Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Pagan Eye: Blackberries and Barbed Wire

I love the correlation of this blackberry bush intertwining its thorny stems with the sharp metal atop this wall. In bygone times, brambles were sometimes planted to deter intruders or keep cattle in their place. Barbed wire took over from more natural means of enforcing boundaries since its invention in the 19th century. It was, of course, famously deployed at the edge of no-man's land in the First World War.

Whether that razor-sharp steel in the photo is technically barbed wire or not is, I guess, debatable. It serves the same purpose. I pass the place in which I took that picture on my way home from the station, the last leg of my evening return from work. Now that tempting fruit is starting to ripen I've been reaching up to pluck ripe berries from the green shoots that are escaping their confinement - a sweet and refreshing taste of freedom.

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 badwitch1234@gmail.com 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

Monday, 21 July 2014

Spells: Protection from Bad Luck and the Evil Eye

I recently got two emails from people who were going through some bad luck and felt that someone wishing them ill will might be the cause.

The first email said: "Someone has cast a spell on me to steal my luck. It started by getting fired on Friday the 13th of all days, then to follow with not finding a job, and its been almost a year. Usually I find a job within a week of leaving the last one. I really think someone has cast a spell on me, and I want it to stop. I have done my fair share of spellcasting and I don't know if there is a way to reclaim luck. So if you have an idea, and would share, please let me know."

The second message I got said: "Things are going very badly for me at the moment, in several different areas. When discussing some of these things earlier with a friend, she said, "Did you win some kind of anti-lottery? Have you pissed off any evil witches lately?" So firstly I wanted to ask please, is such a thing even possible? If it is possible, how can I protect myself against it?"

The first thing I would say is that just because you are going through a period of bad luck, it doesn't necessarily mean that anyone has cursed you - at least not deliberately using a spell. Most people do experience bad lack from time to time in their lives. Things often go in cycles, as on the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card, and things usually get better eventually.

However, belief in the Evil Eye (or ill will or negative energy) being either deliberately or unintentionally directed from one person to another is a very long-held idea and one that I do believe can happen. It isn't usually even a witch who does it; perfectly ordinary people are capable of sending negative energy to another person if they have strong enough mean wishes about them. If you are experiencing a run of bad luck it can't hurt to do a little protection magic to keep negative energy - or the Evil Eye - at bay.

The easiest protection against negative energy that I know of (and have used in the past when a neighbour was being seriously horrible towards me) is to put a small mirror, facing outwards, in each of the house windows with the intention of deflecting any negative energy away. The mirrors can be really tiny. I used a few small mirrors of the kind you might have in a make-up bag.

You could also try leaving an onion or apple in the corner of each room. This is an old folk remedy for soaking up negative energy and bad luck. When fruit or veg have gone mouldy, take them far from your house and bury them.

I also have a witch ball (like the one in the picture above)hanging in my window. As well as looking nice, witch balls are said to ward off evil spirits and negative energy by capturing them in the shiny interior. Unwanted spirits are supposedly enticed by the ball's colours and reflection and can't resist having a look inside, where they are trapped, thus protecting your home. If you have a witch ball you should apparently inspect it regularly; if it goes dim and tarnished, it has done its job in capturing some ill luck. That means it is time to remove the ball and bury it a long way from your home, just like the apple or onion.

Witch bottles are another traditional type of protective magic and many of these have been unearthed outside the front doors of old houses. These were usually stone jars filled with pins, a wax effigy of a heart and urine. Like the witch balls, they trapped negative energy, curses or ill will that would otherwise have entered your home. They were traditionally sealed with wax and buried under the doorstep. If you want to make a modern witch bottle, then you might prefer to substitute vinegar for urine.

Hope that helps and hope things get better for the two people who emailed me and anyone else who is reading this and is having a hard time.

10cm Friendship /Kugel / Witches ORB Ball RED AND VIOLET (WB24RV)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Review: Into the Greenwood with London Dreamtime

How could I resist an invitation to unveil the magic and music of the ancient gods in the twilight woodlands and venture Into the Greenwood with London Dreamtime?

It was, indeed, an enchanting evening on Friday 18 July, led by musician Nigel of Bermondsey and storyteller Vanessa Woolf in ancient woodlands on a hilltop in south London overlooking the gleaming towers of the city skyscape.

But there was also something eerie and ominous about the grey and red of the sky as dusk fell. I took the photo above of the view from the hilltop and , as one friend said, "You can see the eye atop Barad-Dur."

Of course I hope it presaged nothing more than the thunder and lightning storm that rolled towards us, adding extra atmosphere and effects to the songs and stories later in the night. And no one in the audience seemed to mind the cooling rain and dramatic displays of nature, and urged the performance to go on even though Vanessa asked if we wanted to pack up early and leave to avoid the threatening downpour.

The performance was of songs about Cernunnos and Herne the Hunter -  antlered gods of the wild places - about the Wild Hunt and other myths and legends of the British Isles, and also about the elm trees that still grow sheltered by the South Downs despite the blight that has killed so many since the 1960s. Vanessa told stories from when the Great North Wood spread across the country south of London and of Persephone and the Greek myth of why the seasons change.

All I can say to sum it up is, if you weren't there, you missed a fantastic night - and the photos on this page do not give it justice (sadly my good camera is still broken). However, London Dreamtime has a lots of other events over the summer and I do urge you to go to at least one if you can. You can find out about them here: http://londondreamtime.com/calendar

Links and previous post

Friday, 18 July 2014

This Week's Pagan Events In London and Elsewhere

Now - 3 August; Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year. An exhibition of photos by Sara Hannant. Venue: Forty Hall and Estate, Forty Hill, Enfield, EN2 9HA. Exhibition Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11am – 5pm, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 12 noon – 5pm. Entry: Free. Website: http://www.fortyhallestate.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/mummers_maypoles_and_milkmaids_a_journey_through

Saturday 19 July; Magical Astrology workshop - Gateways between Heaven and Earth, Exploring the Four Angles of the Birth chart with Cat Cox. Venue The Atlantis Bookshop, Museum Street WC1. Time: 11am-5pm. Cost: £45. Contact The Atlantis Bookshop on 020 7405 2120 to reserve your place.

Saturday 19 July; Night of the Cradle - Birth of Isis Ceremony and Magical Social in Richmond. Annual event to mark the birthday of Goddess Isis organised by Pagan Frontiers of London, Tamesa London Circle and Wicca, Witchcraft and Magic. Meet at Richmond station at 5pm to walk to the ritual site, followed by a ritual, feasting and socialising. Ends at 9pm. Free event but bring food and drink to share. For more details, visit http://www.paganfrontiers.com/ or call mani on 077689 41373.

Sunday 20 July; Trip to Crop Circles in Wiltshire and Illustrated Talk with Francine Blake. Pick up point: St. James's Square, London, W1J. Time: 9am to 9pm. Tickets £75/£55 (includes coach fare). To book tickets and for more info visit the Alternatives website: http://www.alternatives.org.uk/Site/Talks.aspx

Sunday 20 July; Dawn of the Oak. Pagan moot on the third Sunday of each month. Venue: Upstairs at The Castle, 34-35 Cowcross Road, Farringdon, London EC1M 6DB (near Farringdon tube). Time: 3pm-6pm.

Monday July 21; The Way of the Witch - Everyday Magic. Part of a series of three evenings on the theme at Pagan Pathfinders. Venue in Finchley, London N3. Starts: 7.30pm. Free event, but bring food and drink to share. Full details only given to members of the Pagan Pathfinders group: https://www.facebook.com/events/808554975836239

Monday 21 July; Psychic Circle run by Shamanic Spirit at a venue in Croydon, South London. The circle is held on Mondays fortnightly starting at 7.30pm. Cost £5. For more details and to book places call 07952 041477. For more information, visit http://shamanicspirit.co.uk/.

Monday 21 July; A Radical Vision for a New Generation. Talk by Adam Bucko, author ofOccupy Spirituality.Venue: Alternatives, St. James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL. Time: 7pm to 8.30pm. Tickets £12/£8 concs if booked online in advance. To book tickets and for more info visit the Alternatives website: http://www.alternatives.org.uk/Site/Talks.aspx

Monday 21 July; Sacred Heart Awakening: Manifestation with Aang organised through the London College of Spirituality. Venue: Latvian House, 72 Queensborough Terrace, London, W2 3SH. Starts: 7.15pm. Tickets £15. To book and for more details, visit: http://www.meetup.com/londonspirituality/

Tuesday 22 July; British Archaeology - Digging Up the Past Talk at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: 1.15pm-2pm. Free event in room 50. For more details visit: https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/events_calendar.aspx

Tuesday 22 July; Ceremony and talk - Amazonian Kaxinawa Spiritual Leaders - Ancient Wisdoms. Event organised by the London College of Spirituality. Venue: Hoxton Gallery Arc, 9 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £15. Details and booking: http://www.meetup.com/londonspirituality/

Wednesday 23 July; Crossbones Vigil to honour The Goose and the outcast dead of Cross Bones Graveyard. 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, 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/

Wednesday 23 July; Launch of The Three Impostor's edition of Arthur Machen’s The London Adventure, with a talk by Robert Kingham. Venue: Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, London, N1 9DX. Time: 7pm. Free event, just turn up. http://www.housmans.com/

Thursday 24 July; Chit Happens: A Guide to Discovering DivinityTalk and book signing by Narain Ishaya 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 25 July; The story of the 1939 Sutton Hoo excavation: Britain's Tutankhamun? Talk at the BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: 6.30pm-7.45pm. Tickets £5/£3. For more details visit: https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/events_calendar.aspx

26 – 27 July; Eastbourne Lammas Festival. Free festival of music, dance, entertainment and pagan ritual, with lots of pagan stalls and other vendors at the market. Venue: Western Lawns, King Edwards Parade (Eastbourne Seafront), Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4EQ. Full details: http://www.lammasfest.org/

Saturday 26 July; Walking Tour: Occult London with Delianne Forget run via Treadwell's Books. Meeting place will be a central London tube station, details given to those who book. Time: 2pm - 5pm. Price: £10. Book online via http://www.treadwells-london.com/ or call 020 7419 8507.

Saturday 26 July; Lammas Lore and Magic. One-day Workshop with Natasha Richardson. Tune into Lammas using traditional therapeutic herb lore and workings. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 11am to 5.30pm. Price: £45 (£25 deposit, balance due on day). Details from info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Saturday 26 July; The Grey Soul of London - a guided walk lead by Robert Kingham into the London of Arthur Machen . This is to celebrate The Three Impostors' launch of their edition of Arthur Machen's The London Adventure, one of the inspirations behind this walk. Time: 2pm to 6pm. Tickets are £9 (£7 concessions). For more details and to book tickets, visit, http://www.minimumlabyrinth.org/the-grey-soul-of-london.html

Sunday, 27 July; Herbs for Lammas; One-day Workshop with Suzanne Corbie. Spend the day immersed in the ancient lore of the Lammas with talks on folklore, traditional customs, pagan spiritual meanings and for in which it is celebrated in the present as well as in the past. Venue: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 11am to 5.30pm. Price: £45 (£25 deposit, balance due on day). Details from info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Sunday, 27 July; Outdoor Lammas Ritual by Hern's Tribe. Open ritual for pagans and friends in Croydon. Time, venue and details TBA. For more info, visit http://hern-tribe.org/ or http://www.witchcraftandmagic.org/

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Police Seek Grail, witch trials and show-biz witches

A round-up of a few news stories:

"Police operation launched after priceless Welsh relic, thought to be the 'Holy Grail' is stolen" - read the story at WalesOnline: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/police-operation-launched-after-welsh-7429798

"Uncover the truth behind Scotland's infamous witch trials" - a look back at history by Scotland Now: http://www.scotlandnow.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/uncover-truth-behind-scotlands-infamous-3834588

"Wookey Hole: First stage of £5million revamp open" - story about the lates Wookey Hole Witch tourist attraction on the Western Daily Press website: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Witch-hole-lot-fun-new-ideas/story-21642162-detail/story.html

"Witch craft casts a spell on those who enter industrial unit" - a story about the costumes for Wicked on the Birmingham Post website: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/wicked-plays-birmingham-hippodrome-until-7425613

Moving? What Your Books Say About Your Home

Several of my friends seem to be moving house at the moment, and a frequent discussion is what they should do about their books. Estate Agent Sarah Beeny of Tepilo says that books on the history of witchcraft, nature or your local area can be a conversation piece, but too many self-help books can put buyers off. Don't go leaving lurid illustrations of eyes of newt or wings of bat lying about for house-viewers to see either.

Books are an unsung hero of home décor.
by Sarah Beeny, Tepilo

Let’s talk about books. (Those heavy paper things that you used to read before the dawn of Kindle.)
Books are an unsung hero of home décor. They not only act as fantastic insulation and are brilliant at absorbing sound, so can totally transform many of the big open spaces we now crave, but they also say a massive amount about you and the home they sit in. Few can resist a quick peek at the spines on a bookcase and making some pretty bold generalisations based on them. So when it comes to selling your house, have a very good think about what books you want to display to those coming around to view your property.

They can be a great icebreaker for prospective buyers but beware of over-sharing by displaying books that really should be confined to the bedroom drawer!

Ten tips for bookworms when selling a property:

Sarah’s suggested ‘Do Nots’ for bookworms looking to sell their house:

Books everywhere:
Too many can create a chaotic feel and make the photos look untidy too.
Unless it’s the look you are really going for put the majority of your books in a watertight container with a lid and store tidily away during the house-selling process.

Self-help books:
Selling a home can be stressful and while I think there are some great self-help books out there, if a buyer’s eyes lands on a bundle of books about resolving broken relationships this might influence how they feel about your home. OK, you might be a therapist and these books might be part of your work, but the home-buyer does not need to see them.

Sexy books:
The novel 50 Shades of Grey was a bestseller but this is no excuse to share your fetishes with the general homebuying public. Bedside drawers are there for a reason. Keep your naughty books tidily away when showing guests around your home.

Unusual hobbies:
As your estate agent I honestly don’t mind if you are researching the history of witchcraft or studying taxidermy, but diagrams of how to dissect a mouse left out on the coffee table are likely to turn the stomach of some homebuyers so is best left out of sight.

Sarah’s suggested ‘Dos’ for bookworms looking to sell their house:

Cookery books:
Cookery books are great for creating a ‘homely’ atmosphere and projecting a positive image. I wouldn’t suggest you rush out and buy them specially, but if you own them already, displaying them in the kitchen can add a nice touch to your home.

Selecting some classics:
Dickens, Austen and Brontë sit happily on many bookshelves and hardbacked books can look gorgeous when placed around a living room, staircase bookshelf or bedroom. Mismatching covers and sizes of books just add character and these classics will never go out of fashion.

Kids books:
These are lovely to display but try to keep them on the shelves not scattered on the floor. The same applies to other children’s toys such as Lego, which can be painful when stepped on. An old-fashioned ‘Toy Box’ can be great for hiding away toys for half an hour while you are showing guests around. As a Mum myself I know this can be easier said than done!

Local history books:
I’d encage these, as it can be really interesting to read up about the history of your home and the area, and provides a nice safe topic to discuss when potential buyers come around. To some extent you are selling the positives of the area as well as the house itself.

‘Coffee table books’
Large map books and nature books can add a bit of character to an empty coffee table and never really go in or out of fashion. I love a good coffee table tome and being able to bond over Bowie or film posters can be fun.

The latest prize-winning books!
Once again, if you don't already own Hilary Mantel or Eleanor Catton, it’s unlikely to make or break your house sale, but it says something about you and the buyer if you can bond over award-winning literature. And it’s always nice to have something ‘off-topic’ to chat about.

Tepilo is a modern estate agent – offering all the services a traditional estate agent does, but online. It aims to give people more control over the way they  sell or rent their home, saving money in the process: