Celtic Exhibition


A few days ago we went to The British Museum for an exhibition on the Celts.

The exhibition was about what the Celts were and are. I knew most of it already, but what was there was accurate except for lumping Picts in with Celts, when they were a separate race. The reason for this is the artwork, which they say is similar, but I can pick Pictish art out from Celtic at one hundred paces.

The highlight was seeing THE GUNDESTROP CAULDRON (excuse Caps) and was certainly worth the £17 admittance fee alone. They also had The Battersea Shield, so were pulling all the stops out to get exhibits.

I wasn’t surprised they had The Battersea Shield, as that was found in The Thames, but The Gundestrop Cauldron is something that I’d really wanted to see, but thought I’d never get anywhere near it. All I can say is that the photos don’t do it justice.

Two Talks


Last week I went to Treadwell’s to see two talks. This was unusual for me, but one of them was a memoriam to Terry Pratchett and I did not want to miss this.

The talk on Terry Pratchett was a reminisce about Terry and his works. I particularly liked the toast at the end when we had to say one word that summed Terry up for us and then were asked to talk to people afterwards. The latter is not the British way, but I enjoyed it.

While I didn’t learn anything new about Terry, it was a nice way to say goodbye to him and I’m glad I was there.

The second talk, which we’d booked before Terry died, was Abbie Palache’s Tales of Odhinn.

I read the Norse tales when I was a teenager, but haven’t revisited them since, so my Norse folklore is rather sketchy.

Abbie told tales which fleshed the bones of Odhinn out into a real person and I have to say that her Odhinn is very like the one in Neil Gaiman’s fiction book American Gods.

At the end of the evening I felt I knew Odhinn rather better than before and I was glad he wasn’t Marvel’s two-dimensional ruler.

Viking Exhibition


Last Friday we went to see the Viking exhibition which is on at The British Museum.

It was a good exhibition which gave me a basic understanding of Viking life. It emphasised that they weren’t all raiders and pillagers and informed us of other facets of Viking life such as trading, although it did focus on boat building.

There was an interesting part on spellcasting. It seems that Viking women used staffs that were akin to weaving tools to weave fate.
The only criticism I have is that the objects shown were not numbered which meant that I had to spend a lot of time working out which object the text was talking about.

Lughnasadh


This year’s Lughnasadh was a low-key affair as I was ill. I cast the circle, invoked my deities and said a few words to celebrate.

This time I had to cast the circle in my mind instead of physically as it took too long. I would have preferred to do a physical cast, but it would have taken too long and tired me too much.

This celebration took around ten minutes. It did the job, but I would have preferred my normal format.

The Crow and The Goose


A few Saturdays ago I went on an occult walk in the Southwark area of London with The Crow and The Goose.

Before we started walking, it was explained to us that geese were prostitutes in the Middle Ages. The leader of the walk (The Crow) had had various verses dictated to him by The Goose, who is the spirit of Southwark.

We were given a bag, which contained another bag with a dried apricot and piece of crystallised ginger in it (which we ate at one of the stops) verses bound up with a ribbon (which the leader recited) a random leaf of a book (which acted as divination for us) and a flyer for Treadwell’s occult bookshop.

Then we were taken on the walk that The Crow had walked with The Goose. It was a round walk, taking in notable sites such as the site of Marshallsea prison and the remains of Winchester Palace. All the sites were medieval sites of great renown. For me, it was reminiscent of walking the bounds. I’m sorry I can’t remember more about the walk, but for me it was marred by abdominal pain which I got checked out when I got home.

The last site was the Crossroads graveyard, where “single women” which is a euphemism for prostitutes, were buried in unhallowed ground. We did a ritual to honour The Goose (medieval prostitutes were known as geese) and tied ribbons on the gate as we can’t go in. The gate has been turned into a shrine and locals hang things on the gate to remember their loved ones who have died.

The leader was selling his book and at first I decided not to bother, then once I had got outside I changed my mind. Then the leader didn’t have change, so I went down to the bar who said they didn’t have change, then the barman changed his mind and gave me change. I found all this rather weird, so I’m definitely going to have to read the book.

Spring Equinox


This was one of those rituals that didn’t go to plan. Nothing much went wrong; it’s just that I was listening to my intuition which took me off in a different direction than the one I had planned.
I had planned to celebrate it dressed in a green skirt, green top and wearing nothing else. Then I listened to my intuition which told me that it would be better if I wore nothing to celebrate the wildness of Spring.

So I’m out there in the dark, somehow managing not to step on any slugs (until our local hedgehog was run over s/he would often be in our garden) buck naked and somehow not freezing.

I dyed eggs the weekend before; onion skins for a sunburnt colour, coffee for brown and turmeric for yellow. The dried carrot skins somehow didn’t work, but since colour deepens when the egg dries I’m wondering if it came out a pale colour and I unintentionally re-dyed it when I used turmeric. More experimentation needed, methinks.

I was going to proffer the eggs as prosperity, as I read that this could be done, but I had left them upstairs. So I asked for continued prosperity for us and celebrated that Spring was here – and I’m writing this while snow showers have been coming down!

I really enjoyed this ritual, but wished I’d been able to find something on how the Irish celebrated the Spring Equinox. There are a lot of people who say they didn’t and maybe this is true.

St Tiggwinkles


As part of my 40th birthday celebrations I went to St Tiggywinkles, which is a wildlife hospital in Britain.

As the name suggests, it’s well known for taking in hedgehogs, but it caters for all manner of wild animals.

I went round the pens and saw deer, a fox, red kites, a hedgehog, a heron and many ducks. Some of the animals are permanent residents as they wouldn’t survive in the wild. Some of them will be released when appropriate. They have a lot of baby hedgehogs who can’t hibernate because they don’t have enough weight to survive hibernation.

The staff were friendly and great and made sure that I saw the baby hedgehogs.

There’s also a museum that I went round. I was fascinated at the exhibits of animals skulls, but I wasn’t interested in most of the hedgehog museum. I like hedgehogs, but they gave my cat ringworm once, so I prefer to keep my distance!

Mummies


Last night I went to Treadwell’s to see a talk on The Curse of the Mummy.

I would have preferred it if the speaker had taken the subject of curses more seriously, but he came at it from the angle that the curses didn’t exist and made light of the whole thing.

Undoubtedly there are curses that have been whipped up by speculation and the press, but I do believe that some are real and would have preferred to see it investigated.

It was a fun and enjoyable talk, I just felt let down by the lack of rationality.

East Anglian Folk Magic


Last night I went to a talk on East Anglian Folk Magic at Milford’s in London.

The talk was well presented and with a lot of information in it, but unfortuntely I already knew the majority of the information from reading the Traditional Witchcraft message board.

I was disappointed as there was nothing to separate out East Anglian folk magic with other regions’ folk magic.

If you wanted information on fairies, the horseman’s word or the toad bone rite, then it would have been a good talk.

Fun in the Woods


Last Saturday we went into the woods for an Action Day, which consisted of coppicing hazel. The sun was out and shining, we saw a bumblebee, many ladybirds and a small rodent which hastily dashed from one pile of brush to another. One of the workers showed me the pond and some bee orchids. The orchids are only leaves at the moment, but I will be coming back to see them in flower later on.

I also saw three ladybirds on the hazel I was coppicing. Since three is a sacred number and they stayed the whole time on the hazel, there was obviously some significance to this. I looked them up on the net and saw the Irish belief that they take away ailments. I have noticed today that my ailments are a lot better.

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