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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witches with Their Feet on the Ground

As a movement, the modern Old Craft has tended to be characterized by a verbal style that I can only call “opaque.”

Anyone who has ever tried to work her way through the letters of Robert Cochrane (1931-1966), Father of modern Old Craft, will know what I'm talking about. Cochrane hints, but rarely tells. He's very good at dropping a few evocative details, then drawing the veil back over. He writes, as my friend and colleague Bruner Soderberg once rather acidly observed, “to impress rather than to inform."

His would-be successors, alas, have often tended to follow suit. Particularly notorious for the opacity of his prose was mage Andrew Chumbley (1967-2004), whose books have got to be among the most-collected and least-read titles on the shelves of modern Witchdom.

Chumbley seems immune to clear exposition. He will never say “mystery” when he can possibly say arcanum, “flying ointment” instead of unguentum sabbati. Maybe there really are people out these who are impressed by high school Latin, but personally, I'm not one of them.

Old Craft thrives here in the American Midwest. What both intrigues and impresses me about Midwest Old Craft is its very lack of opacity. Rather, the standard Chumbleyian style of “I know something you don't know” obfuscation seems to us a pomposity, a bore: in fact, an admission of poverty. It strikes us—whether rightly or wrongly—as a ploy to cover lack of substance.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    By its very nature, Old Craft defies clear exposition. It's best transmitted through evocation: story, dance, song. And surely it
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    Can you recommend any Old Craft books that are "crisp, clear, succinct"?
Explore Your Options: Aquarius NEW Moon Vibes Feb. 3-5
Mama Moon enters the Fixed, Air sign of Aquarius on Feb. 3 at 5:03 am Pacific Time until Feb. 5 and is NEW on Feb. 4 at 1:03 pm and at Apogee (which means she’s as far away as she can be) which, in conjunction with a New Moon can lead to extreme weather conditions according to the Creative Crones Astro Diary 2019.

It’s also Lunar IMBOLC (Northern hemisphere pagan holy day) or Lunar LAMMAS (Southern hemisphere) which is the halfway point between the Solstice and Equinox and a time of FIRSTS; either the first sign of Spring or the first Fruits Festival.

During this oh, so significant Moon-time of firsts we also set our intentions for the moonth ahead encouraged by Mercury sextiling Jupiter and Venus entering Capricorn. Let’s GET BUSY!

Meditate, Moon Journal and share your feeling with others. Shake it up - it’s Aquarius Time! Go deep and EXPLORE your options. Is there some piece of the puzzle missing - Why? Be brave and find out by picking a card from my Elfin Ally Oracle Deck which, by the way is coming out very soon so stay tuned! The REVEAL is below.

The Elfin Ally Oracle Deck

by Kathy Crabbe
Elfin Ally Oracle Card Reveal

Card 1: Dragonfly Delight
Keyword: Delight Meaning; Take it slow for all that you need or want is at your fingertips.
Reversed: There is a troublemaker in your life that needs to go.

Card 2: Spirit Horse
Keyword: Graceful Meaning: With great pride and joy you charge forward trusting you are on the right path. Reversed: You are at the crossroads, stuck and uncertain.

Card 3: Yellow Butterfly
Keyword: Sweet Meaning: Today you are taking a different path; one that is lighter and truer to your heart’s goal.
Reversed: You are chasing dreams, not reality.
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In Which the Goddess Returns to Jerusalem

 Evarékhekha ve-Asherá u-ve-Yahvetá

"I bless you by Ashera and by her Yahweh."


A friend of mine emigrated to Israel. Where better to worship the gods of Canaan than in the Land of Canaan, right?

Israel is a hard place to make a living. Everything costs about what it does here in the States, but salaries are much lower. Just about everyone works three jobs: one to pay the rent, one for expenses, and one for discretionary income.

Among his other jobs, my friend made little ceramic statues of Ashera, Goddess-Mother of the Canaanite pantheon. A few of the tourist stores agreed to take them on consignment. Every now and then one would sell and bring in a few shekels.

Just as things were getting desperate, my friend got a call from a friend at Hebrew University.

“I've got a gig for you,” he said.

It turned out that an Italian film-maker was coming to Israel to make a film about the history of Judaism. The good news: they wanted to buy twelve of his little Asherot. The bad: they planned to film them all being broken, to represent the rise of aniconism in monotheist thinking.

My friend was torn. He desperately needed the money, but he just couldn't bring himself to sell his little goddesses, knowing that they were going to be broken.

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Is Spring Here? Or Just Around the Corner?

Merry meet! Today as you might know is Imbolc, also called Oimelc, an ancient Celtic festival celebrating the beginning of spring and the traditional date on which ewes and other farm animals gave birth. You may also be familiar with the festival’s modern equivalents such as Candlemas, Groundhog Day, and St. Brigid’s Day. Whether you mark it as the midpoint of winter or the beginning of spring it’s generally been regarded as the time when the cold begins to thaw and life renews itself.

We’ve gathered all of our relevant articles from the past month as well as a bunch of other interesting stuff from around the web. We hope you have a very pleasant spring!

— Aryós Héngwis

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Imbolc and Goddess Brede's Personal Messages

* An excerpt from: The Goddess Lives, poetry, prose and prayers in her honour. Agnes Toews-Andrews.

It was near the 2004 commencement of the vernal equinox, and I was leading a new moon circle on Quinte Faery Isle, (Prince Edward County) Ontario. The night was translucent and cold. Patches of snow lay in shady corners of the field where we stood. The stars were close. I felt like a part of them, although that winter I had rarely been sleeping outside under the gigantic inexplicable Universe. My journey was progressing though, on my chosen planet, Earth. I had been finding that I was sharing this home with a myriad of curious life forms, aside from those that scientists have agreed on. And goddesses of folklore seemed to materialize in the astral for mysterious reasons. I was also discovering that my inherent genetic lineage was rich, vital, and I was intimately connected with other realities. I had discovered that Earth was home to many keys to the galaxies, and it was more than simply my home.

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Hey y'all! It's Arwen, the Professional Joy Seeker, here with my Witches and Pagans entry into the Imbolc 2019 Tarot Blog Hop. The theme for this edition of the Tarot Blog Hop is “Odd Associations.” I have another post in this hop about a missing baby. But I have a lot more weird stories. In fact, I often whine, "Mooommmmm, the Tarot is DOING IT again."
By that I mean mocking me, teasing me, tripping me up! An association I have with the Chariot Rx is a car accident. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you a story about "this one time as Psychic Phone Line camp...."
It's really not what you are thinking! I had a woman call me for a reading. She didn't really have a question so I did a Celtic Cross layout. Pretty much my go-to spread at that time. I've moved away from that though. During the reading, the Deep Past card (the third card I lay down) was the Chariot reversed (Rx).
I put my fingers on the card. I do that because it helps me center on the card I'm reading. I'm a bit of a ....
When I touched the card, I started first person!
"I want you to know I died of a heart attack. I was not in any pain."
I had to stop myself, y'all. I really wanted to clap my hands over my mouth! But this woman asked me to continue. So I did, but in third person now. I told her that he wanted her to know the car crash came after he died. And that he didn't want her to move the big pots by herself.
It was that last line that had her laughing and crying. I told her I was sorry, then I described the person I suddenly had a memory of. Well, not exactly a memory. More like it was a photograph. He wasn't moving. I didn't see him--I remembered what he looked like. I went on to describe the front of her house and the big picture window. At this time, she gasped. Then she confirmed it was her husband. He'd died on a winding highway in the Ozarks. It was a crash with a semi if I remember correctly. He'd only been gone about six, maybe nine months.
And I'd described him exactly in what he'd died in. Overalls and a white shirt. Things I could not know! But to this day, the Chariot Rx reminds me of that. I will always ask about a car accident if it is a past card or warn my querent to take care if it is a future card.
Then there was the missing baby...but that's another post. In this hop, actually. Have fun as you visit the other posts to find out what my compatriots have to say about their own odd associations. Please take a moment to leave a comment on the blogs. You are the reason we do these hops. So let us know you came by!
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joy Vernon
    Joy Vernon says #
    Wow! What an incredible story! Very powerful.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Arwen, thank you so much. I have had similar experiences as a psychic, but tend not to reveal them publicly, so it is really nic
  • Aisling
    Aisling says #
    This is amazing, Arwen--and one of the most amazing things about it is that I have had very similar experiences. I love the way Sp

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Journey with Hermes

I was in for some surprises in May of 2006, when I first visited Samos, a Greek island near the border with Turkey, to give a talk at a students’ club. I had been invited by Minas Papageorgiou—a student back then and now a writer, researcher and journalist—to speak about Mary Magdalene. He took me on a journey up a stream named Potami (pron. potámi), the Greek word for river. It turned out to be a magical place as the stream runs through a forest and forms small lakes and waterfalls.

Our journey into the wild started—appropriately—with a strange kind of pilgrimage. Soon after Minas and I started hiking, we saw a sign reading: Ancient Chapel, Transfiguration of the Savior. Standing in the shade of a big rock, it had an eerie feeling about it. The day was warm and bright, but no sunrays touched the 11th-century church, as if Helios, the Sun God, carefully avoided this uncanny place.

We pushed the blue wooden door and were instantly greeted by a pungent smell of candles and incense. With goosebumps crawling up my arms, I tried to resist the feeling of awe inspired by the tall, gray stone walls, which exuded an aura of mystery. “Non-believers aren’t supposed to feel awe in such places,” I carefully admonished myself.

Besides, we were not there to pay homage to the Christian Savior, whose painted image was inspecting us from the door of the sanctuary. We had gone with the purpose of observing the four columns which supported the center of the old building. They were round and smooth, their only decoration being the intricate Corinthian-style column capitals. Were these pre-Christian? Archaeologists believe that they may well be.

Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, a French botanist and writer who visited Samos in the early 18th century, claimed that the columns came from the shrine of Hermes Kharidotes, “Giver of Grace (kharis)” or “Bringer of the Graces (Kharites).” In some places, during his festival, called Hermaea, the social order was temporarily reversed, as strictly defined roles came topsy-turvy. Among his many qualities, Hermes was also the Trickster, the Subversive One.

The foundations of that church were very old, dating probably from the 6th century CE. It was customary at the time to build Christian temples on top of Hellenic ones as the new religion was rapidly devouring the old one. We stared at the columns in silence, in the vain hope they might reveal their secrets. They didn’t, but an unexpected clue manifested as we turned back to walk out of the door. The evidence was there, right under our feet: the marble rectangular stone which formed the doorstep had a big circle carved in its center, which bore two holes. What else could that be but the base of an ancient statue? Similar stones can be seen in a host of Greek archaeological sites.

The name of the church was also telling: the Transfiguration of the Savior. The Greek word for transfiguration is metamorphosis, which is commonly used with the meaning of “transformation.” It rung a bell as Hermes (known to the Romans as Mercurius) is indeed a mercurial figure, a god with diverse roles and many faces, and a mediator between different realms. He was also considered the guide of souls to the underworld; his place of worship could have easily been transformed into that of the Christian Savior of souls…

That rather unorthodox pilgrimage was the beginning of our journey up the potami, a stream flowing into the sea just a few meters away from us. We began to walk uphill and soon reached a grove of olive trees and lemon trees, which seemed to relish the abundant touch of the sun and the presence of the life-giving water.

As our walk through the grove came to an end, Minas and I suddenly entered a different world. I stood gaping at the dreamlike landscape. The interplay of light and shadow created an otherworldly atmosphere. Hermes came to mind again, this time as the god of dreams, magic and alchemy. As a messenger of the gods, he could easily cross from one world to the other, from heaven to earth and into the underworld. I wondered what messages he had in store for us.

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