Spring Equinox 2020 marks the tenth anniversary since Cassandra Latham Jones handed her business of Village Wisewoman to me.
I had previously qualified and worked as a holistic therapist and therefore was accustomed to dealing with clients, however this alternative way of working, meant clients would be dealt with in a different way. It is similar to counselling (in which I now possess a Diploma) as clients will contact us concerning various dilemmas in their lives and we provide a consultation to discuss the appropriate methods to help them.
Cassandra has a unique way of working and had built a good reputation and she is a hard act to follow. I had been a Cornwall resident for only ten months at this time 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 our 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 makes the work and book- keeping easier.
I understand why a ‘code of ethics’ is necessary and that it is wise not to cast spells for clients who wish to influence others against their will. These types of spells can have huge repercussions and there are occasions when I have witnessed this outcome when others have cast spells for selfish desires or without sufficient contemplation of their requests.
Learning the process of creating charms has been enjoyable and is reminiscent of times 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 for me as each one is unique to the client. For example, if I constructed 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 our hearth dolls which inspired me to create more for other dolls with specific images and purposes. After observing this activity, Cassandra stated that my work with dolls is one of my greatest 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 always wonderful 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 the sacred space although the words I now use are different and have a deeper connection with the ancient land around us. We prefer a couple to be in a relationship at least a year before taking this important step, some of our couples 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 also 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 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 will never lose its fascination or become boring!
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 her 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!
In May this year we were invited by Channel 5 to take part in their programme Celebrities go Caravanning. We hoped the selected celebrities would have an open mind and respect the work we do.
Squeezed into Cassandra’s tiny cottage was a camera crew of four with all their equipment and two of the celebrities, Colin Baker and Sherrie Hewson. There was limited room for man-oeuvre! My familiar Clutterbuck has become accustomed to many photographers visiting the cottage and no longer makes a hasty retreat via the cat flap. He was indeed the star of the show on this occasion!
A huge thank you to Chris Neno for the photographs above.
Channel 5’s camera crew portrayed the subject well and showed utmost respect for Cassandra’s property. It was a pleasure to work with them and also Colin Baker and Sherrie Hewson who were fabulous people to converse with. The chants and incantations we used are for public situations and not for our personal working.
I recorded the following footage of this programme from our television:
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…….
Our first workshop for 2018 was better than anticipated weatherwise, as the forecast predicted rain but it did not amount to much at all. Friday had a few showers but by late afternoon the sun appeared…as if by magic!
2018 began with Workshop 1- Working on the Land
Our students arrived Friday evening excited about the weekend ahead, One had enjoyed last year’s workshops and returned to experience them once again.
We sat by a roaring fire at the hearth with a relaxing drink and the evening consisted of varied fascinating topics of conversation, spiritual journeys, how the Old Ways of the Craft compare to the fashionable ‘movements’ and groups we see nowadays, Pagan literature, authors, Covens, traditions etc.
Saturday afternoon we discussed Charms, their construction and the specific ingredients used according to the reason for their creation. We studied correspondence tables, planetary squares, hours and glyphs.
The diagrams can seem quite daunting on introduction, just as logarithm tables were while at school, but when one has the correct understanding and their method of use, the apprehension disappears.
After receiving the relevant information, it was time for the students to put into practice what they had learnt. Cassandra then handed this part of the teaching to me and I guide them through creation of their personal charm.
There are various methods of construction, some enjoy using needle and thread to create a charm bag and others prefer to use other materials, for example, a decorative object that has the capacity to contain the ingredients within it. Each student has their own interpretation of how their charm should be and it intrigues me to see the result.
The students returned to us Saturday evening and I guided them through a small charm blessing ritual at the hearth. We then engaged in further discussions while awaiting the setting of the sun before venturing outside to magically charge the charms. On this occasion we visited the Merry Maidens stone circle.
It was a beautiful evening with a gentle breeze. Our students took time to visit each stone within the circle and enjoyed the ambiance of this ancient sacred space.
We then returned to the cottage for libations of Cornish Mead and Saffron Cake.
Our students seemed delighted with their weekend experience, which we hope has enriched their lives and given them wonderful memories to look back on throughout their spiritual journey.
“Workshop1 Working On The Land 2018 was a fantastic weekend workshop that focused on learning your basics in witchcraft or wise-craft. The correspondence materials provided were simple and easy to understand and also left one with an interest to research more into certain topics after the workshop had ended. Laetitia and Cassandra were both truly welcoming and understanding ladies, and we all had many laughs with the discussions we had – witchcraft or otherwise! The charm-making session was wonderful – I loved how simple charms can be to make, but their correspondences can be as complex or a simple as you like! I also loved the energy of the stone circle we went to, to charge our charms – the atmosphere was calming yet alive and magical at the same time! I’d like to personally thank Laetitia and Cassandra Latham-Jones for all the wonderful work that they have done for their community and for the pagan community. Thank you also for allowing me to share and experience that knowledge that you have chosen to share with others via workshops, allowing a new generation as well as older ones to enjoy the pleasures and magic of a Village Wisewoman. Brightest Blessings. Thank you. E.S. xxx”
Cassandra and I were invited to organize a Yuletide workshop at MMW at Revolver Newquay. Michelle has a unique shop retailing clothes, jewellery and other interesting rustic items with a classic presentation.
It was the first time we tried a winter workshop as they are usually in the Spring and Summer months.
On our arrival we were greeted by our marvelous host Michelle with a glass of champagne from a HUGE bottle along with exotic refreshments.
Cassandra began her talk on ‘Old Christmas’ and how the Yuletide symbolism of long ago connects with modern-day celebrations.
The talk continued for 30 minutes so that there was plenty of time for questions from her audience.
We brought with us a box of wooden decorative stars, reflective baubles, ribbons, holly, ivy, mistletoe, rowan twigs, pine cones and coloured twine, so that the group could construct their own seasonal charms.
I explained the process to them and the focus required for construction. We then left them to it, intrigued to see the results.
The charms were beautifully made and it was obvious that a considerable amount of thought and intent had gone into the construction. When they were complete, I set up an altar and demonstrated the blessing of a charm. I then guided each person through the process with their personal charm. It was emotional for some and a profound experience for all, especially when the group joined together to raise energy.
They left us late that evening, delighted with the experience and their personal charms to include within their own seasonal decorations.
Cassandra assisted our host Michelle in constructing a rowan cross.
A special thank you to Michelle for hosting the workshop. We both had a wonderful time and worked with a lovely group of people. A huge thank you to John Isaac also for his assistance.
Yuletide blessings to you all and a happy and prosperous 2018 ahead!
“Thank you so much for coming to Newquay , it was an amazing experience and we all had a wonderful evening ! Michelle.”
“It was lovely to meet the both of you last night and I enjoyed it. Will see you again soon, many blessings M”. (This lady travelled from Exeter!)
“I feel a bit bad for being a bit antisocial whilst making the charms. I wanted to see if I could block out the surroundings and focus on what I was doing even in a room full of people. I also didn’t want to waste the beautiful natural things you gathered so wanted to do it properly. It was definitely a good learning curve for me! G”