Posts Tagged ‘Shadwell Court’

When you hold the line you do not yield to the pressure of a difficult situation.

Cora by name and curious by nature the bird couldn’t be left out of anything. She flew, uninvited, into my apartment just as I was cleansing the Shadowlands deck Fergie had gifted me. Never one to be out done she bought a card in her beak that had some bird advice on it.

“Please hold the line” was all it said. I looked at Cora and Cora looked at me with one of those Cora looks. If you didn’t know her better you might think she was angry about something. But no! She is just intent on delivering her message and on being listened to. After all, as she regularly reminds me, it was her ancestors who advised Odin.

“So are you going to check out what your new fancy deck has to say about holding the line” she asked rather pointedly.

“You are not jealous are you Cora? Fergie gave me these and you have to admit that the monsters are cute!”

“So get on with it” she said, ignoring me completely. Clearly she was not going to give any talk of jealousy oxygen.

I lit a candle, smudged us both with some sage and we went into one of those Tarot style trances! I shuffled and shuffled and out came a card with a bat that looked like it had come out of a war zone or a Covid 19 life support ward.

“Goodness me!” exclaimed Cora. “That poor bat is looking a bit worse for wear!”

“It looks like it has been through some kind of major transformation” I noted.

“Well that is stating the obvious” remarked Cora. “Bit like how you looked when Fergie arrived” she added.

“Well, while I am holding the line I could try envisioning myself integrating all the things I have learned and apply these for growth” I said trying to sound intelligent and spiritually minded.

“You could do all that” said Cora rather cynically. “Or you could be happy to simply hold the line and finish the project you started when you acquired this mansion.”

With that she turned up the volume of Toto banging our ‘Hold the Line’ and flew back out the window.

The shadow is the “dark side” of our personality because it consists chiefly of primitive, negative human emotions and impulses like rage, envy, greed, selfishness, desire, and the striving for power.

The personal shadow is the disowned self. This shadow self represents the parts of us we no longer claim to be our own, including inherent positive qualities.

These unexamined or disowned parts of our personality don’t go anywhere. Although we deny them in our attempt to cast them out, we don’t get rid of them.

On an internal level this card is about establishing our inner kingdom, our virtues, values and belief system whose centre is ego. p.275 Phantasmagoria

Disorientated, I open my eyes slowly, uncertain about what day it is or where I am. Fragmented memories of being on the Isle of Ancestors, in the Hall of Mirrors, back at the Blue Pool and the Arches and being gathered up by the Lord of Sceptres drift before me.

As I struggle to regain consciousness and orientate myself I realise that I am actually in my bed, in my apartment, with a dear friend, looking decidedly anxious, hovering by my bedside.

Fergie squeals with pleasure as our eyes meet and I slowly focus, establishing that she is not some kind  of apparition.

It appears that I have been in a semi delirious state for days and Silus, worried about my state, sent her an urgent telegram insisting that she drop everything and get herself down to Shadwell to support me.

Now what you need to know about Fergie is that she comes from a rich background of Romani people and possesses extraordinary power. Fergie is not particularly wealthy and does not aspire to accumulate material possessions but there is a richness about her life that I have always admired. She has an extraordinary capacity to stand firm and she has been a loyal and reliable friend.

Traditionally, throughout history the Roma people have been associated with fortune telling, common methods of fortune telling included palmistry, tea-leaf reading, cartomancy, tarot reading and crystal ball amongst others. Roma women, as long as we have known anything of Roma history, have been arrant fortune-tellers. They plied fortune-telling about France and Germany as early as 1414, the year when the dusky bands were first observed in Europe, and they have never relinquished the practice.

In the time I have known Fergie she has never plied this craft or even offered to read cards for me. So it did surprise me when, over the nourishing breakfast she had bought up from the kitchen, she produced a deck of cards. She said that she thought these cards would help me work with the Shadow which had clearly been troubling me.

I gave her one of those looks! Fortune telling using cards were largely condemned in the past and the prejudice that rose against it is still, to this day, very much present.

“Well”, she said dismissively, “it is true that using cards was shunned harshly by the church for superstitious connotations which went against biblical references, but since when have you subscribed to such nonsense? Besides! You have to admit that these monsters are kind of cute?”

I had to concede that the deck she was holding did look very interesting!

The Shadowland Tarot cleverly provokes unconscious fears that lie asleep in the psyche and stimulates the enquiring mind” Fergie went on to tell me. “Given what Silus has been telling me about the state you have been in I think it might be helpful to spend time working with this woman’s imagery”.

With that I watched, fascinated as she proceeded to riffle shuffle the deck and lay one card on the table next to me. Then she simply asked me what I thought the card was telling me.

“This King appears to be an Elder who is sharing stories and his wisdom with youngsters” I said. “Well isn’t that what you do?” said Fergie. “Perhaps you could be thinking about how to share your wisdom instead of lingering in places like the Isle of Ancestors. The Ancestors do not want you to join them yet! Remember! You were sent with a mission and that mission is not completed yet”.

The Lord of Sceptres is forceful in pursuit of his desires and goals. He is assertive, bold and self assured. He characterises the positive energy of fire, which is direct, dynamic and active. He combines vitality and self-determination with an innovative nature making him a lightning rod of inspiration.
p. 182 Phantasmagoria

When I learned that the Lord of Sceptres was riding through the night to reach Shadwell any thoughts of seducing the Prince of Grails were put on hold. Besides, word had come via Cora (my Raven) that he was lingering at an Inn known to provide services to gentlemen of his ilk. “No class!” I thought to myself. “Still wearing the crease of the nappy!” I muttered a little uncharitably.

Now the Lord of Sceptres is another prospect altogether. His energy is projected forth like a flaming arrow and he is known to be powerful, honourable, optimistic, clever and enthusiastic. He thrusts his Will out into the world, sometimes with spectacular energy.

The more I thought of him thrusting his will the more determined I became. He might be powerful, clever and enthusiastic but so am I – with some help from my guides.

So I popped down into the woods and called upon the Fey Faeries to offer some advice. I clapped my hands together with glee when Pook agreed to a selfie by one of the mushrooms to be found there. This was quite something because the Pook is a shape changer who appears in whatever guise he thinks will be most confusing or useful depending on the circumstances.

Pook really is a naughty little shape changing villain. He whispered in my ear that perhaps, like him, I could do a spot of shape changing and attract the interest of the Lord by presenting myself as the Empress, who the Lord is known to have pursued so often.

“Are you saying I am not attractive Pook”? I demanded.

“Of course not my lady” Pook said quite unconvincingly. ” You are much cleverer than the Lord and you do know that he is besotted with the Empress! What about I weave a little spell and rectify all that grey hair and give you a fresh ‘look’?” he tactfully suggested.

The Lord of Sceptres can also represent divine inspiration and good news or advice. He is the creator who utilises his personal potential by identifying with his own inner image as the creator god. p.183 Phantasmagoria

With that he burned a few pine needles, muttered some mysterious words and blew smoke from the needles all over me. Then he held up a mirror! “What do you think?”

Whence came the term vamp? Short for “vampire,” the word meant a female seductress with an almost supernatural ability to drain male victims not of their blood, but of their…life force. Or something like that. Ask someone from the 1910s to name a vampire, and they were just as likely to say “Theda Bara” as “Count Dracula.”

When Cora, my faithful Raven, sang a sweet love song by my window something stirred within. “Ecstasy! It was once considered a favour of the gods, a divine gift that could life mortals out of ordinary reality and into a higher world. The transformative fire of ecstasy would burn away the barriers between ourselves and our souls, bestowing on us a greater understanding of our relation to ourselves and to the universe” (Johnson 1987,

The great tragedy of contemporary Western society is that we have virtually lost the ability to experience the transformative power of ecstasy and joy. This loss affects every aspect of our lives. The truth is that our spirits need nourishment more than ever. Excluding the inner experience of divine ecstasy from our lives can impact on our physical well being.

At a time when we have headaches instead of thunderbolts from Zeus and angina pains instead of the arrows of Eros, the impending arrival of the seductive Prince of Grails at Shadwell was like both a thunderbolt and a blazing arrow, transforming me, drawing forth the inner vamp. I needed to prepare myself! I needed to be as innovative as he was known to be, and think carefully about how to present myself, how to seduce him.


The Chariot can be telling us to let go of assumed ideas and to establish our own conception of the world. It often signifies a need to overcome contradictions within ourselves by re-aligning Will and instinct, emotions and thoughts, or idealism and realism. We are urged to become the Holy Warrior, devoted to the service of our own spiritual self to our God or Goddess or to our own holy guardian angel.
p. 89 Phantasmagoria

Many stories exist in European, African, and Eastern folklore about the locked and forbidden room. In one such story, Bluebeard is a wealthy man of rank who, soon after his marriage, goes away, leaving his wife the keys to all the doors in his castle but forbidding her to open one of them. She disobeys and finds in the locked room the bodies of his former wives.

Being well versed in such stories I did wonder, when I found this opened lock, whether it was wise to go looking to find the door that had been mysteriously unlocked.

Shadwell is huge and I knew it would be difficult to locate the right door. But then I remembered that the butler had lived here for over forty years and I decided that, given his familiarity with every nook and cranny, I would secure his assistance.

When I approached Edwin he asked me if I was really prepared to open the unlocked door and go into the dungeon. I gave him one of ‘my looks’ and he shrugged, simply muttering “as you wish!”

After winding my way down the stone staircase, illuminated by some weak wattage light bulbs, I tentatively walked along a badly lit corridor towards a door made of heavy oaken planks. The atmosphere was close, musky and dank and the air had an unmistakable chill. I felt a rush of excitement as I reached to open the door but it was the sheer noise resembling a tidal wave that hit me as the door swung open and a panther pulling a chariot with a charioteer wearing gold armour, swept by. I sprawled on the floor, winded, gasping for breath.

“What the f#2@” have I just unleashed” I muttered as I regained my breath.

Drawing this card can be a sign that victory is about to be realised and favourable developments are soon to manifest. However, this card is also about setting out on new pathways. The charioteer is well prepared and has a sacred devotion towards his cause. He has examined all possible outcomes and planned and prepared for his quest.
p. 88 Phantasmagoria

While the Priestess is concerned with spiritual matters, the Empress often denotes the physical realm. She is the gateway from which new life and creativity is born, and like nature, her character is one of tender love for all forms of life…. her lightness and love pervade all life and her gentle devotion nourishes and cultivates everything in its passive unfolding. As Venus she is the love and the source of all life, encompassing. the whole cycle of life
Phantasmagoria p. 73

Silas and I stayed up late plotting, planning and catching up on what we had been doing over recent years. I decided to show him photos I took at Kutna Hora in the Sedlec Ossuary, a chapel adorned with human skeletons. He was suitably impressed.

For his part Silas was circumspect and did not reveal much about what he had been doing over the years and I gathered he had actually been living as a hermit in a remote, isolated part of the world.

Even after consuming copious amounts of the ‘blood of life’ Silas emphasised that “our actions and behaviour should be measured, and we must apply meticulous attention to detail” as we planned. (p. 285).

It was quite late when I asked him who he believed we should invite to join us. He thought carefully and did not answer for awhile. Then he rose to his feet and stood, with the skull over his head. He seemed to be in a trance as he performed a ritual. Captivated I watched as what looked like electric energy emanated from the glass he had been drinking from.

Finally he announced that it was the Empress who initially must be invited if we wanted our new venture to be blessed and bear a rich harvest.

I clapped my hands together with delight! “Of course!” I said. “She is the ideal guest. I will have the housekeeper makeup a full apartment for her.

The Empress is the planetary trump of Venus and the goddess of love. She is the creative beauty in nature that blossoms and delights, unfolding its treasures softly, like a warm summer breeze. She can be seen around us in the wonder and beauty of nature. p.74 Phantasmagoria

From medieval castles to Victorian mansions, Gothic architecture is as varied as it is imposing. Hallmarks of this dramatic style include vaulted ceilings, arched windows and ornate details, such as flying buttresses and the occasional leering gargoyle. 

Every self respecting Vampyre needs a mansion to live in and host lavish banquets, masque balls and general free for all likeminded kindred spirits.

I have been on the look out for the right property for some time. The Villa de Vecchi, known as the “Ghost Mansion” of Italy, was built between 1854 and 1857. It was meant to be the summer home of a Count named Felix De Vecchi, who was head of the Italian National Guard. The home had all the modern amenities of the time, including indoor heating pipes and a large pressurised fountain.

However it was home to a mysterious family tragedy. In 1862, the Count killed himself after he came home and found his wife murdered and his daughter missing.

Relatives continued to live at the mansion until World War II, but the mansion was left uninhabited by the 1960s. The home’s grand piano is said to be played at night by “a ghostly entity.”

I do like the ghostly story but, quite frankly, Vampyre I may be but I need something that requires a bit less restoration – somewhere I can move in and put the kettle on, where I can put my feet up, invite all my friends, have lavish parties and drink many ‘morning after’ Bloody Mary’s.

The ‘exemplary’ Shadwell Court in Norfolk might be just the place!

In the world of cocktails, the Bloody Mary is very much a contradiction. Instead of being blamed for a hangover, it is used as the cure. And rather than being consumed at night, the spicy concoction is best imbibed the morning after.



45ml vodka

20ml lemon juice

Dash of Tabasco sauce

5-10ml worcestershire sauce


Tomato juice

Stick of celery

Slice of lemon

Pepper (to taste)


Build the drink in a tall, ice-filled glass with vodka, lemon juice, Tabasco, worcestershire sauce and salt. Top with tomato juice. Stir. Garnish with a stick of celery, a slice of lemon and some ground pepper on top.