Cassandra and I decided to host a Folk Magic workshop at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magicafter Simon Costin suggested we try it. Cassandra’s book Village Witch is stocked within the Museum retail outlet, a workshop provides the readers with more information on the subject where they can also interact and ask questions in person.
It was a glorious warm sunny day when we arrived. Simon had other commitments that day, however Fergus was around if we needed his assistance. It was also good to see Judith Noble who was overseeing the Artists Residency event that day.
We had a group of 18 attendees, all with either their own individual spiritual paths or not actively practicing but with a curiosity about Folk Magic.
Cassandra knows her Craft well, she has total connection with her audience and notes down a few ‘key words’ to outline subjects she wishes to cover. This makes the talk more spontaneous and much more interesting for listeners.
Cassandra is ‘down to earth’ which has moments of amusement keeping the audience entertained and also lifting the mood when discussing more serious aspects of the Craft.
After two hours of talking and discussion, we had a break for lunch, enjoying the warm sunshine and the sea air.
The group arrived back at the Museum after lunch and Cassandra guided them on a hedgerow walk near Minster Woods so they could harvest some greenery for their witch bottles. I stayed in the library updating our business accounts and searching for the video that Cassandra wished to play to the group.
On their return, the subject of spell casting and energy raising was also discussed. The following video was an example of how working women used chants while engaging in repetitive work that helped with the timing of movements and creating a bond between all workers. One member of our group made an interesting comment about the singing, as it would become apparent if one person grew weary which would mean they needed a break or a change of tempo.
After this I asked the group to move their chairs and form a large circle so that we could place all items for the witch bottles into the centre of the space. All group members could then help themselves to what they needed. Before they began, I suggested they held their jar or bottle between their hands for a few minutes to connect with the spirits and ancestors before their work began.
While filling their witch bottles there were many conversations occurring and sharing of greenery. We explained that their bottle would not be complete at the workshop, they would need to take it home, add a bodily fluid of their choice and seal the jar or bottle by placing a real wax candle on the lid so that the wax drips down over the seal. It can also be done by binding with twine, or a modern method of sticky tape (although we do not recommend the use of plastic.)
A few group members visited the Museum retail outlet and purchased Cassandra’s book Village Witch. When they returned they requested she signed them.
When the workshop was over and everything was back in place, I took another opportunity to sit on the fabulous Gothic chair in the library that once belonged to ‘Old Horny’ the goat God who now stands in the Museum.
Thank you to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic for inviting us to host the workshop and to all who attended for being such a wonderful supportive group. I’m sure we will be seeing you all again.
“Had an absolute fantastic time at Cassandra and Laetitia Latham Jones’ Workshop at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic today. Learned so much, had a lot of laughs and discussions – it was total ‘amazeballs’! They truly are amazing and inspirational. Thank you both for such an awesome day of magick! Blessed be. xx” E.G.
“It was a fun, interesting and informative day. Cassandra is as entertaining as she is knowledgeable. Thank you both” C.M.
Wonderfully informative with humour and what a fabulous turn out! Cant wait to attend another one” M.E.
“We attended this first workshop and it was amazing, great people and great vibes, thank you everyone see you again!” M.H.
“Wonderful inspiring day with you all. Thank you Cassandra and Laetitia.” K.H.
“What a Wonderful day with beautiful people. Can’t wait to go back to bosscastle to go walking in minster woods. Thank you Cass, Tia for a day of knowledge and learning. Xx” P.O.
“We had a wonderful day lovely people and a great feel here yesterday x”
“I really loved it and look forward to the next one. Xxx💜xxX” G.W.
“I loved every moment of and loved the walk to collect wild flowers.” S.H.
“Can’t wait for the next one! Thank you Cassandra and Laetitia. Many new things heard and learnt. It felt very special. I’m only beginning to feel my way around ” spirit” but excited for the journey. Hope to see you all again soon.” C.D.
The summertime has been extremely busy and before we know it Autumn is upon us. Many of the tourists had traveled home and we enjoyed a peaceful wise woman walk with an interesting group who were visiting from America. One of them, Eric had joined us on one of our walks five years ago and it was wonderful to see him again.
Our first visit was to Men an Tol. Rain was not forecast today, but when we arrived at the site, we were bathed in a short cleansing shower.
Each person is unique in their beliefs, their interpretation of the sites and the reasons they attend our walks. It fascinates me to observe and listen to their reactions, especially if they have not visited these places before.
We also took them to Men Scryfaa nearby standing stone in a field opposite the Men an Tol. Cassandra discussed the carvings on the stone and the group gave their impressions of what they could represent.
Carn Galvacould also be seen from where we were and even at a distance its magnificent presence could be felt.
We also visited Madron Well and Baptistry. The hedgerows and trees were vibrant and full of life and our group enjoyed the abundance of blackthorn that surrounded them.
Cassandra spoke about the ‘clouties’ hanging from the trees, why they are put there and that this is acceptable providing the materials are biodegradable.
Madron Baptistry activates the imagination with its ancient energy. Unfortunately there was no water in the baptistry well on this occasion which can happen if the flow is obstructed or when there has been limited rainfall.
The sun appeared from behind the clouds and shone down on us as we sat in the baptistry.
It was an enjoyable afternoon with a wonderful group of people. I’m sure our paths will meet again.
Cornwall has had some lovely warm summer days of late and two wonderful lively young men from Chicago had planned to visit and asked Cassandra and I if we would consider hosting an extra workshop for them. We were previously acquainted with them when they accompanied us on a Wise Woman Walk to Zennor Hill in 2018.
We advertised an extra workshop and received bookings from two ladies who also joined us that day.
Jason and Arkie are eager students, they love the world of herbs and potions and they have also opened their own retail outlet selling occult items in Chicago. They were staying in Boscastle and enthusiastically related their visit to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, particularly the artifacts there that caught their attention and sparked their interest.
Both ladies are residents in Cornwall and the group connected and worked well with one another.
All of the group members love the Cornish landscape and Cassandra’s discussion on the spirit elementals of the land fascinated them. After receiving knowledge on the subject and having their questions answered, it was time to take the group out to a local woodland to meet and connect with the elemental spirits.
They were given a meditation exercise to heighten their awareness before they were instructed to explore their surroundings.
Each member of the group relates an experience different from the others as each person is unique and has their own interpretation of the things they have observed.
When we met in the evening, I guided the group through a process of creating a protective space before we began trying different methods of communication. I explained psychometry, hauntings, spirit mediumship and we all related spiritual experiences we have had during and after loved ones had passed away.
The group members received excellent results with their psychometry, they surprised themselves with the accuracy of their impressions on certain items totally unknown to them.
The group also attempted scrying with a black mirror and spent some time experimenting with a Ouija communication board. Not everyone is comfortable about using these boards which is not surprising when they have a bad reputation from certain horror occult movies. On this particular evening all group members tried this method.
Each person finds a method of communication they feel particularly connected to or what works for them.
During the final part of the evening we shared libations of Cornish mead and Saffron cake while discussing the weekend. It was indeed a pleasure to spend time with such a wonderful group of people. I’m sure our paths will cross again!
“Hi Laetitia and Cassandra!
What a whirlwind the last few days have been! Such a pleasure to see you both again. Thank you so much for the time, effort, and energy you put into the Spirit Connections workshop. Arkie and I learned so much from it. We’ve already started talking about locations in Chicago we can go to practice our stone meditation and we plan on working more on our psychometry skills this week! We’ve made it a personal goal to attend each of your workshops so we can’t wait to see what else you have in store!” J.F.
“Firstly i would like to thank Laetitia and Cassandra for creating this wonderful workshop which allowed us to gain an insight and deeper understanding of what it is to work with the spirit world. Within the welcoming atmosphere of the wise woman’s cottage, it was great to discuss and learn from each other our different spiritual paths and our own experiences of the spirit world. We all gained a lot of knowledge from Cassandra and Laetitia about types of energies and how there are many ways to connect with them. Our walk to a special site with Cassandra allowed a peaceful time in which we were taught how to focus deeply within asetting in order to be more aware of our connection to the things around us. During the evening we were given opportunities to try out ways in which to connect to the spirits. My favorite practice we used was Psychometry, even though it was my first time doing this i found it particularly fascinating. Thank you Laetitia and Cassandra for a fantastic experience i will definitely be joining you again for another workshop.” C.N
“It was so good to meet you all last weekend, I think we were lucky to get such a nice group, even though we are all pretty different! I enjoyed the whole experience and particularly how important it is to have that space where we can speak openly about our beliefs, experiences and personal practice, Its so rare to be able to do this for someone who is not involved in the ‘community’. I loved that we could ask you both anything and get a sensible answer! I loved the ‘down-to-earth’ energy of it all, but that’s a big part of why i chose to come to you in the first place I suppose.
To give some more precise feedback, I would say that the visit to the grove was good – particularly as there was helpful (practical) advice from Cassandra on best practice for working in this realm. The evening work with the Psychometry was also good and lovely that there was no feeling of judgement or competition – its quite nerve wracking to try this sort of exercise for the first time so the last thing you need is added performance anxiety! I (like many others I’m sure) have a lot ofresistance to the idea of Ouija board work – just from the all the years of bad stories etc etc, made this exercise too difficult to get in to. Overall it was really helpful to get a taste of the different practices along with the wisdom that actually these are things that also require work and practice – like any other skill. When I think back over my years with horses and the times I’ve had the strongest connections and done the best work – its always been those times when i was really immersed, working at it every day and seeking and experimenting and being truly dedicated, I’ve no doubt that the work of witchery is the same…. I would love to be able to attend another of your courses (particularly charm/amulet -making, i think you do one?) It’s so hard to find teachers you can feel like you can trust in this sort of stuff, people with both deep and long experience who are at the same time warm, approachable and fun- i feel lucky to have had the chance to meet you both! With warmest wishes and gratitude. H.B.”
Cassandra and I conducted a workshop for a lovely couple Karyl and Paul. They are already known to us as we Handfasted them nearly two years ago when they were still living in the U.S. On this occasion, they traveled from Devon (as they have now relocated to the to U.K.), to spend the weekend with us.
Karyl wanted to know how magic could be utilised to help with the dire political situation which is cause of great concern to the population.
After spending most of the afternoon engaged in intense discussion on the darker side of the Craft, it was time to lighten the mood with some creative magical work.
They were delighted with their Spirit House that they created together.
In the evening we visited a powerful ancient place well known for its legends and spirit presences as the sun set and darkness approached.
We have been ‘piskie led’ on this route before so Cassandra put down markers to ensure we took the correct pathways in the darkness. These photographs are not clear, however you may be able to make out the rocks and figures, but they convey how dark it was by the time we arrived.
On the way back we paused at the crossroads for necessary magical work. We then returned to the cottage to partake of warming and scrumptious libations by the hearth. A wonderful weekend.
“Dear Laetitia and Cassandra,
I cannot fully express how valuable the workshop was for Paul and I. We keep remembering pieces and remarking to each other about how wonderful our experience was. Thank you so, so much. We look forward to more….including Sept 7.
Cassandra and Laetitia are masters in their Craft. The Dark Arts Workshop was riveting and valuable. Their teaching styles compliment each other and one gets the feeling that there is a deep well of wisdom and experience for each pearl that is expressed. My husband and I will be their students again, definitely.” Karyl and Paul.
Boekka had a wonderful Saturday afternoon welcoming Ashwood Forest Morris men to their home village of St Buryan. They previously contacted us to let us know they planned to visit our village, so we were delighted to support them.
Penkevyll also found time to bless a property opposite the Inn for new residents.
We introduced Penkevyll and Morvargh to Sarah our new pub landlady and we also met Ashwood Forest Morris’ naughty Badger who chased little Morvargh until Penkevyll arrived to sort him out!
It was also wonderful to see our ‘Osses getting on so well with the local residents in the village.
Feargal also arrived to see us all after he finished work.
We had a wonderful time at the St Buryan Inn with the guys and then we visited the Buryan Rally for more music and dance. Penkevyll and Morvargh returned to their stable first, as the livestock there would have been a little disturbed by their presence!
Cassandra and I also joined Ashwood Forest Morris in St Just during the evening too. A busy but fabulous weekend to end the month of July.
It was on 26th June 2009, that I ventured into the streets of Penzance for my first Teazing performance under the tuition of Cassandra Latham Jones. I had previous experience of Morris dancing while performing at various folk festivals and mistakenly assumed that the role of Teazer could be something similar.
I received a telephone phone call during November 2008 from an acquaintance asking if I would be interested in training for the role of a Teazer. She briefly explained what the role entailed and I decided to try as it was also an opportunity to become involved in a community event after recently moving to Cornwall. I had visited the home of this particular acquaintance and partner on a few occasions while they were in the process of creating one of the new Penglaz ‘Osses after the retirement of the original one. They were extremely excited about this project and I witnessed the gradual development of its creation. It was the first time I had seen a horse’s skull and heard information about the folk tradition in which they were used. Cassandra contacted me soon after she heard about my interest and invited me to attend the 2008 Montol festival near the winter solstice, to observe her performance with the new Penglaz.
The acquaintance who was also the photographer for the event, suggested I wore a mask and dark clothing for the procession as the majority of people would be dressed in ‘mock formal’ attire.
On arrival I joined the back of the procession at St Johns Hall with my husband and son. When the procession began, I made my way to the front so that I could observe Cassandra’s performance. Penglaz the ‘Oss did not appear during the first procession so I concentrated on Cassandra’s movements as she marched at the front of the band in time to the music and waved to the people who lined the streets. On our arrival at the hill fort we stood around the large beacon to warm ourselves by the fire and then visited a pub with the photographer, her partner and another friend of theirs.
The crowd seemed to increase in numbers when we joined the second procession and once again I followed the procession at the back with my husband and son, then gradually moved to the front.
Cassandra and Penglaz appeared out of an adjacent entrance to a restaurant in Chapel street and were welcomed by the enthusiastic cheers from the crowd. The energy was wild and exciting.
When I had danced at festivals with my former Morris team I was one of many performers, but on this occasion I was a little concerned that Penglaz and the Teazer were the main characters and focus of the event. There would be greater pressure for a performance such as this and I voiced my concerns to the photographer who assured me it would work out and have a positive outcome.
During my interview with Cassandra on the 26th January 2009, I was informed there was also a second Penglaz and an ongoing disagreement between the other rider and Cassandra, but she assured me I would not become involved in this matter. Cassandra and I met regularly for practices at the yard of an engineer known to the photographer. My son and husband both rode Penglaz and each of them had their individual interpretation giving the ‘Oss a different personality during each performance.
My husband gave Penglaz a cheeky character, while my son being only seventeen years of age was unpredictable, mischievous andto this day, Cassandra says he has been the fastest ‘Oss rider she ever had!
Although I was an experienced dancer, I needed to develop a connection with a completely different type of energy to perform this role. Cassandra had sent me articles to read about the Bucca elemental (of the sea and storms) and the spirit that works through the ‘Oss and Teazer.
I modeled my Teazer kit on the one that Cassandra wore, as the Teazer ‘cross dresses’ to represent the ‘male and female’ aspect and the ‘topsy turvy’ Cornish energy. Cassandra attended a ‘guild meeting’ and presented the members with video footage of our practices, announcing that I would be her apprentice Teazer and I apparently had the guild members’ approval.
My first appearance was on Friday 26th June 2009 on Mazey Eve. My husband volunteered to ride Cassandra’s Penglaz and we were understandably a little nervous about our first appearance particularly within a community we were unfamiliar with. (On reflection I am sure that many were wondering who we were and why we had been placed into a ‘lead role’ within their community festival!) Just before the performance I was waiting for Cassandra outside a local inn as she was in there trying to locate someone. A local man approached me asking why I was there and when I explained, he replied that I would never be as good as Cassandra and went on to tell me how long he had known her and revealed some personal details about her life! What an encouraging start to the evening!
We prepared ourselves and Penglaz in a room at the Barbican and Cassandra stood at the open top window waving at the gathering crowd who were looking up at her. We eventually emerged from the large black doors to lively music from the Golowan Band and cheers from the crowd. Mazey Eve is a wild celebration and extremely crowded, so keeping near Penglaz and making one’s way through the crowd is quite a task! I watched Cassandra closely and there were many occasions where our movements were identical which boded well for future development.
Cassandra imbued a confidence and connection with the ‘Oss during her seventeen years of Teazing and this was something that would also develop within me after years of experience. One’s reflexes need to be quick due to the unpredictable behaviour of the ‘Oss and also the crowd.
The Teazer’s role is to attempt to control the crowd as well as keep an eye on Penglaz, making space for her to move around while protecting her from intoxicated people who step into her path or attempt to get too close which could result in injury. There were specific signals Cassandra used to bring out the personality of Penglaz, to laugh, dance and also stand still if needed. The stomping and snapping move of the ‘Oss is one that takes a considerable amount of practice as the timing of the snap of the jaw and stepping need coordination. My son Rhys accomplished this move quickly and it was impressive.
After my first performance, I received positive feedback, plus a few criticisms from one person who thought I ought to teaze the same way as Cassandra. It was only after years of experience that I could see what he meant, as he advised me to watch her feet and mine now move in the same way as the energy has grounded. Another did not agree with two Teazers being on the street instead of one, but Cassandra explained that it was the best method for training. Whatever the viewpoints, I knew I had done a good first performance for someone who had no previous knowledge of ‘Oss Teazing. My Teazing role with Cassandra and Penglaz in Penzance continued for two years and then we left the festival over political issues. (See Original Penglaz Reinstated) After leaving the Golowan festival we re-named our ‘Oss Penkevyll and our Guise team Boekka. I was relieved to be out of that situation as we then had freedom to perform in our own way.
Boekka has had three changes of colours, image, performers and riders throughout the years, however one aspect that stayed constant is that Cassandra and I remained together as Teazers. I performed alongside her for eight years and then she handed on the role of head Teazer to me.
My Teazer role has developed over the years and the strongest connection occurred at the All Hallows Gathering in 2016 after the release from a situation that was, on reflection, draining the energies. The Teazer role needs total focus and dividing my energy between Morris dancing and Teazing did not work well.
I now have two apprentice Teazers as well as new riders. All are doing extremely well and Boekka is going from strength to strength. This year is our 9th year of performance (as our team first formed while our ‘Oss was still Penglaz during 2010). I also have my own ‘Obby ‘Oss by the name of Morvargh (Cornish for Sea Horse).
I have learnt some valuable lessons and am not the same person who moved to Cornwall eleven years ago, however I also have some fond memories of those early days. Cassandra asked me to mention that I am the only Teazer that has been taught by her and I am proud of this. It has certainly been an eventful but rewarding journey!