Friday, 23 January 2015

This Week's Pagan Events In and Near London


Friday 23 January; Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences.Talk and book signing by Penny Satori 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/

Friday 23 January; The Roots and Routes of Wicca: Part 2 The Roots of Modern Traditions of Wicca with The London Wicca Meetup Group. Venue: The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG. Meet at the Lion of Knidos in the Great Court of the British Museum at 7pm. The talk will last an hour, followed by a pub chat. Phone: 07848 448669 and 07581 198380. For more information and to sign up for this event, visit: http://www.meetup.com/The-London-Wicca-Meetup-Group/events/219909878/

Friday 23 January; Crystal Prescriptions: Combating Electromagnetic and Geopathic Stress. Talk by Judy Hall at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm-8.30pm. Cost: £10/£12 Advance booking advised. For details call: 020 7589 3292 or visit https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Friday 23 January; Crossbones Vigil to honour The Goose and the outcast dead of Cross Bones Graveyard. Gather from 6.45pm for a 7pm start in Redcross Way outside the Memorial Gates, SE1 1TA, opposite the Boot and Flogger pub, just north of the junction with Union Street. Nearest tubes Borough or London Bridge. The event is free, but donations are welcome. For more details, visit http://www.crossbones.org.uk/

Saturday 24 January. Falling in Love with Where You Are. Workshop with Jeff Foster. Venue: Study Society, Colet House, 151 Talgarth Road, London, W14 9DA. Time: 10.30am - 5pm. Tickets: £65/£55. http://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Saturday 24 - Sunday 25 January; Aphrodite's Flame. Join Aphrodite's Flame Keepers to tend a flame from dusk on 24 January until dusk on 25 January. Venue: Worldlwide. Time: 4.30pm-4.30pm. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/926064864084935/

Sunday 25 January; London Dreamtime storytelling at Dulwich Picture Gallery Family Sunday. Venue: Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Rd, Southwark, London SE21 7AD. Time: 2pm-4pm. Free. For more details visit http://londondreamtime.com/calendar/ or http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/

Sunday 25 January; Where is the Mystery in the Mystery Tradtions? Talk by Ken Rees. 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 26 January; Change Your Mind Heal Your Body. Talk by Anna Parkinson organised by Alternatives. Venue: St James's Church Piccadilly, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Tickets £12/£8. For more details and to book tickets: http://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Monday 26 January; Meditation and Journeying Circle run by Shamanic Spirit at a venue in New Addington, Croydon, South London. Starts 7.30pm. For more details and to book places call 07952 041477. For more information, visit http://shamanicspirit.co.uk/

Tuesday 27 January; Chertsey Moot. A social moot held on the last Tuesday of the month at the Golden Grove pub, Ruxbury Road, St Annes Hill, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 9EN. All welcome. From 8pm to 11pm. For more details, email: sian_ap_pysgotwr@yahoo.co.uk

Tuesday 27 January; Drumming Circle run by Shamanic Spirit at a venue in New Addington, Croydon, South London. Every second Tuesday starting 7.30pm. Cost £10. For more details and to book places call 07952 041477. For more information, visit http://shamanicspirit.co.uk/

Tuesday 27 January; The Golden Age of Paranormal Television. Talk by Professor Richard Wiseman. Venue: the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Room LG01, New Academic Building, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW. Talks start at 6.10pm. Free event. For more details, contact Duncan Colvin on d.colvin@gold.ac.uk or visit http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/speakers/

Tuesday 27 January; The Power of Sound - A Meditation on the Space In-Between with Olaf Nixon. Venue The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm-8.30pm. Cost: £10/£12 Advance booking advised. For details call: 020 7589 3292 or visit https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Thursday 29 January; 'The Terror of London': Spring-heeled Jack and the Victorian Metropolitan Press. Talk by Dr Karl Bell, author of The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack: Victorian Urban Folklore and Popular Cultures.Venue: London Fortean Society, The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR. Time: 7.30pm - 10.30pm. Entry: £3/£2 concessions. For more details, visit http://forteanlondon.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday 29 January; PFL Imbolc Open Ritual facilitated by Goddess Enchantments. Venue: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn London. Time: 7.30pm for 8pm start. Ritual ends around 9pm followed by feasting until 10pm. Entrance: £6/£5 PF members. Please bring seasonal food and drinks to share at feast after ritual. For more details, visit http://london.paganfed.org/

Thursday 29 January; Necronomicon and Mesopotamia. Talk by a Sumerologiest at 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/

Friday January 30 - February 1; Into the Wild Winter Warmer festival. Winter festival with music and workshops Venue: Emerson College, Pixton, Hartfield Road, Forest Row RH18 5JX. Weekend tickets are £75, day tickets are £40 and include lunch and dinner. More details and ticket booking: http://www.intothewildgathering.com/#!imbolc/cm6w

Friday 30 January; London Gothic Conference. A day of talks and activities focused on the Gothic imagination, its cultural impact and influence on London. Venue: London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Rd, London EC1R 0HB. Time: 10am to 4pm. Cost: £10. Tickets: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/london-gothic-tickets-14972977579

Friday 30 January; The Medicine Way Atlantis and the Native American Path. Talk by Edwin Courtenay. Venue The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm-8.30pm. Cost: £10/£12 Advance booking advised. For details call: 020 7589 3292 or visit https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Friday 30 January; Lecture: Curses! The British Museum's 'unlucky' mummies. Venue British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: 6.30pm–7.30pm. Cost £5/£3. For more details and to book tickets call 020 7323 8181 or visit: https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/events_calendar.aspx

Friday 30 January; Stone-Age Drugs 'N' Rock and Roll. Talk by Paul Devereux 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 30 January; Divine I Am Transmission with Crystal Bowl Bath run by Vaz of the London College of Spirituality. Venue: Windsor Suite, Columbia Hotel, 95- 99 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NS. Time: 7pm. Cost: £20. Details: http://www.meetup.com/londonspirituality/

Saturday 31 January; Mysteries of Imbolc. One-day workshop including a full ritual at the end of the day with Suzanne Corbie at Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Tickets £45 (£25 deposit, balance due on the day). Time: noon to 5.30pm. Booking essential and limited places. Tel: 020 7240 8906 or email: info@treadwells-london.com. http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Saturday 31 January; Spring Youth Workshop organised by the Pagan Federation London. Venue: The Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY. Noon to 4pm. PF members: £6, others: £8. https://www.facebook.com/events/767056493332239/

Saturday 31 January; The Art of Avalon - Creating the Rainbow Path of the Goddess. Workshop with Elle Hull at Cobwebs at Cauldrons at Romford Shopping Hall. 1pm-4pm. Cost is £24. http://www.cobwebsandcauldrons.co.uk/

Saturday 31 January; Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri Imbolc Rite at Avebury Sun Circle, in Avebury, Wiltshire. Open druidic style ceremony to celebrate the first stirrings of spring. Meet at the Red Lion Pub, Avebury, around noon for rite at around 1.30pm, ending around 3pm. Bring bread, cakes and drink to share, bring poetry to read.

Saturday 31 January - 1 February; Learn How to Lucid Dream – 24hr sleepover workshop with Charlie Morley, author of Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner's Guide to Becoming Conscious in Your Dreams
Venue tba. Time: 10.45am - February 1 11am. Tickets £150/£120. Details: http://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Sunday 1 February; Wheel of the Year Festival - First Stirrings Meditation at Chalice Well World Peace Garden, in Glastonbury. Gather at the Well Head at noon for celebration and meditation until 12.30pm, followed by a chance to chat around the fire on the lower lawn. Free admission to the gardens from 10am to noon. http://www.chalicewell.org.uk/

Sunday 1 February; Imbolc 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, ends at around 2.30pm. Nearest tube: Chalk Farm.

Sunday 1 February; Imbolc Celebration in Glastonbury at The Goddess Hall, Benedict Street, Glastonbury, BA6 9NB. Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm. Details: http://www.goddesstemple.co.uk/

Thursday, 22 January 2015

US News: 'Satanic Panic', Occult Art, Salem, 'Devil Bus'

"A Brief History Of "Satanic Panic" In The 1980s" - a look back at allegations of ritual abuse in the 1980s plus details of a new book on the subject, Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll,at io9: http://io9.com/a-brief-history-of-satanic-panic-in-the-1980s-1679476373

"Now you see it: 'Surrealism and Magic' at Boca Raton Museum of Art" - a look at an exhibition in Florida, USA, at southflorida.com: http://www.southflorida.com/theater-and-arts/sf-surrealism-magic-boca-museum-art-20150120,0,7983896.story

"Salem witch trials still cast haunting shadow" - story at seacoastonline.com: http://www.seacoastonline.com/article/20150118/NEWS/150119292

"Christian mother sees Satanic symbol in school bus tail lights" - story at Christian Today: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/christian.mother.sees.satanic.symbol.in.school.bus.tail.lights/46374.htm


The History of Gerald Gardner at the Witch's Mill


Here's a fascinating picture from an old newspaper showing Gerald Gardner, the father of modern Wicca, at the Witch's Mill on the Isle of Man. The Witch's Mill was the home of the Museum of Witchcraft before it moved to Cornwall.

The photo of the cutting was sent to me by Lisa Lennon, who previously sent me a set of photos showing the former home of Gerald Gardner, the mill building and a witch house. You can see those images here: http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/01/gerald-gardner-and-witchcraft-on-isle.html

If you are interested in finding out more about that period of Gerald Gardner's life and live on or near the Isle of Man, on Friday 30 January, Dr John Callow is giving a talk entitled Gerald Gardner, Witchcraft and the Isle of Man. It is at the Manx Museum and starts at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm). Tickets cost £10, available at the Manx Museum Gallery Shop and online: http://www.manxnationalheritage.im/whats-on/detail/gerald-gardener-witchcraft-isle-of-man/

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Special Offer: £10 off The Magic of Nature Oracle

Where There is Love There is Magic 
After my review of the Magic of Nature Oracle yesterday, the Crafty Crones who created the card set have kindly offered to give readers of A Bad Witch's Blog a special offer of £10 off the price of a deck. The offer ends on Valentines Day.

The Magic of Nature Oracle is a beautiful set of divination cards with pictures showing animals, birds, the seasons and other images inspired by the English countryside. It would make a wonderful Valentine's Day gift for a nature-loving witch.

To find out more about the offer and get the Magic of Nature Oracle at the special price, here is the link to follow: http://www.themagicofnatureoracle.com/special.html

You can read my review if the deck here: http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/01/review-magic-of-nature-oracle-set.html

News: Gay Pagan Handfasting, Closures, Blair Witch

"Same-sex couple married in pagan first" - story at BBC News Edinburgh, Fife and East Scotland: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-30885393

"London’s Curiosities are Quietly Closing Down" - story on Christopher Fowler's blog: http://www.christopherfowler.co.uk/blog/2015/01/18/londons-curiosities-are-quietly-closing-down/

"Will Pagans appreciate the possibility of a ‘Blair Witch’ sequel?" - story at examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/article/will-pagans-appreciate-the-possibility-of-a-blair-witch-sequel

Online Magic School: British Native Shamanism

I've been blogging quite a bit about online learning courses recently, and here is another one. A course in British native shamanism is being offered by Elen Sentier, author of Shaman Pathways - Elen of the Ways, Shaman Pathways - Following the Deer Trodsand Shaman Pathways - Trees of the Goddess.

Elen says: "Being Awenydd, the British native shaman, means being a spirit keeper... The word ‘shaman’ means ‘one who knows’ – this is kenning in the British tongue, it means “knowing” and the name Cunning Folk comes from this."

She offers two British shamanism training courses, an Awenydd Apprenticeship, which is a one-year online course that can be started at any time, and Rainbow Warriors' three-year advanced training. This is the description of the Awenydd Apprenticeship that Elen gives on her website:
Subjects include …
The Bones of the Wyrd
Journeying
Familiar Spirits
Lowerworld: the Ancestors
Upperworld: the Teachers
Middleworld: the Work
Celtic Totems
Sacred Duality

Doing the work … walking the path
I set you a journey-task each lesson that will involve ritual and questing. You tell me what happened and report back to me on how things have gone, what you have done, how you feel, – most importantly – what has changed and grown in you over the past month. It’s this changing, opening up, widening of perspective, that is important for the apprentice shaman. Then I give you feedback, pose questions and challenges, offer ideas for things you could do to grow. You can always ask me anything you like, via email and/or text. I will respond … not always with answers but sometimes with more questions that lead you to find your own answers. Always, I encourage you to be yourself, find your own answers, to grow in confidence and the ability to work and serve.

Visits – The work is done over the internet and (for those who can get here) spending a day with me as part of a group with your fellow apprentices. On these days we explore the work in all sorts of ways including journeying, drumming, work at sacred sites, some bushcraft, walking spirit paths … and of course loads and loads of questions and discussion :-).

The day starts at 10.30am and finishes by 4.30pm so there is time for you to drive here and back in one day if you wish. If you are coming by train it will take you longer, you will need to take a taxi from the station out to my home and you may need to find a B and B.
The cost is £560/year and fees can be paid via, PayPal or by bank transfer. For more information, including Elen's contact details, visit: https://elensentier.wordpress.com/awenydd-training/

Elen Sentier is also one of the speakers at a two-day conference in London this June called The Shamanic Lands. You can find out more about the event here: http://www.theshamaniclands.com/

Links and previous related posts
Shaman Pathways - Following the Deer Trods: A practical guide to working with Elen of the Ways
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2013/07/review-shaman-pathways-elen-of-ways.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/01/online-magic-school-druidry-witchcraft.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/01/online-magic-school-traditional.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/01/online-magic-school-minoan-egyptian.html

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Review: The Magic of Nature Oracle Set


You know how exciting it is when a parcel arrives in the post containing something you’ve ordered or asked for, but haven’t actually seen except online? You are really looking forward to opening the parcel and seeing if it is as going to be good as you hope, with just that little bit of worry that it won’t live up to your expectations.

And you know how great it feels when it is actually better than you expected? That’s how I felt when my copy of The Magic of Nature Oracle arrived last week.

I’d been recommended The Magic of Nature Oracleby a witchy friend who knows the divination cards’ creators, Sheena Cundy and Tania Copsey who go by the name of the Crafty Crones, and that was enough to make me want to review it on my blog, but I didn’t really know what it was going to look like.

The first thing that made me go “Wow!” was the unusual bag the divination deck comes in. It is made of natural hessian, blanket stitched with purple wool and finished with a lovely big wooden button. It is just so tactile – much more interesting than a printed cardboard box. Presumably it is more environmentally friendly and longer lasting too.

Inside the bag is the deck of 39 cards and a good-sized book giving their meanings and ways to use them.

I’ll talk about the cards before I talk about the book, because let’s face it, that’s the most important bit. The images primarily depict animals, birds, insects, trees and the seasons with a kind of luminous vibrancy and sense of motion that makes them seem full of life. Each card gives me a sense of the same feeling I get when I am really out in nature, walking through a meadow of spring flowers or catching sight of a robin or a squirrel on my garden fence just before it flies or bounds off again.

And this is English nature too, drawn from the woods, fields, skies and waterways of the Essex countryside where Sheena Cundy and Tania Copsey live. If you don’t know the Essex countryside and think that Essex is all towns housing London’s overspill, think again. Better yet, go and visit the wilds of Essex for yourself. Avoid Lakeside, the M25 and that long road to Southend and you can find countryside as beautiful as anywhere in England. Although by birth I am a Kentish maid myself, rather than an Essex girl, this is still the kind of countryside I know and love – which is probably one of the reasons this deck resonates with me so much.

But now onto the book. As one would expect, it offers suggested interpretations for each of the cards and descriptions of various ways of laying them out, but again I was really pleasantly surprised by the way it is written. It is a down-to-earth, commonsense kind of book – not a book full of New Age woo. Let me quote from the advice on giving a reading:
“There is nothing mystical about using the cards and there are no hidden meanings or supernatural forces at work. However, they were written to help others and therein lies the source of their Magic... as a reader you are a facilitator and guide of a natural and creative process. You are helping someone to help themselves. You are not saving any souls...”
Indeed, common sense advice. The Magic of Nature Oracle, like any oracle set, is a tool to help us see the choices we have, past events that are influencing us and things that have the potential to influence the future. The cards can also be used as an aid to meditation.

I love The Magic of Nature Oraclejust as much as my witchy friend said I would. If I had to make a suggestion as to how the deck could be improved, it would simply be to add more cards to it. But perhaps some day Sheena and Tania will feel inspired to bring out a Magic of Nature Oracle 2, with more beautiful and inspiring images from the countryside of England.

You can find out more about the deck and the Crafty Crones at their website: http://www.themagicofnatureoracle.com/


Links and previous related posts
The Magic of Nature Oracle
http://www.themagicofnatureoracle.com/
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2013/05/review-animal-wisdom-tarot-boxed-set.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/08/review-wildwood-tarot.html

Monday, 19 January 2015

Event: London Gothic Exhibition and Conference


While Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination exhibition at The British Library has its last day tomorrow, another exhibition called London Gothic is also on at the moment and what's more it is totally free to get in.

London Gothic is running at the London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB until the end of April. While the exhibition is considerably smaller than the British Library Gothic extravaganza, it is still fascinating, especially for anyone interested in the city's dark and mysterious past. The information on the LMA website says:
From terrible crimes to gruesome legends, London has long been the backdrop to horrifying tales which quickly take root in popular imagination. Through court records which date back to the 17th century, explore dreadful crimes and brutal punishments, from witch trials and alleged hauntings to the spectacle of public execution at Tyburn (the west end of Oxford Street today). Uncovering the ‘gothic’ in many guises including architecture, London’s first ‘Goth’ club and the gothic imagination, this exhibition digs into the depths of London’s archives to present documents and images which record both fact and fiction, including manuscripts put on public display for the first time.
One of the display cases is devoted to witchcraft, with indictments showing accusations of bewitchments, enchantments and sorcery. You can see some of the documents in the photo to the right. Of course the most severe punishment for witchcraft in England was normally hanging, not burning, so the picture on the left saying "Burned Alive at Smithfield" is not about witches being burnt at the stake, but those found guilty of crimes such as heresy.

Another display case gives some of the history and background of the Rider-Waite Tarot, which was originally published in London. You can also enjoy details about seances and ghosts, film clips, theatrical posters, a gallery of Hogarth prints and even get to peek behind a showman's curtain to see a strange and fabulous beast described as a "mermaid".

The LMA is open Monday 9.30am - 4.45pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.30am - 7.30pm. You can find out more here.

If you fancy making a whole day of it, on Friday January 30, there is a London Gothic Conference at the LMA too. This promises to be a day of talks and activities focused on the Gothic imagination, its cultural impact and influence on London. It runs from 10am to 4pm. Althought the exhibition is free, the conference isn't. Tickets for that cost £10 and can be booked here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/london-gothic-tickets-14972977579