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 on my dinner.
A productive afternoon. On my return home I received feedback from my client:
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.
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 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 Wisewoman of St Buryan, however this subject arose during our conversation. I volunteered to become a Wisewoman apprentice also, as the Old Craft had been ‘calling’ throughout my spiritual journey.
The past 10 years have indeed been challenging in many ways and Cassandra warned me that this would be so. During the first part of my spiritual journey I searched for something within various spiritual practices that did not resonate spiritually and resulted in my departure from previous magical groups when I discovered they did not provide the connection I sought.
Image John Isaac
It is essential to be robust emotionally when taking on this work and there was no better person to test and teach me than Cassandra. She warned that she would be a hard ‘taskmaster’ and this indeed proved to be so.
I was born and raised within a strict religion (which has many signs of a ‘Cult Organization’) that separated me socially from my local community, therefore I had little knowledge of how community life developed and worked. Even after I left the religion (which was not long after leaving school) and moved to other locations, I had minimal interaction within new communities.
It is vital for a Wisewoman to know her own community, as she would be more approachable to residents who may need assistance. The residents of St Buryan village have been welcoming and I have learnt a huge amount from living here throughout the last 9 years. Communities are a ‘tribe’ or large ‘family’ who may 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 is pleased with the ideas I have had and my inspiration, particularly with the birth of the All Hallows Gathering that resulted from an arranged meeting with some of 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 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 and maybe they assumed that as Cassandra and I were so different externally, the relationship would be short-lived. They may have hoped I would not have the ability to withstand the training and a few years on, when our 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 I was an ‘incomer’ and too new to the community to be chosen for positions as Teazer and Wisewoman, 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 showed no faith in Cassandra’s choice and projected their negativity with the intention of adding more obstacles to our path. I now understand why ‘wisewomen’ 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 assist Cassandra by creating our performance team Boekka when her role as Teazer in Penzance was no longer required. I designed new costumes and an image for Penkevyll our ‘Oss as well as choreographing dances for our performance team. I created new websites for Village Wise Woman (when former friends 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 accounts for Cassandra’s Book Village Witch. I now maintain performance and business-promoting accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Witchvox and Instagram. I also arrange 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 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 clients, I am now 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 Wisewoman 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 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.
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 hasnot 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 has been what I would describe as a ‘roller-coaster’ and extremely challenging with drastic life changes, but I had the tenacity to continue. This has rewarded me with some wonderful experiences within my work and performance life as and I have met some fabulous individuals. I am intrigued to know what the next ten years will bring….
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.
The weather in Cornwall has been fabulous, we have had constant tropical temperatures and sunshine for over a month now.
This weekend we welcomed a group of four people to our workshop. Two have attended workshops before, one had consulted us in the past for a reading and the other we met for the first time.
During out introduction evening, it is intriguing to listen to each person relate their life story and spiritual journey. This leads on to discussions of many spiritual subjects and at times these conversations can divert onto others. When this happens we gently guide it back to the original theme while at the same time we obtain helpful information about our group members.
It was too warm to light a fire in the hearth, so we lit additional candles on the threshold of the fireplace.
On Saturday I prepared the hearth and for this particular workshop I have the pleasurable task of searching through my sea shell collection in two large glass containers for various types of shells, pebbles etc. for discussion.
I was observed by Clutterbuck who reacts to the sound of clattering shells and knows that work is afoot when the hearth is prepared.
Cassandra took the group ‘back to basics’ on this occasion due to discussions from the previous evening and she explained the ‘four powers of the witch’.
The group were also given an exercise for focusing the mind. This exercise provides insight about each member of the group while observing the way they work and their reactions to it.
After this exercise they were each given a Tarot card to study and the opportunity to relate to the group what they see within the card rather than the meanings they may have read in Tarot books. This exercised their powers of observation and once again gave insight as to their development.
The group members were eager for the Sea Sorcery part of the workshop. We discussed the history of sea witchery, how they utilise the elements in their work as well as the hidden and unpredictable powers of sea spirits.
The group were fascinated by the discussion on shore life and the vast variety of sea shells, their uses around the home, worn by people as adornments and in charms and spells. I passed some of the shells around so each person can feel their energy and the ones that may resonate with them.
I introduced the concept of ‘mermaid’s purses’ ( cases for dogfish eggs) and how they are useful containers for ‘sigil’ spells.
We also discussed the vast subject of pearls. their production and their magical uses.
The group members were then inspired to begin their own shell collection.
On Saturday evening when the group returned to us they were shown by Cassandra how to construct Sigils. These were used by the group for their personal sea spells. They were given a choice between using a flat oyster shell or mermaids purses. We blessed their spells at the hearth and as the sun began its descent we visited Sennen Cove to work by the sea on a beautiful summer evening. Cassandra built a small fire and one of the group collected some sea water.
While Cassandra tended the fire I took the group out to the sea to connect with the sea spirits before our spell work.
Although they are hard work, the workshops are a pleasure to do and deeply satisfying. We hope that our group members have taken away useful information that will become a part of their spiritual journey along with some wonderful memories of the weekend.
“One of the best workshops I ever had; thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.” G.B.
“I’ve lived by the sea my whole life and always known it’s power, however this workshop showed me how to connect and give thanks to the spirits of the sea and the meanings of the objects from it to create charms and how these charms were used past & present. Laetitia and Cassandra are incredibly knowledgeable and giving, as were the other group members. It was an amazing workshop, we were blessed with great weather and a new moon. Thank you for an incredible weekend” C.R.
I attended the workshop on Sea Magic and have to say it was amazing. Living inland I never get the chance to do any sea work and have never understood how to use shells, tides. This was all explained by the workshop in the afternoon when Cassandra and Laetitia demonstrated how to make sigils and use them in spells. We were then given insight on the lore of the sea and how to use items found on the beach when spell working. This is my second year attending their workshops and I love them. N.W
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.
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.
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.
Talismans & amulets
Pearl is a talisman of arts, inspiration and spiritual perfection. It is also a feminine talisman.
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”.
Pearl grants to its wearer extraordinary foresight, protects him from risky commercial transactions and from evil eye. Pearl’s magical properties depend on its color: White Pearl brings freedom, Brown – wisdom, Yellow – wealth, Green – happiness.
Black Pearl– Animals: Black pearls are not suitable for use with animals.
On the 12th June 2018 it was the 10th anniversary since my move to Cornwall. The life I envisaged here and the one I now have are extremely different.
Living near the sea, the elements of the rain, wind and storms intensify. Cornwall may not be as cold as other parts of the UK (although the last winter was a harsh one) and frosts occur less here. The cost of living is rising everywhere, but in tourist areas, prices rise during the holiday season and holiday-makers pay these prices for the short time they are here, however residents pay the higher prices throughout the holiday season. Work opportunities increase during the summer, but lessen in the winter and the cold weather also means an increase in utility bills too.
Taking a vacation in Cornwall is easier than surviving here. During a vacation you have free time to visit beaches and places of interest, but when one is trying to survive, pleasure visits to beaches or sites rarely occur even though one lives in close proximity to them.
On a positive note I have enjoyed my work as a Wise Woman throughout the last 9 years. I have learnt so much from Cassandra Latham Jones and it has been a fascinating and testing journey. Working with the land and sea and its powerful unpredictable energies has been a challenge as tests can be severe and obstacles are placed in one’s path. It takes strength of character and determination to overcome these and continue………the spirits constantly present challenges as if to say……..”how much do you want this???” Cassandra admits she has been tough with me throughout this time and admires my tenacity. There are others who 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 when conducting Rites of Passage. Cassandra is happy to leave the – as she calls it – ‘arm waving’ to me when setting up the space for ceremonies.
The consultations we provide together work well, the moment just before a reading when Cassandra holds the client’s hands to connect with their energies, I tune in to any spirit presences that may be around them. While Cassandra shuffles the Tarot cards I provide the client with a description of a spirit presence and any messages they wish to pass on. Cassandra then lays out the Tarot spread and there have been many occasions where the same messages have appeared within the cards giving double confirmation for the client. I have witnessed many readings by Cassandra over the years and am now familiar with her cards, so I now own an identical Tarot pack and have the ability to 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 contained within the foundations of these buildings which can have a profound effect on any future residents. In hotels and public houses/inns the energies can intensify and can 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 concerning this matter and Cassandra has a unique and powerful method for dealing with these energies that she has passed on to me.
Wart charming was a service that at first I was skeptical of, it was difficult to understand how this could possibly work. Even now I could not explain exactly how it works but have witnessed the success of this process with our clients.
I have constructed many charms over the years and had a high success rate with them, fertility charms in particular. It delights me to think I have assisted in creating new life and brought happiness to others.
I still provide Holistic Services and have taughtReiki courses too which benefit clients greatly, particularly as Reiki practice is more about spiritual and emotional development of the person rather than a complementary therapy. I have helped a wide range of clients from the terminally ill to pet owners who now are able to calm their stressed animals.
My counseling services have also come to the fore as often clients are affected by childhood abuse and do not realize how past trauma affects their everyday lives as adults, even though it happened long ago.
Walks with Wise Women is an enjoyable aspect of our work as it enables us to visit and enjoy the sites with our clients. I have learnt the folklore associated with them by listening to Cassandra repeating the information on each visit. We also discover more about our clients as we converse with them while walking to and from the sites.
Our Working on the Wild Side workshops have been successful during the last few years. I suggested them to Cassandra who was a little reticent, but due to many inquiries about them, she agreed to try. The workshops have gone from strength to strength with a new subject introduced each year. We have met some fabulous people who experienced some extraordinary occurrences while they were with us. The preparation and the workshops themselves are hard work but also energizing and satisfying on a deeper level.
I have learnt so much since being here and the main lesson is that life is indeed unpredictable. One can plan for the future to a certain extent but unforseen circumstances can create sudden changes that can have incredible impact on one’s life bringing positive or negative results.
I have also learnt that being successful in work and within a community brings rivalries, competitiveness and jealousies 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. Genuine good-hearted people in the community 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 a 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 too as Cassandra and I, along with my son Rhys formed our Guise team Boekka with Penkevyll the Lands End ‘Oss. Our team has now performed for 8 years and we have introducedMorvargh my Sea ‘Oss as a recent addition. To top it all, my idea of Cassandra, myself and Penkevyll the ‘Oss, meeting up with Phil and Vivien Larcher with their Mari Lwyd at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic on Samhain 2014, has now evolved into a fantastic event entitled The All Hallows Gathering!
Now that I have lived in Cornwall 10 years, I am no longer a ‘newbie’. The local and Pagan community has witnessed how difficult it has been for me and the obstacles placed in my path. I am certain some 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…….
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 pf 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!
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.
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 marvelous 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.
To see more of Rory Te Tigo’s work visit his website
We had a wonderful time on our June Sea Magic workshop. Three adorable people attended who had been to previous workshops. The glorious weather enhanced the powerful energies we experienced that weekend.
During out introduction evening, members of our workshop discussed their personal spiritual journeys and as always, some interesting subjects were raised for discussion.
On Saturday afternoon Cassandra spoke about divination methods: Tarot, Astrology and Dowsing. It was enlightening to hear experiences from the group of various results they achieved by utilising these methods.
I spoke about the history of sea witchery, the local legends, sea spirits and using various objects: sea shells, coral, pearls, sea pods and mermaid’s purses.
Our visit to Sennen Cove was welcomed by the group after an intense afternoon of taking in so much information.
Morvargh’s presence was requested by one person and her energy blended well within our Sea Magic Workshop.
I later guided our group members to an area of the beach with fewer people, to connect with the spirits and cast spells that were prepared at the cottage.
It was then time for relaxation and contemplation by a small fire while watching the sun descend. How sublime!
It was a fabulous workshop indeed, with wonderful people and perfect weather.
“Feedback “It went too quickly….so much, and so many treasure chambers to explore.
The sea spell was the highlight, both the preparation and the casting. I felt free, not bound in any way. For me it was important the next day to sit for a while in a stone circle to come back to earth. The magic of the sea as a child returned and made much more sense.I would have loved to have spent more time on the tarot and astrology, but next time eh.
Enjoyed the saffron cake thank you very much.” A
“”Had a very interesting and informative weekend with Cassandra and Tia and two great people who attended the workshop. Cassandra went through Astrology which I am very interested in and tarot her knowledge is amazing. Then Tia explained about sea magic and the spirits of the sea and how to use shells in spells. The icing on the cake was going to the beach and releasing the spells into the sea and watching the sunset was Magical I highly recommend Cassandra and Tia’s workshop it’s not to be missed ” N
Our 2017 spring and summer Working On the Wild Side Workshops began with a workshop for twelve Swiss Pagans. As we were unable to fit them into Cassandra’s tiny cottage, we used the small room at 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 Wise Woman and I spoke about sea spirits, mermaid legends, elemental work and uses for seaweed, sand and other materials found on beaches. I also explained the magical properties of various sea shells, sea beans and mermaids purses.
Cassandra was asked to construct a few protection charms that the group could purchase at the workshop.
After allowing time for questions from the group, we provided various materials for them to construct personal charms. The unique designs they created and the type of materials they chose, gave us insight of their individual personalities.
After blessing these charms we visited Boscawen-un Stone Circle to charge them with meditation and energy raising dance to the beat of a drum.
We visited Sennen Beach and watched the deep red sphere in the sky as the sun descended over the sea. The group members live inland and sadly do not get a chance to experience the wonderful energies from the sea in Switzerland.
Cassandra built a fire and we sat around it discussing the local folklore.
We sang chants by the shore to invoke the sea spirits and raise energy for casting spells with sea shells. When this was done we returned to the fire for Cornish blackberry mead and saffron cake.
A wonderful workshop with a group of fabulous people and despite the difference in language the sister and brotherhood of the Craft deeply connected us all.