Witchcraft in Venice


Last Monday we hired a babysitter and went to the talk about witchcraft in Venice at Treadwells.

The talk disappointed us by solely focusing on the witchcraft courtesans use. For example, up until World War II there was a large Jewish population in Venice and it is from Venice that the word “ghetto” comes from. We both would have been interested to hear about Jewish magic.

There was also (I don’t know if this is still being done) a marriage ritual performed yearly between Venice and the sea which was not mentioned.

It seems that the magic the Venetian courtesans performed is much like British magic, except with no familiars, but the courts were a lot more lenient. The accused would produce witnesses to her character and often got off the charge by playing the “I’m the poor illiterate woman whose lodger has left these books behind” card. The most that happened to one witch is that she was imprisoned for ten years. Her imprisonment involved having dinner with the Warden.

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Occult Walk


Yesterday we went on an occult walk in London. The guide Deliane is a trained guide and priestess.

She has really researched the occult history of London. She started off with James VI (I of England) time and went gradually forward to Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardener.

We learnt a lot about London, especially Cleopatra’s Needle, which is said to be the most cursed spot in London with numerous people committing suicide at that spot.
The only criticism I have to make is that several walking tours could have been done over various parts of London. For example, Eliphas Levi (who was not mentioned) was resident in Gower Street in London.

Gawain and the Green Knight


Last Wednesday we went to Treadwell’s to hear a different story with a different storyteller.

The story was “Gawain and the Green Knight” which was being retold from old sources as the teller had been academically trained.

It was interesting hearing this story as I realised that it was about adultery and the penance of messing around with another man’s wife, a story which would have been popular with medieval people as a prohibition on adultery was one of the ten commandments.

I suspect the interpretation of the story as a nature one is a modern-day invention, but since this interpretation mainly rests on the meaning of the word “green” I would have to look into this to be able to judge.

Shamanism in Storytelling


The other night I went to a talk on Shamanism in Storytelling at Treadwell’s.

The person giving the talk was a professional storyteller called Abbie Palache who told stories which had changed her life and why. After hearing one of them she gave up her job, with another she realised that she needed to slow down; which everyone had been telling her and she hadn’t been listening.

This was a really good demonstration of the power of stories. She will be back to Treadwell’s in April with stories about Odin and I highly recommend that people go to this talk.