“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.

The Witch devil is a Fairy Lord

“…alas! the melancholy yelping of the hounds, and the dismal bolloa of the hunter came nearer and nearer. After a considerable run, they had so gained upon him, that on looking back,–oh horror! he could distinctly see hunter and dogs. The former was terrible to look at, and had the usual complement of saucer-eyes, horns, and tail, accorded by common consent to the legendary devil. He was hiack, of course, and carried in his hand a long hunting-pole. The dogs, a numerous pack, blackened the small patch of moor that was visible; each snorting fire, and uttering a yelp of indescribably frightful tone. No cottage, rock, or tree was near to give the herdsman shelter, and nothing apparently remained to him but to abandon himself to their fury, when a happy thought suddenly flashed upon him and suggested a resource. Just as they were about to rush upon him, he fell on his knees in prayer. There was strange power in the holy words he uttered; for immediately, as if resistance had been offered, the hell-hounds stood at bay, howling more dismally than ever, and the hunter shouted, ‘Bo Shrove,’ at which they all drew off on some other pursuit and disappeared,” – The Devil’s Dandy Dogs.

By Johann Wilhelm Cordes

Upon a death struck horse, the dark man flies surrounded by his hunting hounds. He rides alongside the Queen of Elphame, both brandishing spears. It is a God of witchcraft, the very devil himself. This is our great initiator, the witches’ devil. The Faery King.

Unlike modern associations, the devil has many connections and relations with the fairy faith and folklore of the British Isles. He is the mighty Bucca of Cornwall; the leader of the Slau of Ireland and Scotland. The mighty dark man, who participates in the Wild hunt, “Within the lore of the Wild Hunt, again we find the Man in Black and also the Queen of Elphame, this time leading a host of the dead, the Hidden Company, in a hunt or procession in the forms of Hellekin, Herlechin, Holda, and Nicnevin….The spectral one being a host of the dead and fey signalling disaster and death to come or with the purpose of hunting down lost souls and evil-doers,” (The Man in Black).

The nature of the devil in witchcraft is often overlooked or ignored. I feel it is time for me to talk about his role as the witches’ devil, and how I view him within my own craft. The devil is the Witch Father, a god of nature itself, a satyr “ represented as black, with goat’s horns, ass’s ears, cloven hoofs, and an immense phallus…. He is the figure who danced light-heartedly across the Aristophanic stage, stark nude in broad midday, animally physical, exuberant, ecstatic, crying aloud the primitive refrain, ‘Phales, boon mate of Bacchus, joyous comrade in the dance, wanton wanderer o’ nights’ … in a word, he was Paganism incarnate, and Paganism was the Christian’s deadliest foe; so they took him, the Bacchic reveller, they smutted him from horn to hoof, and he remained the Christian’s deadliest foe, the Devil,” (The History of the Devil: The Horned God of the West).

There was once a time that little to no distinction was made between fairies and devils. You can see these with such words like Trow, which can be translated both to either elf (or troll) and Satan. The tendency to make fairyland a province of Satan’s kingdom was, at one point, very common within the history of the British Isles; and therefore, any person communing with fairies was considered to be practicing witchcraft or performing in Satanic rites (Carolyn Emerick: When Witches Communed with Fairies).

When someone gained the Second sight, they feared to see not only the fairy folk, but they feared to see demons, imps, and devils as well. In the words of Emma Wilby from Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, “there was often little difference between a fairy and an angel, saint, ghost, or devil. We find the popular link between fairies and angels, for example, expressed in the confession of a cunning man on trial for witchcraft in Aberdeen, in 1598. The magical practitioner, who was identified in the trial records as ‘Andro Man’, claimed that his familiar (described by the interrogators as the Devil) was an angel who, like Tom Reid, served the queen of the fairies. The records state ‘Thow confessis that the Devill, thy maister, quhom thow termes Christsonday, and supponis to be ane engell, and Goddis godsone, albeit he hes a thraw by God, and swyis to the Quene of Elphen, is rasit be the speking of the word Benedicte.”

It is fitting that Lucifer, the ruler of the Fallen angels, is a Fairy King. Within some christianized folklore, fairies were fallen angels; “’The Proud Angel fomented a rebellion among the angels of heaven, where he had been a leading light. He declared that he would go and found a kingdom for himself. When going out at the door of heaven the Proud Angel brought prickly lightning and biting lightning out of the doorstep with his heels. Many angels followed him… whereupon the Father ordered that the gates of heaven and the gates of hell should be closed. This was instantly done. And those who were in were in, and those who were out were out; while the hosts who had left heaven and had not reached hell flew into the holes of the earth, like the stormy petrels. These are the Fairy Folk–ever since doomed to live under the ground, and only allowed to emerge where and when the King permits,” (Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries).

The devil of the witches is a Fairy Lord, who reveals a narrow path into a dark wood. But not only that, he is also the King of familiars. He, alongside the Fairy Queen, can guide witches to their fairy lovers. And much like the witches and their own shape shifting abilities, the devil had many animal forms he could transform into: the cat, a black hound, ravens, the goat, a toad, animals heavily associated with witches and fairies, “Increasing interest in the folkloric dimension of witchcraft beliefs is leading scholars to consider that confession-depiction of the Devil might be rooted in genuinely popular ideas about embodied folk spirits, such as fairies and the dead,” (Emma Wilby: The Visions of Isobel Gowdie).

Given many names and many histories, the devil may share the name of the same icon we think of today; however, the two are very different. For the devil of the witches, is a god of nature and witchcraft itself. Unyielding, rebellious, poisonous, and crooked.

Not of the seed of Adam are we,

Nor is Abraham our father;

But of the seed of the Proud Angel,

Driven forth from Heaven.

– the fairies may be heard singing lightheartedly

Fairies and Witches: My personal thoughts on their relationships and connections

O’ Mester King o’ a’ that’s ill,

Come fill me wi’ the Warlock’s [Witches’] Skill,

An’ I shall serve wi’ all me will.

Trow take me gin I sinno!

Trow take me gin I winno!

Trow take me win I cinno!

Come take me noo, an take me a’,

Take lights an’ liver, pluck and ga,

Take me, take me, noo I say,

Fae de how o’ da heed, tae da tip o’ da tae.

Take a’ dats oot an’ in o’ me.

Take hare an hide an a’ tae thee.

Take hert, an harns, flesh, bleud and banes,

Take a’ atween the seeven stanes,

I’ de name of da muckle black Wallowa!

-The Witch’s’ Charm: Gaelic incantations, charms, and blessings of the Hebrides

The relationship between fairies and witches is deeply rooted in mythos, folklore, tradition, and history. It never surprises me to see fellow witches dive into the practices of fairy faith along their craft. It is all too natural.

The fairy faith of the British Isles grew alongside witchcraft, and with the coming of Christianity the two entities became more merged into one. Though as Emma Wilby says in Cunning Folk and Familiar spirits on the topic of Demon familiars and Fairy familiars, “…it is not feasible that a downward filtration process of this kind occurring over a couple of hundred years could fully account for the diversity and subtlety of fairy familiar beliefs throughout Britain from the very beginning of this period. It is even more unlikely that beliefs about demon familiars and beliefs about fairy familiars existed simultaneously and completely independently of each other. The only interpretation left before us, therefore, is that a significant proportion of fairy familiar beliefs were indigenous to popular culture.”

Though she speaks specifically about familiar spirits, she also addresses the nature of magical practices, specifically witchcraft and cunning folk, in relationship with the fairy faith. These practices heavily influenced one another. In the lore of Scotland, Ireland, and even Wales, witches were often compared to fairies. Witches could transform into Cat Sith, fairy cats said to be black with a white marking on their chest.

It is why Fairy doctors treated both fairy and witch ailment, for both were seen as the same. Witches and fairies could both send the evil eye and attack with the elf dart.  “Witches and fairy doctors receive their power from opposite dynasties; the witch from evil spirits and her own malignant will; the fairy doctor from the fairies, and a something–a temperament–that is born with him or her. The first is always feared and hated. The second is gone to for advice, and is never worse than mischievous,” (Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry: Edited and Selected by W. B. Yeats).

From this, it can be determined that fairy doctors and witches receive their power from the same source, but rather use it in different ways. In particular, it is interesting that dynasty is used to define the two’s power. Witches getting their power from the Devil, and fairy doctors getting their power from fairies (the Fairy Queen).

Dynasty: a line of hereditary rulers of a country; a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics, or another field.

It’s interesting that is used. For me, it acts that they’re opposites sides of the same coin. The coin being witchcraft.

In a few bits of mythology, folklore, and even modern traditional witchcraft practices, the witch was taught and even given the power of witchcraft from the fairies themselves.

Diana had by, her brother a daughter, to whom they gave the name of Aradia [i.e. Herodias]….Diana said one day to her daughter Aradia:

‘Tis true indeed that thou a spirit art,

But thou wert born but to become again

A mortal; thou must go to earth below

To be a teacher unto women and men

Who fain would study witchcraft in thy school….

And thou shalt be the first of witches known;

-Aradia, Gospel of the Witches

The Witch blood, whether of flesh or of spirit, contains the power of Faery, of fairies. For some, the first witches were the children of fairies and mortal beings. And this is why for me, the practice of both witchcraft and the fairy faith are inherent. They’re tied to one another. Both contain each other’s history and folklore. One is the land of the fairies, while the other is the land of the Devil; however, it wouldn’t be that surprising to find little differences between the two.

Shape shifting and masks

The Bewitched Man: by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes

Medieval Latin- Masca: Specter; nightmare; person who uses magic (witch).

“…the aspect of anonymity which is so much a part of the Sabbat and other banned folk practices such as guising. Witches attending the Sabbat are likewise described as masked, disguised and veiled… witches were called masca , masks, by the Lombards and this is the root of the carnival celebration of masquerade, surely a form of the Sabbat itself. The etymology of mask intrigues with its chain of associations and accords. Infiltrating our vocabulary via Medieval Latin masca which evocatively signified a nocturnal female spectre, or a nightmare, or the mask by which the spectre was evoked,”Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey.

Once again, the magical use of masks creeps it’s way into my craft, and makes a den inside my heart. Masks of rabbits, toads, serpents, wolves, cats, weasels, and so on; they can embody our very transformation. The act of shape shifting. Like the tales of witches flying to the Sabbat and becoming beasts of great power, we too can change our very form. But why do witches change their form? To fulfill their deeds in animal guise, to change into their familiar’s shape and race into the darkness with them, to dive into the otherworld with spirits and fairies, to unlock a hidden part of ourselves. As Peter Gray so elegantly put, “The animal which is not an animal. The man who is not a man.”

What exactly is shape shifting? I speak of it in terms of the non-physical. As Sarah Lawless states; “…shapeshifting as a magical practice involves either a part of the magician’s soul transforming into a spirit animal (known in the Germanic tongue as the fetch) and leaving the body to journey vast distances in both our realm and the otherworlds, or, another method is for the magician’s soul to leave their body and “ride” a living animal or external spirit animal or familiar in this or the otherworld.” (Source)

Like practices of the past, we too can imbue our masks with the skills of animal transformation. Take the mask and create it in accordance to the lunar phases. At the new moon, you gather your items and begin to forge the mask. The moon passes into its later cycles, and your mask shall grow in power. Its connection to your spirit grows as well.

Upon the night of the full moon, you shall take the mask to the witches’s meeting, the Sabbat. It is here you shall write the name of the beast backwards on the inside of the mask. Put on the mask, so that you may become on of the Masca; a specter of the night. It is in this state that you can change into the animal form that embodies your mask.

Become the cat, it runs with the Fairy horde into their mounds. Become the raven, it flies along side spirits of the dead. You will become what shape your heart desires, so that you may know yourself as an animal; so that you can experience the beast that is witchcraft.