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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in sabbat

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Osculum Infame

Warning: Contains material some readers may find offensive.

You've heard the stories. Do you know what those wacky-ass witches do at their sabbats? They actually kiss the Devil's hairy bung-hole: the Kiss in tergo, as the chroniclers coyly put it.

Ah, yes: the osculum infame, “the notorious kiss,” as it's known. You might think that this is one of the parts of medieval witchery that didn't quite make it to the modern witchcraft revival, but I think that you'd be wrong on that count. Twelve'll get you thirteen that the good old Kiss from Behind is ancestral to the Book of Shadows' Fivefold Kiss. Breathes there a Wiccan who would admit it, though? 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Perimede
    Perimede says #
    Well, I've certainly been colder than the North slope of one. Can't wait.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Perimede, I'm going to be quoting you on that one: thanks. Wait till you see the one on "witches' tits"!
  • Perimede
    Perimede says #
    (lol) Opening your blog in the morning is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. Ya' never know what you're going to get. But i

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Holidays are not my thing.  If you come to my house, you won’t see cute fall leaves (unless they are on the ground) or other holiday decorations.  It has never been my thing.  It seems like a lot of effort for little meaning or return. 

Halloween has a lot of mischief, candy, horror movies, and bad images for witches.  Even as a child I didn’t like this holiday.  As an adult and a Pagan, I’ve found other ways to honor the season. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Grand Sabbat: Naming

The Horned One holds the baby in his arms.

He sits on the altar, cross-legged, shining in the firelight, each tine of his branching antlers tipped with its own delicate bud of flame. He holds the child to his chest, as if suckling him. Not everyone is privileged to drink from the breast of the witches' god. It is a promise, the ancient gesture of adoption.

He rises to his feet, towering—his horns reach up to heaven—and holds the infant out to the assembled people.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Old Worship

The morning after our first Grand Sabbat, a friend approached, a little hesitantly.

“That was you in the horns and the paint up on the altar last night?”

I pause, then smile and nod.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Flame Between the Horns

In Old Craft iconography, the Old Master is sometimes depicted as a horned (or antlered) skull with a flame between its horns. He is thus the Flammifer, the líht-bera, the Lucifer.

The image takes its origin from Continental trials; French witches frequently deposed that the Devil appeared at the sabbat in the form of a He-Goat with a candle burning between his horns. This is how Jeanne Bosdeau saw him at the Puy de Dôme in 1594. The witches would then light their own tapers or torches (as we still do) from the god's fire: the Lord of the Sabbat giving illumination to his people.

The witch-fire is the power of life that burns in each of us. It is said to be threefold: the fire in the head, the fire in the heart, and the fire in the loins.

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Gods and Contrails: The "Horned One's Farewell"

Paul Rucker's evocative photo, “Horned One's Farewell,” which accompanied my post Grand Sabbat: Final Blessing, has occasioned so much comment on Facebook that I'd like to offer a little more context for the image.

For the past 25 years or so, here in the Upper Midwestern US, we've been holding—at the requisite irregular intervals—Grand Sabbats in the Grand Old Style: the Horned Man up on the altar, the oaths made crouching, the sacrifice, the wild dancing, the love-making in the woods afterward. Just like in the woodcuts, as they say.

Last year's Grand Sabbat was a four-day event that took place in late July among the hollow hills of southwestern Wisconsin's Driftless region, with the Sabbat itself on Saturday night. Over the course of the four days, we saw Old Hornie (as my friend and colleague Keith Ward remarked at the time) in several different characters: as He Who Hears the voice of His people, Bringer-of-Fire, as the Black Buck of the Sabbat, between Whose Antlers constellations wheel, as the sun-dappled Lord of Field and Forest.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

         In Western Minnesota, there's a big ridge of Sioux quartzite that rises abruptly out of the prairie. (If it were in England, they'd call it a tor.) It's a local landmark, called Blue Mound because the red rock is covered with blue-green lichen. Over the shoulder of the mound is a stone row of unknown age that points to equinoctial sunrise and sunset. At the highest point of the ridge is a tall outcropping called Eagle Rock.

         Once when I hopped besom and flew off to the dream sabbat, I followed the sunset westwards and ended up at Blue Mound. There was a big fire burning at the foot of Eagle Rock, with lots of different people dancing around it: red, white, black folks all together. (They say that the sabbat is the great equalizer.)

         Sitting there cross-legged on top of Eagle Rock was, of course, the Old Buck himself, Mr. Splitfoot mon amour. Out east here, he mostly wears antlers, but there on the prairie he had, as one would expect, the shaggy red head of a buffalo bull.

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