The latter half of summer had been rather busy for Cornwall and even though this was welcomed to help the economy, it also included some aggressive and thoughtless behaviour from many visitors. I can almost hear the land and sea breathing a ‘sigh of relief’ as summer turns to autumn and life returns to a more peaceful and slower pace.
Cassandra and I have been occupied with distant work for clients, however during August and in September we were able to see clients in person for socially distant readings, workshops and courses.
Autumn Equinox was overcast weather-wise, but it was dry which enabled Cassandra to venture out onto the land where she harvested local blackberries, apples and autumn leaves. Meanwhile I swept the hearth and prepared the fireplace, in preparation for our evening celebration.
We had time to bake a wonderful apple and blackberry crumble containing seasonal spices of cinnamon and cloves, before keeping an appointment with one of our clients.
We were given a wonderful opportunity by the new owners of Caer Bran Hillfort to bless their land. The following article has information about the site:
During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. Despite subsequent mining activities and the bisection of the fort by a later track, the Iron Age defended settlement, 330m south east of Caer Bran Farm survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, strategic importance, agricultural practices, social organisation, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement, situated at the summit of the prominent hill Caer Bran. The settlement survives as a roughly-circular enclosure defined by two concentric lines of defence, the inner formed by a rampart and ditch and the outer by an inner ditch, rampart, outer ditch and counterscarp bank. The defences survive differentially; the inner rampart and ditch are much slighter in construction than the outer defences, the rampart of which is up to 4.6m high. The outer defences survive best to the north. Within the interior are the low rubble walls of at least two stone hut circles. The best preserved is centrally located and measures approximately 16m in diameter. This hut circle and the fort have been bisected by a later track, and much of the interior has an irregular appearance caused by numerous pits and spoil heaps associated with mineral prospecting and extraction from the medieval period onwards.
Other archaeological remains in the immediate vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Our blessing ritual was simple, however it also had potency as we experienced positive reactions from the elements to our invocations.
The owners were keen to show us around the site particularly the quarry, where tangible energies of elementals and guardians were present. We were surrounded by wonderful autumnal colours and as we stood at the highest point of the site, even though the evening mist began to descend, we could see for miles all the wondrous landscape of West Penwith.
We returned to Cassandra’s cottage and enjoyed a well-earned rest by the hearth, discussing our experiences of the site while indulging in Cornish mead and warm home-made crumble.
We sat by a blazing fire enjoying a small, meaningful equinox celebration, toasting the ‘powers that be’ and hoping that the changing season will bring a positive outcome to the problematic situation we face. We also hope that communities will work together, caring for one another and our environment. This was a perfect end to an energetic equinox!
Spring Equinox 2020 marks the tenth anniversary since Cassandra Latham Jones handed her business of Village Wisewoman to me.
I had previously worked as a qualified holistic therapist and was therefore accustomed to dealing with clients, however with this alternative way of working, clients would be dealt with in a different way. The consultations providing guidance can be similar to counselling (in which I now possess a Diploma) as clients contact us concerning various dilemmas in their lives and we discuss appropriate methods or courses of action that may help them.
Cassandra has a unique way of working and has built a good reputation which means that she is a hard act to follow. I had been a Cornwall resident for only ten months when I began and local residents did not know me well, however I had adequate experience to provide the services required. Over the years I have settled into the village community by frequenting our local Inn, some of the church services and village events, as well as performing at local festivals in West Penwith.
In a short period of time I developed an organized correspondence system when dealing with clients. I have a selection of email folders for inquiries, readings, distant readings, spells, charms, handfastings, rites of passage, feedback, property cleansings, wart charming, wisewomen walks and workshops. Notifying a client concerning the list of items we require when working with them now comes naturally to me and I converse with the confidence that comes with experience. Cassandra taught me to do my own accounts, which is quite an easy task with a small business. I admire her for managing this considering she has ‘discalculia’, however it was less of a problem for me as I am good with numbers and nowadays modern technology lessens the burden of book-keeping.
I understand why the ‘code of ethics’ is necessary and it is wise not to cast spells for clients who desire to influence others against their will. These spells can have huge repercussions and there have been occasions when I witnessed the consequences when others have cast spells for selfish desires without forethought.
Learning the process of creating charms has been enjoyable and is reminiscent of past occasions when I used cross-stitch and crochet during my childhood and adolescence. I have the skills required for intricate needlework and the corresponding ingredients for each charm still holds a fascination as each one is unique to the client. For example, when I construct two fertility charms neither would be identical in appearance or their contents.
Another aspect where needlework skills come to the fore is in creating clothes for hearth dolls which inspired me to create more clothing for other dolls with an uncanny likeness and purposes. After observing this activity, Cassandra commented that my work with dolls is one of my outstanding talents.
I have witnessed many Tarot readings and I now know Cassandra’s Tarot cards well, therefore I have the ability to provide readings from them myself if she were unable to do so. The psychic impressions and messages I receive during a consultation compliment her readings and never fail to add to the advice given. Our distant readings for clients unable to visit have proven to be extremely accurate and given guidance and help to many all over the world.
The Handfastings we provide are fabulous occasions, we have taken on the role of Celebrants at wondrous sacred sites and other unusual venues. My past ceremonial training comes to the fore when setting up a sacred space although the words I now use have changed, with a deeper connection to the ancient land around us. We prefer that they couple are in a relationship at least a year before taking this important step, some have been legally married a considerable length of time and others have their spiritual ceremony with us and attend a registry office before or after our ceremony if they require the legal contract.
I would love to experience more of these ceremonies on the beach or by the sea which in my opinion adds to the romance of the occasion.
Our property cleansings are quite an adventure, from modern houses to period properties, cottages, hotels and public houses. The history and varied lives that people once led can leave residual energies that seep into the foundations of buildings and affect them in startling ways. The spirits of deceased owners can form an attachment with their former properties which they have difficulty in releasing. Some spirits are harmless and the present occupiers are quite comfortable with their presence, however there are others that can cause problems and require guidance and persuasion to move on.
I have experienced on many occasions the remarkable difference of energy and atmosphere within a property after the cleansing, during our return visits.
Spell casting is an exciting aspect of our work, particularly when a specific time is set for a client to work along with the practitioner. There have been occasions when the required result has occurred within 24 hours and also instances where a period of time has passed before reaching a successful outcome. Throughout this past year I have worked with one particular client casting many spells for an ongoing legal case and each spell produced a successful outcome for each stage of the process.
Our workshops have been successful as many are intrigued by the work we do and enjoy spending time with us to experience this.
We have met some wonderful individuals and had many fascinating discussions. It is also heartening to hear feedback on how the experience has changed their lives in a positive way.
I have learnt more information during our ‘Walks with Wisewomen’ as Cassandra repeats the folklore and stories of various sites on each occasion. She is delighted with the way our work has become ‘second nature’ to me. It is not an easy path and I have been severely tested throughout the years. Cassandra is also pleased with the way I advertise and network to reach more people who need assistance and that the business has grown considerably compared to the period of time when she worked alone.
So there you have it…..ten years of organizing and working within the business of Village Wisewoman. It is so important to have an occupation one enjoys that does not lose its fascination or become mundane!
I thank Cassandra for her patience and tuition over the last eleven years. Her methods are often unorthodox and there were times I did not understand them, or how it would benefit me, until I put this tuition into action. This scene from the movie Karate Kid is a good example of what I am referring to:
I look forward to the next ten years of becoming older and wiser as I continue assisting our community!
Cassandra and I were Celebrants for a Handfasting three days after the Spring Equinox. This occasion was particularly unusual, as the couple had discussed having a ceremony for some time and then the bride decided to arrange the ceremony as a surprise for the groom. This meant the preparations were not as straightforward as the ceremonies we were accustomed to.
The venue chosen was the ATV Centre in Blackwater near Truro. There is an area of woodland next to the race track where we were able to perform the ceremony. We arrived to set up the space during early evening while there was light and soon after that darkness fell.
To conduct a Handfasting ceremony in woodland on a dark evening can be quite a challenge, although lights were hung within the trees and one of the guests offered to turn on his car headlights.
The ceremony however went well and our excellent professional photographer John Isaac managed to capture some wonderful images in somewhat challenging circumstances.
We wish the lovely couple every happiness for the future.
“Hi guys it was amazing and a huge huge thank you for a wonderful evening and for recommending john he is such a great guy. All of my friends commented on what an amazing ceremony it was. Thank you so much for being so understanding and being so professional and carrying on with the ceremony despite the difficulties. As for the honey moon drink……
Thank you so much for an amazing event. ” D.E.
Cassandra and I have been busy of late with various events and work. Today we were asked to conduct a Handfasting at Boscawen-un stone circle. The couple decided to take this step to mark the 20th anniversary of their marriage. We met them at the All Hallows Dark Gathering in Boscastle and discovered that in some aspects of our lives there was a deeper connection.
The weather was dry and cloudy with a slight chill in the air of the imminent winter weather. It was All Souls Day and the presence of the ancestors could be felt within the stillness of the air.
As Cassandra spoke of the ancestors and spirit loved ones who witness the Handfasting rite, a murmuration of starlings flew over the circle.
A special thank you to our lovely neighbours Jackie and Lottie for assisting us and capturing some wonderful images of Kim and Tony’s special day. We joined the couple for a celebratory drink and a meal in our local St Buryan Inn.
“We simply cannot thank Laetitia and Cassandra enough for The Handfasting Ceremony they performed for us. We can honestly say that it was the most romantic, magical and memorable moment in our lives. Anyone who is considering “Tying The Knot”, look no further than Laetitia and Cassandra. From advice to reassurance, nothing is too much trouble. Thank you so much for everything that you have done for us. Wonderful, warm knowledgeable Wise Women xxx” Kim and Tony
Yesterday Cassandra and I had the pleasure of Handfasting a lovely couple at Logan Rock.
Walking over three fields and stiles carrying heavy bags of ritual tools was indeed an energetic workout for the day!
The forecast had warned of rain, the winds were high, but Cassandra and I have taken on the role of Celebrants in all types of weather so it does not deter us if the couple are happy to proceed.
We found an area with a flat surface for the small table used as an altar and placed large stones upon the altar cloth in order to anchor it while placing accoutrements upon it.
It was the first time we had Handfasted a couple while they were holding their son as he did not wish to be separated from his mother. He was well-behaved during the ceremony because he was fascinated by Cassandra.
There were heavy rain showers during the morning, but as soon as we began the introduction …as if by magic…. the sun appeared from behind the clouds and we had a dry ceremony!
The high winds gave Cassandra a challenging start with her bullroarer, but when she activated it, the strong sound resonated around the space.
The couple’s infant son took was curious about the procedure and while I anointed the couple Cassandra kept him amused by playing ‘peek a boo’.
The forecast of rain seemed to deter visitors that day and we had the space to ourselves. We also had plenty of room at the site for jumping of the broomstick.
We were pleased that all went well for such a warm and loving couple on their special day.
Thank you to Charlotte our neighbour for taking some wonderful photographs while she exercised their dogs with her mother Jackie. They enjoyed the ceremony and thought the vows beautiful and emotional.
It was not until were in the Logan Rock Inn that the rain showers returned. A satisfying and successful day and we wish them happiness for the future.
Here is the feedback we received:
“Our handfasting was a truly magical experience made all the better by Cassandra and Laetitia.
They made the lead up to the ceremony stress free and went above and beyond our expectations making the day perfect. It was a pleasure getting to know them and for anyone looking to have a Handfasting ceremony we would highly recommend them.
Thank you both again for all your hard work you gave us the perfect day we wouldn’t change a thing.” J&A
During the evening we met our dear friends Mike Chappell, Mark Lewiss and Craig Weatherill at the Queens Arms Botallack for a meal.
It is always a pleasure to see these wonderful ‘pillars of the Cornish community’ and we enjoyed a splendid evening.
We first met Karyl when she travelled here from the U.S. with a group of friends and arranged to join us for a Walk with Wisewomen two years ago.
On this occasion, she returned with her new partner Paul and requested a Handfasting. January has had frequent stormy weather, gale force winds and heavy hail showers accompanied by icy temperatures, so Karyl requested we conduct the ceremony within Cassandra’s cottage.
This is the 2nd occasion when a Handfasting has occurred within the cottage, the first happened many years ago when a couple from Denmark unexpectedly called upon Cassandra requesting an immediate ceremony, giving her about an hour to prepare.
Karyl had booked in advance, so our wonderful friend and photographer John Isaac captured fabulous images of the occasion. Karyl and Paul were accompanied by two good friends to witness the ceremony and offer support. It was a small and intimate ceremony before the larger legal wedding they had planned for May Day.
After an energetic 3 days at our local Mazey festival we were booked for a ‘Wise Woman Walk’ by a couple who also requested to be Handfasted at the Men an Tol.
We took them to Madron Well and Baptistry first where they enjoyed a hedgerow walk.
We arrived at Madron Well and while discussing the clouties, two men arrived and asked Cassandra questions about the history of the site.
Madron Baptistry is wonderful at this time of year with all the lush greenery of summer.
We were pleased to find no cattle present at the Men an Tol as it would have caused a problem regarding the Handfasting ceremony. The weather was perfect for our adorable couple.
Setting a sacred space at Men an Tol is a wonderful experience.
The couple loved the heartfelt words of the ceremony and their vows were full of emotion.
I bound their hands with the couple’s Handfasting cord while explaining the procedure.
It was then time to partake of the special honeymoon brew we had made.
It was indeed a privilege to Handfast this adorable couple and spend time with the land’s wondrous grounding energy after an energetic but fabulous weekend.
It was a wet and misty day at the Merry Maidens for this Handfasting ceremony. Cornish weather is unpredictable and in this type of work you carry on regardless. It is not always glamorous with perfectly posed photographs but extremely satisfying. The following photographs are by John Isaac.
This was the feedback we received:
“Can’t thank you enough for your amazing witchery, excellent crowd control, and the winning one liner of the day by Laetitia “tell them you’re a bit tied up at the moment” when the groom’s phone went off in his pocket during a crucial handfast situation. Cassandra said it would be memorable and it was, and you both played a very major part in making it so! To quote Lou Reed – just a perfect day! Thanks again. Will keep in touch.”
We enjoyed a wonderful day with a fabulous group of people…. and there is nothing better than praise from an experienced and wonderful wise woman on how impressed she is with my work.
Cassandra and I have been celebrants for many Hand-fastings since 2009.
We do our utmost to provide couples with the ceremony they desire and work closely with them leading up to the event.
We conducted a Handfasting ceremony for a young couple at St Loy woods. It was important to the bride that the bluebells were in bloom as it marked a special time of the year for them.
Ceremonies can vary in size and location, some couple invited many guests and others prefer a more intimate occasion with only themselves or they invite a few close friends. The ceremonies held in public locations understandably attract ‘on-lookers’ whether it be the creatures of the wild or the ancient spirits of land and sea, also in human form with passers by. The ceremonial training I have had within the Alexandrian tradition is useful when setting up the sacred space to perform these rites.
The image above is from one of our first Handfasting ceremonies at the Merry Maidens stone circle. Only the couple and their family members were present as it was requested at short notice, but it still resulted in a wonderful event for them. Chinese tourists passed the site during the ceremony on an open top bus and captured images of the occasion.
Cassandra and I performed this Handfasting ceremony ( image above) in the grounds of a Mill house which was our place of residence in 2010. It was a wonderful warm October day amongst the trees beside a small stream and the ceremony was magical.
This ceremony (see image above) had a medieval theme and the venue chosen by the couple was King Arthur’s castle in Tintagel. There were a few rain showers but it did not dampen the celebrations at this ancient site. We were invited to a hog roast buffet in the King Arthur’s Arms, so we joined them in their celebrations and had a wonderful time.
This ceremony (see images above) was held at Prussia Cove the location where the couple first met. We had warm sunshine that day and working magically close to the sea was an extra special experience. A friendship developed with the couple after the ceremony, we visit them often and they now have two adorable children.
Boscawen-un stone circle is a popular site for Handfasting ceremonies. We will always remember this particular one as our ‘Obby ‘Oss Penkevyll made an appearance and performed with her Teazers from Boekka.
Madron Baptistry was the venue for this Handfasting (see images above). A couple had traveled from France accompanied by their family. They stayed at Godolphin House where we later joined them for a sumptuous medieval wedding feast with copious amounts of champagne held in the fabulous dining room.
A couple from overseas had their ceremony at Sancreed Holy Well. They requested we purchase and decorate their broomstick in order to infuse it with fertile energy. Six weeks after the event they informed us that they had conceived and now have a beautiful daughter!
This ceremony ( see images above) was performed at the Sennen Coastguard look-out on a cold, wild and windy day! We attempted to place the altar accoutrements upon the table but they would not remain upright. The bride’s veil attached to her hat was vertical most of the time and the guests were huddled behind the building to shelter from the force of the wind. We were determined to continue and the wedding party took it all in good humour. We were all appreciative of the warm open fire in the First and Last public house after the ceremony.
This Hand-fasting ceremony was held in the beautiful Carn Glaze Caverns. It was for a couple who had invited a small family group. The acoustics in the Caverns were wonderful when Cassandra used her bull roarer and hearing the echoes of the marriage vows beside a fabulous blue lake.
We conducted another Hand-fasting at this venue for a jolly couple. Their laughter is infectious to all who know them. They also requested a performance by our ‘Obby ‘Oss Penkevyll and Boekka during their feast in the caves, along with a fire display team. (See video footage below)
We were delighted to receive a visit from them recently and were pleased to hear that they are both well and happy together.
These are just a few of the Handfastings we have been Celebrants for. Each and every occasion is special and unique in its own way.
If you wish to make enquiries about a Handfasting ceremony visit my contact page.