Visions of Magick Magazine

Ness Bosch Editor of this magazine, a complement of the SPF Visions of Magick Online Conference 2020 she has coordinated for the SPF.

Ness Bosch Editor of this magazine, a complement of the SPF Visions of Magick Online Conference 2020 she has coordinated for the SPF.


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The SPF Online Conference 2020 Magazine

Visions of Magick

Special Guests:

John Matthews, Danu Forest,

Rachel Patterson, Morgana Sythove


The Witches of Pollok

The Scota Goddess Temple

Initiatory Wicca: Views from a Scottish Coven

Interview with

Morgana Sythove

Article on Folk Belief and Magic

in Early Scottish Literature


Visions of Magick Magazine

Table of Contents

p. 1

p. 4

p. 12

p. 19

p. 29

p. 36


Editor’s Greeting

Message from the SPF President


Morgana Sythove: 40 years in Wicca

Danu forest:

John Matthews:

Derek Simpson:

Cunning Folk Lore TBC

Breaking the Circle

Folk Belief and Magic in

Early Scottish Literature

Rachel Patterson: Kitchen Witchcraft and

Magical Herbs and Plants

p. 45

p. 48

p. 52

Micro Interviews:

Morgana Sythove

Emily Carding

Cara Hamilton

p. 56

p. 68

p. 72

p. 76

p. 82

p. 88

p. 93

p. 96


Fee and

JD Aquila:



Cara Hamilton:

Aria Ardhallow


Initiatory Wicca; Views from

a Scottish Coven

Trance States and

Scottish Witch Trials

The Witches of Pollok

A Druid in the 21st

Century Scotland

About The Scota Goddess Temple

Thomas “Duir” Birth of the Scottish

Lanting: Pagan Tartan

Jade Melany: Inner Goddess Pathworking

Yuriy Marinov: Urban Deities

2 3




elcome to Visions of Magick Magazine. When I was asked by the Presiding

Chair of the SPF to coordinate and put together the SPF 2020 Conference

online, I had very clear that I wanted a publication to enrich the experience

of people who are participating online from home. Not only do we expanded the

program of conference talks but also with the collaboration of several people you

can also read this magazine full of wonderful articles! Knowing that this conference

was going from being a local celebration in Edinburgh to an international online

conference with global access, I contacted different people from the Scottish Pagan

Community to see if they could share with me some of their practices and work, in

order to deliver to those who are far away, a little about the Scottish Pagan Scene.

Now the Scottish Pagans have their own Tartan and we tell you how it was created,

we also have Aria Draoidh a local druid who shares her experience following this path

in Scotland in the 21st century. One of our special articles is about Folk Belief and

Magic in Early Scottish Literature and one of our guests, Danu Forest, shares with

us about Cunning folk and fairy lore. We have also an article about a Scottish Coven

and about Trance States and the Scottish Witch Trials! And there is much more but

of course you will see it in the contents! Have you seen the rest of special guests?

John Matthews, Rachel Patterson and Morgana Sythove that shares with us about her

experience of 40 years as a wiccan!

I would like to thank those who have helped so that you can enjoy this congress

especially to those who contributed with a talk or an article for the magazine, to

Julia Jeffrey for letting me use her wonderful artwork, to Steffy Vonscott for helping

me to hold this conference together, to Matt, Helen and Jules for their time, energy

and patience and to amazing Yuri for helping me with the magazine. To those who

supported me so I could deliver this and to my children for being super patient with

mama while I was working long hours.

I hope you enjoy it!


Ness Bosch

Head of the Scota Goddess Temple in Scotland



Steffy VonScott

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all keeping safe and well. I would like to thank you for all the support

you have given over these difficult times. We find ourselves in the midst of a global

pandemic the likes of which has never been seen in our lifetimes. The death toll has

been significant. Many of us are losing friends, family and loved-ones across the

Country, and indeed across the World, and many of the Healthcare Professionals who

were caring for them. All theatres, bars, museums, schools, and restaurants have been

closed now for some time. Life as we knew it has stopped, and it has been replaced by

uncertainly. It is a worrying time for many of us.

In the midst of all this turmoil our Flagship Annual Scottish Pagan Conference, a

year away from its 30th Anniversary, had to be cancelled for the safety and wellbeing

of our community. But rather than everyone losing out, we decided to put the entire

Conference online, and create a week-long event as a gift the community. To help

us deliver this we drafted in the amazing Ness Bosch, coordinator of several very

successful online Pagan events including: The International Congress of Witchcraft

Magic and Fellowship of Isis International Symposium.

We had the first legal Pagan same-sex marriage conducted in Orkney as our

Celebrancy Team continues to grow. We are still working on our Pagan Faith Display

with the Curator of Saint Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life. The display will sit in

their Children’s Gallery, and help normalise Paganism for the next generations of

Scottish Schoolchildren. This year we also launched the Scottish Pagan Tartan, and

you can read more about that in this magazine.

Paganism in Scotland has never burned brighter. It gives me hope for the future,

even in these challenging times. By working together for the benefit and betterment

of the Pagan community, we can achieve great things. Many thanks for all your

support, and please stay safe everyone.

Feel free to reach out if you need anything. We will get through this.

The magazine you now read owes its creative passions and thanks to Ness, who

took it off her own back to pull together something to showcase the Scottish Pagan

community. We have some amazing articles by our star guests in here, but also

articles from our local community including Aria Ardhallow on Druidry in 21st

Century Scotland, Derek Simpson on Folk Belief and Magic, Cara Hamilton on The

Witches of Pollok, and much more.

Scottish Paganism is making massive strides forward in terms of rights and

recognition. This year the Scottish Pagan Federation finally won our twenty-year

battle to have Paganism included in the National Census for Scotland. This victory

followed on from our comprehensive letter writing Campaign to Scottish MP’s and

MSP’s, urging their support, and I would like to thank our wonderful Community for

helping us in this endeavour. You should all be proud.

Pagans today still continue to make history and push boundaries. Last year we

had a Scottish Pagan, and one of our Officers, become the first LGBTQ+ University

Chaplain in the UK. We also had a Pagan Chaplain appointed in St. Andrews

University. Following on the back of that, we had an unprecedented amount of

enquiries for Pagans Chaplaincy across the Country, so much so we had to appoint

two Chaplaincy Coordinators to help grow our services in this area.

Steffy VonScott | Presiding Officer of the SPF



e should have been celebrating

our Silver Circle 40th anniversary

at Spring Equinox 2020 but

as like many other events it had to

be postponed. So too the Scottish PF

conference. Ness Bosch approached

me and during our conversation she

told me that their conference has also

been cancelled. However there was the

possibility of organising an online event.

So, this was the result. We decided that

the celebration of the 40th anniversary

could be form the basis of a talk about my

experiences of being a Wiccan Priestess,

Gardnerian Witch during the last


How did it all begin?

As a child I wanted to become a

Priestess. I spent my early years in the

North of England, mainly in Lancashire,

although I was born in Wales. However it

wasn’t until I moved to the Netherlands,

in 1974, as a young teacher that I became

aware of WICCA as a modern day religion.

I left the Netherlands in 1977 for a year

or so to continue my search ‘to become a

Priestess..’ and travelled overland to India.

During my travels I learnt a great deal

about different cultures and spirituality,

but the main realisation was that my

future lay in the West so I returned back

to Netherlands and Merlin. We started

our search for Wicca in earnest.

Morgana Sythove

1979 however was the year when things

changed dramatically. We had done quite

a lot of the Natural Magic Course/ Marian

Green. However I lost my job as a teacher

and I lost my room because my landlord

wanted to move. Merlin also had to move

to a new house... What should we do?

Of course fill the car with as much as we

could and go to England for a holiday.

And what a magical journey it turned

out to be! It started with a visit to the

Atlantis bookshop in London. Merlin

found a newsletter with a call for new

members in a coven in Brighton. No

email address of course, not even a phone

number, just an address.

In those days one wrote letters and

waited for a reply, but we didn’t have

the time for that. We had to go back to

Holland. So we after visiting Avebury,

Glastonbury, Tintagel and the New Forest

we decided to call in at Brighton. There

one late afternoon I knocked on the

door of an old Victorian house. The door

opened and a man - the spitting image of

Gerald Gardner - stood before us. But he

just took a look at us and closed the door!

A minute later the door re-opened - he

said, “I have to pick up my wife, would

you like to come?” So 2 seconds later we

were in a car with a complete stranger

heading for the centre of Brighton.

We met a lady - in her late 30’s early 40’s.

She looked at us and said “Aha...” Later

she told us that they had been expecting

us! We joined them for dinner and talked

and talked.

Who were we? What were we looking for?

Who were they? We met them once more

before leaving back to Holland.

Back to - no job, no home. It didn’t take

too much time before we found a room

albeit way too expensive for a student and

unemployed teacher. 3 weeks later we

got a telephone call “would we like to be

initiated?” At Autumn Equinox 1979 - we

went back to Brighton and were initiated

1st degree Gardnerians.

As we started to practice the tradition

in the Netherlands, we quickly realized

that the flow of forces and spirits of the

land in this country were different from

those in Britain. We listened to the feel of

the land, experimented with the flow of

power, and worked on integrating some

of the local folk customs into our wicca


One of the first things we did was to

create the Silver Circle network with the

quarterly magazine Wiccan Rede as our

newsletter. It was officially launched at

Spring Equinox 1980

It is described as being “a Dutch/English

magazine with articles on Wicca and

Witchcraft. Wiccan Rede Online is the

successor of the paper magazine Wiccan

Rede that appeared from Spring 1980

until and including Lammas 2010.

Wiccan Rede has its roots in Gardnerian

Wicca, of course but has always presented

views from other traditions both Wiccan

and Pagan. We also pointed out that

“Wicca, or modern Witchcraft, is an

initiatory path, open to those who want to

become a priestess or priest and to follow

the path of initiation and training within

a regular coven. G.B. Gardner was the first

to document this tradition, and the word

wicca. Wicca is on one hand a nature

religion, revering a Goddess and a God,

celebrating eight seasonal festivals and

thirteen full moons, and working magic.

Many people nowadays use the word

Wicca to describe solely the religion. The

words Witchcraft and solitary Witchcraft

are used as well by the ones that want to

connect individually with the Goddess

and the God, without following the

initiatory path.”

We, of course, weren’t the only ones

to be publishing newsletters in the

1980’s. In fact many of our Wiccan and

Pagan contacts were made when we

corresponded with other editors and

exchanged magazines. The majority of

contacts were from the English speaking

world - the UK, USA, Canada and

Australia. The introduction of Internet

and use of email – in the mid 1990’s issued

a death-toll for many of these newsletters.

The emergence of ‘Goddess Spirituality’

especially from America however thrived

on the worldwide web and made a huge

Morgana Sythove

2 3

impact in Europe and on the neo-pagan


Later When looking at the development

of (Neo-) paganism in Europe since the

1860’s, when the term was first coined,

I started to realise that if we saw it as

a cultural phenomenon – it became

easier to pin-point differences and

commonalities. However, even more so

than in the US, the cultural differences

between European countries and the

shift of political boundaries in the last 150

years made it more difficult to generalize.

As a practitioner though I have seen – in

the last 40 years – that there has been a

gradual emergence of what one could call

“Western European-style Paganism” with

a great emphasis on Goddess spirituality

and the reverence for Nature and “Eastern

European-style Paganism” with a greater

emphasis on male leadership and


However, as people intermingle and share

rituals there is a shift in emphasis.

A term used with respect to the Western

European-style Paganism is Wiccanish/

Wiccanesque, alluding to the early work

of Gerald Gardner, and others, and

the influence Wiccan ritual practice

and philosophy has had on the neopagan

movement. Even though a group

today may call themselves, for example

Heathen, many of their practices are

recognizably Wiccan including a duopolytheistic

‘god-head’, the drawing of a

magical circle, calling the four quarters,

following the Wheel of the Year and

celebrating 8 seasonal festivals.

I always think this is perhaps the biggest

compliment that Gerald Gardner could

have ever wished for. That his interest in

folklore, connection with the Goddess,

interest in naturism and many other

things, leading to the creation of Wicca,

has evolved in itself into a cultural

phenomenon and not just a religion.

Undoubtedly the emergence of internet

and social media has encouraged and

influenced many people to look at their

own cultural roots.

How do I think Wicca is going to


It’s one of those things I keep wondering

about. I have been involved in Wicca for

40 years and I’m thinking about what has

survived and grown and where we are

going. Also, I was thinking about what

ideas I had when I started. In my

experience things will continue to

develop in a natural way.

I remember at one point when there

were all these groups mushrooming

up and at that point, I felt kind of

responsible for them.

Lots of people were running around,

saying there were claiming to be this and

that. I was thinking that I had to correct

people all the time but then I thought

well this is really not useful or productive

because things will evolve how they’re

meant to evolve anyway. So you might

have an idea but often things don’t

turn out quite as you expect them to.

One of the things I’ve been

thinking about recently is what are

the expectations of people who are

searching for the craft right now and

what we can give them or offer them

and that’s perhaps an indication of how

we’re going to evolve.

First of all, the thing that’s really

changed is the amount of information

that’s available. When I was looking

for the Craft, there was very little

information. This change is connected

to how people communicate nowadays.

There’s social media, so now people

can go through the training living in

different parts of world thanks to email

and other forms of social media.

Also, how we’re going to practise our

craft will change. I try to do the rituals

outside as much as possible and try to

connect to the Spirits of the Land. Even

in small groups, we have people from all

over Europe using different languages.

Recently at my celebration of 40 years

of Wiccan practice, there were people

from many different countries speaking

a variety of different languages. I

realised how much has changed. We’re

much more mobile, using the internet,

even if we don’t travel physically.

But then I thought maybe in fact

nothing has changed that much,

because we’ve always communicated

on an astral level, in a very intuitive

way. So in the physical world things are

developing actually more and more as

to how we communicate in an astral

sense. How is it going to change? I think

we’re going to

become much more aware about

how to develop this kind of virtual

communication. This is a development

4 in consciousness that many young


people are aware of. Maybe in the next 30

years we’ll be connecting even more in

that sense.

The one thing about the COVID-19

outbreak was the immediate change

to ‘online-meetings’. No doubt if and

when the lockdowns are over this way of

communicating will continue.

Somebody asked me recently how I can

continue practising in an international

coven, when we don’t really meet that

often physically. I replied that it’s never

been a concern of ours. We’ve always

managed to work on an astral level, and

well, I’ve been doing it for 40 years! Of

course, there will be those moments

when physical contact will be preferable,

like initiations, but maybe in 30 years

someone will do them astrally.

The other thing is about the level of

acceptance and I think in the future

that various ways of working will

become more acceptable as much as

the connections we have with people as

unique human beings. There’s obviously

this thing about whether it matters if

someone is male or female, because

of the change of perception in gender.

Gender fluidity. I think it’s the next big

change that there is going to be a greater

acceptance of people being individual.

And yet we can also have this collective

experience. I think this is another huge

change that people started to realize

already that we can’t define our covens

by male or female, that we have to start

thinking in terms of people as people. I’ve

always said that “we stand as witches in

the circle”.

I realized when I was looking back at

40 years that one of the things, I’ve never

really had a big problem with the fact

that people can identify as neither male

nor female. I’ve always realised that it’s

all right. I see people as being unique

and I think that’s going to have a greater

acceptance in the future as well.

Some people in the craft are going to

stick to the tradition and will keep to a

very heterosexual attitude. I think that

particular way of working is going to

fade out at least in the sense that it’s not

going to be the norm. I think the norm is

going to be a much wider acceptance of

people as human beings and being part of

human nature.

I think we’ve only really started

understanding what we can do from a

conscious point of view and our abilities

and potential as human beings. So I

think that the sooner we accept that

everybody has a huge potential, whether

they’re male or female, you come also

to the idea of people who are less able,

or differently abled. Anyway, what is less

abled? Some people could be seen as such

in comparison to fully abled, but they

can have other talents, like having an

inner eye. We’ll be realizing that people

have different abilities and we will have

the greater understanding of how people

can work magically, heal, understand

in different way. We will experience the

human being in all its potential so I think

that’s a big change as well.

Thinking about the tradition itself?

Well, first of all, tradition is not set

in stone. It can also evolve. What does

tradition actually mean? I understand it

means something which is rooted/has

roots. It has a definite root in a specific

culture, for example, so I think what we’re

actually looking at is how this tradition

itself is going to change naturally.

Tradition is also something that connects

us to the family, to the land.

For me Wicca is organic, it changes

naturally because anything which is

organic will evolve by its very nature. The

more the tradition evolves, the greater

chance is that it will survive. It should

be used as a reference. We can use it as

a point of learning, to know how our

ancestors worked, and learn from it,

but we must look at it critically, otherwise

we’ll do it a disservice.

Personally, I celebrate the fact that the

tradition evolves, and yet it reflects our

ancestors hopes, our hopes. In a way, one

of the things I’d like to do in the craft is

to fulfil my ancestors’ dreams. To follow

their steps and to heed the messages that

they had from the Gods.

You can argue that some of the things

from the past were not necessarily

something to strive for, but, as I said, we

can be critical, we should look at what

our ancestors did and why they did these


With regard to homosexuality and the

topic of gender expression.

With regard to the question about

homophobia and the notion that Gerald

Gardner was homophobic I would like to

point out that the culture and the time he

was living in did not accept homosexuality.

In fact, during his lifetime it was illegal.

His views reflected the attitudes in the

society of the day. But I wonder whether

if Gerald lived today, he would be

homophobic? Probably not!

Gerald was a naturist. I remember asking

Eleanor Bone about being naked in the

rituals. She pointed out that Gerald could

have been arrested as a pervert at the time

if he had been caught holding rituals

where people were naked. I also remember

Doreen Valiente at one of the Pagan

Federation conferences in the 90s, hinting

that she was very pro-gay. And taking into

consideration that in Gerald’s

time they could have been arrested for

participating in naked rituals, we can

assume that things definitely would have

changed for these older Wiccans who

– at the time were openly anti-gay. As I

6 7

said, Doreen was incredibly open about

homosexuality and outspoken in her

views. Also, I would never call Gerald

a saint, but he was like a visionary,

and Doreen surely was a visionary. The

only person that I know who was very

homophobic was Lois Bourne. She wrote

in one of her books that Gardner was

homophobic and she agreed with him.

And what about gender?

Coming back to the gender issue. In the

90’s, I remember, people were making a

huge thing of polarity, nearly everything

was polarised to ‘male and female’. I

think people got The Law of Polarity

mixed up with The Law of Gender. It

has everything to do with genetics, of

becoming, The Law of Polarity has to do

with things that are seemingly opposite.

We have a creative dynamism between

two absolutes, two poles of hot and cold,

up and down. Do we have a male-female

polarity? Well, males and females as

human beings all have certain aspects

within that represents a polarity. But I

think what happened was that people

didn’t really have the understanding

that when we were talking about male

or female polarity, we were not always

talking about the genetic side of people.

To me, when we talk about polarity, we

talk about dynamic forces. Of course, in

a circle of males and females we do create

this tension and there is sexual energy.

But again, I don’t think we should mix

that up. To me, we work with erotic rather

than sexual energy. Erotic energy that

we work with in the circle is immensely

powerful. I think, when it comes to

gender, people should be more aware

about how energies are being called up

or invoked or evoked. From a genetic

point of view, everyone in the circle is

unique. If I see a man standing before

me in a circle, I don’t necessarily see him

as having male energy only. Body parts

do not automatically create a specific

set of rules and regulations. In the end,

we talk about individuals. Some people

will identify more with male or female

aspects, and it can change from ritual to

ritual. Sometimes I can feel extremely

male, even as far as being stereotypical. I

can get quite aggressive and assertive, but

then again, is aggression a male quality?

It is something you should be careful


I think in this case it has more to do

with Astrology. It definitely has a role in

understanding how people work. I’m an

Aries, and I have a lot of Martian energy

which may account for my assertive

behaviour. So, while doing magic we have

to understand the mindset of a specific

person we do this magic for, and in the

circle we have to understand people’s


I think the most important thing is

that gender fluidity is something which

we all need to be aware of, but also we

must remember about other things such

as someone’s biography, whether they

had the history of abuse, and so on. All

these things count. Sometimes we must

do it on a very intuitive level. We have to

use our own intuition to do successful

magical work also if it comes to polarity

and gender. We have some stereotypes,

because it helps to get a bigger picture,

but ultimately we have to make our own

decisions about how we actually act

and in this sense we’re coming to the

ethical side of things. We cannot use the

argument of ‘it’s the Tradition’ without

really thinking about what we’re doing.

What is the future of Wicca and

spirituality in modern world?

I think Wicca has its place as a religion,

as a mystery tradition. It wouldn’t,

though, I think, if people are going to try

to make it a doctrine or more dogmatic.

That form of Wicca will probably not

have future. In my opinion, if more and

more people realize that religion, the

word itself, means to link people with

something greater, then Wicca definitely

will have a place, if we prepare to link

with other people and to be open to other

ways, other people, reach out to other

cultures, to not be afraid of them. I think

we have a lot to offer certainly if it comes

to our connection with the earth, with

nature, with the starry heavens, with the


But I’d say that one of the biggest things

we do have to offer is that we have this

direct communication with the gods

which is also often found with indigenous

people, so I think in that sense we have

a lot to offer young people because we

don’t necessarily have to have a system,

we don’t necessarily have to be initiated

into a specific tradition like Wicca. You

can still have the Wiccan idea of e.g.

connecting with the Sacred Feminine, the

goddess side. It is particularly important,

so I don’t think that side of will fade away.

I think more and more people begin

to connect to this idea of the earth as a

living entity. I mean it’s kind of bizarre

that people haven’t held on to that, that

the earth is a living entity. This is exactly

what I think sometimes the Church and

Christianity and the Abrahamic religions

lost: this sense of the earth as being a

living entity, and the respect for Mother

Earth, and the devotion the early mystics

had. But again, many of the indigenous

people have continued that practice, so

I think people involved in Wicca should

be more and more prepared to be open to

ideas from indigenous people and react

to their ways, of course in a sense that

we can join in without misappropriating

their cultures. Thus, we’ll have more and

more respect for the land, more respect

for other people’s cultures.

I think religion also has a very cultural

aspect. The more we become accepting

of different views, the more likely we’ll

be able to continue and preserve Wicca.

But it’s only if people are willing to be

a little bit more organic about things.

It seems that people are looking much

more for a natural approach, however you

define natural. And even more people

are looking for a one-to-one connection,

so even atheists are doing this, because

what they want to do is have their own

one-to-one experience. They don’t want

rules by the Pope or anybody else. I

can get on with atheist, because I can

appreciate scientific progression and we

have a common ground to appreciate

certain things, like art or the creative

process. Religion can help us to be linked,

but it requires much more openness and

acceptance that we are all part of the

earth, we are responsible for it.

8 9

It depends on how willing we are to alter

our consciousness and to be really very

flexible. I think that we should, like the

indigenous people, try to understand the

essence of being.

On understanding the nature of

sacred in Wicca, and our connections

to it.

The important thing is that we try to

connect to this life force, that we have

this sense of wonder, and engage in

a mystical experience. I think it’s this

idea, which children have naturally

and this is a kind of continuance of this

wonderment. Whether you express that

in connection with a god or a goddess or

a nature spirit, it is connecting with the

divine, but it’s perhaps more than that.

It’s actually also following the footprint

of the gods and the rivers.

When people come to me and want to

for example join our guidance course

then one of the first things I’ll ask

someone is, ‘who are you, where are you

coming from, who were your ancestors,

what’s your connection with the lands,

the connection to your own town etc. It is

mainly to let people realize that perhaps

as a child they had a secret place where

they felt at one with surroundings, or

a favourite tree, or a particular stone or

connections with an animal and so on. It

doesn’t necessarily have to be a place in

nature, it can be a book, or an object like

a stone, too. Then, they actually realise

that when they’re doing the guidance

course, they’re in fact reconnecting and

then in some cases realise that they

have never actually lost that connection.

It’s something that inspires them and

whether it’s the myths that they loved or

the fairy tales that their parents would

read to them or tell them the stories

it’s this connection that inspires you, it

‘lifts’ you. Connecting to this mystical

experience is so important now.

Our roots and background are

particularly important, or not?

As I said earlier many of us have

Pantheon’s to which we feel more

connected to. It again tells us something

about our own paths, about our own

ancestors so I think this is why it’s really

vitally important that people continue

that, even if you travel. For example, I’ve

had people, say, in Australia, but they still

feel connected to the English countryside

or if they’re Irish and they’ve moved

to America, they still feel connected

to Ireland. All these different things

which make up our personality are all

important. I have an English background,

and it’s so important to me to really

connect with it, with the Spirits of the

Land, because that’s what connects you to

your ancestral. People may come across a

few things which they’re not particularly

proud of, you know, I mean I as somebody

who was born in in England or Wales

having a British background I can say

British have had a lot of black pages in

their history, the colonial past, and all the

rest of, it but even that is very important

to recognize and acknowledge.

Educators always said that the first

seven years of a baby’s life are the most

important so wherever you were in

those first seven years that would be so

significant for the rest of your life, you

cannot ever erase that and how many

people try to forget, I will try to put it

out, and it always leads to problems In

the Netherlands we have people who are

from Suriname, but they’ve got a Hindu

backgrounds, coming from Indonesia,

and even though they have lived in

Europe or being born here, they still have

this feeling that something is not quite

right, so if their grandparents don’t want

to talk about what’s happened to them

then, it starts to be a big problem. So I

also think it’s actually quite good right

from the beginning to acknowledge and

familiarise myself with my background;

what do I feel naturally drawn to,

when and in which situation do I feel

comfortable. It’s all coming back down to

a recognition of who we are as a soul, as a

sentient being. Thus, we’re also becoming

able to understand other people.

In magical work, perhaps we have

to reach out a little bit further than

other people. I’m interested in their

background because it helps me to

understand my history as well.

Further information:

Silver Circle is a living and growing

organization. New seekers come looking

for tradition all the time. I am still

working hard to ensure that Silver Circle

is open to seekers from other countries.

I still run introductory correspondence

courses in English. In order to join the

course, the applicant must send her

a letter of introduction, explaining

why they want to take the course and

describing some of their own experiences.

This course is not designed to teach the

Gardnerian tradition, but to introduce

people to the Wiccan path. Nevertheless,

this course is valuable to seekers, because

it enables them to evaluate whether the

Wiccan path is right for them and helps

them acquire the knowledge base and

skills any modern pagan/witch needs

these days.

This path requires a great deal of

patience, willpower, the ability to

motivate oneself, the ability to learn

independently. This path is also not for

everyone. However, this is how Initiatory

Wicca usually spreads into different


These days, a well-developed network of

modern information technology, such as

Skype, email, and social networks, allows

people to communicate with each other

over long distances free of charge. Foreign

seekers can easily find the various Silver

Circle websites, currently operational

in English/Dutch, German Russia and

Spanish. Back issues of Wiccan Rede

Online are also available, from 2010

onwards. Contact details:


Links: Silver Circle | Wiccan Rede Online

PFI Forum | PFI/Pagan Federation

International | Facebook | Google+

YouTube channel

10 11


wes in the downie hillis, and got

meat ther from the qwein of fearrie

mor then I could eat: the qwein of

fearie is brawlie clothed in whyt linens

and in whyt and browne clothes etc and

the king of fearie is a braw man weill

favoured and broad faced…’

Isobel Gowdie confession one, April 1662,

Auldearn. 1

Images of faeries and magical spirits

of all kinds have captured the popular

imagination for hundreds of years, from

Shakespeare’s pretty Pease blossom to

Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell. But it is seldom

understood that far from glittering fancies

of our imaginations, faeries have held a

place as the spirit nations of these Isles

from time immemorial, and have been

the foundation of much of our original

magical history and practice. Fairies can

be many things, and it has always been a

broad term, whose application depends

largely on who is using it. Historically

one person’s fairy can be another person’s

angel, saint, ghost or demon, as well as

a wide variety of what can be termed

landscape or nature spirits. Equally

their appearances can vary widely from

location to location and over time. Add

to this that ideas of the Otherworld and

its inhabitants varied over Brythonic

and Gaelic literary and oral traditions,

and was often blurred with the realm of

the dead, which in turn seemed to coexist

with Christian theology and yet be

strangely unaffected by it. Sometimes


Danu Forest

Illustration inset at page 86 of_Indian Fairy Tales


they dwell in the land itself, sometimes

they come over the water. Sometimes they

ride in great processions and fierce hunts

over hill and dale, with the dead as part of

their retinue.

Folk belief and the Fairy Faith, known

as the Creideamh Sí, in Irish, has carried

examples of these beings with which

we share the wilder quieter parts of our

landscape, along with various cautionary

tales and examples of practices, repeated

and handed down through the centuries,

across the whole of Britain and Ireland

from the west coast of Clare to the east

coast of Scotland and England. Leave

them offerings of milk and cream, spare

their thorn trees and hollow hills from

the axe and the plough, have a little rowan

or iron over your doors and beneath

your babies cribs, beware their flickering

lights when in the wild places…some are

friendly, some are to be feared, but all the

Otherfolk must be respected and treated

with care, lest their vengeance be upon

you. Turn your coats for fairy folks live

in old oaks is a saying found in Somerset

and Ireland with equal regularity.

Yet not all people have had to be so

wary of the Other Crowd. There has

always been some, the cunning folk,

the poets, the musicians, the healers

and storytellers, who carry our wisdom

from one generation to the next, who

have found themselves able to have

good relations with the faeries. In stark

contrast to the upper-class magicians

of the 16th and 17th centuries, the

cunning folk, the magical practitioners

of the villages and the poorer parts

of our society made their professions

offering healings and simple services,

such as finding lost goods with the help

of faeries, all the time. In Scotland the

witch trials attest to a combination of

faerie faith and devil worship amongst

those who were accused. However, while

thrilling details such as pacts with the

Christian devil are now lain largely down

to the inducements of those interrogating

these usually lower class defendants,

the Fairy Faith appears in a small but

significant proportion of trial documents

attesting clearly, in unison with the

folklore and other evidence, that such

belief was likely to be widespread among

the less literate parts of society, who

maintained their belief and practices

alongside the Christian faith. This

acceptance of two largely opposing beliefs

is known as syncretism, whereby people

can hold seemingly contradictory ideas

at the same time without difficulty. It

seems likely that while Christianity was

the de facto religion of all the British Isles

and Ireland, and when asked, even the

lowest strata of society would consider

themselves to be Christian, in practice

this was far more the belief of the State

and upper classes. When push came to

shove, the people would continue the

rituals and customs they always had;

referring to wisewomen and cunning

men, to fair folk and the spirits of their

ancestors for support rather than taking

their troubles to the clergy. We know this

due to the wide discrepancies between

the span of the far-reaching State religion

and actual church attendance, as well

as the many criticisms lain at the lower

classes from their upper-class landowners

and local lords, who commonly accused

the ‘peasant’ class of understanding little

of Christian theology.

‘There is plenty of evidence to suggest

that throughout seventeenth century

Scotland, and in the Highlands in

particular, many ordinary people

were ignorant even of the basics of

Protestantism…Isobel’s (Gowdies)

Protestantism and that of her peers,

would not only have differed from that

of the lairds and ministers by virtue of

its theological naivety, but also because

it incorporated into itself a variety of

unorthodox, or as they were termed by

the Protestants, ‘superstitious’ beliefs and

practices. Most of the latter were rooted

in residual Catholicism which was in

itself, in turn, a more or less harmonious

Witch paying homage to the devil

12 1 Emma Wilby ‘The Visions of Isobel Gowdie- Magic, Witchcraft and dark Shamanism in Seventeenth Century


Scotland’ Sussex Academic Press. 2010. p 40.

amalgam between the teachings of

the early and medieval church and the

non-Christian beliefs and practices that

preceded them.’2

In day to day practice the Christian

god had little to offer the poor rural

communities of Scotland and Ireland,

whereas the fairies and those who worked

with them were known to practically help

those in need with their daily concerns,

and with tangible results. In fact, the

cunning folk’s reputation rested solely

on their ability to visibly heal and help

those who engaged their services. An

example is Perthshire cunning man John

Gothray whose community held that his

communications with the dead and the

fairy folk qualified him as their healer.

‘Having stayed with the fairies for some

time, he was released with a gift for his

trouble, in the form of healing power,

renewed periodically by visits from ‘that

little lad who comes to him once in a

month and shows him such and such

herbs and tells him for what use they

serve.’’ 3

While many will have heard of Isobel

Gowdie, and her fusion of fairy and

maleficent practices, there are accounts

of a great many others who worked

exclusively with fairy. The Scottish

examples with their stories of demonic

pacts along side the fairy contacts differ

widely from those found in Ireland, where

demonic practice seems only to have

been in evidence in areas with Protestant

and Norman influence. Elsewhere, as in

the famous case of Biddy Early, cunning

folk worked exclusively with fairy allies

and were only known to do malevolent

magic in defence of themselves on rare

occasions, to insist on the respect that

their communities usually gave them in

abundance. These were not the magicians

of the upper classes, or the malevolent

witches of Protestant fantasy, but valued

healers within their own communities,

who understood and were deeply rooted

in their own cultural context; of village

life, of tenant farmers and their families,

who knew the needs and sufferings of

those forgotten by the rich and societally

powerful. Instead these people were

understood to have power from the land

and its spirits, to help those who lived

within and upon it every day.

‘There was others in league with ‘em- like

Biddy- that could get concessions of ‘em, or

gifts. But they were exceptional people,’

Cullane, Tulla, 1982 4

Wicked Witch of the East

Biddy Early (1798- 1874) was a renowned

healer and bean feasa- a wisewoman,

who dispensed her assistance to a wide

community throughout County Clare in

Ireland. Fabled for her healing power and

psychic abilities we have been left with a

huge amount of tales relating to her deeds

and relationships with those around her.

Her power was said to be immense, and

stem entirely from her relationship with

the fairies, who functioned as her spirit

helpers, and granted her the ability to see

psychically with the use of a magic bottle

that she would look into for guidanceusing

the blue glass as a focus for scrying

with legendary accuracy. Her son Tom

died as a young man, and her famous

bottle was said to have been a gift from

him from the Otherworld, where he dwelt

with the fairies, to allow her to make a

living after his passing. 5

Similarly her skill with herbs was said

to be exceptional and the well by her

house was said to be a source of profound

healing for anyone who drank its watershearkening

back to the well cults of her

Celtic ancestors. While she demanded

Page 212 illustration in English Fairy Tales

The Devil in Britain and America, 1896 “Wellcome”

great respect in her community, and

examples of her retribution against

those who besmirched her good name

do exist, there is little doubt that she

was considered a truly beneficent figure,

using her skills and connection with the

spirits for the support of her community.

She is still held in great renown and

affection in Clare to this day.

The difference between witches of the

early modern period, and cunning folk,

may seem to be wide and based along

religious lines, but in practice it is likely

that it was never so simple. In Ireland,

where the Protestant witch craze was far

less prevalent, cunning folk were seldom

considered to be witches and received far

less censure from the church. However,

in Scotland, practitioners with usually

benevolent reputations could easily

become entangled with accusations of

witchcraft seemingly on the whim of their

neighbours. Rather than two opposing

magical practices, the term cunning man

or woman and ‘witch’ were more often

applied to the same individual depending

on the intentions and beliefs of those

around them. One could slip easily into

being called a witch and undergo trial

merely on the paranoia or ill will of those

around you. However, in places where the

14 2 Ibid. p23-25 4 Eddie Lenihan. ‘Meeting The Other Crowd- The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland.’ Gill books. 2003. 15

3 Margo Todd. 2002 ‘The culture of Protestantism in early modern Scotland.’ Yale University Press. 2002. p.356. 5 ‘Biddy Early The Magical Lady of Clare’ http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/people/biddy.htm.

church did not lean so heavily into ideas

about devils and witchcraft, communities

seldom saw their folk magic practitioners

in this light, instead viewing their abilities

as existing in a range of visionary and

spiritual experiences which were normal

for all, to varying degrees. The idea

of a devil constantly trying to ensnare

the souls of the people was simply not

there in Gaelic village culture without

a Protestant overlay, and thus neither

were those who were said to worship

him. Instead, it was the fairies and the

ancestors, often perhaps one and the

same, who roamed unseen, and touched

the lives of this one and that, as they


“The usual type of European witch was

unknown in the Celtic tradition, and

only existed in the parts of Ireland under

Norman influence…According to Celtic

folk belief access to supernatural power

in the forms of spells and charms and

entrance to the fairy world (for good or

evil), was available to anyone who wished

to make use of it. No contract with a

particular figure of evil was necessary,

nor did it make sense to those who had

not been exposed to the churches formal

teaching on diabolical dealings. ‘6

When considering our ‘Celtic’ folk

beliefs as well as the fairy folk, we need to

be aware that these are all broad terms.

We need to take note of the distinct

regional differences across Britain and

Ireland as well as Northern Europe, in

contrast to the now outdated idea of a

unified and consistent ‘Celtic’ culture

either existing in the distant past or

surviving to the modern period. However,

by contrast it must also be noted that

while regional differences most certainly

occurred both geographically and over

time, the similarities in practice between

say Gaelic Scotland and Ireland are still

substantial, as well as between these

and the Brythonic customs of Wales

and Brittany, and even across England.

‘Celtic’ must be understood as a wide

umbrella term that refers not to genetics

but to language and cultural phenomena,

and in this sense the practices of the

Fairy Faith across Britain and Ireland

are remarkably similar when the effects

of the overarching Christian religion or

lack of it, are taken into account. Equally,

while the enthusiasm of earlier Celticists

to see the pre-Christian elements of

Celtic culture surviving untouched in

our myths and legends is now seen as

somewhat misplaced, the ‘anti-nativist’

arguments of the last couple of decades

are equally wearing thin, and it is now well

established that pre-Christian elements

remain to some extent at least, in the

folk beliefs of Britain and Ireland, albeit

altered over time. This is seen particularly

with regard to the Fairy Faith which

was held with such reverence by rural

communities well into the modern period,

and even until this day in various pockets.

This must be due largely to the fact that

they remain as ever, a recurring part of

people’s spiritual experiences, continuing

to be held with a certain reverence in the

hearts and imaginations of many who

feel these traditions speak to them. After

all, these are the spirits of these lands.

The traditions are not unchanged, not

untouched, any more than the Christian

faith it has travelled alongside remains the

artist unknown

same as it was 2000 years ago. Instead

they have adapted and evolved over time,

to remain relevant to the communities

they serve and as a reflection of their own

visionary and mystical contexts. Just as

the spirits remain, in all their forms, so

does our experience of them.

To look deeper into our folk beliefs and

cunning practices, we need to first learn

the stories of our land, wherever that

may be. We need to learn the history as

well as the fauna and flora of the place

where we stand. We need to begin to see

our spiritual and magical lives within a

cultural context that is as old as the hills

themselves, and to come to a place where

we can reach out and contact the spirits

of the land where we dwell, for ourselves.

We can and should utilize the old ways,

and learn from the cautions and etiquette

our ancestors applied when considering

the Other Crowd, and find a place for

them in our modern lives. To leave water

for them to use in the kitchen overnight,

to leave them offerings of friendship on

the land that will do no harm and leave

artist unknown

16 6 Nancy Schmitz. “An Irish Wise Woman: Fact and Legend.” Journal of the Folklore Institute 14,


no.3 (1977): p169.

no trace. To never damage their places, or

cut their trees, to bless our homes with

the herbs of our lands on their sacred

days…it is not so hard. We can if we try,

see the world around us with new eyes

that are in practice so, so, old that they

see our footsteps as part of a continuum

of relationship with the unseen, that goes

back as far as those who first came here

as the ice retreated. We can if we choose,

approach the liminal places upon the

land as well as within ourselves, with a

quiet kind of respect- and reach out our

hand. If we are lucky, and careful, we

may find friends there who can show us a

world beyond the fields we know. If not,

well, that is what the iron is for…

©Danu Forest 2020

John Matthews


n December last year my wife

bought me a copy of a CD. It

was called Chanctonbury Rings

by Justin Hopper & Sharron Kraus and is

a musical soundscape evoking the power

of place. 1 I sat down to listen with some

trepidation, knowing it would bring

back memories I had not thought about

for many years. It did. I was transported

back almost 50 years, to a time when, as

a 19-year-old, I experienced a journey

which set me on the road to where I am

now. When I was asked to speak at this

conference, I took the decision to say

something about these things in public

for the first time. It seemed the right

time to do so, because I felt, having

reached a good age, I should leave behind

something of my journey. In the light of

more recent events, this seems even more


I chose to tell the central part of the

account as though I was observing it

from outside which, so many years on, is

actually how I remember it. These things

happened, it now seems, to another

person – yet I recall them all as clearly

as if they happened yesterday. I’m not

even sure how much of it will seem real

to you, but in the end it’s up to everyone

to decide for themselves what to think.

I offer it here, as a chapter in a life spent

very much in the service of the gods –

which might never have happened if I

had not taken a fateful bicycle ride in



Of the Tradition

First of all, a few thoughts to open

up the background of this adventure.

Following on from the story I am going

to tell here, I did a lot of research. The

results of that follow here, before my

personal story, to establish a context.

Of all the different kinds of Craft (the

term for all Wiccans that I grew up

with and which I hope is still politically

correct?) ‘Traditional’ is the hardest to

substantiate, the least clearly defined,

the most intractable of understanding.

Trying to explain, to those trained in

Hereditary, Gardnerian or Alexandrian

groups, what is different about

Traditionals is the hardest task of all,

since most answers to questions consist of


18 19

negatives: ‘No, we didn’t do that’, ‘No, we

never used those’, and so on.

In part this stems from a totally

different outlook, intent and purpose.

Traditional groups meet in a rural

setting which they have probably used

for generations, and which is their own

native space; their members are drawn

from local, rural communities (with

occasional exceptions, such as myself);

they are concerned with the seasons,

with the right relationship of mankind

to the earth. They are not interested in

power, either personal or general; nor do

they work needlessly or from habit. What

they practise is neither exactly a religion,

nor is it exactly magic; yet both labels, if

applied in their broadest sense, describe

something of the way Traditionals


Their observance of the seasons is as

precise as their ancestors’, whom they

remember, fondly, as links in a chain

stretching back into the distant past.

They are thus, in as much as they are like

anyone, closest to the Hereditary families

of wise people, who like them seem to

have no roots but to gravitate to one

particular place and lock onto its energy

centre. They themselves scorn labels,

seeing what they do, and are, as so much

a part of natural living that it needs no


Many are Christians, who attend

local church services and honour a god

who is younger than theirs but who

nevertheless stands for many of the same

principles. They see nothing strange in

this, being above all supremely adaptive

and knowing that all gods are one god.

Nor are they to be confused with the

medieval idea of ‘Witches’, burned in

their hundreds by zealous Christians.

Most of these, they well know, were

harmless old women fear of whom was

fuelled by horrific images conjured up

every day in the local church. Despite

this the Traditionals were always there,

silently looking on, following a path that

is at least as old as the bones of the earth


It is no longer possible to say with any

certainty how much their practices have

changed with the centuries. Sometimes,

one might say, hardly at all. Yet they have

ever been adaptive, taking what they

needed from each successive influx of

peoples into these islands, so that one

may hear more than one archaic language

in their chants and more than one set of

beliefs in their teachings.

(2) (3)

The place of the Traditional in the

contemporary Craft revival is complex.

Among the many covens formed since the

repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951, there

has come to be felt a great need to get to

the roots of their tradition. But while the

revivalists feel that Traditionals should

make themselves, their material and

their working methods freely available

to everyone - if only in order to set the

record straight - this is really unnecessary,

since both ways of working are, in their

own right, perfectly valid. The more

recent revivals are really more of an urban

reaction to a still deeply felt need to

know and understand the relationship of

mankind with the earth. But what really

are the differences between Traditionals

and other members of the Craft? Is the

discrepancy so vast that it cannot be


For a start, Traditional groups (which

are not called covens) vary greatly from

place to place, so that what may be true

of one may not be true of another. They

were often established and worked in

isolation from each other, so that local

practices and usages were employed

according to each place. Some groups

had ‘masters’, some had ‘ladies’ (never

high priest or high priestess.) Some had

no leaders at all but shared the guiding

inspiration for each meeting in rotation.

For the most part, they work robed, not

naked, except for initiations or certain

rituals. Because they do not derive their

working methods from books, nor

commit their work to writing, there are

no records, no ‘Book of Shadows’, no

written spells or charms. In the same

way there are no ‘weapons’, such as the

athame - the thought being that one had

fingers, and therefore required nothing

else. The working methods tend to be

inspired by the needs of the moment or

dictated from long custom.

Traditional Craft is thus perhaps one of

the last bastions of ‘tribal consciousness’

— that unspoken, unwritten sense of

communication with the ancestral land.

Its wisdom, native indeed, but common

to all peoples, is part of the very fabric

of creation. As such, it is not surprising

that the most unique way of working

among Traditional groups consists of

their use of sound. The chants which

resonate throughout their workings are

perhaps echoes of the first sounds made

by our ancestors in ritualized response

|to their environment. Similarly, methods

of working which includes a wide use

of trance states, out-of-body travel and

dream-reading (a method of foretelling

future events which is astoundingly

accurate; a single image implanted before

20 21


the sleeper begins to dream, which

expands to fill the whole dreamscape). All

are based on extremely ancient methods

— simple, direct, drugless, ultimately safe.

Above all there is always a sense of a job

to do. Members turn up at the meeting

place, do what they are there to do, and

then depart again.

There is almost none of the cheerful

back-slapping and general horseplay

experienced in many neo-pagan circles –

not that I’m saying I have not enjoyed a

good number of these over the years! This

is not to say that all meetings are deadpan

affairs. Celebrations do take place,

stories are told, thoughts exchanged,

jokes cracked. Yet it remains still harder

to describe what is done than what is not.

The lack of definition is perhaps

summed up best by saying that the

Traditionals follow the laws and customs

of the land, dressing, speaking and

behaving like everyone else in their

locality. They blend into the landscape

and, though their fellow villagers know

they follow old ways, they are neither

offended nor scandalized by this; it is

considered as much like a public duty

as jury service or sitting on the district


All in all, there is nothing special about

being a Traditional. Witches of the revival

may demand to know about glamorous

rituals and strange, antique practices;

the only problem being that there are

none. It is not even a matter of being

unwilling to share the old wisdom; the

sheer impossibility of communicating

a sense of belonging to the land and its

subtle, ordinary rhythms creates its own

barrier. Finally, and most importantly

perhaps, there is really no need for

dialogue between the revivalists and the

traditionalists. Despite having almost

no common words with which to do so,

they are both still speaking the same

language. The distance between the one

and the other is sometimes great, but the

unifying principles, in whatever form they

take, are still the same. It is to a better

understanding of this that the writing

that follows is dedicated.

More than this is difficult to say. What

follows is an attempt to record the

incommunicable in a manner that will

be understood by all. It is also a deeply

personal response to a network of images,

dreams and memories stretching back

some 50 years and so recently revived

by listening to The Chanctonbury Rings.

Sometimes, indeed, the edges are blurred

— but the essence of deep joy and primal

energy experienced remains as clear

now as then. The Traditionals, who are

unimpressed by such labels, remain

because there has always been a need

for them, a function for them to fulfil. If

ever that need vanishes, they will quickly

follow suit. When, if ever, that happens,

the earth will in some way be made

poorer by their going.

So, here is my attempt to remember

what happened, all those years ago, partly

to me and partly to the boy who borrowed

a bike and cycled out to a famous local

landmark, famed for its Roman ruins and

maybe older foundations beneath them.

Most, I hope, is as accurate as I can make

it. I kept few notes at the time and have

only seldom returned to the Ring since


In the Circle

They always met on hilltops — to be

between earth and sky - and because of

the numen of the place, whose influence

was to be felt in all that they did and

was ever present. There was no sense

of worship - simply of respect. Higher

devotions were kept for the principles

of earth and sky, usually referred to as

‘she’ and ‘he’, or more often ‘Her’ and

‘Him’, said not with disrespect, but with

a jerk of the head or a lifted hand in

acknowledgement of the shaping powers.

Meetings were regular, moving with the

seasons. The changing moods of the land

dictated the mood of the celebrations

— to call them rites in the way that the

word is used today would be wrong. There

was, above all, an underlying strength

about them, something born of the

impervious earth, which knows nothing

of the sufferings of humanity, but which

yet knows everything, is mother to us

all. Thus, they always wore some scrap

of green about them “in token that the

Mother keep her fair face”; and this

memory brought others, that “wearing

the green” meant something else, but also

the same thing.

The Green Door was for the

Otherworld, the Red Door for Paradise;

and it was through the green door that

he – the boy - went, over and over again,

to meet in a place that was part of a

far greater landscape, where there was

another version of the hill itself.

There, they did many things to ‘help the

flow’, to ‘set the seasons in their places’,

to ‘spin the wheel and turn the weaving

until the pattern is complete’. That was

how he remembered it, afterwards; the

healing and the putting of things in their

22 23


ritual place. For within their own universe

they were supreme, kept to the laws that

ruled there, tried never to offend those

who shared it with them, who were, by

definition, other...

The Red Door was less often used, a

more private entry point into another

kind of Otherworld. Here, Paradise was

the home of the dwellers’ own soul, where

he or she fought personal battles, won

or lost, a place of honour or dishonour

– a place of the Gods. There were no

hierarchies within the group, no ‘higher’

or ‘lower’ powers — Paradise, through

the Red Door, was in no way superior; it

simply was.

There, he saw and understood the

meaning of his own visions, heard the

song of the ineffable spheres and joined

with them in a song of his own devising.

He came upon them by chance as it

seemed, cycling through deepening dusk

to come at length to the foot of the hill.

Looking up through clustering branches,

leaning outwards into the air like crones

at a well-side, he almost turned away.

But something, curiosity perhaps, or a

stubborn streak that refused to relent

after the long ride, pushed him on.

Somewhere, at the top, was an ancient

temple of Roman gods — his purpose for

coming. There would be little enough to

see, even by day, but still... he pushed the

bike into the shelter of some bushes and

began to climb.

There, near the summit, was the circle;

a random grouping of trees and bushes

that made a place set apart. There he saw

figures move, silhouetted in firelight,

and he heard them chanting, the rise and

fall of sound, the calls and the answers,

(6) (7)

male voices pitched against female, then


Hesitating, he almost turned away,

until one came through the circle towards

him, arms outstretched, welcoming. “You

are awaited. Enter.” Four words only to

change a life. Yet from that moment his

was never again the same.

Two years of training followed, often at

a distance because he ‘lived away’. Books

were distrusted, some that he showed

them laughed at. Sometimes, a dream

would come, and he would walk again

through the Green Door, and learn what

he could and strive to retain it afterwards,

in the cold light of day. He learned to fly

in these dreams, not on some besom, but

on his own wings of thought, fleeting

across the green land, seeing it — the

same, yet different — with new eyes. And

he learned the chants. Some of them

wordless, ancient, springing from the

deepest roots of the earth herself; others,

a strange mixture, some Greek words that

he knew, some Latin, others unknown —

‘We take what we find and make it ours.’

These chants could do many things;

conjure rivers from dry rock, split

boulders or raise a storm — all of this in

the green world where its effects were like

the merest shadows on the surfaces of

the world outside, but where the people

met and talked and discussed the way

of things, as they had always done, in a

timelessness place.

Regularly, in those two years, a

summons would come, an envelope

containing a single sheet of paper on

which was written in fine copper plate

handwriting, his name, the new name

they had given him: “A passing name,

until you be ready for another.” Then he

would go, and be permitted to watch, as

he had done that first time, apart and yet

part of; sometimes asked for a comment,

a pronouncement. “Shall we call upon the

Swift Steed or the Slow?”; “Is it time yet

to show the Dream to those who know it


He learned the words he was taught.

There were few since “spells and stuff of

that sort are for the late comers” by which

they seemed to mean anything from the

Romans to more recent walkers of the

Old Ways. Only once did he dare ask for

knowledge of their history, to be told:

“Not taught. Not remembered. We were

drovers’ wives once, that came together to

do what men forgot. But the way is older

— no names, no times. We are what we

are and nothing more.”

But they were something more:

dreamers who never dreamed, teachers

who never taught, thinkers who never

thought. And yes, there was a kind of

unconscious cruelty about them — they

were impersonal and did what they did,

not only because they had always done

it, but because it was always meant so to

be done. Thus the ‘initiation’, a foreign

concept they found hard to accept until

he told them more, at which it was said:

“Ah, the key in the lock; the opening of

the door”. The initiation he underwent,

which he afterwards thought of as relearning

the things he had been born

knowing but had forgotten, had its own

share of savagery...

(He paused in his memorizing of these

things and fingered the green man head

that hung on a thong at his neck. They

had no images of their god, nor of their

goddess. These were two impersonal

polarities that held the whole of life in

balance.) The initiation then — the only

time for nakedness, “because it’s only

24 25

right that you enter as you were made”,

entering this time between the sturdy

legs of one of them, into the bright and

burning circle.

Then the words, murmured in his

ears though none stood close: “Be that

you be, see that you see; shine, and in

the shining, show what you be” Ancient

words? Perhaps an echo. But by whoever

or whenever first spoken, potent now as

then. He felt enclosed, safe, yet at the

same time set free, poised on the breath

of a great beginning.

Other words, forgotten now, spoke of

the year’s turning, of the part each must

play in its continued restoration, its

endless making.

Then, the touch of hands, seven pairs,

on his back and arms and thighs, and

more words, whispered now, that he

could not catch. Then the thronged

‘punisher’ ‘To remind you always, who you

are.” The seven strokes and the three, and

then the five, and with the last, released

from the hand that had held it in check, a

thong on which was tied an arrowhead of

a long-past time.

Brief, burning pain. Some blood, soon

cleansed, salve applied that brought swift

relief and healing. Gentleness now in the

hands that touched brow and shoulder

and foot. Last words, half remembered:

“Shallow is the shadow world. deep

the world of earth and stone, where the

Seasons turn...”

Like a waking he hears them again,

remembers the thoughts they conjured,

that between the two worlds lay very little

space, and that they often overlapped.

That was only a part. Other truths

followed: that to be part of life was to

feel the flow of the earth’s own blood,

through the feet, mounting to the body,

until the head was filled with its fire; that

to be one with Creation was the greatest

gift, though little known and rarely

understood. They had always known,

had always sung or chanted its rhythm,

celebrating the round of the year in all its

patterns, below ground and above.

Thus, there could be no set initiations

in the understood sense; the coming

in was merely the open hand, the word

“welcome”, which had its own magical

volition. Beyond this, he was considered

ready, ready to have the key turned in the

lock, so that his understanding flowered

within him and he was attuned to the

inner harmony of the group, where no

one, man nor woman, spoke of having

greater authority, the seal of manstrength

or woman-power. He saw again,

more clearly now, the balance within

the group, the polarized strengths that

worked for one direction and that all

theirs, the ‘will’ of Creation.

Each acted out that will, singly and

in chorus, as the laws governing chant

allowed for one voice or two, three or

many, according to the song of the hour.

Earth sang, the Mother sang in answer,

and the stars fell into alignment, those

above reflected by those below.

He reflected, briefly, that there was

greater similarity between the concepts

of ‘High Magic’ and the work of the

family, than most would acknowledge; the

working in harmony with the inner realms

was at the heart of all their work.

Then, the last night, remembered still

with difficulty and some pain. A big night,

season-changer, a night of song and story.

Then, a summoning, all of them, and

he, drawn close and tight in the Circle,

chanting the end note and the dawn note

in changing harmonies, drunk with the

sounds, drawing ragged breaths full of

the night. And he, focused, no longer

aware of anything but the circle of light

before him and the power he sought to fill


But what came there, what filled the

circle, overflowed across dark hill, drove

back the rest, overwhelmed them, was

something other. A man-shape cut out of

the night, a vast-seeming darkness that

shut out the moon and the stars, a great

voice roaring in his head: COME!

Just as violent was his response,

his silent-shouted NO! And then the

reverberation, the tearing aside of the

curtain, and the circle of faces, some

shocked, some bewildered, two at least,

angry. He remembered the anger for

a long while after, the shouted words:

“‘Be darkness and be fear and be not

of us!” After, long after, when he could

think again of these things, could seek

interpretation and meaning, he wondered

what had really occurred. Was it his own

psychism which had acted as a catalyst

to some waiting energy, releasing it like

a volcano from within the hill? Or were

they to blame, as another to whom he

spoke of this had suggested; had they

sought him as a gift to the numen of the

hill? But would they not, at the least,

have asked this of him? To go unwillingly

was not to go at all — or so he believed

- and trusted they would. Whatever the

truth he left that night and saw none of

them again. Not banished, but with the

unspoken understanding that the time

with them was over.

Was it, then, simply the

unexpectedness of the thing, for none

had foreseen it, least of all he? For many

years he was to wonder, following another

course that brought him back to that

broken circle, to that hilltop night, again

and again.

Often, he was asked the question

“Come, give up yourself, be part of the

circle again” meaning other circles, never

the first which was forever closed. But

always he refused, until another came,

who knew all the ways by intuition,

who was gentle and taught him again

the meaning of the way, until he was

able, in part, to teach her. But all was

fragmentary, forcibly suppressed through




the years of being dark, of being fearful

and ‘not of us’. Only when making this

writing he remembered the deepest joy of

all, the quickening of the earth beneath

him, the answering heartbeat when his

hands, their hands, struck it in rhythm;

or when their voices, rising and falling,

seemed to snare the moon.

And he remembered the trees, that

seemed more than trees, and that beyond

the Green Door were more than trees.

Best of all he remembered the meetings

on the inner hill, beneath a moon that

was always full and yellow, where he saw

and understood the blurring of many

tracks into one, and saw that he and his

were truly appointed guardians of the

earth, to see that it always held true to

them and they to it. Right relationship

with the living earth was their true

calling; his also now.

Then he remembered something else.

That theirs was a religion of love and of

light; that they celebrated the natural

world, its greenness and its brightness,

because these were sacred things. That

knowledge brought its own release, and

he recalled some words from a book

supposedly meant for children, which yet

said all that he would wish said of these


was magic everywhere; every race and

country, every tribe and tributary had its

magic-handlers, its wise witch-people. Magic

is another word for Creation, for the creation

of the world was the biggest magic of all.”

The Witches and the Grinnygog by Dorothy Edwards.

What happened after? I left the group,

some of whom seemed less than happy

with my presence as an ‘outsider’ and as

a possible cause of the events on the hill.

Some fifteen years after I went back to

visit the hill, found the place where we

used to meet, observed the blackened

remains of many recent fires. But when

I went to the local pub and asked after

named members of the group I was met

with shaken heads or silence. In spite of

everything, time has not changed the

ways of villages or the natural secrecy

of the Traditional groups. I still think of

them with fondness, and I know that I

owe them a lot. They took my nascent

psychism and formed it into a tool I use to

this day. Wherever they are, I greet them

gladly across the years.

1: Chanctonbury Rings: Justin Hopper

& Sharron Kraus with the Belbury Poly.

2019. Ghost Box GBX033.


©John Matthews, 2020



cotland has a rich cultural heritage

steeped in magic and lore. One

of our greatest treasures is that for

hundreds of years many of these tales

and beliefs have been written down so

they can still be remembered today. This

article gives a brief look at a little of the

early literature on these subjects. I’ve

taken the liberty of translating some of

the archaic words and language used in

the books for ease of reading.King James

the VI of Scotland wrote and published

“Daemonologie” in 1597; a serious

discussion about belief in magic, sorcery,

witchcraft, fairies and demons in those


In the book he talks about the “Deuilles

rudimentes” (Devil’s rudiments) which

are “all that which is called vulgarly the

virtue of word, herbe, & stone: which

is used by unlawful charms, without

natural causes. As likewise all kind of

practices, freites (an archaic word for spell

or charm), or other like extraordinary

actions, which cannot abide the true

touch of natural reason.” King James gives

away some of the folk practices when he

explains what he means by “charms”;

Derek Simpson

knots upon a point at the time of their

marriage). And such-like things, which

men use to practise in their merriness:

For unlearned men (being naturally

curious, and lacking the true knowledge

of God) find these practises to prove true,

as sundrie of them will do, by the power

of the Devil for deceasing men, and not

by any inherent virtue in these vain words

and charms; & being desirous to win a

reputation to themselves in such-like

turns, they either (if they be of the shy

sort) seek to be taught by some that have

experimented in that Art, (not knowing

it to be evil at the first) or else being of

the grosser sort, run directly to the Devil

for ambition or desire of gain, and plainly

contracts with him thereupon.”

“I mean either by such kind of Charms

as commonly daft wives use, for healing The true extent of how widely people

of forspoken goods, for preserving them practiced magic is demontrated when he

from evil eyes, by knitting rowan-trees, argues:

or sundriest kind of herbs, to the hair or

tails of the goods: By curing the Worm, by “But how prove you now that these

stemming of blood, by healing of Horsecrooks,

by turning of the riddle, or doing unlawful: For so, many honest & merry

charms or unnatural practices are

of such like innumerable things by words, men & women have publicly practised

without applying any thing onto the part some of them, that I think if you would

“Long ago, when the world started there

offended, as Mediciners do; Or else by accuse them all of Witchcraft, you would

staying married folks, to have natural affirm more or you will not be believed.”

28 ado with other, (by knitting so many


Almost one hundred years later George

Sinclair was a professor at Glasgow

University. Sinclair was a respected

mathemetician and engineer but, more

famously, he was a demonologist. Sinclair

firmly believed in the supernatural

and his book “Satan’s Invisible World

Discovered” published in 1685 offered

proof of the existance of “devils, spirits,

witches, and apparitions, from authentick

records”. Sinclair also discussed some of

the folk beliefs of the day;

“It is likewise a sort of charm which

many witches have, namely, to cut the

rowan tree between the two Beltane days.

If any man or woman, horse, or cow, shall

have a piece therof upon them, no devil’s

or fairy will have the power to meddle with

them. An old woman whom I read of, used

this charm when she went to bed,

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,

The bed be blest that I lie on.

And another old woman taught her

neighbour this charm, when the butter

would not churn,

Come butter, come,

Come butter, come;

Peter stands at the gate

Waiting for a butter’d cake,

Come butter, come.”

until it fell into the hands of Walter Scott

in 1815. Kirk had this to say about


“There be many Places called Fairiehills,

which the Mountain People think

impious and dangerous to peel or discover,

by taking Earth or Wood from them;

superstitiously believing the Souls of

their Predecessors to dwell there. And for

that End (say they) a Mote or Mount was

dedicated beside every Church-yard, to

receive the Souls till their adjacent Bodies

arrive, and so become as a Fairie-hill; they

using Bodies of Air when called Abroad.

They also affirmed those Creatures that

move invisibly in a House, and call huge

great Stones, but do no much Hurt,

because counter-wrought by some more

courteous and charitable Spirits that are

everywhere ready to defend Men, to be

Souls that have not attained their Rest,

through a vehement Desire of revealing a

Murder or notable Injury done or received,

or a Treasure that was forgot in their

Lifetime on Earth, which when disclosed

to a Conjurer alone, the Ghost quite


As Scotland entered the 1700’s, books

on travel became popular and the

romance of the Scottish hills, lochs, and

northern-most islands captivated readers’

imaginations. As well as picturesque

descriptions of places to visit, the books

recorded rural life in Scotland and, in

doing so, they captured many beliefs

held in local communities. One treasure

trove of information is Martin Martin’s

“Description of The Western Isles”

published in 1703. In his book, Martin

describes how the locals left offerings for

the Brownie;

“THEY had an universal Custom, of

pouring a Cow’s Milk upon a little Hill,

or big Stone, where the Spirit they called

Browny was believed to lodge: this Spirit

always appeared in the shape of a tall

Man, having very long brown Hair. There

was scarce any the leaft Village in which

this superstitious Custom did not prevail.

I enquired the reason of it from several

well-meaning Women, who, until of late,

had practised it; and they told me, that

it had been transmitted to them by their

Ancestors succefsfully, who believed it was

attended with good Fortune.”

He also captured an ancient ritual used

for a bountiful harvest;

“The Inhabitants of this Island had

an ancient Custom to sacrifice to a Sea

- God, called Shony, at Hallow-tide, in

the manner following: The Inhabitants

round the Island came to the Church of

St. Mulvay, having each Man his Provision

along with him; every Family furnished

a Peck of Malt, and this was brewed into

Ale: one of their number was picked out

to wade into the Sea up to the middle, and

Around that time Robert Kirk was the

minister of the Aberfoyle parish. His

life and death have become the stuff

of legend as he reputedly befriended

the fairy court in nearby Doon hill

and wrote a manuscript, “The Secret

Commonwealth”, recording what he had

learned from them with further notes on

other beliefs such as second sight. The

story goes that in 1692, for betraying the

secrets of the fairies, he was carried away

by them. Robert Kirk’s mauscript was

kept hidden and remained unpublished

30 31

carrying a Cup of Ale in his hand, standing

still in that pofture, cryed out with a loud

Voice, saying, Shony, I give you this Cup

of Ale, hoping that you’ll be so kind as to

send us plenty of Sea-ware, for enriching

our Ground the ensuing Year: and so

threw the Cup of Ale into the Sea. This was

performed in the Night-time. At his Return

to Land, they all went to Church, where

there was a Candle burning upon the

Altar; and then standing silent for a little

time, one of them gave a Signal, at which

the Candle was put out, and immediately

all of them went to the Fields, where they

fell a drinking their Ale, and spent the

remainder of the Night in Dancing and

Singing, &c.

THE next Morning they all returned

home being well satisfied that they

had punctually observed this Solemn

Anniversary, which they believed to be

a powerful means to procure a plentiful

Crop. Mr Daniel and Mr Kenneth Morifon,

Ministers in Lewis, told me they spent

several Years, before they could persuade

the vulgar Natives to abandon this

ridiculous piece of Superstition”

Rituals involving dancing and drinking

brings me neatly to Scotland’s most

famous poet, Robert Burns and, in

connection with folk beliefs, his most

celebrated poem “Tam O’Shanter” first

published in 1791.

The poem tells the tale of how drunken

Tam happens upon witches, warlocks

and ghosts dancing in the Old Alloway

Kirk accompanied by the devil paying

bagpipes. He forgets himself while

watching the fun and shouts out “Weel

done, cutty-sark!” which gets their

attention. A chase ensues with Tam only

just escaping by crossing the Brig O’

Doon (Bridge Of Doon). His poor horse

Meg, however, loses her tail as the witches

manage to grab hold of it just as their

about to cross the bridge.

The poem contains several references to

old beliefs, such as the idea that disused

churches will be haunted, but the most

telling superstition is hinted at when Tam

makes his escape; he knows he will be

safe if he gets over the bridge - the powers

of evil cannot cross running water;

“There at them thou thy tail may toss,

A running stream they dare na cross.”

At the time of publication most people

will have known this superstition. Only

a few years after the publication of Tam

O’Shanter, Walter Scott began his literary

career but it was not until 1802 that Scott

began to write books sharing Scotland’s

rich cultural heritage with the rest of the


From a young age Scott had been

entranced by the old ballads, the tales

of Scotland, sung by ancient minstrels

and bards. He set upon a labour of love

collecting the ballads and published them

as the “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border”

in 1802.

The added bonus for those interested

in folklore is that Scott wrote essays to

accompany the ballads explaining the

stories and beliefs behind them. In the

“Introduction To The Tale Of Young

Tamlane” he talks about the “Fairies Of

Popular Superstition” and the belief in

the magical fern seed;

“Some faint traces yet remain, on the

Borders, of a conflict of a mysterious and

terrible nature, between mortals and the

spirits of the wilds. The superstition is

incidentally alluded to by Jackson, at the

beginning of the 17th century. The fern

seed, which is supposed to become visible

only on St John’s eve, and at the very

moment when the Baptist was born, is

held by the vulgar to be under the special

protection of the Queen of Faery. But, as

the seed was supposed to have the quality

of rendering the possessor invisible at

pleasure, and to be also of sovereign use

in charms and incantations, persons of

courage, addicted to these mysterious

arts, were wont to watch in solitude, to

gather it at the moment when it should

become visible. The particular charms,

by which they fenced themselves during

this vigil, are now unknown; but it was

reckoned a feat of no small danger, as the

person undertaking it was exposed to the

most dreadful assaults from spirits, who

dreaded the effect of this powerful herb in

the hands of a cabalist.”

The 1800’s also brought an explosion of

world-wide interest in folklore. The fact

that oral tradition and many old beliefs

were still practiced in the Highlands and

Islands, and in rural areas of Scotland,

gave a wonderful opportunity to record

them before they were lost. This led

to the first book written purely about

Highland Superstitions;

“Popular Superstitions And Festive

Amusements Of The Highlanders Of


by William Grant Stewart

published in 1823

It was the first time anyone had

categorised the supernatural creatures

of Scotland and it was broken down into

chapters about Ghosts, Fairies, Brownies,

Water-Kelpies, Spunkies, Witchcraft and

also the traditions practiced throughout

the year. One of the secrets that Stewart

revealed about Hallowe’en was;

“The good- natured matron, being

happy at her husband’s felicity, and averse

to chide, they both tacitly connive at the

family’s indulgence in the customary

arts of divination. Generally the first

spell they try is pulling the stock of kail.

Joining hand in hand they go forth to the

kail-yard, previously blind-folded, lads,

lasses, and children, equally anxious to

have their fortunes told as their seniors.

Pulling the first stock they meet with,

they immediately return to the light to

have an examination of its qualities; its

being large or little, straight or crooked,

is prophetic of the size and shape of its

puller’s conjugal companion. If any earth

adheres to the root, it indicates tocher or

fortune ; and the taste of the custoc or

stem, whether sour or sweet, shows the

32 33

nature of his disposition.”

In the same year Walter Scott

approached his publisher, Constable,

about writing a book on Popular

Superstitions but the idea was turned

down. It didn’t put Scott off his stride

as in 1830, when he was recovering from

a stroke, his son-in-law suggested that,

because of his interest in witchcraft,

he should keep himself occupied by

writing a small volume on the subject for

‘Murray’s Family Library’. The result was

“Letters on demonology and witchcraft,

addressed to J.G. Lockhart, Esq.”

published in the same year. In the book

he offers the following information about

the word “Hex”;

“This peculiarity in the habits of the

North was so general, that it was no

unusual thing to see females, from respect

to their supposed views into futurity, and

the degree of divine inspiration which was

vouchsafed to them, arise to the degree

of HAXA, or chief priestess, from which

comes the word Hexe, now universally

used for a witch; a circumstance which

plainly shows that the mythological

system of the ancient natives of the North

had given to the modern language an

appropriate word for distinguishing those

females who had intercourse with the

spiritual world”

eighty years ago, says, was denominated

Bourjo, a word of unknown derivation,

by which the place is still known. Here

an universal and subsisting tradition

bore that human sacrifices were of yore

offered, while the people assisting could

be hold the ceremony from the elevation

of the glacis which slopes inward. With

this place of sacrifice communicated a

path, still discernible, called the Haxellgate;

leading to a small glen or narrow

valley called the HaxelleIeuch-both which

words are probably derived from the Haxa

or chief priestess of the pagans.

“Letters on Demonology” was an

immediate success and opened the

door for future books on pagan beliefs,

witchcraft and magic. It was an

opportunity that Scottish writers and

folklorists could not miss and to this day

there is still a steady stream of literature

on the subject.

It may be worth while to notice that

the word Haxa is still used in Scotland in

its sense of a druidess, or chief priestess,

to distinguish the places where such

females exercised their ritual. There

is a species of small intrenchment on

the western descent of the Eildon hills,

which Mr. Milne, in his account of the

parish of Melrose, drawn up about

34 35


itchen Witchcraft is not only

an ancient practice but quite

possibly something that

everyone does without even knowing it.

The term ‘Kitchen Witch’ seems to have

been hijacked by the media and turned

into a trendy term to refer to someone

that is a good cook and although that can

be loosely linked to Kitchen Witchcraft

the term covers so much more.

The kitchen is the heart and soul of the

home…everyone is found in the kitchen

at parties right? The kitchen would

originally have been the focus of any

household even going back to mud huts

when the fire would have been used for

heat and for cooking.

The idea of Kitchen Witchcraft conjures

up someone in the kitchen creating

bottles and jars of lotions and potions

and that does cover part of it but it is also

a witch that works with herbs on all sorts

of levels from medicinal to magical to

culinary, the herbs usually being grown

in their own garden or foraged from the


When a friend is poorly a Kitchen

Witch will work a spell to aid, but will

also make some homemade soup, (the

Jewish mother making chicken soup is

not a myth, it has real magic) putting

healing energy into making it, adding

healing energy with each vegetable and

herb that is added.

To connect with the divine a Witch

will step outside, take a cup of tea and

sit in the garden, to be outside with


Rachel Patterson

nature …that is where the connection

is. Feel the wind in your hair, the sun on

your face, feel the grass beneath your

feet, the free and wild feeling of being at

one with nature, Mother Earth and her

bounty. A Kitchen Witch will also get

that connection in the kitchen, working

with herbs, spices, plants and produce.

Everything a Kitchen Witch makes is

made with love, affection and a little bit

of magic.

A Kitchen Witch will also bring magic

into their food via cooking. Food is

magical, not just because of the amazing

tastes, flavours and aromas but also for

the magical properties it holds. The

magic starts with the choice of food to use

and it can then be added in whilst you are

preparing and cooking then the magic

unfolds as people enjoy your food. Dishes

can be created for specific intents, moon

phases, and rituals, to celebrate sabbats

or just to bring the magic into your family


Every herb, every spice and every

ingredient has magical properties and

these can be brought into meals and

recipes. Just the art of cooking itself has

magic, stirring the pot deosil (clockwise)

brings in positive energy, peeling onions

can be releasing and washing dirt

from vegetables can be cleansing and


You can bring intent into any meal

with very little effort think about the

ingredients you use and what magical

properties you believe them to have.

There are the traditional ones such as

oysters and asparagus adding a bit of va

va voom to your love life but there are

spices, herbs and foods for every intent.

What food do you think is stuffed full

of psychic energy? The answer is pasta…

yep good ole standby easy supper pasta.

But it does depend on the shape. If you

want to create a meal brimming with

psychic powers then use a twisty pasta

shape because the pattern holds the

magic, forget lasagne sheets coz the

magic just rolls off… who would have

thought of psychic pasta? Just by adding

a few herbs into a dish will bring in the

magical properties, help them along by

giving them a power charge with your

intent before you throw them in the pot.

Purely by cooking, heating, frying and

baking something you add in a boost of

fiery energy.

Go with your own instinct and intuition

but for starters try adding a sprinkle of

cinnamon for love and success, a dash

of pepper for protection and don’t forget

your fruit and veg, it isn’t just healthy

but carrots bring the magical properties

36 37

of fertility and passion (a dangerous

combination…), pears bring prosperity

and luck and if you are a meat eater then

you bring the element of fire onto your

plate along with the magical properties

of the animal you use. If you sprinkle

cheese on top you also add in success

and happiness…because everything is

made better with a sprinkling of cheese

except maybe cake but that in itself has

the magical powers of happiness and


And don’t forget to compost your fruit

and vegetable peelings, leave offerings to

your plants or in the hedgerows that you

forage from (bio-degradable please) and

honour the animals that provided your

meal. A nod to the kitchen deities won’t

go amiss either.

A Kitchen Witch doesn’t tend to use

fancy tools although we usually have a

few because hey we like pretty things

too. A Kitchen Witch will use whatever

is to hand; a finger or a wooden spoon

becomes a wand and an old casserole dish

creates a useful cauldron. We also work

very intuitively preferring to use magical

ingredients because they ‘feel right’ rather

than checking a list and if we don’t have

what we need, we substitute from our

kitchen cupboard.

And our kitchens will usually be

crammed full of herbs and spices not

just in the cupboards but drying from

the rafters too. OK so not many houses

have rafters any more but you get the

idea, I actually dry all my own herbs in

the conservatory because it is warm in

there. But my kitchen serves not only as

a place to bake cakes and make meals

for my family it is also a sacred space,

a place that I feel most comfortable

in. It is functional in that it has all the

usual kitchen appliances, all of which

I am especially nice to, they don’t have

names (that would be slightly loony…but

then…) however I am always nice to them,

electricity and gas are energies and if they

are upset they tend not to work.

I have a small kitchen altar, nothing

huge, nothing fancy just a little green

man shelf that has a small vase on which

is actually a small glass candle holder

but it is perfect to hold one flower bud

(Kitchen Witch making do with whatever

is to hand in action there) and it has

representations of the four elements on;

a small pebble for Earth, a tiny feather for

Air, a red crystal for Fire and a shell for

Water. When I enter the kitchen to start

cooking or creating I just give a quick

blessing to the kitchen deities (there are

a huge number of kitchen deities across

all the pantheons) just to ask that my

cooking will be successful or my lotions

and potions will turn out well.

I’m sorry…but you also have to clean

and clear up…a messy untidy kitchen

will not help the flow of good energy

and unless you have a resident Snow

White you will have to grab the mop and

bucket yourself. Dirt, dust and clutter

harbour negative energy and cause

magical blockages so you do have to get

your shimmy on and clean and clear, it

will help the magic flow much better I


I do like to eat seasonally too, it is

so easy to go to the supermarket and

purchase whatever fruit and vegetables

you fancy but let’s face it strawberries in

December are tasteless and how many

miles and how much fuel and eco damage

has been done to get them to our shops?

Food that is in season not only tastes

better but tends to be cheaper too. I do

have an organic vegetable box delivered

weekly, it is a bit more expensive and I

do have to top it up with extra vegetables

purchased at the market but the taste

is so much better and the produce is all

local. I do eat meat but I only ever buy

farm assured product and we don’t have

meat every day, farm assured or organic

meat comes at a higher price (and I do

understand why, I have lived on a farm)

but I am not a millionaire so I have

to be money conscious, if that means

eating less meat so that I can purchase it

knowing that the animal has been well

cared for and looked after then so be it.

When we do have meat I give honour to

the animal and whenever possible, for

instance with chicken I use the bones for

magic as well, making use of as much of

the animal as possible.

There is a lot of traditional Witchcraft,

Craft of the Old Ways, the Wise woman/

man, Hedge Witch and Green Witch in

Kitchen Witchcraft and at the end of the

day…it’s only a label anyway…Witch I am,

Witch I be.

Magical Herbs and Plants

A figure hunches over a cauldron;

stirring it every so often and then

dropping mysterious ingredients in,

cackling to herself “wing of bat, Devil’s

dung and ear of an ass”…as they splosh

into the swirling liquid. This could be

a wise woman from centuries ago but it

38 39

could be you or me in our modern day

kitchens…possibly without the cackling…

the ingredients are actually folk names

for herbs and plants. Wing of bat is holly

leaves, Devil’s dung is asafoetida (which

let’s face it smells like dung) and ear of an

ass is comfrey…not quite as intriguing but

useful just the same. Jump forward a few

hundred years and the Victorians were

using flowers as a complete language of

their own. If a suitor presented you with

a bouquet that contained asters, white or

red camillias and red chrysanthemums

then you were sorted…pick the wedding

cake and wait for the wedding bells to

chime because all of those flowers meant

love and passion. Although if you received

a bunch of sweetpeas beautiful as they

might smell, the message was “goodbye”,

well at least you got a bunch of flowers

out of it…

The world of herbs, plants and flowers

has historically been one of mystery

but also one of healing and magic. Each

plant has a spirit, an energy that if you

ask politely, can be used for all sorts of

magical uses.

You don’t have to go far to source

magical ingredients just open your

kitchen cupboard and sort through

your spice rack. An herb doesn’t have

to come from some far flung corner of

the universe or have a long complicated

name that no one can pronounce to be

useful or magical. The pot of wilting basil

on your windowsill that came from the

supermarket still has magic inside it.

I am by nature a Kitchen Witch which

means that I use whatever is to hand,

I don’t often look up meanings and

correspondences I go by instinct. I get an

intent in mind and then I look in my herb

cupboard, go through my spices and poke

about in my collection of dried flowers

and leaves. The correct plants and spices

that I need to use have a habit of jumping

out at me…not literally obviously because

that would just be freaky.

I don’t have a huge garden but I make

the most of the space I have by growing

lots of herbs and plants in pots then

I collect and dry everything…flowers,

petals, leaves, seeds – you name it, if it

looks like it might be useful I harvest it,

dry it, label and store it. If you don’t have

space to grow anything then beg, borrow…

no don’t steal…but ask around because

lots of people will have gluts of plants at

some point in the year. Or forage in the

hedgerows, fields and woodlands – just

make sure you identify the plant correctly

because there are some real nasties

out there, Mother Nature has a wicked

sense of humour... If you have an Asian

supermarket in your locality I encourage

you to visit, they are amazing places with

a huge variety of dried herbs and spices

sold in big bags for silly prices, definitely

the cheapest place to stock your magical

herb chest with. Local markets and farm

shops are also useful places to source

herbs and spices but failing that the good

ole supermarket, although probably the

most expensive place they will have what

you need.

Obviously my first thought when

wishing to gain the magical properties

from herbs is to eat them…but they can

be used in all sorts of magical ways (bear

in mind that some aren’t edible and in

fact can be downright deadly); witches

bottles, medicine pouches, offerings,

incense blends, charms, spell work,

candle magic, poppets, magic/sachet

powders, body powders, ritual bath salt

blends, fascinations, scented oils and any

number of other ways, the only limit is

your imagination.

There are a huge amount of books and

lists with ‘traditional’ and more common

magical correspondences for each plant,

each one usually has several magical uses

such as love, protection, healing etc but

they will also correspond to an element

(earth, air, fire, water), a ruling planet, a

sun sign (horoscope) and a gender all of

which can be used to add magical power

to your spell work. Each month of the

year, sabbat and most deities have specific

herbs and plants that correspond with

the particular energies …but trust your

intuition, if it feels right to you go with it.

Get to know your plants, connect with the

spirit of your herbs and you will find yourself

transported to a whole other world filled with

magical possibilities…

40 41

42 43

visions of magick micro interviews

About the Interviews

Morgana Sythove

As you will see below we have three wonderful and extraordinary women in this

section, Morgana, Emily and Cara. The intention was not to do super long interviews

or focused on their work because you can find information about it in different media.

If you Google their names you will be surprised.

These micro interviews have a more of personal focus, something that somehow

brings us closer to the person behind the great work. They are simple questions,

nothing out of the ordinary, do not expect transcendental questions, but rather

something that possibly you would ask someone you just met. I hope you enjoy them!

Ness Bosch.

My name is Morgana and I live in the Netherlands. I am the International Coordinator

for PFI/ Pagan Federation International and practicing Gardnerian High Priestess

1. If you had to define yourself, how would you do it?

A true Arian born on April 15, I am energetic, impulsive, a pioneer, soloist..

2. Why would you like to be remembered for?

Do I want to be remembered?? Okay, for my perseverance and dedication

3. What attracted you to paganism?

I can’t remember. I knew at one point – when I was about 8-years old that I could

travel ‘in my head’. Later I wanted to be a Priestess.

4. What was your first experience?

I had some weird experiences as a child, but who doesn’t? My first real experience

which I later felt was a ‘mystical experience’ was in about 1972 when I was visiting

one of the Greek Islands.. Amorgos.

5. What got you into that?

It was totally unexpected. I was visiting a friend in Greece – one of my first long

distant journeys. I loved it in Greece and still see it as my first physical connection

to ‘the East’.

6. How old were you then and now?

I was about 20 ..now I am 65+

7. Can you list any experiences that have marked you?

Morgana Sythove Emily Carding Cara Hamilton

Giving birth. The most amazing experience ever.

44 45

8. Would you erase some of the experience of these years?

No …. although some of them I don’t particularly want to go through again. I’ve

learnt my lesson(s)

9. What has changed in these years since you started on this path?

I think I’m probably less naïve .. less innocent .. although I still try to see some

things as if it is for the first time. Things like Springtime

10. What would you like not to change?

I wouldn’t want to see the open-mindedness of the Dutch change. I am so glad that

I moved here. I am able to do so many things here that I may not have been able to

in the UK.

11. What would you mark as special achievements on your pagan path?

Introducing Gardnerian Wicca in the Netherlands in 1979. Later I would help to

establish PF International (1997) and in 2005 established the PFI Foundation and

continued since then to be active internationally.

12. What would you say to someone young who enters paganism?

Be discerning. Be courageous to ask questions and think carefully about the

answers you receive and act accordingly. You don’t need to heed to the advice you

are given – but take full responsibility for your actions, deeds & thoughts.

13. Can you name someone you admire from the pagan world?

I can think of a number of people who have influenced me, but not necessarily

pagan – Marian Green, Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki.. come to mind. From Wicca.. it

has to be Eleanor Bone, Doreen Valiente, Gerald Gardner. Selena Fox, from the

US – Circle Sanctuary - is someone I greatly admire.

14. Do you have a preference for a Deity or pantheon? Who / which and why?

Not one particular preference – although I have been aware of a ‘guide’ since early

age, My roots are in English - Germanic & Celtic – folklore and magic. However I

have a special connection with Mesopotamia and specifically Anatolia. I wrote a

series of articles for ‘Wiccan Rede’ called ‘Tales of Anatolia’ recalling my travels in

Turkey and connection with Hekate, the Hittites .. and the Bees

15. What is your favourite planet or star?

.. hrmm not sure I have a favourite planet. Venus.. yes I am on a ‘Venusian- path’

but Mercury, Saturn and so on are all important. Of course engaging in a Lunar

Religion .. my connection with the Moon is daily.

16. What is your favourite plant?


17. What is your favourite item and why?

My mind and heart – if I was to lose them I would... well be dead.

18. Do you have a favourite colour?

Blue.. Turquoise

19. And a favourite song or band?

‘All along the Watchtower ‘ – Jimi Hendrix and ‘Rhiannon’ – Stevie Nicks. Both have

very special memories.

20. Do you have a favourite type of magic fetish?

Nope.. I love candles of course.

21. What is your favourite drink?

Coffee – The Sufis used it to keep awake during their night vigils. Good enough for me

22. Can you recommend a book? and a movie? (They don’t have to be pagan)

David Attenborough’s nature films are amazing. ‘Planet Earth’ / 2006 was

fascinating. His enthusiasm and detail is fabulous. A truly inspiring person.

I also admire and highly recommend Jimmy Nelson’s photography. He has captured

so many different indigenous people. Amazing

46 47

Emily Carding

1. If you had to define yourself, how would you do it?

Generally I like the term Universal Mystic

2. Why would you like to be remembered for?

Things I haven’t done yet. Perhaps something I achieve at the age of 111.

3. What attracted you to paganism?

It’s that it fitted what I already felt and believed before I had a name for it, more than

that I was attracted to it. I found it and knew it was already mine.

4. What was your first experience?

As a child I used to go on missions for the faeries in my dreams.

5. What got you into that?

Going to sleep, I suppose…

6. How old were you then and now?

I’m not very good with ages…maybe 7? I’m 45 now.

7. Can you list any experiences that have marked you?

Hmmm. There are many. All of which were valuable lessons, especially concerning

corrupt or misguided mentor figures.

8. Would you erase some of the experience of these years?

No, but I might like to go back in time and slap sense into myself.

9. What has changed in these years since you started on this path?

The major shift, and I’m sure many will say this, is the advent of social media and the

extraordinary connectedness it brings. Though it has many downsides I hope that

it will lead to a greater understanding that we are all one. That is especially evident

now in face of the current global pandemic.

10. What would you like not to change?

I hope people don’t lose touch with the need to be out in nature and connect in real

life (when we are able to). Virtual ceremony doesn’t really appeal to me, it does not

have the juice. The primal experiences must be preserved, we need them, and we need

to maintain contact with the elemental realm.

11. What would you mark as special achievements on your pagan path? And on a

personal level?

I think feeling less of a need to show off my achievements is more of an achievement

than the achievements.

12. What would you say to someone young who enters paganism?

Work on discernment and protection before anything else. Learn directly from

nature, always be prepared to listen and be humble.

13. Can you name someone you admire from the pagan world?

When I started off I had many books by John and Caitlin Matthews and also their

Hallowquest tarot as I have a strong connection with the Arthurian Mythos. Now I

am fortunate enough to count them as friends. Also my dear friend Sorita D’este and

my partner, Stephen Ball, who is also an author.

14. Do you have a preference for a Deity or pantheon? Who / which and why?

I’m dedicated to Hekate, she is all-encompassing and extremely effective.

48 49

15. What is your favorite planet or star?

I’m rather attached to Earth of course…and the pleiades hold a special place. The

planetary influence of Mercury is most in line with my work and lifestyle.

16. What is your favorite plant?

Yew trees and bluebells

17. What is your favorite item and why?

Hmm. Possibly my bed. Otherwise I have so many lovely, quirky, special and magical

things…oh my Hekate statue…it’s unique, I believe.

18. Do you have a favorite color?

My favourite combination of colours is purple and green. I’m very fond of teal at the

moment, and yellow. Truthfully, I adore the whole rainbow.

19. And a favorite song or band?

Heroes, Bowie.

20. Do you have a favorite type of magic fetish?

I collect hag stones.

21. What is your favorite drink?

Tea. I remember when I was young thinking John Deacon (bass player of Queen), was

so boring for answering that, but here we are.

22. Can you recommend a book? and a movie? (They don’t have to be pagan)

Pan’s Labyrinth is one I’m feeling I shall watch again soon. I’m just reading Ursula le

Guin’s Earthsea books at the moment and they are just the right sort of pace and feel

for the current state of things.

50 51

Cara Hamilton

No, some may be unpleasant but they were educational.

9. What has changed in these years since you started on this path?

1. If you had to define yourself, how would you do it?

A woman who created herself later in life

2. Why would you like to be remembered for?

Not for being universally liked. You break eggs to make an omelette. I want people to

think, she made a difference.

3. What attracted you to paganism?

The strange and intoxicating feel of standing stones at sunset as a child.

4. What was your first experience?

There was an experience that was markedly important when I knew what being

pagan was and my path as Scots/Irish, aged 15. Standing in a willow grove, I was

conducting a Full Moon ritual, the moon was red and small dots of light began to

pulse and a dance of sidhe was around me in that swirl of light. So beautiful and so


5. What got you into that?

How I got to that place was learning of it’s history as prior I did not know why it

drew me. It was a large Sun Temple at one time overlooking the river Clyde

6. How old were you then and now?

At that time I was 15, now I’m approaching 50.

7. Can you list any experiences that have marked you?

What I do professionally constantly marks me, occasionally physically, but it is what

I wanted. Anyone who has seen my presentation “Espiritisme” knows I show some

very arcane work. In one item I tell a personal piece of history of Irish Horror writer

Sheridan le Fanu and something strange always happens during it. The last time

every candle snuffed out. It tells me, memories and spirit can still reach through the


8. Would you erase some of the experience of these years?

The more I learned and aged, I realised you do not know more, you just know what

is wrong for you. You learn quickly Paganism is not about experiences but the quiet

“knowing” in your soul.

10. What would you like not to change?

I would not like to change my path. It is simply my soul.

11. What would you mark as special achievements on your pagan path? And on a

personal level?

My life is an interwoven mix of who I am, my beliefs and my performance. Creating

this life has taken blood, sweat, tears, years and realisation. I do not feel like like a

success or lucky, but it is giving me the life I wanted.

12. What would you say to someone young who enters paganism?

Don’t seek acceptance, don’t try and fit to another’s idea of what a pagan is. Just be

you and most of all read widely, the old mythological works especially. You gradually

figure out what works for you.

13. Can you name someone you admire from the pagan world?

One person has the soul I deeply appreciate, the poet William Butler Yeats.

14. Do you have a preference for a Deity or pantheon? Who / which and why?

Scots/Irish Celtic is my belief, I do have a real connection to Maebh and Macha. I

visit locations of both regularly and work ritual there.

15. What is your favorite planet or star?

Ursa Major and the Pole star have always been the first stars I look for in the sky. As

someone who is also an Astrologer to as me what is my favourite outwith this would

make this answer the length of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”.

16. What is your favorite plant?

Upon this I am quite fleeting. They would come under the grouping “Terminal

Pharmacology” however.

52 53

17. What is your favorite item and why?

As to an item I use now, it would be my Hand of Glory, I am honoured to have it and

show it in my Performances and Demonstrations.

18. Do you have a favorite color?

That is quite varied, from matt black to velvet black.

19. And a favorite song or band?

I am a massive Stevie Nicks, Robert Plant and Sandy Denny fan

20. Do you have a favorite type of magic fetish?

In performance I use historic clay and wax efigies and they are powerful to me.

21. What is your favorite drink?

Tea, whilst I am fond of Guinness and of red wine, I could stop them in an instant,

but tea, that’s a different matter.

22. Can you recommend a book? and a movie? (They don’t have to be pagan)

Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla is simply a wonderful novella. William Hjortsberg’s

Falling Angel is a super page turning Occult detective story and the film Angel Heart

came from it and in my opinión the film is far better than the book and whilst I adore

Charlotte Rampling as Margaret Krusemark I intend to keep my heart in my chest.

54 55


Fee and JD Aquila


elcome! Such are the myths that

circulate on public media about

initiatory or British Traditional

Witchcraft , that we’re tempted to

open this piece with one of those 3 box

photo sets, “What the public thinks we

do” (cue very scary photo of a hideous

crone barbecuing a small child), “What

my Granny thinks we do” (cue photo of

Morticia kissing an inverted crucifix),

ending with “What we actually do” (cue

photo of a woman gazing at an open

flower in her garden).

This brief article scrapes the surface of

some aspects of initiatory Wicca – where

it came from, what we do and where to

find out more. We are writing this piece

with two limitations. Firstly, an important

rule of initiatory Wicca is that you should

“Never out a witch”. The second is that we

have vowed never to reveal what we do!

This clearly places some constraints on

what we can share.

We will, however, write what we

can about how Wicca works and offer

some further reading by authors who

appear well versed and who have spent a

considerable amount of time researching

the history of the Craft. There should be

enough information there to keep you

occupied for some time.

What is Initiatory Wicca?

To us, being a Wiccan has a very specific

meaning but due to modern usage we

should probably describe what we are

talking about. Wicca (with a capital

“W”) is a system of practices shared by

people who have undergone a formal

initiation by someone who themselves

was initiated in the tradition. This “family

tree” of initiations goes back though

several generations to a man called Gerald

Brousseau Gardner who described them

back in the 1950s.

Initiation not only makes the initiate

a Wiccan but it also brings them into a

Coven. The initiation follows a period of

training and every Wiccan initiate goes

through that same initiation ritual. We

are a family and like any family we may

not always get on, but we are there for our

brothers and sisters. We laugh with them

in good times and comfort and mourn

with them in bad ones.

Usually the training is the responsibility

of the Coven High Priestess or High

Priest and those seekers who successfully

complete the training and undergo

initiation will in time, pass their learning

to their own seekers. Following initiation,

training does not stop and all initiates at

all levels continue to learn and develop.

Initiation is just the beginning of a

lifelong journey.

It is very important to note that while

coven leaders do not charge money

for training, there is however a level of

commitment expected of the seeker. A

seeker will not learn any ‘secrets’ preinitiation,

and one primary function of

the time spent with a seeker is to ensure

they will fit with the existing coven.

Anyone who has studied group dynamics

will be aware that a new member to any

group can impact significantly on how

the existing group operates. Care must be

taken, on the part of coven leaders, that

anyone new coming in will not disrupt

the working dynamic which may have

taken years to evolve.

The History of Wicca

Gerald Gardner was a very interesting

man. He suffered poor health, and

because of this was advised to move

abroad. He did so and spent his working

life running rubber plantations in

Borneo. He was interested in magic and

anthropology and used his time there to

study the magical practices of the local

people. Philip Heselton’s book, Wiccan

Roots, outlines the Gardner’s journey

towards founding Wicca.

On his return to England when he

retired, Gerald’s interest naturism and

folklore brought him into contact with

an esoteric magical group and, in turn, a

family of hereditary witches into which

he was initiated. The naturist club, of

which he was a member, became the

meeting place for his coven. Those early

Wiccans, whom Gardner initiated,

contributed greatly to the Craft and their

influence is still seen today.

As well as the people mentioned

above, Gardner was influenced by

Aleister Crowley and was involved in the

O.T.O., he was also involved in Masonic

practice. It is worth pointing out that

Aleister Crowley was a very complex

character who courted the press in a

way which resulted public revulsion.

His words, if taken literally, make him

out to be a monster but when read

56 57

with understanding have very different

meanings. His autobiography paints a

fascinating portrait. Doreen Valiente, one

of Gardner’s High Priestesses, is said to

have disliked the influence of Crowley

on some ritual content and worked hard

to ‘de-Crowley’ some rituals. She was a

gifted poet who has given us iconic pieces

such as “The Charge of the Goddess”.

Other well-known authors such as

Patricia Crowther and Lois Bourne have

significantly influenced the Craft and

written about their experiences.

Despite the current insistence on not

revealing practices, Gardner himself was

known to have caused some disagreement

within his original group by courting

the press. This seems hypocritical and

certainly caused tensions and fallings out

with some of the people that he worked

with. However, without the publicity he

sought and contributions of his initiates,

we would not have Wicca in its current

form today. These writers have provided

those who have not be able to find a

coven or who choose to work as solitary

practitioners with the information they

require to do so.

Another important character was

Alexander Saunders. He founded another

tradition of initiatory Wicca, similar in

many respects to that of Gerald Gardner.

Nowadays the two strands – Gardnerian

Wicca and Alexandrian Wicca mostly

mix and mingle freely – sharing ideas and

practices. Many practitioners have “dual

lineage” – that is they have training in

both aspects and can trace their “family

tree” to both founders.

Other influences of Wicca are Folklore,

Shamanism, Western Hermeticism and



Throughout the British Isles there is

a long history of rites practiced within

communities going back generations

and often to pre-Christian times. Ronald

Hutton’s Stations of the Sun is an

excellent resource on the folklore and

rites practiced by our ancestors. It takes

little imagination to see that, during

pre-Christian times when the failure of

harvest could have dire consequences,

practices were developed to protect

lives, crops and livestock. A lot of these

practices were frowned upon with

the coming of Christianity but as the

influence of the church wanes we are

free to connect again with a world not

governed by Christian philosophy. We

look to the practices of our ancestors and

try to connect with those who have gone

before, to walk in their footsteps. In a

capitalist world where profit is all we step

back to that place where the seasons and

nature are our gods. This doesn’t mean

that we cut ourselves off from the modern

world, but simply that we have a different

perspective of that world and the beings

upon it.


Shamanism has existed for thousands

of years and across all cultures. Simply

put it involves the use of techniques

such as drumming, to alter the state of

consciousness to take the practitioner

to a place where they can work with the

hidden world of spirit directly. Seidr

(pronounced ‘seethe’) can be used to

connect on a deeper level to ourselves

and the hidden realms of nature. The

relationship to Deity and ancestors can be

deepened and the experienced shaman

can heal a fractured soul. Shamans were

valued people within communities and

proficiency in healing and acting as a

guide for souls of the dead are practices

which require considerable learning.

Western Hermeticism

We cannot discuss Wicca without

considering the long history of Western

Hermeticism. A lot of the tools we

use and practices such as the casting

of a circle in which to practice, come

from this tradition. We shall the leave

the exploration of the various texts of

Cornelius Agrippa and grimoires such

as the Clavicula Salomonis to your

good selves. Owen Davies’ book “The

History of Magic Books” is a fascinating

exploration of how magic texts, usually

banned by the church, made their

way across continents and influenced

practices. The fact many of these texts

survived indicates that the content

within them is what people wanted. It

demonstrates that human nature has

changed little over the centuries and, as

ever, we still want to get rich, fall in love,

reek revenge and protect our homes.

The influence of the planets, the herbs

and minerals used in practice come in

a large part from hermeticism. Please

don’t be under the misapprehension that

we engage in some of the less savoury

practices suggested in some texts!


Jewish Mysticism? Correct! Kabbala,

Qabalah Cabala – whichever spelling

you may wish to use, provides a method

by which an individual can work to

58 59

connect with deity. Kabbala has informed

practices within Western Hermeticism

and more recently the Golden Dawn,

which in turn has influenced current

esoteric practice. Many of you may have

practiced the Lesser Banishing Ritual of

the Pentagram for instance.

Why is Wicca described as an experiential

mystery religion or practice?

To be Wiccan, one has to experience

Wicca. There are many publications on

the internet that purport to be genuine

but, even if one could find a real one,

an uninitiated reader would not have of

the experience of learning and working

as part of a group to practice the rituals

as shown to them by a High Priest and

Priestess. Many of you will be very

aware that your spiritual journey is an

individual one, you could not possibly

replicate your experiences on paper, nor

find the words to adequately describe

that experience. The written rituals are

but mere “shadows” of the real deal!

Training then, is not about reading all

the books you can lay your hands on,

but supervised practice within a coven

setting. Realisation and understanding

comes in moments of blinding clarity that

it’s impossible to speak of with any sense.

The role of a High Priestess and Priest

is to guide the coven members through

that journey of realisation and learning.

For some it will be a longer process

than others. All members are different

people with different life experience and

knowledge, and all have something of

value to contribute.


Wicca has no prescribed definition of

divinity. Whilst we traditionally focus

on the male and female aspects of deity

it’s not unknown for some to see deity

as a series of archetypes. How we see

deity, however, is an individual thing and

which can evolve over time and through

experience. Some Wiccans are hard

polytheists, some soft polytheists, some

describe Deity as the universal energy

personified by all that exists in nature.

Some Wiccans are atheists! There has

previously been a perception that Wicca

is homophobic but, whilst some time

ago some practitioners held views which

would no longer be acceptable, this is no

longer the case and the sexual or gender

identity of a seeker is not an issue.

What do Wiccans do?

As we initially stated we cannot give

details of our practice. In general, our

rites are performed at, or near, the time

of the full moon – Esbats, and at the eight

festivals – Sabbats – of the year that most

pagans will be familiar with.

Esbats are usually used to renew

our energies, to worship or venerate

our particular deity or deities, and are

a powerful time to work magic. The

Sabbats are a celebration of the turning

of the wheel and encourage us to look

anew at the changes in the world as the

year passes. We also look inward at these

times to look at the changes within and to

use the energies of that particular season

to grow ourselves.

As Wiccans we think it important

to be the best that we can be. Selfimprovement

through magical practice,

meditation, path-workings and by

seeking a closer relationship with our

Gods are all important ways of achieving

this. For many of us this is one of the

most important things that we do.

Debunking common myths

Wiccan practice involves sex and orgies

Some are drawn to Wicca in a mistaken

belief that it’s all sex and orgies. If that’s

their reason for seeking they’ll be very

disappointed! Often brought up is the

matter of working skyclad. In short, we

do, but the last thing that’s to do with is

image by www.paintingvalley.com

sex. For many seekers that’s a tough thing

to get their head around. We don’t know

of many seekers who didn’t struggle with

this including ourselves. It was a real leap

of faith and trust to take that step. The

role of the High Priestess and Priest is

to support, guide and enable you to take

that step whilst feeling safe.

There are bad people in all walks of life

and one of the problems inherent upon

any group with “secrets” is that some

try to take advantage. Almost invariably

those doing this are not initiated Wiccans

at all. An example is people claiming that

they are a High Priest and, “all initiations

are sexual”. They are talking absolute

tosh and you should, without hesitation,

head screaming for the hills and, if

sensible, report them to the Scottish

Pagan Federation. Please don’t keep this

information to yourself.

Initiates are a close-knit family

and most of us know most others. If,

therefore, someone pops up and says they

are a third-degree High Priest, it usually

gets someone’s attention fairly quickly.

If they say they are a third-degree High

Priest looking to recruit young women for

their new coven, that will get attention

even more quickly.

60 61

If, as a seeker, you have any qualms

about people you meet and want to

approach about training, speak to the

SPF. They have contacts who can establish

very quickly who is or isn’t bona fide.

Despite the fact Wicca is all over the

world. we know who we are, who to talk

to for information and we will protect the

reputation of Wicca.

Wicca is Devil Worship

No, we don’t worship the devil. We don’t

even believe in the devil – he’s a Christian


Our Horned God is of pre-Christian

origin. We think that should say it all,

although we’re sure it would not satisfy

someone of fundamentalist Christian

views. That’s unfortunate but not

something we’ll lose sleep over nor take

up more of your valuable time trying to


Wicca is a Cult

The early Wiccans used to speak of the

“Witch Cult”. Nowadays the word ‘cult’

tends to cause a little anxiety. This is

not without reason when one thinks of

various abusive organisations/individuals

in the United States some of which have

resulted in multiple deaths. There are

now handy Cult questionnaires you can

find on the internet which should provide

information about what a cult is. A

Photo by Diego Medrano from FreeImages

healthy Wiccan coven most certainly does

not meet the criteria. Coven leaders do

not require money for training, although

you might be expected to bring along a

packet of hobnobs to keep blood sugar

levels up and perhaps some bread and

other nibbles for lunch.

Although the High Priestess has overall

responsibility, she and her High Priest

oversee organising training, rituals

etc. every coven member is expected

to contribute as they can. This doesn’t

involve money changing hands though

there may be a contribution expected

towards incense, candles and other

consumables. The contribution often

takes the form of writing a meditation

or a ritual and others to supply the cakes

and wine (other, non-alcoholic, drinks

are available) or flowers for the altar.

A High Priestess should not dictate

who you socialise with or when you can

see your family or other friends. If anyone

claiming to be a Wiccan asks this of you

there is a problem. Having said this, if

you chose to go to the cinema instead of

attending training that had previously

been organised, expect the High Priestess

to be miffed! She did not spend her

morning hoovering the house and

cleaning the toilet for you to call and say

you’d received a fabulous invitation from

a mate to go and see ‘Fast and Furious’.

Wiccans see themselves as superior to

other pagans

This is so not true. We recognise that

everyone is entitled to their own beliefs

and to follow their path in their own

way. We practice in groups – that’s not

for everyone. We undergo a specific

initiation – that’s not for everyone. We

are following our hearts and would wish

others to follow theirs.


We mentioned earlier that there is a

fundamental practice of not outing a

witch. Similarly, a High Priestess and

Priest take the privacy of their seekers

very seriously and should guarantee that

they will never disclose who their seekers

are. The only exceptions would be if there

were concerns around the well-being of

a seeker or if any challenges arise and

advice needs to be sought from a trusted

person. Needless to say it’s not only

courteous but essential that seekers do

not to blab all over the internet that Freda

and Jimmy are their new best buddies

and Wiccan.

What is Wicca not?

We’ve spoken about what Wicca is

and it’s perhaps important to note what

Wicca is not. It’s not a counselling group

and we would advise that if anyone has

any unresolved trauma experiences, that

they seek appropriate professional advice

or counselling before considering Wicca

as a spiritual path. Many damaged souls

come to various religions seeking solace,

a sense of peace and an understanding of

the world. Wicca will not necessarily give

you that and especially as there are clear

parallels in the journeys of the Gods and

the emotional exploration of a person’s

journey through life. Understanding

yourself and your place in the universe

is often not an easy journey and it is

important to recognise that most High

Priestesses and Priests are not qualified

counsellors or psychotherapists, they

are not therefore equipped to safely

address psychological distress. This is not

62 63

something you should expect of them

nor should they expect this of themselves

without professional training.

Wicca is not the same as the badminton

club, knitting group or book club.

It is a spiritual path that demands a

level of commitment that it impacts

immeasurably upon your life. It isn’t

something you dip in and out of and, if

you treat it as such, then perhaps being

part of a coven isn’t for you. There are

times in everyone’s life where making that

sort of commitment isn’t possible so we’re

not for one minute suggesting that it’s a

character flaw but simply emphasising

that there’s a bit more depth to this choice

than others you might make.

No-one is entitled to be a member of a

coven and ultimately, it’s for the coven to

make the decision on whether someone

would be a good fit for the group or not.

The group comes first. This does not

mean someone is unworthy but simply

that they’re not right for a particular

group. We all know people we don’t gel

with and Wiccans are no exception. It

may be there’s another group out there

that would be a good fit and if this is an

option the High Priestess will advise.

Finding a Coven and training

If you are truly drawn to initiatory

Wicca, you need to have a good idea what

it involves and a willingness to make

a significant commitment. As well as

deciding why it might be the path for you,

you will also need to do a little research to

see who is out there and who might offer

a good level of training. A local moot is

a good starting point, but not all coven

leaders have time to attend local moots

and most certainly do not advertise.

Coven leaders will always arrange to

meet you in a public place and it’s much

safer not to go somewhere where alcohol

is involved. Not that we don’t enjoy a

good glass of wine or two, but there are

occasions it’s not appropriate. It will be

understood if wish to bring a friend.

It’s not uncommon for coven leaders

to suggest that you go and read some

materials and get back to them when

you’ve done this. It gives the seeker

some information on which to base

the decision of whether they do wish

to proceed towards training or not. It’s

perfectly okay to change your mind. Do

expect to travel, it’s highly unlikely there

will be a coven on your doorstep. We’ve

known of people travel across Europe to

attend training and it certainly answers

the question of how committed a person


Training someone towards initiation is

a huge commitment of time and energy

and no-one is accepted for training unless

there a reasonable chance they would be

suitable and in time become a valuable

coven member. It may be that the first

coven leader you meet to discuss training

is not the best option for you (or indeed

you for them). Hopefully they will be able

to suggest others you could talk to.


We hope you’ve learned something

about Wicca you may not have known

before. We’re heading out into the garden

again tomorrow, to tend our little part of

this beautiful planet. These times have

given pause for thought and how we as

humans have changed and can change.

It is a desperately hard lesson, a time for

sadness and yet a time of hope. The wheel

still turns, the sun rises and sets, and we

are blessed to see the beauty of the stars.

We shall walk and see the blossom of

spring and listen to the birdsong. There’s

some ritual preparation we need to do

and we’re looking forward to a couple

of internet meetings, chats and seeing

wonderful friends again.

Initiatory Wicca isn’t for everyone

but for those of us to whom it is, a very

common description is that it feels like

coming home to a family that has always

been there waiting.

As we mentioned earlier you are not

going to learn ‘secrets’ prior to initiation

and if that’s your only motivation perhaps

it’s the wrong one. If you’re wanting to

find how to exercise power over those

who have wronged you, perhaps it’s not

the right motivation. There are grimoires

full of that stuff you don’t need Wicca.

No High Priestess or Priest is a fount

of wisdom, we’re on the same path but

perhaps just further along it, still trying,

still learning and still having a blast in the


64 65

Suggested Reading

Reginald Scott The Discoverie of Witchcraft

(Various Publishers)

Philip Heselton. Wiccan Roots; Gerald Gardner

and the Modern Witchcraft Revival. Pub Capall

Bann Publishing 2000. ISBN 186163 110 3

J.L. Bracelin. Gerald Gardner: Witch. Pub

I-H-O Books 1999. ISBN 1-872189-08-3

Doreen Valiente. The Rebirth of Witchcraft. Pub

Robert Hale- London 1989. ISBN 978 0 7090

8369 6

Philip Heselton. Doreen Valiente; Witch. Pub

Doreen Valiente Foundation 2016. ISBN 978-0-


Doreen Valiente: The Charge of the Goddess.

Pub Doreen Valiente Foundation 2014. ISBN


Gerald Garner. The Meaning of Witchcraft. Pub

Aquarian Press 1959. ISBN 1-57863-309-5

Lois Bourne. Witch Amongst Us; The

Autobiography of a Witch. Pub Robert Hale

1979. ISBN 0 7090 3761 9


Owen Davies. Grimoires; A History of Magic

Books. Pub Oxford University Press 2009.

ISBN 978-0-19-920451-9.

Ronald Hutton. The Triumph of the Moon. Pub

Oxford University Press 2019. ISBN 978-0-19-


Ronald Hutton. The Stations of the Sun; A

History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Pub

Oxford University Press 1996.ISBN 0-19-


Runic John. The Book of Seidr: The Native

English and Northern European Shamanic

Tradition. Pub Capall Bann 2004.ISBN 186163

229 0.

Trans S. Liddell Macgregor Mathers. The Key

of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis).

Pub Weiser Books 2000.

Thorn Mooney, Traditional Wicca; A Seekers

Guide. Pub Llewellyn 2018, ISBN 978-0-7387-


Patricia Crowther. Lid of the Cauldron; A Wicca

Handbook. Pub Samuel Weiser 1985. ISBN


Vivianne Crowley. The Magickal Life; A

Wiccan Priestess Shares Her Secrets. Penguin

2003. ISBN 0 14 21.9624X

Vivianne Crowley. Wicca; A Comprehensive

Guide to the Old Religion in the Modern World.

Pub Element 2003. ISBN 978-0-7225-3271-3

Aaron Leitch. Secrets of the Magickal

Grimoires; The Classical Texts of Magick

Deciphered. Pub Llewellyn 2016. ISBN 978-0-

image by www.paintingvalley.com

66 67



hat is one thing every child

knows by the age of about 5?

Witches ride broomsticks.

Medieval demonologists and illustrators

agreed firmly, and so has everyone since.

But why do witches ride broomsticks?

The tradition of witches riding in

groups at night is a fascinating one drawn

from the Europe wide Wild Hunt and

Fairy traditions. Carlo Ginzburg recorded

16-17 th century tales of night battles

fought in the air by Italian witches. The

court records of Scotland record multiple

mentions of witches and riding items

such as brooms, bean stalks, straws and

other hollow stems.

The wild hunt or fairy host was said

to be led by many figures depending

Marysia Kolodziej

on country and time period, including;

Diana (Italy), Nicneven (Scotland), Holde

(Germanic), and Odin (Scandinavia).

The idea of riding to or witnessing night

battles is common across the world

and seems to have developed as a way

explaining dreams and hallucinations

and of understanding, prophesying, and

feeling more in control of inexplicable

deaths. It is well understood that the

more understandable something is and

the more we feel some aspect of control

or pattern to it, the less traumatic that

thing becomes. The belief doesn’t have

to be based in fact, it is the feeling of

understanding itself that cushions us

from psychological damage and helps us

to be less afraid. We do not deal well with

the complete unknown. So the role of

witch or shaman in society partly exists

La caza salvaje de Odín, by Peter Nicolai Arbo

to take some of the blame for sickness

and unexpected/inexplicable death. If it

was caused by fairies, ghosts or witches

then these are creatures that can be

propitiated. If someone in your village has

the power to ride with these hunts, then

they may also have the power to protect

you from them.

The flights of witches, their animal

transformations, and the commonality of

their meeting with the dead, fairies and

the Devil speak to shamanic visionary

practices of a type that are still common

in less industrial societies (for example

West Africa and Papua New Guinea)

but rarer in their original forms in the

modern world, where we have less need

for explanations of and protections from

inexplicable death and are less likely

to experience extremes of exhaustion,

starvation and illness which can facilitate

such experiences.

The tangle of information we have from

the Scottish witch trials is a mish mash

of lies put into the mouths of people by

interrogators, made up stories to make

the pain stop, and genuine reporting of

folk magic viewed through the lens of

Christians obsessed with the Devil. In

this can be found the traces of visionary

and dream work similar to that seen in

modern magical societies, but largely lost

in our own. Let us look at the texts...

From the trial records of Isobel Gowdie,

April 1662, we read the following;

“When we go to any house we take meat

and drink, and we fill up the barrels with

our own piss again, and we put besoms

in our beds with our husbands till we

return again to them, we were in the Earl

of Murray’s house in Darnvay and we got

anewgh there and did eat and drink of the

best, and brought pairt with us we went

in at the windows I had a little horse and

would say horse and hattock in the Devil’s

name, and then we would fly away where

we would be even as straws would fly upon

an high way, we will fly like straws when

we please wild straws and corn straws will

be horse to us when we put them betwixt

our foot, and say horse and hattock in

the Devil’s name, and when any sees

these straws in the whirlwind, and do not

sanctify themselves, they we may shoot

them dead at our pleasure, any that are

shot by us, their soul will go to heaven but

their bodies remain with us, and will fly as

horse to us all as small as straws.”

A more explanatory text is found in Dr.

Johnne Feann/Fian’s trial record of 1590 in

North Berwick;

68 69

“where he was struck in great ecstacies

and trances, lying by the space of two

or three hours dead, his spirit taken;

and suffered himself to be carried and

transported to many mountains, as

though through all the world”...

“for the suffering of himself to be

carried to North Berwick Kirk (he being

lying in an close bed in Preston-pans) as

if he had been flying fast across the earth,

where Satan commanded him to make

homage with the rest of his servants”…

“for suffering himself to be carried to the

fairy with Satan; and at the first, he was

skimming over all the fairy out of sight of

land, in a boat” …

“and for the sending of a letter to Marion

Linkup in Leith, to that effect, bidding

her to meet him and the rest, in the fairy,

within five days.” … “in the which chase, he

was carried high above the ground, with

great swiftness, and as lightly as the cat

herself, over a high dyke”

John was accused among other things of

bewitching people, raising winds, sinking

ships, and prophesying people’s deaths.

His confession was only made after severe

torture and he later denied it despite

further torture.

Further references from this large trial

come from Agnes Sampson; “that upon

the night of Allhallow Eve last, she was

accompanied, as well with the persons

aforesaid, as also with a great many other

witches, to the number of two hundred,

and that they all together went to sea,

each one in a sieve, and went into the

same very substantially, with flagons of

wine, making merry and drinking by way

of the same sieves, to the Kirk of North

Berwick in Lothian” Eight trials in total

mention sieves.

Isobell Elliot in 1678 reported how “she

left her bodie in Pencaitland, and went in

the shape of a corbie (crow) to Laswade”.

The likely explanation of such beliefs

is a mirror of that seen in modern trance

based shamanic type journeys. During

certain types of trance or visionary

experience the person lies stiff and still

as if dead. It was sometimes believed

that what lay there was just an image of

the person and not their true self, often

made out of wood or an item bewitched

to appear as the person. Complications

come from the various beliefs in multiple

types of body, spirit and soul. Commonly

it was envisioned that there is a physical

body, but also a lighter spiritual or subtle

body that can travel unseen, and thirdly

a soul. This tripartite concept was likely

created during the medieval period to

explain how you can go to heaven and

yet seem to remain on earth as both a

ghost/ancestor and a separate rotting

dead body. But multiple variations of

Christian belief complicated matters

and there was huge variation in the

understanding of the spirit, soul and

body. Many versions of these ideas can

be found across the world. People could

only explain their vivid dream and trance

visions by assuming they must have a

subtle body that can travel unseen or in

the form of an animal or indeed flying on

a bean stalk. What they experience feels

so real that it must be real. Other people’s

claims that their bodies are still there can

only be explained away by saying that

is something left behind to fool people,

either their empty physical body or

something else such as a besom (broom)

transfigured into the likeness of their


What does this mean for us as witches?

Working with dreams and visions is a

tricky area in the modern world. Extreme

forms of trance work such as dancing

for hours, fasting for days and taking

hallucinatory toxins have become less

common. Dreams are understood by

society to be fantasy not reality. If we

dream of flying we don’t assume we must

have actually flown.

Certainly several aspects of medieval

Scottish life made dream visions and

trance states more likely and to be taken

more seriously. Deprivation, exhaustion

and illness all increase the likelihood of

experiencing hallucinations and trance

states, as does long and repetitive labour

such as spinning. Another important

facet are the different sleep patterns that

abounded in that time period. Having

no electrical light, little work could

be accomplished during the hours of

darkness, and that at some times of year

accounted for as much as seventeen hours

of the day (at winter solstice). As such

a pattern of two periods of sleep with

an hour or so of light repose in between

during the depths of night was commonly

experienced. This hour or so of light

repose lent itself to both trance states and

better remembrance of dreams.

The belief that the subtle body could

leave behind the sleeping body and travel

across the world, meet with people and

enter the world of the Elves meant that

experiences that occurred during dream

and trance state were often understood

to have actually happened despite any

evidence to the contrary.

The question that impresses itself upon

me is whether we can still experience the

trance states and spirit communications

that our ancestors experienced so

strongly? And what information do we

or should we hope to gain from such





Piercing the Veil: The Experience of Trance in

Early Modern Scotland

The Visions of Isobel Gowdie by Emma Wilby

Scottish Witches and Witch-Hunters edited by

Julian Goodare

Criminal Trials of Scotland Volume 1 – Pitcairn

70 71


Cara Hamilton


ara Hamilton is a Witch originally

from Dusseldorf, Germany but

has lived most of her life in

Scotland. She specialises in historical

Witchcraft and Séance phenomena

She is a prominent media Occult

Consultant, Newspaper Astrologer and

stage Mindreader who has performed

extensively across Europe and North

America with her Occult Stage Show

“Espiritisme” as well as several years of

sell out performances of The Witches of


Cara on stage at the 2019 Scottish Pagan Conference Photo by Andy Burns

In 2019 I was honoured to be the

headline performer at the Scottish Pagan

Federation Conference with my “Witches

of Pollok” presentation. It is a tale of

Scotland in the 17 th century, of Witches,

Covenanters, Necromancers and Weimar

German Psychic wonders.

The whole concept of The Witches

of Pollok is multi-layered. Its starting

Sir George Maxwell by unknown artist

point being the story of King James VI

of Scotland, his role in the witch panic,

how Sir George Maxwell of Pollok, former

Covenanter and prominent Witch hunter

was struck down by demonic affliction

on his way back from a Witch Trial in

Greenock and how the accused Witches

were burned at the stake for their crimes.

In 1676 Janet Mathie Stewart, her son

John Stewart, Margery Craig, Bessie Weir

and Margaret Jackson were implicated

by a young servant called Janet Douglas

who just happened to know where to find

a wax effigy with pins in it within Janet

Mathie Stewart’s house. The five witches

were burned at the stake in Paisley in

February the following year. The servant

Janet Douglas later became a Minister’s

wife and set up home in Edinburgh. She

was later sent to the colonies in disgrace,

as once settled in Scotland’s capital she

accused a great many of being witches,

and people got very tired of it, knowing

how serious the accusation could pr ove

to be. She even made lewd accusations of

the demonic sexual gymnastics engaged

in by the Judge at her trial.

This presentation is held 5-6 times

a year at Pollok House in Glasgow and

tickets sell out in hours.

and top hat was gunned down in an act of

anti-Semitic execution.

“To begin at the beginning” as Dylan

Thomas scribed in Under Milkwood. The

point of “The Witches of Pollok” is to

provide a framing of the times and where

it leads; the experiences, the skills and

arts the witches of the time were said to


Bookstores and library shelves are

groaning with works on historical

witchcraft and many read old records,

folklore and recollections. However,

that does little to provide an actual

understanding of the emotions and

thoughts at play in the era. It makes the

modern mind reach back and feel those

emotions and process them. As only once

you can see first-hand can you truly relate

to it.

The Witches of Pollok steps beyond

the tale of those tied to wooden stakes,

strangled before being burned, their flesh

bubbling, fat spurting with the fresh sap

of the stakes. The tale ventures far deeper

and travels far further than might be at

first imagined. It leads to a forest outside

Berlin where a 43 year old man in cloak

Photograph by Elsie Wright in 1917 showing Frances

Griffiths with the fairies

72 73

In short, the audience not just sees

historical witchcraft artefacts from my

personal collection, but actually witnesses

them used for the very purposes they were

popularly ascribed. If you have not seen

my presentation, ask yourself honestly

how you would feel if you saw a Witch

grip a wax effigy and before your eyes

observed a completely innocent soul feel

the effects?

A rare still of Hanussen working the Blocksberg Tryst

The first performance proved to be

deeply controversial as when I conducted

that feat, some audience members

thought it was an illusion with a plant,

paid to sit in the audience. In fact, they

were very vocal about it. Since then

however it has been recognised that there

are no such plants. Everyone is a genuine

member of the audience.

I have two effigies with me at these

performances, one being clay from 17 th

century Glasgow and a wax one from

1900 West Yorkshire. The finding of the

clay effigy will remain private. The Wax

effigy comes from Cottingley, the town

near Bradford, made famous because for

the fairy photographs, held as clear and

genuine proof of psychic phenomena by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

There is a connection with the Wizard

of West Bow, Thomas Weir, Covenanter,

darling of the Kirk and self-confessed

Devil worshipper and committer of incest

with his sister Grizel. Both were burned

at the stake in Edinburgh. His walking

cane given by the Devil was thrown into

the flames and onlookers were in shock

as it danced with glee in the flames.

Research revealed the Wizard came from

the same area as Pollok witch Bessie Weir

and Weir being a very minor surname in

this period; gives rise to great speculation;

as surely they were related.

Weir was known to conduct a

Necromancy ritual known as the

“Black Mirror” which used a particular

concentration technique that would later

be employed by Weimar Berlin Psychic

superstar Erik Jan Hanussen. Real name

Hermann Steinschneider, this Hitler

favourite was to turn a goat into a man

with a ritual called the Blocksberg Tryst.

This ritual conducted at the German

Witch mountain of Brocken. SS Runic

Magicians could not accomplish this.

Hanussen however did, and before

an audience of Nazi High Command,

completely surrounded and on film too.

Even today Illusionists cannot

explain a method of how this could be

accomplished by trickery. Hanussen in

his Occult Nightclub “The Palace of the

Occult”, took the stage and performed

a particularly arcane mind reading act.

This in fact was a redressing of the Black

Mirror. Eventually Hanussen’s world fell

apart, he was exposed as an Austrian Jew.

The authorities took him into the forest

and sprayed him with a hail of bullets. I

have heard people say “he should have

escaped when the Nazis took power;

but how can you when you are the most

famous psychic and stage performer in

the world. There would surely be a dagger

in the dark somewhere, and he knew it.

The presentation concludes with me

attempting the Hanussen Black Mirror

ritual with the entire audience involved.

It pleases me my presentation has been

successful in revealing to the general

public the true nature of why people

were burned at the stake. Staunch

Roman Catholics have said their eyes

were opened and they felt so awful

for the poor women and men burned

as Witches. Wiccans, Pagans, OTO,

Buddhists, Satanists, Christians of

several denominations, Spiritualists and

Atheists have all seen the presentation

and found it very educational and highly

entertaining. The story of our Witchcraft

and trial by popular superstition

continues in many places around the

world however and it is my earnest prayer

that it can be stopped.

A builder found the Cottingley effigy

under floorboards of an old terrace house.

He left it in place for me to remove and

investigate. I dated the effigy as 1900,

after checking old nail patterns. Some

aspects of the presentation I wish to keep

cloaked as I do not wish to ruin it for


future audiences.

You can find out more about Cara on her websites:

74 www.carahamilton.co.uk





A DRUID in the 21st century scotland

Star Seeds planted by the

Druids, and what is a Druid in

21st Century Scotland.“

By Aria Ardhallow Druid.

Druids were a huge part of Celtic

culture. They were recognised as pagan

religious leaders, Astronomers who

charted and looked to the skies, for signs

and directions, they used their skills as

Sages for foretelling how events would

turn out in battles etc. , They were

Bards, that told stories around the fire

side, ancient story tellers that used their

captive audience as a way of passing on

this ancient knowledge, sowing the seeds

for future generations. The knowledge

that has survived today in one way or

another, through our Celtic lore, and

Mythology, and chiefly the written words

by the Roman emperor “Caesar”about the

character and functions of the Druids.

I personally believe that it’s imbedded

in our DNA, and comes to the surface

through dreams, visions, and Shamanic

journeys of the mind.

Events in England in the 1940’s and

50’s which eventually filtered down into

Scotland, was the growth of a universal

Belief system that bloomed, and became

known as the “Ancient Druid Order” this

attracted two figures, who would act as

catalysts shedding light, and regrowth of

the old ways, that which we call Paganism

today. Their names were Gerald Gardner,

and Ross Nichols. Gardner, who became a

Aria Ardhallow Druid

well known figure in the promotion of the

religion of Wicca, or pagan witchcraft,

while Nichols developed Druidism,

by focusing on the seeds planted by

the Druids, searching through Celtic

lore, and mythology. Both Nichols and

Gardner adopted the eightfold cycle of

observances, which now lies at the heart

of both Druidry, and Wiccan, to this

present day.

Druids core beliefs remains unchanged

to this day, but like all things to survive

in an ever changing era, you must adapt

to the world that surrounds you. Druids

still hold reverence to all life on Mother

Earth. The Sky father above and the

Mother below us. Druids are still open

to the magick of being alive on this ever

changing earth, using the bounty of the

Mother, like the use of herbs for healing

and also knowledgeable of their magickal

properties. The polytheistic Druids still

maintaining a strong connection, and

reverence for the old gods.

Druids observe the eightfold cycle of

festivals here in Scotland, by gathering

in a grove, or beside a nearby loch, or

just celebrate on their own. Druid groups

are similar to “Druids of the Awen ,“ the

group I practice with, although there

are subtle differences, there would be a

shared lunch among fellow Druids. It’s a

time of exchanging gifts, and the energy

within this sacred space sparkles with

earthen vibrations, that you cannot see

nor touch. The person who organises the

ritual on the day, is called “The Ancient. “

The Ancient will speak about the time

of year, and its significance, with perhaps

storytelling, music, or poetry. Druids

during their ritual may have a healing

pool, where a stone is put in the water

with the intent and energy for healing.

Druid ritual in many traditions usually

begins with what is known as “The Call

for Peace”. It is an affirmation that there

is peace between everyone involved, and

that there be peace sent throughout the

the whole earth.

“The Druid’s Vow” also is a common

aspect of many Druid rituals. It is said

by holding hands in the form of a circle.

It is known as a bond ritual, bringing the

group closer together as one. The words

are said 3 times,

“We swear by peace and love to stand,

Heart to heart, and hand in hand, Mark!

O Spirit, and hear us now, Confirming

this, our sacred vow”.... also the Awen is

chanted 3 times, pronounced A~Oo~N.

Prayer and devotional practices are

central to many Druids spiritual life.

In ancient times it has been said that

it took 20 years of training before you

could call yourself a Druid, but times

have changed. If you are dedicated you

could do an on line course, for example

like myself join O.B.O.D. and complete it

in as early as 2 years, or you may wish to

find your knowledge, through practicing

Druidry within a group. The Scottish

groups I have known personally are

“Druids of the Awen”, based in Argyll.

“The Druids of Caledon”, and “ Tuatha

de Bridget “ that both gather in Glasgow.

These groups can be found online, and

there may also be other group’s you could

find local to where you live.

One characteristic of modern day

76 77

Druidism is the degree to which it is free

of dogma, or sets of beliefs or practices.

Druids like other Earth based practices,

feel they are at home in the natural world,

Druids feel the inspiration of the Awen

flowing through their veins, they work

with nature, in engaging in practices

of Creativity, spirituality, Herbalism,

Healing, Storytelling, Mindfulness, and

have a Deep connection with Mother


In this modern world today Druids try

to leave as small a foot print as possible, if

only by recycling a small piece of plastic,

to joining demonstrations to prevent the

oceans from being polluted. Most Druids

will have Planted a tree, or even a Celtic

tree Circle, like the one we planted at

Roukinglen in Glasgow, when I was part

of “The Druids of Caledon”. Mother Earth

needs all of our help, as Druids we are

conservationist, and try to get across the

warning not to allow chemicals into our

water ways, thus preserving the womb of

the Mother.

Animals are revered as sacred by the

Druids, as we believe that animals exist

both in the physical world and in the

other realm. Druids do their best to

protect these animals in what ever way

they can, as their habitats could possibly

be disturbed or destroyed by developers,

or by other careless humans.

Over the years I have been asked many

questions, but not as often as , “what dose

a modern day Druid look like ?”and “do

they walk about in white robes and bare

feet.?“ Well to answer that question. I am

a Druid and if you see me out in Nature,

I will be wearing hiking boots, jeans, a

fleece and a warm hat, ready for what ever

the Scottish weather shrouds me in. But I

look forward to don-ning my white robes

and attending our sacred gatherings, in

celebration of the ever changing seasons.

The festival prior to writing this was

the “spring Equinox”, or “Alban Eilir”. In

flowing hooded white, I stood bare foot

on the stones of free speech (the Earth),I

burned the first fire of spring as I lit our

bone fire, and In my hand, my gnarled

staff, my spirit. The water and the seeds

were blessed by the lady of Alban Eilir,

before returning the seeds to the Earth,

and the water to the Loch. A stone was

put in the Healing pool for all in need of

support. The beat of the drum echoed

across the mist shrouded Loch, as we gave

offerings to the Cailleach or Biera. I stood

there in our circle of Magick. I wondered

how similar our ancestors gatherings

would have been to ours, would they

have been much different. We can only

speculate or dig deep into our psyche for

an answer.

The Druid magic of the ancients still

shines and flows through us all, like our

Druid ancestors before us. The Awen of

inspiration shines, we are Bards, healers

and astronomers, charting the Skies. If

you take a moment, and go even more

deeper into your inquisitive mind, ask

yourself were star seeds planted by

our Ancestors, the soil then turned

shedding light into the darkness in the

20th century, and are we now nearing

that harvest in the 21st century, now that

man’s creative mind has ventured to

explore the stars and beyond.

My thoughts as a Druid is that

technology should not replace, nor

remove the human psyche, we must

maintain our own time, and space,

allowing us to maintain, and sustain the

balance of nature, and Mother Earth,

until the day comes that we leave our

Mother, and venture for the stars...

78 79

80 81


hen Ness Bosch came to

Scotland she did so with at the

behest of her gods, in blind faith

and without the full vision of what they

were asking of her. Even so, she packed

her bags, closed her Goddess Temple in

Spain and followed that call of the gods

to Scotland, trusting that they would

continue to guide her. Already settled in

Scotland, that vision is now much clearer

and if everything continues on the same

track we will have a temple of the goddess

in Scotland.

Here less than a year, Ness already

organizes moots and groups and intends

to continue doing so after this Pandemic

Passes. She also began the training in

the first spiral of the priesthood of the

goddess in December last year, though it

has had to move online for the moment.


Interview with Ness Bosch

and I have always felt very connected to

Egypt since I was a child. Somehow it

seemed to me a parallel to my own life,

although I am not a princess hahaha.

What can you tell us about the Temple


Well the intention was that it had to

be kind of Scottish. I found an ancient

pictish symbol of a mermaid and used it

as a base, modifying it to create the logo.

Scotland is land of selkies and mermaids,

they are not only glens and deer, it is also

sea, islands, water... So it had to have

the element represented in some way.

The mermaid seemed ideal to me. A

horned mermaid holding a thistle and a

unicorn horn. The antlers representing

the highlands. I think it’s pretty clear!

The last thing I added was the detail of

the ank in the belly button, for Scota the

princess of Egypt.

What is the Scota Goddess Temple?

The Scota Goddess Temple is a Pagan

Temple, based Kilmarnock, Ayrshire,

but also open to celebrate moots and

rituals in other places. We intend to keep

meeting in Kilmarnock and Glasgow,

but I am hoping to be able to have events

in other cities in Scotland if people is

interested. The Temple is open to anyone

in path of search in the Spiritual Realms,

based on mutual respect, personal

responsibility and honor, as long as they

define themselves as earth centered and

polytheistic. We do have a minimum age

to enter the training, but moots are open

to families also. Our tutelary deity is the


The Objectives of the Scota Goddess


1º Serve the Mysteries and the Divinity

in any of its forms and manifestations,

and built Community.

It is not easy to define Ness Bosch,

because she has so many different aspects

to her, but if there is something that

becomes clear when you meet her, it

is that she is unique for many reasons,

a strong woman who shines for her

knowledge, a true seeker and without a

doubt an exceptional priestess.

In this interview we are going to find

out a bit more about the Scota Goddess


Why Scota Goddess Temple?

Because Scota is for some the mother

of Scotland, her descendants the Scots

settled in Argyll and ended up giving the

country its name. I thought it would be

a good way to honor her. Although her

story reaches us orally, we know that she

was exiled from Egypt in Iberia and from

there her family arrived in Ireland and

Scotland bringing with them something

as important to the Scottish people as the

Stone of Destiny. Some think that Scota

was Meritaten, daughter of Akhenaten

and Nefertiti. I come from Iberia myself,

like the Milesians descendants of Scota

82 83

2º Our main dedication is to Mysteries

and Deities in Alba (the local ones and

those who came with people who made of

Scotland their home bringing their deities

with them), to serve as a center for study

and research.

3º To serve the Goddess and provide

teachings and support to anyone

who wishes to be a candidate for the

priesthood, here in Scotland or in any

other country via internet.

4º To celebrate activities and events

to involve the members and the Pagan

Community not only in Scotland, but

internationally. To promote the Pagan

Heritage of this amazing land.

5º Create Activities, Collaborate and

Participate with other Members or

Groups of the Pagan Community.

6º Promote respect for mother earth

and her living creatures and events

related to ecology.

That sounds very interesting, could

you tell me something more about the

role of the Priestess and the training

you offer from the Temple?

Training as a priestess or priest of the

goddess is not difficult, the difficult thing

is to stay in service and be constant.

Many people think that being a Priestess

of the Goddess is something glamorous

but in reality it is a lot of work. There

is work that is seen, for example, when

you are holding a moot or a celebration,

but there is also a lot of invisible work.

For example, I have worked tirelessly to

coordinate the SPF Visions of Magick

Online Conference, nobody has any idea

of the long hours I spent doing so, but it

is part of my work as a priestess, to bring

my knowledge or gifts to the service of the

Pagan community.

Ness and Garry Jeffrey

In addition, to help the pagans who are

quarantined by the pandemic, I decided

to offer the training of the First Spiral of

the Temple Online and free of charge.

It does normally have a small donation

per encounter, to cover material for the

temple and altars, transport or the rent

of venues for meetings. This offer was for

people not initiated into the mysteries,

neophytes. I thought it would be a way

to sustain others and keep the flame of

the goddess alive, as a priestess, even if

it was in the distance. In exchange for

this offering, my energy and guidance,

of course, work and commitment are


The training of the Temple itself as I

say is not difficult. All the members who

seek ordination with us would serve a

basic training and preparation divided in

3 spirals:

· 1st Spiral: the Path of the Melissae. 1

year training to unfold the first steps into

the Priesthood. A beautiful opportunity

to Open the Invisible Realms to bring the

Ancient Ones.

· 2nd Spiral: The Path of the Walking

Seed. 1 year training to go deeper into the

Mysteries and embody the Seed of the

Sacred Priestess.

· 3rd Spiral: The Path of the Priestess.

9 Months training We go deeper into the

Work of the Priestess and Mysteries and

you will embody your Goddess/Deity at

Heart to be able to serve the Community

as Priestess.

It seems to me an extraordinary

offering. How have people responded?

Well in truth, considering that there is

a selection process by age and experience,

right now there is a nice group. There

are people from Scotland but also from

countries like Egypt, Serbia, Spain or

USA. The year work calendar and the

deities in Scotland I had already, but for

the others who are in other countries it

has been wonderful to help them too, and

see how they have taken my guidance to

enable them to create their own calendars

with local deities and the Shrines. I am

particularly excited about the one we

have created for the USA with Native

American deities from the 4 Directions

of the Continent and the Center using

the Medicine Wheel and while including

tribal deities from those directions. I am

especially proud of it since I myself am

a student of Amerindian cultures and I

followed the red road for several years.

The truth is that what you tell gets

more interesting with each question!

What about deities in Scotland? Can

you tell us more about them?

Yeah sure. All the info is in our Website.

We have a deity for each month of the

year, local deities, some of whom we

know quite a bit like Cailleach but also

others of whom we know very little and

whose name hardly reached us because

they were collected by the Romans,

such as Nigra Dea, for example . We also

work with Gods who came to Scotland

brought by people who came to this land,

Vikings, Celts, Romans... To think that

deities belong to a place is kind of a small

mistake, the deities travel with people, in

their hearts.

Although it is a first spiral, we could

say the work to be advanced in some

way because we do not limit ourselves

to the information that we have, it is

a very shamanic priesthood and I use

Dick Institute in Kilmarnock

84 85

Journeys through realms to take people

to communicate with the gods and get

information from them first hand. This

is extremely valuable when they are

gods that are practically unknown and

also for shamanically traveling to the

Shrines. When we travel shamanically

we can see things that we do not see

when we physically move, we can meet

magical creatures etc. It is very exciting.

I have read wonderful experiences on

these journeys and they are extremely

transformative. But as I said it is a lot of

work, I do not give anything if I do not see

an answer. Who does not work does not


It seems that it is not the typical

priesthood from what you tell us. How

was your training as a priestess?

It’s funny but I came to the path of the

priestesses after many years in a shamanic

path and as a solo practitioner of magic.

After facing a tumor, I survived but the

experience transformed me in many

aspects, took me to very deep places

and ended up studying the Sea Priestess

training that helped me dive into the

depths of this new self, which by the way

is also very Shamanic. I expanded the

priesthood that I took, it somehow spit

me on the beach after a terrible storm

but I saw that I could do much more with

it. I began to impart it in Spanish to the

international Hispanic community in

2012 but of course I also do it in English.

From that Priesthood and the Temple of

Waters, The Covenant of the Waters was

born. I continue guiding those who look

for me to the depths of the element of

water and their own shadow.

In 2015 I began my relationship with

The Fellowship of Isis. I am a Hierophant

Priestess and I hold a Lyceum, in addition

Steffy Vonscott and Ness

to also belonging to other Orders within

the FOI. There are people who work

more, others less. It all depends on each

one, I usually work a lot and that is

reflected in my own work. Not everyone

who has a title of Priestess or Priest of the

Goddess has obtained it in the same way.

Every teacher is different. I feel fortunate

for the teachers I have had, for those who

demanded little from me too, because

I learned that I could improve and in

the end I found better teachers. I now

have a reputation for being a demanding

or tough teacher. I don’t care, I really

prefer it. I can’t be fluffy coming from the

Red Road where everything is so hard

and after having lived such difficult life

experiences. But I’d rather have a hand

full of students than a school full of

people who don’t work.

How do you see the Scota Goddess

Temple in a few years?

I would like to be able to continue doing

my work as a priestess, helping whoever

seeks the gods or seeks themselves, it is

actually part of the same quest. I wish

I could open the temple several days

a month and be able to receive people

there, celebrate, and decorate the

altars together. See new priestesses and

priests working for their gods and the

community. I want to see a living temple

in Scotland.

And where do you see yourself?

Holding community, bringing the

sacred, it is something that I will not stop

doing. I hope to continue traveling with

my shamanic teachings. In early March,

and with great luck, I returned from a

retreat in Egypt when the crisis was just

breaking out in Europe. I have traveled

through different countries with my

teachings and I hope to continue doing so

after this pandemic. I thank the gods for

bringing me to Scotland because I am so

happy here.

I met wonderful people. I have felt

welcomed from the first day by the pagan

community. Garry Jeffrey was one of

the first pagans I met here in Scotland

in a moot he organized in Glasgow.

He is a highly respected person in the

community and super active, always up

to something. At yule he organized a

wonderful dinner and workshop at his

Grove and we had a great time. He is

always there for you, he was the one who

introduced us also! He has a wonderful

circle of people around him and he is

certainly one of my great supports here

and a good friend. A person to admire. As

I said I’m happy here, Scotland is now my

home. I feel at home.

Thank you Ness. I look forward to the

future of the Scota Goddess Temple!

Steffy Vonscott.


On Facebook: Scota Goddess Temple

86 87

2020 is going to be a very exiting year

for the Scottish Pagan Federation with

the Official Scottish Pagan Tartan

being released. It has been catalogued

and registered by the Scottish Tartan

Authority as an official tartan under

Scottish Pagan Federation where upon

weaving it will be given an Official name

of Official Scottish Pagan Tartan. Though

it has been created with the blessings of

the SPF it will be for ALL pagans not just

those belonging to the SPF.

Deciding on the creation of a Pagan

Tartan has been a journey that we wanted

the pagan public to be part of and thanks

to Facebook we have been able to do just

that. From keeping people up to date,

asking for thoughts via opinion polls

and finally announcing its creation and

registration, it’s been something that

we hope everyone can be proud of as a


Here is its story.

Through the later part of 2019 talk

began initially based on the SPF’s role

within the Interfaith movement and the

tartans already created by the Muslim,

Jewish and Catholic religions amongst

others. Understanding Tartan and its

role in showing community as well as

Paganism now having a strong voice and a

level sitting with Scotland’s other beliefs,

made the Pagan Tartan an obvious next

step on this journey of belonging.

Birth of the scottish pagan tartan

Thomas “Duir” Lanting

Mosman; John Campbell (1749)

Steffy our SPF Presiding Officer, Bren

our pagan history buff and myself got to

chatting about what a Pagan tartan not

only should be but why it is important.

We looked at the other religious /

spiritual group tartans to get an idea

of why they chose what they did. The

Muslim tartan was of particular interest

and provided great inspiration. Its clear

importance that was displayed to tell a

story of its origins and principles.

As the Scottish Pagan Federation

represents all pagan belief structures in

Scotland, the real question was how best

to reflect our eclectic community within a

tartan. Recognising that this was not just

a challenge to create and represent not

just Scottish pagans but those who feel a

connection to Scotland as well as pagans

around the world who feel drawn to call it

their own.

The first idea worked on was to follow

the wheel of the year via the changing

tree of life sticking to traditional earthy

colours. The outcome was a beautiful

traditional plaid of greens, oranges and

browns. Lovely as it was, I wanted to play

around with other aspects that bring us

all together.

I wanted the tartan to have it’s central

core around our ancestors, after all they

are the foundations of our culture, D.N.A

and magic that runs through ALL pagans.

The shade of blues was chosen to

represent the Picts, the ancient race

from was known to the Romans as being,

fierce, blue and magical. The Romans

gave them the name Picts due to the blue

decorations on their bodies.

A creamy white was chosen to represent

the Druids. The magical keepers of

the Celtic lands. The druids were well

known to the Romans, well known but

mysterious. To the Picts and Celts the

druids were spiritual teachers, healers

and mentors.

Linking our ancestral practices and our

own we are interconnected to two outer

spheres. The Sun representing the strong

masculine and the Moon representing the

sacred feminine. It only made sense to

interlink a white and gold line around our


Though we may follow different paths

within the same belief structure we

are all joined by 5 principle points. five

elements that without them life would

cease. Wherever we are on the planet,

Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Spirit are

intertwined in our stories, myth’s, legends

and workings.

However, we work with these elements

their energies remain stable so invoking

these colours into the tartan after the Sun

and Moon made sense.

The last colours added were thicker

lines of Green, Purple and Blue. The

shades of Purple and Green though they

serve as the SPF colours, I didn’t want

to make in exclusive, so the blue was

added. Green and purple represent the

landscape and flowers (heather) while

the blue represents the lakes, rivers and

streams that give life to ALL land and it’s


88 89

Having created a tartan using these.

We gave the online public a choice of the

original and the newer one. With more

votes the latter was chosen.

Shades of colours were played around

with and with the final tweaks the result

was what we have today.

A wee history of Tartan.

You’d think this subject would be

straightforward but like much of Scottish

history it is not. Tartan has quite a

confusing heritage, with many countries

including ancient China having produced

forms of tartan weave. China dating back

more than 3000 years.

One of the earliest learnings of Scottish

tartan comes from the Italian historian

Diodorus Siculus (90BC – 30BC) who

wrote “the way they dress is astonishing:

they wear brightly coloured and embroided

shirts, with trousers called bracae and

cloaks fastned at the shoulder with a

brooch, heavy in winter, light in summer.

These cloaks are striped and cheqered

in design, with the seperate checks close

together and in various colours”.

Scotlands earliest traditional form of

tartan is the Falkirk Tartan dating back to

the 3rd century BC.

Original tartan symbolised the region

you belonged to and due to available

natural dyes were more muted greens,

browns, blues and purples. Worn as plaids

(Gaelic feileadh-mór, meaning “great

wrap), these long tartan fabrics were a

source of warmth in the highlands as well

as bedding but in lambing season it was a

great way to keep a poorly lamb warm.

By 1471 James 3rd is noted as using blue

tartan to line his cloak as well as his wifes


artist unkown

Seen as a Scottish symbol both the kilt

and the tartan were outlawed under the

1746 Act of Proscrption in an attempt to

control the Highlanders who supported

the Jacobite Rebellion. After the Battle

of Culloden and the exile of Scotlands

King Charles E Stewart, the tartan almost


The act was repealed in 1782.

With King George’s visit to Edinburgh

in 1822 this changed. Sir Watler Scott the

Scottish romantasist, poet and author

had become friends with the king since

the publication of his novel Waverley

in 1914. It was Sir Walter Scott who is

credited (historicaly / factualy are 2

seperate things) with bringing back the

tartan, not just as a deffinition for the

Highlands but for ALL original CLANS of



A great book was released about the

original clan tartans by the fraudulant

Sobieski brothers who to sell the book

alleged they were grandsons of Bonnie

Prince Charlie.

With the arrival of Queen Vistoria

and her husband Albert in 1842, tartan

realy took off. Both the Queen and her

husband adored Scotland its games and

dress. When the Queen and her husband

turned up to the Great Exhibition in 1851

with her young sons, Albert and Alfred,

decked out in full Highland attire, it

made Tartan a world wide phenominom.

Being adopted by schools throughout

the Empire as schoolwear and fabric for

pencil cases and purses.

Regiments took up tartan to distiguish

themselves around the world. Thanks to

litmus dye and modern weaving process

tartan began the explosion that we now

see today.

90 91

important sense of belonging.

With all this in mind, creating a tartan

for paganism was not just to have one but

to have something that tells a story and

give dignaty in deiverance.


Jade Melany

Tartan quickly moved to being trendy

moving from the Punk scene with

designer Vivian Westwood to being

adopted by the fashion culture of Japan,

with sales of Harris Tweed sky rocketting

and Hello Kitty even having her own


Today Tartan is a proud representation

of belonging. Every country in the world

has developed tartans, whether that be

a family (Clan), golfing club, buisness,

Armed Forces or now a belief.

Tartan has devolped into something

that is synonimous with Scotland. It

promotes, pride, honour and gives an

Like Scotland, paganism down to its

earliest forms gives identity and pride to

many, whever we are in the world it is a

form of Clan and like a Clan tartan, the

Scottish Pagan Tartan hopefully has been

created to allow ALL pagans the ability to

wear who they are with pride.

Though the tartan will be produced

as kilts, waistcoats and ties, the Scottish

Gemini Aspect will be creating cloaks and

robes with wide Scootish Pagan Tartan


Thank you everyone involved and may

you all find a connection and pride in our


Love and Blessings

Thomas ‘Duir’ Lanting


he Priestess of the Silver Star

or High Priestess archetype,

in terms of your journey into

spiritual awakening, is the act of willingly

retreating within to a place of healing and

sanctuary. You must create this yourself,

so that you can commune

with your inner knowing and the

ancestral pool of resources from which

you originated.

The Gnostics call this archetype the

goddess Sophia who is the embodiment

of Wisdom. Your physical body is the

temple through which you can receive

the illumination of the Goddess and your

vessel needs to be cared for with respect,

dignity and love. It needs to be properly

nourished on all planes of existence,

physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Listen again for that small but audible

voice telling you what you ought to do, if

only you would let it speak and be heard

above the noise and chaos of daily life.

This is the realm of dreams, mystical

states, otherworldly experiences and

visions, and getting in touch with your

intuition. In the stillness of silence turn

the attention inwards and seek out that

voice which speaks with inner knowing,

and has waited a long time to be heard,

acknowledged and awakened.

High Priestess artist unknown


Awakening your inner Goddess.

As this is a night time meditation it may

help to do this when it is dark, but if this

is not possible. then block the light by

putting something over your eyes. Total

darkness is best for the desired effect.

With or without gentle music.

It is a good idea to perform this

pathworking at the time when the moon

has just appeared in its crescent form, to

fully appreciate the difference between

the crescent and the full moon energies.

The moon pathworking is very different

to that of meeting the goddess/healer


92 93

Take a moment to bring your energy

and attention within as it is time to

go deep inside yourself. We begin by

regulating your breathing and counting,

and with each inhalation and exhalation

you feel more relaxed. Breathe in to the

count of four and then out to the count

of four. Breathe in to the count of 4 then

breathe out to the count of 4. Repeat this

process until enough time has been given

to get the mind into a peaceful serene

state. Anywhere between 1 minute and 5

is good.

All around you is the dark blue of velvet

midnight and you feel peaceful, calm

and totally relaxed. Enjoy the stillness in

this moment as you become accustomed

to this twilight realm. Look above your

head at the night sky. The deep midnight

blue is pierced with tiny stars twinkling

behind a misty haze. You concentrate and

focus all of your thoughts on the sky and

almost immediately the misty haze begins

to clear.

A tiny sliver of a crescent shines down

upon you and you smile inside at the

horns of the moon revealed to you in this

moment. Your feel a gentle breeze and

sense movement all around you but you

can’t tell where its coming from.

Taking your gaze away from the moon

for a second you notice that the path

underneath your feet is shining with

a silvery luminescence. You feel the

presence of another with you, though

can’t see her, but you feel her and you

shiver with excitement. The path extends

away from you and you can’t see where it

ends, but you feel compelled to follow it

anyway. As if you are being guided by an

unseen source. you begin to move. You

are light on your feet as you travel along

this sacred path.

You can hear the sound of running

water and you notice that there are two

streams either side of you, running

parallel to the path. Keep walking

and follow this path until you reach a

waterfall. The two streams now both

cascade over the edge of this moonlit

waterfall, and as you look over the edge

you see that they fall into a deep inviting

pool a couple of metres below.

You hear a voice whisper to you that you

have to trust your instincts and go down

to this pool. How you get there is your

choice, but know that however you make

the leap, in a few moments you are going

down to bathe in this sacred healing

pool. So pause a few moments for the


The gentle breeze against your skin

makes you feel alive and you boldly walk

back along the silvery path, taking with

you all of your experiences. The presence

of the horned moon guides you back

along the path to where you began your

journey underneath the night sky. Take

a few deep breaths. Wiggle your toes.

Stretch and open your eyes.

Write your experience into your journal

and remember to leave it somewhere you

can reach it in the morning upon waking,

so that you can record any dreams that

you remember. When recording dreams

is is good practice to note the time of

the lunar cycle, date and any significant

symbols and recurring themes.


The Above is an excerpt from the

Forthcoming title Initiate’s Way by

Jade Melany, published by Mandrake of


The recorded version of this can be found here…



You feel the water against your skin.

It is more wonderful than anything you

have ever experienced before. You feel

cleansed, refreshed, and all of your cares,

worries and concerns have gone. This is

your sanctuary and you can visit as often

as you like when you the need healing

and peace of this moonlit pool. Allow

memories to surface here, open yourself

up to the whole of your consciousness

and bathe in the stream of all that is you.

The cards are here


Take as much time as you need. When

you are ready step out of the water. The

air is just right. Not too warm and not too


artist unknown

94 95

urban deities (photographic series)


Urban Deities is a conceptual portraiture

series. For this series I drew inspiration from

Greek Mythology; I focused on a few deities

and tried to represent them as if they were

living amongst us in the 21st century.

This is the triple-form representation for

Selene, the goddess of the moon.

96 97

© Yuriy Marinov


The universal archetype for mother. The

mother of all humanity regardless of the

culture or religion we all come from. Red

is the blood that runs in our veins and blue

is the sky we all see. We used the treasures

of the earth to build the societies we live

in. ow we mistreat our mother and we take

advantage of her gifts. Look! She’s even a

fashion icon now and she is in despair.

We are all brothers and sisters on the

same sphere we call The Earth. We are

born and we die on that small planet and

the meantime is what we call life. To

appreciate nature is to appreciate life. She

is the mother. She is the creator. She is the

alchemist of all beings. She has been here

long before us and will be long after us. She

doesn’t need us but we need her.

We, the children of The Earth.

© Yuriy Marinov

Photography and Design

98 https://www.behance.net/yuri_marinov 99

contact: y_marinov@yahoo.com



Creative Direction:

Ness Bosch

Cover Illustrations:

Julia Jeffrey

Layout and Design:

Yuriy Marinov

(2) image by www.paintingvalley.com

100 1,2


urban deities: the Oracle by Yuriy Marinov


© Julia Jeffrey

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