“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In a cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”
The Bible edict in the book of Exodus, Chapter 22, verse 18 states, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”. This biblical command may be the source of some 100,000 deaths, which occurred across Europe from 1450 to1750.
In Deuteronomy Chapter18, where sorcery is condemned in verses 10. “Thou shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. 11. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee”.
It is then ironic how the Bible contradicts itself in the book of Samuel. King Saul had banished all witchery from the land; the Israelites were in a fierce war against their Philistine enemies. Saul had reached the depths of despair, and in a time when no king could be without his council he called upon the one sorceress left alive throughout his kingdom, the Witch of Endor, who resided in a place on the outskirts of Nazareth. Although Saul had been her sisters’ condemner; she complied to the kings needs. He asked her to summon the dead prophet Samuel, through sacrifice, fire and incantations she did. Samuel came forth; Saul asked how he might defeat his enemies? Samuel prophesied the Philistines defeat of the Israelites and that Saul would die in the battle of Gilbaoh the following day. The prophecy was fulfilled.
Because I have written in depth on this subject in my pending book Pishogue, Poisons and Pestilence I can only elaborate on the basics of what is a vast subject, laying down the foundations of witchcraft and witches.
A witch derives from the Old English wicce feminine and Wicca masculine.For all those who died – stripped naked, shaved, shorn. For all those who screamed in vain to the Great Goddess, only to have their tongues ripped out by the root. For those who were pricked, racked, broken, on the wheel for the sins of their Inquisitors. For all those whose beauty stirred their torturers to fury; and for those whose ugliness did the same. For all those quick fingers, broken in the vice. For all those soft arms, pulled from their sockets. For all those budding breasts, ripped with hot pincers. For all those midwives, killed merely for the sin of delivering a perfect child into the world. For all those witch-women, my sisters, who breathed fear as the flames took them, knowing as they shed their female bodies, the seared flesh falling like fruit in the flames, that death alone would cleanse them of the sin for which they died – -the sin of being born a women who is more than the sum of her parts.
Anonymous 16th century. (Published in E. Jong, Witches, New York, 1981)
WITCHESA coven is the formal working order of witches, Evocation is the conjuration of spirit deities.
Studying different levels of the occult, I regard the altar, its position and tools to be linked with the fundamental power of the elements and associated Arch Angels.
North is the Season of Winter and Element of Earth. North is the symbol of rock, sand or soil, in representation of the land our Earth. It is the source of power where the heavens surround the North Star. The cardinal point that never touches the Sun. The culmination of our wisdom through to old age. North represents spirituality and enlightenment along with the path of darkness and is ruled by archangel Uriel. The old churches habited the North door which represented “the door of the Devil”. The North door would be opened straight after a baptism allowing Lucifer to flee the innocent host. The door was also opened for the soulless or murderers, suicides and the unbaptised where they were sent to purgatory or “No Man’s Land”. Modern times now find many of the doors rarely in use or that they have been bricked up and eradicated. A large piece of Quartz represents the element of Earth bathed in colours of brown, black and gold. The Altar should be placed in the north as it is our physical power, energy and actions. Altars can be a table, natural stone or tree trunk.
South is the Season of Summer, the Afternoon in the Element of Fire, the symbol of solar energy, light and fire that burns through the heart of candles. The ruler of the magic wand, channelling direction through psychic energy. It is our passions and exuberance and the highest order of the mind. Southern running water is considered to be the source of magic and healing properties. The archangel ruler is Michael. The colours are red, yellow with Chinese red Jade or Carnelian as the represented gem.
East is the Season of Autumn at Evening in the Element of Water. East is eternal, illuminated and mystical. Of the rain, streams, rivers and oceans and is the basis of our emotions. A glass of rainwater, consecrated by adding a pinch of salt, an emblem to purification. Pearl or Moonstone.
West is the Season of Spring at morning sunrise in the Element of Air. A gold cord bound together in a circle to create an image of the golden Sun and a piece of Mistletoe sacred to the Druids. The season of youth, learning and new beginnings. It is our creativity, thoughts, breath and winds of energy, inciting the realms of dreams. The archangel ruler is Raphael with colours and various shades of blue and silver.
The Altar Tools
The pentacle can be purchased in metal as a stand or a picture on cloth or card can be used. Used for protection, defence and attracting elementals.
The Sword is significant and personal to each individual. The sword can be represented as a knife, dagger or the trident, which was the chosen sword of the magician Paracelsus.
The wand functions as a wireless communication. It acts as a conductor and is highly unique to its owner. My Nan used to say your wand will pick you. Traditionally the wand is made of a hazel branch (used by water diviners). Friends of mine select the twisted corkscrew willow (cut and seasoned in winter) or the oak (cut between mid-April and mid-May of spring life). They should be made in secret and no one but its maker should touch it. Only the bearer’s energy and aura should initiate its power. My friend in New Orleans made his wands out of ebony and yew, although he does follow dark and deadly magic. The Yew is toxic and adorns many an old churchyard as the true tree of death. Yet the Yew is also responsible for cancer curing. Linseed with a touch of lemon will keep your wand hardened and cleansed. Wands are best kept in a brown or black cloth.
Athane or sacrificial knife represents the male phallic form. A dagger that represents the power of its bearer.
Chalice is the representation of the female Goddess.
Incense brings forth the departed spirits and clears the senses depending on what you are attracting. According to old tradition the smoke helps spirits take form.
The Gong or Gavel
Helps to attract and ignite the forces of natural and astral communication. The number of knocks can manifest the desired affects.
The Book of Shadows
A detailed, illustrated, clandestine diary or documentation of the owner’s personal magic spells and practice methods employed. The darker side is the Grimme Grimoire made of animal or human skin. The type of book is mainly designated to magicians of the diabolical forces of nature.
Conjure or charm bag
The bags made of material or skin are the collection of favourite lucky charms, crystals and oddments the tiny artefacts of the owner.
Monthly Moon analysisJANUARY- Wolf Moon FEBRUARY- Snow Moon MARCH – Crow Moon APRIL- Grass Moon MAY- Planting Moon JUNE – Flower Moon JULY- Thunder Moon AUGUST- Green Corn Moon SEPTEMBER- Harvest Moon OCTOBER- Hunters Moon NOVEMBER- Frosty Moon DECEMBER- Long Night Moon