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 infa-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 even though this was welcomed to help the economy, it also included some aggressive and thoughtless behaviour from many visitors. I can almost hear the land and sea breathing a ‘sigh of relief’ as summer turns to autumn and life returns to a more peaceful and slower pace.
Cassandra and I have been occupied with distant work for clients, however during August and in September we were able to see clients in person for socially distant readings, workshops and courses.
Autumn Equinox was overcast weather-wise, but it was 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, however it also had potency 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 at the highest point of the site, even though 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 hoping that the changing season will bring a positive outcome to the problematic situation we face. We also hope that communities will work together, caring for one another and our environment. This was 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 which was 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 has 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 us 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 onlookers did not agree 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 a TV program All Roads Lead Home and also in Paul Merton’s Caravanning Adventures.

Rochester Sweeps Festival was our first weekend away to an event and Kent is a 300 mile journey. 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 grew to 12 members. More dances and events were introduced and as we had no musician at this time, the teams performed with percussion only while Laetitia taught herself to play melodeon. We also hired a minibus and travelled to Scotland in March to perform at the Scottish Pagan Conference.
We were invited to perform for the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle at their Charmday event.

We also performed at Godolphin Fair

In Marazion on a hot summer day.

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

Rhys also played percussion on occasions for the Teazer dances choreographed by Laetitia.
Teignmouth Folk Festival

Pasty Day Redruth

2013

By 2013 some members left for various reasons and others had joined us. There was a lack of regular commitment in 2012 so we were unable to reach a high standard of performance with a limited number of fit, outstanding dancers. We continued with our new members taught by Rhys. A local man who is a former Cotswold dancer joined us and he also rides Penkevyll on occasions. He has now been with Boekka for 7 years.

Bodmin Riding Heritage Day

North Inn Pendeen

Lands End

May morning on Chapel Carn Brea

2014

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

See what happened next in Part 2.

Boekka’s 10th Birthday – Memories 2

2015

In 2015 Rhys moved away from the area to pursue his career. Laetitia took over the role as teacher for the Morris dances as well as Teazer dances. She was also needed as a dancer and 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 rider we ever had, so Penkevyll did not tower above the other ‘Osses as much at this event. The rider also ran a local Morris team, so Laetitia danced with them on a few occasions.

St Pirans Day Redruth 2015

Trewellard Beer Festival

Wreckers Day of Dance

After Wreckers Day of Dance, Laetitia felt the Morris team was not progressing and decided to close down the Morris team linked to Boekka. She worked hard on keeping it going however the difficulty of recruiting in Cornwall and maintaining a high standard of performance was not possible. Laetitia was then able to concentrate on the Teazer and ‘Oss performances and become more involved with the local Morris team.
All Hallows Dark Gathering 2015

At this event Laetitia performed with the Morris team while Cassandra was Teazer for Penkevyll

 

2016

2016 was a busier year, as well as performing with Boekka we were attending many events with the local Morris team. It seemed to work well together as our main ‘Oss rider at this time performed with 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 to do this one. The torrential rain outside, meant that Penkevyll was well and truly soaked during her performance that evening!

St Pirans 2016

Lostfest 2016

 

All Hallows Dark Gathering 2016
It was a busy summer, Cassandra and Laetitia had worked hard with the local Morris team, but it was not the type of performance that satisfied Laetitia, so just before the Dark Gathering I decided to leave the team. In retaliation the founder member decided not to ride Penkevyll at the Dark Gathering by letting us know at the evening before the event took place. 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 full role of Main Teazer to Laetitia, she was then able to concentrate on only this performance without dividing her energies. Life with Boekka began to settle into a good routine and the energies improved immensely.
Chepstow Wassail 2017

 

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

St Pirans Day Redruth 2017
While Laetitia teazed Penkevyll at this event, Cassandra played percussion with the Whippletree band.

It was decided at Beltane 2017 to give Penkevyll a total change of image, getting rid of unwanted residue from the past and making a fresh start. Penkevyll had a new mane, new dress and her tatters were the Cornish colours of black, white and gold.

Even though Cassandra had already handed over the Teazer role she couldnt resist posing for with our new image and her ‘trusty’ snapper!

After giving Penkevyll this new image, Laetitia’s creative juices were flowing, so she purchased a small ‘Obby ‘Oss of her own who is known as Morvargh the Sea ‘Oss. It is a good idea to have a smaller ‘Oss so Laetitia can ride Morvargh if Penkevyll is unable to appear at an event. The foal is a welcome addition 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. Ridden by Laetitia, she performed with Wreckers Morris during their Song of the Sea.

 

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 the utmost care and respect, as both of these aspects are extremely important. ‘Osses are not to be treated merely as puppets for one’s convenience and/or ego which sadly occurs, particularly now that owning an ‘Oss has become a growing fashionable ‘trend’. Laetitia also acquired two trainee Teazers that each connect with Penkevyll in their own unique way. One of them also rides Morvargh on occasions.
Chepstow Wassail 2018
Penkevyll’s riders were unavailable for Chepstow, however Laetitia managed to find a young, tall, muscular Welshman to ride Penkevyll during the afternoon, so 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 also began drumming with wonderful Beltane as she enjoys their wild rhythms which are second to none!

It was also wonderful for Laetitia to re-connect with her former Morris team from nearly 20 years ago. This gave her the opportunity to come ‘full circle; by performing her last Morris dance with Vixen at the All Hallows Dark Gathering… a place where magical things happen!

2019

2019 had a wonderful start with the Chepstow Wassail as we suggested that Beorma Morris may enjoy this event. It was fabulous to catch up with friends we had not seen for a while as we have missed them performing at the Dark Gathering with us. They enjoyed the Wassail so much they plan to attend again.

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

 Laetitia and her Teazer performed a choreographed dance on the bridge around Cassandra and Penkevyll.

St Pirans Day Redruth 2019
Due to work commitments Laetitia left Penkevyll in the hands of her two Apprentice Teazers at this event and they did a magnificent job!

Tintagel Carnival 2019
Boekka were also joined by a visiting Mari Arianrhod from Wales for the Carnival procession.

All Hallows Dark Gathering 2019
Morvargh took more of an active role this year being ridden by one of our Teazers. Laetitia had stepped in as co-organizer after the sudden departure of the managers from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

2020

The Chepstow Wassail had unfortunately been cancelled this year, so we attended the Brecon Wassail which is a smaller event, but were keen to meet up with some of our friends who would be attending with their Maris. Our Teazers also performed with the Welsh dancers, although we thought the dancing had gone better when we rehearsed the night before during our drinking session!

We also managed to fit in Cassandra’s wonderful 70th Birthday Party with special guests – the fabulous Beltane Border Morris. After that 2020 turned into one of the strangest years we have known, events are cancelled and it feels as though the whole world and our lives have changed beyond recognition! Let us hope that soon we can return to some sort of normality as there are so many performers missing the music and dance that is such 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, a tall and proud presence upon the land.

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 knowledgable 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.

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

The Old Ways- Craft of the Cunning Folk Workshop September 2019

Cassandra and I hosted our last workshop for 2019 this weekend, the subject being Folk/Cunning Craft. One of our group has now attended all our workshops during the last few years and traveled all the way from his home in Scotland to join us. The other two members of the group experienced their first workshop on this occasion.
One of the group was new to the Craft which Cassandra found rather refreshing as she attended with an open enquiring mind and had many questions.

After two hours of discussion and identifying the type of jar/bottle spell each member needed to do, Cassandra took them out on a hedgerow walk to harvest the relevant plants, while I prepared other corresponding items for their return.

I also wrote out a list of correspondences that were available for them so that they could choose the items which resonated for them in their spells.

The group were given instructions on how to finish their jars/bottle spells at home, the liquids to use and how to seal them.
After they left for their dinner break, I prepared the hearth for blessing them in the evening.

After their spells were blessed we took them to a special place for charging them with the assistance of Granny Boswell on a wet, misty evening. We trimmed back the overgrown hedge so that we could see her headstone clearly.

Cassandra brought Cornish cake and ale for Granny, we had specific signs that evening of her acknowledgement. There were also three tall gravestones behind us that in the darkness had the appearance of three tall figures wearing black, shrouded by the mist.  We were also in the phase of a powerful waning moon.
The moment we finished raising energy, the rain ceased and we conversed with Granny Boswell who responded with visible signs.
We then returned to the cottage for libations and Clutterbuck presented us with a live mouse! He had caught it Friday during our introduction evening, but after releasing it he could not find it. We heard some disruption in the kitchen Saturday evening when he caught it again and brought it to the hearth. (his donation to the libations!)
We enjoyed this workshop immensely, a wonderful end to the summer season.
Feedback:
“Had the most amazing weekend, mind blowing and loads to think about and read, thank you both x” A.T.

Folk Magic Workshop in Boscastle 2019

Cassandra and I decided to host a Folk Magic workshop at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic after 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.

Feedback:
“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.

Communing with the Unseen Workshop August 2019

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!

Feedback:
“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 a setting 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 of resistance 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.”