Ritual magic can be traced back throughout occult history. It is probably the oldest method of invocation; a summons to someone or something using words of power, paraphernalia, certain gestures, and even sacrifices at specifically chosen locations and times. Its roots may be medieval but its practice continues today. It is custom to hold these rites in secret so it would be unusual to come across one by accident but then these things do happen.
Some years ago a friend and I were making use of the extended daytime on a fine Summer Solstice to ride home through the nearby wood. With the daylight lingering after eleven pm it seemed like a good idea. The wood was known to the locals as ‘Donkeys Hollow’. It is an atmospheric area of forest that was once dotted with bomb craters that were probably a remnant of the Second World War. This was an ideal place for young men of our age to perform daredevil stunts on our bikes and to show off our scars when things went wrong.
We cycled across the tract of land that lead up to the Hollow and crossed the tree lined perimeter that headed into the wood. The light was still good as we passed the largest of the craters and the lily covered pond to its left. We fully expected to see people we knew there but that wasn’t the case on this particular evening. Breaching a line of trees we saw the second crater which unlike the others had a flat even floor and was shallow at approximately eight feet in depth. On this night it was occupied.
I’d written a thesis about occult rituals so I was familiar with the scene that faced us. At a glance seven robed men were gathered in the crater below us. They were in the process of laying out magical paraphernalia on covered trestle tables. There were a selection of items including candles, censers, chalices and ritual daggers among a host of other implements to be seen there.
The men that we had startled wore silk robes in either gold, purple or white. Some wore their hoods up while others were down revealing intelligent faces. Our intrusion had come as a complete surprise to them. There was a pregnant pause while everyone grasped what had just happened and then all hell broke loose. A sudden sound of motorbike engines ruined the stillness and drew our attention to the presence of the Hells Angels. They were sat astride their bikes around the rim of the crater. Hired muscle, there to fend off intruders like ourselves and they were about to earn their keep.
The spell broke and everyone moved. The bikers rode straight at us and we both reacted instinctively. We weren’t stupid so we got out of there fast using the densest areas of the wood to make it more difficult for the bikers. We knew Donkeys Hollow well and perhaps that saved us. Then again our pursuers may have only wanted to scare us off without the need for violence. Either way we managed to exit the wood with our skins intact.
What we’d witnessed that night did not bear any of the hallmarks associated with Wicca or Paganism. Neither had we stumbled into someone’s’ film set as those preparations were all too real. The likelihood is that this was a Dark Sabbat. Although some say that they are pure fiction this strikes me as a little naive. People will always strive for power and influence by whatever means they find appropriate. Furthermore the preparations that we’d witnessed involved financial costs. All the ceremonial trappings as well as the hire of the bikers would have involved substantial money. So that suggests that these were professional people who took their clandestine rituals seriously.
Although this turned out to be a low key incident the wider implications have the potential to be more threatening. Do individuals who undertake these rites with serious intent believe that they know exactly what they are doing? Or on the other hand are they so consumed by their egos that they leave themselves open to manipulation by unknown forces. If so then what damage might they be doing in their thirst for supremacy?
In the present day we associate the Summer Solstice with modern Druids and Wicca or Pagan festivals that celebrate Mother Earth and the changing of the seasons but it is important to be aware that there is no light without the accompanying darkness.