Sunday, 27 May 2018

The Doreen Valiente Foundation Has Become a Charity

The Doreen Valiente Foundation, the pagan organisation founded to keep safe the legacy of the mother of modern witchcraft Doreen Valiente, has become a charity. It is one of the very few pagan organisations to have been awarded charitable status.

The charity was officially registered on 25 May 2018 and you can view the online records for it on the Charity Commission website.  The registered charity number is 1178528 in England and Wales.

There are more details about Doreen Valiente and the foundation's journey to become a charity on the blog at the Doreen Valiente Foundation website: http://www.doreenvaliente.org/

Links and previous related posts:
http://www.doreenvaliente.org/
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2016/02/review-doreen-valiente-witch-by-philip.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2013/06/photos-from-doreen-valiente-blue-plaque.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/09/charge-of-goddess-conference-2010.html

Friday, 25 May 2018

Review: Aspecting the Goddess by Jane Meredith

Although it is only published today, I have already read Aspecting the Goddess twice. I suspect I will read again and again.

The book, by Jane Meredith, teaches how to invite the Goddess into our lives in her many different aspects and in a variety of ways. Its subtitle is Drawing Down the Divine Feminine.

Many witches and pagans talk about "drawing down the Goddess" - sometimes referred to as "drawing down the moon". The term usually refers to a rite of invocation in which we invite a specific deity to join us in mind and body, so that we merge for a brief moment. This enables us to speak the wisdom of that deity, but also allows us to experience their essence at least in some small way.

It is an advanced skill and not usually recommended without considerable training. Aspecting the Goddess effectively breaks that training down into six stages: walking with the Goddess, researching her, dedicating to the Goddess, presencing her, enacting myth and finally aspecting the Goddess. Aspecting is essentially the same as invocation. This allows us to work with various goddesses - or gods - in a way that feels appropriate for us at that time.

The book is beautifully written. Between the practical lessons are the stories of 12 goddesses: Persephone, Bloduewedd, Isis, Mary, Aphrodite, Ereshkigal, Nepthys, Freyja, Ariadne, Inanna, Eve and the Star Goddess. Jane offers her personal experiences of how these goddesses have influenced her life and how she has worked with them using the techniques she describes.

I said I had read this book twice. I first read it more than a year ago. I proofread it before manuscript was finalised - and I loved it. I already loved Jane's earlier books Aphrodite's Magic and Journey to the Dark Goddess. I think this is my favourite of the three.

Last night I started to read it again. I had been intending just to skim over the book to refresh my memory before writing my review, but I was drawn in by Jane's beautiful words. I read it late into the night and picked it up again early this morning. I should have been doing other things, but the pages seemed as though they all needed to be read - and the messages I got from the second read were different to those I got the first time round. That is surely the sign of a powerful and important book.

You can view Aspecting the Goddess on Amazon.

Links and previous related posts
http://www.moon-books.net/books/aspecting-goddess
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/05/review-aphrodites-magic.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/07/review-journey-to-dark-goddess.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/09/day-with-aphrodite.html 

News: Witchcraft, Witch Accusations & Witch Hunts

A round-up of recent news stories about witches, witch accusations, witch hunts and witchcraft:

"Weird Norfolk Podcast - Episode 4: The witch's heart of King's Lynn" - podcast at Norfolk Eastern Daily Press: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/weird-norfolk-podcast-episode-4-witch-s-heart-king-s-lynn-1-5532535

"Woman arrested following alleged 'witch' abduction claims" - story at The Courier: https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/dundee/659459/woman-arrested-following-alleged-witch-abduction-claims/

"Witch memorial sealed off after woman found dead on road" - story at The Scotsman: https://www.scotsman.com/perth/witch-memorial-sealed-off-after-woman-found-dead-on-road-1-4743387

"Druid witch stabbed by neighbour angry at his noisy pagan rituals" - story at Telegraph.co.uk: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/10/druid-witch-attacked-stabbed-neighbours-had-enough-noisy-pagan/

"How Did Actual Witch Hunts Work?" - story at Slate Magazine: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/05/trump-keeps-calling-mueller-probe-a-witch-hunt-how-did-actual-witch-hunts-work.html

"This tantric witch wants to help you unlock your sexual pleasure potential" - story at Metro: https://metro.co.uk/2018/05/23/tantric-witch-wants-help-unlock-sexual-pleasure-potential-7571972/

Thursday, 24 May 2018

A Bad Witch's Blog is Top in the UK!

A Bad Witch's Blog has been named as the number one UK witchcraft blog by social feed distributor Feedspot.

The top UK witchcraft blogs in order are:
  1. A bad witch's blog
  2. Museum of Witchcraft and Magic | News
  3. Kitchen Witch Blog
  4. Rachel Patterson | Kitchen Witch Pagan Blog
  5. Emily Underworld | A Lifestyle & Witchcraft Blog by a London Student
  6. Ride The White Horse
  7. The Hallowed Grimoire | A-Musing Witch's Blog
  8. Gemma Gary | West Country based author, artist and practitioner of traditional Craft and folk magic
  9. trulymagick
Feedspot searches for what it considers the best blogs from those in its index using search and social metrics. Data is based on Google search ranking, popularity on social media sites, quality and consistency of posts and Feedspot’s editorial team review.

The award means I have the honour of displaying the above badge on my site. You can find more details, including how to view and subscribe to any of the listed blogs, here: https://blog.feedspot.com/uk_witchcraft_blogs/

Tales from the Witch Room: A Three-Legged Stool


I love picking up bargains at charity shops and this little stool was one of them. Sadly, some of my bargains turn out to be not that useful - and this little stool was one of them too.

I had thought it would be a useful extra seat for when there are several witches joining me for some tea and magic. No one ever wanted to sit on it though. It is wobbly and not very comfortable.

The good news is that today it is moving on to a new home. A friend who has a bad leg came round to visit on my birthday last weekend. They discovered it makes a good footstool.

So, this afternoon I am taking it over to their house.

I am also planning to do some more decluttering of my witch room to move out other things I no longer need and make room for new bargains.

Here are some of my previous Tales from the Witch Room posts:
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2018/04/tales-from-witch-room-pointy-hats.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2018/03/tales-from-witch-room-cauldrons-big-and.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2018/02/witch-room-tales-saving-alan-leos-papers.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2018/01/witch-room-tales-what-occult-bums-sat.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2016/12/tales-from-witch-room-decorating-done.html

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

This Week's Pagan Events In and Near London


Here is a listing of events in London plus a few in other parts of the UK over the next week or so that could be of interest to pagans. If you know of an event that you want listed, please email the details to me at badwitch1234@gmail.com.

Now-26 May; Suns, Moons and Fairy Tales. An Exhibition of the Art of Stuart Hill. Venue: The Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum Street, London, WC1A 1LY. Exhibition normally open Monday-Saturday during shop hours, just pop in. Tel: 020 7405 2120. http://theatlantisbookshop.com/

Now-Tuesday 29 May; House of Covvens; Venue: Hartslane, New Cross Gate, London. Covvens (talking circles), foraging walks, lunar sound performances, exhibition installation, Various start times. Tickets: free, please book in advance. Details: https://www.houseofcovvens.com/

Wednesday 23 May; Time to Meditate - group meditation. 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 23 May; Crossbones Vigil to honour The Goose and the outcast dead of Cross Bones Graveyard and the dead and wounded of the London Bridge attacks. Bring a flower, a ribbon, a totem or memento to tie to the shrine (see photo at the top). 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/

Wednesday 23 May; Goddess of Love Women’s Ceremony with Luana Dal Molin. Venue: Aho Studio, 13 Prince Edward Rd, London, E9 5LX. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £20. www.aho.community

Thursday 24 May; Happiness: Make Your Soul Smile. Talk by Katie Oman. Venue: 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/

Friday 25 –  Monday 28 May; The London Mind Body Spirit Wellbeing Festival 2018. Venue: Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London W14 8UX. One-day tickets £15/£13. https://www.mindbodyspirit.co.uk/london

Friday 25 May; Special 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: http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/events_calendar.aspx

Friday 25 May; Working Well. Talk by Hari Kalymnios. Venue: Watkins Books, 19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ. Time: 6pm. Free event. For more details Tel 020 7836 2182 or visit the website http://www.watkinsbooks.com/

Friday 25 May; An evening with Maxine Sanders and friends to launch Alex Sanders Notebook. Venue: The Atlantis Bookshop, 49A Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY. Time: 7pm. Free entry, but advance tickets must be booked: https://www.facebook.com/events/180324392687652/

Friday 25 May; Holistic Sound Bath Meditation - Summoning The Sacred (weekly ceremonial gathering). Venue: Training Points Fitness and Therapy, 5-6 Coopers Yard, Crystal Palace, London SE19 1TN. Time: 7pm. Entry £15/£13. https://www.facebook.com/summoningthesacredsound/

25 May - 28 October. Roman Dead. 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/whats-on/exhibitions/roman-dead

Saturday 26 May; Spring Cleaning - maintaining the flow of life. One-day Eurythmy Workshop with Hanne Kristiansen Risvik and Earthstars. Venue: Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, London NW1 4SH. Time: starts 10am. Tickets: £45. https://www.facebook.com/Earthstars-Sacred-Space-104790729559515/

Saturday 26 May; Magical Bloomsbury Walking Tour. Guided walk with Christina Oakley Harrington. Starts at: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 1pm start. Tickets: £18. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Saturday 26 May;  Guided Walk: William Burroughs' London hosted by Antique Beat. Walk starts at Westminster Reference Library, 35 St Martin's Street, London WC2H 7HP. Tickets: £7/ 9. https://antiquebeat.co.uk/tickets

Sunday, 27 May; Shamanism Healer Training Part 1- Certified Training - 4 Modules. Venue: Helios Centre, 116, Judd Street London WC1H 9NS. Time: 10.15am. Entry: £75. https://www.meetup.com/Shamanism-and-Evolving-Consciousness/

Sunday, 27 May; Kith of The Tree and The Well Moot. Heathen pub moot. Venue: The Horseshoe Inn, 26 Melior street, London SE1 3QP. Time: 2pm. https://www.facebook.com/events/1656775204375996/

Sunday, 27 May; Luna Iter - Journey of the moon - for Pagan and Wiccan Seekers with Luna Iter- Wiccan Seekers London NE. Pub moot followed by a ritual close to each full moon. Venue: Pembury Tavern, 90 Amhurst Road, Hackney. Moot starts at 4.30pm, then at 6 pm moving to a historic site for the ritual. Fee: £4/£5. https://www.meetup.com/Luna-Iter-WiccanSeekersLondonNE/

Monday 28 May; Folk Horror Film as British Re-enchantment. Lecture by Dr Christian Giudice. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.30pm start. Tickets £9. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Tuesday 29 May; The Science of Spiritual Experiences hosted by Funzing Talks. Venue: 1 Westgate Street, London E8 3RL. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £12. https://uk.funzing.com/funz/funzing-talks-the-science-of-spiritual-experiences-17081/

Tuesday 29 May; An evening with Sonja Sadovsky, author of The Priestess and the Pen. Venue: The Atlantis Bookshop, 49A Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY. Time: 7pm. Tickets £5. Tel: 020 7405 2120. http://theatlantisbookshop.com/

Tuesday 29 May; TLC: Sagittarius Full Moon Ceremony by the Thames with London Woodland Witches, Pagans and Ritual Magicians. Venue: meet at the seats outside the Tate Modern gallery,
Bankside, London SE1 9TG ·at 8pm promptly to walk to the river. Fee: £3. Wear outdoor clothes and bring food and drink. Details and bookings: https://www.meetup.com/London-Woodland-Witches-Outdoor-Pagans/

Wednesday 30 May; Full Moon Peace Fires. Light a candle or fire for peace wherever you are in the world, for as short or long a time as you like between 10am and 4pm PDT (US) time, which is from 5pm UK time. You can light a candle just for an hour or so and state the intention: “Let there be peace on earth and love for one another.” Details: http://peacefires.org/

Wednesday 30 May; Time to Meditate - group meditation. 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 30 May (tbc); Hertford Pagan Moot. Venue: White Horse Pub, 33 Castle Street, Hertford, Herts SG14 1HH (45 mins from central London). The pub does not have disabled access. This moot usually meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 8pm. https://www.facebook.com/groups/104788436218047/

Thursday 31 May; Witches, Sluts and Feminists - Young Witches Today. Conversation with author Kristen Sollee. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.30pm start. Tickets £9. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Thursday 31 May; Fooling the World: The Alien Autopsy Film at The London Fortean Society. Venue: The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX. Time: 7.45pm. Tickets: £4/£2. http://forteanlondon.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday 2 June; Working Magic in the Landscape. One-day workshop on occult psychogeography with Julian Vayne. 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 2 June; The London Tarot Festival. Venue: Platform, Hornsey Road Baths, 2 Tiltman Place, London N7 7EE. Time: 10am-5pm. Golden Tickets available in advance (access all areas): £45. On the day entry £15. Tickets can be bought in advance from Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum Street, London, WC1A 1LY during shop hours or tel: 020 7405 2120. Details http://tarotconference.co.uk/tarot-festival/

Saturday 2 June; 1-day Course: Horned Gods and Moon Goddesses in Wicca with London Woodland Witches, Pagans and Ritual Magicians. Venue: Queen's Woods, Highgate. Meet in the garden area of the Woodman pub at 11am promptly to walk to the woods. Cost: £18 (£13 conc).· Wear outdoor clothes and bring food and drink. Details and bookings: https://www.meetup.com/London-Woodland-Witches-Outdoor-Pagans/

Sunday 3 June; North West Kent Green Pagan Circle Moot. Venue: Chislehurst Caves, Bromley, BR7 5NL. Time: 11am. https://www.facebook.com/groups/445487428816887/

Note: I do not organise any of these events. I try to make sure my listings are accurate but do not always know about changes or ticket availability. Please contact the organisers for more information before attending any event. If you spot something that needs correcting, please let me know by emailing badwitch1234@gmail.com.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Sola Busca Tarot - An Ancient Dark Rite Encoded?


Finding a copy of the Sola Busca tarot in a charity shop, while on a shopping trip to Glastonbury a couple of years ago, probably counts as one of my luckiest finds. It cost me just £5.99 for the deck together with Sola Busca Tarot paperback book by Sofia Di Vincenzo.

Sadly, despite being delighted to have got such a bargain, I was never able to bring myself to use the deck.

I opened the box several times and got the cards out, but it just didn't feel right to attempt any kind of reading with them. The deck and book then sat unused in my collection of tarot cards. This was a unique experience for me. I have lots of decks. While I find some tarot cards easier to use than others, the Sola Busca is the only deck in my collection that I've never used for divination - not even once.

A talk at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic conference on ritual magic last week helped me understand why I had felt so uneasy that I'd not wanted to do even one single-card reading with the deck.

Peter Mark Adams, the author of a new book The Game of Saturn: Decoding the Sola-Busca Tarocchi, explained that the images on the cards are actually encoded details of an ancient ritual. This, he said, "uses sexual energy to draw on the power of a malefic entity".

Rather than being for gaming, or even just for divination, they were more like flash cards instructing how to conduct a dark rite for power. Looking at the pictures in detail, I'd say they are 'flash' cards in slightly more than the educational sense, too.

No wonder I didn't want to use them - at least without understanding them first.

The original Sola Busca tarot dates back to Rennaissance Italy and is one of the earliest surviving tarot decks. Peter said that, unlike most early tarocchi sets, the Sola Busca was not intended for playing games. It was designed by a master engraver and was given as an expensive gift from one ruling family to a member of another.

There have been a few modern reproductions of the deck. The set I bought extremely cheaply is called the Ancient Enlightened Tarot and only has Sola Busca in small letters at the bottom of the pack. You can see the box my copy came in top right, and the cards I own at the top of this post.

Although the Ancient Enlightened version I've got is quite rare, Peter explained to me it isn't such a good quality reproduction as the new Scarlet Imprint version, called the Sola-Busca Tarocchi. His  new book also goes into the true meaning of the cards in greater depth than the one I picked up in the charity shop. I hope I get a chance to read his book some time.

You can view the Ancient Enlightened Tarot (Sola Busca) on Amazon and view the Sola-Busca Tarocchi on Scarlet Imprint.

Links and previous related posts
https://scarletimprint.com/publications/the-game-of-saturn
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2018/05/museum-of-witchcraft-aleister-crowleys.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2014/09/are-some-tarot-decks-more-genuine-than.html