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.
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!
It was a pleasure to visit Michelle once again atMMW Revolver in Newquay to provide a Spring Equinox workshop. After a long winter and bitterly cold weather, celebrating the Spring, looking forward to brighter days and warmer temperatures was needed to lift the spirits.
We were welcomed by Michelle with a glass of Prosecco, she had also provided Italian lemon bread, chocolate cake and seasonal eggs. We had arrived a little early and it was a good opportunity to browse the interesting items in the shop. The egg-shaped wax candles gave a seasonal glow to the room and Cassandra purchased a sea salt candle.
The workshop began with Cassandra Latham Jones speaking about the symbolism of the season. She included the views of Christianity and Jews that have their unique way of celebrating Easter and calculating the Equinox as a moveable feast. She also spoke about the fertility symbolism of hot cross buns, rabbits, hares and the eggs. At the end of the talk she allowed time for questions and these give an indication of how each person interprets the season and aspects of the talk that resonated with them.
I had arranged for the group to decorate hard-boiled eggs while focusing on future projects that would be born in Spring along with new hopes for themselves and their families.
The food colouring when applied to the eggs seemed to have a life of its own as intriguing patterns and shapes transformed each one.
Our photographer John Isaac was accompanied by his twin daughters who enjoyed participating in the seasonal activities under his supervision.
I provided yellow candles for each person to carve symbols upon while focusing on their hopes and projects.
A small cauldron was then placed in the centre of the table containing potted daffodil bulbs.
Each person lit their personal candle and I guided them through a short meditation using visualization of their hopes and projects springing to life with all the plants and flowers of the land.
It was a wonderful evening and members of the group returned home with their decorated egg, carved candle and instructions for using them at home.
We thank Michelle for her excellent hosting and recommend a visit to her fascinating shop when you visit Newquay.
Our guise team Boekka had a wonderful time at our yearly visit to Chepstow meeting the fabulous Mari Lwyds and friends once again. This year the temperature was a little warmer without the frost of 2017.
We arrived on Friday and spent the evening in the atmospheric bar of the historic Greenman Backpackers Hostel. A warm welcome awaits and the staff made a concerted effort to ensure their customers were comfortable and content.
Mike who owns the hostel is also a member of the energetic Widders Morris and organizer of the Wassail event. This is an extremely busy weekend for him.
The programme for the day began earlier this year as the Maris met outside the Greenman Backpackers Hostel before processing to the castle. They performed their usual banter and song to gain entry to the hostel and participated in traditional song as their voices echoed with the marvelous acoustics in the basement of the ancient building.
My ‘Oss Morvargh’s debut was at this event, receiving a copious amount of attention and admiration. Our good friend Phil Larcher, rider of the Mari Lwyd complimented me on Morvargh’s decoration which is praise indeed from one who has a strong connection with the spirit of the Mari, her primitive energy and history.
The procession through the town was downhill, but with the weight of an ‘Oss, a slow and steady pace is needed for the riders when walking through the wet cobbled streets.
After the procession we gathered for the Wassail by the ancient castle. We had a little time for preparation to bring out the Lands End ‘Oss Penkevyll. Her rider this year was an extremely fit and muscular Welshman and his family were delighted to see this. He was a tall man, so Penkevyll had the best view of the event above the crowd.
We enjoyed performances by Widders Morris and Styx of Stroud. Morvargh danced to the music and I had a wonderful ‘work out’!
During the Wassail at Chepstow castle, Penkevyll remained on higher ground as the ground was extremely muddy due to a copious amount of rain in the days leading up to the event.
After the Wassail we made our way to the Chepstow Castle Inn where a Beauty Pageant had been arranged for the Maris. Penkevyll could not join us for this as she was too tall to enter the building.
Morvargh received a huge cheer from the audience on appearing and many journalists required information about her and how the ‘Oss connects with Cornish tradition. We informed them that owning an ‘Oss or a ‘beast’ has become a trend in recent years as many new ones have appeared in Cornwall. Penkevyll however was one of the first in West Cornwall after Penglaz in Penzance.
There were 21 Maris and ‘Osses in attendance this year, 10 more than last year. Even though the Beauty Pageant was arranged and each Mari or ‘Oss received a rosette they are so uniquely beautiful it would be too difficult to choose a winner. All of them were winners that day and a credit to their owners with the obvious hard work that had gone into their creation.
It was time for the meeting of the Welsh and English on the Old Wye Bridge by early evening. A projector screen was erected this year so that those who could not join us on the bridge were able to watch the ceremony. Boekka decided not to take our ‘Osses to the bridge as we took time out to enjoy this part without distraction. My apprentice Teazer had done a fabulous job assisting with Penkevyll and Morvargh during the day so we had earned the freedom to enjoy the atmosphere.
Scarlet certainly has the wild mischievous energy required for being a Teazer.
Our good friend Jason Semmens held our Cornish flag and did an impressive job of displaying it beside the Welsh and English flags.
After the bridge ceremony we arrived at Chepstow Museum for the Maris to once again sing their traditional Pwmco and gain entry. The handler of Mari Pontypwyl offered my apprentice Teazer the opportunity to guide her Mari into the Museum and I followed on as a guide. Earlier in the day Scarlet also had the opportunity to ride one of David Pitts smaller ‘Osses so it was an event full of new and delightful experiences for her.
The Chepstow Wassail event is a long and active day, but we enjoyed every minute. Team Boekka worked well together and I would like to thank Cassandra, Scarlet, our rider and John Isaac (who captured some fantastic images) for all their hard work.
The All Hallows Dark Gathering 2017 event in Boscastle was significant for me. I have trained and performed as a Teazer alongside Cassandra Latham Jones since 2009 and it was at Chepstow in January this year she passed her ‘snapper’ to me along with the position of main Teazer.
At this event I guided Penkevyll and stood alongside her while the Wassail ceremonies took place. The meeting on the bridge is a little more energetic as Penkevyll accompanies the Maris to meet the approaching English from the opposite side at the centre of the bridge.
St Pirans festival in March invites Penkevyll and Boekkato take part in their procession at Redruth. The procession is uphill and extra energy is required here while Teazing and interacting with the crowd along with keeping an eye on Penkevyll’s antics.
The All Hallows Dark Gathering in Boscastle is now a popular event. During the afternoon I build energy by moving to the tribal music played for the Morris dancers (I find Beltane’s music extremely powerful) and connect with spirits of place on land and sea at the wondrous harbour of Boscastle.
This year I also rode my Sea ‘Oss Morvargh during the afternoon accompanied by John and Sue Exton with their new Mari Seren. Dancing with Morvargh is also an ideal warm up for the Teazing of Penkevyll. Mole, the Squire of Wreckers Morris invited Morvargh to dance alongside his Morris band while they performed a dance about the sea. We worked well together and the audience enjoyed it immensely.
It was then time to return Morvargh to her stable and change into my Teazer kit. I prepared Penkevyll with the assistance of Cassandra and our rider. The procession led by the Maris made its way through Boscastle and the wonderful sound of throbbing drums signalled the appearance of Penkevyll.
Our space was rather restricted this year as Mr Fox had their fire display equipment in the space. Penkevyll danced and interacted with the crowd until we observed the flaming torches of the procession.
We welcomed the Maris before guiding Penkevyll into the Museum for the Pwmco ceremony.
During this performance I was observed by my new apprentice Teazer. Gem is in her 30s and has a good connection with Penkevyll. She also understands the Cornish energies and has an enquiring mind with welcome experience in the performing arts. I look forward to her progression.
This year I sang the Cornish Pwmco alone while Susan Exton sang the Welsh version. I had no time to drink water after the energetic Teazing and this affected my singing as my throat was rather dry. Susan and I thought the Pwmco went better than expected, particularly as she had little notice of this with Vivien’s sudden illness.
The Mari’s stayed within the entrance hall of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic while blessing the property, as the corridors and stairs are difficult for taller ‘Osses to negotiate. After the refreshments of beer and cake, I guided Penkevyll outside to watch the fabulous performance of Mr Fox. There is a deep primitive energy about them which suited our event.
After Sarah Emery’s beautiful song, it was time for Cassandra, Michelle and I to invoke the spirits of place with our bullroarers. Will Fox from Beltane Morris delivered a wonderful speech about the meaning of Samhain followed by a blessing.
All participants worked hard, the cooperation and friendship of all concerned imbued positive energies into the All Hallows event of 2017. A fabulous start to the new Celtic year.
There has been a considerable amount of rain this October accompanied by winds of Ophelia and Brian stirring up the seas in West Cornwall and creating spectacular scenes. The winds assist the trees in disrobing their dead leaves reminding us that we too, need to shed all that no longer benefits us.
The darker time of year beckons and the presence of our ancestors can be felt. We are nearing the end of the Celtic year and our thoughts turn inwards to the spiritual and physical changes within ourselves and how they will affect our destiny. We can plan our future to a certain extent, but life is unpredictable and the ‘topsy turvy’ energies, particularly in Cornwall, can turn our well-made plans on their heads and life takes us in a completely different direction.
It was a wet and misty day today when Cassandra and I visited Lamorna late in the afternoon, to purchase our pumpkins. A local resident grows, nurtures and sells them on the boundary of his property. The following image is one that I captured the previous year during drier weather.
Our journey to Lamorna valley is a wonderful experience as we pass the Merry Maidens stone circle that today was shrouded in mist. There were ‘walkers’ enjoying the atmospheric weather and silhouetted figures around the stones that added to the mystique!
Lamorna woodland is particularly glorious at this time of year, with its autumnal colours, crisp fallen leaves and the mist swirling around the trees.
The sublime scenery adds to the pleasure of each journey and deepens our connection as the seasons change.
As we prepare for our forthcoming Samhain celebrations, I send you all good wishes and hope the new Celtic Year will reflect back to you all the energy and intent you have sent out to others.
The summer of 2017 provided hot weather during the month of June. July and August were surprisingly cooler with a considerable amount of rain. The corn we gathered for the construction of dolls had a different texture from the previous year as some of the farmers harvested their crop early due to the moist weather.
We had a busy summer work-wise and spent time contemplating our ‘harvest’ from our projects throughout the year.
Our group met during the evening of Lammas to construct dolls and Brigid crosses.
We ventured into the local fields of St Buryan to build a fire and burn our old corn dolls and crosses. It was a beautiful moonlit night with hardly a breeze and as each member of the group placed their corn in the fire, we had time to reflect on the year that had passed, sacrifices we made and the lessons or rewards we gained from them.
The flames and embers from a fire are rather hypnotic which provide an ideal setting for scrying, as many moving shapes are formed by the dancing flames and smoke.
Conjuring and drawing energies from the fire and the earth below, the moon and the sky above, with an awareness of elementals observing us along with the ancestors, creates a powerful potent energy to work with.
There was no better way to celebrate the harvest of our creativity throughout the spring and summer of 2017.
A fantastic Samhain weekend is over and the Celtic new year begins. It marks 20 years of my personal spiritual path. This path is entirely different to the religion I was raised to believe. The excitement of my first awakening to a new spirituality will remain a prominent memory as I put aside the indoctrination of the past and summoned the courage to explore another.
I received a warning from a renowned Pagan in London to watch out for “space cadets” and take my time finding the right path. It was an exciting period of my life, eager to acquire as much knowledge as possible and experience everything!
During the early days I worked alone and the rituals I performed were beautiful and very familiar to me. After a year of personal study I took the step of self initiation. This was the most important step during my development, a private dedication between myself and the powers that be.
After experiencing the energy one person could raise within a magical circle, I contemplated working with a group. I replied to an advertisement from the Pagan Dawn wishing to recruit new members for an Egyptian group. It was a different way of working and the energies raised were considerably strong. I met other members of this group who became constant friends.
Between attending groups I also taught friends how to perform ceremonial rituals.
Venturing into the Morris dancing world with a Kent team introduced me to members of Wicca. I became a member of a Gardnarian group and the rituals were happy joyful occasions. The group would meet at my place of residence and there I learnt how to set up a group altar and prepare a larger space.
After leaving this group I was initiated into an Alexandrian group that worked with Egyptian deities. The training and rituals were well structured and it was during this training I discovered that the Wiccan path began during the 1950s. This was disappointing as I had been searching for ancient ways rather than a modern belief system.
I replied to an advertisement for new members to join a Traditional Cornish group before moving to Cornwall. I applied with a view to becoming a member of the group after a few years of correspondence and visits. I moved to Cornwall during my 13th year of development and met Cassandra Latham Jones in 2009 and eventually I found what I had searched for. It is easier to connect with spiritual energies of land and sea here than within the surrounding areas of London. There are however some beautiful sites in Kent such as the Coldrum Stones that were just a few miles away from my home there.
Moving into a new community is not as easy as one thinks. Genuine people are few, but when you do find them, they are of great value. Others can be suspicious and territorial. If they decide to dislike you, nothing you can do or say will change their minds. I have learnt that it is not always important to a community how talented one is if they are not associating with the “right clique” or born in the “right place”. Some allude to a birth connection with Cornwall to feel more accepted, but I am proud to be a Kentish Maid.
When one is talented at their craft, they can meet interesting and genuine like-minded people who show support. Alternatively talent and success can bring groups of jealous detractors. Their aim is to project their own negative traits onto a mutually agreed person in order to make life unpleasant and drive them away. If one finds themselves in this situation, it is vital to remember that only a person that has something special about them that others covet, it will attract the detractors.
Cornwall has a variety of people. Some are genuine good- hearted souls who want to live a peaceful life and do what they can to help others without an ulterior motive. Some create a “fairy-tale image” and place more importance on the glamour but have a lack of any real substance or power. Some can use others under the guise of friendship for their own personal gain only to cast them aside when they are no longer useful. Some seek fame and fortune and will attempt to discredit others whom they view as a threat. I now believe the “demonic forces” some religions speak of are actually within the personalities of some who can use and abuse beliefs to feed their own egos and gain power over others. It is sad that a spirit being is often scapegoated to provide a distraction from a person taking responsibility for their own thoughts and actions.
When one focuses upon the positive aspects of life, the Cornish landscape and the ocean are wonderful. They are good for the soul and to see them daily is truly a blessing.
I am now accustomed to the seasons and changes of the atmosphere. As I walked to the village church one evening I was greeted by a beautiful crescent waxing moon and the star of Venus adjacent to it, bright and beautiful. Nothing tastes of the sea more than a raw oyster and fresh seaweed from the shore. To awake in the morning and see a murder of crows feeding from the field behind the cottage is wonderful. To sit on the beaches and cliffs listening to the music of the sea is divine.
Here in Cornwall, the beaches, coves, woodland, stone circles, holy wells, quoits and ancient buildings are all nearby. Focusing on these aspects of life reminds me of how blessed I am.
My 20 year spiritual path led me here and I have worked hard during this journey. This is where I will stay!
October is a significant time of year as Samhain approaches and the year comes to a close.
Our seasonal pumpkins are chosen with careful contemplation. The energies of these beautiful vegetables are extremely important, therefore locally grown produce is a must.
It was a yearly tradition to purchase our pumpkins at the Harvest Home auction hosted by the local public house. In the last few years the pumpkins have been few or at times been absent from these auctions.
We now have an alternative adventure. We travel along the winding lanes deep into the valley of Lamorna where a local resident sells his pumpkins at the threshold of his home.
A wonderful part of residing in a village community is that produce of other items are displayed outside one’s home along with a jar for payment. This shows trust and faith in people’s good nature and many would not consider abusing this provision. This creates positive energies for the season.
It is now time to prepare the vegetables, dust off the seasonal decorations and gather ritual items as we await the closing of a productive year.