April 6, 2017
A Witch is only vulnerable when she’s unaware. And even then, there is something in the air that will warn her and she has charms to protect her. Don’t screw with Witches.
April 1, 2017
You are a witch. You warp the very energy that makes up the universe. You dig chunks of sharp crystal from the earth with bare hands and wear them as trinkets. You rip herbs from the dirt and use them to spice the air. You collect glass and bones and storm water and daggers.
Maybe you’re a different sort of witch. Maybe you write music like a siren’s song, sung to the stars, manipulating them until they shine the way you wish. Maybe you delve deep into code and weave quiet, meticulous charms into the very bones of the cyber world, feeling the flow of waves and Wi-Fi like others do the wind and the ways of the cosmos. Maybe you collect eldritch creatures, spirits and deities like others do stamps, frightened because you’re smart, unceasing because you’re brave, and know you’re much scarier than anything you welcome over your threshold.
Maybe you slip blessings into food. Maybe you slip curses under doorsteps. Maybe you draw symbols on your arms. Maybe you write incantations to be heard only by crickets, wicked, whispered nocturnes.
Whatever you do, however you do it, you are a witch. You are a warrior by default. Your strength is as innate to you as breathing. The only thing you must fear is what will happen when someone pushes you too far.
November 15, 2016
November 14, 2016
Some covens concentrate on attempting to heal the sick, others specialize in necromancy, but the general goal is one of knowledge and power. In further pursuit of the latter, a few groups try to bring their powers to bear on political matters, singling out individuals who stand high in public office on whom to cast their spells. Then there exists those groups who devote their energies solely to invoking the witch entities as deities, worshiping them not so much for practical and magical reasons, but rather as an expression of that simpler and maybe purer life of the spirit which takes its inspiration from pre-Christian European sources. It is these “witch cultists” who have largely held the public gaze over the past fifteen years, despite the fact that the word “witch” embraces a far wider circle of people than merely the followers of Gerald Brosseau Gardner.
October 29, 2016
September 3, 2016
A witch is someone who has dedicated her life to learning about the connections between things. She studies the different cycles and her place in them. She learns how to use the energy in herself and in the world to make changes. And most of all, she tries to make the world a better place for herself and other people.
The Challenge Box
August 20, 2016
The wild goddess has passed through the city of whoredom and has emerged intact as the witch on the heath. There was never one goddess of witchcraft, but rather a thousand Ishtars: mild white, blood red, lamp black. There can never be orthodoxy. We are simultaneously possessed, annihilated and forever outside of Time.
She is immanent.
She dwells within us.
August 3, 2016
Come closer, children. Gather round.
In this place, night comes on like a fever in the blood. But don’t be worried by that. We are what we are. And sitting here on these Olympian heights, we overlook the world and see it as clearly as did the ancient Gods and Goddesses of this place.
That yellow incandescence is the light shining from countless windows far below. Beyond is the flat silver surf of the sea that earlier this afternoon had the colour and consistency of warm milk. We are on the island of Sicily, where beautiful Persephone was abducted and repeatedly ravished by that insatiable God Hades. Here, too, Charybdis, the water sucking daughter of Poseidon, created dangerous whirlpools that almost sank Odysseus when passing through the Straits of Messina.
Sicily was once the home of Giovanna Bonanno, witch and professional poisoner. She sold her poison to those ladies of the island who were made desperate by the attentions of abusive or adulterous husbands, or who simply wanted to dispose of an inconvenience. Using wine mixed with arsenic and a liquid lice killer, her diabolical potion was soon sending large numbers of men in Palermo, both young and old, to their graves. She became known as la Vecchia Dell’aceto, and was eventually arrested and brought to trial. Under interrogation, she confessed her crimes and sadly went to the gallows on 30th July 1789.
Earlier today we travelled to a small sleepy farm in the middle of nowhere, where lives a woman who claims decent from the unfortunate Bonanno. She is a practitioner of La Vecchia Religione, or the old religion. She is expert in the ways of the Strega, and claims Bonanno (and thus herself) are descended from “Donas de fuera”, ladies from the outside; that at least in part, they are of the fairy folk.
Apparently, two weeks before our arrival on the island, rain fell everywhere in grey opaque sheets. Extremely unseasonable weather indeed – all the locals agreed. And the tourists were thoroughly pissed-off with this wholly unexpected turn of events, their holidays ruined by a lack of sun and an excess of water. Our centenarian witch, however, was not in the least surprised. She, it seems, had suffered an insult – this from a red-faced, pot-bellied Bavarian tourist and his oompah-humming companions, who were perhaps missing their dirndls and lederhosen and were inappropriately tanked up with local red wine and grappa. It’s possible they thought they were in Greece, not Sicily…?
The nature of the insult went unexplained, but our witch summoned the rain and four winds to punish these arrogant interlopers. She punished everyone on the island, along with them, of course – but then, Hey, shit happens sometimes, doesn’t it, boys and girls?
Our witch, let’s call her Agata for the sake of this blog, spoke Sicilian – which I don’t understand so well. She had her maid and companion, Chiarina, ‘translate’ her words into Italian for my benefit.
‘I knew you would come to see me, long before your formal request in writing,’ she said.
‘Oh, yes, yes. Your desire to meet was known to me before the arrival of your letter.’
She chuckled. ‘Are we naked Peedeel?’
‘I don’t think so,’ I said, fearing I’d missed something in the translation…perhaps, an invitation? ‘Not here and now.’
‘Our bones and our organs, our skin and flesh. We are covered in life. But I sleep with my eyes open. And you, I see, have worlds in your eyes.’
As she spoke her hands made this beautiful choreography in the air; blue veins in her hands under grey-waxy skin; long slender fingers and bonny knuckles. Dancing, hypnotically.
‘Hearts do not beat in the dead,’ she said. ‘What is it you hear at night?’
‘I hear the trees,’ I said. ‘I hear the whispered poetry of the trees.’
She clapped her hands at this and laughed aloud: the shrill, excited laughter of a little girl. ‘You know nature is indifferent to your art, do you not?’ she said, finally.
‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘I know this.’
Agata’s eyes are uncomfortably youthful, a liquid-brown, and startling in their intensity. She is tall and thin with an enormous cushion of jet black hair on her head, a few wisps of grey showing here and there. Her face, unusually pallid for a sun-baked Sicilian, is deeply etched with lines. She is highly regarded and respected locally, with as much power as a mafia don. Elderly peasant women in their best black dresses pay court to her. Old men bent and buckled as olive trees call to have their arthritis attended to. The sick, the crippled, the broken hearted all come to Agata for easement of their condition.
Is she genuine? Does she have real power? you ask, boys and girls. Listen carefully now. She knew things about Peedeel that she should not have known; could not of known. How can that be? She knew things no other living individual knew about me. Where did that knowledge come from?
Oh, yes, she has genuine power. The locals worship her. She takes their children’s whooping cough away, cures their croup, their measles and their warts. And her services are cheaper than the local medico. She can also kill, so it is said, with a single whispered curse.
Where are we now?
We are ascending Etna, boys and girls, in painfully bright daylight. We are hoping to catch sight of Felis Lybica Sarda, the grey wild cats that inhabit the forests here. They hunt mice, hare, rabbit and other small animals, and from a distance can easily be mistaken for a large domestic tabby cat.
But of course we won’t see them. They are nocturnal hunters and few in number. Another of the world’s endangered species.
The ancient Greeks and Romans began the ecological destruction of this island with their grand programs of deforestation. Much of the indigenous wildlife went into decline. It’s man’s legacy to posterity, these willful acts of wonton destruction. But then, as Paracelsus would have it, ‘Evil is good perverted!’
Felis Lybica Sarda is now protected by law (for what that’s worth) but its numbers continue to decline. The antinomian attitudes of the islanders haven’t helped in this. And Felis Lybica Sarda further dilutes its own gene pool by breeding with the many thousands of abandoned domestic cats on the island…
So we rise through an unexpected and verdant forest to a moonscape of rock: pumice, the only stone that can float on water; Basalt as black as the covers of my grandmother’s bible; Ignimbrite from the pyroclastic heart of the volcano…A waste land of cooled lavas and craters. I am strongly reminded of the approaches to the cable car on mount Teide on the island of Tenerife, the rugged and barren pumice and lava fields there.
But then what of the bees…?
I haven’t mentioned the bees, have I? Honey bees. We stopped off at a place where they keep bees for their honey, a small family run business. One of the hives has a glass window, allowing us to see inside: thousands of busy worker bees around the central brood frames. Honey comb looking rich and golden…Clouds of bees in the hot air surrounding us.
Jars of honey for sale, here. Chestnut honey (said to prevent prostate problems) , Lemon honey, Orange honey, Eucalyptus honey, Wildflower honey. Also Royal Jelly (good for sexual problems), and skin creams made with bees wax.
Tightly clutching our many purchases, we continue on our way.
And, of course, the subject of bees brings to mind the poem of the late, great Robert Nye:
FATHER HOPKINS CONSIDERS THE IRISHRY
Beware of reasoning with the Mahoneys
They’ll say their bees are big as little ponies,
Then when you ask them how such things can be
Or how such bees could ever possibly
Fit into the beehive anywhere,
They’ll flute their fingers on the silver air
And cry, ‘Begob now, that’s their own affair!’
The heat is almost too much for us today. Twenty minutes sunbathing without cover beside the pool is all we can take. Then we retreat into shadow like cowed beasts. The faint and occasional breeze brings fire from the Sahara’s heart, rather than relief from the impossible intensity of the sun.
Then we lay in silence together, the three of us lost in feelings labyrinth, remembering the golden nostalgia of our joint pasts, perhaps…For no apparent reason I remember Dee lifting her skirt in a wood in Luxemburg and crouching to piss. Four years ago, that was. Her laughter was gently mocking as she did this…We were as children, then, in a lost land. Her stream of pee resembled liquid gold as it puddled on the forest floor. Dear Gabriella said, ‘I told you to go before we left that bar…! As if she were addressing an intractable child, rather than her lover.
Dee stuck her tongue out and wiped herself with a handful of Kleenex from her handbag. ‘I didn’t want to go then, see. But now I do…’
The sun has thickened every horizon and makes it as hard to see into the past as into the future. But I’m bridging the unbridgeable. While the afternoon collapses around me in this dreadful heat haze, I lay on marble tiles in the shade rebuilding a half-forgotten past from the detritus of my life. This is nature’s terrible dichotomy, isn’t it?
‘We should go to the room and make puppies,’ Dee says. This is her favorite term for doggy-style sex. ‘Or the fabled two-backed beast.’
‘Three-backed beast,’ says Gabriella, her face heavily beaded with perspiration. ‘Don’t forget me, you two.’
‘Too bloody hot,’ says I, feeling a total sweaty wreck.
But then Dee leans in to me and whispers in my ear. She invites / challenges me to commit an unnatural sexual act on her small, but yielding body.
‘Treat me like a child,’ she says. ‘But you must protect my virginity. Your forbidden desire can only be satisfied in this one way.’ She flutters her eyelids seductively. ‘I’ll beg you to stop, of course, and cry real tears as you pleasure yourself.’
‘I bags I watch,’ Gabriella says eagerly, eyes gleaming with sudden lust.
‘It’s much too hot,’ I repeat – normally weak and amenable when it comes to Dee’s inclinations to voluptuousness, I now firmly resist her perverse desires.
Well, I resist, that is, until the evening meal. Then…
In the busy restaurant, the waiters in their starched white shirts and black bowties, Dee vigorously rubs my cock through my trousers…this beneath the table with its thick white tablecloth. I reach over, thrust my hand between her burning thighs and finger her soaking cunt.
Both the girls, I realise, are more than a little drunk. I tally-up the number and type of alcoholic drinks they’ve consumed over the course of the afternoon. Four large gin and tonics, two small beers and two bottles of local rose wine between them. The booze fuels their licentiousness which increases with the onset of darkness. Finally, like wild things, their bodies distorted by frenzy, they violate each other in one of our two hotel rooms; they are mad Bacchantes with no shame or inhibition. Cumming is a cataclysm for us all. Shrieking together in delirium. Falling together into the abyss…
Where are we now?
Bobbing about off the island of Stromboli, waiting for darkness, when we will see the volcanic fires light the night sky. But as the sun goes down clouds roll in obscuring the volcano’s peek. We see nothing…
Earlier, on the island of Panarea, we eat one of the most expensive meals so far this holiday – the food, though, was excellent, and the wine at one hundred euros a bottle…well, it was good, if pricey. Peedeel’s meager bank balance was suitably depleted by our thirst for Merlot.
We visited these Aeolian Islands on a tourist boat. When we first boarded this morning we took window seats inside; the sun, already high, was quite without mercy. We watched as others poured on to the upper, open deck in states of semi-nudity with veritable vats of sun-block. By midday, bless ‘em, they would be well cooked.
On the return trip we went on the upper deck. In the darkness we were soon alone. For the first time we felt ‘cool’ and sat together watching the stars and exchanging long, lingering kisses as the sea breeze gently caressed us all the way back to port, where the masts of countless yachts slowly swayed in the moth-soft darkness.
Where to now?
We go to observe a single man’s obsession, his fetish, if you prefer, boys and girls. A veritable temple to the male organ of generation, no less. A bar full of cocks: some proudly erect; some flaccid and resting; many (surely) larger than life. Sitting here, in this wonderful bar, you can play a game of where’s Willy…?
On the ceiling cocks with wings. Mirrors behind the bar shaped like stiff cocks. Great phallic legs on the barstools and even the banister ends on the stairs are of a carved wooden penis complete with hanging testicles. Even the bottles of almond wine are penis-shaped…
Yes, yes, we are in Bar Turrisi, situated in Castlemola. It is a typical hillside village with roads two donkeys wide and tall buildings impossibly wedged together – Oh, yes, and there’s a castle on the hilltop (in ruins).
Conversations. We talk about a live sex show seen in Amsterdam where, in one scene, a witch enthusiastically sucked the cock of the Grim Reaper. It was a show of stark images drafted together to enable us, the audience, voyeurs one and all, to watch people fuck. I carry the image of poor Snow White and those seven randy dwarfs burned into the very tissues of my brain. Quite honestly, boys and girls, I think that particular vignette, though a few years ago now, may have damaged me irreparably.
We talk, too, about Peter Redgrove, the poet…perhaps the best poet of his generation. We consider his ‘therapist’ John Layard then also living in Falmouth who (allegedly) got into bed with select clients; there he’d gently fondled their cocks, edging them for the course of their hour’s analysis. He liked his clients to discuss the more intimate details of their lives. According to Redgrove, Layard who was bisexual, suffered from impotency following an accident – yet despite this he managed to seduce a friend’s wife ‘because he knew the secret of the clitoris, a closed book to most men at that time.’
‘There’s something blindly stupid in the moral judgments people pass on sexual fantasies.’
‘How so?’ Gabriella asks.
‘Well, in fantasy anything goes. It’s not real. It’s fantasy.’ Dee is painting her toenails, an expression of grim determination on her face. ‘Andrea Dworkin, for example, suggests people aren’t bright enough to see the difference between fantasy and reality – which is crazy! You can spend an entire lifetime fantasizing about rape, as perpetrator or victim, but that doesn’t mean you desire to be raped or to rape in reality…’
So very true.
And then we came home to the cold and rain.
Heard in a Chinese restaurant our first night back. A middle-aged male, very well-spoken, leaning over the menu, says to the oriental waiter: ‘What about this? Is this good, is it?’
‘Yes, yes,’ replies the waiter. (No surprises there; he’s hardly going to say, ‘No, that’s shite’, is he?)
‘I see. And what about this,’ says the man. ‘Is this good? Would I like this?’
And, of course, the waiter (who’s probably never seen this guy before in his life), says: ‘Yes, yes.’
‘Oh, good. I’ll have both of those then.’
I’m reminded of a scene from a Dennis Potter play.