Last weekend Cassandra and I hosted Workshop 4 – The Dark Arts. It was attended by four 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 raised and questions asked that were 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 practitioner.
The practical part of the afternoon began with 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 intricately designed, so we did not expect completion at the workshop, only the foundation and the rest to be completed at home.
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 marvelled at the huge ball of fire as the sun began to descend 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 it 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 it, the silhouetted shape of 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 created a potent atmosphere to this wondrous place. Some of us explored the site and climbed high upon the granite ledges to enjoy the scenery of the moor and feel its energies.