This year I took on extra responsibility in organizing the All Hallows Dark Gathering as Cassandra needed help when the managers of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic informed us they were leaving. We worked closely with Simon Costin the owner informing and updating him on all arrangements.
Many people enjoy this event each year, but have no idea how much work goes into the organizing of it. As well as caring for the performers, Cassandra goes the ‘extra mile’ in caring for the community ensuring they know where to find accommodation and refreshments and also arranged with village residents a ‘park and ride’ scheme so disabled folk would find it easier to get to Boscastle. Cassandra has huge support from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, the Chamber of Commerce and other members of their local community.
When 2018 began, I sensed there would be significant changes in our lives and this has proved to be so.
At the Dark Gathering this year our special guest side was Wolfshead and Vixen Morris. It has been 15 years since I danced with them and I was excited to see them once again.
The first dance performed by Wolfshead is known as ‘Four Seasons’. A person is often chosen to stand in the centre of the space while the men dance around them and I was delighted to be chosen by Melanie, Vixen’s Squire. It brought back fond memories of the last time this occurred outside the King Arthurs Arms Tintagel in 2001.
Later that afternoon, Melanie invited me to join them in performing my favourite dance Gemini. It’s a dance I have always remembered and one that Beltane Border Morris love to watch.
I had no time to practice with them, so they performed it once and invited me to join them a second time. As soon as the dance began, the fifteen years I had been apart from Vixen seemed to disappear and every move was performed as precisely then, as it had all those years ago.
Here is video footage of their dance and at the end, you hear them inviting me to join them for a repeat performance.
The members of Vixen were amazed I remembered it and were pleased with our performance together. It was wonderful to receive a hug from each of them too when the dance was over.
The last time I performed with Vixen in Boscastle outside the Museum was seventeen years ago on the twelfth of June 2001 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Witchcraft Repeal.
Participating in the dance gave me a wonderful and positive memory of my final Morris dance at the All Hallows Gathering. It is the most satisfying Morris dance I have ever performed at this event and I cannot thank them enough for that moment.
The Dark Gathering goes from strength to strength and has a protective energy that surrounds it. Long may it continue.