Our final workshop for 2018 was the Dark Arts. This one was introduced this year and proved to be popular as both of these workshops were fully booked. In all our workshops the women usually outnumber the men, but on this occasion it was quite the opposite.
Our Friday introduction evening was unique, in the past we had one or two group members who did not partake of alcohol for their own personal reasons. On this occasion the group were all staying at local accommodation so all of the group partook of alcoholic beverages. This lead to an extremely interesting evening of discussions and debate on the subject of the Dark Arts, Christian beliefs and ethics. I was impressed how each individual point of view was listened to by others even though they were not necessarily in agreement.
During Saturday afternoon, Cassandra spoke about the subjects of Curse Breaking, Curses, Spirit Possession, Image Magic, Dark Deities, Haunting, Psychic Vampirism and Psychic/Magical Protection. Cassandra knows her Craft well particularly when it comes to Curse Breaking and Curses. She is indeed an adept and gifted person to learn from.
It is important that people receive the correct information on these subjects particularly if they have reason to utilise these methods. Movies, books and some Occult Practitioners can be trapped in the world of fantasy which can mislead many and provide incorrect information. At least there are practitioners like Cassandra that one can approach who deals with reality and provides insight to others on their level of understanding. There are a multitude of aspects to this subject and it would be easy to spend a whole weekend if not longer discussing them as the hours passed quickly.
We then spoke of mischievous spirits and the need for ‘spirit house’ constructions. Spirits have a fascination for intricate objects which can be a distraction from ‘mischief making’.
At our last Dark Arts workshop group members attempted to construct a framework for their spirit house by using wire, but trying to use wire cutters and dealing with the sharp edges could be hazardous. On this occasion we provided them with a small ready-made framework and various threads,ribbons, beads, stones etc so that they could begin constructing a small spirit house.
I guided the group through their personal constructions, offering suggestions if they had difficulties and checking they had everything required.
Due to the intricacy of the spirit houses group members could only begin their designs in the time available, so they would need to continue their work on them at home.
During the evening we prepared a group spell for crossroads magic. We then visited a haunted location: Carn Kenidjack. You can read the folklore legend of it here.
On our previous visit to the site during our June Dark Arts workshop, it was dusk and we could still see the various paths to it despite the thick mist that appeared on our arrival. This time it was extremely dark and cloudy, plus we were in the dark of the moon phase, as you can see by the following photograph.
It was a cool breezy evening, we stood for a while looking out over the moor and the distant lights upon the horizon over the sea. Each member of the group sensed various spirit presences that accompanied us.
On leaving the Carn, we were seriously ‘Piskie led’ and taken along various paths within the darkness by Cassandra only for them to lead us further away from our destination. We then followed the tracks made by vehicles until we reached a farmhouse gate and discovered we were on the opposite road to where we needed to be and then walked at least 2 miles to return to the North Road. Our group members were in good spirits, joking about the situation as we walked.
The crossroads were also extremely dark (above photo), the group were still eager and full of the energy to complete the spell we prepared earlier. Conjuring a spell at a crossroads especially when the road is busy with traffic, adds to the intensity of the work.
We returned to the cottage for libations while discussing the group’s impressions and thoughts on the Carn and spell work.
It was a most enjoyable workshop with deep minded experienced group members that I hope we will meet again in the future.
“Going on the dark arts course was very interesting. Laetitia and Cassandra have great knowledge. We made a spirit house and learnt how spirits enjoy puzzles. The walk in the evening was amazing and my favourite activity as I love nature. I felt really connected. Overall a fantastic weekend of good people and I left with a better understanding.” P.O.
“I really enjoyed our couple of days and got a lot out of it. It was great to spend time with you and Cassandra and also to meet others and hear their different perspectives on the craft. In particular, I loved our night-time walk and crossroads spell, working on our spirit houses and learning about the different levels of psychic protection – several of which I have used before. I’ll also keep an eye out for the next series of workshops which I’d like to attend. Look forward to seeing you again soon” A.C.
“This was a great workshop I met some awesome people. Cassandra and Laetitia were amazing hosts. I learnt a lot from the discussion during the first half of the afternoon. Later I learnt how to make a spirit house and how they work. The evening was awesome, we were taken to a breath taking location. On the way back we were ‘piskie led’ and thought it funny. Thanks again ladies you are amazing!” N.W.
“Perhaps it is an understatement to say how wonderful it was to be in the company of Cassandra and Laetitia again on the Friday evening of the workshop; getting to know them again, getting to know new travellers on the path and rekindling acquaintances with some old faces. In the relaxed yet haunted atmosphere of their cottage, we heard each other’s story and began to build the group egregore that would carry us through a weekend of intensive learning and experience.
The Saturday afternoon began with a conversation that centred on the nine levels of psychic self-defence with practical examples provided both from history and from the current practice of the cunning folk. Such material is learned in the hope that one never has to put such knowledge into practice. And yet, as a practitioner, I am glad to have such techniques as part of my “tool kit” of the trade.
This was followed by a demonstration on how to build a spirit house. Like most folk, house spirits get bored, and when they get bored they can get up to mischief. A spirit house provides them with a safe space where they can work out their mischief in a controlled environment. In return they provide safety and protection for the house’s other occupants (human and non-human). Metal frames and other materials were provided and despite my complete lack of crafting ability I was able to come up with the rudiments of a spirit house – a work in progress that will continue to evolve for some time yet!
Dusk gradually made its presence felt. And it was in the gloaming that we began preparations for a crossroads banishing ritual. We gathered our intent and poured it into the materials of the spell in the sacred hearth space before heading out into the night.
We walked into the night, deep into the Penwith moors and began climbing a hill to a dark rocky outcrop of granite boulders. “What can you feel”? “What can you see”? were the questions that ran through the experience? In the darkness of the black moon, I stretched forth my senses and saw flashing lights, here and there; so brief that one could almost doubt their willow-the-wisp existence. I saw moving shapes and running forms; some humanoid in appearance, some not so distinct. And when I touched the granite of the Carn, I felt a power, ancient, wild and free; and I knew that this was his land.
The walk down the hill was less determinative, more meandering, more uncertain; a delicious “being lost” and “abandonment” as we lost our way, being (mis)lead by the mischief of the Piskie Man and ending up miles from the cross roads where we were to complete our rite.
Yet find it we did, and in that most in between of places we raised our energy and called our power and shattered the vessel of our desire; its energies racing forth into the dark night to do our will.
And back by the sacred hearth we learned of the local lore of Carn Kenidjack; of the Man-in-Black who chases the night wanderer until he or she reaches a certain stile, of the Piskie Man who misleads and of the witch who guards a well that is sometimes present and sometimes absent. And it is in this ‘between the worlds’ of space and time; this experience of “the hedge”, the crossroads, that magic is alive and powerful.
And then it was time to say farewell to our two friends and guides. A farewell – yes- but a farewell with a promise to return to this most magical of hearths and its two wise guardians who will always have a place in my journey. T.N”
Last weekend Cassandra and I hosted Workshop 4 – The Dark Arts. It was attended by four lovely ladies, three were previous acquaintances and the other had met Cassandra briefly at the All Hallows Gathering.
Our introduction evening around the hearth was most informative. Many subjects raised and questions asked that were connected to the theme of this particular workshop. The group members’ past experiences had shaped their views and practices providing each of them with varied perspectives. We discussed the subjects of Psychic Vampirism, Hauntings, Spirit Possession and listened to group members relating their own intriguing experiences.
Saturday afternoon continued with talks and discussions on dark deities, curse breaking and image magic. Cassandra and I explained our own methods and group members related their experiences. We also discussed ethics and how these vary for each practitioner.
The practical part of the afternoon began with information on Spirit Houses, their uses and how to construct them.
Cassandra has a magnificent example of a spirit house in her cottage that was once displayed at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic . The group studied it for a while before they set about constructing their own. These creations need to be intricately designed, so we did not expect completion at the workshop, only the foundation and the rest to be completed at home.
On Saturday evening we worked at the hearth on a combined dark magical spell. We took it to a haunted location hiding it at a nearby crossroads so that we could return to it after visiting the site. We marvelled at the huge ball of fire as the sun began to descend on our way to the site. We expected a fabulous sunset on arrival.
As we reached the destination, a thick blanket of mist awaited us! On a recent visit to the site Cassandra and I could see it in the distance from the road, but the shroud of mist had hidden it from view. As we walked over the moor towards it, the site remained invisible and our group members had no idea where they were going. As we approached it, the silhouetted shape of granite could be seen, but it could easily have been mistaken for a group of trees.
When I first heard about this site and the legends connected with it, I was excited to visit it.
Myths and Legends of Cornwall
“As recently as 1949, a Cornish woman was observed making a sacrifice as her husband was dying. She took a black cock to the window and wrung its neck. She explained that it was so the cock could accompany her husband’s soul to the gates of heaven. When St Peter saw the cock, it would remind him of his denial of Christ and move him to mercy so that he would allow her husband through the heavenly gates! The waters of the well at Altarnun were believed to cure madness. The lunatic would be dipped into the well and then taken into the church for a mass to be sung over him. When he regained his sanity, prayers of thanks would be offered to St Non. Towards the end of the First World War, strange lights were seen along the Cornish coast. These were said to be flashed by a Cornishman who had been drowned by German submarine action. Like the lamps of the old wreckers, they lured ships to destruction – but not all ships. The lights were only sighted by German ships and submarines. A long time ago, two miners were passing Carn Kenidjack one night when they saw a horseman dressed in black who invited them to watch a wrestling match. The miners accepted but soon found they had joined a crowd of frightful demons, commanded by the horseman who was the Devil in disguise. When one of the wrestling demons was thrown against a rock and injured, the miners whispered a prayer to him. The earth shook and all the demons were sucked into a black crowd, shrieking and cursing.
A teenager walking home across fields from a neighbour’s house, he had noticed an elderly woman in old-fashioned clothes struggling with a pram. When he approached her to offer help, she simply vanished.
Spriggans, the malevolent mythological creatures that are particular to West Penwith, are said to inhabit Woon Gumpus, whilst the Devil himself rides a black horse out to Carn Kenidjack after sunset, chasing anyone still on the moor to a stile, from where they can escape his grasp.
There are also various accounts of meeting Old Moll on a path somewhere on the moors. The witch, who cursed local people when she was alive, is said to continue her evil in the afterlife.
Carn Kenidjack is also known as the ‘Hooting Cairn’ because of the sound the wind makes as it whistles through the granite.”
The unexpected mist swirling around the site created a potent atmosphere to this wondrous place. Some of us explored the site and climbed high upon the granite ledges to enjoy the scenery of the moor and feel its energies.
Shortly before leaving the site, the mist cleared. We returned to the crossroads to complete our spell but having to dodge the occasional vehicle passing which added to the intensity of the work involved. Group members who seemed to have no previous knowledge of Carn Kenidjack legends had sensed spirit presences there which connected with the legendary tales.
We returned to the cottage for libations and a discussion about the impressions received from visiting Carn Kenidjack.
Our first Dark Arts workshop was successful with a group of wonderful people. We look forward to the next one later this year.
“I really enjoyed the workshop. It covered a lot of things. .Sadly I was not allowed to reveal what I had done within my old coven to everyone but I now have a greater understanding of the dark arts.” M.M
“Just a quick note to thank you so much for the great workshop and the hospitality of your delightful cottage. I learnt a lot and it gave me plenty of food for thought. I will be looking at your list of other courses and see if something else resonates within me.” J.F.
“This was my third workshop with Laetitia and Cassandra and one thing is for sure with these weekends is…to always expect the unexpected and this one certainly provided lots of that! For me, the workshops are not just an opportunity to learn new things and try new experiences, but a chance to meet like minded people and exchange ideas, information and experiences in a non judgemental and warm environment. It was an absolute pleasure to meet the other 3 ladies and share this experience with them. I have come home with new insight, ideas and memories which have not only given me a greater understanding of the things unknown but also a contentment that you can not put a price upon. Thank you so much ladies for sharing you knowledge, time and wonderful home with us.” SH
“Experiential learning of a unique kind. Whilst Clutterbuck grounds you, Cassandra sparks alive deep wisdoms, and Laetitia brings a balance of nurture and hands on craft. Great mix of workshop lady attendees….all men on my last course. A bright light was brought to the profoundly dark issues discussed. Spell work superb… Wow!” AA