Category Archives: The Witch Potato Project

The Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: Complete Up-to-date Table of Contents

Once upon a time …. there was a cartographer and adventurer named Sir Thomas Oisin Rhymer Leaf who embarked upon great adventures between the New and Old Worlds searching through folklore, myths, and legends in search of answers to many different quests, each linked together, as he unravelled the secrets of the world, of mythology, of fantasy, of faeries, and magic. Many of these adventures began as dreams realized by vacations as he delved and explored the mysteries of the unknown. As he weaves his “Living Myth” the divine has presented upon him various omens, oracles, and prophecies that lead him to some pretty fascinating places in the world, embarking upon travels found in legend, but taking place in the modern era. He has found secrets of love, unravelled lore, unlocked secrets of the unknown, and has begun to walk the threshholds between the world of mortals and that of the lands of faeries. Below, we invite you to take the journey from whence it began and follow it as the Living Myth unwinds opening doorways to a future of high sea adventure, mystical lands, and proof that what was once thought to be a mere ‘fairy tale’ is very much alive in the concrete jungles of technological societies. Delve through the lore with this technogypsie as he explores the ancient, mundane, magical, in the here and now ….

Mystically guided by the ancient Goddess Brigid (now a Catholic Saint), Sir Thomas Leaf has been taken around North America, across the seas to Germany, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, England, Ireland, and Italy revealing legends and lore ranging from Janet’s Foss, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Roswell Crash Site, National Museum of Crime and Punishment, Museum of the American Indian, Ghosts of Williamsburg, Orient Land Trust, Tower of London, Traitor’s Gate, Pirates on the Thames, Blackfriar’s Bridge, Jack the Ripper, River Thames, Museum of Natural History – London, Money Trees. Faerieworlds 2009, Briarhurst Manor, Malham Cove, Miracle of Amsterdam, Sex Museum, Amsterdam Waag, Kasper Hauser, Palmbosch’n’, Nibelungenmuseum and the legend, Worms, Cologne Roman-German Museum, Koln Chocolate Museum, Koln Cathedral, Xanten Roman Amphitheater, The Harbour Temple, Xanten, Dusseldorf, Mauna Kea, Punalu Beach, Pele, Kilaeua, Faerieworlds Winter Celebration, Windsor Ruins, Beltania, Men Scryfa, Men-at-tol, Lanyon Quoit, Nine Maidens Stone Circle, Madron Well, Lesigney Round, National Leprechaun Museum, The Bodmin Beast, Colliford Lake, Three Wishes Faerie Festival, Ritual Offering Pits at Saveok, Saveok Water Archaeology Site, Cornish Witchcraft, Purification Pools at Saveok, Bodmin Moor, Bru na Boinne, Ragnarok, Dublinia, The Black Church, Poulnabrone, Knocknashee, Dunseverick Castle, The Giant’s Causeway, Newgrange, Knowth, St. Michan’s Mummies, The Spirits and Entities of Alcohol, The Blarney Castle, The Rock Close, Blarney Poison Garden, The Witches’ Wishing Steps, Legend of the Blarney Stone, Wishing Trees, The Curraugh, Brigid’s Sacred Wells, Brigid’s Sacred Flame, to The Portal, Reflection on the loss of his mentor, and ….

Foreward and Prologue: Who is Oisin? Who is Thomas the Rhymer? Who is Sir Thomas Oisin Rhymer Leaf?

Lady of the Rhine Sagas: (Part I and II)

Lady of Rhine: Curse of the Enchanted Ring

Lady of the Rhine: Quest 2: Search for the Sacred Key

Hearth Quest: Finding my Hearth, Delving Deep into the Core

The Witch Potato Project: June-July 2010

Sir Thomas Leaf’s journeys took him to the mystical lands of England and Ireland as he embarked on a journey of self-induced poverty in order to take an adventure across the Great Pond and explore the Witches, Faeries, Pirates, and Legends of England and Ireland.

  1. Day 1: The Vision (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  2. Day 2: Packing Up The Cottage (6/6/2010: Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  3. Day 3: Transitions (6/7/2010: Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  4. Day 4: Curation, Moving Out (6/8/2010: Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  5. Day 5: The Expedition – Flight from Colorado Springs to Newark) 6/9/10: Colorado Springs, Colorado; Newark, New Jersey)
  6. Day 5, Part 2: Expedition & Air Travel: Air Travel in Wonderland (6/9/10: Newark, NJ; Dublin, Ireland)

  7. Day 6: Guinness in Dublin; Bristol, England (6/10/10: Dublin, Ireland; Bristol, England)
  8. Day 7: Penzance and the Haunted Castle (6/11/10: Bristol to Penzance, England; Cornwall)
  9. Day 8: Pixies of Penzance; Walk-a-bout; Hengestones; Madron Well (6/12/10): Penzance/Cornwall, England
  10. Day 9: Cornwall/ Taxicabs, Trains, Iron Age Roundhouses (6/13/10: Penzance, Truro, Chacewater, England)
  11. Day 10: Saveok Mill, Excavations, Chacewater (6/14/10: Chacewater/Truro, Cornwall, England)
  12. Day 11: The Witch Project: Roundhouses, Sheep, Excavations (6/15/10: Chacewater/Truro, Cornwall, England)
  13. Day 12: Saveok Tour, Goddess Quest, Swan Pits, Excavations, Vertigo (6/16/10: Truro, Cornwall, England)
  14. Day 13: Last day of Excavations, The Collections, Newquay Beach (6/17/10: Truro, Newquay, Cornwall, England)
  15. Day 14: The Bodmin Beast and the Moor, Three Wishes Faerie Fest (6/18/10: Newquay / Bodmin, Cornwall, England)
  16. Day 15: Three Wishes Faerie Festival (6/19/10: Bodmin/Lake Colliford, Cornwall, England)
  17. Day 16: Three Wishes Faerie Festival, Excalibur/Lady of the Lake (6/20/10: Bodmin/Lake Colliford, Cornwall, England)
  18. Day 17: The Summer Solstice, Cornwall Cyber Pirates, Stonehenge, and Bristol … (6/21/10: Bodmin, Avebury, Bristol, England)
  19. Day 18: Bristol to Dublin with a bit o’ boxtie .. (6/22/10: Bristol, England; Dublin, Ireland)
  20. Day 19: Vikings, Leprechauns, and the Black Pool (6/23/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  21. Day 20: Dublin, Faerie Sidhe, Newgrange, Coastal Causeway (6/24/10: Dublin, Newgrange, Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, Ireland)
  22. Day 21: The Giant’s Causeway, Glenariff Forest, Rope Bridge, Coastal Causeway (6/25/10: Northern Ireland)
  23. Day 22: Bushmills, Dunluce Castle, Gilligan’s World, Sligo, Knocknashee, Cannamara (6/26/10: Sligo, Knocknashee, Cannamara, Ireland)
  24. Day 23: Connemara to Blarney (6/27/10: Cannemara, Blarney, Cork, Ireland)
  25. Day 24: Land of Leprechauns, Kissing the Blarney, Rock of Cashel (6/28/10: Cork, Blarney, Cashel, Dublin, Ireland)
  26. Day 25: Potato famines, Revelations, Dublin … (6/29/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  27. Day 26: Dublin, Jameson, Mummies, Pub Crawl … (6/30/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  28. Day 27: Dublin Wanderings, Beaches, Ships, Museums, St. Patrick’s …. (7/01/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  29. Day 28: Pilgrimage to St. or Goddess Brigid, Sacred Wells, Trees, and her Flame (7/02/10: Kildare, Dublin, Ireland)
  30. Day 29: Blonde Goddesses, Community Picnics, and Dominion … Last day in Ireland (7/03/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  31. Day 30: Flight Home, Freedom …. (7/4/10: Dublin, Ireland; Newark, NJ)
  32. Day 31: Independence, Back to America (7/5/10: Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Chronicles and Visions of 2010-2011:

This Journey is quite expensive & took quite a bit of personal sacrifice to make happen.
Any contribution, $1, $5, $10+ will help more than you can believe
and will add more adventures, photos, stories, and reviews for your pleasure …

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The Witch Potato Project: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf

  1. Oisin and the Living Myth:
  2. The prologue/preface: Thomas Rymour; Omens, Oracles, and Visions
  3. Day 1: The Vision (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  4. Day 2: Packing Up The Cottage (6/6/2010: Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  5. Day 3: Transitions (6/7/2010: Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  6. Day 4: Curation, Moving Out (6/8/2010: Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  7. Day 5: The Expedition – Flight from Colorado Springs to Newark) 6/9/10: Colorado Springs, Colorado; Newark, New Jersey)
  8. Day 5, Part 2: Expedition & Air Travel: Air Travel in Wonderland (6/9/10: Newark, NJ; Dublin, Ireland)

  9. Day 6: Guinness in Dublin; Bristol, England (6/10/10: Dublin, Ireland; Bristol, England)
  10. Day 7: Penzance and the Haunted Castle (6/11/10: Bristol to Penzance, England; Cornwall)
  11. Day 8: Pixies of Penzance; Walk-a-bout; Hengestones; Madron Well (6/12/10): Penzance/Cornwall, England
  12. Day 9: Cornwall/ Taxicabs, Trains, Iron Age Roundhouses (6/13/10: Penzance, Truro, Chacewater, England)
  13. Day 10: Saveok Mill, Excavations, Chacewater (6/14/10: Chacewater/Truro, Cornwall, England)
  14. Day 11: The Witch Project: Roundhouses, Sheep, Excavations (6/15/10: Chacewater/Truro, Cornwall, England)
  15. Day 12: Saveok Tour, Goddess Quest, Swan Pits, Excavations, Vertigo (6/16/10: Truro, Cornwall, England)
  16. Day 13: Last day of Excavations, The Collections, Newquay Beach (6/17/10: Truro, Newquay, Cornwall, England)
  17. Day 14: The Bodmin Beast and the Moor, Three Wishes Faerie Fest (6/18/10: Newquay / Bodmin, Cornwall, England)
  18. Day 15: Three Wishes Faerie Festival (6/19/10: Bodmin/Lake Colliford, Cornwall, England)
  19. Day 16: Three Wishes Faerie Festival, Excalibur/Lady of the Lake (6/20/10: Bodmin/Lake Colliford, Cornwall, England)
  20. Day 17: The Summer Solstice, Cornwall Cyber Pirates, Stonehenge, and Bristol … (6/21/10: Bodmin, Avebury, Bristol, England)
  21. Day 18: Bristol to Dublin with a bit o’ boxtie .. (6/22/10: Bristol, England; Dublin, Ireland)
  22. Day 19: Vikings, Leprechauns, and the Black Pool (6/23/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  23. Day 20: Dublin, Faerie Sidhe, Newgrange, Coastal Causeway (6/24/10: Dublin, Newgrange, Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, Ireland)
  24. Day 21: The Giant’s Causeway, Glenariff Forest, Rope Bridge, Coastal Causeway (6/25/10: Northern Ireland)
  25. Day 22: Bushmills, Dunluce Castle, Gilligan’s World, Sligo, Knocknashee, Cannamara (6/26/10: Sligo, Knocknashee, Cannamara, Ireland)
  26. Day 23: Connemara to Blarney (6/27/10: Cannemara, Blarney, Cork, Ireland)
  27. Day 24: Land of Leprechauns, Kissing the Blarney, Rock of Cashel (6/28/10: Cork, Blarney, Cashel, Dublin, Ireland)
  28. Day 25: Potato famines, Revelations, Dublin … (6/29/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  29. Day 26: Dublin, Jameson, Mummies, Pub Crawl … (6/30/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  30. Day 27: Dublin Wanderings, Beaches, Ships, Museums, St. Patrick’s …. (7/01/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  31. Day 28: Pilgrimage to St. or Goddess Brigid, Sacred Wells, Trees, and her Flame (7/02/10: Kildare, Dublin, Ireland)
  32. Day 29: Blonde Goddesses, Community Picnics, and Dominion … Last day in Ireland (7/03/10: Dublin, Ireland)
  33. Day 30: Flight Home, Freedom …. (7/4/10: Dublin, Ireland; Newark, NJ)
  34. Day 31: Independence, Back to America (7/5/10: Colorado Springs, Colorado)

This Journey is quite expensive & took quite a bit of personal sacrifice to make happen.
Any contribution, $1, $5, $10+ will help more than you can believe
and will add more adventures, photos, stories, and reviews for your pleasure …

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07.05.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: The Witch Potato Project (WPP): Day 30 – Independence

It has been a long journey for Sir Thomas Oisin Rhymer Leaf and in many ways he was both sad and happy to be home in Colorado. He was suffering from jet lag yet was up early and into work at his lab doing curation, cartography, and assisting 13 others in protecting the remains of ancestors who inhabited Colorado for several thousand years upwards of the modern era. In some ways he was injected with a surge knowing there is a change soon to happen to his life and a new adventure of a lifetime to come in the next year. He started to ponder his life, his travels, his dreams, and desires. Knowing that life is not going to get any younger, there are certain things that he needs to do before his body gets older, and much of those aspirations involve travel, hiking, camping, and world exploration. He realizes it was almost time to live in Europe – but not quite yet – as he has quite a bit to wrap up here in Colorado and America. Something in Colorado called for him to come back – something to fulfill? something to experience? a partnership? love? another oracle? another vision? what it is he is not sure – but it needs to be accoplished before he makes a move to another part of the globe. There is much to consider and much to fathom. Many decisions to be made and yet a leap of faith to be had. Confusion and clarity surrounded him through his day at work. His recent quest successfully completed: He obtained many blessings from various tribes of Faeries, made acquaintances with several new Faerie queens, lords, and ladies; obtained sacred healing waters from the wells of Madron and Brigid, tied blessing clotties in the wishing trees in England and Ireland, asked for successful journeys on the new adventures from the God/desses and the Blarney Witch, endowed with the gift of gab by kissing the Blarney stone, re-blessed and endowed by the Goddess Brigid (St. Brigid) as he pilgrimmaged to her temple, Now carries her sacred flame, and have delved underneath the faerie hills and tunnels of Ireland. Blessed by the waters of life – new visions, new clarity, and new focus for the upcoming new year. A successful quest with the treasures gained. That night he slept and slept in dream land, dreaming of a new future to gain ….. Freedom and Independence for he and his people are just around the corner. [ The End ]

This Journey is quite expensive & took quite a bit of personal sacrifice to make happen.
Any contribution, $1, $5, $10+ will help more than you can believe
and will add more adventures, photos, stories, and reviews for your pleasure …

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7.04.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: The Witch Potato Project (WPP): Day 29 – Flight Home, Freedom ….

The Fourth of July is meant as a day of independence for Americans … however Sir Thomas Oisin Rhymer Leaf McGowan did not feel very “free” on this date. He very much wanted to remain in Ireland, but it was time for him to return back to Amerika: The supposed land of the free. He was awake by 4 am and checked out of the youth hostel and had the front desk ring the shuttle to the airport. A 7 Euro shuttle and a very sad journey was had by him as he headed off to the airport. Upon entering the airport he was very much aware that he no longer lives in the “Land of the free” with how constraining, police-state, and imposing the security checks and procedures there exists to board planes to the United States these days. As he stood in line to get his plane ticket, two U.S. representatives approached him to drill him on his travels. Then through security check – off with the shoes and belt, and the metal detectors. On to the plane. It was a pleasant flight – from Dublin to Newark with some great free films to watch such as “Ondine” which he greatly enjoyed, then “Bounty Hunter“, and “Out of Her League”. Not happy to be leaving Ireland Sir Thomas thought. He knew this was a place he should be living. In many ways, his home country has become a prison, one in which its very hard to leave these days – full of paranoia about terrorists, security threats, etc. that the government now tramples on basic human rights. It is only going to get worse as they are soon to implement full body scanners that will show the naked figure and body parts and frisking. “:: sigh ::” Sir Thomas Leaf felt. As he touched down in Newark, he was bombarded with the urban scrawl, concrete jungles on the lands down below, and a disgusting level of commercialism to greet him at the airport. No free internet at the airport so he wasn’t able to do his usual blogging. Customs was invasive and long-lined as usual. As he awaited his transfer flight, the news television broadcast news of the War in Iraq, the Gulf Oil Spill, closings of Florida and Mississippi beaches, severe weather fronts, intense summer heat, and a really disgusting broadcast of a food eating contest at Coney Island. He thought about how horrible it is that this is the view the rest of the world receives when they come to the shores of America – that he is absolutely ashamed. He didn’t feel like he is an American anymore, not if this is what America has become. Then on he went through some more passport and security checks, to grab his luggage only ot walk through customs while the agent took his declaration slip and to re-deposit his luggage on another conveyor belt. He thought “Exactly what was the purpose to that”? America is so backwards he thought, and paranoid – Europe has there whole customs entering and exiting process streamlined, non-paranoid, and simplified. He felt tired of air travel (not the adventure), but it was time to go home. But he thought … is this really where he wants to call home? He wishes he could have stayed back in Europe. Why can’t America be part of the European Union? :: sigh :: As he pondered what the Fourth of July now means to him, revelations of what he wants to do in the near future, where he’d like to settle, and new changes in his life to come …

Continue reading 7.04.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: The Witch Potato Project (WPP): Day 29 – Flight Home, Freedom ….

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07.03.10: CSTL: WPP: Day 28 – Blonde Goddesses, Community Picnics, and Dominion … Last day in Ireland

Shazza arriving by train from Belfast to Dublin

Sir Thomas Leaf awoke excitedly to meet Lady Shazza as she was soon to arrive via train from Belfast. He shuffled himself out and about and walked downtown Dublin to the main train station to greet her. He thought to himself how wonderful it was to see her again (since Three Wishes Faerie Festival). They dropped into a cafe/pub for tea and caught up, getting to know one another, and having a great time – so good that time flew by. Had some really good conversations about religion, relationships, and culture. They then hopped the bus to go for a potluck picnic some friends of Sir Thomas Leaf were having. A great spread of food, new friends, great conversations, and intriguing chats. Some drumming was done as a nice day in the sun on soft green grass was enjoyed. As evening approached and it was time for Lady Shazza to return to Belfast. Sir Thomas Leaf escorted her back to the train station and very very sweet farewells were had until they meet again. Sir Thomas Leaf then headed back to hostel, grabbing a Shindig enroute to change as he was about to embark on exploring Ireland’s one and only Goth night called “Dominion” that was held in the bottom of a Sport’s Bar carried Murrays. It had very good music, but was a bit clich-ish and people weren’t too friendly so he didn’t stay too long. Back to the hostel for a bit of shut-eye as he had to awake at 4 am to catch his bus to the Dublin Airport and return back to America …

Continue reading 07.03.10: CSTL: WPP: Day 28 – Blonde Goddesses, Community Picnics, and Dominion … Last day in Ireland

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07.02.10: CSTL: WPP: Day 27 – Pilgrimage to St. or Goddess Brigid, Sacred Wells, Trees, and her Flame

Me being passed Brighid’s Flame at Kildare by Sister Mary

Sir Thomas Leaf awoke late and rushed off to bus station to catch his bus to Kildare. He missed the first bus but caught the second one. It was a pleasant drive from Dublin to Kildare. He passed through the towns of Kill and then Naas on into Kildare. He found the suggested rendez-vous place in Naas that Faerie Moe suggested. A heavenly sight seeing Faerie Moe coming into the cafe with her dog and “Little Man”. A pleasant tea together catching up on life then a crazy Irish car ride back to Moe’s pad. Moe had some surprise sights for Sir Leaf to see such as The Curraugh and the Giant Donolley’s footprints. A wandering around the Curraugh was had with some spottings of faerie trees. A tromp around a graveyard on to areas that Moe explained circle dances took place. Then another quick car ride off to Moe’s Mom’s house for some more tea and a tasty lunch. As time was clicking with things to get to, Sir Thomas Leaf and Faerie Moe headed off to the village of Kildare. First stop was the information center which had kiosks about the Goddess / Saint Brighid and her importance to the area. Unfortunately they missed being able to go into St. Brigid’s Cathedral as it had closed for the day. They rang Sister Mary and headed down to her house where one of the shrines dedicated to Brighid is alive holding the Sacred Flame of Brighid. As requested, Sir Thomas Leaf’s Quest is almost complete as Sister Mary passed on the Sacred Flame of Brighid to him. He was dumbfounded and in awe, feeling especially blessed and endowed with Brighid’s magical blessings. They got directions to both of Brighid’s Sacred Wells and bid farewell to Sister Mary. Sir Thomas Leaf was so honored to have met the sweet Sister and be blessed. On down to the first Brighid’s Well to collect some sacred healing waters. Then the Faerie Moe led Sir Thomas Oisin Leaf on to the final Sacred Well of Brighid for the final collecting of Sacred Waters. This one had a shrine, Brighid’s shoes, the Well, and a Wishing Tree. After making his wish on the tree and doing a silent Brighid spell, getting a lesson from Faerie Moe on how to make a Brighid’s Cross, he was in ecstatic awe that his Quest was completed. All the sacred elements, magic, spells, charms, and requests have been achieved on this Adventure across the great pond. As Faerie Moe needed to get back to her son, she dropped Sir Thomas Leaf off at the bus stop and sweet farewells were said. As Sir Thomas was awaiting his chariot back to Dublin, a drunk couple approached him and chatted his ears off until the bus arrived. Then they got into the discussion of religion and found out that Sir Thomas Oisin Leaf was a Heathen, a Pagan, a Druid. The woman was shocked and felt extremely sorry for him as he would not get into heaven that way. She asked if she could do a blessing over him to bring him back to Christ … luckily the chariot arrived and saved him from a female Saint Patrick ancestor attempting a conversion that would fail. The return to Dublin was swift. A walk back to the hostel, Leaf was blessed, tired, and in ecstasy from the completion of his journey and having such a magical day with Faerie Moe. A good night’s rest was had with very vivid dreams about his future to be. He will be returning to Ireland someday soon.

Me and Moe at Brighid’s Well in Kildare, Ireland

Continue reading 07.02.10: CSTL: WPP: Day 27 – Pilgrimage to St. or Goddess Brigid, Sacred Wells, Trees, and her Flame

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Sister Mary and the Shrine to St. Brigid (Goddess Brigid)

Sister Mary and the Shrine to Brighid
* Private Residence / Kildare, Ireland *

Probably one of the most enlightening and blessed experiences on my pilgrimmage and quest to Ireland in June of 2010 was meeting, visiting with, and being passed Brigid’s Eternal Flame from Sister Mary, the Brigidine Sister – one of the 19 sacred guardians of Brigid’s Flame. A call to see if she was home, me and Faerie Moe headed down the hill to Sister Mary’s private residence. A very humble, peaceful, and vibrant woman, Sister Mary welcomed us into her house and took us into the back room where the Shrine to Brigid was and one of the protected eternal flames of Brigid stay lit. We admired the numerous Brigid’s crosses, the artwork, and the spiritual offerings/dedications to St. Brigid (aka. Goddess Brigid). I was tingling with excitement and had an overwhelming ecstatic experience just standing in the room – in the presence of two of my favorite women – The Goddess Brigid (St. Brigid) through Sister Mary and the Shrine, and my friend Faerie Moe. What more could one ever ask for? If ever a glimpse of enlightenment, it was this particular moment in space and time for me. Being shown around Kildare by Faerie Moe who lives in the area and getting indepth local’s tour of the sacred sites that mean so much to me, learning about the work of Cairde Bhride, and being passed St. Brigid’s flame was an overwhelming experience. I did my best not to let it show, but i know I clumsily stumbled around from the feelings of awe I was in.

Sister Mary Minehan: A humble, peaceful, and shining powerful spiritual woman that embodies the illumination of the Goddess Brigid/St. Brigid. She is one of Brigid’s guardians of the sacred Eternal flame, a Brigidine sister who lives in Kildare, Ireland. Her life is dedicated to the work of Cairde Bhríde, the Catholic Order of St. Brigid that embraces both the Christian Saint and Goddess aspect of Brighid. The Order has an outreach community of 50 men and women who call themselves the “Cairde Bride” or “Friends of Brigid”. The Group do circle dances, rituals at the wells, greet pilgrims, watch over the wells, guard the Sacred Flame, teaches about Brigid, throw the “Feile Bride – Brigid’s Festival”, promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation. Sr. Mary Minehan grew up in Puckane, a small country village where she was boarded at a private boarding school and the Brigidine secondary school in Mountrath. During her last year in secondary school, on a retreat, and had a revelation to become a Brigidine sister. She joined the convent and live sacredly dedicated to God and Brigid at the Novitiate in Tullow. From there she became a teacher and worked in various Brigidine schools around the country before ending up in Kildare in 1992. (Brigidines work throughout Ireland, the UK, US, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Kenya, and Papua New Guinea) She chose Kildare upon being asked to come there to explore her Celtic Heritage and to reclaim Brigid of Kildare for the new millennium. Sister Mary was first exposed to Brigid at an early age through her grandmother who used to make Brigid’s crosses with rushes. She remembers her mother’s leg ulcer being cured by Brigid and came to know her as Brigid the Healer and Brigid the Protector. Sister Mary is one of the Protectors of the Flame and one of the Brigidines who will pass the flame to pilgrims to Kildare. Sister Mary Minehan can be reached at Solas Bhride at solasbhride@eircomnet and is a must for anyone on a pilgrimmage to Kildare for Brigid to meet.

Me receiving Brigid’s Eternal Flame from Sister Mary

Continue reading Sister Mary and the Shrine to St. Brigid (Goddess Brigid)

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07.01.10: CSTL: The WPP: Day 26 – Dublin Wanderings, Beaches, Ships, Museums, St. Patrick’s ….

Jeannie Johnson, Dublin, Ireland

Sir Thomas Leaf slept in a bit and decided today would be some down-time for him – the big sacred journey to Brighid of Kildare would be tomorrow and he would stay local in Dublin for his meanderings. After a nice free continental breakfast in the Church of the Dublin Hostel, he headed off to explorer some sacred and treasured places in Dublin. His first stop, while avoiding a anti-gay marriage protest, headed into Dublin’s Archaeology Museum to explore the material culture of Ireland. Too much walking over the last few weeks has led to sore feet. After absorbing the amazing artifacts at the Museum, the bog men, he decided he wanted to visit the Jeannie Johnson a bit more and then walk to the beach. It was alot longer walk than he expected, but he made Strand Beach within the hour. He also scoped out the main bus station for his journey to Kildare tomorrow and the train station location to pick up Shazzah the day after next. Admiring the light sand beach and the cold frigid waters of Ireland, sore, he decided to figure out the bus system from the beach back to city centre. Explorations of the National Museum of Archaeology, lunch at the Ginger Man with a shepherd’s pie, more walking around the Medieval District, Visited Molly Malone, and on to St. Patrick’s cathedral. He then settled in for a relaxing Irish Pub dinner at the Pale feasting on a shepherd’s pie. He was quite excited for the Hellfire Club Tour this evening so embarked upon his adventure with a walk down to the Brazenhead pub to await the tour guide. No one showed for 30 minutes, and then a representative came down to say it was cancelled. Unfortunately this was the last chance on this adventure to do the Hellfire Tour, so Thomas Leaf decided it would have to wait until he returns to the Island next year. Tired and sore, he headed back to the Dublin Hostel for some Rest and Relaxation, and of course journaling (blogging) his adventure tales.

Continue reading 07.01.10: CSTL: The WPP: Day 26 – Dublin Wanderings, Beaches, Ships, Museums, St. Patrick’s ….

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06.30.10: CSTL: The WPP: Day 26 – Dublin, Jameson, Mummies, Pub Crawl …

The Spirit Still, Jameson Distillery, Dublin, Ireland

Sir Thomas Oisin Leaf awoke the morning rather early, eager for a day out exploring the rustic underground of Dublin. He headed down to the river to find some chai and breakfast before heading on to the Jameson whiskey tour. Some down time awaiting the start of the tour – pondering the spirits of alcohol – he understood the true meaning of our relationship with alcohol. The tour began and he discovered a most excellent indepth tour of Irish whiskey making. The Jameson distillery tour blew away the Bushmills tour. After the tour he had the pleasure to compare and taste American Whiskey next to Scotch and next to Jameson Irish Whiskey – Of course, Jameson being his favorite of the three. After exploring the history of “spirits” he went on to explore more of the underground areas of Dublin – this time under the Church where the mummies rest, disturbed and descrated, where Bram Stoker was inspired for Dracula. As the tour guide looked the other way (with unsaid permission of a nod and a look over the shoulder) he shook hands with the mummy of the crusader. Stone-like but fragile, dried and wrinked handshake with the dead. Supposedly to inspire luck and skill at defeating those who oppose you. After crawling out of the crypt, he headed upwards and out of the church to wander around the medieval district. Visiting Christ Church to see the mummified cat and mouse and the gardens at St. Audeon’s Church. A good hearty lunch of a Lamb stew at Copper Alley Bistro and then for some more wandering around. A brief stop off at the Dublin Hostel for some Rest and Recovery while awaiting for the Dublin Backpacker’s Pub Crawl. He headed down to Trinity College at the assigned time. As he stood for 30 minutes outside of Trinity College with two other newbies to the city, no rep showed for the backpacker’s pub crawl so the three of them walked over to Dublin city pub crawl. The pub crawl was rather lame as few were out, but informative – just the four of them and a cute guide. She was a sweetheart and knew her stuff Sir Thomas admired. But Sir Thomas did not feel the tour was worth his 12 euro unlike the fabulous experiences he’s had with the Amsterdam Pub Crawls. It was still a very late night. Fun was still had.

The Black Church, Dublin, Ireland

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06.29.10: CSTL: The Witch Potato Project (WPP): Day 25 – Potato famines, Revelations, Dublin …

From Witches at the Blarney Castle to the Irish Potato Famine Memorial, it has been an interesting last few days for our travellers. Much of Sir Thomas Leaf’s Quest has been met – he’s gathered sacred waters from the Madron well, investigated the artifacts and excavated the ritual offering pits at Saveok in Cornwall, gathered some charms along the way, pranced with the faeries and saw the Summer Solstice over the legendary lake where Excalibur was given to Arthur, escaped the Bodmin beast, trompled around on the Giant’s Causeway, searched for Oisin‘s grave, and hit several Faerie Sidhe in search of clues, omens, and oracles. He kissed the Blarney Stone and received the endowment of gab and a granting of a wish by the Blarney Witch. Soon he will be travelling to Kildare to receive the sacred flame of the Goddess Brighid and take some of her healing waters back across the great pond. Today is the end of the journey for his fellow German travellers Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa of the Rhine. They had one more morning to explore Dublin together. Last night, they hit Farrington’s Irish pub for a traditional Irish breakfast along with cider, then headed off to sleep at the Dublin International Hostel. That morning, a final breakfast together in the hostel’s chapel of a dining hall called “The Church” and then on to the streets of Dublin to turn in their rental chariot. They wandered up and down the canals of Dublin, visited the Famine Memorial, off to the Oriental Art Museum to see Oriental Art, Irish Furniture, clothing, and history. Visited the Military exhibits and went off to explore the city parks. A trip back to the hostel for bidding each other farewell. Sir Thomas Leaf then headed off for an early evening by attending the Northside Ghost Tour and investigated all of the haunted spots of the Northside of Dublin and ending at the Brazenhead. Afterwards, he turned in back at the hostel for a quiet night of writing ….

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06.28.10: CSTL: WPP: Day 24 – Kissing the Blarney, The Rock of Cashel

The Blarney Castle

Early to rise in the Cork youth hostel, the adventurers began to prepare for their quest to seek out the Blarney Stone for a kiss to endow the gift of gab and luck, as well as to petition to the Blarney Witch blessings for Sir Thomas Leaf’s next life adventure. The balefire is to be lit. The delvers went down to the self-make kitchen and prepared breakfast together then off to the Blarney Castle in Blarney, Ireland. A short jaunt in their carriage, they were soon on their quest. They crawled through the caves of the dungeon, up the tower, where Sir Thomas Leaf kissed the Blarney stone, there in effect kissing millions of other people by proxy, including Princess Diana, Winston Churchill, Madonna, and a host of others. Lady Vanessa and Sir Sven of the Rhine would not kiss the stone. Rumor has it locals do nasty things to the stone. Sir Thomas Leaf begged to differ for anyone who has ever been to the Blarney Castle would know immediately upon the trecherous climb up many stories through the narrow tower, fighting off guards, jumping security fences, and risking entrapment – there is no possible way for such an urban legend to be true unless it be the guards. Sir Thomas even googled the urban legend beforehand as Lady Bonefinder strongly advised against it. Upon the mythical kiss, Sir Thomas Leaf felt endowed. The explorers then ventured down to the poison garden, usurping knowledge of potents, potions, poisons, cures, and curses. Some of the world’s most vile poisons growing in the gardens. Then Lady Vanessa and Sir Thomas ventured off into the Badger Caves, and on to the Rock Close garden to visit the Druid Circle, to prepare an offering for the Blarney Witch, to walk backwards with eyes closed up the Wishing Steps for the granting of her wish. Venturing into the Witches Kitchen and adding offering to the wishing well. A tromp through the Faerie Garden and a brief hangout in the Druids Cave. A venture past the dolmen and onwards towards the Blarney house. After meeting back up with Sir Sven of the Rhine, the adventurers got back into the carriage and headed off for Dublin. The adventurers stopped off at the Hore Abbey ruins and to visit the sacred Rock of Cashel. Took the tour and did another charm as they hugged Christ so that toothaches begone for good. A brief lunch at the pub and a drive back to Dublin to check back into the Dublin Hostel. The evening was capped with a night on the town with dinner and Irish music and lots of Cider while sharing travelling pictures.

Hanging upside down kissing the Blarney stone

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The Blarney Castle


Blarney Castle
* * Blarney, Ireland * 021-438 5252 *

The Blarney Castle and its estate is an amazing magical playground of myths and legends, faeries, and fantastical beliefs. It is one of Ireland’s most infamous hot spots and tourist locations which is most notorious for The Blarney Stone. Even the grounds in its gardens have their attractions and history, as small caves and structures in the Rock Close garden may have neolithic habitation possibilities, and potentially the home to a mythical witch that was trapped in a rock. The Blarney Witch is said to have servitude to the Castle to grant wishes for those walking up and down the Wishing Steps backwards with their eyes closed focusing on only their wish. The Close also has a Dolmen, Fairy Circle, as well as a Druid’s cave and ceremonial circle. The Martin River that runs through the estate is believed to be possessed by ghosts of salmons leaping for ghosts of flies. Enchanted cows walk from the depths of the lake to graze on the meadows below the castle. There is also a glade where Faeries are believed to be at play. The famous castle itself was built in 1446 and has ever since become one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations and is located in Blarney Village, just 8 kilometers from Cork City in Southern Ireland. The castle stands at around 90 feet high boldly overlooking the castle estate, grounds, and gardens. Of course the biggest draw for tourists to the castle is the magical act of hanging upside down and kissing the Blarney Stone … the action of which will endow the kisser with the gift of gab according to the legend. It is documented that more than 300,000 visitors come to kiss the stone every year. It is recorded that Queen Elizabeth I required the Irish chiefs to agree to occupy their own lands under her title. The current castle’s builder, Cormac Teige MacCarthy, the Lord of Blarneys, built this third castle incarnation in 1446 C.E. (common era) he abided by Queen Elizabeth I’s request without actually “giving in” by promising loyalty to her and handling every royal request with subtle diplomacy, just as kissing the Blarney Stone afforded him. The Queen was said to remark on McCarthy that he was giving her “a lot of Blarney” which gave rise to the saying.

The history of the land and place stretches back over two centuries before the current castle’s construction. There are remains of prehistoric sites and Druid ceremonial remains. No one knows for sure when the Blarney Stone came to the grounds, but it was believed to have arrived sometime around 1602 C.E. It is believed that the Blarney Stone, was a magical stone that was the rock that Moses struck with his staff to create the water for the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Another myth states it was part of Jacob’s pillow and that the prophet Jeremiah brought it to Ireland on this very plot of land. Others say its the stone of Ezel behind which David hid when fleeing from King Saul and was brought to Ireland during the Crusades. The most popular myth was it being a portion of the Stone of Scone which was used by St. Columba as a traveling altar during his missionary quests in Scotland. Upon his death it was believed to have returned to this place in Ireland to serve as the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny atop Tara.

The first castle to be built on the land was a wooden one manifested around 950 C.E. This was replaced by a stone construction in 1210 C.E. but was torn down because of foundation problems.

The current castle is the third structure to be built on site built by Dermot McCarthy in 1446 C.E. The castle was then occupied by Cormac McCarthy, the King of Munster, who sent 4,000 men to hold Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn – and it was there that he a legend rumors that he received half of the stone of Scone from Robert the Bruce in gratitude and was then incorporated into the Castle as the “Blarney Stone“. Queen Elizabeth the I in 1586 C.E. began confiscating land in Ireland. She wanted the Blarney Castle and its ground thereby commanding the Earl of Leicester to take the Castle as she was tired of all the Blarney, and these attempts were always defeated by Cormac’s gift of gab, distracting the take-over with a feast or party, never successfully taken. A reputed treasure of a golden plate was believed to be held within the castle. The castle was besieged during the Irish Confederate Wars. In 1646 C.E. Cromwell’s General Lord Broghill broke into the Blarney Castle’s walls by placing a large gun atop Card Hill opposite and above the lake below the current castle. When they attacked and entered the keep, they discovered the main garrison had fled through the three passages known as the Badger’s Caves – one passage led to Cork, the other to the lake, and the third to Kerry. His men were not able to retrieve the legendary treasures such as the golden plate. A later landowner drained the lake thinking it was sunk within. It was not found. The Estate was then forfeited by Donogh Mccarthy, the 4th Earl of Clancarthy and the McCarthy’s reinhabited the castle in 1661 C.E. The Property was then passed to the Hollow Sword Blade Company who eventually sold it in 1688 C.E. to Sir James St. John Jefferyes, the Governor of Cork and by the 1690’s the MacCarthy’s left the castle for good.

Near the Castle is the Georgian Gothic styled Blarney House and the Rock Close was built at the beginning of the 18th century by St. James St. John Jefferyes in 1703 C.E. The court was built by 1739 C.E. and the model estate village of Blarney in 1765 C.E. The Rock Close was landscaped around the ancient Druid remains in 1767 C.E. The house was destroyed by fire in 1820. In 1825 Sir Walter Scott came to kiss the blarney stone. Father Prout in 1837 spread word of the wonders of the Blarney Stone making it even more of an attraction amongst the nobility and curious. The Irish Famine took place from 1845 and 1852. In 1846 the Jefferyes family married into the Colthurst family. The house was rebuilt in Scottish baronial style in 1874 and is still occupied by the family lineage, though through the inter-married line of the Colthurst family. In 1883 the future President William H. Taft of the United States came to kiss the Blarney Stone. By 1887 the new railway into Blarney afforded many travelers the opportunity to kiss the stone, including boxing legend John L Sullivan, at that time the reigning heavyweight champion of the world. In 1893 during the World’s Fair in Chicago the Blarney Castle and stone was mimicked with the promoters billing that it was the real stone people were kissing, this of course was false. In 1912 Winston Churchill came to kiss the stone. In 1938 American businessmen offered the Colthurst family a million dollars to allow the stone to go on tour in the U.S. but the offer was rejected. The House’s wings were reformed in the 1980’s for a better view of the castle and grounds. In 1984 Ronald Reagan claimed to have kissed the stone.

Beneath the castle lies the Badger Cave and dungeons, in its courtyard is the infamous The Blarney Poison Garden, and within the grounds are the magical fantasy land known as The Rock Close. The castle is open daily except Christmas Day and Eve. Adults are €10.00; Child €3.50; Student/OAP €8.00; Family €23.50; and newly weds wanting pictures at the Castle are admitted free. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.


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The Rock Close:

Rock Close

Rock Close
* Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * *

A mystical portal in the heart of the castle grounds of Blarney Castle is Rock Close, a place where faeries dance, Witches’ bless and answer wishes, Druids weave magic, stone monuments made, and magic is alive. The Rock Close garden is not only a site of myths and legends, but of romance and art. A dolmen greets you as you walk along the river after walking through a weaved willow tunnel, with misty meadows, moss covered rocks, and waterfalls. As you walk up the Witches Wishing steps to the Witches Kitchen and where the Witch is trapped in the stone, overlooked by the Druid Cave and by the Druid Ceremonial circle where you can walk around where the faeries play. This is one of the most fun and condensed folklore heavy sites I’ve encountered in Ireland – of course its history is a mystery in of itself. It is also a great romantic getaway from the tourist heavy section of Blarney Castle. Prehistoric dwellings adapted by 10th, 13th, and 19th century adaptations lead a lot to the imagination in this garden. In 1824, Croften Croker wrote in his “Researches in the South of Ireland” about the mysteries of this spot.

    “In this romantic spot nature and art (a combination rather uncommon in pleasure grounds) have gone hand in hand. Advantage has been taken of accidental circumstances to form tasteful and characteristic combinations; and it is really a matter of difficulty at first to determine what is primitive, and what the produce of design. The delusion is even heightened by the present total neglect. You come most unexpectedly into this little shaded nook, and stand upon a natural terrace above the river, which glides as calmly as possible beneath. Here, if you feel inclined for contemplation, a rustic couch of rock, all festooned with moss and ivy, is at your service; but if adventurous feelings urge you to explore farther, a discovery is made of an almost concealed, irregularly excavated passage through the solid rock, which is descended by a rude flight of stone steps, called the “Wishing Steps,” and you emerge sul margine d’un rio, over which depend some light and graceful trees. It is indeed a fairy scene, and I know of no place where I could sooner imagine these little elves holding their moon-light revelry. ~ Croften Croker, 1824


It was a highly popular in the early 19th century with antiquarians. The mysteries of the Blarney Witch, the Fairies, the Druids, and the Dolmen are sure to enchant you. Blarney Castle does document that this was a place for Druidic worship. The sacrificial altar of course is hearsay, the Druid’s circle is probably, the hermit’s cave or Druid’s cave is a mystery as is the Witches’ kitchen and wishing steps. It has been documented that in the late 1700’s C.E. (Common Era) that the Rock Close was made into the garden area upon which foundations are walked upon today. Apparently the castle owners landscaped around already existing prehistoric dwellings, stone monuments, and Druid circles to make the magical faerie glen it is today.


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Rock Close: Druid’s Cave and Circle


Druids Cave and Circle
* The Rock Close * Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * *

Right next to the Witch’s Stone and Kitchen is the Druid’s Circle and Sacrificial Altar that is believed to be a traditional Celtic stone circle that was once used by Druids who practiced on the grounds long ago. The Senior Druid Priest was reputed to have lived in the Druid’s cave. Nearby is the Faerie Glade, round the hill from the Witch’s Kitchen, underneath giant gunnera leaves and it is reputed to have lots of faeries. Across from the Faerie Glade is the Druid’s Circle.

Not much is known of these rock monuments, circles, and cave – but they are believed to be prehistoric dwellings and ritual sites. The Rock Close Dolmen is believed to be 4,000-5,000 years old. The Druid Circle and Cave are not officially dated nor is the Witches’ Kitchen. We do know that the castle owners in the early 1800’s landscaped around these features making the Rock Close as it is today with the myths and legends surrounding it. As Druidism in this era was word-of-mouth and oral traditions and no archaeological surveys, excavations, or artifacts – the guesses of the use of these remains are hypothetical and guess work. There is still little known about the ancient Druids even though the revivalistic Meso-Pagan and Neo-Pagan Druid faiths are very abundant today throughout the world. We do know the Druids were classed as “Bards”, “Ovates”, and “Druids” – all of whom shared similar functions albeit the Druids were the administrators and leaders, the Ovates the diviners and healers, and the Bards the story tellers, musicians, and keepers of the oral wisdom. Most of what we do know about the ancient Druids is from writings by Julius Caesar and the Romans, all biased from the enemy perspective. In that the Romans never really conquered or inhabitated Ireland like it did the rest of the Celtic world, there is no telling what the Irish Druids were up to outside of myths and legends found in the Mythological Cycle. There is a purported “sacrificial altar’ here that Blarney Castle labels as such, but it purely deduced from basic knowledge that Druids performed rituals that involved sacrifice in the ancient days.

The Echoe Ghost Hunters investigated this area in 2010-2011 and claimed very strong EMP’s were recorded in the area of the Witches’ Kitchen. Most of the lore in this area is centered around the Witch of Blarney.


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Rock Close: The Witches’ Kitchen and Stone

The Witches’ Kitchen

Witches Kitchen
* The Rock Close * Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * *

In the enchanted grounds of Rock Close in the fabled lands of Blarney Castle is the infamous Kitchen of the Blarney Witch. Archaeologically it is believed to have been a prehistoric dwelling potentially as old as the Neolithic (3,000-5,000 years old) if there is any connection of it to the The Rock Close Dolmen (Blarney Castle) or the Druid’s Cave and Circle. Atop her wishing steps is her kitchen. It has a chimney and fireplace within.

The Witches’ Kitchen

Offset from the kitchen is her stone. Apparently by legend she is bound and entrapped in the rock in servitude to bestow wishes upon those who walk up and down backwards the wishing steps while thinking only of their wishes and not letting any other thoughts drift in. In exchange, the Blarney guardians provide her firewood for this very kitchen so she can continue her spell craft and crazy brews while staying warm at night for when darkness falls she is magically released from the stone she is trapped within. Some say if you arrive early enough you can still see the dying embers of the fire as she lights a fire every night. Many believe that it was the Blarney Witch who really told McCarthy about the power of the Blarney Stone while others claim it was her who enchanted the stone as a “thank you” to McCarthy for saving her from drowning in the river. No one seems to know how she was entrapped into her rock. The Echoe Ghost Hunters investigated this area in 2010-2011 and claimed very strong EMP’s were recorded in the area of the Witches’ Kitchen. Most of the lore in this area is centered around the Witch of Blarney.

The Witches Stone

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The Wishing Steps of Rock Close

Wishing Steps

Wishing Steps
* The Rock Close * Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * *

Onwards with the quest for charms and blessings, just after kissing the legendary Blarney Stone for the gift of gab we wandered into The Rock Close of Blarney Castle. It was time to visit the wiley old witch of Blarney for a endowment of wishes. The witch requires the wisher to walk backwards up and down the steps with their eyes closed without stopping for a moment or thinking of anything other than the wish – then that wish will come true within a year. Of course I did it, and those who know me can only guess what my wish was … The roughly hewn 21-24 limestone steps climb up through an archway of limestone rocks. The steps can be wet and very slippery. Legend states that the witch was forced to do these blessings on the steps as a way for her to pack for her firewood she uses in the Witches kitchen located at the top of the steps. It is believed that if you go up the stairs early in the morning you will see dying embers in the fire pit of the Witches’ Kitchen and Stone which is supposedly lit every night by the Blarney Castle Witch.

The witch supposedly grants the wish within a year’s time. Others say a “year and a day”. My wish came true in precisely a year and 2 months. On June 28, 2010 I wished to be united with my soul mate and twin flame that previous prophecies said I’d meet. I also always had dreams as a child I’d marry an Irish woman. A year later in 2011 I was supposed to go to Ireland but while in Scotland ran out of money and called to tell my Irish friends I wasn’t able to come for a visit. They asked if I was going to Burning Man to which I replied, “I couldn’t afford it”. They had a position open for me as staff in helping build the Celtic dragon effigy for Ireland at Burning Man, so I went. I had a theme camp set up called “Tir na nOg” and was a base camp for the Irish crew. The night of the Effigy burn, I was a fire guardian and while watching the perimeter, had a friend from Colorado come fire spin for the event and she needed a safety person – unable to assist as I was already tied up with the boundary, I looked around the audience and saw a woman dressed like a leprechaun who was sober – I asked her to assist and she did. Afterwards I invited her back to our Tir na nOg camp, fed her fairy food and drink, and we fell in love. It turned out she was from Ireland, via the Pacific Northwest after working a summer on Vancouver Island, and lived in Cork – a stone’s throw from the Blarney Witch. She was looking for other Irish to hang out with. I moved to Dublin with her, two months later at the Stone of Destiny was inspired to propose to her, and we soon after married and gave birth to a beautiful son. So every year we return to the Blarney Witch to thank her for playing cupid. In our experience, we believe the wishing steps work.


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6.27.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 23 – Connemara to Blarney

It was a hauntingly silent experience staying in the Connemara hostel, Sir Thomas Leaf thought. Quiet. Abandoned. No Technology. No other guests. He thought it was nice to hear the rain pounding down and tapping on the window as it rained throughout the night on and off. Sir Thomas Leaf could have sworn that spirits were there though … as he woke up in the middle of the night and felt presences. The adventure crew was up pretty early and wandered downstairs to the self-catering kitchen for breakfast – and still the only guests in the hostel. They had the place all to themselves. They didn’t even see the hostel caretaker, even to check out with. The crew wandered down to Clifdon and stopped at the local tourist information center to find some maps of Connemara, and to find where some standing stone sites might be. A quick lunch at the market, the adventurers were soon off on the road to find some megaliths on the map – bu came out with no findings. Apparently Ireland, unlike England, has most of its megaliths on private property and they often cannot be seen from the roadways. They did find some castle ruins, cool beaches, and panoramic views of the rustic Irish countryside. The whole party believed Connemara to be stunningly beautiful and enchanting.

The explorers worked their way to the Kylemore Abbey and Gothic Church. Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa of the Rhine, rather interested in the historic period of the place and abbeys in general wanted to explore the site, while Sir Thomas Leaf had another adventure into the countryside planned as he wasn’t interested in tossing 12 Euro into admission for an Abbey as he’s not very interested in the time period, history, or remains. But oddly enough, his hike in the countryside led to a lake, and as he walked around its shore, found his way into the historical Abbey park and joined up with the other adventurers thereby skipping the ridiculous entrance. Sir Thomas Leaf was pleasantly surprised with enjoyment of the walled gardens, even though it wasn’t worth the $20 USD equivalent entrance, and not really impressed with the rest. Afterwards, the adventurers did make their way to the Poulnabrone Dolmen – feeling the sacredness and magic of the site. Sir Thomas Leaf did a blessing petition and imbued his quest with a charm. Pretty interesting site, barren, and in the middle of nowhere. The adventurers were soon off to Cork, arriving about 9:30 pm, to a festive hostel with lots of activities going on as it seemed to be a full house and quite a few young travellers present. They made dinner done in the self-catering kitchen. The party was in bed pretty early as they would be embarking on their quest to kiss the Blarney Stone in the morning and be blessed with the gift of gab.

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06.26.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 22 – Bushmills, Dunluce Castle, Gilligan’s World, Sligo, Knocknashee, Cannamara

The delvers were up early ready to explore the vast distillery of the sacred waters of life known as Bushmills. After breakfast; Sir Thomas Leaf, Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa of the Rhine wandered on over to the corner market for some lunch items. Onwards to the infamous Bushmill’s factory that brews their “waters of Life” from the volcanic imbued spring waters of Northern Ireland. Alas though, the factory was on traditional break, as it awaits aging process and fermentations protocols. There is no production of whiskey in june and july so it was a pretty ‘dead’ factory during their visit. They still gave tours explaining the process and as a gift for not seeing live production, gave small bottles of Bushmill’s at the end in addition to free drinks at the end. A unique and only available from the distillery special blend of Bushmill’s reserve is sold to visitors of the tour. Sir Thomas Leaf purchased one to bring back to the States to use in his Druidic rituals for sacraments. Upon returning to the parking lot, the adventurers discovered someone had backed into their rental car putting a dent into the back. They checked with the security cameras but no one was caught doing the crime.

The party then headed off to explore the ruins of the Dunluce Castle, previewed the current excavation taking place there, and explored the escape tunnel off to the Sea underneath the rock upon which the castle sits. They returned to their journey along the Giant’s Causeway Scenic Route towards the Mussenden Temple. A pitstop at the Mussenden Temple / Downhill / and Bishop’s Gate. They wandered down to see views from the beach and to embark on a 5 hour drive towards Galway and Cannemara.

While Sir Thomas Leaf was engaged in writing his journals, he felt a calling to look up – just as Lady Vanessa was passing by a sign in the countryside out in the middle of nowhere saying “Gilligan’s World: Lore of the Faeries” through the corner of his eye. He convinced Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa to take a side trip to explore this intriguing sign. It led to a drive down weaving country roads into the middle of nowhere. Just as the party was to give up, there appeared another sign, leading the party further. Quite possibly a trick played by the Faeries … but then they spied a small stone portal just the right size for faerie height. Inwards was an abandoned/empty theme camp for faeries only that these adventurers were the only visitors. Just as they were about again to give up hope – out appeared a small humble woman, who turned out to be a Barronness who began to open up shop just for us. She began rambling about the lore and legends of the Tuatha de Danaan and sent the delvers up to the faerie circle to request a wish. The party wanted to hike up to the true site, the Knocknashee, but time wasn’t permitting as they had to make check-in time with the hostel in Cannemara.

Racing to Conanmara they arrived at a darksome and drury hostel in the middle of nowhere, with no phone, no internet, and no place o purchase food nearby. They were about to deduce that the place was empty just as the clerk rambled out his door in order to take the meager night’s stay pay and bid the party goodnight. They were pretty convinced they were the only ones staying in this large mansion alone tonight. They drove down into the village of Clifton, 20 minutes away, in search for food. All the grocery stores were closed, so grabbed some grub at the gas station, and then realized the village was larger than it appeared – and setled for some fish n’ chips at a late night stand near the taverns – hit the Irish pub for a pint of cider to some traditional Irish n’ Celtic music. Good evening. Some mild rains in the evening. Upon return to the hostel, again it was dead empty, quiet, charming, mysterious, and romantic.

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6.25.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 21 – The Giant’s Causeway, Glenariff Forest, Rope Bridge, Coastal Causeway

Sir Thomas Leaf and Lady Vanessa of the Rhine
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Early to rise, the explorers were off for their journey to the “Giant’s Causeway” where the legendary giant Finn McCool
(Fionn mac Cumhail) challenged the Scottish Giant Fingal to a fight. They threw dirt clods across the sea at each other creating a causeway. When Fingal came across the sea to fight Finn, he wandered into Finn’s house to find a enormous child sleeping which was Finn in disguise. Thinking this was Finn’s baby, he immediately thought that Finn would be enormous so cowardly ran in terror back across the sea – leaving the causeway in a confused mess, whilst losing his boot, and piercing his foot thus creating “The Giant’s Causeway”. Off to explore this legend, our explorers figured they needed some grub before the day’s journey. A pitstop for breakfast and lunch manifested ideas before their journey, the adventurers found some oddities on the shelf – such as pre-packaged un-refridgerated pancakes. “Odd” Sir Thomas Leaf thought. He was afraid to try them even though he ‘loves’ pancakes. Breakfast at the Hostelling International Hostel in the village of Bushmills, where the sacred fire water of the Druids is brewed. It was a short jolt to the Giant’s Causeway. What the delvers discovered was an amazing geological anomalie that is considered one of the world’s Natural wonders. A hike along the coastline, with spectacular views and vistas, they found the causeway, the giant’s tracks, his lost boot, and the pool of his blood from his pierced foot. More hiking and a drive down the coast provided more splendor. A nice picnic on the grass, the explorers were ready for the next leg of their journey. They hit the nice sandy beaches, but much to Sir Thomas Leaf’s disappointment, the sea was too frigidly cold for a swim. A pitstop at Dunseverick Castle, on to White Park Bay, then on to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge to the natural islands and views of mermaid coves, castles and ruins. Onward the party searched for Oisin’s grave, and in search of forest faeries in Glenariff Park while avoiding faerie poop on all the plants. As darkness encroached the forest, the adventurer’s realized they needed to spend another night at the Bushmill’s Hostel as the next leg of their journey around Ireland would take a bit longer than they expected. The party pondered hitting the tavern for some cider, but chose to turn in early, except for cyber-addicted Sir Thomas Leaf who wandered downstairs for the free wifi to do his writing. Some hostellers from Spain and France offered him to join in a game of dominoes and party with them. Good times.

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Continue reading 6.25.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 21 – The Giant’s Causeway, Glenariff Forest, Rope Bridge, Coastal Causeway

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06.24.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 20 – Dublin, Faerie Sidhe, Newgrange, Coastal Causeway

Knowth, Ireland

The three adventurers awoke early to gear up for their grand adventure to Northern Ireland, Knowth, Newgrange, and the Giant’s Causeway. The American Cartographer Sir Thomas Leaf and his German comrades Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa of the Rhine didn’t really have any sound plans as to exactly where they would be venturing for the next few days … except exploring the land of Eire by driving around it and that this evening’s stop-off was the village of Bushmills to investigate the secret Irish Waters of Life. They also had a calling to see the Giant’s Causeway, and Sir Thomas Leaf was obsessed with finding Oisin’s grave and visit some of the faerie sites to find a gateway to that realm. There was a brief contemplation to visit the new Three Wishes Faerie Fest friend ‘Shazzah Smile’ in Belfast, but wasn’t made possible due to the deadline/timeline to make the hostel in time before they locked their doors. The delvers headed down to the old chapel room where the hostel was serving continental breakfast of cereal, bread, jam, tea, juice, and coffee. The crew wrapped up their plans, packed up, and as Sir Thomas Leaf guarded the luggage, Lady Vanessa and Sir Sven took on the quest to accomodate the vardo down at Thrifty in the center of Dublin-Town. Leaf caught up on wifi while awaiting the arrival of the chariot. Of course, driving in the United Kingdom is a bit difficult of a transition for those that drive on the right-hand side of the road and those that are used to the steering wheel on the left. Transitioning to the steering wheel on the right, and driving on the left, led to their first fender-bender, a side-scraping of a taxicab side mirror. There went their 100 Euro deductible. Whole lotta space on the left now. The explorers drove on out of Dublin-town on the M3 towards Belfast. Just as they were crossing over the sacred Boyne river the delvers saw signs for Knowth and Newgrange … must stops on their adventure. They spun around to the off ramp and headed to the parks.

The adventurers first boarded the bus for Knowth. Sir Thomas Leaf thought: “What an amazing Faerie village! (excuse me … human burial ground)” whilst keeping the ponderings to himself. The energy was phenomenal and invigorating. Very overwhelming to walk around, atop, and inside the Faerie Sidhe … Apparently during the Solstice one can enter the lottery to be able to see the solar lineup during the astrological event every June 21st. Sir Thomas Leaf thought he should sign up. As the explorers headed back from Knowth for the bus to Newgrange, Leaf overheard two girls ahead of him talking archaeology – they were a Canadian (Montreal) and an American (Boston) in the archaeology program at Trinity College. Inspirational, Leaf thought. The American archaeology student did tell him how difficult it was to live in Ireland, find work, and get settled in. As Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa posed for pictures, Sir Thomas Leaf Breathed in the amazing energy of the Goddess Boanne (river Boyne) and off they went to Newgrange. “What a phenomenal Sidhe!” pondered Leaf, “Such incredible timeline of history and mythology.” The rock art on the flag stones all along the bases of these mounds were awe inspiring to all of the explorers. The white rock with assorted colored stones in the wall face of the entrance of Newgrange was monumental. After exploring the monuments, they stopped off at the visitor center for a late lunch – Leaf having the Beef and Guinness Cottage pie, with salad, tea, and a lemon drink.

After much adventure, the explorers passed on into Northern Ireland. They drove to Larne, past Cornunnock Country Park, Bollygally, Glenarm, Carntough, Garron Point, Garron Plateau, Glenariff, Cushendoll, Glecorp, Cushendun, Ballycastle, and on up to Bushmill’s. The Coastal route was extroadinarily majestic and beautiful. Breathtaking. Leaf pondered how he wanted to move here. Dinner at the Hunter’s Bar with ciders all around, they were soon back on the road driving in the dark along the seaside. They pulled into the Hostelling International Bushmill’s Hostel to find a completely empty hostel. They had to wake up the clerk – she didn’t seem overjoyed, but buzzed the party in. They received a large dorm room all to the three of them. Leaf enjoyed the free wifi downstairs. A good night’s rest was had by all.

Sir Sven, Lady Vanessa, Sir Thomas Leaf

Continue reading 06.24.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 20 – Dublin, Faerie Sidhe, Newgrange, Coastal Causeway

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06.23.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 19 – Vikings, Leprechauns, and the Black Pool

Sir Sven racing to avoid a photographing of his soul

The Quest continues … as the royal explorers once again awoke for the search of clues to find the token or charm that would bestow blessings upon them as they unravel life’s mysteries, especially within the next year or two. The delvers are now in search to find hidden secrets about the Vikings and clues about Ragnarok, to imbibe of the waters of life at Bushmills, to explore the mystery of the Giant’s causeway, to find Oisin’s grave, to seek the gift of gab from the Blarney stone, blessing from the Blarney witch, and the sacred flame of the Goddess Brigid. Lady Vanessa of the Rhine with her two knights at her side, Sir Sven and Sir Thomas Leaf awoke early and began their search of the Viking side of the Black Pool.

They wandered down to the River Liffey on into the Viking district to investigate the “Dublinia” viking museum. Since Sir Thomas Leaf is pondering a relocation to Dublin, he also sought out job openings at the museum why exploring Viking history. Alas, the Director was not in the office but had found a great Irish Archaeology magazine with some job contacts and listings. The museum was pretty fascinating … from the early Viking settlement that established the Black Pool, to its evolution as “Dublin”, and the various Norse and Germanic mythology that blended with the Irish through the years. There was an intriguing piece about the Viking Armagheddon myth known as “Ragnarok”. Sir Thomas Leaf was dumbfounded that his catastrophist ethnological research of various sub-cultures for some odd reason hadn’t exposed “Ragnarok” to him – so begins some investigation on these omens and oracles to see how they inter-relate with some of the other research he’s been doing. The museum very visually put together Dublin’s history and was very well presented. One of the better museums out there he thought. As Sir Thomas Leaf stooped over to investigate a replica of a hearth, a school kid came in and peered up at this Viking-like man, and when Leaf moved, the poor kid jumped as he thought Sir Thomas Leaf was one of the wax statues of Vikings who had come and gone of Dublin’s history …. Pretty funny actually ….

Explorations of the Dublin Castle which were more plain than expected and on to Trinity College to investigate the Book of Kells. A pretty pricey fee to see those ornate pages. Apparently someone said a rumor that Ireland may sell the Book to get out of national debt. We doubt that’s true … must be an Urban Legend … who in their right mind do something like that? The explorers stopped for some Cantonese for lunch – interestingly, Sven’s Sweet-n-Sour Beef came with French Fries. Oddity at its finest. After Lunch, the explorers went off their different routes as Sven and Vanessa went onwards to the Oscar Wild Memorial while Sir Thomas Leaf finished his tour of the National Leprechaun Museum that he started a couple of weeks ago. Sir Thomas found that the staff knew their lore about the Wee People of Eire, but the actual visual and tactile part of the museum was a bit lame and would not be exciting to most tourists, especially at the 10 Euro cover. He did have a good time catching tidbits of lore and chats with other folklore enthusiasts. The visual map of the Faerie histories of Ireland was phenomenal, and probably the best part of the Museum. As he was led into the maze, he shrunk to Leprechaun size down ‘the rabbit hole’ much akin to Alice’s journey to Oz. Entering into a chamber where he was now the size of a Leprechaun, with giant coffee cups and chairs surrounding him, he continued on through the chambers exploring various sides of Faerieland. No one else was in the museum during his exploring, but as he approached the end of the Rainbow shining out onto the pot of gold, a leprechaun like attendant came racing down the halls to watch over the gold as he explored the chamber. Much of the other chambers of the complex were illusionary. As Sir Thomas left the museum, he discovered that his camera was full so needed a pitstop back at the hostel for a download. As Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa returned to the hostel, Sven wandered off to root the World Cup of England vs. Germany (Germany won) and Sir Thomas and Lady Vanessa wandered off to go take the Medieval Dublin walking tour. Unfortunately they missed the tour by 10 minutes so settled in for some dinner and drinks before meeting back up with Sven. Tomorrow the Giant’s Causeway was planed out. Rental carriage reserved and the hostel in Bushmills. A good night’s sleep was had by all.

Continue reading 06.23.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 19 – Vikings, Leprechauns, and the Black Pool

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06.22.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 18 – Bristol to Dublin with a bit o’ boxtie ..

Bristol, England:

Arising very Early and a roll over in the bunk and log on to the laptop to make sure the Cornish Cyber Pirates didn’t take me for any more money. Luckily no … I checked the internet and bank balance at 6 am, 7 am, 8 am and still no direct deposit of the paycheck … frantic … Direct Deposit went through at 9 am. I launched out of the “Rock n’ Bowl” Hostel and wandered the streets of Bristol to try to find a bank that would let me withdraw all my account balane … I hit the HBNB atm and pulled out my max daily limit of 200 GBP, then went in and they worked it out to withdraw anothe 800 GBP. Then off to a payphone to immediately cancel my debit card and dispute the pirated charges. It’s all cash from here on ….

I found my way to the British Post Office to mail off my harem pants, kilt, bottle of sacred healing water from St. Madron’s well, the clays for making bodypaints from Saveok, and my defunct camera i should be able to turn in for a warranty refund when I get back. 40 GBP cost and it would take “6 weeks” …. “Egads!” I pondered. I then found a digital camera on sale for 70 GBP. I felt relieved that I was back on my feet and off running again. Hit the “Rock n’ Bowl Hostel” for some more wifi, then hit the bus station for the lift to the airport. I grabbed a quick snack at the airport and worked on rationing my luggage weight so I wouldn’t be charged by RyanAIr anything extra. I met a film documentarian who re-packed his backs “8 times” so as to check his luggage and to avoid the extra 20 GBP per extra kilo charge they assess. Poor guy had all this film equipment and digital gear he was trying to fit into a carryon. I couldn’t help but think that if that fell out of the overhead onto someone it would literally kill the person. RyanAir is absolutely ridiculous with their luggage issues – I don’t think I’ll ever fly them again. Interesting character though, he’s originally from Vancouver, B.C., living in India, and doing a documentary piece on taxi drivers in India and the progressively growing city. Security hassled me and patted me down, went through my bags, etc – so a little bit of a delay. My dead blackberry phone case being empty triggered their sensors. I grabbed a quick sandwich and a starbuck’s chai frapp latte – which wasn’t on their menu, but they “off the books” knew how to make in case someone requests one. The RyanAir flight from Bristol to Dublin was pretty empty, so even though had extra seats to sprawl out on – the RyanAir stewardesses wouldn’t let me put up the arm dividers – blabbing something about safety – whatever. You also had to pay to use the toilet on the flight and 3 Euro for a glass of tap water.

We amazingly landed safely, got my luggage fine, and headed off to the City Bus to downtown Dublin to walk to the hostel. Met up with Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa of the Rhine who were chilling on the back patio of the hostel relaxing from their flight from Germany. We took a walk-a-bout around the Temple Bar, grabbed a drink at the Hard Rock Cafe Dublin so Sven could add to his Hard Rock t-shirt collection and settled in for some “boxtie” at Gallagher’s traditional Irish Restaurant. Most Excellent. I had the Seafood Boxtie with some pear cider. I think I’m getting addicted to Engish and Irish Cider. We walked around to see the sights and turned in relatively early to the hostel as we had a big day tomorrow for exploring Dublin planned. As I wandered the halls of the hostel looking for the men’s restroom, I approached the stairwell only to startle a dozen teenage girls crammed in the stairwell partying and I think they thought I was the hostel staff coming to bust them as they took off in a stampede as I approached. Humorous for sure … there were alot of kids in the Dublin hostel that night.

Continue reading 06.22.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 18 – Bristol to Dublin with a bit o’ boxtie ..

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06.21.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 17 – The Summer Solstice, Cornwall Cyber Pirates, Stonehenge, and Bristol …

Summer Solstice at the Woodhenge

Utter darkness being borne into light. This is how this leg of the journey on my exit from Faerie Land after an amazing Sunrise at Colliford Lake’s Woodhenge, and as we attempted to race to Stonehenge, only to be intercepted by Cornish Cyber Pirates and a track-back to the port of Bristol to lodge for the night above a bowling alley … Rock n’ Bowl. What a whirlwind of a day ….

It was about 3:30 am when I heard the drums and rustled out of my sleeping bag and into the field … stumbling over dried sheep patties and on into the Woodhenge where I saw some lights of people slowly gathering. Apparently the lead Druid decided not to do the rite within the Woodhenge, and processed us off to a further field with clearer view of the lake and the hills upon which the sun would rise. The drumming continued for a very long time as everyone awoke really too early for the sun for s/he had quite some time before rolling out of bed. As the drumming beat onwards, slowly a large crowd formed and gathered in our ever re-sizing circle as the hoarse lead Druid tried to get participants to take over leading the chanting – no one stepped up and he obviously had a tough time getting others to follow along with the chanting. Eventually some of the entertainers from the festival appeared and took on the lead … and the power was generated as musical cries went out for Awen, Ra, and other Sun named Deities. As the sun came up, along the horizon I saw a black creature walking along a stone wall – couldn’t be a sheep, and oddly it had a cougar-like appearance. But alas, it was way too far away to figure out what it really was. Could it be the Bodmin Beast? A man in Indian chief garb also joined the Druid circle … between Indians, Faeries, and drowsy eyed ravers … it was an interesting sight before my eyes as the sun rose. I said sweet welcomes to the sun and farewells to my new Faerie friends as I set off after ceremony to break down my camp and meet up with Zoe. Blessed by being able to take a running water shower at Zoe’s room, we soon hit the road.

We dropped for a bite in Devon – and as we were just getting our food I spied Zoe’s car rolling backwards. At first I thought it was being stolen, but then we saw no one was in the car … we rushed out just as the car was about to roll into the middle of a busy roadway … and luckily it got caught in the ditch before crossing too deeply into the road so cars could go around. We luckily got it out of the rut and back into the parking lot. Seems we picked up a hitchhiking gremlin or two …. As we approached the Stonehenge Festival, we realized the time listed on the site was 12:40 am, not 12:40 pm. Stonehenge was closed and being cleared out. Roadways closed and re-routing traffic away from the sacred monument. So no ritual with the Druids at Stonehenge. Zoe blessedly dropped me off at Andover rail where I was able to adjust my travel ticket back from Andover to Salisbury without much additional expense, and then onwards to the Port of Bristol. I was exhausted – there was no way I was gonna hike with my heavy bags and backpack to the Rock n’ Bowl hostel from there. So I grabbed a cab. He didn’t seem to know where the Rock n’ Bowl was. But we figured it out. Pretty cool and hip hostel. I wandered down the shopping strip in search of a new phone since mine had deceased. Tomorrow was automatic deposit payday – and just in the nick of time as my funds were down to the minimum. I purchased a 30 GBP global pay-as-you-go phone which came with a 10 GBP credit. This way I could contact Lady Vanessa and Sir Sven when I arrive in Dublin tomorrow. Just as I was nestling off to sleep, I decided to log in and check my bank balance – much to my shock – someone in Cornwall had hacked my debit card/bank account and was charging online purchases – they tried (but I already had an account), some Ebay-like Auction house (debited $2 and credited it back), and Charged up over $600 worth of charges at various online shopping places. My new pay-as-you-go phone wouldn’t be accepted for a call out of the UK to the toll free Wells Fargo line … so I had to get dressed and race out of the hostel to a pay phone. The Wells Fargo representative said there was nothing she could do except cancel my card and ship me a new one in a couple of weeks (I’d be back in America by then and that would leave me with no access to my direct deposit funds tomorrow) … so I’d be stranded. I bit my lip. chewing out of stress. I didn’t know what to do … frustration … concern … worry …. Would I become stranded in England? I checked my bank balance on the hour, every hour while sipping on vodka-n-tonics at the bar in the bowl. How did these Cornish Cyber pirates hack my account? I had to keep it uncomfortably open and active until my paycheck went thru in the morning – my bank balance already several hundred negative … what to do? Luckily the pirates went to sleep after 11 pm and there were no more charges … I still woke up every hour to check. It was a restless night ….

Continue reading 06.21.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 17 – The Summer Solstice, Cornwall Cyber Pirates, Stonehenge, and Bristol …

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06.20.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 16 -3 Wishes and the Summer Solstice

Photo by Darren Mapley: (c) 2010 – permission to reprint

Three Wishes Faerie Festival: Day 3

Sleeping in a tad bit, as I did stay awake until dawn, I probably crawled out of the tent around 11 am – in a whirlwinded and overwhelmed state of enchantment. It has been an amazing journey so far. I saw that Darren and Shazzah was up so ventured over to join them for breakfast before heading off to the showers. Hair braiding and face painting, then some tarot reading on the green awaiting the acts. Explored the merchant booths, and learned a bit about the Bodmin Beast in the Bodmin Beast museum hall. Sad that it was the last day of Three Wishes. Groggy hang-outs, fabulous music, cute faeries, and pixie fun was the course of the day. Brian and Wendy Froud came for a visit and to sell off some of Wendy’s new deck – which was amazing. I assisted Woodland again with musical instruments and hawking CDs in the crowds. Sold quite a bit. Good idea they had with selling cds in the crowd. Towards evening, great conversations, merriment on Mead, and off to the Techno Party for some more late night fun after the bands went off stage. I tried to crash at 1 am as I new I’d be up at the 3:00 am curtain call for meeting at the Woodhenge for the Druidic Summer Solstice welcoming. Then the crazy packing up of camp to go meet Zoe for a ride to Stonehenge Music Festival …

    Photo by Darren Mapley: (c) 2010 – permission to reprint

    Continue reading 06.20.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 16 -3 Wishes and the Summer Solstice

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    06.19.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 15 – Three Wishes Faerie Festival

    Three Wishes Faerie Festival: Day 2 –

    Feeling the bittersweet chill of the English Moor, and the meadow dew as I awoke, popping my head out at Colliford Lake with hopes to catch the Lady of the Lake or the Bodmin Beast roaming about … but alas, no such sightings. I wandered down to check out the possibilities for a swim – no way. Way too cold. Additionally my eyes and ears caught glimmers and movement in the lake of some creature – bigger than fish or a large turtle that was playing around the far shore by the sheep at the edge. Hmmmm …. large enough to be like a small gator, but this is not the terrain or the environment for such a beast. I got into a new outfit and Shazzah braided my hair (thank you!). Wandered on over to the main area and helped Woodland with setup and carrying the harp. Zoe introduced me to “Pimm’s PM” …. quite a tasty drink. I’m not sure why I’ve never tried that before especially since I used to be a pretty crazy bartender and had attended Bartending College back in the day. Explored around the festival making new friends, hanging with Zoe, being glamoured by wonderful faerie art and beautiful faerie women. Met an extroadinary Pagan Archaeologist from Scotland. Read tarot cards for Shazzah and a couple of other friends. Great Faerie Fashion show. I felt sooo at home. Wandered around the crowds selling CDs for Woodland while they played. Unfortunately right when I started to wander about hawking CDs … the Monster Energy Drink in my sachel burst – soaking my Blackberry phone and camera in a pool of fizz. Toasted. No amount of drying it out worked. Lisa was kind enough to watch over the drying parts while I was hawking. Woodland, Priscilla Hernandez, and the Dolmen had fantastic shows. That evening we wandered over to the Techno-Camp for a little “Burner-style” party … good tunes, a wishing tree, a wishing well, delicious treats, good wine, dancing, and a fire. What more could a Technogypsie ask for? Oh and very nice flirtations. Did I mention “I’m home”? That’s how it really felt. I stayed up until almost dawn. Pranced around the sacred lake. When I did lay down, the light was coming up and out … outside of the electronic damages, I was having a great time. Unfortunately this meant no more photographing for this festival … :: sigh :: I live for picture taking ….

    Continue reading 06.19.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 15 – Three Wishes Faerie Festival

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    06.18.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 14 – The Bodmin Moor & Three Wishes Festival, Day 1

    Morning view in Newquay, Cornwall

    Awakening to hearing the roar of the waves, the brilliant sun shining in through the window, and a refreshed sleep … I grabbed my backpack and stumbled downstairs. The bar was closed – too early for the continental breakfast that comes with the hostel. No way to check out so just left the room card and headed off for a harsh walk across the village of Newquay with my 30 kilo frame backpack and 20 kilo napsack. Got to the train station early, so pitstopped into a restaurant for a English country breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, fried mushroom n’ tomato, and baked beans with a splash of orange juice to wash it all down. Not bad of a deal for 2 quid. Then on to await my train to Par to jump a train to Bodmin where I’d meet Faerie Zoe. The Vancouverite Father and Daughter were cycling by and stopped to say hello – I almost didn’t recognize them. As I was sitting and reading Jacqui’s “Cliff Dreamers” … a duck waddled up to my backpack and started pecking it trying to get at my crackets within. The rail wasn’t bad and got to Bodmin in no time at all. As I stepped off the train into Bodmin … I wandered out to the parking lot to meet the lovely Zoe who was awaiting to pick me up. We drove on across the Bodmin Moor with a pitstop at a convenient store enroute for some camp food to pack into the Three Wishes Faerie Festival. I had most of the route from Bodmin to Colliford Lake as I was expecting to have to walk the whole leg of the journey – what a knotmare that would have been! Thank you sooo much Zoe for the rides! Picked up my staff bracelet as helper for the band Woodland and met up with them. Just in time as Shazzah and her friend Darren were in line with us as we awaited shuttle to the plain where supposedly the Lady of the Lake handed King Arthur Excalibur. Found a good camping spot overlooking the lake, kicked around the sheep’s dung, and set up the tent that Faerie Zoe sooo kindly lent me. English tents are constructed much differently than American ones … a good percentage of them don’t really have floors except right in the sleeping nook. The central area is bare ground. Odd, especially as most of the camping land I’ve encountered in the U.K. has lots of sheep or livestock dung on the moors and fields. Explored the festival and did some facepainting with Shazzah Smile and Darren. Good bands and great faeries abound. That evening, Me and Zoe hung out with Woodland in their trailer to a very festive jam session. Fun times! Exhausting day … I was in bed by 1 am … enchanting evening … beautiful lake … mystical woods … and a nice sleep on the moor with no Bodmin Beast in sight! A great thanks to Emilio, Kelly, Kimmy, Woodland, and Zoe for making it possible for me to attend Three Wishes Faerie Fest! Thank you!!!

    A railway station duck looking for handouts …

    Continue reading 06.18.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 14 – The Bodmin Moor & Three Wishes Festival, Day 1

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    6.17.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 13 – Last day of Excavations, The Collections, Newquay Beach

    Greenbottom/Chacewater/Truro, Cornwall, England

    It was depressing that today would be my last day of excavations at Saveok. I really wish I could have afforded and budgeted more time/funds to stay here longer. I had my last divine breakfast with Vanda and Paul … and as we were chatting to came to the subject of tall sailing ships. Turns out Vanda knows a guy who has a historic sailing ship that he doesn’t want to sell but is only using it for running wine between France and England. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could work out a deal to run Pirate Relief with his ship as a tax write-off for him? One can dream. I really enjoyed my time with Vanda and Paul … couldn’t recommend their Bed and Breakfast more. Vanda offered to drive me to the bus stop after the field day so left my bags in the sun room and tromped off across the fields to the site. Oh how I to miss this place. :: sigh :: I have a strong calling that I’m meant to work here … further … if not as a purpose/request in life. Who knows what the future will bring. Being an American I’m limited and the cost of travels in Europe certainly are twice the cost as it is home. :: sigh :: So the final day of excavating.

    Jacqui pulled out the artifact collection and showed me the amazing finds. This is such a sacred place. This site is such an amazing piece of history for the Other People, it’s not funny. What Jacqui is uncovering and finding is important pieces in the history of magic and folklore in the U.K. This place sends shivers of excitement up and down my spine – its sooo ethereal. I wish I could find funding or an opportunity to apprentice with Jacqui. An amazing scholar with so much to share. If only I lived in the UK …

    We resumed excavations on the Feather pits where we believe we’ve uncovered from the clay caps upwards of three more offering pits. Jacqui also chose some natural colored clays to send with me that I could use at the Three Wishes Faerie Festival to make some tribal body paints … if I find somewhere to get linseed oil before hitting the festival. Found some interesting pottery, ceramics, and metal items in the pit … but the clock struck four and it was time to unfortunately head off on to the next leg of my journey. I will miss Saveok dearly. I wandered back to the Bed and Breakfast where Vanda was awaiting me to shuttle me to the bus stop. I’ll miss them dearly as well. I caught the bus to Truro and hit the rail station to await my train to Par.

    Me and Jacqui Wood excavating

    Newquay, Cornwall, Britain
    From Par I had to change trains to backtrack to Newquay. Apparently doing this train route is 5 minutes shorter than the bus route – which would have been a straight run with no stops. A bit of a layover. I did meet a father and daughter from Vancouver who were pretty intriguing. They had been cycling around Cornwall. I wish I could do that. Someday perhaps. The daughter recently moved to London from Vancouver. Onwards to Newquay – I got off the train to find a very touristy, party beach city. Surf-central. The map made the St. Christopher’s Inn (Surfer Hostel) look not far away – I suppose it would have been closer by foot if I hadn’t walked past it for a 1/2 mile with heavy backpacks and bags. I found it – it was above the Belushi’s bar. The staff was nice but very pirate-sque. Very party central. They gave me a full dorm room all to myself with a beautiful view of the beach. I could have been completely satisfied with just hanging in the room all night with that view. I decided though this would be my only chance to see Newquay. So I ventured out. The bar was too rowdy, 98% male and testosterone-pumped as they were watching the World Cup. Oh how I abhor sports. I went for some fish n’ chips for din-din and wandered down to the beach and piers. Water way too freezing cold for a swim which was very disappointing as it was so welcoming to the eyes. I contemplated clubbing, but settled back into the room to some cider n’ wifi … needed some rest and relaxation before Three Wishes Faerie Fest tomorrow and meeting Faerie Zoe at the Train Station on the Bodmin Moor …

    Continue reading 6.17.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 13 – Last day of Excavations, The Collections, Newquay Beach

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    06.16.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 12 – Saveok Tour, Goddess Quest, Swan Pits, Excavations, Vertigo

    Another very pleasant night at the Polgwedhen B & B and awakening to an amazing breakfast that Vanda cooked. Full Cornish/English breakfast. Beans, Eggs, Sausage, Bacon, Tea, Juice, homemade bread with jam, yogurt, and granola – I was stuffed! I had some time to spare as I read some of Jacqui Wood’s “Cliff Dreamers” book – fabulous! I was also lured away to the lake at Polgweden for a quick stroll through the gardens and the lake. Then on to the Saveok Site, where Jacqui had a slide show presentation set up for me. After the show and some more touring of the site, Me and Jacqui excavated in the Open Swan Pits. We estimated that there were three pits in the units we were opening and right we were – we came upon the clay pit covering that is all too familiar for these kind of pits. We pedestaled it and worked our way down and around it. I’m hoping that we’ll get to its contents before I depart. In the afternoon, Jacqui’s brother-in-law Kif came by with the “Goddess Quest” award – a fine golden and bejeweled statue of the Goddess that was the prize given for a fundraiser Quest that Jacqui had set up in the past to promote her fantasy novel Cliff Dreamers“. The winners of this treasure had temporarily lent the trophy back to Kif and Jacqui for safekeeping. Turns out Kif creates custom hand-made guitars, and is the maker of guitars used by Johnny Depp and Antonio Esterban. [ ] We had some very pleasant and educating chats, once again distracted from excavating. After excavations, I headed back to Polgwedhen. No one was around so decided to head off to Truro for dinner. Found a unique little club’esque bar called the “Vertigo“. Interesting and hip decor, live Indie band, and decent priced pub food (very small portions though). I had Shrimp, coos-coos, and a burger. By the time I headed home it was already dark … long walk down the 1/2 densely wooded driveway … kinda creepy. Retired pretty much as soon as I got home. It’s been a long day …

    Continue reading 06.16.10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 12 – Saveok Tour, Goddess Quest, Swan Pits, Excavations, Vertigo

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    6/15/10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 11 – Excavations, B&B, Roundhouse, and Sheep


    Early to rise with one of the best rested nights I’ve had on this journey as of yet. I awoke to go downstairs and find Vanda had made a Full English Breakfast with an assortment of continental offerings as well. A hearty breakfast well needed. I devoured the granola, yogurt, juice, fresh baked toast with homemade jam, beans, bacon, sausage, eggs, and tea. I wandered about the garden a bit and explored the pond area. Jacqui met me at Vanda’s as she was retrieving her sheep. I had never seen sheep run so fast when she jangled the bucket of feed. We walked the sheep back to Saveok. These were a special breed of sheep she was raising that she could utilize the wool for various future Experimental Archaeology projects. In the afternoon we worked on the roundhouse as the local team was back on site for a few hours. We did some excavating as well in the Offering pits. After a good day of excavating, I headed back to the Bed and Breakfast having tea with Vanda and Paul. Then onwards for a jolt into Truro for some wifi n’ vodka. I had dinner at the William’s Pub for their infamous Curry Night. The Chicken Curry was quite delicious and affordable with free internet while I feasted on the curry and imbibed in my usual vodka n’ tonics. This time I made sure I was home before dark (9:30’ish bus) so that I wouldn’t get lost finding the driveway and bus stop, unlike last night. Had tea with Vanda and Paul and then retired to my room to sleep.

    Continue reading 6/15/10: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: WPP: Day 11 – Excavations, B&B, Roundhouse, and Sheep

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    Chron. of Sir Thomas Leaf: (TWPP): Day 10 – Excavations & Site Explorations, Truro, Cornish Countryside

    Morning window view

    Arising early in the small village of Chacewater, I awoke in my private room at the King’s Head Tavern – peering out the window and seeing a beautiful clear day. Been very lucky with the good weather that I’ve had on this trip so far. Afterall, it is the Islands and its supposed to rain alot in these parts. Good night’s sleep was had. The shared bathroom in the hallway was empty so I was able to get a shower with no fuss. That’s always a nice start to the day. I stumbled down to the tavern, and the innskeeper was awaiting my arrival as she had a spread of food offerings for me … I ordered up the English Breakfast which at least in Cornwall consists of Eggs, bacon, sausage, mushroom, fried tomato, toast, and beans. In addition I had Orange Juice, Tea, yogurt, and cereal. What a hearty and heart-smashing breakfast. I took the 20 minute walk back to Saveok Mill to start the day excavating the site with Jacqui. It was Cathy’s final day for excavating so we finished up the units where the mill flough was located that Cathy had been working on. We uncovered alot of pottery shards – mainly porcelain and chunks of white quartzite stone. Cathy had to return to Canada today so the priority before a site tour was to finish up her excavating. After Cathy left, Jacqui showed me some of the artifacts collected on the site through the years, gave me a fantastic site tour, and showed me where the demonstration / reconstruction areas were for her experimental archaeology projects. I was so impressed with the site. It possessed amazing energy and you could feel the energies of the people that once lived here. Closing one’s eyes you could imagine what life was like here throughout the ages. You could tell it was a very holy and sacred place. Based on my archaeological interests, I was most impressed with the swan-feathered offering pits, the potential temple, the purification pools, and the ritual areas. I knew immediately that someday I would like to work here full time. After a good day of excavating, chatting, touring, and exploring the site – time spun by and it was already past our time. Jacqui guided me through the hole in the stone wall that was cut to the adjoining property where Vanda and Paul have their Bed and Breakfast – The Polgwedhen Farm. Nice short walk across the scenic Cornish countryside. The dynamics of land ownership, lords, tenancy, tithing, annual rents, and lifeways in these parts are more than fascinating. I settled into my very nice room and decided to head into Truro to search out an internet connection and food. Vanda gave me a lift to the bus stop – but silly me, I didn’t exactly note the driveway back to the B & B. While in Truro I found most pubs and restaurants stopped serving food by 5 pm. I was pretty shocked. I did find a Yak & Yeti Indian restaurant – and settled into a Lamb Masala dish. It was pretty delicious. Pitstopped into the Italian tapas bar where they had some free internet. The chap running the tapas was really nice. Had a couple of vodka n’ tonics while doing wifi. Missed the next to last bus back to Greenbottom, so took the later one – and sure enough – it was pitch black. Tromping down mile+ long driveways in the pitch black, thinking of Bodmin Beasts and mischievious Cornish Pixies and goblins crept into my mind’s eye. After trying several long driveways that didn’t lead back to the B&B, I stumbled at trying to call Vanda, with no luck, since I’m still a fool at dialing European numbers. Luckily Vanda was concerned with me not being able to find my way back and drove around looking for me. That was amazingly sweet. (Thank you!) I had tea with them to discuss the day’s activities as a nightcap and off to la-la land. Sweet dreams and amazing adventures ….

    Cornish English Breakfast @ The Kingshead Tavern

    Continue reading Chron. of Sir Thomas Leaf: (TWPP): Day 10 – Excavations & Site Explorations, Truro, Cornish Countryside

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