Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Try A New Taste - Halloween Sweet Treats

* Rice Krispie Treat Eyeballs *
unknown author


  • 1 Recipe Rice Krispie Treats
  • 1 Bag M&Ms Plain Chocolate Candy
  • 1 Tube Dark Gel Or Icing
  • Optional: 1 Tube red Gel Or Icing

Make Rice Krispie Treats and form the treats into balls, about 1 or 2 inches across. Add a pastel M&M or other small round candy for the iris and dot the candy with frosting or gel for the pupil. And you can use red decorating gel to make veins on the eyeballs so that they appear to be bloodshot! Kids love them.

* Orange-Ooze Cupcakes *
Posted by

You could omit the yellow food coloring, use just the red, maybe with a smidgen of blue to deepen it, and have "Oozing Bloody Cupcakes" for Halloween.


  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 cup White Sugar
  • Yellow and red Food Coloring
  • 6 oz. Milk Chocolate Chips


  • 3 cups Flour
  • 2 cups White Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. In small mixing bowl, use electric mixer to combine cream cheese, egg and sugar. Blend in 2 drops yellow food coloring and 1 drop red food coloring, adding more coloring as necessary to reach desired shade.
Use mixing spoon to stir in chocolate chips; set filling aside.
In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In second small mixing bowl, combine water, vegetable oil, vinegar and vanilla. Add contents of small mixing bowl to large mixing bowl and stir with mixing spoon to combine. Using mixing spoon or soup spoon, fill cupcake liners half full with cupcake batter, then place 1 teaspoon filling at center of each.
As cupcake bakes, the batter will rise to surround the filling.
Place cupcake pans in oven and bake approximately 25 minutes or until cupcakes test done. If desired, frost with orange icing--or just let the orange filling ooze out as a surprise.

* Gingerbread Witches *
From "
The Wicca Spellbook"
By Gerina Dunwich


  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • raisins

In a large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Beat in the molasses and egg.
In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder, mix well. Add to the molasses mixture and stir until smooth. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Cover with
aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and then chill for 1 1/2 - 2 hours in the fridge.
When ready, roll each quarter to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Cut the dough with a witch shaped cookie cutter. Press raisins into the dough to make eyes, mouth, buttons, and so on.
Place the gingerbread Witches on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on wire racks to cool.
Decorate the cookies with black and orange colored icing if desired.
Makes about 30 cookies.

Halloween Candy Corn Cookie Mix Gift in a Jar *
Anton's Gifts in a Jar

The ingredients to this cookie mix are layered in a jar like a rainbow.


  • ½ tsp. vanilla powder (available from cake decorating suppliers)
  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • ¼ c white sugar (cane, not beet)
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 1 c chocolate chip
  • ¼ c brown sugar
  • ¼ c white sugar (cane, not beet)
  • ¾ c all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt (kosher, not iodized)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Layer the Halloween Candy Corn cookie mix ingredients into a wide-mouth mason jar. Start from the bottom up (the vanilla powder is on top). Pack each layer into the jar. Use scissors to cut a 9 inch diameter circle from Halloween fabric (or use a black / orange doily). Place over lid. Tie on a raffia or ribbon bow to secure the fabric. Alternately, shellac a cookie the same size as the lid as an ornament on top Of the jar, or cut out Halloween
pictures in circles the same size as the top and place it them between tops and rings. Attach a gift card to the jar with the following mixing and baking directions:

Halloween Candy Corn Cookies

  • ½ c unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Chocolate Chip Mix Gift in a Jar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift dry ingredients through a colander to separate out the candy corn from the other ingredients (so you don't smash the candy!). Beat ½ cup of unsalted un-melted butter in a medium bowl. Stir sifted ingredients into butter until well blended. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg. Mix your beaten egg into your butter mixture until blended. Gently stir in chips. Drop 1 teaspoon of batter onto a lightly greased cool cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until browned.

Yield: 4 dozen.

Pentagram Cookies
from "The Magic of Food"
By Scott Cunningham

  • 1 cup almonds, finely ground
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves,
  • ground 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened If necessary,

Grind the almonds in a blender or food processor until finely reduced. Combine almonds, flour, sugar, almond extract, and ground cloves. Work in butter and egg yolks with the hands until well blended. As you work, visualize glowing golden pentagrams entering the dough. Chill the dough for 20 to 30 minutes or until cold, yet pliable. While the dough is cooling, grease 2 cookie sheet. With a toothpick or a small knife, lightly carve a pentagram on the cookie .Strongly visualize as you draw. Repeat the entire process until the dough is used up. For even cooking, ensure that all cookies are approximately the same thickness. Bake at 325 F. for about 10 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on racks. Eat with power.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Surprise - The Roots of Witchcraft: The Magical World Continuation

This is taken in it's entirety from The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft by Judika Illes. I would like to take a moment here to again let you know how wonderful these books are. They are filled with history and knowledge, and I strongly recommend you run out and buy and copy. Then READ it. In our society pagans in general and witches particularly are perceived as "out there," "flaky," and generally uneducated. Knowing at least the history of your faith, and being able to discuss and defend it articulately are powerful tools that if put to everyday use can help dispel this image. If you are a pagan, a heathen, a witch, you have an obligation to your brothers & sisters in faith as well as to yourself, to present yourself in the best possible light. We all do. The information available in this book, and the others in the series - The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Hidden History, by John Michael Greer, The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, by John & Caitlin Matthews , The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World by Theresa Francis-Cheung, The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs & Symbols by Adele Nozedar to name a few, can help you.  


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Charles Darwin's then-revolutionary theory of evolution was also applied to the social sciences: so-called social Darwinism. Although this has fallen from fashion, at one time common anthropological wisdom was firmly convinced that human civilizations preceded orderly through Darwinian stages, with magical thought as the first, earliest stage. Some cultures advanced while others stopped, arrested at that early stage. Magical perspective, the witches' viewpoint, equaled primitive thought, with "primitive" implying something very negative, the antitheses of "civilization."

Because contemporary magical thinkers were also perceived as primitive, backwards, and foolish, even when Western and well-educated, there was no thought of consulting with them when excavating sites or examining magical images. (This is changing; archeologists at Catal Huyuk now engage in discussion with modern goddess devotees.) Instead attempts were made to define magical thinking from an outsider's point of view, an outsider who was proud of his distance from that perspective.

The word "animism" was coined by the English anthropologist Sir Edward Tylor (2 October 1832 - 2 January 1917), generally acknowledged as the "father of anthropology." Tylor gave this name to what was perceived as the earliest phase of magical and religious thinking, deriving it from the Greek "anima" meaning "soul." According to Tylor, prehistoric humans believed that every person, creature, and object - everything! - had a soul, was animated, and hence the name animism. That Sir Tylor  did not identify or particularly empathize with the human subjects of his research is apparent by the words he chose to describe them: "savages"  and "rude races."  (No need to pick on Tylor, this was fairly standard language for anthropologists and social scientists of his time and later.)

Animism was perceived as a backwards, primitive, uncivilized, unenlightened belief: the lowest rung on the ladder to civilization. That said, if one can cut through the thicket of value judgements, Tylor came very close to defining what might be understood as magical perception: the vision of the world that makes shamanism, witchcraft, and magical practices possible and desirable.

It is an ecstatic vision. In this vision, everything is alive, continually interacts and can potentially communicate, if it so chooses, if it can be so compelled and, most crucially, if you can understand. There is no such thing as an inanimate object. Because you cannot hear or understand them doesn't mean rocks, wind, trees, and objects are not communicating or cannot communicate. The shaman can hear, the shaman can understand and, maybe most importantly, the shaman can hold up her end in a dialogue.

The shaman, sorcerer or witch (and whether at this stage of the game there is any difference is subject largely to linguistics) is the person who desires this knowledge and/or shows personal aptitude for this type of communication. This aptitude is invaluable and may have been crucial to the survival, success, and proliferation of the human species, Creation stories tend to end with that magical act of creation. What happened next? Quite often, as in that Zuni tale, the witches show up bearing life-saving knowledge and skill.

Imagine the earliest person on Earth, our most remote ancestors, encountering new plants, strange animals, and substances never before seen. They have no pre-existing scientific context.

Science posits a lengthy trial and error period. Conventional shamanic wisdom suggests that those animated plants, animals, and substances identified themselves and explained their gifts and dangers in a manner comprehensible to the shaman, who served as their medium to the greater human community. Animals, humans' elder siblings, taught us healing, hunting, and basic living skills. This is not ancient history. This type of shamanism still exists, although it is as endangered as the rainforests in which it is now largely centered.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Witchcraft on ABCs "The View"

Well, I wasn't sure whether I should post this here or not, but based on the positive feedback I have received from other areas, I think I will.

I received the following email Thursday, but didn't actually read it until last night...

Hi all!

Not sure if anyone here saw today's "The View" or ever watches it. However, the hot topic was about Sarah Palin and her preacher who drove the witch out of the town. Well the Co-host Elisabeth said she was against witchcraft and agreed that it was okay he was preaching against evil and Whoopi agreed that it's okay to preach against witchcraft or any evil.

I think we should all write them a kind, not nasty letter to let them know they are very misled. You would think in 2008 that the bad stereotypes would be a thing of the past.

This is the link where you could write them.

Write to ABC

Being the curious (and occasionally outspoken & opinionated) creature that I am, it piqued my interest. I clicked the link. It took me a little while to find the referenced segment (click "Video" at the top, then click on the clip titled "Blessing") but I almost wish I hadn't. I'll admit I don't watch The View  I barely watch tv at all, but I am familiar with several of the co-hosts, particularly Whoopi, and I am seriously disappointed.

I followed the "Ask A Question" link at the top of the page, as I felt a need to make my disappointment known. Here is what I sent. I would appreciate any comments or feedback any of you might have.

I recently watched the video of your show from 9/25, the segment titled "Blessing." Up to this point, I have held the members of this panel in a fair amount of respect as well-informed, intelligent and talented individuals. I am therefore deeply disappointed to hear my religion referred to as "evil." Yes, I am a practicing witch. I am also a mother, wife, grandmother, aunt and sister. I am married to another practicing witch. We are both law-abiding, tax paying, GOOD people. I work 40 hours a week, my husband usually 55-60. I have seen my husband spend the last money he would have for some time to come to buy a complete stranger a tank of gas because this man claimed to be stranded and without money. I have seen him work a 15 hour day, then go spend another 8 hours helping someone move, because he was the only one this person knew who had a truck. Until last year, once a week, he would work a 12-15 hour day, then drive to his Grandmother's house (a good twenty miles from our home) to cut her grass for her as she could no longer do it herself. The only reason he no longer does it is that she has passed away. We constantly receive comments on how kind and polite our five year old son is - not things usually associated with "evil" people. We are striving to raise HIM to be a GOOD person, too. Teaching by example - giving to those who don't have, even when they are too proud to ask, offering assistance and friendship with no strings attached, being as kind to a stranger as you are to the persons you love most in the world, not passing judgment on someone without knowing all the facts, and attempting to learn about the things we don't understand, so there is one less thing to fear because of ignorance.  We go to work, pay our bills as best we can, offer what we have, and try to make the world better for having been a part of it. We don't preach to others, we don't judge based on skin color - including skin color voluntarily changed (meaning tattoos), clothing, hairstyle, speech pattern, occupation  (regardless of what it may be) - we have friends in many fields including everything from homicide detective to stripper to business owners. We don't make assumptions based on a person's sex or sexual preference, nor do we automatically shun people who are ill, regardless of the illness or the cause. And we most certainly don't pass judgment on others because they believe differently than we do. Our circle of friends includes  Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics,  and I'm fairly certain many other faiths. Different isn't evil, it's different.
Because a small minority of people calling themselves something, in this case witches, do things that are not acceptable by any standard, shouldn't be cause for you to jump to the belief that witchcraft is evil. Following that logic, one could say that all Christians are evil, based on the actions of men such as John Wayne Gacey, Dennis Rader, David Berkowitz, and Jeffrey Dahmer, all of whom were perpetrators of undeniably evil acts on a large scale. All of whom also claimed Christianity as their faith, and several of whom were considered by friends & acquaintances to be "Fine, upstanding community members and good Christian men."
I am personally offended by the remarks made by the co-hosts of this show, as well as offended on behalf of all the citizens of this country, and the world, who have decided (usually based on much research and serious self-examination) that Christianity is not a belief system they can have faith in. Remarks made to an audience of millions, which will be taken to heart by many who saw this show. Remarks which will do much to strengthen the stereotypes and misconceptions already in place and accepted by many people. Remarks with no basis in fact, and which showed a lack of compassion, consideration and knowledge. When a person is in the position these ladies are in, influencing the opinions of many, many people, perhaps it might be beneficial to think before speaking, and make sure one is well informed on the subject being commented upon. It never reflects well to be seen as uninformed, narrow-minded, thoughtless, discriminatory and derogatory.
I truly wish people would take the time to learn about a subject - this one or any one - before they start making blanket statements like "Witchcraft is evil." I am a witch, my husband is a witch, one of my children is a witch, one is not, and the other may or may not be - that is a decision he will make for himself when he has the information he needs to do so. Many of our friends are witches, or Asatru, or Pagan or Heathen or Buddhist or nothing as far as a label regarding faith is concerned. I am not evil. My husband is not evil. My children are not evil, nor are my friends. I feel a public apology would be appropriate, but not sufficient. I also feel the time should be taken to try to lessen some of the misconceptions and superstitions surrounding MY beliefs. Misconceptions & superstitions you have either intentionally or unintentionally strengthened...
I appreciate the time spent on reading this comment, and hope that maybe it will have a positive effect on someone in a position to make a difference.
Thank You

So, whatdya think, was it too much..?



Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Form A Circle - Deluxe Candle Rituals

* Deluxe Candle Ritual *

Unknown source

You need an area that is set apart where candles can burn undisturbed, or an alter space that you normally use. Place two taper candles on either end of your alter space, one representing the God, the other the Goddess. Center, you have an Herbal and Essential Oil Votive Candle. (we recommend burning the candle in a votive glass for best results. A censor for burning the appropriate incense, Love for love, Money for money, etc. is placed upper center. Stick or powdered will do.

All candles should be anointed with oil. Any vegetable or olive oil will work. However, we recommend using a companion oil for the spell candle as above. You should place a small amount of oil in your hands and rub it from the center up and then the center down. This is said to draw both the energy into the candle and send it out.

Next, we have provided you with some sample invocations that can be used for each Spell Candle. However, we recommend that you devise your own. Any spell from your heart is better than one someone writes for you. The important thing is to always visualize the result you desire as already being yours. Never doubt your ability to obtain the magical results you desire and never discuss your magical work with friends or associates, that will dispel the magic by allowing unwanted energies to find a way of entry. You may also need to repeat your spell on more than one occasion. Building up the mental archetype you desire may take some time. Don't be discouraged if you find it necessary to repeat a spell. This is completely normal and most of us find that we will do a spell three, seven, even nine times before obtaining the desired result. Again, play with it and discover what works best for you. This Is Your Magic!

INVOCATIONS SUGGESTED PROCEDURE: Set up your candle burning area or alter space. Visualize yourself as being surrounded in white light. ( Those of you familiar with Circle work can of course cast a Circle). Take a few minutes to breathe deeply and center yourself. When you feel it is time, light the  two alter candles. A sample invocation might be

"I call Upon My God.........or My Goddess..........(or both). to aid me in the rite that I might obtain__________(state desire) with harm to none."

Now light your offertory incense, focusing on your desire. Again visualize your desire as already attained. Now light your Magical Scents Herbal and Essential Oil Spell Candle and either use one of the suggested spells below or insert your own and burn some matching incense for the spell you are creating. Repeat the spell either out loud or in your mind until you feel that your desire has been set in motion. Now let the candles burn undisturbed until they are completely out. Close with a statement of thanks and burn another pinch of offertory incense. ( NEVER LEAVE THE CANDLES BURNING UNATTENDED).


This candle now burns to invoke the love I desire.
As it burns
may the love come with fire.
For I am loved, may I love too.
May the
love I draw always be true.


This candle represents the money I need.
I attract it now with all
No more, or less do I desire.
All forces of good attract prosperity to this fire.


The flame draws the health and strength I need.
As it burns I
feel total healing indeed.
As the powers now heal my body in need.
May there be strength always, So mote it be.
( to be used in
conjunction with conventional medicine)


The passion of lust drawn to this flame,
Is mine to rekindle
or to claim.
As the fiery essence courses through me,
With harm to none may I draw this need.


White light perfect and divine,
Shield me with perfect
protection in time.
To keep me from all harm is my desire.
So mote it


This candle burns to destroy the hex
And to make me free
from all the rest.
An uncrossed person will I emerge,
Free from the
hex's wrath and scourge.


A new found luck now is mine,
As this candle burns I call on the
To aid me in this turn around,
My luck has now been new found.


As this candle burns for me,
Increased business will I see.
As customers come from far and wide,
May I sell all that is inside.


Open up my psychic eye
So that I may see beyond the sky.
Expand my mind with all speed,
For to know the unknowable is what I


Oh games of chance now be with me
And provide me with the
winning key.
Open the gates now closed and hidden.
Help me now and do
my bidding.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday This Is Your Spell - More Money Spells

* Money Spell *

unknown source

Things you will need:

  • Silver Dime
  • Any money drawing herb (mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, Etc.)
  • A money drawing oil (Mint, Patchouli, Bay, Virgin Olive oil, Etc.)
  • Waxing Moon (From seven to fourteen days after the new moon).

Outdoors in a quiet spot (late eve works best). Hold the dime in your left hand (your left hand or your receptive one ). Anoint the dime with oil. Place herb on top of the dime (dime should be face up). Now charge the dime by holding your right hand over your Left (making a cup ) Visualize a green light filling your cupped hands until they fill full of this light. The Chant must be repeated nine times:

Silver Dime
Waxing Moon
Fill my cup with prosperity soon

Bury the dime and herbs face up in the earth. This symbolizes planting a seed of prosperity into your life. In the days following of this spell:
If you see a penny pick it up and give thanks that prosperity is coming soon.

* Voodoo money spell *

unknown source

To Bring Money You Need:

  • 4 Quarters
  • 1 green candle
  • Sugar

Draw a cross on the floor with the sugar. Place a quarter at each point on the compass:
orth, South, East and West. Place the green candle in the middle of the cross. Light the candle and say:

Money, money come to me
Be it by land or
Be it by sea
Money, money come to me

Let the candle burn out.

* New Moon Abundance Check *

author unknown

The time of the New Moon is a good time to affirm prosperity. This is called the New Moon Abundance Check, or the Law of Abundance check, this can be an actual check from your check book or a drawing of a check.

  • Date the check.
  • Where it says "Pay To The Order Of", write in your name.
  • Fill in the amount you wish to manifest.
  • In the Memo section you may want to note "Over and above expected income."
  • Sign the check The Law of Abundance (or The Universe).

Tape the check somewhere you will see it often over the next 28 days...I tape mine near my computer. The first time I tried this I got $500 unexpected dollars. Last month no extra money came, but two potential new income sources presented themselves. It is best to write this check within 24 hours of the new moon. Some people put the check in their checkbook along with a deposit slip they have filled out. I do better when I actually see the check, it reminds me to affirm prosperity several times throughout the month.

* Money Spell for Quick Gain *

unknown author

This is a spell to gain money quickly. It should be used only when you absolutely need it and never for greed.

You need:

  • 10 Dimes
  • A Cup
  • Blessed Water
  • 2 Green Candles

To start this spell, cast a circle. Light the green candles and place the cup between them. Now, fill the glass with the blessed water and say:

Fill my pockets
ill them fast
Fill them like I fill this glass

Next, take the ten dimes in your hand. Drop them into the glass one by one saying this as you drop each coin it:

I wish for wealth
I wish for success
I wish for happiness
I wish for gold
I wish for silver
I wish for riches
I wish for health
I wish for help
I wish for money to come my way
I wish for all this so mote it be

When you have finished this, place the glass on your altar and let the candles burn down. This should bring money your way in the next few days.

* Prosperity Pouch *

unknown source


  • Green or gold cloth and bag
  • Cinnamon
  • Patchouli
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Money oil, cinnamon oil, or heliotrope oil
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • Malachite
  • Pyrite
  • 1 Gold Candle
  • 1 Green candle
  • Prosperity incense

Directions: Empower all objects. Carve a prosperity rune or symbol on the candles and dress them with any of the above oils. Visualize your goal as you dress them. Add a chant if you like.

"Wealth and money, come to me
I deserve prosperity."

Light the candles on your altar or place of magic. Place the empowered herbs in the bag and ask for the blessings of Earth. Wave the bag through the incense smoke and ask for the blessings of Air. Pass the bag through the flame of each candle and ask for the blessings of Fire. Anoint the bag with any of the money drawing oils and ask for the blessings of Water.
Hold the stones and tell them what they are to do. Explain their
magical purpose.
Add them to your pouch.
Take the cinnamon stick and drip some green wax on one end and gold wax on the other. These are 2 traditional money drawing colors but can also be viewed as colors for the Goddess (Green) and the God (Gold). Ask for their blessing on your spell. Say:

"For the good of all
and with harm to none
this is my will
And so it is done!"

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday What Herb Is This - Hazel


* Celtic name: Coll (pronounced: Cull) - 'C'. Coll means "life force within you".

* Folk or Common names: tree of Wisdom, Lamb's Tails Tree, Collo or Coslo (Gailic), The tree's name shares a common root with the walnut tree and its nut, or cnu and hnot in Europe and Nux in latin.

* Latin name: European hazel - corylus avellana; American Filbert - corylus americana.

* Parts used: Nut, leaves, branches, wood.

Hazel can be used as a drainage remedy and can help restore elasticity to the lungs. Hazelnuts, of course, can be eaten, and are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, protein and fatty acids. The nuts can be powdered and be mixed with mead or honeyed water to help a cough. Cows' milk yield can be increased by giving them hazel leaves to eat. The properties of the leaves and bark are similar, astringent, tonic, sedative, valuable in checking internal and external hemorrhage, most efficacious in the treatment of piles, a good pain-killer for the same, useful for bruises and inflammatory swellings, also for diarrhea, dysentery and mucous discharges. It has long been used by the North American Indians as poultices for painful swellings and tumors. The decoction has been utilized for menorrhagia and the debilitated state resulting from abortion. It has been found to be beneficial for bleeding from the lungs and nose, as well as from other internal organs. In the treatment of varicose veins, it should be applied on a lint bandage, which must be constantly kept moist: a pad of Witch Hazel applied to a burst varicose vein will stop the bleeding and often save life by its instant application.

A tea made of the leaves or bark may be taken freely with advantage, being good for bleeding of the stomach and complaints of the bowels, and an injection of this tea is excellent for inwardly bleeding piles, the relief being marvelous and the cure speedy. An ointment made of 1 part fluid extract of bark to 9 parts simple ointment is also used as a local application. Pond's Extract of Witch Hazel was much used in our grandmother's days as a general household remedy for burns, scalds, and inflammatory conditions of the skin generally and it is still in general use. In cases of bites of insects and mosquitoes a pad of cotton-wool, moistened with the extract and applied to the spot will soon cause the pain and swelling to subside. Diluted with warm water, the extract is used for inflammation of the eyelids.

Hazel is the 9th Moon of the Celtic Year - (Aug 5 - Sept 1). The bird associated with this month is the crane, the color is brown, and the gemstone is band-red agate. The Hazel, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of air, the planet of Mercury, the day of Wednesday, and is sacred to Mercury, Thor, Artemis, Fionn, Diana and Lazdona (the Lithuanian Hazelnut Tree Goddess). Hazel wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods that is part of the Belfire that the Druid's burned at Beltane - it was added to the fire to gain wisdom. In fact, in ancient times the Hazel was known as The Tree of Wisdom. It is often associated with sacred springs and wells and salmon. Celtic legend tell of a grove of Hazel trees below which was a well, a pool, where salmon swam. These trees contained all knowledge, and their fruit contained that knowledge and wisdom in a nutshell. As the hazelnuts ripened, they would fall into the well where they were eaten by the salmon. With each nut eaten, the salmon would gain another spot. In order to gain the wisdom of the Hazel, the Druids caught and prepared the salmon. But Fionn, the young man stirring the pot in which the salmon were cooking, accidentally burned his thumb with the boiling stew. By reflex, he put his thumb into his mouth and thus ingested the essence of the sacred feast; he instantly gained the wisdom of the universe.

Any part of the plant can be used in spells to increase mental abilities. Often used for wands. Carry the nuts or hang in the home to bring luck. Eat the nuts to encourage fertility. Place twigs in the windows for protection from lightning. The Hazel has applications in magic done for manifestation, spirit contact, protection, prosperity, wisdom, divination-dowsing, dreams, wisdom-knowledge, marriage, reconciliation, fertility, intelligence, inspiration, and wrath. Hazel is a good herb to use to do magic associated with asking for wisdom and poetic inspiration since the Hazel is known as the Tree of Immortal Wisdom. In England, all the knowledge of the arts and sciences was thought to be bound to the eating of Hazel nuts. Hazel also has protective uses as anti-lightning charms. A sprig of Hazel or a talisman of two Hazel twigs tied together with red or gold thread to make a solar cross can be carried as a protective good luck charm. The mistletoe that grows on hazel protects against bewitching. A cap of Hazel leaves and twigs ensures good luck and safety at sea, and protects against shipwrecks. In England, the Hazelnut is a symbol of fertility - a bag of nuts bestowed upon a bride will ensure a fruitful marriage. The Hazel is a tree that is sacred to the fey Folk. A wand of hazel can be used to call the Fey. If you sleep under a Hazel bush you will have vivid dreams. Hazel can be used for all types of divination and dowsing. Until the seventeenth century, a forked Hazel stick was used to divine the guilt of persons in cases of murder and theft. Druids often made wands from Hazel wood, and used the wands for finding ley lines. Hazel twigs or a forked branch can be used to divine for water or to find buried treasure. The wood of the Hazel can help to divine the pure source of poetry and wisdom.

Hazelnuts can be used for love divination. Assign the name of your passion to a nut and throw it in the fire while saying:

"A Hazelnut I throw in the flame,
to this nut I give my sweetheart's name,
If blazes the nut, so may thy passion grow,
For twas my nut that did so brightly glow."

If the nut burns brightly you then will know that your love will burn equally as brightly. Hazels are often found at the border between the worlds where magical things happen, and therefore Hazel wood is excellent to use to make all-purpose wands. Any Hazel twigs, wood or nuts should be gathered after sundown on Samhain since it will be at the peak of its magical energy. Hazel must not be cut with a knife, but with a flint.

Compiled by Sarah the Swamp Witch

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday Try A New Taste - Roast Pork Chops with Smothered Apples

* Roast Pork Chops with Smothered Apples *
From "
Roasting" by Kathy Gunst.

`This is an ideal family meal,'' writes the author. ``Serve this dish with a good dry red wine or sparkling cider, a green salad, roasted sweet potatoes and a crusty loaf of bread.''

Magickal Associations

Butter: Tenacity; Smoothing relationships
Apples: Peace; Love; Health; Earth magick
Pork: Fertility; Profuseness
Sage: Fertility; Longevity; Wishes; Wisdom; Protection; Money Attraction; Purification; Healing, Health
Thyme: Clairvoyance; Purification
Pepper: Protection, Exorcism


  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 4 large, tart apples, such as McIntosh, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 4 pork chops, about 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider with no preservatives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Spread the butter on the bottom of a medium-size roasting pan or ovenproof skillet. Arrange the apples in the bottom, layering as needed.
Place the pork chops directly on top of the apples, sprinkle with half of the herbs and a generous grinding of pepper, and pour the cider on top.
Roast the chops for 15 minutes.
Turn the chops over and sprinkle with the remaining herbs.
Roast another 15 minutes.
Preheat the broiler and broil chops until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Mabon

Monday Make A - will return next week. In honor of Mabon, here is just a bit more info for you...

* Kore Chant *
author unknown, from

According to one Greek myth, Autumn begins when Persephone returns to the Underworld to live with her husband, Hades. This is the tale...

Demeter's daughter, known as Kore at this time, was out picking flowers in a meadow when the Earth opened, and the god Hades dragged the girl into the Underworld Kingdom to be his wife. Kore's name changed to Persephone when she became the wife of Hades. For nine days Demeter looked everywhere for Kore, to no avail. In despair, she finally consulted the Sun god Helios, who told her that her brother Zeus had given the girl to Hades. Furious to hear the news, Demeter left Olympus and wandered the Earth disguised as an old woman. She finally settled in her temple at Eleusis. She cursed the Earth so it yielded no crops. Zeus became frantic and sent her a message as to why she had done this. She responded by stating to Zeus that there would be no renewing vegetation on Earth until her daughter, Kore, was returned to her. Zeus sent Hermes into the Underworld for the girl. Hades, not wanting to give up his wife permanently, enticed Persephone to eat pomegranate seeds before she returned to her mother. Upon learning of this trick, Demeter again despaired, until Zeus declared that Persephone-Kore would live with her husband during half of the year, and return to live with her mother during the other half. In gratitude, Demeter lifted her curse on the Earth, thus creating Spring at the time of her great joy of her daughter's return; and Fall at her time of great sorrow when her daughter returned to the Underworld to live with her husband, Hades.

Kore Chant for the Fall Equinox

Her name cannot be spoken,
Her face was not forgotten,
Her power is to open,
Her promise can never be broken.
All seeds She deeply buries,
She weaves the thread of seasons
Her secret, darkness carries,
She loves beyond all reason.
She changes everything She touches, and
Everything She touches, changes. [Repeat--chant.]
Change is, touch is; Touch is, change is.
Change us! Touch us! Touch us! Change us!
Everything lost is found again,
In a new form, In a new way.
Everything hurt is healed again,
In a new life, In a new day.
[Repeat any and all verses.]

* Harvest Customs *
Curiosities of Popular Customs And of Rites, Ceremonies, Observances, and Miscellaneous Antiquitie (link is to full book available online)

By William S. Walsh; J.B. Lippincott Company;
Copyright 1897

From early times the ingathering of the harvest has afforded occasion for revelry and thanksgiving. When the Jews inhabited Palestine the festival of Pentecost embraced a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest; but, as the wheat is not gathered in Northern Europe or America at the time of Pentecost, flowers take the place of the first-fruits in the synagogues. The Romans had their Cerealia, or feasts in honor of Ceres. The Druids celebrated their harvest festival on November 1, the Japanese and Chinese each celebrate one at the close of their year. The American Thanksgiving is an acknowledgment of the blessings of the year in general and the bounties of the harvest in particular. In pre-Reformation times in England Lammas-Day was marked by the presentation of a loaf made of new wheat in the churches by every member of the congregation. Afterwards the feast of Ingathering or Harvest-Home, known in Scotland as the Kern, was a peculiarly secular method of celebrating the close of the harvest. This still has its local survivals, although they are fast passing away before the modern innovation of a general harvest festival for the whole parish, to which all the farmers are expected to contribute, and which their laborers may freely attend. This festival is commenced with a special service in the village church, beautifully decorated for the occasion with fruit and flowers, followed by a dinner in a tent or in some building sufficiently large, and continued with rural sports, and sometimes includes a tea drinking for the women.

Nevertheless, as Canon Atkinson says, we cannot even yet use the past tense in speaking of the old harvest-home. "In the northern part of Northumberland," writes Henderson in his "Folk-Lore of North England" (1879), "the festival takes place at the close of the reaping, not the ingathering. When the sickle is laid down and the last sheaf of corn set on end, it is said that they have 'got the kern.' The reapers announce the fact by loud shouting, and an image crowned with wheat-ears and dressed in a white frock and colored ribbons is hoisted on a pole by the tallest and strongest men of the party. All circle round this 'kern-baby' or harvest-queen and proceed to do justice to the harvest-supper." In some places "this nodding sheaf, the symbol of the god," is quite small, fashioned with much care and neatness, and plaited with wonderful skill; in others it is large and cumbersome, taking a strong man's strength to bear it. In Scotland it is called "the maiden," and is dressed like a doll. It is preserved in the farm-house above the chimney-piece. The youngest girl in the harvest-field is supposed to have the privilege of cutting "the maiden." Its head is formed of ears of oats; a broad blue ribbon is tied in a bow round the neck, and a skirt of paper completes the costume of "the maiden." In the northeast of Scotland the last sheaf is known as the "clyack," or "cailleach" (old woman), and is dressed up and made to look as much like an old woman as possible. It has a white cap, a dress, a little shawl over the shoulders, fastened with a sprig of heather, an apron turned up to form a pocket, which is stuffed with bread and cheese, and a sickle is stuck in the string of the apron at the back. At the harvest feast the cailleach is placed at the head of the table, the company drink to her, and in the evening the lads dance with her.

The manner of escorting the last load to the barn varies in different places. In many parts of England it was borne in a wagon known as the hock-cart. A pipe and tabor went merrily sounding in front, and the reapers, male and female, tripped around in a hand-in-hand ring, shouting and singing. Herrick's description shows how ancient is this custom:

Come forth, my Lord, to see the cart
Drest up with all the country art.
The horses, mares and frisking fillies
Clad all in linen white as lillies.
The harvest swains and wenches bound
For joy, to see the hock-cart crown'd.
About the cart heare how the rout
Of rural younglings raise the shout;
Pressing before, some coming after,
Those with a shout, and these with laughter.
Some blesse the cart; some kisse the sheaves;
Some prank them up with oaken leaves:
Some crosse the fill-horse; some with great
Devotion stroak the home-borne wheat;
While other rusticks, lesse attent
To prayers than to merryment,
Run after with their breeches rent.

In some provinces it was a favorite practical joke to lay an ambuscade along the road, and from the vantage-point of some tree or hill to drench the hock-party with water. An old song with many variants still survives at the bearing home of the last load. Its usual form runs as follows:

Havest home! harvest home!
We've ploughed, we've sowed,
We've reaped, we've mowed,
We've brought home every load.
Hip, hip, hip, harvest-home!

Here is a glimpse of an East Anglian custom:

"The sun is setting behind the old windmill as we cross the field of stubble; from a group of harvesters comes a woman who, with a low courtesy, asks us for 'largess.' As we pass along we hear merry shouts and cheering, and presently round the corner of the road comes a fine team of horses, mounted by two lads dressed in the garb of women, while the wagon is filled with the last load of corn, and merry youths and maidens ride above it. The wagon stops, and the riders give us three cheers, and then on they go to the village green amidst much laughter and bright songs."

The custom is known locally as "Hallering Largess," and has been described as a certain rhythmic chant, rendered with action and gesture, and followed by a certain number of shouts, in return for gifts. When they have received the offering they shout thrice the words "Halloo, largess," which may be a corruption of a la largess. The ritual appears to be as follows. The laborers gather in front of the house, and form a ring by joining hands. They bow their heads very low towards the centre of the circle and give utterance to a low deep mutter, saying "Hoo-Hoo-Hoo;" then they jerk their heads backward and utter a shrill shriek of "Ah! Ah!" repeated several times. The Lord of the Largess, the leader of the band, then cries, "Holla, largess," which is echoed by the company, and thus the performance ends, a very interesting survival of old usuages.

In Herefordshire a final handful of grain was left uncut. But it was tied up and erected under the name of a mare, and the reapers then, one after another, threw their sickles at it, to cut it down. The successful individual called out, "I have her!" "What have you?" cried the rest. "A mare, a mare, a mare!" he replied. "What will you do with her?" was then asked. "We'll send her to John Snooks," or whatever other name, referring to some neighboring farmer who had not yet got all his grain cut down. This piece of rustic pleasantry was called "Crying the Mare." It is very curious to learn that there used to be a similar practice in so remote a district as the Isle of Skye. A farmer having got his harvest completed, the last cut handful was sent, under the name of Goabbir Bhacagh ("the Cripple Goat"), to the next farmer who was still at work upon his crops, it being of course necessary for the bearer to take some care that, on delivery, he should be able instantly to take to his heels and escape the punishment otherwise sure to befall him.

"In the southeastern part of Shropshire," says the Rev. C. H. Hartshorne in his "Salopia Antiqua," p. 498, "the ceremony is performed with a slight variation. The last few stalks of the wheat are left standing; all the reapers throw their sickles, and he who cuts it off cries, 'I have her, I have her, I have her!" on which the rustic mirth begins; and it is practiced in a manner very similar in Devonshire. The latest farmer in the neighborhood, whose reapers therefore cannot send her to any other person, is said to keep her all the winter. This rural ceremony, which is fast wearing away, evidently refers to the time when, our country lying all open in common fields, and the corn consequently exposed to the depredations of the wild mares, the season at which it was secured from their ravages was a time of rejoicing, and of exulting over a tardier neighbor."

Mr. Bray describes the same custom as practiced in Devonshire, and the chief peculiarity in that instance is that the last handful of the standing grain is called the Nack. On this being cut, the reapers assemble round it, calling at the top of their voices, "Arnack, arnack, arnack! we have'n, we have'n, we have'n," and the firkin is then handed round; after which the party goes home dancing and shouting.

Clarke in his Travels (1812) gives this account of a harvest-home festival in Cambridge:

"At the Hawkie, as it is called, or Harvest-Home, I have seen a clown dressed in woman's clothes, having his face painted, his head decorated with ears of corn, and bearing about with him other emblems of Ceres, carried in a wagon, with great pomp and loud shouts, through the streets, the horses being covered with white sheets; and, when I inquired the meaning of the ceremony, was answered by the people that 'they were drawing the Harvest Queen.'" (Vol. ii. p. 229.)

At harvest suppers in Dumfriesshire and Lincolnshire "the old sow," or "Paiky," used to make her appearance. This curious animal was nothing more nor less than two men dressed up in sacks to impersonate the visiting quadruped. The head was filled with cuttings from a furze-bush. The  animal pranced around before the supper, pricking every one it approached. "I used to be very much afraid of it when I was a child," says a correspondent of Notes and Queries, Eighth Series, ix. 128. "That was a part of the harvest supper I never could like."

In some parts of Scotland a similar figure seems to have been called "Auld Glenae," as witness the lines in a poem on "Harvest-Home" published in Blackwood's Magazine for June, 1821:

But tumbling, rolling, sprawling on his way,
Comes in the straw-clad masker, "Auld Glenae;"
A lengthen'd pole adorns his better paw,
Well swathed with ribbons, and well wrapp'd with straw.
Like shaggy bear he heaves his limbs along,
And drives, and leaps, and bustles through the throng;
Tries every art the younger folks to "scar,"
And only joins the reel, the sport to mar;
Trips up the dancer in his figure pace,
And thrusts his stubble presence in each face;
With Lizy foots the droll duett away,
And capers to the tune of "Auld Glenae,"
Then winds his bunchy arms her waist about,
And bears aloft the farmer's daughter out;
"And wha can this be now?" each damsel cries;
"What can he want wi' Lizy?" each replies.
"Aweel," rejoins a third, "she's nae great prize!"

A rural celebration akin to the English, and known as the Fete of the Big Sheaf, survived until recently in Canada and closed the harvest season among the habitants in the neighborhood of Bay St. Paul. The last sheaf, made large, was put on the last cart-load of grain as an emblem of abundance; the lads and lasses, decorated with ears of grain, walked on each side of the load, and sang some of their national songs on the way to the house. "According to the usual ceremony," says the author of an article on "The Canadian Habitant" in Harper's Monthly, vol. lxvii. p. 389, "the master of the house sits in a large arm-chair at the head of the room, and awaits with a joyful and contented air the arrival of his people. These soon come trooping in, led by the eldest son, who carries in one hand a fine sheaf of wheat all decorated with ribbons, and in the other hand a decanter and a glass. He advances to the master of the house, gives him the sheaf, wishes him as good a harvest every year of his life, and pours him out a glass of brandy. The old gentleman thanks him, and drinks off the glass. Then the son goes round the room and serves the company; after which they pass to the next room for supper, composed of mutton, milk, and pancakes with maple syrup. After supper the decanter and glass go their rounds again, and then the young man who presented the sheaf asks his father to sing a song. Songs, dances, and other amusements close the festival. "As this pretty ceremony fell into disuse some years ago, the priest of one of the parishes on the south shore of the St. Lawrence took it under his own patronage, and made it a Church festival by carrying the Big Sheaf into the choir of the church and saying mass over it. But even this duller rite is now seldom witnessed: the farmers instead pay the priest to say a mass as thanks for the harvest."


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Surprise - The Roots of Witchcraft: The Magical World

This is taken in it's entirety from The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft by Judika Illes.

A fairly universal stereotype of the witch portrays her with unruly hair; perhaps a visual declaration that she is a person who will not be ruled. In fact, in Jewish and Slavic folklore, among others, to describe a woman as having "disheveled hair" is the telltale instant giveaway that she is some kind of witch, whether human, demonic or divine.

Hair also figures prominently in the myths of Sedna, Inuit ruler of the seas. Sedna sits on the ocean floor, her chief companion her familiar dog. (Visualize something like and Alaskan malamute.) She controls the balance between the sea creatures, who wish to live, and the people ashore, who wish to live, too, and thus must hunt, catch, and eat those sea creatures. Sedna, like the sea, is volatile and moody: she manifests anger and depression by withholding the ocean's bounty.

When food becomes scarce, the only way to restore balance is to soothe, comfort, and appease Sedna. An intrepid shaman must soul-journey to Sedna's water abode, approach her and calmly, gently, comb out the painful knots and tangles from her long, thick matted hair. Only when this is accomplished will Sedna's anger, frustration, and deadly agitation pass.

Witchcraft, shamanism (more about this soon), magic, conjuring, herbalism, "traditional" spirituality, religion: like Sedna's locks these may all be too deeply entangled to ever completely separate. However, attempts to comb them out will hopefully soothe agitation and frustration, and will definitely reveal secrets and release hidden treasures.

Let's examine the primal roots of witchcraft and the various historical elements that have shaped witchcraft and influenced perceptions of it.

The Roots of Witchcraft: The Magical World

How far back do we have to go to find that primal witch? Well, how far back can we get? Because no matter how far we can go, we will discover magical practices waiting for us.

Recognition fo magic power and the accompanying urge to manipulate it exists from earliest creation. Folklorist and practitioner of magic Zora Neal Hurston identified God as the original hoodoo doctor, because he spoke the world into creation with a series of magical words. That's a concept that would have been familiar to the ancient Egyptians. Among their many creation stories is one where Ptah the craftsman god, the original mason, also brings the world into existence using magic words. Other creation stories from all over Earth posit a similar magical creation. The world and all inhabitants, including people, are created via incantation, song (charm), visualization, spell-casting, or image-magic: figures molded from Earth, life magically breathed into them.

Other creation stories make the magical connection very explicit. In another Egyptian creation tale, the Creator, having contemplated creation, realizes all will not be well and that people are potentially in for a lot of grief, heartache, and trouble. Feeling remorseful, the Creator quickly invents magic power (heka to the ancient Egyptians) for people to use to ward off the harsh blows of fate. Magic is thus a crucial necessity of divine origin.

Another creation myth is both explicit about primordial witchcraft and ambivalent toward it. The Zuni are an indigenous nation of the North American south-west; according to their cosmology, shortly after Earth was populated, a sacred pair, male and female, commonly identified in English translation as "witches," emerge bearing gifts. While traveling around, examining Earth, this pair, these witches, meet some young women and ask them who they are. The girls say they are Corn Maidens but they have a problem: corn doesn't exist yet.

The witches immediately remedy the situation, distributing seven varieties of corn as will as squash and melon seeds, the staple diet of the indigenous farmers of the American south-west. This gift stimulates the Corn Maidens to form a pair of lines facing the sun and begin a dance in tribute: the birth of religion and agriculture, with full approval from the witches. This is a nice witch story. The witches, however, also bear another gift: death. They insist death is necessary to prevent Earth from becoming overcrowded. People, however, are horrified and behold witches, responsible for life-saving sustenance and the introduction of death, with suspicion ever after. It is an early acknowledgement of ambivalence toward witchcraft: the power to heal and preserve may also be wielded to harm and destroy.

You don't hold any stock with mythology and ancient creation tales? That's OK; let's take a look at what the archeologists and anthropologists have to say. Plenty of physical evidence documents the primordial origins of witchcraft and magical perspective.

Physical Evidence of Magical Thought

Much of what we know of Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) cultures derives from excavations of funerary sites. Survivors lovingly cared for their dead compatriots, preparing them, sometimes painstakingly, sometimes at great expense, for whatever was perceived as lying ahead. They cleansed and groomed the bodies, dressed them, ornamented them with flowers, beads, seashells, and amulets. They left grave goods: whatever was needed for pleasure, nourishment, and safety in the next realm as well as for the journey there. Sometimes payment and/or guides for that journey were magically provided too, as well as guardians to protect whatever was understood to be left behind.

"Life" to these ancient people clearly didn't just terminate with death, as if the plug being pulled, everything was over. They had a broader, magical perspective of what constitutes "life" that didn't end with the last heartbeat or breath. Instead one existence passed into another, one read leading from one realm into another. The modern phenomenon known as the one-way street, however, had yet to be invented. Had it been, there would be far less discussion of shamanism today and maybe none of the necromancy. All roads could be accessed from both directions. Mysteries of death and what comes after remain integral to witchcraft.

The mysteries of death were not our ancestors' only concerns, however; neither are they the main focus of witchcraft. Mysteries of birth and life were equally important - the flip side of the coin.

In 1908, a small statuette depicting a round, rotund female was discovered by the archeologist Josef Szombathy near Willendorf, Austria. The most famous of countless similar statuettes she was nicknamed the "Venus of Willendorf" and is now in Vienna's natural history museum.

Her nickname was meant ironically. To modern ears, the name "Venus" epitomizes female beauty and grace, which currently almost inevitably means thin, smooth, firm, and youthful. The Willendorf Venus amused the archeologists who discovered her. Like many other statuettes of her era, she is fat and corpulent, displaying rolls of flesh and large, sagging breasts. She is not a figure of humor, however, nor was she intended to be grotesque. She is very carefully crafted. Her hair is beautifully coiffed in seven concentric rings - seven apparently already recognized as a magical number. She is an object of wonder.

How long ago was the Venus of Willendorf crafted? Whose eyes should we attempt to see her through? As the technology of establishing chronology improves, her age has been revised several times, consistently backwards. She was originally thought to date from 15,000 to 10,000 BCE, but the date now suggested is from 24,000 to 22,000 BCE, quite a few years ago. Today, in this era of super-sized meals and sedentary occupations, the Venus of Willendorf's figure is far from unique. People battle to avoid her shape, resorting to surgery and all sorts of drastic diets. Imagine, however the hard-scrabble existence of some 20,000 years ago. Through the eyes of those days, the Venus of Willendorf must have been regal, queenly, self-contained, divine. She is the image of woman as the source of life, plenty, peace. fertility, and prosperity. Today's ideal woman is squeezed into as little physical space as humanly possible. Not the Venus of Willendorf. She's expansive, comfortable, and takes up as much space as she needs.

The Venus of Willendorf is but the most renowned of countless other ancient surviving images of the sacred female. Not all share her figure; some are slender. Almost uniformly, however, those parts of the human anatomy that are uniquely female (breasts, vulva, pregnant belly) are emphasized and frequently exaggerated. Whoever created these images (and they are literally countless and crafted over millennia) made sure that no one could ignore or overlook the fact that they are resolutely, profoundly, female.

What we can see is that the people who created and venerated these images were not afraid or repulsed by large women, powerful women, or sexual women. Some of these images seem remote. Some may be wearing masks. others lack facial features altogether, yet virtually all have vaginas, accentuated so that you can't miss them. Some cradle their breasts, offering them to viewers the way a nursing mother does with her child. Some point knowingly to genitals and swollen bellies. They are simultaneously maternal and sexual. Maternity and dynamic female sexuality were obviously not mutually exclusive to the eyes that carved and beheld these figures. Many are very beautiful even by modern conventional standards, with loving, mysterious faces. What is very clear is that our ancient ancestors perceived profound power and magic in the female form. In fact, many anthropologists and scholars of religion believe that the oldest cosmologies start with a mother. In other words, the very first god was a mother.

And of course , who is more godlike than a mother? It is difficult to remember in these days of modern conveniences like infant formula, hospitals, and nannies but once upon a time survival, happiness, and health depended entirely upon one's mother. If your mother was powerful. devoted, healthy, and focused on your well being, your future seemed assured. If your mother was vulnerable, unable or unwilling to care for you for any reason, your future was tenuous indeed.

Everyone's individual mother might be their own private goddess, but actual goddesses served as mothers of communities, tribes, and nations. Many of these simultaneously wonderful and terrible goddesses survive, as for instance India's Kali and Russia's Baba Yaga. Kali Mata (Mother Kali) remains an actively venerated Hindu goddess; her vast complexities and contradictions celebrated and wondered upon. By contrast Baba (Grandma) Yaga was banished to the forest and marginalized as a witch.

Loads of wonderful images of the divine female, together with analyses, may be found in Buffie Johnson's Lady of the Beasts (link is to the book, available online)  (HarperSanFransisco, 1988), as well as in the many works of archeologist and historian Marija Gimbutas.

The image of the sacred female doesn't stand alone. Among the several dancing figures painted in the cave of Les Trois Fr`eres in Ari`ege, France is one nicknamed the "Dancing Sorcerer." Dating from approximately 10.000 BCE, this two-and-a-half-foot high figure is a composite of many creatures. He possesses the antlers and torso of a stag and a wolf's tail. Interpreters argue as to whether his paws and phallus belong to a bear or a lion. The beard and dancing legs definitely belong to a man and there is something essentially human about the entire dancing figure. Many speculate that what we see depicted is a costumed, masked man.

This horned figure may be a dancing shaman or corcerer, or both. He may be the "Master of the Beasts." He may be the ancestor of one or more of the wide variety of horned male deities: Cernunos, Herne, Faunus, or Pan, or he may be an early depiction of any or all of them. He will emerge from his hidden cave to haunt us durint the With-hunts. (See HORNED ONE.)

Among the most historically revealing archeological excavations is that of the city of Catal Huyuk, located in what is now modern Turkey. The city was rebuilt many times over thousands of years. There are 12 layers on the site; the age of the oldest has not yet been reliably determined but the most recent is from c. 5600 BCE. The entire area was forsaken in approximately 4900 BCE for reasons yet unknown. This was a large city; at its height it's believed to have supported 6,000 people (a huge population at that time), and it contained many shrines and temples. Among unearthed artifacts are those which are immediately recognizable and meaningful to modern witches and/or goddess devotees: bull's horns all over the place, images of birthing women strategically placed near these horns, plus a statue of the a massive, enthroned woman, seated between a pair of lions or leopards (animals which both once inhabited Europe.) The image is recognizable as that of the Mafna Mater, the Mountain Mother, the Great Goddess Kybele, who according to one version of her sacred myth is a deified witch. (See DIVINE WITCH: Baba Yaga; Kybele.)

To be continued....

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Special Stones - Amber

Amber compiled by Sarah the Swamp Witch


Amber is not a stone, but a fossil resin from pine trees (Pinus succinifera)of the Oligocene period 30 million years ago. Most amber is golden yellow to golden orange. Some amber has been found to contain red, blue, or green hues. Transparent to translucent it usually occurs as nodules or small, irregularly shaped masses, often with a cracked and weathered surface. Amber may contain insects, moss, lichen, or pine needles that were trapped millions of years ago while the resin was still sticky.

Amber can be found in the Baltic region of Poland and the former USSR. Amber has been found on the coasts of England, Norway, and Denmark. Other localities include the Dominican Republic, Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Romania, Canada, Czechoslovakia, and the USA. The Baltic amber is considered by gemologists and mineralogists to possibly be the best of the ambers. True amber is pre-Jurassic, any amber that is younger than that is called Copal.

Beware of melted and artificially molded amber being sold as the original fossil amber. This is due the steadily "declining" size of pieces of amber found in the Baltic region, especially after the Soviet "mining" of the former Soviet occupied Lithuanian and Latvian shorelines. Be prepared to pay quite a bit for genuine, unprocessed amber. And if it has a bug in it, expect to pay even more.


Amber is a powerful healing stone with a large amount of organic energy. Amber emits a sunny and bright soothing energy which helps to calm nerves and to enliven the disposition. The different colors of amber may be used on the appropriate chakras to facilitate opening and cleansing. Amber allows the body to heal itself by absorbing and transmuting negative energy into positive energy.

Amber is useful in healings related to purification; releasing fluids from the body; digestive track; memory loss; eccentric behavior; anxiety; inability to make decisions; thyroid; hepatitis; fertility, pregnancy and childbirth; inner ear; neuro-tissue; endocrine system; eyes; spleen; heart; nerves; depression; rheumatic fever; asthma and hay fever; tiredness; and infections. In ancient times, amber was ground into a powder and mixed with honey or oil of roses for various physical problems. They also at one time made pipe stems from amber in the belief that the gem did not retain germs and was antiseptic. Many people swore that wearing an amber pendant relieved arthritis, and fought infection and respiratory illnesses. Amber was thought to be especially good for all types of throat ailments, earaches, toothaches, and asthma, which were treated by burning Amber powder and sniffing the smoke. This also was said to stop a nosebleed.

Amber cleanses the environment in which it rests and is an excellent mineral for use in purifying birthing and re-birthing rooms. It also acts to purify one's body, mind, and spirit when worn, carried, or used as an elixir. Because it was thought to be purifying, in ancient times amber was used as a penicillin-type remedy, ground and ingested or soaked and subsequently drunk. Amber is an excellent detoxification and offers protection from radiation, especially x-rays, sun, computers, airport, planes and others' energies.


Amber is dedicated to the connection of the conscious self to universal perfection. It helps one in the art of manifestation to bring that which is desired to a state of reality. It stimulates the intellect and opens the crown chakra. It also transmutes the energy of physical vitality toward the activation of unconditional love. Amber provides an energy to kindle the realization and subsequent response of choice -- helping one to choose and be chosen.

Amber aligns the ethereal energies to the physical, mental, and emotional bodies, providing for an even flow of perfect order to the requirements of the Earth plane while balancing the electro-magnetics of the physical body. Since it is Electromagnetic, Amber helps the body heal itself by absorbing and transmuting negative energy into positive energy, thus helping to calm the nerves and enliven the disposition. By the energy of its color, it aids in the making of correct choices - it aligns mental and emotional bodies via orange and yellow.

Amber can help restore energy and help one cast off negative energies. One way to do this is to surround yourself with an amber circle or put Amber in water and then soak in the water. Amber is electrically alive with solidified golden light. It stabilizes kundalini awakening and spiritualizes the intellect.


Only the pearl is older than Amber in use as jewelry and Amulets - Amber talismans have been found in Stone Age archaeological deposits. Amber was heavily traded by the Phoenicians. It is a sacred stone to both the Native Americans and Eastern Indians. Different cultures had myths about how Amber was formed. A Roman author said that amber was Lynx Urine. The Greeks said that amber was the juice or essence of the brilliant rays of the setting sun congealed in the sea. In Classical myths, Amber was said to originate from the tears of nymphs over the death of Phaeton (the child of Phoebus who drove the sun chariot out of control).

Because Amber often contains plant and insect parts, many of the ancient cultures gave it special magical properties. In Denmark, pieces found with depressions in them were thought to be the resting place of spirits. In most cultures, Amber was thought to possess life due to the inclusion of insects and its warmth to the touch. In ancient times, Amber was sacred to Mother Goddess worshipers, because of its animating principle of containing the essence of life. The relationship between magic and Amber continues today. In some contemporary Wiccan covens women (usually the HPS) wear necklaces consisting of amber and jet, with the two stone representing the Goddess and the God, the feminine and masculine principles. Because of it being once a part of a living substance, Amber is often associated with Akasha, or Spirit, the fifth element of the pentagram that binds the other four elements together.


Amber’s high electrical charge for positive energy makes this a very effective stone for use in magic. Even having a piece of amber on the altar can increase effectiveness of magic and spellwork. In Norway, it was thought that amber carved in the shape of animals improves its power. Amber has these Magical Attributes:

  • Protection
  • Love, fertility, and Community harmony and peace
  • Beauty, joy, inner peace, healing, strength, and mental clarity
  • Luck, money, and success
  • The Sun and Fire


* PROTECTION: Amber has been highly prized as a protective substance since prehistoric times. It has often been made into amulets to protect against witchcraft, sorcery and poisons. Amber was also burned, beginning in the medieval days, as a fumigant and as an incense to clear the environment of negativity and to protect the area. Amber absorbs negative energy, and helps to ground you to the earth plane thereby providing good protection for a sensitive person. Amber is considered protective when worn, especially in safeguarding children. Amber is also a favorite among many Magical people for necklaces, to symbolize the sacred circle and to provide the protection of that circle. If an Amber talisman is shaped as a phallus, it is said to be especially good against the evil eye and evil spirits. If you feel you are being subjected to heavy negativity, light a white candle and place it on the ground or floor. Sit before the candle with a handful of small amber beads or pieces, and using them, create a circle around yourself. Sit within the circle while restoring your energy and closing yourself to any and all outside influences. Repeat as necessary. Another method of using Amber for protection is to place nine small beads or pieces of amber into a bath of very warm water. Soak in the tub until the water cools, then retrieve the amber, towel off, and carry or wear one of the beads or pieces until your next bath. This will also protect you from negative magic.

* LOVE, FERTILITY, AND COMMUNITY HARMONY AND PEACE: Amber is a sensual, warm to the touch, magnetic stone that attracts love. Wear amber to attract warm, loyal, and generous people into your life; especially if that amber is worn near the heart. Amber can be worn to bring a soul mate. Amber has been used as a symbol for renewal of marriage vows and to assure promises, and it facilitates family bonding. Amber is also a stone that can be used in fertility magic. In the East, amber amulets were worn in the shapes of lions, dogs, frogs and fish in order to increase fertility. It was also believed that amber helped woman in labor. On a more worldwide plain, amber can be used to bring about harmony and to encourage world peace.

* BEAUTY, JOY, INNER PEACE, HEALING, STRENGTH, AND MENTAL CLARITY: Amber can be used for beauty spells - both the kind for outer beauty and also those for inner beauty. Carry amber on your person to lend logic or wit to a difficult situation, to make your mind clear and to give you inner peace. Amber can be used in spells done to calm hyperactivity and stressed nerves, and to help you find humor and joy in your life. Because amber has a high electrical charge of positive energy, it can be used to harmonize yin and yang. Amber also can be used to enhance artistic qualities, help overcome obstacles, relieve grief and melancholy, bring greater awareness of inner self, provide strength, and convey harmony. Mixed with turquoise, amber is reminiscent of Sky Father or the sun in the sky, and this combination of stone energies may be used successfully to quiet the mind and calm the nervous system. Amber is a very powerful stone to use in healing rituals. Since it is actually fossilized tree sap, many folk healers fell amber is the best stone to lay against an afflicted area of the body to entrap sickness.

* LUCK, MONEY AND SUCCESS: Amber is considered a bringer of good luck - it has even been said to bring good luck to warriors before battles. Amber has magnet like qualities and can be used to draw money, power, and success. If you knock on wood three times with a natural piece of amber you can call on the spirits of the trees for special favors. To increase your prosperity, sew amber and turquoise along with several coins in a coyote skin pouch and bury the pouch in the earth. Amber also can be used to have success in judicial matters.

* THE SUN AND FIRE: Amber is a stone of the sun and the fire. It has long been used in the fire ceremonies of ancient tribal healers. The golden color of amber is associated with the sun, and with the solar plexus Chakra. In Middle Eastern belief the Chakras are the connections of the soul to the body, and the main "entry" point is the solar plexus Chakra. As such, the Higher Self connects to the physical self through this Chakra, and the wearing of amber will strengthen this connection.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.