Tenth Anniversary as an Old Craft Initiate.

The full moon of 28th March 2021, marked 10 years since my initiation into the Old Craft by Cassandra Latham Jones.
Image – John Isaac
For me, learning the Old Ways was more intensive than it is for members within a group situation as I have lived with my teacher and we were rarely apart, therefore tuition and discussions were constant. The last ten years may have brought challenges and hard lessons, however they included a multitude of wonderful moments that made it all worthwhile.
To mark this special anniversary Cassandra decided it was time for me to receive my final initiation, an equivalent to a third degree within the Wiccan path.

On February’s full moon, I visited Men an Tol, where once again, I was observed by a bright full Moon. I performed a ritual of passing significant items through the holed stone a designated number of times to energise them while Cassandra observed nearby. I then paused and stood in the moon’s rays, feeling her energy while expressing my devotion.
From that moment on, Cassandra instructed me to record my dreams and sent me on four Quests to locations of my choice.
Lamorna Cove
Barnoon Cemetery St Ives
Carn Euny
Carn Euny
Crean Valley Woodland
I collected an item from each location and on the final Quest, I realized each one related to the elements, water, air, earth and fire. Cassandra stated that the directions were also significant.
The requirement of a ‘fast’ for a period of time was undertaken abstaining from stimulants, plus an added habitual action that I would find challenging.
During the weekend of my initiation, Cassandra instructed me to create a magical item related to all the locations I visited. There is a specific ritual connected to the creation of it that I followed during a designated planetary hour. I combined a blend of corresponding oils and herbs, placing them in a muslin bath pouch for my ritual bath. I cleansed and blessed all items that would be utilised for the ceremony.
Image – Cornish Bird Blog
On the evening of the initiation, we left home at 8pm to visit Boscawen-un stone circle where the first part of my initiation rite would take place, just as it had ten years ago. The difference on this occasion was the invisibility of the Moon shrouded in dark clouds and we had a dry evening, accompanied by a stiff breeze. This did not surprise me as Cassandra informed me it would be a ‘darker’ ceremony, therefore the absence of moonlight had great significance. I attempted to wear a hat that evening but the breeze repeatedly removed it, therefore I accepted it was not required.
Cassandra and I used our bull roarers to call the spirits of place, she then instructed me to repeat a statement at each stone until I completed the circle. Cassandra stood by the Elder tree to observe and I slowly made my way around the circle laying my hands upon each stone, repeating the words, then moving on in the darkness, making my way over the tussocks and uneven ground. When I completed the circle, I turned to walk towards the King stone at the centre and in the darkness it seemed to transform into a tall hooded figure. I approached it and as I did so it reverted back to its original form and I rested my forehead against it, connecting with the energies of the site. After a while, I laid against the incline of the King stone feeling the breeze that rushed over my body and pressed me against the granite.
On our return to the cottage, Cassandra prepared the hearth and surrounding area, while I had my ritual bath in candlelight. I reclined in the water and contemplated on the impressions I received at the stone circle and the step I was about to take.
I put on my robe and awaited Cassandra’s call.
The initiation ritual was a wonderful experience and the initiatory words had such potency. Even though my familiar Clutterbuck had entered the spirit world only 5 weeks previously,
Image – John Isaac
I felt his presence with us as he never failed to join us for celebrations in the physical world and I knew he would not miss this one.
When the initiation ritual was over, Cassandra hugged me and stated that her job was done. We celebrated with good old Cornish mead. Never before had she taught anyone as intensively over this amount of time.
We have both worked well together over the years and will continue to do so.
I would like to express my gratitude to Cassandra for being such a caring, understanding and patient tutor. She has taught me invaluable skills and assisted me in developing a deep connection not only with Cornwall but also with the place and community of my birth.
Whatever the future holds and wherever life takes me, her teachings will remain and are now a strong aspect of who I am.
Feedback from Cassandra Latham Jones: “Congratulations Laetitia! A worthy, hard working and now fully fledged wisewoman. You have remarkable psychic abilities – that definitely is your forte”.

A Local Wassail During Lockdown 2021

The Chepstow Wassail is an event we regularly attend and is a wonderful start to each year.  Read more about the Chepstow Wassail here. However, unforeseen circumstances led to an cancellation of the 2020 Wassail and since then all our social activities have been seriously affected with the arrival of a pandemic.
Cassandra and I discovered that one of our neighbours in the village of St Buryan owns five apple trees situated within her wild and magical garden.
As we were in ‘lockdown’ and not permitted to travel we offered to perform a ceremony for her fabulous trees. Amongst them are rare and ancient species known as ‘Cornish Mother’ and also ‘Blackmore Pippin’.

 

Wassail in St Buryan 2021 Part 1 – YouTube
The weather was fortunately dry and mild, the sun also appeared providing beautiful blue skies. Our neighbour’s garden is reminiscent of a favourite childhood story, The Secret Garden, as it has an ‘otherwordly’ feel to it.

Wassail in St Buryan 2021 Part 2 – YouTube
I had made some wonderful mulled cider for the occasion, so I poured some into a small flask and created ‘holed’ toast for the trees. I printed out the Wassail ceremony which Cassandra read out before feeding the trees with cider. As there were so many of them we emptied our flask and did not partake of it ourselves until returning home, which was well worth the wait.

We are intrigued to see how the apple trees fare this year and hope our neighbour receives an abundance of apples this autumn. Our neighbour presented us with a basket of ‘goodies’ for Wassailing her trees, symbols of food, drink, fire and cloth to wish us an abundance in all these things.
Here is our Wassail song – the trees had no choice but to awaken with our singing….Wassail to you all!
Wassail Song in St Buryan 2021 – YouTube

The Old Ways – Craft of the Cunning Folk Workshop September 2020

It has certainly been a challenging year for all and the situation concerning Covid 19 has affected many events and community work. Cassandra and I decided to postpone our workshops held throughout the summer until later this year and fortunately our understanding clients were able to alter their schedules too.
Workshops at present need to be carried out while maintaining a social distance. At the moment we host them at our Village Hall as Cassandra’s cottage is far too small for this requirement.
Although the village hall does not have the same ambiance as the cottage, the local residents have done an impressive job of giving the rooms a thorough cleanse. There are certain guidelines that need to be adhered to of cleaning the areas before and after use.
Our September workshop was our first one this year and we were fortunate to have only two clients to try out these changes and test the new way of working. The kitchen within the hall is not in use, so we were unable to offer the refreshments we would usually provide while at the cottage.
Cassandra began the afternoon session by discussing all aspects of the Cunning Craft and working as a Wisewoman. At times her ‘train of thought can meander into other areas and I am able to bring this to her attention and steer the discussion back to the original subject. We were asked by the village hall committee to keep the doors and windows open to ventilate the area. During the afternoon we were visited by four Red Admiral butterflies which was a pleasant distraction!
Our clients had a different views on various aspects of the Old Craft as one is in the process of  training within a magical group and the other is a healing practitioner with a keen interest in the land and folklore which produced fascinating discussion.  We had a short break to enjoy the sunshine outside and then set up the table for our practical work.
My work includes the construction of charms, therefore creating a Witch Bottle spell would utilise the same Correspondences when researching the correct ingredients to place within the bottles.
We have seen a variety of bottles and jars personally chosen by clients for each workshop and on this occasion our ladies had chosen huge receptacles! They gave a lot of individual thought concerning the ingredients by studying the Correspondence table provided. When they were satisfied with their choices and had gathered all they required, the construction work began.

We guided them through the first stage of their bottle/jar spell and after the workshop they take them home and complete them by adding their personal DNA to it before filling the bottle/jar with liquid. When our afternoon session had come to an end it took us quite a while to clean any surfaces we had used before leaving the premises.
After a two hour dinner break our clients visited the cottage conservatory to bless their jars and then we transported our two ladies to a ‘place of power’ and gave them guidance in energizing their spells. We experienced a stunning sunset that evening and immediately after our energy raising, a murder of crows flew overhead. We sat quietly for a while enjoying the feeling of the energy raised and the stillness of the air around us as the sun descended on the horizon.
We returned to the cottage and spent time in Cassandra’s conservatory where we were able to maintain social distance and enjoyed a glass of Cornish mead with saffron cake, while discussing the day and answering any questions they had.
It was a successful workshop, even though there were some aspects of it that were quite different to the workshops we are accustomed to. We look forward to our next one!
Feedback:
“‘A very informative workshop. Cassandra and Laetitia shared their working knowledge and were very welcoming. A good format to the day.” N.G.
“I attended the course Folklore and found it a really interesting. The new measures in place for covid do not take anything away from the experience and all was done really well. It was a wonderful day full of interesting experiences and I felt I learned a lot. I left in the evening feeling inspired to try new ideas at home.” S.L.