The Old Ways -Folk/Cunning Workshop, Boscastle 2019

Cassandra and I hosted a Folk Magic workshop at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic as Simon Costin had suggested it.  Cassandra’s book Village Witch is stocked within the Museum retail outlet, therefore a workshop provided  readers with more information on the subject. They could interact and ask Cassandra any questions in person.

It was a glorious warm sunny day when we arrived. Simon had other commitments that day but Fergus was around if we needed assistance. It was good to catch up with Judith Noble who was overseeing the Artists Residency event that day.

We had 18 attendees, each were either on their own individual spiritual path or not actively practicing but curious about the Folk/Cunning Craft.

Cassandra has years of experience in her Craft and good rapport with her audience. She works from an outline of subjects so the talk is more spontaneous and interesting for her listeners.

Cassandra is ‘down to earth’ with humorous moments that keep the audience entertained. It also helps to lift the atmosphere when discussing more serious aspects of the Craft.

After two hours of discussion, we had a lunch break, enjoying the warm sunshine and sea air.

The group returned to the Museum after lunch and Cassandra guided them on a hedgerow walk near Minster Woodland to harvest wild greenery for their witch bottles. I remained in the library updating our business accounts and searching for the video Cassandra planned to show the group in the afternoon session.

On their return, the subject of spell casting and energy raising was discussed. The following video is an example of how working women used chants, while engaging in repetitive work. This helped with accurate timing of movements and also creates a bond between all workers. One member of our group made an interesting comment about the singing, as it would become apparent if a worker grew weary, meaning that they could either take a break or slow down.

The group then moved their chairs to form a large circle and we placed all ingredients for witch bottles into the centre of the space. They could help themselves to the ingredients that they required. I suggested that they began by holding their jar or bottle for a few minutes while connecting with the spirits and ancestors for assistance.

There were many conversations and also sharing of greenery as they all filled their receptacles. We explained that they would need to take them home to add a personal bodily fluid of their choice. When that is done they seal the jar or bottle by placing a real wax candle on the lid so the wax drips down over the seal. It can also be done by binding with twine before sealing with wax, or a modern method of adhesive tape (although we do not recommend the use of plastic.)

A few members of the group visited the Museum retail outlet and purchased Cassandra’s book Village Witch. They asked her to sign them.

When the workshop was complete and everything was returned to its place, I took another opportunity to sit upon the fabulous Gothic chair in the library. It once belonged to ‘Old Horny’ the goat God who now stands tall within the Museum.

We would like to thank the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic for inviting us to host this workshop and all who attended it for being such a wonderful supportive group. I’m sure we will be seeing you again.

Feedback:

“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 Boscastle to go walking in minster woods. Thank you Cass and Laetitia 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.

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 artefacts, 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 from someone not easily approachable, however in dire circumstances one would summon the courage to seek help. This was the voice of  should you upset them.

I stood in the doorway listening carefully as I observed the cottage, the hearth and the real cats ‘stuffed’ by a taxidermist. There was an energy surrounding these animals as though their spirits were nearby. If you observe Joan long enough you can almost see her move as her fixed gaze remains on the crystal ball in front of her. I stood there contemplating 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 to attract sufficient 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 retail outlet. 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 she was a smoker which was reminiscent of the 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, the inspiration for Joan’s cottage at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. I have been taught by the Wise Woman whose voice I first heard on theoriginal 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 have heard that many miss the original recording, so we thought it would evoke wonderful memories for them. It certainly does for me! Enjoy!

I recently received this message from someone:

“Hi, sorry for the random message but I wanted to reach out to say thank you to you and Cassandra. I’ve been going to Boscastle for years and was a friend of Graham, and even donated a sea object back to the museum back in 2004. It was part of the original collection on the Isle of Man which was later sold. Anyway, I wanted to say thank you because I recently bought Joan’s Spells CD from the museum shop expecting to hear the original recording by Cassandra, and was really disappointed when it wasn’t. Then I found the video of original soundtrack you made on YouTube it brought back so many magical memories, as well as the voice fitting the installation, which for me the new one doesn’t. Thank you for keeping the magic alive. Blessings to you both x” V.B.

To read Cassandra’s explanation of the Museum soundtrack for Joan’s Cottage go to her article Needs Must When The Devil Drives.

An Auspicious All Hallows Dark Gathering for 2018

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.

Image-Chris Hicks

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 Fraudulent Mediums Act and 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.

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 passed her ‘snapper’ to me along with the position of main Teazer.

At this event I guided Penkevyll and stood alongside her while the Wassail ceremonies took place.  The meeting on the bridge is a little more energetic as Penkevyll accompanies the Maris to meet the approaching English from the opposite side at the centre of the bridge.

St Pirans festival in March invites Penkevyll and: Boekka to take part in their procession at Redruth.  The procession is uphill and extra energy is required here while Teazing and interacting with the crowd along with 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 tribal music played for the Morris dancers (I find Beltane’s music extremely powerful) and connect with spirits of place on land and sea at the wondrous harbour of Boscastle.

This year I also rode my Sea ‘Oss Morvargh during the afternoon accompanied by John and Sue Exton with their new Mari Seren. Dancing with Morvargh is also an ideal warm up for the Teazing of Penkevyll. Mole, the Squire of Wreckers Morris invited Morvargh to dance alongside his Morris band while they performed a dance about the sea. We worked well together and the audience enjoyed it immensely.

It was then time to return Morvargh to her stable 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 wonderful sound of throbbing drums signalled the appearance of Penkevyll.

Our space was rather restricted this year as Mr Fox had their fire display equipment in the space. Penkevyll danced and interacted with the crowd 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. Gem is in her 30s and has a good connection with Penkevyll. She also understands 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 this affected my singing as my throat was rather dry.  Susan and I thought the Pwmco went better than expected, particularly as she had little notice of this with Vivien’s sudden illness.

The Mari’s stayed within the entrance hall of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic while blessing the property, as the corridors and stairs are difficult for 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 deep primitive energy about them which suited our event.

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 Morvargh and what she represents.

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

A wonderful afternoon.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑