british witchcraft

This is probably going to be such an unpopular opinion for Tumblr but here goes…

Witchcraft is genuinely a craft or skill that one must work on to succeed in. It also has many inner workings and practices including mysteries that have been passed down certain traditions for decades.

It’s completely acceptable to be a solitary witch and genuinely encouraged to make spells of your own.

However, the general theme that seems to constantly be missing from Tumblrs constant use and advertisement of witchcraft is any actual history behind it. Tumblr initiates people into occultism and witchcraft with really general information and cutesy spells without explaining to people the dense history of witchcraft or the learning process.

A lot of witchcraft has been kept close to the chest over the years, some of which you will never find through personal research because of oaths to secrecy in certain communities. Tumblr is to the brim with skimmed knowledge on a lot of paths and I urge anyone serious about witchcraft to go way beyond it.

I’m mainly talking to young people as the generations that brought back witchcraft, beginning in the 1960’s in the UK, are not as open as the people here and a lot of them hold secrets or knowledge you’re going to have to fight for. The difference between witch communities on tumblr and irl are striking and it’s all about your research into known names and whose who of the revival.

anonymous asked:

Are there many pagans in the uk? I'm from NE England but I've never met another pagan in my life :/

I am near the North East! Where abouts are you from? :)

There is actually a huge amount of pagans in the UK. Most of the Wiccans that kickstarted the big witchcraft revival were actually from England. The UK has a  very rich and thriving community, it’s just down to knowing where to look. 

Luckily for you, I know where to look! There is an organization called the Pagan Federation. In every county in the UK they have representatives to help spread the news about pagan events and to connect other pagans with each other. If you check out their website here and go to the District tab, you should be able to find a representitive near you. And some events!

PF has little leaflets and magazines sent to your house if you become a member which have a list of local pub moots, events and covens in the back pages. I would highly recommend becoming a member because it’s an awesome way to keep up with what is going on in the community.

UK Pagan Council also used to be a good way to keep in contact with UK Pagans.Haven’t been on it in a while but I suggest trying it out. 

If Druidry is your thing there are loads of Groves in the UK, most associated with OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids).You can take a look at that website here.

Another good bet is searching google for big events like Witchfest in London, the big Beltane events around Stonehenge and Glastonbury, Pagan Pride in Nottingham… the list goes on. Pagan Pride is awesome and everyone is lovely, that is one I would highly recommend. It’s very casual and very beginner friendly. 

 England also has a lot of innately ‘Witchy’ towns. Places with a large amount of witchy stores or a very pagan history. Nottingham, Whitby….. Glastonbury even has a Witches Market! There’s a short list of historically witchy places in England here.

So yep. We are actually one very witchy group of countries. I am actually super happy that I live in such a witchy place. I hope this helped you out a bit!

“Imolg: The Triple Goddess - Maid, Mother and Crone”

This picture with the quoted caption can be found in “A Witches’ Bible” in the “Eight Sabbats for Witches” section by Janet and Stewart Farrar. I was pleasantly surprised to find photographs in this book of Janet and Stewart Farrar and the rest of their coven.

My Witchy Reading List for 2017

Books on traditional witchcraft, herbalism, trance work, modern applications, etc.

Crones Book of Charms & Spells, by Valerie Worth (2000)

Crones Book of Words, by Valerie Worth (1971)

Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic, by Emma Wilby (2005)

Early American Herb Recipes, by Alice Cooke Brown (1988)

Encyclopedia of Pyschoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications, by  Christian Rätsch (1998)

Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual, by James Green (2000)

The History of the Devil, by R. Lowe Thompson (1929)

How to Heal Toxic Thoughts: Simple Tools for Personal Transformation, by Sandra Ingerman (2006)

Letters from the Devil’s Forest, by Robin Artisson (2014)

Magical and Ritual Uses of Herbs, by Richard Alan Miller (1983)

Natural Magic, by Doreen Valiente (1987)

Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul, by  Ross Heaven, Howard G. Charing (2006)

Shamanic Journeying, by Sandra Ingerman (2003)

Singing With Blackbirds: The Survival of Primal Celtic Shamanism in Later Folk-Traditions, by  Stuart A. Harris-Logan (2006)

Veneficium: Magic, Witchcraft and the Poison Path, by Daniel A. Schulke (2012)

The Way of Wyrd: Tales of an Anglo-Saxon Sorcerer, by Brian Bates (1983).

Witchcraft for Tomorrow, by Doreen Valiente (1978)

Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants, by  Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Wolf-Dieter Storl, Christian Rätsch (1998)

To Fetch A Lover

 To fetch a lover from a distance, get a pennyworth of Dragon’s Blood from the chemist— you must say you want it for dyeing, for it is a poison. Cut a piece of red flannel into the shape of a heart, and stick three pins in it for Cupid’s darts. The three points of the pins must point to the centre.

 Sprinkle the dragon’s blood on the flannel.

 At midnight, burn it on a greedy fire just as the clock strikes twelve, and, as it is burning, repeat these words :

“Tis not this blood I wish to burn,
 But his heart I wish to turn.
 May he neither rest nor sleep
 Till he returns to me to speak.”

 It should be done on a Friday night; on the first Friday in the month it is supposed to work the best. Friday is always the most witching night, and you must be alone.

—Excerpt From: British Folklore, London Folklore Society.


New season, new Mysteries. Although witchcraft is a fertility religion, there are times where we must delve into the mysteries of death and rebirth. The cold seasons and the greater sabbats of Halloween and Candlemas are a time when the leaves on the trees die, snow begins to fall, and the world becomes a little darker. This is a time where earth’s mortality shows, but this mortality is what keeps the cycles of life going. It is an old saying that if witches stopped doing their seasonal rituals, the sun and moon would no longer rise and the world would stop. 

“Queen of the Moon, Queen of the Stars, Queen of the Horns, Queen of the Forests, Queen of the Earth, bring to us the Child of Promise!

For it is the Great Mother who gives birth to him; it is the Lord of Life who is born again. Darkness and tears are set aside, when the Sun comes up again.

Golden Sun of the hill and mountain, illumine the world, illumine the seas, illumine the rivers, illumine us all!

Grief be laid and joy be raised, blessed be the Great Mother!

Without beginning, without end, everlasting to eternity.” 

In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought it would be a great time to acknowledge this lovely couple right here, Janet and Stewart Farrar. The two met in a coven of the Alexandrian tradition and even before receiving their third and final degree of initiation they started a coven of their own. In 1972 they were handfasted. Throughout their time together they were co-authors of many books about witchcraft and became public figures to help inform many people about the Craft and cleared up many misconceptions. If that isn’t “couple goals” I don’t know what is.

An exhaustive list of books for the advanced witch.

Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions: Essays in Comparative Religions by Mircea Eliade

Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorn Coyle

Advanced Witchcraft: Go Deeper, Reach Further, Fly Higher by Edain McCoy

Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English

The Veil’s Edge: Exploring the Boundaries of Magic by Willow Polson

Deepening Witchcraft: Advancing Skills & Knowledge by Grey Cat

Kissing the Limitless by Thorn Coyle

The Sea Priestess by Dion Fortune

The Training & Work of an Initiate by Dion Fortune

The Second Circle: Tools for the Advancing Pagan by Venecia Rauls

The Otherside of Virtue by Brendan Myers

Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune

Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World by John G. Gager

Wicca 333: Advanced Topics in Wiccan Belief by Kaatryn MacMorgan

The Elements of Ritual: Air, Fire, Water & Earth in the Wiccan Circle by Deborah Lipp

777 And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley: Including Gematria & Sepher Sephiroth by Aleister Crowley

Treading the Mill: Practical Craft Working in Modern Traditional Witchcraft by Nigel G. Pearson

Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson

The Call of the Horned Piper by Nigel Aldcroft Jackson

Masks of Misrule: The Horned God & His Cult in Europe by Nigel Jackson

The Pillars of Tubal Cain by Nigel Jackson

The Roebuck in the Thicket: An Anthology of the Robert Cochrane Witchcraft Tradition by Evan John Jones

The Robert Cochrane Letters: An Insight into Modern Traditional Witchcraft by Robert Cochrane

Secrets of East Anglian Magic by Nigel Pennick

Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals by Luisah Teish

The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells: The Ultimate Reference Book for the Magical Arts by Judika Illes

HEKATE: Keys to the Crossroads – A collection of personal essays, invocations, rituals, recipes and artwork from modern Witches, Priestesses and Priests by Sorita D’Este

The Satanic Witch by Anton Szandor LAVey

Advanced Wicca: Exploring Deeper Levels of Spiritual Skills and Masterful Magick by Patricia Telesco

The Meaning of Witchcraft by Gerald Brosseau Gardner

The Study of Witchcraft: A Guidebook to Advanced Wicca by Deborah Lipp

Progressive Witchcraft by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
The Crossroads in Folklore and Myth by Martin Puhvel

When the Drummers Were Women: A Spiritual History of Rhythm by Layne Redmond

The Night Battles: Witchcraft & Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries by Anne Tedeschi

A Razor for a Goat: Problems in the History of Witchcraft and Diabolism by Elliot Rose

Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath by Carlo Ginzburg

Popular Religion in Late Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context by Karen Louise Jolly

The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind by Claude Lecouteux

Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth by Graham Harvey

Athenian Popular Religion by Jon D. Mikalson

Greek Folk Religion by Martin P. Nilsson

Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth by Walter Burkert

The Greek Way of Death by Robert Garland

The Odyssey by Homer

The Iliad by Homer

Theogony, Works and Days by Hesiod

The Histories, Revised by Herodotus

Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History by Owen Davies

Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson

The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture by Paul C. Bauschatz

Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael

Greek and Roman Necromancy by Daniel Ogden

Rotting Goddess: The Origins of the Witch in Classical Antiquity by Jacob Rabinowitz

The Silver Bough by F. Marian MacNeil

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion by James Frazer

The White Goddess by Robert Graves

Myth and Sexuality by Jamake Highwater

The Homeric Hymns by Homer

The Wisdom of the Outlaw by Joseph Falaky Nagy

Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon

Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Triads of the Island of Britain by Rachel Bromwich

Lady With A Mead Cup by Michael Enright

Women’s Religions in the Greco-Roman World: A Sourcebook by Ross Shepard Kraemer

Auraicept na n-Éces: The Scholars Primer by George Calder, ed.

A Guide to Early Irish Law by Fergus Kelly

The Tain by tr. by Thomas Kinsella

The Banshee: The Irish Death Messenger by Patricia Lysaght

Sex and Marriage in Ancient Ireland by Patrick C. Power

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W. Y. Evans Wentz

The Secret Commonwealth and the Fairy Belief Complex by Brian Walsh

Beyond Celts, Germans, and Scythians by Peter S. Wells

Tales of the Elders of Ireland by Ann Dooley and Harry Roe, trans.

The Celtic Heroic Age by John T. Koch and John Carey, eds.

The Poetic Edda

The Prose Edda

Society and Politics in Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla by Sverre Bagge

Feud in the Icelandic Saga by Jesse L. Byock

The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies by Andrew Lang

The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates

The Real Middle-Earth: Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages by Brian Bates

Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus by Alain Danielou

Pagan Dream Of Rennaissance by Joscelyn Godwin
Spiritual Mentoring: A Pagan Guide by Judy Harrow

Loneliness & Revelation by Brendan Myers

The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over by Starhawk

A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism by John Michael Greer

Exploring the Pagan Path: Wisdom from the Elders by Kristin Madden, Starhawk, Raven Grimassi, and Dorothy Morrison

Between the Worlds edited by Sian Reid
The Gaelic Otherworld by John Gregorson Campbell, ed. by Ronald Black

The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Shamanism and Witchcraft in Seventeenth-century Scotland by Emma Wilby

Dreamtime: Concerning the Boundary Between Wilderness and Civilization by Hans Peter Duerr

The Underworld Initiation: A journey towards psychic transformation by R. J. Stewart

Power Within the Land: The Roots of Celtic and Underworld Traditions Awakening the Sleepers and Regenerating the Earth by R. J. Stewart

The Tree of Enchantment: Ancient Wisdom and Magic Practices of the Faery Tradition by Orion Foxwood

The Woman in the Shaman’s Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine by Barbara Tedlock

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy by Mircea Eliade

Walkers Between the Worlds: The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus by Caitlin Matthews

Plant Spirit Wisdom: Shamans and Sin eaters, Celtic Techniques for Healing the Soul by Ross Heaven

The Wiccan Mystic by Ben Gruagach

To Fly by Night edited by Veronica Cummer

Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism by Jenny Blain

Cunning-Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic by Emma Wilby

Sacred Mask Sacred Dance by Evan John Jones
Circles, Groves and Sanctuaries by Dan and Pauline Campanelli

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure by Catherine Yronwode

Sticks, Stones, Roots & Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo & Conjuring with Herbs by Stephanie Rose Bird

Mastering Herbalism: A Practical Guide by Paul Huson

Encyclopedia of Natural Magic by John Michael Greer

The Tree of Meaning: Language, Mind and Ecology by Robert Bringhurst

Leechcraft: Early English Charms, Plantlore and Healingby Stephen Pollington

Learning Their Language: Intuitive Communication with Animals and Nature by Marta Williams

The Meaning of Herbs: Myth, Language & Lore by G. & Field, A. Scoble

The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines to Life on Earth by Stephen Buhner

The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety by Simon Mills, Kerry Bone
By Standing Stone and Elder Tree: Ritual and the Unconscious by William G. Gray also known as Rollright Stone and Elder Tree

Magical Ritual Methods by William G. Gray

The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion by Mircea Eliade

Hekate Liminal Rites: A Study of the rituals, magic and symbols of the torch-bearing Triple Goddess of the Crossroads by David Rankine

Circles of Power: Ritual Magic in the Western Tradition by John Michael Greer

In early modern Britain, disbelief in the existence of spirits was tantamount to atheism. The overwhelming majority of people, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, believed in the existence of a countless number and variety of invisible supernatural beings. Different types of people were concerned with different types of spirits: for the devout Christian, angels and demons stood centre stage; for the elite magician, spirits originating from classical cosmologies could be equally significant while the uneducated country people placed a greater emphasis on the 'fairy folk’. Trying to make any hard and fast distinction between categories of spirits in early modern Britain is impossible because supernatural beings were labelled differently, depending on geography, education and religious perspective and definitions overlapped considerably. The term 'fairy’, for example, is a misleadingly broad generic term which, in the period, covered a wide range of supernatural entities. On a popular level there was often little difference between a fairy and an angel, saint, ghost, or devil. We find the popular link between fairies and angels, for example, expressed in the confession of a cunning man on trial for witchcraft in Aberdeen, in 1598. The magical practitioner, who was identified in the trial records as ‘Andro Man’, claimed that his familiar (described by the interrogators as the Devil) was an angel who, like Tom Reid, served the queen of the fairies. The records state 'Thow confessis that the Devill, thy maister, quhom thow termes Christsonday, and supponis to be ane engell, and Goddis godsone, albeit he hes a thraw by God, and swyis to the Quene of Elphen, is rasit be the speking of the word Benedicte.’
—  Emma Wilby, Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits - shamanistic visionary traditions in Early Modern British witchcraft and magic
Lost tools of Wicca: The Scourge

The scourge is no longer used by most Wiccan practitioners because social views have overshadowed the symbolism of this tool.

Traditionally, a scourge has eight cords with five knots tied in each equalling the sacred number of forty. The scourge is used in many ceremonies including initiation, energy building, and invocation of the Goddess. 

The scourge is viewed by many as perverse because of parallels to sexual practices. However, there is nothing perverse at all about this ritual tool. Firstly, the scourge is not used to cause pain. It is stated in multiple texts that, after forty lashings, the skin should merely tingle. The scourge does not cause pain, it just represents pain. Specifically, the acceptance that pain is necessary and unavoidable in the pursuit of higher knowledge. It stands as a parallel to the Five Fold Kiss, which is the ritual acceptance of abundance divinity of self.

Happy Spring Equinox!

“We kindle this fire today
In presence of the Holy Ones
Without Malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear of aught beneath the Sun
But the High Gods
The we invoke, O Light of Life,
Be Thou a bright flame before us,
Be Thou a guiding star above us,
Be Thou a smooth path beneath us;
Kindle Thou within our hearts
A flame of love for our neighbors,
To our foes, to our friends, to our kindred all,
To all men on the broad earth.
O merciful Son of Cerridwen,
From the lowliest thing that liveth
To the Name which is Highest of all.” ~Adaptation by Doreen Valiente from two Scottish Gaelic blessings