When my husband took on the role of Squire within the Morris team he had to put pressure on team members and became less popular with other members when enforcing rules regarding the the kit men were required to wear. This caused my husband to resign from his officer role at the next Morris AGM and our Priestess suggested he kept quiet during the meeting as no one wished to hear his opinions.
During my role as foreman I chose four female members for our next dance at an event and my Priestess stated that the dancers were in the wrong positions. I knew she was incorrect as I had taught them and I followed my Priestess to the performance area and let her direct the dancers to their positions. As the music began one of them approached her and explained she was in the wrong position. The audience were amused as the musicians had to stop the music so the dancers could change positions. I glanced at my Priestess who stared back at me defiantly. There was no apology and nothing further was said concerning the matter. On reflection I understand why this amount of discipline was required as no other Morris team I have danced with has reached this high standard.
My husband and I discussed leaving the coven but he suggested I continue so we could both remain within the Morris team. He visited our Priestess and Priest alone and was there for three hours. He told me he flattered them, hugged them and expressed his love for them both so as not to rouse their anger. They tried to persuade him to stay and would continue to treat him as an initiate. They also warned him that my development without him would change me which could affect out relationship. He returned home triumphant that all went as he planned.
I attended another appointment to see the spirit medium for another consultation. My father in law had apparently enquired about his watch as my husband could not locate it. Even though she made some suggestions as to its whereabouts, it did not appear. The medium also gave advice concerning my development stating that I could not successfully learn witchcraft and mediumship together as using my energy for both meant I would not excel at either. She invited me to her psychic circle which I attended only once as six out of the eight women were smokers and did so continuously throughout the meeting. I considered this disrespectful during spiritual work.
I continued to attend coven meetings and rituals completing all the tasks required. I set up the temple with the other male member and Priest, worked hard within circle and tidied the temple before leaving. After our feasting we would wash and dry the plates, cutlery, pots and pans while our Priestess sat in her chair and delegated where all utensils were put away. This was a regular occurrence at our coven meetings and by the time we had finished our tasks it was late. On one occasion I wished to leave before the other member as it was a twenty-two mile drive home and he lived only two streets away. My Priestess ignored my request to leave and continued to drink her wine which I took as a sign that I was not permitted to leave until she had finished.
I attended the Yuletide ritual and had planned to inform them I would be leaving the coven. Even though we were all about the same age, our Priestess and Priest reminded me in some ways of my parents as they were as fanatical about witchcraft as my parents were about their religion. I do understand however that correct teaching can be somewhat regimented at times. The words I needed to say did not emerge and I left early that evening due to feeling unwell.
My husband and I decided it would be easier to send two letters, one to notify them of my leaving the coven and another of resignation from the Morris team. We enjoyed our time with the Morris but knew we could not remain in it without repercussions. We received an immediate reply from our tutors stating there would be no more contact between us and they requested our hand written copies of the coven ‘book of shadows’. I sought advice from Pagan friends who confirmed they had no right to ask for them. Our Priestess told members of the Morris team I had sent a letter to her which was identical to the one I sent to the Gardnarian magical group. This was untrue as I had informed the other Priestess in person when I left her group and for different reasons. I learnt a great deal from my time in their coven and have some positive memories of it.
I avoided magical groups for a while and took time out from the Pagan scene, packing away my Egyptian artefacts which my friend from college took care of. I worked as a holistic therapist in her beauty salon, but no longer worked with her magically as she planned to emigrate to Australia with her family to be with her brother. I withdrew from magical practices and after a while returned to solitary working. Sadly our tutors severed the ties in the same way my parents had when I left their religion. I missed Morris dancing, but it was time to move on and discover new ventures. My best memory of the time in the Morris team was observing twelve female Morris dancers who gave an excellent performance as a result of my teaching and I received praise from my tutors. I acknowledge that they were indeed excellent teachers who taught me valuable skills during the time I spent with them and although things did not turn our as I had hoped, I continue to hold them in high esteem.
My son passed his eleven plus examination and was put on a waiting list for the Grammar school place application. This was a matter of concern as it was the only school that would take him. When applying to schools you state a first choice, but subsequent choices could be awkward with other schools if they were not your first preference. The one we selected as second choice would only accept my son if he had not passed his eleven plus examination. The list for the Grammar school would not move for two months until all test results from schools had been taken into account.
My husband awoke at 3 a.m. one morning near Imbolc as he heard a knocking sound. He thought someone was at the door or window but on investigation found nothing. He returned to bed and at 6 a.m. we awoke to the sound from our television. The remote controls were on the coffee table where we left them the night before and our son was still asleep. The television had activated and there was no explanation for it. At 10 that morning we received a phone call from the Grammar school informing us that our son’s application had been accepted early. We wondered if the spirit of my father in law attempted to give us signs that something would happen that day as he knew it was a matter of concern. He took great interest in my son’s education in the past. My son was comfortable with spirit activity as he spoke of seeing his grandfather’s spirit a few weeks after his death.
I studied a useful book entitled “Channelling What It Is and How to Do It” by Lita De Alverdi. It explained in detail developmental stages of mediumship. I also used it as a reference book for members of my own psychic development circle.
The friends I met at the Egyptian group visited us on Boxing Day. We took them to the local woodland so they could explore the ruins of the eleventh century church.
Our American friend had met with members of a rock band who were also a coven. The group was interested in him as he had contacts in America and they were looking for a place of residence there. His partner supported his ventures and agreed to sell their home and he then gave his share of the money to the commune. He moved to France with the coven for a while, but as a mature man who enjoyed his ‘home comforts’ I did not see it working as the group members were younger and constantly moved around. They did not seem to care where they stayed or with whom they slept. Two months later he returned to his partner as life with the coven had not worked out for him. He was exhausted, had lost weight and had no money or car. My husband provided him with a car to use. His partner was understandably upset after selling their property, but allowed him move into her tiny apartment. I pitied him in a way as I understood how attractive some groups could appear and it is not until you become deeply involved that you see the reality. I was fortunate to leave some groups and keep genuine friendships.
I attended Reiki ‘shares’ at the home of the couple I met at the Scole seminar in Norfolk. These ‘shares’ were arranged for Reiki practitioners to attend in order to treat one another. The wonderful experience of lying upon a couch with nine pairs of healing hands covering all areas of the body encasing one in strong healing energy is something to experience! A ten minute treatment of concentrated energy from nine practitioners was more than sufficient. I met a woman there who recommended the classes of a local Yoga teacher and invited me to attend with her.
A member of our former Morris team informed me that the tutors had decided to leave the team at the end of the year. This surprised me as they were dedicated to it but I also knew they had grown weary of continually teaching and organizing the team.
We eventually got to attend the Devon and Cornwall Pagan seminar in Tintagel at the beginning of March 2003.
We had a fabulous time there and stayed in one of the rooms at the Camelot Hotel venue.
The organizers had given us prior warning that a talk containing adult content was part of the programme and suggested we took our son elsewhere during this part of the programme. It was about Alastair Crowley’s work, rituals and ingredients for his ceremonial cakes that included semen and menstrual blood. They also discussed the ethics of the Great Rite.
I browsed the stalls during the lunch break and stood by one situated in the entrance hall. I heard someone speak to the stall-holder and turned to see a small confident woman wearing a crooked soft top hat, a white t-shirt and a black waistcoat. She greeted me in a cheeky but charming manner as she passed and then walked backwards still smiling before she turned and left via the rotating door. There was something unique about her energy and she remained in my thoughts for the rest of the day. A Nordic magical group performed the closing ritual and this interested me having a Scandinavian bloodline.
Carolyn Hillier and Nigel Shaw performed in the evening and their music was fabulous. I sat in the front row listening to a tune Nigel had composed entitled “The Waterfall”. I gazed out of the window at the sea as the haunting tune filled the room. During this emotional moment, I glanced behind me and noticed the small woman I met earlier standing at the back of the room conversing with someone. I did not realise how significant this meeting would be in the years ahead. The seminar was small with a warm friendly atmosphere and it was difficult to leave and return home.