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" One touch of nature

makes all the world kin "

William Shakespeare

A Witch Bottle, Lucky Charms & Hag Stones – Just another day in London

January 28th, 2016
Tom Crowley and Owen Daves open the box...

Tom Crowley and Owen Davies open the box…

Museums or exhibitions seem to be a theme for us in OBOD at the moment. A while back I was asked to make suggestions for a Druid museum in Brittany, and then the same request came up from The Museum of British Folklore. Then there was (and still is!) the British Museum’s Celts: Arts & Identity exhibition, with its surprise in the last cabinet of the exhibition (sample cards from The Druid Animal Oracle and The DruidCraft Tarot). Then the Whitechapel Gallery were in touch, in relation to their Kibbo Kift Intellectual Barbarians exhibition (Ross Nichols, the founder of OBOD was in frequent contact with the Kibbo Kift’s founder John Hargrave). It hasn’t stopped there. We have been asked by the Doreen Valiente Foundation to contribute displays for an exhibition at Preston Manor in Brighton entitled “Folklore, Magic and Mysteries: Modern Witchcraft & Folk Culture in Britain” which runs from April to November this year. And more recently we were contacted by Tom Crowley, one of the curators of the Horniman Museum in London (which has interesting Golden Dawn connections through Annie Horniman and Mathers) to meet with others to examine and discuss their collection of amulets, which they plan to put on permanent display in two years’ time. Steph and I hopped on the train yesterday and soon we were in a huge sealed warehouse on an industrial estate in Greenwich, examining the collection. We were there with Tom Crowley, Owen Davies – prof at Herts university and author of excellent books on magic: his Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History is the best resource you can find on Cunning Folk and was invaluable to me when researching The Book of English Magic. His Magic – A Very Short Introduction is brilliant. Ollie Douglas from The Museum of English Rural Life was with us, alongside two post-graduate students working on fascinating projects:

A witch bottle that proved it was genuine when the contents (urine) were analysed

A witch bottle that proved it was genuine when the contents (urine) were analysed

responses to Apotropaic objects (don’t know what they are? Surely not! 🙂 and a research project with UCL sending people into hypnotic states then getting them to hold museum artefacts and report the images and sensations that come to them (à la psychometry). Here are some photographs of what we found in that treasure-trove of a warehouse.

Stephanie holding up a wand or perhaps riding crop - nobody knows...

Stephanie holding up a wand or perhaps riding crop – nobody knows…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to “A Witch Bottle, Lucky Charms & Hag Stones – Just another day in London”

  1. Thank you for this fascinating piece, Philip. I’m loving your blogs.

    Isn’t it great that paganism and druidry are coming out of the shadows a little – I mean losing some of the demonisation and misunderstanding they’ve been subject to for so long?

    Could you, I wonder, tell me where the Druid Museum is in Brittany, and if it’s not up and running yet when it might be?

    Thank you.

    • Thank you Roselle! The Brittany project never materialised. The owners sold the building they were planning to use…It was near Paimpont – so in Brocéliande – the perfect place for it!

  2. Yes, what a wonderful blog post today, Philip! V inspiring all around, and ‘food for thought’ for more projects that could be done, perhaps. Pre-Imbolc blessings to all

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