Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Gather the Witches and the Pendle Pardon Campaign


Hey everyone, I’m taking part in the @witch.with.me annual #gatherthewitches hashtag challenge over on Instagram. Today’s prompt is Pumpkin, and here’s my “The Cemetery Witch” pumpkin. πŸŽƒ I didn’t have enough room for the “The”, but I managed to get in a gravestone and a bat at least! πŸ‘»πŸ¦‡πŸ˜†

I’d love to take this opportunity to remind you all that I am supporting Blackpool Tower Dungeon (@btowerdungeon) and Semra Haksever’s (@mamamooncandles) campaign to pardon the Pendle witches.

This Halloween they’re recounting the terrible tale, and launching a campaign to call on the UK government to grant an official pardon for the ten innocent people who were convicted and hanged for Witchcraft in 1612. Of course, the Pendle witches were not the only ones who suffered in this way. Many innocent people were victimised, and suffered the same fate.

Please add your signature to the petition (link in my Instagram bio and more information on all three of our pages).

Be sure also to check out Gather the Witches - the second, annual online witchy event happening this Samhain - head over to the @witch.with.me page for more information. Have a go at this challenge, you could win some free tickets!

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Turning the Wheel ~ Samhain is coming…


It’s a strange time. There is a palpable change to the energy of the world. Our thoughts are turning inward, becoming more reflective. We are ending the old year and getting ready to start anew.

The Full Moon in Aries brought with it vivid dreams and nightmares, as is always the way for me. My dreams have now shifted into dreams of my ancestors, the list of those walking before me growing ever longer. I am connecting with them in my dreams - my grandparents clear as day, the night before last. Their voices, their mannerisms, their smiles; so easy to recall. Easier than when I try now.

It’s not just spending time with loved ones passed over, it’s messages, insights, small moments of knowing.

The air feels heavy, expectant.

I feel compelled to tidy, to clean, to organise. To prepare for winter, so that I may rest. So that I can concentrate on nothing else but staying warm in this freezing house. I feel compelled to let go of the things that no longer serve me, and to spend some time thinking about the changes I need to make.

How are you doing in the run up to Samhain?

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Monday, 25 October 2021

The Witches of Warboys


This is the sign that hangs in the village of Warboys, Cambridgeshire. My parents live there, and around the village you will spot witches on bumper stickers, weathervanes, and in company logos. The local football team is known affectionately as The Witches, the local cricket club has a witch in their emblem, too.

Whilst I love seeing the witches everywhere, there is a devastating reason for their presence.

The Witches of Warboys were Alice Samuel and family. Alice was accused of being a witch by a 9-year old girl, and the family were executed for witchcraft between 1589 and 1593. This case attracted a great deal of attention, and it was this trial especially that influenced the passage of the Witchcraft Act 1604. The Act's full title was An Act against Conjuration, Witchcraft and dealing with evil and wicked spirits, and it was this statute that was enforced by Matthew Hopkins, the self-styled Witchfinder General.

Poor Alice Samuel (76) was accused by Jane Throckmorton. Her four sisters - only slightly older than Jane- and twelve servants, would later echo these accusations. The sisters were daughters of Robert Throckmorton, a well connected commoner who was a close friend of Sir Henry Cromwell, grandfather to Oliver Cromwell. Lady Cromwell had a conversation with Alice about the trouble she found herself in. That night she had nightmares, fell ill and then died, which cemented the idea in the Throckmorton’s heads that Alice and her family were witches.

A parson convinced Alice to admit to witchcraft and despite retracting this statement, she admitted to it again when placed before the Bishop of Lincoln; later a keen supporter of the Witchcraft Act of 1604. The trial that resulted would find Alice, her husband, and her daughter guilty. They were hanged in Warboys.

Their corpses were examined and Alice had a “witches’ mark”, which was important legal proof at this time. If she had a mark at all I’m sure it was something common like a skin tag.

How awful it must have been to be defenceless, and at the mercy of the wealthy ruling classes. Whenever I see this sign I think of these poor people, and wish it could have been different for them.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Mother Ludlam’s Cave and the Cauldron


This is Mother Ludlam’s Cave, also known as Mother Ludlam’s Hole; the alleged home of the 17th Century Surrey Witch, and a stone’s throw from Waverley Abbey, which I showed you the other day.

It’s a small cave in the sandstone cliff above the River Wey in Farnham. People would visit Mother Ludlam here, and ask to borrow her pots and pans. She would kindly lend anything, provided it was returned within two days.

A man asked Mother Ludlam if he could borrow her cauldron. She wasn’t keen on this idea at all, but relented. But unlike the other villagers, who frequently borrowed and returned her things, the man failed to return the cauldron.

Word soon got out that the witch had left her cave and was extremely angry. The man, absolutely terrified at the thought of what might become of him, sought sanctuary in Frensham Church, where he remained, and where the cauldron belongs to this very day.

It is also said that the Devil came here once, disguised as a man, and he asked to borrow the cauldron, but Mother Ludlam spotted his hoof prints in the sand, thus refusing his request. The devil stole it anyway, and she chased him in pursuit. The Devil made three great leaps, which are locally known as the Devil’s Jumps, which are just down the road in Churt. 

There are other stories, too. The cauldron has been linked to Norse gods, fairies, Saxon chieftains, Celtic gods, burrowing monks, and many other things. I haven’t visited the cauldron yet, but I intend to, the next time I go home.

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Monday, 18 October 2021

The Story of Black Anna


Locally there used to be a cave, called Black Annis’ Bower, and it was believed to be inhabited by a savage, bedraggled, and scary woman, with blue skin, great pointy teeth and long, sharp nails.

When the local children went out to play they were warned that Black Anna, this horrible old hag with blue skin, would snatch and devour them. To be caught by Black Anna would mean being scratched to death, sucked dry of blood, and having your skin hung up to dry; later to be worn around her waist as a skirt.

You could hear her howling from five miles away, and some said you could hear her grinding her teeth as she approached; giving people time to lock their doors and move away from their windows, which were hung with protective herbs. It is said that the cottages of Leicestershire were built with one small window so that she could only get one arm inside.

“Tis said the soul of mortal man recoiled,
To view Black Annis' eye, so fierce and wild,
Vast talons, foul with human flesh, there grew,
In place of hands, and features livid blue,
Glared in her visage, whilst her obscene waist,
Warm skins of human victims close embraced.
Not without terror they the cave survey,
Where hung the monstrous trophies of her sway,
'Tis said that in the rock large rooms were found,
Scooped with her claws beneath the flinty ground.”

By the end of the 19th century the story had changed somewhat. She was instead known as Cat Anna, and was thought to be a witch living in the cellars under Leicester Castle. She was said to run along underground tunnels from the castle to the Dane Hills, the area where her cave was situated, on the lookout for lambs and small children to snatch.

There are lots of theories about Black Annis. Some say this story is based on an actual woman named Agnes Scott, a hermit of the forest, who died in 1455. It has also been suggested that she represents Anu the Celtic Goddess, or the Cailleach Bheur; the blue hag of the Highlands. For others she is a dark aspect of the Goddess, or the Crone. For others she is partner to the Leicester Bel; Annis being Samhain to Bel’s Beltane.

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Campaign to Pardon the Pendle Witches


I am supporting Blackpool Tower Dungeon (@btowerdungeon) and Semra Haksever’s (@mamamooncandles) campaign to pardon the Pendle witches. They have called upon the expertise of Robert Poole, Professor of History at the University of Central Lancashire (@uclanuni).

This Halloween they’re recounting the terrible tale of the Pendle Witches, and launching a campaign to call on the UK government to grant an official pardon for the ten innocent people who were convicted and hanged for Witchcraft in 1612.

“The Lancashire Witches were the victims of a gross miscarriage of justice. They were convicted of an impossible crime, by methods that amounted to persecution, on the basis of patently false evidence which they were not able to contest. It’s high time they were given a pardon.” ~ Robert Poole

The names of the Pendle witches were:

Anne Whittle 
Ann Redfearn
Elizabeth Device 
Alice Nutter
Alison Device 
James Device 
Katherine Hewitt 
Jane Bulcock 
John Bulcock 
Isobel Robey

Sadly, the Pendle witches were not the only ones who suffered in this way. Many innocent people were victimised, and suffered the same fate.

This campaign is a stance against prejudice. As well as adding your signature to the petition (below), we want to hear tales of solidarity and commitment to stamping out stereotypes. You can add your voice by tagging your posts #imawitch on social media.

Thank you.

πŸ–ŒπŸ–ŒπŸ–Œ  https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/598232 πŸ–ŒπŸ–ŒπŸ–Œ

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RIP Smurf


Another great man gone. For the second time in as many months, I’ve had my heart broken, and been shown that life will never be the same again.

You were an absolute hulk of a man, and a joy to be around. A big smile, a big booming voice; you gave huge and heartfelt hugs.

Loved by so many, you did so much for our Pagan and LARP communities; and you made a brilliant Father Christmas for the kids each year.

I’ll always think of you dragging around that bloody mandolin (what I wouldn’t give to hear a few notes of that now…), and wearing your sandals, ready to greet everyone with your joyful enthusiasm.

Our wonderful moot brother, our friend, our family. ❤️

Our moot leader has dedicated this beautiful lament by Doreen Valiente to Smurf:

 Elegy for a Dead Witch
(Written by Doreen Valiente for Robert Cochrane)

To think that you are gone, over the crest of the hills,
As the Moon passed from her fullness, riding the sky,
And the White Mare took you with her.
To think that we will wait another life,
To drink the wine from the horns and leap the fire.
Farewell from this world, but not from the Circle.
That place that is between the worlds
Shall hold return in due time. Nothing is lost.
The half of a fruit from the tree of Avalon
Shall be our reminder, among the fallen leaves
This life treads underfoot. Let the rain weep.
Waken in sunlight from the Realms of Sleep.

Rest in peace, dear Smurf ❤️

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Find YOUR Magick


A little public service announcement… πŸ“’

I get many messages from you asking about your spellwork and devotions; looking for ideas, reassurance and approval. I just want to put it out there that your magick is your own - you don’t need approval from anyone, least of all me. ❤️

I can’t comment on the connections, correspondences, and relationships you have forged with your deities, spirits, magickal tools, plants, crystals and festivals. I can’t tell you that they’re “right” or “wrong”.

I can’t tell you if the offerings you’ll be making for a particular god or goddess are correct, or if they will help you manifest the things you have your heart set on, because it’s your relationship with them. ❤️

I can’t tell you if working a particular day or moon phase is “right” for your spell, or if it is going to be successful, because this is your magickal journey to grow, nurture and expand. There are many reasons why a spell might not work, and I have no control over the outcome of spells I’m not working myself.

I can’t give you a spell that worked for me, because you are not me. Yes, there are certain traditional associations with plants, tools, moon phases (and the like), but forging your own relationships with these things, and writing your own spells, is way more powerful. πŸ’ͺ🏼

You are as beautiful and individual as the lichen on this standing stone; and so is your magick. Don’t let a lack of confidence weather your abilities. ❤️

Craft magick YOUR way. Be guided by YOUR intuition, and the feelings and thoughts YOU develop towards magickal things. Try things - take what you like, record your experiences, and discard what doesn’t work. Believe in YOUR power. You are more capable then you know, and quite simply: YOU are the magick. ✨

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Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Craig Addison Photography


On Monday I had the pleasure of working with Craig Addison Photography. www.craigaddisonphotography.com 

Craig is a portrait and wedding photographer from Warwickshire, who simply loves taking pictures of people. 

Craig was very patient as I hobbled around with my stick, and between us we came up with several ideas, with full credit going to Craig for the amazing images he produced (more to come). πŸ–€

You can find both Craig and myself over on Instagram, further information below. 

The evening gave me inspiration to write this poem (below). 

O sweet Samhain, 
I welcome thee.
Wrap around me,
your tight embrace.
Hold me close, 
as I hold them.

They walk near.
Straying from their path,
to walk by mine.
My mother’s mother,
calling my name.
Tell me more…

Feast with us one last night. 
Sit in this place, 
and set aside for you.
A chance, once more, 
to share.

πŸ“· Photograph by @craigaddisonphotography
πŸ–Œ Poem by Wren @the_cemetery_witch

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Waverley Abbey


At the weekend we travelled back home and visited one of my favourite places; Waverley Abbey, Farnham, Surrey.

It is in a beautiful spot situated by the River Wey. It was the first monastery in Britain to be built by the reforming Cistercian religious order; a group of French monks settling here in 1128. The monks valued hard, physical work as part of their devotions, building a series of medieval bridges along the River Wey from the Abbey to nearby Guildford.

There is ample archaeological evidence to show that the river has attracted human settlement in this area for thousands of years, and it certainly holds a strong pull for me. It is only ruins now, but I’m amazed that what has survived has done so at all. It was my thinking place when I lived just down the road. Many a lazy afternoon, many a book read, and many a picnic has happened here.

It has been featured in several films: Elizabeth (1998), Into the Woods (2014), Hot Fuzz (2007), and my personal favourite, the post-apocalyptic zombie film 28 Days Later (2002).

Around the corner is an ancient spring (that supplied Waverley Abbey), and a cave that is the alleged home of the Surrey Witch, which I’ll share with you a bit later.

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Friday, 8 October 2021

Halloween Pumpkins


There’s a lot of blurring between Halloween and Samhain, and this is especially true on Instagram. In fact, Samhain is the only festival that Stewart and Janet Farrar suggested celebrating on a different date, mostly so that observances would not be interrupted by trick or treaters.

So how have pumpkins come to be associated with both festivals and this time of year? πŸŽƒ

It has been suggested that at around November 1st, the Celts carved faces into turnips and put candles inside to distract wandering spirits. It was believed that the souls of those who had died that year traveled to the otherworld, and some souls would return to their homes.

We also have the story of Stingy Jack, a mythical creature associated with All Hallows’ Eve. The story goes that Jack, a devious and manipulative drunkard living in Ireland several centuries ago, cleverly tricked Satan into turning himself into a coin to pay for Jack’s drinking, which ultimately spared Jack’s soul from Satan, but also stopped it from entering heaven. Jack was left to roam in limbo, with only an ember, which he placed in a hollowed out turnip to light the way. The ghostly figure was known as Jack of the Lantern, then later Jack O’Lantern.

Jack used the lantern to guide his soul, in the same way that the lit turnips of the Celts would guide spirits, and scare off evil spirits.

European traditions made their way across the Atlantic with Irish and Scottish immigrants in the mid-1800s, and pumpkins - native to North America and absolutely perfect for lanterns - were used, and I guess eventually found their way back to the UK. Turnip, potato and beet “pumpkins” were all carved in the UK long before regular pumpkins were used.

I’m a day late but I’m going to tag @pagan.parenting for their October challenge. Their theme for the first week was “Harvest”, and this gorgeous pumpkin patch will be harvested very soon. πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

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Is it a sign?


It’s important to remember that not everything you see is a sign.

Sure, it’s good to be open to receiving signs, and keeping an eye out for them; but it’s important to maintain a level of objectivity, too.

I have four crows that regularly frequent the cemetery, so I can’t depend on crows to be a sign in this location. Unless I choose to interpret their behaviour as divinatory; a method known as augury.

But on walking through the middle of a neat, cut grass field, with no trees nearby, I saw this. The only sticks around, they almost seemed deliberately placed. Do you think this is a sign?

It reminds me of the Nauthiz rune in the Elder Futhark, which represents Need (naudh).

“Need makes for a difficult plight; 
the naked freeze in the frost.

Need is the pain of the bondmaid,
and a hard plight,
and toilsome work.”

πŸ“š Taken from Northern Magic: Rune Mysteries & Shamanism by Edred Thorsonn.

This stave represents the resistance or friction that can be found in all parts of the world; in nature, in society, and in ourselves. Whilst this resistance or friction may come from an outside source, it is up to us to utilise the energy of this resistance, on the understanding that we have the power and the control to do so.

Magickally, this stave can be used to overcome distress ~ or even stress ~ so perhaps that’s the message for me in this sign. I need to employ Nauthiz.

Do you look out for signs often? Do you get answers to your questions? What’s the biggest sign you have ever received? 

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Monday, 20 September 2021

Stone Circle - Clothing for Goddesses


I’m just dropping in to give you a little peek of this gorgeous @mystonecircle Royal Dress; exclusively available through the Stone Circle Facebook group; Stone Circle - The Sisterhood (previously BohoVistaSister), and their website. 

*Please note that Stone Circle release their dresses in batches, so if you can’t get what you’re after right now, it may become available again at a later date.* 

For those not familiar with Stone Circle, they are a UK based clothing company creating clothes for women, designed by women. Stone Circle was founded through the Facebook group; which was originally started to create space for women to feel confident about themselves, share fashion tips, and to support other women to step into their power, and become the very best version of themselves.

I personally wear Stone Circle clothes. I love the way they are cut, the fabric, the colours (deep earth tones, warm natural hues, and golden era florals are popular), and the way they make me feel, which is magical, and like my true self. It’s fair to say I’m a little bit obsessed!

Stone Circle will be doing a drop for autumn and Samhain soon, featuring some darker colours; so get following their Instagram page and the Facebook group for exclusives, live showcases and try-ons; and to just to be part of a really beautiful community.

I wore this dress out yesterday, and it was perfect. It can easily be dressed up with scarf and boots for autumn.

Thank you so much Stone Circle! πŸ’š 

Colour Schemes and Funny Things


I see some funny things on my travels, in this instance a £23 note given to my friend by King Arthur Pendragon at our friend’s funeral on Friday.

For those who aren’t aware, Arthur Uther Pendragon is an eco-campaigner and Druid, best known for his battles with English Heritage regarding the monument of Stonehenge, and a self-declared reincarnation of King Arthur, a name by which he is also known. He is the face on the £23 note… and for those that don’t live in England, £23 notes are not a thing… πŸ™ˆπŸ˜…πŸ˜‚


The back of the note reads:

“The sum total of all wealth in the world is the sum total of all human activity, paid and unpaid, through all time on this planet. Therefore, we say, it must be free.”

I was kind of lucky that I could show you this now, as it fits neatly into my “pink” scheme (more obvious on Instagram). This is often how it goes, my page seems to sort of flow, and the pink things appear! But I often feel constrained by the colour scheme I have set myself, and there is a pressure to post every day, to create a “chunk” of colour, something I struggle with when my health is not good.

I am considering changing the page to “free” images for a while, and post up what I want, when I want. Whilst my page and posts are not contrived, it could be time for a change.

What do you think? Is it the colour scheme that brought you here, or the information in the posts? Would you like to see a change?

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Thursday, 16 September 2021

Autumn and “The Season of the Witch”


We’re halfway through September, so I’m late to the party, but I wanted to add my voice to what Louisa @thewitchesstone and Crow @marget.inglis_witchcraft think about the suggestion, made by many witches, that autumn is the “Season of the Witch”.

Don’t get me wrong - I love the “-ber” months as much the next person - but I always feel a bit confused when 1st September rolls around, and everyone is going a bit bonkers about the “Season of the Witch.”

I love autumn. I get excited for the leaves changing colour. The trees shedding them is the perfect reminder that it’s ok to let some things go. I appreciate the cooler temperatures, and embrace getting my boots, scarves and chunky knits out. I adore Samhain for its depth and beauty; for the opportunity for reflection and remembrance, but like Louisa and Crow, I don’t agree that autumn is the Season of the Witch.

To me, Witchcraft, and indeed life, is all about balance. Many (but not all) modern pagans, witches and Wiccans celebrate the Wheel of the Year; the cyclical journey through the seasons. At each point on the Wheel we are afforded an opportunity for introspection, a chance to look backwards, and forwards. There is balance in each festival, each season, the year. Each Sabbat has something special for witches and pagans. Therefore in my mind, EVERY season is the Season of the Witch.

I do understand having a favourite festival and season. Beltane will always, always have my heart! Summer will always be my favourite time of the year. Maybe it’s just that the majority of witches love the autumn?

What do you think?

Do you think autumn is the Season of the Witch? If so, why is that? Has it become known as the Season of the Witch because of the association of witches at Halloween? (Which is separate to Samhain, of course).

If autumn is your favourite season what is it you love about this time so much?

Maybe another season is your favourite? If so, what is your favourite season (or festival), and why?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Sunday, 12 September 2021

Storing Tarot Decks


I have accrued so many tarot decks over the years that I no longer have room (or the inclination!) to keep them boxed and shelved. I know that traditionally they are wrapped in silk, but when you have 20+ decks that becomes somewhat unsustainable.

Of course, if you prefer to wrap yours in silk that’s ok, too! As with all aspects of the Craft it’s really important to do what’s right for you.

My go to method is the drawstring bag. They’re quick and easy to make - or cheap to buy - and stored in this method they’re kept clean and safe. I find that I can recognise each deck by the material of the bag, and their position in the basket that I keep them in. The drawstring bag method is also brilliant if you like to travel with your decks. I have put one in my handbag many times.

How do you store your tarot decks? Did you have a preferred method that you had to abandon once you accrued a certain amount? Where do you keep all the boxes? What is your favourite tarot deck?

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Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Chat - It’s Fate ~ Issue 10 October 2021


I’m so very excited to be in ~ and on the front cover of! ~ “Chat - It’s Fate” magazine this month (Issue 10 - October 2021).

Over three pages you’ll hear how I learned the path of Witchcraft was for me, how we came to live on a cemetery, and our annual Samhain traditions.


There’s a huge array of articles on Halloween and Samhain, spooky and mysterious stories, and expert advice on a number of witchy topics.


If you’ve made your way to this page via the magazine then welcome!

Thank you to @journojadeb for asking me to be involved in this project - it was a lot of fun!

(Looking about 500 years old due to a lack of sleep this week adds to the spooky πŸ˜†).

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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Devi Oracle Cards


Today I’m showing you the beautiful Devi Oracle Cards designed by Mahalakshmi, who is the beautiful soul over at @mysticmamacafe. She channels and works with the spiritual realm to empower, and through her worship of and work with the Divine Feminine, she has been guided to create this gorgeous deck.

There are 90 cards and they are grouped into ten different aspects of the Divine Feminine; the Great Wisdom Goddess, or the Mahavidyas. The ten Mahavidyas are: Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala.


Firstly an Oracle deck, there is also a mantra for each card, with instructions on how to use it to tap into the Divine Feminine, and to bring about all sorts of spiritual progress and change. There are manner of ancient and divine symbols in here; from the spiral, to the Eye of Horus, to the Hand of Fatima, to the Om.


Taken from the book that comes with the deck: “Sati felt Shiva didn’t treat her as the Mother of the Universe, hence she took on ten different forms of the Divine Mother. The Goddesses of Wisdom represent an entire spectrum of divinity, right from horrific goddesses to the beautiful and most peaceful deities. The Mahavidyas are the Goddesses who collectively guide us, inspiring us to search for and find the spiritual beings lying dormant within us”.

This is such an inspiring deck, with insightful illustrations throughout. The book is full of helpful information which will guide you. The deck has been developed with women in mind, but I believe can be used by anybody. The aim is to help us reach and acknowledge the different aspects of feminine wisdom within us; and using that knowledge, guide us to our divine power. The cards are a tool to help you understand the messages sent to you by the Divine Feminine. I feel this deck will help me understand myself, and my changing role, as a woman.

This deck is TRULY a masterpiece and whilst I’m still getting to grips with it, I can see already what a profound and wonderful tool this will be for my practice. Thank you Mahalakshmi, I am so honoured to have a copy of this incredible creation that you must be extremely proud of!

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Witch Homes


I was thinking about fairy tales and folklore, and the relationship between witches and their houses.

In Hansel & Gretel the witch’s house is made of gingerbread and candy, designed to lure in small children. In Rapunzel, Dame Gothel has a house with a walled garden that blooms all year long. Baba Yaga has a cottage in the middle of a dark forest that stands on giant chicken legs; and in Mother Trudy, Frau Trude appears as the Devil through her cottage window. At the beginning of Snow White & The Seven Dwarves the Evil Queen sits sewing at an open window when she pricks her finger with her needle. Much is made of her Magic Mirror.

In many of these stories the house plays as big a part as the witch. It’s as if these houses are alive, and have their own consciousness. Often the witch and the house are very much entwined.

I don’t think this is all that far from reality... I see my house as having its own personality and character, and perhaps its own spirit. There are days when I feel held, and in tune with the (spirit of our) house, as if I am a part of its story. But there are also days when I’m just a visitor.

I also have Copernicus, my stone “House Guardian” mounted on the back of the house who watches over it, and keeps us safe. Whenever we leave the house I petition Copernicus to look after our home, and when we return I thank him. Over time I have decided that the spirit of the house, and Copernicus the House Guardian, are not the same spirit. I’m still working it out, though.

What is your relationship with your house? Does it feel like a sentient being to you? Does it have its own personality? 
What about modern houses? Do they have a spirit, or consciousness?

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Thursday, 2 September 2021

Hydrangea Magick


Hydrangea is a genus of 70 species of flowering plant native to Asia and the Americas.

“Hydrangea” is derived from Greek and means “water vessel”. Other names for hydrangea include French hydrangea, garden hydrangea and florist’s hydrangea, it may also be referred to as hortensia - the French and Spanish word for hydrangea.

Hydrangea flowers are produced from early spring to late autumn, though most of the ones I’ve seen around are fading now. There are two types of flower formation - “mophead” and “lacecap”. The ones in the picture are mopheads.

Hydrangeas seem to be missed from a lot of magical herbalism books, but generally they seem to be associated with hex-breaking, love-drawing, devotion, friendship, fidelity, binding, and bringing back a lover. They can be used for challenging karmic patterns, protection and redirecting psychic energy and attacks.

Associated with boundary setting they can be used in spells for shielding, and placed around the home they can create an environment where we become better at keeping a healthy balance between the physical and spiritual. Of course there are no set rules with magical correspondences, and so they might mean something altogether to you.

They have a deep connection with water so they can be a good ally to those who are intuitive, emotional, or psychically sensitive.

🌸 Gender: Feminine
🌸 Planet: Moon (whole plant), Jupiter (root), Neptune
🌸 Element: Water
🌸 Magickal Uses: Love spells, hex-breaking, redirecting curses, fidelity, understanding, binding, protection, love-drawing, bringing back a lover, devotion, friendship, challenging karmic patterns, psychic awareness, redirecting psychic attacks, boundary setting.

Do you like hydrangeas? Do you use them in your magick? If so, how?

Follow for Witchy content @the_cemetery_witch 
© Repost with clear, written credits.

R.I.P. Terry Dobney, Archdruid of Avebury


Still totally heartbroken. Distance and the pandemic meant we hadn’t seen you in ages, but I have so many happy memories from over the years. I dreamed of you 4 weeks ago… talking, upright, a smile, and a twinkle in your eye… so I knew you were going to the Summerlands soon.


You were an incredible and intelligent man who brought joy to the lives of many. A magickal Elder who did so much for the Pagan community, both here and abroad, a truly cosmic being, but most of all... my friend.


My heart is with anyone that ever knew or loved you.

Terry Dobney, Archdruid of Avebury - you will be forever loved and forever missed. πŸ’”


Witch Aesthetic


Throughout my time on Instagram I have noticed some people warning witches about following accounts with “aesthetic”, which I think is really interesting.

I know the warning about aesthetic is accompanied by encouraging others to use their intuition when following accounts, and that not all Witchcraft is pretty. I wholeheartedly agree with both these statements, but I don’t agree with the idea that “pretty” witchcraft accounts hold no value - that depends very much on the message that is being given.

To me, Witchcraft is about creativity. It’s about using colour, signs, symbols, sound. So why is visual representation with clever use of design and colour - on a platform that is entirely visual, in a world that (wrongly) holds beauty as above all else - seen as a threat? In this little corner of Instagram it feels like witch aesthetic is some sort of glamour magick that will lure us to our deaths. Why are aesthetic accounts treated with such suspicion?

Some of the witches I have seen issuing this warning have, at some time or other, talked about colour correspondence. The idea that each colour has a unique vibration or groove that we can use in magick... and yet creative use of colour and design to help illustrate a magickal point is often seen as “fake”.

For many people, colour and design is something that weaves through their entire lives. It’s in the way they dress, the way they decorate their houses, it’s the way they see the world. It reflects moods and feelings, and is present in their magick. Many witches have creative endeavours outside their witch lives on Instagram (I taught scrapbooking and card making for many years). I would say that colour and creativity runs through witches’ veins.

So I ask the question - should we view the great artists, writers and poets of our time with the same suspicion? Did they not do clever things with words, design or colour?

What do you think!? Do you like “aesthetic” accounts? Is it the words or the images that draw you to a page? Is it both? Is it neither? Do you run an “aesthetic” page and have experienced negativity? Does “aesthetic” have a place in Witchcraft? Does it make you feel inspired?

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Replacing Candles in Magick


Many people are not able to use candles in magick. They might be in rented, elderly or student accommodation; or there may be a health reason as to why using candles is not suitable. Candles don’t need to be used at all in magick, but when you DO want to use them - and can’t - what are the alternatives?

In terms of decorating your altar, coloured rocks can be used in place of candles. You can state aloud your intention to use them as a replacement during spells and rituals as part of the ritual itself. They can be used to represent the Goddess and God; they can be painted with colours, flames, or other designs that appeal to you - there are so many possibilities! Pebbles are perfect for mini-altar sets.

In the same way that you can use coloured rocks, crystals can be used in place of candles, too. Choose crystals that have associations connected to light, solar energy, or fire.

These are the obvious choice. You may be able to wrap them in washi tape if there is a particular colour that you need, however it is possible to use a white candle (most electric or LED candles seem to be white) in place of any colour.

This is not something I’ve personally tried, but apparently there is a candle burning app where you can view footage of a candle burning. The idea is you use the energy that is produced by the device and mentally push it out into the universe using your magickal will at the appropriate time.

Available outside the U.K. (and does involve a little bit of fire) Flying Wish Paper is a great substitute for candle magick. You write your intention on the paper, roll it up into a tube, and light it. It floats up into the air, and extinguishes after a few seconds. Whilst not marketed specifically as a witchcraft item, I think these are a great idea.

Have you tried any of these suggestions? Are you restricted when it comes to burning incense and candles? Do you have any ideas?

Follow for Witchy content @the_cemetery_witch 
© Repost with clear, written credits.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Magickal Practice


“An important point about witchcraft is that it is a craft, in the old sense of the word, the Anglo-Saxon ‘craeft’, implying art, skill, knowledge. The word ‘witch’ means ‘wise one’; and a person cannot be made wise, they have to become wise. There are arts and skills and traditional knowledge which, used in the right way, will help you to become a ‘wise one’. This is the real meaning of witchcraft.”

~ An ABC of Witchcraft, Past and Present - Doreen Valiente

Valiente explains that people can only change their lives by changing themselves, and to do that it involves learning, and becoming experienced at something.

I get messages from those who want to know if magick is real, and from others who are worried they have done a spell or a ritual wrong, and are anxious that the consequences are going to be disastrous. Both questions can be answered in the following Valiente quote:

“Rituals are not always successful, of course. The technique employed may be wrong. The operators may have misjudged the situation. The conditions prevailing at the time of the ritual may be adverse. However, I have seen a sufficient number of successes scored, to believe in the power of witchcraft.”

As a practitioner, this means you should keep trying. It is only by trying, and failing, that you work out what will succeed, and indeed, one should apply this to all areas of life.

I have seen an unsuccessful spell compared to a failed cake cooking session. In getting the spell “wrong” it can be likened to omitting the sugar. The cake won’t taste particularly nice, and it might not rise because the texture will be all wrong, but you are not suddenly going to be changed into a person who never wants to eat again!

Yes, you need to be sure of your goal, and be clear before any action is taken, but if you knock over a candle, or miss out one of the steps of the spell, it is unlikely that anything drastic will happen. More likely nothing will happen.

When did you come to believe in magick? How long have you been practising? Have your spells always worked? Have you had any go disastrously wrong? What about funny spell/ritual stories, do you have any of those?

Spell-working Ethics


The ethics of spellworking are there to help us create fair, considered and effective spells. They are a set of principles that can help us avoid harming ourselves and others.

Selfish and irresponsible spellwork often bounces back on the caster, known as the Boomerang Effect (not to be confused with the Threefold Law, which is a code of conduct that I will explain later).

Good ethics for magick/spellcasting can be summed up as follows:

1. Never work to harm anyone, including the self. 
2. Never manipulate anyone against their will or natural development. 
3. Never assume you know all the facts about a situation or person.
4. Never work for your own gain at someone else’s expense.
5. Word spells carefully and precisely, so that rules 1-4 may be observed.

The Wiccan ethical motto “An it harm none, do what thou wilt” does not mean “anything goes”, it means “have your legitimate aim clearly in mind, and work to achieve it.”

Ethical spellworking is not centred around power, or self-gain for selfish reasons. It is a positive action focused on fruitfulness, problem solving and progression. It is not angry, arrogant or destructive; instead it is designed to flow in a state of balance and harmony to bring about positive results.

Follow for Witchy content! @the_cemetery_witch
© Repost with clear, written credits.

The Book of Candle Magic by Madame Pamita


Today I thought I’d share one of my favourite books - The Book of Candle Magic by Madame Pamita.

Madame Pamita is an expert on all things candle; including how to make them. Not only does she teach the reader how to make their own candles, but how to load them with magick intent. You can learn how to plan an amazing spell, how to customise candles, candle numerology, and candle spell layouts. There is so much to work through and ingest, but the concise layout and clear headers make it a fantastic reference book to dip in and out of.

I read this book back at the beginning of the year and it has been a constant companion since then. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing with purple pages and illustrations, but it is packed full of helpful and interesting information.

It comes highly recommended from me.

Follow for Witchy content @the_cemetery_witch
© Repost with clear, written credits.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Hail and Welcome!


With so many of you following the Instagram page recently (thank you and welcome!), and me not doing a proper introduction since October, I thought it was time for me to introduce (and reintroduce) myself properly.

My name is Wren, and I’m a witch, holistic therapist, pagan model, writer, fire spinner, wife and mum from the South of England, living on a cemetery.

These introductions always feel a bit forced, so I’ll just tell you some of the things I like!

I’m a hugely sensory person. I love aromas (it’s no wonder I trained as an aromatherapistπŸ‘ƒπŸΌπŸ˜†), music, and colour. 🌈 I adore cats, although we’re currently waiting for the right time (will there ever be one?) and the right cat to come into our life. I love the outdoors, herbal lore, visiting sacred sites, and history.

As a terribly shy person I’m frustrated that Instagram is moving its focus away from still images (which I LOVE 😭) to the “entertainment” value of videos, Reels and Stories. Gahhh. Get ready for some daft (but hopefully still educational) Reels. πŸ™ˆπŸ˜†

(BTW. You can see more of the content you love by saving, commenting and sharing the things you enjoy; and it will really help small businesses and educational pages be seen.)

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Beautiful Poppies


Poppies are a common wildflower in many parts of the world, found in fields as well as gardens, and are available in a number of varieties. Their blooms may be single or double, and can be just about any colour. All parts of the plant are toxic, except for the seeds, which may be eaten.

In the U.K. common poppies flower from June to September, so they give me summer and harvest vibes. They will flower in cracks in the pavement, so as well as delicate beauty, they make me think of tenacity and determination, and success against all odds. They’re one of my favourite flowers precisely because of their tenacious nature. I admire their strength and ephemeral beauty.

Poppies are often associated with love, due to the red colour of “traditional” poppies, however the correspondences most associated with them are death and remembrance. The poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McRae references poppies growing between the graves of World War I military personnel, and nods to the sheer brutality of war. The associations with death and remembrance go back a long way - the Egyptians apparently used poopies in their funerary rites some 3000 years ago, and they represented eternal sleep to the Romans. Both cultures also recognised their association with new life: they made garlands of common poppies to celebrate the gods and ensure the fertility of their crops. In Greek mythology, Thanatos, the God of Death, wore a crown of poppies.

Here in the U.K. white poppies are worn - sometimes with the red poppy - which stand for three things: a commitment to peace, remembrance for all victims of war, and as a challenge to those who would celebrate or glamourise war. Purple poppies are worn to remember the animal victims of war. As the wife of a veteran, the poppy is an important symbol in our home.

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Moon
Element: Water
Magical Associations: love, fertility, death, peace, remembrance, ancestor work, imagination, strength, tenacity, determination, regeneration, success against the odds, summer, the harvest, strength

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Witch Book Wednesday


Witch Book Wednesday! Here’s my magickal reading stack for this week:

πŸ’œ The Book of Candle Magic by @madamepamita
πŸ’œ Spells, Charms, Talismans & Amulets by Pamela Ball
πŸ’œ The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies & Magic by GonzΓ‘lez-Whippler
πŸ’œ Spells for Peace of Mind by @cerridwen.greenleaf 
πŸ’œ Essential Oils by Neil’s Yard Remedies
πŸ’œ Neal’s Yard Remedies by Neal’s Yard Remedies

There’s a good mixture here; I’ll be mostly dipping in and out of for reference. I find that I read more recipe and spell books in the summer, as the days are longer and I have more energy to create stuff!

No doubt it will be a completely different pile next week! πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

What are you reading this week?

I’d really like to know:

πŸ’œ What you are reading right now
πŸ’œ The witchy book you’ve had the longest
πŸ’œ A book you’d recommend to a beginner witch

If you’d like to share your magickal reading stack be sure to join Witch Book Wednesdays at @witch.with.books on Instagram by using the hashtags #witchbookwednesday and #witchwithbooks for a chance to be featured by the WWB crew.

Follow for Witchy content! @the_cemetery_witch
© Repost with clear, written credits.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Baphomet Explained


Baphomet is often a misunderstood, and even feared, figure.

He is the ‘Sabbatical Goat’ incorporated into mystical traditions. He contains binary elements representing the equilibrium of opposites. In other words, duality.

He stands for good and evil, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, male and female, light and dark, life and death. He has a half-human, half-animal body.

He reminds us that we all have a ‘shadow’, and that these “halves” make a “whole”. 

He has ‘Solve’ and ‘Coagula’ (Solve et Coagula) inscriptions on each arm; this means ‘dissolve and coagulate’ - separate and join - processes involved in Alchemy, Shadow Work, and life.

Alchemy is the art of transformation; the process of breaking something down into its most basic parts before transforming it, magickally, into something else. An example is the destruction of ego before the realisation of the true self.

We must undertake the pain of Shadow Work and break ourselves down (and then build up) to become the most authentic, creative, energetic, awake, and together versions of ourselves.

Baphomet appears as the Devil card in the Rider Waite Tarot. Many have been wary of Baphomet, for fear that he was something entirely ‘dark’, completely missing the point that he just represents the ‘shadow’ part of our human form.

Baphomet is the profound message that all things must be in balance. You cannot truly experience pleasure without having experienced (at least some) pain, there is no light without dark, and there is no life without death. There is no human without Shadow. The ‘darker’ parts of us are what make us truly human. With this reminder we can find space and energy for Shadow Work, and self-love and self-acceptance.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Wonderful Wolfsbane


Wolfsbane, also known as aconite, monkshood, mousebane, pops, Cupid’s cap, flapdock, women’s bane, queen of poisons, devil’s helmet and blue rocket, belongs to the plant genus Aconitum; a group of plants which are all poisonous, with wolfsbane being one of the most toxic plants in the UK. 🚫

I haven’t managed to spot Aconitum napellus in the wild yet, but I did spy this Chinese aconite (Aconitum carmichaelii) at our local gardens, which I was really surprised to see! Isn’t she beautiful?

Serious poisoning by plants is rare in the UK, but the toxins of wolfsbane can enter the blood if protective clothing is not worn when handling. In 2014, a gardener in Hampshire, UK, died after brushing against it, which is extremely unusual, but shows the amount of care needed when handling these plants.

Aconite, along with other baneful herbs, is said to be a constituent of flying ointment, which is said to have been used by witches from the Late Middle Ages. This hallucinogenic ointment allowed the witches to astrally project; the witch’s consciousness “flying” off rather than their physical body.

Francis Bacon listed the ingredients of flying ointment as wolfsbane, “the fat of children digged out of their graves”, smallage (celery), cinquefoil (potentilla), and fine wheat (wheat flour).

Poisonous ingredients listed in flying ointments, past and present, include belladonna, henbane, mandrake, and hemlock.

Whilst I have a good general plant knowledge, I’m still learning about the baneful aspects of certain plants, and their history. One thing is for certain: baneful plants are absolutely beautiful.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Monday, 12 July 2021

Witchy Birthday Cake


Yesterday we went for a surprise birthday trip out and there were surprises galore!

My husband had planned an amazing trip to Stanton Moor to see the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, but he had also arranged for us to meet my best friend and her partner there - and they gave me this incredible cake.

Isn’t it amazing? It has sugar amethysts and is decorated with runes, ivy, candles and a pentagram - I was absolutely blown away πŸ˜­πŸ’œ it’s a total masterpiece.

We had a fantastic trip to this incredible place, and I’ll be sharing photos throughout the week.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend! πŸ’œ

Cake by Shannon Holdsworth 

Horseshoe Magick


Horseshoes have good luck status in England as Blacksmiths and Farriers are considered to be natural magicians. Horseshoes are displayed in a “U” shape, with the points upwards, so that the luck should not run out. It is considered very bad luck to have them pointing downwards.

Traditionally, only Smiths and Farriers may display a horseshoe downwards. Blacksmiths would have an upside-down horseshoe hung over their forge doors; their magical power pouring from the horseshoe on to the forge itself.

There is one other exception to this rule, though.

In my county we only display horseshoes downwards. It is found on houses, and above doorways. It is also upside-down on our county flag.

The people here believe that the Devil can’t make a home in the horseshoe this way up, and upside-down horseshoes bring good luck to us, much in the same way that upward horseshoes bring luck to the rest of the country.

We also have a tradition where any reigning monarch or peer of the realm who visits the county for the first time should present a horseshoe to the Lord of the Manor. This custom is over 500 years old and still continues today. There are now over 200 upside-down horseshoes on display at Oakham Castle, the oldest said to have been given by Edward IV in around 1470.

Valerie Worth, in the Crone’s Book of Words, gives a horseshoe spell to cure a headache. You hold an end in each hand and press the centre of the horseshoe against your forehead and say:

“Good metal loosed,
From horse’s hoof,
Draw from my brain, 
These nails of pain,
Cast them away,
Keep them away.”

Horseshoe traditions have also become popular for weddings. A bride carrying a horseshoe will bring good luck to both the occasion and the marriage. Sometimes this is a small symbol, made of silver, or porcelain hidden in the bouquet or carried alongside it. My grandmother carried several decorative horseshoes alongside her bouquet.

Do you have a horseshoe protecting your home? Which way up is it? Have you seen horseshoes at a wedding, or carried one yourself?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Birthday Magick


Birthdays. What do you think of them?

I think of them as being a bit liminal. You have just completed a year’s cycle, and you are just starting a new year’s cycle; but you haven’t completed much of that journey. So whilst they might not be completely liminal, they do feel like an in-between to me. Not quite here, not quite there. But that’s just my own viewpoint.

I find them to be a reflective time, and carry an energy similar to some of the festivities in the Wheel. I find myself looking back at what I have (or have not) achieved, and what I want moving forwards.

I’ll be honest, birthdays are often a deeply difficult time for me. As I grow older I find these occasions more emotional. It is not the process of growing older. That is something I absolutely cherish, and I’m aware it’s a privilege denied to many; but it’s the realisation of the passing of time, and how I might have done things differently that plays on my mind. Even if many of these things have been beyond my control.

I take the day before a birthday to collect myself and get my thoughts in order. In the evening I sometimes do a little magick. On the day I often have a little cry, before getting on and enjoying it. I can’t help it, it’s just how these things flow.

Birthdays are an excellent time to create/perform self-love rituals. There’s no-one who can love you more than you!

Things you can include in a birthday ritual:
πŸŽ‚ Pampering
πŸŽ‚ Letters to the old, or new, you 
πŸŽ‚ Releasing or letting go of old habits, behaviours, and thoughts 
πŸŽ‚ Plans, ideas, intentions and wishes 
πŸŽ‚ Journalling 
πŸŽ‚ A special gift from you to you!

One thing I always concentrate on the day before a birthday is this thought:

We have immense personal power, and once we realise this, it’s much easier to tap into it. We have all the tools we need at our disposal to achieve anything we desire. We have the ability to transmute the airy energy of ideas, and manifest them into something solid, something real. What am I going to create? What do I want to achieve? What am I going to do?

What month is your birthday? Do you think they’re a good time for magick? Do you have any special birthday rituals?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Lovely Lupins


The lupin, or lupine, is a genus of flowering plant in the legume family, with a rich and fascinating history. It was originally named from lupus, meaning wolf, but I have seen several explanations for its name.

Firstly, it has been suggested that it was named after the wolf because of its voracious nature. Secondly, that lupin was named after the wolf, because it was thought that both wolves and lupins kill livestock. Thirdly, because it was believed that lupins “wolfed” minerals and nutrients from the soil, when in actual fact they do the opposite.

It is traditionally used in protection rites and spells, and is said to absorb psychic and magickal energy.

Powder the leaves, roots, seeds, but despite it being used as a culinary plant around the world, please do NOT ingest it, as some lupins contain secondary compounds which can be poisonous.

I have not worked with lupin myself yet, but common correspondences associated with lupin are:

🌸 protection
🌸 balancing 
🌸 otherworld communication 
🌸 absorbing psychic “messes” 
🌸 admiration
🌸 creativity
🌸 animal healing, in particular dogs 
🌸 imagination 
🌸 happiness 
🌸 strength recovering from trauma 
🌸 new opportunities found via a positive outlook 
🌸 corresponds with 3rd eye chakra

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Experiencing the Land Wights


I’ve spoken before about land wights, the unique spirits that reside in natural things such as mineral, animal, herb, rock, plant, and stone. Collectively they form the genius loci, the spirit of a place.

Land wights are definitely the spirits that communicate with me most, and something which has developed as I have got older. I felt an instant connection to this place when I moved here ~ a later DNA test would reveal to me that many of my ancestors actually came from this area ~ and the longer I have spent time treading the land, the more information the land wights have passed to me.

It begun as information about the landscape, and moved on to the identification of plants. My plant knowledge has always been quite good, but it has sped up since I moved here. I feel like the land ~ the spirits residing within the land ~ are slowly revealing themselves to me, furthering my knowledge. They will say “I am an X” and when I go home and research, I find they are right.

It’s not just the identification of plants, it’s also their personalities. I get a certain feeling when I approach, spend time with, think about, or use a plant. These are distinct feelings or emotions that I simply have no human words for. They are very specific, and differ hugely from plant to plant. I suppose you could say it is their “essence”.

There is clearly more work to be done with this. There are hundreds of plants yet to be identified, and personalities to understand; and that’s before we get into the realm of using them magickally. What’s interesting is that as someone who has terrible cognitive issues ~ especially a terrible memory ~ one thing I CAN remember is the names of all these friends.

Have you ever felt instantly connected to a place? Did it reveal its secrets to you? Have you experienced what I am?

Apple Cake Recipe


A blessed July everyone! 🌞

This is a post from the Solstice which I am only sharing on the website today:

“Today marks the longest day of the year. We celebrate the peak energy available at this time, but it is a bittersweet moment. Despite the joy and abundance of this time, the energetic scales are tipped; and once again we will begin the descent into darkness.

Whilst there is a definite sense of making merry at this time ~ celebrating the abundance of summer and enjoying time outside with friends and family ~ it can be a time tinged with sadness for many, including myself. For those of us with chronic illness who are solar powered, and are only really just starting to feel healthy, well and energised, it’s frustrating to know that the days will start to draw in, in a few days’ time.

But let us put those thoughts aside for now, and revel in this peak moment of light and warmth!

Rather than a traditional Honey Cake, I made an Apple Cake this year. This will grace our table many times between now and Samhain. In many ways it’s more like a pudding than a cake. It is delicious served warm with custard. I have tried this recipe successfully with Gluten-free flour, but not vegan substitutes. I’m sure it would work well.

πŸ₯£ 225g Self Raising Flour
πŸ₯£ 110g Caster Sugar 
πŸ₯£ 170g Bramley Apples, chopped 
πŸ₯£ 85g Butter, melted 
πŸ₯£ 150ml Milk
πŸ₯£ 1 egg 
πŸ₯£ 1 tsp Cinnamon

🌞 Line an 8 inch tin, preheat the oven to 200c 
🌞 Sift the flour into a bowl with the spice and sugar 
🌞 Beat the egg and add to the milk and melted butter 
🌞 Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture, mix well 
🌞 Add the apple, mix well 
🌞 Spoon into the tin, sprinkle some sugar on top 
🌞 Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean

Happy Solstice everyone 🌞🌞

Sending love, light, and warm wishes on this, the longest of days; and a beautiful Winter Solstice to our brothers and sisters in the Southern Hemisphere.” 

Leicestershire & Rutland Leechcraft


Whilst there are many parts of Leicestershire folklore that are also found in other parts of the country; some recorded folklore is specific to Leicestershire and the immediate district. Some of my favourite Leicestershire folklore is the wonderful, and often bizarre, leechcraft: healing or medical “cures”.

πŸ₯£ Rub a wart three times with the rind of stolen bacon. Nail the rind up on some outside wall, and, as it dries up, the wart will dry up also.

πŸ₯£ Charm against drunkenness: “Take the lungs of an hog; roast it; whosoever eateth thereof fasting shall not be drunk that day, how liberally soever hee takes his drinks.”

πŸ₯£ Swallowing shot will remedy “raisin’ o’ the loights” (heart-burn).

πŸ₯£ Get a black snail, rub it on the wart, then stick it on a thorn until it dies.

πŸ₯£ To cure whooping cough seat the patient on a donkey, with his face towards its tail. Give him a roast mouse to eat. He must not know what he's eating.

πŸ₯£ The Churchyard Mould Cure for rheumatism: bury the patient in the earth for two to three hours, naked, his face only uncovered. Repeat daily until the rheumatism is cured.

πŸ₯£  To cure a wart travel to an ash tree with some fresh pins. Stick a pin through the bark, and then into the wart until it produces pain. Take it out and stick it into the tree. Use a different pin for each wart. The warts will disappear in about six weeks.

πŸ₯£ Charming for whooping-cough and fits: the operator, generally an old woman, draws a circle round the sufferer’s face nine times with her fore-finger, pausing each time at the centre of the forehead and the chin, her lips moving silently during the performance. (It is believed the words of the charm were probably transmitted from mother to daughter as a treasure to be secretly guarded, and may now be irrecoverably lost).

πŸ₯£ When stung with a nettle find a dock leaf and beat the sting with the leaves, repeating the words "in dock, out nettle " — a word with every blow.

πŸ“• Leicestershire Legends, Folklore & Dialect 
πŸ“— County Folklore: Leicestershire & Rutland

The Witches of Belvoir


“Surely... God will choke me on this bread if I am guilty!”

It was 1613, and in Langham, Rutland, lived Joan Flowers. She had two daughters, Philippa and Margaret, who worked for the Earl of Rutland who was seated at Belvoir Castle. 

Philippa helped in the nursery and Margaret was a poultry keeper and laundress until she was caught stealing eggs, and was dismissed from service. The Countess of Rutland refused to give her a character reference which meant she would be unable to find further employment with other local dignitaries.

Joan Flowers was absolutely enraged. Despite being poor she had built up good standing within her community, and she was angry that her daughter would be treated this way. 

She gathered her small coven. Along with Ellen Green of Stathern, Joan Willimott of Goadby, and Anne Baker of Bottesford, and her daughters; the six women climbed to the top of Blackberry Hill, a sinister spot rumoured to be a place of malevolent magick. Here they made a pact with the Devil that revenge would be taken on the Earl and Countess of Rutland, and their three children.

Philippa provided a glove belonging to Lord Ross, Henry Manners, their young son. Joan dipped it in boiling water and rubbed it along the back of her familiar, a black cat called Rutterkin, before pricking it with pins. A week later the child became ill and died. Joan took feathers from the quilt of the Earl and Countess, and boiled the feathers, mixing them with blood, declaring “may they have no more children.” 

The same was done with Francis Manners. He fell sick, but recovered. The witches were angry, and resorted to burying his glove in a dung heap, whereby Francis would fade as the glove decayed. Katherine Manners also started looking ill...

The witches were not secretive about what they were doing, and the news of the curse soon made it back to Belvoir Castle. In 1618, all six women were arrested and imprisoned at Lincoln Gaol. After questioning they were taken to the Lincoln Assizes. Joan Flowers maintained she was innocent, despite the evidence that was brought against her, and despite the boasting she had done.

In 1619, Joan stood before a packed court, having asked for bread to be supplied, and exclaimed in front of an audience sat on tenterhooks: 

“Surely... God will choke me on this bread if I am guilty!” 

She took a bite of the bread... and choked to death.

Joan Flowers’ daughters were found guilty and hanged at Lincoln Castle. It is not sure what happened to the others as it was not recorded, but their deaths did not save Francis Manners who died shortly after in 1620. 

A memorial to the Earl and his family can be found at Bottesford Church:

“He had two sonnes, both which dyed in their infancy by wicked practice and sorcerye”

Footnote: There is evidence to suggest that the Flower family were set up. The family were disliked by the staff at Belvoir Castle, and despite being herbal healers were seen in their local community as obnoxious and arrogant. Many witch trials involved local squabbles. There is evidence to suggest that the boys were actually put to death by the Duke of Buckingham, who wanted to marry the Earl of Rutland’s daughter so that he could inherit the Earl’s fortune. It is said that local people were scared of the Flowers family, but we must consider that these were poor, uneducated women who had to defend themselves in court, with the average trial lasting no more than 20 minutes. Joan Flowers is buried at the crossroads in Ancaster.