Friday, 27 November 2020

Witchy Gifts: Gorgeous Accessories and Crafting Kits

Here's another blog post with Yule gift ideas from friends and readers of my blog who are crafters, designers, makers of art, workshop leaders and authors. I also know many of us prefer to buy from independent traders rather than big businesses. So, I asked people to let me know what they are offering as potential presents suitable for pagans (and others). 

My friend Julie has two Etsy shops. In the main one, Jez Designs, she offers scarves and other accessories such as bags brooches and fabric jewellery. She makes them by hand, often from sustainably upcycled materials, and some are budget, while others are luxury. Julie said: "Some of my pouches are popular for storing divination cards, crystals and Wiccan paraphenalia!"  

You can see a picture of some of the bags to the left. UK customers get free shipping.

Her second Etsy store is Jez Design Crafts. That offers kits, supplies and sewing gear for those who like to make things or mend them themselves, plus a few papercrafts, patchwork and other tutorials, and homewares/gifts. 

Julie said: "Literally anyone can make a wreath like the one in the picture, or a brooch from one of my kits!" Most of it is free shipping in the UK too. 

I can vouch for the fact that Julie's kits are great and come with clear instructions, as I have made one of her flower brooches myself. I even photographed it and it appeared at the top of one of my events listings a few weeks ago. Please tell Julie if you buy anything from her site after visiting this post.

Julie has added that last orders for Christmas are:

  • Australia/NZ Nov 27th (made to order)/ Dec 4th (ready to ship)
  • USA, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe Dec 1st (made to order)/ Dec 8th (ready to ship)
  • Western Europe Dec 4th (made to order)/ Dec 11th (ready to ship)
  • UK Dec 11th (made to order)/ Dec 18th (ready to ship)

I'll be mentioning other independent traders and crafters and over the next weeks. Here's a link to my earlier post: http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2020/11/witch-gifts-happiness-voucher-incense.html

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Extract: The Drop of the Hammer by Mary De Gruttola

Here is an extract from The Drop of the Hammer by Mary De Gruttola, is a novel based on true events that took place in the Ban of Spa (now part of Belgium) around 1600. On August 23, 1581, Kramer and Springer’s ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ ushered in a reign of terror in the area. Life was no longer just hard for the women of Spa and Creppe—it was also terrifying. This novel tells the story of a young widow called Françoise Mathieu, who is accused of witchcraft and sentenced to be garrotted and burned.  

The beating sound is closer. The glow of the fire and the regular beating completely dominate her. 
She needs to get there.
Breathless.
The constant beat she hears keeps pulling Françoise, pressing her to go quicker and quicker.
There’s a group of people walking in a circle. Moving always at the same steady, rhythmic pace.
Her heart starts beating loudly.
The people gathered in the field are now silently walking along a single circular path.
She is sure she is close enough for them to see her. They don’t seem to see her. Unexpectedly, one of the men holding a particularly bright torch cries out and points at her.
They have seen her.
They are pointing at her. Soon she is able to make out individual words, but not entire sentences.
Witch.
Burn.
The crowd is walking in a circle again, but now she is in the middle of the of the circle.
An old woman shakes a fist menacingly.
“Burn her. She made a pact.”
Françoise puts her hands over her ears to block out the sounds and hatred coming from the people circling around her. Her feet buckle under her. (…) rough hands hold her up and drag her to the center of the field where she is thrown onto the ground.
Panting, she finally manages to stand up on her own two feet.
Remacle Le Rosy walks out of the crowd and floats up to her.
One moment he is practically upon her and the next he is part of the crowd.
The herder, suddenly, swoops down on her.
The need to scream becomes intolerable.
Her breathing becomes rapid and her legs turn to jelly. Her legs buckle under her.
Remacle holds her up, grabs her by the hair and presses his mouth to hers.
Her stomach heaves and she pushes him away.
He puts his rough hand behind her head and forces her face up towards his.
Françoise tries to keep her lips shut.
He manages to part them and slides his tongue in, exploring her mouth as he had earlier explored her body with his hands.
Françoise can take it no longer. She puts all the strength that is left in her into one last push and wrenches away from him.
She looks around and there no longer is any sign of Remacle. A feeling of dread engulfs her. Is she awake? Is she dreaming?
She senses rather than sees a figure kneeling beside her. Françoise’s body tenses, unsure of what is going to happen next. She expects pain or Remacle’s obscene groping---instead her face is touched by soft, gentle fingers.
A strong smell of lavender fills the air and a strange peaceful feeling comes over her. In spite of what Remacle and the crowd have done to her, Françoise feels safe. Looking up she sees a young woman kneeling by her side. She instantly knows who it is.
“Jehenne! Jehenne Anseau!”. Françoise remembers when Jehenne was burned for witchcraft. It wasn’t so long ago. Jehenne was smiling at her. Françoise wipes tears away from her cheeks and smiles back.
“Do not fear little Françoise. Do not fear.”
I’m so scared, Jehenne.”
“Don’t give up. They can’t do anything to you.”
“But I’m so scared.”
“You are strong, little one.”
“No, Jehenne I’m not strong. I’m not as strong as you are.”
“The strength is there, Françoise. Trust me. All you have to do is ground yourself and the strength will move up your spine like the strength a tree extracts from the soil.”
Jehenne puts out her hand again and caresses Françoise’s cheek. “I remember you, Françoise. I will always remember you. You of all the people who were out there that day--- you are the only one who cried when they executed me. Of all the people there you were the only one who cared. Don’t give up. You are not alone. Not alone.”
Françoise puts out her hand but only meets empty space. Jehenne is gone.
Françoise swings around as another figure comes out of the crowd. He is holding a torch straight in front of him. She cannot see who it is. “Who are you?”, she cries out. “Leave me alone.”
He doesn’t bother answering her. From time to time he steps closer and plunges the torch towards her.
The crowd starts to chant. The sound itself frightens Françoise, but when she realizes what they are chanting she is petrified.
“Burn! Burn! Burn!”
She begins to shake. She puts her hands up to her ears and starts screaming.
Darkness.
She wakes up in the damp, cold cell at La Boverie.
The dream has exhausted her and she nods off as a gentle voice consoles her, “Don’t give up, Françoise. They can’t do anything to you. You are strong, little one.”

You can view The Drop of the Hammer on Amazon.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Online and London Pagan Events in the Next Week

Here is a list of online events and activities for pagans, witches and those with similar interests over the next week or so. At the moment, things are often being reorganised, so please check before attending anything. I generally list events in the UK, especially in or near London, but some are outside that time zone, so check when it will start in your location. If you know an online ritual, talk, meeting or workshop you want included, please email me at badwitch1234@gmail.com

Now - 30 November; London Dreamtime: Werewolves of London Full Moon Audio Walk. Download the audio tour and listen from your smartphone to be led on a dusk tour around London's West End, In your own time, at dusk. Venue: Charing Cross, London, WC2N. Tickets · £12. https://www.londondreamtime.com/calendar/

Now to 2 December; The Goddess Conference online festive market. https://www.facebook.com/groups/236664221079524

Wednesday 25 November; Wellbeing Wednesdays with Nadine and Caitriona. Online event. Two sessions: 12.30pm and 5.45pm. Tickets: £6 per session. https://behappiest.co.uk/

Wednesday 25 November; Shakti Yoga - Decompress. Online event with Dancing the Goddess. Time: 6pm. Tickets: £7. https://www.meetup.com/Dancing-the-Goddess/

Wednesday 25 November; Mindfulness Taster Session with Be Happiest via Zoom. Time: 6.30pm. Free. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/936292140235588 and https://behappiest.co.uk/

Wednesday 25 November; Moon Books Live Talk and Discussion with Chris Allaun author of books on shamanism, hosted by Moon Books. Time: 7pm. https://www.facebook.com/MoonBooks

Wednesday 25 November;  Stories of the Vikings: Creation, Destruction, Magic, with Jason Buck Storyteller. Time: 7pm. Tickets · £7.50-£10 www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/127289186383

Wednesday 25 November; Sound Magic. Second part of online workshop with Nicole via Treadwell's Online. Via Zoom. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £40 for both sessions. https://www.treadwells-london.com/events

Wednesday 25 November; Cord Cutting Meditation with Lucy Porter. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 7pm. Tickets £5-£20 per session.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Wednesday 25 November; Hertford Laws of Return Moot. Online event via Zoom. Time: 8pm. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/702331800681747

Thursday 26 November; Work with Shamanism to Grow Personally and Professionally. Online event with Harriet Goudard every Thursday. Time: 10am. Free. https://www.meetup.com/awaken-the-inner-shaman-london/

Thursday 26 November; Women and Crime in Shakespeare's time. Talk by Sandra Clark for Crouch End and District U3A. Time: 11am. Tickets: Free. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cedu3a-members-talk-women-and-crime-in-shakespeares-time-sandra-clark-tickets-125469672167

Thursday 26 November; Life in the Localities: Priests, Healers and Witches. Online talk as part of the Northern Early Modern Conference. Time: 1.20pm. Tickets: Free. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/life-in-the-localities-priests-healers-and-witches-tickets-122235286031

Thursday 26 November; Inner Alchemy. Online event with Julian Vayne, via Treadwell's. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £20. https://www.treadwells-london.com/events

Thursday 26 November; Marq English on 'Ghost Hunting - Do we have it all wrong?' Part of the online ASSAP talks which take place every Thursday. Time: 7pm. Free event. Tickets available to all ASSAP members. To join ASSAP, for £5 per year, visit http://www.assap.ac.uk/.

Thursday 26 November; Learn the Tarot - Suit of Pentacles Masterclass. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 7pm. Tickets £20-£30.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Friday 27 November (usually every Friday); Friday Live Chat hosted by Rachel Patterson, author of the Kitchen Witch series of books. Time: 9am. Free event. https://www.facebook.com/RachelPattersonbooks/

Friday 27 November (usually every Friday); Shakti Yoga. Online event with Dancing the Goddess. Time: 9am. Tickets: £10. https://www.meetup.com/Dancing-the-Goddess/

Friday 27 November; Guidance with the Angels with Liesl Duffy. Online mini workshop through the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 1pm. Tickets: £55/£75. https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Friday 27 November (usually every Friday); Psychic and Intuitive Skills Development. Online via Zoom with Mahesh Gordhan of the London School of Spirituality. Time: 8pm. Tickets: £5/£7.50. https://www.meetup.com/londonschoolofspirituality/

Friday 27 November; Herbal series - chamomile. Online talk via Children of Circe, a private pagan group run by Richard Levy and sponsored by the Doreen Valiente Foundation. You must join the group to watch: Time: 8pm. Free. https://www.facebook.com/groups/725752541262809

Saturday 28 - Sunday 29 November; Online Winter Wytches Market hosted by The Plant Path Folk, Tawny El and others. Starts 10am. https://www.facebook.com/events/258693225574896

Saturday 28 November; Online Yule Shopping with the Enchanted Market. Starts 10am. https://www.facebook.com/theenchantedmarketbracknell

Saturday 28 November; Yule Market - Online shopping  event hosted by Magik Tiger's Eye Crystals and Witchery. Time: 5.30pm. https://www.facebook.com/events/1647973128721545

Saturday 28 November; Elemental Dark Ages: Stories from nature. Online storytelling by Jason Buck Storyteller. All profits go towards supporting Butser Ancient Farm. Time: 7pm. Tickets · £10

Sunday 29 November and 6 December Shamanic counselling: an introduction. Two-session online class with Kathy Fried via City Lit. Time: 10am-5pm. Tickets: £139/£111/£95. https://www.citylit.ac.uk/

Sunday 29 November; Spellwork with oil burners. Online talk via Children of Circe, a private pagan group run by Richard Levy and sponsored by the Doreen Valiente Foundation. You have to join the group to watch the videos: Time: 5pm. Free event. https://www.facebook.com/groups/725752541262809

Sunday 29 November; Beaver Moon Breath Ceremony with Lisa Li via Zoom. Organised by Aho Studio, 13 Prince Edward Rd, London, E9 5LX. Time: 6pm. Tickets: £20. www.aho.community

Sunday 29 November; Woodland Bard Online with Jonathon Huet at Walk With Trees. Time: 6pm. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/woodland-bard-online-29th-november-tickets-126647978513?

Monday 30 November; Lunar Eclipse: Star Wisdom Online Meditation Workshop broadcast live from Avebury. Online event. Time: 9am. Tickets £28.28 paypal: https://paypal.me/SueCoulson/28.28  Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/833550770794822

Monday 30 November (every Monday); Shakti Yoga - Awaken. Online event with Dancing the Goddess. Time: 7am. Tickets: £7. https://www.meetup.com/Dancing-the-Goddess/

Monday 30 November; Eclipse special: Full Moon eclipse in Gemini Facebook Live event with Yasmin Boland. Time: noon. Download the free tools you'll need here:

Monday 30 November (usually every Monday); Mindful Still Life Monday Sessions with London Drawing, via Zoom. Two sessions: 12.30pm and 6pm. Free, but donations welcome. http://londondrawing.com/events/mindful-still-life-monday-sessions/

Monday 30 November; Secret storytelling in the Forest (anytime). Download the audioguide and be led around a south London forest  on your own in your own time (but best at dusk). Venue: Honour Oak Park. Price: £10. https://www.londondreamtime.com/calendar/

Monday 30 November; How to Know Higher Worlds. Study and conversation group on Zoom hosed by Dr Sue Peat and Philip Martyn, through Rudolf Steiner House. Free. Time: 7pm. https://www.meetup.com/rudolf-steiner-spiritual-science/

Monday 30 November; Full Moon Circle. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 8pm. Tickets £5-£20 per session.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Monday 30 November; Witchcraft with Sol. Online workshop with Rebecca Beattie, author of Nature Mystics, via Treadwell's Online. Via Zoom. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £20. https://www.treadwells-london.com/events

Tuesday 1 December; Heavenly Alchemy - Alchemical influences in Shakespeare. Online talk via Treadwell's Online. Via Zoom. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £10. https://www.treadwells-london.com/events

Tuesday 1 December, The Bone Mother. Online class in Making Sacred Art with Imelda Almqvist. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £35. https://pregnant-hag-teachings.teachable.com/p/the-bone-mother-december-art-class

Tuesday 1 December (usually first Tuesday of the month); Yule Gathering at the Witches' Inn Online Moot. Time: 8pm. Free event. https://www.facebook.com/The-Witches-Inn-1568424150049437

Wednesday 2 December; Drumming and Meditation Online with Taz Thornton via Zoom. (Usually on the first Wednesday of every month) Time: 7pm-8.30pm. Donation of £5 to £15. https://www.facebook.com/TazThorntonOfficial and https://www.facebook.com/events/2771910509744945/

Wednesday 2 December; Full Moon Sound Journey. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 8.30pm. Tickets £5-£15 per session.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Thursday, 3 December; Psychedelic Magic. Online talk with Julian Vayne, via Treadwell's Online. Via Zoom. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £20. https://www.treadwells-london.com/events

Thursday, 3 December; Breathwork for Creativity. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £5-£20. Time: 7pm. https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Thursday, 3 December; Shooting the Wild Witch Breeze. Facebook Live Chat with Rachel Patterson an, witch and author, and pagan author Elen Sentier. A new chat video every two weeks on a Thursday. Time: 7pm.   Free. https://www.facebook.com/MoonBooks

Friday 4 - Sunday 6 December;  Goddess and Psychic online event. Starts 10am. https://www.facebook.com/events/787025575430756

Friday 4 December; Psychogeography: the art of getting lost. Online class with Christopher Collier via City Lit. Time: 6pm. Tickets: £19/£12. https://www.citylit.ac.uk/

Friday 4 December; Herbal series - coriander. Online talk via Children of Circe, a private pagan group run by Richard Levy and sponsored by the Doreen Valiente Foundation. You have to join the group to watch the videos: Time: 8pm. Free event. https://www.facebook.com/groups/725752541262809

Saturday 5 December (tbc but usually every fortnight); Talk as part of Witchfest Online organised by Children of Artemis. Time: from 3.45pm. Details: https://witchcraft.org/witchfest-online/

Sunday 6 December; Breathwork and Meditation with Sven Carlson. Online mini workshop through the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 11am. Tickets: £55/ £75. https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Sunday 6 December; The Book of Thoth at Folklore. Tales of ancient Egyptian magik and the wisdom of Thoth from Vanessa of London Dreamtime and live music by George from Cunning Folk. Venue: Folklore Bar 186 Hackney Rd London E2 7QL. Time: 3pm. Price: £5 bought in advance via link.

Sunday 6 December; The Identity of the Witch in Contemporary Culture. Talk by Dr Laura Kounine, author of Imagining the Witch. Online event hosted by the Centre for Pagan Studies. Time: 4pm. Free, but you must register for a place. http://centre-for-pagan-studies.com/kitchen-table-talks/autumn-winter-2020-programme-for-centre-for-pagan-studies-zoom-talks-and-lectures/

Friday 11 December: Online launch event for my latest book, Pagan Portals - Guided Visualisations, via Facebook Live. Free to join in. You can view PP - Guided Visualisations on Amazon, and find it on my author page at Moon Books. https://www.facebook.com/events/353859452274902/

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not responsible for the content of any of these events except my own book launch. Where a practitioner is offering information about magical protection, this is *not* medical advice.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Winter Time Walks and the Watchers in the Trees

Winter, when the trees stand bare of leaves, is a wonderful time to study their trunks and branches and the markings on their bark. My fellow blogger Jane Mortimer has been regularly visiting a grove near where she lives and noticing the changes throughout the seasons. She wrote: 
 "I just had to share a couple of photos (shown above and to the right). Today I went down to Percival Grove for a bit of exercise, and when I sat on a bench I found I was looking at the other side of the Triple Tree. As I stared at it, I thought I could make out an eye on each trunk. As I moved closer to the tree I could see the 'eyes' were very clear on two of the trunks, and at first I thought someone had painted them on. But no, they had formed naturally from where lower branches had been trimmed off. They've even got eyebrows! What do you think?" 
I do think they look like eyes. I must admit that when I'm going for walks in my local park I am very aware of what look faces, eyes and other features in the trees. Although I know they are pareidolia, or our minds translating shapes into familiar objects, I still think they give the trees character and make me think of them as friends as well as gentle watchers along the way.

However, I realised that I'd never studied the silver birch tree that stands in my own front garden to see if it had markings that looked like eyes. Prompted by Jane's email, I popped outside to have a look, and took the picture you can see to the left.

Jane also wrote: 
"I listened to a couple of trees and found they were responding to being blown about by gusts of wind. Apart from the obvious creaking of the branches, which sounds quite dramatic with an ear pressed to the tree, the sloshing of the sap was more intense while the wind was gusting, as if it were being hurriedly pulled down to the roots to keep it safe until spring." 
Yes, the trees are getting ready for winter. Rest well, beautiful trees, to wake safely in springtime.

Monday, 23 November 2020

News: Witchcraft Persecutions in History and Now

 

 This round-up of news stories shows that while modern pagan witchcraft is relatively mainstream in many countries, persecution of old women accused of being witches still takes place in some. There are also news stories about modern looks at historic witch trials and a commemoration of the past:

"Song about witch trials released by descendant of one of the victims" - Story at East Lothian Courier: https://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/18884074.song-witch-trials-released-descendant-one-victims/  (You listen to the song on video at YouTube, shared above)

"This Exhibit About Witch Hunting Is Not About Donald Trump (But It's Still Politically Spellbinding)" - story at Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathonkeats/2020/11/20/this-exhibit-about-witch-hunting-is-not-about-donald-trump-but-its-still-politically-spellbinding/

"Branded 'witch', 70-year-old woman tortured at Assam tea garden, sustains injuries" - story at The New Indian Express: https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/nov/19/branded-witch-70-year-old-woman-tortured-atassam-tea-garden-sustains-injuries-2225523.html 

"Gender Ministry announces plans to disband witch camps" - story at Ghana Business News: https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2020/11/21/gender-ministry-announces-plans-to-disband-witch-camps/

"Kenyans: Stop Burning Witches, Witchcraft Is Superstition By Leo Igwe" - story at SaharaReporters.com: http://saharareporters.com/2020/11/21/kenyans-stop-burning-witches-witchcraft-superstition-leo-igwe