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Witchcr*p Is In the Eye of the Beholder

“Do you think you can get rid of these?”

I look dubiously at the bag of books that my friend has just handed to me. It's filled with what, 40 years ago, we used to refer to as “witchcr*p”: the dregs, books that didn't adhere to the Wiccan party line.

My friend and I are both Second Generation Craft in the US: not the founders, but those who learned from the founders. In those information-starved days, when you saw “witch” in the title, you bought it regardless, good, bad, or indifferent.

“Well, we'll see,” I tell her, reluctantly taking the bag. “I kind of doubt it.”

Boy, was I ever wrong.

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  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    And please think of your Pagan studies scholars! I ransacked used bookstores during my research looking for sources like these --
  • Haley
    Haley says #
    We cleaned out this last haul as well! My own copy of The Golden Bough. Thank you!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Flowers in Amber

The ancestors are still speaking.

One of our very greatest inheritances from the forefathers and mothers is language. If we listen closely, we can hear their voices today.

2500 years ago, the ancestors bound their thought together with alliteration, what we may think of as initial rhyme. Many of these phrases—hundreds, if not thousands, of years old—are with us still.


Might and main. “Might” is physical strength; “main” (OE megn) is non-physical (psychic, spiritual) strength—“soul-strength,” one might say. To do something with all one's might and main means to use all one's available resources. Those seeking a word for “energy” that doesn't reek of patchouli may wish to consider “main.”

Kith and kin. It's interesting how frequently these inherited alliterative phrases refer to a totality. “Kith and kin” means “everyone”: both those that you're related to (kin), and those that you know (kith). Preserved like a flower in amber, the ancient word for “know personally” also survives in “uncouth,” originally meaning “unknown.”

Bed and board. Tables take up a lot of room. In the houses and halls of the ancients, where interior space was at a premium, at mealtimes it was customary to set up trestles and boards to eat from. Hence, board, pars pro toto, came to be short for “table.” (“Table” is a French word. The Normans, of course, were the aristos; they could afford to have tables sitting around, uselessly taking up room. Every word's a story.)

Bed and board,” then, means home: where you sleep and eat.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for the House and Home paragraph. I have a house but it is not yet home. I have often caught myself saying "I want to

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Do You Say 'Yemaya' in Witch?

I'll just say it: Wiccans have pantheon-envy.

The gods of the Wicca are Twofold: the Lady and the Horns. Instead of viewing Them, however, as the gods most specific to witches within the framework of a larger (but lost) pantheon, most Wiccans (unfortunately) have chosen to prefer Dion Fortune's 'All gods are one god, all goddesses are one goddess' bitheism, a choice which (frankly) has not only retarded Wicca's mythological and theological growth, but has opened the gate to the much-vexed problem of cultural appropriation. If all god/desses are one god/dess, then we are entitled to steal Anyone we want from someone else, and it's all grist for our mill.

It's easy to understand why, when encountering the vibrant pantheon and living culture of, for example, Santeria, witches feel envious. What Santeria is now, the Craft used to be. Alas, how much has been taken from us.

But our choices are not limited to either cultural sterility or cultural appropriation. There's another way to navigate these waters.

If, instead, we regard the Horns and the Moon as Two among a larger (if lost) pantheon, then (to take an example) let us ask: How do you say 'Yemayá' in Witch?

Allow me to rephrase the question: What does the witch Goddess of Waters look like?

Let us start with the Moon. The witches' Lady of the Living Waters is—essentially—the reflection of the Moon on Earth. What Moon is in the heavens, She of the Waters is on Earth.

Moon, of course, was born from Sea. (Where She came from originally is what we now call the Pacific Ocean. For witches, there's no gap between science and religion, just a difference in framing the language.) Who has not seen the image of the full Moon floating on the waters of a lake, or the sea, and thought: ah, yes.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    In Latvia, they used to say that "St. Martin has nine Perkunases under his cloak." Perkunas, of course, is the old name for the Th
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Way back in the 1980's there was a TV show called Night Court. I had a dream in which two characters from the show; Dan Fielding
You are Powerful Magic: Heron Oracle (Aquarius Moon Mar 29-Apr 1)

Here on the blog, I’ll be sharing a spirit animal painting and message from my Elfin Ally Oracle Deck picked especially for the zodiac sign that Mama Moon is currently transiting. Enjoy!

Heron Keyword: Proud
Meaning: You know exactly what to do.
Reversed: You hesitate and miss out.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

I'm delighted that a long-anticipated book is out at last! The Picatrix: A Medieval Treatise on Astral Magic has been long in production for the Penn State Magic in History line. As a member of Societas Magica I have seen bits of the work in progress which tantalised. From the blurb:

A manual for constructing talismans, mixing magical compounds, summoning planetary spirits, and determining astrological conditions, Picatrix is a cornerstone of Western esotericism. It offers important insights not only into occult practices and beliefs but also into the transmission of magical ideas from antiquity to the present. Dan Attrell and David Porreca’s English translation opens the world of this vital medieval treatise to modern-day scholars and lay readers.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    What other titles are in tis series?
The Magick of Speaking About Tarot

Over the years, I’ve noticed that when we tarotists speak together of tarot, whether in a class, a meetup or casually, we often seem to speak the cards into being.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Spring Equinox Spell

Here is a simple spell to welcome back the sun and celebrate the spring equinox. You can light a yellow candle, and simply say (or chant) the spell. Or you can do a little extra magic and etch the candle with runes or symbols for the season, and use focus on the things you want to achieve in the season ahead.


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