Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Unique visit to Dartmoor

Last Saturday Joyce and Kerriann met up with a group of Swiss witches at the beautiful setting of the Nine Maidens stone circle at Belstone on Dartmoor. Leading the group were Wicca and Biba and their gorgeous German Shepherd Cheyenne of the Swiss Witchcraft Museum Hexenmuseum Schweiz.

It was the perfect location to talk about how traditional magic explores our relationship with the natural world, as we handed round examples of the wealth of magical objects derived from Nature – including a swallow’s feather, an ammonite, and a lovely hazelnut charm from the Museum.

It was fascinating to learn more about Swiss magical traditions, which cast new light on some of our objects. In Switzerland ammonites were associated with snakes, and were thought to give the power to speak the language of animals. A Swiss folktale tells how a girl was given three hazelnuts that granted her three wishes. And apparently if a church minister looked at his congregation through the cross-shaped hole on the end of his church key, he would be able to see which of them were witches!

Wicca has recently written an excellent book about amulets and talismans, and kindly donated a copy to the museum library (see photo above). Remarkably, it includes a section on the strange animal muzzle amulets that have been puzzling us ever since one was donated to the Museum in 2012. Now, thanks to Wicca, we know that it was worn as protection against impotence caused by witchcraft!  Photo of the amulet below.


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