Cornwall is always going home. Not England, for those that don’t know. Sacred despite the secondhomes and pylons and clay tips and the reliably ugly architecture that the Methodists left us. A land which refuses to be tamed. A collision of raw elements, salt, sea, air, granite and the weeping blood of metals. It is no surprise that magick still thrives here, at the edges.
Speaking at the Pagan Federation South West was an opportunity for us to confront the false divide between pagans and magickians. Jack Parsons with his vision of The Witchcraft shows one solution to this problem. Certainly reciting the Hymn to Pan in its entirety did make some people very uncomfortable, which is just what it should do. But there were plenty of the 200 pagans in attendance who recognised and resonated to the call. It was a real recognition for us to hear our speeches described as the clearest exposition of traditional witchcraft they had ever heard by one of the elders of Cornish Witchcraft. We have much in common and much to learn from each other. For those who were unable to attend, we will be covering some of the same material in our presentation at Seattle this year. For those looking for Jack Parsons material then we can direct you to The Red Goddess and Parson’s now out of print essay collection Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword.
We were also able to have good conversations with the attendees on everything from Michelet to anarchism to Andrew Chumbley. Again we were able to meet more of our readers, and connect with them, something we feel is of real importance. Those who made the effort to travel the seven hours from London showed real devotion.
Good to also finally meet Ariel whose poetry will be appearing in Datura, and find her still as sprightly as when she was a slip of a girl and Philip K Dick slyly pinched her bottom.
For those who still believe paganism is wary of upsetting people, a fluffy option for the muddleheaded, then the appearance of Penglaz, a horse skull headed oss put that right. Averse pentagrams in the ritual, and a veritable nightmare on the loose showed a real resurgence of paganism is happening in Penwith. The same wild sense was present that we have felt at Padstow on May Day, at the bonfire in Lewes, and anywhere that misrule bursts forth. More of this is needed.
We felt very welcomed at the event and appreciated the sense of community which the PFSW have built up over the years. Our thanks also go to Levannah Morgan for the work she has put into this event, and for inviting us to speak.
The mountains were still crowned under the burden of snow as we crossed into Scotland. The other end of the island and another Celtic homeland. We would like to thank David and Geo Trevarthen for their hospitality, honey mead and stimulating conversation during our stay in the Borders.
The brothers and sisters who invited us into their farm to share food with them showed the warmth of their hearts. With my back to the spitting sparks of the wood burning stove I put forward some of the radical material which will find its way to print in XVI. The people we met here are survivors, living as they should, and receptive to the hard truths we proposed. We spoke deep into the night. Here was another living magical community who have supported our books from the first, it was important for us to make the effort and give something back to them. Plenty of magickal signs were there for us when we left from the hare lolloping and gyrating off through the wire fence to the barn owl ghosting across the road.
Before talking in Edinburgh we took the pilgrimage to visit Rosslyn. The Templars have all fled, and their Vinland progeny have worn the road smooth to the door. Most come clutching the most unreliable guidebook to the chapel, that is, after the bible. Rosslyn itself melts, the stone gone fondant soft. It was not built to last. Something the masons must have known as they carved every intricate inch with ambiguous flora and heretical fauna. A corrugated roof covers a structure gutted beneath the buttresses. The greened ceiling stonework is now stripped back. The floor torn up. Beneath the apprentice pillar? Dust. It seems more like a maze than a labyrinth, full of dead ends and false passages. The heresy is elsewhere now, a fluid and electrical phenomena discharging dramatically where it is least expected, the grail always carried onwards. Best to leave this curious building to the tourists for another two hundred years until it has been forgotten again and the magic has crept back in.
In Edinburgh we reprised our talks on The Witchcraft at the Wyrd Shop. The mixed audience of magicians and witches clustered into the room to hear us responded enthusiastically to our ideas. Another clear sign that the artificial divisions can be destroyed, that it is the animating revolutionary spirit of magick which endures. More connections have been made on this trip than we ever thought possible.
Geo took a photo of us on Canongate beneath the canting arms of a bone-fire. An apt symbol for our trip. There are fires burning and more fires to kindle from seemingly dry bones.