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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Driftless

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why Witches Have No Church

 A Tale of the Driftless Witches

Once upon a time, witches used to have a church of their own, just like everyone else.

Well, maybe not just like everyone else.

The witches' church, you see, was made out of cheese.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Crack Nuts and Cry Yule

Yule, Yule, my belly's full; crack nuts and cry Yule!

(Yorkshire, 17th century)

Well, it's not quite time to cry Yule yet, but in preparation I've certainly been cracking my share of nuts lately. From my Samhain trip down to Midwest Witch Country, I brought back several bags of hickory nuts and black walnuts gathered from the forest floors of the Driftless.

Delicious as they are, I can see why neither species has ever become a commercial success. Their shells are uncompromisingly hard, the nutmeats seated snugly. Shelling them has been an hours-long, involved business of hammers, picks, and tweezers. If ever I wondered what the ancestors did during the long nights of early winter, I now know.

But now, for all my labor, I've got two bags of treasure.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witcheries

Consider the suffix -ry or -ery,*  which comes to us from Latin (-arius) via Old French (-er, -ier) via Middle English (-erie) and, attached to a noun or verb, can mean either a craft, study, or practice (husbandry, midwifery), a collective plural (Jewry, nunnery), or a place in which a particular activity takes place (bakery, hatchery).

So witchery can mean:

  1. Witchcraft,

  2. Witches collectively, and

  3. Witch Country.

     

One of my favorite lines from the Charge of the Goddess has always been: For behold, I am Queen of all Witcheries. Apparently there are multiple witcheries, and She's queen of them all. Andrew Mann said of Her in 1597: She has a grip of all the Craft. That's quite a claim.

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The Bride-Crown of the Elves: A Tale of the Driftless Country

The hills hereabouts are full of the Hidden Folk, just like back in Norway.

They're fine-looking folk, the elves, with an eye to beauty themselves, and sometimes it so happens that one of them casts an eye on a fair young maid and marries her. And then she's never to be seen again, for she becomes a Woman of the Hills.

Well, there was a fine young girl, and didn't she just disappear one day, and weeks and weeks go by and everyone agrees that she must have been Taken.

Well, and so she was. And on her wedding day she says to the Blue Man that's to be her husband—they call them the Blue Men for their clothing, you know—“Let me just step outside to take one last look at the beautiful red Sun.” And she does that.

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