Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Ley line pilgrimage to Bride's Well

Today is Imbolc, a pagan festival that honours Bride, the goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing, and who heralds the start of spring. Many holy wells were long ago sacred to the Goddess Bride and one of these is thought to have been on the site of Saint Bride's Church, in Fleet Street, London. Some people also think that Saint Bride is a Christianised version of the pagan goddess.

Last Sunday, Elle and Myfanwy of the Tribe of Avalon conducted an Imbolc pilgrimage to honour the Goddess Bride in a walk from London's St Paul’s Cathedral to St Bride’s Church along part of the St Paul's Ley Line. I'd long wanted to do a ley line walk and visit St Bride's Church, so I went along.

Now, before any ley line purists leave comments on my blog saying "I think you'll find St Paul's and St Brides aren't actually on the same ley line" - yes, I know. But they are each on ley lines (The St Paul's Ley and the Temple Church/St Bride's Ley), which run very close at the point of St Bride's Church. And it is a pleasant, short walk taking in two wonderful sacred sites that are brimming with history, atmosphere and a sense of the sacred.

At St Bride's we gathered at the site of the holy well to say poems in honour of Bride. Although the well itself disappeared in the 19th century, it is thought to have been just outside the church in the courtyard from which I took the picture at the top of this page.

Inside the church we visited the crypt, which is full of historic artifacts dating back as far as Roman times. The crypt also has a small and peaceful underground chapel that is a perfect place to sit and meditate for a while.

If you are in London and looking for something to do to celebrate Imbolc, why not follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and walk from St Paul's to St Bride's? Visit the courtyard and then spend some time exploring the beautiful church and ancient crypt. Afterwards, I can thoroughly recommend the Punch Tavern, just around the corner, for food and drink.

Pictures (from top): St Bride's Church from the courtyard, the chapel in St Bride's crypt, St Paul's Cathedral, tree dressing in the courtyard of St Bride's Church.

Links
http://www.avalonblessings.co.uk/
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/09/review-londons-ley-lines-pathways-of.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/01/imbolc-open-rituals-and-events.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/01/celebrating-imbolc-start-of-spring.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/01/spell-for-springtime-wishes.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/08/review-aligh.html
http://www.stbrides.com/
http://www.kch42.dial.pipex.com/holywellslond.htm
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/06/in-search-of-sacred-spring.html

3 comments:

Sadist's magick said...

I love the parrallel-ness of this post - I did a walk on Saturday, beginning at St Paul's and taking in St Bride's along the way.

It was wonderful.

On another note, I work on the other side of Tower Bridge - and in summer will often have my lunch near that little hot-dog van.

badwitch said...

Oops! I've just realised I am a day ahead of myself! Imbolc is actually tomorrow, February 2. For some reason I thought it was February 2 today. Silly me!

Elle Hull said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the walk! It was lovely having you there and meeting you! Love the pictures and thank you for sharing them and about the walk!