Living on the ‘Roseline’ and other spiritual fantasies

A few months ago, I discovered that I live on the ‘Roseline’, the supposed leyline which runs around the globe, through the Gnomon de Saint-Sulpice in Paris, Glastonbury in England, and Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland.

The only information I can find on the Roseline variously describes it as:

  • the Paris meridian – a challenger to the Greenwich meridian from the 17th to the 19th centuries;
  • the sunlight line which identifies the date and time of Easter, at Gnomon de Saint-Sulpice;
  • an imaginary ley line, popularised by The Da Vinci Code book and film, pointing to the final resting place of the Holy Grail and/or the travels of Mary Magdalene after the death of Jesus; and
  • a source of pulsating telluric energy” associated with the movements of the souls of the dead.

Despite the very recent (late 20th century) association of spiritual powers with the Paris meridian – from demonic to angelic (and the small fact that for a line to go through both Paris and Edinburgh, it would have to miss Glastonbury by a great many miles) many New Agers, whether eclectic white-lighters, Christians, Pagans or others, find great meaning in seeking out and spending time at places along this line.

Some are simply credulous, no doubt, but I am loathe to dismiss completely something that so many people find significant, and which lends order and meaning to their experience of the Universe. In any case, I can hardly cast those kind of aspersions when I myself, in all seriousness, leave out offerings for fey beings, and talk to deities and dead people.

I do so with full knowledge that there is nothing rational or provable about what I do. I simply started acting ‘as if’, and my experiences were interesting and inexplicable enough to provide grounds for my own Unverifiable Personal Gnosis (known to many of us as ‘UPG’). But to anyone who has not shared those kinds of experiences, my dealings with spiritual beings appear to be built on nothing more than fantasy – just like those of Roseline enthusiasts.

One could argue that I am supported by folklore and thousands of years of tradition, not only in these lands, but around the world, whereas those pursuing the spiritual fantasy of the Roseline have a bare 60 years of ‘tradition’ on their side. But is an idea or a practice less valid simply because it is young?

I do have objections to the Roseline as a source of spiritual meaning though, and it is the same objection I have to other New Age ideas which stretch my credulity, such as the idea that aliens built the pyramids and stone circles of the world. It is that it draws attention away from simpler, more direct connection with place.

Part of my practice as a Pagan has been to move away from intellectual abstraction and into physical and emotional embodiment in my spirituality. To look to the sacredness or specialness of a place in its association with a line on the ground, or its putative construction by aliens, or any other such fantasy, is an imaginal overlay, which hides the very real sacredness and specialness that exists in that place simply in its physicality, its history and its visceral effect on us as human beings.

My own spiritual fantasy of communicating with spiritual beings brings me into closer connection with place as it is, with all its layers of life. I am sure there are some for whom spiritual fantasies such as the Roseline, or alien monument construction, serves a similar function. But I fear that for many more, these fantasies, which bring spiritual attention away from a place itself and onto an idea about a place, only serve to separate us further from place, to keep spirituality out of the body and safely in the head.

About Elinor Prędota

Elinor Predota was born in London in 1970, and was raised in England’s second city. Her hippy parents took her on endless, wonderful visits to birdwatching hides, Iron Age hill forts, Medieval Castles and ancient stone circles across Britain, which kindled her longing for green hills. She finally moved to the country in the year 2000, where the land has taught her more magic than any book or human being ever could. She is a priestess, a poet, a scholar, an accidental comedian, and lives in southern Scotland with her partner, a very big dog, and a vast range of more-than-human neighbours. She can also be found online at elinorpredota.com.

  • http://www.alwayssababa.com/ lishevita

    Hmmm… I wish that I’d read this post *before* I wrote my own this week. I wanted to convey the power of imaginal realities for processing the “real” world version of a place. I don’t think that I did as well at describing my thoughts as I wanted to. I think I’m going to work on it a bit more over the next few days, maybe work through the ideas a bit in my private journal, and give it another go next week.

    Part of my hesitation was that I have a lot of imaginal realities that are *clearly* fantasies but that have somehow flavored my understanding of actual or spiritual reality. That sounds like crazy talk. “Oh, yeah, I read this thing in a book about a goddess of the river who could make you arrive anywhere she wanted on the river, and that led me into a deeper relationship with Tamesin, goddess of the Thames, when I lived near her banks.” That sounds so crazy and wrong headed. Yet, I’m a fairly sane person, and the Seventh Sword series of books really did have an effect on the way I looked at the Thames, Tamesin, rivers in general, and eventually all roads. Oo… maybe that’s what I’ll write about for next week. :)

    • kittylu

      Every action starts with an idea. People need to envision alternative realities before change can happen. Now matter how crazy, ‘fantasy’ or ceremony builds a respect for place. The rainbow road is more than just a level in Mario Kart.

      • http://twitter.com/ellie_nor Elinor Predota

        kittylu – thank you for that. It has always been my experience that both ‘reality’ and ‘fantasy’ are important in how we live our lives and our values. Too much of one or the other takes us off balance.

    • http://twitter.com/ellie_nor Elinor Predota

      Do, do!

  • http://www.facebook.com/reni.fulton Reni Fulton

    somebody very wise (whose name escapes me just now) said where does God live if not in our imagination…so what ever it is that connects you to your images of God/dess, Creator Spirit…let it be so. Nothing separates us except our perception of separation. with love…reni

    • http://twitter.com/ellie_nor Elinor Predota

      Reni – I take your point, but my experience has been that, particularly in New Age inflected Paganisms, that imagination has a tendency to trump and override lived, daily reality, which – also in my experience – leads to deeply ungrounded spiritualities.

  • Rufus Maychild

    It’s pretty obvious that on the illustration, the line is around 20 miles wide. Probabl;y includes some rubbish dumps as well as spiritual places. It might go through Roslyn but is no where near Glastonbury (maybe 50 miles away) and as for Paris… A simple look at any atlas will tell you even a vaguely straight line can’t go through those three places!

    • http://twitter.com/ellie_nor Elinor Predota

      Rufus – yes, that’s pretty much my point. My question is: does it matter, if people find it meaningful?

      • http://www.facebook.com/rufus.maychild Rufus Maychild

        I think it does matter, and very much agree with your blog. I feel that the fantasies actually make it harder for people to connect to the real Earth beneath their feet and all around them. I do find it astounding that something that is obviously geographically impossible (such as this line) can still have any believers, yet it does. Whilst basically good people are chasing their non-existent chimeras, the real destruction of the Earth, her creatures and lifesystems goes on at an ever-increasing rate. The parasites who live off the destruction of the Earth and the exploitation of her Life must love stuff like the ‘Roseline’. Keeps us off their backs. If a few more of we Pagans had a more grounded spirituality, we might start to achieve something!

  • kittylu

    The way I see it people put intent into place and it builds up over generations. Sometimes they do it with ceremony, but other times that energy is already there through undergound waterbodies or rock formations such as quartz or serpentine. There are certain energy points where people just tap in better especially in mountains or river valleys but any place can have the ‘vibration’. There I go using those hippie terms but thats how I understand ley lines and the energy grid.

    • http://twitter.com/ellie_nor Elinor Predota

      Hippies are awesome! I’m one myself :-)

      I tend to agree, but I don’t think that’s what the ‘Roseline’ is, or what it represents – it seems to me more like the colonisation of the land by modern people’s ideas of it, rather than a recognition of something that already exists.


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