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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A long overdue update

It seems like forever since I've managed to post an update. It has been a very busy summer. With Wyld Fire I've been running around the country dressed as a viking... and honing my craft skills. I've gotten more involved with Gordon's side of "Hedge-Witchery & Wyld Fire", and I've started doing more and more work with the traditional horn products and making some jewelry that ties in with what Gordon is trying to achieve with Wyld Fire. We certainly seem to be heading in the right direction and have recently received notification that we have been nominated for a Countryside Alliance Award. It's lovely to see the feedback we are getting, and great that people seem to really appreciate the lengths we go to with the traditional manufacturing processes and materials.

I've been pretty busy with my own side of the business too. My second book "Quick & Easy Tarot" has recently been released and is receiving some very nice reviews. One of the major things I've been working on is establishing Hedge-Witchery as a membership site. The new site, www.hedge-witchery.co, offers both a free membership area and a full membership area, that costs from £4.99. All of the articles and information that was free still is, so don't worry about that disappearing. What it does mean is that the Full Membership area offers online courses, books and meditations for people to use whenever they like. I'm still spending a lot of hours building content in there, and am currently editing the videos for the online "Introduction to Magic Ritual" course. There is already a "Tarot Part 1: The Major Arcana" course, and a "Introduction to Journeying" course on there, as well as ebook versions of "Witchery" and "Quick & Easy Tarot", and several guided meditations, the most recent of which is exclusively available to members.

Between all this I've been writing my third book "The Modern Haegtes" which will be released next year.

We have been doing a lot of events recently, which is fantastic, as it gives me a chance to hang out with like-minded people and have fun as well as working. We have been excitedly looking forward to "Meet the Other Folk", the Samhain event we host at Bede's World, there are still tickets available and it looks set to be a fantastic night.    

Monday, 15 July 2013

Nine Herbs Charm

Dramatic reading of the Nine Herbs Charm, by The Moss Troopers, at Bede's World.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Book Review: Hekate: Keys to the Crossroads, edited by Sorita D'Este

To put things into perspective let me start off this review by saying Hekate is not a goddess who I work with, or am likely to in the future. However I still found this a very interesting read.

Over all I really enjoyed this book. If you are want a good introduction to Hekate this seems the perfect choice. It also makes an interesting read for anyone interested spirituality and how working with a specific deity influences different people in different ways. 

Patron Dety

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Here we go again... this time the Lancashire Evening Post!

So another day another sh*tty attempt at journalism! This time from the morons at Lancashire Evening Post.

The article is reporting incidents of horse attacks in Lancashire, and despite a total lack of evidence points the finger at the "Pagan or satanic" community. That's right, they've done such a piss-poor job of researching this they actually think Paganism and Satanism are the same thing... and no they aren't talking about LaVey Satanism, the article makes it quite clear they are talking about "devil worshippers".

The article goes on to say:

“'Apparently across the UK attacks on horses go up around this time of year to coincide with the solstice,' said a Lancashire police spokesman."

"Apparently" what the hell do they mean "apparently". They're a police spokesman, they should have facts in front of them before making a statement like this. Did it not also occur to them that late May/early June is also the start of Horse Fair season... is that not perhaps a less tenuous link as, well, it's actually has something to do with horses.

“The owner of the first horse thought at first they were wounds from barbed wire,” said PC Dave Kerfoot, the community beat manager for Garstang. “But the cuts were very clean and have clearly been done with a sharp blade like a Stanley knife or a razor.

Then we were called in when four horses in a field not too far away were also discovered with cuts. They were all on the left back leg around the buttock area, so it was obviously a deliberate attack."
Are you sure about that, as last time the police made a statement like this it prompted Ted Barnes, a field officer with the International League for the Protection of Horses to make a counter statement saying:
"'In by far the largest percentage of cases where the animal has been harmed, it is either self-inflicted or inflicted by another horse. A lot of people find this hard to believe, but it does happen,' Barnes said.
In the majority of cases where a horse has been attacked by a human, a personal feud is the motive."

The article goes on:

“We have been researching the subject of Pagan or satanic attacks on horses and there have been quite a few across the country over the last few years linked to the summer solstice.
Apparently it’s something to do with collecting blood. It’s weird. But it is also very upsetting. We would like to apprehend whoever is doing this before they can do any more damage."
Seriously!? Where on earth have you been doing your research, Buffy, Charmed... a little Tales Of Unexpected? It certainly wasn't from any academic source or the Pagan Federation who's many members and representatives are very  justifiably up in arms over this article.

"“There was a spate of attacks on horses in Lancashire in 2008 and we arrested someone in Blackpool but that was slightly different.”

Would these be the ones killed in the arson attack, or the dogs? I assume by "slightly different" you were inferring that they had been proved to have sod all to do with Paganism, where as because these ones are unsolved you can continue to use them to further your prejudices.
I have asked a few different people, including the newspaper themselves, what they think of this blatant negative religious profiling of what is now the 7th biggest faith group in the UK and will update this article as and when I receive them.


I have now received a very prompt reply from Mike Hill, Associate Editor of Lancashire Evening Post. He is very concerned at the level of outrage this article has prompted.  He does, quite rightly, point out that the parts of the article that cause the most offence are direct quotes from Lancashire Police, who have made their view on this matter very clear on their facebook page as well as in the press. Going forward they have invited me to help ensure a balanced view of this is put forward from them, I will of course be doing this.

---------------UPDATE 2--------------

I was sent the following statement from Mike Stygal, President of The Pagan Federation England & Wales:

"These terrible attacks upon horses are not a feature of any recognised Pagan path. Pagan paths find the sacred in nature and harming nature is, consequently incompatible with Pagan paths. Spending any extended period of time investigating Pagan links to these crimes is extremely likely to be a waste of police time and funds. Satanism is not a form of Paganism. Unfortunately, when horrible crimes of this nature occur, people often recall fictional accounts of evil doers who are sometimes portrayed as Pagans by fiction authors and film directors."

I have forwarded this to the Lancashire Evening Post and received a reply saying they will edit their online article to include this statement by this evening.

----------UPDATE 3-------------------

I have now also been sent the below statement from the Pagan Police Association, this has also been forwarded on the the Lancashire Evening Post.

"Official PPA response to Lancashire Evening Post article ‘Horses slashed with blades in suspected satanic attacks’ published 29/06/13.
On 29th June 2013 the Police Pagan Association received an official complaint from a member of the Lancashire Pagan community regarding an article featured in the Lancashire Evening Press relating to the injuring of horses in the Garstang area.
The cause for the complaint were the comments attributed to PC Kerfoot and the confusion of Paganism with Satanism; we have since received three further complaints, two of which are from Pagan members of Lancashire Constabulary.
This complaint is being treated with the utmost seriousness and is being treated as a formal complaint for the purposes of Home Office and ACPO recording. The Police Pagan Association has a duty to fully investigate the complaint, but also to resolve any issues around misunderstanding and training within the police service.
The Police Pagan Association is currently working with senior officers within Lancashire Constabulary, including PC Kerfoot’s senior line manager, to address the issue and ensure that incidents of this type do not recur.
I feel that it is important to note that although the comments attributed to PC Kerfoot have caused concern, the published article itself is sensationalist and uneducated, and merely perpetuates the stigmatisation of the Pagan community.
The Police Pagan Association has maintained a good working relationship with Lancashire Constabulary since 2009, and I am assured that, with our involvement, the complaints that have been put forward will be dealt with thoroughly, fairly and openly.
I know from experience that the views attributed to PC Kerfoot are not those of Lancashire Constabulary as a whole, and the Police Pagan Association is involved in their investigation into the complaint, which Lancashire Constabulary has now referred to its professional standards department.
Whilst I can assure the Pagan Community that we are working to resolve this issue to the satisfaction of all, I also feel it necessary to encourage those who are affected by the article to practice restraint, and to ensure that any correspondence and dialogue remains constructive and amenable.
The Police Pagan Association remains committed to supporting Pagan officers and staff and, by working together, improve the relationship between the Pagan community and the police service.
PC Andrew Pardy
Founding Chair, Police Pagan Association"

Monday, 3 June 2013

Are we still stereotyping?

A lot of people who read my rambling will probably think of themselves as evolved individuals capable of rational judgment and thought. The type of people who can base their views of people and situations on the facts and not on stereotypes and propaganda. Now to be fair most of you lovely people are capable of this type of free thinking... but my question here is how capable?

Let me first share with you two recent news stories to appear in "red top" newspapers.

Firstly there was this one spitting venom about a lady "claiming handouts as a jobless single person", when she'd just married her same sex partner in a star trek themed wedding.

Then there was this one protesting against "an elderly dementia sufferer" who has been asked to pay back benefits that were "overpaid".

Now on first glance a lot of people would look at these two articles and agree with the tone in which they have both been written... but lets take a look at the similarities in the reported facts:
- Both women were overpaid benefits (one of £16000 and one of £12000).
- Both overpayments were the result of a mistake on forms.
- Neither had any previous history of similar issues.

So despite the totally opposing tones of the articles, the facts of the cases are actually very similar... surely they were both legally dealt with in the same way? Well no actually they weren't. The first lady was handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay back the money in full. The second lady was asked to payback £10 a week, and given that would take her until she's 120, probably won't pay the money back in full.

So what were the crucial differences that separated these two similar cases, turning one woman into a hated criminal and one into a victim of government pettiness. Well quite simply one is a lesbian who loves Star Trek where as the other is elderly and "During World War II,... served in the Highland Light Infantry".

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I want to see little old ladies up in court or starving beause of a mistake on a form. I'm also not saying the government should be ignoring overpayments and letting everyone just keep the money. What I'm saying is people and situations like this should be judged on the facts, not pre-formed perceptions.

Now we've all complained about the press doing this, especially the "red tops", but if you hadn't looked at both articles side by side, and looked specifically at the facts rather than the story, would you have disagreed with them?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Book Review: A Witch's Mirror, by Levannah Morgan

A Witch's Mirror: The Art of Making Magic offers you an overview of traditional witchcraft as practised in Devon. The book stays away from complex and ceremonial rituals that are often found in modern magical practices, and focuses more on the simple ways in which witchcraft can become part of your everyday life. The back cover reads:

“Magic is something that should be lived. Much of the magic in this book is about apparently simple things, it is the author's belief that these things, experienced with all the senses, and done with intent, can be deep forms of magic and have the most profound effect, and be just as powerful as complex rituals, if not more so.”

The book is largely the author, Levannah Morgan's, personal accounts of different spells and rituals. Sometimes books based mainly on one persons personal experience can be slightly limited as to what the reader can take away and relate to their own practice, with this book however this is not the case. Due to the large focus of the book being how to connect to your natural surroundings and building an intimate relationship with magical energies, the personal slant delivered by this book works perfectly.

The book is certainly an interesting read, especially for those who frequently visit the South West of England. It makes frequent reference to many landmarks as well as the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle.

On a practical level this book is brilliant, all of the general advice given is very clear and easy to understand. One of my favourite sections was on “Sitting Out”, this is a practice that is sorely lacking from a lot of similar books and notoriously hard to describe, however Levannah manages to convey the essence of it with the same clear cut ease she applies to everything else in the book.

The other thing that I love about this book is the fact that all the spells in the book are very adaptable and could work for a number of different situations. They are also ones that can be completed using things that most people would have in their house already, or could easily find. A lot of other books make claims to deliver such spells, but rarely do.

For the those more experienced with witchcraft this book offers some interesting information and fascinating perspectives on a number of points, particularly on working with the Moon and the Sea. I've practised for a number of years and still found it a very engaging read with a lot of stop-and-think moments.

All in all I would thoroughly recommend this book to magical practitioners both new and old.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The World on Tiny Wings...

I make the seeds that winds sow,
I exist to make the plants grow,
But my attempts have all been thwarted,
Mankind’s view of me distorted,
The food chain soon will tumble,
Civilization then will crumble,
And the burden falls to me,
I am the last Bumble Bee.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Book Review: Hedge Witchcraft, by Harmonia Saille

Hedge Witchcraft” is written by Harmonia Saille, and published by Moon Books as part of their Pagan Portals series.

The description reads:
“This book will guide readers to read more about hedge witchcraft as a pathway, or are already following such a path and wish to progress. It only has a little about hedge riding as this book has too small a scope to include it. Please read the accompanying book in the Pagan Portal series, Hedge Riding.”

This is a really nice little book about traditional British witchcraft. It ties all the information together with personal accounts from the author which heavily adds to the readability of this book. I enjoyed the section about tree lore, and liked the healthy does of folklore that was included in it. I also really liked the section on "Spirit of Place". This is a topic woefully overlooked in lots of similar books, and Harmonia does a fantastic job of eloquently, but unpretentiously, describing this. 

However, I can’t help but feel quite disappointed with this book, simply because it isn't specifically about Hedge Witchcraft. As the description indicated, it made little mention of hedge riding, referring you to another book by the same author. Given that neither book is hugely long I don't see why they weren't integrated, especially given the importance of hedge riding to this path. Although it made the very truthful claim that all hedge witches will follow a slightly different path, it didn’t highlight the key points that unite them. 

If you are after a short guide to traditionally based witchcraft then this is a really interesting little read, it will provide you with a general overview of  pagan festivals, and examples of how they are practiced. It also goes into elemental correspondences, and how these tie the everyday world to the magical one. But, if you have a decent background knowledge of general traditional witchcraft and modern pagan spirituality, then you may be left feeling a let down by this title.

The book market really needs some good titles about true hedge witchcraft, and if can be in a small, easy to read format like this, then so much the better. Unfortunately I don’t think this book does that. It will however keep it’s place on my bookshelf, due to the traditional folklore facts, interesting personal antidotes, and the style of writing, with turns this from a reference book, to an enjoyable quick read.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Book Review: Trapped!, Lynn Chinnock

"Trapped!" is the debut children's book of Lynn Chinnock. It documents an adventure of Groucho and Tabby-Long-Tail, who end up having to save their friend Blackberry from mis-adventure. This is a good book for kids who have cats as pets as the behavior of the characters described in the book are relatable to real cat behavior.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Poem: The Minor Arcana Rhyme

I put this together for the Tarot - Part 2 course I hope to be teaching later on in the year - (need to get some Part1 courses done first, lol). It's not my best literary work... but am a little impressed with myself that I got the meanings to rhyme... well, mostly! lol

Cups is the emotion, the joy and the cares,
it's both our elation, and our fears.

1 of cups, is abundance and gain,
2 of cups, the joy of another's name.

3 of cups is joy and happiness,
4 of cups says beware, of it in excess.

5 of cups re-assess, after the good gone bad,
6 of cups the past, may be, re-had.

7 of cups speak of ambition and hope,
8 of cups is disappointment, but widen your scope.

9 of cups is about, peace and contentment,
10 of cups is all that but with added achievement.

The Knave of cups is helpful, the Knight a lover and bright,
The Queen of cups creative and the King brings insight.

Swords are actions, often needed the most,

they slay our demons and, chase our ghosts.

1 of swords, is about achievement and success,
2 of swords gain, from having much less.

3 of swords, a door opens, paths are clear,
4 of swords a rest, from what you fear.

5 of swords shows struggle, and defeat,
6 of swords sees you, back on your feet.

7 of swords show hurdles, be brave and careful,
8 of swords patiences over comes what you thought fretful.

9 of swords failure, be steadfast,
10 of swords disaster, but it will end at last.

The Knave of swords is often clever, the Knight is strong like a soldier,
The Queen of swords quick witted, and the King brings order.

Coins are what we do on this earth,
our house, our home, what's in our purse.

1 of coins is prosperity, to have and hold,
2 of coins says a disruption may unfold.

3 of coins brings achievement in the intellectual
4 of coins show wealth, says we'll be successful.

5 of coins, is financial disaster and ruin,
6 of coins is help, something to stand firm in.

7 of coins success, but please be careful,
8 of coins, hard work will see you successful.

9 of coins is wealth and achievement driven,
10 of coins says there will be a gift you're given.

The Knave of coins is sensible, the Knight is just and true,
the Queen on coins is generous, the King advises to you.

Wands is the need to change, it is our passions,
bringing our ideas into worldly fashions.

1 of wands is inspiration, sees something new begin,
2 of wands sees good luck finally come in.

3 of wands success from being brave,
4 of wands success, and the popularity craved.

5 of wands says there may be, a set-back,
6 of wands gives encouragement, gets your will back.

7 of wands shows things aren't as bad as they seem,
8 of wands sees you closer to your dreams.

9 of wands be strong ,and hold your ground,
10 of wands, struggles may make you frown.

The Knave of wands is lively, the Knight energy beckons,

the Queen is practical, the King a force to be reckoned.