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Origins of Folk Magic Ritual Langauge

Posted by spiritscraft on September 14, 2016 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Do you ever wonder where the cute sayings witches say to each other come from? Well most of them come from witch trials records, nursery rhymes, hymns and fraternal order rites.

Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again is a sweet sign off that a lot of witches like to end their emails and blog posts again. Here are two lovely places I found the term associated with partying!

 

This nursery rhyme was collected from either oral tradition or older manuscripts by James Halliwell and published mid 19th century.


Yet we can trace this greeting further back even, to the witch trial of Elizabeth Styles in Somerset 1664 where her testimony indicated:

When they wanted to go to their meetings " they would anoint their wrists and foreheads with an oyl the spirit brings them, which smells raw," after which they were carried off, saying : "Thout, tout, a tout, tout, throughout and about:" on their return changing the stave to " E-entum Tormentum," which was the shibboleth to bring them back. But before they left they used to make obeisance to the man in black,who usually played to their dancing, saying, "A Boy! merry meet, merry part ;" on which he vanished, and the conclave was broken up.

Another popular sign off that witches use in their emails and blog posts is Blessed Be. This is a simple statement of blessing that is common through out, it is in hymns like Blest Be the Ties that Bind, in the songs and rituals of Fraternal Orders like the Ancient Order of Foresters for example this song found in an intiation ritual script 1907

"Blest be the tie [t]hat binds

Our band of brothers here,

By acts of friendship true we work

In Unity sincere.

To cheer the widow’s heart,

We ask no recompense;

The orphan’s tears we wipe away

By true Benevolence.

No strife demeans our Court,

We work with one accord,

To cheer the sick and aid the weak,

While dwelling in Concord.

That Court is doubly blest,

Which keeps these precepts three,

And crowns its efforts for mankind

By truest Sympathy."

The term is also used in the five-fold blessing an initiation rite that Wiccans use in which the five points of the pentagram are associated with five points on the initiates body.

Something that witches say to seal a deal and direct the energy of a spell is "So mote it be!" This phrase is one of the oldest in the witchy lexicon dating back to the 14th century.

"Grant me the bliss without end; Amen! Amen! So mote it be! Now sweet lady pray for me." The Masonic Regius Poem circa 1390

Every subculture has its own unique phrases and these ones in witchcraft have such interesting roots. I hope everyone feels a little more comfortable seeing the very merry and positive origins of these statements.

Five ways to Establish a Local Traditional Witchcraft practice

Posted by spiritscraft on September 9, 2016 at 12:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Traditional witchcraft is an animist folk magic practice at its core, therefore, locale is very important. Most popular witchcraft traditions are European while many witches like myself live in North America or elsewhere from where their favorite witchcraft is native. To practice let’s say Cornish Pellarcraft in Oregon seems oxymoronic, however adapting the Celtic worldview to how we interact with the Pacific Northwest landscape justifies that seeming paradox. Here are five ways you can make your witchcraft local:

Identify yourself by your landscape

Unlike other areas of sorcery, location is so integral to witchcraft that a good half of witchcraft specialties are named for places: sea witch, British traditional witchcraft, hedge witch, green witch, urban witchcraft, etc. One of the few openly practiced traditions of witchcraft before Gardner popularized Wicca was Ella Young’s California group the Mount Shasta fellowship which included famous personages such as Gavin Arthur and Ansel Adams. Invitations to join her fellowship contained dirt from the mountain in the envelope. My coven is also named for the nearby Silver Star Mountain in part because of the importance of mountain veneration in Celtic spirituality. You can name your witch group after the city you live in, a local natural area like a mountain or lake. If you are solitary it helps connect you to your area to call yourself after where you practice like river witch, desert witch, mountain magician, garden gnome, the possibilities are endless.

Customize your liturgy to your home

When laying your compass or casting a circle, identify the elements as they reside directionally for you. If the sea is to the east where you live, honoring the sea and water in the east makes more sense than the standard west of most ceremonial magic. Many groups adapt classic invocations to honor their region by replacing wording in the poetry with local substitutes based on the trees, animals, birds, plains and waterways close by. My coven adapted the Irish poem the Song of Amergin into our own Song of Cascadia by including cougar and elk instead of boar and stag. We left some things as is, because salmon for example is important in both Ireland and Washington. Don’t be afraid to get really specific, you can honor individual mountains, rivers, seas, plains and etc by name and description when you write your ritual invocations.

 

Get close to nature

Witchcraft can be very wild, witches get intimate with nature, hugging trees, kissing the ground, listening to the wind and water. Do not be surprised if you end up with leaves in your hair and sand in your shoes from doing your rituals and spell work outside and getting to know the local spirits and consciousness of place. This summer has been nice and hot and so I have been laying down in creek beds a lot lately. Each of the different creeks, rivers and ocean beaches, I have soaked in has different currents, different sources and many different paths. Feeling the personality and atmosphere of all these places has been very magical. The water speaks and sings in the sounds it’s coursing makes. The shady swimming hole can teach about meditation and trance if you listen to and feel the water.

Tend to your green spaces

The land around you is an ancestor, you are made of the food, air, water and sunshine of that land intrinsically. If your family has lived there for generations than the soil itself inters your ancestors’ bodies. The land around you is more than your home, you are its descendant and so it only makes sense to take care of it as family. Popular witchcraft traditions like Cultus Sabbati, Pellarcraft, and 1734 are very tied to outdoor locations like caves, wells and labyrinths. Witches in the course of their practices begin a reciprocal relationship with certain spots. My coven goes often to a glen down the street to pick up rubbish and give biodegradable offerings to the creek. Not only does cleaning the park beautify the area, working there gives us a spiritual investment in the place and the magical power is amplified and attuned to us.


Visit nearby sacred spots

When I meet other witches I love hearing about their stomping grounds and see what they gather there. Gathering waters, dirts, herbs, wands and stones from local power spots is essential for traditional spell work. Try and bring biodegradable offerings and pick up trash in exchange for items you take. My favorite offerings are drawings on birch bark, honey, and homemade wine. Always follow the rule of only taking a small portion of any plant material and leaving most for the livelihood of the ecosystem. I have half a dozen graveyards, monuments, memorials, sanctuaries and labyrinths I visit regularly throughout the year. One of my favorites is the Grotto Marian sanctuary where I can get holy water from the little waterfall off the rocks, use the wishing well, gather flower petals and really feel the goddess of the bluff there.

Originally posted on http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2016/08/five-ways-to-establish-a-local-traditional-witchcraft-practice/

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Tarot Questions: 13 Things to Ask the Cards

Posted by spiritscraft on September 7, 2016 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I love divination! But sometimes I don't have any idea what to ask the tarot. I already have a dark haired handsome boyfriend. I like my job. Most things seem pretty well in balance. I am not the best at asking for advice anyways. I usually spend a lot of time giving myself advice by sorting through things and using my friends and family as sounding boards. But as a sorceress with a lot of magical friends, tarot readings are offered often and I need to be ready to ask something when the cards come out. I started paying attention go the kinds of questions my covenmates asked during our sabbath readings and I cruised the net looking for ideas so that I could make better use of one of my favorite tools, fortune telling. Here are 13 questions to ask the tarot that I came up with and use myself when someone wants to read for me.

  1. What do I need to focus on in my life now?
  2. How can I have more joy and fun?
  3. What’s the best way for me to make a positive difference in the world?
  4. What will help me feel more peaceful?
  5. How can I best express my creativity?
  6. What talent do I have that I need to use more?
  7. What part of me am I denying right now?
  8. What do I need less of in my life?
  9. How can I feel more connected to my community?
  10. Who in my life do I need to reach out to today?
  11. What is currently influencing me the most?
  12. What spiritual lesson do I need to learn?
  13. What is my biggest hurdle to success?

I hope you do some readings with these questions and let me now how it goes in the comments! What is your favorite question to ask the cards?

7 Liminal Locations to Meet Spirits

Posted by spiritscraft on September 2, 2016 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

1) "Where the ocean meets the sky, I'll be standing."

I made it to the seashore earlier this week and when I was walking along gazing out at the horizon I sent my spirit flying to the far off place where the sun sets. I also like to do this when I am riding on the highway, I look out as far as I can see where the road disappears into the sky and send my spirit ahead to that place. The magic of our furtherest sight is less explored than it could be and I hope you try sending your spirit off into the distance sometime to scout around. Like when Peter Pan says second star to the right and straight on til morning, we can fly ourselves off to any point we can see directly--Especially if we have a little fairy dust!

 

2) The railroad tracks.

In the city, the railroad tracks often separate parts of town, there is a sense of a different world. Where I grew up the tracks bordered a forested park and going across them led to the wild. While further into town, the tracks separated the spooky old industrial sector from the more vibrant neighborhoods and mainstreets. The liminal exists within urban areas as much as it does in the country or wilderness. Find your otherside and take a moment to cross into it and see what ghosts and spirits haunt the different areas of your landscape.

 

3) Across the hedge.

In the alley behind my old house, a hedge of bushes stood and little tunnels made by animals broke through here and there. I would sit nearby and breath in and out through my teeth making a hissing sound to enter into a trance called the serpants breath, my eyes focused on the darkness under the hedge. As my focus intensified, my spirit could wander under the hedge and into mystical lands. When my boyfriend and I go on walks around his apartment complex which is built inside a forest, we crawl through the dense pine trees into little spaces completely obscured from outside view to sit and contemplate the important things in life. My favorite place to be is with my beloved in the trees talking about spirits and manifesting our dreams.

 

4) Crossroads.

I think crossroads with monuments, cairns, crosses with offerings and the like are more potent then any old neighborhood or highway intersection. Folklore and history specifically describe the special shrines at crossroads and spirits travelling to the graveyard. Our modern day shrines at cross roads might be a statue to MLK Jr. or a cross covered with Teddy bears and roses where a community member was shot, or a kid was hit by a drunk driver, or even an old country road where people have piled up stones in a cairn just because, bringing their many energies into convergence. Sure the place where to neighborhood streets cross at your corner may do, but could a special crossroads be more apropo? And perhaps you could make a subtle shrine at you nearest crossroad to increase its power. Worth a try?

 

5) Ruins

Its easy to imagine magic being performed at stonehenge and standing stones or other ancient ruins. If you have access to beautiful old ruins of ancient ancestors near your home there are probably also legends about magic being done there. My favorite ruins are actually an old replica of Stone Henge in washington called Sam Hill that is a memorial to WWI vets. It used to be an active roadside attraction, but its pretty much abandoned now, the gift shop is closed and empty. I go there to gather holey stones and stand on the cliffs overlooking the river with the ruins behind me.

 

6) Fairy Rings

In the grassy knolls where mushrooms and toadstools grow in circles the fairies dance. If you stand in a fairy ring on midsummer and recite lines from shakespears Midsummer nights dream, you will summon Puck of Pook's Hill according the the novel by Kipling. Kipling's work contains a lot of magical lore and what he says about fairy rings is true. Find yourself in the middle of a fairy ring and be ready, because you could really meet a fairy.

 

7) Graveyards

These are places where people are put to rest and their loved ones come to visit and honor them. Most graveyards have a very peaceful and relaxing energy, in my opinion. There is a direct connection between the grave and the otherworld and many magical types harness that connection to communicate with the otherside. Fairy doctors can gain their sight by performing an initiation rite during a funeral. You can go to graveyards to talk with your ancestors or the ancestors of your land if you are newer to the area. My favorite local graveyard is in the center of my city and many Masons and Eastern Star members are buried there and their stones are inscribed with pentagrams and other mystical symbols. I like to bring them offerings and inter magical items there to be charged with the liminal energy of the underworld.

 

I am opening registration for Spiritscraft Magic School soon and if you want to learn more about what to do at liminal areas to work with spirits and magic please sign up for my Basics of Magic E-course here.


Grimoire Translation in Progress

Posted by spiritscraft on August 28, 2016 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I am totally nerding out trying to decipher the scribbles that this sorceror made. I made a breakthrough this morning that helped me translate about half of the symbols!

Most of the symbols are astrological and alchemical, but a few are based on hebrew too. The challenge is that the sorceror uses some symbols that are not standard zodiac symbols, but I am figuring out standard ones are missing, and then which symbols I haven't been able to translate, and then match them up, like maybe this curly one is Cancer...Then I will need to cross reference with the best times to create certain kinds of pentacles to be sure.

This is one of my favorite grimoires, any guesses on which one it is?

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Audiobook Resources

Posted by spiritscraft on August 15, 2016 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I am stuck in the car a lot, driving to my part-time job, to my boyfriends, to my coven meetings and to my mentoring sessions. I can be in the car over two hours a day, and I can tell you I have grown tired of the current offerings of all the major types of music stations country, hip hop, rock, oldies, and pop. I decided to feed my mind instead of hearing the same songs over again so I first started buying audio books, but then I discovered a secret, there are tons of free occult audiobooks on Librivox!

I got the Librivox app for my phone so I can listen anywhere, but these same websites let you save files so that you could burn them to CD for your car stereo or walkman, or even listen to them at home on your computer or tablet. This is just a smattering of what is available, but be aware that searching the site is challenging. I use the advanced search and try tons of different keywords: occult, mystic, hermetic, celtic, mythology, legend, theosophy, magic, Rosicrucian, astral, etc.

Occult

The Kybalion

The Book of Lies by Aleister Crowley 

Elementary Theosophy by LW Rogers 

Mythology

British Goblins: Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions Mysticism by Wirt Sikes 

Bullfinch’s Mythology the Age of Fable 

The Celtic Twilight by WB Yeats 

The Ramayan 

Magic

The Golden Bough by James Frazer 

Tea-Cup Reading and Fortune-Telling by Tea Leaves by a Highland Seer 

Cuban Folk Lore by Roy Terwilliger 

A caution when listening to or reading books that are old enough to be in the public domain as many have out of date information or suffer from the racist ideologies of the time. Terms like primitive, savage, and concepts of “karma” and “evolution” should be heavily scrutinized as to take what is the best of the ideas and discard the prejudiced ones.

Enjoy and be sure to comment with treasures you have found on librivox or other audiobook sites.

 

Hag Stone/Holey Stone Charms

Posted by spiritscraft on July 7, 2016 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Invocation to the Holy-Stone

I have found A holy-stone upon the ground.

O Fate! I thank thee for the happy find,

Also the spirit who upon this road Hath given it to me;

And may it prove to be for my true good

And my good fortune

When you see a holey stone or hag stone on the ground you should say something in gratitude to the spirits that left it there for you. The above is just an example from the Gospel of Aradia.

Now once you have one, what do you do with it? You can’t really hold it in front of your eyes all the time to look for the fae. Though it does work that way, as do key holes and knot holes.

Making a hagstone cord is a useful project. You can make it with one hag stone and multiple knots, or multiple hag stones and multiple knots. The number varies between spells. I say chose a number with meaning to you. Chumbly’s consecration has 7 knots in a black leather cord, Bramshaw’s has nine knots and up to nine hagstones on a red string.

Either way, the point is to concentrate on a different otherworld setting for each knot, including at least one at a witches sabbat. Visualization is important on this one. Each knot is a place you want to go to. Once you have tied the knots you will string the hagstone(s) on and tie it off as a bracelet.

As you string the knots through the hagstones picture you are running each destination through the gate to the otherworld, fey land, underworld, astral, and so on.

You will hold the bracelet with at least one of the stones in your off hand (non dominant hand) as you sleep. Your dreams shall be significant astral or otherworldly dreams rather than regular dreams. You will travel to one of your chosen destinations.

If you don’t remember what happened in the astral dreams, but remember you had them. Then some part of you does remember and it will still impact your knowledge and practice.

If you find it isn’t working and you aren’t going anywhere. Meditate with your stone specifically on one of the chosen dreams and journey there in meditation. There is plenty to be done that way as well.

I have found this tool to be very powerful and my dreams have changed when I wear my hagstone cord. I have met witches at strange libraries, gained messages from my mighty dead, followed tree fae to their hollers and swam with underwater creatures in the deep.

Bramshaw, Vicki. Craft of the Wise. 2009 http://www.o-books.com/book/detail/616/Craft-of-the-Wise

Chumbly, Andrew. “What is Traditional Craft?” http://xoanon.co.uk/archive/what-is-traditional-craft/

Leland, Charles. Aradia, Gospel of the Witches http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/aradia/ara06.htm

Traditionalwitchcraft.com wiki “Hagstone.” http://www.traditionalwitchcraft.com/Hagstone


Fairy Witchery Excerpt 1

Posted by spiritscraft on July 7, 2016 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Excerpts from the WIP of my Fairy Faith and Traditional Witchcraft Book, by Sara Star, Chapter 1 Fairy Craft:

 

“Fairy witches are known for their great and quiet wisdom, they are often either people who stand apart in someway often as outcasts on the outskirts outside of society or moving enviously through culture as charismatic charmed darlings, or even a person alternating between the two poles. Regardless there is usually something uncanny about them.”

 

“Our history doesn’t evidence that fairy witches had rigorous magical training with daily magical exercise regimens and thorough magical records. Reports of them show they happened upon or sought out an initiating experience from the fae and then did their magic and seeing as often as they thought warranted.”

Image: Sonata No 11 Beethoven by Pamela Coleman Smith

 

P.S. If you enjoy these excerpts, please comment! If people like seeing these I will share more as I progress :D


Top 3 Free E-Books on Astral Projection:

Posted by spiritscraft on July 6, 2016 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Dreams and Astral Travel by Rosemary Guiley

This is a lovely illustrated guide about Dreams and Astral Travel covers all the history and science of Dreams and Astral travel in a very interesting and informative way. It won’t exactly teach you how to astral travel, but will give you a really good education on the subject.

 

A Concise Guide for Inducing Out of Body Experiences by D. Osburn

This basic guide covers much of what you need to know to astral travel with a quick overview. It covers in a bare bones manner all the major skills required to have out of body experiences. It is a great starting point for research into all the separate talents you will need to cultivate.

 

The Astral Plane Its Scenery, Inhabitants and Phenomena by CW Leadbetter.

This is the classic on the subject from the Theosophical Society, however, it is dated (/racist), dry and boring. However, it is the most complete guide available for free. I think it would be better read with guidance from an experienced mentor than just trying to struggle through it alone.

 

 



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