Last weekend Cassandra and I hosted workshop 4 The Dark Arts. It was attended by 4 lovely ladies, three were previous acquaintances and the other had met Cassandra briefly at the All Hallows Gathering.
Our introduction evening around the hearth was most informative. Many subjects were raised and questions asked connected to the theme of this particular workshop. The group members’ past experiences had shaped their views and practices providing each of them with varied perspectives. We discussed the subjects of Psychic Vampirism, Hauntings, Spirit Possession and listened to group members relating their own intriguing experiences.
Saturday afternoon continued with talks and discussions on dark deities, curse breaking and image magic. Cassandra and I explained our own methods and group members related their experiences. We also discussed ethics and how these vary for each person.
The practical part of the afternoon began with providing information on Spirit Houses, their uses and how to construct them.
Cassandra has a magnificent example of a spirit house in her cottage that was once displayed at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic . The group studied it for a while before they set about constructing their own. These creations need to be of intricate designs, so we did not expect completion of the spirit houses, only the construction of the foundation to be taken home and worked on.
On Saturday evening we worked at the hearth on a combined dark magical spell. We took it to a haunted location hiding it at a nearby crossroads so that we could return to it after visiting the site. We marveled at the huge ball of fire as the sun began its descent on our way to the site. We expected a fabulous sunset on arrival.
As we reached the destination, a thick blanket of mist awaited us! On a recent visit to the site Cassandra and I could see the site in the distance from the road, but the shroud of mist had hidden it from view. As we walked over the moor towards it, the site remained invisible and our group members had no idea where they were going. As we approached the site, the silhouetted shape of the granite could be seen, but it could easily have been mistaken for a group of trees.
When I first heard about this site and the legends connected with it, I was excited to visit it.
Myths and Legends of Cornwall
“As recently as 1949, a Cornish woman was observed making a sacrifice as her husband was dying. She took a black cock to the window and wrung its neck. She explained that it was so the cock could accompany her husband’s soul to the gates of heaven. When St Peter saw the cock, it would remind him of his denial of Christ and move him to mercy so that he would allow her husband through the heavenly gates!
The waters of the well at Altarnun were believed to cure madness. The lunatic would be dipped into the well and then taken into the church for a mass to be sung over him. When he regained his sanity, prayers of thanks would be offered to St Non.
Towards the end of the First World War, strange lights were seen along the Cornish coast. These were said to be flashed by a Cornishman who had been drowned by German submarine action. Like the lamps of the old wreckers, they lured ships to destruction – but not all ships. The lights were only sighted by German ships and submarines.
A long time ago, two miners were passing Carn Kenidjack one night when they saw a horseman dressed in black who invited them to watch a wrestling match. The miners accepted but soon found they had joined a crowd of frightful demons, commanded by the horseman who was the Devil in disguise. When one of the wrestling demons was thrown against a rock and injured, the miners whispered a prayer to him. The earth shook and all the demons were sucked into a black crowd, shrieking and cursing.
A teenager walking home across fields from a neighbour’s house, he had noticed an elderly woman in old-fashioned clothes struggling with a pram. When he approached her to offer help, she simply vanished.
Spriggans, the malevolent mythological creatures that are particular to West Penwith, are said to inhabit Woon Gumpus, whilst the Devil himself rides a black horse out to Carn Kenidjack after sunset, chasing anyone still on the moor to a stile, from where they can escape his grasp.
There are also various accounts of meeting Old Moll on a path somewhere on the moors. The witch, who cursed local people when she was alive, is said to continue her evil in the afterlife.
Carn Kenidjack is also known as the ‘Hooting Cairn’ because of the sound the wind makes as it whistles through the granite.”
The unexpected mist swirling around the site gave extra atmosphere to this wondrous place. Some of us explored the site and climbed high upon the granite ledges to enjoy the vast expanse of the moor and feel its energies.
Shortly before leaving the site the mist cleared. We returned to the crossroads to complete our spell while dodging the occasional vehicle passing, adding to the intensity of the work involved. Group members who seemed to have no previous knowledge of Carn Kenidjack legends had sensed spirit presences there which connected with the legendary tales.
We returned to the cottage for libations and a discussion about the impressions received from visiting Carn Kenidjack.
Our first Dark Arts workshop was successful with a group of wonderful people. We look forward to the next one later this year.
“I really enjoyed the workshop. It covered a lot of things. .Sadly I was not allowed to reveal what I had done within my old coven to everyone but I now have a greater understanding of the dark arts.” M.M
“Just a quick note to thank you so much for the great workshop and the hospitality of your delightful cottage. I learnt a lot and it gave me plenty of food for thought. I will be looking at your list of other courses and see if something else resonates within me.” J.F.
“This was my third workshop with Laetitia and Cassandra and one thing is for sure with these weekends is…to always expect the unexpected and this one certainly provided lots of that! For me, the workshops are not just an opportunity to learn new things and try new experiences, but a chance to meet like minded people and exchange ideas, information and experiences in a non judgemental and warm environment. It was an absolute pleasure to meet the other 3 ladies and share this experience with them. I have come home with new insight, ideas and memories which have not only given me a greater understanding of the things unknown but also a contentment that you can not put a price upon. Thank you so much ladies for sharing you knowledge, time and wonderful home with us.” SH
“Experiential learning of a unique kind. Whilst Clutterbuck grounds you, Cassandra sparks alive deep wisdoms, and Laetitia brings a balance of nurture and hands on craft. Great mix of workshop lady attendees….all men on my last course. A bright light was brought to the profoundly dark issues discussed. Spell work superb… Wow!” AA