing Mayfair: Energy and Abundance Meet organised by the Sensing Energy and Intuition Meetup Group. This is a two-hour walk. Meet at Bond Street Tube Station, London, at 7pm. For more details and to sign up visit:

Wednesday 6 August; Thou Shalt be as Gods: Eve and Eden - a talk by Jane Meredith at Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum St London, WC1A 1LY. Time: 7pm. Cost £10. To reserve a place, contact Bali on either 020 7405 2120 or

Wednesday 6 August; The Witches' Inn. Pagan moot at The Feathers Hotel, 42 High St, Merstham, Redhill, Surrey RH1 3EA. Starts at 8pm. Moots are on the first Wednesday of each month.

Thursday 7 August; Give YourSelf Permission to Live Your Life.Talk and book signing by Priya Rana Kapoor at Watkins Books, 19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ. Time: 6.30pm. Free event. For more details Tel 020 7836 2182 or visit the website

Thursday 7 - Sunday 10 August; Wilderness Festival. Camping event with music, feasting, theatre, talks, wellbeing events and children's activities. The festival is organised by the same people who put on the Mind Body Spirit festivals. Location: Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7. Camping tickets cost £151.50/£143.50. For full details and to book tickets visit:

Thursday 7 - Sunday 10 August; Woman Witch and Goddess Camp 2014 in the Ashdown Forest, Sussex. This witchcraft festival is a camping event. Deposit of £25 to secure a place. For more details email

Friday 8 - Monday 11 August; Artemis Gathering 2014. Outdoor witchcraft festival organised by Children of Artemis in Oxfordshire countryside. Camping event with talks, workshops and stalls. Tickets: £36 for CoA members, £42 for non-members. For full details and to book tickets:

Friday 8 August; Group Social and Healing Night organised by the London College of Spirituality. Venue: Westminster Quakers Meeting House, 8 Hop Gardens, off St Martins Lane, London WC2N 4EA, London. Time: 7pm. Cost: £10, booking essential. Details:

Saturday 9 August; Hieroglyphs for the afterlife: the ancient Egyptian funerary cult, Gallery talk at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: 1.15pm-2pm. Free event. For more details visit:

Sunday 10 August; Woodland Wicca Circle - an introductory-level Wiccan ritual with some basic instructions in Wicca, witchcraft and ritual magic, suitable for newcomers and beginners to the Craft. These rituals are part of a monthly training programme facilitated by Gardnerian HP Mani of Pagan Frontiers and take place outdoors at London locations including Richmond Park, Trent Park, Queen’s Woods, woods in Croydon, Hyde Park and riverside locations by Thames. The events are free but small donations to running costs are appreciated. For more details and to reserve a place, visit:

Sunday 10 August; Druidic Lughnasadh Celebration on Primrose Hill with the Loose Association of Druids. Gather in the Hawthorne Grove at Primrose Hill, London, NW1 8YH, between 12.30pm and 12.45pm to prepare the site ready for a prompt 1pm start. Nearest tube: Chalk Farm. Bring a small contribution of food and drink to share. All are welcome.

Sunday 10 August; Golden Dawn Open Day. The Maat Temple of the Hermetic Order of the Godlen Dawn offers a full day of talks on developments and practices involved in personal developments according to the Golden Dawn. The theme of the day is ‘the Transformation of the Golden Dawn Magi’. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. All are welcome. Time: 10am to 5pm. Cost: £10. Register with Keith Magnay on 07958746208 or For further details:

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Psychogeography: Full Circle - Walking Around My Town

An often quoted feature on how to do psychogeography, entitled A Road of One’s Own by travel writer Robert MacFarlane that was published in the Times Literary Supplement, offers the following advice:
Psychogeography: a beginners guide. Unfold a street map of London, place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw around its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run-off of the streets; the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation. Cut for sign. Log the data-steam. Be alert to the happenstance of metaphors, watch for visual rhymes, coincidences, analogies, family resemblances, the changing moods of the street, and the record ends. Walking makes for content, footage for footage.
I decided to try it out, using a map that used to live in my car in the days before satnavs, and drew a circle with my home at the centre. Then I set off:

It is afternoon, a hot day after weeks of heat, parched ground, the bricks of the garden walls radiate warmth. I head East, to the eastern quarter of my circle, the element of air and the place of new bigginings in the pagan sacred circle.

I turn, cross the busy road, and start walking. To my left a church, but not a church. Converted to flats; adorned with hearts and butterflies. Welcome on the front door, under Gothic arches.

A window open, curtains billow in a breeze. Very slight. Here it looks restful, elsewhere it wafts the smell of rubbish rotting in bins and bags, piled on the street in the high summer.

Bin day is tomorrow. Cars, buses, vans rumble on the main road. A church, even if it is not a church, should be a sanctuary from grime and noise, shouldn’t it?

The arc of my circle, heading south east, takes me into the rec. Short for recreation ground. I don’t keep to the path. Walking between two trees, I feel I am entering the Moon Card in tarot, between two watchtowers. Although the trees don’t mind, I hope no one spots me. Keep off the Grass, don’t stray from the path.

Through the alley south to the ex council estate. No Ball Games. When I was a child a sign here said “Residents Only.” Someone then had put a P in front of the R. It would have been Kennedy and Nixon back then. The image of presidents illicitly playing football recalled. Gone south, as they say.

Then to the west. This road was once a thriving market. No more. Dilapidated shops. Stuck in time without halting the effects of entropy. Outside another church a sign proclaims it is Easter and on a doorway a poster declares: “This Is Holy Week. He Is Risen.” No, it is nearly Lammas, the God of the Grain is about to be cut down, in the wheel of the pagan year.

A stain on a wall. A Rorschach blot. I see a facehugger - what does that say? I move on, curving west, and seemingly further back around the wheel of the year, the wheel of time. Isn’t it unlucky to leave Yule decorations up after 12th night?

The Tower. This estate used to have more than one. Built in the 1960s after Victorian terraces of two-up two-downs were cleared in the name of modernity, then all but this one demolished in the 1980s.

Now there are twisting cul-de-sacs of small houses around the block. I wonder how long this will stand. Mums with prams look at me and wonder what I am doing photographing it. I move on.

Blackberries flow over a wire-topped wall. Sweet and free and perfect. Few pick them, it seems.

A derelict pub turned community centre. Peeling paint and spiderwebs, litter in a letterbox.

Arcing north west, my circle crosses the railway track. At the station the barrier is open but a sign says “Ticket Holders Only.” I have no ticket. No one stops me, but still once more I fear being stopped. I cross the bridge quickly. Out the other side gate. Into the roads again.

The wrong side of the track - or the right side. The streets are less familiar here, more winding estates. I spot a mural. Protected. A community project?

Uphill and weary in the heat. Older houses, built in Victorian times, when the railways brought people out to populate London’s more rural borders.

Curving to the northernmost edge of my circle; the element of earth. Along the side of the park. Buddleia in a brick wall. The bee bush, the bombsite plant.

Under a railway bridge. Cool shade against the bright sun.

A scrap van. A recycling truck. Passing by. Everything comes full circle.

I stand under another bridge. Cars beside me, train above me, rumbling, droning.

A knot, in case I forget. A knot for remembrance, a knot to bind a spell. This is what it was like. This moment. The here and now.

I turn east, down hill.

Retrace my first steps along the road back, back to the centre of the circle.

A butterfly takes to the air as I pass through my gate, into my garden. Nature is my temple.

I am home, my sanctuary from the grime and noise.

Everything comes full circle.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Pagan Eye: Working Water Mill on Orkney

With Lammas approaching, which is festival of the grain harvest, I thought I'd post another photo I took while I was on holiday in Orkney last month - it shows the water wheel in motion at Barony Mills, Birsay.

This is a fascinating traditional water mill that is still working. It is open to the public and the miller gives a really fascinating talk about the history of the mill - you can see the machinery running and even have a go at grinding grain yourself. The grain, or corn, ground at the mill is bere - an ancient form of barley that is tolerant of Orkney's cool climate and short summers. After you have watched the mill in action you can buy beremeal to cook with or biscuits that have already been made with it, which are very pleasant.

My Pagan Eye posts show photos that I find interesting - seasonal images, pagan sites, events, or just pretty pictures. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself.

Links and previous related posts

News: Margot Adler has Died

Margot Adler, Wiccan priestess, pagan activiest, journalist and author of Drawing Down the Moon,died on Monday, 28 July, from endometrial cancer at the age of 68. Here are links to news stories about it:

"Margot Adler Dead: Pioneering Pagan Activist, NPR Journalist Dies At 68" on the Huffington Post.

"Margot Adler, An NPR Journalist For Three Decades, Dies" on the two-way.

Monday, 28 July 2014

News: Medieval Graffiti, Religion, Witchdoctors

"UK’s Medieval Graffiti Full of Subversive Pagan Symbols" - read about the findings of a new study on artnet news:

"Hobart's MONA offers 'speed dating' fair for religions" - ABC News looks at the Australian Fair for Freedom of Belief and Religion, which includes information about paganism:

"Breathtaking Photos of Witch Doctors and Healers Reveal the Spiritual Diversity of Bolivia" on the Huffington Post: