traditional-craft

Early Modern Reconstructionist Witchcraft

Getting quite frustrated about a trend in what could be called Early Modern Reconstructionist Witchcraft: a trend of taking particular ideas about reported historical practises in early modern and often also medieval Europe (and especially England and Scotland) and attempting to codify them as The True Witchcraft - often partially or completely devoid of the actual cultural and religious context of these practices (and without critical analysis of whether they *were* actual practices, when they come via trial reports), and often along with an American fetishisation of Europe.  It’s giving me a thumping headache.

Look, being inspired by the imagery of witchcraft in early modern (& earlier & later) England, Scotland, Western Europe is great.  Flying ointments, diabolical Sabbats, wild hunts & furious hosts and faery rades, familiar spirits, Diana and Habondia and their spiritual sisters - it’s great stuff, it’s juicy, it’s a real current in historical thought that’s affected our present day ideas.  The image of the cunning wo/man (whether of the mystic-cottage-full-of-herbs variety or the canny sometimes-rip-off-merchant practising what Pratchett termed Headology one [and the two are not exclusive]) is fertile inspiration for  modern practice.  I draw on this stuff myself, obviously!

But please, please be wary of anyone trying to tell you that modern, developing practises derived from (often selective) historical reports and modern interpretations of them are What People Did And How People Thought/Believed Back Then!  Especially if the same people are deriding twentieth-century witchcrafts inspired by people like Murray - because those witchcrafts were *also* based on (often selective) historical and archaeological information of their day and the contemporary interpretations of them.  (And extra especially if those people have books or classes to sell!)

The reaching for ‘authenticity’ is an understandable urge, and can be a real spiritual and magical hunger for roots and meaning.  But claims of *historical* authenticity in contemporary, reconstructed practices should always be treated with wariness - because there’s always more evidence to come along, new ways of looking at the past to develop, and what seems like an obvious historical survival today is going to look like Murray’s witch cult and Frazer’s Golden Bough in ten, twenty, fifty years’ time.  (And hey, people can and do still draw valid personal inspiration from those, we just need to understand they’re not History Fact.)

Any practice that looks back to the past is necessarily a child of historiography as much as history.  And historiography is a constantly evolving thing. So…just be thoughtful, okay?  If stuff speaks to you, that’s great, work that current ‘til your arse falls off.  Just be wary of believing - or making - claims that what you’re doing is More Real, More Accurate, More Authentic, More Historical than what other people are doing.

anonymous asked:

hello! i've been trying to research magic, but unfortunately most books i find are specific wicca, which i'm not interested in. do you have any book reccomendations that arent wicca centric? thank you! i love your blog :^)

Oh heckin yes I do My amazon wishlist is literally like six pages long… ALL BOOKS

WARNING: This Is Going To Be Extremely Long!

First though I want to note that while I 100% understand your feelings about the Wicca stuff (being a very NOT Wiccan Witch), not all books that are Wicca leaning are bad! I’ve gotten loads of useful information from books that tended to be a little new agey. That’s where being objective comes in! With ANY book, you should take it with a grain of salt, and some with a whole shaker. But it’s up to you to pay attention to misinformation and conflation, and to know how to do research to prove or disprove that something in a book you read is true or not. Does that make sense?? 

Anywho, a couple of books that are still kind of “Wicca-y” but great:

Those are all books from my personal collection that I would recommend! Now as for the Non-Wicca Books, Let’s dive in! Not all of these have I read or owned, and they are in no particular order. You’ll notice most of them relate to “Traditional Witchcraft” or West Country, because that is where my practice is focused. 

PHEW!

That was a lot! Okay anon I hope this gives you a good starting place! 

constantly-disheveled.tumblr.com/ask

Crow Bone Hex


Crow Bone Hex

“A pentagram of nightshade berries, deadly as the vipers sting.
~The Visions they will conjure bring the spirits from the dark,

A saucer full of milk as pure as the moon, an unseelie offering.
~That tempts the greed of kindly ones so that they soon embark.

A dish of black ink, the abyss in night’s mournful eye,
~That seers call to wonder in the depths of wight’s fateful cry,

A length of twine to describe a circle for spirits to reside.
~That sigil traced to seal the pact of malefic alibi.

Six corvus bones set like a compass, to the four quarters called .
~The victim named, the spirit bound, the offering received at large,

Three black steel pins to bind it, ‘do your bidding after all.
~The spirit departs to deliver it’s venēficia to the stated charge.”

A raven’s feather to sign it, a pact of harm as sure as night.
The witches blood to seal the deed that burns as pure as light.

The fluence: who are the “folk” in “folk magic”?

My mum’s family aren’t witches.  They’re not holders of any ancient mystical “fam-trad” lineage.  (In fact, some are from staunch Scots Presbyterian stock, including the “no dancing on the Sabbath!” variety.)

However, they DID pass down a bunch of stuff - little stories, customs, all that, as any culture does.  (And my gran took it and ran with it, loving and researching folklore all her life, teaching it to me and later enthusiastically joining in seasonal rituals.)

One thing in particular, which I grew up with as completely normal, was something the women of the family did: the soothing called “the fluence”.  Fractious children were calmed by this combination of forehead-stroking and deliberately radiating calming feelings, often with a low humming.  Obviously these things are calming anyway, but someone really good at it - like my gran, rest her - could do it from a distance.

I thought it was just one of those quirky family things.  “You’ve got a headache? Come here, I’ll put the fluence on you.”  “Ugh, X kid is being a monster, better put the fluence on them.”

Later on, however, I learned that this was, in fact, A Thing beyond our family - “putting the influence on someone”, which was, indeed, often abbreviated to “the fluence”.  (Etymonline takes this meaning of “the influence” back to the 1500s, and says it shows up earlier in medieval Latin.)  I’d done it to jasminekor when she was distressed; one time she was reading or watching something historical, and a character accused someone of having put the (negative) fluence on someone, and she sat up and said, “Oh my god, it’s actually a thing! I thought it was just your family!” just as I had.

I’m not telling this story to show what a ~magical mystical folk-craft family~ I come from.  I’m telling it to show that, when we talk about folk magic, we’re not talking about some vague people long ago and far away, but just…us.  (I think Pratchett had something trenchant to say about this, as usual.)  It’s not all stuff gathered by Cecil Williams, it’s not all in books, it didn’t mysteriously stop at some point, it’s just…stuff we do.  

Using the fluence to calm a kid down, for their sake and the sake of everyone in the room who’s having to listen to the screeching - that’s folk magic.  Pointing out a single crow to the person you’re with because it’s bad luck to be the only one who sees a single crow, to turn the bad luck - that’s folk magic.  (I’m told this is a specifically Kentish thing, and I grew up doing it without even really knowing what it was, but to this day I still have the urge to point and say “Crow!” when I see one XD)  

Ditto saluting/touching your hat/spitting at/etc magpies.  (For me: flick your fingers three times, spit three times with your thumb between your forefingers, and if you’re being hardcore, “Away with you evil, away with you ill!”  Tricky when you’re driving XD)  Any ill-luck-turning ‘superstition’ is folk magic.  (Broken something?  Quick, run out and smash a couple of jam-jars, cos these things come in threes!)  Cross your fingers to avoid bad luck (or render a promise powerless).  Rub your wedding ring on your stye to cure it.  Throw salt over your shoulder. “See a pin and pick it up, all that day you’ll have good luck.  See a pin and let it lie, that day you’ll see your luck go by.”  Hang up a horseshoe.  Keep a lock of your baby’s first hair to protect them.  Throw coins in the wishing well.

We do so many of these things without even thinking, and call them “superstition”, while looking for obscure lore from tucked-away corners of the country, poring over accounts of cunningmen and executed witches, and never look at what was done by everyone - what *we still do* - every day, 

This too is folk magic, and we are (still) the folk.

We are witches:

I adore this community and every witch that plays a part in it. I figured out a wonderful way for us to share about ourselves and our crafts. Here’s how it works: Reblog and type the numbers that apply to you. I am going to keep it somewhat vague, so don’t fret over specifics- however, if you feel that your craft contains something really important that isn’t mentioned, don’t be afraid to add it. 

Basic Beliefs: 

1: Magic is a real force that exists without human perception.
2: Magic holds power only if you believe in it.
3: Magic is inherently good.
4: Magic is inherently dark.
5: Magic is inherently neutral.
6: Magic has rules.
7: Magic has no limitations beyond the physical.
8: Magic has no limitations.

Practices:

9: My magic involves a deity/deities
10: My magic involves heavenly bodies.
11: My magic involves spirits (Fae, Angels, Demons, etc.)
12: My magic involves elements (4-8 basic elements)
13: My magic involves chemistry (scientifically recognized elements.)
14: My magic involves crystals and stones.
15: My magic involves herbs and other plants.
16: My magic involves tools. (cauldron, athame, besom, etc.)
17: My magic is traditional.
18: My craft is my own creation.
19: My craft has been handed down to me.
20: My craft is white.
21: My craft is dark.
22: My craft is in between or fluctuates.
23: My craft is new. (created within the last 50 years.)

Spellwork:

24: I create sigils.
25: I create potions.
26: I create spell jars.
27: I create spell bags.
28: I create Enchanted Items.
29: I create ceremonies.
30: I create rituals.

Schools of focus:

31: I focus in Divination.
32: I focus in Blessings.
33: I focus in Curses and/or Hexes.
34: I focus in Enchanting.
35: I focus in Astrology.
36: I focus in Spirit Work.
37: I focus in the Astral.
38: I focus in Healing.
39: I focus in Energy Work.
40: I focus in Psychic Abilities. 
41: I focus in Dreamwalking.
42: I focus in Necromancy.
43: I focus in Herbology.

From the author of 2005’s Viridarium Umbris comes The Green Mysteries, the product of twenty-five years of experiential research on the spiritual and occult properties of plants. Being a compendium of trees and herbs from countless spiritual traditions, this exhaustive Herbal of esoteric botany examines in detail the folklore, magical uses and spiritual essences of the vegetal kingdom. While presenting the material through both magical and mythopoetic narrative, the stance of the book is also grounded firmly in supportive disciplines such as botany, chemistry, and anthropology, and also includes up-to-date phylogenetic and pharmacological findings. The text focuses especially upon the Doctrine of Plant Essence, and how those powers are utilized in the active practice of magic and sorcery.

Interspersed with encyclopedic plant entries are short narratives addressing such concepts as the Witches’ Flying Oinment, intoxicating incense, the herbal dimsension of Alchemy, and the ‘Green Saints’ such as Al-Khidir, the medieval Wildman, and the forest-dwelling Nymphs who nourished the Greek gods. More than a mere collation of previously existing works on plants, much of the material is drawn directly from the author’s private field notes, diaries, and manuals of magical operation from 1991-2016, presented in an engaging narrative style. Among the Twenty-Seven essays included within are ‘Devils in the Basilica,’ 'The Meaning of Viriditas’, and 'The Rhabdomantic Art.’ Also present is a special inclusion of a text entitled The Dream-Book of Sylvanus.

I pre-ordered a copy of this truly amazing tome. This is gonna be great! 

The Witches Ladder

Witches ladders (also known as witch’s ladders) are a type of knot magic that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. They are commonly made by braiding or knotting cords together while incorporating other materials that represent the intention of the creator. Witches ladders can be easily customized for every practitioner and used for nearly any purpose, making them a very versatile and convenient talisman to create. Witches ladders can be used for purposes like attracting or manifesting things, creating a more positive environment, warding off negative entities or energies, protecting yourself or others, or banishing certain behaviors or individuals, just to name a few.

To make a basic witches ladder, you will need:

- Several cords of equal length in colors of your choice

- Whatever materials you choose to weave into the cords (such as feathers, bones, herbs, hair, flowers, seashells, ribbons, beads, hag stones, sticks, crystals, keys, charms, etc.)

Optional but helpful:

- Tape

- A ruler

Some other ideas: You can incorporate pieces of paper with sigils drawn on them, drawstring bags filled with herbs or crystals, or personal symbolic items that have been made from clay or another material. If you are making a witches ladder for an individual, you may wish to include a taglock (a personal item that is strongly associated with the target) to further bond the person to the talisman. Taglocks may include hair, jewelry, etc. Depending on your practice, you may wish to incorporate numerology into your witches ladder by using a specific number of knots, number of cords, or number of items used.

For my witches ladder, I used thick dark green yarn, twine, seashells, goose feathers, ribbon, a pine cone, and a sand dollar. I chose to arrange my goose feathers with the smallest ones at the top and the largest ones at the bottom. I also decided to make a double witches ladder purely for aesthetic reasons, but you can stick to one or make as many as you want.

Creating the witches ladder

1. Start by gathering your materials and getting your cords ready to knot or braid. It may help to tie the cords together on one end and tape the knotted end to a table or another surface. I found that doing so helps to prevent the cords from getting tangled in the process and it helps maintain a nice tension while braiding.

2. As you braid or knot your cords, begin adding your chosen materials. You may wish to recite something or chant as you are doing this, but it is not necessary. Depending on how many items you are using, you may wish to space them out evenly. For this, a ruler may come in handy. In my own experience, I have found that certain materials such as feathers, herbs, flowers, and certain bones can be difficult to braid around. It may be helpful to braid the cords first and then insert your objects into the braid later on.

3. Continue braiding or knotting until you have made your witches ladder as long as you would like it. To finish your witches ladder, you may choose to simply tie off the cords, or you may choose to add something extra to the end. I chose to add a pine cone and ribbon to one of my witches ladders, and a sand dollar to the other. Finish off your witches ladder however you see fit.

4. Hang your witches ladder. You may wish to hang it near a doorway in your home, near your bed, or even outside. The best location for your talisman will depend on both it’s intended purpose and your personal preference. If you have cats or other mischievous pets, it may be a good idea to hang your witches ladder up high or out of their reach.

-theowloracle

Please do not remove source

arrakeen replied to your post “Liminal Space and rituals”

….ohhh. i had never considered casting a circle was creating a liminal space. :o this changes everything

Just so there’s no confusion, when I referred to laying the compass, this is different than casting the circle as one would within ceremonial magic or wiccan traditions, where one of the primary purposes of that circle is protection.

The Compass Round serves a different function.

This post here highlights rather well some of the differences.

http://serpentandstang.tumblr.com/post/145932219371/day-20-the-circle-is-not-just-a-circle-but-a

The Role of Discovery on the Path


When we start on the Path we often hardly even know. It is already below our feet by the time we have any idea what it is, and we are often years before we have any idea where it is going. Yet it is there, taking us someplace, showing us the thin places in the Veil, revealing to us vistas and hollows hardly known to the world of men. Again and again throughout our lives constructing seemingly impossible narratives to push and pull us into the necessary changes for growth. The Path is the plot that runs through our lives.

Where we linger on that path often decides how long our journey takes between its start and its end. How well we perceive that which is off the edges of our path is a good indicator of how far along we are in our journey.

As much as a thousand writers and bloggers would have you otherwise it is most important to spend a great deal of time alone in the path of discovery. Without the books and theories, without the rhymes and reasons. Most of all without the jabbering idiocy of social commitment and simpering personal dramas known as the coven, or these days the facebook group. Just oneself and some bits and bobs that you know somehow happen to fit into that puzzle called hex, that whisper called curse, that promise called charm. Out in the landscape, looking for the variables we need, knowing which paths that cross are the chosen. Feeling innately that the grove is correct for the operation at hand.

The modern world is made of soft minds who seek constant guidance and desire to travel well worn paths that have been laid before them without thorn nor rose. Those paths may even lead to darkness and delight, but they are the paths of others. Other’s songs to sing, others spells to weave, others charms to hide. There is no learning in the well worn path. Just tourism.

The folkwitch must eschew the path worn by others. Like the fox, must walk against the paths to see the shape of the landscape. We must not just linger at the edge of ancient paths, we must delve into the bush, fight through the bracken, and discover what lies on the other side of the hedge.

Exploration and experimentation should guide those who seek to understand the Craft. Learning through long consideration and careful experimentation which plants yield the correct results. Hearing in the air the voice in the trees that guides you in your quest for understanding. Listening deeply to the forest and the seashore. To the mountain spring and the laughing whisper of the air through an evening meadow. Exploring the landscape that is the center of your practice, knowing well all of those places where footsteps do not go. Seeing as birds and foxes see the landscape; as hedgehogs, rats, and vipers.

The role of discovery is the single most important part of the Craft. The constant learning of new things, of new ways of seeing. Never should one settle for what they already know, growing callous in our beliefs leads to stagnation. We should turn over the leaf, taste the dew, sniff the air.

The Path is a journey. Go places.

Made in a similar style as old Balkan manuscripts, this book is bound in light brown goatskin with cotton endbands around a hemp cord, this small blank journal could be the perfect companion on travels in nature or on a dark city night.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/520865301/balkan-field-journal-a-little-book-bound

Samiro Yunoki’s Shibuya Home-Studio

Last month, Commune had the pleasure of visiting the home-studio of Samiro Yunoki in Tokyo. Born in 1922, Yunoki is still actively producing drawings and textile art. Most of his life has been spent living in this home in Shibuya. He is a master of a traditional Japanese stencil dying technique called katazome, or “dying from a form.” Speaking of his work in Idee Magazine, Yunoki believes that traditional crafts are “not just a decoration. The essence of traditional crafts is the solid motivation of artists backed by genuine skills and materials. So I think we should broaden the definition of art and call all the creation ‘art’ with no distinction between ‘fine art’ and ‘crafts.’”

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For almost 1,000 years, the Rabari, also called the Rewari or Desai, are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle and camel herders and shepherds that live throughout northwest India, primarily in the states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan. Other Rabari groups also live in Pakistan, especially in the region of the Sindh Desert. The word “Rabari”  translates as “outsiders”, a fair description of their primary occupation and status within Indian society. They have roamed the deserts and plains of what is today western India. It is believed that this indigenous group, with a peculiar Persian physiognomy, migrated from the Iranian plateau more than a millennium ago. 

Traditionally the Rabari followed a highly nomadic way of life, living in tents or under the open skies and raising cattle, camels and goats. As India has changed, so has general tolerance to nomadic groups, who relied in the past on ancestral grazing rights and ancient right-of-ways. Today only a very small percentage of Rabari are truly nomadic, with the majority to be found settled on the outskirts of cities, towns and villages in semi-nomadic lifestyles, following the seasonal rains for periods of time, then returning to their villages.

The Rabari women dedicate long hours to embroidery, a vital and evolving expression of their crafted textile tradition. They also manage the hamlets and all money matters while the men are on the move with the herds. The livestock, wool, milk and leather, is their main source of income.

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Book of Paths

This book has structural differences from ones I’ve created in the past. With this one I tried many things I haven’t before and that led to many aesthetic imperfections. However I acheived the effect I was aiming for and that was a decoration representing choice and mainly how we can’t comprehend if we truly are in control of what is going to happen to us in life depending on these choices.

The book is decorated with interlaced borders and the spaces they create are filled with various other floral and geometric elements. The black in the tooling is acheived by coating the tools with carbon over a candle flame.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/498292896/book-of-paths-a-handmade-brown-leather