spirit of tradition

wonderdelwanderer  asked:

I'm confused about this initiation process? What exactly is it? How did you get into it? What is it for? If you don't want to answer, I understand, but I would love to know (not because I want to do it as it sounds painful and unpleasant, but just to know I guess, I don't know how to explain it...)

I’m making a big post, but I’ll try to give some basic points. 
Spirit initiation is the process when the spirits of a tradition fully bring someone to walk their path. 
It is in essence a destruction of the old to pave the way for what will be. 
I’m specifically talking about witch initiation, so we’ll go from that. 
This is not something found in modern witchcraft. It is a folkloric concept found in traditional witchcraft. 
Spirits clear out the bits of you that keep you from walking the Crooked Way. Some say that these are the most ‘human’ or civilized bits. 
They chew you up and spit you out a witch. 
The initiation is often led by the Devil, though he is not the only one who can initiate. Dead witches, ancestors, spirits of the Land, and a handful of deities can do it as well. 
It is after this process, in folklore anyway, that someone is a properly a witch. They gain their familiar and their power, or in the case of those with the witch-blood, their powers are awakened from slumber. 
The witch is also bound to the path and the spirits that initiated them. No, it’s not selling one’s soul (though I’m sure the spirits wouldn’t refuse it if you offered), but they become a part of you and vice versa. 

Page of my BoS including the four directions of the witches compass, taken from; Traditional Witchcraft, by Gemma Gary

@fern-goddess In response to your question to my other blog, these are the meanings behind the sigils/seals, hope this helps
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So consider this.

The first of my weird little ideas I’m trying out. I had said I would try pendulums in the past but I actually decided to go all the way and make a unique little mold for it. Something more angular and pointed screams “pendulum” to me than my gently tapered herbal molds.

This is just the prototype using a tiny Yarrow sprig. I’m working on a couple more using whatever sprigs of Mugwort I still have remaining from the summer - an herb highly associated with divination and clarity.

I’m thinking of trying to find something like a bead cap for the top, or even a fitted little bit of metal, if that’s possible.

So what do you think?

The Fetch vs. Spirit Animals

In an attempt to pull away from the cultural appropriation that had plagued modern wicca and neo-pagan movements, I notice many people gravitating towards traditional witchcraft in it’s various incarnations. While this is a broad conversation to enter into, something I want to bring up for the possibility of open conversation is the concept of the Fetch (traditional witchcraft) and the Spirit Animal (Native American shamanism). Bare in mind, my understanding of the spirit animal is limited to what I have been told and I am open to being given more information to better develop my grasp of the concept. Take the following definitions as generals, not absolutes.

A ? around a sentence means I’m not sure of the validity of this information.

Spirit Animal: An entity, separate from the self, which appears to guide or, through lessons, help one become stronger and persevere through challenge. They represent a mind set or perhaps ones strongest traits, what will become most important to them, or the path they should follow in life. ?A spirit animal does not ‘belong’ to any one person? However a totem animal is one with the person both in the physical and spiritual realm. Spirit animals may come in and out of ones life at times of need or to convey messages. ?Sometimes they have strong affiliations with a specific tribe?

Fetch: A fetch is, at it’s core, a representation of the persons most primal and uncivilized self. Wild and perhaps even dark, it is meant to act as a challenger to the persons progress in the craft and, once the challenge is won, the fetch will act on behalf of the person by helping them travel the spirit realm. They can be totemic (as totems and shamanism is not limited to Native American tribes) as they are in essence the person at their most wild and free self.

Why differentiate? Well beyond the two being very different both in concept and intention, I do feel there is a need to stop using the stolen ideals of another culture, especially when we don’t have a good grasp of what they are and simply fling around the term because we took a buzzfeed quiz. Spirit animals do not belong to witchcraft. We do not have a right to them under the concept that they exist for Native Americans. Now there may be some similarities between spirit animals and fetches, familiars, totems, et cetera in other practices. But that does not make the terms interchangeable.

Thoughts? Comments? Expansions?

The Nøkk - Shapeshifting male water spirits who, according to Scandinavian mythology, lured men and women to drown in their lakes or streams with their sweet songs. 

One early morning, fisherman Will sees a man emerging from the lake water. 

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Excuse the dust, I light a lot of incense, but here is my indoor altar(s). Top tier is the all gods shrine, then the spiritwork / old horn / wild hunt altar, then the working altar where I do my divination and spells, down there so I can sit or kneel, and any books or supplies I might need are on the shelf below. 

Payments to your spirits and gods

Your spirits and gods demand your payment as soon as they have delivered on their side of any deal made.

They do not care if you have other things going on in your life, if you are late in offering their payment they will send not-so-gentle reminders that you owe them.

To give an example, I petitioned Bride for help in finding a new place to live. It was an urgent request as my boyfriend moved in with me and my tiny flat wasn’t big enough for us and our stuff. I promised Bride that she would get a special space set up for her in the kitchen of our new home.

We get a house straight away and move in a couple of days after signing the lease. Everyone knows moving home is stressful and keeps you busy. Unboxing years of stuff and books (oh so many books) takes time. So I did not set up her shrine space straight away. I said to myself I’d do that once I’ve settled in properly.

Bride saw things differently. Our gas boiler broke down about a week after moving in. It was November and it was freezing. The whole boiler system needed replaced and we went two weeks without central heating using shitty convector electric heaters which ran up our electricity bill.

I realised it looked like I hadn’t paid my due to Bride even though I had every intention of doing it. Action speaks louder however so I set up her shrine space once it clicked in my head. If I’d done this in the first place I’d have saved money on my electricity and wouldn’t have spent two weeks freezing my arse off during a Scottish winter.

Pay your dues asap folks. Spirits and gods don’t like to wait.

The “Folkloric Devil” is a term applied to the figure who appears in folk-tales and legends and who is often called “the devil”, but it’s obvious that he emerges from a different source than the theological background of Christianity.

Old divinities or diminished Gods that maintained a presence in the minds or cultures of European peoples are suggested (often enough, and for good reasons) as a source of this figure; but beyond that, the pre-Christian societies had spiritual forces and persons that they related to in the sense of “outsider” powers that could be shady or tricky or dangerous at times, but who often had kinds of relationships nonetheless with human beings. These are the main source of the “folkloric” Devil/Devils.

The Folkloric devil isn’t concerned with damning souls, primarily, but he always wants to make deals or pacts to help humans who need things, but so that he can gain, too- a sign of his origin in the older world of spirit-relationship and spiritual ecology. In Christian gloss, he begins more and more to want “souls” for his help, but he is always able to be tricked, himself- and this is very important. Human heroes or protagonists can outwit him. This is something that would be impossible to do to the Theological Devil, who is far beyond humans in power, and second only to God himself in power.

Modern Pop Culture produces surprising emergences of the old Folkloric Devil- Charlie Daniel’s song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” is an appearance of a Folkloric Devil, who can be out-played by the intrepid and arrogant local boy, on the fiddle. There is the Christian conceit of the Devil seeking souls in that song, but that’s just a minor detail, more suited to a Christian audience and born from the imagination of a low Protestant folk singer.

The Folkloric Devil is a being- and a representative of a whole class of beings- who can be engaged with by humans, for gains. They can be harmful, they can be helpful, and they can be outwitted or outdone at times. Sometimes, they become protagonists themselves.

Theological Elites in the Pre-Modern period of Europe saw no distinction between their Theological Devil and the various emergences of the Folkloric Devil. The “Devil” of witch cults and covenants and of individual sorcerers or witches was of the Folkloric variety, though in their own personal understandings, even they may have believed that he was the same as the theological devil, such was the nature of their times. It’s not like there was a neat chart that spelled all this stuff out to earlier people, and folk in Pre-Modern times heard Christian ministers ranting alongside fire-side bards telling folktales, and so the Folkloric Devil/Devils could take on Christian gloss and attributes at times, and the Theological devil could appear in decidedly “folkish” ways.

What’s important to remember is that the Theological Devil doesn’t exist except as the shadow of Christian psychology. He is born from the idealistic Christian imagination, as the necessary counter-ideal or counter-force to their idealistic notion of good, the warped good, the fallen good, born in their continuation of earlier dualistic religious tropes that posited a cosmic war between good and evil cosmological forces.

The Folkloric Devil, on the other hand, very much exists, both in the form of a powerful former divinity worshiped by practically every human culture known previous to Christianity, and as a folk-memory of certain spirit-entities (very much tied to this world) that people have always engaged in relationships with, though they are a group of entities who are, in ways, challenging, dangerous at points, and ambiguous.

The Theological Devil is a remnant of idealism and the diseased imagination of absolutists and idealists. The Folkloric Devil is a remnant of ancient spiritual ecology and human relationships to the wilder, stranger Otherworld.

- Robin Artisson

Oath for unruly spirits

During evocation and spirit communication it is important to get a spirit to abide by your own moral code and your set rules, especially if you intend to work with this spirit for a long time.  This is a very basic oath I use when I intend to work with a spirit prior to any ritual or work with them.  It is important to note that you need to use many methods of retaining a spirit and not just an oath


“I command you to swear on your name and sigil to answer my questions truthfully, without omitting or editing any information in communication, and to perform any task that I command you to perform without delay or hesitation.  Furthermore, you will swear to accomplish these tasks in a manner that does not tempt me to violate my own morals or my Tue Will, in a manner that harms no one, neither man nor women nor beast unless I specifically command you to do so.  Do you swear to abide by this oath?”


Source O.Snuffin- Conjuring spirits


As Always

-Robin

looking for active witch blogs to follow!🍁🍁

I feel like everyone has made one of these posts, but hi there! relatively new witchcraft blog here, though I’ve been practising for a while, I remade a witchcraft blog to encourage myself to be more active. 

Please reblog/like this post if you practise/ blog about any of the following:

-Green witchcraft

-crystal magic

-storm/weather magic

-kitchen/traditional witchcraft

-spirit work/mediumship

-divination (tarot, pendulum, etc)

Thank you!

Why do we knock on wood?

Chances are you’ve knocked on wood in the past week. But, really, why? Here’s one origin story:

Knocking on wood is thought to come from the folklore of the ancient Indo-Europeans, or possibly people who predated them, who believed that trees were home to various spirits.  

Touching a tree would invoke the protection or blessing of the spirit within.

And somehow, this tradition has survived long after belief in these spirits had faded away.

What are some other origin stories of knocking on wood that you’ve heard?

From the TED-Ed Lesson Where do superstitions come from? - Stuart Vyse

Animation by TED-Ed & @jefflebars

Working with Plants

1. Start your own Herbal. There are some great books out there, but recording your own experiences/uses/collected lore for herbs is invaluable. Draw, press or take photos of the plants you include. 

2. Learn about plants by seeing them with your own eyes. Visit botanical gardens, nurseries, garden centres and parks to see the plants in situ and (hopefully) correctly labelled. The human brain has an amazing memory for plants, it is a survival skill to be able to identify them. When you walk through a park or garden, notice the plants and identify those you know to re-establish this memory.

3. Grow things. Be as ambitious as your space, money and time allow. Collect plants that are hard to find, appeal to you and suit your climate. Go beyond culinary herbs. Be aware of where you plant things in the garden, both directionally and symbolically. Plants you have grown are constantly receiving offerings of your time, energy and resources and are therefore more likely to be willing to assist you.

4. Plants will die. Even the most experienced gardener will lose plants. Accept it. Don’t just buy a few seedlings and then decide you lack a green thumb because they all died. Some herbs are annuals, that means they only live for a season, some plants are deciduous, some will simply not be suited to your climate or area and fail to thrive. Be patient and persistent and become a student of gardening as well has herbcraft.

5. Work in depth with a particular herb or tree to discover its secrets. Read everything you can about it, research folklore and planetary correspondences, consume it raw, dried, as a tea and a tincture. Prepare a spagyric essence from it. Burn it as incense. Infuse oil with it. Grow it, talk to it, dream about it. Watch how it changes through the seasons, collect its seeds, smell its flowers. Do this until you know it inside out, and then begin again with another. 

6. Substituting herbs is tricky business. No, you can not replace all flowers with lavender or all herbs with rosemary. That is lazy nonsense. Put some actual effort into getting the herbs you need for a spell, and if you genuinely can’t acquire them find something botanically related, energetically similar or at very least ruled by the same planet.

7. Treat herbs and trees as spirits, with respect and humility. Ask before your take, leave offerings, communicate, bond with them and you will be rewarded with gifts and wisdom and powerful ingredients for your spells.

8. Poisonous herbs and strong entheogens are for advanced practitioners. Don’t just start growing or using them because you want to be taken seriously. Some of these plants are tricksters, they can be very seductive. They are quite capable of controlling you. Be wary.

9. When harvesting for magical use, think not only what the plant is but where it is growing. A tree on a university campus will have different properties to the same kind found in a graveyard. A herb growing at the crossroads is different to one found by a stream. 

10. Expand your learning and awareness beyond trees and herbs. Learn the lore of mosses, lichens, fungi and seaweeds. Parasitic and carnivorous plants. Get to know the plants that grow locally, even if they are far removed from those found in your books.

11. Check your sources when it comes to lore. If a book tells you lavender is good for love spells, question it. Try to discover where the information came from, look up the older herbals, read books of plant folklore, investigate planetary and elemental correspondences based on the nature and virtues of the plant, not just what Cunningham says. 

12. Develop relationships not only with individual trees and herbs, but with particular species. Plants can be spirit guides in the way that animals can. There is an oak tree, and then there is Oak. They can teach, guide and protect. Having a handful of plant allies you know intimately and fashioning your tools from their wood, planting them around your house and visiting them in the wild will make your connection to those spirits all the stronger.