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 Spring Avalon Faery Fayre ~ Jasmine Becket Griffith Part two

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In a previous post I explained that the weekend of 10th + 11th march I spent a glorious 2 days in Glastonbury, seeing my favourite artist Jasmine Becket Griffith, getting things signed and photos too. Along with visiting other stalls at the fayre, and sightseeing around this beautiful and quaint town. Every shop window was amazing, each spoke to me, the crystals, the witch tools, books, everything was incredible.

Have you ever seen such colourful vibrancy and energy in a shop window? I know I hadn’t.

Old buildings, new buildings, unusual buildings, it had it all, and I was thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.

Every side street was a treasure waiting to be discovered. You definitely need to explore and step off the main high street, you’ll discover some amazing sights. Walking through archways, crystal walls, the atmosphere is magickal, and it did my spirits the world of good just being here.

Next time I will show you the campsite and more Faery Fayre. But for now I’ve chewed your ears enough….