historiated initials


Part 2 of 2.

15th century Italian antiphonal in diced russia leather, s. XVIII (?), retaining most of the original 15th century metal ornaments, as well as the heavy wooden boards; stamps of the Holy Monogram, the Agnus Dei, a sunburst, and a flower. - Written for the Benedictine house of S. Pietro (Perugia) of the Congregation of Santa Giustina of Padua, whose ownership notes appear on ff. 1 and 166v; George A. Plimpton (1855-1936). - De Ricci, p. 1760. Stephen N. Fliegel, et al., The Caporali Missal: a Masterpiece of Renaissance Illumination (Pestel: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2013) nn. 2 and 3 on pp. 88-89.

Country: Italy

Region: Umbria

City: Perugia

Artist: Giapeco Caporali

Music: Square notation on 4-line red staves.

Figurative Decoration: 3-line historiated initial in white-patterned pink on burnished gold ground; 3 roundels.

Other Decoration: 2-line parted initials in red and blue or in blue with a void design, both with flourishing; infilling sometimes includes color-washed pen and ink drawings of acanthus leaves.


Initial letters taken from ‘Scrapbook of Historiated Initials’ by Adam Luke Gowans ( graduated with an MA from the University of Glasgow in 1895 ).

Glasgow School of Art.


This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License.  This means that you can re-use it in your own work, as long as you credit ‘Learning Resources, Glasgow School of Art’ wherever you use it. Only use our content for non-commercial purposes, and make any work you create that includes our content freely available to others through Creative Commons.


Yorkshire, England  - 1940 

Dearest Sybbie, 

Forgive me. I know what you will think upon reading this letter, so I ask your forgiveness in advance. I have joined the army and am currently en route to London, set to be shortly posted to France. I understand both you and your father’s opinion of war, but I feel that it is my duty as both an Englishman and Crawley to do my bit for our country. My mother, of course, has not spoken to me since I last saw her and broke the news. It breaks my heart to know the pain that I am causing her. I know she almost lost my father in the Great War, and many a good man from the village. But I cannot stand by and watch the world that my father and so many others fought for, be lost to such evil. I do not know whether I will ever see you or Downton again. When I am on the continent and feeling low, I shall think back to the summers we spent terrorising poor old donk, or strolling through the village fair. I leave England in the hope that when I return, I will be able to escort both you and Goldie to your next dance. 

All I ask, should anything happen to me…look after my mother and Charlie, and please bury me beside my father. 

Pray for me dear Sybbie, I do need it. 

Your ever hopeful and endearing cousin, 


anonymous asked:

How do you become a witch? I've always been interested in witchcraft and magick but I've never known where to start or what to do

There is many methods that are made known in historical witch-trial records.

The most common seen is the ‘betwixt hand and foot’ method

“…putting one of my hands to the crown of my head and the other to the sole of my foot and renounced all betwixt my two hands to the Devil…” - Isobel Gowdie

Annabil Stewart was enticed by her mother to “put one hand to the crown of her head and the other to the sole of her foot, and did give up her self sole and body to the devil…”

From the Shetland Islands, one must go to the seashore at midnight and lie on the beach below the tidemark. Then the left hand be put under the soles of your feet, the right hand on the top of your head and repeat thrice: “the muckel maister Deil tak what’s atween dis twa hands!” Which seems to be a shortened version of the Orkney witch charm:

Orkney Witch Charm

Another method is said that a Logan stone can grant you access to the otherworld and become a witch:

Logan Stone Initiation

Sometimes a person was pursued by a familiar to make a pact rather than the devil himself. For example:

“Sometime in the beginning of the last century, two old dames attended the morning service at Llandaewi Brefi Church, and partook of the Holy Communion; but instead of eating the sacred bread like other communicants, they kept it in their mouths and went out. Then they walked round the Church outside nine times, and at the ninth time the Evil One came out from the Church wall in the form of a frog, to whom they gave the bread from their mouths, and by doing this wicked thing they were supposed to be selling themselves to the devil and become witches.” - Davies, p. 231. For a similar practice in modern England, see Transactions of the Devonshire Association. (1874), p. 201.]

“James Device, one of the chief of the Lancashire witches in 1613, confessed ‘that vpon Sheare Thursday was two yeares, his Grand−Mother Elizabeth Sothernes, alias Dembdike, did bid him this Examinate goe to the Church to receiue the Communion (the next day after being Good Friday) and then not to eate the Bread the Minister gaue him, but to bring it and deliuer it to such a thing as should meet him in his way homewards: Notwithstanding her perswasions, this Examinate did eate the Bread; and so in his comming homeward some fortie roodes off the said Church, there met him a thing in the shape of a Hare, who spoke vnto this Examinate, and asked him whether hee had brought the Bread.” - Potts, H 3.

Hope this helps!


And if the idea of the devil scares you then you need to look at him from a different perspective, he isn’t the evil force of Christianity that bids you only do harm and malice. He’s the horned one of the woods that is seen in almost every culture in one way or another, the witch father, the master of the sabbath, the liberator.


one of the great things about humanity is that the past continue in with us. we do not operate in a vacuum. no one alive today is operating in a pocket of time and space with no connection to the past. no one. so groups that have been oppressed and denied their basic humanity do not simply feel the injustice of the day in their experience, they feel the continual injustice of society towards their group(s) through the knowledge that said injustice has been happening for decades if not centuries.

black people and women (but specifically black women) should NOT be in a “i’m going to be patient with people” mode ANYMORE. it’s been centuries of oppression. oppression passed on from generation to generation to generation. centuries of black people and women (but specifically black women) being shitted on and centuries of tactics to shit on black people and women (but specifically black women) being passed on to another generation to continue the shitting. the results of which being self hatred, internalized racism, destroyed communities, brainwashed people who think their own race is base, families ripped apart and more. 

fuck all this patient bullshit. clap the fuck back! and if a white person or a man ain’t about waking up, fuck them and run them over. we can not afford to continue to lose generations of black people and women (but specifically black women) waiting on motherfuckas to wake up when we everyday see motherfuckas WILLFULLY stay sleep thus allowing the harm to peope to continue. let me say that again.


if a motherfucka is going to parade around here in blackface, fuck his shit up! if a motherfucka is going to throw out rape threats because he doesn’t like a woman’s opinion, fuck his shit up! if a motherfucka is going to self hate his on black sistas, lay his ass down! the time for peaceful patient negotiation is been pass. fuck all that.

and before you give me some bullshit about violence, remember:

Any situation in which “A” objectively exploits “B” or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression. Such a situation in itself constitutes violence, even when sweetened by false generosity, because it interferes with the individual’s ontological and historical vocations to become more fully human. With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed.

Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others and persons—not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the “rejects of life.” It is not the tyrannized who initiate despotism, but the tyrants. It is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who deny that humanity (thus negating their own as well).

— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

people are mad and angry not just for shits and giggles but because that anger is justified and earned through abuse from oppressors. fuck all this patient shit. change must be demanded from oppressors and demanding shit makes people uncomfortable. change is uncomfortable. however discomfort does not even come close to what oppression looks and feels like everyday. so be aggressive. passivity is what the enemy is banking on. our unwillingness to get our hands dirty, make some fucking enemies, push the envelop, shake people out of their comfort zone and be demanding is what they are hoping we do because that allows their evil ways to become even more entrenched and to “low key” convert more people to their dark side.

stop with this bullshit about making enemies. “you have enemies? good. that means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” ― winston s. churchill. go out there and make some meaningful enemies. not everyone is supposed to like you so go out there and fight for a good cause and least make an enemy for a good fucking reason.

smfh, there’s always somebody who wants to give evil a second chance. always. lives have been and are being lost but always with this “be patient” fuckery. smfh. this is the most insulting coonage i’ve seen in a while. 

anonymous asked:

Who is the man in black? What is initiation? Why is it irreversible? Is all of this part of traditional witchcraft? I’m a witch but I’ve never heard of any of this before. Why not?

Wow, that’s a lot of questions. Okay, one at a time. 

1. The Man in Black is also known as the Witch Father and the Witch’s Devil. He is one of the most common initiating spirits in traditional witchcraft, though by no means the only one. This is not the same figure as the Christian devil, but instead, a father of sorcery, of enlightenment, who brings knowledge and power. He is a spirit of the liminal places, of the wild and the dark, of the things that frighten you.

2. Initiation is the process of spiritual death that a traditional witch goes through after making their oaths with their initiating spirits. It is a process of cleansing, emptying, and rebirth.

3. It is irreversible simply because it is a spiritual death. It is a harsh process, one that rips you up and empties you out. Not everyone can handle it, and not everyone comes out well on he other side. When we say things like “it can drive you mad,” and “it fundamentally changes your sense of self-identity,” we are not kidding. You can’t go back. You’ve seen and experienced something so beyond your normal life, that you are changed.

4. Yes, all of this is part of traditional witchcraft.

5. You’ve probably heard parts of it, and just dismissed it. Have you never heard of witches meeting with the devil and signing his black book? Never heard of witches meeting with him at the crossroads? The stories are there, they are just usually dismissed by modern witches, wanting to distance themselves from people’s ideas of the witch, or in some cases, anything that hints at Christianity, like the term “devil.” 

It also comes with the dismissing of the victims of the witch trials as all being innocent, and the erroneous idea that all confessions were tortured out of people and not freely given. See Isobel Gowdie, who gave her confession four times, without torture, and stayed consistent – something that has been shown to be impossible for people who have been tortured, especially during witch trials, where such inconsistencies were used to prove that the “witch” was hiding things. Likewise, while she’s been accused of being schizophrenic, the consistency of her reports make this exceedingly unlikely as well. We know how unmedicated schizophrenics act while under scrutiny and interrogation, and according to her own words and the reports of witnesses, she showed none of these symptoms. Symptoms that would have been recorded as evidence of bedevilment, had they been present.

This is not to say that every accused witch, was in fact, a witch – far from it, but historically, we do see similarities between confessions of people who were never tortured. No historian doubts that Alizon Device believed she was a witch, but she’s called a liar or mad, even though her confessions match others she never met, and again, show consistency. Historians call  Elspeth Reoch mad, even though her trial in Orkney and her claims are hauntingly similar to Isobel and others in the Scottish witch trials, despite taking place at different regions of the country, and never having met. 

Initiatory Cultures 101

Originally posted by brooktiniwrite

So many times in the witchcraft community, I see a lot of gatekeeping.  This comes from a wide range of witches and it cannot really be pinpointed to any certain group or person.  We, as humans, are often very quick to tell someone “no”; we like to refuse explanations just as much.  And that, my friends, is a problem.

We see it on Tumblr all the time: Harriet is interested in *insert initiatory culture* and posts about how she is now part of said culture.  Someone climbs onto her feed and shrieks, “You have to be initiated to participate in those cultural activities!” Harriet backfires with, “Why, though?” and is met without an answer.  This is often followed with Harriet incessantly whining because she didn’t get her way and/or continuing to practice regardless of being told it is not okay.

And this situation doesn’t help anything or anyone.

That’s why your Saltmom is here to tell you the reason the WHY behind initiatory religions, practices, paths, and cultures.  I find that the more educated we allow our community to become, the better off and the more diverse we will be.

So, what is initiation anyway?

Initiation is a rite of passage marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society. It could also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community or one of its formal components. In an extended sense, it can also signify a transformation in which the initiate is ‘reborn’ into a new role. Examples of initiation ceremonies might include Hindu diksha, Christian baptism or confirmation, Jewish bar or bat mitzvah, acceptance into a fraternal organization, secret society or religious order, or graduation from school or recruit training. A person taking the initiation ceremony in traditional rites is called an initiate.

Characteristics of Initiation

Mircea Eliade was a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day.  He discussed initiation as a principal religious act by classical or traditional societies. He defined initiation as “a basic change in existential condition,” which liberates humans from profane time and history. 

“Initiation recapitulates the sacred history of the world. And through this recapitulation, the whole world is sanctified anew… [the initiand] can perceive the world as a sacred work, a creation of the Gods.”


Basically, the function of initiation is to reveal the deep meaning of existence to the new generations in a culture.  It helps them assume the responsibility of being members of their culture and actively participating in their traditions.

I get that part.  But what’s the problem?

The problem is that we live in a society that likes to participate in a little activity called:

(And yes, I totally used Comic Sans because I abhor both the font and the very act of appropriation.)

And for those of you who don’t know what that is: cultural appropriation is the unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religion, religious symbols, etc. 

TL;dr: Cultural appropriation is when somebody adopts aspects of a culture or community that’s not their own.

This is extremely damaging when the source community is a minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other ways.

What do initiation and cultural appropriation have to do with one another?

You remember Harriet from earlier? Well, whether Harriet knows it or not, appropriating the initiatory culture of her choice does a great deal of harm to that culture.  Why?  Because she didn’t take the time to ask to be welcomed into said culture, which, in turn, means that Harriet is not privileged to be under the tutelage of an experienced member of that culture.  Harriet, while not being properly guided, could potentially bastardize and warp the very culture that she found herself being drawn to.

Harriet did not take the time to show respect to that culture by requesting to be a part of it.  The problem arises when somebody takes something from another less dominant culture in a way that members of that culture find undesirable and offensive. The point is that the more marginalized group doesn’t get a say, while their heritage is deployed by someone in a position of greater privilege (looking at you, Harriet)–for fun or fashion, perhaps, and out of a place of ignorance rather than knowledge of that culture. 

Without initiation, Harriet is stealing.  Period.

That’s horrible!  How can I avoid being culturally appropriative?

If you are curious about an initiatory religion, path, practice, or culture, go straight to the source.  Contact those that lead these communities.  Great examples of these efforts include:

  • Getting in touch with a First Nations’ tribe if you are interested in practicing a particular shamanic path that falls under their traditions.
  • Visiting (or calling!) the New Orleans Voodoo Temple if you have recently decided that maybe Louisiana Voodoo is a practice you would like to pursue and asking questions.
  • Taking classes and studying the religion you find yourself being drawn to before even remotely considering practicing it.

Little acts of respect such as these (and more) show us that we not only hold the cultures to high regard, but that we also honor traditions that do not inherently belong to us.  

Final Thoughts

With a little more empathy and effort, we can make our community better by recognizing that we all have work to do.  That means taking the time to explain why something might negatively affect our other witchy brothers and sisters, and doing our part to protect their traditions as much as we would our own.

That’s all for now!
Witch Haven Community Creator, Server Mom, BAMF
Find her @saltwaterwitchery


“It’s the Matt Mercer blow-up doll we’ve been waiting for!”

“…Did you really just say that out loud?”

The Most Epic Reactions to The Most Epic Fan Gift Ever, by Vox Machina (feat. Daran de Paul, Will Friedle and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn)

anonymous asked:

If someone was interested in learning more about traditional witchcraft what would their best bet be? Is it typically only a hereditary practice? You've said before that reading a subject and practicing it are very different things and I agree. But where does one look to learn then?

Traditional witchcraft is definitely not only a hereditary practise, and don’t ever let anyone tell you so. It is things like that which get spread around and give fam trads a bad name, especially since not everyone raised fam trad. makes the decision to become a witch – some become cunning folk, or diviners, or folk magicians. Others give up the life completely.

When one is looking to learn about traditional witchcraft, the question that must be answered is to what end are they trying to learn? Is it purely historic or spiritual curiosity with no intent to practise? If this is the case, you want to search out folklore about witches – from anywhere and everywhere and compare and contrast. There’s a lot of fascinating topics and quite a few scholarly books on both historical witchcraft and folk magic in various areas. Places like Thriftbooks.com can be a godsend at making that cheaper. 

If, however, the person is wanting to learn traditional witchcraft with an eye to practise, then books are not particularly helpful. If you are certain about such a choice, then how one learns is going to seek out the spirits, letting them know your intent, and opening yourself up to their answers. It is not instantaneous, it is not something that is simple, and it may take time to convince them, but eventually someone will answer. You want to find liminal spaces, especially ones which make you uncomfortable or feel like a cold finger has gone up your spine If you receive a no there, try somewhere else. If you get no answer, but feel someone is watching, go back another time and try again. It may take time to convince them of your seriousness, especially if you are in a stable place in your life.

Now, I am not saying that all witches are unstable, or unstable when they start, oh no. It has nothing to do with mental health. It is merely more common for people to reach out to witchcraft when they are desperate: when logic has failed, when Gods refuse to offer succor, when you’ve reached that event horizon. It is not required to be at that point, but if you are not, it may take time for the spirits to take you seriously, especially if your feet are not fully set on the crooked path. 

The spirits do not want to waste their time with people who will falter, who will turn their backs, or who are unwilling to pay the prices of magic. There are all too many who dabble, get scared, and then run away, telling everyone about the evil they experienced when they dabbled – even in modern areas of witchcraft. Once you pact, once the initiation begins, there is no turning back. It is not something to do lightly or when you are at all uncertain.

Fragment from a 15th century Italian Missal for the Augustinian house of S. Andrea or for the church of S. Agoostino in Ferrara.

Artist: Franco dei Russi

This is a page of text and music, rubric, initial with penwork and penwork drawings of a lion and a grotesque.

Source: New York, New York Public Library, Spencer Collection,  NYPL Spencer 061

someone: Putting clones in Star Wars was the worst decision ever.

me: The concept of a Clone Wars has existed since the third draft of the first film, and the Wars are mentioned twice in the first, like, half hour of the film. The Clone Wars has been in the development history of Obi-Wan (initially a “grizzled cyborg” general), Lando (initially a clone from a planet of clones), and Boba (initially a member of a group shock troops who fought the Jedi during the Clone Wars and were nearly annihilated). These concepts, though they didn’t survive to the final drafts of the original trilogy, are clearly revisited in the prequel trilogy through General Grievous, Kamino, and the clone troopers. In fact, the concept of a Clone Wars fought by an army of clones is one of the oldest concepts in the lore. This is a concept in the very roots of the entire Star Wars universe.

With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. How could they be the initiators, if they themselves are the result of violence? How could they be the sponsors of something whose objective inauguration called forth their existence as oppressed? There would be no oppressed had there been no prior situation of violence to establish their subjugation. “Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others as persons—not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the “rejects of life.” It is not the tyrannized who initiate despotism, but the tyrants. It is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who denied that humanity (thus negating their own as well). Force is used not by those who have become weak under the preponderance of the strong, but by the strong who have emasculated them.

Yet it is—paradoxical though it may seem—precisely in the response of the oppressed to the violence of their oppressors that a gesture of love may be found. Consciously or unconsciously, the act of rebellion by the oppressed (an act which is always, or nearly always, as violent as the initial violence of the oppressors) can initiate love. Whereas the violence of the oppressors prevents the oppressed from being fully human, the response of the latter to this violence is grounded in the desire to pursue the right to be human. As the oppressors dehumanize others and violate their rights, they themselves also become dehumanized. As the oppressed, fighting to be human, take away the oppressors’ power to dominate and suppress, they restore to the oppressors the humanity they had lost in the exercise of oppression.

It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors. The latter, as an oppressive class, can free neither others nor themselves. It is therefore essential that the oppressed wage the struggle to resolve the contradiction in which they are caught; and the contradiction will be resolved by the appearance of the new man: neither oppressor nor oppressed, but man in the process of liberation. If the goal of the oppressed is to become fully human, they will not achieve their goal by merely reversing the terms of the contradiction, by simply changing poles. Acts which prevent the restoration of the oppressive regime cannot be compared with those which create and maintain it, cannot be compared with those by which a few men and women deny the majority.

—  Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire

16th century Polish gradual.

Some countries placed particular emphasis on watermarking to distinguish qualities and grades of paper, and to establish dating.

This cutting can be dated to ca. 1530. The paper was made in Nackel near Posen and can be identified by the watermark of a crowned escutcheon containing a doubled cross.

Source: Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Rare Book Department,  Lewis E M 042:04-09

One of the most liberating feelings in the world is realizing you don’t owe anyone shit

You don’t have to be friends with someone who treats you like crap even if you’ve known them your whole life. You don’t even owe them an explanation either. You get to choose who gets to be in your life. It’s a privilege, not a birth given right. 

If someone is hurting you or just flat out annoying, you don’t have to give them the time of day. Please cut the shitty people out of your life and surround yourself with awesome ones who make you happy. You deserve nothing but happiness and anyone who brings you down doesn’t deserve to be in it. 

Manga Kaiba’s relationship with war is interesting to me. The anime paints this relationship in a very black-and-white way, but I think in the original story it’s something more complex. I think Kaiba Corporation’s history as a war machine becomes a metaphor for Seto Kaiba’s war with his abusive step-father and even more so a metaphor for the war within himself, and charting Seto’s standpoint towards his company’s history also charts Seto’s standpoint towards violence.

Paired with Gozaburo’s brainwashing, I think having his creations utilized for war desensitized Seto to the concept of violence. When further paired with a nasty psychotic episode we reach the stage of Death-T. As Kazuki Takahashi put it: “Seto had the idea that war and games were one in the same.” It ties to Seto’s twisted ideology, that losing equals death, regardless of the landscape. But this is something that clearly changes.

At Duelist Kingdom, Seto rationalizes his part in the violence of the world, and this applies to both war and to Death-T. I think he was still tightly gripping Gozaburo’s dark ideology in his hands.

But when we arrive at the finals of Battle City, we’re given this:

He feels used. There’s a sense of blame here that wasn’t present before and he’s distancing himself from his company’s history. And within this area of the story, we see Seto provoking Atem to challenge his draconian worldview and in the end he gave Atem the card he needed to defeat Malik.

With The Darkside of Dimensions, we reach the culmination of this arc as Seto renounces war and violence as futile. At the same time this speech is an introspection, reflective of Seto’s own history, initially a person who functioned by violence, but now carrying an understanding of just how hopeless and meaningless violence is.

Life is about more than that. And he’s fighting for a bond; he always was.

But that’s just my own take on it.

With the Lenten season upon us, I’ll be breaking up photosets to focus on specific holy days.

This post contains a leaf from a 15th century Italian antiphonal with a large historiated initial depicting Christ’s entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday).

Source: Berkeley, University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library,  BANC MS UCB 059

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.