Autumnal Activities at Equinox 2020

The latter half of summer had been rather busy for Cornwall and although this was welcome to help the economy, it included aggressive and thoughtless behaviour from many visitors. The land and sea no doubt breathed a ‘sigh of relief’ as summer turns to autumn and life returns to a more peaceful and slower pace.

Cassandra and I were occupied with distant work for clients, however August and September enabled us to see clients in person for socially distant readings, workshops and courses.

Autumn Equinox was overcast weather-wise, but dry which enabled Cassandra to venture out onto the land where she harvested local blackberries, apples and autumn leaves. Meanwhile I swept the hearth and prepared the fireplace, in preparation for our evening celebration.

We had time to bake a wonderful apple and blackberry crumble containing seasonal spices of cinnamon and cloves, before keeping an appointment with one of our clients.

We were given a wonderful opportunity by the new owners of Caer Bran Hillfort to bless their land. The following article has information about the site:

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. Despite subsequent mining activities and the bisection of the fort by a later track, the Iron Age defended settlement, 330m south east of Caer Bran Farm survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, strategic importance, agricultural practices, social organisation, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Details

The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement, situated at the summit of the prominent hill Caer Bran. The settlement survives as a roughly-circular enclosure defined by two concentric lines of defence, the inner formed by a rampart and ditch and the outer by an inner ditch, rampart, outer ditch and counterscarp bank. The defences survive differentially; the inner rampart and ditch are much slighter in construction than the outer defences, the rampart of which is up to 4.6m high. The outer defences survive best to the north. Within the interior are the low rubble walls of at least two stone hut circles. The best preserved is centrally located and measures approximately 16m in diameter. This hut circle and the fort have been bisected by a later track, and much of the interior has an irregular appearance caused by numerous pits and spoil heaps associated with mineral prospecting and extraction from the medieval period onwards.
Other archaeological remains in the immediate vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings. 

Legal

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Historic England

Our blessing ritual was simple, but nevertheless potent as we experienced positive reactions from the elements to our invocations.

The owners were keen to show us around the site particularly the quarry, where tangible energies of elementals and guardians were present. We were surrounded by wonderful autumnal colours and as we stood on the highest point of the site and the evening mist began to descend, we could see for miles all the wondrous landscape of West Penwith.

We returned to Cassandra’s cottage and enjoyed a well-earned rest by the hearth, discussing our experiences of the site while indulging in Cornish mead and warm home-made crumble.

We sat by a blazing fire enjoying a small, meaningful equinox celebration, toasting the ‘powers that be’ and hoped the changing season would bring a positive outcome to the problematic situation we are all experiencing. We hope communities will work together, caring for one another and our environment. A perfect end to an energetic equinox!

Tenth Anniversary as Village Wisewoman

Spring Equinox 2020 marks the tenth anniversary since Cassandra Latham Jones handed over her business of Village Wisewoman to me.

I had previously worked as a qualified holistic therapist and was therefore accustomed to dealing with clients, however with this alternative way of working, clients are dealt with in a different way.

The consultations providing guidance can be similar to counselling (in which I now have a Diploma) as clients contact us with various dilemmas in their lives. We discuss appropriate methods or courses of action that could help them.

Cassandra has a unique way of working and has built a good reputation which means she is a tough ‘act to follow’. I was a Cornwall resident for only ten months when I embarked on these new pursuits and local residents did not know me well, but I had adequate experience to provide the services required. Over the years I have settled into the village community by frequenting our local Inn, some of the church services and village events. I have also performed 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 of the list of items required when working with them is much easier now and I converse with the confidence that comes with experience.

Cassandra taught me to do my own business accounts, which is quite an easy task with a small business. I admire her for managing this despite her having ‘dyscalculia’. It was less of a problem for me as I am good with numbers and nowadays modern technology lessens the burden of mathematics.

I understand why a ‘code of ethics’ is necessary and it is not good practice to cast spells for clients to influence others against their will. These spells can have huge repercussions and I have witnessed the consequences for others who cast spells for selfish desires without forethought.

Learning the process of creating charms has been enjoyable and is reminiscent of past activities when I have used cross-stitch and crochet skills during childhood and adolescence. I have skills 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,  when I construct two fertility charms neither is identical in appearance or their contents.

Another aspect where needlework skills come to the fore is in creating clothes for hearth dolls which inspired me to create more clothing for other dolls with uncanny likenesses and purposes. After observing this activity, Cassandra commented that my work with dolls is one of my outstanding talents.

I have witnessed many Tarot readings and I know Cassandra’s Tarot cards so well, I am able 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 who are unable to see us in person have proven to be extremely accurate and given guidance and help to many all over the world.

The Handfastings we provide are wonderful occasions. We have taken on the role of Celebrants at wondrous sacred sites and more unusual venues. My past ceremonial training comes to the fore when setting up a sacred space although the words I use have changed, providing a deeper connection to the ancient land around us.

We prefer a couple to be in a relationship at least a year before taking this important step, some had been legally married a considerable length of time. Others had their spiritual ceremony with us, but attend a registry office before or after the ceremony if they require a legal contract.

I would love to experience more of these ceremonies on beaches 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 people once led can leave residual energies that seep into the foundations of buildings which can affect them in startling ways. The spirits of deceased owners can form an attachment with their former properties that 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 to move them on.

I have experienced on many occasions the remarkable difference of energy and atmosphere within a property after 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 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 period of time when she worked alone.

So there you have it…..ten years of organisation and work within the business of Village Wisewoman. It is so important to have an occupation one enjoys that does not lose its fascination or become mundane!

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 this 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!

Walk with Wise Women to Zennor August 2018

Sunday was a day of fierce winds and rain, but fortunately the August Bank Holiday Monday brought calmer and drier weather for our Wisewoman walk.

Two energetic and enthusiastic young men, Jason and Arkie had journeyed from Chicago U.S. to spend a week in Cornwall and visited Glastonbury before continuing their journey here. They spent some time in Boscastle and Tintagel, 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 expressed he was ‘beyond excited’ to meet her and experience one of our walks.

We 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 Zennor Hill would be the site to visit. It requires a copious amount of energy to reach the top, however Jason and Arkie were in their 20s, full of energy and prepared for a challenge.

As we walked towards the hill Cassandra asked them if they would like to visit Zennor Quoit before climbing the hill. The vegetation on the moor 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 on this occasion with an abundance of gorse, therefore it was no surprise that it occurred. Jason and Arkie were delighted to have experienced this.

We eventually discovered the correct path to Zennor Quoit, Jason and Arkie were intrigued by the formation of the stones and how one can climb inside the Quoit and sit within 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 discussed the variety of Fae folk and their roles within Cornish folklore and they were well prepared with notepads to write 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 performed rites. Zennor HiIl is a powerful site, therefore 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 where to place his feet and the correct way to move the stone.

Here is 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’.  

St Senara

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

Read more about: The Mermaid of Zennor

We also visited the Tinners Arms for a well deserved beverage.

It was indeed 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 delighted they enjoyed their time in Cornwall and are sure that it wont be the last we see of them.

Feedback: “Thank you so much! We had a blast!”

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