Replenish the Spirit
Enlighten the Mind
Allison the Talog Witch and Mary of Archaeotours have united to bring you Esoteric Tours. We can lead you on a Spiritual journey amongst some of the most beautiful Ancient British sites allowing you to make your journey with ease and comfort.
Our Tours and experiences include Contemplative, Learning, Healing and Ceremonial we arrange an option to suit your needs and ensure that all the hospitality arrangements are perfect. We transport you, guide and teach you and use high quality accommodation so that you feel safe, comfortable and well looked after as you embark on your journey with us.
Please contact us at;
Esoteric Tours UK
Esoteric Tours UK will take you upon a holiday experience unlike any other; we promise you a journey back to the roots of humanity as you visit some of Britain’s most ancient sights; not merely a sightseeing excursion but a journey of contemplation that will enhance your understanding of the Divine, replenishing the spirit, and enlighten the mind. The experience our unique tours offer will enrich your life and thus empower your very existence; it will change the way you perceive creation and the way you choose to live within it.
Children of Creation, let Esoteric Tours help you reconnect with our universal Earth Mother, rekindling the eternal spirit flame that dwells within us all, through ancient sites revisited, and wisdom long forgotten once again remembered.
You will be;
Know this while you are,
Your spirit has journey both long, and afar,
It came from the source,
To the source it returns,
The flame that was kindled eternally burns.
(from Ancient Maori source).
After many years of research, and the enjoyment of helping fellow ‘craft’ sisters prepare the material practicalities of their Handfastings I decided that it was time to seriously think of re-instating the credibly of this most ancient rite; the argument that it is outdated is indeed itself outdated, for the wheel has turned full circle.
My second area of motivation is the sheer sadness and sense of hypocrisy I experience at seeing this simple and basic rite of a loving partnership made complicated by the ridiculous mechanics of modern gender struggle and religious indoctrination.
“But what,” many non Pagans may ask, “is a Handfasting?” And there in a nutshell is our problem; the ignorance that now exists due to the systematic brainwashing of indoctrination through persecution of the last 1000 years.
It is one of humanities oldest ritualistic celebrations, far preceding all concept and ideas of formal religion or cultural expectation. Contrary to widely held beliefs it is not the sole domain of Wicca, the modern face of Paganism, which is barely 200 years old; nor is it anti Christian heresy from the burning times, nor any other form of anti Christian aggression or opposition.
It is in fact the most ancient act of union dating from the dawn of time; the freely given loving declaration of two individuals, deriving from a time of innocence when gender and persuasion, though significant to the begetting of children, were not encumbrances for the union of a loving partnership.
Long ago there was a time when love was naive and uncomplicated, progress has brought many improvements, but in striving onwards with intellect blazing much has been long the way, trampled underfoot.
And the saying is true- “When ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise”.
Although time has continually brought progress there is
no need, nor ever has been, to sacrifice old wisdom to make way for the new; unfortunately history serves to remind that this fact has eluded humanity for at least the last 3,000 years.
During the Handfasting rite the couple joyously and honestly profess their love and commitment to a balanced harmonious partnership founded upon mutual equality. These declarations are made to one another in the presence of the Divine, residing in which ever aspect of Divinity one perceives. Their vows are spoken aloud, individually in turn, shared and witnessed by all present, declaring with total honesty their mutual loving intent, and acceptance of one another as they are, without exception. This is their truth and hopefully will last as long as love endures.
The Rite requires at least two witnesses as the impartial advocates of this truth; this requirement stems from the most ancient of times when there were no written records, and proof only held credibility if could be verified by an eye witness. Hence witnesses is understandable and born of sound cultural commonsense or the unscrupulous would have used handfasting to benefit themselves at the expense of others. However if there were no other fellow humans available to be witnesses, due to exceptional circumstances, then a couple would be just as adequately joined with only the Divine presence.
So let us be very clear about the differences between the Rite of Handfasting and that of Marriage , whether this be Christian marriage , or Muslim, or even Jewish etc.; know that it is not just the ritual format that differs, there is a far more important fundamental difference. Within the symbolic bonds of Handfasting is the acceptance that ‘nothing stays the same’; any union between two living energies is constantly evolving, just as are the two individuals themselves, and therefore it will be constantly subjected to changes. This makes the future as fickle as Nature herself, and as unpredictable as the weather and bears stark contrast to the wedding vows within modern religious marriages where an oath of truth is required and the truth of the wedding moment is perceived as rigid and enforceable by religious doctrine, thus running the risk of becoming a burden not a blessing within the lives of the couple.
The uncompromising truth of the spoken wedding vow within modern religions becomes
‘written in stone’ from the moment each says “I do”, binding the couple “till death do ye part”. However even present day judicial law accepts that truth is circumspect, it changes through time and with the pressures brought to bear from other influences and additional acquired knowledge.
Time brings maturity, and as we grow so we get wiser, as life reveals more facets of strength and weakness within ourselves and our partner. This evolving often causes partners to no longer perceive the same shared truth that they once agreed upon at their moment of marriage, they become incompatible with this additional knowledge.
Unlike most other marriage ceremonies a pagan ‘fasting’ is a togetherness that can be untied, just as it was tied; with the same integrity and love, in the mutual pursuit of truth and happiness, the knot can be untied and the couple released. This makes the pagan
‘Handfasting’ a wonderful celebration of positivism, for the joys and happiness of the moment are not overshadowed by worries of the future; the couple can relax and know that they can and will cross tomorrow’s bridges if and when they come to them.
Further more at the end of the Handfasting ritual the broom is jumped by both partners equally, (whether literally or just symbolically), who are then sent forth by the minister or priestess into their new life together on equal terms as an equal loving couple. In the Christian wedding service the bride and groom are sent forth with the words, “I now pronounce you man and wife”. Well how equal is that? They should surely be “Husband and wife”, but obviously the church is still happy to perpetuate gender supremacy.
Handfasting demonstrates to the whole of humanity the Pagan acceptance and desire to treat each and every individual as equal; to value them for their self worth and not be held fettered or even influenced by religion or cultural politics. The world needs to return to these simple values.
Visit my Handfasting site at;
(Article as featured Witchvox 07.2009).
Allison Beldon Smith
Hi I’m Allison, an archaeologist and classicist with an MA from the University of Wales, Lampeter. I am also a Pagan Minister, the Seer of Talog known locally as ‘Talogwitch’, and an Earth Healer who through the transition to cronehood has realized it is time to teach rather than to do; my spirit guides tell me now is the time to pass on the knowledge, for there are many seekers willing to listen, and wanting to learn, and yet very few genuinely knowledgeable mentors.
Throughout your chosen tour I will be your sage and teacher providing guidance and support; it will not only be a physical journey but a spiritual walk of the Goddess labyrinth. Mary will be our locational tour guide, affording us her expertise and experience from half a decade of successfully running Archaeotours.
Please do not feel that by choosing one particular tour i.e. Contemplative, Healing, Learning or Ceremonial that you will not be allowed to experience other facets of enlightenment from another area, just ask us and we will do our best to tailor the experience to suit your needs.
Ours tours centre around a homely farmhouse base that affords excellent workshop facilities. These locations often have facilities to sleep as many as 10 people, so if you bring 9 friends you can come free of charge! With group bookings, and larger attendance numbers, a sisterly sharing of amenities will be necessary and your co-operation expected.
Likewise single bookings are also very welcome.
Please contact us at;
Mary Baker has lived in Pembrokeshire for over 25 years and has been welcoming guests through her company Archaeotours for over 5 of those years. Mary has a B.A. Hons University of Wales degree in Archaeology and is interested in life in Prehistoric Wales, so she knows where all the secret stone circles and burial chambers can be found. For many years she ran her own guest house and she is particularly keen to ensure that guests are well looked after and that arrangements run smoothly. Mary understands that your stay with us is important to you and time is precious so will worry about the details for you to make your stay as perfect and comfortable as possible.
A Short Word
Mary and Allison are happy to run tours in tandem if it is requested as they are well aware that especially when travelling from abroad you may wish to partake of the Contemplative tour and then continue into a second week with one of the other workshop tours; this is quite acceptable, but please book it all at the same time so that there are no misunderstandings.
Esoteric Tours is predominantly a Holiday of self enlightenment through the broadening of the mind, this being so can be a wonderful family experience; however we would caution that dogs and older children (young adults) are welcome, but we strongly advise that our holidays are not tailored with small children in mind. Please inform when booking if your group includes children and pets.