2008 Schedule of Talks


These talks were at the Percy Community Centre except where otherwise stated.



13th January: Yvonne Aburrow Pagan Theology


Many thanks to Yvonne Aburrow for stepping in at short notice to speak on "Pagan Theology". Thanks also to everyone who turned up to support the first in our schedule of talks for the year.

Yvonne raised some interesting issues, which led to a lively debate about how people from widely differing traditions and viewpoints would be able to contribute to a "meta-narrative" rather than prescribed dogma, with the conclusion that pagans and magickal practitioners are unlikely to be able to agree on anything except that "there is no orthodoxy."


9th March: speaker cancelled


13th April: Giles Watson - "Maligned Creatures: Corvids, Amphibians and the Lore of Witchcraft"
in poetry, prose and vision.


Giles will be focussing upon the mythology, folklore and natural history of two maligned groups of animals, and is sure to excite your curiosity with tales of 'tick-toads', toad-men and toad-bones, toads in Romany folklore, witches' familiars, crows in Greek mythology, the corvid manifestations of the Morrigan, and the magical significance of some other corvids; choughs, jays, jackdaws and rooks.

Giles Watson is a published poet, an amateur naturalist and a regular in 'The Cauldron'. He defines himself as 'an idiosyncratic witch'. Giles has a PhD in Cultural History, has taught English, History, Drama, Sociology and Film-Studies. He has spent part of his life in rural England, part in Australia and is currently working on a book called 'A Witches Natural History'. His other interests include songwriting, walking, art and photography.



During the summer the moot was homeless for a while after leaving the Hobgoblin and had a couple of meetings at the Raven

There was an incense making workshop on 11th May run by Lydia at the Percy Community Centre, we also had an Ogham Course run by Fred in the Savernake Forest area on 12-13th July which was fantastic.



10th August: No speaker Discussion @ the Raven:


We had quite an in depth discussion on the 'feather pits' that have been excavated at Saveock in Cornwall, and there are quite a few
opinions as to what they may have been used for. Apparently the 40 or so pits - which are lined with swan skins turned feather side inwards and contain many different birds eggs, magpies, animal jawbones, nail pairings and newspaper clippings - have been radio carbon dated now and extend back to the 1650s, with one example being as recent as the 1950s. Various theories have been put forward as to their origins, but even the archaeologists favour witchcraft. Fascinating!


6th September: Ken Rees The Many Kabbalahs


Used and developed by Jew and Gentile, mystic and magician alike, the Jewish mystical system of the kabbalah has a fascinating history. Through inspiration and speculation it has shape-shifted over the centuries to take on a variety of interpretations and expressions.

This talk will focus on some of the key features in its evolution and the main traditions that embody it today. Kenneth Rees is a lecturer in esoteric spirituality at a number of London colleges. His teaching subjects include Renaissance Hermeticism, the Western Esoteric tradition, the new paganism, Gnosticism and mythology.


12th October: Chris Chibnall - "As If" and "In-Between"


.... two concepts In Austin Osman Spare's philosophy that cut to the heart of modern magic. A talk given by Spare scholar Chris Chibnall. Chris is an artist, hypnotherapist and prospective author who lives in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire. He has written a "Book of Pleasure in Plain English", being a transliteration of Spare's original work into a more accessible form: it is currently in preparation for publication".


9th November: Fred Gillam Poisonous Plants: Metaphor and Metamorphosis

This talk, illustrated with beautiful and detailed slides, looks at the body of Folklore and Allegory surrounding British Poisonous Plants, and affords a glimpse of the esoteric thinking and beliefs behind the myths of our native plants of power. Fred is the author of 'Poisonous Plants in Great Britain', published at Samhain 2008 by Wooden Books.


14th December: Nick Hanks Dancing with the Devil: The Archaeology and Folklore of Stanton Drew.


Stanton Drew Stone Circles, near to Bath and Bristol, were created in the late stone age - early bronze age period, probably as a ritual
centre. Recent work at this site has shown that it is much larger and more complex than was previously thought, and may have been comparable to larger sites such as Avebury or Stonehenge in importance. This talk will span both the findings of recent archaeological work, and the folklore and myth that surrounds the site, presenting Stanton Drew in a way that has direct relevance and interest to practitioners of earth based spirituality and magic today.

Nick Hanks is a professional archaeologist and a recognised teacher at the University of Bristol. He is an initiated Gardnerian and a member of the Dobunni Druid Grove and attends a Unitarian Chapel. His special interests include ritual theory, space and landscape.