Away with the fairies

If anyone is on the market for awesome books and articles about fairies and fairy lore? I would highly suggest: “Away with the Fairies” Wise Folk, Healing, and the Otherworld in Irish Oral Narrative and Belief by Timothy Corrigan Cornell. It has a TON of very informative sections about the lore and practices of folk healers including the fairy doctors of the Celtic nations

Fairy faith and its lore

I feel that in my previous list that I did not stress enough how important this book is.

The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, fauns and fairies by Robert Kirk was written in the 17th century, and is one of the most important texts when it comes to fairies, interacting with them, and the “Second Sight”.

For those curious in the fairy faith or wish to practice with fairies, I highly suggest reading it. Its definitely a difficult read if you take a look at one of the original copies (has ye olde English); however, there are many updated copies with translations that make it a lot easier. This is my favorite copy of it.

The Text talks about the following subjects

  • fairies, what they are, and where they exist
  • the second sight, what it is, who has it, and how is it obtained
  • fairy land and the underworld
  • various fairy ailments and blessings, and how to deal with them
  • fairies, fairyland, and their relation to the Dead

It is worth noting when reading this that the texts suffers from the misogamy and prejudices of the time. A lot of the modern copies and updates do rather well removing some of these that do not contribute to the actual content.

Some passages from the book…

With their weapons they [the fairies] also gon or pierce cows or other animals,

usually said to be Elfshot, whose purest substance, if they [subsequently] die, these

subterraneans take to live on, [which is to say] the aerial and ethereal parts, the most

spirituous [of] matter for [the] prolonging of Life, Leaving the Terrestrial [parts] behind;

such [that is, just] as aquae-vita [distilled spirits or whiskey] moderately taken, is [the

purest] among liquors. The cure of such hurt is simply for a man to find out the hole [of the

Elf-shot] with his finger, as if the spirits flowing from the man’s warm hand were antidote

sufficiently against the poisoned darts.- (Page 30)

Women are yet alive who tell [that] thy were taken away when in child-bed to nurse

fairy [spelt ffayrie] children, a lingering voracious image of theirs being left in their place,

like their reflection in a mirror, which, as if it were some insatiable spirit in an assumed

body, made first semblance to devour the meat, that it cunningly carried by, then left the

carcass as it expired, and departed thence, by a natural and common death.- (Page 25)

4. A charm [is] spoke[n] in[to] a napkin, and [then] the napkin is sent many miles off to

be tied about a child’s open-head to lift it up, as they speak [the charm], and it does the fact

[that is, does work].

I will lift up thy bones as Mary lifted up her hands, as the Forks are lifted under the

Heavens, as the priest lifts up the upright Mass, up to the crown of thy head I lift thy cheek-
bones, the bones of thy hind-head, thy Brow before and behind.- (Page 68)

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A verse of winter

The fall of blood covered flags reveal,

armies of frozen Gentry that come.

They rise and fall like the year’s wheel,

With winter as the final outcome.

 

Mighty fairy king and queen arise,

To bring fear to mortals’ eye.

The very seasons are their prize,

For those who will never die.

 

So come forth great beautiful ones,

Tirnog and the under plane.

But please spare our daughters and sons.

Instead just take our grain.

 

On this we say and shall pray,

“Seasons come and go,

But let them not end our days.

Life will continue to flow. “

Introduction to Wildcrafting and Foraging, Part II: Places to Gather, Ethical Harvesting, Avoiding Pollution, and Foraging as Spiritual Practice

The Druid's Garden

This is my second in a two-part series on how to wildcraft and forage successfully. The first post dealt with supplies for foraging, resources and how to learn the skills, and understanding timing. This post will talk about places to gather, avoiding contaminants in the landscape, the ethics of harvesting, and the spiritual side to foraging and wildcrafting.

Where You Gather: Kinds of Property

Wild blueberry bushes in a bog! Wild blueberry bushes in a bog!

Wildcrafting obviously requires you to go out into the land and find what you need. There are different kinds of places you can go—your own backyard/land, parks, abandoned lots, friends’ land, and so on. Each location has some benefits and as you start wildcrafting and foraging, you will find your own spots that you will return to again and again and again. Here are some of the kinds of places that I go:

My own land. Since I know…

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Traditional Witchcraft Resources

Here are some resources (links, books, articles, blogs, etc) about Traditional witchcraft that I’ve enjoyed quite a bit. All books and websites I have read and gone through….

BOOKS

Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson

Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson was published in 1970 before the New Age phase really hit the market.

authentic witchcraft by grayson magnus

It provides a comprehensive overview of the authentic, historical Witchcraft tradition.

The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies by The Reverend Robert Kirk.

Amazing read, especially for when it comes to otherworldy practices. Unfortunately, the text does suffer from the misogamy of the time, but a lot of updated translations do their best to omit this from the text.

Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches by Charles Godfrey Leland

While not exactly the most reliable source for history with some of the claims and content in great question, it most certainly is an enjoyable read. It has had a lot of influence on modern Neo Pagan practices.

The Witch-Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Alice Murray

A book heavily discussed over. Murray’s theories have been discredited for a very long time; however as a friend put it, her resources are genuine and an absolute must read.

Ancient legends mystic charms and superstitions of Ireland by Lady Wilde

Now this book, it is one of my most favorites. Definitely a big influence on my practice. It has a ton of ancient tales, charms, and bits of witchcraft within its pages.

Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall by William Bottrell

I haven’t dived too deeply into these volumes, but Cornwall is known for its witchcraft.

Irish Witchcraft and Demonology by St. John D. Seymour

Good Book. Talks about historical witchcraft and the practices of supposed witches during the witch craze in Europe. Very detailed and dirty witchcraft

The Book of English Magic by Philip Carr-Gomm & Richard Heygate

This gives a ton of information and covers a lot of English magic.

These two books by Valerie Worth (Crone’s book of Magical words; Crone’s Book of Charms and Spells) are great. They are less focused on an academic view, and more focused on the practice aspect of witchcraft.

WEBSITES AND BLOGS

  • Sacred-texts: A HUGE library of books and resources on a wide amount of different subjects.
  • Cornish Witchcraft: I want to own all the books on this site. A great resource about Cornwall and its witchcraft practices.
  • Traditional Cornish Witchcraft: The site is a bit ugly, but it has some really neat pages
  • Heritage Witchcraft: This website is owned and managed by Grayson Magnus. He has a lot of interesting stuff there including audio posts.
  • Archive.org: Similar to Sacred-Texts, but has a bit more, and includes audio and videos
  • Saralawless: A blog by a traditional witch.
  • Scarlet Imprints: fantastic source for traditional witchcraft books and articles
  • Spiritscraft: Another traditional witch, and a personal friend

ARTICLES

Note: In this discussion, I will be talking about the “3 fold law” and not “Karma”. I have many feels about that word and it being used in a Western context (mostly involves me rolling my eyes), and I honestly don’t think it really belongs in witchcraft, especially with how people say it works vs how it /actually/ work. Anyways, I won’t ramble on about that anymore. Here we go

My thoughts towards 3 main topics “The 3 fold law and the Wiccan Rede”, “Only use magic in desperation”, and “Never charge money for magic”. This may or may not turn into a rant v-v

3 Fold Law and the Wiccan Rede

What are my feelings towards the Wiccan 3 Fold Law? I should first address what it is and how it applies. Firstly, it simply goes “Mind the Threefold Law ye should, Three times bad and three times good.”

It can be found not only in Wicca, but also a few various other Neo Pagan practices (usually a more eclectic Neo Pagan practice). I’ve seen it both interpreted as being a simple “you get what you put out” to it being a cosmic force.

Honestly, my thoughts towards it are a bit of annoyance? But, it goes hand in hand with people, who believe themselves to be wiser than me, trying to scare me with their unwanted advice and influence how I should practice magic. It seems that this is more from know-it-alls (hey every group has them) and people who view the 3 fold law as a cosmic and sentient force.

This is very similar to my previous discussion about witchcraft (A desire for witchcraft). What are you all so afraid of? With how some people have raved to me, it almost sounds like some of you think this thing is out to get you.

The Three Fold Law is one of the things that pushed me away from Wicca, along with the Rede. I honestly don’t think it belongs in witchcraft. Its most certainly not present in my own.

Witchcraft is about making choices and being in control. I want to embrace and accept all sides of witchcraft, not just the ones that wouldn’t get me in “cosmic trouble”. Now, its not all about being jinx throwing, hex wielding witches that curse at every single person around them. Its about getting something or bettering something and deciding yourself what is the best way to go about it.

 

Magic doesn’t act on morality. It acts on what is the best method possible at the time. Sometimes that involves a ward simply pushing things away, and other times it involves them getting hit by a bus. Its not satient. Its a force that simply does what it does only being swayed at times by our wills. As a witch, I accept the price of using my craft. Nothing is ever free, I definitely feel the price I have to pay at times are worth the outcomes. If the benefit doesn’t out way the cost, I tend to find another method for a better benefic and easier cost. Every action has a consequence, whether it be a consequence that affects me or not.

 

I trust myself more than anything else, whether it be another thinking being or the concept of a code. If I fucked up, I fucked up, and if I done good its because I did it.

 

Magic comes at a time- “Using it for only the most dire of situations.”

I can’t help it, but when I hear or read about someone stating “Magic should only be used in the most dire of situations and as a last resort” I think “how the hell do you get better at it if you only use it so rarely???”

 

I guess this comes from how I view magic. I view it like a skill, in which you can improve upon and become more skilled in. As they say, practice makes perfect, and magic is no different. Can’t be afraid of it.

Money and Witchcraft- “You shouldn’t charge for it.”

I am going to be 100% honest. This is new age hippie bullshit. Witchcraft, back in the day, was something that people would sneak to see a witch and offer her any wealth to fix what needed fixing. Witches got shit done, and they were paid in kind for it. This theme of payment pops up in all sort of witch folklore from various sources. Some stories told about witches wrecking havoc for not getting paid the proper amount.

 

Witches want to benefit from their craft. A person comes to them asking for the aid of a charm or spell? You bet they would want payment for it, whether it be actual money or something like a gift.

 

“Cosmic enlightenment” < getting paid for my skill.


Now, its more than just simply the payment of a skill. In my practice, it’s an important part of the spell work. A person needs to contribute to the act in some way. They can’t just get a freebee. All parties gotta bleed for what they want. And they will either do it or not. If the person doesn’t want to pay you, its clear what they want isn’t really worth your time and energy.

Spell, ritual, charms what?- Talking about some terms in witchcraft

Inspired from listening to a witchcraft podcast, I bring you a talk about some of the terms both well known and some not so known. I hope you all enjoy~

Spell: a form of words used as a magical charm or incantation; a state of enchantment caused by a magic spell; an ability to control or influence people as though one had magical power over them.

A spell is a magical act meant to achieve something. Though, it tends to be less strict and structured, and it tends to be more chaotic and spur of the moment. Spells that are pre-written are not strictly followed, and tend to vary when put to actual use. Often if I would write up a spell before performing it, I would make it a draft, in which I would change after actually performing it. Compared to a ritual, it is more of a recipe or a guideline than a strict list of instructions and how-to.

Ritual: a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order; the prescribed order of performing a ceremony, especially one characteristic of a particular religion or church; a series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.

On the other hand, rituals gain their power from repetitiveness, practice, and study. The pre-work is a very important step in ritual work. Rituals tend to be more formal and planned out. You will pretty much be doing the ritual the same every time compared to spell-work, which can vary from every time you do the “same” spell.

Charm: a small ornament worn on a necklace or bracelet; an object, act, or saying believed to have magic power; an object kept or worn to ward off evil and bring good luck; the chanting or reciting of a magic spell.

In the more traditional context, a charm is a poetic incantation and is similar to a prayer, EXAMPLE. In a more modern context, it is a physical object meant to contain or perform a magical purpose. Its a charm bag, a charm bracelet, a charm box, charm bottles, etc.

In another sense, it also is often used to characterize any magical (or thought to be) act or intent.

Sabbat: any of eight neo-pagan religious festivals commemorating phases of the changing seasons; a midnight assembly of witches, devils, and sorcerers for the celebration of rites and orgies; a supposed annual midnight meeting of witches with the Devil.

The witch’s Sabbat, in the traditional and historical lore, is a nocturnal gathering of witches, usually reflecting the moon cycle in some way. It was during this time rituals like The Black Mass were performed or reverse baptisms and prayers. They also partook in the act of “Flight”.

Often today, the word Sabbat is associated with its neopagan meaning involving the celebration of the wheel of the year and the seasons, while Esbat is more associated with the rituals revolving around the moon.  Margaret Murray was the one who originally coined the word Esbat with this meaning, “An esbat is commonly understood to be a ritual observance on the night of a full moon.”

Familiar (spirit): a spirit often embodied in an animal and held to attend and serve or guard a person; an animal, as a cat, that embodies a supernatural spirit and aids a witch in performing magic; a demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.

One of the more confused terms, Familiar, in its historical and traditional context, is a term meant for a spirit, which is also referred to as Familiar spirit, Spirit Lover, Spirit Companion, Spirit Self, and the Faery Lover.

In the modern context heavily influenced from pop-culture, it is associated as either an animal servant of the witch or just a pet that belongs to the witch.

Imp: a mischievous child; a small, mischievous devil or sprite.

the witch’s imps

Now in align with today’s view of Familiars, the imp is more closely related to that. It is a term used for the servants of witches, which were often pets or wild animals.

Black Mass: A Black Mass is a ritual characterized by the inversion of the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church. The history of such rituals is unclear before the modern era. The Black Mass was allegedly celebrated during the Witches’ Sabbath.

Now, I have yet to perform the Black Mass, but I find it very interesting. Basically, it was used to undo the effects that a Church’s mass would have. A large ritual was practiced in order to “undo one’s mind from Christianity”. Within the historical context, it was practiced when Christianity was spreading and converting many people. It was a time of the Inquisition and of the Crusades. A lot of people were feeling the oppression and tyranny that the Church was exercising. The Black Mass, in reference to traditional witchcraft, has a lot of deep connection and important meanings that tie in with how they viewed Christianity and The Devil.

For more info about the Black Mass, I would suggest listening to THIS.