Well done Simon and the folks at the Museum of Witchcraft & Magick for bringing Janet and Gavin to Cornwall.
For many of you reading this blog, Janet and Gavin are very well known Witches and Authors – Elders of the Craft.
There were two talks…
The first an overview of the evolution of Wicca with some Janet’s and Gavin’s personal insights into the Craft.
Janet, who worked in the music business for Brian Epstein and at some point taught in Sunday Schools, told us of her introduction to Alex and Maxine Saunders and subsequent journey into Wicca. It was particularly amusing to hear her speak of her initial reasons for attending the event that led to meeting Alex and Maxine. This was to support and ensure that a friend who wanted to go to the talk was ‘safe’. Janet told us all about a dream she had the night before visiting the Sander’s which involved Jesus. The Virgin Mary and the revelation of a pentagram – but you’ll need to let her tell you that one.
Gavin spoke of his journey of discovery through an exploration of numerous traditions and approaches; his construction of what he called Gavinism and later realised he was really connecting to elements of The Craft and what we could call Wiccan teachings.
They both spoke with an honesty and directness. They were speaking ‘from the heart’ and from their considerable experience.
What resonated with Sue and I was their questioning of all calls and claims to ‘tradition’ or ‘hierarchy’ and what could be considered as egotistical approaches to ‘degrees’ of ‘initiation’.
Both Gavin and Janet spoke of ‘service’ above ‘dogma’ and the importance of self development through experience (well that’s what I took from their words)..
Gavin commented on the need for magical-teachers to support learning so that there can be a form of ‘de-linting’ of any fluffyness, hence a grounding of the aspiring magical practitioner.
Both Gavin and Janet spoke directly and indirectly about the need for magical development to be linked to personal self-development which in turn calls for ideas, practices and practitioners to evolve to meet the needs of the time.
In the afternoon session Gavin gave a talk on Sex, Death and the Mysteries which contained a lot of thought provoking ideas about myth, symbolism, magic and links to the work of Freud and Jung.
I particularly enjoyed the consideration of magic as the transforming of self, acknowledging and working with your Shadow (Bright Shadow). This echoes, of course, with some of the ideals of High Magic in which the individual works to explore emotional, societal and mental attachments.
Gavin mentioned several times that any act of magic or enactment of a magical rite opens the individual to personal change and revelation.
During the day Janet told two stories that had a number of us, as well as herself, in tears. One was a ‘selkie’ story which was a recounting of a ‘real fairy story’ that she and Stuart (her late husband) had shared. The other of the burning of a woman and her newly born child outside Notre Damn in the 1600’s reminding us that WE are the ones who must never forget!
Late that evening…
The Museum was open in the evening for a candlelight tour, and Sue and I were fortunate enough to sit with Janet and simply chat about all things magical. It was a very special couple of hours and a feeling that we now had two old friends that we had only just met.
A super day with super people…
Alan and Sue