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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in warlock

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bragging on the Warlocks

So, I'm going to take a little time to brag on my brother warlocks. In traditional language, this is known as a vaunt.

I'm just now back from a weekend with the warlocks at Sweetwood sanctuary, among the incomparable autumn vistas of the hills and misty hollows of Witch Country's Driftless area.

The weather was miserable, cold and damp. It rained torrentially most of the time.

I haven't had so much fun in months.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Men Without Shadows

In Iceland, they call it the Black School. (But blá can also mean “blue.”)

There go all the aspiring young warlocks to learn from the Horned his secret and magical arts.

Exactly where the School may be is hard to say. (Some say Paris.) It's one of those places that seems always to be somewhere else.

It's called the Black School because it's always black as night there. (It sounds like some sort of cave.) For five (or nine, or seven) years, they live there together, underground, in the dark.

There they study from the Horned's ancient tomes, which, being written in letters of fire, can thus be read in the dark.

Each day they receive for their sustenance a trencher and horn from the hand of the Horned, although they do not see him.

And of the Black School there is also this to say: that at the end of their study, when they step out into sunlight for the first time in five (or nine, or seven) years, each warlock must leave behind his shadow there with the Horned, and so casts no shadow for all the rest of his days.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    When I first came across this story years ago, I was impressed (as I continue to be) by how well it reads as a description of the
  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    There's two interesting things about this post: First the word "blá" that might be black or the color blue. NPR's "Radio Lab" did

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Warlockries

Yeah, I'm a warlock.

You got a problem with that?

“Witch,” though a gender-neutral term, is female first. So it's convenient to have a term that specifies: male of the species.

Warlock.

Interestingly, it's a Scots word in origin. (In Sassenach they say warlowe.) Maybe they had more problems with male witches North of the Border.

That's not surprising. Throughout the Norse culture sphere, the majority of witches have always been men. Most executed witches in Scandinavia were male.

No, I'm not a wizard, but that's a class difference. Wizards are gentry. Warlockry is for us yeomen.

Some Wiccans are allergic to the term. Since the number of men in Wicca has been waning away for years, maybe it's moot. But in Old Craft—where men still constitute a numerical majority—most of us are fine with “warlock.”

And no one denies that it's a word of power.

Some object on the grounds that it means “oath-breaker.”

Well, they're wrong.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Mike W
    Mike W says #
    I agree with you Steve that the Witches/Warlocks were outsiders to the majority religions as sanctioned by society or the state.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My contention would be that even back in pagan days, the witches and our ways were already outsiders, and that our worships didn't
  • Mike W
    Mike W says #
    Yes, I think that warlock is a great word for a male witch. For the view of a Feri Trad elder on this use see http://faerywolf.co
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Mab, you've made my day. I'm delighted to hear about the gender imbalance in your neck of the woods. (Around here, it's still the
  • Mab Nahash
    Mab Nahash says #
    I get that the meaning has changed in general parlance, but for those of us who take oaths as part of our practice of witchcraft,

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Got Corpse-Breeches?

By far the most popular exhibit at the Iceland Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery in Skáholt is its pair of nábrók, literally “corpse-breeches”: the whole, flayed skin of the lower half of a man’s body.

Looking something like the lower half of a bog body, they are, to all appearances, the whole preserved skin of a man’s feet, legs, thighs, and buttocks, complete with genitals and pubic hair. (Presumably those on display—oddly dubbed “necropants”—are mock-ups rather than the genuine item.)

Here's how to get your own pair.

First you make a deal with a living man to take his skin after death. (You can't take someone’s skin without prior permission because this would lay you open to retribution from the outraged dead.) After his death and burial, you dig up his coffin and flay the skin off his body, in one piece, from the waist down.

Then you don the corpse-breeches yourself (presumably after having tanned them in some fashion), and wear them 24/7. According to some authorities, the breeches eventually meld to your skin, although not everyone agrees on this point.

Next you steal a coin from a poor widow on Christmas, Easter, or Whitsunday. (You could translate this into Pagan as Yule, Ostara, or Midsummer, if you like). Place this coin, along with a particular runic sigil (see above) scribed on a piece of parchment, in the “purse” (i.e. scrotum) of the corpse-breeches.

Having done so, you will now never lack for cash, because there will always be plenty to be found in the magical pouch of your corpse-breeches.

Here's the catch.

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Becoming Flame: A Folk-Tale of the Latter-Day Hwicce

One day the youngest warlock goes to the oldest and says:

 

I don't understand. I sing the songs, I make the offerings, I dance the prayers. But in my heart, I am not there. What more should I be doing that I am not already doing?

 

The eldest rises, lifts his hands, and splays his fingers. At the tip of each finger licks a tongue of fire.

 

My son, he says, If you will, you can become entirely flame.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
More on the God Who Hears

In Which The Youngest Warlock Questions the Oldest.

What do you say to the Horned when you pray?

I listen.

And what does the Horned say to you?

He listens.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Every Old Warlock Has a Cane

Seems like every old warlock has a cane.

They say that old Tom Weir (1599-1670) used to send his down to the corner store—by itself!—to pick up orders for him. The Devil gave it to him at his oathing in place of a familiar, reasoning that this would, for a townsman, be less conspicuous than a live animal.

So, Tom, while we're talking conspicuous....

Weir's infamous warlock's cane was carved from blackthorn, with a satyr's head for a handle. It burned along with its master on Colton Hill in Edinboro, “twisting like a serpent” in the flames. This was taken as affirmation of its diabolical origin.

Well, now.

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