Monday, 26 June 2017

I've Bought My Early Bird Ticket to Witchfest 2017

I've just bought my ticket for Witchfest International, which claims the record as the largest witchcraft festival in the world. It takes place in Brighton, on the Saturday 7th October 2017, and early bird ticket prices are available until the end of June - so you have until Friday to get one. After that, prices go up and they can sell out as it gets closer to the day.

Witchfest starts with a gig on Friday 6th October, the night before the main festival. Throughout the day on Saturday there are talks, workshops, a market and entertainment; then in the evening there is live music and dancing until the early hours of Sunday morning.

The event is organised by Children of Artemis and used to take place in Croydon, but moved to Brighton last year. You can read one of my reviews of a previous Witchfest here:

Full details of Witchfest International 2017 are here:
Tickets can be bought here:

Friday, 23 June 2017

Review: The Crane Bag - A Druid's Guide

On the day of the Summer Solstice I received a lovely and unexpected present - a copy of the book Pagan Portals - The Crane Bag: A Druid's Guide to Ritual Tools and Practices.

It really cheered me up because I had not been able to spend the solstice celebrating. On the solstice eve I had had to go the dentist to get a crown put on tooth I'd managed to break and on the longest day itself I had been working in an office all day. To come home and find The Crane Bag on my doorstep was a reminder that the best gifts can be totally unexpected.

Pagan Portals - The Crane Bag is by Joanna van der Hoeven, whose previous books on Druidry include The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid, which is deservedly a best-seller.

Her new book, which is officially launched in July, focuses on the practical tools and rituals of Druidry. The crane bag is a theme that runs through Celtic mythology - created to honour and remember the tragic tale of a woman who was turned into a crane by magic, it was said to hold the treasures of ancient Ireland. Bags used to hold ritual items as well as herbs and foraged items for spellwork are also often called crane bags by Druids and this book gives all the details.

Publisher Moon Books says about The Crane Bag on its website:
An introduction to the ritual tools and practices found in the Druid tradition. Held deeply within Celtic mythology, the crane bag is both a symbol of sovereignty, as well as an item containing the ritual tools of the Druid. With the proper use, it can further the Druid in working with the tides of nature, finding his or her own place in the environment, living in balance, harmony and peace. In ritual, these tools and practices can guide one to deeper levels of meaning and understanding within the tradition, helping the Druid on his or her journey through life and towards integration with the natural world.
Getting this book has inspired me to make my own crane bag to take with me when I am out and about. I'm always filling my pockets with things I find for my altar or for the mandalas I've been creating from flowers each month this year. A crane bag will not only be a better place to put them, it will make my foraging seem more a part of a traditional spiritual practice.

View Pagan Portals - The Crane Bag on Amazon.

Links and previous related posts

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Midsummer Pagan Events In and Near London

The Summer Solstice has passed, but Midsummer's Day is this weekend. Here are events in London plus a few in other parts of the UK over that time and the week ahead that could be of interest to pagans. If you know of an event that you want listed, please email the details to me at

Now - 24 June; Women’s Gathering into the light of the Summer Solstice. Week-long celebration of the divine feminine and setting a sacred circle with a different goddess honoured each day, also raising awareness and funds for the PDSA and Padiyanoor Chamundi Temple Trivandrum Kerala  Venue: Wicca Moon, 50 Well Hall Rd, London, SE9 6SH. Many events are free, readings are £20. Time: Most devotions start about noon. For details or to book a place email or call 020 8850 7803.

Now to 30 September; Austin Osman Spare exhibition at the Last Tuesday Society. Venue: Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities, 11 Mare Street, London E8 4RP.

Now to the end of 2017; Poppets, Pins and Power - an exhibition on the craft of cursing at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle, Cornwall.

Now to 31 December; The London Stone on Display. Venue: Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN. Free exhibition during museum opening ours.

Thursday 22 June; Free Social - Peaceful Meditation and Picnic hosted by London College of Spirituality. Venue: Regent's Park, London NW1. Time: 6pm.

Thursday 22 June; Rising Sign astrology workshop with Madeleine Botet de Lacaze. Venue: She's Lost Control, 42 Valentine Rd, London E9 7AD. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £30.

Thursday 22 June; Shamanic Healing, Drumming and Journeying Circle with Behind The Veil - Shamanism. Venue: The Hall, St Philips Church, Earls Court Road, London W8 6QH. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets: Price: £25.

Friday 23 June; Crossbones St John's Eve 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. Gather from 6.45pm for a 7pm start in Redcross Way outside the Memorial Gates, London SE1 1TA. For more details, visit or

Friday 23 June; Sensing the Spiritual in Medicinal Plants. Lecture by With Pamela Tinker. Venue: Rudolf Steiner House, 35, Park Road, London, NW1 6XT. Time: 7pm. Entry £5/£3.

Friday 23 June; Women's Empowerment with Mamma Moon Magick. Venue: The Upminster Complementary Healing and Teaching Sanctuary, Pea Lane, Upminster, Havering, RM142XH. Time: 7pm. Cost: £15.

Friday 23 June; The City of Djinn. Illustrated Lecture by Darragh Mason Field. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.30pm. Ticket price £8. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email:

Saturday 24 June; Midsummer Sacred Chant Workshop with Chloe Goodchild, Nikki Slade, Illumina and Sudha organised by Alternatives. Venue: Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Rd, London NW1 7AY. Time: 10am-5pn. Tickets £50/£40.

Saturday 24 June; Introduction to Shamanism. One-day workshop with Trefor Wickens and Shell North. London venue, details given to those who book. Time: 11am-4pm. Tickets: £45.

Saturday 24 June; Midsummer meanders, meditation and munch in Woking, Surrey. Meet in Woodham Common car park, just off the 6 ways Roundabout, on Monument Road, Woking, at 10.30 am, for a meander to the two longbarrows. The group will then go on to The Peace Garden, which is the former Muslim burial ground for a guided meditation, before retiring to Sands at The Bleak House for refreshment. This is close to the sand pits which HG Wells used as the landing point for his martians in War of The Worlds.

Saturday 24 June; One-day Isis workshop  Venue: Wicca Moon, 50 Well Hall Rd, London, SE9 6SH. Time: 11am-4.30pm. Tickets £20 in advance, £39.99 on the day. For details or to book a place email or call 020 8850 7803.

Saturday 24 June; Rainbow Summer Solstice Festival 2017. Venue: The Five Bells, Tydd St Mary, Peterborough PE13 5QH. Time: 11am-7pm. Cost £2 on the door.

Saturday 24 June; South London Red Tent. Venue: Private house in London SW16. Time: 11.30am.

Saturday 24 June; Gallery Talk - Greek mythology on Greek vases. Venue: Room 69, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: 1.15pm. Free, just turn up. For more details visit:

Sunday 25 June; Meditation at Russell Brands Trew Era Cafe, 30 Whitmore Road, London N1 5QA. Starts 10.15am. Free event. Details:

Sunday 25 June; Tarot Reading for Intermediate Students.  Day Workshop with Sue Merlyn Farebrother. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 11am-5.30pm. Tickets £70 (deposit £40). Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email:

Sunday 25 June; A Blot for Holda with The Kith of the Tree and the Well. Venue Holda's Well in Greenwich Park, London. Time: noon.

Sunday 25 June; Alban Heruin/Lithe/Mid-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. Starts at 12.30pm, ends at about 2.30pm. Nearest tube: Chalk Farm.

Sunday 25 June; Experience Spirits of Nature - Come and Touch One! Venue: Gandhi Statue, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, London. Time: 2.30pm. You must reserve a place in advance.

Sunday 25 June; The Ageless Wisdom For Everyone. Venue: The Theosophical Society, 50 Gloucester Place London, W1U 8EA. Time: 2pm. Entry: Donations welcome. Details:

Sunday 25 June; Informal chat over coffee "Ethics in Witchcraft" with Leatherhead and Guildford Pagan and Witchcraft Group. Venue: Squires Garden Centre, West Horsley, Epsom Road
Leatherhead,  Guildford KT24 6AR. Time: 2.30pm.

Sunday 25 June; The Secret Journey of Doctor Dee - Mortlake with London Dreamtime. Venue: Secret Location in Mortlake. Time: 3pm. Price: £4 per person - advance booking essential. Email or visit

Sunday 25 June; Psychic and Spiritual Development Class with the London NW8 Psychic and Spiritual Development Group. Venue: Violet Hill Studios, 6 Violet Hill, St Johns Wood, London
NW8 9EB. Time: 7pm. Cost £10.

Monday 26 June; Talk and Water Ceremony – Water, Science and Spirituality with Kazumi Ohishi - Kaminchu Okinawan Shaman and Dr. Yasuyuki Nemoto of IHM Hado Institute. Venue Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, London NW1 6XT. Time: 10am - 8.30pm. Talk: £50 tickets:, ceremony:£20, tickets:, both £60, tickets:

Monday 26 June; Wicca New Moon: Gaia-Selene Circle (monthly, outdoor circle) with London Woodland Witches Magicians and Outdoor Pagans. Venue: Outdoor location Queen's Woods, Highgate. North London. Meet at The Woodmans' pub garden by 7pm then go to the woods. Cost: £3 You must reserve a place in advance. Wear outdoor clothes and bring a blanket to sit on. Details and bookings:

Monday 26 June; The 3 Things That Will Change Your Destiny Today. Talk by Paul McKenna organised by Alternatives. Venue: St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, W1J 9LL, Talk starts: 7pm. Tickets £20/£15 online.

Tuesday 27 June; Wildflower Walk. Guided walk hosted by Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Venue: Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, The Soanes Centre, Southern Grove, London E3 4PX. Time: 6.30pm. Tickets: £10/£12.

Tuesday 27 June; The Future of Mother Earth - Messages from an Okinawan Shaman. Lecture by Kazumi Ohishil at the College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm. Cost: £14/£12. Advance booking recommended. For details call: 020 7589 3292 or visit

Tuesday 27 June; Meeting Aleister Crowley and his Magick. An evening seminar with Marco Visconti. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7pm. Ticket price £20. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email:

Tuesday 27 June; Manifesting Dreams with Lara Waldman. Venue: She's Lost Control, 42 Valentine Rd, London E9 7AD. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £25.

Wednesday 28 June; Stillness and Meditation at Mandeville Place. Venue: School of Economic Science, 11-13 Mandeville Place, London. Free lunchtime event starting 1pm.

Wednesday 28 June; Let's Meditate - group meditation. Venue: Buddha on a Bicycle, Covent Garden, London. Starts 6pm. Donations of £3 recommended. Details:

Wednesday, 28 June; Goddess Awakening Workshop London. Venue: Secret Studio On Clapham, Near Clapham Junction Station, St. Johns Hill, London SW11 1SP. Time: 6pm. Cost: £45.

Wednesday, 28 June; An Evening of Acceleration in Consciousness with Deborah Mills at the College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm. Cost: £14/£16. Advance booking recommended. For details call: 020 7589 3292 or visit

Wednesday, 28 June; The Secret Garden Sharing Circle, Women-only event. Venue: Little Venice, London. Time: 7.15pm. Tickets: £20.

Wednesday, 28 June; Shakespeare and the Stars. Lecture by Priscilla Costello. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.30pm. Ticket price £8. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email:

Wednesday, 28 June; 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 meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 8pm. contact via Facebook page Hertford Pagan Moot.

Thursday 29 June; Sufism and Holistic Education. Talk and book signing with Daniel Thomas Dyer. 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

Thursday 29 June; Thursday evening Tarot (All abilities). Event with the Tarot and Healing Group. Venue: The Plough 27 Museum Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 1LH. Time: 7pm. Tickets £5, advance reservation necessary.

Thursday 29 June; Abbé Boullan: Paris’ Satanic Priest. Talk by Madeleine Ledespencer. Hosted by London Fortean Society. Venue: The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX. Time: 7.45pm. Tickets: £4/£2.

Friday 30 June; British Museum talk on British Witchcraft part 2 with the London Wicca Meetup Group. Venue: The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG, Time: 7pm. Details and reservations:

Friday 30 June; A Demonstration of Mediumship with Q and A by Maria Antoniou at the College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm. Cost: £14/£12. Advance booking recommended. For details call: 020 7589 3292 or visit

Saturday 1 July; Coach trip to Glastonbury from Romford to visit the Wytches Market, organised by Mamma Moon Magick. Adults £40, advance booking required. Details:

Saturday 1 July; Beginners Tarot workshop. Event with the Tarot and Healing Group. Venue: The Knights Templar, 95 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1DT. Time: 11am. Tickets £18, advance reservation necessary.

Sunday 2 July; Meditation at Russell Brands Trew Era Cafe, 30 Whitmore Road, London N1 5QA. Starts 10.15am. Free event. Details:

Sunday 2 July; North West Kent Green Pagan Circle Moot. Venue: Chislehurst Caves, Bromley, BR7 5NL. Time: 10am-noon.

Sunday 2 July; Cochrane Memorial Rite with the London Wicca Meetup Group. Venue: The Woodman, 414 Archway Road, Highgate, North London. Time: Meet at 2pm to go to do the rite at 3pm. Details:

Note: I do not organise any of these events. I try to make sure that the details on my list are accurate, but please check with the organisers before attending any event.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

June Mandala: Summer Solstice Sun in Flowers

Here is my mandala for the month of June, celebrating the Summer Solstice with a sun wheel made from wild grasses and flowers from my garden. In the photo at the top I boosted the colour saturation with Photoshop to bring out the vibrant yellows and greens and make it look more sun-like. The picture at the bottom shows the natural colours.

I wanted to make the sun mainly from grasses partly because June is when the grass pollen gives me trouble with hayfever. I've struggled through many summer solstice rituals out in the countryside while suffering with sneezing, watering eyes and itching skin. But grasses are also a vital part of the natural world, and I wanted to celebrate their beauty and variety too.

In the centre of the mandala are honeysuckle and tutsun. According to folklore, if honeysuckle grows near your home it will attract money, love and good luck. Its sweet scent is also supposed to help clear the mind and promote psychic powers. Tutsun is a shrub that is a type of St John's wort - associated with midsummer and the feast of St John on 24 June. The yellow flowers quickly turn to berries, which you can see in the very centre of the mandala.

One of my new year resolutions for 2017 was to create a mandala each month to show the changing seasons and including things from my own garden - and I've now kept that resolution for half of the year. You can see links to my earlier mandalas at the bottom of this post.

I was inspired for my resolution after I created a mandala for the front cover of a Moon Books community book I edited - Every Day Magic: A Pagan Book of Days - which is due to be released this autumn. It offers ideas for things to do every day of the year to celebrate the changing seasons. You can view the book on Amazon.

Links and previous related posts

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Review: Goddess Wisdom - The Sacred Feminine

In the past week I have gone to see the movie Wonder Woman and I've read the book Goddess Wisdom: Connect to the Power of the Sacred Feminine through Ancient Wisdom and Practices. The two are comparable in that both have the theme of reclaiming feminine power in the world of men.

About Goddess Wisdom, publisher Hay House says on its website:
Ancient civilizations worshipped female deities, and women were the leaders, counsellors, and healers of nations. However, through various historical events, such as the arrival of Christianity in many cultures, the worship of the goddess was lost. In this book, author Tanishka shares the long-lost ancient culture of the goddess.
Now, while both the film and the book offer a view of history that some might want to debate, when it comes to offering empowering views of women, they are both the business.

Goddess Wisdom covers goddess traditions in the ancient world, goddess archetypes, women's life stages, paths of initiation, tools for understanding and aligning with the cycles of nature and rituals and exercises to reconnect with your inner goddess. Like all in the Hay House Basics series it is a beginner's book, but is well written and offers a good introduction to pagan spirituality with an emphasis on goddess worship. Where it excels is in the lessons it offers for personal development.

I particularly like the way it covers dealing with life's downward spirals - approaching events like the break-up of relationships, losing jobs and the death of loved ones as initiatory journeys. One technique suggested is to draw a spiral and write on it the sequence of events and feelings on the journey of descent, then to write the lessons learnt from those experiences as the upward path back out of the spiral.

Women in the world today need both positive role models and practical advice on how to be confident about our abilities. Wonder Woman is certainly a good example of the first, while Goddess Wisdom is a good example of the second.

View the book on Amazon.

Links and previous related posts

Pagan Eye: Hearts for Peace at Southwark Cathedral

This is a picture of hearts on the wall outside Southwark Cathedral created l to promote love and peace in the wake of the attacks at Borough Market on 3 June. I took the photo yesterday as I walked through the area, and they are just two of the hearts made by children from Phoenix Primary School to remember those who died and in a spirit of hope for the future.

My Pagan Eye posts show photos that I find interesting - seasonal images, pagan sites, events, or just pretty pictures. 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.

Links and previous related posts