A client booked a Wisewoman Walk with Cassandra and I. It is one aspect of our work where we were able to see someone in person but still maintain a social distance. This current situation with Covid 19, the lockdown and social distancing has changed all of our lives, particularly within our work.
We made some alterations, as we usually invite clients to Cassandra’s cottage and discuss their preferences for sites in the area. If not, we surprise them with our choices. As the cottage is so small, it is impossible to maintain the correct distance, so we met our client at the car park of the Merry Maidens stone circle. We were blessed with sunny weather that turned out to be warmer than the forecast predicted.
These monuments are fascinating, particularly when they have an entrance leading deep into the ground. There is also a strong feeling of being observed from the darkness beneath…
We observed two buzzards hunting for prey and these were visible from each site that we visited.
We passed the Merry Maidens stone circle to visit The Pipers standing stones. In order to avoid the hazardous bend in the road while walking, Cassandra led us through the fields.
We emerged from the fields further down the road where Cassandra brought our attention to hawthorn and blackthorn bushes side by side in the hedgerow. The differences between the two are more obvious when adjacent to one another.
We were unable to open a gate leading to the field where the Piper’s stones stood but this did not deter Cassandra who proved that even now, at 70 years old, she can still climb it.
The standing stones have a regal presence about them, a tall and proud presence upon the land.
The second stone leans to one side and we discussed how deep the base of it would need to be within the earth to stop it from toppling. Cassandra stated there would need to be at least a third of its length there in order to keep it secure.
After this, we returned over the stile to make our way back to the Merry Maidens.
The Merry Maidens stone circle is a wondrous creation, surrounded by our local landscape and easy to find being situated close to the road.
Each stone within the circle has a unique energy (in my experience of working with them). The grass surrounding the area was rather parched due to the hot weather and lack of rainfall.
On our way back to St Buryan, we stopped at Boskenna Stone Cross. It is one of our larger stone crosses that stands proudly at the edge of a three-way crossroads near the village.
We visited Alsia Well from here, walking through a field of vibrant yellow buttercups. So many flowers this year had noticeably vivid colours and the following photograph does not do them justice!
The vegetation is seriously overgrown at Alsia Holy Well. , what with the lockdown and the area leading to the well being so small, social distancing is quite difficult. It was obvious there had been no visitors to the site for some time and we took it in turns to spend a little time visiting the well. Our client stated it was the most calm, peaceful energy she had experienced at a site.
From there we returned to our wonderful village of St Buryan. Cassandra explained the history of the Market Stone Cross that stands outside the gates of the village church.
There are some impressive stone monuments within the graveyard, we spent some time studying those as moody black clouds crept across the blue sky, but fortunately it did not rain.
This is where our first ‘social distance’ Wisewoman Walk came to a close, as we could not return to the cottage for a beverage and a chat as we usually would. It was a wonderful experience to venture out on the land again and work with a client in person after nearly 3 months of lockdown. It is a different way of working now but still as enjoyable! Stay healthy and safe wherever you are and we will see you soon!
Feedback: “A fabulous wise women walk on a humid day in June. Cassandra and Laetitia are very knowledgable and work very well together in what they do. A wise women walk incorporates visits to local historic sites and knowledge of the hedgerows. Highly recommended.” N.G.
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 copious amounts of gorse, therefore it was no surprise that on this occasion 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 some 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’.
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
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.
Today Cassandra and I had the pleasure of escorting a lovely couple and their two dogs on a Wise Woman Walk. They had been Handfasted and are going to have their legal ceremony while they are in Cornwall.
We began by visiting Alsia Well:
This delightful spring is situated on Lower Alsia Farm near St Buryan. It is at the lower end of a field, in a hedge, a short distance south-west of a public right of way from Alsia to Bosfranken – the old church path to St Buryan. The well is enclosed behind metal railings and consists of a small stone-lined recess in the hedge with a granite capstone, and a copious supply of clear, cool water. Adjacent is a slate slab with the words ‘Alsia Well’ carved on it. Although by no means impressive, this is a charming little well, especially when seen in Spring or early Summer when surrounded by wild flowers. A cross is supposed to have once stood nearby and the water is reputed to have cured rickets, particularly in children. It has also been used as a divining well by girls, the number of bubbles rising from a pebble or pin when dropped in signifying the number of years before a lover would be found.
Mayze the dog sensed the spirit energy at the well. The air was still and the site had a peaceful ambience.
Shaun was interested in historical places and archaeology so we thought he would also enjoy visiting Carn Euny:
Among the best-preserved ancient villages in South West England, Carn Euny was occupied from the Iron Age until late Roman times. It includes the foundations of stone houses from the 2nd to 4th centuries AD, with walls up to a metre high in places. At the heart of the village is its most intriguing feature – a stone-walled underground passage known as a fogou. This mysterious type of Iron Age monument is found only in the far west of Cornwall. The earliest houses on the site were Iron Age ‘round houses’, probably built of timber and turf sometime between 500 and 400 BC. These were replaced with stone houses probably between about 50 BC and AD 100. The last phase of settlement, between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD, saw several earlier buildings replaced with larger, stone ‘courtyard’ houses. The visible ruins above ground mark the remains of these later houses. Old field boundaries nearby show that the inhabitants farmed some 40 acres of land around the village. They grew oats, barley and rye and kept animals such as sheep or goats and probably cattle. The villagers are likely to have been traders, perhaps dealing in local tin. The village appears to have been abandoned in about AD 400, although we do not know why.
Shaun and Dawn were fascinated by the fogou.
They also marveled at the phosphorescent moss on the stone walls.
We gave them time to explore the site alone before moving on.
Our final visit was to Boscawenun Stone Circle as Shaun wished to visit a place that has ley lines:
The stone circle at Boscawen-ûn is considered to be one of Cornwall’s most popular prehistoric ceremonial centres as well as one of extreme aesthetic beauty. It lies beneath the southern slopes of Creeg Tol, enclosed by a later raised circular bank which, built-in the 19th century to replace an earlier boundary that went straight through the circle, is an early example of archaeological conservation. The circle appears to have been carefully positioned within the landscape in such a way as to relate with key prehistoric landmarks, both natural and contemporary. The circle is slightly oval in shape and consists of nineteen large upright stones, all of granite except for one of quartz. Just off-centre within the circle lies a tall stone said to resemble an axe cutting into the earth with two axe carvings of low relief on its north-east face. These carvings are the only known examples of stone axe carvings in Britain and the closest parallel for them lies in the Neolithic ritual sites of Brittany which suggests that the central stone at Boscawen-ûn predated the circle and was erected as a monument for axe-related ritual; possibly in conjunction with woodland clearance. The stone leans towards the north-east sector of the circle where an arrangement of stones may represent an earlier, possibly contemporary cairn or cist. That this feature also pre-dates the circle is apparent in the spacing of the circle uprights at this point. When the circle itself was erected, the quartz stone was placed on the south-west side of the circle in alignment with the central stone and the cairn-like structure to the north-east. It is thought by some that the central stone with its axe carvings represents the phallic masculine whilst the quartz stone represents the feminine powers of the ring. The south-west position of the quartz stone also marks the direction of the full moon during mid-summer.
Beside the stone circle stands a magnificent Elder tree. Cassandra advises people to use a chant whenever they take anything from it.
Give me of thy wood
And I will give thee of mine
When I too become a tree.”
It was an enjoyable afternoon and hope that the newlywed couple have a wonderful future together.
Feedback: Thankyou very much for a fantastic afternoon spent with you both the dogs enjoyed their walk too. It is difficult to pick a favourite site but I think Alsia well was really special and Mayze found it interesting too!
The 12th June 2018 was the 10th anniversary since my move to Cornwall. The life I envisaged here and the one I now have are completely different.
Living near the sea, the elements of the rain, wind and storms can intensify. Cornwall may not be as cold as other parts of the UK (although the last winter was a harsh one) and frosts occur less here. The cost of living is rising everywhere, but in tourist areas, prices rise during the holiday season and tourists pay these higher prices for the short time they are here, however residents have to pay these throughout the holiday season. Work opportunities increase during the summer, but lessen in the winter and the cold weather also means an increase in utility bills too.
Taking a vacation in Cornwall is easier than surviving here. During a vacation you have free time to visit beaches and places of interest, but when one is trying to survive, pleasure visits to beaches or sites rarely occur even though one lives in close proximity to them.
On a positive note I have enjoyed my work as Wisewoman throughout the last 9 years. I have learnt so much from Cassandra Latham Jones and it has been a fascinating and testing journey. Working with the land and sea and its powerful unpredictable energies has certainly been challenging as tests can be severe and obstacles are constantly placed in one’s path. It takes strength of character and determination to overcome these and continue………as though the spirits are saying ……..”how much do you want this???” Cassandra also admits she has been tough with me throughout this time and admires my tenacity. She also informed me there were others who in the past who desired to learn from her but were unable to withstand the tests and tasks given.
My experience and training in ceremonial magic while in Kent has been useful when conducting Rites of Passage. Cassandra is happy to leave what she calls ‘arm waving’ to me when setting up the space for ceremonies.
The consultations we provide together work well, the moment just before a reading when Cassandra holds the client’s hands to connect with their energies, I tune in to any spirit presences that may be around them. While Cassandra shuffles the Tarot cards I provide the client with a description of any spirit presences and messages they may wish to pass on. Cassandra then lays out the Tarot spread and there have been many occasions where the same messages have appeared within the cards giving double confirmation for the client. I have witnessed many readings by Cassandra over the years and am now familiar with her cards, so I now own an identical Tarot pack and have the ability to provide readings from them.
Property cleansing needs a huge amount of work, particularly when they are inhabited by a variety of residents over time,(more-so with period properties). The energies from traumatic events are contained within the foundations of these buildings which can have a profound effect on any future residents. In hotels and public houses/inns the energies can intensify and affect the smooth running of businesses. We have had many successful outcomes from this work.
Curse breaking is another area of intense work. Many clients consult us about this problem and Cassandra has a unique and powerful method for dealing with these energies that she has passed on to me.
Wart charming was a service that at first I was rather sceptical of, it was difficult to understand how it could possibly work. Even now I could not explain it but have witnessed the success of this process with our clients.
I have constructed many charms over the years and had a high success rate with them, fertility charms in particular. It delights me to think I have assisted in creating new life and brought happiness to others.
I still provide Holistic Services and have taughtReiki courses too which benefit clients greatly, particularly as Reiki practice is more about spiritual and emotional development of the person rather than a complementary therapy. I have helped a wide range of clients from the terminally ill to pet owners who now are able to calm their stressed animals.
My Crisis and Trauma counselling services have also come to the fore as often clients are affected by religious cults and childhood abuse. They do not realize how past trauma can affect their everyday lives as adults, even though it happened long ago.
Walks with Wisewomen is an enjoyable aspect of our work as it enables us to visit and enjoy the sites with our clients. I have, over time learnt the folklore associated with them by listening to Cassandra repeating the information on each visit. We also find out more about our clients as we converse with them while walking to and from the sites.
Our ‘Old Ways’ workshops have been successful during the last few years. I suggested hosting them and Cassandra was at first a little reticent, but as we had many inquiries about them, she agreed to try. The workshops have gone from strength to strength covering five subjects. We have met some fabulous people who experienced some extraordinary occurrences while they were with us. The preparation and workshops themselves are hard work but also energizing and satisfying on a deeper level.
I have learnt so much since being here and my main lesson is that life is indeed unpredictable. One can plan for the future to a certain extent but unforeseen circumstances can create sudden changes that can have incredible impact on one’s life bringing positive or negative outcomes.
I have also learnt that being successful in work and within a community brings rivalries, competitiveness and jealousies from some, who will then project dissatisfaction with themselves and their lives onto another. When a person experiences this level of pettiness it is vital to remember that these people, by their treatment of you, are validating that you are exceptionally good at what you do. If you were not successful or talented, negative people would not bother with you. When a person moves into a new community, they are on ‘foreign territory’ and therefore vulnerable to predators and bullies. However there are also genuine good-hearted people in a community who will do what they can to assist, especially if they were once in the same position themselves.
Cassandra Latham Jones falls into this category and has assisted me in so many ways.
I have integrated socially by attending festivals and utilising my talents as musician and dancer. I have also met some kind, thoughtful and talented individuals. The residents of St Buryan village have been particularly welcoming and now consider me part of their community.
My time here has been a catalyst of creativity as Cassandra and I, along with my son Rhys formed our Guise team Boekka which features Penkevyll the Lands End ‘Oss. Our team has performed for 8 years and we have introducedMorvargh my Sea ‘Oss as a recent addition. To top it all, my idea of Cassandra, myself and Penkevyll the ‘Oss, meeting Phil and Vivien Larcher along with their Mari Lwyd at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic on Samhain 2014, has now evolved into a fantastic event entitled The All Hallows Gathering!
Now that I have lived in Cornwall 10 years, I am no longer a ‘newbie’. The local community has witnessed how difficult it has been for me and the obstacles placed in my path. I am sure that certain individuals could not have withstood or endured a fraction of what they have directed my way, but that is par for the course. The positives far outweigh the negatives and I am still here…….
Our afternoon walks were varied this year. Clients come to see the popular sacred sites, but as each person is unique with varied reasons for their choices. visiting the same site each afternoon would bring something new.
This year we met a group of people from the U.S. They experienced a walk with Cassandra a few years ago and were eager to see her again. We visited Boscawen-un stone circle and Men an Tol. The weather was a mix of sunshine and showers, but they were well equipped.
I do not tire of hearing the folklore of each site as repetition helps the information to stay with you. Some clients bring us small gifts and we are touched by their heartfelt gestures.
A young man also visited us from the U.S and attended one of our workshops before his walk. We took him to Merry Maidens, Sancreed Holy Well and Carn Euny where he took the opportunity to bless an important item he carried.
A lady also visited from the U.S. requesting that Cassandra sign her book and wanted to spend time with her on a walk. Her husband bought this as a honeymoon present for her as they had been Hand-fasted at Stonehenge a few days previously.
We would love to meet you also and take you on a spiritual journey to the beautiful local sites. Come and spend time with us!