Lud’s Church, Peak District

Archive, Covid -19 Week Fourteen, Covid-19 Lockdown, Family Adventures, Health, Hips, Hypermobility, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

What is Lud’s Church? Well it’s NOT a real church, instead it’s a deep, moss-covered chasm full of history, myths and dark green wherever you look. Its colder and damp as soon as you walk into it, stepping down its stone steps deep into the cleft is to escape into another world… I imagined Merlin and Legends of old here.

Near the Roaches which is where we are walking and exploring. Is located in Leek and through Staffordshire’s Back Forest, is Lud’s Church. An 18 metre deep chasm created in the Roaches’ gritstone caused by a giant landslip, ( we did wonder if it elemental causing the tunnel) which over the ages has been covered from top to bottom in vibrant moss and lycan too The green is vibrant emerald. This makes the entire chasm outstanding to walk through, the dampness, the deep green colour has suddenly replaced the bright and expansive landscape of the Roaches, and it almost seems unbelievable. It doesn’t take long to explore the chasm, as it is only 100 metres long, but you could spend forever studying every nook and cranny- each as unique as each other. I however did not explore too much as it’s not that accessible for people like me.

Coming for the Solstice, as our Spiritual walk (as Stonehenge and Avebury are out this year) Lud’s Church was our alternative, as it’s not only interesting from a nature viewpoint, it’s also know for it’s history as in the Fifteenth Century it was used as a secret place for worship for people who would have otherwise been prosecuted. Sounds like my kind of place for sure!!

The people using this deep chasm as a church were the Lollards,(love that) followers of the early church reformer and so-called ‘heretic’, John Wycliffe.

Other than Luds Church’s religious history, there are also some myths that come with the area. It’s a fascinating place to research. Apparently one of them is that Robin Hood and Friar Tuck are reputed to have stayed in the cleft whilst hiding from the authorities. Easy to imagine, lots of nooks and crannies to hide in.

Going further back into the depths of Lud Church’s history is a myth that the chasm was created by the devil’s finger nail as he scraped back parts of the earth. Interesting, but I don’t think that happened.

And these steps, will be forever known as my victory steps. But for now, lots and lots of of recovery needed.

Beltane Blessings

Covid-19 Lockdown, Covid-19 Week Six, Family Adventures, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

Well the weather just HAD to go rainy for Beltane. So sadly no fire outside and celebrations for us.

Instead it’s movies, and absinthe and feel good times with the family here. What witch doesn’t enjoy #PracticalMagic

I’ve also started a Maceration process on the pelvis bones we found on a walk, that was my most witchy way to celebrate Beltane.

We should be celebrating my Grandson’s 4th Birthday and my eldest daughters Wedding Anniversary, but alas the lock down continues so we can’t.

But I will be watching lots of Star Wars films on Disney+ today as its #May4th to celebrate their wedding anniversary like they will.

Looking forward to watching Rise of Skywalker.

Imbolc first Sabbat of 2020

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Imbolc, What is it? Well in the Celtic seasonal calendar, which marks the beginning of the lambing season and signals the beginning of Spring and the stirrings of new life. This is when we start to see shoots of snowdrops.

It is Feile Brighde, the ‘quickening of the year’. The original word Imbolc means ‘in the belly’. See how it ties in with Farming and Lambing. The Land is pregnant and expectant – and only just visible if at all, like the gentle curve of a ‘just-showing’ pregnancy.

It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. The wheel is turning and with it comes our hopes, new life.

Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life’s insatiable appetite for rebirth.

It is Feile Brighde, the ‘quickening of the year’. The original word Imbolc means ‘in the belly’. See how it ties in with Farming and Lambing. The Land is pregnant and expectant – and only just visible if at all, like the gentle curve of a ‘just-showing’ pregnancy.

It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. The wheel is turning and with it comes our hopes, new life.

Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life’s insatiable appetite for rebirth.


Imbolc is a time to let go of the past and to look to the future, clearing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings.

Spring cleaning is called this, for this very reason!!

So try spring cleaning your home to clearing the mind and heart to allow inspiration to enter for the new cycle.

Doreen Valiente says spring cleaning was a nature ritual.

So I find it’s a good time for wish-making or making a dedication. Send out a promise of something you can work towards through the year.


Imbolc is traditionally the great festival and honouring of Brigid (Brighid, Bride, Brigit), as she was loved as a pagan Goddess that her worship was woven into the Christian church as St Bridget. So the Christians/pagans could accept the change of worship.
She is a Goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft. She is a Goddess of Fire, of the Sun and of the Hearth. She brings fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and new-born babies. She is the Triple Goddess, but at Imbolc she is in her Maiden aspect.

For me I’ll be lighting my candles, eating some good food, and going out to spring clean the cobwebs off myself, and spend some time with friends.

#Blogmas Yule Sabbat is here.

Archive, Blogmas 2019, Christmas gifts, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

Gather ye fellow witches and pagans, it’s the Winter Solstice, or better known Yule. From the German word Jul. Pronouced as Ewe-Elle. This year Yule is 22nd December until 2nd January.

The solstice is the signal that life and light is beginning to return, halfway through the darkest times, and come Imbolc 2nd Feb the first stirrings of life can be seen. It’s a time to celebrate!!

The Festival of Rebirth and The Return of the Sun

We celebrate the eventual end of the longest night, we realise now the dark is defeated with the Return of the Sun, there comes the return of light, hope and promises. Now is the time The Goddess gives birth to the Sun/Sun God. The Sun begins to wax, get stronger and stronger, which in turn means the days grow longer. All that is hidden will begin to emerge

The Oak King and The Holly King
The old ones have stories and tales of the two warring kings. They rule a season each. There is the Holly King who rules over the darkest parts of the year which ranges from Midsummer solstice to Yule, he is God of the Waning Year.

At Yule he is defeated, and gives his life to the young light Oak King, God of the Waxing Year and his twin, who rules over the lightest parts of the year, which ranges from Yule to Midsummer. Both rule for half of the year, both fight for the love of the Goddess and both give up their life force for the well-being of the land. In truth, they are one.

Yule

Is truly a time of celebrating, feasting and being together. Knowing you’ve survived the bleakest times and the light is returning, means more feasting is allowed, hence the big Christmas dinner. And our Yule tree is no different to a Christmas tree either, it’s how the tradition starred, deep in pagan roots.

Evergreens represent everlasting life which is why us pagans use them. Traditionally they would be hung around doorways and windows. And of course each one has a symbolism of its own. Do you know what they are? You may be surprised that all your Christmas traditions are actually Pagan Magick.


Mistletoe
A plant deeply steeped in pagan history and revered by the Druids, this is the healer and protector. It is carefully cut to ensure it never touches the earth. The magical properties it has from it lives between the worlds, between sky/heaven and earth. The white berries of mistletoe represent the fertile white semen of the life-giving male. Bet you didnt know thats why we kiss under it?!


Holly
Another evergreen of protection, I mean it’s spikes say protection all over!! The holly’s spiky bristles are believed to repel unwanted spirits, and unwanted attacks from everything else too. Back in the old days newborn babies used to be sprinkled with ‘holly water’, water in which holly had been soaked, especially potent if left under a full moon overnight. Holly is sacred to Holle, the Germanic underworld goddess, and symbolizes everlasting life, goodwill and potent life energy, as most red things do! Its red berries of this holly represent feminine blood.

Together, mistletoe and holly represent the Sacred Marriage at this time of year with the re-birth of the Sun/Son. Again this is why you often see these adorning your Yule wreaths and Decorations.

Ivy
Evergreen symbol of immortality and resurrection, and once again used for Christmas and yet no one knows why. Well as it growes into a spiral, this symbol reminds us of reincarnation and rebirth. Sacred one to God Osiris, where His death and resurrection was a central theme in Egyptian religion. Sacred also to Dionysys, god of vegetation, blossoming and the Return of Spring.


Pine
Its branches bring healing and joy to the home, and this is the Traditional tree we all choose to adorn our homes. We decorate it with representatives of lives, hopes, dreams, and honour our ancestors. It’s why our decorations are traditionally Green, for life, Red for feminine, White for masculine, Gold for the God and Silver for the Goddess.

Yule Log

Well it never used to be chocolate, rather it would be a lot from the previous year, that would be lit, and kept alight until Yule is over. Modern Yule logs can be logs made to hold tea lights or of course eat a chocolate one.

However you celebrate, I hope it’s a truly magickal blessed time for you all.

#Blogmas Chester Adventures Part 1

Archive, Blogmas 2019, Challenges, Randoms, Miscellaneous, Family Adventures, Witch, Pagan, Druid, Faery, Spiritual

Thursday has arrived so it’s road trip up to Chester to fetch our youngest from uni, stopping over for the night as a birthday treat.

And my second eldest (I have 4 daughters) and her chappy surprised us and met us there.

Checked into the Bull and Stirrup and omg the room is amazing.

It was similar to Radisson Blu styling, the dark wood made it feel more luxurious. Bathroom with heated mirror so showers didn’t steam it up. Seriously impressed.

Headed out after meeting all in our room, time to have a birthday meal. But as we walked through the streets we noticed they had a parade on.

At first we thought It would be a cute christmas one, it getting closer I saw it was more up my street as a pagan!! Skulls, crows, devil’s and more. Omg I loved it.

It was the annual Saturnalia and Winter Watch revelries. It’s a three-in-one midwinter spectacle that also features a re-enactment of the Winter Watch, a ceremony dating from the 15th century when the good burghers would put the keys to the city in the safe hands of an early version of the local police force. But the party really starts when the Lord of Misrule and his ghoulish friends hit the cobbles for a riotous romp. The mischievous coterie of fire breathers, devils, skeletons, ice queens, Jack Frosts, and even bloodthirsty cooks bearing a head on a platter, dance around the city centre to the relentless beating of drums by ghost band Karamba Samba.

Once ended we wandered off to try a new place for our meal Brewhouse

Beer can chicken!! Oh my days it was lush! Topped off with an IPA. Delicious

We were so so warm by this!! Added to the romance of the place. Decor was amazing too.

All while this was happening, my eldest daughter was being induced, so little baby is coming!!

Dark Gathering 2019 Part 3

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Sadly our time to leave has come, and believe me when I say, we ae heartbroken. This place, this time, this event really touched us. It was perfect.

To end the trip properly, we gathered ourselves ready to walk the Rocky Valley.

This is what the website says about it.

Take in majestic views of the bay near Bossiney

The stream starts life high up on Venn Down, 820ft (250m) above sea level. From there it meanders through fields before tumbling dramatically, first at the waterfalls at St Nectan’s Glen, then through rocky bluffs and deep clefts all the way to the open ocean in the bay near Bossiney. Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder); type of walk: ‘Waterside Walks’, ‘Hidden Places’.

It was not EASY, and I struggled if I’m honest. But the sights were worth the pain, and stiffness.

We found the ancient labyrinth carvings, the old mill and raging waters.

Bridge wasn’t confidence inspiring! Least it warned us.

The walk itself isn’t long, but it is grand and energies felt around the water and stones, and earth. Brilliant place to end our spiritual journey on.

Dark Gathering 2019 Part 2

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The reflection of remembering ancestors still hanging in the air, we decided to lighten the mood for the morning and visit Port Isaac, home of Doc Martin I believe.

What a gorgeous picturesque village,the skies are blue (shock after weeks of grey and rain) the sea is twinkling and it’s pretty warm for October.

We meandered down to the harbour then the doctors surgery for photos. Lots of breaks though as it’s hard on hips here. And we had a mini picnic with flask of coffee, and coffee cake.

Just before heading off to Boscastle, we went to visit the harbour and walk to a cave. Big mistake, we went in for a photo, and the path we used had been submerged in 2 minutes!!

My photo just before it rushed in on us.

How fast was that, so cue us taking shoes off to wade back onto shore. It was up to our knees in less than 2 minutes. I would never have known the sea came in that fast.

After that excitement/ horror we clambered back to the car, to giggle over the adventure that was forced upon us.

And onto the next leg of our journey and that’s the Minster of Boscastle, to connect and honour a famous witch buried there, well just outside there. She had resided in the Witchcraft Museum for decades, but it was decided she deserves peace at last.

Joan Wytte” was born in 1775 in Bodmin, Cornwall. She was sometimes called the “Fighting Fairy Woman” or the “Wytte (White) Witch”.
Joan was famed as a clairvoyant, and people would seek her services as a seer, diviner and healer. Her healing practices included the use of “clooties” (or “clouties”), strips of cloth taken from a sick person and tied to a tree or a holy well as a form of sympathetic magic, such that when the cloth rots, the disease was believed to dissipate.
Later in life, she became very ill-tempered as a result of a tooth abscess, and would shout and rail at people. She often became involved in fights where she exhibited remarkable strength and people came to believe she was possessed by the devil. She was eventually incarcerated in Bodmin Jail, not for witchcraft but for public brawling, and due to poor conditions in the jail, Joan died of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 38.
Her bones were disinterred and used for séances and various pranks, then later displayed at the Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle, Cornwall. It is said that, while her skeleton was on display in the museum, they started to experience disruptive poltergeists, and a witch was bought in to advise them, who said that Wytte’s spirit wished to be laid in a proper burial. She was finally laid to rest in a peaceful wooded area in Boscastle, and her gravestone reads: “Joan Wytte. Born 1775. Died 1813 in Bodmin Jail. Buried 1998. No longer abused”.

I have had the most awful tooth issues this weekend, was that a coincidence? And upon leaving we spotted the most beautiful cat, so graceful yet timid. I’m sure it was Joan saying thank you for visiting, and honouring her.

Dark Gathering 2019 Part 1

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When it’s the 26th October and a Saturday before Samhain (Halloween) so that can mean only one thing! It’s #DarkGathering time at Boscastle.

The All Hallows Gathering, or Dark Gathering as it is most commonly known, is celebrated on the Saturday before Halloween each year. This conveniently falls upon the half-term holiday so it enables families and children to attend which adds to the all important theme of ancestors at this time of year.

It is basically a seasonal festival with dynamic performances from Morris dancers, musicians and the all important meeting of the Welsh Mari Lwyds with our Cornish Oss, Penkevyll marking the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter. The main venue of these performances is outside the famous Museum of Witchcraft & Magic in the pretty village of Boscastle, Cornwall.

And we are going!! All booked into a cottage, so we headed down on the Friday 25th to get all the travelling done, before the event day. Staying at Bodmin in a cottage called the Nest.And what a cosy romantic nest this is. A perfect getaway for us newly empty nesters. We are definitely finding our feet with being a couple with no responsibilities anymore.Friday is arrival day and first up is King Arthur’s Hall. It’s raining and we look bedraggled but loving life.Rain was terrible,but we walked anyways to kill time before check in. Looking for the remains of a rectangle ruin, claimed to be King Arthur’s hall. It was boggy underfoot, not signposted at all. And much further than I thought, but we found it, after walking through the gatekeeper cows, that admittedly terrified me.Thankfully hoseseasons let us check in hours early though. As after this walk we were drenched.Saturday arrived, I adorned as many clothes as possible, as rain was horrendously bad. Packed spare clothes too, armed with a lantern for later, we headed to Boscastle.The festivities start at 12pm with storytelling, so while that was on we did some walking around valenicy valley which sadly was flooded, so off to the coastal route to stroll before the dancing begins.At 3pm the crews gather to watch the groups of Morris dancers.Braving the cold and wind while they dance away.Once the dancing is over, there’s a quick opportunity for us to grab some snacks and drinks, I also change my clothes and grab gloves.When we return, it’s dark now, lanterns lit and the procession begins, the mood is more sombre the beat slower.

The real reason we are here has begun. Remembering lost loved ones, being grateful and blessed for all we have, while honouring those that have passed.It’s a deeply emotive time, a beautiful ritual, calling on ancestors to be with us. I was greatly moved and highly emotional , what a reflective thought provoking event.

And honestly I couldn’t video or photograph it, as it felt disrespectful to do so.When it finished and we drove home, the tone of the procession and ancestors honouring stayed with us for hours afterwards. I believe this will be our new tradition to do each year. Already planning next year’s.

Glastonbury #Faeryfair 2019 Part Three

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The last 2 days have gone in a blur, and the hand is coping well, I’ve even started thinking the steroid has worked in the left hand. And hip is coping too.

Camping is more enjoyable now my hip is replaced, but I learnt the hard way about leaning forward in the camp chair. Do NOT do that ever ever ever!! Ouchies.

Like this, never do it with a hip replacement, I have no restrictions from surgeon, but I think my body has set its own!!

So it’s up and at them again, off to the event. We heard from others that the vendors had complained about Jasmines queue, so we had to queue until doors opened, walk through then queue out the other side, so we didn’t block any stalls.

Thanks to Ian and Kelly for getting a photo of me and Hubby and Ian. The queues were less busy than Saturday,and we got some gorgeous postcards and even Disney ones too.

This time we had some noodles to eat, so we cooked them in the back of the car, with coffee to drink we were sorted, and getting ready to explore Glastonbury.

With that done it was time to head back for our last night in the tent, how has it gone so fast?? We’ve had times we’ve been chilly, but wrapped up and with our heater we’ve been lucky.

So many many things to see and explore in Glastonbury, there is never enough time it seems.

Glastonbury #FaeryFair 2019 Part Two

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Saturday is event day, so up early to see what the day holds. Have to be at the event by 10.30am so we got there at 10am.

Getting there to queue as we are wanting the exclusive Sparkling pink rose fairy pin made by Jasmine Becket Griffith

Shy as ever I didn’t really get any photos, I kick myself for it now of course. Met some twitchlings (other Jasmine fans that also watch Jasmine paint on twitch) which was lovely.

We bought a Day of the Dead bag, I love the detail in her dress. And bought a calendar, as it’s a perfect way to have 12 pictures. Of course we got the calendar signed in December for Richards birthday.

We ate fish and chips in the car, to shield ourselves from the chilly wind, and had a drink or two. Awaiting the zombie releases!! Spooky szn has started.

Everyone was in good spirits, and it was nice to see so many out to support the children’s charity.

We left with full bellies and sore cheeks from laughing so much. What an epic day.