For a warlock who worships the goddess of the moon, curfews can be a bit of a hindrance.
So when Cerwyn Jones found himself being punished by a court for carrying a five-inch ceremonial knife in a pub he was quick to plead special Wiccan circumstances.
The 52-year-old was sentenced to four months of staying indoors between the hours of 7pm and 7am.
But magistrates agreed to suspend the order on four nights after hearing he needed to go out during a full moon to practise his Wicca faith.
Wicca – or white witchcraft – is a neo-pagan religion which saw a resurgence in popularity in the 20th century.
Its followers believe the whole cosmos is alive and as such the waxing, waning and full moon are extremely important.
During the full moon, ‘magic’ ceremonies are performed and the gods and goddesses of Wicca are honoured. These ceremonies may be officiated by a chosen warlock and most groups meet at least once a month, timing celebrations to coincide with the full moon.
Jones, from Llangollen, North Wales, was arrested at a pub in February after police received a tip off. Prosecutors said he had been visiting his ex-wife in Bala and there had been fears he would use the knife – which had carvings of goddesses on the handle – to self-harm or injure others.
When they picked him up, he was enjoying a soft drink.
Julie Jones, prosecuting, said: ‘The defendant co-operated with the police and told them that the knife was only used in religious ceremonies in connection with witchcraft.’
Jones pleaded guilty to possessing a knife in public but insisted he had no intention of hurting anyone.
He asked his solicitor Ian Barnes to apply to have the curfew lifted for each of the full moons during the four months.
Mr Barnes told the court Jones followed the Wiccan religion and nights when there is a full moon were extremely important to the faith. Imposing the curfew, Caerwyn Roberts, chairman of the magistrates’ bench at Dolgellau, agreed to suspend the order for nights of a full moon.
He also ordered the warlock to pay £85 costs and forfeit his knife.
It emerged at court that Jones was jailed for six years in January 2003 after being convicted of firearms offences and making threats to kill. He was released in September 2005.
After the case he explained that he had turned to Wicca after coming out of prison. He said he was a practising warlock who worshipped the ‘green man’ or ‘lord of the woods’, and a number of goddesses.
At full moon he walks with a staff he has carved from holly wood, dressed in pilgrim’s clothing, into the mountains around Llangollen.
He said he conjured up spirits by casting a circle using his staff or an ‘athamac’, the ritual bladed instrument which he was arrested carrying. He said: ‘I have the faith which is sometimes known as Wicca.
‘I believe in the god of the sun and the goddess who represents the moon.
‘Of course I was glad the magistrates lifted the curfew for the time of the full moon – but I would have liked my ritual instrument back.’
Jones claims to have ‘midnight walks in the mountains’ in which he has called down the goddess Branwen, who appeared as a dark cloud. He also claims to have seen orbs dancing in the darkness.
Speaking at his home, which is a shrine to his faith, with a pentangle and a carving of the lord of the woods on the walls, he added: ‘I am originally from Bala but I returned to Llangollen when my parents died.
‘I lived in the mountains in a tent for four years and gradually my faith changed from Christian to Wicca. God kept me warm in the hills.’
Jones said he also interprets dreams and claims he predicted the outcome of his court case.
Copyright: arcticle: Jaya Narain, Daily Mail