Friday, 14 June 2019

Round-Up of News Stories on Witchcraft Past & Present

Here are links to recent news stories about witches and witchcraft:

"Woman bewildered as boyfriend is convinced she's 'reincarnation of an evil witch'" - story at Mirror.co.uk: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/woman-bewildered-boyfriend-convinced-shes-16494151

"Not Bewitched - Wiccan professor sues St. Bonaventure University for discrimination" - story at Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/06/10/wiccan-professor-sues-st-bonaventure-discrimination

"For Sale: 'Haunted' Medieval Prison That Held Accused Witches" - story at Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/65694-medieval-witch-prison-house.html

"Weird Suffolk: The accused Suffolk 'witch' who ordered his own 'sink or swim' trial" - story at East Anglian Daily Times: https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/weird-suffolk-wickham-skeith-suffolk-witch-1-6093974

"Our Legal Heritage: Helen Duncan, the wartime 'witch'" - story at Scottish Legal News: https://www.scottishlegal.com/article/our-legal-heritage-helen-duncan-the-wartime-witch

Thursday, 13 June 2019

London Lore Tarot: The Tower Ravens (Eight of Cups)

Here is a tarot card for the day - The Tower Ravens, from the London Lore Tarot. This equates to the Eight of Cups in a Rider-Waite-Smith deck. However, each card in the London Lore Tarot is associated with a myth or legend of the city.

The tale depicted in this card is, if the ravens at the Tower of London are lost or fly away, England will fall. I have to say that in the current political climate, that particular omen is a worry. Nevertheless, the real ravens at the Tower are thriving. Last month it was announced that two resident ravens - called Huginn and Muninn after Odin's birds - had chicks. You can read a news story about it here.

It is also worth bearing in mind that the legend itself isn't ancient. According to the book City of Ravens, it only started in the summer of 1944, when ravens in London were used as effective, but unofficial, spotters for enemy bombers. Nevertheless, ravens were once common in London, and were useful in cleaning refuse from the streets in bygone times. One theory about the city name is that it comes from the Roman version of the Celtic name "Lugdunum", which translates as "the town of the god Lugh" or "the town of ravens".

The book that comes with the London Lore Tarot says that if you draw this card in a reading, it is time to move on from something you are disenchanted with. It can suggest actually leaving home, or it can indicate a search for new meaning in life. The suit of cups relates to the element of water, which is about emotions or matters of the heart.

In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the eight of cups shows someone walking away from a stack of cups by a river. It is about disillusionment and abandoning things that might once have seemed fulfilling, but now seem shallow or empty. The journey ahead might be hard, but offers a new perspective, a chance for growth and, potentially, a better future.

You can read my review of City of Ravens here and my review of the London Lore Tarot here. Copies of the London Lore Tarot can be ordered via Treadwell's.

Links and previous related posts
https://news.sky.com/story/kingdom-saved-as-tower-of-london-welcomes-first-raven-chicks-in-30-years-11721990
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/10/review-city-of-ravens.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2016/12/review-london-lore-tarot.html
https://www.treadwells-london.com/product-page/london-lore-tarot-the-tapestry-of-a-city

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Summer Solstice Events in London and at Sacred Sites


The Summer Solstice in 2019 is just over a week away - on Friday, 21 June. There are lots of things to do over the next week or so to mark the moment when the sun stands still before lengthening days turn into lengthening nights. The Summer Solstice is the most celebrated festival of the pagan Wheel of the Year, while traditional midsummer is a few days later on 24 June. Most of the pagan events I list are in London, because that is where I am based, but some are in other parts of England including the stone circles at Stonehenge, Avebury and the Rollrights..

Now - 27 October, Secret Rivers: discover the secrets of London's historic waterways. Exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands. Venue: No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL. Free entry. https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london-docklands

Now - 8 September; Museum of the Moon. Luke Jerram's artwork featuring NASA imagery of the Moon. Venue: The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. Free event. https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/museum-of-the-moon.html

Now - 15 September; Smoke and Mirrors - exhibition about the psychology of magic. It includes items from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. There are also live performances of stage conjuring on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Venue: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE. Free admission. https://wellcomecollection.org/exhibitions/W_vuwBQAACoA_SY2

Now - 22 June; Magical Exhibitions in York: Magic and Mystery. Exhibition exploring the fine line between science, religion and magic in medieval society. Venue: Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, York, YO1 8AR. Open 9am-5pm daily. Normal admission costs. https://barleyhall.co.uk/whats-on/magic-mystery/

Now - 31 October; Betwixt and Between: Isobel Gowdie, the Witch of Auldearn - the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic's summer exhibition. Venue: The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle, Cornwall. Entry with museum ticket. https://museumofwitchcraftandmagic.co.uk/

Now - Friday 28 June; Art Exhibition - The Book of Shadows - the Lost Code of the Tarot by Andrea Aste. Venue: The Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum Street, London, Eng WC1A 1LY. For more details, call 020 7405 2120 or visit http://theatlantisbookshop.com/

Wednesday 12 June; Free Guided Tour of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology (takes place every Wednesday). Venue: UCL, Malet Place, London, WC1 6BT. Time: 2pm. Free, but you must book in advance: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/event-ticketing/booking?

Wednesday 12 June; 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: http://www.meetup.com/meditation-trust-london/

Wednesday 12 June; Activist Witchcraft. Interview with David Salisbury, author of Witchcraft Activism. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm. Tickets £10. Book online at https://www.treadwells-london.com/ or reserve a place by visiting the shop.

Thursday 13 June; Guided Walk and Book Launch Party for Thankfull Sturdee by Sarah Crofts. The walk covers Deptford locations known to Thankfull Sturdee and will finish at the Dog and Bell, Prince Street, Deptford, for the launch party. Walk starts at 5pm at Sayes Court Park, Sayes Court Street, Deptford, London, SE8. The walk and party free, but you must book a place in advance here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/thankfull-sturdee-walk-in-deptford-tickets-63154845844? The book will be on sale at £10 (full price is £12).

Thursday 13 June; Messages from the Masters. Talk and book signing with author Ted Mahr. Watkins Books, 19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ. Time: 6.30pm. Free event. For more details visit the websites http://www.watkinsbooks.com/  or https://www.meetup.com/WatkinsBooks/

Thursday 13 June; Shamanic Journeying with a Drum with Sarah Fox. Venue: Clearly Destiny, 12 Woburn Walk · London. (Every Thursday until July 11) Time: 6.30pm. Tickets: £12. https://www.meetup.com/Shamanic-Journeying-with-a-drum/

Thursday 13 June; Eliphas Levi, the Socialist Magus. Lecture by Dr Julian Strube.  Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm. Tickets £10. Book online at https://www.treadwells-london.com/ or reserve a place by visiting the shop.

Thursday 13 June; Holistic Sound Bath Meditation ~ Summoning The Sacred. Venue: Brown and Green LIFE Cafe, Crystal Palace Park, London, SE20 8DS. Time: 7.30pm Tickets: £20. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/holistic-sound-bath-meditation-summoning-the-sacred-tickets-61030309298?

Thursday 13 June; The Megalithic John Michell. 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.) https://www.facebook.com/groups/2438110887/ To guarantee a seat, email cunningfolkmusic@gmail.com

Friday 14 June; Meditation and Om Healing - weekly event. Venue: The Theosophical Society, 50 Gloucester Place, London, W1U 8EA. Time: 7pm. Entry free. http://theosophicalsociety.org.uk/#

Friday 14 June; Southwark Festival of Words: Story Night organised by London Dreamtime. Venue: John Harvard Library Borough High Street SE1. Time: 7pm. Tickets: free, but you must reserve a place in advance. For more details email vanessa@londondreamtime.com or visit https://londondreamtime.com/calendar/

Friday 14 June; Is Your Thinking Affecting Your Health? Talk by Kamini Desai. Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, Kensington, London, SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £13/£15.  https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Friday 14 June; Summer Solstice Drum Ceremony. Venue: Aho Studio, 13 Prince Edward Rd, London, E9 5LX. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £10. www.aho.community

Saturday 15 June; An Introduction to Shamanic Journeying with Shamanic Walks of Consciousness. Venue: Shamanic Space, 11 Hilly Fields Crescent, Brockley, · south London. Time: 10am start. Tickets £97.50. https://www.meetup.com/Shamanic-Walks-of-Consciousness/

Saturday 15 June; Summer Open Day with taster sessions at the Upminster Complementary Healing and Teaching Sanctuary. Address: Pea Lane, Upminster, Havering, RM142XH. Time: 11am. https://www.facebook.com/events/381898469226761/

Saturday 15 June; Tarot Cards Introduced. Half-day course with Sue Terry. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 1pm-5.30pm. Tickets £40. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Saturday 15 June; Ancient Goddesses and Magic Spots 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, and donations are welcome: https://www.facebook.com/events/417453378810102/

Sunday 16 June; 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. https://harmonious-healing.com/

Sunday 16 June; Shamanic workshop. Venue: Woodford Church at 9 Grove Crescent, South Woodford London, E18 2JR. Time: 11am-4pm. Cost: £10 pay at door.  http://woodfordchurch.com/

Sunday 16 June; 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. https://www.facebook.com/groups/dawnoftheoak/

Sunday 16 June; London Woodland Witches and Pagans will be attending the London Rathayatra 2019 Krishna Chariot Festival. Location: Hyde Park, off South Carriage Drive, London SW7 1SE.
Gather at Hyde Park from 11.45am for noon for the chariot start. Festivities will be in Trafalgar square from 2pm- 5pm. Details: https://www.meetup.com/London-Woodland-Witches-Pagans-Magicians/

Sunday 16 June; June Full Moon Bath – Myth, Mindfulness and Moongazing with World's Aglow. Venue: Blythe Hill Fields, Blythe Hill Lane, London, SE23 1SP. Time: 8.30pm. Free event but you must book a ticket: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/june-full-moon-viewing-astronomy-myth-mindfulness-and-moongazing-tickets-63147584124?

Monday 17 June; Wicca Moon's Coffee Morning. Pop in for a chat to the witches and wise women and have a cup of tea or coffee and cake. Readings also offered £20, raising money for breast cancer awareness.Venue: Wicca Moon, 50 Well Hall Road, London SE9 6SH.  For further details contact Shirlee@wiccamoon.org.uk, call 0208 850 7803 or visit https://www.facebook.com/WiccaMoonEltham/  Book a place here: https://www.wiccamoon.co.uk/ourshop/cat_1460861-Event-Workshops.html?

Monday 17 June; Free Beginners Astrology Class by Astrological Lodge of London. (Every Monday evening). Venue: 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA, Time: 6pm-6.50pm. Tickets: Free. https://astrolodge.co.uk/

Monday 17 June; Awaken to the Cosmic Laws of Love, Service and Wisdom: INKA wisdom for a changing world. Talk and book signing by Jorge Luis Delgado. Venue: St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, W1J 9LL. Doors open 6.30pm. Event starts: 7pm. Tickets £15/£20. https://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Monday 17 June (tbc); Pagan Pathfinders. 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: https://www.facebook.com/PaganPathfinders/

Monday 17 June; Wiccan 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: https://www.meetup.com/London-Woodland-Witches-Pagans-Magicians/

Tuesday, 18 June; Plants as medicine and healing allies. Workshop with Capital Growth. Venue: Community Plot at Whetstone Stray Allotments, Holden Road, London, N12 7DX. Time: 10.30am- 1.30pm. Tickets: £27.09 – £42.99. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/plants-as-medicine-and-healing-allies-tickets-57096486127?

Tuesday, 18 June; Crystal Attunement and Make a 7-Stone Chakra Bracelet (materials supplied). Workshop with the Tarot and Esoteric Discovery Group. Venue: The Light Zone, Apt B, 61 Compayne Gardens, London NW6 3DB. Time: 6.30pm. Cost: £12.50/£15. https://www.meetup.com/Tarot-and-Esoteric-Discovery-Group/

Tuesday, 18 June; The Joys of Soul Midwifery - Offering Holistic Support and Reassurance at the End of Life. Lecture by Mandy Preece. Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, Kensington, London, SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £15/£13.  https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Tuesday, 18 June; 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 coacentral@witchcraft.org or visit http://www.witchfest.net/ or https://www.facebook.com/coawitchesoflondon/

Tuesday, 18 June; Waking the Witch - A Look at Nature Based Beliefs. Workshop oganised by Moon Magick. Venue: The Upminster Complementary Healing and Teaching Sanctuary
Pea Lane, Upminster, Havering, RM142XH. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets: £20/£22. https://www.facebook.com/events/2394726627462204/


Wednesday 19 June; 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: http://www.meetup.com/meditation-trust-london/

Wednesday 19 June; Sagittarius Full Moon Gong Bath. Venue: She's Lost Control, 42 Valentine Road, London E9 7AD. Two sessions: Time: 7pm and 8.30pm. Tickets: £20. www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk

Wednesday 19 June; Return of the Children of the Sun: Initiations and Solar Practice. Workshop with Jorge Luis Delgado. Venue: The Columbia Hotel, 95-99 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NS. Time: 7pm. Tickets £30. https://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Wednesday 19 June; 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.  http://www.meetup.com/Londonpagancommunity/

Thursday 20 June; Dr. Emoto's The Message from Water with Michiko Hayashi. Watkins Books, 19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ. Time: 6.30pm. Free event. For more details visit the websites http://www.watkinsbooks.com/  or https://www.meetup.com/WatkinsBooks/

Thursday 20 June; Meditation and Om Healing. (Weekly event, usually on a Friday, but on a Thursday just for this date). Venue: The Theosophical Society, 50 Gloucester Place, London, W1U 8EA. Time: 7pm. Entry free. http://theosophicalsociety.org.uk/#

Thursday 20 June; Artificial Intelligence - the Golem. Talk hosted by Golden Rosycross. Venue: Holborn Citadines Hotel, 94-99 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6LF. Time: 7pm. Tickets, free, but you must reserve a place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/artificial-intelligence-the-golem-tickets-62170711271?

Thursday 20 June; Shamanic Journeying with a Drum with Sarah Fox. Venue: Clearly Destiny, 12 Woburn Walk · London. (Every Thursday until July 11) Time: 6.30pm. Tickets: £12. https://www.meetup.com/Shamanic-Journeying-with-a-drum/

Thursday 20 June; PFL Open Ritual for the Summer Solstice led by the Coven of the Hare and the Heron. Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. Time: 7.30pm for 8pm start. Entry: £6/£5 (PF members and concessions). https://pflondon.info/

Thursday 20 -  Friday 21 June; Stonehenge, the 5,000-year-old megalithic monument on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, is the most famous place in England to celebrate the solstices. English Heritage, which manages the site, allows free "managed open access" to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. English Heritage allows individuals and groups to conduct their own ceremonies and rituals during the opening times, from 7pm on 20 June until 8am on 21 June. No camping is allowed. There is a car park (charged) and buses run from Salisbury railway station. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/plan-your-visit/summer-solstice/

Friday 21 - Saturday 22 June; 3rd Annual Summer Solstice 26-Hour Global Healing Event with Peace Fires. 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.” Details: http://peacefires.org/

Friday 21 June; Earth Festival: Wheel of the Year Meditation - Summer Solstice, gather at the well head for meditation at noon, followed by conversation on the lower lawn. Venue: Chalice Well World Peace Garden, in Glastonbury. Free admission to the gardens from 10am to noon. For more details, visit the website http://www.chalicewell.org.uk/

Friday 21 June; An Evening of Psychic Mediumship with a Difference, with Gerrie March. Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, Kensington, London, SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £15/£13.  https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Friday 21 June; Summer Solstice Ritual with Chloe Isidora. Venue: She's Lost Control, 42 Valentine Road, London E9 7AD. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £35. www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk

Saturday 22 June; Temenos John Michell Symposium 2019. Venue: Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT. Starts 10am, Tickets £55 or £50 concessions, £25 full-time students with ID. Contact Stephen Overy (01233) 813-663 or temenosacademy@myfastmail.com https://www.facebook.com/events/2223804821220558/

Saturday 22 June; Unleash your Creativity through the Power of your Menstrual Cycle - Day 1. Workshop with A.Pope and S.Wurlitzer. Women-only event. Venue: The Columbia Hotel, 95-99 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NS. Time: 10am-5pm. Tickets £85. https://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Saturday 22 June; Summer Solstice Drumming Picnic with Spirit of the Drum. Venue: Hundred Acre Wood, Wickham, Hampshire. Time: 11am. Free, but parking costs £5. https://www.facebook.com/events/330792944220166/

Saturday 22 June; Self Healing Goddess Workshop. Venue: Wicca Moon, 50 Well Hall Road, London SE9 6SH.  Time: 11.30am start. Cost: £45 per person. Bring your lunch. For further details contact Shirlee@wiccamoon.org.uk, call 0208 850 7803 or visit https://www.facebook.com/WiccaMoonEltham/  Bookings here: https://www.wiccamoon.co.uk/ourshop/prod_6763031-Self-Healing-Goddess-Workshop-June-22nd.html

Saturday 22 June; Intermediate Tarot Workshop with Sue Merlyn Farebrother. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 11am-5.30pm. Tickets £75. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Saturday 22 June; Sisters of the Stones of Cear Aribi Summer Solstice Meet Up. Avebury Stone Circles, Marlborough, Wiltshire. Time: 1pm. Free event. https://www.facebook.com/events/2734743209900430/

Saturday 22 June; Watchers of the Old Ways Summer Solstice Litha Ceremony. Venue: Rollright Stones, Off A3400, Chipping Norton, OX7 5QB. Time: 2pm. https://www.facebook.com/events/311605152849796/

Saturday 22 June; Midnightwalk. Solstice Midnight Stroll along the River for Tales. Meet at Bus stop ‘’R’, 21 Duke St Hill (Tooley St), London Bridge  SE1 2SW.. Time: 11.45pm. Tickets free, but you must book a place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/midnight-summer-solstice-walk-by-the-thames-river-tickets-62615027232?

Sunday 23 June; Corral your Inner Critic – Liberate your Creativity  - Day 1. Workshop with A.Pope and S.Wurlitzer. Women-only event. Venue: The Columbia Hotel, 95-99 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NS. Time: 10am-5pm. Tickets £85. https://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Sunday 23 June; Becoming the Alchemist. Workshop hosted by Anthea of Shamanism and Evolving Consciousness . Venue: 14 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9DP. Time: 10.15am-5.15pm. Price: £75. https://www.meetup.com/Shamanism-and-Evolving-Consciousness/

Sunday 23 June (date tbc); NWK Moot. Venue: Chistlehurst caves.  Time: 11am. You must be a member of the group to attend. https://www.facebook.com/groups/445487428816887/

Sunday, 23 June; Alban Heruin - Summer Solstice on Primrose Hill with the Loose Association of Druids. Open ritual hosted by Jeremy Morgan, the Druid of Wormwood Scrubbs. Venue: The Hawthorne Grove, Primrose Hill, Regents Park, London NW1. Gather at 12.45pm for 1pm start. https://www.facebook.com/LooseAssociationOfDruidsOfPrimroseHill/

Sunday, 23 June; Anderida Gorsedd Summer Solstice open ritual at the Long Man of Wilmington, Wilmington, East Sussex. Meet near the car park between 1.30pm and 2pm, walk up to the chalk hill figure at 2pm. Afterwards, the Giants Rest pub. https://www.facebook.com/groups/anderidagorsedd/

Sunday 23 June; Summer Solstice rite at Luna Iter for Pagan and Wiccan Seekers. Pub moot followed by a ritual close to each full moon. Venue: Pembury Tavern 90 Amhurst Rd, London E8 1JH. Moot usually starts at 5pm, then at 6pm moving to a historic site for the ritual. Fee: £4/£5. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1230392930656154/

Sunday 23 June; St John's Eve 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  http://crossbones.org.uk/ or https://www.facebook.com/GooseandCrow/

Sunday 23 June; Litha Summer Solstice Wheel of the Year meditation at Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, 3 Pilgrim's Place, London NW3 1NG. Time: 7pm. http://www.rosslynhillchapel.com

Please note that I am not responsible for any of these events. I try to ensure my listings are accurate but do not always know of late changes, cancellations or ticket availability. If you do spot anything that needs correcting, please email the details to badwitch1234@gmail.com Pic credit: College of Psychic Studies photo by Matt Brown.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Pagan Eye: Ouija Board at Smoke and Mirrors


Here's a picture of a ouija board that is currently on show as part of the Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic exhibition at the Wellcome Collection. The board itself is on loan from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. This is what the label below it says:
Ouija boards were one way that people attempted to communicate with the dead without a medium. Users placed their fingers on the device with the hope of being guided by the spirits communicating messages. This homemade ouija board may have been a copy of boards that were commercially available in the late 19th century. These were often sold in toy and novelty shops, advertised as 'Never-failing amusement and recreation for the entire family'.
I am not sure why the label is in the past tense, as ouija boards are still bought and frequently used. However, nowadays there seems to be a lot of controversy and varying opinions about them, even on pagan sites. I've blogged with my own thoughts in the past.

Smoke and Mirrors is mainly on the theme of what conjuring tells us about the human mind. It is about psychology and deception, so generally offers a sceptical view of things like seances as well as showing how stage illusions can fool us. I found it a very interesting exhibition and will be blogging more about it another day.

The  Wellcome Collection is at 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE. Entry to the collection and to the Smoke and Mirrors exhibition is free, just turn up during open times before 15 September.

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 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 and you must confirm that you are submitting it for A Bad Witch's Blog.

Links and previous related posts:
https://wellcomecollection.org/
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/12/question-ouija-boards-good-or-bad-gifts.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2016/11/seriously-suspicious-conspiracies-helen.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2018/12/yule-ghost-tale-things-that-go-bump-in.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2018/04/seances-ectoplasm-brompton-cemetery-at.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/12/ghost-hunting-in-london-on-paranormal.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2019/05/pagan-eye-kabuki-cat-witch-at-manga.html

Monday, 10 June 2019

Book Excerpt: The Shadow Side of Creativity

Here is an excerpt from Sacred Art: A Hollow Bone for Spirit - Where Art meets Shamanism, by Imelda Almqvist. Imelda is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. This section is about The Shadow Side of Creativity.

The Shadow Side of Creativity: Being as Destructive as we are Creative
In this book I have tried to describe and substantiate with quotes and references to other authors that Sacred Art is uplifting and deeply inspiring in the final reckoning, but this is only achieved if the Descent or Journey Into Darkness is embraced and made fearlessly (ideally with sacred witnessing and supportive participation from a community of kindred spirits). We cannot speak of The Critic, The Descent and the need to do Fearless Shadow Work without also addressing the very shadow side of creativity itself! London-based participant Jane Moynihan often quoted the work of Robert Johnson in our classes. This led fellow participant Helena Partridge to his books, where she discovered a powerful passage about exactly this. Thank you Helena for the quote at the top of this chapter and for sharing your reflections with me and with all of us!

In his book Owning Your Shadow, Johnson asks an extremely important question that is very relevant to this book: how, then, can one produce something of beauty or goodness without doing an equal amount of wreckage? He answers this question by saying: through ritually acknowledging this other dimension of reality. The unconscious cannot tell the difference between a "real" act and a symbolic act. (We teach the same thing in shamanism: the spirits do not make a distinction between a real even or a ceremonial event - both are equally real to them, which offers great opportunities through ritual acts of healing and even prevention of accidents and disasters!)

This means that we can aspire to beauty and pay out the darkness in a symbolic way. Johnson gives the example of two Jungian analysts sharing a household: the person who had enjoyed some especially good fortune that week was the one who was expected to carry the rubbish out of the house...

If our own shadow is triggered (by someone who overstays, offends us, pushes our patience to the very limit etc.), I can either do a five minute ceremony to greet and honour my shadow - or in my own case I could draw a pictures of my shadow and have a word with the image). However we approach this - if we do not do it, those around us will suffer!
Does this mean that I have to be as destructive as I am creative, as dark as I am light?  Yes, but I have some control over how or where I will pay the dark price. I can make a ceremony or ritual soon after doing some creative work and restore my balance in that way.  This is best done privately and need not injure my environment nor anyone near me.  I can write some blood-and-thunder low-grade short story (I won't have to look far for the characters since the other side of my seesaw has already been set into motion) or do some active imagination which will honour the dark side.  These symbolic acts serve to balance my life, do no damage and injure no-one.  Much religious ceremony is designed to keep the left-hand side of the balance functioning in a compensatory way.
- Robert A. Johnson
A similar thing occurs in the world of music. The French music critic Camille Mauclair describes the howls, stampings and cheers of an intoxicated audience to the growling of savage beasts before Orpheus. He says that this stage is an essential part of returning to ordinary life after experiencing musical ecstasy. It also calls the performers back: they must acknowledge their music yet become human again.

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

Links and previous related posts
www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk
https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2017/03/review-natural-born-shamans-teaching.html
https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/moon-books/