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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The People of the Knife

How do you say “athame” in Old Witch?

“Athame”—the standard modern name for the witch's ritual knife—is a word of French origin, from Old French atamer, “to cut.”

(Variously pronounced across contemporary Witchdom, around here the word rhymes with “Hathaway.”)

As such, mythically speaking, it will have entered the vocabulary of English-speaking witchery along with the Norman Craft at some point after 1066.

So what did the Hwicce—the original Anglo-Saxon Tribe of Witches—call their ritual knives?

The dialect of Old English spoken by the Hwicce distinguished between two kinds of knife: cníf (K'NEEF), ancestral to modern “knife,” and seax, defined variously as a knife, hip-knife, short sword, dirk, or dagger.

Deriving ultimately from a proto-Indo-European root meaning “to cut”—the same root also gave rise to “scythe,” “saw,” and “sedge” (originally “sword”)—seax is also said to have given rise to the ethnonym Saxon as well: the “People of the Knife.”

Although seax fell out of general usage, it has survived to modern times with specific application as a name for a “slater's ax” used to cut (and pierce) roof-slates: variously sax, saxe, or zax.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Magical Vine: Blackberry

Following the wheel of the year through the Celtic tree calendar, September 2nd begins the time of vine and its ogham character Muin. While the tree calendar is a modern construct, it holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life.

This period (from September 2 to September 29) is associated with inner growth and energy. Like a vine, our paths do not usually take a straight course, however, we can empower ourselves to adapt and make changes in our lives.

While vine has come to include the grapevine, it actually refers to the blackberry vines that populated the hedgerows in the British Isles and formed thorny thickets. The name of the ogham character Muin comes from a Gaelic word meaning “thicket.” (Niall MacCoitir, Irish Trees: Myths, Legends & Folklore, 167.)Wine has been produced from blackberries for many centuries. Warm weather at the end of September was known as a blackberry summer.

In European folk medicine, the arching canes of blackberry vines were believed to have magical properties and people crept underneath the arches or passed children through gaps in the bush for particular cures. Blackberry bushes were also believed to protect against evil. In parts of England, they were sometimes planted or placed on graves with the belief that they would keep the dead in place.

Grow a blackberry bush on your property to attract fairies or set out a small bowl of berries as a token of friendship with them. Eat a handful of blackberries before magic work or when working with the fairy realm. Burn dried leaves in spells to attract money or sprinkle them around your property to draw luck. Because of the winding nature of brambles, this is an opportune time for binding spells.

Make a wreath with several prickly canes to hang above your altar or on your front door for protective energy. Place a blackberry cane alongside your altar to aid in grounding energy after ritual. Because blackberries are associated with Brigid, gather enough to make jam or wine and use it to honor her at Imbolc.

The American blackberry (Rubus villosus) and European blackberry (R. fruticosus) are also known as bramble, brambleberry, cloudberry, and dewberry. Blackberry bushes are sprawling shrubs with woody, arching stems called canes. Canes tend to take root where their tips rest on the ground. Blackberry leaves are dark green on top and pale underneath. White, five-petaled flowers grow in clusters at the ends of the stems. The berries change from green to red to black as they ripen. They are fully ripe when dull black, not glossy.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Healing Secret of the Ancients

 Roman Chamomile essential oil is derived by distilling  fresh or dried flowers of this beloved herb, Another frequently used option is  German Chamomile or Matricaria chamomilla which has much  smaller flowers. The deep blue German Chamomile essential oil is better known for its excellent anti-inflammatory properties. When you read about the splendid healing at European spas, they are using one of these two tried and true favorites. These treatments have been being used for over 2000 years so that is a good indication of how they have helped. Chamomile oil was used by the Roman soldiers to relieve anxiety and to induce a strong sense of purpose as they set out to fight. In clinical trials, this essential oil has been found to be effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder.  A walk in the garden where these delightful little flowers grow is often considered a sure cure for depression. The sweet scent released by this aromatic plant and the sight of the pure white flowers with sunny yellow centers can raise the spirits. Similar effects can be obtained by using ¼ cup of Roman chamomile oil in your bathtub and dabbing a few drops on the pulse points. The vapors can be inhaled or the oil can be used in a diffuser for a generalized effect. Before you step in your Roman chamomile bath, prayer aloud:


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In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Hopes that He's Wrong

The Romans (of course) had a phrase for it.

Absit omen: “May it not be an omen.”

As resident priest here at the Temple of the Moon, I make offerings twice daily—mornings and evenings—and pray for the well-being of pagan peoples everywhere. As one might expect of a pagan temple, the prayers take different forms depending on what time of year it is.

The prayers, of course, are recited from memory. Twice now during the last few days, I've slipped up and started prayers in their Winter form. Both times, thankfully, I've managed to catch myself before I'd got very far, and corrected the prayers to the proper Summer form instead.

But now I'm starting to worry. Even though, here in the North, Winter is the general default setting, somehow (whether rightly or wrongly) when things go wrong in ritual, they seem to take on a super-charged significance.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Well it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere. I did read a magazine article about climatologists watching three of Antarctica's i

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Weather Ward

This post was inspired by a blog post by Heron Michelle, “Hurricane Magick Index: Protection, Opportunity, Action

This is a weather ward that is to be used once a storm is very close.  It does not attempt to steer the storm away, rather it works to create a calmer microclimate around your home or business. I am a great believer in keeping weather workings as local as possible in most cases.

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Virgo New Moon: Forging Forward with Freedom & Hope

Enjoy this 3 card spread and pick-a-card to figure out what's up for you in the moonth ahead. Featured cards are from my Lefty deck, Elfin Ally deck and coming soon in the Spring of 2020, the Goddess Zodiac deck.

Time now to go deep.
Take some breaths.
Choose a card above then scroll down for the REVEAL.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


You wouldn't believe how long I've been trying to write this post.  I've tried to seperate who Diana is without relying upon the writings about Artemis but most everything that comes up is about Artemis.  I can list facts but do not feel like I can't evoke who she is. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Melia, Praise be to Diana, by every name which She chooses to be known!

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