spirit of tradition

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Such a busy weekend, and filled with so much!

Saturday I set up the outside for thanksgiving, ran out and got some Florida Water and mopped my floors and cleansed the house.
Hung up lights in the backyard, and did some new moon work that night with my familiar. (Avocado dog)

Sunday, I went to a flea market and helped the fiancé pick out new patio furniture and set that up for Thursday and then…

Spirit work class at the Mystic Museum in LA.
So glad I got to go. Group cleansing, open discussion about deities, ancestor worship and incorporating spirit into our craft. Then, we did some group spirit work and had some very powerful experiences.

I got to reconnect with an old acquaintance who I already know if going to be a wonderful witch ally, and I got to do some ritual with my sister.

The year is coming to a close and, I’m looking forward to what the new year has to bring.

I fill my lungs with the intoxicating smoke of the well-known flower. Around me I feel them, gathering, taking part in the offering granted. “Come on then,” I say. “This is yours too.” I take the smoke in my mouth, and blow it out without receiving the blessing of it within me. This is for them, not me.

I give my offering to the spirits of the land, and we simply sit and chat for a minute. It’s peaceful, the rain finally ceasing, and the birds beginning to sing. Every other mouthful of smoke I give back to them, as I feel the effect of the plant begin to hit me. Subtle at first, then powerful. She truly is a lovely lady, this herb.

I put out the joint, and grant the unburnt portion of the remaining herb in the honey. Kissing my hand to the spirits, I walk away and settle in my room for a lovely period of inward focus.

A lovely night indeed.

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

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

Palmistry 101: #1 The Major Lines & Mounts

Open your hand and look at your palm. There are a series of lines running through it, aren’t there? There should be. I’d be slightly concerned if the palm of your hand was completely smooth.

These lines are used in palmistry (a.k.a., palm reading or chiromancy), and depict a number of things. Each of the major lines has it’s own individual meaning and outlines a certain course in a person’s life. 
These lines come in varying shapes and sizes, and not every person has all six of the major lines - this is what we note when reading someone’s palm. Everyone does, however, have the top three in the list below. The words following the name of the line are the meanings and traits associated with that particular line.

The Major Lines

The Heart Line: (the heart line is the horizontal line that runs around half-an-inch beneath your fingers) emotions, insecurities, marriages, dependence and independence and the nature of the relationships you have/will have.

The Head Line: (the head line/line of mine is the line that runs about a centimetre below the heart line) intellect, reasoning power, prospective career paths/choices, your success potential.

The Life Line: (the life line is the that starts at the same point as the head line and curves in a reversed ‘c’ shape towards the wrist; it should finish at the heel of your hand) pattern and quality of life, physical vitality, stability or imbalance, willpower and logic, but not necessarily an indication of the length of life.

The Fate/Fortune Line: (a line that runs vertically from beneath your middle finger and down to your wrist) the strengths of character, career, friendships, daily issues and your personal ability to succeed.

The Health Line: (a line that begins where the life line ends, and ends beneath the little finger) health related matters, business and adventures; the spirit of discovery.

The Sun Line: (a line that starts beneath the ring finger (for lefties - for people who are having their right hand read, it’s the same finger I just don’t know what it’s actually called) and is usually a short line that stops when it connects with the line of health) the utilization of creative energies and potential for success through the development of talents.

The Mounts

The Mounts of the hand are what I like to call the ‘flesh cushions’ beneath each of the fingers and at the heel of the palm. They each have a personality trait with which they are associated and everyone has mounts. Some people’s may be… fleshier, than others but they are there nonetheless.

Mercury (☿): (beneath the little finger)

Apollo/The Sun (☉): (ring finger) creativity/creative genius, fantasy, imagination and happiness.

Saturn (♄): (middle finger) patience, responsibility; cautiousness.

Jupiter (♃): (index finger) leadership, honour, ambition, beliefs, philosophies and spirituality/religiousness. 

Lower Mars (♂): (below Mercury) morals/moral courage and self control.
Upper Mars (♂): (little fleshy blob above the Venus mount) resistance, coolness of spirit, calmness.

Venus (♀): (under your thumb; the bit your life line curves around) Love/affection, vitality, sensuality and success(es).

The Moon/Luna (☾): (runs along the outside of the palm; starts beneath your little finger and runs along the side of your hand) Imagination, creativity and emotion.

I will make a post about what the shapes/types of lines and mounts signify and link it here.

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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?

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.

Under the Roses

When I first fell headlong into witchcraft, something like seventeen years ago, it had to be kept secret. Everything had to be hidden away, in various places, scattered under the bed, the dresser, behind cabinets, in drawers, and as completely innocuous as possible and all of it behind a bedroom door that stayed locked more often than not.

It’s not like that now, and while I don’t disassemble my altars or hide my books away from disapproving family, I still keep things very secretive.

The term I use for it is sub rosa, meaning “under the rose”. Basically, it seems to originate from Eros giving a rose to Harpocrates to make sure that Aphrodite’s indiscretions would be kept secret. I’m generalizing (poorly) and using the Wikipedia summary, forgive me. The roses came first, the why always seemed less important.

Historically, the concept of sub rosa continued, used in the Middle Ages and onward. You can see roses carved onto confessional boxes for privacy, and sometimes roses were integrated onto the ceilings in people’s homes to signify that whatever was discussed would be kept secret, or under the rose.

I’ve also seen this similar sort of concept woven into pop-culture, in a few books but most recently in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Lady Pole’s inability to speak because she was bound by a rose at the mouth.

Dried roses hang in clusters about my room where all of my work is done. I don’t even remember when I started doing it, I just knew that I should. Now the air moves through them and in the quiet, I can hear the dried rustle of the petals scraping against one another - whispering. They’ve become an important symbol for me, a reminder every time I look at them, though the meaning has changed over the years.

They are both a spell and a promise. And every December, I’ve replaced them with fresh ones and renewed the vow. It’s an unspoken agreement: I keep their secrets and they keep mine. 

A spell woven to protect this part of me that I keep hidden, to keep it safe from prying eyes and wandering hands. A fascination, a distraction to keep them from looking too long, from asking questions.  

A promise to the gods and ungods that I will keep the secrets they gift me with. That whatever I am shown or told will be kept quiet. This is a promise I hold sacred.  

So far, it holds true and has taken on a life of it’s own. The spirits hold me accountable and tell me when to keep silent. There have been many times I’ve wanted to speak; I’ve even wanted to post things on this blog and find that I simply cannot. I am stopped every time, my promise won’t let me - and for good reason, they are experiences that are not really meant to be shared.

So be mindful of the promises you make to the roses, especially when you think no one is listening.

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.