Cassandra and I decided to host a Folk Magic workshop at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magicafter Simon Costin suggested we try it. Cassandra’s book Village Witch is stocked within the Museum retail outlet, a workshop provides the readers with more information on the subject where they can also interact and ask questions in person.
It was a glorious warm sunny day when we arrived. Simon had other commitments that day, however Fergus was around if we needed his assistance. It was also good to see Judith Noble who was overseeing the Artists Residency event that day.
We had a group of 18 attendees, all with either their own individual spiritual paths or not actively practicing but with a curiosity about Folk Magic.
Cassandra knows her Craft well, she has total connection with her audience and notes down a few ‘key words’ to outline subjects she wishes to cover. This makes the talk more spontaneous and much more interesting for listeners.
Cassandra is ‘down to earth’ which has moments of amusement keeping the audience entertained and also lifting the mood when discussing more serious aspects of the Craft.
After two hours of talking and discussion, we had a break for lunch, enjoying the warm sunshine and the sea air.
The group arrived back at the Museum after lunch and Cassandra guided them on a hedgerow walk near Minster Woods so they could harvest some greenery for their witch bottles. I stayed in the library updating our business accounts and searching for the video that Cassandra wished to play to the group.
On their return, the subject of spell casting and energy raising was also discussed. The following video was an example of how working women used chants while engaging in repetitive work that helped with the timing of movements and creating a bond between all workers. One member of our group made an interesting comment about the singing, as it would become apparent if one person grew weary which would mean they needed a break or a change of tempo.
After this I asked the group to move their chairs and form a large circle so that we could place all items for the witch bottles into the centre of the space. All group members could then help themselves to what they needed. Before they began, I suggested they held their jar or bottle between their hands for a few minutes to connect with the spirits and ancestors before their work began.
While filling their witch bottles there were many conversations occurring and sharing of greenery. We explained that their bottle would not be complete at the workshop, they would need to take it home, add a bodily fluid of their choice and seal the jar or bottle by placing a real wax candle on the lid so that the wax drips down over the seal. It can also be done by binding with twine, or a modern method of sticky tape (although we do not recommend the use of plastic.)
A few group members visited the Museum retail outlet and purchased Cassandra’s book Village Witch. When they returned they requested she signed them.
When the workshop was over and everything was back in place, I took another opportunity to sit on the fabulous Gothic chair in the library that once belonged to ‘Old Horny’ the goat God who now stands in the Museum.
Thank you to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic for inviting us to host the workshop and to all who attended for being such a wonderful supportive group. I’m sure we will be seeing you all again.
“Had an absolute fantastic time at Cassandra and Laetitia Latham Jones’ Workshop at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic today. Learned so much, had a lot of laughs and discussions – it was total ‘amazeballs’! They truly are amazing and inspirational. Thank you both for such an awesome day of magick! Blessed be. xx” E.G.
“It was a fun, interesting and informative day. Cassandra is as entertaining as she is knowledgeable. Thank you both” C.M.
Wonderfully informative with humour and what a fabulous turn out! Cant wait to attend another one” M.E.
“We attended this first workshop and it was amazing, great people and great vibes, thank you everyone see you again!” M.H.
“Wonderful inspiring day with you all. Thank you Cassandra and Laetitia.” K.H.
“What a Wonderful day with beautiful people. Can’t wait to go back to bosscastle to go walking in minster woods. Thank you Cass, Tia for a day of knowledge and learning. Xx” P.O.
“We had a wonderful day lovely people and a great feel here yesterday x”
“I really loved it and look forward to the next one. Xxx💜xxX” G.W.
“I loved every moment of and loved the walk to collect wild flowers.” S.H.
“Can’t wait for the next one! Thank you Cassandra and Laetitia. Many new things heard and learnt. It felt very special. I’m only beginning to feel my way around ” spirit” but excited for the journey. Hope to see you all again soon.” C.D.
Sunday was a day of fierce winds and rain, but fortunately the August Bank Holiday Monday brought calmer and drier weather for our Wise Woman walk.
Two energetic and enthusiastic young men had journeyed from Chicago U.S. to spend a week in Cornwall. They had visited Glastonbury before continuing their journey here. They spent some time in Boscastle and Tintagel and were fascinated by the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic and St Nectan’s Waterfall at Rocky Valley Tintagel.
Jason had previously purchased Cassandra’s book and stated he was ‘beyond excited’ to meet her and experience one of our walks.
We usually invite our clients to Cassandra’s cottage and discuss the locations they wish to visit. Jason had a particular interest in the Logan Stone, so Cassandra decided that Zennor Hill would be the site to visit. Its an energetic climb to the top of Zennor Hill but Jason and Arkie were in their 20s, full of energy and therefore prepared for a challenge.
As we walked towards the hill Cassandra asked them if they would like to visit Zennor Quoit first. The vegetation on the moorland had grown considerably and in some areas it was chest height for the vertically challenged. We had given Jason and Arkie prior warning about the possibility of being ‘Piskie led’ and the path to the Quoit was particularly complicated with copious amounts of gorse and it was no surprise that on this occasion it occurred. Jason and Arkie were both delighted to have experienced this.
We eventually discovered the right path to Zennor Quoit, Jason and Arkie were intrigued by the formation of the stones and how one can climb inside to enter the heart of it for meditation and ritual purposes.
Here is information about the site:
The remains of this hillside Neolithic chambered portal tomb are quite difficult to find, but can be reached via a footpath from the B3306. The capstone which is over 5 metres long and weighs over 10 tons has collapsed and all traces of the mound which would have covered the tomb has disappeared although much surrounding cairn material was recorded by William Borlase the vicar of Zennor in 1769. It is Borlase we have to thank for the continuing existence of Zennor Quoit as he once paid off a local farmer the sum of 5 shillings to stop him dismantling the tomb to build a cow shed. It is unclear whether it was the farmers attempt at remodeling or the ‘excavation’ of the tomb with explosives in the 19th century that caused the capstone to fall. At various times cremated bones, a whetstone, flints and Neolithic pottery have been found within the chamber, while the 5 small upright stones just beyond the tomb are thought to be part of the aborted cowshed.
The site may look to be in a sad state of disrepair, especially on a wet, windy day, but this could be said to add to its beauty and melancholy, and it is still well worth a visit. Like many other sites legend says it was built by a giant, hence its other name of Giants Quoit and also that the stones are unmovable, or if they are moved they will return to the hillside on their own. Nearby, the church at Zennor contains a 15th century bench-end carved into the shape of a mermaid that is claimed to have visited the village and fallen in love with the churchwarden’s son. The two of them are then said to have returned to the sea, where the unfortunate lad can still be heard singing beneath the waves. stone-circles.org
Cassandra and I sat with Jason and Arkie by the stones and she related the history of the site. We also discussed the variety of Fae folk and their roles within Cornish folklore. The young men were well prepared with notepads and wrote down all the information.
After a while, we continued our walk to Zennor Hill. Jason and Arkie were fascinated by the house nearby where some say Alastair Crowley had worked magically there. Zennor HiIl is a powerful site so it would indeed be an ideal place to work in that way.
At the top of Zennor Hill we reached the Logan Stone. Cassandra instructed Jason on where to place his feet and the correct way to move the stone.
Here is some information on the site:
This extraordinary set of stone outcrops holds many unusual features, from rock basins to zoomorphic forms – deep fissures, runnels, voids, chamber-like enclosures and holed stones, that it would be difficult not to believe that it would have held an important place in pre-historic cosmologies. Some rock formations are uncannily like the quoits that occupy the flat land between zennor hill, carn zennor and sperris croft.
Tilley observes in an archaeology of supernatural places. ‘slabs that have toppled from the top of the rock stacks… rest horizontally or vertically against their sides, creating slanting roofed chambers large enough to enter and walk through.’ the proximity of Zennor and Sperris quoits raises the possibility that these dramatic rock formations were deliberately mimicked by the builders of these early monuments.
Tllley again ‘The tors were not only their source of inspiration, but they were constructed in the form of tors. In elevating large stones, these people were emulating the work of a super-ancestral past. Furthermore, the stones from which they were built were taken from the tors. The dolmens, in effect, were the tors dismantled and put back together again to resemble their original form. Once constructed, they could themselves be tors, something emphasized by the landscape setting of some of them on hills that lacked tors.’ Megalithic Sites
After their exploration of the site, we visited Zennor village so that they could see the church and explained the legend of the Zennor Mermaid.
The following information is about the church:
The church of St Senara in the small Cornish village of Zennor is one of the historic delights of the St Ives area. The present church dates to the 12th century, but it is thought to stand on the site of a cell founded by the 6th century saint, Senara, whose name has been altered over the centuries to become ‘Zennor’.
Senara may have been a Breton princess named Asenora, a devout Christian, who was married to a king named Goello. When Senara became pregnant the king’s mother falsely accused here of infidelity, and the king cast into the sea. According to the tale, she was put in a barrel, which was then nailed shut and allowed to drift on the waves. The barrel drifted to Ireland, and she was rescued by an angel. after her son, Budoc, had grown, they both set out to convert the natives to Christianity.
Alternative versions of the story say that she was washed up at Zennor, where she founded a church, before continuing on to Ireland, or that she came ashore in Ireland, and only later visited Cornwall and founded a church here. In either event, her husband heard of her good work and invited her to return to Brittany as his queen, and named her son as his heir. Alternatively, the church may have been founded by Irish or Breton missionaries and simply dedicated to Senara. The churchyard follows the oval outline of an Iron Age enclosure, which itself is built atop earlier Stone Age and Bronze Age field boundaries. Britain Express
We also visited the Tinners Arms for a well deserved drink.
It was a pleasure to spend the afternoon with Jason and Arkie, their energy, enthusiasm and hunger for knowledge of the Old Ways is heartening to see in younger folk. We are pleased they enjoyed their time in Cornwall and we are sure that it wont be the last we see of them.
This weekend we hosted Workshop 3 – Connecting with Spirits.
Two of our group had attended previous workshops and the other two were attending for the first time.
Friday’s Introductory evening raised some intriguing topics of conversation, particularly as one person had recently experienced a Shamanic overnight grave burial. It was fascinating to listen to the explanation of digging their own grave before lying within it while the soil was placed over them. It was intriguing to hear their thoughts and feelings during the experience. Another group member had a close connection with the fae spirits during childhood, while another member was born within a different culture. It was interesting to hear how different life was for this person and how it differed from our own culture and all the aspects we take for granted.
We have had a beautiful summer in Cornwall this year, but the weekend forecast was heavy rain, thus our group’s outdoor experience was a rather damp one.
Cassandra began the Saturday afternoon activities by discussing the various elemental spirits, their appearance, personalities and interaction with the land and its inhabitants.
The group participated in a hedgerow walk on the way to the woodland.
We were about to climb the stile of the last field when we observed two young black muscular bullocks on the other side watching us curiously.
As their behaviour could be unpredictable Cassandra decided to take a detour into the next field and enter the woodland through the fence close to the entrance.
She then explained the exercises that were required which would expand their senses and awareness.
We then left them alone and observed from a distance. A huge amount of discipline would be required as there were many things in the woodland that could distract their focus, the weather, insects and also surrounding sounds of the land. They also had time to explore the area alone to see what impressions they received from the energies there.
We then returned to the cottage to dry out and drink a warm beverage while listening to the group’s experiences and feedback on the afternoons events.
On Saturday evening, I discussed connecting and communicating with spirits of people who have passed over. This also included the subjects of psychic development, mediumship, psychometry, scrying, dowsing rods, pendulums and the use of Ouija boards. These have a bad reputation due to disturbing tales from the media and their portrayal in movies which has caused some to avoid using this method.
After setting up a protected space the group tried some of these methods for themselves. They doubted that they would be successful at sensing anything particularly with the psychometry exercise, but surprised themselves with the amount of correct information they related to us.
It was a pleasure to spend the weekend with friendly warm-hearted people who had worked well together. They happily took away with them new ideas and methods that may benefit and help them during their journey through life.
“This was my second time on the connecting with spirits workshop. The first time was amazing so I decided to do it again. In the afternoon Cassandra explained the types of land spirits their customs and behaviour then Cassandra and Laetitia took us to a special place for meditation, As we walked to the place Cassandra explained the plants and what they are used for. This being my second time I sort of knew what we needed to do. This time the outcome was so much more intense and very spiritual I cannot thank Cassandra and Laetitia enough again”. N.W. xxx
“I just wanted to thank you so much for such an amazing weekend. You were both so warm and welcoming and your cottage so homely! It was so interesting and funny too and I loved all the others on the workshop with me! I think it taught me to stop and listen more closely and to believe that what I am doing is right and effective. I loved your down to earth approach which made it all more ‘real’! I would love to do another workshop if I could be considered again? I know I didn’t contribute as much as the others, but it was quite a step for me to be there on my own anyway. Anyway, if you could let me know dates of next years workshops when you have them it would be much appreciated. Loads of love to you both and thanks again for such an amazing weekend!” C.E xxx