Spring Equinox 2020 marks the tenth anniversary since Cassandra Latham Jones handed her business of Village Wise Woman to me.
I previously qualified and worked as a holistic therapist and therefore was accustomed to dealing with clients, however this alternative way of working, meant clients would be dealt with in a different way. It is similar to counseling (which I now possess a Diploma for) as clients will contact you concerning various dilemmas in their lives and we discuss the appropriate methods to help them.
Cassandra has a unique way of working and had built a good reputation over the years, so she was a hard act to follow. I had been a Cornwall resident for only ten months at this time and the local residents did not know me well, however I had adequate experience to provide the services required. Over the years I have settled into our village community by frequenting our local Inn, some of the church services and village events, as well as performing at local festivals in West Penwith.
In a short period of time I created 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, wise women walks and workshops. Notifying a client concerning the list of items we require for working with them now comes naturally to me and I converse with the confidence that comes with experience. Cassandra taught me to do my own accounts, which is quite an easy task with a small business. I admire her for managing this considering she has ‘discalculia’, however it was less of a problem for me as I am good with numbers and nowadays modern technology makes work and keeping accounts easier.
I understand why we have a ‘code of ethics’ and that it is better not to cast spells for clients to influence others against their will. These can have huge repercussions and there are occasions when I have witnessed this after others had cast spells for selfish desires or without sufficient contemplation concerning their requests.
Learning the process of creating charms has been enjoyable and is reminiscent of times I used cross-stitch and crochet during my childhood and adolescence. I also have skills required 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, if I constructed two fertility charms neither would not be identical in appearance or their contents.
Another aspect where needlework skills came to the fore was in creating clothes for our hearth dolls which inspired me to create more for other dolls with specific images and purposes. After observing this activity, Cassandra informed me that my work with dolls is one of my greatest talents.
I have witnessed many Tarot readings and I now know Cassandra’s cards so well that I have the ability to provide readings 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 unable to visit have proven to be extremely accurate and given guidance and help to many all over the world.
The Handfastings we provide are always wonderful occasions, we have taken on the role of Celebrants at wondrous sacred sites and other unusual venues. My past ceremonial training comes to the fore when setting up the sacred space although the words I now use are different and have a deeper connection with the ancient land around us. We prefer a couple to have a relationship of at least a year before taking this important step, some of our couples have been legally married a considerable length of time and others have their spiritual ceremony with us and attend a registry office if they require the legal contract.
I would love to experience more ceremonies on the beach 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 that people once led can leave residual energies that seep into the foundations of buildings and affect them in startling ways. The spirits of deceased owners can form an attachment with their former properties which 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 in moving on.
I have experienced on many occasions the remarkable difference of energy and atmosphere within a property after the 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 needed to pass 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 very successful as many are intrigued by the work we do and enjoy spending time with us to experience this for a day.
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 also learnt more information during our ‘Walks with Wise Women’ 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 advertised and networked to reach more people who need assistance and that the business has grown considerably compared to the time when she worked alone.
So there you have it…..ten years of organizing and working within the business of Village Wise Woman. It is so important to have an occupation one enjoys that will never become mundane or boring!
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 her 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 to continue assisting our community!
Cornwall has had some lovely warm summer days of late and two wonderful lively young men from Chicago had planned to visit and asked Cassandra and I if we would consider hosting an extra workshop for them. We were previously acquainted with them when they accompanied us on a Wise Woman Walk to Zennor Hill in 2018.
We advertised an extra workshop and received bookings from two ladies who also joined us that day.
Jason and Arkie are eager students, they love the world of herbs and potions and they have also opened their own retail outlet selling occult items in Chicago. They were staying in Boscastle and enthusiastically related their visit to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, particularly the artifacts there that caught their attention and sparked their interest.
Both ladies are residents in Cornwall and the group connected and worked well with one another.
All of the group members love the Cornish landscape and Cassandra’s discussion on the spirit elementals of the land fascinated them. After receiving knowledge on the subject and having their questions answered, it was time to take the group out to a local woodland to meet and connect with the elemental spirits.
They were given a meditation exercise to heighten their awareness before they were instructed to explore their surroundings.
Each member of the group relates an experience different from the others as each person is unique and has their own interpretation of the things they have observed.
When we met in the evening, I guided the group through a process of creating a protective space before we began trying different methods of communication. I explained psychometry, hauntings, spirit mediumship and we all related spiritual experiences we have had during and after loved ones had passed away.
The group members received excellent results with their psychometry, they surprised themselves with the accuracy of their impressions on certain items totally unknown to them.
The group also attempted scrying with a black mirror and spent some time experimenting with a Ouija communication board. Not everyone is comfortable about using these boards which is not surprising when they have a bad reputation from certain horror occult movies. On this particular evening all group members tried this method.
Each person finds a method of communication they feel particularly connected to or what works for them.
During the final part of the evening we shared libations of Cornish mead and Saffron cake while discussing the weekend. It was indeed a pleasure to spend time with such a wonderful group of people. I’m sure our paths will cross again!
“Hi Laetitia and Cassandra!
What a whirlwind the last few days have been! Such a pleasure to see you both again. Thank you so much for the time, effort, and energy you put into the Spirit Connections workshop. Arkie and I learned so much from it. We’ve already started talking about locations in Chicago we can go to practice our stone meditation and we plan on working more on our psychometry skills this week! We’ve made it a personal goal to attend each of your workshops so we can’t wait to see what else you have in store!” J.F.
“Firstly i would like to thank Laetitia and Cassandra for creating this wonderful workshop which allowed us to gain an insight and deeper understanding of what it is to work with the spirit world. Within the welcoming atmosphere of the wise woman’s cottage, it was great to discuss and learn from each other our different spiritual paths and our own experiences of the spirit world. We all gained a lot of knowledge from Cassandra and Laetitia about types of energies and how there are many ways to connect with them. Our walk to a special site with Cassandra allowed a peaceful time in which we were taught how to focus deeply within asetting in order to be more aware of our connection to the things around us. During the evening we were given opportunities to try out ways in which to connect to the spirits. My favorite practice we used was Psychometry, even though it was my first time doing this i found it particularly fascinating. Thank you Laetitia and Cassandra for a fantastic experience i will definitely be joining you again for another workshop.” C.N
“It was so good to meet you all last weekend, I think we were lucky to get such a nice group, even though we are all pretty different! I enjoyed the whole experience and particularly how important it is to have that space where we can speak openly about our beliefs, experiences and personal practice, Its so rare to be able to do this for someone who is not involved in the ‘community’. I loved that we could ask you both anything and get a sensible answer! I loved the ‘down-to-earth’ energy of it all, but that’s a big part of why i chose to come to you in the first place I suppose.
To give some more precise feedback, I would say that the visit to the grove was good – particularly as there was helpful (practical) advice from Cassandra on best practice for working in this realm. The evening work with the Psychometry was also good and lovely that there was no feeling of judgement or competition – its quite nerve wracking to try this sort of exercise for the first time so the last thing you need is added performance anxiety! I (like many others I’m sure) have a lot ofresistance to the idea of Ouija board work – just from the all the years of bad stories etc etc, made this exercise too difficult to get in to. Overall it was really helpful to get a taste of the different practices along with the wisdom that actually these are things that also require work and practice – like any other skill. When I think back over my years with horses and the times I’ve had the strongest connections and done the best work – its always been those times when i was really immersed, working at it every day and seeking and experimenting and being truly dedicated, I’ve no doubt that the work of witchery is the same…. I would love to be able to attend another of your courses (particularly charm/amulet -making, i think you do one?) It’s so hard to find teachers you can feel like you can trust in this sort of stuff, people with both deep and long experience who are at the same time warm, approachable and fun- i feel lucky to have had the chance to meet you both! With warmest wishes and gratitude. H.B.”
This weekend we hosted Workshop 3 – Connecting with Spirits.
Two of our group had attended previous workshops and the other two were attending for the first time.
Friday’s Introductory evening raised some intriguing topics of conversation, particularly as one person had recently experienced a Shamanic overnight grave burial. It was fascinating to listen to the explanation of digging their own grave before lying within it while the soil was placed over them. It was intriguing to hear their thoughts and feelings during the experience. Another group member had a close connection with the fae spirits during childhood, while another member was born within a different culture. It was interesting to hear how different life was for this person and how it differed from our own culture and all the aspects we take for granted.
We have had a beautiful summer in Cornwall this year, but the weekend forecast was heavy rain, thus our group’s outdoor experience was a rather damp one.
Cassandra began the Saturday afternoon activities by discussing the various elemental spirits, their appearance, personalities and interaction with the land and its inhabitants.
The group participated in a hedgerow walk on the way to the woodland.
We were about to climb the stile of the last field when we observed two young black muscular bullocks on the other side watching us curiously.
As their behaviour could be unpredictable Cassandra decided to take a detour into the next field and enter the woodland through the fence close to the entrance.
She then explained the exercises that were required which would expand their senses and awareness.
We then left them alone and observed from a distance. A huge amount of discipline would be required as there were many things in the woodland that could distract their focus, the weather, insects and also surrounding sounds of the land. They also had time to explore the area alone to see what impressions they received from the energies there.
We then returned to the cottage to dry out and drink a warm beverage while listening to the group’s experiences and feedback on the afternoons events.
On Saturday evening, I discussed connecting and communicating with spirits of people who have passed over. This also included the subjects of psychic development, mediumship, psychometry, scrying, dowsing rods, pendulums and the use of Ouija boards. These have a bad reputation due to disturbing tales from the media and their portrayal in movies which has caused some to avoid using this method.
After setting up a protected space the group tried some of these methods for themselves. They doubted that they would be successful at sensing anything particularly with the psychometry exercise, but surprised themselves with the amount of correct information they related to us.
It was a pleasure to spend the weekend with friendly warm-hearted people who had worked well together. They happily took away with them new ideas and methods that may benefit and help them during their journey through life.
“This was my second time on the connecting with spirits workshop. The first time was amazing so I decided to do it again. In the afternoon Cassandra explained the types of land spirits their customs and behaviour then Cassandra and Laetitia took us to a special place for meditation, As we walked to the place Cassandra explained the plants and what they are used for. This being my second time I sort of knew what we needed to do. This time the outcome was so much more intense and very spiritual I cannot thank Cassandra and Laetitia enough again”. N.W. xxx
“I just wanted to thank you so much for such an amazing weekend. You were both so warm and welcoming and your cottage so homely! It was so interesting and funny too and I loved all the others on the workshop with me! I think it taught me to stop and listen more closely and to believe that what I am doing is right and effective. I loved your down to earth approach which made it all more ‘real’! I would love to do another workshop if I could be considered again? I know I didn’t contribute as much as the others, but it was quite a step for me to be there on my own anyway. Anyway, if you could let me know dates of next years workshops when you have them it would be much appreciated. Loads of love to you both and thanks again for such an amazing weekend!” C.E xxx
On the 12th June 2018 it was the 10th anniversary of my move to Cornwall. The life I envisaged here and the one I now have are extremely different.
Living near the sea, the elements of the rain, wind and storms 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 prices for the short time they are here, however residents pay these higher prices 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 and so busy with work, pleasure visits to beaches or sites rarely occur even though one lives in close proximity to them. This is what I have discovered through experience.
On a positive note I have enjoyed my work as a Wise Woman 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 been a challenge. The tests can be severe and obstacles are placed in one’s path. It takes strength of character and determination to overcome these and continue………the spirits constantly present challenges as if to say……..”how much do you want this???” Cassandra admits she has been tough with me throughout this time and admires my tenacity. There are others 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 the – as she calls it – ‘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 the spirit presence and also any messages they wish to pass on. Cassandra 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 purchased 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 can 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 concerning this matter and Cassandra has a unique and powerful method for dealing with these energies that I have also learnt.
Wart charming was a service that at first I was skeptical of, it was difficult to understand how this could possibly work. Even now I could not explain exactly how it works 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 the 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 counseling services have also come to the fore as often clients are affected by childhood abuse and do not realize how much past trauma affects their everyday lives as adults, even though these events happened long ago.
Walks with Wise Women is an enjoyable aspect of our work as it enables us to visit and enjoy the sites with our clients. I have learnt the folklore associated with them by listening to Cassandra repeating the information on each visit. We also discover more about our clients as we converse with them while walking to and from the sites.
Our Working on the Wild Side workshops have been successful during the last few years. I suggested them to Cassandra who was a little reticent, but due to many inquiries about them, she agreed to try. The workshops have gone from strength to strength with a new subject introduced each year. We have met some fabulous people who have experienced some extraordinary occurrences during them. The preparation and the workshops themselves are hard work but also energizing and satisfying on a deeper level.
I have learnt many things since being here and the main lesson being that life is indeed unpredictable. One can plan the future to a certain extent but circumstances that create a sudden change can have an incredible impact on one’s life with positive or negative results.
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. Genuine good-hearted people in the community 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 myself socially by attending festivals and utilising my talents as a 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 too as Cassandra and I, along with my son Rhys formed our Guise team Boekka with Penkevyll the Lands End ‘Oss. Our team has now performed for 8 years and we have also introducedMorvargh my Sea ‘Oss as a recent addition. To top it all, my idea of Cassandra, myself and Penkevyll the ‘Oss meeting Phil, Vivien and their Mari Lwyd at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic on Samhain in 2014, has developed 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 and Pagan community has witnessed how difficult it has been for me and the obstacles placed in my path. I am certain some 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…….