Showing posts with label Witchcraft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Witchcraft. Show all posts

Monday, December 18, 2017

WITCHCRAFT - The Witch of Today


For centuries, the practice of witchcraft was considered an evil and foul tradition, and witches were hunted and killed, often by cruel and painful methods, usually by being burnt alive at the stake. Fear of witches and witchcraft was widespread throughout several areas of Europe and in some areas of a newly settled America. The witchcraft delusion was an epidemic affecting everyone, and even a simple accusation of being a witch, despite the absence of any real evidence, was often enough to condemn an individual to torture and death.

Thankfully, modern society has moved beyond such superstition and insanity, and today, witches are free to practice varying traditions of witchcraft openly and without fear of persecution. The Wiccan religion is perhaps the most well-known form of modern witchcraft, thanks in part to movies and media attention. However, there are several forms of modern witchcraft being practiced today, though most have roots in ancient cultural traditions.

Modern witchcraft in western culture can be largely attributed to the influence and practices of three specific individuals. The first is Gerald Gardner, sometimes referred to as the Father of modern Witchcraft. In the late 1930s and during the 1940s, Gerald Gardner began establishing several covens throughout Britain in an attempt to revive the foundations of the old religion, which is closely related to modern Wicca.

Gerald Gardner was a public figure who wrote several books on the subject of witchcraft, helping to cast the old traditions in a new and positive light and reshape society's perspective of witchcraft.

Another individual of note is Margaret Murray, a British scholar who studied ancient witchcraft and also wrote of old religions, preceding Gerald Gardner's work by over 20 years. Her books are considered essential reference sources for practitioners of modern Wiccanism.

The third individual credited with influencing the contemporary witchcraft movement is Alexander Sanders. Alexander studied witchcraft as a young boy, as it was a family tradition passed down by his grandmother. Alexander also established several covens throughout Britain, and proclaimed himself the "king of witches."

While Wiccanism might be the most popular tradition of witchcraft studied and followed by modern society, other old traditions still exist. Native Americans and indigenous tribes located in Central and South America still practice shamanistic magic. Similarly, tribes in Africa and Australia look to their tribal witch doctors whenever tribal magic might be needed, whether it be asking the gods for a good hunt, or seeking to expel a sickness from a tribe member.

In Louisiana and Haiti, Voodoo is practiced, and similar traditions such as Santeria in the Spanish Islands, as well as other offshoots of voodoo such as Hoodoo and Macumba.



Most forms of witchcraft share common denominators -- rituals, spellcasting, and calling upon the gods for help or wisdom. Typically, most forms of witchcraft are also considered "white", or good, and are meant for healing and positive effects, rather than to induce harm, curses, or ill will towards an individual.

While many books and resources are available for those interested in Wicca and other forms of witchcraft, individuals should also take care not to treat witchcraft lightly or as a form of entertainment. Spells and rituals are best left to professional witches who have several years of experience and have studied extensively.


    Considered a Gythia (Asatru High Priestess) among her Coven, Julia Roslyn Antle is a master of divination and dream interpretation. Her wisdom is sought-after by her peers, her colleagues as well as the public. http://www.7witches.net
    Article Directory: EzineArticles



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

ODIN's Ravens, Magical Myth and Fact!

Odin, der Göttervater. Odin enthroned with wea...
Odin enthroned with weapons, wolves and ravens.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Norse myth tells us that the god Odin has two ravens perched on his shoulders. Their names are Huginn (meaning thought) and Muninn (meaning memory). These Ravens, are more than Odin's pets, they are his informants and messengers. He sends them out every day into the world, upon their return, they relate to Odin everything that they have seen and heard.

But what do we really know about "ravens" in general? I thought it would be interesting to explore this subject. Ravens, are in a family of birds called corvids and are powerfully associated with witchcraft and magic.

Ravens are in the same family of birds as crows. But ravens hunt more than crows, who are mainly scavengers. When mythology distinguishes between the two, ravens are usually associated with transformative magic while crows are identified with healing. Both are teachers and sponsors of magic and shamanism.

Ravens are characterized by their shiny black color and their raucous, loud voices. Daytime birds they noisily greet the sun. As a result, they are identified with solar power and may be understood to venerate the Sun themselves.

Ravens, are in many worldwide myths and are generally considered to be "trickster" heroes. This includes Celtic, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Native American, Scandinavian, Vietnamese, but most especially in the indigenous traditions of Siberia and North America's Pacific Northwest.

Ravens are assertive and unafraid of people; and willing to play a joke on a person, as well as a dog, cat or on each other. Shiny things attract them and they have been known to steal them.

The associations of Ravens with witchcraft and shamanism pre-date Christianity. After Christianity took hold the perceptions of Ravens changed. Rather than positive associations with wise-women, shaman, and seers Ravens were now associated with diabolism and sin.

In the eyes of the Christian Church, this probably had a lot to do with their color, black, their sharp harsh voices, intelligence and assertive nature. Shades of the wicked queen's ravens in Walt Disney's version of,"Snow White"?

Because Ravens are blackbirds and daily herald the light, the church identified them with Satan in his guise as Lucifer, the fallen angel and light bringer.

Brightest of Blessings,
Lory


    By Lory Woortman
    Lory Woortman is a writer, watercolor artist and garden designer. Lory is interested in the study of quantum physics, Norse Myths and Religion. She lives in a small country town in North East Pennsylvania with her writer husband, Ellis and her little dog Dixie. Lory has a blog and written many articles that are "Free," pertaining to Norse Mythology, Shamanism, Runes and Quantum Physics.

    http://mistressofenchantment.blogspot.com/

    Article Source: EzineArticles



Monday, November 20, 2017

The History of WITCHCRAFT

Goddess
Goddess - Photo  by Frances Lane 
The history of Witchcraft can be traced back as far as the Paleolithic period some 40,000 years ago. Archeologists have discovered cave paintings from this period that depict witchcraft in its basic form. Our ancient ancestors would not have considered themselves witches but they were using practices associated with witchcraft today.

Witchcraft has evolved since that time and was much more commonly referred to as such beginning before medieval times. The practice of witchcraft was fundamental to many cultures of this period and was widely practiced in Europe where it is most often referenced. The emergence of Christianity as the main religion of the period would bring untold misery to those practicing witchcraft.

Many so-called witches of this time, who for the most part were healers using basic herbs to treat their villages, were persecuted as a result of edicts from Pope John XXII in 1320. The history of witchcraft was mainly peaceful until this time as witches were not directly sought out by the
inquisition, but this edict authorized the Inquisition to prosecute sorcerers as well.

Estimates of those killed during this period range from 40,000 to 100,000, a large number of which were brutally slain out of revenge or jealousy more than for actually practicing witchcraft. Burning at the stake was the original method of execution but this later changed to hanging in many regions as it was less barbaric. Witchcraft would be practiced in secrecy for centuries as a result of this treatment.

Modern-day practices are broadly referred to as neopaganism, although this term does not accurately represent the many varieties followed in modern times. Traditional witchcraft as a way of life with very limited direct structure is probably the most common but there are more regimented religious forms of witchcraft. Wicca is perhaps the most well known of these and is very much a religion involving witchcraft.



During the history of witchcraft, no overarching principles were laid down that governed all covens or witches, which led to each coven practicing the arts in their own way as directed by their individual leadership. Solo practice is also widespread and unique, again following the persons own beliefs.





Friday, November 10, 2017

What Are Some WITCHCRAFT Chants I Can Do?

The Love Potion
The Love Potion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Witchcraft or witchery as some people know it better by, first came around a few hundred years ago and is still alive and well to this very day. The word "witch" means many different things to many different people. However, a witch isn't exactly the ones we see on TV flying around on broomsticks like in the Wizard Of Oz. Of course, this whole broom business may have or may have not been real, but I don't think anyone is even around now to prove that it is or isn't.

Just the same there are people who do practice magic(k)s of sorts and though a lot of people might find this sort of stuff "creepy" or "demonic" it doesn't all have to be unless you choose for it to be! I checked a few of these "chants" online and they aren't anything incredibly disturbing if anything they are "wishes" we desire to have in our lives such as the money or love spells. I'm not talking about anything like Love Potion 9 either.

I'm talking about real verses that you can actually say that might or might not bring you the things you want from these spells. Some people say witchcraft is all in the belief and if you don't believe it won't happen. Personally, I do believe that there are "witches" out there and that they did exist hundreds of years ago. To be able to actually sit down and say who was more real; the old or the new is crazy. Honestly I don't know about you, but I don't know any witches, however, I am open-minded about certain things!

Either way, you decide to go; believe or not, there are a few spells I found that I decided to list below. I'm merely listing these because I take interest in things like this; things that people fight over if it's true or not! In the end, I suppose it's really up to you!

Simple Love Spell -
On your altar or coffee table if you don't have one, place one red candle and one white candle. Make sure you have a cauldron or other fireproof container to which you've added some sand. (It helps absorb the heat)

On a piece of parchment or fine writing paper, write down the qualities of the person that you'd like to have come into your life. The color of ink doesn't matter, although you could use red or pink if you have it. (Keeps with the theme if colored ink is used). When you're finished writing, concentrate on the words and try to envision how this person makes you feel, the things you'd like to do together, and allow yourself to feel happy. You should feel happy, you're creating something wonderful to look forward to! When you're ready, light the piece of paper from both candles and say something like: I ask that the Gods/Universe send to me this person I desire, I may not yet know their face or name. Still, I know they're out there, And they're looking for me just the same!

Three Red Leaves Spell -
This spell is used to protect the mind against things such as nightmares, negative thoughts and "invasions of evil". First, you must gather three red leaves from any tree, plant or bush. Lay them in a triangle on a flat surface. In the center of the leaves, place an already lighted candle, and place a few drops of chrysanthemum oil on each leaf. Say this incantation three times:

Red leaves, a gift from the earth - Birth to death and death to birth - Keep all evil far away - Day to night and night to day. Then, extinguish the candle, and wrap the leaves in a white cloth or pouch. Place this near your bed within three feet of your head and it will stop all nightmares and negative thoughts.

Money Spell -
This spell helps double any denomination of cash paper money that you have. First find some almost new cash paper money, in the largest denomination possible. The twenty, or fifty dollar bill is good. Place this in a white envelope, and lick, and seal it. Fold the envelope, and say once, every day, for about seven days: Occult powers to me shall bring, The way to double this sum. Hear me, thou cherubim which sing, Quickly, and softly come. Hold the envelope up, and pretend that it has become heavier. Keep the envelope in your bedroom. After you receive more money, open the envelope, and either spend or deposit the money that was in the envelope.



I also study positive thinking a lot and it's funny because I see a lot of similarities between these "spells" and positive thinking. So I don't think personally that all witchcraft is bad or that all witches are bad. I think it all depends on how you plan on using it and who you're using it for or in some cases; against! Even with positive thinking, if you think negative things about a person long enough or negative things about yourself, they are bound to happen eventually. So good or bad? Who can say really? True or false? Who knows! Worth a try? Especially if it's a spell that is simple and that might bring you positive things? I think so! Check out some of these spell sites and you will be surprised some of the really normal things that you can find! You have the whole history of the witch trials in the US, France, UK, Spain along with spells and different "potions" you can make. It is pretty cool stuff!




Thursday, September 28, 2017

ALEISTER CROWLEY: Reflection on the Pioneer of Magick

Aleister Crowley.jpg
"Aleister Crowley" Via Wikipedia.
Aleister Crowley was a pioneer, a trailblazing searcher who opened the door of magick to reveal the secrets that had not been, until his time, even whispered in the confines of a closet. Aleister opened the doors and swung them wide for all followers of the occult to rush through in pursuit of their magical attainment. For this reason, he has been called a genius as well as a trivial madman but one thing is true; he has not faded into the facade of history nor has his persona quietly died. Quite to the contrary, Crowley has continued at the forefront of those cited as contributing the most to the spiritual dark arts.

During Crowley’s youth, he traveled with his father who preached across the country and so, Aleister was exposed to the work and skills needed to communicate a message and idea to the masses. In the days before technological advances, the “face to face” communication was not only the most effective; it was one of the few ways to spread the word of any philosophy. Aleister was drawn to belief: not good or bad, but he had a deep-seeded wish to search for more and this trait was one that served him well throughout his life. Ever a student, he would spread the word of his magical workings throughout his entire life.

Young Aleister’s father died of cancer and the experience left the impressionable youth stunned and ultimately, bitter. He set his path on an unspoken philosophy of “anything that does not conform”. His earliest poetry illustrates the idea of “anti” while opening the mind to that which was “unthought” or never spoken. I do not say that Aleister’s heart was filled with hate; that would be untrue and an easy way to dismiss his life-long works. Aleister was filled with something much different. He was filled with a burning wants to question everything (a trait embraced by Satanists even today) and a tenant to believe only what could be proven. This served him quite well throughout his life.

Crowley was a connoisseur of sex and he loved sexual encounters with both men and women. He often remarked that he “only had sex to fulfill the requirements of his magical workings” yet it seems that he also took great pleasure in the many deviations to sex acts that were anything other than conventional. He would enjoy paying a prostitute to degrade him by inserting various household items into his rectum and on one occasion, was sodomized by two men in a Turkish bathhouse while performing ingeminating fellatio on yet a third man. He also enjoyed subjecting his partners to pain as well. During a sex magick ritual, he placed his fist into a young man’s anus to the point of almost rupturing his intestinal wall. All within the spirit of magick and finding a higher awareness of “self”.

Aleister was also interested and even curious about the fragility of life itself. After hearing a saying that a cat had nine lives, he reasoned that it would be almost impossible to kill a cat, and he set out to do just that. Crowley caught a cat and administered nine different terminal treatments to the animal which culminated with the cat being thrown from a second story window to “remove any remaining life”. Quite to the contrary, the animal had been dead since giving it a lethal dose of arsenic; the first of the treatments. For the curious young lad, the event was performed in the name of science and the results were simply a byproduct of a scientific experiment.

Crowley’s “The Book of the Law” is hailed as his best work even though there are other great titles to choose from. His writings were factual, confusing, poetic and mystifying, all at the same time. He had written poetry since a young boy and that motif operandi was seen as a common thread in all of his future writings. Prolific yet reserved, he preferred to write poetry and insisted on being called “The World’s Best Poet”.

He was an enigma that was perhaps, before his time and I often contemplate what he could have achieved if he lived in our wonderful time of email, internet, and cyber chat. Oh, what he could have accomplished! Without conscience and devoid of humanity, he is what all members of the human race should strive to be… “a searcher”. He was not encapsulated by hearsay, dogma or urban legend. He opened his mind and all senses to receive all he could discover. Satanists take so many of his attributes to heart and strive to learn that which will show itself during a magical endeavor.

Mwt.jpg

"Mwt" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Crowley’s magick was without bounds and he did not set out to be evil at all. He believed there were forces and spirits just beyond our worldly grasp and he wanted to experience those dark images that do not cast any shadows on the floor. “Evil” was a moniker that was assigned to Aleister by a self-righteous society unable to open their minds enough to discover and benefit from Crowley’s work. His acts frightened the population and his words angered the monarchy of the time. He was not a Satanist per se. Satanism was not his primary focus and Aleister did not seriously believe in a pointed-tail viper, as it were. He communicated with demons and spirits thus being more of a student of demonology than any other magical operation.

He has been the inspiration for countless searchers; myself included. He inspired L. Ron Hubbard through his magical workings which can be glimpsed in Hubbard’s Dianetics and The Church of Scientology. Anton LaVey cited references and praised Crowley’s written works. Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page, was an avid follower of Crowley and even purchased the house “Boleskine” once owned by Crowley, on the south-eastern shore of Scotland’s Loch Ness. Page claimed the house was haunted and also confessed the house “held a sacred and creative feel that allowed for total artistic freedom”. Crowley continues to inspire and influence music and writers in modern society today.

Aleister Crowley was one of the first practitioners of the occult to blend magick with consumption of mind-altering drugs during his rituals.His grimoires, which read like scientist’s process books, recorded many occasions when Aleister and those asked to join him, would ingest large amounts of narcotics and natural stimulants to achieve a higher state of conscientiousness and open their minds to events that would enlighten the participants. Experimentation in such arenas was frowned upon and in some cases, the act of performing a blasphemous ritual as he often performed, was illegal. His connection with the other side of the human brain can be called “cutting edge” however, Crowley’s grimoires were often dismissed as “drug-induced gibberish”.

Within the framework of magical operations, Aleister was meticulous in the execution of rituals. He would labor over the details and weigh the effects of each slight deviation from the original working to gauge the expected result. He also looked at magick as cumulative or “cross-collateralized”, which built upon the earlier building block; increasing power and heightening the magician’s experience. Nothing was taboo, too sinister or any idea dismissed without fully exploring the possibilities that might reap benefits. Aleister was anything but shy and if the ritual called for him to be treated with violence, disdain and abusively injured, so mote it be.

Aleister Crowley was a well-known member of the group Ordo Templi Orientis (Order of the Temple of the East) which closely resembled the Freemasons and Masonic Lodge until Aleister joined. He led the association in a different direction which adopted Thelema as the core principle. The Book of the Law communicated two of Crowley’s best-known verses which are still used quite often even today. First, the groundwork for his belief and theology was laid with a simple phrase; “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will” which is cited regularly by those practitioners of all magical arts. He was never quick to dismiss anyone’s ideas or beliefs without first evaluating and contrasting the belief compared to his very own.

Aleister Crowley painted portrait _DDC7564

Aleister was always fascinated with lines, angles, and voids created by an enclosed symbol, especially a unicursal creation. Aleister’s unicursal hexagram is a star that can be drawn in one line without stopping the continuous flow. Geometric shapes were often drawn by Crowley to illustrate his projections occurring in astral travels. He believed “reason” was shielded by logic and by understanding motivation, one could clearly look deep into the logical progression of magick. Transitional Logic and Cognitive Modeling were paramount to understanding the results of magick rituals and by disseminating the logic relationships, one could also change the variables to estimate the results of a ritual, having slightly changed the inputs and elements. The idea was revolutionary for its time and the general population was too critical of Crowley to even seriously consider the possibility that he might very well have a theorem that was truly brilliant. He did not help his cause when the press ran articles about his magical escapades including homosexual encounters, spells/hexes, animal sacrifice and a report revealing that Aleister had eaten his own feces as well as the feces of others in his ritual group. Reports of killing animals during sexual intercourse did not help his cause at all.

Aleister was also an avid Astrologer and he studied astrology almost as in-depth as magick. Evangeline Adams was one of the most important influences on the development of American astrology and Crowley developed a relationship with Adams that was based upon their mutual passion of studying the stars and planets. The two would collaborate on articles, papers and books about astrological aspects and the relationship of celestial bodies and planetary orbits. Crowley also used many astrological illustrations and references in his magical writings as well. One such reference was used to explain how a person cannot readily change their path through life and how inertia plays an important role in continuing the established directional path and momentum: “There are no ‘standards of Right’. Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its own orbit. To hell with “moral principle”; there is no such thing.”

So, I have pointed out some facts and observations of Aleister Crowley; some good and some “not so good”. To me, he is truly a pioneer that was perhaps a few generations ahead of his time. I read and study his works from time to time and I appreciate his dedication to his craft. His entire life reads like a grimoire of magick, experimentation, excess and theories “tried and proven”. Because Crowley and searchers like him have documented so much – so well, we are able to take advantage of his efforts which allows us to be light years ahead of where we would be had he never written even an article about magick. We should recognize the advantages we have and the knowledge passed down to us by Crowley. His efforts of being totally uninhibited have allowed seekers to “pick up where he left off” in the never-ending quest for increased magical knowledge. We are better magicians, seekers, followers, practitioners and ultimately more powerful because of this man. Yes, he was eccentric and his approach to the magical arts was unorthodox (and stomach turning as well) however, he blazed a path into history and for his efforts and sharing of his art form, we are better for having access to his writings and privileged to do some of the same workings that he not only practiced but actually created.

Aleister Crowley will live forever and his words will be shared for all eternity; which is something he could only dream of in his time.

Author Aleister Nacht is a Satanic Magus and leader of a regional coven comprising of numerous groups located in Florida. With a modern view of Satanism, he brings the darkness to life in a very tangible manner. His books have found favor with a multitude of searchers crossing all demographic and geographic boundaries. Nacht is also the spiritual/technical advisor for the “Gods of the New Church”; a Satanic group that meets in a virtual sanctum created by Nacht in cyberspace. Nacht’s audio recordings (Aleister Nacht’s Satanic Audio Blog) are available for free download on iTunes.

His books on Satanism have connected with the emerging multitude that refuses believe the lies of the religious establishment. Nacht manages to offer searchers an alternative based upon truth and reason instead of hypocritical rhetoric and lies. His digital and hard-copy books are distributed worldwide by Loki / Speckbohne Publishing. Recently, Nacht was approached by an independent producer/director interested in filming a documentary entitled “The Resurrection Next Door” that will explore modern Satanism and the recent increasing interest and popularity in Satanism. Nacht lives in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys the “Salt Life”.


By Aleister Nacht - http://satanicmagic.wordpress.com/ - http://www.aleisternacht.com/

Article Source: EzineArticles



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Tools and Trappings of WITCHCRAFT

The tools and trappings of Witchcraft are many and varied. While many of them, such as the broomstick and the witch's cauldron, are very familiar among most of the population, most magickal tools used by practitioners of Wicca and Witchcraft are either unknown or vastly misunderstood. This article will address the uses of many of the most popular magickal tools out there, and, hopefully, banish some of the misconceptions out there.

The specific tools addressed are:

- The Athame
- The Wand
- The Cauldron
- The Altar
- Book of Shadows

The Athame
The Athame is probably the most misunderstood of all of the magickal tools addressed here. What is an athame, anyways? It is a ritual dagger that utilized by witches during rituals and ceremonies. It is generally a double-edged blade made from steel, iron or, for the wealthier wiccans out there, silver. The hilt of the blade is most often black, and painted or engraved with a variety of occult symbols.

The Athame is a ritual knife used in the witch...
The Athame is a ritual knife used in the witchcraft religion of Wicca.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

Stories and movies, which often depict a witch as bad guy, often glamorize the athame as a sinister weapon that is used in sacrifices and other outlandish practices. This could NOT be further from the truth! The true purpose of this tool is as an aid for the practitioner to direct their will in ritual. It is never used to cut anything physically, and if it does, it is considered tainted and cannot be used until some extensive 'psychic cleansing' can be done.

For those who practice Witchcraft, the athame is a representation of the element of air and mental energy. It is one of the most used, and often most cherished, of their ritual tools.

The Wand
The wand is another very common item used in Witchcraft. The image it brings to mind is very accurate. It is a length of wood, about the same length as the individual witch's forearm. It can be constructed from a variety of materials, and the magickal properties of the tree from which it is cut often play a major role in its choosing. The look and style of the wand is as varied as the people who carry them. They are often decorated with crystals, stones, feathers and ribbons.

The uses of the wand are very similar indeed to those of the athame. It is used to direct one's will in ritual or ceremony. However, the biggest difference with the wand is that it is often the preferred means of repelling negativity away from its user. As such, it is often the tool of choice for rituals involving purifying and cleansing.

The Cauldron
Now, this is a misunderstood tool indeed! When one brings to mind the image of a witch's cauldron, the phrase, "bubble, bubble, toil and trouble..." is often right there with it. People seem to think that witches like to brew up some of the strangest things in their cauldrons. Though the cauldron is used as a magickal mixing bowl, the ingredients are often found in the average kitchen pantry. For a witch, the cauldron represents the element of water and the energies of emotions and feeling. In ritual, the cauldron often serves in preparing infusions for a magickal bath, tinctures for a variety of uses, or simply a fireproof container in which to burn a piece of parchment.

The Altar
This is another tool that is often very misunderstood. In the Hollywood version, the altar is the creepy table decorated with skulls and black candles where the victim is tied up helplessly. Try explaining that one to the neighbours!!

In real Witchcraft, there are two main types of altars out there: The functional, ritual altar, and the altar that serves as a shrine to honour a specific deity. The shrine-type altar is pretty self-explanatory. It is a special place to connect with a specific deity, and decorated with items that either represent or are associated with that deity.

A functional altar is one that is used during the majority of Wiccan rituals and is often the centrepiece of the ceremony. It is the place where Wiccans do most of the "dirty work" of burning candles, spilling ink, and burning incense. It is a focal point for their ritual intent and the spot in the ritual circle where they connect and pray to their Deity.




Book of Shadows
This is the quintessential spell book carried by every witch out there. There are so many ways to describe this particular item. To begin, let us just say that the Book of Shadows is a combination of a journal, a how-to manual, song book, and spell book.

One of the most common things found in a book of shadows is the Wiccan Rede. This is basically a code of conduct that witches follow, and an empowering bit of prose. Also commonly found within one of these books is a piece called The Charge of The Goddess, or simply "The Charge". This is a very elegantly written piece of poetry that both empowers practitioners of Witchcraft, and reminds them of their common values and beliefs. Both of these items are often included in Wiccan ceremonies.

Aside from that, the contents of a Book of Shadows can be almost anything. Most witches include their favourite rituals, incense recipes, correspondence charts and other difficult-to-memorize magickal tidbits.

These are some of the most commonly found magickal tools used for Witchcraft. There are much more out there. However, it would take much more than a single article to encompass them all. The most important thing to remember is that these are all just tools. To perform real magick, all a good witch needs is their mind. Any tool you find is more of focus of your intent, and a signal to your subconscious. The will and energy that you put forth are what really counts.



Friday, September 1, 2017

Witches, Wiccans, Warlocks and WITCHCRAFT

Witchcraft and its origins can be traced back as far as 2000BC in Ancient Egypt and Babylonia were in existing records of the code of Hammurabi it says

If a man has put a spell upon another man and has not justified himself, he upon whom the spell is laid shall go to the holy river.

Persons who engage in witchcraft and who are male are called wizard, sorcerer and sometimes a warlock if they indulge in black magic. Females who indulge in witchcraft are called Wiccan or witches.

Witchcraft symbol
Witchcraft Symbol - Photo  by   quinet

Witches are thought to worship the devil. They are portrayed to cast spells and use supernatural forces to cause havoc within the community.

In Britain during the late medieval / Early modern period, many women were killed during witch-hunts. They were accused of being witches and would be strapped to a dunking stool, and submerged in the local river or lake. If the woman dies, she was then proved not to be a witch. If she survived, it proved her guilt and she would be burned at the stake alive.

Of course, most of the alleged witches were, in fact, destitute old women with no family. They plagued the communities begging door to door for food and milk. They would often curse the households who wouldn't give them any food, to make them more generous when she next visited. But of course, this gave the local folk cause to try the old women for witchcraft.

The Wiccans, on the other hand, were herbalists of their time. They used plants to cure people and animals. However, the Wiccan was misunderstood and would often be accused of being a dark witch when patients under their care worsened or died. Sometimes they were also called witches when they healed the very sick.



The spell casting evilness traits of witches have always been used to scare young children, just look at the classic children's fairy tales. In Snowhite the wicked witch tries to kill her stepdaughter. She uses a spell to put Snowhite in a death like sleep. In the story of Hansel and Gretel, the evil witch likes to eat children. The mysteriousness of witches lends itself to creating chilling stories, and not just for children but adults too in the case of the Blare Witch Project.

Our fascination for witches and witchcraft is highlighted each Halloween when many people like to dress up as witches. Luckily they no longer try witches on dunking stools. But curiously, 'witches' do still go begging for food door to door 'Trick or Treating'.

    S. Roberts is a ghost hunter and medium extraordinaire. 


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

VOODOO and WITCHCRAFT - Parallel Histories and Modern Spell Casting

Witchcraft and Voodoo are fundamentally very similar. Each is a venue for spirituality. Both reach out to the divine.

The motivation behind both Voodoo and Witchcraft is also similar; not evil or malicious, Voodoo and Witchcraft at their core are made to help real people solve the real problems that occur in their daily lives. These are holistic spiritual practices meant to touch every aspect of a person's life; they promote spiritual development, personal enrichment, and love.

Voodoo Altar, French Quarter, New Orleans
Voodoo Altar, French Quarter, New Orleans
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

The history of Voodoo and Witchcraft also has parallels. While Voodoo is an African magical tradition, Witchcraft is primarily a European tradition. However, both Voodoo and Witchcraft have been severely repressed. Many Witches suffered torture and death at the hands of religious authorities throughout Europe and the Americas. Similarly, when Voodoo Priests were stolen from Africa as slaves and brought to the Americas, slave masters feared the power of Voodoo magics and attempted to stamp it out at every turn.

Nonetheless, Voodoo and Witchcraft have survived. This is a testament to the power and love that lives within the hearts of devout practitioners of both traditions. Despite many centuries of severe persecution, both have retained their traditional beliefs, spells, and practices. Each has emerged stronger and more powerful in this modern world. And both are still readily available at the fingertips of those who need help from the modern Witch or Voodoo Priest.

Aside from this parallel history, the thing Voodoo and Witchcraft have most obviously in common is the practice of spell casting. As both have retained ancient magical practices the mainstream world has forgotten, they are able to offer something to us in this modern world that virtually no other venue can. It is these traditions, as well as others - such as Santeria, Candomble, Obeah, Kabbalah,
Ceremonial Magic, and more - that have retained the secrets of the ancient world and the mysteries therein. The most common workings of these - spells - can take many forms.


Voodoo and Witchcraft share many elements when it comes to spell casting. Although the rituals are very different, the purpose of the rituals is what is similar. Voodoo and Witchcraft can certainly be used for high spiritual ends, but they are also very practical. People frequently visit the Witch or Voodoo Priest for love spells, spells to help out with money, and other types of workings that generally make life easier. This is one of the amazing things about both Voodoo and Witchcraft that many mainstream religions miss out on - they understand you. They are very down to earth, understand your specific problems as a human being, and can proscribe spells and rituals that will actually help them.

The choice between Voodoo and Witchcraft is largely a matter of personal taste. When you are seeking someone to help you with spells, spiritual matters, energy work, or anything else it is important to find someone you are comfortable with. Many people have an affinity for Voodoo; if Voodoo calls out to you, by all means you should find a Voodoo Priest to help you. If Witchcraft appeals more to you, you should find a Witch. As spiritual beings first and foremost we know what is best for us; listen to your heart and find the tradition that speaks to you.




Monday, June 26, 2017

Cats, Vikings and WITCHCRAFT

The Vikings certainly loved cats. In Norway and Iceland cats were in high demand. Unfortunately for the cats, the people of Norway saw no value in a living cat; it was the fur they absolutely adored. Even the fox could not compete with the cat. The Norwegian king Magnus VI, the law-mender (1238 - 1280) passed a law declaring cat fur as legal currency. One piece of cat fur was equivalent to three pieces of fox fur.

Witch
Cat fur was quite valuable. Only the rich could afford this luxury. Now as it happens, the Volvas were among the upper classes. A Volva was a woman who was a master of prophecy and witchcraft. The Volvas were greatly respected and feared. Their services were in high demand, but extremely
expensive.

In the Saga of Eric the Red, a Volva is described in great detail. She had been summoned to help the settles of Greenland during their hardship. She was called Lisevolve and she was treated like a queen. The clothes she wore are described down to the last detail in the saga. On her head she wore a hat trimmed with cat skin. Her gloves were made of cat skin which had fluffy white cat fur on the inside.

Now as it happens, the goddess of love was also a master of  magic and witchcraft. Her name was Freyja. No other god or goddess mastered witchcraft better than Freyja. She was the most beautiful goddess of the Viking world. The goddess of love and magic had a stunning carriage. Yes, you guessed it. The carriage was pulled by two cats.

Volvas of the human world, loved to dress up with clothes made from cat skin and cat fur. Freyja, the goddess of love and magic was associated with two cats. It seems the tendency to associate cats with witchcraft was well established in the Viking Age. Cats certainly have been unfairly prosecuted throughout the centuries in the Western World. Fortunately major parts of the human race have come
to their senses and are finally treating cats with the respect and love they deserve.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Scottish SORCERY - WITCHCRAFT in Scotland

When you think "witch", what comes to mind? A wart faced old woman in a black dress with a broom? Actually, all it took was a birthmark or freckle, or singing and dancing outside, or simply someone's accusation that could have you executed as a witch.

Persecution of witches
Persecution of witches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although there have been stories of witchcraft since the beginning of time, persecutions didn't begin until the 1500s. The Witchcraft Act of 1563 made it illegal for anyone to be or consort with a witch. The first major persecution, the North Berwick Trials, began in 1590 with King James I and VI. Returning from Denmark with his new bride, a powerful tempest almost killed them. The King believed witchcraft was the cause of the storm and had nearly 100 people arrested. Many were tortured and burnt alive.

The Forfar Witch Hunt of 1661 and the Auldearn Trials of 1662 were prolonged by accusations made by "witches" in order to save themselves. At the Aberdeen Trials, 7 women were accused of using magic to murder others and using body parts from the victims to create potions. The Pittenween Trials of 1704 were based on the word of a 16 year old boy. Each of the accused was tortured. One was even crushed to death under large stones. It was later discovered that the boy had made it all up.

The Renfrewshire Trials of 1695 began when 11 year old Christian Shaw caught a housemaid drinking forbidden milk and threatened to tell her mother. The housemaid told the girl that the devil would take her to hell. Christian began having fits and visions, claiming that the maid was torturing her. She vomited up feathers, hay, wax, stones, even a hot coal. There were accounts of her floating around the room and moving things without touching them. She also accused several others of witchcraft. Over 20 men, women and children were imprisoned and examined by "witch prickers".
Several children and one minister were found dead on the morning of the trials. Fourteen of the charged were found not guilty. The remainder were hanged and burned. Christian was cured after the executions.

The Witchcraft Act was abandoned in 1736. It is estimated that over 4000 people were executed as witches in Scotland alone. Only 4 "witches" are recorded as being executed in Ireland, and only 3 in Wales. So for those of you with freckles or birthmarks (like myself), be thankful that things have changed!!

    Rauncie Kinnaird owns Kinnaird Bagpipes & Reeds specializing in Celtic jewellery, food, Guinness clothing, gift items, pipe band supplies and Highland dress including kilts and tartans. Sign-up for free articles on Celtic history and events at http://www.kinnairdbagpipes.com
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

So, You Want to Know About the SALEM WITCH TRIALS - Part ONE - Life As a New England Puritan

A hint on how to use this: If you are really interested on the subject, read the whole thing and you'll be able to hold your own in a conversation with any expert. If you have a report to do, or otherwise couldn't care less, just scan down and read the first few sentences of every paragraph. I do not always add dates, as timelines are so easy to find on the internet, but I do follow a loose chronology. The main goal is to present the information as it can be best understood. This is designed for you to get a feel for the life, learn little tidbits of information, and become and all-around more knowledgeable person.

"The witch no. 1" lithograph
"The witch no. 1" lithograph (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What was life like for the New England Puritan?

The people were floundering about, trying to find purpose. Until about 1660, Americans had a common goal; working together to forge a new frontier, but now the colony was well established and attentions turned to gain, both materially and spiritually.

Colonists did not care for the English political leaders. Instead, people idolized the founding fathers, like those who came over on the Mayflower. In 1692, the founding fathers were dead and gone.

The majority of the population had always been born in England, but the tide changed, and in the late 1600's, America was filled with people born on her soil.

There was no separation between church and state, and people who did not attend meetings were suspect and could be punished. Many towns had a rule that a man could not vote if he was not a member of a church.

Because lying was considered a sin, it was punishable by law.

Hangings were not common, but when one occurred it was a form of entertainment that young children were encouraged to attend. The most popular part of the hanging was the last words, when the person about to be executed would say goodbye to his or her family. Puritans reasoned allowing children to witness hangings would teach them the consequence of immoral behavior.

Life was an exhausting array of chores with little amusement. The average family made their own bread, butter, cider, ale, clothes, candles, and just about everything else they used. Every member of the family could expect to work from morning to night.

Houses were dark, damp, and depressing. A candle was always burning, even in the middle of the day because the tiny windows let in so little light.

The nearest neighbor usually lived a few football fields away.

Most people could not write, and signed their names on legal papers with their "mark." Signing an "X" was unfashionable to young girls (and even grown women), who liked to make curly cue hearts and other inventive designs.

Because people couldn't read, they didn't care (or know) how their name was spelled, and, since the court reporter couldn't very well ask an illiterate person how to spell his or her name, the spelling depended on who was taking the notes. Many of the official documents spell individual names differently. Mary Easty was also Esty, Osborn, Osburn, Cory, Corey, and so on. Even learned and educated men used a loose grammar, and did not worry over proper spelling.

Normal families had 5-10 kids of their own, and it was common to have an extra child living in the home. By the age of 7, children were given their full share of responsibility and expected to perform to adult standards.

New England had one of the lowest rates of infant mortality in America. "Nine out of ten infants born there survived at least until age five, and perhaps three-quarters lived to see adulthood." In more rural areas as many as 25% of children died before the age of 1, and only about half made it to adulthood.

Most marriages ended with the early death of a spouse. A couple was lucky to get seven years out of each other. Second and third marriages were common.

The man was head of the household. A woman might offer her opinion to her husband behind closed doors, and even prove a valuable ally, but she was expected to concede to her husband in all matters. She could not own property without her husband's permission, or vote. It was assumed that woman were the weaker sex in every way, and if she did not follow her husband's rules, he was encouraged to use physical abuse as a form of "correction."

There was a real fear of Indians (Salem was never attacked), and everyone knew at least one orphan from Maine who watched on as their parents were killed by Indians. Ironically, many people who were captured and held captive chose to stay with the tribe rather than go back to their families.

Politics

America was a colony of England, and had to run things according to a set of rules, called a "Charter," handed down from the English king. Just to get word to England would take 10 weeks by ship. In March, when the witch scare first broke out, the previous charter had been long eliminated. This meant there was no leader, no rules, and the nearest thing to a leader was in England negotiating for a new charter. Because of the situation, the accused witches were examined, and held in jail, but not tried. In May, Increase Mather, the president of Harvard (the only New Englander with an official title), sailed back from England with a new charter and a new governor. This is when the actual trials began.

Puritan Beliefs

The Bible was law; period, no questions asked, end of conversation. It was taken literally, and sins like adultery and sodomy could be punished by death.

"The House Where Witchcraft Started, Now ...
"The House Where Witchcraft Started, Now Danvers, Mass." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Puritan faith had been taking some blows, and there were no new people joining the ranks. Ministers were constantly preaching about the falling ranks and the rise of the devil, as if they were one.

Ministers commonly spoke of the virtue of being a good wife, which was all a woman could really hope to be. A woman would be frowned upon if she owned her own land, didn't have a lot of children, or was in any way, outspoken or different.

People dabbled in the occult and practiced white magic. Simple wives tales like fortune telling were passed down from generation to generation, though it was considered evil. Ministers were always preaching about the dangers of inviting the devil in through the occult, no matter how harmless it may seem.

There was a general distrust at the time, and if a cow suddenly died, its owner would likely think one of his neighbors had cursed him. A man would not dare to question God's judgment; he just questioned it being aimed at him. If he searched his soul, and found he had done nothing to deserve the death of his cow, he would blame the misfortune on the devil acting through a witch.

To deny God was unquestionable, so by the same token, to deny the existence of the devil would be just as blasphemous. The Bible was taken to be complete truth, and men who could read would consult the Bible for personal, as well as legal matters.

Puritan lifestyle was stringent and righteous, and they were not the loving and forgiving type one would expect to meet in such a religious community. According to Marion Starkey, if a man had a toothache the Puritans figured he had in some way sinned with his tooth. This feeling was so strong that some of the accused witches confessed in bewilderment, and wracked their brains to find something they had done in the past to allow the devil to use them in such a manner.

The Puritans used fasting as a means to give God a little extra oomph and unite the community in a cause. Meals were very important, and usually the only time during an average day when a person could sit and relax for a moment.

There was little separation between dreams and real life. To the Puritan, there was a reason for everything, and "...dreams contained prophesies, revelations, truths more real than daily life, and there was no clear explanation of what else they were."

Salem Village

All his life, Thomas Putnam had been resentful of rich families, like the Porters. Both families grew up in Salem Town, but the merchant Porters were more worldly and successful than the farming Putnam's. No matter how hard he tried, Thomas Putnam, an influential man in his own right, just couldn't beat those uppity Porters. The Porters had more land and more money, but what really bothered Thomas was that the Porters were considered smarter than the Putnam's because they were better spoken. Thomas set out to break away from Salem Town and form Salem Village, but the township wasn't eager to let the property go.



Salem Village was allowed to build a meetinghouse, but it was to act as a franchise of the Salem Town meetinghouse. Thomas Putnam tried to pull rank by hand picking the ministers, but this only served to divide the community in half; those who supported Putnam and his choice of minister and those who hated Putnam, and wouldn't support any choice he made. All the unsuspecting ministers would eventually leave Salem Village because of the conflict. Sometimes, Salem Town/Village would refuse to pay, (George Burroughs had to take a suit to the General Court in order to get paid) and sometimes the ministers would bow out, frustrated by all the arguing and infighting.

Salem Village was finally allowed to act on it's own, and Samuel Parris was the first minster to hold the job for the budding community.

The witch, according to the Salem Puritan.

Witches were notorious for killing otherwise healthy infants.

Witches had pets, known as "familiars," to do their evil bidding. The familiars would drink the blood of their witch masters from an extra "teat" located somewhere on his or her body, usually near the genitals. Salem familiars had the particular habit of sucking between the index and middle finger.

Witches could throw curses like Frisbees, aiming at anyone who irritated them.

Witches made a pact with the devil, sometimes for a specified amount of time. The devil was always tempting people into signing his book.

A witch could not say the "Our Father" prayer without making mistakes.

A witch could be in one place while her specter was causing pain and mischief in another.

The devil had no power over those who didn't give him permission. He could not assume the shape of a righteous person, though the Puritans had no valid reason to believe this and many argued over the use of "spectral evidence."

If a person was convicted, or even accused of being a witch, his or her family was automatically suspect.

Part TWO