It lives in a thought, and breaths through an action

Defining witchcraft has been haunting me for a time. It is something that cannot be limited to simple definitions. Witchcraft is a living and breathing word that changes like the world. It exists in a seemingly untouchable state within an unseen plane. It is a tree of the earth, but we merely can observe what is on the surface. How can one define something that is riddled in constant change, secrets, and unseeable forces? Here comes my dilemma.
When I seem certain as to what it is, the craft shows a completely different course to my path. It leads me farther and farther down into a spiral. I know in my heart that my ideas and thoughts will always change, just as witchcraft does. But as I grow and learn, it is important for me to contemplate and ponder about such subjects. It is with that action I am able to better see myself and know myself as not only a witch, but as a person.

So what is witchcraft? It is a craft of magical intent and skill. But, it is far more than just this. It is full of sin, it is selfish desire, it is true wickedness, it is literal poison. It is defined by the accuser saying that it is not of god… it is satanic. This is true. Witchcraft is a maleficent form of magic, for it is not bound by the laws of gods or men; the elite or the powerful. It is a practice of traitors, rebels, and poisoners. We seek the counsel of gods, spirits, demons, and fairies for our own benefit, for our own narcissistic spiritual prostitution.

Yet…If you still are reading this, you know witchcraft, and do not fear the roots and dirt. The witch knows themselves and the nature of the world. You know of the blossoms and fruit that spawn from this tree: just as you know the roots that live deep in the dark earth. Witchcraft is a poison to the accuser, but an antidote to the witch. Poisons kill and cure dependent upon the knowledge and understanding of the poison.  And this is why witchcraft is feared. Witchcraft seeks those that know it, for we are kindred. It is inherent of spirits and everything around us. It cannot simply exist in the mind.

The craft is an action, an experience, a relationship. The witch may be cut from society, but they cannot be cut from the world, from the otherworld. It is a spiritual practice of magic and is one with nature. But, it is not merely limited to one aspect of nature. It is both the wild forests, but also the urban cities of man and technology. For nature is the very existence of life and death itself. It is the connection between polar opposites. A path bouncing between two extremes, becoming crooked in this action.

Taking in what is around, a witch can find the magic in anything. The tools of our lives can become sacred objects. It is of practical actions and sacred rites. Two extremes and all in between. When I discarded the binary concept of good and evil, when I truly cut my ties with Christianity, I truly started to understand this all. I understood that it is completely alien to the norms of society. I cannot truly describe it. For witchcraft is more than just paragraphs of words. It is the heart and mind of every witch, both living and dead. Yet, it is a sentient beast of its own. One that doesn’t speak, it can only feel.

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There’s a piece wad please a brownie: A book of fairy offerings

There’s a piece wad please a brownie : a comparative study of offerings to the fairies in traditional cultures and contemporary earth-centred religions: by Silvester, Niko

The object of this thesis is to compare the practice of giving offerings to the fairies between two broad groups: the traditional or folk cultures of the Celtic areas and contemporary Earth-Centred spiritual groups. These offerings are discussed in terms of form and function in each of the two groups, and compared between groups. — The data for this study comes primarily from printed sources in the case of the folk tradition and printed and online sources in the case of Earth-Centred Spirituality. Information for both groups has been supplemented by personal communications and e-mail correspondence. — The emphasis of this thesis is on comparison between the folk tradition and Earth-Centred Spirituality, however, differences within each group are also noted. Most people following Earth-Centred Spiritualities have looked to folklore to some degree for inspiration or at the very least for enjoyment. It is this which forms the basis for the relationship between the two groups.Abstract of the Thesis

Looking through informative papers and books about both the classical and modern Fairy Faith, I ran into this thesis paper by Niko Silvester. It certainly has lots of information and sources.

If you’re curious as to the Fairy Faith and working with fairies, this text has a lot to offer. You can pick up a legal download from the link listed above.

Imps, Familiars, and The Familiar Spirit

The topic of Familiars in modern witchcraft is a bit  misinformed as to what exactly these beings are. Some say they are simply a pet belonging to a witch; however, it is far from the case. In the hopes of clearing things a bit up for my followers, I am writing this to explain what Familiars are and the differences between the different types.

There are a few different types of Familiars to consider. There are:

  • The Familiar Spirit
  • Imps
  • Familiar spirits
  • Bloodline Familiars

Let’s discuss what they are and how they differ from another.

The Familiar Spirit

Tam Lin by Jane Yolen and Charles Mikolaycak

This is somewhat comparable to the Holy Guardian Angel found in various practices of high and ceremonial magic, such as the Order of the Golden Dawn. It is the human familiar spirit, the fairy lover, the demon lover, the spirit companion, the familiar self, the witch’s doppleganger. It is the you that is separate, yet it is its own entity. These are the beings that witches met when flying to the sabbat, their spirit lover. Typically, it is opposite to the witch, “In 1633, Margaret Johnson, the Lancashire witch, stated that besides theire particular familiars or spirits, there was one greate or grand devill, or spirit, more eminent than the rest. Shee allsoe saith, yt if a witch have but one marke, shee hath but one spirit; if two, then two spirits; if three, yet but two spirits. Shee alsoe saith, that men witches usually have women spirits, and women witches men spirits,” (source). It might be that these spirits are complete opposites to their witch counterpart; however, it may also be they take a form most desired by the witch. It is why some have Familiar spirits of the same gender, or spirits that change gender along with their witch.

Examples of The Familiar Spirit

  • Tam Lin (from the Ballad of Tam Lin)
  • The Queen of Heaven (from Thomas the Rhymer)
  • Cupid (from the tale The Most Pleasant and Delectable Tale of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche)

Imps

The Witches’ animal familiar, maleficent animals, divination animals, domestic familiars. These are, usually, physical creatures or vessels that act as the witch’s familiar. These are the creatures people typically think of when thinking of familiars. They are the witch’s pet, servator, companion, spy, and aid in the magical arts.

Now from this, there are 2 main sort of imps. A living creature of flesh such as a rabbit, cat, or dog. There are also imps that are merely spirits tied to a vessel. These vessels can be anything from stuffed animals to bottles or urns. The Familiar’s spirit possesses the vessel, which then it seeks to serve the witch. It can be an actual spirit or even created by a witch (or even by another spirit). Now the interesting part of this is that the living creatures can even act as vessels for familiar spirits.

Imps are the creatures you see depicted being fed blood from witches. Witches allow familiars to suckle blood from their witch marks to forge the pact between the two. The imp receiving care and food, and the witch receiving aid and power from the imp. The pact between the two is what makes an imp the witches’ familiar (vs just a regular pet or spirit).

Familiar spirits

A witch can have many familiar spirits, which take many forms. Though, they tend to be animal in form. There are some known to be human or even “supernatural” in form. There are descriptions of familiar spirits that are fairies, spirits of the dead, saints, devils, demons, and even angels. Some witches state they had certain plants as their familiars.

They take similar roles to spirit guides and spirit helpers; however, they, like imps, also require a pact as well. A witch can have many familiar spirits all that serve their needs depending on the reason for the pact. However, the pact isn’t always made through physical means vs the pact made with imps.

Bloodline Familiars

These are known as “Totem” familiars. Bloodline familiars are those that are passed down from hereditary practices, from parent to child. Covens have also been known to have these, and can give access to these familiars through initiatory means. They are familiars that serve specific bloodlines or groups, and only grant their power and aid to those within it.

One can also argue that a Bloodline familiar is not truly a spirit, but rather an icon. A symbol of that family or coven, in which appears in dreams as a sign or omen. I attempted to do more research into this, but it was only mentioned in one of my texts, “There is that which is used as the coven “totem” animal, mentioned earlier in connection with the symbolism of the witch bracelet. This symbolic animal form is decided upon at the formation of a coven by mutual agreement among the members and after much introspection and divination. The chosen totemic animal form or forms, for there may be several, is then ritually “assumed” by coven members during the chain dance at the Sabbat itself, and also should they at any time wish to indulge in the practice of “sending for the fetch,” commonly Omens and auguries of coming events may also be drawn by the seasoned practitioner from the appearance on the scene of one such specimen of a coven totem, a grey bird maybe or a large black cat. Part of this witchlore may have filtered out in the past and now be responsible for the common public beliefs about lucky or unlucky black cats crossing one’s path, and so on,” (Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson).

The Pact (how does one get a familiar?)

The pact is something that is spoken of within many witch confessions and trials. The witch obtains the familiar, forges a pact, and begins the relationship. Familiars were told to appear in a few different ways.

  • given from a spirit (the devil)
  • passed down from another witch
  • appearing by chance
  • created by the witch’s own “evil” desire (this references that familiars can be created by the witch themselves)
  • appearing after a great rite or initiation

There are those that believe every witch will have at least one familiar, whether it be a physical creature or not. Though, familiars don’t appear in every witch lore. It is mostly common in western European witch lore.

What does the pact entail? Typically, it involved the feeding of blood to the familiar to strengthen the bond and forge the union. I’ve seen reference to a few other methods such as spiritual sacrifice, offering of milk or food from the same dish, or even scraping off bits of your kitchen table to feed the familiar. Others reference to rituals being performed to summon the fetch and create the bond. Though one thing is very important, the witch and familiar must be bound to one another body and spirit.

This allows the witch to travel to the Sabbat with their familiar, perform magical acts with them, or even hag ride them into the night.

Hope this helped clear a bit up! My resources are below. As a note: I do reference reading Margaret Alice Murray, not for her incorrect theories, but for her amazing resources. When reading her books focus on quoted references. You can also do further research by searching into her sources (though some are difficult to find).

reading list

  • Demonology: demons & devils / Spiritual Warfare By Dr. Phillip Botha
  • Witches’ Familiars in England by M. A. Murray
  • Malevolent Nurture: Witch-Hunting and Maternal Power in Early Modern England by Deborah Willis
  • The Esoteric Codex: Supernatural Legends By Cedrick Pettigrove
  • The History of Witchcraft and Demonology by Montague Summers
  • Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic by Emma Wilby
  • The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland by Emma Wilby
  • Traditional Crafte translated by Robin Artisan
  • Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson
  • The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer
  • The Witch-Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Alice Murray
  • Irish Witchcraft and Demonology by St. John D. Seymour

“Transphobia is Anti-Feminist” by Sable Aradia

an important issue in the various Pagan and witchcraft communities

Humanistic Paganism

This essay was originally published at From the Shadows.

Source: Tumblr.

I learned a new term this week, I’m sorry to say.  The term is TERF, which stands for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.”  Apparently there is a whole subculture of feminists who are dedicated, not to fighting the patriarchy, but to fighting the quest of people who are transgendered to acquire equal rights. I learned about this because a woman who goes by the name of Pleope Septara Cyantornus set out to harass my friend Nornoriel Lokason on his blog this week.  She was determined to inform Nornoriel that he is not actually a man, he’s a woman because biology has determined this.  She tried to convince him, and his readers, that “transwomen” threaten women because their challenges to existing laws endanger women’s “protected status.”  She tried to appeal to me in particular because I identified myself as a woman and a…

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Day 81: Family Stories

Mountain Man Traditional Healing

My paternal grandma grew up around Ozark, AR which is down in Franklin County on the Arkansas River at the feet of the Ozark Mountains. She came from a family of sharecroppers that worked themselves to death over the the course of four generations. My grandma’s family didn’t have a car or electricity until after she was married, and she remembered leaving the land only once, when she was a little girl one of her aunt’s passed away and they traveled a few miles, by horse-drawn cart, to visit the family. My grandma told me a story that when she was a little girl she had a terrible rash on her feet, so bad that she could hardly walk. So her mom and dad took her off to one of my grandma’s  aunts who was supposedly a witch. My grandma said she remembered the woman just looking over her feet…

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Day 80: Lady Augusta Gregory: Herbs, Charms and Wise Women

Mountain Man Traditional Healing

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In renewing my interest in Lady Augusta Gregory’s works, and since I haven’t had the time to write up anything new, I’m going to include another chapter from her “Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland”. This chapter focuses on traditional remedies and charms used by healers in Ireland around the turn of the 20th century.

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There is a saying in Irish, “An old woman without learning, it is she will be doing charms”; and I have told in “Poets and Dreamers” of old Bridget Ruane who came and gave me my first knowledge of the healing power of certain plants, some it seemed having a natural and some a mysterious power. And I said that she had “died last winter, and we may be sure that among the green herbs that cover her grave there are some that are good for every bone in the body and that are…

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Day 79: Lady Augusta Gregory: Seers and Healers

Mountain Man Traditional Healing

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One of my favorite books to bring out on a rainy day is Lady Augusta Gregory’s “Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland” which details accounts of her travels searching for Irish folkways. My favorite chapter is on “Seers and Healers” and takes a look at the traditional Irish wise women and cunning folk. People like Biddy Early are talked about in great detail, as well as other famous healers. One of the reasons this interests me so much is because these folkways and beliefs had such a great influence upon Ozark/Appalachian folk belief. We can clearly see in the person of the Ozark Power or Yarb Doctor the ancestor that was the cunning folk. I’m including the first few paragraphs of this chapter below, and since it is a long section I’ll give a link to the rest of the work.

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In talking to the people I often heard the…

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Day 78: What is Folk Magic?

Mountain Man Traditional Healing

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What is folk magic? I’m not 78 days into this project and I’m not sure I’ve talked about this yet. For me it’s not hard to understand, but I can see where there might be a lot of confusion about the subject. “Folk magic” is commonly defined as “The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to control natural or chance events or to influence the behavior or emotions of others.” That’s pretty broad though isn’t it? Well, yes, but that’s the point. Folk magic is often called “low magic” and separated from the more “ceremonial” types of work, at least in terms of traditional European magic. It’s the work of the common folk, passed down orally from generation to generation rather than be written down. The work of folk magic deals with everyday ills and sicknesses; blood stopping, wart curing, burn soothing, are all a part of…

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The Devil’s Dozen: 13 Craft Rites of the Old one

‘The Devil’s Dozen’ is a modern ‘gramarye’, or ‘black book’ of thirteen Craft rites of the Old One has been created and is offered by a present day initiate of the ‘Old Craft’

Within its pages there are to be found thirteen rites – for both the ‘lone’ practitioner and the assembled companie – of vision, sacred compact, dedication, initiation, consecration, empowerment, protection, illumination, union, transformation and devotion- Source

This was my first Gemma Gary book, and I have to say I am not disappointed. In fact, I will be purchasing more of her book. This is absolutely fantastic and is full of amazing rites for witches to perform. The author is fantastic in her writing skills, and the moment I started reading the Introduction was when I fell in love with Gemma Gary’s writing.

She is amazing, and I highly suggest this book to any witch seeking to have a bit more mystery in their craft.

I don’t want to go over this book in detail, since it would spoil the amazing pages. I will show what the book has in terms of chapters.

  • Introduction
  • The Man in Black – The Witch’s Compact
    A Call Unto the Dark Man
  • Under the Horns – Dedication and Initiation of the Witch
    A Rite of Witch-Initiation & Dediction
  • The Witch’s Nowl – Hallowing of the Working Ground
    A Rite of Hallowing for the Working Ground
  • Raising the Stang
    The Rites of Hallowing, Shodding & Raising the Stang
  • The Horned Castle – A Rite of the Compass
    A Rite of the Witch’s Compass
  • The Wisht Hounds – Rites of Warding & Turning
    A Call unto the Wisht Hounds
    A Rite of Turning
  • The Light Betwixt – Witch-fire & the Grand Array
    A Devotional Conjuration of the Witch-Fire
    A Devotional Mass for Old Master Bucca
  • All is One – Union with the Old One and the Spirit World
    The Rite of Union
  • Skin Turning & The Wild Hunt
    The Assumption of the Horns
    An All Hallow’s Rite of the Wild Hunt
  • The Bucca Vessel – A Rite of the Oracular Skull
    A Rite of the Bucca Vessel
  • The Old Farmer
    A Rite of the Green-Cap

Overall; I rate this book 5 stars out of 5. It is just that good. 100% worth the money.

Book Review: Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living by Melusine Draco

Today, I’ll be taking a look through “Traditional Witchcraft: For Urban Living” by Melusine Draco. (heads up, will contain my own opinions and beliefs~)


Now, I purchased this book for about $1, which definitely isn’t a bad deal. I was a bit skeptical of this book being worth a look through, but I went with it anyways. I’ll do a more detail looked at specific chapters, and then an overall critique at the end. Here we go~

Chapter 1: A Pagan Perspective 

She starts out pointing out that it is A-OK with being a witch (and even a pagan) living in the city. She then later discusses the old definitions of the term “Pagan” and how they do not really apply to the word in today’s context. She states, “In contemporary society, ‘pagan’ is now the accepted umbrella term for those who follow any eclectic, reconstructionalist doctrines of pre-Christian beliefs.” He also states next that a witch is a witch, no matter where they live. Which, I definitely agree with.

Witchcraft is a practice that is not limited to the wilds and secret places. It can be found in cities, towns, and urban places. Urban places may be less “psychic friendly” as he puts it, but she also states that there are three key ways to flourish in such a place, “acclimatize, adapt and improvise.” The creative witch is the one that survives and blossoms in the city. She then lists 4 exercises and examples of his three key ways: Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. The exercises show creative ways that urban witches can be with their craft.

After this, I was quite surprised. She states: “We also need to accept that witchcraft (unlike Wicca) is not a religion – it never has been, simply because it’s an individual’s natural ability that distinguishes him or her as a witch.” It isn’t very often that I find an ebook that makes such a statement. It is a nice change. I do agree with her there.

Her next statement? Kinda, kinda not: “A witch is born, not made.” At times, I struggle with the idea that people become witches because they are born with such an ability and talent. But in my personal opinion, I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with the idea of a natural born witch. I certainly do believe that people are physically born with the witch blood. This blood was passed on from the first witches, those who were born of fairies. However, it is not limited to physical flesh and bone.

The witch blood can also be passed on spiritually. It can even be gained or granted. Why granted? There are old charms and tales of individuals calling to the fairies to be granted the witches’ skill. Tales of people calling to the devil and being initiated into the practice of witchcraft. It is something that can be given from spirits and even the witch ancestors. After this bit, she goes on to tell the differences between Wicca, Paganism, and witchcraft. She tosses out the motto of “Harm none”, and rather states “Touch not the [wild] cat without a glove.” She even compares Wicca and witchcraft. Wicca being a domesticated cat, and witchcraft being a feral cat. I rather enjoyed his comparison of the two, and how witchcraft is different from Paganism and Wicca. It was a rather nice thing to read.

Chapter 2 and 3: The Unofficial Country side and Wildlife at your doorstep

In both of these chapters, she explores ways of bringing “nature” into your home and learning of the local environment and land of your urban location. In chapter 2, she talks about the hidden places that nature takes hold. Take time to notice the local plant life. She also talks about wort-lore. Personally, I enjoyed this, since I am a big herbal and plant gal. It is a thing in my fairy doctoring. She goes over the medical uses of herbs and the magical uses as well.

She suggests to try going “Wild gathering” (or better yet “Urban gathering”) and learn of local plant life to incorporate in your work. She also points out small gardens in pots work well. She lists a couple of spells in these chapters. In chapter 3, she provides spell work for local animal life. A spell for banishing pests (like roaches and rats). She then also speaks of “Totem animals”, but states she merely uses this term is “familiar to all”. I have mixed feelings about using the word totem, but it didn’t bother me too much. At the very least, she didn’t make claim to indigenous faiths.

Chapter 4: The Urban ‘Shadow World’

In this chapter, she starts out talking about historical references and cases of urban witches. One example she makes is, “The day before the coronation of Richard I in 1189, a proclamation had been made forbidding the attendance of witches at the ceremony at Westminster, although no official reason for the ban appears to have been recorded. Nevertheless, the presences of witches in London must have been a fairly common occurrence if a royal proclamation had to be issued to keep them away on that specific day.” I find it was cool to start out the chapter in this way. Referring to witchcraft, at least back in the day, as a sort of “black market” activity. It remained hidden, unspoken, but recognizable to those that know the signs.

She later states that there is nothing with being open in your practices, especially in today’s world. However, she talks about the the power and inspiration that comes from more subtle and hidden items of power. She then lists 4 different types of physical items: Witch’s Pouch and power objects, and Talismans and Amulets. For the first two, she definitely goes into more folk type magic. Many cunning folk (such as fairy doctors) would have secret items of power used to treat illnesses, determine ailments, and give sight into particular things. She talks about what makes a ‘power item’ what it is, and the container for them ‘the witch’s pouch’. For the talismans and amulets section, she talks about the difference of the two, and how you can create them.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this chapter. She focused more on more historical practices and physical, folk magic practices. Both of which, I enjoy a lot in my own practice.

Chapter 5: Observance and Celebration

I was a bit surprised by this chapter. When having read the first chapter, I had thought she would not include Neopagan practices in this book. To be honest, I somewhat glanced over this chapter. I’m not all that interested in Neopagan holidays, though I do observe them at times. I am more of a Witches’ Sabbat girl (esbats). However, she did separate his sections of the seasonal holidays and equinoxes/solstices to be a bit more “witchy” in nature. If you’re familiar with these holidays, a quick skim is all you really need. Nothing too exciting here. I was a bit disappointed. I thought she would make these practices a bit more “Urban-ized”.

Chapter 6: Magical Techniques for Confined Spaces

She starts out talking about circles and circle casting, “What we need to have foremost in our mind is the concept of protection and containment.” Circle casting, especially with the use of elemental directions, is a bit more ceremonial than I like. However, witches of old did participate in similar practices of setting “sacred” and “empowered” grounds to hold their Sabbats and magical rites.

However, I don’t believe that it is needed for every magical act. For protection, a witch can set up wards to stay active for a long time. They can also create other forms of protection, such as the witch’s bottle. But, I won’t go on too much about that, Melusine talks about cleansing and grounding, prior to magical work and circle casting. A good basic to resort to, especially in the city setting. She even references “setting the compass”, which is a traditional witchcraft term for “laying the circle”. Later, she addresses that magical practices can sometimes be a “double edged sword”. If not careful, the power can actually bite back. I feel it is a rather good warning. To, be careful what you do, since the results will fall directly back on you (within certain situations).

In reference to different types of spellwork, she talks about different sorts of spells. And rather, sarcastically (I think?), makes a reference to certain love spells being “scary black magic”. She talks about magic not being a “fix all” thing. And that sometimes, you just need to do something for the best results. The rest of the chapter, she talks about times to perform magic, their correspondences, where you can get spells and charms, etc. Nothing too exciting for someone familiar with this stuff. Chapter

7: Developing the art of ‘Seeing’ 

A chapter  about divination, and a brief summary of how to do them. Nothing too exciting. Though, it was the first time I have heard of Uromancy, which I thought was pretty cool. haha~

Chapter 8: Green Peace

Tips and ideas for growing your own garden in an urban space. It has a lot of suggestions and ideas. Some of which I didn’t think of. And, it has a lovely ritual for dedicating a space for your witchy garden~

Chapter 9: Spiritual Transformation

The author attempts to tackle the question “What do witches believe?” She does affirm with her previous statement, of witchcraft not being of one religion. Rather, she talks about witch traditions and their connections to Christian practices (most of which absorbed the local pagan practices). This chapter was rather interesting. It mostly discussed the idea that Christian practices (especially folk Christianity) contained practices of paganism and some history of witchcraft. She then goes into the idea of faith vs religion. Witchcraft being a practice of faith and spirituality vs of religious doctrines. The author then talks about ethics, morality and magic stating “traditional Craft is governed by the personal morality of the individual.” This idea, I thoroughly agree with.

The morality and ethics of witchcraft is fluid at best. It is not cut and dry compared to many other things. It is very crooked.

She later states: ” A traditional witch does not set themselves up as a guardian of public sensibilities, neither do they feel the need to take responsibility for society’s short-comings. This is not because the witch is cruel and unfeeling, it is just that they see things from a much broader viewpoint, including the sad reality that mankind causes much of its own misfortune. We may choose to help on a local, or personal level, but this is the decision of the individual, and not due to any social duty or obligation. In a nutshell … we merely after our own.” This, I do disagree with. A witch can be cut away from society (and that is their choice), but witchcraft is a magical practice of rebellion. It’s very existence is the rejection of oppressive bodies. Though it might be just my view, I feel a witch can’t truly be separate from the world. We are apart of it, and should protect what we stand for, tooth and nail. In the words of Aradia; “And thou shalt be the first of witches known; And thou shalt be the first of all i’ the world; And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning, Of poisoning those who are great lords of all; Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces; And thou shalt bind the oppressor’s soul (with power).” 

Chapter 10: Moving on

For some weird reason, I got a very weird vibe from this chapter. It felt very ‘elitist’ in a way. A few sections felt she was talking of “fake witches” merely in it for the attention. She talks about a few fads that both “real” and “fake” witches fall into. To list a few below

  • obsessed with finding a teacher- and listening to their every whim
  • people seeking something to fill a void- she uses people stealing from Eastern Religions to fill in the gap
  • merely practicing for the physical aesthetic. Faking it to get the attention
  •  Sticking only with the newest thing, and ditching the rest.

I did a rather quick read of this chapter, finding it a bit unnecessary and kinda unfitting for the rest of the chapter. Though, it somewhat fits with the “Deepening the meaning behind your practice” theme of this chapter.

The next section talks about going into the unknown. The author states there are certain parts of witchcraft that are looked with wary eyes, even by fellow witches and pagans. The “Crossing of the dark river” as the author puts it. It felt a bit whiny in the first part of this section, stating your perception will change and your mind will “transition from one psychic state, or level of consciousness, to another” and that a lot of people won’t be accepting of your changes.

Towards the end of this chapter, she talks the discussion of “Natural ability or illusion”. The fear of faking our own power. She states witchcraft is more than “mind over body” and a “feel good factory”. It is real and causes actual reactions. As she states, “If you ain’t scared shitless, you ain’t doing it right!”

She talks about the idea of “playing at it” rather than actually performing magical actions. This, I can understand. I have participated in rites and rituals where nothing happened. The hosts were merely going through the actions. Spirits never arrived. In compared to some Sabbat rites, I was so scared once that I ran back to my friend. I needed to be comforted. Some might see this as a bit judgmental, but I am one to agree that witchcraft is more than just “going through the steps”. If nothing happens, what is the point?

Overall

I had sections that I enjoyed, some that I didn’t, and some that were rather boring. I agreed with a lot of what she said, but some I definitely didn’t. This book is definitely opinionated, and there are some bits of information that don’t have any sources. Not too many, but a few. So those that enjoy their sources, may be a bit annoyed with some sections.

For me, I only took a few bit of things from this. Most of this, I was already familiar or easily grasped the idea. Then again, I enjoy books that are more about actual practice, rather then theory and discussion.

In conclusion, I give this book 3 stars out of 5. It’s alright, especially compared to a lot of ebooks being published today. Definitely is more about witchcraft (rather than Wicca or Paganism), but can be a bit boring for more knowledgeable and experienced practitioners.