Programme 2019

Pagan Phoenix Southwest Spring Conference

Programme  – Saturday 9th March 2019

9.15 Doors open
9.45 Welcome and opening attunement / Isis prayer
10.00 Andy Letcher- “The English Magic Tarot”
11.00 Coffee break
11.30 Carolyn Hillyer – “Book of Hag – Travels Towards Ancientness”
12.30 Lunch
14.00 Damh the Bard – “Y Mabinogi – the Four Branches: their History and the Bardic Mysteries”.
15.00 Pagan question time
16.00 Tea break and raffle
16.30 Miranda Aldhouse-Green – “Silent gods? Spirits and the Sacred in Roman Britain”
17.30 Closing ritual followed by Merv and Alison Davey circle dance
End of daytime programme
20.00 Music and dancing with Nigel Shaw and Carolyn Hillyer


Andy Letcher is a freestyle pagan, who draws eclectically in his practice from Traditional Witchcraft, Druidry, Heathenry, Chaos Magick, Discordianism and Psychedelic Spirituality. He gave his first tarot reading at the age of eleven, and in 2016 wrote the accompanying book to The English Magic Tarot. He is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom and studied contemporary Bardic performance for his PhD in the Study of Religion, which was examined by Professor Ronald Hutton. He is a folk musician and for ten years fronted the psych-folk band, Telling the Bees.

Carolyn Hillyer is a renowned artist, musician, writer, drum maker and workshop teacher of thirty years standing, who lives and works on an ancient farmstead amid the wild hills of Dartmoor, southwest England. She sings of ancient spirit and hidden memory and has released 15 music albums (solo projects and collaborations). She writes about ancestral roots and the deep experience of women in their weaving of courageous life paths; her books include Sacred House: Where Women Weave Words into the Earth, more recently, Weavers’ Oracle: Journey Cards and Travel Guide and this year’s Book of Hag.  Caz and horse
She paints life-size images of archetypal and mythological women, which are regularly exhibited as large installations. For many years she has been creating (and teaching the making of) traditional skin drums using the hides of deer, wild horse, reindeer and salmon. The ceremonial neolithic-style roundhouse built at her farm is the focal point for her work around the deep ancestry of the British Isles. Carolyn travels widely with her work, most recently to Arctic Siberia’s frozen edge, the northwest Pacific ocean rim and the Negev Desert’s burning heart. Dartmoor, however, continues through long decades to be her profound source of inspiration.

Damh the Bard is a modern-day Bard whose spirituality and love of folk tradition are expressed through his music, storytelling and poetry. Along with his musical concerts, Damh has also given talks, run workshops and participated in panel discussions at conferences and camps in the UK, Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA. Damh’s current project is to bring the Four Branches of the Mabinogion to a wider audience by returning them to their oral tradition, creating so far two of four albums of spoken word, orchestral scoring, and musical songs in audio format; staying close to the original translations but also including up to date research by modern Mabinogi scholars.

Miranda Aldhouse-Green is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff University. Her research arena is the religion and ritual of the British and European Iron Age and Roman period, and she is especially interested in what happens to religion when cultures collide (a particularly resonant subject in today’s multicultural world). She has appeared as a guest lecturer all over the world and has published widely on sacrifice, Druids, Celtic art and iconography. Her two most recent books are ‘Bog Bodies Uncovered’, for which she won two major US Book of the Year awards, and ‘Sacred Britannia’, published in June 2018.  When not writing and giving lectures, Miranda sings in three choirs, and last Autumn, she had the honour of singing in the Vatican in Rome. She has a daughter, a granddaughter and two wonderful Burmese cats (Taliesin and Cassandra)


Parents, please be aware that it is an adult event and speakers may address adult themes.

Closing Ritual and The Cornish Piper

The Conference day concludes with a Closing Ritual, kindly presented by the Liskeard Moot.

Directly after the ritual, Merv Davy (Grand Bard of Cornwall and Cornish Piper) and Alison (his Drummer) lead everyone in the traditional Spiral Dance. Help to bring the energy of Spring into your hearts and add to the spirit of Penstowe.


This year’s raffle is in aid of Surfers Against Sewage ( Raffle tickets will be on sale during the conference on Saturday.

Before and After

Friday 8th March 2019. For local Pagans and those staying for the weekend at Penstowe, we offer the infamous Friday Night Fiendish Quiz. This usually begins after the meets and greets, at 8 pm in the bar.

Arthur Billington will provide music and entertainment in the bar, before and after the quiz.

Sunday 10th March 2019 – While in sunny Cornwall, why not take the opportunity to visit the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.  The Museum will open between 11am-2pm on the Sunday after the conference.

Lunch (on Saturday)

Penstowe Manor provides a range of meals to suit different tastes and budgets in the lounge.  Hot drinks can be purchased from the fully licensed bar.

Lunch can be purchased from Penstowe Manor on Saturday. Please order lunch at the bar/counter in the coffee break (11.00), in order for your order to be processed in time for lunch.


There is also a range of stalls that sell hand-made or similar goods made by Pagan crafts-people, with an emphasis on those from the South West, as we like to support our local community.  Attendees will be able to shop throughout Saturday.  Examples of this year’s stalls.


Please remember the privacy of others. Please do not take photographs of attendees or audience members without permission.

Download a copy of the programme (as an A5 booklet).



PPSW Conference Poster 2019

Pagan Phoenix Southwest Spring Conference 2019 Poster