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Witchfest 2015

on November 18, 2015

This year was my third time attending Witchfest, an annual event that takes place at Fairfield Halls in Croydon and is essentially a celebration of all things witchy! There are workshops, talks, lots of stalls and music in the evening. This is how my 3rd year of attendance went..

I like to get to Croydon as early as I can, as the main joy of the event for me is taking part in the workshops and I don’t want to miss anything! So I was on a train around 7.30am to aim to get to the venue for about 10. After getting slightly confused at London Bridge, and then forgetting what direction Fairfield Halls was in, it was almost 10.30 by the time I got there, but as always there was a queue to get in. Usually there is entertainment while you are queueing, this year they had drummers, but unfortunately I must have missed them as there wasn’t any while I was outside, trying to keep dry as it was a very rainy day. I wasn’t going to let the rain or being late get in my way though!

I was a bit too late to watch the opening ritual and I wasn’t interested in either of the 11am talks, so I took the opportunity to have a look around the stalls and have something to eat, as I had a lot packed in for the rest of the day. Somehow it didn’t feel there was as much choice with stalls this year even though they took the amount of space. (so I’m not sure why it felt like that). I did however buy a few crystals from the Geofossils stall which I love and usually buy something from every year. This year I got a garnet, tangerine quartz and yellow calcite.

The first workshop I took part in was a completely new experience for me- Laughter Yoga! (with a lady called Heike) I didn’t really know what to expect but I really wanted to give it a go. Well it was mad, and also hilarious! Activities included talking gibberish to each other and a lot of ‘pretending’ (riding a broom, housework and picking herbs for example) all the time laughing, and although maybe you were fake laughing to begin with, soon it all got so silly you found yourself REALLY laughing and soon EVERYONE was laughing. At times it really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but ultimately it left me with a smile on my face. If you’re looking for traditional yoga exercises, this was not it, but it did feel like good exercise too!

Then it was straight onto another workshop, ‘Faery Moon Magic’ with Flavia Kate Peters.

I had also been to her talk on ‘Faery Witchcraft’ last year which I really enjoyed and I always enjoy her work in FAE magazine. This talk focused a lot more on the Moon rather than the fae. Flavia spoke about how what starsign the moon is in at the time is also important to work with. At the time of the talk she told us the moon was just coming out of Capricorn and going into Sagittarius. She also spoke about items you can put on your altar. We also did a brief visualisation to bring more loving energy into our lives and there was a faery land journey at the end of the session too. There was a lot of info similar to the talk from last year, but also some new information and Flavia has such a lovely energy that you can’t help but be enchanted. I really wanted to speak to her, and I could have done as she had a stall, but I was too nervous! Maybe next year.

Then it was Bam! and onto the next workshop. Another practical one, I chose to try ‘Movement Meditation’ with Raegan Shanti.

To begin with, she gave us a brief rundown of herself (a dancer and an eclectic pagan like myself) and how she discovered movement meditation, and how to do it. The basic premise was this- she would lead us into a guided meditation but rather than sitting static (unless we wanted to), we would respond to her words with movement- however we felt. Then after a brief leading in, we were told to just move our bodies how we felt we needed to. Afterwards she took some questions from a few people and some people spoke about how they found the meditation. Everyone really got something out of it I felt. What was amazing too, that someone with limited mobility also gained out of it, as Raegan had said that if you can’t move, you can see yourself doing the movement you would want to do on the astral plane rather than physically doing it. This lady said that this felt really liberating for her, as doing it in this year made her feel she was actually doing it, and felt very freeing. I felt really peaceful afterwards and did really enjoy it, I think using it for magical work would be quite interesting.

I had planned to go to another talk after this, but I was feeling a bit tired so decided to take some more time out and look around some more. I wanted to bring Miguel a present home, so I got him some White Sage and a little bear made out of Sunstone.

Next up was what turned out to be my favourite workshop of the day, ‘Walking with the Ancestors’ with Barbara Meiklejohn-Free

I was gutted I didn’t go to her talk last year so I made a point of going this year and I wasn’t disappointed. It was another practical workshop, as although she spoke a bit about the ancestors and how important it is to honour them, she then led us into a ritual to honour them. As part of the ritual we received names of ancestors (although I didn’t pick up any myself) and the people who did had to stand up and say ‘I honour….” all at the same time with pride. There was definitely a shift in energy after that. Barbara is also a medium and she said how she could see all the ancestors with us from all sorts of traditions. Even though not intentionally, she started picking up a few messages, and one of them made a lady behind me cry. I was of course hoping I would get something too but I didn’t, but I did feel my nan was there. We did a journey where we saw flashes of all our ancestors past and future. We forgave all those that have ever hurt us in all our lives. I didn’t really know why but I did feel very emotional. We also asked one of our ancestors to be our ancestral guide. I know mine is there (it’s making me feel emotional again just thinking about it now). She cheered everyone up again afterwards by ending the session saying how we all should be who we are and shine bright. I left feeling emotional but also uplifted.

Next up is another person I had seen before (I’m not sure what pronoun she prefers so apologises if I am using the wrong one) Yvonne Aburrow

I saw her before at the Pagan Conference talking about gender and sexuality in witchcraft which was fascinating, so I was interested to hear about ‘Practical Inclusive Wicca’. I thought it was going to be just talking so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be another practical workshop, she demonstrated techniques we could try to be more inclusive to ALL in rituals (all sexualities, all genders, all races etc etc) We did thinsg like sending energy around the circle and also a different way of calling in the divine- rather than the straightforward Cis Female and Cis Male. We tried it by dividing us up into those who love and hate marmite! We also did a chakra colour visualisation and called in the elements by visualising. (depending where you were in the room, then changing to the next element). A lot of it probably more relates to group rituals where being included may be an issue, but I did really like the techniques she spoke about and will be implementing some of them myself.

I had hoped to see one more talk, but sadly the one I went to I ended up leaving halfway through as it just wasn’t keeping my attention span at all. At this point I was exhausted and still had my 2 hour journey to do, so another year without catching any of the music! But really that isn’t what Witchfest is about for me.

Witchfest for me is all about new experiences, hearing new opinions, being in a community. I think this year was my favourite so far, the workshops were practical and I learned lots of new things. of course I’ll be back again next year!




2 responses to “Witchfest 2015

  1. […] went to Witchfest, which was worthy of a blog of it’s own, which you can find […]

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