The Creation of Morvargh the Dark Sea ‘Oss

At the start of 2017 I contemplated acquiring an ‘Obby ‘Oss of my own so that I could be a rider. I originally searched for the skull of a small horse asking the advice of David Pitt who owns and rides Coppertown Mari. I purchased the skull of an Icelandic foal with Viking heritage, a significant find as my place of birth was at the site of an ancient Viking settlement.

Here is an article about horses in Anglo Saxon and ancient Viking history:

Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago?”

Where is the horse gone? Where the rider? (The Wanderer)

Both Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian warriors, particularly nobles, loved their horses. They might prefer to fight on foot, swinging sword or axe with their men (unlike the Normans) but to own a horse meant status, rather like owning an expensive car does today. A king might direct a battle from the saddle but most of the valuable steeds would be led to the rear, safe from harm, before a battle. When asked to fight as cavalry in the early 11th century, ‘against their custom’, English warriors were so uncomfortable that they preferred flight. A mounted knight, isolated high in his saddle, cannot be one with his men. Perhaps it is this factor which led, following the Norman conquest, to the terrible widening of the social gulf betwixt noble and yeoman; a distance which had been relatively small in comparison in the egalitarian days prior to 1066.

Horse Worship

Horse worship in Northern Europe dates back to the Bronze Age. The horse, particularly the white horse, was seen as a sacred and magical animal associated with a particular god or as a totem of the warrior-king. Many Indo-European religious branches show evidence for horse sacrifice, and comparative mythology suggests that they derive from an original Proto-Indo-European ritual.

Pagan reverence of the horse, including its phallus, seems to have been linked to the worship of the fertility god Frea Ing / Yngvi Freyr and so outraged the Catholic Church that a complete ban was imposed in Northern and Western Europe against religious recognition or veneration of the horse in any form.

Thegns of Mercia

David Pitt ‘birthed’ a number of ‘Obby ‘Osses that perform in the folk world. I arranged to send the skull to him after purchase. He then kept me updated with video footage explaining the work required to make it robust. He explained the skull’s condition and the adult teeth were still embedded deep within the jaw as they had not yet emerged. I discovered foal was born and bred on an Icelandic farm, but unfortunately they do not always survive the severe weather or they are undernourished.

David worked on the foal over a period of 3 months and constructed silver ears and a tongue for her.  I sent him teal baubles for the eyes that he attached within the eye sockets. David also constructed a pole along with fixtures and fittings so that the jaw had enough movement to proved a wonderful ‘snap’.

A good friend Craig Weatherill informed me the Cornish name for seahorse was ‘Morvargh’.

Three months passed without me seeing or holding Morvargh, but I knew my ‘Oss was in expert hands! David Pitt kindly travelled from Wales to deliver her in person on Beltane 2017.

When David left, it was time for me to work on Morvargh. I had already created a new dress for Penkevyll with new mane and tatters plus two new hearth dolls, so my creative energy was flowing.

I began work on the mane by fitting blue Hessian material to the skull. I then had the lengthy task of braiding strands of wool constructing 40 braids using all of two large balls of wool. The braids were then sewn to the hessian.

When her mane was complete, I attached 120 pearls to it and larger mother of pearl shells to the centre parting.

A starfish and other shells were added to the skull using a glue recommended by my wonderful friends John and Sue Exton. They have had plenty of experience in decorating Mari Celeste  and Mari Seren. I tied ribbons to the sides of the skull along with cockleshells that make a wonderful sound. There are Pirate rings in her ears and the teal dress was constructed from a sheet and netted material.

Morvargh was the first Sea ‘Oss to be created in Cornwall and her debut was at Penberth Cove on a beautiful warm sunny day.

It was a wonderful experience to introduce Morvargh to the Cornish sea. Our bond has strengthened during the time I worked on her image and we naturally merged together as one.

Morvargh has been the inspiration for two more Sea ‘Osses who have recently appeared in Cornwall and I was delighted to see her displayed in the new Museum of Magic and Folklore in Falmouth. (July 2022).

Tenth Anniversary as an Old Craft Initiate.

The full moon of 28th March 2021, marked 10 years since my initiation into the Old Craft by Cassandra Latham Jones.

Image – John Isaac

For me, tuition in the Old Ways was more intensive than it is for members within a group as I have lived with my teacher and we were rarely apart, so I received constant tuition and discussion. The last ten years may have brought challenges and hard lessons, however they included a multitude of wonderful moments that made it all worthwhile.

To mark this special anniversary Cassandra decided it was time for me to receive my final initiation, an equivalent to a third degree within the Wiccan path.

On February’s full moon, I visited Men an Tol, where once again, I was overlooked by a bright full Moon. I performed a ritual of passing significant items through the holed stone a designated number of times to energise them while Cassandra observed nearby. I then paused and stood in the moon’s rays, feeling her energy while expressing my devotion.

From that moment on, Cassandra instructed me to record my dreams and sent me on four Quests to locations of my choice.

Lamorna Cove
Barnoon Cemetery St Ives
Carn Euny
Carn Euny
Crean Valley Woodland

I collected an item from each location and on the final Quest, I realized each one related to the elements, water, air, earth and fire. Cassandra stated that the directions were also significant.

The requirement of a ‘fast’ for a period of time was undertaken abstaining from stimulants, plus an added habitual action that I would find challenging.

During the weekend of my initiation, Cassandra instructed me to create a magical item related to all the locations I visited. There is a specific ritual connected to the creation of it that I followed during a designated planetary hour. I combined a blend of corresponding oils and herbs, placing them in a muslin bath pouch for my ritual bath. I cleansed and blessed all items that would be utilised for the ceremony.

Image – Cornish Bird Blog

On the evening of the initiation, we left home at 8pm to visit Boscawen-un stone circle where the first part of my initiation rite would take place, just as it had ten years ago. The difference on this occasion was the invisibility of the Moon shrouded in dark clouds on a dry evening, accompanied by a stiff breeze. This did not surprise me as Cassandra informed me it would be a ‘darker’ ceremony, therefore the absence of moonlight had great significance. I attempted to wear a hat that evening but the breeze repeatedly removed it, therefore I accepted that it was not required.

Cassandra and I used our bull roarers to call the spirits of place, she then instructed me to repeat a statement at each stone until I completed the circle. Cassandra stood by the Elder tree to observe and I slowly made my way around the circle laying my hands upon each stone, repeating the words, then moving on in the darkness, making my way over the tussocks and uneven ground. When I completed the circle, I turned to walk towards the King stone at the centre and in the darkness it seemed to transform into a tall hooded figure. I approached it and as I did so it reverted back to its original form and I rested my forehead against it, connecting with the energies of the site. After a while, I laid against the incline of the King stone feeling the breeze that rushed over my body and pressed me against the granite.

On our return to the cottage, Cassandra prepared the hearth and surrounding area, while I had my ritual bath in candlelight. I reclined in the water and contemplated on the impressions I received at the stone circle and the step I was about to take.

I put on my robe and awaited Cassandra’s call.

The initiation ritual was a wonderful experience and the initiatory words had such potency. Although my familiar Clutterbuck had entered the spirit world only 5 weeks before this,

Image – John Isaac

I felt his presence as he never failed to join us for celebrations in the physical world. I knew he would not miss this occasion.

When the initiation ritual was over, Cassandra hugged me and stated that her job was done. We celebrated with good old Cornish mead. Never before had she taught anyone as intensively over this period of time.

We have both worked well together over the years and will continue to do so.

I would like to express my gratitude to Cassandra for being such a caring, understanding and patient tutor. She has taught me invaluable skills and assisted me in developing a deep connection not only with Cornwall but also with the place and community of my birth.

Whatever the future holds and wherever life takes me, her teachings will remain and are a strong aspect of who I am.

Feedback from Cassandra Latham Jones: “Congratulations Laetitia! A worthy, hard working and fully fledged Wisewoman. You have remarkable psychic abilities – that definitely is your forte”.

Dark Arts Workshop October 2020

It was a cold wet morning on Saturday, although the afternoon brought drier and brighter weather as we arrived at the Village Hall to prepare for the workshop. Cassandra and I do not usually host workshops this late in the year but we had postponed them due to Covid 19 restrictions.

We had five attendees, two couples and a lady, so we spaced the chairs accordingly and laid out the practical items.

There are guidelines for use of the hall, keeping it ventilated with open windows, so the group wore coats for extra warmth during the afternoon. Our attendees were on different spiritual paths which sparked some interesting conversations between them.

Cassandra discussed certain aspects of the Dark Arts which led to many questions and gave a deeper insight into the group’s thoughts and opinions on this subject.

We discussed the use of Spirit Houses which prepared our group for the practical part of the workshop.

They were given a macramé framework and  receptacle that fits inside it where they can place their chosen charms, crystals, pebbles or shells. Shiny beads and sequins strung together and strands of glitter thread can also be ties upon the framework of the structure. The group began to construct their spirit house and then took it home for completion in their own time. It is interesting to observe couples working on their creation together discussing ideas and preferences. It is also intriguing to see the work in progress and the varied interpretations of each one.

At the end of a productive afternoon, Cassandra and I returned to the cottage for dinner while the rest of the group visited the St Buryan Inn.

There had been a change of plan concerning the site we usually visit for this particular workshop, as space is limited for social distancing. On this occasion we visited Boscawen un stone circle and it did not disappoint, as the site was alive with spiritual presences.

We sat in a circle near the centre King Stone and I guided the group in a short meditation to connect with the ancestors of the site. I saw figures in the darkness observing us and even though it was a crisp, cold evening, many in the group felt warm energy as though they had positioned themselves beside a warm hearth. We spent time observing the clouds in the sky, that gently parted forming a triangular shape before they withdrew further to reveal a clear sky with myriads of stars. The large red planet of Mars could also be clearly seen as it shone down upon us.

The night was still and felt warmer than it had during the afternoon. We all felt quite comfortable within this peaceful energy and could have stayed longer, however it is wise not to outstay one’s welcome with the site’s spirit guardians!

We returned to the village hall for libations of Cornish mead and saffron cake. The infra-red heater provided an interesting glow to the room along with candlelight while we discussed the workshop, answered questions and compared experiences of our visit to the site. It seemed the group were reluctant to leave, particularly at this time as we are all limiting our social activities, as it felt good to have the opportunity to interact with others.

A pleasurable workshop with a wonderful group.

Feedback:

‘Darlene and I want to say a very big thank you. Everything you both said made sense and resonated with me, expanding my mind to new possibilities. Cassandra and Laetitia’s teaching method is down to earth and easy to understand. They are lovely warm people who know their Craft! Can’t wait for the next one. Shane’.

‘It was a pleasure to meet Laetitia and Cassandra. The knowledge and understanding they have on the subject is clearly vast and varied. It is clear that they both have a lot of experience between them.  I found the workshop interesting and, enjoyable.  I particularly enjoyed the visit to the stone circle, and it is a place that I would love to visit again.  We covered Curses and spoke about methods of protection and discussed deities/crossroad magic and decorated our spirit houses. Thank you both for a lovely day’. N.A.

Hi Laetitia and Cassandra

I really enjoyed the dark arts workshop. I found your teaching down to earth and It was good that you encouraged us all to talk about our own experience and answered our many questions. I especially enjoyed walking to the sacred site with you at night, the beauty of the landscape and feeling the ancestors near was heart warming. We had a lot of laughs too, it was good to sit with a drink afterwards. I’d definitely like to join you both again. JM

Autumnal Activities at Equinox 2020

The latter half of summer had been rather busy for Cornwall and although this was welcome to help the economy, it included aggressive and thoughtless behaviour from many visitors. The land and sea no doubt breathed a ‘sigh of relief’ as summer turns to autumn and life returns to a more peaceful and slower pace.

Cassandra and I were occupied with distant work for clients, however August and September enabled us to see clients in person for socially distant readings, workshops and courses.

Autumn Equinox was overcast weather-wise, but dry which enabled Cassandra to venture out onto the land where she harvested local blackberries, apples and autumn leaves. Meanwhile I swept the hearth and prepared the fireplace, in preparation for our evening celebration.

We had time to bake a wonderful apple and blackberry crumble containing seasonal spices of cinnamon and cloves, before keeping an appointment with one of our clients.

We were given a wonderful opportunity by the new owners of Caer Bran Hillfort to bless their land. The following article has information about the site:

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. Despite subsequent mining activities and the bisection of the fort by a later track, the Iron Age defended settlement, 330m south east of Caer Bran Farm survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, strategic importance, agricultural practices, social organisation, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Details

The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement, situated at the summit of the prominent hill Caer Bran. The settlement survives as a roughly-circular enclosure defined by two concentric lines of defence, the inner formed by a rampart and ditch and the outer by an inner ditch, rampart, outer ditch and counterscarp bank. The defences survive differentially; the inner rampart and ditch are much slighter in construction than the outer defences, the rampart of which is up to 4.6m high. The outer defences survive best to the north. Within the interior are the low rubble walls of at least two stone hut circles. The best preserved is centrally located and measures approximately 16m in diameter. This hut circle and the fort have been bisected by a later track, and much of the interior has an irregular appearance caused by numerous pits and spoil heaps associated with mineral prospecting and extraction from the medieval period onwards.
Other archaeological remains in the immediate vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings. 

Legal

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Historic England

Our blessing ritual was simple, but nevertheless potent as we experienced positive reactions from the elements to our invocations.

The owners were keen to show us around the site particularly the quarry, where tangible energies of elementals and guardians were present. We were surrounded by wonderful autumnal colours and as we stood on the highest point of the site and the evening mist began to descend, we could see for miles all the wondrous landscape of West Penwith.

We returned to Cassandra’s cottage and enjoyed a well-earned rest by the hearth, discussing our experiences of the site while indulging in Cornish mead and warm home-made crumble.

We sat by a blazing fire enjoying a small, meaningful equinox celebration, toasting the ‘powers that be’ and hoped the changing season would bring a positive outcome to the problematic situation we are all experiencing. We hope communities will work together, caring for one another and our environment. A perfect end to an energetic equinox!

The Old Ways – Craft of the Cunning Folk Workshop September 2020

It has certainly been a challenging year for all and the situation concerning Covid 19 has affected many events and community work. Cassandra and I decided to postpone our workshops held throughout the summer until later this year and fortunately our understanding clients were able to alter their schedules too.

Workshops at present need to be carried out while maintaining a social distance. At the moment we host them at our Village Hall as Cassandra’s cottage is far too small for this requirement.

Although the village hall does not have the same ambiance as the cottage, the local residents have done an impressive job of giving the rooms a thorough cleanse. There are certain guidelines that need to be adhered to of cleaning the areas before and after use.

Our September workshop was our first one this year and we were fortunate to have only two clients to try out these changes and test the new way of working. The kitchen within the hall is not in use, so we were unable to offer the refreshments we would usually provide while at the cottage.

Cassandra began the afternoon session by discussing all aspects of the Cunning Craft and working as a Wisewoman. At times her ‘train of thought can meander into other areas and I am able to bring this to her attention and steer the discussion back to the original subject. We were asked by the village hall committee to keep the doors and windows open to ventilate the area. During the afternoon we were visited by four Red Admiral butterflies…….. a pleasant distraction!

Our clients had a different views on various aspects of the Old Craft as one is in the process of  training within a magical group and the other is a healing practitioner with a keen interest in the land and folklore which produced fascinating discussion.  We had a short break to enjoy the sunshine outside and then set up the table for our practical work.

My work includes the construction of charms, therefore creating a Witch Bottle spell would utilise the same Correspondences when researching the correct ingredients to place within the bottles.

We have seen a variety of bottles and jars personally chosen by clients for each workshop and on this occasion our ladies had chosen huge receptacles! They gave a lot of individual thought concerning the ingredients by studying the Correspondence table provided. When they were satisfied with their choices and had gathered all they required, the construction work began.

We guided them through the first stage of their bottle/jar spell and after the workshop they take them home and complete them by adding their personal DNA to it before filling the bottle/jar with liquid. When our afternoon session had come to an end it took us quite a while to clean any surfaces we had used before leaving the premises.

After a two hour dinner break our clients visited the cottage conservatory to bless their jars and then we transported our two ladies to a ‘place of power’ and gave them guidance in energizing their spells. We experienced a stunning sunset that evening and immediately after our energy raising, a murder of crows flew overhead. We sat quietly for a while enjoying the feeling of the energy raised and the stillness of the air around us as the sun descended on the horizon.

We returned to the cottage and spent time in Cassandra’s conservatory where we were able to maintain social distance and enjoyed a glass of Cornish mead with saffron cake, while discussing the day and answering any questions they had.

It was a successful workshop, even though there were some aspects of it that were quite different to the workshops we are accustomed to. We look forward to our next one!

Feedback:

“‘A very informative workshop. Cassandra and Laetitia shared their working knowledge and were very welcoming. A good format to the day.” N.G.

“I attended the course Folklore and found it a really interesting. The new measures in place for covid do not take anything away from the experience and all was done really well. It was a wonderful day full of interesting experiences and I felt I learned a lot. I left in the evening feeling inspired to try new ideas at home.” S.L.

Boekka’s 10th Birthday – Memories

The year 2020 has many special dates and anniversaries but unfortunately the Covid Virus prevented people from celebrating in the way they had planned. August 8th marks our Cornish Guise team Boekka’s 10th birthday. So much has happened in this time.

The following photographs of Boekka in the days when our ‘Oss Penkevyll briefly performed as Penglaz the Penzance ‘Oss.

Mazey Eve 2009

Devon and Cornwall Pagan Conference 2010

We were in the developmental stages of creating a Guise team that could travel to other parts of Cornwall and the U.K., however we did not realize that Penglaz was not permitted to perform outside of Penzance (although this now seems to have changed).

2011

When Boekka and our ‘Oss were no longer required in Penzance this set us free to re-name our ‘Oss and perform anywhere we desired. It took a while to change our image and the following photograph was at her naming ceremony on 6th March 2011.

Boekka then made it’s debut with Penkevyll at Spring Equinox 2011 in Crean St Buryan. The Teazers were now working on choreographed dances with a band consisting of a hurdy-gurdy and drummers.

Creating and running a Guise team is hard work organizing practices, events etc. A few more members joined which inspired Rhys to teach a Morris team alongside the existing Guise team. Some of the community did not agree with this inclusion as they considered Morris dancing an English tradition rather than Cornish.

In 2011 we attended various events shown in the following photographs.

Cornwall Pride 2011

It also seemed to be a year for media work! We appeared with Sue Perkins on the Television program All Roads Lead Home and also Paul Merton’s Caravanning Adventures.

Rochester Sweeps Festival was our first weekend away to an event and Kent is 340 miles away. Penkevyll caused quite a stir as it seemed that no one in Kent had seen a skull ‘Oss before.

2012

In 2012 the Morris side connected to Boekka had 12 members. More dances and events were introduced and as we had no musician at this time, the teams performed with percussion only while I taught myself to play melodeon. We hired a minibus and travelled to Scotland in March to perform at the Scottish Pagan Conference.

Boekka performed at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic’s Charm Day event in Boscastle.

We also performed at Godolphin Fair

In Marazion on a hot summer day.

It did not take long for me to learn tunes for Boekka composed by Rhys our rider.

Rhys also played percussion on occasions for Teazer dances choreographed by Laetitia.

Teignmouth Folk Festival

Pasty Day Redruth

2013

By 2013 some of our members left for various reasons and then new ones joined us. Due to a lack of regular commitment in 2012, we were unable to reach a high standard of performance as we had a limited number of good dancers. Rhys then taught the new members Morris dances. A local man who was a Cotswold Morris dancer joined us and also rides Penkevyll on occasions. He is still a member of Boekka now.

Bodmin Riding Heritage Day

North Inn Pendeen

Lands End

May morning on Chapel Carn Brea

2014

In 2014 two more members left the Morris team and it was difficult to get new recruits as performers were more interested in Cornish performance. Rhys tried to maintain a high standard of performance that some had found difficult to cope with. We continued with the few dancers we had along with the Cornish Teazer and ‘Oss side of Boekka that remained intact.

Teignmouth Folk Festival

Wreckers Day of Dance

Lands End

Bodmin Riding Heritage Day

Marazion

Lands End

Chapel Carn Brea

St Pirans Day

St Pirans Day – we usually team up with the  Whippletree band in the processions

Chepstow Wassail

The first All Hallows Dark Gathering 2014

We continue this journey in Part 2!

Boekka’s 10th Birthday – Memories 2

2015

In 2015 Rhys moved away from the area to pursue his career. I took over the role as teacher for the Morris dances as well as Teazer dances, but was also needed as a dancer. I was unable to play music at this time, therefore most dances were done with percussion.

Chepstow Wassail 2015

Boekka acquired another ‘Oss rider who was the shortest we ever had, so Penkevyll did not tower above the other ‘Osses at this event. The rider was also a founder member of a local Morris team, so I danced with them on a few occasions.

St Pirans Day Redruth 2015

Trewellard Beer Festival

Wreckers Day of Dance

After Wreckers Day of Dance, I felt the Morris team was not progressing and decided to close it down. I had put in a huge amount of effort to keeping it going, however the difficulty of recruiting in Cornwall and maintaining a high standard of performance was not possible. We were then able to concentrate on Teazer and ‘Oss performances and become more involved with the local Morris team.

All Hallows Dark Gathering 2015

At this event I performed with the local Morris team while Cassandra was Teazer for Penkevyll.

2016

2016 was a busier year, as well as performing with Boekka we attended many events with the local Morris team. It seemed to work well together as our ‘Oss rider also performed in both.

Chepstow Wassail 2016

Fowey 2016

Handfasting Event

Boekka was asked to perform at a Handfasting in Lamorna. Our other ‘Oss rider who lives locally volunteered for this one. The torrential rain outside, meant Penkevyll was well and truly soaked when she arrived for her performance that evening!

St Pirans 2016

Lostfest 2016

All Hallows Dark Gathering 2016

It was a busy summer, Cassandra and I worked hard with the local Morris team, but as it was not the type of team that resonated with me. When we arrived on Friday evening at the Dark Gathering, certain incidents convinced me it was time to leave the team. In retaliation the founder member announced he would not ride Penkevyll at this event. Fortunately, another Morris dancer who attended but was not performing that weekend, kindly offered to stand in until we found another rider.

2017

In 2017 when Cassandra handed on the role of Head Teazer to me, I was then able to concentrate solely on this performance without dividing my energies. Life with Boekka settled into a positive routine and the energies improved immensely.

Chepstow Wassail 2017

With me as main Teazer, Cassandra focused on her drumming and met excellent percussionists who assisted in her development.

St Pirans Day Redruth 2017

While I teazed Penkevyll at this event, Cassandra played percussion with Whippletree band.

It was decided at Beltane 2017 to give Penkevyll a total change of image, discarding unwanted residue from the past for a fresh beginning. Penkevyll had a new mane, new dress and her tatters are now Cornish colours of black, white and gold.

Although Cassandra had handed over the Teazer role, she could not resist posing in our new image and her ‘trusty’ snapper!

After completing Penkevyll’s new image, my creative juices were flowing, so I purchased a small ‘Obby ‘Oss of my own now known as Morvargh the Dark Sea ‘Oss. It is a good idea to own a smaller ‘Oss so that I can ride her if Penkevyll is unable to appear at an event. The foal is a welcome addition to our team and popular with Boekka fans.

Tintagel Carnival 2017

Boscastle 2017

All Hallows Dark Gathering 2017

Morvargh made her debut at the Dark Gathering 2017 during the afternoon. I rode her with Wreckers Morris during their Song of the Sea dance.

2018

2018 brought a surprising change to Boekka. A younger man contacted us with a desire to join a ‘dark and edgy’ team. We tried him out as rider for Penkevyll and he had good potential. He connected with the spiritual side of ‘Oss riding and treats Penkevyll with utmost care and respect. These aspects are extremely important. ‘Osses should not be treated merely as puppets for one’s convenience and/or ego which sadly occurs more frequently now that owning an ‘Oss is a fashionable ‘trend’. I have also acquired two apprentice Teazers that connect with Penkevyll in their own way. One of them also rides Morvargh on occasions.

Chepstow Wassail 2018

Penkevyll’s riders were unavailable for Chepstow, however I managed to find a young, tall, muscular Welshman to ride Penkevyll during the afternoon. In the evening, we had the freedom to enjoy the ceremony on the bridge without an ‘Oss to distract us.

We spent the summertime training our new ‘Oss rider and Teazers who made their official debut at the next event.

All Hallows Dark Gathering 2018

Cassandra joined the drummers of wonderful Beltane as she enjoys their wild rhythms which are second to none!

It was wonderful for me to re-connect with my former Morris team from nearly 20 years ago. This gave me the opportunity to come ‘full circle’; by performing my final Morris dance with Vixen at the All Hallows Dark Gathering… a place ‘between the worlds’ where magical things occur!

2019

2019 had a wonderful start with the Chepstow Wassail as we invited Beorma Morris and they joined us at this event. It was fabulous to catch up with friends we had not seen in a while as we had missed them since they were no longer performing at the Dark Gathering with Wytchwood Morris.

This year the Maris had a Beauty Pageant where Boekka were interviewed. There were 33 Maris and ‘Osses so we were waiting behind the stage for quite a while!

My apprentice Teazer and I performed a choreographed dance on the bridge around Cassandra and Penkevyll.

St Pirans Day Redruth 2019

On St Pirans Day I had work commitments, so I left Penkevyll in the hands of my two Apprentice Teazers and they did a magnificent job!

Tintagel Carnival 2019

Boekka were joined by Mari Arianrhod visiting from Wales for the Carnival procession.

All Hallows Dark Gathering 2019

Morvargh took more of an active role this year, rode by one of our Teazers. I stepped in as co-organiser after the sudden departure of the managers from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

2020

The Chepstow Wassail was unfortunately cancelled this year, so we attended the Brecon Wassail. It is a smaller event; however we were keen to meet up with our Welsh friends who joined us with their Maris. Our Teazers also performed with the Welsh dancers, although the dancing in my opinion was better when we rehearsed the previous evening during our drinking session!

Cassandra’s wonderful 70th Birthday Party occurred in March 2020 with our special guests – the fabulous Beltane Border Morris. After that, it became one of the strangest years we have known where events were cancelled and the whole world changed beyond recognition! Let us hope that soon we can return to some sort of normality as there are many performers missing their music and dance which is an important part of our lives!

So there you have it….10 years of Boekka and what an incredible, eventful journey! I wonder what the next 10 years will bring…… we will see you soon!!

Wisewoman Walk After Lockdown June 2020

A client booked a Wisewoman Walk with Cassandra and I. It is one aspect of our work where we were able to see someone in person but still maintain a social distance. This current situation with Covid 19, the lockdown and social distancing has changed all of our lives, particularly within our work.

We made some alterations, as we usually invite clients to Cassandra’s cottage and discuss their preferences for sites in the area. If not, we surprise them with our choices. As the cottage is so small, it is impossible to maintain the correct distance, so we met our client at the car park of the Merry Maidens stone circle. We were blessed with sunny weather that turned out to be warmer than the forecast predicted.

Our first visit was Tregiffian Burial Chamber

These monuments are fascinating, particularly when they have an entrance leading deep into the ground. There is  also a strong feeling of being observed from the darkness beneath…

We observed two buzzards hunting for prey and these were visible from each site that we visited.

We passed the Merry Maidens stone circle to visit The Pipers standing stones.  In order to avoid the hazardous bend in the road while walking, Cassandra led us through the fields.

We emerged from the fields further down the road where Cassandra brought our attention to hawthorn and blackthorn bushes side by side in the hedgerow. The differences between the two are more obvious when adjacent to one another.

We were unable to open a gate leading to the field where the Piper’s stones stood but this did not deter Cassandra who proved that even now, at 70 years old, she can still climb it.

The standing stones have a regal presence about them, standing tall and proud upon the landscape.

The second stone leans to one side and we discussed how deep the base of it would need to be within the earth to stop it from toppling. Cassandra stated there would need to be at least a third of its length there in order to keep it secure.

After this, we returned over the stile to make our way back to the Merry Maidens.

The Merry Maidens stone circle is a wondrous creation, surrounded by our local landscape and easy to find being situated close to the road.

Each stone within the circle has a unique energy (in my experience of working with them). The grass surrounding the area was rather parched due to the hot weather and lack of rainfall.

On our way back to St Buryan, we stopped at Boskenna Stone Cross. It is one of our larger stone crosses that stands proudly at the edge of a three-way crossroads near the village.

We visited Alsia Well from here, walking through a field of vibrant yellow buttercups. So many flowers this year had noticeably vivid colours and the following photograph does not do them justice!

The vegetation is seriously overgrown at Alsia Holy Well. , what with the lockdown and the area leading to the well being so small, social distancing is quite difficult. It was obvious there had been no visitors to the site for some time and we took it in turns to spend a little time visiting the well. Our client stated it was the most calm, peaceful energy she had experienced at a site.

From there we returned to our wonderful village of St Buryan. Cassandra explained the history of the Market Stone Cross that stands outside the gates of the village church.

We then escorted our client around the grounds of St Buryan Church

There are some impressive stone monuments within the graveyard, we spent some time studying those as moody black clouds crept  across the blue sky, but fortunately it did not rain.

This is where our first ‘social distance’ Wisewoman Walk came to a close, as we could not return to the cottage for a beverage and a chat as we usually would. It was a wonderful experience to venture out on the land again and work with a client in person after nearly 3 months of lockdown. It is a different way of working now but still as enjoyable! Stay healthy and safe wherever you are and we will see you soon!

Feedback: “A fabulous wise women walk on a humid day in June. Cassandra and Laetitia are very knowledgeable and work very well together in what they do. A wise women walk incorporates visits to local historic sites and knowledge of the hedgerows. Highly recommended.” N.G.

Tenth Anniversary as Village Wisewoman

Spring Equinox 2020 marks the tenth anniversary since Cassandra Latham Jones handed over her business of Village Wisewoman to me.

I had previously worked as a qualified holistic therapist and was therefore accustomed to dealing with clients, however with this alternative way of working, clients are dealt with in a different way.

The consultations providing guidance can be similar to counselling (in which I now have a Diploma) as clients contact us with various dilemmas in their lives. We discuss appropriate methods or courses of action that could help them.

Cassandra has a unique way of working and has built a good reputation which means she is a tough ‘act to follow’. I was a Cornwall resident for only ten months when I embarked on these new pursuits and local residents did not know me well, but I had adequate experience to provide the services required. Over the years I have settled into the village community by frequenting our local Inn, some of the church services and village events. I have also performed at local festivals in West Penwith.

In a short period of time I developed an organized correspondence system when dealing with clients. I have a selection of email folders for: inquiries, readings, distant readings, spells, charms, handfastings, rites of passage, feedback, property cleansings, wart charming, Wisewomen walks and workshops. Notifying a client of the list of items required when working with them is much easier now and I converse with the confidence that comes with experience.

Cassandra taught me to do my own business accounts, which is quite an easy task with a small business. I admire her for managing this despite her having ‘dyscalculia’. It was less of a problem for me as I am good with numbers and nowadays modern technology lessens the burden of mathematics.

I understand why a ‘code of ethics’ is necessary and it is not good practice to cast spells for clients to influence others against their will. These spells can have huge repercussions and I have witnessed the consequences for others who cast spells for selfish desires without forethought.

Learning the process of creating charms has been enjoyable and is reminiscent of past activities when I have used cross-stitch and crochet skills during childhood and adolescence. I have skills for intricate needlework and the corresponding ingredients for each charm still holds a fascination for me as each one is unique to the client. For example,  when I construct two fertility charms neither is identical in appearance or their contents.

Another aspect where needlework skills come to the fore is in creating clothes for hearth dolls which inspired me to create more clothing for other dolls with uncanny likenesses and purposes. After observing this activity, Cassandra commented that my work with dolls is one of my outstanding talents.

I have witnessed many Tarot readings and I know Cassandra’s Tarot cards so well, I am able to provide readings from them myself if she were unable to do so. The psychic impressions and messages I receive during a consultation compliment her readings and never fail to add to the advice given. Our distant readings for clients who are unable to see us in person have proven to be extremely accurate and given guidance and help to many all over the world.

The Handfastings we provide are wonderful occasions. We have taken on the role of Celebrants at wondrous sacred sites and more unusual venues. My past ceremonial training comes to the fore when setting up a sacred space although the words I use have changed, providing a deeper connection to the ancient land around us.

We prefer a couple to be in a relationship at least a year before taking this important step, some had been legally married a considerable length of time. Others had their spiritual ceremony with us, but attend a registry office before or after the ceremony if they require a legal contract.

I would love to experience more of these ceremonies on beaches or by the sea which in my opinion, adds to the romance of the occasion.

Our property cleansings are quite an adventure, from modern houses to period properties, cottages, hotels and public houses. The history and varied lives people once led can leave residual energies that seep into the foundations of buildings which can affect them in startling ways. The spirits of deceased owners can form an attachment with their former properties that they have difficulty in releasing. Some spirits are harmless and the present occupiers are quite comfortable with their presence, however there are others that can cause problems and require guidance to move them on.

I have experienced on many occasions the remarkable difference of energy and atmosphere within a property after cleansing, during our return visits.

Spell casting is an exciting aspect of our work, particularly when a specific time is set for a client to work along with the practitioner. There have been occasions when the required result has occurred within 24 hours and also instances where a period of time has passed before reaching a successful outcome. Throughout this past year I have worked with one particular client casting many spells for an ongoing legal case and each spell produced a successful outcome for each stage of the process.

Our workshops have been successful as many are intrigued by the work we do and enjoy spending time with us to experience this.

We have met some wonderful individuals and had many fascinating discussions. It is also heartening to hear feedback on how the experience has changed their lives in a positive way.

I have learnt more information during our ‘Walks with Wisewomen’ as Cassandra repeats the folklore and stories of various sites on each occasion. She is delighted with the way our work has become ‘second nature’ to me. It is not an easy path and I have been severely tested throughout the years. Cassandra is also pleased with the way I advertise and network to reach more people who need assistance and that the business has grown considerably compared to the period of time when she worked alone.

So there you have it…..ten years of organisation and work within the business of Village Wisewoman. It is so important to have an occupation one enjoys that does not lose its fascination or become mundane!

I thank Cassandra for her patience and tuition over the last eleven years. Her methods are often unorthodox and there were times I did not understand them, or how it would benefit me, until I put this tuition into action. This scene from the movie Karate Kid is a good example of what I am referring to:

I look forward to the next ten years of becoming older and wiser as I continue assisting our community!

The Old Ways – Craft of the Cunning Folk Workshop March 2020

It has been a long winter with more than average rainfall along with flooding and storms within Cornwall and most of the U.K. We usually arrange our first workshops in the Spring, however we would not decline a request from Jason and Arkie, two lovely young men who travelled all the way from Chicago, so we agreed to provide an extra Folk/Cunning Craft workshop for them.

They had attended a previous workshop and accompanied us on a Wisewoman walk to Zennor Hill. Their inquiring minds enthusiastically soak up new information and their cheerful boundless energy is good for the soul, making it a pleasure to spend time with them.

They each brought along a stylish skull-shaped witch bottle to use for their spells and ventured out with Cassandra to harvest relevant foliage from the local hedgerows. I set out the other corresponding ingredients within the cottage ready for their return.

We had plenty of cakes and goodies left over from Cassandra’s 70th birthday party, so Jason and Arkie were more than happy to reduce the amount for us!

During the evening we guided them in blessing their witch bottle spells at the hearth and they enjoyed the chant that I use for this process.

Cassandra and I transported them to a special place for magically energizing their spells.

It was a dark evening with a clear night sky and as we stood within the graveyard, the cold wind strengthened and howled loudly as we chanted to raise the energy. We were unable to light the candle contained in the lantern, so we worked together in complete darkness which Jason and Arkie found wonderfully exciting.

We later returned to the cottage for libations and warmed ourselves by the hearth fire while discussing their individual experiences and impressions throughout the workshop while answering their questions. Cassandra and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with Jason and Arkie and we look forward to their next visit. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by happy, positive energies at a time where there is so much fear and uncertainty. The season of Spring is urgently needed and we look forward to it’s arrival.

Feedback:

We had an incredible time with you both!! Jason

You’re both amazing witches and awesome people! Thanks so much for fitting a workshop in for us! Arkie

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑