Sabbats and Seasonal Festivals

The Dark Season of Samhain – Celtic New year

Ancient Origins of Samhain

Mythology and Folklore
Heathen Harvest
Cassandra and I attend our community celebrations, we travel to North Cornwall to organize the All Hallows Gathering in Boscastle. The event is occurs outside the wonderful Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (and this is the ONLY SEASONAL EVENT we are associated with In Boscastle) on the weekend leading up to or on Samhain.
Early in the evening at Samhain we begin our personal celebration in the village of St Buryan when local residents escort their children around the village for ‘Trick or Treating’ and they visit a real Wise Woman’s cottage. We also visit the St Buryan Inn for a celebratory drink before the preparations for our private group celebration at midnight. It is indeed an active time in the spiritual and physical worlds as the Celtic year ends but it is extremely rewarding.
I will conclude this post by wishing you all a joyous Samhain and a prosperous and successful new Celtic year.

The Sublime and Sinister Sides of Yuletide Customs

Although the traditions and rituals of Christmas have evolved through the centuries, many of them have remarkably ancient origins linked to the midwinter festivals of Yule and Saturnalia and the hope of renewed life as the days lengthen with the promise of spring.
Folklore Thursday

The Fearsome Legend of Krampus

Ancient Origins
Symbolism of Yuletide

Folklore Customs of Twelfth Night and the Epiphany

The one thing guaranteed to elicit the strongest opinions this first week of January is the debate over which day to take down your Christmas tree and decorations. Is it Saturday 5 January, or Sunday 6 January? And what happens if you leave them up for longer? Are you really struck down with bad luck for the rest of the year as the superstition goes?
One thing’s for sure – everyone does it differently, and everyone has their own ideas.
The following link will tell you more about this
Folklore of the Twelfth Night
The Old Winter Witches of Epiphany

The Ancient Art of Wassails

Tales of the Cocktail 

The Origin of Mumming

Why Christmas
Read more about the Chepstow Wassail tradition and enjoy your Wassails wherever you are!

Candlemas and Imbolc

The mistletoe hung at Yuletide has now lost its fresh green leaves and berries, but the brown dried remnants still hold the energy of the wonderful season of Yule. It is still working, bringing good fortune to the home until the season returns again. We have now approached the time of Imbolc and Candlemas.

About Candlemas

Build Faith

Spiritual Meaning and Celebration of Imbolc

Guide to Spiritual Living

Origins of Valentines Day

The following links will explain the historical origins of Valentines Day and the Pagan festival. 

Spring Equinox

Springtime arrives and with it the season of fertility represented by eggs, rabbits and flowers in bloom. The better weather encourages people to spring clean their homes, clearing out things that are no longer needed as we bid farewell to the long winter. New life, hopes and projects await us and the sun has returned.

Spiritual Symbolism of Spring Equinox
Celebration of Spring Equinox and Easter
How Pagans celebrate the Spring Sabbat

Autumn Equinox

This season and the falling autumn leaves reminds us of the wonderful release when letting go of things that no longer serve us, thoughts, negative relationships etc.

Autumn Equinox Celebration




33. The Interview

During our visit to Kent, I arranged to meet with my Reiki student and friend at a restaurant. She was teaching Reiki and magical ritual to a woman I was introduced to that evening. It was encouraging to see my Reiki student go on to teach others to use their spiritual abilities. My friends were concerned about my apparent weight loss and sensed problems within my relationship. Although I missed my friends in Kent,  life was about to undergo dramatic change in Cornwall. The following day I travelled home without the company of another driver and it seemed as though the car had wings and the ‘pull’ of the land was still strong for me.

I sent an email to the wise woman on my return giving feedback on the Montol festival. I received a prompt reply as we now shared an interest that she was passionate about. The wise woman explained that she needed a break after the exertion of Montol and suggested we arranged an interview at the beginning of the new year.

Image - Pinterest

Image – Pinterest

My husband and I attended a Yuletide ritual hosted by the Bodmin moot.  There I met a buxom gothic woman and I enquired about the ‘gothic scene’ in Cornwall.  There were no events locally for mature ‘goths’  that she was aware of and spoke of the time she attended a nightclub where she was surrounded by gothic teenagers and she was the only middle aged person there!  

Old London Stone. Image - Tripadvisor

Old London Stone. Image – Tripadvisor

I spoke of a New Year’s Eve event I attended that was hosted by the London Vampire group at the Old London Stone Pub.  I enjoyed this and hoped to find something similar in Cornwall.

Jamaica Inn Bodmin

Jamaica Inn Bodmin

I later discovered  there were Halloween events at the Jamaica Inn that my Merlin friend had attended, but tickets for the event were quite expensive.

During the moot Yuletide ritual, the priestess’ female dog was ‘in season’ and very affectionate. My husband had worked hard at the cottage and still wore his working clothes and the dog followed him  detecting the odour of perspiration. The moot members stood in a circle for a short meditation and when we opened our eyes the dog had wrapped her front paws around my husband’s leg attempting to copulate with him. The group were amused and my husband jested that out of all the attractive women in the room the dog was the only female that approached him!

Image - Young House Love

Image – Young House Love

A basket containing gifts donated by group members was passed around the room and the gift I chose contained small red and green Yuletide candles.  I told the priestess about my forthcoming interview to train as Teazer and it pleased her I was getting involved with Cornish events. The Pagans in Bodmin thought west penwith a long way away and I discovered that even a 10 minute drive was viewed a long journey by some. My husband agreed that we would be travelling many miles making the journey from mid to west Cornwall for regular rehearsals.

My interview with the wise woman was arranged for the 26th of January 2009 at midday. I had mixed feelings about it as I looked forward to meeting her, but was still a little concerned about the incident at the Conference. My husband transported me to the village by car as this area was unknown. The directions given were detailed and the journey of 40 miles took just under an hour. I requested that I attend the interview alone as my husband  frequently interrupted  conversations. He agreed and decided to explore Penzance until 4pm.

St Buryan

St Buryan

We travelled along the A30 towards Lands End and took a left turning into a two-mile lane that led to the village. We were surrounded by fields, stone crosses and milestones. I noticed the tall village church in the distance and marvelled at the landscape surrounding it.

Image - Megalithic

Image – Megalithic

 I  had a vision of finding a property in a place that was tucked away and difficult to find. My husband stopped the car at the chapel car park and I immediately saw the small gravel pathway leading to the cottage. He asked whether I was comfortable seeing the wise woman alone as I had not conversed during the journey, but this was something I had to do alone. I crossed the road towards the pathway and as I neared the cottage, I heard music that I recognized as the band at the Montol festival. I assumed the wise woman played this music to focus herself for the interview. I was not partial to band music at this time, but enjoyed folk music I heard at festivals with the Morris team.

The conservatory door was open and I used a small brass door knocker in the shape of a horse on the front door  which was just below a beautiful stain glass window. I knocked hoping she could hear me above the music. The traditional witch and partner described her as a feisty woman who did not ‘suffer fools gladly’ and I wished to make a good impression. The wise woman opened the door, greeting me with a wide smile which relaxed me a little. She invited me in and gestured towards a small padded chair with an embroidered labyrinth maze on the back. The wise woman brewed some tea which gave me an opportunity to take in the surroundings. A large granite inglenook hearth had old, well used magical tools upon it and nearby a small book-shelf  contained a huge variety of fascinating books. The centre of the room was clean and tidy, but I was aware of a thick layer of dust on shelves and many cobwebs between the beams and the corners of the room. She explained that cobwebs and dust were part of the décor and was unashamed of it. I asked her the age of the cottage and she abruptly stated there were more important things to discuss and we would talk about the cottage later. The wise woman spoke of the local festivals and the ‘Oss, explaining that in the spring of 2008 the original ‘Oss rider grew tired of political matters within the festival and left taking his ‘Oss at short notice. She was his Teazer for 17 years and the rider left 2 months before the festival and another ‘Obby ‘Oss was urgently needed. She asked for assistance from the traditional witch and partner to create another ‘Oss which took some time when done correctly. They formed a ‘cooperative’ and also created other ‘Oss related merchandise to sell and make a contribution to funds for the festival.

Meanwhile, another festival member acquired a horse’s head and he rushed the preparation which affected the skull’s appearance and the odour was unpleasant. He planned to have his ‘Oss ready for the festival and asked a female Cornish dancer to be his Teazer. He tactlessly suggested the wise woman retired from Teazing.  He then rode his ‘Oss at Mazey Eve 2008 and when the wise woman’s ‘Oss was ready later in the year she suggested they share appearances. The other rider refused to compromise and insisted he was the only festival ‘Oss. The committee however allowed both ‘Osses to perform and there had been difficulties with the sharing of events that she described as tiresome. The wise woman assured me I would not be involved in the political side, only the performance. I was amazed to discover that she had a metal rod in her spine due to surgery for scoliosis as she had danced for years. There were more riders needed for the ‘Oss and I suggested my husband and son as they were both physically strong and may be interested. I was sure that my son would love to be involved as he had a fascination in the past for the wooden ‘Osses at folk festivals. The wise woman was delighted to hear this and suggested I viewed some video footage of the festivals.  I accompanied her to the bedroom which was bright and airy with yellow walls and brown wooden beams. Her wooden bed was covered in a blue ‘throw’ with a black Celtic design. I sat upon the chair at the desk and she activated the computer. The video footage was similar to Montol and gave me insight on Mazey Eve and Mazey day. Throughout the afternoon I noticed that she frequently rolled and smoked cigarettes. I had heard her voice before on the recording from the Witchcraft Museum used for the display of Joan’s cottage and I purchased one of their first cassette tapes. Her loud laugh at the end of the recording was that of a smoker, so this habit did not surprise me. I disliked cigarette smoke and even though I was attracted to her, this habit put me off a little. The wise woman wore a sweatshirt with a ‘Neighbourhood Witch’ motif on it and a thick cardigan. She had two hot water bottles, one placed behind the small of her back and the other on her lap.  I wore less than that and she asked if I was cold but I felt quite comfortable with both her cats that had positioned themselves on each knee.

After discussing rehearsals and festivals, I gave her more information about myself. She asked my age and my reply surprised her as she thought I was at least 10 years younger.  I spoke about my life and the religious indoctrination plus other childhood experiences. The wise woman could relate to it all and she had also married a policeman in her distant past. She would be someone I could talk to and have the ability to understand having experienced similar. Our views on relationships and sexuality matched and I explained the arrangement in my relationship and noticed a change in her expression. There was also a moment during our discussion when she asked if I could be wicked. The way I answered the wise woman caused her to laugh loudly and her blue eyes twinkled with delight. At Conferences she portrayed a cheeky flirtatious personality which I assumed was constant and discovered that this was not the case as she  focussed only on the interview which impressed me. She spoke of her magical work and handing on her business after retirement. The wise woman explained that others had attempted to learn but were unable to handle the challenges that came with it. I expressed an interest in learning about her way of working in order to carry on the business as I had 13 years of magical experience. I was aware that there was much more to learn, particularly when it came to the energies of  Cornwall.

Time passed quickly and our conversation continued for 4 hours. The wise woman then politely informed me she had other matters to deal with and as we embraced,  I told her I had waited a long time for one of her hugs. The wise woman he replied that there were plenty of those to be had as she was an affectionate person. I blushed at her reply and had difficulty opening the latch on the door. As we crossed the threshold my husband arrived and I introduced them both and he received a hug too.

During our journey home I updated him on the interview and that he could be an extra rider for the ‘Oss along with our son. Another young man rode the ‘Oss for Montol 2008 but there was uncertainty on his future availability. On our return an email from the wise woman awaited expressing her enjoyment of the afternoon’s discourse.  I sent a reply and added a little humour as I now felt a little more relaxed when conversing with her. The incident at the conference was not mentioned, but I also sensed that a working relationship with someone as focussed and strong minded as the wise woman would not be an easy road ……