Thursday, 16 September 2021

Guided Visualisation: Messages from the Holm Oak Grove

This guided visualisation, or pathworking, takes you through a wood to a grove of ancient evergreen oak trees. Holm oaks, or holly oaks, were considered sacred by the Ancient Greeks. They would sit underneath them in sacred groves to hear messages from the gods.

I wrote the visualisation for my scrying workshop at the Sussex Faerie Festival, but I'm also sharing it here for others to enjoy. If you want to do this, make sure you’re in a safe and comfortable place, where you won’t be disturbed.  You can record the words then play it back to do, or you can read sections, then close your eyes to visualise your journey.

The Holm Oak Grove

Close your eyes and relax. Take three deep breaths in and out, in and out, in and out.

Picture in your mind a beautiful, quiet, safe place in nature that borders on the edge of a wood. It's somewhere you feel comfortable and at ease. It can be a place you are familiar with or somewhere completely imaginary. Visualise being in that safe, comfortable place, on the edge of the wood. Look around and see what's there. If at any time in this guided visualisation you feel uncomfortable and wish not to continue with the journey, know that you can quickly and easily return to this space where you will again be completely at ease. Spend a few moments familiarising yourself with this place that borders the wood.

Now look towards the wood that lies to the edge of your safe place. You have been told that at the very heart of the wood is a grove of ancient holm oaks, which always have leaves whatever the season. You have been told these trees are special for another reason – they can offer words of wisdom to those who seek them and are ready to listen.

You have decided to journey into the wood to find the trees and ask them a question. Think about what question you might like to ask. 

When you are ready, look towards where the wood starts. You see the beginning of a path that leads into the trees. Go towards the path and follow it into the wood. Visualise the path and the wood around you. Notice the sights, scents and sounds of the trees, the birds, and the animals that live here. Be aware of your own movement along the path. What is the path like? What are the trees around you like? What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell as you journey deeper into the wood?

As you progress, you realise that further in, the trees are older, taller, and closer together. Be aware of the changes to the woodland around you, the path you are travelling on, and the sky that you glimpse through the canopy as you go.

After a while, you see that the path leads to a group of trees that seem different from all the others you have passed. They are ancient oaks, but unlike others you have seen before. They are all tall with broad branches and massive trunks. The branches spread out around and above you. They are covered with green leaves that you can hear rustling, whatever the season. The path leads you into the centre of this group of trees and, following it, you realise that the ancient oaks are in a circle. This is where the path ends, and where it has led you. 

Look around at the trees, look at this circle, this grove in the heart of the forest. Each tree has a different personality. They seem to be whispering to you. Spend some time looking at each of these trees. One of them in particular seems to be calling to you. Go to that tree and stand or sit beneath it.

Ask the tree the question that is in your mind, and listen for the answer.

Spend some more time listening to what the ancient oak has to say, and converse with them if that seems appropriate.

After a while, you realise you have heard all that the ancient oak can tell you at this moment. Thank the tree and bid farewell.

It is time for you to return along the path through the wood. Find the place where the path leads from the grove back the way you arrived. Make your way back along the path, through the wood. You see the trees slowly thin around you. After a while you make it back to where the path began, at the edge of the wood. You pass the last trees and once again return to your safe, comfortable place in nature. The place from where you started your journey.

When you are ready to return to your normal space and time, take a deep breath, shake yourself a little and open your eyes.

After you’ve done any magical work, divination, or a guided visualisation, you should ground to make sure you're fully back to reality. The best way is to have something to eat and drink, but if that’s not possible, stamp your feet on the ground or tap a hard surface a few times.

There are other guided visualisations in my book Pagan Portals: Guided Visualisations. If you want a copy you can order from Amazon or via publisher Moon Books’ website and you can buy from pagan shops including  Treadwell's bookshop in London. 

The picture of the holm oak at the top is copyright Nathalie Andrews. 

Previous related posts

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Magical Autumn Equinox Events in London & Online

The Autumn Equinox, when the day and night are in balance, is on September 22, but celebrations of the festival are taking place this week and next. Here is a listing of magical events to celebrate the season. Most of the ones I list are in or near London, because that's where I live, but I also mention online talks and workshops that you can enjoy wherever you are. 

Wednesday 15 September;  Guided Meditation online with Rachel Patterson, author of the Kitchen Witchcraft series of books. Time: 8am.

Wednesday 15 September  (every Wednesday); Wellbeing Wednesdays with Nadine and Caitriona. Online event. Time: 12.30pm. Tickets: £22 per monthly subscription. 

Wednesday 15 September; Working with Psychic Symbols. Start of 6-week online evening class with Hernan Cotroneo via the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £160.

Wednesday 15 September; Major Arcana of the Marseille Tarot. Start of four-session course with Adrien Mastrosimone via Treadwell's Online. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £100.

Wednesday 15 September;  Book Club - Honouring the Earth with Kasia Gwilliam and Lucy Porter. Digital event by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £20. Time: evening.

Wednesday 15 September; Heron Drums - Spirit of the Drum. Start of four-week online course via Zoom. Time: 7pm: Tickets: £99. Details:

Wednesday 15 September; Tony 'Doc' Shiels - Reenchanted Landscapes of Cornwall. Talk by Dr Rupert White. Online event through The Last Tuesday Society and The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. Time: 7pm. Tickets · £5-£10.

Wednesday 15 September  (every Wednesday); The Witching Hour on the Witches Inn YouTube channel. This week I will be a guest on the show! Time 8pm. Free.

Thursday 16 September; Work with Shamanism to Grow Personally and Professionally. Online event with Harriet Goudard every Thursday. Time: 10am. Free.

Thursday 16 September; Midweek Meditation with the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 3pm. Tickets: free for members/£7.50 for non members.

Thursday 16 September (every Thursday to 30 Sept); History of Art course on Zoom by Peter van Breda, via Rudolf Steiner House. Free. Time: noon.

Thursday 16 September;  Sitting Comfortably. Online talk by author Swami Saradananda via Watkins Bookshop. Time: 5.30pm. Tickets: free.

Thursday 16 September; Online ASSAP talk. Time: 7pm. Free event. Tickets available to ASSAP members. To join for £5 per year, visit

Thursday 16 September; Herb Magic: The Four Humours. Workshop with Hannah Sanders via Treadwell's Online. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £20/£18.

Thursday 16 September; Cunning Folk Music. Online event. Time: 7pm. Price: Free.

Thursday 16 September; Intro to Chakras - Higher Chakras, with Sushma Sagar. Digital event by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £15. Time: evening.

Thursday 16 September; Moon Cycle Alchemy, with Tree Carr. Digital event by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £15. Time: evening.

Thursday 16 September; Tammy Blee's Cabalistic Agency. Jason Semmens talking about a historic cunning woman. Online event through The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. Time: 8pm. Tickets · from £5.

Friday 17 September; Friday Live Chat hosted by Rachel Patterson, author of the Kitchen Witch books. Time: 9am. Free.

Saturday 18-Sunday 19 September; Two-day SPR conference. Talks on current research and the launch of the SPR’s new book, Using Equipment. Online Zoom event via the Society for Psychical Research. Starts 9.45am. Tickets: £30/£25.

Saturday 18 September; Intuition Development Circle, with Gemma Petherbridge Digital event by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £25. Time: 10.30am.

Saturday 18 September; The Initiatory Dance of Ishtar Goddess Day. Workshop with Caroline Wise and Carrie Kirkpatrick. Venue: Highgate, North London. Time: 11am - 7pm. Tickets: £65.

Saturday 18 September; Clairsentience: The Psychic Feeling. One-day class with Hernan Cotroneo via the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 11am. Tickets: £105.

Saturday 18 September; Beginners Tarot Workshop via Wicca Moon in Eltham, South-East London. This is being run as an in-person event. Time: noon – 5pm. Tickets: £50.

Saturday 18 September; Intuition Development Circle with Gemma Petherbridge. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: evening. Tickets £25.

Sunday 19 September; Full Moon 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.” Free. Details:

Sunday 19 September; Ritual Rising with Kasia Gwilliam. Digital event by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £20. Time: 10.30am.

Sunday 19 September;  Celebrating the Wheel of the Year, Madron: Healing Mother Earth, Healing Us. One-day workshop with Sarah Jane Dennis via the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 11am. Tickets: £105.

Sunday 19 September;  Autumn Equinox Full Moon Sacred Day Retreat. Venue: Private Location near Wandsworth Town/Clapham Junction, London, SW18. Time: 11am. Tickets: £71.74.

Sunday 19 September;  Equinox Arising. Celebrate the Autumnal Equinox through Afrikan Yoga, Sound Bath and Auric Energy Cleansing with by Ehwunah, Djedi, Self Heal Sounds and House of Arkaya. Venue: Caesar's Well, Wimbledon Common, SW19 4UR. Time: 12.30pm. Tickets: £32.93.

Sunday 19 September; Divination and Magic with Runes - Practical course with Mani via London Woodland Witches, Wiccans and Pagans. Venue: Wimbledon Woods, · London SW19. Meet at 1pm. Tickets: £24.

Sunday 19 September; Dragon Ritual organised by The Witches' Inn. Meet at: Roosthole Car Park, Hammerpond Road, Horsham, RH13 6PG. Time: 3.45pm. Free.

Sunday 19 September; Celebration of the Pagan Festival of Mabon. Wheel of the Year ritual at Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, 3 Pilgrim's Place, London NW3 1NG. Time: 7pm.

Sunday 19 September; The Body as a Temple With Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki. Summer Salon via Zoom, through the Magickal Women Partnership. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £10.

Monday 20 September (every Monday); Mindful Still Life Monday Sessions with London Drawing, via Zoom. Two sessions: 12.30pm and 6pm. Free, but donations welcome.

Monday 20 September (every Monday); Mindful Mondays with Caitriona of Be Happiest. Online event. Time 7pm. Tickets: £6 per session or £20 per month. 

Monday 20 September; Breathwork - acceptance. Workshop with Ade Clark. Digital event by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £15. Time: evening.

Monday 20 September; Autumn Equinox. Zoom Wheel of ther Year workshop with Rebecca Beattie, author of Nature Mystics via Treadwell's Online. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £20/£18.

Monday 20 September; Encounters with the Uncanny. Talk by Helen Cornish. Online event through The Last Tuesday Society and The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. Time: 8pm. Tickets · from £5.

Tuesday 21 September;  Where Do I Start? Start of 6-week course with Anthony Kesner.via the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 5.15pm. Tickets: £130.

Tuesday 21 September; Thames Full Moon Ceremony and Peace Day Magic with Mani via London Woodland Witches, Wiccans and Pagans. Meet at Bankside Pier by the Globe Theatre, London. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £5.

Tuesday 21 September; Autumn Equinox Feminine Sanctuary. Venue: The Mat Sanctuary, Heathdene Road, London, SW16 3NZ. Tickets: £38.32. Time: 7pm.

Tuesday 21 September; Autumn Equinox with Tree Carr and Aisha Carrington. In-person event by She's Lost Control. Venue: Core Clapton, Northwold Road, London, UK. Tickets: £45. Time: 7pm.

Tuesday 21 September;  Equinox Tree Walk from the Camden Forest with  Think and Do Camden. Meet at Parliament Hill Bandstand, London, NW5. Time: 5.30pm. Free.

Tuesday 21 September (tbc but usually 3rd Tuesday of the month); Talk at Witches of London Gathering, hosted by Witches of London CoA Gathering and Children of Artemis. Time: 7.30pm. Free. Details:

Tuesday 21 September; Traditional Fairies. Zoom lecture with Professor Ronald Hutton. Online event through The Last Tuesday Society and The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. Time: 8pm. Tickets · from £5.

Wednesday 22 – Saturday 25 September; Shamanic Drum Workshop. An intensive 4-day workshop to birth your own drum and connect with the ancestors. Run by Wicca Moon, Eltham, South-East Lonson. Time: noon to 5pm. Tickets: £375.

Wednesday 22 September; Harvest Home Ritual with Cunning Folk. Time: 7pm. Free, but you must reserve a place.

Wednesday 22 September;  The Witches Circle Monthly Class with Gareth Hughes. Venue: Kallima Wellbeing Centre, 8A Adam Business Centre, Cranes Farm Road, Basildon, SS14 3JF. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets: £14.61.

Thursday 23 September; Join Etan Ilfeld, owner of Watkins Books, for the launch of his new and ground-breaking oracle deck The Synchronicity Oracle. Online via Watkins Bookshop. Time: 5.30pm. Tickets: free.

Thursday 23 September (tbc); Crossbones Online Vigil. On the 23rd of every month since June 2004, people have honoured the outcast dead of Crossbones Graveyard, Southwark. In the past year, this has being offered via Zoom. Time: 7pm. Free. Details here:

Thursday 23 September; London City of the Dead: The Corpse Gives Life - The Magical and Medical History of Executions. A Live, Illustrated Zoom Talk with Historian Owen Davies via Antique Beat and A Curious Invitation. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £4.80.

Thursday 23 September; Incense: The Power of Resins. Workshop with Hannah Sanders via Treadwell's Online. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £20/£18.

Thursday 23 September;  Moon Cycle Alchemy wk 2. Workshop with Tree Carr. Digital event by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £15. Time: evening.

Thursday 23 September; Shooting the Wild Witch Breeze. Facebook Live Chat with Rachel Patterson and Elen Sentier.  A new chat video usually every two weeks on a Thursday. Time: 7pm.  Free.

Friday 24 September; Saturn: A New Look at an Old God. Talk by Dr Vivianne Crowley via the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £20/£18.

Saturday 25 September; Len Roberts’ Advanced Training Session for
Initiated Alexandrian Witches and Initiated Gardnerian Witches. Venue: The Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AT. Time: 10am – 4 pm, inc light lunch. Tickets: £35.

Saturday 25 September;  Turn of the seasons - Autumn. Forest therapy walk with The Connective Space and Estelle Asselin. Venue: Epping Forest, 6 Rangers Road, Chingford, London, E4 7HQ. Time: 

Saturday 25 September; Bee Experience Day organised by Aho Studio. In-person socially distanced event for 6 people only. Venue: Near Hainault Station on the Central line. Time: 11am. Tickets: £50.

Saturday 25 September (and other dates); Activity-based show for families with children. Event by Disentangle Projects and Stanley Arts. Venue: South Norwood Country Park. South London. Time: 11am. Tickets £8.

Saturday 25 September; Essex Faery Fayre. Venue: Museum of Power, Maldon, Essex. Time: noon. Entry: Adults £6.

Saturday 25 September; Sweat Lodge organised by Aho Studio. Venue: Berkely Farm, Near London. Time: 1pm. Tickets: £80.

Saturday 25 September; Woodland Autumn Ceremony 2021 and Walking the Spiral Magic via London Woodland Witches, Wiccans and Pagans. Venue: Queen's Woods, Highgate, North London. Time: 4pm. Tickets: £7/£5.

Sunday 26 September; LCS Social: Free Gathering in Hyde Park organised by London Spirituality Meetup Group. Time: 1pm. Free.

Sunday 26 September; Meeting of Kith of The Tree and the Well. Venue: The Horseshoe Inn, 26 Melior St, London SE1 3QP. Time: 2pm. Entry £2.

Sunday 26 September; How The Occult Practitioners Dion Fortune and Anna Bonus Kingsford Developed and Used Their Skills As Mediums to Experience Spiritual Initiation and the Manifestation of Divine Forms with Elaine Bailey, and Invoking Life and Death: A Ritual For Balance with the Irish Goddesses with Becca De La Rosa and Mabel Martin. Summer Salon via Zoom, through the Magickal Women Partnership. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £10.

Sunday 26th September; Kitchen Witch Autumn Equinox Ritual,  Live, Online. Time: 7pm. Free.

Sunday 26 September; Confluence of Chaos: Two Chaos Magicians Talk Practices and Approaches via Treadwell's Online. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £10/£8.

Sunday 26 September; Vodún Secrecy and the Search for Divine Power. Talk by Timothy R. Landry by Zoom Online event through The Last Tuesday Society and The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. Time: 8pm. Tickets · from £5.

Please note: I do not organise any of these events. I try to make sure all details are correct, but contact the organisers of any event you are interested in for more information before turning up. If you know of something you want listed, please email the details to me at

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Question: What Can You See in this Abandoned Room?

What can you see in this derelict room?

I was contacted by someone who reads my blog. Although the person wants to remain anonymous, they sent me this photo, which they took looking through a window into an abandoned psychiatric hospital.

They said: "Looking in one of the windows I saw a hanging shape. It looked like it was made of metal about 8 to 10 inches high. It was on the right hand side of the door frame leading out of the room whose window I was looking into. Hanging from a black point. I wondered if you had any ideas what it might be. I would say it looked a bit like a wicker man. The building was abandoned in the late 1990s and has been empty since. The building was the occupational therapy block. Any ideas would be great. Many thanks!"

I've looked at the photo and I can see something hanging there, but I'm not sure what it is. I have permission to share this photo and let other people have a look. What do you think?  Do leave a comment.

Monday, 13 September 2021

Pagan Eye: Photos from the Sussex Faerie Festival

I was at the Faerie Festival in Sussex on Saturday and had a lovely time. After running a scrying workshop at midday I stayed to listen to music late into the evening. It was an absolutely gorgeous festival in a beatuful valley in the South Downs. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed with plenty to do for people of all ages. The weather was perfect too. 

The collage of photos above shows some of the things I enjoyed there. The pictures show from the top left: festival organiser Matthew Callow on stage; a view over part of the site, a performance by Cyoakha (I think), the Amber Bar Bus, YLI Creations' stall where I bought two glasses etched with tarot symbols, Touch the Earth on stage, me relaxing on a giant inflatable unicorn, Pans Demoniam, me teaching my scrying workshop. I also bought an unusual set of vintage tarot cards from another stall, which I'll be blogging about later in the week.

On each Pagan Eye post, I show a photo that I find interesting, with a few words about it. It can 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.

Previous related posts

Friday, 10 September 2021

Tales from the Witch Room: My Coal Scuttle Cauldron

How many cauldrons does a witch really need? I don't think I've found the answer yet, but the one in the bottom corner of this picture is the latest addition to my collection.

Technically, it isn't a cauldron - it's a vintage coal scuttle that I picked up at an antiques market for £10. I love it because it's large, but also much lighter than my cast-iron cauldron of the same size. That means I can easily take it along when I run scrying workshops to fill with water for divination. It's actually so light that I can also use it as a basket to carry anything else I'm taking along to the workshop.

I realise it wouldn't be any good for cooking things in, but that's fine as I have another one for that. I also have several smaller cauldrons - some get used for scrying too, others for candle magic or burning incense. Sometimes I also use them to store things I'm going to use for spellwork, or to put charms, bottles and pouches in that I've enchanted. To me, the interior of a cauldron is perfect for cooking up any kind of magic, and letting things brew and stew symbolically even if I'm not heating them up for real.

Do you have a favourite cauldron? Do leave a comment or send a photo!