Root & Branch: Eclectic Folk Magic, Conjure, and Witchery for Every Day.
Discover the natural magic of the British countryside and apply its
lessons to your life, wherever you roam.
I’m often asked if there is a difference in practicing rural and urban witchcraft, and whether there are disadvantages of living in a town or city …
I remember my old tutor being told by some bright young thing, that she couldn’t possibly be a witch because she was confined to a wheelchair and lived in an inner-city environment. Whether through arrogance or ignorance, the young ‘witchlet’ refused to see that even in her declining years, Meriem Clay-Egerton still packed more witch-power in her little finger than this girl would ever acquire in a lifetime.
There is a marked difference between urban witchcraft and that practiced by those fortunate enough to live close enough to connect with the great outdoors on a daily basis. Traditional British Old Craft, like the ancient mysteries of Egypt, the ancestral beliefs of Japanese Shinto, the Aboriginal tribes of Australia, and the indigenous native Americans, is fundamentally animism.
It may appear far-fetched to compare British Old Craft with ancient Egyptian belief, but this fact was acknowledged by Egyptologist Rosalie David in her Introduction to Egyptian Magic by Christian Jacq.
“In ancient Egypt … all elements of life, whether human-beings, animals, or even gods, were considered to be animated by a spiritual force which could be manipulated and it was thought that all inanimate objects were also imbued with magical power. Essentially, the spiritual and material were believed to be woven from the same substance, and it was considered possible, by using magic to control the order of the cosmos and to modify individual destiny by combating negative trends …”
Animism is, of course, the belief that every object, animate and inanimate, has its own life-force, or energy. Here there is no separation between the spiritual or physical world, where ‘spirit’ exists in all flora and fauna (including humans), rocks, geological features such as mountains, rivers and springs; and in natural phenomena such as storms, wind and the movement of heavenly bodies. It is the understanding that a small quartz pebble can link us with the cosmic Divine.
These were the lessons taught by Bob and Meriem Clay-Egerton. That is wasn’t necessary to rely on ritual, Circle casting, chanting and dancing to generate magical energy, it is there, all around us on a permanent basis. It means that a natural witch can be on her contacts in seconds; knowing what type of energy is needed to cure a headache, or channel the strength to walk the death-path with confidence after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. It really is a belief that can move mountains – if the application is right.
Unfortunately, for the urban witch, these energies are not so readily on tap, without using some form of ritual stimuli to generate the power. We can liken this to living in an area where we get a poor signal for our mobile phone or broadband, and need some form of booster to obtain a stronger reception! An urban environment is not always conducive to successful magical working, because of the constant barrage of unavoidable negative energy a witch confronts at every turn. Even some of our most sacred sites have been polluted by the tramp of generations of tourists.
The urban witch needs to be even more imaginative than her country cousin in raising and channelling magical energies but much of this is common sense. We need to learn how to reconnect with these ancestral powers – to acclimatise, adapt and improvise - and when we do, we could kick ourselves for not being able to grasp just how simple it is. It’s not learning anything new … just a new way of looking at the world around us.
Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books ISBN 978 1 84694 978 4 Price: UK£9.99 : US$16.95
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