Tenth Year as a Cunning/Folk Practitioner- 2019

The 26th of January 2019 marks 10 years since I apprehensively walked along the small gravel pathway leading to Cassandra Latham Jones’ cottage. I had an appointment for an interview concerning an apprenticeship to train as a Teazer for Penglaz the ‘Obby ‘Oss in Penzance. I did not realize at this time that Cassandra was also seeking someone to continue her community work as Wise Woman of St Buryan the subject arose during our conversation.
The past 10 years have been challenging in many ways and Cassandra warned me that this would be so. During the first part of my spiritual journey I was searching for something that resonated spiritually and this resulted in leaving previous magical groups when I discovered that they were not providing the connection I sought.
Image John Isaac
I needed to be robust emotionally in order to take on this work and there was no better person to test and teach me than Cassandra. She warned me that she was a hard ‘taskmaster’ and this indeed proved to be so.
I was raised within a strict religion (which shows all the signs of a ‘Cult Organization’) and was separated socially from my local community, therefore I had little knowledge of how it developed and worked together. Even after leaving this religion and moving to other areas, I had minimal interaction within the new communities.
It is vital for a Wise Woman to know her own community as one will be more approachable to residents who may need assistance when the need arises. The residents of St Buryan village have been welcoming and I have learnt a huge amount from living here in the last 9 years. Communities are a ‘tribe’ or large ‘family’ who may have disagreements however their deep connection and maturity enables them to resolve any disputes.
Image John Isaac – Graphics Chris White
Another form of community work is through festivals and performances. Cassandra has been pleased with the ideas and inspiration I had, particularly with the birth of the All Hallows Gathering that resulted from us meeting the wonderful Mari Lwyd community at the Chepstow Wassail in 2014.
The role of apprentice to someone renowned and respected within the Pagan community is something that many Pagans fantasize and dream of. There are those who would give anything to have this position, so it was no surprise that this path in life brought, jealousy, competitiveness and feelings of entitlement from others. It seemed our acquaintances were happy about the situation at first and maybe they assumed that as Cassandra and I were so different externally, it would not last long as they assumed I would not have the ability to withstand the training. A few years later when the working relationship showed signs of success the negative feelings surfaced from some around us, particularly those who contrived to gain the apprentice role by befriending Cassandra. Some stated that I was an ‘incomer’ and too new to the community to be chosen, while others thought they had more of an advantage because they were ‘Cornish’ and Pagan. (I have never tried to claim ‘Cornish descent’ in this lifetime, I am proud of my birthplace in a historical part of Kent and do not create a false image to replace it.) Whatever their reasons for objecting they did not show any faith in Cassandra’s choice as Wise Woman and projected their negativity with the intention of adding more obstacles to our path. I now understand why ‘wise women’ of old worked solitary and did not socialize. Fortunately I have found a few genuine and supportive friends during this journey and my focus is now upon them.
The quote by Rudyard Kipling comes to mind:
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too!
Cassandra has taught me many valuable lessons as well as providing a home for me when unfortunate circumstances could have left me ‘homeless’. In return for her kindness and tuition, I was able to help Cassandra by setting up our performance team Boekka when her role as Teazer in Penzance was no longer required. I created new costumes and an image for Penkevyll our ‘Oss as well as choreographing dances for our performance team. I set up a new websites for Village Wise Woman (when former friends took her previous site offline) and I set up another website for Boekka (when a former member removed our site from the internet). I set up my own website, a blog for Cassandra Grumpy Old Witchcraft, and accounts for Cassandra’s Book Village Witch. I maintain performance and business-promoting accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Witchvox and Instagram. I also arrange Wise Woman workshops and these have been successful.
In the past Cassandra would rely on others to help her with work on her cottage and I have been able to assist her with many tasks. This gave her a wonderful feeling of achievement that we had not needed outside help but managed to accomplish these tasks between us. I have also assisted her health-wise with a gentle fitness regime and suggestions on supplements and diet. I taught her Morris dancing too which she successfully performed for 7 years and enjoyed it, but now she has chosen to take life at an easier pace.
At first when dealing with clients, I often asked Cassandra’s advice on her way of communicating. After 10 years of dealing with a vast variety of people, I am confident to deal with these alone. My spells and charms have a high percentage of success and I have assisted many within the community which brings a deep sense of satisfaction that you have successfully helped others. This work is varied and unpredictable and each day brings a different challenge.
Being a Wise Woman is not an occupation one can ‘retire’ from as Cassandra has discovered. She still sees clients and provides readings and consultations for them, but the business aspect is my responsibility. It is difficult to make a business successful, it takes a huge amount of work, promotion and advertising for a number of years before one can profit from it. Fortunately I enjoy the promotion and advertising which has produced wonderful results.
Image John Isaac
The discipline concerning power of the mind was another important lesson as this skill is needed in everything one does, particularly in magical work. The land and sea are full of power and harnessing its energies for one’s needs or desires is not easy.
Creativity, curiosity and persistence can reap rewards from the Universe using the correct acquired knowledge. Awareness and desire is also needed along with the will, knowledge and wisdom. To connect with the four powers: to Know, to Will, to Dare and to keep Silent needs the ultimate discipline.
Working with the Cunning Way and Folk Magic over the last 10 years has certainly been an adventure.
It has been eighteen years since I was introduced to the book about George Pickingill – ‘The Pickingill Papers ‘ during my Alexandrian training, I felt a connection with the life of this intriguing ‘Cunning Man’ and eight years later the reason became apparent.
I enjoy ceremonial ritual and it has its uses, but the methods of Cunning/Folk magic (for myself) give a stronger direct connection to the spiritual essence of land and sea as the absence of ritualistic structure lessens distraction giving the focus more intensity. The strongest connection for me since working here has been with the spirits of the sea and all associated with it.
The following article explains the Cunning Craft and Folk Practitioners:
Cunning folk – Traditionally the cunning man or cunning woman was a person who healed, worked magic, created herbal remedies, provided charms, anti-witch measures, spells, and fortune-telling services, they were paid a fee for their work. Cunning (knowledgeable) or (wise), originated from an Old English term kenning, this referred to professional or semi-professional practitioners of magic. Some acquired their gifts through heredity, their magic was a mixed bag of folk medicine and occultism. Folk magic was passed along in oral tradition, and embellished along the way, they employed practical remedies for specific problems. It was believed they could work with supernatural powers in order to increase the effectiveness of their work. In most (Cassandra would say and has taught that it would be ‘some’ rather than ‘most) instances someone could set themselves up as cunning folk, with no particular background or training, although some did come from a background of magical practitioners. 
Up until the mid-nineteenth century there were several thousand cunning folk working in England, and although there was a higher ratio of men, the women were successful in their role. Many of the cunning folk working in Britain kept their ordinary line of work, while earning money as a professional cunning man or woman to boost their income. Most cunning men and woman were solitary practitioners and employed a variety of magical implements.
Some kept animal familiars and supernatural entities, known as familiar spirits, they were considered to be benevolent and helpful.  It was believed the familiar spirit took the cunning person on a visionary journey to a place called Elfhame, (elf- home). In this trip the cunning folk’s soul would go with the familiar on a journey into a hill, to a great subterranean fairy hall, while there they would encounter fairies led by the king and queen, and take part in a feast. (Cassandra has taught that nowadays this could be translated into communing with the ‘spirit world’ within the local environment)
As most local clients were poor, fees for magical services were small. Their fees were much higher when a member of the aristocracy sought them out, and this was often to do with matters associated with love, money and bewitchment. The cunning men and cunning women who worked for the aristocracy, were much better off financially than those who only treated villagers. Some cunning folk received annuities, and others took a percentage of all stolen goods found through divination. (Cassandra has taught that yes, there would be a percentage of goods, but she would not say they were ‘stolen’.)
They were particularly popular for their charms, which they recited during their spell casting and divination work. They also created specific and very expensive charms for the aristocrats,  writing down magical words in order to conjure, love, money, fertility and prosperity. The charms were sometimes written on parchment or paper, sewn into a bag, and either placed in the clients home, or carried about by them. By employing a variety of divination tools the cunning person was able to tell a person’s fortune and divine the name of their future love. They were often consulted to cast spells or charms to ensure a spouse’s fidelity and to find lost items. Some cunning folk claimed to have the ability to locate lost treasure, the cunning man or woman was called upon to overcome through magical means, the demon, spirit or fairy that was guarding it.
The cunning folk were especially adept in creating charms that would repel or break the spells of other witches blamed for bewitchment. They were the only healers to offer a package of anti-witch measures and were especially effective curing malevolent sorcery. They were also called upon to protect, heal and locate lost animals, and to care for crops. The cunning folk used a wide variety of methods to heal their clients, using various herbs, plants, the laying on of hands, and conducting elaborate ceremonies. They practiced folk magic, known as low magic, and ceremonial magic known as high magic, their role was to attend to the physical and spiritual needs of their client.
Cunning folk flourished up until the late 17th century, this was a time when belief in magic was high, they took the role of unofficial police and were believed to be a deterrent to crime, and when crimes were committed a cunning man or cunning woman was consulted to divine the guilty party. From the 18th century onwards their place in society continued, and carried on into modern times, especially in rural areas. Many cunning folk operated in a very competitive market, and would often travel great distances to visit their clients, their profile was very important to them. They used crystal balls and scrying bowls in their work, also astrology and numerology. A Grimoire was a most coveted item and those who owned one added to their profile. (Cassandra has discovered that there is no documentation of any Grimoire sent to a Cunning/Folk Practitioner within Cornwall). Although they were predominantly solitary practitioners, there were some families who approached it as a magical business.
British Cunning folk were referred to as wizards, wise men, wise women, conjurers, pellars,( see the historian Jason Semmens’ paper – On The Origin of Pellar) charmers and white witch, and in the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods Britain was a place where folk magic was very popular. In France, the terms devins-guerisseurs and leveurs de sorts were used to describe cunning folk. In the Netherlands they were referred to as toverdokters or duivelbanners, in Germany Hexenmeisters, and in Denmark kloge folk. In Spain they were curanderos and in Portugal they were known as saludadores. Cunning folk and their use of white magic for healing and as a protection against black magic, was widespread in Germany. The primary role of the Italian cunning folk was healing,with the use of herbs and spiritual healing, their spiritual healing was believed to come from an inner power, known as la forza (power), la virtu (virtue) or il Segno (the sign), they were also consulted to remove curses.
Because of the usefulness of cunning folk, they were able to practice their magic as an open secret, and quietly conducted their business in such a way they avoided anti-magic and anti-witchcraft laws. They met with little interference from authorities, who chose to ignore them unless there was a specific complaint. The cunning folk were often denounced during religious gatherings, but because of their popularity and usefulness, were never pursued. During the time of the Inquisition, cunning folk became vulnerable targets, but in spite of this there was a huge amount of public support for them, because they were so important to those who required their services.
The disparity between witches and the cunning folk, was that witches were seen to do harm, and cunning folk were seen to be useful and provide a valid service. Cunning folk were active from the Medieval period through to the early twentieth century, when it is believed the declining belief in malevolent witchcraft, did away with the need for anti-witchcraft measures, which was a primary service offered by the cunning folk.
Witches Lore

 

I began a ‘countdown’ to the new year from the 1st December to 1st January on our All Hallows Dark Gathering Facebook group. Each day I posted a photograph of a performer with a little information about them conveying our appreciation for their contribution to the event. On the 2nd January, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Cassandra had written the following post :
“Before we get any further into the year I want to put a shout out about Laetitia Latham Jones. In case there is anyone who doesn’t realise this, she was the one who had the original idea of the Welsh Mari Lwyds meeting the Cornish Oss, Penkevyll at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. We now have this amazing annual Dark Gathering following that initial inspired idea. Tia has not only supported me in my role as Event Organiser over the years but has continued to create brilliant ideas which we have incorporated. We have her to thank for researching and discovering the wonderful Ancestor Chant, and now just recently she has applied her time and energies into the personal bios/reviews of a few recognizable characters from the Dark Gathering. Also let us not forget her wonderful performances as Penkevyll’s Teazer – the Art of which she is now teaching to her two apprentices. I would like to publicly thank her for her dedication and hard work behind the scenes to help maintain the Dark Gathering. May it go from strength to strength! 👏👏👏😃” 
Image John Isaac
The last ten years have been rather like a ‘roller-coaster’ and challenging with drastic life changes, but I had the tenacity to continue which has rewarded me with some wonderful experiences within my work and performance life as well as meeting some fabulous individuals. I am intrigued to know what the next ten years will bring….
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34. Path of Discovery

Image - Rightmove

Image – Rightmove

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.

the Ship Inn Par. Image - Tripadvisor

the Ship Inn Par. Image – Tripadvisor

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.

Tolcarne Inn. Image - Alamy

Tolcarne Inn. Image – Alamy

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!

Vanillas Nightclub. Image - Eddiejewell

Vanillas Nightclub. Image – Eddiejewell

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. 

Witch's Ladder Spell. Image - Klaus Weber

Witch’s Ladder Spell. Image – Klaus Weber

 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!

33. The Interview

During our visit to Kent, I arranged to meet with my Reiki student and friend at a restaurant. She was teaching Reiki and magical ritual to a woman I was introduced to that evening. It was encouraging to see my Reiki student go on to teach others to use their spiritual abilities. My friends were concerned about my apparent weight loss and sensed problems within my relationship. Although I missed my friends in Kent,  life was about to undergo dramatic change in Cornwall. The following day I travelled home without the company of another driver and it seemed as though the car had wings and the ‘pull’ of the land was still strong for me.

I sent an email to the wise woman on my return giving feedback on the Montol festival. I received a prompt reply as we now shared an interest that she was passionate about. The wise woman explained that she needed a break after the exertion of Montol and suggested we arranged an interview at the beginning of the new year.

Image - Pinterest

Image – Pinterest

My husband and I attended a Yuletide ritual hosted by the Bodmin moot.  There I met a buxom gothic woman and I enquired about the ‘gothic scene’ in Cornwall.  There were no events locally for mature ‘goths’  that she was aware of and spoke of the time she attended a nightclub where she was surrounded by gothic teenagers and she was the only middle aged person there!  

Old London Stone. Image - Tripadvisor

Old London Stone. Image – Tripadvisor

I spoke of a New Year’s Eve event I attended that was hosted by the London Vampire group at the Old London Stone Pub.  I enjoyed this and hoped to find something similar in Cornwall.

Jamaica Inn Bodmin

Jamaica Inn Bodmin

I later discovered  there were Halloween events at the Jamaica Inn that my Merlin friend had attended, but tickets for the event were quite expensive.

During the moot Yuletide ritual, the priestess’ female dog was ‘in season’ and very affectionate. My husband had worked hard at the cottage and still wore his working clothes and the dog followed him  detecting the odour of perspiration. The moot members stood in a circle for a short meditation and when we opened our eyes the dog had wrapped her front paws around my husband’s leg attempting to copulate with him. The group were amused and my husband jested that out of all the attractive women in the room the dog was the only female that approached him!

Image - Young House Love

Image – Young House Love

A basket containing gifts donated by group members was passed around the room and the gift I chose contained small red and green Yuletide candles.  I told the priestess about my forthcoming interview to train as Teazer and it pleased her I was getting involved with Cornish events. The Pagans in Bodmin thought west penwith a long way away and I discovered that even a 10 minute drive was viewed a long journey by some. My husband agreed that we would be travelling many miles making the journey from mid to west Cornwall for regular rehearsals.

My interview with the wise woman was arranged for the 26th of January 2009 at midday. I had mixed feelings about it as I looked forward to meeting her, but was still a little concerned about the incident at the Conference. My husband transported me to the village by car as this area was unknown. The directions given were detailed and the journey of 40 miles took just under an hour. I requested that I attend the interview alone as my husband  frequently interrupted  conversations. He agreed and decided to explore Penzance until 4pm.

St Buryan

St Buryan

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.

Image - Megalithic

Image – Megalithic

 I  had a vision of finding a property in a place that was tucked away and difficult to find. My husband stopped the car at the chapel car park and I immediately saw the small gravel pathway leading to the cottage. He asked whether I was comfortable seeing the wise woman alone as I had not conversed during the journey, but this was something I had to do alone. I crossed the road towards the pathway and as I neared the cottage, I heard music that I recognized as the band at the Montol festival. I assumed the wise woman played this music to focus herself for the interview. I was not partial to band music at this time, but enjoyed folk music I heard at festivals with the Morris team.

The conservatory door was open and I used a small brass door knocker in the shape of a horse on the front door  which was just below a beautiful stain glass window. I knocked hoping she could hear me above the music. The traditional witch and partner described her as a feisty woman who did not ‘suffer fools gladly’ and I wished to make a good impression. The wise woman opened the door, greeting me with a wide smile which relaxed me a little. She invited me in and gestured towards a small padded chair with an embroidered labyrinth maze on the back. The wise woman brewed some tea which gave me an opportunity to take in the surroundings. A large granite inglenook hearth had old, well used magical tools upon it and nearby a small book-shelf  contained a huge variety of fascinating books. The centre of the room was clean and tidy, but I was aware of a thick layer of dust on shelves and many cobwebs between the beams and the corners of the room. She explained that cobwebs and dust were part of the décor and was unashamed of it. I asked her the age of the cottage and she abruptly stated 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, explaining that in the spring of 2008 the original ‘Oss rider grew tired of political matters within the festival and left taking his ‘Oss at short notice. She was his Teazer for 17 years and the rider left 2 months before the festival and another ‘Obby ‘Oss was urgently needed. She asked for assistance from the traditional witch and partner to create another ‘Oss which took some time when done correctly. They formed a ‘cooperative’ and also created other ‘Oss related merchandise to sell and make a contribution to funds for the festival.

Meanwhile, another festival member acquired a horse’s head and he rushed the preparation which affected the skull’s appearance and the odour 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 the wise woman retired from Teazing.  He then rode his ‘Oss at Mazey Eve 2008 and when the wise woman’s ‘Oss was ready later in the year she suggested they share appearances. The other rider refused to compromise and insisted he was the only festival ‘Oss. The committee however allowed both ‘Osses to perform and there had been 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 amazed to discover that she had a metal rod in her spine due to surgery for scoliosis as she had danced for years. There were more riders needed for the ‘Oss and I suggested my husband and son as they were both physically strong and may be interested. I was sure that my son would love to be involved as he had a fascination in the past for the wooden ‘Osses at folk festivals. The wise woman was delighted to hear this and suggested I viewed 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 on Mazey Eve and Mazey day. Throughout the afternoon I noticed that she frequently rolled and smoked cigarettes. I had heard her voice before on the recording from the Witchcraft Museum used for the display of Joan’s cottage and I purchased one of their first cassette tapes. Her loud laugh at the end of the recording was that of a smoker, so this habit did not surprise me. I disliked cigarette smoke and even though I was attracted to her, this habit put me off a little. The wise woman wore a sweatshirt with a ‘Neighbourhood Witch’ motif on it and 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 quite comfortable with both her cats that had positioned themselves on each knee.

After discussing 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 religious indoctrination plus other childhood experiences. The wise woman could relate to it all and she had also married a policeman in her distant past. She would be someone I could talk to and have the ability to understand having experienced similar. Our views on relationships and sexuality matched and I explained the arrangement in my relationship and noticed a change in her expression. There was also a moment during our discussion when she asked if I could be wicked. The way I answered the wise woman caused her to laugh loudly and her blue eyes twinkled with delight. At Conferences she portrayed a cheeky flirtatious personality which I assumed was constant and discovered that this was not the case as she  focussed only on the interview which impressed me. She spoke of her magical work and handing on her business after retirement. The wise woman explained that others had attempted to learn but were unable to handle the challenges that came with it. I expressed an interest in learning about her way of working in order to carry on the business as I had 13 years of magical experience. I was aware that there was much 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 then politely informed me she had other matters to deal with and as we embraced,  I told her I had waited a long time for one of her hugs. The wise woman he replied that there were plenty of those to be had as she was an affectionate person. I blushed at her reply and had difficulty opening the latch on the door. As we crossed the threshold my husband arrived and I introduced them both and he received a hug too.

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 an email from the wise woman awaited expressing her enjoyment of the afternoon’s discourse.  I sent a reply and added a little humour as I now felt a little more relaxed when conversing with her. The incident at the conference was not mentioned, but I also sensed that a working relationship with someone as focussed and strong minded as the wise woman would not be an easy road ……

32. Discovering Local Traditions

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’  that used crystals and ‘fluffy new age’ magic. She made her assumptions from the few times she observed me at conferences and from comments on the Pagan e-list. The traditional witch’s partner explained to her that I was a former member of a feisty Morris team that recently performed at the local Conference. She also told her about my achievements in martial arts training and then the wise woman realised there was more to me than she thought.

The following day I returned from a shopping trip and discovered a recorded 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 this form of communication.  The wise woman described aspects of the personality required for a Teazer and I was delighted to hear that a mischievous side is important. She explained how the Teazer role connects with the energies of the Bucca elemental.  The wise woman suggested I attended the Montol festival on the 20th of December 2008 as I could then observe the performance.  I had assumed that she frequented nightclubs as I noticed that the wise woman loved to dance. There was a particular nightclub known as ‘Eclipse’ in Truro   frequented by the traditional witch and partner. It was attended by ‘gay’ club members and I visited there on one occasion just after our move to Cornwall. I observed the door each time someone entered hoping the wise woman may arrive. It surprised me to hear  from her that she rarely attended nightclubs, but did visit ‘Eclipse ‘ with friends to celebrate her 50th birthday. Our conversation was relaxed and boded well for the future.

 After our conversation I realised that we were more alike than I originally thought if we both had a certain type of personality to be a Teazer. I updated my husband and although unimpressed he was pleased that I would be involved in something I enjoyed. He agreed to attend the Montol festival with me but as we were travelling to Kent the following day, he told me 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 and tri-corn hat.  We stood with the crowd and my husband noticed the wise woman arrive at the front of the procession line.  I could see her battered top hat amongst the crowd and she was smaller in height than I remembered. My husband suggested I approach her, but the crowd began to move and there was no time.

The first procession went through the town and up to the beacon at the Hill Fort. We walked at the rear behind the local band and I gradually moved to the front where I could 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 at a leisurely pace. I observed 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 recognize me. As we reached the Hill Fort I found my husband and son who brought his drum and 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. 

montol2008I attempted to speak to her, but the words would not come forth. She took a step back, studied me for a moment then lit her cigarette and walked away. My husband asked why I did not speak and I could not explain the profound and unsettling effect she had on me. I searched the area around the bonfire hoping to find her again, but she had disappeared.

The traditional witch’s partner introduced us to one of her friends who was also transgender. We visited a pub and her friend awaited a phone call as she attended a work Christmas party the night before and was intoxicated with no memory of what occurred. She hoped her colleague would enlighten her. The rest of the group were deep in conversation but my thoughts were elsewhere. After resting for an hour, we walked into the town for the next procession which began between 10 and 11pm. 

Members of 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.

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Before one 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 while performing moves the ‘Oss would imitate. As the rider had restricted vision, the Teazer would be her second sight to guide her along the streets and clear a path amongst the crowds.

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When I agreed to this role I assumed the Teazer was just another act within the festival and amongst a variety of performers. I did not realize the Teazer and ‘Oss  led the procession and were  main characters of the festival. It concerned me that this was a major role 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 completed their part in the procession, I observed the Teazer  coax a reluctant ‘Oss into the Barbican (her stable) and this amused my son. When the doors closed, my husband insisted on leaving immediately and I was unable to speak to the wise woman. I knew that she would be delighted her new ‘Oss had been successful and I missed their celebration. The wise woman enquired of my whereabouts and the traditional witch’s partner explained about my early departure.

Image - Café Press

Image – Café Press

I contemplated her performance on our journey to Kent. The mask she wore was similar to the one worn by the Phantom of the Opera in the musical.  I was often 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 troubled pasts. I wondered why 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. 

31. Other Realms

The kittens were mischievous and demanded a lot of attention.  Their constant suckling concerned me as it bruised the abdomen of the black and white kitten. The veterinary surgeon assured me it did not cause harm and the habit eventually ceased when they began to explore the outside world.

I frequently travelled to Tintagel visiting the artist and his fiancée. We received an invitation to their Handfasting at Samhain. The event began with a personal ceremony attended by a few close friends and family at St Nectan’s waterfall. A second ceremony for all to attend was held at King Arthur’s Halls during the afternoon. 

King Arthurs Halls Tintagel. Image - Cornwalls

King Arthurs Halls Tintagel. Image – Cornwalls

This is a fabulous building and cool in temperature, so many guests wore coats during the ceremony. Guests from the faerie festivals wore pointed ears and fantasy costumes. The bride’s family were conservative in their attire and I wondered what impressions they received regarding the other wedding guests. I had befriended one of the ‘fairie’ women previously who introduced me to the world of the ‘fey folk’ by inviting me to a faerie ball during the summer at The Acorn Theatre in Penzance. 

discover-cornwall

As we climbed the narrow winding staircase inside the hall faerie’s wings became tangled as they passed one another and required assistance to free them. 

After the hand-fasting ceremonies were over, the wedding party assembled at Tintagel social hall for refreshments. 

Image - Wikipedia

Image – Wikipedia

It was a small building with little room for all the wedding guests to assemble, however it was a dry sunny day and many stood outside admiring the landscape.

Image - Geograph

Image – Geograph

The evening celebrations were held at Boscastle village hall which was a larger venue. A renowned band performed and the groom who was a rock guitarist brought along his instrument to join them, My son met his first serious girlfriend at this event who lived in Norfolk. It was a fabulous day and there were many friends who contributed their talents towards the wedding in some way.

The day after the Handfasting I was to perform another seasonal closing ritual at St Nectan’s waterfall. My friend with the ‘Merlin’ image had volunteered to assist me and we arranged to meet  at Camelot Castle hotel. When we arrived he informed me the ‘powerful’ witches who attended the Handfasting refused to attend the closing ritual as the circle was apparently not closed down correctly after the Handfasting ceremony. They believed this oversight had allowed negative energies to enter the space. Hearing this from people who were allegedly strong and powerful witches surprised me. My Merlin friend was reticent about assisting me, but I refused to allow their opinions to change our plans. 

Image - Tripadvisor

Image – Tripadvisor

As we set up the space at the waterfall I sensed his anxiety so I performed a cleansing to settle the space which put him at ease. About 40 visitors attended and I had prepared a written ritual. I lit the candles so that we could read the words and they were in deep glass containers but were constantly distinguished by the breeze. I then decided not to use the written ritual and we worked instinctually. Each visitor lit a candle of remembrance and called out the names of loved ones who had passed into the spirit world. We meditated on the meaning of the season and connecting with our ancestors. The ritual was successful and again the owner received positive feedback. My Merlin friend was pleased he participated and I was blessed to have those opportunities to work in such a beautiful place.  

Living in St Columb could be lonely at times. An elderly man who lived nearby noticed my magical charms in the porch and windows of the cottage. He stood on the opposite pavement laughing for a while before he continued his walk each morning. I could not understand why nothing seemed to be happening after our efforts to get to Cornwall. I consulted the powers that be about my bewilderment but I nowrealize that in Cornwall the word “dreckly” is significant…..as everything moves at a slower pace. However in November of 2008 there was a shift……..

Wellington Hotel Boscastle. Image - Haunted Rooms

Wellington Hotel Boscastle. Image – Haunted Rooms

I attended my first Friends of the Witchcraft Museum A.G.M in November 2008. I yearned to attend these for years and living locally made this possible. The venue was the Wellington Hotel in Boscastle in the upstairs function room. My son and I arrived a little late and sat upon a large settee at the back of the room. Professor Hutton provided a talk on the cause of witch hunts and past executions. The majority of these were due to petty arguments, scapegoating and jealousies within a community. It highlighted how frequently members of communities could turn against others. My son enjoyed the talk as it contained some humour and lightheartedness that was necessary for a particularly sombre subject.

During the lunch break my son and I visited the Museum. The entrance was locked and we stood outside looking through the windows. The owner arrived and invited us in to look around. He left us alone in the Museum as he had work to do and requested that we check the door was closed on leaving. It was wonderful to be trusted in that way and surreal spending time alone in the Museum as the energy there was quite different.

In late November I received an unexpected telephone call from the partner of the traditional witch. She asked if it would interest me to train as a Teazer for their Penzance ‘Obby ‘Oss. I knew of the ‘Oss as I observed the stages of its creation during my visits to their cottage. Apparently the original Teazer had performed for seventeen years and as she was close to retirement age an eventual replacement would be required. The traditional witch’s partner thought me ideal for the role as I was Pagan, had been a Morris dancer with a reputable team and had a high level of fitness. I would be required to dance with the ‘Oss in the streets of their local town and as I had missed Morris dancing, it sounded a similar pursuit. When I agreed to try she explained that she would let the wise woman and she would contact me. I paused and thought about what I had heard, then asked her if it was THE wise woman who would train me. When she confirmed it was, I thought she may not wish to train me as I may have upset her on the dance floor at the Conference the previous year. The traditional witch’s partner assured me the wise woman was not upset but I was unconvinced.

After the phone call I sat quietly digesting the conversation. I had hoped to get to know the wise woman for some time and attempted contact by emails but did not receive an answer. I assumed it would be difficult to find her and she also seemed the type of person who could be unapproachable. Maybe the powers that be had brought her to me instead. The next challenge would be how to handle her phone call…………

30. A New Life

I missed my husband when he commuted to London but resisted the urge to contact him as it would give credence to my mother in law’s assumption.

Newquay Beach. Image - Cornwalls

Newquay Beach. Image – Cornwalls

My son cultivated new friendships and enjoyed a summer at the beaches and learnt to surf during the warm summer days.

I had not discovered anyone in the village who shared similar interests and spirituality.  I missed the friends I had in Kent.  My husband had turned my dream into reality by moving to Cornwall and it took a period of six weeks before I grew accustomed to his commuting. I arranged to return to Kent for a visit at Yule.

I received a birthday card from my mother in law. She signed the card with her name instead of ‘Mum’.  It seemed she was to distancing herself from me, even though we had never been close. She attempted to put us off our move to Cornwall voicing her concerns about radon gas, but we had researched this matter and found that the dangers of it are in properties that are sealed with no ventilation.

I performed a solitary full moon ritual in August 2008. I was still uncertain about the reason I had moved to Cornwall, but felt the  ‘calling’  most of my life.  I loved Pendle cottage, but it soon became apparent that this particular area did not have a spiritual community. I asked the Gods to reveal the reason I had the ‘calling’ to Cornwall.

Newquay Town. Image - Daily Mail

Newquay Town. Image – Daily Mail

Newquay was 7 miles away and the atmosphere of the town was rather like Southend.  It is an ideal place for nightlife as many ‘stag’ and ‘hen’ parties frequent the town. When I ventured into town the energy was intense and my visits were short.

Image - Zoopla

Image – Zoopla

My son formed a band with his friends, they wrote songs together and practised regularly in the garage.  One evening as I glanced out of the window I noticed the boys run out of the garage. Apparently they observed an object move which frightened them.

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On one occasion my son studied his college work in his bedroom and as he raised his head he saw a man at the top of the stairs watching him intently. I heard a loud ‘thud’ when my son was startled by this. He described him with a dark beard and long hair wearing a cloak and he also watched him disappear. I sensed the spirit was involved in the building of the cottage and was its guardian.

Image - Sykes Cottages

Image – Sykes Cottages

During my domestic chores in the ‘galley’ kitchen, I often felt a presence which moved from the dining room into the kitchen. I spoke about this to the previous owner, who had also experienced it during her time there. The kitchen was an extension on the back of the cottage built in the 1980s and the dining room door was once the back entrance. At night I heard the murmur of voices and laughter as if I had a room in a crowded inn. There were no public houses in the area and the village was quiet at night. When my husband was home, he drank a small glass of whisky and felt strangely intoxicated. He later felt unwell and we wondered if it had anything to do with the energies of the inn (or kiddlywink) that affected him. Wikipedia explains the meaning of Kiddlywink: 

Kiddlywink (sometimes spelt kiddleywink) is an old name for a Cornish beer shop or beer house, which became popular after the 1830 beer act. They were licensed to sell beer or cider by the Customs and Excise rather than by a Magistrate’s Licence which was required by traditional Taverns and Inns. They were reputed to be the haunts of smugglers and often had an unmarked bottle of spirits under the counter.) 

I received an invitation from the priestess of the Bodmin moot to attend an open full moon ritual with her coven on a lunar eclipse. It was held at a coven member’s home, a beautiful Georgian farmhouse with large sash windows. The spacious kitchen contained a large aga and wonderful stone floor. The house was also used for moot gatherings. We began the ritual in the lounge and the priestess requested I invoked the elementals of the south. Her way of working was similar to the Alexandrian method., the words for The Charge of the Goddess were identical and the words for blessing the libations were evocative. Two of the female coven members seemed a little reserved and one treated me as though I were a beginner, but I enjoyed working alongside the priestess. The eclipsed moon appeared from behind the clouds just after the ritual and we assembled in the garden to admire her.

Truro College. Image - What Uni

Truro College. Image – What Uni

By September 2008 my son began his term at college. He felt alone at times as many of the students there knew one another at school, but there were other students from other areas. Apparently he experienced some hostility from young Cornish men who referred to him as a “gangster”  from the London area. 

Lemon Street Truro. Image - rightmove

Lemon Street Truro. Image – rightmove

I applied for work in Beauty Therapy and was employed by a salon in Truro.  My qualifications were compatible with the salon’s requirements and surprisingly I was also qualified to deal with the brand of products they stocked. The owner was pleased with my holistic treatments particularly Reflexology. I discovered on my first day that the journey to work was a problem. Although it was only 12 miles away from my place of residence, it took an hour due to horrendous traffic going into town and the all day car parking fee was expensive. The French owner who interviewed me introduced me to another therapist.  He informed us both that his wife, who was joint owner of the salon, was away on compassionate leave. The first day was  extremely busy and as we had no receptionist we were given a quick explanation on how to use the reception computer system. Payments from clients, sales of products, all client records and appointments were dealt with by computer. Fortunately the manager dealt with reception duties that day. I also had no experience of the latest equipment provided in the salon and there was no time to practice before clients arrived. When I arrived on the second day the owner informed me that he was unwell and advised by his G.P. to return home. This meant that my colleague and I were running the salon. The other therapist began working at the salon the previous week which meant we were both inexperienced. The owner’s wife appeared later that day just after my unsuccessful attempt at an eyebrow wax on a client using the latest equipment.  I had no experience of small wax rollers and had no time to practice. The owner’s wife was a large formidable looking South African woman. She took the client back into the treatment room and repeated the treatment for her. After the client left the owners wife spoke aggressively to me. I explained the situation and she reluctantly produced a pot of warm wax and spatulas to use, but insisted I practiced with the rollers. I was relieved that she did not stay long and my colleague informed me that previous therapists did not stay long due to the owner’s aggressive attitude. They had also left the running of the whole salon to two inexperienced therapists. I heard about another colleague who was also a Reiki practitioner and holistic therapist. I looked forward to meeting her and was relieved to hear that an experienced therapist would be with us the following day. I returned home utterly exhausted and told my husband all that had happened. He thought it an appalling way to run a business and totally unfair on their employees. 

On the third day I met the holistic therapist and we had interesting conversations about various therapies and Reiki. She kept a variety of crystals in her treatment room for use on clients and had worked in the salon for 4 years. She knew the salon procedure well and even though this day was a huge improvement on the last two, I heard about the owner’s wife and why this therapist had decided to leave. She told me of a time when she was unwell and desperately needed to return home and the owner’s wife blocked the doorway to stop her. After hearing this and other incidents, I decided I could not continue at the salon.  I was also informed that I would be expected to travel to London for the latest training courses on the latest beauty equipment and finance this myself. I could not afford to do so on such a low wage. 

Neck of Corn. Image - Jungle Botanica

Neck of Corn. Image – Jungle Botanica

We received an invitation from the traditional witch and partner to attend an Autumn Equinox celebration in Penzance.  The revived celebration was known as Guldize and it was the first one. We joined the procession in Chapel Street holding lit torches and followed the band. The traditional witch walked at the front holding a large ‘neck’ of corn and her partner was the photographer. We arrived at one of the old town pubs full of colourful antique artefacts from ships. We congregated upstairs in the function room where members of the community had brought a variety of vegetables for auction. An older man who had few teeth and long hair was rather comical and made suggestive comments about the phallic shaped vegetables as they were auctioned. Three elderly ladies from the Cornwall Society  were giggling like schoolgirls. He raised a huge radish and I immediately bid for it which created laughter from the onlookers. My son performed on his keyboard and other musicians played folk music.  I enquired about the wise woman and discovered she was away that weekend.

The traditional witch and partner invited us back to their home after the event and her partner showed me photographs she had recently processed of the wise woman. She explained that the wise woman felt a little subdued that day and not in the mood to pose for photographs, but agreed after a little persuasion. The wise woman looked into the camera lens and I could see in her eyes that she was unhappy. This was a different side to her from the outgoing personality I experienced at Conferences and it intrigued me. The traditional witch’s partner told me a cloud of smoke appeared from nowhere and the wise woman was not at all surprised as there were many unusual occurrences in her cottage. The conversation ended there and I did not feel it appropriate to ask too many questions. I continued to observe the blue eyes of the wise woman that conveyed so much that was locked away. It would be a challenge to get beyond the barrier and courage would be needed when one discovered what was really there…….

29. Moving to Cornwall

My son and I visited the local folk festival to see members of our former Morris team before our move. The members were surprised at how much my son had grown within the 6 years since we last met. We visited some other friends too and a Reiki student took me out for a farewell lunch in an Italian restaurant.

Bartellas. Image - Tripadvisor

Bartellas. Image – Tripadvisor

We had a delicious meal and she also surprised me with gifts she had purchased with her friend for our new home.  I knew that I would miss her most of all as we had been through a lot together during the past four years.

My husband, son and I met with friends from the London Pagan Conference for a meal. One performed as a lead vocalist of a band at various events and occasionally I joined them as a ‘backing vocalist’. His wife accompanied him along with another male friend who attended the Cornwall conference. The Pagan female singer also joined us at the restaurant. It was a fabulous evening and at times such as these one realizes how important genuine friends are.

My husband purchased a transit van for the gradual transportation of furniture to Cornwall during our visits and we accomplished this without help from friends or family. On the 12th June 2008 my son completed his final GCSE examination while we were packing remaining items and cleaning the empty rented property. After collecting him from school, we began our final journey with two vehicles full of our belongings. My husband drove the van and I followed in our car. During the journey there were occasions I was alone (as my son spent time in each vehicle) and I had time to contemplate many things. I contemplated the fact I was moving far away from my family, but as I had no contact with them for years it would make no difference where I was.  I also thought about the wise woman and my living in Cornwall may provide the opportunity to discover more about her. I sensed that getting to know her would not be easy as she once explained to me that she had a different sense of humour to most and her outlook was different from other Pagans  The only information I had about her was during her talk about the wise woman work and I did not remember much of that due to other distractions.  My vision of a wise woman had been completely different and her image did not fit my expectations at all. I had believed too many fairytales and expected to find an elderly woman residing in a cottage deep in the forest working solitary. I was on the threshold of discovering whether any of this were true.

After 6 hours of travelling, we arrived at Pendle cottage just before 10pm, tired and relieved to be there. One of our neighbours stood at the gate to welcome us, he was an elderly man in his 80s who had lived in the village all his life. He was fond of Pendle cottage as he passed it daily on his way to school as a young lad. This man was a feisty little Cornishman with mischievous blue eyes and his wife much younger than he. They regularly participated in fund raising for  cancer charities as their previous partners had passed away from this disease.

Belgravia Police Station. Image - Mainstream News

Belgravia Police Station. Image – Mainstream News

I settled in the cottage during the months that followed, but still found it difficult to adjust while my husband commuted to London. He would travel by motorcycle and had parked his transit van in the underground car park beneath the police station. He supposedly slept in the back of the van during the 18 months he worked there; apart from occasions when colleagues were on vacation and asked him to stay in their properties. My friends intimated that he could easily have an extramarital affair without my knowledge as he was so far away, but I understood that was a projection of their own insecurities. My husband worked twelve-hour shifts each day and the time passed quickly for him.

Image - Kempo UK

Image – Kempo UK

My son and I attended local karate classes taught an elderly man and his middle aged wife.  I had hoped they were spiritual and would teach this aspect with the martial art. After attending classes for a while the Karate master developed an attraction to a young Ukrainian girl who attended classes. She seemed to reciprocate and he was flattered, but when she discovered he was not as financially astute as she had hoped, it did not last. He was also a former military man and proudly related horrific stories about his time at war. He thought students should be trained to kill as well as defend and in these classes we were taught some precise and different karate moves.

My son achieved excellent exam results and was accepted by Truro College. Although he was excited about his new life, I was unaware at the time of how much he missed his friends and life in Kent.

178-p-jSix weeks after our move we purchased two kittens from the RSPCA. We were notified that six kittens were brought in after their mother abandoned them on a football pitch so we visited the kennels to see them. All six were given names beginning with F. Flynn was a black male who had bright alert eyes and spiked fur on his head. He was lively and the one for me. We observed the other kittens and Frankie a black and white male sat at the glass door calling to us. His cute expression ensured that we chose him and I re-named them with unusual surnames of witches.  The black kitten suckled the black and white one who behaved  more like a mother towards him due to early separation from their own mother.

Saltash. Image - Play Tojsiab

Saltash. Image – Play Tojsiab

I attended a summer solstice ritual the Bodmin moot group had arranged. One of the members owned some land at Saltash.  I was unfamiliar with that particular area of Cornwall so I followed a Priestess in her car and she assured me that it was difficult to lose your way in Cornwall. The ritual was beautiful and I was asked to participate reading the “Charge of the Goddess”. As I did so it reminded me of the time I spent in my former coven as the priestess had read this many times. My son was given the role of the Oak King who battled with the Holly King symbolizing the changing season. The priestess was an initiate of another priestess who attended the ritual, but resided in the Northern region of U.K.  The moot Priestess and I got on well together which surprised her as she had observed that high priestesses were usually ‘aloof’. I had similar experiences with priestesses in the past and her own high priestess was no exception as she looked ‘down her nose’ at me and questioned my training as if to test my knowledge. I observed the moot priestess as she set up circle and performed the ritual.  I enjoyed being part of the group without having to lead.  After the ritual was over, a picnic was arranged and I contributed home baked cheese and thyme bread which was enjoyed by the group, but unfortunately we left early due to my son’s severe pollen allergy. We were in a field on a hot sunny day and his eyes began to swell accompanied by constant sneezing so I removed him from the field to relieve the symptoms.  The journey back was not difficult and all roads were well sign posted.

Our new life and adventures had just begun.