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An Old Craft Witch's Calendar 8th February








The burning of different woods has been part of magical and religious practice for thousands of years, and within traditional witchcraft this is no exception. All our native trees have differing magical correspondences and learning to identify these provides us with a valuable aid to our magical working — i.e. oak for strength, pine for longevity, yew for Otherworld experiences and so forth.  See below:




8th Dark of the Moon.  The Circle ritual for the Short Moon should be one ofprotecting our personal boundaries and magical regeneration,using a bundle of ash twigs. Since Bride is the ancestralguardian of the sacred flame, candles should be lit and placed inwindows as part of the protection rite.




14th St Valentine’s Day probably derives from the ancient Roman fertility festival on the morrow. A good time for spells connected to love, romance and relationships.




15th Lupercalia was  an ancient Roman festival that was conducted annually under the auspices  of priests called Luperci.  The origins of the festival are obscure, although the likely derivation of its name from lupus (Latin: ‘wolf’) has variously suggested connection with an ancient deity who protected herds from wolves and with the legendary she-wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus. As a fertility rite, the festival is also associated with the god Faunus.






Begin by preparing a series of large coffee jars: one for each of the mature native trees in the vicinity. The jars should be washed, dried, labelled and a fold of kitchen towel placed in the bottom to extract any excess moisture from the wood. Collect the ingredients from each tree or shrub separately so that the natural energies don’t corrupt each other. Pick up small twigs and leaves at any time of the year; the fruit when in season. Place in a cool, dry place until the ingredients are completely dry and then store in the appropriate jar, although the type of fire at our disposal, will influence the method of preparation.




If we have an open hearth or outside patio burner then we can use short twigs of between four to six inches in length made into small ‘faggots’ or bundles in accordance with the type of ritual we wish to perform. For example:




Nine sacred woods: ash, birch, yew, hazel, rowan, willow, pine and thorn.




Need-fire: a single or blend of woods appropriate for your personal ‘need’ or totem tree.




Spell-casting: a single or selection of woods with the appropriate magical correspondences to influence the outcome of the spell or charm.




To prepare incense for burning, cut the material into tiny pieces that will ignite immediately. The safest way of burning is using charcoal discs containing saltpetre, which lights easily, although


we can still burn incense in the flames of any fire, for example, a ritual bonfire, hearth or patio fire.


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Mélusine Draco originally trained in the magical arts of traditional British Old Craft with Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton. She has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years with Arcanum and the Temple of Khem, and writer of numerous popular books on magic and witchcraft. Her highly individualistic teaching methods and writing draws on ancient sources, supported by academic texts and current archaeological findings.


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