Wise Woman’s Spells and Charms – Memories

I have fond memories of my first visit to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in 1996. I had not visited a venue related to the Occult before and was a little apprehensive but excited at the same time.
Museum of Witchcraft 1998
The Museum altered dramatically when Graham King took over as the new owner. On my next visit in 1998, the energy and display within was in complete contrast to what was there before. As I walked around the Museum reading the information about the artifacts, I was enchanted by the haunting repetition of the chants soundtrack.

As I neared Joan’s cottage, it evoked the same feeling as if one was approaching a real Wise Woman’s abode. The sound of the voice from within increased in volume as I turned the corner at the end of the corridor. It had a deep disconcerting tone…… a voice that came from someone not easily approachable but in dire circumstances one would need the courage to seek help. This was the voice of a person who knew their Craft well, one that you would not wish to upset for fear of the repercussions that would befall you.
I stood in the doorway listening carefully as I observed the cottage, the hearth, the real cats that were obviously ‘stuffed’ by a taxidermist, but there was an energy surrounding them as if their spirits were not far away. If you observe Joan long enough you can almost see her move while her fixed gaze remains on the crystal ball in front of her. As I stood there I contemplated what it would be like to live in a cottage like this and how an elderly woman would survive the winter months, whether she would manage enough work in order to live comfortably.
Before I left the Museum I inquired about the soundtrack and purchased one of the first cassette tapes from the shop. I listened to this tape frequently on returning home and thought about the woman who recorded the spells and charms. I had not met Cassandra at this time and her voice sounded older than her actual age, (the sign of a good actress) I could also tell that she was a smoker which evoked an image of Granny Boswell puffing on her pipe!
Little did I know what life had in store for me over the following 21 years!

So here I am, living in Cassandra’s cottage which was the inspiration for Joan’s cottage at the Museum of Witchcraft, I have been taught by the Wise Woman whose voice I first heard on the recording for the past ten years…… the ‘powers that be’ have taken me on an amazing unexpected and testing journey.
Last evening Cassandra and I produced the following video footage of her working by the hearth, while listening to the original soundtrack for Joan’s cottage at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. We thought it would evoke wonderful memories for all who miss it, just as it does for me when I hear it. Enjoy!

To read Cassandra’s explanation of the Museum soundtrack for Joan’s Cottage go to her article Needs Must When The Devil Drives.
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A Special All Hallows Dark Gathering 2018

This year I took on extra responsibility in organizing the All Hallows Dark Gathering to assist Cassandra Latham Jones after the managers of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic informed us they were leaving. We then worked closely with Simon Costin the Museum 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 also goes the ‘extra mile’ in caring for the community, for example: where they will find accommodation and where they can get refreshments. She also arranged with the village residents a ‘park and ride’ scheme so that all were able to park their cars and disabled folk would find it easier to make their way 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 we entered 2018 I sensed there would be significant changes to our lives and this has proved to be so.
At the Dark Gathering this year our special guest was Wolfshead and Vixen Morris. It has been 15 years since I danced with this team and I was looking forward to seeing them once again.

Image-Chris Hicks

Their first dance performed by Wolfshead is known as ‘Four Seasons’. A person is often chosen to stand in the centre of the space while they dance around them and I was delighted they chose me. It brought back fond memories of the previous time this happened outside the King Arthurs Arms in Tintagel in 2001.

Later that afternoon, I was asked by the Squire of Vixen to join them in my favourite dance Gemini. It’s a dance I have not forgotten and I know and it is also one Beltane Border Morris particularly like.
I had no time to practice it with them, but they performed it once and invited me to join them the 2nd time. As soon as the dance began, the 15 years apart from Vixen seemed to disappear and I performed every move as precisely as I had all those years ago.
Here is video footage of their dance and them inviting me to join them at the repeat performance.

The members of Vixen were amazed I remembered it so well and were so pleased with the performance, I received a hug from each of them when the dance was over.

The last time I performed with them in Boscastle outside the Museum was 17 years ago on the 12th June 2001 for the 50th anniversary of the Witchcraft Repeal.

Taking part in this has given me a wonderful and positive new memory of Morris dancing at the All Hallows Gathering as it is the best and most satisfying Morris dance I have ever performed there. I cannot thank them enough for this moment.

The Dark Gathering goes from strength to strength and has a protective energy about it. Long may it continue.

 

 

A New Year Begins…

The All Hallows Dark Gathering 2017 event in Boscastle was significant for me. I have trained and performed as a Teazer alongside Cassandra Latham Jones since 2009 and it was at Chepstow in January this year she handed over her snapper along with the position of main Teazer.
At this event I guide Penkevyll and stood alongside her while the Wassail ceremonies took place.  The meeting on the bridge is a little more energetic as Penkevyll stand on the Welsh side with the Maris to meet the approaching from the opposite side to meet us at the centre of the bridge.
The St Pirans festival in March invites Penkevyll and Boekka to take part in their procession at Redruth.  The procession is uphill where extra exertion is required when Teazing, interacting with the crowd and keeping an eye on Penkevyll’s antics.
The All Hallows Dark Gathering in Boscastle is now a popular event. During the afternoon I build energy by moving to the music played for Morris dancers and connect with spirits of place from land and sea at the wondrous harbour of Boscastle.

Image – Sarah Eykyn

 

This year I also rode my ‘Oss Morvargh during the afternoon accompanied by John and Sue Exton with their new Mari Seren. Dancing with Morvargh is the ideal warm up for the Teazing of Penkevyll. Mole the Squire of Wreckers Morris invited Morvargh to dance with his Morris band while the team performed a dance about the sea. We worked well together and the audience enjoyed it immensely.
It was then time to take Morvargh back to our room and change into my Teazer kit. I prepared Penkevyll with the assistance of Cassandra and our rider. The procession led by the Maris made its way through Boscastle and the sound of throbbing drums meant it was time to appear with Penkevyll.

Image – John Isaac

 

Image – John Isaac

 

Image – John Isaac

Our space was rather restricted this year due to the fire display equipment for Mr Fox. Penkevyll danced and interacted with the audience until we observed the flaming torches of the procession.

We welcomed the Maris before guiding Penkevyll into the Museum for the Pwmco ceremony.
During this performance I was observed by my new apprentice Teazer. Scarlet is in her 30s and has a good connection with Penkevyll. She also connects well with the Cornish energies and has an enquiring mind with welcome experience in the performing arts. I look forward to her progression.
This year I sang the Cornish Pwmco alone while Susan Exton sang the Welsh version. I had no time to drink water after the energetic Teazing and hoped it would not affect my singing.  Susan and I thought the performance was better than expected, especially as she had little notice due to Vivien’s sudden illness.

Image – Susan Exton

The Mari’s stayed within the entrance hall of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic when blessing the property, as the corridors and stairs are difficult for the taller ‘Osses to negotiate. After the refreshments of beer and cake, I guided Penkevyll outside to watch the fabulous performance of Mr Fox. There is a primitive energy about their performance which complimented the event.

Image – John Isaac

After Sarah Emery’s beautiful song, it was time for Cassandra, Michelle and I to invoke the spirits of place with our bullroarers. Will Fox from Beltane Morris delivered a wonderful speech about the meaning of Samhain followed by a blessing.

 

All participants worked hard, the cooperation and friendship of all concerned imbued positive energies into the All Hallows event of 2017. A fabulous start to the new Celtic year.

 

Morvargh visits Boscastle

Yesterday was a fabulous day for us when we took Morvargh the Sea ‘Oss to Boscastle and introduced her to Peter, Joyce and Louise Fenton at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

 

The village was full of tourists who were interested in Morvaugh and what she represents.

We also spent time enjoying the sublime atmosphere of the harbour.

 

 

 

A wonderful afternoon.

22. Inspiration and Construction

I returned to solitary magical work and also attended Reiki, Yoga and Aikido classes. The solitary was necessary as my other pursuits involved intense work within groups.

Scrying Mirror at the Museum of Witchcraft. Image - Flickr

Scrying Mirror at the Museum of Witchcraft. Image – Flickr

I constructed a dark scrying mirror at the beginning of 2005, the inspiration for this came from Cecil Williamson’s dark mirror displayed at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

I followed detailed instructions sent to me by a lovely man who I conversed with online and eventually met in his home town of Whitby. I then purchased a mirror from an antique shop, removed the mirrored glass and kept the frame. I purchased a piece of clear glass that was professionally cut to fit the oval shape of the frame. On certain moon phases and within a sacred circle I cleansed the glass and applied black paint. Subsequent coats of paint were also applied at certain moon phases. It took some time, but with a pleasing result. 

Dark Scrying Mirror.

Dark Scrying Mirror.

I followed further instructions to create a powerful condensing fluid that would cleanse the mirror and infuse it with energy. As it is a toxic fluid it is kept in a dark labelled bottle at the back of a potions cupboard. The mirror is a powerful tool.

Here are the instructions:

Scrying Using the Black Mirror

By

Katlyn Breene.

The black scrying mirror or magic mirror is a powerful psychic tool.

It can bring the user hidden knowledge and clairvoyant ability and can act as a portal to other planes of existence. History shows its use in many of the traditional mystery schools and oracular temples.

Today the serious student of magical arts can rediscover the ancient rites of the magic mirror, for these techniques are again coming to light.

Scrying can be defined as the mantic art of gazing into or upon a crystal or dark mirror, allowing the physical eyes to relax, thus letting the inner psychic eyes to begin to open and receive desired visions or information. The use of the black mirror is one of the best methods of achieving the state of mind required for entering trance and for scrying work. It not only acts as a focal point for visualization but can become a doorway into the astral plane. It allows communication with the higher realms and the subconscious and access to Akashic records.

The traditional crystal ball is also a wonderful tool, but it is more difficult to scry with and can be extremely expensive. The mirror is a more efficient way to begin to learn to scry and journey into other realms. However, all techniques may be used with a crystal ball as well as the black scrying mirror.

Consider the reality of the Akashic records, in which all ideas, actions, influences and vibrations are stored. The practiced scryer has the ability to “read” these records and focus on this vast source of timeless knowledge with the aid of the mirror and a strongly directed imagination. Guides from the world of spirit often lead the scryer in astral travel and mental journeying through the black mirror or crystal sphere. Scrying develops one’s clairvoyant abilities and is especially helpful in strengthening the third eye.

The preparation and construction of the mirror is extremely important. The black scrying mirror must be created with the highest magical standards and traditions. At the full moon especially cut glass discs are cleansed and magnetized. They are then anointed with a powerful herbal fluid condenser to attract and hold energy, vital force and any charge given them. A tincture of gold and moonstone is then applied to the surface and they are ritually blessed under the light of the full moon. They remain for a night and a day within a circle of protection.

The black coating is then applied to seal in the energy and a felt backing is put on to protect the mirror and absorb later applications of fluid condenser. The mirror stand is carved rosewood, ebony or teak.

Ways in which the black mirror can be used:

To contact spirit guides

To access knowledge

For healing and self-improvement

As a magical transmitter and receiver

For divining the past and the future

As a portal to the astral plane

For shamanic journeying

For ritual invocation and evocation

To improve visualization skills

Preparing to work with the black scrying mirror

Always keep the surfaces very clean using alcohol and a soft cloth. Never use it for anything but its intended magical purpose. Do not let others look into its surface, except in ritual context. Keep it stored in a silk bag when not in use. Frequently charge the mirror with vital force and fluid condenser as explained following.

Practice the visual exercises described following until mastered.

Keep working area clean and free from any disturbance.

Generally scry using the mirror at night, preferably during the full or new moon, depending on the operation.

The mirror can be used at any time, but tends to work better at these points.

When indoors light two votive candles, one on each side of the mirror.

Use white or coloured candles appropriate to the work, blue for healing, purple for psychic work, and orange for communication and so on.

Burn lunar or psychic blend incense before working with the mirror.

Place the mirror on a wooden table or altar with a clean cloth beneath it and be seated on a wooden chair in front of it, or if you prefer assume a comfortable asana on the floor with the mirror before you.

Extinguish all light sources except the candles or moonlight.

Allow nothing to reflect in the mirrors surface. It should appear as a dark tunnel or window.

Before starting always create a sacred space to work in. Cast a circle of protection or visualize the area surrounded by white light and protection from false or misleading influences-call your Guides and Guardians to protect the working.

Keep a journal to record experiences.

The Rite of Scrying

First, clearly decide what you seek or are trying to accomplish in the working and prepare appropriately. Then prepare the working area.

Once you are ready close your eyes and begin to relax; feel every part of your body releasing, relieved of all tension.

Visualize your circle of protection and know you are safe and in control of all that happens within it.

Begin to breathe rhythmically and fully; try a count of four in, hold four, release four, four in, hold four, release four and so on. Feel yourself entering a light trance surrounded by sacred space, removed from time and the material world. Silently call your Guides or Guardians of the work invoking the Goddess or calling angelic presences, spirit guides, watchtowers, astral guardians or whatever you prefer.

Reaffirm your desire and purpose of work.

Now open your physical eyes and gaze into the mirror, remain relaxed and do not hesitate to blink when necessary.

Relax the focus of your eyes but remain alert. After a while the surface of the mirror will begin to change and fade; a dark mist will appear.

Your inner eyes will now open and the journey into the mirror begins. Remember that the inner eye sees inside the mind, through the magical imagination. Most people when scrying do not see the images appear with the physical eyes on the mirrors surface but see within the mirror and in the mind’s eye. The mirror acts as a focal point, a gateway within.

When you have completed your journey or work you set out to do, begin the return to your body and ordinary senses. Breathe fully and deeply and remain still until you feel you have completely returned.

Now close your eyes and remember all you saw and felt during the scrying or journey. Review your entire experience mentally.

Write it all down immediately in a journal kept for this purpose.

To Begin to See

This is a very important exercise to master if you are new to scrying or are having trouble receiving images. It will aid your “visual imagination” which allows your psychic and physical eyes to see clearly together. It gives clairvoyant strength.

Sit before your mirror and begin to imagine objects on its surface, one after another. You should try to see these images clearly in the mirror with your eyes open, just as if they were there in reality. Try simple shapes and colours first. Hold onto the image of each shape, object or colour one minute before dissolving it and going onto the next. E.g. use a red triangle, yellow square, blue circle and silver crescent; see them appear in the mirror using your firm imagination.

For best results, do this exercise every day for 15 mins until it is mastered.

The exercise is well worth the effort; it gives magical discipline and strengthens the inner eye so visions can come with clarity and ease.

Charging the Mirror with Light

To charge and empower the mirror with light force is a simple but powerful process. It should be done frequently, especially just before using the mirror, so as to ensure you see correct visions, connect with positive energy and do not experience interference.

First you must imagine that white light is collecting inside your body, being channelled down from the crown chakra. The body becomes a vessel filled with light. Remember to breathe fully, deeply and rhythmically.

Now stand in front of the mirror and direct palms of hands toward one another. Imagine that the internal light is now moving into your hands, forming a ball of condensed white light between them. See and feel this clearly in your imagination.

When ready, project this ball of light into the surface of the mirror, purifying and enlivening the mirror, filling it with magical force. See the light “soak” into the mirror. This process needs to be repeated until the mirror feels “full”.

This process can be used to give a special or programmed charge to the mirror. Follow the steps preceding and create the ball of light between your hands, then mentally project your desire into the light before projecting the light into the mirror.

This technique can be used for healing works and self-improvement. You can also charge the light with a specific colour or vibration-whatever can be felt or imagined can be put into the mirror to aid the magical energy.

The empowering exercise can be used for other magical operations as well, such as charging other magical tools and the giving of healing light to another person. All it takes is a strong desire and powerful imagination.

Locking the charge into the mirror is done by willpower. When the light has been absorbed into the mirror, state in your mind and with all the faith you can muster that the charge will remain as long as you require it. To release or remove a special charge, simply reverse the procedure, pulling the light out of the mirror into the space between your hands. Then disperse the energy into the atmosphere through the imagination. Do not draw it back into the body-see it returns to the universe.

Creation and use of the fluid condenser

A fluid condenser is an infusion of herbs and tinctures, essences and gold added. It serves to hold the mirrors magical charge and attract elemental force. The condenser can be used not only on mirrors but also on all other ritual tools for ceremonial use. The use of certain herbs, stones and metals in small quantities attracts etheric energy of a like kind.

These fluids can be made individually to represent each of the elements ro to enhance a particular work. Making a universal fluid container is recommended that will work for all purposes, having all elements represented along with tincture of gold, representing solar and God energy and essence of moonstone representing lunar and goddess energy.

The fluid is applied to re-charge the mirror and to draw magical symbols upon it for use in ritual. When the mirror is not in use, it is wise to anoint its surface with the fluid before putting it away. The fluid can be cleaned off with alcohol or distilled water later.

To make the fluid you must first gather the herbs you need. They can be fresh or dried, but the more life force they contain, the better.

The following list of herbs includes suggestions, but you need not use all the herbs to make a good condenser. Use the ones you can find of good quality.

Once gathered the herbs are placed in a pot of distilled water or rainwater. There should be about an ounce of each herb and enough water in the pot to cover the contents completely. Bring this mixture to the boil and then turn down the flame and let it simmer for an hour with the pot lid on. When this is done let the mixture cool and strain it through a muslin cloth. Put the liquid back in the pot and simmer without the lid until only a quarter of the original amount is left.

When this is cool, add the gold tincture, about 13 drops to each pint of liquid. Then add essence of moonstone.

If these aren’t available gold chloride or gold salts can be used and whole moon stones and crystals added to the mixture as a vibrational additive.

Gold tincture can also be made at home with fairly good results. Heat a piece of gold over a flame until red-hot. Dunk into a container of half a quart of distilled water or rainwater. The heat and rapid cooling causes gold molecules to remain in the liquid. This process should be repeated 9 times in the same water. Be careful of rising steam and don’t get hot pliers into the water.

When you have combined all fluid condenser ingredients together in a sterilised glass container, and then add an equal amount of wood or isopropyl alcohol to act as a preservative. Store the condenser in an air-tight glass container in a dark place and it will last for years.

For a very powerful mixture add a few drops of your own blood to the mixture.

Quartz crystals can be can be left in the fluid while it is stored to keep it clear.

Herbs for the Fluid Condenser

For water element; elderflowers, waterlily, orris root, white rose, willow, cucumber seeds, jasmine.

For fire element; red poppy, cinnamon bark, bay leaves, orange peel, rosemary, marigold, galangal, damiana, tobacco, nutmeg.

For earth element; oak, ivy, cypress, mugwort, vervain, patchouli herb, wheat, primrose.

For air element; mistletoe, acacia, clover, pine, sage, lavender, verbena.

For spirit; gold, blood, crystal.

For healing; juniper, thyme, mandrake, tansy, elder, coriander, lavender, life-everlasting, sage, cypress.

For Universal Fluid Condenser; chamomile, dittany of Crete, ivy, oak leaves, bay leaves, almonds, cypress, clover, grape leaves, rose petals, mugwort, jasmine, vervain, mandrake root.”