tarot & witches

Movie blockbusters like Lord of the Rings brought magic into public view - but those
who have long held the spiritual aspects
of magic close to their hearts wonder
if this is a good thing. Here healer,
tarot reader and Camden stall
holder Steve Chard talks
about ‘The Craft’....
By Judy Neville

[] electric ballroom
[] inverness street
[] buck street market
[] canal market
[] camden lock market
[] stables market
[] palmistry
[] witchcraft
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This is a time of magic - the success of films such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings has made the movie moguls happy to cater to our appetite for worlds of enchantment and watch their bank accounts swell in the process. But is the commercialisation of magic a good thing or does it undermine the integrity of the Craft?

The question seems to be has magic now become a fashion victim? Will Camden be inundated with cloaked witches wearing pentagrams around their necks on a mission towards magical knowledge but as a show and not as a real personal desire towards self-discovery?

No doubt there will be a mixture of new devotees - both the true and the false. When I first became interested in the Craft I was told to explore its roots and to become as knowledgeable about its origins as possible and this takes commitment and research. Like fast food we are being fed instant magic by the media and it is this that could rob the individual of his or her personal journey.

Tarot reading

Steve Chard of Rainbow Visions has a stall situated on the first floor of Camden Lock Market. Visitors can watch him work on site while he creates clay sculptures. His work consists of crystal-incrusted wands, pentagrams and trees and he has a fascinating collection of runes and tarot cards.

He read my tarot with a calm insight and spoke of his life and work. He is considering creating his own tarot and ideas are formulating as a ‘work in progress’.

All this began when Steve gave up everything to live in the woods surrounded by trees and water. A friend of his worked with clay and Steve explored his own artistic talents with the clay and began making trees. In the woods he would meditate and hear spirits talking which contributed to his visions of creativity.

Earlier he had met witches but had followed his own path until magic re-emerged in his life. Later he was invited to an art show in Cornwall whilst he was living in Somerset. The artist, famous for his fantasy imagery, became Steve’s mentor and helped his work to thrive and develop.

Steve is also a musician and played percussion and hand-drums in the band Sacred Turf. He was responsible for the imagery on the band’s album cover in 1993. Also whilst in Cornwall he met up with a Kabala group and learnt the basics of the spiritual discipline but was able to develop his own understanding of it himself. The Kabala speaks of the unification of the male and female energies and this particular notion plays strongly in Steve’s work.

He is very focused on the relationship with our charkas and their association with obtaining a spiritual awakening and reaching the other side of the rainbow. The rainbow is a very strong symbol in magic and the colours represent the intergration of selfhood and it is therefore fitting that his trade name is ‘Rainbow Visions’.

Witches'wandThere is a story behind many of Steve’s creations and he says of his wands: ”My wands and crystals were inspired by a visit to Silbury Hill, which is a famous mount near Bath where I would meditate on the top and as I sat there I would hear voices which guided me to the work”.

His goddess water feature was a beginning of a new journey in this life. This journey was internal and external as he moved from Somerset to Glastonbury and he needed to move his energies so as to unblock them.

When he arrived he took some chalice well water as a source of inspiration and cleansing. He used the water for meditation and whilst he did this he looked up at a tree top which became a face and it told him to focus on the bottom of the tree and there he saw a woman’s face and tears fell from her eyes which inspired yet another piece of work.

Therefore the birth of Steve’s magic stall came about by him leaving Cornwall in may 1999, when he moved to London. That Christmas, he took a stall in Camden for three days and it was very successful.

Witchcraft is about embracing the polarities of light and dark and one of the witches’ creeds is “To know thyself” therefore implying the importance of self acceptance in all one’s aspects. Anger and hate along with love and compassion are important emotions to acknowledge in oneself. Easier said than done, of course but it is a journey, a process towards self enlightenment.

Witches do not roast children or sacrifice animals as is the myth. Fiona Horne, an Australian witch quotes in her book, ‘Witch a Magical Journey’: “Being a witch is about having your eyes wide open and experiencing the whole onslaught of experience...”
Witchcraft is rich and is a unification of many different backgrounds in faith and practice from paganism to shamanism and wicca. It draws from different cultural and spiritual traditions and is a holistic religion and therefore caters to each individual’s needs.

There is a lot of ritual in witchcraft but it is not absolutely necessary to be a master of these rituals to gain insight into the Craft and healers are often very intuitive and show their power with a simple gesture.

On my second visit to Steve’s stall he handed me a small crystal and squeezed my hand kindly and I was to experience a happy and fulfilling two days. Then I lost the crystal but found it again a few days later in my young son’s room. I have recently moved back into my flat and the crystal magically re appeared among stacks of packing cases.

The wonderful thing about magic is that it is non-gendered and one of its objectives is that we find a unification internally and externally of the male and female - represented by the god / goddess and sex magic is sometimes used to obtain this in the form of Tantric.

Steve ChardThe longest and hardest journey of all is the trip into our own psyches and this is the challenge of magic. Anyone who thinks it involves waving a wand and saying abracadabra is in for a surprise. The Wizard Gandalf from Lord of the Rings may now appear on a Burger King glass if you eat 24 Burgers and the fast food chain’s profits may be soaring as a result but the true essence of magic exists beyond merchandising... If you do buy something from Steve’s stall allow the object to inspire magic into your life. His sculptures are more than mantle piece decor. Each has a meaning and a story from Steve’s life. Maybe his work will inspire you to begin this fascinating and rewarding journey into magic - a journey of self-discovery and a life of focusing on the positive energies rather than the negative. It is ironic that to be able to do this a witch must embrace both these polarities within themselves.

By Judy Neville.

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