PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in charms

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Charms A-Plenty

There's a wonderful new book out that I have just barely had time to crack open, but if you're interested in the history of magic you will doubtless want to look into it as well:

Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing
By Claude Lecouteux. 2016. Rochester: Inner Traditions. 328 pages.
ISBN: 978-1-62055-621-4 

There's a comprehensive review over at the Journal of Folklore Research, which is why I picked it up at once. Yelena Francis points out the strengths of Lecouteax's background and the accessibility of the format. There are also some great additional and often rare resources in the appendices. And because it's from Inner Traditions rather than a big academic press, it's actually an affordable volume (though you should be able to get it via interlibrary loan as well). 

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Sounding Out the Water Elf

If someone suffers from the disease brought by the 'water elf' the Anglo-Saxon medieval charm advises that one ought to make a compound of nineteen different herbs, soak them in ale then add holy water. Of course to make them effective, the important step is to also sing over them this charm three times:

Ic binne awrat betest beadowræda,
swa benne ne burnon, ne burston,
ne fundian, ne feologan, ne hoppettan,
ne wund waxsian,
ne dolh diopian;
ac him self healde halewæge,
ne ace þe þon ma þe eorþan on eare ace.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Elf Shot in Scotland

In the collection Scottish Charms and Amulets George Black recounts a variety of folk practices, many of which linger on not only in word but in material form. Amulets always draw interested audiences in museums where they are on display and bring together the traditions captured in words as charms with a tangible force. Arrowheads are one popular example.

As in many places, Black notes that 'the prehistoric flint arrowheads so numerous in Scotland were long considered by the peasantry to have fallen from the clouds, and to have been used as weapons by the fairies to shoot at human beings' and also especially cattle. Like the well-known Anglo-Saxon charm Wið færstice for elf-shot cattle, there were a variety of ways to battle the illnesses presumed to be caused by the folk too small to be seen. 

...
Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Rock on! (Pun, oh, I just noticed, cool.) Thanks!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Get Charming

I'm teaching a course this semester called 'Witches, Healers & Saints' mostly so I could teach a lot about witches. One of the themes developing in all my courses is how the few people with power often abuse it (honestly, it's always been there -- I'm just making it more overt now), but a major theme in this class is magic as technology.

My aim is to get away from the modern impulse to see magic only as 'superstition'; our belief in our superiority to the past causes us to dismiss too many things. If you think of magic as the best knowledge available at the time about some very mysterious things, it's easier to understand the role it played. I'm introducing the students to sympathetic magic and the power of charms (like the Anglo-Saxon Charm for Bees or the Charm against a Wen).

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    I'd like to take that class.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    That would be fun!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Black Thread Charm

In 1841, Georg Waitz discovered two magic charms in a 9-10th century codex in the Cathedral Chapter library of Merseburg, the only surviving literary remnants of Old High German heathenry. In the second Merseburg charm, Woten heals a horse's sprain after other gods have failed.

Variants of this charm, with different gods and saints, survive all over northwestern Europe—the Germanies, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, Shetland, and the Hebrides—but a similar spell preserved from Vedic India suggests that it may be ancient of origin indeed.

The charm is of the type known to scholars as a historiola: what linguist Philip A. Shaw defines as “a charm in which a narrative is employed that in some way represents or symbolises the achievement of the desired outcome of the charm” (Shaw 62). Magic-workers have been harnessing the driving power of story to propel their charms for millennia; modern spell-smiths take note!

 The Old Craft version of the charm cited below invokes, as one would expect, the god of witches in his person of Wild Rider.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Using Symbolic Charms for Insight

I'm always on the lookout for symbols, stringing them together like mystical pearls--or, perhaps, like magical mala beads inscribed with sacred prayers, spiritual insight and everyday wisdom--begging for me to decode and apply their particular meaning for my life. 

If you think about it, everything we tell ourselves is a story--including the way we decode symbols.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
A Viking Curse

In chapter 60 of Egils saga Skallagrímssonar, the mighty Viking warrior poet gives voice to his anger at King Eirik 'Blood Axe' and his wife Queen Gunnhild, a powerful witch who has fought him at every turn. After many unhappy encounters between them, he curses them with a most effective method: the níðstöng or scorn-pole.

The saga records the ritual like this (leaving out the nature of the secret runes involved):

...
Last modified on

Additional information