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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Old Ways Magick (Danette Wilson)



Wytchwyse founder Selkie Shell is a High Priestess of Old Ways Magick, is a fully trained aromatherapist and forest school teacher, psychic healer and oracle reader. She is a practicing Wyse Woman who lives in the heart of Devon, England. She has spent many moons walking the sacred landscape, gleaning her wisdom from the stones, caves, springs, wells, cairns, fogous, quoits and ancient woodlands that adorn the West Country. Sharing her knowledge of traditional magick through workshops, retreats and events, her aim is to help keep the Old Ways alive and strengthen our connection with nature.

Co-organizer of the Grand Witches Tea Party, the Grand Witches Ball and the Cauldron Gathering, she has been an active campaigner raising awareness of the prejudice against witches for several years.

Sacred Tree Lore, Elemental Magic, Runelore and Old Ways Craft Workshops and
Retreats, Weddings, Ceremonies. Michelle how do you find the time to do it all ?

It is simply a way of life for me now Danette. I love what I do. Making charms and
spells to help people and conducting handfasting weddings and ceremonies is what
wyse women and cunning men have been doing for many moons in the West Country.
Finding time for it isn’t always easy and if I there is something I cannot help with I
simply pass it on to one of my Sistas of the Craft whom I trust. Last year was a fairly
busy one though with lots of weddings, co-organizing the Cauldron Gathering in
Wales, reading oracles, conducting sacred ceremonies and making lots of charms. I
helped a couple with a fertility spell and I am just about to meet the new baby and
more recently I received a request to help an old school friend do well in a gold
championship in Italy, he was amazed when they won and has asked me to help again
next year! There may come a time when I do have to slow down a bit, I am
approaching my 50th year next year but until that time arises I will continue to help
people.

I love the images of the places that you travel and where you have been. What is your
favorite sacred place and what place in all your adventures have you found has the
most power?

As you know Danette, I have been exploring this sacred land of my ancestors for over
30 years and I have visited many quoits, stone circles, fogous, stone rows, ancient
waterfalls and sacred hills and tors but there are four places of power which I would
like to mention to you which for me, hold an ancient, powerful resonating energy
above all others. They are St Nectan’s Glen, (North Cornwall), Ogo-Dour Cave
(Lizard, Cornwall), Carn-les-boel (where the Michael and Mary line enter our land
near Land End, Cornwall) and Calleneish Stones (Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides,
Highland Scotland). It is very hard for me to choose between these four places of
power as each have had a profound magickal effect upon me but I think the energy of
St Nectan’s Glen waterfall resonates so deeply within my heart as I believe I was once
a Priestess of the Glen in a former life that I simply must choose this ancient place of
power as my spiritual home. I have seen many visions at this waterfall and it was and
still is today a place where many journey to be healed and to remember their loved
ones who have passed. In fact I shall be visiting it this weekend for Hallowtide and
hanging a ribbon upon the branches of a tree which overhangs the water in
remembrance of my ancestors past.

Working with you and the girls in Cornwall was so magical, so full of energy and
ancient. Time immemorial. I still remember all of us chanting and singing to the most
beautiful acoustics in a cave. Your wind roaring seems to be really specific and
unique to Cornwall magic. Can you tell us about wind roaring, for those that are not
familiar with the practice, is and how it harnesses energy and what it does to imbue
magic?

Many folk still think of a bullroarer or windroraer as I choose to call it, as purely an
aboriginal instrument but it has been used by many tribal shaman all over the planet
since the stone age. It is made from a shaped piece of wood with a hole drilled at one
end in which a strong, thin cord is knotted to and then it is swung high around your
head and produces a deep humming sound as it catches the wind. Windroarers can be
used ceremoniously to connect with ancestral spirits or to gather the potent earth
energies also known as ley or dragon lines which pool around sacred sites. My
windroarer is made from a piece of wood which was washed up on a Cornish beach
many years ago and over the years it has now become my wand. I find I can harness
and store the earth energy from ancient places of power within the wood and then
utilize this potent energy later on in all my magickal workings. I also use my wind
roarer to dispel negativity and clear a sacred space and to connect with the weather
spirits. It is very effective magickal tool indeed.

What set you on the path of being such a sacred elemental being in touch with nature?

I was born this way. I was experiencing astral travel, visions and psychic awareness
from as young as I can remember and as a child I always felt a great connection to
nature even though I lived in Liverpool, I still managed to find little copses of
woodland and small streams to play in! I was fascinated with the feelings I would get
from trees, rocks and rivers, to me it seemed very natural that they each had a spirit. I
now believe that magick is from a pure source, it is the very heart of nature. It lies
within the roots, trees, rocks, waters and stars. It is the fire in the sky and shadow
beneath the earth and it flows freely and beautifully through the hearts of those who
connect to its source. It is the web of life that connects us all. Moving to the West
Country, to Devon really helped to enhance my connection to the magick of nature
and all its wonders.

Your amazing adventure and pictures of the Isle Of Lewis were right out of Outlander.
I'm so jealous. I am Scottish and adore Scotland. Where had you heard about
Callanish before going? It sure is a far cry from growing up in Liverpool.

Ah yes Callaneish! I was first drawn to it over 20 years ago when I was given a book
about Scotlands’s sacred places.. I knew one day I would visit and last year I finally
arrived there, as I approached the Isle of Lewis it was shrouded in mist with
lightening bolts striking the island; it was very atmospheric! I had definitely been
here before. All I knew about the stone circle and row was that it was one of the
oldest but nothing quite prepares you for the real thing. The stones are like giant
guardians and the vibe there is electric. I was wielding my windroarer on high as the
sun crept out from behind the clouds! A local woman informed me that it had rained
constantly for months and this was the first time the sun had come out for a while!
Luck perhaps or I like to think my windroarer wielding may have helped! I felt a
strong connection to my ancestral spirits at this ancient site and knew that I had
returned home.

How do you find magic and continue to find magic in your life day to day Michelle?
Magick is everywhere and in everything, you just have to open your heart to it and
then it can truly flow. Because of the work I do as a practicing wyse woman I really
never have a moment without feeling this magick and when I am at home I am
concocting charms, reading oracles and runes or making a talisman for someone; it’s a
busy life being a witch! Being in nature as much as I can be helps me to keep a
strong connection with natural magick.

Rivenstone and the White Horse sounds awesome, and healing wounds from past
lives, do share your story!

My journey with White Horse Spirit began with reoccurring dreams I had as a child. I
used to dream I was running through mist towards a white horse prancing in the
distance and then when I finally reached the horse all I could see was a horses' head
lying on the floor at which point I would wake up in tears and very frightened. This
dream contined until I was about 7 years old and then simply stopped, much to my
relief! Years later I took part in a soul retrieval ceremony and was told I had died in
battle at Sandcreek riding a white horse at the age of 14 and my name was fearless.
Then all the pieces of my past life’s puzzle finally came together last year
which also happened to be the Chinese Year of the Horse (of course!). I received a
vision of two past lives, the one already mentioned as a Native American warrior and
one as a British Icini tribe warrioress but in both visions I had the same white horse
spirit and each time the horse had been killed with me in battle; in fact, one vision
showed me that at Sandcreek my horse’s head had been severed before they then
killed me. It was very harrowing but I needed to heal those past wounds and the
dreams from my childhood, or should I say memories, now made sense to me.
What followed was really incredible. Out of the blue I was asked by a friend to
help her with a fire ceremony that was to be held at Rivenstone on Dartmoor to
honour the spirit of the White Horse Hill woman. The remains and artifacts of this
Neolithic woman had been discovered some years earlier in peat bogs on White Horse
Hill on Dartmoor and before I was to help with the fire ceremony I journeyed to
White Horse Hill to weild my windroarer and honour her spirit. I received many
visions whilst I was there so I knew somehow I was linked to her and her tribe in a
past life.

Then out of the blue I was asked to actually represent her echo (spirit) at the
Rivenstone ceremony which meant I was to dress in neolthic clothes and wear a
Dartmoor horse skull headdress! I felt that her spirit was with me during the
ceremony, there were 500 people watching including a Native American Shaman and
a Siberian Grandmother elder. It seemed a fitting end to my own personal journey
with my White Horse Spirit and at the point when a shooting star fell from the sky
during the ceremony, I felt both my wounds and my horse’s finally healed.
So as you can imagine, White Horse Hill is now a place that I shall be regularly
journeying to honor my ancestors.

It's better in the UK I think, for witches, you are so close to so many sacred sites and
stone circles. Do you agree? We always want what we don't have.

Yes, I think having access to so many sacred sites has greatly enhanced my connection
to ancestral spirits. Cornwall is literally an hour and a half drive from where I live
and there are so many ancient sites there, even after 30 years of exploring there are
still more sites I have yet to see! I simply adore this sacred landscape although I do
have plans in the future to visit America and reconnect with my ancestral past there
too. Perhaps I may even teach some traditional West Country magick there!

You always have a spot at my house Michelle.
You have shared having visions and visitations since a child. What was that like?

To be honest, when I was a young child at times it could be a little scary as I had no
one to explain what was happening to me, it would have been nice to have had an
elder to talk to me about the ways of magick and nurture those early years of
visioning. But I discovered a book in my local library at the age of eleven called
‘Nightflyers', and this gave me so much hope that there were other children and adults
out there who were having similar experiences to me and I no longer felt alone or
afraid. The one time I did talk to my mother about my astral experiences when I was
aged 8 she took me to the doctor and he told her I simply had a vivid imagination
and I was regarded as a misfit by some of the other children, perhaps they could just
sense I was a little different. Really until I moved to Devon at the age of 18 I told
absolutely no one else about my psychic gifts, for fear of ridicule and bullying. Now
though, I am not afraid to be open about being a witch, I am well and truly out of the
proverbial broom closet and very proud of who I am. In fact, I have been campaigning
for several years now to reduce prejudice against witches with my dear friend Jackie.
We have organised witches tea parties, a witches ball and received very good media
press. I have just completed an interview for Devon Life which is quite a prominent
magazine about my life as a modern witch, published in February. If I
can help others to be proud of who they are and not afraid of persecution or ridicule
so mote it be! These are no longer the burning times but are the shining times; we
should all be proud of our magickal selves. It is definitely time for positive change.

Nature and the spirit realm seems to be your place. You make it so inviting. What can
you advise someone who would like to become more in tune?

There are many very informative books on magic that can help you access the spirit
realms but in my opinion, the best way to connect with nature spirits is to sit with a
tree, visit a holy well, sit beside or swim in the waters of our land and even if you live
in the heart of a city you can still visit a local park to connect with the elementals of
nature. I have spent the last three years developing an oracle deck called the Thirteen
Moons of Sacred Tree Lore (available soon). I meditated with trees in local parks and
woodlands and merged with their spirits to receive messages and guidance and it has
had a profound effect upon my life, spiritually. There is always something more for us
all to learn from nature’s wisdom; our ancestors would regularly connect to the spirits
of land, sea and sky to receive guidance and honor them and I believe we should all
try to keep these traditions alive by following in their footsteps. I am in the process
now of writing a book on everything I have learnt about magick since childhood
which I hope will really help keep our Old Ways alive, watch this space folks!

For more information of Selkie Shell’s courses, services and ceremonies see


Love you, and thanks again for giving me the honor to share your wisdom.