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’.
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.
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!
It is now Autumn Equinox 2021 and today we re-visited the garden to collect some apples. There is an abundance of apples and the neighbour informed us that he pear tree had never blossomed before but it bloomed this year!
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.