Springtime and Sea Conjuring

We are now seeing the signs of Spring and during our journey to Sennen Cove I noticed the vibrant yellow flowers on the gorse and the white blackthorn flowers now in bloom along the hedgerows. The sun shone today, however the breeze still carries winter’s chill. Sennen cove car park was full and many people were on the beach either surfing, walking their pets or playing games with their children.

I had work to do for a client and on a beach as large as Sennen, it is easy to find an area where one can spend time alone. As I walked to my chosen area, a ‘seaweed besom’ welcomed me, so I grasped the handle and took it to the sea.

I connected with the sea spirits and awaited their response.

It was then time to work.

The circle is drawn for an ‘area of focus’ as the sea spirits along with the other elements naturally surround one with their protective energies.

I mix a special recipe for libations to the spirits.

There is constant communication with the sea spirits during this process.

The seaweed ‘besom’ works well on the sand.

It sweeps away anything no longer required and is then cleansed within the sea.

Just beside the working space lay a small mound of sea lettuce that I used as a garnish with my evening meal.

A productive afternoon. On my return home I received feedback from my client:

“Dear Laetitia

I felt transported during the hour. Still feel released and greatly revived. No going back now. Oddly, I feel free of karma. I hadn’t realised that was something that I wanted.

Thank you so much. A”

With thanks to wonderful Cassandra for her continued support and the photographs.

My Cunning/Folk Practitioner Apprenticeship from 2009

The 26th of January 2019 marks 10 years since I apprehensively walked the small gravel pathway leading to Cassandra Latham Jones’ cottage. I had an appointment to be interviewed for an apprenticeship as a Teazer of Penglaz the ‘Obby ‘Oss in Penzance. I did not realize Cassandra was also seeking someone to continue her community work as Wisewoman of St Buryan and this subject arose during our conversation. I volunteered to try both apprenticeships, as I had searched for the Old Craft throughout my spiritual journey.

The past 10 years have indeed been challenging in many ways and Cassandra warned me this would be so. During the first part of my journey I became involved in various spiritual practices and quickly discovered they did not resonate with me. This resulted in my departure from magical groups when the tuition did not provide the ancient connection I searched for.

Image John Isaac

It is essential to be robust emotionally in this work and there was no better person to test and teach me than Cassandra. She warned she would be a hard ‘taskmaster’ and this proved to be so.

I was born and raised within a strict religion (which has many traits of a ‘cult organization’) and this separated me socially from my local community. I had little knowledge of how communities developed and worked. I left the religion (shortly after leaving school) and moved to other locations, where I had minimal interaction within new communities.

It is vital for a Wisewoman to know her community and be approachable to members who may need assistance. The residents of St Buryan village were welcoming and I have learnt so much from living here since 2010. Communities are a ‘tribe’ or large ‘family’ who often have disagreements, but their deep connection and maturity enables them to resolve any disputes.

Image John Isaac – Graphics Chris White

Another form of our community work is through festivals and performances. Cassandra has been pleased with my ideas and inspiration, one in particular was the birth of the All Hallows Gathering. This came about after an arranged meeting with our wonderful Mari Lwyd community in Chepstow at the beginning of 2014.

The role of apprentice to someone renowned and respected within the Pagan community is something many Pagans fantasize and dream of. There are those who would give anything to have this position, so it was no surprise my path brought jealousy, competitiveness and feelings of entitlement from others. It seemed our acquaintances were happy about the situation at first, assuming that as Cassandra and I were so different externally, our working relationship would be short-lived. They may have hoped I would not have the ability to withstand the training but as the years passed and our working relationship was successful, the negative feelings surfaced. It became apparent that some hoped to gain the apprentice role by befriending Cassandra.

There were those who stated I was an ‘incomer’ and too new to the community to be chosen for positions as Teazer and Wisewoman. Others thought they had more of an advantage being Pagan and of Cornish descent. (I have never attempted to claim ‘Cornish descent’, I am proud of my birthplace in a historical part of Kent and do not create a false image to replace it as others have done.) Whatever their reasons for objecting, they showed no faith in Cassandra’s judgement and projected their negativity to add more obstacles to our path. I now understand why ‘Wisewomen of old’ worked solitary and did not socialize. Fortunately I 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 assist Cassandra by creating the Boekka Guise team when her role as Teazer in Penzance was no longer required. I designed new costumes and we created a new image for Penkevyll our ‘Oss. I choreographed dances and created new websites for Village Wise Woman (when former acquaintances took her previous site offline) and another website for Boekka (when a former member removed our site from the internet). I created my own website, a blog for Cassandra Grumpy Old Witchcraft, and media accounts for Cassandra’s Book Village Witch. I now maintain performance and business-promoting accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also organized Wisewoman 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 a wonderful feeling of achievement as we had not needed outside help but managed to accomplish these tasks between us. I also assisted her health-wise with a gentle fitness regime and suggestions on supplements and diet. I taught her Morris dancing that she successfully performed for seven years and enjoyed it, however she now tries to live her life at an easier pace.

At first when dealing with clients, I often asked Cassandra’s advice on her methods of communication. After 10 years of dealing with a vast variety of clients, 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. It is deeply satisfying knowing I have successfully helped others. This work is varied and unpredictable and each day brings a different challenge.

Being a Wisewoman is not an occupation one can ‘retire’ from as Cassandra has discovered. She still sees clients providing readings and consultations, 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 relating to power of the mind was another important lesson as this skill is essential in everything one does, particularly in magical work. The land and sea are abundant in power and harnessing its energies for one’s needs and desires is not easy. Creativity, curiosity and persistence can reap rewards from the Universe using the correct acquired knowledge. Awareness and desire is also essential along with willpower, knowledge and wisdom. To connect with the four powers: to Know, to Will, to Dare and to keep Silent requires the ultimate discipline.

Working within the Cunning Way and Folk Magic over the last 10 years has certainly been an adventure.

It has been eighteen years since I first read the book about George Pickingill – ‘The Pickingill Papers ‘ during my Alexandrian training, I felt a connection with the fascinating life of this intriguing ‘Cunning Man’ and eight years later the reason for this became apparent.

I enjoy ceremonial ritual and it has its uses, however the methods of Cunning/Folk Craft (for myself) give a stronger direct connection to the spiritual essence of land and sea, as the absence of ritualistic structure lessens distraction giving one’s focus more intensity.

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
Witchcraft Before Wicca

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 and expressed 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. Laetitia 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 what I would describe as a ‘roller-coaster’ and extremely challenging with drastic life changes, however I had the tenacity to continue. This has rewarded me with wonderful experiences within my work and performance life and I have met some fabulous individuals. I am intrigued to see what the next ten years have in store ….

Heart Sea Urchins

PZ I heard that many sea urchins also known as ‘sea potatoes’ had washed ashore on Wherrytown beach in Penzance last week. Today I harvested 10 of them.

Read my research on these fascinating creatures: Heart Sea Urchins -Jennifer Kennedy

Magical Uses and Symbolism

Sea urchin shell is called a “test”
See urchins, which are echinoderms, are a sun symbol because of their many spikes. The Celts called sea urchins “serpent’s egg”; a symbol of life-force and the primordial seed.

Sea Urchin — Teaches discernment and the art of underlying circumstances. Slow and methodical, it shows how to manoeuvre with tenacity and patience. Nothing is impossible when Urchin is guiding you. Care of your feet, physical movement and grounding properties hallmark Urchin’s meaning. Pay attention to the colour of the Sea Urchin for this will aid in understanding.

*SHEPHERD’S CROWN, SEA URCHIN: The fossilized shepherd’s crown, or sea urchin, is heart-shaped, with a five-pointed pattern on the top. It may have also been known as the glane-stone of the Druid’s. It was used to avert the evil eye and bad luck.

Read more about them: Sea Urchins

The Mystical Enchantment of Pearls

Some believe pearls to be the tears of the gods. Others thought them dewdrops filled with moonlight that fell into the ocean and were swallowed by oysters. Many people think of wild oysters ingesting a grain of sand as the foreign body which stimulates nacre production – this is a myth. Living in the sea, oysters are constantly ingesting and expelling sand and irritants.

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Only when something becomes lodged – like a piece of shell, bone, coral or parasite does the oyster start nacre production

Nacre is made of crystals of calcium carbonate aligned with each other so that light passing along the axis of one, is reflected and refracted by the other to produce a rainbow of light and colour.

A pearl is a natural gem created by a living organism. When a foreign object is introduced into a mussel or oyster the animal coats the irritant with a substance called nacre, the same material with which it makes it’s shell. Layers of nacre build up to make a pearl.

Read more here:

Pearl Lang

Magical Uses

As spiritual tokens, pearls are said to assist in calming and centering, as well as nurture your faith, loyalty, integrity and purity. They are also strong symbols of femininity, helping women connect with their “inner goddesses” and obtain the ultimate “feminine energy.” Perhaps most importantly, it is said that pearls have specific frequencies of energy vibrations which can re-balance deficiencies in the human body when they are worn, just like gemstones. Different gemstones are used for healing different parts of the body to create balance and provide relief, as pearls do.

Read more here:

Gaia

Talismans & amulets
Pearl is a talisman of arts, inspiration and spiritual perfection. It is also a feminine talisman.

Healing properties
It was believed that Pearl boosts sexual energy, strengthens visual acuity and heals ears diseases. It is beneficial for heart, lungs (against tuberculosis, asthma, chronic bronchitis), kidneys, urinary system and liver. Pearl possesses sedative and also laxative effect, neutralizes poison, lowers acidity, Pearl also raises sensuality. Pearl was believed to be the main ingredient of “immortality elixir”.

Magical properties
Pearl grants to its wearer extraordinary foresight, protects him from risky commercial transactions and from evil eye. Pearl’s magical properties depend on its colour: White Pearl brings freedom, Brown – wisdom, Yellow – wealth, Green – happiness.

Black Pearl– Animals: Black pearls are not suitable for use with animals.

Read more here: Jewels Empire

Ten Years in Cornwall

The 12th June 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of my move to Cornwall. The life I visualised here is completely different to the one I now have.

Living near the sea, you discover the elements of rain, wind and storms intensify. Cornwall may not be as cold as other parts of the UK (although our last winter was a harsh one) and frosts occur less here. The cost of living is rising everywhere, but in tourist areas, prices also rise during the holiday seasons and tourists pay the higher prices for the short time they are here, however residents are required to pay these high prices throughout the season. Work opportunities increase during the summer, but lessen in the winter when the cold weather means an increase in utility bills.

Taking a vacation in Cornwall is easier than living here. During a vacation you have free time to visit beaches and places of interest, but when one is trying to earn a living and survive, pleasure visits to beaches or sites rarely occur.

On a positive note I have enjoyed my work as Wisewoman throughout the last 9 years and learnt so much from Cassandra Latham Jones throughout this fascinating and testing journey. Working with the land and sea with their powerful unpredictable energies has been challenging as tests from the ‘powers that be’ are severe with obstacles constantly placed in one’s path. It takes strength of character and determination to overcome these and continue………as the spirits are saying ……..”how much do you want this???” Cassandra admits she has been tough with me throughout this time and admires my tenacity.  She also revealed there were others who in the past desired to learn from her but were unable to withstand the tests and tasks given.

My experience and training in ceremonial magic while in Kent has been useful for conducting Rites of Passage. Cassandra is happy to leave what she refers to as ‘arm waving’ to me for setting up a sacred space for ceremonies.

The consultations we provide together work well, the moment just before a reading while Cassandra connects with a client’s energies, I tune in to connect with spirit presences around them. While Cassandra shuffles the Tarot cards I provide the client with a description and any messages a spirit may wish to pass on. Cassandra then lays out the Tarot spread and on many occasions the same message has appeared within the cards giving the client double confirmation. I have witnessed many readings by Cassandra over the years becoming familiar with her cards and own an identical Tarot deck with the ability to also provide readings from them.

Property cleansing needs a huge amount of work, particularly when they are inhabited by a variety of residents over time,(more-so with period properties). The energies from traumatic events are absorbed within the foundations of these buildings and can have a profound effect on any future residents. In hotels and public houses/inns the energies can intensify and affect the smooth running of businesses. We have had many successful outcomes from this work.

Curse breaking is another area of intense work. Many clients consult us about this problem and Cassandra has a unique and powerful method for dealing with these that she has taught me.

Wart charming is a service that at first I was rather sceptical of, it was difficult to understand how it could possibly work. Even now I cannot explain it but have witnessed the success of this process with clients.

I have constructed many charms over the years and had a high success rate with fertility charms in particular. It delights me to think I have assisted in creating new life and brought happiness to others.

I continue to provide Holistic Services and have taught Reiki courses  which benefit clients greatly, particularly as this practice is more about spiritual and emotional development of the person rather than a complementary therapy.  I have assisted a wide range of clients including the terminally ill and also pet owners who work with stressed animals.

My Crisis and Trauma counselling services have also come to the fore as often clients are affected by religious cults and childhood abuse. They do not realize how past trauma can affect their everyday lives as adults, even though it happened long ago.

Walks with Wisewomen is an enjoyable aspect of our work as it enables us to visit and enjoy the sites with our clients. I have, over time learnt the folklore associated with them by listening to Cassandra repeating the information on each visit. We also find out more about our clients as we converse with them while walking to and from the sites.

Our: ‘Old Ways’ workshops have been successful during the last few years. I suggested hosting them and Cassandra was at first a little reticent, but as we had many inquiries about them, she agreed to try. The workshops have gone from strength to strength covering five subjects. We have met some fabulous people who experienced some extraordinary occurrences while they were with us. The preparation and workshops themselves are hard work but also energizing and satisfying on a deeper level.

I have learnt so much since being here and my main lesson is that life is indeed unpredictable. One can plan for the future to a certain extent but unforeseen circumstances can create sudden changes that can have incredible impact on one’s life bringing positive or negative outcomes.

I have also learnt that being successful in work and within a community brings rivalries, competitiveness and jealousy from some, who will then project dissatisfaction with themselves and their lives onto another. When a person experiences this level of pettiness it is vital to remember that these people, by their treatment of you, are validating that you are exceptionally good at what you do. If you were not successful or talented, negative people would not bother with you. When a person moves into a new community, they are on ‘foreign territory’ and therefore vulnerable to predators and bullies. There are however, genuine good-hearted people in a community who will do what they can to assist, especially if they were once in the same position themselves.

Cassandra Latham Jones falls into this category and has assisted me in so many ways.

I have integrated socially by attending festivals and utilising my talents as  musician and dancer.  I have also met some kind, thoughtful and talented individuals. The residents of St Buryan village have been particularly welcoming and now consider me part of their community.

My time here has  been  a catalyst of creativity as Cassandra and I, along with my son Rhys formed our: Guise team Boekka which features Penkevyll the Lands End ‘Oss. Our team has performed for 8 years and we have introduced: Morvargh my Sea ‘Oss as a recent addition. To top it all, my idea of Cassandra, myself and Penkevyll the ‘Oss, meeting Phil and Vivien Larcher and their Mari Lwyd at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic on Samhain 2014, has evolved into a fantastic event entitled:  The Dark Gathering!

Now that I have lived in Cornwall 10 years, I am no longer a ‘newbie’. The local community has witnessed how difficult it has been for me and the obstacles I have overcome. I am sure certain individuals could not have withstood or endured a fraction of what they have directed my way, but that is par for the course.  The positives far outweigh the negatives and I am still here…….

Beltane 2018

Its been a struggle for the season of Spring to fully emerge after an extremely cold winter. Lately we have had plenty of sunshine and temperature has risen but there is still a cool sensation from the breeze. The blackthorn blossom arrived late and the gorse flowers are also now in bloom.

Cassandra and I had an early Beltane celebration with our group at Sancreed Holy Well  illuminated by the bright moon just approaching its full phase. This day was also the 20th anniversary of my self dedication to the Gods after 2 years of study and practice at the beginning of my spiritual journey.

Cassandra built a small fire in a clearing close by the well and we indulged in a celebration of fertility,  acknowledging and accepting the power of our gender as nature’s gift from the Gods. The rite was enhanced by the moon’s rays shining down upon us.

We also jumped the fire sensing its cleansing and invigorating energy.

Each of us in turn visited the Holy Well and as I emerged from it the moon faced me shining her light into the deep entrance of the well. It was a sublime moment and yet again a bright moon accompanied me as it has on many significant occasions throughout my spiritual journey.

Our group returned to Cassandra’s cottage for feasting at the hearth.

Cassandra and I spent the afternoon of Beltane walking through St Loy woodland to see the bluebells. I deviated from the usual pathways exploring hidden areas amongst the trees. The closed buds on the trees and plants had heightened energy of bursting forth. Sensing this energy deepens our connection with this season of fertility.

After exploring the woodland, we arrived at the Cove. The incoming tide brought with it the wonderful aroma of the sea. Cassandra  rested a while and I climbed the huge boulders to sit by the sea for a time of contemplation.

On May Day ‘Team Boekka’ visited Padstow and had a fabulous time. Cassandra first took me to this event in 2009 when I began training as Teazer for Penglaz to show me an example of the energies Teazers work with, especially within this particular community. The knowledge and performance is passed down to each generation ensuring the continuity of the tradition. It was essential for my apprentice Teazers and our new Oss rider to also observe this.

It was an eventful Beltane and May Day. I leave you now with a popular song of the season sung by the wonderful Will Fox from the ultra talented Beltane Morris. May you all have a joyous Springtime!

Mermaid of Zennor

I have felt a close connection with Zennor from the first occasion Cassandra took me to visit Zennor Hill in 2009. We were there for the specific reason of my spiritual connection with the land. Whilst exploring the hill I was drawn energetically to the village of Zennor that was visible below the hill.

I then learnt about the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor and have already written about on this site. See Mermaid of Zennor

It was a delight to see the mermaid carving upon the side of the pew within St Senara’s church in Zennor.

The worn pew is tucked away in a side-aisle and shows the scars of over 500 years  constant use.

The curious carving of the mermaid has many interpretations from its medieval worshipers. Mermaids were a symbol of Aphrodite Goddess of love and the sea who held a love apple in one hand and a comb in the other. the quince (love apple) was later changed to a mirror which is a symbol of heartlessness and vanity. Medieval Christians viewed her as a symbol of the ‘sins of the flesh’. She was used to illustrate the two natures of Christ in the seafaring community as she was half fish and half human symbolizing that the Christ could be both divine and human. This resonated with the inhabitants of the region as their lives were intertwined with and dependent on the sea.

Read more here: Haunted Britain

Recently I visited The Healing Star in Penzance where they displayed a plaster cast of the Mermaid of Zennor by Rory Te Tigo. He left it in the shop hoping they could sell it for him. Each time I visited I was entranced by it, especially as there is little memorabilia of this particular mermaid. When I eventually decided to purchase it, Rory had collected the mermaid as he planned to display her at an event.  I contacted him and he kindly offered to make another for me over a period of three weeks.

Rory had the marvellous idea of producing a casting of the mermaid carving displayed in the Tinner’s Arms at Zennor and creates replicas of it using this method.

I am now the proud owner of a Mermaid of Zennor which is about the same size as the one in the church. Rory described in great detail how he created her, as you can see by John Isaac’s wonderful photographs Rory works with precision and achieves wonderful results. Her powerful presence graces our home and brings with her the blessings of the sea.

Two final images by John Isaac

To see more of Rory Te Tigo’s work visit his: website

Swiss Sea Enchantment and Divination Workshop

Wicca, Cassandra and I

Our 2017 spring and summer Old Ways Workshops began with one for twelve Swiss Pagans. We were unable to invite them all in Cassandra’s tiny cottage, so we hired the St Buryan village hall.

Wicca, a lovely woman who runs the: Swiss Museum of Witchcraft, arranged for her group to meet with us and translated the relevant information. Cassandra gave a talk on her life and work as a Wisewoman and I spoke about sea spirits, mermaid legends, elemental work and uses for seaweed, sand and other materials found on beaches.  I also explained magical properties of various sea shells, sea beans and mermaids purses.

Cassandra was asked to construct a few protection charms for the group to purchase at their workshop.

After allowing time for questions after the talks, we provided materials for them to construct personal charms. The unique designs they created and type of material they chose told us something about their individual personalities.

After blessing the charms we visited Boscawen-un Stone Circle to activate them with meditation and raising energy by dancing to the beat of a drum.

We visited Sennen Beach and watched the deep red sun in the sky as it descended over the sea. The group members live inland and rarely get an opportunity to experience wonderful energies from the sea in Switzerland.

Cassandra built a fire and we sat around it while discussing local folklore.

We sang chants by the shore to invoke the sea spirits and raise energy for casting spells with sea shells. We then returned to the fire for Cornish blackberry mead and saffron cake.

It was a wonderful workshop with a group of fabulous people. Despite the difference in language, our love of the Old Craft deeply connected us all.

Handfasting Celebrant Memories

Cassandra and I have been celebrants for many Handfastings since 2009.

We do our utmost to provide couples with the ceremony they desire and work closely with them leading up to the event.

A few years ago, we conducted a Handfasting ceremony for a young couple at St Loy woods. It was important to the bride that bluebells were in bloom for the occasion as they were also present when they first met.

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Ceremonies can vary in size and location, some have many guests, while others prefer a more intimate occasion with a few close friends.  When they are held in public locations, it understandably attracts ‘on-lookers’ whether it be creatures of the wild, ancient spirits of  land and sea or the human variety. My ceremonial training within the Alexandrian tradition comes to the fore at these times for setting up a sacred space to perform these rites.

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The image above is from one of our first Handfasting ceremonies at the Merry Maidens stone circle.  Only the couple and a handful of family members and friends were present, as they requested the ceremony at short notice. Chinese tourists passed the site on an open top bus and eagerly captured images of the occasion.

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Cassandra and I performed this Handfasting ceremony ( image above) in the grounds of a Mill house that was our place of residence in 2010. It was a wonderful warm October day with perfect ambiance amongst the trees and beside a small stream.

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This ceremony (see image above) had a medieval theme and was held at King Arthur’s castle in Tintagel. There were a few rain showers, however this did not dampen the wonderful celebrations at this ancient site. We were invited to a hog roast buffet in the King Arthur’s Arms and had a wonderful time.

Image - Mandy Raywood

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This ceremony (see images above) was held at Prussia Cove, the location where this lovely couple first met.  We were blessed with warm sunshine that day and working so close to the sea was an extra special experience.  A friendship developed between us and the couple after their ceremony and we visit them often. They now have two adorable children.

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Boscawen-un stone circle is a popular site for Handfasting ceremonies. This particular one was memorable as our ‘Obby ‘Oss Penkevyll made an appearance and performed with her Teazers from Boekka.

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Madron Baptistry was the venue for this Handfasting (see images above). A couple travelled 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 and a hog roast in the fabulous dining room.

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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 later, they revealed that they had conceived and they now have a beautiful daughter!

Image - Lee Searle

Image - Lee Searle

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 stay upright, so we kept them in a box and took them out when required. The bride’s veil attached to her hat was vertical most of the time and their guests were huddled behind the building to shelter from the force of the wind.  We were determined to continue and the wedding party kept their sense of humour. We were appreciative of the warm open fire in the First and Last public house after the ceremony.

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This Hand-fasting ceremony was held in the stunning Carn Glaze Caverns. It was for a couple who had invited a small family group.  The acoustics in the Caverns were wonderful as Cassandra’s bull roarer resonated over the rock faces. The echoes of the marriage vows could be heard all around the space beside a fabulous blue lake.

We conducted another Hand-fasting at this venue for a jolly couple. Their laughter is so infectious to all who know them. They 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)

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We were delighted to receive a visit from them recently and were pleased to hear they are both well and happy together.

These are just a few of the Handfastings we have taken on the role of Celebrants for and each occasion is special and unique in its own way.

To enquire about our Handfasting ceremonies, please visit the Contact page.

Sea Beans

Exotic to the eye, drift seeds, or “sea–beans” are actually seeds from common trees and vines that grow in the tropics. The beans fall from the parent plant, into streams and rivers, to drift with the ocean’s currents until being washed onto a shore thousands of miles from where they once grew. Floating in the sea by the thousands, only the hardiest endure long voyages on ocean currents which may finally bring them to rest on foreign shores. Sea–beans are known as symbols of good luck and longevity.

We provide polished (and occasionally unpolished) sea–beans to jewellery designers, collectors and beach-enthusiasts around the world. They are undrilled and not sold for growing purposes.

Sea Hearts

Sea Hearts

Sea Hearts are produced in huge, hanging bean pods, up to six feet long. Sometimes they are found with imprints and lacerations, caused by the teeth of fish and mammals during their voyage. They are impervious to salt water, even after floating in the ocean for several years.

These beans have been fashioned into all sorts of trinkets and useful objects. Sailors carried sea hearts as good luck charms to protect them from sickness and to ward off the evil eye. Seeds were sometimes cut in half, the contents removed and the woody seed coats hinged together. Hollowed out seeds were commonly used in Norway and Northern Europe for snuff boxes, match boxes and lockets. It is said that a sea heart (also known as fava de Colom) inspired Christopher Columbus to set out in search of lands to the west.

Quantity polished purchases will be matched for size and colour when possible.

Read more here:  Otherworld Apocethary

Saddle Beans

Magical Symbolism and Uses

Sea–beans are known as symbols of good luck and longevity.

Read more here: Bean Magic and Lore

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