New Religions and the New Europe Conference: Dragon city yields its pagan secrets: Andrew Brown at the conference on New Religions and the New Europe at the London School of Economics

'THE HEART chakra of the world starts north of Marseilles, then runs through Chartres, Brighton, and Kingston upon Thames,' explained our guide to pagan London, who did not wish to give her name.

A gaggle of academics had signed up for a 'walking tour of occult London' at the end of the weekend conference. Several had narrowly escaped translation to the spirit world as they crossed the Aldwych against the traffic lights to gather by a ley line on the island in the middle.

The guide continued her New Age anatomy of Britain: 'The ley line uses the Thames, which is also Thamesis, or the dark Isis, as opposed to the Light Isis, which is the Nile; and the heart part of the heart chakra is at Kingston upon Thames.

'The voice part of the chakra is at Westminster, where Parliament is; and cutting the voice and the err err' - she touched her face to ascertain what did cross the chakra in question - 'and the eye is the law. And that's where we are now.'

The pilgrims passed on towards the Inner Temple. They looked like any other academic walking party in London but the knowledge imparted to them is given to few. After admiring Cleopatra's Needle, they stopped at a dragon on the

Embankment.

The guide expounded the significance of the statue: 'The City of London is known as a dragon city. Every time you walk into the City, you see one of these. It's either very large or very small. This one is medium sized.'

'I have two worlds,' said one of the pilgrims to his neighbour. 'The one that's around me, and the one that I see.'

The pilgrimage turned away from the traffic, probably just as well, and passed through the Inner Temple, founded by the Knights Templar. The revival of magic in the 19th century was largely inspired by the Knights Templar who built the church there and gave the area its name. Sceptics point out that if anyone knows how to turn mumbo jumbo into money and power, it

is not pagans, but the lawyers who now flourish on the Templars

ruins.

Outside the Law Courts in the Strand another pagan lectured us on statuary. The Victorian classical revival had filled London with objects that pagans could venerate. Not only was there the Sun God on Australia House, and Eros in Piccadilly Circus, but also a useful figure of Minerva outside the Athenaeum club.

(Photograph omitted)

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