It was a cold wet morning on Saturday, although the afternoon brought drier and brighter weather as we arrived at the Village Hall to prepare for the workshop. Cassandra and I do not usually host workshops this late in the year but we had postponed them due to Covid 19 restrictions.
We had five attendees, two couples and a lady, so we spaced the chairs accordingly and laid out the practical items.
There are guidelines for use of the hall, keeping it ventilated with open windows, so the group wore coats for extra warmth during the afternoon. Our attendees were on different spiritual paths which sparked some interesting conversations between them.
Cassandra discussed certain aspects of the Dark Arts which led to many questions and gave a deeper insight into the group’s thoughts and opinions on this subject.
We discussed the use of Spirit Houses which prepared our group for the practical part of the workshop.
They were given a macramé framework and receptacle that fits inside it where they can place their chosen charms, crystals, pebbles or shells. Shiny beads and sequins strung together and strands of glitter thread can also be ties upon the framework of the structure. The group began to construct their spirit house and then took it home for completion in their own time. It is interesting to observe couples working on their creation together discussing ideas and preferences. It is also intriguing to see the work in progress and the varied interpretations of each one.
At the end of a productive afternoon, Cassandra and I returned to the cottage for dinner while the rest of the group visited the St Buryan Inn.
There had been a change of plan concerning the site we usually visit for this particular workshop, as space is limited for social distancing. On this occasion we visited Boscawen un stone circle and it did not disappoint, as the site was alive with spiritual presences.
We sat in a circle near the centre King Stone and I guided the group in a short meditation to connect with the ancestors of the site. I saw figures in the darkness observing us and even though it was a crisp, cold evening, many in the group felt warm energy as though they had positioned themselves beside a warm hearth. We spent time observing the clouds in the sky, that gently parted forming a triangular shape before they withdrew further to reveal a clear sky with myriads of stars. The large red planet of Mars could also be clearly seen as it shone down upon us.
The night was still and felt warmer than it had during the afternoon. We all felt quite comfortable within this peaceful energy and could have stayed longer, however it is wise not to outstay one’s welcome with the site’s spirit guardians!
We returned to the village hall for libations of Cornish mead and saffron cake. The infa-red heater provided an interesting glow to the room along with candlelight while we discussed the workshop, answered questions and compared experiences of our visit to the site. It seemed the group were reluctant to leave, particularly at this time as we are all limiting our social activities, as it felt good to have the opportunity to interact with others.
A pleasurable workshop with a wonderful group.
‘Darlene and I want to say a very big thank you. Everything you both said made sense and resonated with me, expanding my mind to new possibilities. Cassandra and Laetitia’s teaching method is down to earth and easy to understand. They are lovely warm people who know their Craft! Can’t wait for the next one. Shane’.
‘It was a pleasure to meet Laetitia and Cassandra. The knowledge and understanding they have on the subject is clearly vast and varied. It is clear that they both have a lot of experience between them. I found the workshop interesting and, enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the visit to the stone circle, and it is a place that I would love to visit again. We covered Curses and spoke about methods of protection and discussed deities/crossroad magic and decorated our spirit houses. Thank you both for a lovely day’. N.A.
Hi Laetitia and Cassandra
I really enjoyed the dark arts workshop. I found your teaching down to earth and It was good that you encouraged us all to talk about our own experience and answered our many questions. I especially enjoyed walking to the sacred site with you at night, the beauty of the landscape and feeling the ancestors near was heart warming. We had a lot of laughs too, it was good to sit with a drink afterwards. I’d definitely like to join you both again. JM
Spring Equinox 2020 marks the tenth anniversary since Cassandra Latham Jones handed her business of Village Wisewoman to me.
I had previously worked as a qualified holistic therapist and was therefore accustomed to dealing with clients, however with this alternative way of working, clients would be dealt with in a different way. The consultations providing guidance can be similar to counselling (in which I now possess a Diploma) as clients contact us concerning various dilemmas in their lives and we discuss appropriate methods or courses of action that may help them.
Cassandra has a unique way of working and has built a good reputation which means that she is a hard act to follow. I had been a Cornwall resident for only ten months when I began and local residents did not know me well, however I had adequate experience to provide the services required. Over the years I have settled into the village community by frequenting our local Inn, some of the church services and village events, as well as performing at local festivals in West Penwith.
In a short period of time I developed an organized correspondence system when dealing with clients. I have a selection of email folders for inquiries, readings, distant readings, spells, charms, handfastings, rites of passage, feedback, property cleansings, wart charming, wisewomen walks and workshops. Notifying a client concerning the list of items we require when working with them now comes naturally to me and I converse with the confidence that comes with experience. Cassandra taught me to do my own accounts, which is quite an easy task with a small business. I admire her for managing this considering she has ‘discalculia’, however it was less of a problem for me as I am good with numbers and nowadays modern technology lessens the burden of book-keeping.
I understand why the ‘code of ethics’ is necessary and it is wise not to cast spells for clients who desire to influence others against their will. These spells can have huge repercussions and there have been occasions when I witnessed the consequences when others have cast spells for selfish desires without forethought.
Learning the process of creating charms has been enjoyable and is reminiscent of past occasions when I used cross-stitch and crochet during my childhood and adolescence. I have the skills required for intricate needlework and the corresponding ingredients for each charm still holds a fascination as each one is unique to the client. For example, when I construct two fertility charms neither would be identical in appearance or their contents.
Another aspect where needlework skills come to the fore is in creating clothes for hearth dolls which inspired me to create more clothing for other dolls with an uncanny likeness and purposes. After observing this activity, Cassandra commented that my work with dolls is one of my outstanding talents.
I have witnessed many Tarot readings and I now know Cassandra’s Tarot cards well, therefore I have the ability to provide readings from them myself if she were unable to do so. The psychic impressions and messages I receive during a consultation compliment her readings and never fail to add to the advice given. Our distant readings for clients unable to visit have proven to be extremely accurate and given guidance and help to many all over the world.
The Handfastings we provide are fabulous occasions, we have taken on the role of Celebrants at wondrous sacred sites and other unusual venues. My past ceremonial training comes to the fore when setting up a sacred space although the words I now use have changed, with a deeper connection to the ancient land around us. We prefer that they couple are in a relationship at least a year before taking this important step, some have been legally married a considerable length of time and others have their spiritual ceremony with us and attend a registry office before or after our ceremony if they require the legal contract.
I would love to experience more of these ceremonies on the beach or by the sea which in my opinion adds to the romance of the occasion.
Our property cleansings are quite an adventure, from modern houses to period properties, cottages, hotels and public houses. The history and varied lives that people once led can leave residual energies that seep into the foundations of buildings and affect them in startling ways. The spirits of deceased owners can form an attachment with their former properties which they have difficulty in releasing. Some spirits are harmless and the present occupiers are quite comfortable with their presence, however there are others that can cause problems and require guidance and persuasion to move on.
I have experienced on many occasions the remarkable difference of energy and atmosphere within a property after the cleansing, during our return visits.
Spell casting is an exciting aspect of our work, particularly when a specific time is set for a client to work along with the practitioner. There have been occasions when the required result has occurred within 24 hours and also instances where a period of time has passed before reaching a successful outcome. Throughout this past year I have worked with one particular client casting many spells for an ongoing legal case and each spell produced a successful outcome for each stage of the process.
Our workshops have been successful as many are intrigued by the work we do and enjoy spending time with us to experience this.
We have met some wonderful individuals and had many fascinating discussions. It is also heartening to hear feedback on how the experience has changed their lives in a positive way.
I have learnt more information during our ‘Walks with Wisewomen’ as Cassandra repeats the folklore and stories of various sites on each occasion. She is delighted with the way our work has become ‘second nature’ to me. It is not an easy path and I have been severely tested throughout the years. Cassandra is also pleased with the way I advertise and network to reach more people who need assistance and that the business has grown considerably compared to the period of time when she worked alone.
So there you have it…..ten years of organizing and working within the business of Village Wisewoman. It is so important to have an occupation one enjoys that does not lose its fascination or become mundane!
I thank Cassandra for her patience and tuition over the last eleven years. Her methods are often unorthodox and there were times I did not understand them, or how it would benefit me, until I put this tuition into action. This scene from the movie Karate Kid is a good example of what I am referring to:
I look forward to the next ten years of becoming older and wiser as I continue assisting our community!
Cornwall has had some lovely warm summer days of late and two wonderful lively young men from Chicago had planned to visit and asked Cassandra and I if we would consider hosting an extra workshop for them. We were previously acquainted with them when they accompanied us on a Wise Woman Walk to Zennor Hill in 2018.
We advertised an extra workshop and received bookings from two ladies who also joined us that day.
Jason and Arkie are eager students, they love the world of herbs and potions and they have also opened their own retail outlet selling occult items in Chicago. They were staying in Boscastle and enthusiastically related their visit to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, particularly the artifacts there that caught their attention and sparked their interest.
Both ladies are residents in Cornwall and the group connected and worked well with one another.
All of the group members love the Cornish landscape and Cassandra’s discussion on the spirit elementals of the land fascinated them. After receiving knowledge on the subject and having their questions answered, it was time to take the group out to a local woodland to meet and connect with the elemental spirits.
They were given a meditation exercise to heighten their awareness before they were instructed to explore their surroundings.
Each member of the group relates an experience different from the others as each person is unique and has their own interpretation of the things they have observed.
When we met in the evening, I guided the group through a process of creating a protective space before we began trying different methods of communication. I explained psychometry, hauntings, spirit mediumship and we all related spiritual experiences we have had during and after loved ones had passed away.
The group members received excellent results with their psychometry, they surprised themselves with the accuracy of their impressions on certain items totally unknown to them.
The group also attempted scrying with a black mirror and spent some time experimenting with a Ouija communication board. Not everyone is comfortable about using these boards which is not surprising when they have a bad reputation from certain horror occult movies. On this particular evening all group members tried this method.
Each person finds a method of communication they feel particularly connected to or what works for them.
During the final part of the evening we shared libations of Cornish mead and Saffron cake while discussing the weekend. It was indeed a pleasure to spend time with such a wonderful group of people. I’m sure our paths will cross again!
“Hi Laetitia and Cassandra!
What a whirlwind the last few days have been! Such a pleasure to see you both again. Thank you so much for the time, effort, and energy you put into the Spirit Connections workshop. Arkie and I learned so much from it. We’ve already started talking about locations in Chicago we can go to practice our stone meditation and we plan on working more on our psychometry skills this week! We’ve made it a personal goal to attend each of your workshops so we can’t wait to see what else you have in store!” J.F.
“Firstly i would like to thank Laetitia and Cassandra for creating this wonderful workshop which allowed us to gain an insight and deeper understanding of what it is to work with the spirit world. Within the welcoming atmosphere of the wise woman’s cottage, it was great to discuss and learn from each other our different spiritual paths and our own experiences of the spirit world. We all gained a lot of knowledge from Cassandra and Laetitia about types of energies and how there are many ways to connect with them. Our walk to a special site with Cassandra allowed a peaceful time in which we were taught how to focus deeply within a setting in order to be more aware of our connection to the things around us. During the evening we were given opportunities to try out ways in which to connect to the spirits. My favorite practice we used was Psychometry, even though it was my first time doing this i found it particularly fascinating. Thank you Laetitia and Cassandra for a fantastic experience i will definitely be joining you again for another workshop.” C.N
“It was so good to meet you all last weekend, I think we were lucky to get such a nice group, even though we are all pretty different! I enjoyed the whole experience and particularly how important it is to have that space where we can speak openly about our beliefs, experiences and personal practice, Its so rare to be able to do this for someone who is not involved in the ‘community’. I loved that we could ask you both anything and get a sensible answer! I loved the ‘down-to-earth’ energy of it all, but that’s a big part of why i chose to come to you in the first place I suppose.
To give some more precise feedback, I would say that the visit to the grove was good – particularly as there was helpful (practical) advice from Cassandra on best practice for working in this realm. The evening work with the Psychometry was also good and lovely that there was no feeling of judgement or competition – its quite nerve wracking to try this sort of exercise for the first time so the last thing you need is added performance anxiety! I (like many others I’m sure) have a lot of resistance to the idea of Ouija board work – just from the all the years of bad stories etc etc, made this exercise too difficult to get in to. Overall it was really helpful to get a taste of the different practices along with the wisdom that actually these are things that also require work and practice – like any other skill. When I think back over my years with horses and the times I’ve had the strongest connections and done the best work – its always been those times when i was really immersed, working at it every day and seeking and experimenting and being truly dedicated, I’ve no doubt that the work of witchery is the same…. I would love to be able to attend another of your courses (particularly charm/amulet -making, i think you do one?) It’s so hard to find teachers you can feel like you can trust in this sort of stuff, people with both deep and long experience who are at the same time warm, approachable and fun- i feel lucky to have had the chance to meet you both! With warmest wishes and gratitude. H.B.”
I had heard of events such as ‘Gong Baths’ and other healing therapies that utilize sounds vibrations, but had not attended one until yesterday.
Our lovely friend Angie Latham along with her husband Dougie and fellow sound therapist Anthony, invited us to a Sound Healing Journey within the Merry Maidens stone circle. As we travelled along the lane, we could see the stone circle in the distance and the sunlight reflecting off the impressive large gongs that stood in the centre.
We were well prepared with blankets, pillows, coats and our drums to join in with the rhythms. Angie welcomed Cassandra and I with a warm embrace as we had not seen one another for a while, due to life’s unexpected occurrences.
Other people arrived and we were all admiring the wonderful instruments on display.
I felt drawn to the quartz crystal bowls and looked forward to hearing them, Angie explained that their vibration connects to the higher spiritual energy centres of the body. As a healer and someone who has hosted psychic development circles, I know this method is of benefit to people involved in psychic development and spiritual practices.
Angie’s Beautiful Gong creates a wonderful calming vibration.
Anthony explained how the gong on the right is tuned to the Mercury vibration connected to the throat energy centre. As a therapist I am aware that this would be ideal for communication problems and physical throat conditions. The lower gong on the left is attuned to the vibration of Venus and connected to the energy centre of the heart. This would help with many aspects of emotional problems and physical heart ailments.
Here is Anthony.
Angie seemed much happier and more content now she has found her ‘soul purpose’. It is obvious she enjoys this work which benefits her and those who attend her events.
Angie asked Cassandra to speak to the group about the history of the Merry Maidens circle so they could connect with their surroundings. When everyone had settled, we were instructed to lie down and relax.
Cassandra was well prepared.
As we relaxed, the deep earthy sound of the gong resonated around us. I was aware of someone walking their dog through the site and the animal was disturbed at first by the sounds and barked for a while. He soon settled down to the deep vibration. We were lying there for over an hour and even though the ground was hard, there were times when I felt my body was not touching the earth at all, particularly when the sounds from the quartz crystal bowls began. As well as sounds from gongs and bowls, rattles and chimes were also used.
I have meditation CDs at home for daily practice and I recognized many sounds that day which activated the Reiki energy that I work with.
When the drum beats began, our bodies slowly came out of the relaxation and we rose up to join in with the drums. All the people around us were smiling and enjoying their individual experience. We created a good rhythm, some were listening and others drummed and danced while the sun slowly descended on a beautiful day.
When it was over, we invited Angie, Dougie and Anthony to join us for a well deserved drink at our local Inn to toast Anthony’s birthday and a update which was long overdue.
I am so pleased I attended this event and highly recommend it to anyone who is considering attending. Thank you so much Angie, Dougie and Anthony.
For more information go to Sacred Earth Sound Therapy
A relevant article featuring George Pickingill a fascinating cunning man.
Today the popular image of witchcraft in the mass media and in books and magazines is largely defined by ‘Wicca’, a form of neo-pagan witchcraft created by a retired English civil servant called Gerald Brosseau Gardner (1884–1964) in the 1940s. It is now established worldwide as a post-modern, ‘nature religion’ with a spiritual emphasis on Goddess worship. Modern witchcraft, however, did not begin with Gardner and it has a hidden history before Wicca. This history has connections with the famous occultist Aleister Crowley and also with Australia.
From the 1800s onwards there were several revivals of witchcraft in Britain based on historical precedents. These forms of pre-Wiccan witchcraft are variously known today as traditional witchcraft or ‘Traditional Craft’, the ‘Old Craft’ or ‘Elder Craft’, the ‘Sabbatic Craft’, ‘The Nameless Arte’, and ‘The Crooked Path’. There is also plenty of evidence from historical sources, folklore accounts, court cases and, later, newspaper reports in Britain, of the activities of ‘cunning folk’ and other practitioners of folk magic. In popular terminology and belief they were variously known as ‘white witches’, ‘wizards’, ‘sorcerers’, conjurors’, ‘pellars’, ‘planet readers’ (astrologers), and ‘hedge doctors’ (herbalists). These magical practitioners operated widely in both the rural and urban areas of the British Isles and they were consulted by all levels of society from farm labourers to the owners of large country estates.
These cunning folk or ‘white witches’ offered a wide range of services to their clients. They were popularly believed to possess the Sight (the ability to foresee the future and events at a distance, now called ‘remote viewing’ by parapsychologists), exorcise ghosts and banish spirits and poltergeists, cast spells to attract love and money, locate lost or stolen property and missing people using divination or by consulting spirits, and heal the sick using the ‘laying on of hands’ or herbal remedies. Most importantly, as far as their clients were concerned, they could counter the malefic spells cast by so-called ‘grey’ or ‘black’ witches. In some cases the cunning man or wise-woman acted for the general population and the authorities as unofficial witch-finders. However, all types of witches were believed to be able to cure and curse, hex and heal.
Although there are obvious similarities with some of the modern magical practices carried out by Wiccans, most of the methods and techniques used by the old-time witches bear little resemblance to those used by the neo-pagan witches who appear today in the press or on television. Often the cunning folk practiced dual faith observance and the charms, amulets, prayers and incantations they used invoked Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Trinity and the company of saints. Psalms were used for magical purposes as spells and they still are in some modern traditional witchcraft circles. With the coming of the new religion of Christianity and the suppression of ancient paganism, objects such as the cross, saints’ medallions and even holy water were widely used by folk magicians because they were believed to possess ‘virtue’ or magical energy and had inherent healing power.
Read more here New Dawn Magazine
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 within various spiritual practices and quickly discovered they did not resonate, which resulted in my departure from previous magical groups when the teachings 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 traits of a ‘Cult Organization’) and this separated me socially from my local community, therefore I had little knowledge of how community life develops. Even after I left this religion ( shortly after leaving school) and moved to other locations, I had minimal interaction within these new communities.
It is vital for a Wisewoman to know her own community and become more approachable to residents who may need assistance. The residents of St Buryan village have been welcoming and I have learnt so much 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 my ideas and 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 working 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 of Cornish descent 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 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 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….
Yesterday Cassandra and I joined five psychic readers and healers at Sennen Cafe, Bar and Bistro. Debbie and Aleisha were fabulous hosts ensuring their readers were comfortable and had water at the table in stylish glass bottles.
We arrived at the venue by 3.30pm to prepare our area before the clients arrived at 4pm.
Cassandra Latham Jones and I provide Tarot readings and Spiritual Counseling
Jackie provides readings and healing
Katie provides readings
We have worked at this venue on a few occasions and each event has been extremely busy. Five hours providing fifteen minute ‘taster’ readings is intense. We had a thirty minute break for refreshments after working for two and a half hours and then continued readings until 9.30pm. It was also good to see Lorna selling some of her stock from The Healing Star in Penzance.
There are certain things that clients need to understand when receiving readings particularly with mediumship. The spirit connection may not always be with the spirit loved one they expect to hear from. A reader will relate the information received and cannot select a particular spirit with which to communicate.
If there is a prediction concerning future events that appears in a reading, it could take months or years to develop depending on the circumstances surrounding it. At times a client may expect a ‘quick result’ and if it doesn’t happen for them within the next week, they will conclude that the reader is wrong. Some may also be unhappy if a reader does not tell them what they wish to hear particularly if it involves a matter which needs correction in some way.
Michelle provides Rune Readings
Readers are there to offer guidance and help to their clients. They are ‘spiritual counsellors’ who have also experienced life’s ups and downs and by connecting with their intuitive/spiritual energy and personal experience are able to offer guidance and advice. Readers do not tell clients what to do, they provide what one could call a ‘weather forecast’ and it is up to the client whether they wish to ‘take their boat out’.
Connection with spirit is not always easy, certain signs or symbolism received in this way may, at times, take a while for the reader to interpret it to benefit the client. As we know even with human relationships there can be misunderstandings and wrong interpretations when conversing face to face, in written communication or online. Considering this aspect, think about the complexity of connecting with energies in a different dimension such as the ‘world of spirit’.
If you are considering consulting a reader in the future it would be advisable to keep this in mind.
At this event we were able to help many unique and wonderful people that approached us. The work is intense but also very rewarding. Thank you again to all at the Sennen Cafe, Bar and Bistro for their hospitality and another successful evening.
Cassandra and I have undertaken many Property Cleansings and I thought now was an auspicious time to write about the subject.
Years ago I lived in a row of terraced houses and in one particular property adjoining these the couple divorced after a few years. I noticed that couples who moved into the property also divorced and at the time I wondered if the energies from these occurrences affected new tenants.
It is vital to understand these negative influences that are usually categorized into two types: thought energies (or if they have a shape – thought forms) and negative spirit influence. Now, you may instantly think about dead people, however we are all “spirits”. Some of us are living within the physical realm and some aren’t. We do not become a spirit when we physically die as we are one housed within a physical body.One may also say, “But I cannot see/hear spirits, this is proof they don’t exist”. Well, we cannot see radio, or television waves in a room. You cannot hear a dog whistle, but dogs can! It would be rather foolish to conclude such a whistle made no noise simply on the grounds that you didn’t hear it.
Negative thought energies are created by someone (dead or alive) thinking in this way, e.g. anger, hatred, fear etc. If the person is thinking these thoughts about us they are automatically projected in our direction. As negative spirits are attracted to negative energy these will often accompany it,particularly if this is done formally, e.g. casting a spell.
Fortunately there is defense against these things. Positive energies will dissolve negative and we can invoke positive spirits to protect us against negative ones. There is nothing particularly profound about it.
The negative thought content of a spell, or any other form of psychic attack, can be canceled out by directing a positive thought form of the same, or greater strength at it. When they meet, the negative thought form will dissolve. This can be achieved by prayer, visualization, etc.
We inhabit certain energies wherever we live. Our homes are a space of unity where many energies meet – our feelings, thoughts and emotions emit a certain type of energy, but also attract other energies. Family members, neighbours or visitors in our homes can also bring in negative energies which may affect our mood and well-being.
Once they enter your home, negative energies impact your whole life. They can cause your budget to fluctuate, break the relationships between family members and disrupt the harmony in your home. As a result, you will feel anxious, restless and broken, with no will to live. However, the symptoms may not be noticeable earlier, which is why it’s important to know how to detect the negative energy in your home.
When moving into a new house, flat, unit or workplace, you will need to cleanse the new property or workplace because buildings absorb the energies of previous occupants. The curtains and carpets also need to be cleaned as they hold the stagnant/negative energies from previous tenants. These stagnant/negative energies can be absorbed by the people living or working within this space, causing arguments, physical and mental illnesses, and relationship problems.
Many people do not realize that when they move into a new place there are energies that might be lingering there from past residents or past incidents. While these energies are usually not going to greatly affect you, there is still a chance that it could affect you or someone in your family if the energy is strong enough. These energies can be particularly powerful in a home where negative energy has built up over a long period of time. For example, a home where a bitter divorce took place, a home where a suicide or murder took place, or a home where a person may have gone through major depression (or other disorders that would affect a person’s spirituality and/or mentality). These are all spaces that could be rife with leftover negative energy.
So while you focus on cleaning your new house physically, it is wise to remember to clean your new house spiritually as well. This also applies to a home that has never been cleansed spiritually to your knowledge. If you’re looking to lighten up the air and promote a positive energy flow in your home, cleansing the energy of your house is imperative.
Now that you understand the importance of energetically cleansing your home, let’s learn about the best and easiest ways to cleanse.
A good ol’ fashioned smudging ritual is a Native American tradition of lighting bundles of herbs and using the smoke in order to spiritually cleanse an area or person from negative energy or spirits. Different herbs are used in order to do a smudging ritual, and so the choice of herb is up to you. Some of the herb bundles that can be used include: white sage, cedar, and sweet grass. If you cannot get your hands on a smudging bundle, you can always make your own. Or you can use herbs that you have in your own kitchen cabinet!
There are many herbs with purification qualities that will work just as well as a white sage bundle will work in cleansing a home. For example, you can use dried rosemary, basil, common sage (the kind that you get from the grocery store), cloves, cumin, garlic, and onion (among many others). Create your own loose incense with one or more of these dried herbs and burn them over a charcoal disk (carefully of course!) Let the smoke fill each room with its purifying and cleansing powers.
Blessing one’s home while moving in is actually quite a common practice among various faiths. That being said, you do not have to be of a particular faith in order to bless your home before or while moving in.
The best things to use are oils or holy water. For the oil, you can use plain ol’ olive oil or whatever kind of oil you have in your cabinet. For the holy water, you can acquire some from a Church or create your own.
Cassandra and I were recently asked to perform a house cleansing for someone moving into our village and on this particular occasion we were given complete access to thoroughly examine the property and were there four hours.
It was indeed pleasure to do this work for our new residents and we warmly welcome them into our community.
I attained my Reiki 1st degree in 1999 as I had the desire to provide healing treatments for clients. What attracted me to the Reiki system was that utilising the energy would benefit the therapist as well as the client. The system also has simplicity which adds to its power and produces remarkable results.
I have been a Reiki Teacher since 2003 and have fond memories of my first courses with students who became talented healers and continued the to the present day. One of them in particular, Julie, became a wonderful Reiki Teacher and I am proud of her achievements and pleased that Reiki was there to assist her with her own difficulties in life. These memories return to me even now during preparation to teach courses.
Teaching Reiki courses is not a regular occurrence for me in Cornwall, being a small county with a large number of Reiki Teachers residing and advertising their services here. I wholeheartedly believe that members of the community who are meant to learn from me will find their way here.
During the month of June I was fortunate in teaching two courses to introduce 4 ladies to the wonderful world of Reiki healing. There were specific reasons each students would benefit from using this system. It provides deep satisfaction for me as a Teacher when students discover they have the sensitivity to work with this wonderful energy.
The original Japanese Reiki system places emphasis on self-healing and spiritual development. You cannot be an effective therapist if you neglect your own spiritual and physical well-being.
I was fortunate to find an excellent Reiki system first time that gives excellent ongoing support that I can recommend to others.
If you are interested in learning Reiki to enhance your spiritual development and your emotional and physical well-being contact me for further details.