Dark Arts Workshop October 2020

It was a cold wet morning on Saturday, although the afternoon brought drier and brighter weather as we arrived at the Village Hall to prepare for the workshop. Cassandra and I do not usually host workshops this late in the year but we had postponed them due to Covid 19 restrictions.

We had five attendees, two couples and a lady, so we spaced the chairs accordingly and laid out the practical items.

There are guidelines for use of the hall, keeping it ventilated with open windows, so the group wore coats for extra warmth during the afternoon. Our attendees were on different spiritual paths which sparked some interesting conversations between them.

Cassandra discussed certain aspects of the Dark Arts which led to many questions and gave a deeper insight into the group’s thoughts and opinions on this subject.

We discussed the use of Spirit Houses which prepared our group for the practical part of the workshop.

They were given a macramé framework and  receptacle that fits inside it where they can place their chosen charms, crystals, pebbles or shells. Shiny beads and sequins strung together and strands of glitter thread can also be ties upon the framework of the structure. The group began to construct their spirit house and then took it home for completion in their own time. It is interesting to observe couples working on their creation together discussing ideas and preferences. It is also intriguing to see the work in progress and the varied interpretations of each one.

At the end of a productive afternoon, Cassandra and I returned to the cottage for dinner while the rest of the group visited the St Buryan Inn.

There had been a change of plan concerning the site we usually visit for this particular workshop, as space is limited for social distancing. On this occasion we visited Boscawen un stone circle and it did not disappoint, as the site was alive with spiritual presences.

We sat in a circle near the centre King Stone and I guided the group in a short meditation to connect with the ancestors of the site. I saw figures in the darkness observing us and even though it was a crisp, cold evening, many in the group felt warm energy as though they had positioned themselves beside a warm hearth. We spent time observing the clouds in the sky, that gently parted forming a triangular shape before they withdrew further to reveal a clear sky with myriads of stars. The large red planet of Mars could also be clearly seen as it shone down upon us.

The night was still and felt warmer than it had during the afternoon. We all felt quite comfortable within this peaceful energy and could have stayed longer, however it is wise not to outstay one’s welcome with the site’s spirit guardians!

We returned to the village hall for libations of Cornish mead and saffron cake. The infra-red heater provided an interesting glow to the room along with candlelight while we discussed the workshop, answered questions and compared experiences of our visit to the site. It seemed the group were reluctant to leave, particularly at this time as we are all limiting our social activities, as it felt good to have the opportunity to interact with others.

A pleasurable workshop with a wonderful group.

Feedback:

‘Darlene and I want to say a very big thank you. Everything you both said made sense and resonated with me, expanding my mind to new possibilities. Cassandra and Laetitia’s teaching method is down to earth and easy to understand. They are lovely warm people who know their Craft! Can’t wait for the next one. Shane’.

‘It was a pleasure to meet Laetitia and Cassandra. The knowledge and understanding they have on the subject is clearly vast and varied. It is clear that they both have a lot of experience between them.  I found the workshop interesting and, enjoyable.  I particularly enjoyed the visit to the stone circle, and it is a place that I would love to visit again.  We covered Curses and spoke about methods of protection and discussed deities/crossroad magic and decorated our spirit houses. Thank you both for a lovely day’. N.A.

Hi Laetitia and Cassandra

I really enjoyed the dark arts workshop. I found your teaching down to earth and It was good that you encouraged us all to talk about our own experience and answered our many questions. I especially enjoyed walking to the sacred site with you at night, the beauty of the landscape and feeling the ancestors near was heart warming. We had a lot of laughs too, it was good to sit with a drink afterwards. I’d definitely like to join you both again. JM

The Old Ways -Folk/Cunning Workshop, Boscastle 2019

Cassandra and I hosted a Folk Magic workshop at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic as Simon Costin had suggested it.  Cassandra’s book Village Witch is stocked within the Museum retail outlet, therefore a workshop provided  readers with more information on the subject. They could interact and ask Cassandra any questions in person.

It was a glorious warm sunny day when we arrived. Simon had other commitments that day but Fergus was around if we needed assistance. It was good to catch up with Judith Noble who was overseeing the Artists Residency event that day.

We had 18 attendees, each were either on their own individual spiritual path or not actively practicing but curious about the Folk/Cunning Craft.

Cassandra has years of experience in her Craft and good rapport with her audience. She works from an outline of subjects so the talk is more spontaneous and interesting for her listeners.

Cassandra is ‘down to earth’ with humorous moments that keep the audience entertained. It also helps to lift the atmosphere when discussing more serious aspects of the Craft.

After two hours of discussion, we had a lunch break, enjoying the warm sunshine and sea air.

The group returned to the Museum after lunch and Cassandra guided them on a hedgerow walk near Minster Woodland to harvest wild greenery for their witch bottles. I remained in the library updating our business accounts and searching for the video Cassandra planned to show the group in the afternoon session.

On their return, the subject of spell casting and energy raising was discussed. The following video is an example of how working women used chants, while engaging in repetitive work. This helped with accurate timing of movements and also creates a bond between all workers. One member of our group made an interesting comment about the singing, as it would become apparent if a worker grew weary, meaning that they could either take a break or slow down.

The group then moved their chairs to form a large circle and we placed all ingredients for witch bottles into the centre of the space. They could help themselves to the ingredients that they required. I suggested that they began by holding their jar or bottle for a few minutes while connecting with the spirits and ancestors for assistance.

There were many conversations and also sharing of greenery as they all filled their receptacles. We explained that they would need to take them home to add a personal bodily fluid of their choice. When that is done they seal the jar or bottle by placing a real wax candle on the lid so the wax drips down over the seal. It can also be done by binding with twine before sealing with wax, or a modern method of adhesive tape (although we do not recommend the use of plastic.)

A few members of the group visited the Museum retail outlet and purchased Cassandra’s book Village Witch. They asked her to sign them.

When the workshop was complete and everything was returned to its place, I took another opportunity to sit upon the fabulous Gothic chair in the library. It once belonged to ‘Old Horny’ the goat God who now stands tall within the Museum.

We would like to thank the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic for inviting us to host this workshop and all who attended it for being such a wonderful supportive group. I’m sure we will be seeing you again.

Feedback:

“Had an absolute fantastic time at Cassandra and Laetitia Latham Jones’ Workshop at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic today. Learned so much, had a lot of laughs and discussions – it was total ‘amazeballs’! They truly are amazing and inspirational. Thank you both for such an awesome day of magick! Blessed be. xx” E.G.

“It was a fun, interesting and informative day. Cassandra is as entertaining as she is knowledgeable. Thank you both” C.M.

Wonderfully informative with humour and what a fabulous turn out! Cant wait to attend another one” M.E.

“We attended this first workshop and it was amazing, great people and great vibes, thank you everyone see you again!” M.H.

“Wonderful inspiring day with you all. Thank you Cassandra and Laetitia.” K.H.

“What a Wonderful day with beautiful people. Can’t wait to go back to Boscastle to go walking in minster woods. Thank you Cass and Laetitia for a day of knowledge and learning. Xx” P.O.

“We had a wonderful day lovely people and a great feel here yesterday x”

“I really loved it and look forward to the next one. Xxx💜xxX” G.W.

“I loved every moment of and loved the walk to collect wild flowers.” S.H.

“Can’t wait for the next one! Thank you Cassandra and Laetitia. Many new things heard and learnt. It felt very special. I’m only beginning to feel my way around ” spirit” but excited for the journey. Hope to see you all again soon.” C.D.

Ten Years in Cornwall

The 12th June 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of my move to Cornwall. The life I visualised here is completely different to the one I now have.

Living near the sea, you discover the elements of rain, wind and storms intensify. Cornwall may not be as cold as other parts of the UK (although our last winter was a harsh one) and frosts occur less here. The cost of living is rising everywhere, but in tourist areas, prices also rise during the holiday seasons and tourists pay the higher prices for the short time they are here, however residents are required to pay these high prices throughout the season. Work opportunities increase during the summer, but lessen in the winter when the cold weather means an increase in utility bills.

Taking a vacation in Cornwall is easier than living here. During a vacation you have free time to visit beaches and places of interest, but when one is trying to earn a living and survive, pleasure visits to beaches or sites rarely occur.

On a positive note I have enjoyed my work as Wisewoman throughout the last 9 years and learnt so much from Cassandra Latham Jones throughout this fascinating and testing journey. Working with the land and sea with their powerful unpredictable energies has been challenging as tests from the ‘powers that be’ are severe with obstacles constantly placed in one’s path. It takes strength of character and determination to overcome these and continue………as the spirits are saying ……..”how much do you want this???” Cassandra admits she has been tough with me throughout this time and admires my tenacity.  She also revealed there were others who in the past 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 for conducting Rites of Passage. Cassandra is happy to leave what she refers to as ‘arm waving’ to me for setting up a sacred space for ceremonies.

The consultations we provide together work well, the moment just before a reading while Cassandra connects with a client’s energies, I tune in to connect with spirit presences around them. While Cassandra shuffles the Tarot cards I provide the client with a description and any messages a spirit may wish to pass on. Cassandra then lays out the Tarot spread and on many occasions the same message has appeared within the cards giving the client double confirmation. I have witnessed many readings by Cassandra over the years becoming familiar with her cards and own an identical Tarot deck with the ability to also 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 absorbed within the foundations of these buildings and 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 that she has taught me.

Wart charming is a service that at first I was rather sceptical of, it was difficult to understand how it could possibly work. Even now I cannot explain it but have witnessed the success of this process with clients.

I have constructed many charms over the years and had a high success rate with fertility charms in particular. It delights me to think I have assisted in creating new life and brought happiness to others.

I continue to provide Holistic Services and have taught Reiki courses  which benefit clients greatly, particularly as this practice is more about spiritual and emotional development of the person rather than a complementary therapy.  I have assisted a wide range of clients including the terminally ill and also pet owners who work with 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 jealousy 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. There are however, 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 introduced: Morvargh 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 and their Mari Lwyd at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic on Samhain 2014, has evolved into a fantastic event entitled:  The Dark 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 I have overcome. I am sure 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…….

Swiss Sea Enchantment and Divination Workshop

Wicca, Cassandra and I

Our 2017 spring and summer Old Ways Workshops began with one for twelve Swiss Pagans. We were unable to invite them all in Cassandra’s tiny cottage, so we hired the St Buryan village hall.

Wicca, a lovely woman who runs the: Swiss Museum of Witchcraft, arranged for her group to meet with us and translated the relevant information. Cassandra gave a talk on her life and work as a Wisewoman and I spoke about sea spirits, mermaid legends, elemental work and uses for seaweed, sand and other materials found on beaches.  I also explained magical properties of various sea shells, sea beans and mermaids purses.

Cassandra was asked to construct a few protection charms for the group to purchase at their workshop.

After allowing time for questions after the talks, we provided materials for them to construct personal charms. The unique designs they created and type of material they chose told us something about their individual personalities.

After blessing the charms we visited Boscawen-un Stone Circle to activate them with meditation and raising energy by dancing to the beat of a drum.

We visited Sennen Beach and watched the deep red sun in the sky as it descended over the sea. The group members live inland and rarely get an opportunity to experience wonderful energies from the sea in Switzerland.

Cassandra built a fire and we sat around it while discussing local folklore.

We sang chants by the shore to invoke the sea spirits and raise energy for casting spells with sea shells. We then returned to the fire for Cornish blackberry mead and saffron cake.

It was a wonderful workshop with a group of fabulous people. Despite the difference in language, our love of the Old Craft deeply connected us all.

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