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
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.
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
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
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
There 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
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
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.
The 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.