Monday, 18 February 2019

Book Excerpt: Sacred Art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit

Here is an excerpt from Sacred Art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit - Where Art meets Shamanism, a new book by Imelda Almqvist. Imelda is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her first book, Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life - Using Shamanism Creatively with Young People of all Ages, was published by Moon Books in 2016.  Sacred Art is her second book and will be published in March.

The Great Within
When I teach my sacred art programmes I do not work within either core shamanism or Norse shamanism (though I do present valuable material from both traditions). I take my students into the place I call The Great Within. This is our inner world, the limitless spaces within our own psyche and soul. In my introduction workshop I use a labyrinth and I have people walk to the centre and out again twice (once with their eyes open and again with their eyes closed, guided by another human being). I teach that everything in the external world can also be found and worked with on the inner planes. In that sense I teach a spirit-led way of making art that does not belong in any particular school of shamanism. The way I work deliberately encompasses and teaches the guiding principles behind Medieval art in Europe as well. It aims to be more universal and reflect the history of sacred art as I have come to understand it over three decades.
The core principle underlying sacred art is that it is created to honour and express something beyond the realm of the everyday and the visible. It seeks to express the Divine and map the timeless realm of all things sacred (as opposed to the everyday or profane).
Sacred art is not primarily concerned with the name or greater glory of the artist. (Medieval art did not carry the signature of the artist!) Sacred art is art in service of powers and realms greater than ourselves, to Divine Beings as we understand them- a humbling experience.
In contrast some Modern art has become conceptual and ego-led. It often shows a fragmented world where the artist is central: look at me!
To make sacred art we need to move beyond the desires and ambitions of our own ego and work in partnership with the timeless and eternal realm that is the spirit world.

The greatest piece of art we will ever make is our own life!

Some Key Phrases
Once we discover the process of direct revelation, writer’s block or artist’s block are no more. Essentially this means plugging yourself into the most vibrant current of life force known to humankind, a place fecund with potentialities

The beauty of art is that it that it takes physical form. By painting or drawing (to this add the disciplines of your choice) we create something that takes on a physical manifestation and existence outside of ourselves. The therapeutic benefits of that process have been well-documented in the field of art therapy. And just for the record: our word matter is etymologically related to the Latin word mater (meaning mother). The word matrix is derived from the same root.

Once our creativity flows, our innate capacity for self-healing awakens too!

You can view Sacred Art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit on Amazon.

Links and previous related posts

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Views and Pictures from The Enchanted Market

Yesterday I went to The Enchanted Market in Bracknell, which is on over this entire weekend. It is quite a long journey from south-east London - a couple of hours by train each way - but I had such a lovely time it was really worth it.

I'd been invited to give a talk on the history of poppets and a workshop to make traditional protection dolls in the afternoon, but I decided to get there in the morning and make a day of it. I met up with loads of friends while I was there, including two who met me at the Bracknell station and took me for breakfast before the event.

Jacqui and Steve of Bewitched Botanicals kindly let me leave my bag of workshop materials at their stall, which sells amazing soaps, lotions and bath bombs. I met up with fellow Moon Books authors Rachel Patterson, Barbara Meiklejohn-Free and Flavia Kate Peters. It was great to chat with them and catch up on news.

After browsing the market stalls I spent some time chilling out in the Goddess Temple. Then, before my afternoon workshop, I had lovely chocolate cake and tea in a real china cup in Steampunk Alley and chatted with another friend who was volunteering there. Once the workshop was over, I celebrated by trying some nice Polish mead at the bar.

The Enchanted Market is a huge pagan festival with stalls, talks, food, a bar and entertainment. It is still on today at Garth Hill College, Bull Lane, Bracknell, RG42 2AD. Day entry is just £2.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Witch Marks: Hundreds Found in Cresswell Crags Cave

Hundreds of protective marks, also known as Witches’ Marks, have been discovered at Creswell Crags, a limestone gorge on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border with history dating back 60,000 years. These Apotropaic marks, from the Greek apotrepein, meaning 'to turn away', have been discovered scribed into walls and ceilings of the caves, over dark holes and large crevices. This is a huge find for the award-winning heritage site and is significant on a national scale for being, potentially, the biggest collection of apotropaic marks in one place in the whole of the UK.

The chance discovery was made by two keen-eyed enthusiasts, Hayley Clark and Ed Waters from the Subterranea Britannica group, during a cave tour at Creswell Crags, after they noticed the rare protection marks scribed onto the cave surface.

John Charlesworth, heritage facilitator and the tour leader at the time of the discovery, said: “These witches’ marks were in plain sight all the time! Being present at the moment their true significance was revealed will stay with me forever. After 17 years at Creswell Crags it makes me wonder what else it has to surprise us. This remarkable place continues to give up its secrets.”

These marks have always been noticed, but dismissed as graffiti from before the caves were barred. Ritualistic protection marks are most commonly found in historic churches and houses, near the entrance points, particularly doorways, windows and fireplaces to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits. It was thought that the largest quantity of witch marks in British caves existed in Somerset, at 57 marks, but the number at Creswell Crags far exceeds that, numbering in the high hundreds in one cave alone. Marks have since been found in all caves at Creswell Crags.

Alison Fearn, of Leicester University, who studied her PHD on protective marks, and has seen the marks at Creswell Crags, said: “I cannot emphasise how important this corpus of apotropaia is to graffiti research, I think off the top of my head, it is the largest number of examples found anywhere and in any context in the UK.”

The number and variety of witch mark designs is unprecedented. Among the most common found are the double VV engravings which are believed to make reference to Mary, Virgin of Virgins and similarly PM is Pace Maria. Others are believed to be devices for capturing or trapping ‘evil’ and these include diagonal lines, boxes and mazes. The marks appear to have been added to over time and may indicate a need to strengthen the protection in response to a period of unexpected sickness, death or poor crops. The caves were excavated by archaeologists during the 19th century and in the process, widened. This may account for why some surfaces feature no marks and might suggest that there were originally an even greater number.

Creswell Crags are now working with academics and experts from Historic England to better understand the full significance and extent of the discovery. Creswell Crags are protected as a scheduled monument and Historic England advises on its future management.

Professor Ronald Hutton, an authority on folklore, said: “This discovery is significant because it looks like the largest assemblage of protective marks ever found in British caves, and possibly anywhere in Britain. This is a suddenly a large new area of research for historians and archaeologists, and so adds appreciatively to the importance of the Crags as a world resource. This is a hugely important and exciting find, in one of the main current growth areas of knowledge about the past. Creswell Crags has already amazed the twenty-first century with its revelations of Palaeolithic designs. Now it does so again with a fresh one of medieval and early modern ritual protection marks on a huge scale, making a very important contribution, at a stroke, to one of the most significant current areas of new scholarly research."

Creswell Crags will be launching tours of the areas containing ‘Witches’ Marks’ for the first time, from late February.

You can find out more here:

Pagan Eye: The West Wickham Oak

This is one of London's oldest trees - the West Wickham Oak. Although it stands not too many miles from where I live in south east London, I have to admit I have never visited it. This picture was sent to me by Nathalie Andrews, who was passing through the area and looked for the tree.

Nathalie said: "The West Wickham Oak dates from the thirteenth century - 800 years ago. Now on private land but visible behind a fence. A small plaque tells you what it is, but I had to look it up to find its age. It is one of the most ancient trees in London."

On each Pagan Eye post, I show a photo that I find interesting, with a few words about it. I'm not quite sure what I'll be including - it could be a seasonal image, a pagan site, an event, or just a pretty picture.

If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself and you must confirm that you are submitting it for A Bad Witch's Blog.

The photo is copyright Nathalie Andrews.

Links and previous related posts

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Divination: Nine of Cups from the Lover's Path Tarot

This is the Nine of Cups, drawn as a reading for Valentine's Day from the Lover's Path Tarot - and it really couldn't be a better omen for the day.

The card is all about joy and sensuality. It indicates a reunion with a loved one is possible, if that is what you seek. The booklet that comes with the deck says: "Some consider this card to be the 'wish' card, meaning a wish could be granted if it appears in a tarot reading.

One of my resolutions for 2019 was to do more single-card readings with oracle or tarot decks I've not used in a while. It seemed such a waste to own a big collection of divination sets, but only regularly use one or two.

Lover's Path Tarot is one of my favourite decks, but for some reason I rarely use it. You might think it is only useful for answering questions about romance, but in fact the focus of the set is on following our heart's calling and being receptive to the potential of love in all its forms, rather than just being about intimate personal relationships.

Using this deck again has reminded me just how much I like it. You can read a review I wrote here.

Links and previous related posts

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

London Pagan Events for Valentine's Day & Beyond

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, which might not be a specifically pagan festival, but there are always lots of pagan events in London to help you on your path to your heart's desire. Every week I list many of those taking place in the capital and a few in other parts of the UK. If you know of an event that you want listed, please email the details to me at

Now - 24 February. I am Ashurbanipal, King of the World, King of Assyria. Exhibition at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. For more details visit:

Now - October; Waking the Witch. Touring exhibition curated by Legion Projects and supported by Arts Council England. Venues: (Until 23 March) 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe; (1 May - 8 June) Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury; (September - October 2019) Bonington Gallery, Nottingham.

Now - 22 June; Two Magical Exhibitions in York. 1) Magic and Mystery. Exhibition exploring the fine line between science, religion and magic in medieval society. 2) Seers and Shamans: Magic in the Viking Age (runs from 20 February - 27 February). Venue: Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, York, YO1 8AR. Open 9am-5pm daily. Normal admission costs.

Now to Sun 17 Mar; Cats on the Page - free exhibition that includes a section on witches' cats. Venue: The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB.

Now – Tuesday 19 February 2019; Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War. Exhibition at the British Library. Venue: PACCAR Gallery, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB. Full price tickets £16.

Now - 2 June; The Lore of the Land. Exhibition exploring our deep-rooted relationship with the natural world. Venue:  The Studio, Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3PQ.

Wednesday 13 February; Time to Meditate - group meditation (every Wednesday). Venue: Buddha on a Bicycle, Covent Garden, London. Arrive 6pm for 6.10pm start. Donations of £3 recommended. Details:

Wednesday 13 February; Frejya's Day Goddess Circle with Lucy North. Venue: She's Lost Control, 42 Valentine Road, London E9 7AD. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £32. Details:

Wednesday 13 February; How to Mend Our Bruised Emotions. Talk by Francesca Rossetti. Venue: The Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum Street, London, Eng WC1A 1LY. Time: 7pm, Tickets: £12.50. Call 020 7405 2120.

Thursday 14, Friday 15, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 February; Morning tour: an introduction to ancient Egypt. Venue: Room 4, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: 8.50am. Tickets £30. For more details visit:

Thursday 14 February; Melanie Tonia Evans talking on thriving after narcissistic abuse People. Watkins Books, 19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ. Time: 6.30pm. Free event. For more details Tel 020 7836 2182 or visit the website  or

Thursday 14 February; Valentines night ghost exploration in Wapping with Vanessa Woolf of London Dreamtime. Venue: Wapping. Time: 7pm. Tickets: Tickets: £10 - advance booking essential via, For more details email or visit

Thursday 14 February; The Lore of Love. Talk at South East London Folklore Society (SELFS). Venue: The Old King's Head, Kings Head Yard, 45-49 Borough High St, London SE1 1NA. Entry: £5/£1.50 concessions. Time: 8pm. (Meetings are normally the second Thursday of each month.) To guarantee a seat, email

Friday 15 February; Best of Both Worlds. Lecture by Gordon Smith. Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, Kensington, London, SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Tickets: £35-£25.

Friday 15 February; Pamela Colman Smith: Her Life and Art, with Fireplace Unveiling Talk and Fireplace Unveiling by Christina Oakley Harrington. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets £10. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email:

Saturday 16 - Sunday 17 February; The Enchanted Market. Large pagan festival with stalls, talks, food, a bar and entertainment including Spriggan Mist and Inkubus Sukkubus. I will be giving a talk and mini-workshop on poppets and magical protection dolls at 2.30pm on the Saturday. Venue: Garth Hill College, Bull Lane, Bracknell, RG42 2AD. Tickets: £16.50.

Saturday 16 - Sunday 17 February; The Way of the Shaman. Two-day course hosted by Shamanism with Marta. Venue in Kew, Richmond, Surrey. Starts 9.30am Saturday, ends noon Sunday. Tickets: £175.

Saturday 16 February; Self-Love Transformational Workshop with Cacao, led by Dr Joy Lovesey. Venue: Aho Studio, 13 Prince Edward Rd, London, E9 5LX. Time: 10.30am-5pm. Tickets: £45.

Saturday 16 February; The Marseille Tarot Introduced. One-day Course with Adrien Mastrosimone  Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 11am-5.30pm. Tickets £40. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email:

Sunday 17 February; Peace Fires for the Full Moon. Light a candle or fire for peace wherever you are in the world, for just for 10 minutes or an hour or longer and state the intention: “Let there be peace on earth and love for one another.” There will also be a live web broadcast of an 8-hour peace fire from America that you can watch online. Details:

Sunday 17 February; Sunday Meditation class with Lisabetta every Sunday. Drop-in class suitable for beginners and more experienced meditators. Venue: The Little Escape Therapy Centre, 4 Paxton Mews, off Westow St, London SE19 3RW. Time: 10am-11am. Cost: £12 per class, £30 for 3 classes.

Sunday 17 February; Hidden Goddesses of London walking tour with Ross Norman. Two and a half hour walk, starting at St Pauls and ending at Crossbones Graveyard near London Bridge. Free event, but you must reserve a place:

Sunday 17 February; Family Imbolc Gathering. Venue: Private address near Turnpike Lane, North London. Time: 2pm.

Sunday 17 February; Drumming and Shamanic Circle with Shamanic Walks of Consciousness. Venue: Shamanic Space, 11 Hilly Fields Crescent, Brockley, · South London. Time: 2pm. Tickets £25.

Sunday 17 Feb: Dawn of the Oak. Pagan moot (normally on the third Sunday of each month). Venue: The Sir John Oldcastle, Farringdon Road/Greville Street, London EC1M 3JF. Time: 3pm-6pm.

Sunday 17 Feb: Luna Iter - Journey of the moon - for Pagan and Wiccan Seekers. Pub moot followed by a ritual close to each full moon. Venue (tbc): Pembury Tavern 90 Amhurst Rd, London E8 1JH. Moot usually starts at 4.30pm, then at 6pm moving to a historic site for the ritual. Fee: £4/£5.

Monday 18 February; Sacred Oils and the Art of Dying. Talk by Felicity Warner at Alternatives. Venue: St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, W1J 9LL. Doors open 6.30pm. Event starts: 7pm. Tickets £15/£20.

Monday 18 February; Study Group: The Temple Legend - looking at the picture language of myth. (Group meets every fortnight) Venue: Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Rd, Marylebone, London NW1 6XT. Doors open 7pm. Entry £3.

Monday 18 February; Witchcraft and Gay Liberation 1969/2019. Lecture by Dr Brooke Palmieri. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets £9. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email:

Monday 18 February; Pagan Pathfinders - February Full Moon. Meeting suitable for all pagans in Finchley, London N3. Time: 7.30pm. (Meeting is usually on the 3rd Monday each month.) Free, but bring food and drink to share. Contact Pagan Pathfinders for more details:

Tuesday 19 February; Peter Ackroyd's Monstrous East End. Walking tour with Footprints of London. Meet at: Limehouse Town Hall, 646 Commercial Road, London E14 7HA. Time: 2pm. Tickets: £9/£12

Tuesday 19 February;  London Dreamtime Story Circle - Full Moon Magic. Venue: The Library, 112 Saint Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4BD London. Time: 6pm. Tickets must be bought in advance: £6.98.

Tuesday 19 February; Full Moon in Virgo: True love spell and readings on finding your true love from 6.30pm. This will be both online and at Wicca Moon, 50 Well Hall Road, London SE9 6SH. The shop is also selling kits so you can do the spell yourself. For more details contact, call 0208 850 7803 or visit

Tuesday 19 February; Transformational Tools for These Times. Lecture by Susan Gash and Sven Carlson. Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, Kensington, London, SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £13/£15.

Tuesday 19 February; TLC: Full Moon Ceremony by the river Thames with London Woodland Witches Magicians and Outdoor Pagans. Venue: Meet outside Tate Modern and Bankside Gallery, London SE1 at 7.30pm for a Wiccan circle ritual on the banks of the Thames. Cost: £3 You must reserve a place in advance. Wear outdoor clothes and bring food and drink to share. Details and bookings:

Tuesday 19 February; Witches of London Gathering. Venue: front bar of the Cittie of Yorke, 22 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BS. Starting 7.30pm. Meets on the third Tuesday of each month. For any questions email or visit

Wednesday 20 February; Virgo Full Moon Gong Bath. Venue: She's Lost Control, 42 Valentine Road, London E9 7AD. Time: Sessions at 7-8pm and 8.30-9.30pm. Tickets: £20.

Wednesday 20 February; More Mead Moot with Pagan FutureFests. Venue: Hope Pub, 48 West Street, Carshalton SM5 2PR. Time: from 7.30pm. Meets on the third Wednesday of each month.

Thursday 21 February; Demons, Revenants and Nightmares: Fear and Dreaming in the Middle Ages. Venue: The Old Operating Theatre, Museum, 9A St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY. Time: 6.30pm. Tickets: £12.

Thursday 21 February; Missing Histories of Southwark Cathedral. Candlelit storytelling and music with George Hoyle of London Dreamtime. Venue: Southwark Cathedral London Bridge, SE1 9DA. Time: 7pm. Tickets: Tickets: £10 - advance booking essential via For more details email or visit

Friday 22 February; Introduction to Wicca. Talk organised by the Wicca Meetup Group. Venue: The Plough, Museum Street, London WC1A 1LH. Time: 7pm. Free event.

Friday 22 February; Crystals for the New Consciousness. Lecture by Judy Hall. Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, Kensington, London, SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £13/£15.

Friday 22 February; Alexandrian Witchcraft Soiree. Venue: Address in Central London. Time: 8pm. Details:

Saturday 23 February; The Power of Modern Day Spell Casters. Seminar/Conference with Caroline Myss via Alternatives. Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. Time: 10am-- 5pm. Tickets £95.

Saturday 23 February; Love Magic for Urban Witches. Workshop  with  Suzanne Corbie. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 1pm. Tickets £40. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email:

Saturday 23 February; Valentine Rite: For Love and Romance with the Wicca Meetup Group. Meet at the Woodman pub, 414 Archway Road, Highgate, London, N6 5UA  from 1pm to walk to the outdoor ritual site at 2pm.

Saturday 23 February; Vigil for the Outcast at Crossbones to honour The Goose and the outcast dead of Cross Bones Graveyard. Bring a flower, a ribbon, a totem or memento to tie to the shrine. Gather from 6.45pm for a 7pm start in Redcross Way outside the Memorial Gates, London SE1 1TA. For more details, visit or

Saturday 23 February; Journey Through Sound with CBD Oil & Pandora Star Light Machine. Venue: Aho Studio, 13 Prince Edward Rd, London, E9 5LX. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £33.

Sunday 24 February; Forest Bathing in Queen's Wood, Highgate. Meet in the cabin behind Queen's Wood Cafe, Highgate. Time: 10am-noon. Price: £25.

Sunday 24 February; Sacred Geometry experiential class. Venue: Crystal Palace. Time: 11.30am-3.30pm. Cost: £60. Contact:

Sunday 24 February; Sacred Geometry: The Geometry of Consciousness - Sunday Lecture. Venue: The Theosophical Society, 50 Gloucester Place, London, W1U 8EA. Time: 10.30am-4pm. Tickets: £10/£7.

Sunday 24 February; Women Goddess Circle: Aphrodite Love Oracle Temple..  All welcome. Monthly ceremony led by Lisabetta Vilela. Venue: Training Points Fitness and Therapy, 5-6 Coopers Yard, Crystal Palace, SE19 1TN. Time: 6pm-8.30pm. Tickets: £30. To book contact:

Please note: I do not organise any of these events except my poppet workshop at The Enchanted Market. I try to make sure my events listings are accurate but am not always aware of changes or ticket availability. Please contact the organiser of any event before turning up. If you spot something that needs correcting please let me know by emailing