Mar 20, 2016
THE DOLMEN GROVE ISSUE 1 WWW.DOLMENGROVE.CO
The Dolmen Grove
The Dolmen Grove is a non-political, non- profit making organisation, preferring to concentrate upon the quest for spiritual enlightenment and the manifestation of Peace within a power hungry world of chaos.
The Dolmen Grove was originally formed in Dorset England where it still has its main HQ, and exists as a Spiritual meeting place for people of all nationalities, and over the years has grown steadily with
membership now spanning several continents. At the centre of The Dolmen Grove is the roundtable. This is made up from a group of people from all
walks of life, following a variety of spiritual paths. These individuals get together once a month to plan and organize events, and gatherings. Because these people give both their time and energy voluntarily the hopes
and dreams of The Dolmen Grove continue to be recognized. The Dolmen Grove do not have a hierarchy because we do not believe people need titles or labels in order to practice a spiritual path, however we do believe in spirituality based upon love, kindness and an open heart. We are fully aware that this policy which is upheld by the Roundtable of the Grove has upset people in the past and will no doubt continue to do so. It is NOT our intention to offend anyone and we do not condemn anyone wishing to use such title, and we shall continue to welcome all spiritually minded people seeking to enjoy good friendship with good souls who share a common interest.
The Dolmen Grove Banner A Symbol Of Unity
ALL ARE SPIRITUALLY UNITED WITHIN THE DOLMEN GROVE..
Respect and Care for the Elders, for they have aged with the wisdom of time.
1... A Sense Of Belonging by Denny Bottley(Ravenswing)
2... Poetry From Within The Grove
3... A Day In The Life Of ..... interview by Diane Narraway
4... A Talk On Poltergeists by Mike Lambert Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5... The Tarot...A Personal Journey by Diane Narraway
6... Travellers Tales ....This issue Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft by Julie Weltch
7...Diary of A Hedgewitch by Rachael Moss (photos by Rachael Moss and Joanna Caswell)
8...The Bookworm....Reviews of Books by various Grove Members
9...Music....The new Dolmen Album
10...Recipes.....Submitted by various members of the Grove
11...Samhain by Diane Narraway and photos by Joanna Caswell
12....Notices and Adverts
A Sense of Belonging After contemplating for many days about my subject matter for this magazine, I remembered an email I posted to Taloch, asking him if there was anything specific I should write about, and he said 'Write from the heart' so I will!!... It's an ideal place to start. My article primarily focuses on A Sense of Belonging. It's amazing as we travel along lifes journey; we stumble upon clear smooth roads - and of course rocky impassable ones. For us, as human beings, it's vital to have some kind of permanent structure which we can look upon as our 'Rock, something to secure us to that we canrely on, which helps us to feel settled and rooted. For me, spiritual unification is my 'Rock', my pagan roots help me to stay focused, positive and steadfast. Realistically, we as humans all need that sense of 'Tribal' connection... 'Oneness'... A feeling of togetherness ...In essence that Sense of Belonging which I have found since becoming a member of the Dolmen Grove. As a Sociologist, I have always stipulated that contemporary living is not naturally present in our human make-up... e.g. We are not meant to endure such stresses and pressures which modern living embellishes - After all, since the evolution of man, (both physically and psychologically) we have remained the same!! We all need to feel a Sense of Belonging....To have that formation which provides us with self realisation, human caring, and camaraderie ...And yes happiness! Suffice to say, all of these are difficult to find in our modern times. Fundamentally, for us as pagans, we readily embrace a more nomadic- ancestral...back- to- basics
lifestyle. Moreover, our camps provide us with a form of escapism.... An opportunity to return to how we should be, and for many (myself included) want to be. Even though it's only for a few days (for me) it's a chance to return to our ancestral roots...A tribal way of life - a sense of expression, both of which is uplifting and gratifying for a human wishing to connect with the natural world. The 'Dolmen Grove' has provided me with that which my 'Original' role as a pagan woman was yearning for...The instinctive need to find comfort in the company of good friends, as well as the chance to extend the hand of friendship in return. In addition - 'Being Aware' in terms of our various paths is crucial in order for us all to learn from one another - thus leading to further spiritual enlightenment....Something which we can all benefit from. To 'Belong', in our day and age is something of a rarity. Sadly, folks can live next door to each other for years without ever knowing one another - society has become so fragmented yet the overwhelming human need to be part of a friendly, caring community still remains within us. The immense need to experience the positive advantages of such a structure e.g. a true sense of dependability, security, innate contentment, and above all... a common bond Peace!!! We all need these various elements in our lives to face both the smooth and indeed the rocky roads as we journey upon this earth. The Dolmen Grove supports all the ingredients for a happy, fulfilled and genuine spiritual togetherness - to honour each other with respect and compassion - as it should be for humanity. 'A Sense of Belonging' is a gift indeed... Enjoy it!! Love and Peace
Poetry From Within The Grove
Maiden Castle On maiden castle ramparts, I stand with those I trust, Feeling the breeze call my name, As the autumn sun turns to dust. While I hear the serpents whisper, Gently through the grass, Tales of battles lost and won, Where present meets the past. And as the elements awaken, Through the astral eye I see, How 2012 I will embrace, Stood with my Dolmen family By Sarah Sanford
Spectre of doubt Soft whispers in the still of night Mysterious noises you cannot explain The murmur of the wind or a small animals scurry You might hope but hope is vain A soft caress rouses while you sleep The touch that stirs you into wake Is it just your imagination? Of course, you say, for sanitys sake An item you place is moved elsewhere The key you lost has reappeared Absent-mindedness, a trick of doubt Or could it be the thing you fear You might try to dismiss our existence With stories you can scorn and deride But your time will come sooner than you think When you join us here, on the other side Julie Welch
Gibbet Meat. A storm swept down from the Purbeck hills In to the valley below And caught me at a crossroads Wondering which way to go. Then all at once through the driving rain I thought I heard a sound And looking up I spied a corpse Ten feet from the ground Twas then that dead man looked at me From the gibbet as he swung And with a fearful voice that pierced my heart All in a dead mans tongue, said, Mend your ways you errant boy Mend them whilst you may Hang up your shining pistols two And put your sword away, Dont play the Dorset highwayman Rich travellers as your prey Or youll end your days as I have done With a terrible price to pay. The one eye remaining in his skull Was fixed on me full square And a raven perched upon his head Was pecking at his hair. I squinted at him through the rain Scarce believing what Id seen Whilst he stared right back down at me His skin a shade of green. Then did he raise his bony hand And point at me and warn If my words you do not heed
If my advice you scorn, Theres a hangman waiting for you lad So listen as I entreat Or you will end your days like me As rotting gibbet meat. Then all at once the rain did stop The howling wind died down The dead man on the gibbets arm Spoke not one more sound But gently swayed upon the rope So pitiful to behold And as I peered back up at him He made my blood run cold. And to this day I cannot say If he had really spoke But he made me swear to rob no more A vow Ive never broke And I often wonder who he was With my child sat on my knee And quickly comes the answer back, He is you .. And he is me So mend your ways you errant boys Mend them whilst you may Hang up your shining pistols two And put your swords away. Theres a hangman waiting for you boys So listen as I entreat Or you will end your days like him As rotting gibbet meat
By Mark Vine
Fire Dragon In a solitary cavern, South of infinity, Wherein lies the border, Of myth and certainty. Sits the watchful guardian, At the gates of fire, Whose breath ignites the very spark, Seeking only to inspire. While the rhythm of his heart, Commands the sun to shine, And with the softest whisper, True love becomes divine. Elemental dragon... Serpent of desire.... Who keeps the sacred passion, Deep within the fire. By Diane Narraway
Dark Lady Sweet lady and maiden, Untouched by a man whose ways are craven. Majestic beauty in silent grace, A distant look upon your face. I feel your stare as you look at me. Wanting to take my spirit and set it free. The silence of the dark feels cold to the touch A feeling of death at my heart does clutch The dank smell of the slime That lay in the corner through the passing of time My wait in this dungeon can go on and on. But at the dark ladies touch, my life will have gone This maidens bite has a deadly sting. But when its delivered; oh, its such a merciful thing. Dark lady in the shadows, hidden in the night. Maiden of dark, I welcome your bite. By Jim Gregory
A Day In The Life Of.... Q) Name and Religious title/path if applicable.(I.e. Witch, Druid, Shaman etc)? A) Steve Piper Proud Pagan and Dolmen Grove member Q) How did you become involved with The Dolmen Grove? A) I was at an English Civil War weekend The Dolmen played and Mark Vine introduced me to Taloch and the band. I became friends with the band and was introduced to other Dolmen Grove members as I started to attend Dolmen gigs. I felt so at home in their company and learned a lot from them. This helped me to find my own path Q) What is your job title or brief description of your job? A) I am a Herdsman. This involves milking as well as the day to day care of 250 Dairy Cows and young stock Q) Can you describe a typical work day? A) My morning alarm goes off at 3.00am and I start work at 3.45am. I arrive at the farm and let the farm dogs (1 Springer spaniel and 2 Collies) out. I then check to see if any cows have calved or are calving before checking on the fresh calved cows that are still with their calves. I aim to begin milking the cows by 4am. We milk 20 at a time through the milking parlour and are usually finished, washed down and home for breakfast by 08.00am. I am then back to work for about 10.00am doing daily tasks and general farm work. I go home for lunch about 12.30pm aiming to be back at work for 1.45pm, ready to begin afternoon milking for 2pm. I normally finish work at 6pm and work six days a week. Q) How do you feel your Pagan Beliefs fit into your everyday life? A) I am very lucky that I work with Nature on a daily basis and I feel my beliefs go hand in hand with my working life. Q) How do you feel your life has changed since becoming a member of Dolmen Grove? A) My complete outlook on life is different. I have now taken control of my life and because of this I feel my quality and love of life has completely changed. I am a much calmer person than I used to be, and my personal life has taken a new direction. I am in better and stronger place emotionally and spiritually. Most of that is down to the Dolmen Grove and the very dear friends I have made Thank you all
What are Poltergeists? In 1599 a Jesuit theologian of Spanish descent named Martin Antoine Del Rio wrote a book called Disquisitionum Magicarum, a work on magic and the occult. The book was popular amongst both Catholics and Protestants, and was one of the books used at the famous Salem witch trials of 1692. In it, Del Rio describes 18 different types of demon.
The 16t demon he describes as follows:- Those spectres which in certain times or places or homes are wont to occasion various commotions and annoyances. I shall pass over examples since the thing is exceedingly well known and instances can be read in older and more recent authors. Sometimes they are content just to annoy and disturb, doing no bodily harm, like the throwing spirit of which William of Paris writes, which disturbs his slumbers with the clattering of pots and hurling of stones, and having pulled away his mattress, turned him out of bed, and that Salamancan fiend of Torquemada, which indiscriminately with large stones, striking them, nevertheless with an empty and harmless blow. Which Marcus Magus in Psellus says to be characteristic of the subterranean demons we shall next treat. By what arrangements demons can throw stones and perform
other things of kinds which seem to require hands and bodily instruments, the Scholastics dispute. I agree with those who hold these things to be done by a demon substantially present in that place and moving the air next to the stone by a command of will. Disquisitionum Magicarum This text makes it clear that the phenomena have been with us for a very long time, but what are poltergeists? Poltergeist is an old German word meaning noisy spirit. Its aptly named because a lot of poltergeist phenomena involve raps, thumps, crashes and the movements of objects. These effects often seem to be localised in a place or around a particular person. Other sorts of phenomena that have been associated with poltergeists include mysterious outbreaks of fire, interference with electrical equipment, the playing of musical instruments, imitations of sounds, arrangements of objects into patterns and the appearance of various lights and misty figures. Poltergeists are important because, if we assume that the phenomena are genuine, then the
implications for our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live cannot be overestimated. Some Personal Early Experiences My parents were of the generation who had lived through the Second World War. Im sure that the frequent loss of life all around them would have
influenced their religious beliefs. They were both ardent spiritualists and they took to it with much enthusiasm. As a teenager I remember first being introduced to their beliefs at around the age of 14. They had kept their views to themselves before then presumably because they didnt want to frighten me or my two sisters or brother. But 14 is still a young age, an age when we tend to just accept things and I dont remember being particular overwhelmed when I was invited to a number of spiritualist sances. These sances took place in our family home, which incidentally had been built by my father and grandfather, both keen builders. The sances were usually attended by the same group, some family and some other spiritualists from local groups. All were well known to each other. The sessions followed the patterns developed back in the heyday of Spiritualism in Victorian times. They were held in total darkness and they always required a lot of singing and excitement before anything would happen. The family house We had a lightweight aluminium cone painted with three rings of luminous paint, two cardboard crosses painted in the same way. The sances were held in the front room, a room always kept spic and span by my mother. It contained a piano, a three piece suite and had a large fireplace with a shelf over it. It was on this shelf that the crosses were put. A collection of chairs were arranged in a circle and we would sit so close that our knees were touching. In the centre of the circle the aluminium cone was placed. The songs that we sang reflected the age of the sitters. The favourites were Daisy and Knees Up Mother Brown. I recall one Christmas sance as being particularly rowdy. As the lights were turned off there was much excitement in the room in anticipation of the hoped for phenomena. After a few minutes of singing a cold breeze was felt sweeping the room. Then two crosses, glowing in the dark from their luminous paint flew across the room. There was various shuffling of furniture around the room, then the piano stool flew open and the music books were thrown around the room. I remember the squeals from my elder sister, then a girl of around 17, who had to be calmed down. The lid over the piano keyboard began to crash up and down and my father had to hold it down. Was all this commotion due to spirits, or was it one of the sitters having a game with us? Well its impossible to say for sure, but two things strengthen my belief that something unusual was going on. Firstly, my father told me that he had to use all of his strength to hold the piano lid down. Now my father was a large and strong man, a man who as I mentioned earlier spent much of his free time laying bricks and sawing roofing timbers; there was no-one in that room who could compete with him for strength, just us kids, my mother, a young female cousin and a few middle-aged female spiritualists. Secondly, a few days after the sance, my mother, brother and sister were sitting in the same room, in broad daylight, watching the TV. According to their account, the piano jumped a few inches in the air and landed with a great crash causing the budgie to fall off his perch and flounder around the floor of his cage in confusion. These after-effects are well known in Spiritualist circles and I have heard a few similar tales. All of the steps taken while setting up the sance had some explanation from Spiritualist mythology. According to these beliefs the darkness was important as light prevented the phenomena and the analogy was often given that just as film could only be developed in the dark, so the spirits could only work in the dark. The singing was important to raise the vibrations or the spirits would not be able to use our energy to move objects around. There were many such rules and at that age I simply accepted the explanations.
Its fascinating to ask why we believe what we believe. I think we all like to imagine that we have open minds and that we carefully judge the evidence before committing to one view or another. I think actually that the truth is quite different. We tend to believe things that fit with our prior beliefs and expectations. If we experience things for ourselves then we are much more likely to accept it if others tell us about similar experiences of their own. Unfortunately the reverse is also true and we can be sceptical about tales outside of our own experiences.
The Society of Psychical Research study of a wide range of paranormal phenomena. It was founded over a hundred years ago, in 1882, by a group of scientists, philosophers and poets who were associated with Trinity College Cambridge. One of the best known was Fredrick Myers, a classical scholar, poet and philosopher.
At this time, in Victorian Britain a huge upheaval had recently occurred with The Society for Psychical Research, or SPR as its commonly known, is a learned society concerned with the the publication of Darwins On the Origin of Species which had sparked a lively debate between the materialist scientists and those of a religious leaning. Victorian spiritualism was at its height and another debate concerning the reality of the reported phenomena, was also in full flow. The SPR founders joined forces with some of the leading spiritualists of that time to apply what they considered to be strict scientific rules to an
investigation of the paranormal. Fredrick Myers one of the founders of the SPR In current times the SPR is a fascinating society. Back in 2002 I joined the SPR for a few years, got to know some of the researchers who investigated the cases we will discuss later and attended many of their lectures and conferences. My description of the SPR will be a personal one, and is in no way sanctioned by the SPR itself. To me it seemed to consist of several well defined groups: professional scientists, amateur investigators, the interested general public and a few mediums and psychics. The scientists could be further separated into the believers and the sceptics. Those scientists who seemed to me to have more open minds were mostly physicists. Several of these were professors, such as Bernard Carr Professor in Mathematics and Astronomy, Queen Mary & Westfield College, London University and Brian Josephson retired professor of the University of Cambridge and Nobel Prize laureate. Then there were the sceptics, mostly psychologists such as Richard Wiseman and Susan Blackmore who often seemed to me to be more interested in studying why people believed in the paranormal rather than the paranormal itself. So the SPR back in 2002 was a lively place. Amateur investigators and professional parapsychologists, from the various universities funded by the SPR, would report their findings at conferences to be followed by often heated debates between the various factions.
The Enfield Poltergeist Introduction These events occurred between August 1977 and September 1978 at a council house in Enfield North London rented by Peggy Hodgson. A range of phenomena occurred and there was much media interest at the time. One of the investigators, Guy Lyon Playfair, wrote a book called This House is Haunted now on its 3rd edition and still in print thirty years on. The family in the Enfield case consisted of a mother, two daughters, and two sons; Margaret aged 12, a younger sister Janet aged 11, Johnny aged 10 and Billy aged 7
The investigators Maurice Grosse served with the Royal Artillery during WW II and was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1944. He became an inventor and filed many mechanical patents including a
rotating advertising billboard. He joined the SPR in 1977 after losing his daughter in a motorcycle accident, becoming the long serving chairman of the Spontaneous Phenomena Committee. I was lucky enough to have several conversations with Maurice and found him to be a very honest and straight-forward person. He had an intense energy about him and he would fiercely defend his position if any sceptic tried to intimate that he might have been mistaken when he described the phenomena that he had witnessed. I remember trying to interest him in some of the more exotic theories attempting to explain poltergeists, but he
just laughed. His view was that the phenomena were real; he had first-hand incontrovertible experience of that, but that we are no closer to understanding why they occur than we have ever been.
Guy Lyon Playfair is a freelance writer and translator best known for his books about parapsychology. He is widely travelled having lived in Brazil for a number of years where he worked for the wonderfully named Brazilian Institute for Psychobiophysical Research (IBPP), Brazil's first and only serious psychical research organization. The first of his twelve books, The Flying Cow, in which he described his experiences investigating the psychic side of Brazil, was translated into six languages and became an international best seller.
Of all the investigators I will be talking about today, Guy was the one I got to know most. Like Maurice he stuck me as an honest investigator still fascinated by the experiences hed had and was still struggling to explain. I remember once hearing him recount a tale from his times in Brazil. While investigating a case he found himself in a wide open space when rocks began to fall all around him. He could see no explanation for them and told me how astonished it had made him. The Phenomena The Enfield phenomena began with a series of loud raps and then progressed to the moving of furniture. The first time that Peggy Hodgson really believed that something unusual from going on was when she experienced the movement of a large heavy chest of drawers in Janets bedroom. It moved away from the wall about 18inches towards the centre of the room. Such was the strangeness of the event that Peggy began to literally shake with fear. Peggy turned to her neighbours for help and being good neighbours they returned with Peggy
to the house certain that they would soon find a rational explanation. The neighbour, a non-nonsense builder, went over the whole house and could find no one hiding who may have been responsible for the knocks and movements. Then the knocking began again and all three neighbours clearly heard them. During one series of knocking the neighbours 20 year old son put his hand on the wall and felt it vibrating. The knocks had a curious hollow sound. In a desperate attempt to get some help Peggy took the next rational step, she phoned the police. Before long the police arrived a WPC and with a male colleague. Again the knocks were heard and again the whole house was searched but this time something even more impressive was witnessed. In the living room one of the chairs by the sofa began to wobble then moved towards them. The WPC claimed afterwards that it had moved around three feet. She examined it immediately afterwards but could find no explanation. The curious phenomena continued to escalate. Lego and marbles were hurled about the room. As the police had not been able to offer any help Peggy, at her wits end, phoned the press and before long reporters and photographers from the Daily Mail arrived on their doorstep including a senior reporter, George Fallows, Fallows interviewed Peggy and asked her the obvious question, as a council tenant, would she like to move? In other words was the whole thing a scam to get a better house. The answer was a definite no, it was her home, her family and friends lived close by and she wasnt budging, ghost or no ghost. It was Fallows who contacted the SPR. They responded quickly and dispatched one of their investigators Maurice Grosse. Over the months that followed Maurice experienced more phenomena than most researchers experience in a life time. Marbles and Lego were thrown, doors opened and closed by themselves, the lid of the fish tank flew across the room and cool breezes were felt. This is particularly interesting to me as I remember such cool breezes at of the spiritualist sances I attended. Maurice always remembered the need for a good record of events. He contacted the WPC who had attended the house at the beginning of the phenomena and asked her to write and sign a statement. In time, Guy Lyon Playfair joined Maurice and together they spent many days and nights with the Hodgsons. Perhaps the most interesting development began when the investigators tried to communicate with the poltergeist. Using a one rap for no and a two raps for yes system, they began asking it a series of questions. Questions such as did you die in this house received a yes, and will you go away now received a no. Things rapidly took a more alarming turn as Janet began to go into trances. During one of these trances she began to speak in the voice that sounded like an old man. If anyone is interested in hearing the voice I have an audio file I can send. The voice seemed to be a mixture of accurate statements that would be consistent from an old man, statements that would be more likely to come from a young girl, such as Janet, foul language and outright lies. This type of confusing and contradictory data is typical in paranormal research and one of the reasons why it has such a poor reputation in mainstream science. One of the most impressive series occurred when the poltergeist, who claimed that his name was Bill, was asked how he had died. The response was Two years before I went blind. I had a haemorrhage and fell asleep. I died in the chair in the corner downstairs Haemorrhage is an interesting choice of word for an eleven year old girl, when asked to explain its meaning she claimed to not understand it. It is now claimed that three years later, a letter arrived at the Enfield house from a man stating that his father, a William Wilkins, had died many years before in the house of a brain haemorrhage. And of course, the man who died would have been known as 'Bill'.
Janets story was that she did not produce the voice herself but that it was coming from behind her. On investigation however, it turned out that Janet was using her false vocal fold. It was still able to speak with Janets mouth filled with water and her lips taped over. The voice was able to speak for up to three hours at a time. Summary The truth of the case hinges on whether it would have been possible for the children to have outwitted the two investigators for so long. Maurice makes it clear in his lectures that they did catch the children playing a few tricks, but that it was easy to tell the difference from the actual phenomena. Janet is adamant that though she and her sister played a few childish tricks on the investigators most of the phenomena were nonetheless real. Was Janet playacting when the curious voice was heard or was she being in some strange way, controlled? Lets leave the last words to Janet, now aged 41 "I know from my own experience that it was real," she says. It lived off me, off my energy. Call me mad or a prankster if you like. Those events did happen. The poltergeist was with me - and I feel in a sense that he always will be."
The Cardiff Poltergeist Introduction
The Cardiff poltergeist is one of the most famous of modern cases. It became famous enough to be included in an episode of the TV series Strange but True (ITV 1994). Its still possible to view the episode on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJm6VBvC0Bk The phenomena occurred in a lawn mower workshop in Cardiff. There were many witnesses and the phenomena had a unique twist that seemed to show real intelligence behind the effects. The Investigator David Fontana (1934 18 October 2010) was a British psychologist and author, Professor of Transpersonal Psychology at John Moores University, Liverpool.
He published more than 45 books, including popular treatments of dreams and symbols. Fontana also took an interest in paranormal research such as mediumship, electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and of course poltergeist cases. Unfortunately I was not able to talk to him directly but I was able to attend a few of his lectures. He was well respected at the SPR, being a past president of the society
and an enthusiastic contributor to its journal. He played a significant part in many of its most famous investigations.
The Phenomena Pat and John Mathews had been repairing and selling lawnmowers helped by Pats brother Fred Cook for over 15 years. A salesman, Michael, was also employed by the business. As is often the case the phenomena began with the throwing of stones. The stones could be heard rattling down the roof but
try as they might none could find a rational explanation. The assumption was that it must be kids or vandals fooling around, but none could be found in spite of many attempts. Gradually the phenomena escalated, stones, ball bearings would be thrown around. In one corner Pat Mathews experienced an icy cold and a terrible smell of burning, but again with no obvious cause. Curiously and possibly uniquely, money began to appear, five pound notes would be found stuck into the ceiling tiles. Determined to get to the bottom of it, the family set up a test. They gathered every one into the building and locked the door. Then all lined up at a bench with their hands flat on its surface fingers touching. They called out a challenge to the poltergeist to throw a stone, just to see if it could still happen, and it did, a stone was still thrown. They knew then that this was no hoax. John Mathews said out loud that he felt that if they were to perform a proper test then they should be writing everything down. With that a pen dropped onto the bench in front of them. They gave the poltergeist a nick name, Pete the Poltergeist. An Insurance assessor, Gareth Lucas, who came after a burglary also experienced a stone, in his words, whizzing around the floor with no one anywhere near. The Rev. Mike Fuller from the nearby Baptist church experienced stones being thrown at his windows. He did everything he could to find out who was throwing them, going downstairs to look around, but found no one. As soon as he returned to his office the phenomena would begin again. On one occasion order forms appeared to float down from the ceiling and when examined they turned out to belong to the company from the floor above. Fred Cook claimed to have once actually seen the poltergeist, who he claimed looked like a young boy of around 12 years, dressed in shorts with a schoolboy cap. Perhaps the most interesting of the phenomena occurred when John Mathews lost patience with the poltergeist and threw a stone back into the active corner. A stone was immediately returned falling just to one side of John. This became a game between John and the poltergeist. Once John pretended to throw a stone and the poltergeist, apparently misled by this, threw a stone back. Then he pretended to throw another, but this time the poltergeist was wise to the trick and no stone was returned. When John finally resumed throwing stones, the poltergeist returned to the game and started throwing them back. This is of enormous significance, because it means that the poltergeist was capable of learning, it was in some sense intelligent. The investigator David Fontana himself experienced the same reciprocal stone throwing, once even when he was alone in the building. Summary David Fontana in his scientific papers that summarise the case, takes time to investigate the possibly of fraud. He makes the point that there was no motive for deception. Due to the various different people present as the events occurred, if fraud were the explanation, then it would have had to be a multiple deception, they would all have had to be lying. David Fontana was a very professional and experienced psychologist, he stressed that in his judgement all four principle witness were reliable. Many different and unconnected people had experienced the events, and perhaps the clincher for Fontana was that he himself experienced the phenomena even when he was alone in the building. Explanations The main theories that attempt to explain the poltergeist fall into two categories. That all of the cases are in some way trickery or that the phenomena experienced is evidence of some unknown force that our science has yet to come to grips with.
If we go for the former, that all of the evidence so far collected is due to trickery and fraud then there is nothing more to be said. If however we go for the later, that there is something to be explained then we have to ask ourselves whether some people have the ability to exteriorise a force which affects their physical surroundings without physical means. If we decide that they do not then we must believe that the events are due to interference by outside entities. No one knows what these outside entities may be but it seems that sometimes they appear to be spirits of dead people. Lets examine the first possibility, that some human beings, if they get emotionally upset, can sometimes cause physical events in their vicinity. There is an entire subject area in parapsychology that attempts to investigate this, its known as psychokinesis. Over the years there have been a few people that some researchers believed could generate this sort of effect, DD Home, Eusapia Palladino, Mathew Manning etc. For every believing investigator there are another ten disbelievers, so its difficult to come to any firm conclusions. Perhaps, if in some way the mind can influence matter directly, we dont have to make the distinction between the mind of a living human being or the mind of spirit. Perhaps sometimes its one and sometimes the other. Brace yourselves, A little bit of science Why Science? Science is generally considered to be the most effective way of understanding the world, at least in our mainstream culture. For that reason I believe its always worthwhile reviewing any phenomena that we are attempting to understand from a scientific viewpoint. Its important that when we do that, we understand what science is, what its strengths are and perhaps more importantly its limits. What is Science? Lets start by discussing exactly what science is. Well science is often thought of a set of facts. We often hear in documentaries and advertisements that such and such has been scientifically proven, the word science is used as a power word to give additional credence to an argument. Now there is quite a difference between what science claims to be and what it actually is. It claims to be a method for gathering knowledge rather than a collection of facts. It claims to be dispassionate in its pursuit of knowledge and go where the data leads. The scientific method is well known, it starts with a hypothesis, an idea if you like, then that idea is tested by experiment and its accuracy determined. If the data gathered doesnt support the hypothesis, then it fails to become a scientific theory. Those ideas that do progress to becoming theories are often expressed as mathematical models. The key thing to remember is that all of these theories are considered by science to be temporary, the best guess so far until a better is found. That is the nature of science and the main way that it differs from other forms of knowledge such as religion. What actually happens is that scientists, being human beings like the rest of us, tend to get emotionally attached to their theories and will often go to great lengths to defend them against all opposition. So, practically speaking, at any given time, science does seem to have a worldview, a set of beliefs about the nature of the world that most scientists buy into.
What is Sciences view of us?
In order to understand the scientific view of what we are, there are a few terms that we have to understand. The first is information. Consider the diagram below. When we look at, for
example, a tree, light reflects from its surface and enters our eyes making a pattern on the cells of our retinas. An information pattern in the brain referring to an object in the real world
The activation of these cells causes the neurons in our optic nerves to fire which transmit signals all the way to our visual cortex at the back of our brains. Our visual cortex could then be said to contain an information pattern which refers back to the tree in the real world that caused it. We could use the term model here and say that when we look at a tree then our brains contain a model of that tree.
The next term we need to understand is processing. In this context, processing means analysing it: Where is it? What is it? Then deciding what to do about it and taking some action. In the case of the information pattern that refers to the tree, the brains processing will conclude; where it is, what type of tree it is and may, for example, decide to walk over and sit underneath it to escape the sun. This in a nutshell is sciences view of what we all are. Machines that can sense the real world, gather information about it, analyse that information and take some action in response. Obviously if this is in fact all that we are, then there is nothing in us that could survive death. According to this model it is unlikely that the phenomena that are studied by the parapsychologists such as telepathy, psychokinesis and precognition have any validity. Consciousness Is this in fact all that we are or is science missing something fundamental? Perhaps the thing that most makes us what we are, is the fact that we are conscious beings. Its hard to imagine an intelligent being that isnt conscious. The poltergeists that we have met so far do seem to be exhibiting intelligent behaviour. So what can science tell us about consciousness? Now there have been many books written on consciousness over the last decade or so, but curiously most dont actually discuss consciousness at least in the way that I understand the term. Here lies the first problem, different people use the term in quite different ways. For the purpose of this talk I will use the definition from David Chalmers book The Conscious Mind (1996) He talks about the hard problem and the easy problem. By the easy problem he means the problem of understanding behaviour in terms of information processing in the brain. All the
A model (information pattern) of the tree in
A tree in the real world
perceptions, behaviour, memories we have, he would describe as the easy problem. Hes not claiming that any of that is actually simple, but compared to the hard problem, it can at least be grasped in terms of what we know. By the hard problem he means "why does the feeling which accompanies awareness of sensory information exist at all?" The hard problem has no answers at all from any of our science and technology. Its neatly summed up in a recent book on the brain from Iain McGilchrist entitled The Master and his Emissary. Early in the book he explains that all attempts at explanation depend on drawing parallels between the thing to be explained and some other thing that we think we understand better. The fundamental problem in explaining consciousness is that there is nothing else remotely like it to compare it with: it is itself the ground of all experience. There is nothing else that has the inwardness that consciousness has. Almost all of the books with the word consciousness in the title concentrate on the easy problem and in my opinion miss the point entirely. So as science totally depends on drawing parallels between the thing to be explained and some other thing that we think we understand better, science cannot help us to understand consciousness. We have arrived at one of the main limits of science. If science cannot help us with the most crucial part of what we are, can we trust it at all as we try and answer the question posed? Could a poltergeist be the spirit of a person who has survived death? Although science struggles with consciousness it does have a lot to say about the contents of consciousness. Our perceptions, our behaviour, and our memories: taken together they make us what we are. They are the contents of our consciousness. If we, in any way, survive the death of the body then there must be some way that these continue. All the time we are alive, of course, they are encoded as patterns of information in our brains. It seems to me that the only possible route for any meaningful survival after death would be if these patterns could exist in some other substrate rather than just our brains. Now many cultures in the ancient world have believed that our physical bodies are just one aspect of us. The Egyptians believed that we are composed of five distinct parts, one of which, the ba, was an immaterial aspect of ourselves that was everything that made an individual unique. They believed that it had a semi-independent existence from the physical body and would survive death. The Tibetan book of the dead discusses a bardo body through which the afterlife is experienced. Indian religious thought, particularly the Vedantic philosophy is filled with references to a subtle body which is the vehicle for consciousness. Orthodox science certainly doesnt give any support to these ideas, but then science changes its views regularly. In fact in the time that science has been around, perhaps some 400 years since Newtons time, it has changed out of all recognition. None of us know where it could lead, so perhaps a future science will have answers and current occult ideas such as subtle bodies capable of surviving death may not seem so farfetched. Can science help us any of the curious phenomena of the poltergeist? Shall we see if we fare any better when we consider the other curious poltergeist phenomena such as objects apparently moving through ceilings or being thrown around with no obvious explanation? Lets turn to physics and see if this branch of science can completely rule out the phenomena witnessed by the investigators.
There are two main pillars of modern physics, quantum theory and relativity. Unfortunately they dont agree with each other, which is another good hint that science has a much further to go. Future science will probably make jumps at least as great as that from Newton to Einstein, if not greater, and we have little hope now of guessing where it may lead.
An understanding of relativity may provide a few hints. Relativity comes in two flavours, general relativity and special relativity. General relativity requires an understanding of dimensions. When physicists talk of dimensions they mean directions in space that are at 90 degrees to each other, such as up/down, left/right and forward/back, the three dimensions that we know so well. Einsteins took the three dimensions we know and merged them with time as a fourth dimension into a solid four dimensional block which he called space
time. This is of course impossible to visualise. His explanation for gravity was that this space time is actually curved as shown in the diagram. Gravity explained by the curving of space Matter tells space how to bend and space tells matter how to move. So the earth goes around the sun because the space-time around the sun is curved. Keen readers may like to see an animation of this here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoaOHvy5AcA&feature=related
Branes and the Bulk Now as physics progressed more exotic theories evolved such as string theory, which involved even more dimensions. Some of the latest theories such as M-Theory, suggest a model of the universe where the three dimensional world that we know may actually be a slice or a brane as its called, through a higher dimensional bulk. A long time before any of these new theories were being discussed, back in 1884, a school teacher called Edwin Abott wrote a book called Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. The characters of the book are geometrical shapes and the hero is a 2 dimensional square. He has a number of adventures, all confined to 2 dimensions, there is only left/right and
forwards/backwards for him, he has no conception of up/down. He is then visited by a three-dimensional sphere. The sphere as seen by him starts off as a point then expands into a circle then reduces back to a point again as it passes through his 2D world. The sphere, to him a higher dimensional object, behaves in quite inexplicable ways when viewed by our hero the lower dimensional square. He cannot comprehend the sphere until he sees Space land, the higher dimensional space, for himself.
So the point of this story is that any entity capable of operating in a higher dimensional world could perhaps manipulate lower dimensional objects in such a way that it would appear completely inexplicable to lower dimensional beings such as us. Is this a possible explanation for paranormal effects such as those witnessed during poltergeist activity? When, during the Cardiff poltergeist case, an order form seemed to pass right through the floor of the office above, could this be evidence of extra dimensions? Now all of these ideas are speculative. Some of the latest models of physics have little or no support from experiment, they are mathematical models only. On the other hand one thing is certain with every step forward that science takes we discover that the world is far stranger and far richer than we could possibly have imagined. Summary So are poltergeists real? As is often the case when researching the paranormal, definite answers are hard to find. There are always more questions than answers and there are always experts ready to explain away the phenomena. David Fontana makes the point in his papers that even after he had experienced these phenomena for himself, afterwards his rational mind would step in and would always intervene and insist that some rational explanation there must be. The result was that he would sometimes fix on any possibility, no matter how absurd, rather than stay with the conclusions produced by actual observation. The power of our prior beliefs, our expectations that there is always a normal explanation seems to be a hurdle that is hard to overcome, even when presented with the evidence of our own eyes. As a final thought I want to tell you a story that happened quite recently that shows how sometimes these things can follow you around in life. In our current house, my wife Gerry used to use a small room at the front as a work room, shes an artist. She would often tell me that the room had a curious feel to it. One day she was showing two of her female friends some artwork when suddenly the lid of an ornamental vase flew off in plain view of all of them. They all returned to the living room, very excited and amazed at what had happened. I have to admit that I didnt take a lot of notice, until just a few weeks later I was in there myself and something flew past my face and pinged on the wall next to me. Try as I might I couldnt find an explanation. A month or so later we learnt something that really made our ears prick up. We happened to see a new post woman walking up our road and we opened the door to her, only to be greeted with Youll never catch me going into that house. As you can imagine we were keen to ask her what on earth she meant. It turned out that her grandmother used to live in the house and she was also a practising spiritualist. Guess which room she held her sances in?
References 1. Poltergeists, Alan Gauld and AD Cornell, Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 0 7100 0185 1 2. This House is Haunted, Guy Lyon Playfair, White Crow Books, ISBN-10 1907661808, and ISBN-13
9781907661808 3. A Responsive Poltergeist: A Case From South Wales, Prof David Fontana, Journal of the Society for Psychical
Research Vol. 57, No. 823 4. The Responsive South Wales Poltergeist: A Follow-up Report, Prof David Fontana, Journal of the Society for
Psychical Research Vol. 58, No. 827 5. The Master and his Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-16892-1 6. The Conscious Mind (1996) David Chalmers, Oxford University Press, ISBN13: 9780195117899
The Tarot A Personal Journey Much has been written on the history of the tarot, and as far as I can see there will never be any singular agreement on this.....Therefore rather than waste any further time by adding yet more theories into the mix, I decided to write my own journey with the Tarot. My love affair with cards first began as a child with the humble playing card, and as a teenager I was introduced to the major arcana , although not in a Tarot deck, but as trumps in the Austrian game of Tarock, a game similar to the West Country game of Euchre. Here I saw the major arcana as elaborate pictorial cards which had both a number and a title running from 0 The Fool through to 21 The World with the fool being the highest trump. Later I would come to know these 22 cards as the fools journey. A symbolic representation of the journey through life with each card representing a different stage in life. . It wasnt until I was 19years of age when a couple of somewhat unconventional spiritualists (one of them was a female doorperson for a nightclub) introduced me to the Rider Waite Tarot, by offering me a reading. Of course I had heard of Tarot cards.....(Well Id seen the odd James Bond film) but, after all was said and done they were cards so naturally I was curious. I watched as the familiar symbols from the Tarock deck were laid out in front of me and listened intently as she translated the imagery. These familiar looking trump cards were telling this woman my future. That was when I experienced my own eureka moment. There was more to cards than just playing games Solitaire
would never be the same again!! More importantly I instinctively knew the cards I knew as trump cards in Tarock were never meant to be a game, they were meant to tell a story. I understood what these cards were saying to the point where the reader suggested I buy my own deck. I took her advice and have been reading them ever since. Prior to discovering that I was able to accurately interpret the Tarot cards. I held all the traditional images in my head of beautiful gypsy maidens, draped in silken scarves, with large gold earrings in stereotypical romantic settings. All of which either spoke in sultry tones of tall, dark handsome strangers or foretold of disaster with sentences that ended in .......mark my words. As I didnt fit in very well with these images, and I wasnt the seventh daughter of a seventh anything. In fact I had short red hair and was a launderette assistant in what was locally referred to as The Normanton Bag Wash,. It is strange how I knew I was a witch yet somehow never connected Witchcraft and Tarot, so I figured there must be a more plausible explanation as to how I could read Tarot, and if I could maybe anyone could. This train of thought was to lay the foundations for what would later become the Tarot course I teach today. In the same way I realised that there was far more to Tarot than merely a game, I also learned there was a wealth of knowledge stored within these 78 cards. They were not simply there to add mystery to the sea front fortune tellers. Tarot cards are one of the most comprehensive form of divination available, providing in depth answers to specific questions. They are also one of the easiest to learn mostly it is a matter of wanting to learn. The reality was that I was born with the ability to translate Tarot
cards. I had just needed to be shown how. That is where my spiritualist friends came in. They had shown me something that I already knew. All of us have the ability to read a story using a set of images. The first books we look at require the story is told by looking at pictures, and the story will differ every time according to which adult is reading it with us. Tarot Cards work using the combined forces of the inquirers energies and the readers ability to translate pictures. The inquirers energy is the variable factor and is what makes a reading unique. No two people will ever possess the same energy. I know there are many arguments concerning telephone and distance readings. Because part of the process requires the inquirer to shuffle the cards I believe it unlikely that a distance reading could be as accurate as a personal reading. Although it has become clichd, there is a fundamental truth in the saying a picture can paint a thousand words. Not only does a picture paint a thousand words, but it is a different thousand words for each person who looks at it.....It is the same for Tarot. Given that there are 78 cards in a standard Tarot Deck and there are over 60 million people in the uk alone. Thats a whole lot of words! With that many stories to be told there is room for a lot more Tarot readers before Im forced to hang up my Tarot Cards....
The Rider Waite Deck- my first Tarot deck
TRAVELLERS TALES.... Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft. In 2008 my family and I made our first visit to Boscastle. As a witch of twenty something years and having never visited, you can imagine my excitement. But at the same time I felt trepidation, of course I had heard of the floods of 2004 and to be honest I hadnt expected the little town to have recovered but I was pleasantly surprised.
Upon entering Boscastle it was hard to believe that just a few years earlier the tiny harbour village was all but destroyed in one of the worst floods to have hit the South West of England.
On Monday 16th August 2004 whole buildings were razed to the ground as rain water rushed through the village that sits at the bottom of a steep incline in the hillside. The destruction was such that a full blown rescue operation was mounted to air lift the inhabitants to safety and the next 4 years were spent rebuilding the village.
Almost exactly four years to the day of the flood and we set off as a family to visit the ill-fated town, our journey down a long winding road to the village itself was an apprehensive one, not only were the roads narrow and the drop considerable but it had been raining almost constantly for the past couple of days and as we made our way down to the village it was easy to imagine the thousands of gallons of rain water rushing down to complete the devastation already begun by the flooding of the river.
Our over imaginative minds were soon put to rest when we entered the village itself. Very little of the destruction remained and if you didnt know any better youd think the men in hard hats replacing the slates in the river bank were performing little more than routine maintenance. Only the photographs inside the visitor centre and village caf remind us of the damage. The buildings themselves have been beautifully restored and the attractions remain more interesting because of the knowledge of how easily it could all have been lost. By this of course I refer to the main attraction (for myself at least) of Boscastle, the museum of Witchcraft.
Inside the white painted wood and stone building lies an abundance of genuine artefacts that tell the fascinating story of Witchcraft from the many varying viewpoints associated with it. There is a definite bias toward Cornish and English artefacts but among the displays are items pertaining to just about every aspect of Witchcraft and Paganism that you could imagine with Old Horny having an entire and impressive display all to himself. There is even a section dedicated to devil worship leaving those who may find the line between it and witchcraft a little blurred, in no doubt whatever that neither belief system is related.
One of the most moving displays is that which refers to the torture and execution of witches throughout the ages, theres a list naming some of the unfortunates that were hung for their craft or even burnt as would have been the case in Scotland. On display are items of torture
and even a ducking chair. It is difficult to remain unaffected and a sign asks that you spend a minute to think of those who perished at the hands of such ignorance.
Some of the leading figures in the history of contemporary witchcraft are also given sections of their own, Doreen Valiente, Alex Sanders and Gerald B. Gardner among others. There really is a treasure chest of knowledge stored within the walls of the small unassuming building and for anyone who has a genuine interest in the history of witchcraft, of the old ways and of the emerging of the new the Boscastle Museum of witchcraft is an absolute must see!
So how did it come about that the little inconspicuous village of Boscastle ended up home to the museum of Witchcraft? As a young man spending time in North Bovey in Newton Abbot with an uncle, Cecil Williamson happened upon some local thugs tormenting a local witch. After hed befriended the woman she started him on the path that would make him one of the most important names in Witchcraft.
Cecil Williamson spent a good deal of his life studying witchcraft both at home and abroad including time spent on a plantation in Rhodesia where he was in contact with a witch doctor and learnt that the basic premise of witchcraft was universal.
In 1946 Cecil met and became business partners with Gerald Gardner. He bought The witches mill in the Isle of Man and because of Gerald they attracted a good deal of publicity with Gerald as the resident witch. Finally after a breakdown in the friendship Cecil sold the building to Gerald and moved his collection to Windsor.
Unfortunately for Cecil, Windsor was not happy to house a museum of such artefacts and he was forced to move to Bouton-on-the-water, a Cotswold village. Again the museum was unwelcome and actually attracted violent demonstration until finally it found its home in Boscastle.
The museum is now run by Graham King, a lovely man who is totally open to questions and discussion regarding the museum as I discovered on my first visit there and his voice can be found on the last track of the CD songs of witchcraft which is available to purchase in the museum shop which sells some lovely bits n bobs should you wish to visit on the way out. Personally what I like to do on my way out is to visit their quiet area. Its a beautiful shrine-like area dedicated to the Goddess where one can sit in quiet remembrance of all those witches who trod the path before us. If not for them, we would not be free
Diary Of The Hedgewitch Night devours day, temperatures fall, and the first frost threatens to spread its cold white fingers over the green land. Leaves still stubbornly cling to the branches in their shades of pink, purple, orange and red, glowing in the early winter sunlight. Summer flowers - honeysuckle, roses, marigolds, sweet peas, hollyhocks.... still beam out insistently, fragrant, expressive and receptive, refusing to give in to the cold and the darkness. Butterflies still flit, feeding from the nectar, stunning and graceful in their endless array of patterns and colours. Dark purple sloes and scarlet red hawthorn berries and rose-hips glisten voluptuously in the hedgerows; whilst acorns from majestic oaks come tumbling down, crashing through the branches, thudding as they hit the ground, and crunching with beech masts underfoot. Yellow crab apples lay scattered under their trees, decaying, adding to the rich leaf mulch on woodland floor and to the scent of intoxicating disintegration and transformation, death and life as one. Sweet chestnut nuts sit revealed, ready to be roasted, their spiky casings peeled back seductively. In the spring for some and in following years for others, a few of these trees and shrubs will rise again as new manifestations, reaching again upwards and outwards in ever-evolving, never-ending cycles of becoming.
Another cycle of completion and realisations reached; future possibilities and potentials heaving within each seed brimming with the imprint of the experiences of the past and present, forever evolving and seeking self in new expressions; laying await for now under the winter chill. Life..... Forever seeking to fulfil itself.... Forever in constant motion... Creating and re-creating...Constantly aching and yearning for experience and expression as it endlessly surges onwards. In this cold season where plant life lays dormant under the earth, bringing its energies downwards, we can take hardwood cuttings, from trees and shrubs, obliging their desire for more life, following our own desire for more life and further forms of particular expression. We also take their seed, the acorn that contains a potential mighty oak with gnarled trunk and twisting branches grasping to reach out beyond; creating from itself thousands upon thousands of acorns within its lifetime, each bearing a future tree within. Clasping one, thousands of years into the future lay upon the palm of our hand. And by understanding the requirements of seeds, we flow with the will of the plant to propagate its forms of expressions. With tree seeds we patiently wait one, two, or more years for the first bursting forth of germination, many native trees needing periods of cold to break their seed dormancy. The beginning of a new cycle from this one, the end, forever flowing together. Seeds can be collected from those plants that sustain us, that are our food, and our medicine, ease the heart, gladden the eye, fill our surroundings with fragrance, fulfil us in other ways; our vegetables, herbs and flowers, securing the future generations of these plants, and securing for the future generations of our race the properties of these plants, as we evolve together. In the early winter natures bounty is still generous; late ripening apples still gleam from the trees, resisting the strong winds that sweep and tear their way through the branches; fruit sparkling like jewels upon trees that have heaved with their weighty precious offerings and creations. In the vegetable garden the very last of the courgettes, squashes and pumpkins are still clinging to their now rather dishelleved looking parent plants, still flowering in the urge to create, although their fruit has little chance now of reaching a greater size and left too long will begin to rot or deteriorate in the frost. Squashes and pumpkins will store well in cool dry conditions upon shelves or hung in a net. These are good sources of potassium and vitamin A to see through those winter months when seasonal vegetables are less bountiful. Tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, have been slow to ripen. Kilos of green tomatoes are waiting to be made into chutney, and many chillies will also not ripen now that the sun recedes and darkness and glittering stars and glistening moonlight unfurls upon the land. But i hope that these, although unripe and havent developed heat, will still make a tasty chilli jelly. As we move with the rhythms of the seasons, the food that fills our bellies too will alter. Winter veg such as parsnips, swede, turnips, winter cabbages, brussel sprouts and kale will provide fresh vegetables through the winter, parsnips and brussel sprouts actually tasting sweeter after a frost as the starch converts to sugar. Leeks can be harvested from about September through until the spring, and i will be keeping mine in until the spring when there really is very little else available.
Beetroot, however, will not stand a severe frost and these can be pulled up before they get too woody and large, and stored with tops twisted off (not cut as this causes bleeding) and soil removed, placed in boxes filled with sand, and placed in dark humid conditions. Of course, beetroot can also be pickled or made into soup or borscht (which was actually originally made from cow parsnip). Celery will not tolerate prolonged frost and can be lifted and stored in cool moist sand; or alternatively, made into hearty soup. Celeriac, producing a swollen celery-tasting stem, can stay in the soil all winter covered with straw or horticultural fleece during severe frosts. Perpetual spinach and chard are showing signs of their growth slowing down. These will stand all winter, but, being biennial, will start to produce a tough flowering stem in the spring. These, being good accumulators of potassium, will provide a good layer for the compost heap. Homemade compost is a very precious thing, bursting with local micro organisms, myriads of life forms, worlds upon worlds upon worlds within a little teaspoon, working upon the soil and the roots of plants in a harmonious and essential relationship. The alchemy of compost making is forever a fascinating wonder to me. I add seaweed, animal manure, kitchen waste, weeds, ash from wood burners and fires, grass cuttings, old wool, cardboard with tape and stickers removed...anything that is natural and will break-down quickly, to my compost heap. Comfrey is excellent too; it is high in potassium and nitrogen and can also be made into a liquid fertiliser. Urine is also very good (male urine better than female urine which contains too much oestrogen), and works as a good compost accelerator. And as the numerous different life forms thrive in the combining of these ingredients, they transform it to create black sweet smelling gold. Relationships, interactions, forces, are of course constantly at work in the garden, and between the garden and the wider cosmos. These forces have lead to the use of biodynamic preparations within agriculture and gardening; and plants, along with particular animal parts, are used to enliven the soil and the Earth, also increasing plant and animal health, and human health. In the flower, all the energies are cumulating in fragrance, aromatic properties and colour, yet to concentrate into the developing of seed. It is this stage of a plants life cycle, when it no longer continues to grow on forming new leaves and stems, and instead expresses and opens itself into the form of a flower, that it can be preserved, and the flowers, influenced and touched by the wider cosmos, can be harvested at their prime, dried or used fresh, and made into a biodynamic preparation to enliven the soil, stimulating life-forces within the Earth. Yarrow flowers, as an example of one of these preparations, are taken and stuffed into the bladder of a stag (the bladder, particularly the bladder of a stag, is said to be an image of the whole cosmos, in spherical form). The yarrow flowers, rather than continuing to be open and receptive to the wider cosmos now receive forces from within the bladder. The bladder is an organ of concentration, and of excrement; the experiences that the stag had within its lifetime are radiated into the blossoms of the yarrow. A stag in particular, like the blossoms, is open and alert to its environment, but with antlers expanding beyond the rest of its physical form into the surrounding world, displaying its active force; spilling this into the yarrow flowers, which, in turn, make more potent these powers.
These bladders filled with yarrow flowers are hung from a tree when the elements of Fire and Air are strongest, during the summer months, and buried when the elements of Earth and Water are most active, during the autumn/winter months. The forces of the elements and of the seasons work upon the preparation. It is dug up in the spring and the rich humus inside the bladder, the yarrow blossoms transforming and recreating; containing the experiences of stag and flower and Cosmos and Earth, is inserted into a compost heap to release and radiate out its enlivening activating influences. Most of these preparations will have been buried in the ground during the autumn or the winter when the pulse of the Earth is contracted, drawing energies inwards, and dug up in the spring when the Earths pulse expands in a cycle of breathing-out. So whilst all is seemingly dormant during these cold winter months, all is active under the ground; forces acting together and influences from the cosmos working and transforming within the earth; seeds, containing the all within, await in silence before propelled by chaos prior to germination to burst into emergence, new expressions of life, in the coming of spring, beginning afresh another cycle of becoming. Creation expanding into ever more creation.
The Book Worm Books we recommend as the nights grow colder..... Secrets of Avalon - An Introduction to Arthurian Druidism by August Hunt (Avalonia Books 2010)
One of the striking things about this book is the way Hunt has divided the chapters, using titles which are easily recognisable
to the reader e.g. The Lady of the Lake, and The Lightning And The Stone. This allows the reader to use the book for reference purposes, as well as reading it cover to cover. The material covered in each chapter is well researched, and draws upon archaeological and historical evidence, interweaving it with mythology and literature. Hunt has a unique ability to impart facts whilst still encouraging the reader to draw their own conclusions. Hunt has constructed this book in such a way that it is easy to read as well as entertaining and informative, and does not require the reader to be an expert in either the Arthurian Legends or in Druidism There is an added appendix featuring Hunts own interpretation of the Ogam (Ogham) alphabet as well as his own method of divination. He has also added his own unique slant on the ritual uses of the thirteen treasures of Britain. Recommended by Anne Klimmt
The Wolf Talk by Shaun Ellis
(Rainbow publishing 2003)
I read this book both before and after working with Shaun and his wolf pack. Both times I was shocked to find that I honestly could not put down this book ( I think if the house had caught fire this book may well have been the one thing Id have saved), and I have heard many other people quote the same reaction. The book starts with a heart warming tale of a young boy in the depths of Norfolk trying to find his place in a world he neither wants to understand nor wishes to conform too. If you ever had the feeling that you were different in some way, you will understand where he was coming from. The story takes us through his time
in the army, and eventually on to his work with the wolves alongside the Native American people of the Nes Pez tribe.
This leads up to his later work in England in zoological parks, where he often clashed
with the zoological authorities over his own very unique methods, which to them seemed a form of madness. The Wolf Talk - comprises of a short account by Shaun Ellis (often referred to as The Wolf man) of his work and observations of the wolves kept at Longleat, Dartmoor and Combe Martin in Devon. What makes his approach unique is that he aims to be taught about wolf behaviour by the true experts - the wolves themselves. He does this by integrating himself into a captive wolf pack, slowly working his way up the ranks to become the beta wolf, whose job is to support and enforce the alpha wolfs rules. Integration into the wolf pack is achieved by living in the same pen as the wolves, including eating and sleeping among the pack. The book also contains information on how Shaun Ellis team continue to enrich the lives of the wolves, by maintaining pack stability within the complexity of a wolf family. It is not merely an alpha pair leading a group of subordinates. Each wolf has a very specific role. Ellis also explains how the body language of a wolf can be quite varied - As bold as the bouncing play bow, or as subtle as a shift of the eyes. While reading this book I was pleasantly surprised to find references to dogs
including insights into how Shaun views the human/dog pack structure and what role the human actually takes in this relationship. I found this book to be a fascinating read with many instances where I thought 'now that's interesting' and annoyed nearly everyone I know by recounting what I'd just read. (Sorry about that my friends) The book did leave me wanting more though. I would have liked the author to have gone into more detail about the body language aspects of wolf communication (All of which was made clear at a later date by doing hands on work with Shaun and his pack) My biggest criticism of the book is the authors tendency to jump from topic to topic which at times leaves you wondering where it fits into the timeline of events For those seeking to learn more about wolves, this book is easy to read, informative and a very good way to learn the facts and dispel some of the myths. As always I could wax lyrically about wolves from sun up to sunset but the best way I can think to get you interested is to suggest this book as a starting point Recommended by Chenoa Errat - Camp
And For The Children... I was one of those children who would avidly read nearly anything yet some things always stand out. Although these are not new books they are stories which have and will continue to stand the test of time. These are suitable for ages 8 years and upwards, although either would make
good bedtime stories for younger children too.
Gobbolino the Witchs Cat
Written by Ursula Moray Williams and was first published I first read this at junior school by which time it was already 30 years old, yet it appealed to me as much as it had previous generations. I have since read it to my children as a bedtime story. Later on they too would discover the magic of Gobbolino. More recently friends have borrowed it to read to their children and no doubt my grandchildren will sooner or later learn of the adventures of Gobbolino the reluctant witchs cat. This is one of those heart warming classics that will enchant and delight generations for a long time yet. Gobbolino is the charming tale of a black kitten born with a white paw, and blue eyes who was destined to be a witchs cat along with his pure black, green eyed twin sister Sootica. Sadly while Sootica is a proper witchs cat who is content to cast spells, Gobbolino is not. He dreams of being a kitchen cat, and lying in front of a fire surrounded by people who love him. With this in mind, he leaves the witch and heads off in search of his dream. Things do not go according to plan for Gobbolino as despite his best intentions and loving nature his magic continuously gets him into trouble. The story takes us through his many adventures until eventually he is returned to his original mistress. Once again his heart is not in it and he is unable to satisfy her that he will
ever be a proper witchs cat. As a punishment she casts a spell on him ....It is at this point that things can only get better. Gobbolino is the Italian word for Little Hunchback.
Snowflake Written by Paul Gallico and was first published in 1952 My mother bought me this in my latter years of junior school, and I remember reading it from cover to cover. I have read it several times since then, and each time I have read it I have seen something new in it. When I first read it I had no real understanding of the complex emotions of life, but I did however appreciate the simplistic and beautiful portrayal of a snowflake travelling through life. It was not until one of those random moments when I picked it up and read it as an adult that I truly understood the deeper message of Snowflake. From the snowflakes birth into an unfamiliar world right up till the last tender moments of the book Gallico makes full use of the metaphoric imagery of ice and water to address the changes we all experience in the cycle of life. This is yet another one of those timeless stories that are as appealing to adults as they are to children.
The New Dolmen Album Whispering Winds release on the 28th Oct from our website and live Concerts. Special thanks to Sem Vine for the beautiful Artwork. A bit about the Whispering Winds. Over the years we have played some abstract, traditional and progressive folk based music.
And just lately especially with this particular release we thought it might be a good idea to explain how we view folk music as a band. To us the term folk gives an earthy impression something by which we can personally relate in our musical expression when writing songs and instrumental pieces. For us to use the term folk means we are talking about everyday down to earth people and life experience. The many things all of us as individuals can relate to as a collective and share as a community. In a sense a Dolmen gig should never be a serious event but a gathering of folk who are going to lay aside the pressures of the day to dance, sing and have a drink. As a band we have received some phenomenal support from our families and The Dolmen team and also their families, and the incredible audience who have stood by us and supported us at our concerts and events etc. Its at these events some of you have made request for favourite Dolmen songs and even some traditional tracks that we dont always get the time to do nor have yet been released on Cd. Its on request that we have placed some of these songs on this new album, Four beautiful tracks sung by the Dolmen girls including the Welsh Lullaby Sua Gan, sung as a dedication by Keri in her Grans native tongue of Welsh, a song that holds many memories laughter, tears and love, and is so traditional to our clan. Guide Me a song that has over the last few months become an incredible Kayleigh classic that up until now has only been available on download, we have been commanded by many of you to release this song on Cd. Eternally and Albion, drawing from the heritage of the Island, these tracks were composed and dedicated to our beautiful
friends Lucinda & Stewert, (Eternally) Beth & Teach, (Albion) on their hand fastings celebrated on the Witches Island of Portland. There are also some classic traditionals such as Whisky in the Jar, Rocky Road to Dublin, Drunken Pirate, Loch Lomond, the Dolmen rendition of Mairis Wedding, Wild Mountain Thyme. Etc... Songs that we have been itching to put on Cd as a sign of our deep appreciation to all those who have requested and supported us.. We hope that you will enjoy this varied album of Dolmen music in the spirit of which it has been put together. Thank you and Heres to all good Folk. XXXX
Chicken Soup Left over chicken ......Strip meat off the carcass (if
there is no meat boil the carcass with black pepper and mixed herbs. When it is boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for about an hour....Discard the carcass and leave the water to cool.....This can be used instead) 1 Onion, 1 carrot, a Swede, 1 parsnip, a cabbage,1 leek, 5oz broccoli, a cauliflower, 6oz spring greens, 6oz runner beans, 6oz sprouts, 5oz peas, 1 stick celery. Peel and chop a selection of at least 7 or 8 of the above vegetables. I use any that are left
over from Sunday Roast or reduced at the supermarket. 2 or3 large potatoes. 2 packets of cheap noodles (The ones like super noodles will do but throw away the flavouring sachet). 1 teaspoon Oregano. 1 teaspoon Herbs de province. 1 teaspoon Garlic puree. 1 tablespoon Bisto powder (or supermarket equivalent). 2tablespoons Malt vinegar. 2 Bay leaves. Season with Black pepper and either Cayenne pepper or paprika (I use this is in place of salt so it is only a small amount). 2 tablespoons of oil.
Peel and cut potatoes into approx 1cm cubes and boil until soft. Mix bisto powder, herbs and seasoning together in a jug. Cover with just enough water to mix into a paste. Top up to about a pint / 500ml. Heat oil in frying pan and lightly fry onions (this should be done on a fairly high heat setting) Add remaining vegetables and chicken if using. Add gravy mixture plus either another pint of water or the water from the chicken carcass. Stir in the vinegar and bring to the boil. Once it has begun to boil turn down the heat to low and simmer with the lid on for a couple of hours. About 30 minutes before serving add the noodles and stir thoroughly. Serve with crusty bread.
Rum and Chocolate Muffins 350g self raising flour 25g -30g drinking chocolate 90g soft butter or margarine 220g caster sugar 1 large egg 310ml full fat milk or buttermilk 1teaspoon rum flavouring Sift flour, and cocoa Rub in butter. Stir in the sugar, milk, rum flavouring and egg. Half fill muffin cases. Bake on a medium heat for 20mins. Apple and Plum Cake 100g margarine. 175g caster sugar. 2eggs. 2 teaspoons lemon juice. 200g flour. 2 teaspoons baking powder. Pinch of salt. 4 peeled and sliced medium apples choose by taste. 4 medium plums. Grease and line a deep baking tin with greaseproof paper. Peel and slice 2 of the apples and layer on the bottom of the tin. Mix margarine, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs adding a little sieved flour with each one. Fold in the remaining flour with a metal spoon. Stir in lemon juice and baking powder. Peel and slice the plums and stir into the mixture. 1Teaspoon of ground nutmeg and cinnamon (optional) Pour mixture into the baking tin. Place remainder of apples on top. Bake on 200degrees C/ Gas mark 6.
The Dolmen Grove Samhain
As the veils between the realms were at their thinnest, and the old year came to a close, members of the dolmen grove once again gathered together for a circle. This was held at Maumbury rings and led by Taloch. So what makes a Dolmen grove circle any different to any other circle? The answer to that would have to be come and find out for yourself. Although there are a few things that set this Grove apart . All Dolmen Grove circles are multi faith... There is at all times respect among members of the grove for the pathways and beliefs of others...The people within the Grove (irrespective of belief)view it as a large family, and that sense of family shines through at ALL Dolmen Grove events. I think if asked what makes a Dolmen ceremony different it is not just the sense of tribal unity, and their deeper understanding of the new aeon..... It is the rare spirituality present within their ceremonies which when combined with the raw tribal drumming culminates in an overwhelming amount of energy being raised, which is increasing as the Dolmen Grove look forward the events yet to come in 2012..... This is what makes the Dolmen Grove unique. Of course being pagan, and it being pagan New Year it would be rude not to celebrate, so we did with the Samhain Ball. Although this was the first Samhain Ball for a while it was nice to see so many people there, and everyone had a great time. I think the photos say more than I can!! The theme this year was Witches and Bishops (and other accepted members of the clergy). Although to be honest Im not sure that the clergy would accept any of them... A very dodgy Bishop and a nun that should be on the run spring instantly to mind. We are now looking forward to the Yule Ball when the theme will be the ethereal world. Like the Samhain Ball the Yule Ball is a ticket only event. See you all there Diane Narraway (Dolmen Grove Chairperson)
DOLMEN GROVE PRESENT THEIR ANNUAL
Yule Ball Saturday December10TH
FROM 7.30PM TILL 12.30AM TICKETS 17.00
INCLUSIVE OF BUFFET AND MUSIC FROM
THE DOLMEN AND
SPRIGGAN MIST THIS IS A TICKET ONLY EVENT SO PLEASE BOOK NOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT
TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM
THE DOLMEN GROVE
WILL BE HOLDING A CIRCLE FOR THE WINTER SOLSTICE . ON
PORTLAND BILL AT SUNRISE AS ALWAYS SOME OF THE GROVE WILL BE PRESENT AT
STONEHENGE DETAILS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE DOLMEN GROVE
FACEBOOK PAGE http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dolmen-
Grove/110124449082503 or www.dolmengrove.co.uk
HANDCRAFTED SILK FLORAL CIRCLETS FOR ANY OCCASION SPEEDY SERVICE AND DELIVERY FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
AVAILABLE TO THOSE IN THE WEYMOUTH AND NEARBY
8WEEK TAROT COURSE FOR FULL INFORMATION
CONTACT DIANA NARRAWAY
HIEROPHANT PRIESTESS IN THE TEMPLE OF ISIS
I am offering year and a day training as part of the Lyceum of The Circle of spirit, Earth and Elements by correspondence in any area/country or in person should you live in the Portsmouth area. I am also offering celebrant services such as hand fastings, baby namings, death rites, coming of age rites etc I also offer reiki healin