Friday, 28 November 2014

Question: Toys for Pagan Boys and Girls

There seems to be a lot more discussion about what toys are suitable for our children these days.

When I was a kid toy shops just had shelves of toys, there didn't seem to be be signage indicated any gender appropriateness. I am glad because as a kid I was delighted to get a toy train set one Christmas and I collected Matchbox cars as well as loving my Teddy bear and dolls.

So, here is a question, or rather a few questions.

What was your favourite toy when you were young?

Do you like the modern trend for the pink aisle for toys aimed at girls, while toys such as action figures are labelled as being for boys?

If you are pagan, does that influence what toys you would choose for children at Yule?

This Week's Pagan Events In and Near London


Now to 11 January 2015. Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibition at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Free event. For more details visit: https://www.britishmuseum.org

Now to 20 January 2015; Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. Exhibition at The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB. Tickets £10/£5 free for under 18s. http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/gothic/

Friday 28 November; The Roots and Routes of Wicca: Part 1 Robert Cochrane. Event organised by The London Wicca Meetup Group. Venue: The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG. Time: 7pm, meet by the statue of the Lion of Knidos. For full details and to reserve a place, visit: http://www.meetup.com/The-London-Wicca-Meetup-Group/

Friday 28 November; Scarlet Imprint Book Launch: Reasonances by Carl Abrahmsson. Venue The Atlantis Bookshop, Museum Street, London WC1. Time: 7pm. To attend this event you must reserve a place in advance. For more details contact the Atlantis Bookshop on 020 7405 2120.

Friday 28 November; High Weirdness and the Function of the Obscure In The Western Esoteric Tradition. The John Michell Memorial Lecture by Philip Carr-Gomm at Rilko (Research Into Lost Knowledge). Venue: 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA. Doors open 6.45pm, lectures starts 7.15pm. Entrance: £8/£6. http://www.rilko.net/EZ/rilko/rilko/home.php

Friday 28 November; Reclaiming the Sacred through Authentic Ceremony. Talk by Clare Russell organised by the London College of Spirituality. Venue: Westminster Quakers Meeting House, 8 Hop Gardens, off St Martins Lane, London WC2N 4EA, London. Time: 7pm. Cost: £10, booking essential. Details: http://www.meetup.com/londonspirituality/

Saturday 29 November; Herbs for Winter Health with Cobwebs at Cauldrons at Romford Shopping Hall. Cost is £50. 10am-4pm. http://www.cobwebsandcauldrons.co.uk/

Saturday 29 November; Sigil Magick, Afternoon workshop with Mark Vincent. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 1pm to 5.30pm. Tickets £30. Advance booking required. Call 0207 419 8507. For further details: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Sunday 30 November; Tarot Workshop for Beginners, day workshop with Sue Merlyn. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 11am to 5.30pm. Tickets £45. Advance booking required. Call 0207 419 8507. For further details: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Sunday 30 November; Utopia Mind Body Soul Fair. Venue: Phoenix Community Centre, 66 Westow Street, London SE19 3AF. Time: 1.30pm-6.30pm. Entry: £1. http://alisonspiritweaver.co.uk/mbs-events/utopia-mind-body-soul-fair-at-crystal-palace/

Sunday 30 November; The Truth about Reincarnation. Talk by Greg Branson. Venue: 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA. Starts at 6pm. Tickets: £7, £5 concessions, £4 TS members. For full details: http://www.theosophicalsociety.org.uk

Monday 1 December; Tarot Meditation: The Empress, with Marysia Kolodziej. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets £10. Advance booking required. Call 0207 419 8507. For further details: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Monday 1 December; Falling in Love with Where You AreTalk by Jeff Foster organised by Alternatives. Venue: St James's Church Piccadilly, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL. Time: 7pm - 9pm. Tickets £12/£8 online. For more details and to book tickets: http://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Tuesday 2 December; Cobwebs and Cauldrons Moot. December's meeting is a Yule social with a craft fair. Venue: White Horse Pub, Chadwell Heath, Essex. Moot normally takes place on the first Tuesday of every month. 7.30pm start. https://www.facebook.com/cobwebs.cauldrons

Tuesday 2 December (Note: Not the normal day of the month). Nova Stellar Wicca Meet-Up Group for genuine seekers to the Craft. Venue The Castle, 34-35 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6DB London. 6.30pm - 10pm. You must reserve a place in advance by emailing mickijl@yahoo.co.uk. The group normally meets on the second Tuesday of each month.

Tuesday 2 December; Encountering the Guardian of the Threshold. Talk by Richard Ramsbotham, at Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, London NW1 6XT. Entry £3.50 (£1 concessions), no need to book, just turn up. Time: 7.30pm – 9pm. http://www.rsh.anth.org.uk/

December 2 - December 3; Aphrodite's Flame - 5th Anniversary. Join Aphrodite's Flame Keepers to tend a flame from dusk on 2nd December until dusk on 3rd December. Venue: Worldlwide. Time: 3pm to Dec 3 at 3pm. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1573225412893301/

Wednesday, 3 December; Introduction to Gods and Goddesses with Cobwebs at Cauldrons at Romford Shopping Hall. 10am-noon. Cost is £25. http://www.cobwebsandcauldrons.co.uk/

Wednesday, 3 December; The Witches' Inn. Pagan moot at The Feathers Hotel, 42 High St, Merstham, Redhill, Surrey RH1 3EA. Starts at 8pm. Moots are on the first Wednesday of each month. https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Witches-Inn/1568424150049437

Wednesday, 3 December; Psychic Pets. Talk by Rupert Sheldrake. Venue: 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA. Starts at 7pm. Tickets: £8, £6 concessions, £5 TS members. For full details: http://www.theosophicalsociety.org.uk

Wednesday, 3 December; Cthulhu, Fiction and Real Magic, talk with Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets £7. Advance booking required. Call 0207 419 8507. For further details: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Thursday 4 December; Demons at the edge of the world Gallery Talk. Venue: Room 55, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: 1.15pm-2pm. Free event, just drop in. For more details visit: https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/events_calendar.aspx

Friday 5 December; Personal And Planetary Transitions. Talk by Steve Nobel organised by the London College of Spirituality. Venue: Westminster Quakers Meeting House, 8 Hop Gardens, off St Martins Lane, London WC2N 4EA, London. Time: 7pm. Cost: £10, booking essential. Details: http://www.meetup.com/londonspirituality/

Saturday 6 December; Winter Solstice and Yule Crafting Workshop at Caer Corhain Shamamic Development Centre of the Isle of Sheppey, 1 Southleas farm cottages, Lower Road, Minster, Sheppey ME12 3SW. Time: 10am - 4.30pm. Cost: £35 Donation. For more details and information on how to book, call 07885682295 or 01795 874542 or visit;http://www.touchtheearthuk.com/

Saturday 6 December; Study day with the Open University: Myth in the Greek and Roman worlds. Stevenson Lecture Theatre , British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: 10.30am–4.30pm. Cost £22. For more details visit: https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/events_calendar.aspx

Saturday 6 December; Sacred Walks and The Kingston Zodiac Adventure - walking the Sagittarius sign in Richmond. Meet at noon. Cost £10/£5, advance booking required: http://www.meetup.com/Sacred-Walks-Kingston-Zodiac-Adventure/

Saturday 6 December; Woodland Wiccan Esbat Ritual facilitated by Wiccan priest Mani Navasothy. Outdoor, woodland location in London. Gather at 4pm for a walk to woods for the ritual, ends at 7pm. Wear sensible outdoor clothes and bring some food and drink to share at the feast after ritual. Free event but you must reserve a place before attending. Visit http://www.WitchcraftAndMagic.org or http://www.meetup.com/London-Woodland-Wiccans-Outdoor-Pagans/

Saturday 6 December; Hendon Heathens Moot, Venue: Greyhound Pub, Church End, Hendon, London, NW4 4JT. Time: 6pm. Hendon Heathens meets at this pub the first Saturday of every month.

Saturday 6 December; On Being an Angel Channeler. Talk and book signing by Wendy Erlick at 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 http://www.watkinsbooks.com/

Sunday 7 December; Water Ritual at The Motherstone Fountain in Greenwich Park for members of the London Pagan Holy Wells, Sacred Springs and Ley Lines Meetup Group. Meet at St Mary's Gate by National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Park, Greenwich, at 11.30am. To join the group and reserve a place, visit: http://www.meetup.com/London-Pagan-Holy-Wells

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Gifts: Lovely Soap by Bewitched Botanicals


Back in the summer, at the Pagan Federation London conference, I got chatting to the lovely herbalist Jacqui who makes gorgeous soaps and other health and beauty products for Bewitched Botanicals.

The soaps were so lovely to look at – and smelled so amazing too – that I had to buy some for presents for friends. Each soap is swirled with colour, scented with natural oils and sprinkled with sparkles.

The ones I bought had the delightful names of Undine, Smaug and Nevermore. On the packaging of each is a little bit of text to inspire. Undine says:
Earthen love dancing with water, let me be your Undine. You've given me soul, as I danced for you in my aqua veils and diamond beads of water dappled with solar and lunar splendour ...I am Undine.
Smaug says:
Oh Mighty Smaug! A soap shot through with gold. Just the thing a dragon covets. Scented with Dragonsblood, but not the real thing, because that would be wicked! How to tame your dragon?? Try this luxurious soap for starters!
And Nevermore says:
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore. Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.' Musty old books, smoke and leather heart, a gothic black soap for gothic souls.
Having bought three soaps to give as gifts, I then realised I wanted one for myself - and Jacqui very kindly gave me a bar of Capricorn to review on my blog. It is a pure, unfragranced goats milk soap - ideal for sensitive skin.

The soap is very nice, with a rich lather, seems to last a long while and does seem to have left my skin feeling much nicer than ordinary soap or handwash. The photo to the right only shows the packaging, as I took the soap out as soon as I got home and started using it.

You can find out more about Bewtiched Botanicals at the shop's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bewitched-Botanicals/248648908597047

This Saturday, 29 November, Jacqui is also running a workshop on Herbs for Winter Health with Cobwebs and Cauldrons at Romford Shopping Hall in the Market Place, Romford, Essex. The cost fpr the course is £50 and it runs from 10am-4pm. For more details about that and to book places visit http://www.cobwebsandcauldrons.co.uk/

In the weeks before Yule I am featuring small pagan businesses that produce suitable gifts for giving at the Winter Solstice. If you make or sell lovely things, email me a press release about your products and a photo to badwitch1234@gmail.com. Send me the details of your website, contact email and where people can buy your stuff. I can't guarantee I'll be able to post on my blog everything I'm sent, but I'll try to do my best

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Gifts: The Rose Alchemy Oracle Deck


I was captivated by the Rose Alchemy Oracle when I saw it on a stall at the Mind Body Soul Experience in London this autumn and felt I had to have a copy.

Each card has a beautiful image of a rose on it – and I adore roses. I grow quite a few roses in my garden and often pick a bud or bloom to put on my desk while I am working.

When I am stressed – or stuck for ideas – gazing into the petals of the rose and smelling the glorious scent helps me relax and get inspiration. But now, as winter frosts start to bite, there are no more roses for me to pick and I’ve been turning to my Rose Alchemy Oracle.

The Rose Alchemy set works in rather a different way from most oracle or tarot decks. Instead of picking cards blind and then turning them over to see what you have selected, with the Rose Alchemy deck you spread the cards out face up and choose whichever catches your attention.

You can take just one, or a few. The idea is that your heart will attract the right rose for where you are in your life. For example, the lovely pink rose on the right represents wisdom. The message that goes with it states:
One of the deepest gifts the Feminine offers is Wisdom... the perfect counterpart for the Masculine Power. The weave of the two is the dance of creation. The Greek Goddess Athena, also known as Minerva in Roman Times, was seen as the embodiment of this quality; although a warrior goddess she did not do battle with weapons in the physical sense but through her inner sense of the Wise Woman... The Rose asks: What guidance would your inner wise woman offer?
The cards - and the messages - are designed for personal meditation rather than to give a specific answer to a question or tell you what the future might hold. I've been putting my card for the day on my desk, propped against my empty rose-bud vase, and using it for inspiration just as I was doing with real roses back in the summer. Okay - the cards aren't scented - but a little essential rose oil solves that problem.

If you are wondering why the word "alchemy" is in the title, the deck's creator, Sandy Humby, says: "I learnt very early on that the rose truly is an alchemical plant... transforming the 'manure' of life into fragrance, beauty and blossom."

The cards are not only gorgeous in themselves, but also come in a very nice box, which includes a full-colour book. You can find out more, and buy copies, here: http://www.rosealchemy.com/

If you are looking for inspiration for gifts, the Rose Alchemy Oracle would make a fantastic present for anyone who loves roses and is into meditation or nature-based spirituality.

In the weeks before Yule I am featuring small pagan businesses that produce suitable gifts for giving at the Winter Solstice. If you make or sell lovely things suitable to give as presents for pagans, email me a press release about your products and a photo to badwitch1234@gmail.com. Send me the details of your website, contact email and where people can buy your stuff. I can't absolutely guarantee I'll be able to post on my blog everything I'm sent, but I'll try to do my best.


Links and previous related posts
Rose Alchemy: Rose Oracle for the Heart
http://www.rosealchemy.com/
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/05/pagan-eye-red-rose.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/05/pagan-eye-dog-rose.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/05/pagan-eye-yellow-rose.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/05/pagan-eye-pink-rose-from-my-garden.html

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Pagan Eye: Native American Horse Totem


When author James C Wallace II read my post last week about buying a cat Totem Orb, he sent me the photo above of a similar purchase he felt drawn to make.

James said: "I read in your blog about the cat meditation ball and how it seemed to call out to you. I had a similar experience back in the 90s when Amanda and I were visiting Wounded Knee, site of a massacre back on December 29, 1890, on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. We were in a small restaurant called The Wooden Knife when this horse head totem called out to me. Damn thing wouldn't shut up, so I asked about it and when it turned out to be for sale, I bought it. We've had it ever since."

If any one else who reads my blog wants to send me photos of beautiful pagan or shamanic items they have felt particularly drawn to, I would be happy to put them on a Pagan Eye post.

My Pagan Eye posts show photos that I find interesting - seasonal images, pagan sites, events, or just pretty pictures. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to badwitch1234@gmail.com 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.

The photo is copyright James C Wallace II.

Links and previous related posts
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/07/pagan-eye-beautiful-moon.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/06/pagan-eye-moonrise-over-north-dakota.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/02/fiction-in-magical-world-of-oz.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wounded_Knee_Massacre
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/11/shop-animal-totem-orbs-message-of-cat.html

Monday, 24 November 2014

Pagan Places: Gerald Gardner's Home and Blue Plaque


Six months ago, just before the Summer Solstice, a blue plaque was unveiled for Gerald Gardner, the Father of Modern Witchcraft, at the house where he lived in Highcliffe on the edge of the New Forest.

I wasn't able to get to Highcliffe for the unveiling - I was on holiday in Orkney at the time - but I went to see the house and plaque this weekend while I was staying in the area with friends. I took the photos you can see on this post.

The house is called Southridge and it was bought by Gerald and his wife, Dorothea, in 1938 when they moved to the New Forest from London. He was living in this house when he met the coven of witches into which he was later initiated and whose teachings prompted him to popularise the pagan religion of Wicca.

Money for the commemorative blue plaque was raised by the Centre for Pagan Studies and it was unveiled on Friday 13, June 2014, which would have been Gerald's 130th birthday.

Links and previous related posts
http://openplaques.org/plaques/30983
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/12/book-witchfather-life-of-gerald-gardner.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/01/pagan-eye-witchs-house.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27782244
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2013/06/photos-from-doreen-valiente-blue-plaque.html
http://centre-for-pagan-studies.com/