The truth is that the witch is a descendant of ancient goddesses who embodied both birth and death, nurturing and destruction, so it is not surprising that she has both aspects. But when religions decay and gods are replaced, there is a consistent dynamic: the gods of the old religion inevitably become the devils of the new. If serpents were once worshipped as symbols of magic power, they will later be despised as symbols of evil. If women were once seen as all-powerful, they will become relegated to obedience to men and feeling pain in childbirth. The symbols remain but their values are reversed. The snake in Genesis is now the devil. The first female, Eve, has gone from being a life-giver to a death-bringer. Good and evil are reversed. This is the way the politics of religion work.

The contemporary image of the witch incorporates detritus from many religious sects over many millennia. Like the wall of a Crusader castle in the Middle East, it rests upon a foundation of remnants from a variety of periods. Like Hecate and Diana, the witch is associated with the moon and lunar power. Like Aphrodite and Venus, she can make love potions and fly through the air. Each attribute of the witch once belonged to a goddess.

Erica Jong

Witches   

eaten alive by longing

December 23, 2018

Most people are blind to magic. They move through a blank and empty world. They’re bored with their lives, and there’s nothing they can do about it. They’re eaten alive by longing, and they’re dead before they die.

Lev Grossman
The Magicians

witchery

October 13, 2018

Maidens stand still, they are lovely statues and all admire them. Witches do not stand still. I was neither, but better that I err on the side of witchery, witchery that unlocks towers and empties ships.

Catherynne M. Valente
In the Night Garden

the tradition of witches

April 15, 2018

Going nuts. Witches didn’t often talk about it, but they were aware of it all the time. Going nuts – or, rather, not going nuts – was the soul and center of witchcraft, and this was how it worked. After a while, a witch, who almost always worked by herself in the tradition of witches, had a tendency to go … strange. Of course, it depended on the length of time and the strength of mind of the witch, but sooner or later they tended to get confused about things like right and wrong and good and bad and truth and consequences. That could be very dangerous. So witches had to keep one another normal, or at least what was normal for witches. It didn’t take very much: a tea party, a singalong, a stroll in the woods, and somehow everything balanced up, and they could look at advertisements for gingerbread cottages in the builder’s brochure without putting a deposit on one.

Terry Pratchett
I Shall Wear Midnight

modern sexual magic

February 17, 2018

ritual

…the origins of modern sexual magic flow out of two very different currents in the Western religious imagination. The first is the largely fantastic, but remarkably enduring, nightmare of sexual license and black magic that was associated with virtually every heretical group from the Bacchae down to the witches. For the most part, the charges of sexual licentiousness brought against them were the mimetic projections of the dominant order’s own fantasies, fears, and desires, now deflected onto the mirror of these marginalized groups. But more importantly, these fantasies tended to center around specific fears of social and political subversion. Many of these groups, such as the Gnostics, Bogomils, and Cathars, did in fact seek some form of liberation from the existing social order through their sexual practices. Ironically, like the early Christians, these groups were usually highly ascetic, at times even antisexual. And yet they were attacked as dangerously subversive, not because of what they were actually doing – namely, challenging the dominant systems of marriage and religious authority – but instead for the imaginary crimes of sexual license and black magic. As we see in popular novels like The DaVinci Code, this highly imaginative narrative is still very much with us today. Brown’s story once again revives the image of ancient groups of Gnostics performing secret sexual rites, even in the face of ongoing persecution from the Catholic Church. Indeed, Brown’s description of the secret Gnostic rites seems to be taken directly out of Epiphanius and other early Christian accounts:

“ On a low, ornate altar in the center of the circle lay a man. He was naked, positioned on his back, and wearing a black mask…. Straddling her grandfather was a naked woman wearing a white mask, her luxuriant silver hair flowing out behind it….[S]he was gyrating in rhythm to the chanting….The chanting rose to a fever pitch. The circle of participants seemed almost to be singing now, the noise rising in crescendo to a frenzy. With a sudden roar, the entire room seemed to erupt in climax.”

Hugh B Urban
Magia Sexualis

might hex you

December 16, 2017

The children on the playground all heard her. They took off running together, as far away as possible from Antonia Owens, who might hex you if you did her wrong, and from her aunts, who might boil up garden toads and slip them into your stew, and from her mother, who was so angry and protective she might just freeze you in time, ensuring that you were forever trapped on the green grass at the age of ten or eleven.

Alice Hoffman
Practical Magic

To those who doubt

November 26, 2017

You think witchcraft doesn’t work? Well, fine. Good for you. Let me practice it in peace, is all I ask. It makes me feel good to cast a spell, to focus my energy, and produce a definite action. A spell has an end and I can tell myself: ‘There, it’s done!’

While you hide yourself away behind your wall of “received wisdom”, what you should remember is we are all the Universe – but trying to be individuals!

In January of this year, scientists created metallic hydrogen for the first time in the world. This was previously believed to be impossible. For the first time hydrogen exists in a metallic state on our Earth. In this metallic state it can act as a genuine superconductor and could revolutionize everything from energy storage to rocketry…The “NOT POSSIBLE” of ‘received wisdom’ was wrong. It can be done. It is possible.

So go in peace with your doubts and leave me to get on with my craft.

Witchcraft and Intent

November 20, 2017

Witchcraft IS intent.

I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t over emphasise this simple, basic FACT.

Your spells can be a single word spoken out loud. Or held silently in your heart. It doesn’t matter. If you must use sigils, keep ‘em simple. Basic shapes. Extravagant spells and rituals are unnecessary. Simply thinking something, focusing on it, is all that’s required to create action. You are powerful no matter how you practice witchcraft. You just need faith in yourself and plenty of practice focusing your mind.

When they ask to see your gods
your book of prayers
show them lines
drawn delicately with veins
on the underside of a bird’s wing
tell them you believe
in giant sycamores mottled
and stark against a winter sky
and in nights so frozen
stars crack open spilling
streams of molten ice to earth
and tell them how you drink
a holy wine of honeysuckle
on a warm spring day
and of the softness
of your mother who never taught you
death was life’s reward
but who believed in the earth
and the sun
and a million, million light years
of being

J.L.Stanley

practice witchcraft

September 10, 2017

In the dead of night she would go up into an old tower adjoining the merchant’s house, and there she would say portions of the Black Mass, offer sacrifice, and thereafter practice witchcraft against the duke. This witchery took a common form, the creation of a wax image and the maiming of the image that, by sympathy, the injuries inflicted on the wax be passed on to the living body of the victim. The woman was capable in what she did. The duke fell sick. He lost the use of his limbs and was racked by excruciating pains from which he could get no relief. Thinking himself on the brink of death, the duke named his sixteen-year-old son his heir. This son was dear to the duke, as everyone knew, and be sure the woman knew it too. She intended sorcerously to murder the young man in his turn, preferably in his father’s sight. Thus she let the duke linger in his agony and commenced planning the fate of the prince.

Tanith Lee
When the clock strikes