Last night I went to a talk at Treadwell’s about Depression in Paganism. The talk was structured with Christina Oakley-Harrington asking Cat, who was the speaker, questions about depression.

At first, the “Christianity is all about sacrifice” line was really starting to annoy me. I come from a Scottish Protestant background and Protestant crosses have no Jesus on them because they emphasise the fact that Jesus was raised, whereas Catholics emphasis that Jesus was sacrificed. It nearly got to the point where I stood up and said something, but thankfully the topics veered away from that.

Cat is a Pagan priest in Derbyshire and the rest of the talk centred on her experiences of depression, caused mainly by a divorce and loss of job at the same time. If your world crashes down around you, you will probably be depressed no matter how strong you are.

As someone who has beaten depression I enjoyed hearing about her experiences with depression and her way of dealing with things. I enjoyed the fact that she wasn’t afraid to stand up and say she has trouble with depression. So many people have been or are depressed and can’t speak about it.

I also enjoyed hearing about her service as a pagan priest and hospital chaplain. We do need people to fulfil that role, but I am glad I’m not called to do that.


I believe that dreams are messages from your subconscious, which can’t get through to you in the daytime, so sends messages to you at night.

If you are taking note of your dreams, don’t bother using a dream dictionary. Dreams are subjective to the person who dreamed them and I’ve often found that my interpretation is different from the dictionary’s.

Everyone grows up in a different environment, which shapes the meanings of things. For example, beech trees represent my childhood as we had a beech hedge that separated us from the road. You may have other ordinary, but different things which symbolise your childhood to you.


Some people invoke deities in spells. This has a rich history, mostly in folk magic and in Wicca.

In folk magic, Jesus and Mary are usually invoked as well as the occasional saint. My theory is so that this meant it wasn’t witchcraft if biblical personages were involved. Wiccans usually invoke pagan deities of the pantheon they follow, or if no pantheon is followed they invoke the deity best suited to the spell.

I am one of those people who do not invoke deities in spells. I prefer the magic to be all mine and just because you invoke a deity, there is no rule saying that the deity has to respond.

Either way is equally valid and it is up to the practitioner to decide which one to use. It may be the one you feel most comfortable with, the one that gives you the best results or any other reason.

Elder Rob

I’ve been making a folk remedy for coughs, colds and sore throats called Elder Rob. It’s made with elderberries, sugar and water into a syrup which I’ve been taking for the cold I have, which so far has resisted the doctor’s advice of paracetamol and vitamin C.

So far it’s working well, soothing my throat and decongesting me. I’m impressed and may well look into more folk remedies.