Let’s have a conversation about magic.

Let’s have a conversation about a specific witch who practiced magic in a therapeutic way…

Robin Skelton

He was born in 1925 in Easington, Yorkshire, England and was educated at the University of Leeds and Cambridge University. He served with the Royal Air Force and later would go on to teach at Manchester University. Luckily for us Canadians, in 1963 he decided to make his way over to the new world to take up residence in Victoria, teaching at The University of Victoria. It was while he was in Canada that Skelton became deeply interested in the occult and began to study witchcraft, becoming a Wiccan in his later years in life. Skelton was deeply admired locally as a renowned poet, scholar, lecturer, witch and ghost exorcist. 

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It was at this later stage, living in Canada that Skelton had written some great books about Witchcraft and the occult, including Practice Of Witchcraft Today, Spellcraft , Magical Practice of Talismans and the book we will talk about today, A Witches Book of Ghosts and Exorcism. If you would like a full list of all of Skelton’s literary work please see the reference list at the end of this article. Otherwise, let’s get to the magic!

When one looks at the vast works of Skelton, who passed away at the age of 72 in 1997,  you begin to realize that he took his creative skill as a poet and surged that talent into ritual. He held a high regard for the power of words written on paper, words that created the magical intent. Therefore, putting pen to paper in terms of creating a spell, collides wonderfully with poetic verse.  The repetition of sounds in the form of rhyme gives off a vibration that creates a power, and if that sound is repeated by many in a group the power and attraction increases. He discusses this power of written word in Spellcraft quite eloquently and upon reading this notion it made me realize how important what we say and write can be.

The Origins & Evolution Of Halloween Docu Featuring Robin Skelton

 

But what is a witch to do when they are contacted about a residence that is being declared haunted? What if a witch came across a family or an individual that was in deep stress over unexplained and terrifying events in their home that seemed to be otherworldly in origins. That is just the topic of Robin Skelton’s book A Witches Book Of Ghosts And Exorcisms. In this book, we get a peek into some of Skelton’s cases he investigated and helped remedy along with his co-author, Jean Kozocari.  It is here that Robin uses his skill as an intuitive witch, a great poet, and knowledgeable Wiccan to help rid families of negative energies and lost souls alike.

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How does a witch investigate a location that is causing “issues” with the current owners you ask?  Well according to Skelton’s investigative partner at the time, Kozocari, this is what occurs:

“I watched Robin to find out his way of working, and realized that he “breathes” a house. Using his left hand and gently balancing his energy into areas of the room, following subtle changes in energy, he wanders to disturbed spots and breathes in shallowly, tasting and feeling the atmosphere.”  (Kozocari, Skelton  A Witches Book of Ghosts and Exorcism Pg. 67)

This was how Robin was investigating this one particular house in Victoria that was located on St. David Street.  This house played host to a single mother, who was recently divorced and attending university. She had experienced repeated extreme illness while in the house and recovery as soon as she was out of its vicinity and in hospital care. I won’t go into extreme detail as the book does that magnificently; However,what Skelton and his crew discovered through intuition, research, and wisdom at the house on St. David Street was a bit disturbing.

The house used to belong to a widower in the early 1900’s and on a trip to the town of Barkerville he met and fell in love with a dance-hall girl named Mae. He married her and brought her back to the house in St. David Street. The marriage faded fast and the said widower passed on leaving Mae to occupy the house on her own. She was rejected by Victorian society and spent the rest of her days alone, a recluse inside the house.

Back to our current residence, at least current at the time of this book. We discover that she is behaving in ways that are strange to her normal personality, she is being drained of energy and life and once again recovering when away from the house.  With a little more reflection and psychic meditation they discover that Mae is essentially living through the current owner (and possibly previous owners). Which clearly is causing all of the troubles of illness and strange personality changes from second to second. This is more than a haunting, but almost a possession.

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Skelton and his colleagues performed a ritual quite similar to an exorcism, but using Wiccan tools and procedures. The process involves the house being ‘sealed’ from the inside using incense, three candlesticks (the middle mauve and the outer two white), oil, bread, salt, wine, water, and flowers. The combination in which these ritual items are used can be read in the book so I won’t go into fine detail here. However, the ritual lasted from 9pm until well past 4 am in the morning until the candles were burnt down to almost nothing and one stubborn flame finally made its exit. This is when they knew the presence of Mae was ordered to be rid from the house.

The results, eventually the owner recovered and felt better in the house, met and married again and sold the house (after making the energy less of her own perfection). Now I know you might be saying this ritual is absolute poppycock, however, the individuals involved were affected in quite a positive manner and Skelton was involved in several cases that mimicked this kind. Cases where individual lives seemed to be sapped out of them by something that possessed their house. So it begs the question to consider, even if this type of ritual isn’t factual science, is the mere fact that it has a positive outcome proof enough of its value to society?

I think when we look at a figure such as Robin Skelton, a man with a passion for his art, his language, and his religion, we must know he is deadly serious about his conclusions.  Whether he sees an item as having a curse on it, as in the story of The Chinese Curse, or as in this case where a spirit is sapping the life force from the living, his intent is to help that individual achieve the utmost balance and peace in their life.  And I think for that we need more Robin Skelton’s in this world.

Since Christmas time is upon us I am going to leave you with a lovely Yule poem written by Skelton: 

Carol for Yule

The bonfires of midwinter burn;

we conjure up the sun’s return.

This is the black depth of the year

in which the seasons, circling near,

are pulled into the vortex; here

the bonfires of midwinter burn.

The quickening spirits of the Spring

whirl round their bright bewildering,

and with the energies they bring

we conjure up the sun’s return.

The Summer’s heavy heat and bloom

is swept into December’s gloom

and heady ripeness fills the room.

The bonfires of midwinter burn.

The fallen leaves and fruits of Fall

attend us, and, as we recall

that grey rain’s ever drifting shawl,

we conjure up the sun’s return.

We gather round the towering tree

in whose perpetual green we see

this old earth’s ancient potency.

The bonfires of midwinter burn.

The radiant necklace threaded bright

within the leaves reclaims delight

for darkness and within its light

we conjure up the sun’s return.

Traditions ancient as the earth

tell how within this cold and dearth

there blooms miraculous rebirth.

The bonfires of midwinter burn,

and we lift up our voices to

the heart of life that will renew

itself in us and all we do.

The bonfires of midwinter burn;

we conjure up the sun’s return.

References & Further Reading:

A List Of Skelton’s Works

Spellcraft by Robin Skelton

A Witches Book Of Ghosts & Exorcism

Wicca From A Canadian Perspective

The Independent: Skelton Obituary

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