Urban Shamanism- Urban Ley Lines
In the West today Urban Shamanism is considered by many Pagans to be a branch of Chaos magick, because of this styles’ approach that magick is part of a psychic process which is activated by any- and all- forms of symbolism and ritual that hold a personal meaning for the practitioners. Urban Shamans use these, and the energies found in various parts of the urban landscape to perform various magick and rituals. Many modern Urban Shamanic practices combine aspects of the Oriental and Occidental sacred geometry and geomancy including shapes of buildings associated with Astrological energies, and Ley or ‘Dragon’ lines along which flow Earth energies similar to the Bioplasmic, Chi, or Odinic ones used in Acupuncture. Roadways, subterranean channels, and buildings can all affect these in various ways, both positive and negative.
Ley lines for most Pagans are associated with ancient sites such as standing stones and hill forts, but urban areas have them too. A quick check on the internet will show the alignment of sacred sites in the cities of Oxford, Chichester, and London. My personal experience has been with the Leys in Mexico City and Portsmouth (UK) two urban areas with very different energies. In Mexico City, one of the largest urban areas in the world when I lived there, The highest concentration of ley line energy was in the modern the downtown area of the Zocalo, which had been a major Aztec temple and the main focus of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, from which the modern city had grown after the Spanish conquest. Major lines connected with other temple complexes in the Yucatan, and closer ones such as Teotihuacan nearby to the north. In the city itself energy lines flowed down most of the main streets, helped by the modern grid design which seemed to conduct the energies well.
Mexico City is built on an old lake bed surrounded by quiescent volcanoes, this basin holds water like a sponge and the city used to pump it out for various uses. Like a sponge the ground under the city was honeycombed with tunnels which, as the water was removed, crumbled and collapsed. Not only did this this cause minor earth tremors, but it also changed the earth energies with some very odd results, both on the subtle and the earth planes. After some of these tremors there were weather phenomena such as unseasonal snowfalls, and thunderstorms. While on the magickal side energy streams could change attributes, direction, or even have eddies/vortices hive off them that became places of power in their own right. Some of these were only temporary, but others persisted and the local magickal practitioners incorporated these sites and their energies into their works.
Because of the history of the places the Ley lines originated and passed through the energies were particularly strong. Shamans tapping into them had to be aware of both their conscious and ‘Shadow’ selves to avoid being overwhelmed by some aspects invested in the energies that were not appropriate to modern times. One Urban Shaman I knew particularly well spent a lot of his time exploring various aspects of self-development from Dale Carnegie to Siddhartha Gautama in order to stay psychologically balanced. This would have surprised both his Brujeria (“Witchcraft”) clientele and those of his day job in the service industry, I only knew of it because I happened to know him in both those capacities.
The Urban Ley Lines in Portsmouth have a completely different feel to them both because of their history and stability of the ground they flow through. Portsmouth is the UK’s only island city and is set in the Solent; Portsdown Hill a crescent shaped chalk hill takes up most of the mainland to the north, east, and west. The chalk runs under the stretch of water between the mainland and the island and rises up under the city. Since it rains a lot in the UK, all the water that falls on the hill drains down the chalk and rises up in various areas of Portsmouth in the form of springs. Since the energies in Ley/Dragon lines follow water the magickal geology of the city is unique as these blend with the major ley lines which transect the island creating a unique magickal environment. This is expressed in the number of energy vortices that are found in this area. Key power spots include Southsea Castle, a fountain in the city centre, and the graveyard by the local high security prison.
There was also a powerful offshoot off the vortex under Southsea Castle that ran under the nearby Rock Gardens which I used as the main place to cast my circle and perform my Esbat rituals. A few years after I started using it the city council built a pyramid shaped indoor leisure centre with an integral swimming pool and waterpark on that site. I had to move my ritual site to a walled rose garden further along the coast and, needless to say, the conspiracy theorists in the local Pagan community had a field day suggesting that one group or another were trying to appropriate the energy solely for their own use. Rumour had it that some of them got together when the foundations were being laid and cursed them, and the building they were to support. Nothing seems to have come of it, but the story persists in the local magickal community to this day.
In the next article we will look at further uses of the power spots in Portsmouth and other areas so that readers can start to identify similar sites in their local area and experiment with them if they wish. These types of sites and their energies are a key part of Urban Shamanism as they are used in many of its aspects from ritual to empowering sigils and can be found in some surprising places.
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