Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baphomet Atop the Plinth

Had a great time in London on the weekend culminating in the appearance of Julian Vayne (one of our Friends' trustees) appearing on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. He is one of the more interesting performers who have performed on the plinth and was resplendent in full Baphomet costume (well not quite full - the 'cod piece' was deemed a tad too risque) with an amazing leather mask made by a very talented chap called Peter who was in the immediate audience. Julian used the experience to promote the museum and banners were placed on the plinth. He also performed a ritual, had a bubble machine & a punching bag-esque Axis Mundi (seen left in red) which the crew asked to keep. I have a couple of pics but Simon Costin took some excellent ones so when I get a copy of these I'll put them up. Thanks Julian for doing a fab job on the day - not something the tourists were expecting methinks!!

Thanks Exmoor Pagan Camp

Friends has received a lovely donation of £65.60p from the raffle at the Exmoor Harvest Pagan Camp. This is fab considering there were only around 50 attendees. Thanks to Yarrow for organising the camp. We are also able to claim Gift Aid on the donation which add to the total.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Joyce Froome's V & A Appearance

Keep an ear out for more news on Joyce's upcoming talk at the V & A Museum on the evening of October 30th. She will be giving two talks based on her new book ' Wicked Enchantments' which deals with medieval & early modern magic. It coincides with Simon Costin's tableau vivant 'Dining With Death' which is on at the V & A on the same evening. More news on this closer to the time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Message from Graham re use of Museum name

Our name (The Museum of Witchcraft) has been quoted in a lot of correspondence regarding the Buzzard Fayre.
I would like everyone involved to know that we have not entered into any debate on this subject and will not do so other than to offer historical advice.
We have not offered any opinions on the debate.
As a matter of policy we do not enter into any political or religious discussions - this is not the role of a museum.
We will be delighted however to offer the use of our library and research facilities to anyone who wants to study the subject.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hexenmuseum in Switzerland Under Attack

We have become good friends with a woman called Wicca who has started the Hexenmuseum in Switzerland recently and were shocked to hear that her museum has been suffering abuse on a political scale & has started a national debate. She has sent us a report on the situation so I will just add it here so you can read what is happening in her own words. Thanks for sending this through Wicca & we wish you good fortune in the future & hope the government continues its support.
You can not imagine what battle we fight, since April, since the opening of the "Hexenmuseum Schweiz" the Museum of Witchcraft Switzerland.
We started very well and then out of nothing started a political discussion in the whole country of Switzerland. I can say, we made the Wicca Tradition very famous in one week. So everybody is more or less informed, that there is a Museum of Witchcraft Switzerland and why.

A politician of a fundamental evangelical party in the Swiss Government, he is also a free church
Pastor (evangelical and new testament advocate) started that campain against us and the Hexenmuseum Schweiz, first of May. (he never visited before the campain)
He said, that it is not a Museum, but a hidden organisation to attract people and turn them into witches.
Especially young girls from 12- 16 years, men and boys are not so stubid to be attracted (nice).

He said that it must be forbidden to all school kids to visit and that he ask the government to speak law that all people must be 18 of age to visit that "esoteric" place, where a "Known" Swisswitch and Wicca priestess is the head of Museum (me!) He also impeached, that only a person who is a doctor or has some title is able to open and run a Museum. And that I and my husband do not have any title.
That a priest or pastor should guide and lead such a Museum and not a WITCH, for heaven's sake.

He also impreached that we are not allowed to call us "Museum" (because of the hidden organisation- in his mind) and the name Switzerland. Because the word Switzerland in connection with "HEXE" is a pollution forthe country.

You may say, what a stupid man. Believe me, I thought the same, but in his role of politician he has ways that a private person does not have.
We were run down by press, media and all kind of reactions. Radio and TV. But we kept nice and quiet. I thought that I will not give oil in the fire. I gave some short and emotionless interviews about the fact and always said, that we are looking for the answer of the government.

The answer came! In July now. (They visited us in advance, they asked us a million questions, they sent experts and so in advance!)
The government of Switzerland says that: The small Privatmuseum detail is richly furnished and provides a clear and carefully presented brief overview of folk beliefs, superstitions, mythology, rituals and magical herbs, supplemented by biographical information and time tables. The contents of the museum follows a subjective selection criteria, but can in no way be offensive to minors or designated.

That they think that is important for schools to visit especially in Ethnic, religions, history studies.
That Wicca is a way of life and a natural way of religion and that is free to anybody to choose.
As we are a Privatmuseum and paid it all out of our pocket, we are free of requirements and rules. We made all needed licences in advance and we got them all. We can call us how ever we like, as there is a free name choosing for companies

You can imagine that the guy is not happy with that descision and barked in the press that the government is naive and that he will not give in and accept that. He has proves from abroad that Wicca is occult way of a cult, and that he will show now in August before the Government Meeting and change their minds.

We hope not! Bless us and send us protecting energy! thanks so much!!!


Blessings to all

New Banners

Just wanted to say thanks to the Friends of the Museum who have purchased new banners which will be used at upcoming meetings, shows and, dare I say, Trafalgar Square plinths. Here is Hannah so beautifully modelling with one of the banners in the museum library along with some of our 5,000 books.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Friends Newsletters

All Friends newsletters have been posted 1st Class today so should arrive with you Monday or Tuesday next week. The exception being international ones which may take a bit longer. If you are a member of Friends & haven't received your newsletter by the end of the week please email me on and I will send you a PDF copy or a regular mailed version if you prefer. The First class stamps and envelopes were kindly donated by an anonymous donor.
As we are focusing on keeping costs to a minimum so Friends can donate as much as possible to the museum, we are asking Friends to sign up for the Newsletter to be sent as a PDF to their email addresses in future. Of course the regular version will still be available for those who prefer that format.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Coastguard Shouts Aplenty

Well two anyway - - - moments after returning from a Coastguard Shout in Tintagel where someone had broken both legs & had to be airlifted out of Merlin's Cave, the Boscastle Coastguards were called to another rescue in Boscastle Harbour. Another broken leg it seems as someone had slipped on the sewage pipe & was unable to be stretchered out. The Naval helicopter had to be called in for another airlift - Graham & the other Coastguards co-ordinated land based actions from the ground & kept crowds well clear. It was unable to land due to its size so the rescue worker was winched down & pulled the casualty up. Hopefully the injured person will make a full recovery. I managed to get a few pics. We're always grateful to the helicopter crews who do such an amazing job - as well as our lovely Coastguards.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Graham writes about the new tarot display

I have today finished the new Tarot display. You will recall that the previous display was destroyed by the flood five years ago.

Creating displays from scratch is not as easy as you might expect, especially when you have no budget, but lack of funds can drive one to find more unusual solutions.

The first task was to find an empty space – this is getting more and more difficult but we soon decided that the gap under the scrying mirror cabinet would be ideal. Our new Tarot display would be in the ‘divination’ area – very appropriate. After measuring up the long narrow space Kerriann and I wandered into the workshop looking for inspiration which soon came in the form of a lovely old mahogany and glass frame that once sat on top of a mineral display in The Natural History Museum. This was the last of the display cases that were donated after the flood. After removing the old glass the frame was cut to size, re glued and new safety glass ordered. Kerriann picked up an MDF panel which we covered with black Velcro sheeting and a new ‘made to measure’ display case was born.

A duplicate Rider Waite was found in the archive and whilst I spent a couple of days laying the cards out Kerriann wrote the accompanying texts. We jiggled cards and text around until they fitted and in the end looked very impressive.

However, in line with modern trends, we wanted to make the display more interactive so we racked our brains for a method whereby visitors could select a tarot card and get an interpretation. The easiest way would be to provide a pack of cards but I am sure that cards would ‘disappear’ within days so a more secure method had to be devised. We looked at rotary card filing systems, at various methods of laminating and chaining cards and other methods involving brass eyelets and key rings but none were going to be easy.

Inspiration came again in the workshop!

Before the flood we had purchased an old coin operated fortune telling machine. One popped an old penny into the top and the weight of the coin dropping turned a mechanism that span a pointer over a dial from which your fortune would be read.

This machine had been badly damaged in the flood and was sitting in a corner of the workshop looking unloved – it was about to get a new lease of life. The water-damaged dial was removed and replaced with images of cards from the major arcana and the mechanism modified to accept modern coinage. A lick of paint, some wood polish and a drop of oil and she worked like new! Drop a 2p in the top, the pointer spins and eventually stops – Hey Presto! you have selected a tarot card. Purl Wise has provided interpretations for a panel adjacent to the new display which may even raise us some extra pennies (or 2ps)

Still to add is a laminated copy of 'The Fool's Journey' by Roger Pratt , our expert tarot reading friend in New York (always like to enhance our trans Atlantic relations).

Lets hope our visitors appreciate all the work that goes into our wonderful museum!