Cassandra and I would like to thank our friends for their many private Facebook messages and emails offering loving support 🙂 xxx
I remember hearing my mother give birth to my youngest brother at home when I was a child. She went through a 12 hour labour, so I was aware of the effort required to give birth. It is an essential part of nature, but until you experience it yourself do you know how truly powerful it is. During my first pregnancy I realized that when my child was born life would change considerably.
When my children were placed in my arms for the first time and I looked into their tiny faces I remember the overwhelming realization that I had created a new life. This feeling occurs again when you become a Grandmother witnessing the your children giving life to their own. Motherhood can be a spiritual path in itself:
“Many a woman has said ‘I never knew I could love someone so much’ upon becoming a mother. There is an intensity to maternal love that can catch us off guard. Our whole body – and our subtle body – is ready to sacrifice on our child’s behalf. We may be torn by this, exhausted, even resentful, as we long for sleep and solitude, while at the same time we want nothing more than to hold our child. A torrent of emotions is released. And in the best moments there is this tender love, captured in Klimt’s beautiful portrait, this closeness and bond that we feel can never be sundered. There is a vulnerability too – as Elizabeth Stone puts it in her oft-quoted statement, making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around “outside your body.”
There is a fullness too, that comes with motherhood, and a fierce protectiveness. Early Hindu mother goddesses hold a child in one hand and sword in the other. We quickly learn that there is a part of us that would do anything to protect our child. Working with this intense tribal feeling – tribal in that it is focused on our child, our world, even at the expense of others – is perhaps one of the greatest spiritual challenges of motherhood. It is easy to be consumed by wanting only what is best for our own children, with little thought as to how it impacts others. Unchecked this can drive us to push our children, or push others away in judgement or from fear (think ‘mommy wars’.) This is the spiritual calling of motherhood then – how to allow the opening of our heart to expand rather than contract our world view and understanding.
Part of our pathway towards this understanding is the acceptance that motherhood brings out in us – the acceptance born of gentleness. Several Hindu female deities are associated with motherhood, but Parvati is the one most closely aligned with the nurturing, gentle, yin side of us. This is the part of us that comforts our toddler when she’s sick, or our 10-year old son when he strikes out at bat, or our high school senior when she doesn’t get into her first choice of college. In these moments, we know how to accept our children’s pain, without judgement, without fixing – just being there with them, with their pain. This is acceptance, this is the presence. For all the talk of ‘being in the now’, there are few moments in our life when we are more fully present then when we are comforting our child in pain.
Through our children we experience the passage of time so acutely. ‘It seems like just yesterday she was [fill in the blank].” Any parent of grown children will tell you, ‘it passes in the blink of an eye.’ Through this we have the opportunity to feel ourselves connected to an ancient cycle – THE ancient cycle – of birth, maturation, and death. We are not the first to raise children, and we won’t be the last. In Ancient Egypt, Mut was the original ‘world mother’ or ‘mother of the gods’ (although many goddesses, especially Isis, took on her qualities as time passed.) Mut represented the ancient, primordial aspects of birth and mothering – the endless cycle of which we are, in our own point in time and space, just one reflection. When we recognize ourselves as part of the larger cycle, this larger expanse, we are humbled and connected to the universe.
Just as we connect to time in a new way, so we often connect to nature in a new way too. Motherhood has always been connected with the earth – Gaia, goddess of the earth, is the original ‘earth mother’. Through motherhood we come to know our own bodies as part of nature in a pronounced way – they create, nurture and sustain physical life. Our cycles are not just our own, but part of the larger cycles of nature, linked to the moon, fertility, and food. Motherhood grounds us psychologically and spiritually and this grounding offers us a foundation from which to grow on all levels too.
Motherhood opens us to new dimensions of purity in our love too, both in terms of selflessness and intent. As mothers we are also the matriarchs of society. Motherhood is the middle stage in the traditional ‘maiden-mother-crone’ feminine phases model – ideally through motherhood we are transformed from maiden to wise woman. Motherhood forges us really, through love and pain, into a maturity and wisdom we could never have imagined. We can come to our own power and grandeur. It is this kind of maternity represented by the Greek goddess Rhea, mother-queen of the Olympian gods and goddesses, accompanied always by her regal lions.”
The Spiritual Journey of Motherhood
I found this article helpful and reassuring.
NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER-
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (exaggerates achievements, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited power, success, brilliance beauty or ideal love
- Believes her or she is “special” and can only be understood by similarly special, high status people
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a sense of entitlement
- Is interpersonally exploitative
- Lacks empathy
- Is envious of others or believes others are envious of him/her
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
SHE ADDS THAT SOCIOPATHS EXHIBIT SOME OF THOSE TRAITS, AND THESE AS WELL:
- Failure to conform to social norms as evidenced by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
- Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
- Reckless disregard for the safety of others
- Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial commitments
- Lack of remorse, as being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt others
If you recognize any of those behaviors in a partner or friend who you have had a relationship with, then congratulations- you were in a toxic relationship with a narcissist or a sociopath.
Now, if you were like me, then you probably felt at war with your own mind, constantly wondering if the fault was with you, or them. After doing some research, as I’m sure many of you have done in this situation, I discovered that all the things I thought were “broken” in me, were actually just fine. I wasn’t the one who was so destroyed that I couldn’t find a way to keep myself together unless I was destroying another person…that was them.
WHY DO NARCISSISTS AND SOCIOPATHS ALWAYS TRY TO CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU ARE CRAZY ONE?
Well, from my experience, this happens for 2 reasons.
1. THEIR SUPERIORITY COMPLEX MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO ACCEPT FAULT WITHIN THEMSELVES.
Narcissists believe they are faultless. They can do no wrong. Regardless of how many times you point out their behaviour and how it affects you, they will find a way to turn it around on you as being your fault. It’s a classic manipulation tactic that these two toxic personality types have mastered. Plus, everything is a competition with them, so if you bring up the psychological science behind gas lighting, or mention the similarities to their behaviour and a narcissistic or sociopathic profile, they will do the exact same thing to you. Furthermore, they will use psychology as their arsenal. Eventually, the line becomes a blur. “Am I really the one to blame?” becomes a lingering thought in the back of your mind. And let’s face it- we all have our flaws. But I think it’s safe to say that if you’re worrying over possibly being a narcissist or a sociopath then you probably aren’t one.
2. THEY PROJECT, AND PROJECT, AND PROJECT SOME MORE.
Projection is basically a mirror; it’s a reflection of what someone is carrying inside themselves. Narcissists and sociopaths are constantly projecting their issues and insecurities on others. So it stands to reason that they would include their psychosis as well. In one instance, I had a friend who was so deeply disillusioned that they became the spokesperson for gas lighting. They told all of our mutual friends how I was the one who was manipulative, dishonest, and lacked empathy, but failed to see how they were describing their own behaviours. It really is mind-boggling when someone does that to you. And you can’t argue or fight against it; you will never be able to change someone’s wilful perception of you. You just have to let go and move on.
By Raven Fon
An interesting article and so relevant.
By Tamara Hill at Psych Central
Do you know what narcissistic personality disorder is? Would you be able to spot it if you had to? For most people, their belief is that narcissism is “easy” to spot because laymen and pop psychology characterize narcissism as: selfish ambition, arrogance, cockiness, inconsideration for others, and a strong desire to be at the top of the game. But narcissism is truly difficult to spot in everyday life because some of the kindest and nicest people could be a narcissist. Narcissism doesn’t always shine through the moment you meet someone. In fact, narcissism may not fully bloom until you’ve married the person, accepted a job from a company led by a narcissist, or after many years of knowing the person. In reality, narcissistic personality traits are often hidden by the person’s ability to “act” ways they know other people like.
Although you are probably familiar with the millions of article already written on this topic, this article will highlight narcissistic personality traits you should run from.
Did you know that narcissistic personality disorder could co-occur with other disorders? For example, someone diagnosed with a personality disorder (narcissistic personality disorder) could also be diagnosed with depression and anxiety (because of incorrect perceptions of self, lack of confidence, incompetence, or a fear of being found out). In other words, the narcissistic person could very well become depressed and anxious in the event their competence or knowledge (or social charm and astuteness) are challenged by someone else. In fact, many narcissists set out to harass, compete, or defeat others when they believe others may show them up, do better than them, or receive more attention than them.
The narcissist is often an adult with an inability to share their ideas, talents, or strengths with other people. Their main goal is to be the centre of attention, to be better, to compete, and to achieve, even if that means the truly talented or competent person is destroyed. Sadly, because of this incorrect perception of self and life in general, the narcissist will go to any length to ensure they are not overshadowed or forgotten which can result in trouble for the innocent person on the other end. A loss of employment, stolen ideas, stolen property or funds, belittlement, etc. are the consequences of being in the life of a narcissist.
As a result of narcissists weak ego, incompetence, and skewed perception of self, you’ll want to know how to spot them and cope with them. Below I have listed a few traits of the narcissist. I have seen my fair share of narcissists so my best advice to you, if you come across a narcissist, is to avoid them at all costs because they:
Will try to compete with you in any form: Narcissists are well known for their fragile egos, self-centred worldview, and lack of perspective. The moment you try to be yourself, improve yourself, or advance in some form the narcissist will try to belittle you, reduce you, or minimize you. Why? Because the best defence for the fragile person is to make others appear smaller than them, less than them, or unintelligent. My experience with narcissists is that they lack the ability to show empathy (i.e., the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes) which creates a variety of challenges in multiple relationships. If you have a supervisor like this, they will likely belittle you, use you, or manipulate you. If this is your parent, you will likely be treated poorly and possibly worse than your siblings. If it is your spouse, you may find your significant other trying to control you.
Will see their interactions with you as a game: Narcissists are weak. They have no real substance and because of this, they are more likely to play the social game much more than other people or people who are genuine and confident. You most likely have seen this type of narcissist. They appear so very friendly to everyone and may use their unfortunate circumstances to gain social prestige, attention, or compassion. Once they receive this and have everyone fooled, they turn on those who truly know them and would rather stay miles away from them. What has always disturbed me about a narcissist who plays the social game is that they are skilled at tricking people and deceiving them. They may even go so far as to target your positive reputation to cause others to look to them in some fashion.
Will be passive-aggressive or aggressive in communication: Narcissists are immature and often behave as if they have the mental age of a teenager. In some cases, you may meet some narcissists who truly seem empathetic, compassionate, friendly, and honest only to later find out that they were “playing the social game.” It is very likely that a narcissist will engage in passive-aggressive behaviour which often includes: pouting or having an attitude over something minor, taking stabs at you or picking a fight, ignoring you and acting like a “mean girl” from high-school, creating tension when there doesn’t need to be tension, and attempting to control your emotions by switching up on you in their behaviours.
Will never give you peace: Some narcissists are so vulnerable and weak psychologically and emotionally that they will keep a disagreement or arguing going for days, months, and maybe even years. They are incapable of interacting with others in a mature fashion. Their age, job title, degree or certification, family-life, etc. doesn’t mean a thing to them and doesn’t have the slightest bit of influence on their behaviours once they are triggered. The narcissist, once they are angered, is very difficult to apologize to or ask for forgiveness from. They hold grudges, create tension and anxiety, and struggle to let things go.
Will express their 5 year old ego when they are challenged: Again, the narcissist is emotionally and psychologically immature. Your best line of defence with a narcissist who presents to everyone as a 5-year-old child is to ignore it as much as you can. Try your best to placate their ego by complimenting them or staying out of the way.
Will cause unnecessary drama: The narcissist almost thrives on drama. Drama gets attention off of them and allows them to express their “immature social skills.” For example, a narcissist may get involved in gossip or a situation that doesn’t involve them at all and will seem to make things worse. Narcissists are rarely peacemakers.
Will form cliques all around you: Narcissists need to feel powerful and empowered. The best way for them to feel empowered or powerful is to create a group of people who believe in them, are afraid of them, or look up to them in some way. Their cliques allow them to maintain some kind of positive reputation and when things go wrong in the narcissist’s life, those in the clique will run to the rescue. These people should not be called “cliques” but rather “blind servants.”
Will use their social and emotional intelligence to gain notoriety: Although we all use social media to reach out to those we want to help, support, or learn from, the narcissist will find some way of making themselves look better than anymore else. This narcissist may embellish their accomplishments, brag, or seem very unauthentic.
Will behave immaturely: Narcissistic individuals struggle to be mature, especially when maturity is necessary. For example, the narcissistic personality will struggle, in the workplace or in public, to let things “slide” or leave things alone. Most narcissistic personalities go the extra mile to make trouble, get revenge, or be vindictive. It is almost as if the narcissist feels empowered by the effort they put into making life miserable, unbearable, or uncomfortable for everyone else. Don’t be decided. If you go wrong with the narcissist, you will be next.
Will pull in other people who are vulnerable to them to conquer and divide: Have you ever seen cliques where if one person is angry with someone, everyone else involved in the clique will be angry with the person too? You will likely see this kind of behaviour in office settings, very small neighbourhoods or rural areas, and in certain professions.
We arranged to meet the wise woman at the new home of the traditional witch and partner to discuss rehearsing for the festivals. They had moved to a small terraced two bedroom granite cottage. The traditional witch owned many carefully crafted and attractive magical tools placed at the hearth that were in pristine condition compared to the wise woman’s rustic tools. My son, who was delighted to be a new rider eagerly listened to the conversation. The wise woman asked for our birth dates, times and locations as she wished to study our astrological birth charts. Occasionally it seemed as though she ridiculed people, but if confronted about it I was sure it would not have been her intention. The wise woman was pleased that a family were involved with the ‘Oss as she thought it created good energies and ensured the tradition would continue. There was also humor throughout the discussion and I had the opportunity to study the wise woman closely. Her clothes were loose and her trousers were short exposing her lower legs where I noticed an injury she may have received when walking the land. She had a strong growth of unruly dark hair and her appearance had the wild, unkempt energy of the land. As a qualified Beauty Therapist I observed others appearances and grooming.
The wise woman and I were in contact regularly via a social media site on the internet and also emails. I arranged to visit her again at the beginning of February, but due to heavy snow I had to cancel. There were also floods on the roads as the snow melted and I postponed the visit until it had cleared.
I attended a séance held in an upstairs function room at The Ship Inn, Par the night before St Valentines Day. The therapist I met at the Truro salon and her boyfriend accompanied us. I won the psychic quiz and received a prize of a chocolate heart lollipop.
I knew the wise woman was at the Tolcarne pub in Newlyn that evening for a “St Bolox Eve” celebration. Her close friends were single and created this celebration in reaction to all the nauseous associations with Valentines Day. We exchanged a few phone texts and I gave her some information she was pleased to hear.
The next day I received an email from the wise woman She attached the first part of the manuscript for her book as she thought it important I read it before our relationship progressed. Her life story was distressing and uncomfortable to read especially the admittance to a psychiatric ward and electric shock treatment. I was a little apprehensive about the situation I was entering, but the fascination and attraction over-powered the apprehension. She awaited my response and I sent a message offering her the love she had waited for.
I sent her a humorous Valentine’s card with a picture of a little devil. As the wise woman wanted to reciprocate she ventured into town and searched through the a multitude of pink ‘soppy’ merchandise to find a decent card. The sales assistant did not provide a bag and she attempted to hide it in her jacket hoping she would not meet anyone she knew. Typically she met many people who wanted to speak to her and after supporting the yearly celebrations of St Bolox Eve I understood why she would not wish to be caught out!
I had planned to visit a nightclub for a Valentine’s event and informed the wise woman who asked if she could tag along. The therapist and her boyfriend also joined my husband and I that evening. I noticed that evening how much the wise woman drank and how it affected her behaviour.
During March 2009 it seemed my years of searching had ended. I found the wise woman who was mentioned in my first reading and she appeared on the thirteenth year of my journey. She offered to teach me her ways of the Craft with Cornish energies. The wise woman had taught members of a coven and also worked within Wiccan groups and developed her own way of working. We had similar pasts and understood one another as our working relationship grew closer.
We met on Sunday afternoons to rehearse the ‘Oss and Teazer performance at a scrap yard belonging to another transgender friend of the traditional witch. This person was a talented engineer who designed the ‘Oss’ pole with a brilliant mechanism for movement. My husband and son rode the ‘Oss and her personality was unique with each rider. My husband was in touch with his feminine energy and the ‘Oss became a ‘cheeky little madam’ When my son rode her she was fast, mischievous and full of energy acting like a young mare. The wise woman and I practised our Teazer dancing and later viewed video footage of it. We moved naturally together during our first practice and further practices progressed well. After a few weeks I was introduced to other friends of the traditional witch and partner. I realised that there were many transgender people in Cornwall, but it was obvious that Cornwall attracted people and diversity.
As the wise woman and I worked closely together and our attraction grew, we wanted to be sure as it would affect our work. I suggested we wait six weeks until the Pagan Conference event in 2009 and if all went according to plan we would take the relationship further. I was not physically attracted to her, but her charm, confidence and energy attracted me, also something much deeper I could not explain.
I assumed the wise woman was renowned only amongst the Cornish Pagan scene but she later revealed to me she held a high position in the National Pagan Federation. I was unsure how I would cope being close to someone renowned within the media and Pagan world. I viewed film footage of her work and heard she was the world’s first tax paying witch. She was featured in newspapers, magazine articles and invited to take part in television programmes. The wise woman found it hard to believe I was unaware of this, but I was raised not to vote or have any involvement in politics therefore that part of any organization did not interest me. Political problems in performance teams were another reason I shied away from anything associated with it. Articles in Pagan literature about the political side of the organization also did not interest me.
The wise woman studied my astrological birth chart and I received an email from her that it was important we met to discuss her findings. I assumed she discovered a few correspondences and did not understand the urgency. The journey to her cottage usually took an hour, but I arrived in forty-five minutes eager to see her. We discussed our birth charts and she demonstrated how both our charts fit together like two pieces of a puzzle and were a mirror image of one other. One of the most important factors was my planet of Saturn conjunct with her planet of Venus and meant the planets would activate one another. Her planet of Saturn was also conjunct with my planet of Venus. This was extraordinary. My chart was mainly fire with little air and her chart was mainly air with little fire. There was a karmic link for healing which signified a challenging relationship.
The wise woman showed me a witch’s ladder love spell made of Tarot cards she constructed in 1996. I had seen it in her bedroom, but did not know what it was and 1996 was also the year I began my spiritual journey. She had written a list of attributes for a prospective partner and I matched the majority of them. I felt a powerful urge to be with her and enjoyed the time we spent together, but leaving her was difficult. The wise woman had forgotten about the ladder spell and focussed on her development over the years until the time came when we were ready to meet. Even though we were aware it would not be easy we were prepared to proceed and the local Conference was fast approaching!
During our visit to Kent just before the Christmas holiday, I arranged to have a meal at a restaurant with my Reiki student and friend. She was teaching magical practices and Reiki to a woman I also met that evening. It was encouraging to see her passing on her spiritual abilities. They showed concerned about my apparent weight loss and sensed problems within my relationship. Although I missed my friends, life was about to change dramatically in Cornwall. Travelling home the following day was the first time I completed the journey without the company of another driver. It was quicker than expected and felt as though the car flew back to Cornwall and the ‘pull’ of the land was still apparent.
I sent an email to the wise woman giving feedback on the Montol festival and received a prompt reply as we shared an interest she was passionate about. She took a break after the exertion of Montol and suggested we wait a month before arranging an interview which would be after the Christmas holidays and the new year.
My husband and I attended a Yuletide ritual hosted by the Bodmin moot. There I met a buxom gothic woman and as we conversed I enquired about the ‘gothic scene’ in Cornwall. There were no events locally for mature ‘goths’ that she was aware of. She once attended an event at a nightclub and thought she was the only middle aged person there!
I told her of a New Year’s Eve event I attended hosted by the London Vampire group at the Old London Stone Pub. I had hoped to find something similar in Cornwall.
I later discovered there were Halloween events at Jamaica Inn through the ‘Merlin character’, but tickets for it were quite expensive.
At the Yuletide ritual, the priestess’ female dog was ‘in season’ and being very affectionate. My husband had worked hard at the cottage and did not change his jeans and the dog followed him around detecting the odour of dried sweat. During the ritual the moot members stood in a circle for a short meditation and as we opened our eyes we noticed that the dog had wrapped her front paws around my husband’s leg attempting to copulate with him. The group were amused by this and my husband commented that out of all the attractive women in the room the dog was the only female that approached him!
A basket containing gifts that each group member had donated was passed around. The gift I chose contained small red and green Yuletide candles. I told the priestess of my forthcoming interview to train as a Teazer in Penzance and it pleased her I was getting to know others. The local Pagans in Bodmin thought west penwith a long way away and even a ten minute drive was viewed a long journey by some. My husband also thought that the journey from mid to west Cornwall for regular rehearsals would be quite a journey.
The interview with the wise woman was arranged for the 26th of January 2009 at midday. I had mixed feelings as I looked forward to meeting her, but was still a little concerned about the incident at the Conference. My husband drove me to the village by car as this was an unknown area for us. The directions given were detailed and the journey took just under an hour. I told my husband I wished to attend the interview alone as he frequently took over conversations and I wished to talk to the wise woman without interruption. He agreed and decided to explore Penzance until 4pm.
We travelled along the A30 towards Lands End and took a left turning into a two-mile lane that led to the village. We were surrounded by fields, stone crosses and milestones. I noticed the tall village church in the distance and marvelled at the landscape surrounding it.
I had a vision that we would live in a place such as this, tucked away and difficult to find. My husband stopped at the chapel car park and I noticed the small gravel pathway leading to the cottage. He asked again if I was comfortable about seeing the wise woman alone as I had been quiet during the journey, but I knew I had to do this alone. I walked across the road towards the pathway and as I neared the cottage, I heard music I recognized from the band at the Montol festival. I assumed the wise woman had played this music to focus herself for the interview. I was not a lover of band music, but had enjoyed folk music played at festivals with the Morris team.
The conservatory door was open and I used the small brass horse knocker on the front door just below a stain glass window. I knocked loudly to be heard above the music. The traditional witch and partner had described her as a feisty woman who did not ‘suffer fools gladly’ and I hoped to make a good impression. The wise woman opened the door with a wide smile which relaxed me a little and as she invited me in I kissed her cheek. She gestured towards a small padded chair with an embroidered labyrinth maze on the back of it and I sat upon it. She made us both a mug of tea which gave me an opportunity to study the cottage. The large granite hearth had old, well used magical tools upon it and nearby was a small book-shelf that contained a huge variety of books. The centre of the room was clean and tidy, but I noticed a thick layer of dust on shelves and many cobwebs between the beams and in the corners of the room. She told me that cobwebs were part of the décor and made no apology for them. As she brought in our mugs of tea, I asked her the age of her cottage and she abruptly replied there were more important things to discuss and we would talk about the cottage later. The wise woman spoke of the local festivals and the ‘Oss. In the spring of 2008 the original ‘Oss rider grew tired of political matters within the festival and left with his ‘Oss at short notice. She was his Teazer for 17 years and this happened 2 months before the festival, which meant another ‘Obby ‘Oss was urgently needed. She asked for the assistance of the traditional witch and partner to create another ‘Oss which took time when done correctly. They also formed a ‘cooperative’ and created other merchandise to sell to contribute to funds for the festival.
Meanwhile, another festival member acquired a horse’s head and he rushed the preparation. This affected the skull’s appearance and the odour of it was unpleasant. He planned to have his ‘Oss ready for the festival and asked a female Cornish dancer to be his Teazer. He tactlessly suggested to the wise woman it was time she retired from Teazing which upset her. He rode his ‘Oss at Mazey Eve 2008 and when the wise woman’s ‘Oss was complete she suggested they shared appearances in Penzance. The other rider would not compromise and insisted he was the only festival ‘Oss. The committee however allowed both ‘Osses to perform and there were continual difficulties with the sharing of events that she described as tiresome. The wise woman assured me I would not be involved in the political side, only the performance. I was surprised to hear she had a metal rod in her spine due to scoliosis as she had danced for years and it was undetectable. There were more riders needed for the ‘Oss and I suggested that my husband and son were physically strong and may be interested. I knew my son would love to be involved as he had a fascination for the wooden ‘Osses at folk festivals. The wise woman was delighted to hear this and then suggested I watch some video footage of the festivals. I accompanied her to the bedroom which was bright and airy with yellow walls and brown wooden beams. Her wooden bed was covered in a blue ‘throw’ with a black Celtic design. I sat upon the chair at the desk and she activated the computer. The video footage was similar to Montol and gave me insight into Mazey Eve and Mazey day. I was also extremely aware of the wise woman’s energy close behind me. Throughout the afternoon she frequently rolled and smoked cigarettes. I heard her voice before on the recording from the Witchcraft Museum used for the display of Joan’s cottage. I purhcased one of the first cassette tapes. Her laugh at the end of the recording was the laugh of a smoker, so her habit did not surprise me. I dislike cigarette smoke and even though I was strongly attracted to her, the habit put me off a little. The wise woman wore a sweatshirt with a ‘Neighbourhood Witch’ motif on it covered by a thick cardigan. She had two hot water bottles, one placed behind the small of her back and the other on her lap. I wore less than that and she asked if I was cold but I felt comfortable as both her cats climbed onto my lap and positioned themselves on each knee.
After we discussed rehearsals and festivals, I gave her more information about myself. She asked my age and my reply surprised her as she thought I was at least 10 years younger. I spoke about my life and the strict religious upbringing plus other childhood experiences. The wise woman could relate to it all and she had also married a policeman in the past. I then felt that she would be someone I could talk to and would understand me having experienced these things herself. We had similar views on relationships and sexuality too and I explained the understanding my husband and I had within our relationship and noticed a change in her expression. There was also a moment during our discussion when she asked me if I could be wicked. The way I answered her caused the wise woman to laugh loudly and her blue eyes flashed with delight. At Conferences she portrayed a cheeky flirtatious personality which I assumed was constant. This was not the case as she stayed focussed on the reason I was there which impressed me. She spoke of her magical work and handing on her business when she reached retirement. The wise woman told me that others had attempted this but could not handle the challenges that came with it. I offered to learn her way of working in order to carry on her business as I had already had 13 years of magical experience. I realized however that there was more to learn, particularly when it came to the energies of Cornwall.
Time passed quickly and our conversation continued for 4 hours. The wise woman politely told me she had other matters to deal with and as we said goodbye we hugged. I told her I had waited a long time for that and she replied that there were plenty of hugs to be had. I blushed at her reply and then had difficulty opening the latch on the door. We laughed as she assisted me and as we crossed the threshold my husband arrived. I introduced them both and he received a hug also.
During our journey home I updated him on the interview and that he could be an extra rider for the ‘Oss along with our son. Another young man rode the ‘Oss for Montol 2008 but there was uncertainty on his future availability. On our return home an email from the wise woman expressed her enjoyment of the afternoon’s discourse. I added a little humour to my reply as I felt more relaxed in conversing with her. I was relieved the incident at the conference was not mentioned and also sensed that a working relationship with the wise woman was not going to be a smooth road ……
When the traditional witch’s partner contacted the wise woman and suggested me for the role, she doubted my personality would suit, as she assumed I was a blonde ‘party girl’ into crystals and ‘fluffy new age’ magic. She made her assumptions from the few times she saw me at conferences and emails on the Pagan e-list. The traditional witch’s partner explained that I was a former member of the feisty Morris team who recently performed at the local Conference. She also told her about the martial arts training and the wise woman realised there was more to my personality than she thought.
The following day I returned from a shopping trip and discovered a message on the answering machine. I returned the wise woman’s call and we conversed for some time which was a good sign as she disliked conversing on the telephone. The wise woman described the aspects of personality required to be a Teazer and I was delighted to hear that a mischievous side was required! Each aspect of the required personality fitted mine. She also explained how the Teazer role blends with the energies of the Bucca weather spirit. The wise woman suggested I attend the Montol festival on the 20th of December 2008 as I could then see a Teazer in action.
I had assumed she attended nightclubs as the wise woman loved to dance and there was a particular one named ‘Eclipse’ in Truro that was frequented by the traditional witch and partner. It was known as a ‘gay’ club and my husband and I went there just after our move to Cornwall and I watched the door that evening hoping the wise woman may arrive. I was surprised to hear she rarely attended nightclubs, but she did go to ‘Eclipse ‘ with her friends to celebrate her 50th birthday. Our conversation was relaxed and boded well for the future.
I realised we were more alike than I originally thought if we both had the right type of personality for a Teazer. I updated my husband and although unimpressed he was pleased I found something to be involved in. He agreed to attend the Montol festival but as we were travelling to Kent the following day, we would leave as soon as the performance was over.
We met the traditional witch and partner at St John’s Hall in Penzance. A large crowd gathered outside, some lined up for the procession and others observed a team of teenage dancing girls performing for the crowd. My son wore a black coat, mask and hat and I wore a long black velvet coat and a ‘black cat’ mask. My husband refused to dress up and wore his usual navy blue padded body-warmer, a grey sweatshirt and old blue jeans which did not compliment the gold mask with a tri-corn black hat attached!! We stood with the crowd and my husband noticed the wise woman arrive as she stood at the front of the procession line. I could just see her battered top hat amongst the crowd as she was smaller in height than I remembered. My husband suggested I approach her, but the procession began and there was no time.
The first procession went through the town and up to the beacon at the Hill Fort. We were at the rear behind the local band so I gradually moved to the front to observe the wise woman as she waved to the public and laughed with the men who carried the banner. The Obby ‘Oss appeared during the second procession so the wise woman had time to enjoy this one. I studied the way she interacted with her local community compared to the Pagan one. She stepped in time to the music and I stepped with her which she noticed but did not yet realise who I was. As we reached the Hill Fort I met up with my husband and son who brought along his drum and was invited to play with the band. We stood beside the beacon bonfire enjoying the warmth on a cold evening. After a while the wise woman appeared and conversed with my son and husband and then turned to me.
I attempted to speak to her, but the words did not come forth and she took a step back, studied me for a moment then lit her cigarette and walked away. My husband enquired as to why I did not speak but I could not explain the profound and unsettling effect she had on me. I then searched the area around the bonfire hoping to find her again, but she had gone.
The traditional witch’s partner introduced us to one of her friends who was also transgender. We visited a pub and the friend awaited a phone call as she attended a work Christmas party the night before and was so intoxicated she had no memory of what occurred. She hoped a colleague would enlighten her. The rest of the group were deep in conversation but my thoughts were elsewhere. After an hour’s rest, we walked into the town for the next procession which began between 10 and 11pm.
People in the crowd were masked and for those not accustomed to this festival, it could appear rather strange. As the procession began to move, I once again made my way to the front. The band stopped outside large wooden doors next to an Indian restaurant and the band leader used a baton to knock loudly.
Before you had time to draw breath the ‘Oss dashed out followed closely by the wise woman. I observed immediately how energetic the role of Teazer was, as the wild ‘Oss was untethered. The Teazer chased her and kept a close eye on her antics with the public and also performed moves that the ‘Oss would imitate. As the rider had restricted vision, the Teazer would be her second pair of eyes to guide her along the roads and clear a path amongst the crowds.
When I agreed to this I assumed the Teazer role was just another act within the festival and amongst a variety of other performers. I did not realize the Teazer and ‘Oss led the procession and a main character of the festival. I was concerned that I was to be placed in a major role which was different to the type of performance I was used to. I only knew three people in this community, but the traditional witch’s partner assured me it would have a positive outcome. After the Teazer and ‘Oss had completed their part in the procession, I watched the Teazer try to coax a reluctant ‘Oss back into the Barbican which was her stable and this amused my son. When the doors closed, my husband insisted on leaving and I did not get to speak to the wise woman. I knew she would be delighted that her new ‘Oss had been successful and I missed the celebration. The wise woman did enquire about me and the traditional witch and partner told her I had to leave early.
I thought about her and the performance while travelling to Kent. The mask she wore was similar to the one that the Phantom of the Opera wore in the musical. I was attracted to troubled dark characters in these stories: the beast in Beauty and the Beast, Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre and Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights. There was something intriguing about them, their traumatic lives, their passion and their darker side due to their troubled pasts. I contemplated the reason the wise woman would take on a role such as this and whether she too may have another side to her that was hidden from the world.