Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Window shopping: Viking drinking horn


On the last day of my recent holiday to Norway I saw this lovely drinking horn in a shop window. It is obviously inspired by ancient Viking designs - and even though I'm a Wiccan rather than a follower of the Norse pagan traditions I thought this would look lovely on my altar.

Sadly, the shop was closed and I had to be at the airport before the shop was due to open that day.

I know it isn't too hard to find drinking horns on sale at pagan events that have stalls selling stuff, but the polished shininess of this horn and the elegant stand it rested on appealed to me more than any other drinking horn I've seen.  I took this photo to remind myself of what it looked like and maybe I'll get find one like it on sale somewhere that is open some time.

Previous related posts
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/01/questing-for-northern-lights.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/01/reindeer-huskies-and-northern-lights.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/01/arctic-ice-and-snow.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/07/window-shopping-magical-hare-jewellery.html

Monday, 30 January 2012

News: Remembering Historic Witch Trials

Here are a few news stories from the past couple of days about commemorations of historic witch trials:

Pendle witch camp and folklore festival, aimed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, is being billed as the “biggest and most accessible yet”. You can read the full story on The Citizen websitehttp://www.burnleycitizen.co.uk/news/9498485.Pendle_Witch_Camp_and_Folklore_Festival_set_to_be__biggest_and_most_accessible_yet_/

Local historians hunt copies of out-of-print book containing tales of witch trials. You can read the full story on the Bo'ness Journal websitehttp://www.bonessjournal.co.uk/community/hunt_on_for_old_witch_trial_book_1_2082047

Norway gets two memorials to the 91 victims of a famous witch trial in 1621: You can read the full story on the Wall Street Journal websitehttp://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2012/01/27/a-cross-cultural-monument-to-victims-of-witch-trials/?mod=google_news_blog.



Sunday, 29 January 2012

News: London Stone to be Moved

Developers want to move The London Stone, an ancient stone that, according to legend, protects the City of London from doom. English Heritage, the Victorian Society, the Ancient Monument Society and many others who are interested in the folklore, traditions and superstitions of London, are opposed to the plans.

You can read accounts of the news story at these sites:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2091093/London-Stone-Fury-developers-plan-legendary-rock-historic-site.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/between-the-covers-the-london-stone-the-costa-prize-and-salman-rushdie-6296077.html

Previous related post:
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/10/ancient-stone-heart-of-london.html

Saturday, 28 January 2012

TV: Atlantis and Fairies

There are a couple of things on television this weekend that could appeal to those interested in the unexplained.

Atlantis: The Evidence - a Timewatch Special is being shown on BBC4 tonight (Saturday) at 8pm. In the documentary, historian Bettany Hughes looks at the historical evidence for Atlantis. This was first shown on BBC2 and is very good.

Fairy Tale: A True Story is on Channel 5 tomorrow (Sunday) at 4.05pm. This is a period drama based on a true story. In 1917 two young girls claimed to have seen and photographed fairies - which became known as the Cottingley Fairies. The film originally came out in 1997 and gets four stars in the Radio Times. However, if you miss it, you could always buy the DVD through Amazon or rent it on Lovefilm.

Recent related post:
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/01/review-fairies-magical-beings.html

Friday, 27 January 2012

Pagan events for Imbolc in London and the UK


Here are some of the pagan events in London over the time of Imbolc - and some rituals in other parts of the UK to celebrate the first stirrings of spring.

Friday, 27 January; Demonstration of the Art of Palmistry and Tarot by Avril Price and Robin Lown and Reena Kumarasingham at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Cost: £8/12. Advance booking essential. Tel: 020 75893292.
http://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/index.html

Friday, 27 January; The Geometry of Creation. Talk by Milena Ivovic based on her book Memento 13: Remembering the Self Through the Geometry of God's Loveat Research into Lost Knowledge Organisation (Rilko). Venue: Theosophical Society, 50 Gloucester Place, W1U 8EA. Admission £7 non-members, £5 members. Doors open 6.45pm, lecture at 7.15pm.
http://www.rilko.net/EZ/rilko/rilko/home.php

Friday, 27 January; The Story of Rebecca West and The Art of Crafts. Two plays about the witch craze of the 1640s. Venue: Colchester Castle Museum, Castle Park, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TJ. Time: 6pm. Tickets: £5. To book, call 01206 282940 or visit Hollytrees Museum, Colchester. http://www.cimuseums.org.uk

Saturday 28 January; Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri Imbolc Rite at Avebury Sun Circle, in Avebury, Wiltshire (pictured). 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.

Sunday 29 January; Mysteries of Imbolc: Intensive Day Course on Symbolism, Folklore and Magic with Suzanne Corbie. The one-day course aims to teach the customs associated with the pagan festival of Imbolc and culminates with a ceremony. Location: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Price: £35 (£20 deposit, balance due on the day). Time: 11am to 6pm. Advance booking essential. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Sunday 29 January; London's Chinese New Year festival to celebrate the start of the Year of the Dragon. Festivities start at 10am with New Year’s parade through Chinatown, Shaftsbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road and Rupert Street, ending at Trafalgar Square at 12pm for the official opening ceremony. Activities will continue with music, performances, a dragon dance and a lion dance until 6pm. This is a free, public event so just turn up and have fun. http://www.chinatownlondon.org/

Monday, 30 January; Dark Tantra Tarot. Talk by Mark Ramsden, former editor of Fetish Times, at pagan forum Secret Chiefs. Venue: Devereux public house, 20 Devereux Court, off Essex Street, London WC2R 3JJ. Meet from 7.30pm, event starts at 8.30pm. Admission £2. http://secretchiefslondon.wordpress.com/

Tuesday 31 January; Chertsey Pagan Moot. All welcome to this social event, which takes place on the last Tuesday of every month. Venue: The Golden Grove Pub, Ruxbury Road, St Annes Hill, Chertsey. Time: 8pm-10pm. email: sian_ap_pysgotwr@yahoo.co.uk.

Tuesday 31 January; Out of Body Experiences and the Benefits of Controlling them. Lecture by Patricia Sousa at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Cost: £5/8. Advance booking essential. Tel: 020 7589 3292. http://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/index.html

Wednesday 1 February; First Stirrings Festival at Chalice Well World Peace Garden, in Glastonbury. Gather at noon at the well head for a meditation on the lawn at 12.30. This is a free event, although normal admission prices to the garden apply from noon. For more details, visit the website http://www.chalicewell.org.uk/

Wednesday 1 February; Atlantis Bookshops Presents (formerly The Moot with No Name) An Evening With The Old Dowser. Talk on dowsing at Devereux public house, 20 Devereux Court, off Essex Street, London WC2R 3JJ. Meet from 7.30pm, event starts at 8pm. Admission £5. Visit http://www.theatlantisbookshopevents.com/

Thursday 2 February; Pagan Federation London Imbolc Open Ritual to honour the Goddess Bride. Venue: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London. Doors open 7.30pm. Ritual starts at 8pm, feasting and social 9pm-10pm. Entrance: PF members/conc £5. All others £6. Please bring seasonal/home-made food and drinks to share at the feast after the ritual. For more information, visit the PFL website at http://www.pflondon.org/index.html

Thursday 2 February; An Evening of Serendipity and Calamity. Folk singer Nigel Of Bermondsey and storyteller Vanessa Woolf will be exploring the collection of folklorist Edward Lovett through words and music at The Cuming Museum, 151 Walworth Road, London SE17 1RY. Time: 6pm to 8pm. This free event is part of National Storytelling Week.
http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200162/the_cuming_museum

Thursday 2 February; Glastonbury: A Magical Site through the Twentieth Century. Talk by Dr Liz Williams at Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets £7. Reserve a place by emailing info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Friday 3 February; Healing all Life. Lecture by Elizabeth Whiter at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 9pm. Cost: £10/15. Advance booking essential. Tel: 020 7589 3292.
http://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/index.html

Saturday 4 February; Marsden Imbolc Fire Festival. Famous annual event in Marsden, West Yorskshire. It usually features a procession, a fire 'circus', drama and music. The free event starts at noon and goes on until midnight. Meet at Marsden Information Point, 20-26 Peel Street, Marsden, Kirklees, HD7 6BW. For more details, call 01484 845595 or visit
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=28897413498

Saturday 4 February; Outdoor Imbolc Ritual with Hern’s Tribe in woods in Croydon. For more details call 077689 41373 or visit http://www.hern-tribe.org/

Tuesday 7 February; Tribe of Avalon Imbolc Ceremony. Venue: Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum Street, London. Time: 7pm - 9pm. Cost - £5 to help cover room hire cost, bring a snack or drink to share. For more details visit http://www.tribeofavalon.co.uk/

Related posts:
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/01/spell-for-springtime-wishes.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/01/imbolc-celebrating-start-of-spring.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/01/imbolc-moon-of-inspiration.html

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Dating site uses Mayan calendar to boost business

Marital Affair, an adult dating site, has issued a press release suggesting that if the world is going to end on 21 December  2012, as some people are predicting, then people might want to spend the year before the apocalypse having more sex.

The press release states:
The Mayan Calendar tells us the end of the world will be December 21st 2012 and should this be true, it poses a lot people a small dilemma. What haven’t I done, what will I do with the time I have left and finally and of course, most importantly, have I had sufficient sex in my lifetime? Most people will answer this question with a resounding, hesitation free “no”. Ricky Gervais uses the classic, yet slightly optimistic chestnut of ‘The world is going to end’ in the film, The Invention of Lying in order to gain his wicked way with a believing blonde. The end of the world has power, especially when it comes to getting more sex.

When your time is cut short, people propel themselves into a frenzy of must do’s before I die. Sky Diving maybe a primary choice, god knows why, as this only increases the odds of the death knell chiming a littler sooner; some opt for seeing The Great Barrier Reef or hitting Vegas where they’ll spend their life’s savings trying to pull off a gamblers dream, but most, if they are honest, will bring sex into the equation. It’s like in the final hours of our inevitable death; our instincts allow us to think of nothing, but creating more life. 
Marital Affair is an adult dating site, offers people, both married and single, the doorway to uncomplicated encounters with other members. Averaging 700 new members a day the site has seen a substantial increase, some 40% in fact, in people joining over the previous week to over a 1000 new members a day. This incredible spike is very interesting as the spike coincides with the recent run of articles in the press about the alleged closure of planet earth. To add further evidence that people are joining on the back of the looming Armageddon, member profiles have been found with humorous yet catchy one liners such as “I’m going out with a bang” and “free till December 21st”.

Paul Graham the founder of Marital Affair says, “We can’t put the huge surge in membership down to anything else, January is typically very busy for us, but numbers are very, very high, particularly over the last week. Maybe this rise in numbers is down to people wanting to fulfil their fantasies before it’s too late. If we do have a whole host of people opting for 10 months of fantastic sex and the world doesn’t end, I’d say they’ve had a pretty good time preparing for it.”
Adult Dating site Marital Affair is a UK-based extramarital and infidelity service founded in 2006 and is now available through desktop and mobile.Visit  http://www.maritalaffair.co.uk/

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

News: Campaign to pardon Pendle witches

A brewery has launched a campaign to get the Pendle witches pardoned. You can read the full story on the Burnley Citizen websitehttp://www.burnleycitizen.co.uk/news/pendle/9488752.Burnley_based_brewery_Moorhouses_launches_official_campaign_to_pardon_the_Pendle_Witches/

Previous related posts
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/12/news-pendle-witchs-cottage-discovered.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/08/news-kids-excavate-pendle-witch-site.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/07/history-of-pendle-witches-their-magic.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/05/witch-way-now-for-pendle-pub-walk.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/02/calls-to-mark-anniversary-of-pendle.html

Review: Fairies & Magical Beings

Fairy lore is one of my favourite subjects and I can rarely resist adding to my collection of books on fairies if I see one that interests me. When I was in a bookshop looking for a gift for a pagan friend, back before Yule, I saw A Complete Guide To Fairies And Magical Beingsby Cassandra Eason. I ended up getting two copies - one for them and one for me.

I'm a big fan of Cassandra Eason, having read a few of her books - my favourite being Cassandra Eason's Complete Book of Natural Magick- and having heard her talk at Witchfest. She is a very knowledgeable witch and her practical, down-to-earth brand of spellcraft makes a lot of sense to me. Cassandra originally published A Complete Guide To Fairies And Magical Beings back in 2000, but an new edition by Piatkus came out a few months ago - that was the one I picked up.

Fairies can be different things to different people. They vary from culture to culture throughout the world and views of what they are like have changed through history. Cassandra's book looks at all of these things - from modern depictions of fairies back to the way our ancient ancestors saw them. This includes evidence for their existence such as photographs and written accounts as well as fiction, fairy tales and folklore.

There are also many different opinions as to what fairies might be. To some people they are nature spirits or elemental entities, to others they are angels or ancient pagan gods while some people view them as beings from another dimension that sometimes overlaps with our own. Cassandra's book discusses each of these points of view evenly and in some depth.

A chapter on the darker side of fairies looks at tales of abduction, changelings, fierce fairy creatures and malevolent fairies and explains that in history fairies were often seen as troublesome and dangerous.

What I particularly like about this book is that as well as being very informative, each chapter ends with a practical exercise to connect with the world of fairies. Exercises include things like spending time in nature and attempting to sense the spirits that dwell there, visualising a fairy story in order to gain personal insights and walking a ley line to discover fairy sites along the way.

At the end there is an A-Z of fairy beings, a list of suggested reading and addresses of useful shops and organisations.

I would certainly recommend A Complete Guide to Fairies and Magical Beings as a good introduction to fairy lore and fairy magic and I've very glad I treated myself to buying a copy.

Other books on fairies in the Bad Witch's Bookcase:
Charles Perrault: The Complete Fairy Tales
Enchanted: The Faerie and Fantasy Art of Linda Ravenscroft 
The Faeries Oracle
The Book of Faery Magic
A Faerie Treasury
Walking the Faery Pathway

Links and related posts:
http://www.piatkusbooks.net/
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/11/cassandra-eason-on-spontaneous-magick.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/10/how-to-find-fairies.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/03/david-boyle-on-fairy-superstitions-at.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/05/forget-me-nots-and-crocks-of-gold.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/02/fairytale-tarot.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/10/do-you-believe-in-fairies.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/11/cassandra-eason-on-spontaneous-magick.html

 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Review: The Book of Mirrors


There are many, many books on the market aimed at those wanting to learn about Wicca; none to date have been quite like The Book of Mirrors. Most of the other offerings are written by experienced Wiccan teachers and are intended as training manuals, explaining the basics of what Wiccans believe and providing a simplified introduction to the rituals Wiccans perform.

The Book of Mirrors is different because it was written by a trainee rather than a trainer. It began as the diary of Luthaneal Adams as he was considering joining a coven, continued after every meeting with the group and then before and after he took the big step of being initiated as a Wiccan priest himself. With the permission of his coven, he decided to have his diary published as his first book.

It is an insightful, honest and thought-provoking account of one man’s spiritual journey; and is intended as a helpful guide to others considering training as a witch within a traditional Wiccan coven.

Luthaneal was by no means a newcomer to paganism - or to witchcraft - before he began writing The Book of Mirrors. He had been a solitary witch and pagan for many years, creating his own spells and magical rituals that were Wiccan in style. One of his questions at the outset was just how much Wicca differs from other forms of modern witchcraft and pagan practise.

The Book of Mirrors is full of such questions - but also full of answers. These are not necessarily the pat answers a high priest or priestess might give to newcomers, but personal answers found after much thinking, soul-searching and research.

Luthaneal’s research is particularly thorough. For example, in one chapter he explores the origin of the Wiccan concept of “The Law of Threefold Return”, which is a theory that any magic you do, good or bad, will return three times the amount of good or bad respectively to the caster. From books, newspaper articles, talks and interviews from various well-known Wiccan teachers - including Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, Patricia Crowther, Stewart Farrar and Fred Lamond - Luthaneal reaches the conclusion that The Law of Threefold Return was not originally a law, but more an interpretation of the idea that all spells have karma-like repercussions.

This same insistence on accuracy means that The Book of Mirrors is very plain about the origins of Wicca. At one time, official Wiccan teaching was based on the idea that Wicca was an ancient religion and that its priests and priestesses were part of an unbroken initiatory line of Great Goddess worshippers, dating back into prehistory. That has now been pretty much disproved. The Book of Mirrors recognises and embraces that.

Luthaneal states: “It remains a glaringly obvious fact that the religion of Wicca and its particular way of worshipping the God and Goddess are very recent developments in the pagan world and that claims to the contrary are potentially harmful to Wicca and its reputation among other world religions.”

Yet many other books for trainee Wiccans still trot out the fallacy of Wicca being The Old Religion. I must admit, the insistence that this was true despite historical evidence to the contrary, by the person who trained me nearly 20 years ago, almost put me off becoming a Wiccan. Trainees deserve the truth even when it isn’t as romantic as the myth.

For all of the reasons I’ve mentioned above, I hope The Book of Mirrors becomes recommended reading for all would-be Wiccans, those currently in training with a coven and those who are in the position of teaching newcomers to the Craft.

I met Luthaneal at the launch party for The Book of Mirrors, at Atlantis Bookshop, earlier this month - you can see a photo of him signing copies at the top of this page. At the launch he told me he has two more books due to be published. If they are even half as good as his first book, they will be worth reading.

The Book of Mirrors is published by Capall Bann and the RRP is £11.95. You can also order it from Amazon

Links
The Book of Mirrors
http://www.theatlantisbookshopevents.com/
http://www.capallbann.co.uk/
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/09/charge-of-goddess-conference-2010.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/09/day-for-doreen-valiente.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/01/wicca-witchcraft-finding-out-basics.html

Monday, 23 January 2012

Holiday Relaxing and Reading


I'm now back home safely from my holiday in Norway, where I had a fantastic time! When I wasn't out and about, hunting for the Northern Lights and photographing reindeer and snowy mountains, I spent  lot of time relaxing on board ship on the observation deck and, after nightfall, reading.

Over the next couple of days I'll be posting to my blog reviews of a couple of  the pagan books that I read.

The photo above shows the observation deck - the wheel in the picture was just an ornament, it wasn't used to steer the ship!

Previous post:
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/01/questing-for-northern-lights.html

Pagan events in London over Chinese New Year


Today, 23 January 2012, is the start of Chinese New Year. It is the Year of the Water Dragon - a powerful and auspicious sign that can mean success, luck and happiness. I do realise that the picture above shows a Chinese lion rather than a dragon, but lion dances are a traditional part of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Below are general events over the coming week in that could be of interest to pagans and others, including London's Chinese New Year Festival on Sunday 29 January.

Monday 23 January; Cross Bones Vigil to honour The Goose and the outcast dead of Cross Bones Graveyard. Gather from 6.45pm in Redcross Way outside the Memorial Gates, SE1, opposite the Boot and Flogger, just north of the junction with Union Street. Nearest tubes Borough or London Bridge, 5 minutes walk away. The event is free. http://www.crossbones.org.uk/

Monday 23 January; Spiral Moon Lodge. A chance for women to gather at the new moon to share our knowledge and honour the Divine Feminine in the context of the seasonal cycle of the year. Location: Chingford, North London. Time: 7pm-10pm. Women aged 18+ only. Free, suggested donation of £1. Coffee and tea provided, please bring a healthy snack to share. For more details and to reserve a place email to Tressy at quathia@hotmail.com

Tuesday 24 January; Detecting and Releasing Intrusive Energies. Lecture by Andy Tomlinson and Reena Kumarasingham at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Cost: £8/10. Advance booking essential. Tel: 020 7589 3292. http://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/index.html

Wednesday 25 January; Eliphas Levi: Father of Modern Occultism. Talk by Dr Christopher McIntosh at Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets £7. Reserve a place by emailing info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Wednesday 25 January, Magic Manuscripts. Lecture by Sophie Page at the Wellcome Institute, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE. Time: 7pm-8pm. Free event. To book a ticket visit http://www.wellcomecollection.org/

Wednesday 25 January; Atlantis Bookshops Presents (formerly The Moot with No Name) An Evening With Gary Dickinson. Subject: Esoteric Symbolism of the Dragon and the Chinese New Year. Venue: Devereux public house, 20 Devereux Court, off Essex Street, London WC2R 3JJ. Meet from 7.30pm, event starts at 8pm. Admission £5. Visit http://www.theatlantisbookshopevents.com/

Thursday, 26 January; Mark Pilkington, Geraldine Beskin and John Rimmer talk at Fortean London. Venue: upstairs at The Bell pub, 50 Middlesex Street, London, E1 7EX. TIme: 7.30pm – Fortmanteaux; 8pm – talks; 9pm - break; 9.30pm - Q&A; 10pm - end. Entry cost: £3/£2 concessions.

Friday, 27 January; Demonstration of the Art of Palmistry and Tarot by Avril Price and Robin Lown and Reena Kumarasingham at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Cost: £8/12. Advance booking essential. Tel: 020 7589 3292. http://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/index.html

Friday, 27 January; The Geometry of Creation. Talk by Milena Ivovic based on her book Memento 13 – Remembering the Self through the Geometry of God’s Love at Research into Lost Knowledge Organisation (Rilko). Venue: Theosophical Society, 50 Gloucester Place, W1U 8EA. Admission £7 non-members, £5 members. Doors open 6.45pm, lecture at 7.15pm. http://www.rilko.net/EZ/rilko/rilko/home.php

Friday, 27 January; The Story of Rebecca West and The Art of Crafts. Two plays about the witch craze of the 1640s. Venue: Colchester Castle Museum, Castle Park, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TJ. Time: 6pm. Tickets: £5. To book, call 01206 282940 or visit Hollytrees Museum, Colchester. http://www.cimuseums.org.uk

Saturday 28 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.

Sunday 29 January; Mysteries of Imbolc: Intensive Day Course on Symbolism, Folklore and Magic with Suzanne Corbie. The one-day course aims to teach the customs associated with the pagan festival of Imbolc and culminates with a ceremony. Location: Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Price: £35 (£20 deposit, balance due on the day). Time: 11am to 6pm. Advance booking essential. Tel: 0207 419 8507 or email: info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Sunday 29 January; London's Chinese New Year Festival to celebrate the start of the Year of the Dragon. Festivities start at 10am with New Year’s parade through Chinatown, Shaftsbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road and Rupert Street, ending at Trafalgar Square at 12pm for the official opening ceremony. Activities will continue with music, performances, a dragon dance and a lion dance until 6pm. This is a free, public event so just turn up and have fun. http://www.chinatownlondon.org/

The picture shows a Chinese Lion Illustrated Print by Emily Golden Illustration. The print costs £30. Website: www.emilygolden.co.uk Telephone: 07717822484

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Arctic Ice and Snow



Above, pictures of Norway's Snow Hotel at Kirkenes. Below, pictures taken inside Magic Ice - an ice sculpture gallery and ice bar at Svolvaer. I particularly liked the huge ice statue of Thor.



Friday, 20 January 2012

Arctic Sea and Sky


More photos that I've taken over the past couple of days around the coast of Norway. This is the time of year when the sun returns to this part of the world within the Arctic Circle.

This is a very important occasion for people who live here because for two months of the year, from November to January, the most daylight they get is a couple of hours or so of twilight - the sun never rises above the horizon.

The pictures show the dawn, daylight and dusk sky over the sea and fjords.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Pictures of the Northern Lights


I'm wearing just my pyjamas under my coat, it’s winter and I'm on the deck of a ship in the Arctic Circle. To say I'm cold is an understatement, but I really don't care.

I can see the Northern Lights - and they are more wonderful than I imagined. Rippling, luminescent green clouds and curtains of light swirl overhead and all around me. They are like ethereal dancers sent from the heavens to enact their timeless performance in the night sky over snow-capped mountains and ice-cold sea.

This is what I came for. This is what I wanted to see when I set out to hunt the lights, although the pictures I managed to get - taken at a 30-second exposure from the deck of a moving boat - don't show what it is really like.

As I watch, in a curtain of light rippling between the starlit sky and the dark sea, a shooting star drops to earth, sparkling silver and burning bright as it falls. Perhaps I should make a wish, but I think my wish has already been granted – I’ve seen the Northern Lights and they are amazing.

My fingers are like icicles as I try to find the buttons on my camera to take picture after picture. As blurry as they are, I hope they convey something of what the Northern Lights are like.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Vardo fortress and witch burnings


Vardo, in Norway, was once considered the Devil's own town and, between 1621 and 1692, 80 women who lived there were burned alive after being accused of witchcraft.

The town's museum apparently has a fascinating section devoted to the witch-hunting fever that gripped Finnmark in  the 17th century. Sadly, I didn't get to see it.

The boat I am on stopped briefly at Vardo late yesterday afternoon. I found my way to Vardo fortress - the other thing that the town is famous for - but didn't have time to also visit the museum before the boat left. It was very dark and well into minus in temperature and I didn't feel like missing my boat!

The picture above shows a view from the fortress battlements.

Reindeer, Huskies and Northern Lights


I'm having an amazing time in Norway. At night I've been treated to several sightings of the Northern Lights. Yesterday during the brief hours of daylight I went husky sledding and visited a reindeer park.

One of my photos shows a white reindeer. These are very rare and are considered lucky by the Sami people. Gabba is the Sami for white reindeer. Another photo shows a tent of the kind used by the Sami when they followed the herds of reindeer through the seasons.





Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Questing for the Northern Lights


For the next week, I'm on holiday. But that doesn't mean I'll stop blogging - unless I can't find any internet connection, which is a possibility because I'm in the frozen north, in Norway, in search of the Northern Lights.

The photo above shows Honningsvag, where I was yesterday afternoon. Darkness falls before 2pm in the afternoon up here and the further I get into the Arctic circle, the less daylight there will be.

Later that evening, on board the ship I am taking up the coast, I caught my first glimpse of the lights - you can see a photo I took below. It is a bit blurry - I hope I'll get better pictures later on. The photo after that shows Finnkjerka, which are cliff-edge rocks sacred to the Sami people. Again the photos are blurry, despite being illumated at night, but to me they do look just a bit like images of the God and Goddess.




Monday, 16 January 2012

This week's pagan events in London

Here are highlights of this week's events in London and other parts of the UK that could be of interest to pagans. You can see details of future events on my events page via the link at the top of the page. If you know of an event that you want listed, please email the details to me at badwitch1234@gmail.com

Monday, 16 January; The Bloomsbury Group. Talk by Jean Beck at pagan forum Secret Chiefs. Venue: Devereux public house, 20 Devereux Court, off Essex Street, London WC2R 3JJ. Meet from 7.30pm, event starts at 8.30pm. Admission £2. http://secretchiefslondon.wordpress.com/

Monday, 16 January; Croydon Crows. PF moot held every 3rd Monday of each month at the Skylark pub, South End, South Croydon from 8pm onwards.

Tuesday 17 January; The Soul's Journey. Lecture by Sarah Tyler-Walters at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Cost: £5/8. Advance booking essential. Tel: 020 7589 3292. http://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/index.html

Wednesday 18 January; Atlantis Bookshop Presents (formerly The Moot with No Name) An Evening With Lionel Beer on Alice and the Treacle Well. Venue: Devereux public house, 20 Devereux Court, off Essex Street, London WC2R 3JJ. Meet from 7.30pm, event starts at 8pm. Admission £5. Visit http://www.theatlantisbookshopevents.com/

Wednesday 18 January; Sun Struck: On the Dangers and Pleasures of Solar Sexuality. Talk by Dr Stephen Alexander at Treadwells (pictured), 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets £7. Reserve a place by emailing info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Thursday 19 January; Psychical Research And Archaeology. Amara Thornton (Institute of Archaeology, UCL) explores the connections between sites and seances in early 20th century archaeology. Venue: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. Time: 6.30-7.30pm (Doors Open at 6pm). Price: Free. Tel: 020 7679 4138, email: events.petrie@ucl.ac.uk. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/petrie

Friday 20 January; An Evening of Chant and Mantra with Stewart Pearce at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Cost: £10/15. Advance booking essential. Tel: 020 7589 3292. http://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/index.html

Saturday, 14 January 2012

News: Satanists blamed for Cornwall horse killing

The Sun has a sensationalist news article entitled "Shadow of Satanists stalks our community: Fear after 'ritual' slaughter of horses". You can read the story here: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/4060369/Cornwalls-fear-after-ritual-slaughter-of-horses.html

Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday 13 - an end to my run of back luck?


I hope you are reading this, because today is Friday 13.

Last Friday 13, you wouldn't have been able to read my post for the day. I wrote a very long post all about bad luck and how it was generally all a matter of perception. Then Blogger, the system I use to post A Bad Witch's Blog, crashed spectacularly and pretty much every blog that anyone had written for the day disappeared.

And I've been particularly unlucky for three Friday 13s in a row - mostly involving having to rush injured people to hospital in the middle of storms. Well, I guess bad luck coming in threes is as much of a superstition as Friday 13 being an unlucky day.

The truth is, statistically, Friday 13 isn't normally more unlucky than any other day. In fact, insurance companies have said in the past that they get fewer claims for accidents on Friday 13 than usual - probably because people take more care on a day of ill omen.

I've taken as many precautions as I can before this Friday 13. I've backed up my blog, avoided scheduling in anything likely to cause an accident (I put my Christmas decorations away in the loft on Twelfth Night and certainly won't be risking the loft ladder today) and made sure my car and home insurance are up to date.

And to give myself a little extra magical help I've used my own Friday 13 Spell for Luck first thing in the morning.

I'll let you know if there are any more disasters despite my precautions.

The photo at the top shows Friday 13 on my Llewellyn's 2012 Witches' Calendar

Links and previous related posts
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/05/so-that-was-friday-13.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/08/friday-13-spell-for-luck.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/11/friday-13-2012-and-age-of-stupid.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/11/friday-13-unlucky-for-some.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/01/another-day-in-another-storm.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/11/accidents-and-exorcisms.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/07/day-of-bad-omens-god-of-week.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/02/friday-13th-lore-luck-and-superstitions.html

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Pagan Eye: A Witch's House?

On this day, in 1951, Dorothy Clutterbuck - who Gerald Gardner claimed had introduced him to a coven of traditional witches - died. The picture above shows the house in which Gerald Gardner, the father of modern Wicca, was probably initiated. The property was owned by Dorothy Clutterbuck at the time.

I took the picture after hearing about it in a lecture given by historian Philip Heselton at the Charge of the Goddess Conference. Philip's book, Witchfather - A Life of Gerald Gardner, has just been launched and provides a lot more information about Gerald and "Old Dorothy".

On each Pagan Eye post, I show a photo that I find interesting, with a few words about it. I'm not quite sure what I'll be including - it could 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 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 and you must confirm that you are submitting it for A Bad Witch's Blog.

Links and previous related posts:
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/12/book-witchfather-life-of-gerald-gardner.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/09/charge-of-goddess-conference-2010.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/12/pagan-eye-where-witches-walked.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/11/burley-village-of-witches.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/09/initiation-just-bit-of-game.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Clutterbuck

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Mayor breached rules for "offending pagans"

A mayor who refused to judge a pumpkin carving competition at Halloween because "Halloween is a pagan festival" has been reprimanded because his action might have offended pagans. You can read the full story on the Telegraph websitehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9006814/Mayor-who-refused-to-judge-Halloween-pumpkin-carving-competition-rapped-for-upsetting-pagans.html

Apologies for the glitch

Blogger has done something weird today and reposted something about Lupercalia and Valentines Day that I originally posted a couple of years ago. I have now deleted the post - sorry for any confusion.

TV presenter wanted for show on paranormal

The History Channel is advertising for someone to host a new show with subjects including the occult, paranormal phenomenon and monsterquests.

Unfortunately for me, only men need apply - and you need to be aged between 25 and 40. I suspect you might need to live in America too, but the advert doesn't specifically state that.

Closing date for applicants is 25 January, and you can see details here: http://www.realitywanted.com/call/14953-casting-tv-host-for-history-channel-pilot

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Back to Magic School: Hedgewitchery

Hedgewitchcraft is a form of witchcraft inspired by the magic of cunning folk, wise women and traditional witches.

If you want to learn more about it, experienced witch May Draper is running a series of one-day workshops called The Hedgewitch Year.

The eight workshops will be spread over the year from the early spring festival of Imbolc to Yule. On the course, participants will learn to walk the pathway of the hedgewitch and live in harmony with the seasons and elements. The sessions will include outdoor rituals, earth magic, spellcraft and herb lore.  The Hedgewitch Year will take place in Strood, near Rochester, in Kent.

The first workshop is on 28 January and the cost for all eight workshops is £240 (£30 per day). Each session runs from 2pm to 9pm. For more details, contact mayeve@blueyonder.co.uk

If you would like to read about Hedgewitchery, one of the most popular books on the subject is Hedge Witch: Guide to Solitary Witchcraftby Rae Beth, which can be ordered through Amazon.

Previous related posts:
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/01/wicca-witchcraft-finding-out-basics.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/11/review-green-wiccan-book-of-shadows.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/12/review-earth-wisdom-by-glennie-kindred.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2008/07/real-witches-handbook.html

Monday, 9 January 2012

This week's pagan events in London


Here are details of events in London and other parts of the UK over the next week that could be of interest to pagans. If you know of an event that you want listed, please email the details to me at badwitch1234@gmail.com

Tuesday 10 January; The Famous Psychic Investigator: The Life, Adventures and Tragedy of Harry Price. Talk by Sarah Sparkes at Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets £7. Book by emailing info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

Wednesday 11 January; Talk at Pagan forum The Moot with No Name. Venue: Devereux public house, 20 Devereux Court, off Essex Street, London WC2R 3JJ. Meet from 7.30pm, event starts at 8pm. Admission £5. Visit http://www.theatlantisbookshopevents.com/

Thursday 12 January; Open Pathways: esoteric life stories. A medium and and automatic painter discuss life events formative to their practices at South East London Folklore Society (SELFS). Venue: The Old King's Head, Kings Head Yard, 45-49 Borough High St, London SE1 1NA. Entry: £2.50 / £1.50 concessions. No need to book in advance. Meetings are the second Thursday of each month. http://www.selfs.org.uk/

Thursday 12 January; Full Moon Meditation with priest of Avalon David Spofforth. Venue: Bonnington Centre, 11 Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 1TD. Time: 8pm start. Cost: £3 donation. For more details and to book places visit http://www.priestofavalon.com/

Friday 13 January; Layman to Shaman. Tour of obscure ritual objects at the Wellcome Institute, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE. Time: 2.30pm-3pm. Free event, no need to book although places are limited. Visit http://www.wellcomecollection.org/

Friday 13 January; Some Secret Place. Monthly ritual evening for solitary pagans looking to explore group ritual. Time 7pm for 7.15pm start to 9.30pm. Location: Conway Hall, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL. Some experience of pagan ritual necessary. Small group sizes - advance book via the website http://www.somesecretplace.co.uk/. A £7 contribution towards equipment and room hire is required.

Friday 13 January 2012; An Evening of Mediumship with Henry Cumming at The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Cost: £8/12. Advance booking essential. Tel: 020 7589 3292. http://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/index.html

Saturday 14 January; Beyond the Veil - a closer look at spirits, mediums and ghosts. One-day conference presented by the Centre for Inquiry UK taking a closer look at spirits, mediums and ghosts. Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL. Time: 10.30am - 4pm. Tickets cost £10 for the general public and £8 concessions. For more details and to book tickets visit http://www.humanism.org.uk/meet-up/events/view/168?page=1

Saturday 14 January; Wassail by Hunters Moon at Middle Farm, Firle, East Sussex BN8 6LJ. An open ritual in the apple orchards plus barn dance, Morris dancing and a barbecue. Dress warmly and bring your wellies. From 6pm to 11pm. Free entry. For more details call 01323 520440 or visit http://www.middlefarm.com/index.htm or http://www.huntersmoonmorris.co.uk/diary.html.

Sunday 15 January; Dawn's Left Hand: The Magical Life of Ithell Colquhoun. Talk by Dr Amy Hale at Treadwells, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. Tickets £7. Reserve a place by emailing info@treadwells-london.com http://www.treadwells-london.com/

The picture at the top shows Morris dancers at the Middle Farm Wassail in a previous year.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

TV: Pagan Rite and Apocalypse 2012

There are a couple of programmes on television tonight that might be of interest to pagans.

BBC2 at 8pm  is reshowing an episode of The Good Life called The Pagan Rite, which was first broadcast in 1975.

More4 at 10pm is showing a new programme called The Mayan Apocalypse 2012, which looks at claims that the ancient Mayans predicted the world could end on 21 December 2012.

Friday, 6 January 2012

News: Pair accused of murdering boy for witchcraft

Two people are on trial at the Old Bailey for murdering a 15-year-old boy because they believed he was a witch. You can read the full story on the BBC websitehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-16427840

Rare BBC Film: The Power of the Witch

A rare BBC documentary about witchcraft, shown just once on UK television in 1971, has come to light and been featured on the website Dangerous Minds.

Called The Power of the Witch, the documentary features interviews with Doreen Valiente, Eleanor Bone, Cecil Williamson and Alex and Maxine Sanders.

It offers a fascinating glimpse into what people thought about witchcraft back in the early 1970s, talking about Wicca, historical views on witchcraft and also discussing Satanism, black magic and exorcism.

You can watch The Power of the Witch directly on YouTube: http://youtu.be/9JVbnIhDCv0

Links
http://www.dangerousminds.net/comments/the_power_of_the_witch_super_rare_british_witchcraft_documentary_from_1971
http://youtu.be/9JVbnIhDCv0

Avalonia pagan books now on Kindle

Avalonia Books has released several of its best-selling and new titles in KindleeBook format through Amazon. They are:

An Ogham Woodby Cliff Seruntine (magical fiction)
Hekate Liminal Rites - A historical study of the rituals, spells and magic of the Torch-bearing Triple Goddess of the Crossroadsby Sorita d’Este and David Rankine (history of the rituals, spells and magic of the Goddess Hekate)
Horns of Power: Manifestations of the Horned Godby various authors(a collection of essays exploring the myths, history and magic of the Horned Gods)
Odin's Gateways - A practical handbook of Rune Magic and Divinationby Katie Gerrard (a handbook of runic magic and divination)
The Cosmic Shekinah: A History of the Goddess of the Old Testament and Qabalah - Her Origins in Ancient Pagan Culture and Modern Manifestations.by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine (history of the feminine divine in the Bible and Qabalah)
Visions of the Cailleachby Sorita d’Este and David Rankine (folklore and myth of the Celtic Winter Hag)
Wicca Magical Beginnings: A study of the historical origins of the magical rituals, practices and beliefs of modern Pagan Witchcraft.by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine (history and origins of the rituals of traditional Wicca)

For more information about Avalonia Books, visit http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/





Thursday, 5 January 2012

Nazi Sorcerers at Stonehenge

Yes, I know the photo above isn't Stonehenge and doesn't show any Nazi sorcerers. Please bear with me.

The picture is of West Kennet Long Barrow. It is near Avebury, in Wiltshire, where I stayed for the Midwinter Solstice in 2011. On the day of the solstice I went for a lovely walk from Avebury Stone Circle to Silbury Hill, then to West Kennet Long Barrow.

The barrow is a Neolithic burial chamber. You can go right inside it, along a narrow passage past side chambers where our ancient ancestors reverentially laid the bones of the dead to rest. It is very atmospheric and often used by pagans, new agers and occultists for meditation, to try to contact those long passed into the underworld, or for other magical rites.

On the day I was there, I met a hermit. Actually, I have no idea if he really was a hermit, but he looked like one. He was sitting cross legged on a sheepskin in a circle of candles at the heart of the barrow. His clothes were old and worn; his hair and beard were long, grey and unkempt; he was wearing a variety of holy symbols around his neck - a plain wooden cross on a knotted cord, a large crystal and, I think, a yin yang pendant.

I guess he can't technically have been a hermit, because he wasn't quite alone. Sitting next to him on the sheepskin was a pretty young woman with long blond hair, slightly vacant eyes and a permanent smile.

"Join us!" said the hermit, beckoning me to also sit on the sheepskin. The girl said nothing, but smiled even more widely.

"Erm," I muttered, looking around and trying to think of a polite way to decline.

"We need your help," he went on, insistently. "Nazi Sorcerers are at Stonehenge as we speak. They are enacting an evil occult ritual. We must counter their magic by channelling peace and love into the grid!"

Faced with an Obi-Wan Kenobi moment like that, it seemed sort of impolite to refuse. I sat on the sheepskin and we all joined hands to do battle with the Dark Side...

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't really buying into the story, but it isn't every day I get invited to step right into the plot of some pulp adventure. It was kind of fun.

And, between us - the witch, the wild man and the weird young woman - on the Midwinter Solstice in that magical long barrow, it did feel as though we raised a huge amount of energy. Maybe it did some good - who knows. I can't categorically say that evil Nazi sorcerers weren't summoning dark forces at Stonehenge on the longest night of the year.

Links and previous related posts
http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/england/wiltshire/featured-sites/the-west-kennet-long-barrow.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/12/photos-of-avebury-stone-circle.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/12/photos-of-silbury-hill-near-avebury.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/12/winter-solstice-at-avebury-stone-circle.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/06/review-avebury-cosmos.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/06/stonehenge-enigma-new-look-at-stones.html

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Twelfth Night Spell for New Year Luck


Here is a lovely little spell to cast between New Year and Twelfth Night on January 5th, when traditionally the festive season ends and all the decorations have to be taken down.

It is a Twelfth Night Spell for New Year luck and its purpose is to let you give yourself a gift of good fortune to carry forward to the year ahead.

Think of something that you really want, such as a well-paid job, a beautiful new home, love and romance, or success in a project.

Then, pick something to represent the thing you want.

For a well-paid job, fold a copy of your CV tightly around a pound coin. If you want to move to a new home you could choose a picture of your ideal property or a house from a Monopoly set. Cut a heart out of red paper or choose a heart-shaped rose quartz crystal for love. For success in a new project, choose something related to it such as a paintbrush or pencil if your goals are artistic or a pen if you are writing a book.

Then, wrap this up in a little leftover Christmas gift paper and ribbon and ask the powers of the New Year and January, the month of new beginnings, to bless your desire, grant your wish and make it come true.

Carry this little gift to yourself around in your pocket or bag, place it under your pillow or put it on your desk where you work. You can look at it to cheer yourself up or spur you on whenever you like.

Only open it when you feel the time is right - when you have achieved your goal and your wish has been granted.

Previous related posts:
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/01/spell-for-springtime-wishes.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/03/spell-to-make-money.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/02/spell-to-attract-love.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/08/friday-13-spell-for-luck.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/11/review-green-wiccan-book-of-shadows.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/01/events-over-twelfth-night-in-london.html