Sunday, 26 December 2021

The Yule Tree

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=11PKO6Ny2ralcoAXYXV3vu-iZK9fxB8po

Evergreen plants and trees have always had a special meaning for people in winter. They represent eternal life. Ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows, and many folk believed they would keep away the things that people most often worried about - things like ghosts, evil spirits, witches and illness.

Gradually, sacred tree imagery was absorbed by the Christian church, and Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition. It was in the 16th century that Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.

In Britain, the tradition of decorating churches and homes with evergreens at Christmas was long established, but the custom of decorating an entire small tree came much later. As a child Queen Victoria had been familiar with the Christmas tree tradition; and Prince Albert, the cousin she married, was German. In 1846, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were sketched in the Illustrated London News with their children, standing around a Christmas tree. This had a huge impact on the way Christmas was celebrated in Britain: being very popular royals what was done at court immediately became fashionable, and wealthy British middle-class families immediately followed suit. By the 1890s the fashion had spread overseas to the United States, and large trees were en vogue. 

For me, the tree represents a few things. A symbol of the season, it also reminds me that the days will start to get a minute longer a few days after Solstice, around the 25th/26th - hence “the son (Sun) is born”. It is also a symbol of unity - many different belief systems from all across the world hold a festival of light at this time of year.

Growing up, the tree always went up after my mum’s birthday, which is the 14th December. Once the tree was up, the festive season had begun. 

Do you have a Yule or Christmas tree? What colour are your decorations? Are your decorations up yet? Do you have any special family traditions?

Goddess Provisions Winter Solstice Box

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1gNg1rjJu4X2r-0PUIn3fWgFW2Yq4vtdC

“I celebrate all my blessings”

Take a look at this gorgeous Winter Solstice Box by Goddess Provisions that I received earlier on in the month. It had everything you’d need for the festive season included in it.

Inside this gorgeous box was:

πŸ’œ Fuzzy Dreams Socks 
πŸ’œ Icy Glow Candle by @litrituals
πŸ’œ Celestial Magic Ritual Lighter Case by @seedofcreation
πŸ’œ Coconut Cream Dark Chocolate Bar by @endorfinfoods
πŸ’œ Clear Quartz Ring by @hiouchijewels
πŸ’œ Blue Chalcedony Crystal
πŸ’œ Leaflet (the front is a framable postcard) with discount codes, information, ritual resources, Moon Wisdom Club, and more.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=18x55E6bpHSiSGf28X7u-wcqcZ0UBN8On

Go to @goddessprovisions for more information on their beautiful subscription boxes and gift boutique. Find them also at: www.goddessprovisions.com


The Evergreens of Yule

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1qzOs9URkwsAlTN2vAO9C_OjcgDoLGniQ

Evergreens symbolise eternal life, and for hundreds of years we have practised the art of bringing the outside, inside; hanging them in our windows and doorways.

But what are the Evergreens of Yule, the sacred plants of the Winter Solstice? ❗️ Please note that some of these plants are very poisonous.

🌲 Holly 
A protective plant due to its spiky, barbed nature; holly is seen to guard against evil spirits, and is used to bring good luck to the home at Yule. Water infused with holly was once sprinkled on newborn infants for luck and protection (“holly water”), such is its magickal and protective qualities. Holly is sacred to Holle, a figure also known as Old Mother Frost, and represents everlasting light and life force energy. It is seen as a good luck charm for men.

🌲 Ivy 
A symbol of immortality, ivy is magickally paired to holly, as seen in the festive song “The Holly and the Ivy”. It is seen as a good luck charm for women, and with its spiral pattern of growth, ivy symbolises the concept of eternity. It is often fashioned into wreaths and garlands. Magickal correspondences for ivy include healing and protection.

🌲 Mistletoe 
Another decorative (albeit poisonous) herb for the home, magickal correspondences for mistletoe often include protection, love, fertility and health. Because it grows betweeen earth and sky, it is useful for all sorts of liminal workings, and is considered to hold deep magick. Hung from a doorway it is a useful tool for gathering kisses! It has long believed to be protective against fires, which is helpful during the winter season.

🌲 Pine 
Making their way into our homes as Christmas Trees, the branches of pines bring comfort and joy. Cones from pines have historically been gathered to be used as charms to increase fertility. Pine needles can be used in incense for purification and protection, and other common magickal associations related to pine include healing, fertility and abundance.

🌲 Yew 
A tree of regeneration and rebirth, the yew is associated with eternal life. It is also deeply connected to raising the dead, the ancestors and their spiritual realms (perhaps due to its extremely toxic nature).


Mistletoe Magick

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1m-2X502mqJtqhdUgKAsFTezc7oBLrg_4

Mistletoe is an evergreen plant synonymous with midwinter. It has distinctive forked leaves and produces white berries in the winter, which are popular with birds. Alternate names for it are Golden Bough, Holy Wood and Birdlime. It is an interesting plant because it does not follow the same sequence as other plants - you can find immature leaves, mature leaves, green berries, mature berries and flowers on it concurrently, which adds to its mystique.

It is considered sacred because it grows between earth and sky, touching neither, and a symbol of vivacity, as it bears fruit at the darkest time. At this time of year, my friend Terry the Arch Druid of Avebury would collect mistletoe on the sixth day after the New Moon, which would be cut with a golden sickle, and caught in a white cloth. To let it fall to the ground is to rob it of its magic. It is said that during the time of the Celts, all warfare was ceased during the time of cutting, making the Winter Solstice a time of peace.

It is also said that mistletoe is one of the Druid’s three sacred plants, but that they can never agree on which three, which is funny because Terry always said that the collective noun for a group of druids was called an “argument”. Mistletoe and vervain always seem to be named as two; with the third contender hotly debated.

There is an abundance of folklore surrounding mistletoe. Most people know about  kissing under the mistletoe; for each kiss a berry is removed, and the smooching stops once they’re all gone.

Because it is considered a liminal plant it is considered to have deep magick, its magickal associations primarily connected to protection and fertility.

❗️ Please note that mistletoe berries are extremely poisonous.

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Winter Solstice Celebrations

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1j7mErGguxDUF-RIzUGhVqhvOZOnq8NcB

The Winter Solstice - which I shall talk about more tomorrow - is a great pivotal moment. It is the line between the two great cycles of the year; the darker half and the lighter. It can be used as a moment for great reflection; an opportunity to review what you would like to achieve moving forwards, as the energy gathers and grows.

Key themes for the solstice are feasting, merry making and community, in whatever form you wish those to take. Spending time with others lifts the mood, and helps pass time during the darker, colder months, a time that many people struggle with. A festive meal, or time spent with friends, is the perfect way to celebrate the shortest day and the longest night, taking a moment together to express gratitude for the Earth, her cycles, and the passing of time.

Observing sunrise after the longest night is a common activity. There is nothing nicer than bracing the cold of the dawn to watch the Sun - raising your hopes and dreams for the future, and tracking them with the movement of the Sun. Alternatively, enjoy snuggling in the warmth of a warm bed, luxuriating in the moment, and enjoying that as your celebration. This is as much a time for rest, as it is anything else.

Decorating the house with evergreens, and the Yule tree with decorations, is another lovely way to observe this midwinter point if you haven’t done so already. The contrasting green and red of winter plants and berries are a reminder that no matter bleak things get there is life. A walk in the cold to gather them blows the cobwebs away.

Use this time for spell work relating to preparation for growth, development and abundance. As the light increases so will the potential for putting that energy into something valuable. This is a good time to help divine what you want.

If you want to mark the occasion with gifts, give one small, if possible handmade or meaningful gift to each member of your household. Gifts that have emotion attached to them, or are useful and practical that will help in the year ahead are best. A move away from consumerism and towards the themes of giving and sustainability are best.

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The Winter Solstice

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1IwFWzFEJDuWLm7UZV-ksx0UT5eZZD130

Our Northern European ancestors believed their mystic Wheel stopped turning briefly at the time of the Winter Solstice.

Indeed, at the time the shortest day happens there is a pause; there is a “standstill” for a few days before the days start to grow in length again, usually around the 25th December.

This year, the difference in the length of day between 18th December and 25th December was approximately 56 seconds. 

The solstices occur twice a year, and mark the moment when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice heralds the shortest day and the longest night, and in the Southern Hemisphere, our pagan brothers and sisters will be celebrating the warmth of Midsummer.

As the solstices are astronomical events they change in date, although many witches and pagans choose to celebrate on the 21st regardless.

This year, in my location in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice fell on the 21st December, at 15:58hrs.

In many parts of the world the Winter Solstice is seen as the middle of winter, but for many people it is just the start. Certainly in the U.K. we still have the colder months of January and February to navigate. In Meteorology, winter starts about three weeks before the Solstice.

Energetically speaking, the balance of power has been tipped at the Winter Solstice. The days will be getting longer and brighter as we emerge from the darkness. This is a huge moment of celebration for many, and many pagans choose to mark the rebirth of the Sun by observing the sunrise.

For many people, pagan or otherwise, it is a relief to know that the dark days and depths of winter are behind, and lighter days will follow. (Light and dark are not euphemisms for good and bad here, by the way.) With the returning sunlight comes increased energy, and renewed feelings of joy and hope.

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Greeting the Sun after the longest night

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ibjA-iqmTsfpdWy0vU4RNOGA0rGs4UYR

I hope you all had a beautiful Solstice! 

The morning after the Winter Solstice we went to Stonehenge to welcome the return of the Sun.

This ancient monument is located on Salisbury Plain, and historians are not entirely sure what its intended purpose was. It is aligned with the Sun and may have been used for working out the farming calendar. Other considerations are that it was a healing centre, or dedicated to the world of our ancestors.

Whatever its intended use, it was incredible to walk in the footsteps of our Neolithic ancestors today, and it was good to be back, as I’ve not celebrated Winter Solstice at Stonehenge for ten years. 🌞🌞🌞

It was extremely cold, we are still defrosting!

What did you do to celebrate the Solstice? 🌞🌞🌞

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© Repost with clear, written credits.

Wren’s Day - 26th December

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1KD-mYiZMN-vvo42sg49E_NjheHQqnXus

πŸ“Έ image taken from a photograph by @mrperil 

❗️Trigger warning: historical animal cruelty.

Wren’s Day, also known as St. Stephen’s Day, is an Irish celebration which falls on the 26th December, and is celebrated in a number of countries across Europe.

Like the hunting of foxes on Boxing Day, which also lands on the 26th December, Wren’s Day is concerned with the hunting of a wren, which is placed on the top of a pole.

The captured wren was fixed to the pole/staff of a type of mummer called a “Wren Boy”, and this pole was decorated with coloured ribbons and garlands. The mummers dressed in straw suits and colourful motley clothing, and would celebrate the wren by marching through the streets; through pubs and hospitals, while singing and dancing and playing musical instruments.

Money would be collected by the Wren Boys and donated to a charitable cause, or used to host a Wren Ball in January; a party for the town’s folk.

Thankfully, this is now a fake wren, usually a wooden one, and the Wren Boys are now generally made up of boys and girls.

This tradition was revived in the 1990s in Middleton, Suffolk by the Old Glory Molly dancers. On Boxing Day evening they carry a wooden wren on a garlanded staff in a torchlit procession from the town hall to the Bell Inn; where they dance and sing wren related songs, and listen to stories about the Wren becoming King of the Birds.

What do you do on Boxing Day? Do you have any special family traditions?

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Kindness and Compassion Within the Witch Community

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1cUJqIDRNfsnVPEazuGzxFbYCm_VIhK4b

Following on from a thoughtful post by Meg Rosenbriar (@megrosenbriar ), I’m adding my thoughts on the unkind sentiment that’s being passed around the witch community. It is being said that those who’ve fallen for scammers do not deserve to call themselves “witches”, as they lack discernment and the ability to think critically.

Please can we put a stop to this hurtful narrative? We’re better than that! ❤️

Those who are seeking answers may be at a crossroads; they may be feeling vulnerable and looking for answers. Aside from being financially duped, the last thing they need is our judgement, and to be passed off as being “too stupid” to be a witch.

My page has been copied by scammers in the past, so I do understand the sheer frustration of the witches trying to protect their pages, businesses and reputations, but can we also spare some sympathy for the people who have been duped by the scammers - after all, they thought they were supporting us with their purchases.

Please can we shift our anger towards the scammers who think nothing of ripping off vulnerable folk and page creators, not least during a pandemic.

We can tackle the problem together. ❤️ If you see a page being scammed please report the scammer to Instagram, and let the page creator know; keeping an eye out for other/fresh accounts being made in their name, and letting them know each time (the page creator is often blocked by the scammer).

Another way you can help is by keeping an eye on @scammeralertpage which helps the Tarot and Healing community report scammers. ❤️

Thank you, and thank you Meg for bringing our attention to this. ❤️

Monday, 13 December 2021

Horse Brasses

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1vqlKMaiZmyol8oXXeC2ibAlVGmiWwpLa

Horse brasses ~ correctly known as “pressed brass harness decorations” ~ became popular in the 1850s.

They are brass plaques used for identifying and decorating harness gear; especially for cart, parade, and Shire horses.

It is unknown if horse brasses had a deliberate magical intent originally, as no English tradition of metal charms on horses exists previously, however it is likely that horse brasses replaced charms of other materials, as horses were seen as particularly liable to the attention and effects of malign forces, and anything eye-catching and shiny can protect against witchcraft and the evil eye.

Many English brasses depict lucky and fortuitous symbols such as the sun, crescent moon, star, horseshoe, sun cross, and wheel; and dogs, lions, and serpents are common, too.

Horse brasses are commonly used as apotropaic charms to protect homes. Apotropaic charms offer a shield of protection whilst repelling negative energies, magic, and forces. Horse brasses have been found up Welsh chimneys, and were used to protect carts on the streets of early 20th century London. They have been used as protective pendants on necklaces, and as altar decorations.

Modern horse brasses are being produced now. Alongside my collection of antique horse brasses I have also brasses for Stonehenge and Avebury stone circle.

Do you use apotropaic charms? Do you have horse brasses in your home?

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Cemetery Stuff - Extracts from Regulations

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Hli-okUJ0Ko7m42j-nIgurnQ6O0sIiKM

Under the carriage arch of my house is a huge engraved tablet called “Extracts from Regulations” which lays out some of the rules of our cemetery.

I don’t know how many of these tablets there are in the U.K. as no searches are turning up any results. It’s amazing to see the table in one piece, considering it would have been erected in 1860 when the cemetery lodge and office ~ now our home ~ was built.

I thought I would share an extract of the Extracts with you, as many of you have been asking for more cemetery stuff:

“Every person who shall wilfully destroy or injure any building wall or fence belonging to the cemetery, or destroy or injure any tree or plant therein, or who shall daub or disfigure any wall thereof, or put up any bill therein, or on any wall thereof, or wilfully destroy, injure or deface any monument, tablet, inscription or gravestone in the cemetery, or do any other wilful damage therein, shall forfeit to the said Burial Board for every such offence a sum not exceeding five pounds.

“And every person who shall play at any game or sport, or discharge firearms, save of a military funeral in the cemetery, or who shall wilfully and unlawfully disturb any persons assembled in the cemetery for the purpose of burying any body therein, who shall be guilty of riotous, violent or indecent behaviour, or who shall commit any nuisance within the cemetery, shall forfeit to the said Burial Board for every such offence a sum not exceeding five pounds.”

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Sex Magick

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=15xpWDM3nAUajneZ9iTX1Dtmpkji2qDJN

In “Spells & How They Work” by Janet & Stewart Farrar it is written:

“Sex magic should be used only by a couple to whom sex is a normal part of their loving relationship - in other words, by husband and wife or established lovers - and always in private. It should be used within a Magic Circle, even if it has ‘only’ been cast mentally around the bed.”

Whilst I don’t agree that Sex Magic has to happen between a man and a woman for it to be successful (I believe polarity can be found in other ways, and I don’t wish to get into the debate of gender here), I think there is definitely something in the statements that the couple should be established, and in private.

Orgasm is the point at which the built up energy from visualisation is released, and whilst this energy can be harnessed and used for magical aim with any type of partner (casual or otherwise), I’ve been thinking about the depth of established relationships, and how they relate to this sort of magickal act.

When I think of my husband and the very many years we’ve spent together, I think of the deep knowing and understanding we have of each other. This is an extremely powerful thing. Without looking at him, I can tell immediately how he might feel about something just seen or heard, and we can pass information to each other with just a glance. I can tell when he’s not far away from home, and he can tell I’m upset before I am. Throw in all the trials and tribulations the years throw at you, and the commitment to each other. Then there is the physical relationship built up over many years. That’s an extremely potent energy to apply to working towards a common goal. 

I’m not saying that established relationships ARE better for Sex Magick, but there’s no denying they’re certainly very powerful. As for carrying out the act in private, it’s a bit like any other type of spellwork. In keeping it hidden, it does not become diluted by other people’s energy, will or intent, and is more likely to be successful.

Beautiful Books

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ctVSlHedhwZdJ981LA_kUIWVtSB9Vhy-

I just wanted to give a big thank you shoutout to those who have sent me books in recent weeks and months.

I’ve read three out of the four of these - they’re all wonderful! Keep an eye out for my upcoming reviews.

Thank you to @septemberpublishing  for sending The Wheel by Jennifer Lane (@thegreenwitchwriter). This is the story of one witch’s journey as she navigates the year.

Thank you to Megan at @hardiegrantuk who sent me The Witchcrafting Handbook by Helena Garcia (@helenagarciafp). This was such a fun book, and I made some gorgeous biscuits - pictures and review to come.

Thank you to @johnmurrays who sent me a copy of A Spell In The Wild by Alice Tarbuck (@alice_tarbuck). I was absolutely hooked.

Thank you also to Adele Nozedar (@hedgerowguru) who kindly sent me through a copy of The Tree Forager. I’m currently getting over Covid and plan to read that once I’m feeling better and less fuzzy-headed! 

Visit @witch.with.books and keep an eye out for my reviews and others.

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Cyclamen

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ELSH5146b0fbd56HI0r9XPW7QC4t7BvP

Cyclamen are a group of hardy tuberous perennials with white, pink or purple flowers that point upwards, like shuttlecocks. Species are native to the Mediterranean region: Greece, Italy, Cypress, Crete, Turkey, Israel and Lebanon. In the U.K. they flower from late winter through to early spring. They provide a hit of colour in a season where often there is none, unless the mice or squirrels dig them up to eat the tubers! The name cyclamen comes from the Latin "cyclamnos" which in turn comes from the Greek "kuklaminos" and "kuklos" which means cycle, circle, or wheel.

Sacred to Hecate, cyclamen is feminine in nature, and is associated with the element of Water, and the planet Mars.

It is a helpful plant that protects against all sorts of negative feelings and bad vibes. A plant kept in the bedroom is said to guard against nightmares and night terrors, whilst increasing libido, lust and fertility. Where it grows, it is said to prevent negative spells from taking effect. It builds joy, happiness, confidence, self-esteem and self-love; perfect for combining with a pink spell candle for all those self-care spells. The tuber withstands difficult conditions ~ think of its over-wintering success ~ therefore the cyclamen represents deep love and sincere affection. Rather confusingly, cyclamen can also be used in the opposite way; to send away someone whose affections you do not want.

The flowers can be used to ease grief, and it is said that a plant placed in the home will prevent negative spells reaching a member of the household.

🚫 CAUTION: Cyclamen should not be used medicinally/therapeutically unless you are a trained herbalist, or have experience with working with plants. It is a very powerful purgative and can cause violent purging if eaten raw. It should not be used (internally or externally) by pregnant women, in any situation, and it is poisonous to cats and fish.

Do you use cyclamen in your practice? Have you seen any this year? Maybe you grow them at home?

Hag Stones

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1UVxIEyiNhB_aEBLlxQVRpxEL0S8FK0dp

Hag, holey, witch, fairy, dobbie or adder stones are protective charms used in folk magic. Hung in windows or doorways, in barns and on boats, they were believed to protect against the evil eye, witches, evil spirits, and negative energy, whose magic would be rendered useless when the hole was peered through. It was believed they could wars off curses, sickness and theft. In my part of the world ‘witch stones’ were hung in dairies. Witches could stop cows from producing milk, or prevent cream from turning into butter.

It was believed that other worlds and invisible spirits could be seen through the hole, and they were hung in bedrooms to prevent nightmares. Worn around the neck they protect the wearer from harm.

The holes are formed from the boring of a mollusk called a “piddock”, by water, or by smaller stones grinding against the surface.

I found this stone in the cemetery, so I’m really chuffed with it! Do you have any witch stones? If so, where did you find them?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

What’s in a name?

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1-zSK-nuoy1R3_c2_q6fWpRcRd_CUHXpu

What’s in a name?

Generally old place names were formed from Old English words that were descriptive of the landscape that a settlement sat in, or designed so that people would know what they could find there - for example Blacksmith’s Lane, Bakery Road.

They can reflect old myths and superstitions; for example Nicker Hill, in Keyworth, “nicker” being an old name for a mythical river monster.

Some road names carry a darker reference to the past. For example Gallows Hill in Lancaster. This name refers to the place where the so-called Pendle Witches were executed, a group of people who were tried in 1612 for the murders of 10 people supposedly by witchcraft.

Locally, seven women were burnt on Woman’s Lane in nearby Leicester for supposedly bewitching a thirteen year old boy; but a quick search has revealed that this name has since been changed.

There are some interesting road names in the U.K: Ghost House Lane (Nottinghamshire), Blood Hill (Suffolk), Black Cat Drive (Northamptonshire), Witches Walk (Somerset), Bats Lane (Dorset), Broomstick Lane (Buckinghamshire), Ducking Stool Court (Essex).

I was always curious about a road named in the next village, Panter’s Lane. After doing some research I found out that Panter is an old Scottish and English (mainly Northamptonshire) word for a servant in charge of the supply of bread and other provisions in a monastery or large household. This makes sense as this village dates back to the Middle Ages, and there were two main families of note, presumably with large dwellings, that would have employed the service of others in the village.

Do you live on an interestingly named road? What’s the best road name you’ve ever seen?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits.
@the_cemetery_witch

Nine Ladies Stone Circle

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1wLJyLB8F-Ofu5MNQ5OJDXT20waNSqedB

This is the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, situated on the magical Stanton Moor, and despite the name, there are actually ten stones, the tenth having been found in 1977, now laying flat.

The Nine Ladies is part of a tradition of stone circle building that took place during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age period, between 3300 and 900 BCE, with the construction of Nine Ladies falling into the Early Bronze Age.

The precise purpose of the Nine Ladies is unknown, but it is believed that the circle was used for ceremonies and rituals regarding life and death, and this site is certainly held dear by modern pagans, with many gathering at the stones on the Solstice. Experts are also unsure if the single monolith laying 40m southwest of the circle, the King Stone, is connected to the Nine Ladies, or whether their proximity to each other is purely incidental. There is no evidence to suggest that they are connected in any way.

According to legend, a fiddler - now the King Stone - played music for nine dancing ladies on Midsummer’s Night, with everyone being turned to stone as punishment for sinning on the Sabbath. Some stories say he was actually a flautist.

Other stories speak of an unidentified man dressed in black standing outside the stone circle after dark, watching nine witches dancing to the sounds of the Devil playing the fiddle, who were later turned to stone. Apparently, the man in black is actually the Devil himself watching his own handiwork.

Other legends say that when the Moon is full the stones themselves move around in a ritual dance.

There is a tendency in British folklore to name stones as women; there is the similarly named Nine Maidens stone circle near Penzance, and the Nine Maidens stone row on Bodmin.

Have you ever visited the Nine Ladies? I found the energy there beautiful and serene - what do you think? Is this on your list of places to visit?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits.
@the_cemetery_witch

The Lincoln Imp

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1usSVa_X9IvmpsbPL3cGpyMaiz-rHyimd

I live in an area bordering Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Leicestershire, where there is rich and varied folklore. One of the characters I love the most is the Lincoln Imp, as seen on this caddy spoon. (For those who don’t know what caddy spoons are, they were used to measure tea at a time when tea was very expensive.) I have told his story before, but it is so much fun I thought I’d share it again in a little more detail.

According to 14th-century legend, the Devil was in a mischievous mood, and let out all his demons to play; with a group of imps sent to Earth to do his bidding.

After causing havoc in Northern England, stopping at Chesterfield to twist the spire of St. Mary and All Saints Church, the imps moved on to Lincoln Cathedral, where they planned to create as much trouble as possible. The imps set about their chaos, breaking the lights, smashing up the place, knocking over candles, destroying stained glass windows, and tripping up the Dean.

An angel appeared to the group, and confronted them. A number of imps managed to escape the angel, leaving two imps remaining. The first threw rocks and insults at the angel, the second cowered under broken furniture. The angel boomed at the first imp “Wicked Imp, be turned to stone!” immortalising his terrified form into cold, hard stone, as seen on the wall of Lincoln Cathedral.

Whilst this was happening, the other, slightly less naughty, imp managed to escape. According to one legend, the imp made it to the coastal town of Grimsby, where he continued the destructive behaviour at St. James’ Church, now known as Grimsby Minster. The angel appeared and gave the imp a good hiding, before turning him to stone. The Grimsby imp can be seen in St. James’ Church, holding on to his sore bottom.

The Lincoln Imp can be seen all around the town of Lincoln. He’s present on door knockers, on items and souvenirs in gift shops, and in the name of the local football team, The Red Imps, who sport the Lincoln Imp image as their logo. It is said that on still days it is windy around the cathedral, which is the second imp circling the building looking for his friend.


Rose Magick

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1J1hdML_c0-fuZP2ZfYSIf4a8IRCad8eU

Magickal Correspondences for Rose - as taken from Scott Cunningham’s Magical Herbalism:

🌸 Gender: Cold
🌸 Planet: Venus
🌸 Element: Water
🌸 Associated Deities: Venus, Hulda, Demeter, Isis, Eros, Cupid, Adonis 
🌸 Part used: Flowers
🌸 Basic powers: Love, Fertility, Clairvoyance
🌸 Specific uses: Wash your hands with rose water before mixing up love mixtures (rose water may be purchased commercially in gourmet food shops and herb stores). Bear the buds if you would find a love. Drink of tisane of rose petals to produce clairvoyant drams. Burn the petals in the bedroom prior to sleep and have a completely refreshing, wondrous night. The petals are often added to healing incenses and sachets. Scatter fresh rose petals in the bed chamber on your honeymoon. To really prove you love another, send him or her red roses, the flowers of love.

*** Remember that it is always best to develop your own relationship with plants, and develop your own magickal associations. πŸ’• Your magickal correspondences for rose may be different to mine, and to Scott Cunningham’s ***

Roses were first cultivated in Persia. They appear throughout the ancient world, many myths and legends built around them. It is said by some that roses had no thorns in the beginning, and that they developed over time due to the wickedness of mankind; and due to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden.

In Ancient Greece they were associated with Aphrodite. Aphrodite bled on a rose while trying to heal Adonis, who was mortally injured hunting boar, and as such red roses came to represent love, passion and desire.

This particular variety of rose is called “Queen of Sweden”, so I’m dedicating this post to @thenordicwolfie ! 🌸🌸🌸


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The Threefold Law

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1k-Lm-dVLhgy1wazpGCsYdbT4d4tYDexl

The Threefold Law, is probably one of the most misunderstood things in Witchcraft.

It is often described as an act of Karma, but that’s not how it works.

Attributed to Gerald Gardner, the idea is whatever energy you send out to others, will be returned three times as strong. Not in a Karmic way, but as a response. In this way it is a code of conduct amongst witches:

“Though hast obeyed the Law, but mark well, when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold”.

So when you receive blessings from someone, you should return them three times. The same goes for the opposite.

This does not mean that whatever energy you send out into the universe will somehow come back to you, three times as strong. (That is the Boomerang Effect, and “threefold” in this instance is more metaphorical than precise.)

Of course, this is a tenet only held by some; not every Witch or Wiccan follows The Threefold Law.

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The Edith Weston Poltergeist


https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1X1eLJdoJILN2jfTXUz0py2katci9ZJHJ
Several miles from here is a village called Edith Weston. It has a population of about 1100 people, and is named after Edith of Wessex, Queen of Edward the Confessor.

In December 1896, huge flocks of people gathered from afar to witness the haunting of a house; then inhabited by a Mr and Mrs Gray. Extremely loud and repetitive knocking was heard at the doors and windows, and this continued for a full week before Christmas. Hundreds of people witnessed these knocks, including Mr Braithwaite of Edith Weston Hall, who owned the property.

At it’s loudest, the entire village could hear the knocking. Police, clergy and a whole host of other official people came to solve the mysterious problem, but upon investigation, the noise would shift from room to room.

Rumours and theories were spread by the worried villagers. A fifteen year old serving girl was blamed for the mysterious thumping; but when that continued in her absence, it was then blamed on the Devil, who had been invited into the house by her.

Mrs Gray became sick with the stress and worry; and Mr Braithwaite considered demolishing the property. Thankfully the noises stopped at Christmas, but no logical explanation was ever found. An investigator from London blamed the girl. Allegedly, she called “Here I am, come on you” when entering the kitchen; the noises continuing in there long after she left.

So much time has passed that it’s not clear which building housed the Edith Weston Poltergeist, but stories are still told about it to this day.

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What Witches Look Like

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1_WFYGqNI0_nqWZGnxdOjKgz7E8YNLrOK

This year I took part in the hashtag #whatwitcheslooklike on Instagram - Feel free to share a picture of yourself in your regular garb (not a witchy outfit) and help destigmatise witch stereotypes.

When encountering someone new for the first time, we instantly and spontaneously attribute a variety of character traits to them, based on their physical appearance. In a matter of seconds we form an opinion of them; deciding whether someone is trustworthy or kind, whether they are friend or foe. Whether, perhaps, they are the witch amongst us.

I’ve been thinking about the assumptions we can make when we meet people for the first time, how hard I work to challenge stereotypes and prejudices in my own mind, and my own experiences of judgement.

On the whole people don’t assume I’m a witch, but when they hear I live on a cemetery it’s clear that they’re a bit suspicious of me (except for people in the witch community, who just think it’s cool).

What else?

πŸ’° People often assume I’m quite posh and/or rich (wrong!).
⚓️ They are surprised to learn that I have tattoos.
🦯 They don’t realise that I’m disabled due to invisible illness.
🧍🏻‍♀️ They think I’m very tall, until they meet me in person, and realise that I’m tiny in comparison to the picture they drew in their head (this one happens a lot πŸ˜†).

πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ What about witch stereotypes? πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️πŸ§™πŸΌ‍♀️ 
There is often the idea that we’re evil, or that we must be a particular type of witch (usually Wiccan ), and that witches are female.

πŸ–€ All witches look different!

πŸ–€ All witches ARE different!

πŸ–€ Like the rest of the population we’re a mixed bunch - we might be disabled, BIPOC, male, or LGBTQIA+ 

πŸ–€ We come from a range of backgrounds, and have a range of paths, beliefs and interests.

Please help by sharing your image. πŸ–€

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Owl Magick

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=15y2esFNmjjn88xFwwTccVDkHY_UEeW8e

I was awake at 0330hrs this morning. Not only could I hear the twit-twoo of a male and female tawny owl calling out to each other, but also the loud screeching of a barn owl, which was close enough ~ and loud enough! ~ to wake me.

Many myths, legends and superstitions regarding owls appear all over the world. They are considered to be old souls that keep ancient wisdom; guarding the gates to the Akashic realm.

For the Celts, the owl was associated with the Cailleach, and was a reminder that death not only signifies the end of something, but the beginning. In many African regions the owl is associated with sorcery, and an owl hanging around a house indicates that a powerful shaman lives within.

For many people they are harbingers of doom, an omen of death. They silently watch and wait before taking action, and they’re often a warning to be on your guard. For me personally I relate them to wisdom through experience, and feel that they carry a similar energy to that of the Hermit tarot card.

Some consider an owl nailed to a door will keep evil spirits at bay; the owl pictured is found by the door of the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall.

Owl Magickal Associations 

πŸ¦‰ Wisdom 
πŸ¦‰ Experience 
πŸ¦‰ Independence
πŸ¦‰ Warning 
πŸ¦‰ Observation 
πŸ¦‰ Listening 
πŸ¦‰ Independent thinking 
πŸ¦‰ Intuition
πŸ¦‰ Omens 
πŸ¦‰ Death 
πŸ¦‰ Akashic realm

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The Tomte

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1f5JMy9RtBuG8G59vD58y2WxYKL4zrdjF

On our Yule tree ~ alongside the baubles, lametta, and animal ornaments (including lambs representing the coming spring, and the silvers and whites of the frosty winter) ~ hang the tomten.

The tomte is a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore. Often associated with the Winter Solstice and Christmas, he is like a little gnome. He has a long shaggy white beard, simple farming clothes, a cap, and tiny feet; and he is quite old, having seen many winters. Tomten are known as solitary, ancestral, guardians and protectors of homes and farmsteads, who love tradition, respect, orderliness and hard work.

Whilst known as guardians, they’re also said to be short tempered, and will play tricks, maim, or steal if offended. They dislike rudeness, change to farming practices, swearing, and laziness. They are connected to labour and farm work ~ often giving their help ~ and are very strong. They have been likened to both brownies and land wights.

Over time, the tomte has taken on a sort of Father Christmas role, and it is believed that you should leave out a Christmas Eve offering of porridge with a knob of butter for him. I think he’s my favourite of all folkloric creatures. We have them on our tree representing our Scandinavian heritage. For all things Scandinavian head over to the gorgeous @thenordicwolfie

Do you have a favourite folklore character? Perhaps you have a favourite character related to this time of the year?

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Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Give yourself a break ❤️

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1_xee1i0ZUY34v14k2sQQhV-JcmVvDP8Z

This is a public service announcement for the witches who (tell me they) feel bad because they “didn’t do anything witchy for the last Full Moon” or aren’t continuously casting spells or performing elaborate rituals each time a sabbat, or a particular moon phase, rolls around.

IT’S OK.

There are no set rules to how you must follow the path of Witchcraft. Life is a lot of things. It is also paying the bills, looking after children, making time for family and friends, and it is occasionally crashing on the sofa ~ exhausted ~ because by the time something special comes around your energy has been used for other things. Sometimes it is missing important dates, or not observing them exactly how you’d like to, because there are more pressing issues.

IT’S OK.

It doesn’t make me any less of a witch when it happens, it doesn’t make you any less of a witch, either. There will be countless other times, there will be countless other opportunities. Witchcraft is not just big showy rituals on specific dates, it’s all the little acts of magick you carry out from day to day, too. 

REMEMBER…

The witch lives you see on Instagram are not a true representation of every second of every day. Even the witchiest of people have mundane stuff to deal with.

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION…

Do only what you are able, even if sometimes that is nothing but a glancing nod to your path. Remind yourself that life happens. Give yourself permission to worship, practise and study in the way you want to, and when you can. Give yourself permission to follow the path of Witchcraft in your own way, following the ebb and flow of your life.

Does this post resonate with you? Do you ever feel guilty or not “witchy enough” when life gets in the way? What do you do to counteract this feeling?

I’m going to share some ideas for magickal activities that always make me feel better when I’m unwell, low in energy, or time poor.

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The Red Lion Pub ~ Avebury Stone Circle

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1S3Bz3dSvLrrDjGZFMfb6IxvpmTKzZVGG

❗️ Trigger Warning - Murder

🍺 The Red Lion Pub, Avebury 🍺 

This 400 year old pub is the only one in the world to be situated within a prehistoric stone circle, and quite possibly the only pub to have a well inside it, too! In my humble opinion, it is one of the most fascinating pubs in the UK, and also one of my favourites, having spent a lot of time here with friends.

Originally a farmhouse dating back to the 1600s, it later becoming a coaching inn in 1802, and is said to be extremely haunted. I have heard this first hand from several people over the years, one of which has vowed never to stay there ~ or to even set foot in Avebury ~ ever again.

In the part of the pub that you can see in the picture there is an ancient well. It now has a glass top, and is utilised as a table, but it has a dark story behind it.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1bqqklTLs-mPC67E8Ngg37fhTemPnR6eL

There are said to be several ghosts haunting the pub, but the most famous one is Florrie.

Florrie lived in the building in the 17th century during the English Civil War. Her husband was a soldier, and he returned from the war unannounced to find Florrie in the arms of a lover. He shot the lover dead, and killed Florrie, throwing her body down the well, sealing it with a boulder. Florrie’s ghost haunts the pub, emerging and disappearing from the well, appearing in the ladies toilet, throwing salt and pepper mills, and generally causing a stir whenever bearded men are around.

It doesn’t seem as if you can stay there overnight now, but it is well worth a trip for a drink if you’re visiting to see the stones.

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Small, simple, low-energy magickal activities

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1QbB6SaeXvr48V-dt6Ok2fWc9jIRyZGyi

Small, simple low-energy magickal activities are important to my practice. They join the dots between bigger celebrations, rituals and work. 

They’re perfect for when you are feeling unwell, low on time, or disconnected from your Craft. Sometimes we need to rely upon low-energy activities to see us through a period of spiritual drought; until we can step things up a gear or commit to our Craft more fully.

Gratitude, mindfulness and seeing the magick and the joy in everything, are also helpful tools in any practice.

πŸ”₯ Burn incense intentionally ~ watch the smoke carry your ideas and intentions
πŸ•― Light a candle ~ concentrate on a thought, intention or affirmation
πŸ“š Read a witchy book
πŸ–Œ Write witchy poetry 
πŸ“— Read up on a festival/sabbat if you’re not able to celebrate/observe it
πŸ“† Make magickal plans 
πŸ—’ Journal 
🎢 Listen to some witchy/pagan/inspiring music 
πŸͺ” Create some incense 
πŸ“‹ Update your Grimoire 
🧺 Clean your altar
πŸŽ₯ Watch a witchy film or documentary
πŸ“ Write a letter to a witchy friend 
🍲 Discuss the nearest sabbat/festival/season
πŸ₯£ Bake something seasonal
🧘🏾‍♀️ Meditate 
πŸͺ„ Design spellwork for later 
🌿 Go for a small walk and observe what nature is doing 
πŸ– Create a sigil
🌻 Reflect on the nearest sabbat/festival/moon phase and the last turn of the Wheel
🍡 Create a seasonal simmer pot using appropriate herbs and ingredients 
☕️ Make a hot drink and stir appropriately to banish or attract
πŸͺŸ Daydream out the window 
☁️ Do some cloud watching ~ look for messages 
🍽 Draw sigils/symbols/runes on plates before plating food
πŸ§‘πŸ½‍🎨 Do some witchy art/crafts 
🌝 Go outside ~ even if briefly ~ to look at the Moon 
πŸƒ Do some simple divination ~ eg. Tarot reading or scrying
πŸ› Take a witchy bath ~ let the things you no longer need drain down the plughole

The list is endless, and I imagine many of us will do most of these. What would you add to this list?

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