Ley-Lines, Cross Roads, & the Urban Witch
Ley-Lines, known to some as ‘Fairy-Paths,’ are straight tracks etched across ancient landscapes, whose power – while somewhat dormant in many places – can still be tapped into today. These lines of energy, created by the footsteps of thousands of people for thousands of years, are aligned with countless sacred sites, such as stone circles, churches, burial mounds and the like.
The origin of the term Ley-Line refers to the ancient straight tracks that run across parts of the UK – often marked by megaliths and even Roman roads – but the theory of ancient geographical lines or grids of energy is not at all exclusive to the UK; many cultures across the globe have stories of powerful, geographical lines of significance, often going hand-in-hand with tales of Creation and even of ghosts and the Fae.
Many theories as to the origin of such lines exist, for instance in many tribes across Australia, the ‘song lines’ (as they are known here) were formed during the Creation Story. In Britain it is believed that they are merely powerful tracks created by the thousands of people who have passed over them in order to get to and from sacred sites. Each culture has its own understanding which fits their spiritual perception of the land.
The ‘crossroads’ – points at which two or more Leys meet – are seen as places of incredible power, and are often marked (in the UK) with groves of hawthorn or pine. If you were to find yourself at a Ley-Line crossroad, you may perceive a sudden rush of energy, an excitement of the senses, or even ghostly figures or voices. These are locations where the Veil is thinnest, and as such it is not uncommon for these areas to be marked with unusual natural formations, such as weirdly twisted or knotted trees, strange shapes or faces in the fields and hills, and even sightings of strange and extinct beasts.
There are infinite possibilities for magick when it comes to working with Ley-Lines, including boosting your spells and rituals, supplying an abundance of energy for you to use in healing/empowering/charging/cursing, creating a medium in which you can become closer to the earth and its energies, etc. …But where does the Urban Magickian come into all of this? What of those witches and the like who don’t have the privilege of living near stone circles, centuries-old churches or ancient burial mounds? Well, you’re in luck! Because Ley-Lines are not exclusive to ancient landscapes; it is said that the mere treading of a path by enough people can create a line of power, and as such, train tracks, highways, busy intersections and that old underground bar with the sigils on the bathroom wall can all be places of power. Get creative.
There are many ways to locate Ley-Lines, but by far the easiest is to utilise a map and either a pendulum or just plain old intuition:
• Begin by finding a good, detailed map of your area. Print it out and, with pen or pencil, mark out all the important sites, such as churches and graveyards. If your township is relatively newly developed, these sites will probably not be built on geographical Leys, but they will likely be markings on what i have termed ‘Urban Leys,’ or ‘Urban Ley-Lines;’ grids or paths of power created, as stated above, by the treading of man and beast, and you may also have a hand in creating and strengthening these lines as you cast magick along them in your travels.
Some places you may wish to mark on your map, alongside those where you feel the Veil is thinnest, include:
- Groves of old trees
- Entrancing hills or plains
- Fairy rings
- Old beaten tracks through the woods
- Ghost hot-spots
- Or the field with that one goat you swear can read your mind… 🐐👀
(If you don’t know your area all that well, you may need to do some intuitive surveying of the land/city).
• On your map, find a site that feels intuitively promising, you may wish to choose the city cemetery, a misty grove of pines, an old tree that’s grown in a warped or strange formation, or any other place you feel has an intense liminal energy, (there was a post going around claiming that the inside of any Target is a liminal space, so why not start there?).
• Once you’ve located your starting place, go there with a pendulum or any other method you use to sense energy (or whatever magickal paradigm you work with, ‘energy’ being the most common one). If you’re using a pendulum, stand still at your chosen site and let your pendulum reveal to you which direction the Urban-Ley flows, (if indeed you have found one). if not using a pendulum, intuit the direction in whichever way works for you.
• Follow the newly discovered path! Let your feet and your intuition (or pendulum) guide you along the way. You may find you stumble upon old or liminal buildings, trees, bodies of water or other such features that you didn’t even know existed! Just remember, Leys flow in straight lines, so try to draw it up like grids or unbending paths on your map, otherwise it’ll become one big squiggly mess. I also suggest that you keep your maps folded up in your grimoire or magickal journal, for easy access while on the go.
A few more things to keep in mind:
- In some cultures, for instance the Australian Aboriginals, certain Lines will only flow in one direction, and it is seen as sacrilege to walk them in the opposite direction to which they flow (A good example of this is Uluru, in which the story-line runs down the rock face. This is why it was incredibly distressing for the Australian Aboriginals of the Northern Territory when white people started climbing up the rock). So it might be worth keeping that in mind while treading these paths. I would recommend also doing some research into the cultures who have lived in your area since before white people settled there, to ensure – if you do stumble upon an ancient Ley – that you’re not appropriating anyone else’s culture.
- If you find a certain Ley-Line crossroad that you feel is particularly powerful, and you’d like to use it in your Craft, you could take a leaf out of the Celts’ book and build a structure there with which to tap into, or channel, the Ley energy. Think of it like acupuncture, but instead of needles you could build little mini stone circles, hang wind chimes or amulets from trees, carve sigils into trees or fences, hammer a consecrated stake into the earth, etc. As i said before, get creative!
- In Ireland (where the Leys are known as ‘Fairy Paths’), it is believed that fairies maintain the upkeep of these tracks, and on certain days of the year, such as May Eve or Hallowe’en, they use them to navigate to and from their celebrations. As such, it is strongly advised that you avoid fairy paths on these days, lest you fall prey to these tricky creatures. If your practice incorporates fairies, you may want to keep that in mind!
- As Ley-Lines are sources of a seemingly infinite amount of living energy (yes, living, as they find their source in the earth, which is very much alive) it is not uncommon to find spirits using this abundance of energy to support their form on the physical plain. So if you’re easily spooked, best to tread these paths in the daylight. :p
All in all, i hope this inspires many a witch to go out and discover the Urban-Leys in their area, and to find yet another avenue in which to explore their own power and that of the earth’s.