When I went to see Align, a performance about London's ley lines and psychogeography, I was handed a card advertising a new book called London's Ley Lines: Pathways of Enlightenmentby Christopher Street.
Chris Street is a well known author when it comes to books about London's mysteries, legends and sacred geography. His books Earthstars: Geometric Groundplan Underlying London's Ancient Sacred Sites and Its Significance for the New Ageand London's Camelot and the Secrets of the Grailare on the recommended reading list if you do the course on London Mythology at City Lit. So, his new publication was one I had to get.
Having just finished reading it, I would definitely recommended it to anyone who is intrigued by ley lines or who is looking for an alternative London tour guide covering its pagan past and sacred sites - and a very good way to explore them.
Ley lines are straight lines that can be seen to run through sacred sites and important geographical features. They were first described by travelling businessman Alfred Watkins in 1925 and he considered them to be ancient trackways. Since then, a theory has developed that ley lines are a power grid for the forces of creation and that is why so many churches and ancient sites of spiritual significance, such as holy wells and megaliths, lie along them.
Alfred Watkins mentioned four London leys in his book The Old Straight Track,although others have since been discovered. London's Ley Lines covers these leys and many more that can be found in the capital and nearby countryside.
Chris Street's book is also a practical guide for those wanting to walk these leys and explore the sites along them. Illustrated with plenty of photos, there are details of ancient stones that have been incorporated into churches, unusual architectural features and the best places to sit to meditate or soak up the atmosphere of the place.
There are suggestions for good times of year to walk each ley, as some seem to line up closely with the solstices or equinoxes. And, perhaps most importantly, London's Ley Lines offers ideas on how to do a ley pilgrimage, because ley lines are better understood through experience than through reading even the best book on the subject.
You can simply walk the line and be aware of your thoughts, feelings and the sensations as you do so. If you want to do more, you can take advantage of the ceremonial words offered in a chapter at the end of the book. You could say simple blessings at each sacred site along the way, or do a meditation to visualise the energy of the earth and the universe flowing through the world, and through yourself, via the great network of ley lines.
I must admit that the book has inspired me to “get out into the real world” to try walking a London ley myself. When I do so, I'll definitely take London's Ley Lines as my guide book – and I'll write about the experience on A Bad Witch's Blog
London's Ley Lines: Pathways of Enlightenment is available from Amazon and from Earthstars Publishing. For more details visit http://www.earthstars.co.uk/ or email email@example.com
London's Ley Lines: Pathways of Enlightenment
Earthstars: Geometric Groundplan Underlying London's Ancient Sacred Sites and Its Significance for the New Age
London's Camelot and the Secrets of the Grail
The Old Straight Track