Water Witch Lore – Legendary Rivers

Legendary Rivers

River in general have some rather dark folklore about them. In Scotland and Ireland, superstition holds that each river demands one life as its due each year. Rivers are a common theme in mythology as gateways to the other side, the land of death. The river Styx, for example, was the portal to the land of the Underworld.

Styx was considered so holy that to swear by it was sacred, even for the Gods. The person making the promise was bound by the river to tell the truth. The water was undrinkable  – it would cause even a deity to lose their voice for nine years. If one swore an oath by the Styx and did not keep it, Zeus himself would force the oath breaker to drink from its waters.

In order to cross the river Styx into the land of Hades, one had to pay the ferryman, Charon. The ancient Greeks buried the dead with coins under their tongues to ensure that their loved ones would be carried safely across.

Styx, which translates to “river of hate,” was only one river in the Greek Underworld. The other four rivers in the Underworld were as follows:

Acheron:  The “river of woe”

Cocytus:  The “river of lamentation”

Phlegethon:  The “river of fire”

Lethe:  The “river of forgetfulness”

In Norse folklore, the Underworld was known as Niflheim. It was ruled over by the Goddess Hel. It was said to have eleven icy cold rivers, which eventually emptied into the river Styx. The river Slith was a combination of floating blades, blood, tears, waste and poison. The river Gjall was called the “river of echoes.” It had many waterfalls, strong currents, and bones floating in its waters.

Though the connection between rivers and the Underworld in folklore may be a dark theme, rivers have their light side too. It is said that no vampire, demon, ghost, or attacking spirit can follow one across a river.

Rivers with an inspirational overtone far outnumber the darker rivers of myth. The Nile, the Ganga, and the Niger just to name a few, are thought to be life-giving. Millions of lives depend on the waters from these rivers. The Nile River is said to be responsible for Egypt’s existence, as it could never be what it is without her power. The people also credit the river with growth in the areas of friendly personalities, generosity, and love. When it comes to rivers in general, the Water Witch understands that sitting on a riverbank and watching the sun sparkle on the water is actually a way of soaking up the love of the universe.

 

Dragons of Chaos and Destruction

Dragons of Chaos and Destruction

These dragons represent the negative power currents necessary to dissolve problems and sweep away troublesome people. They are of very dark colors: Black, gray, pewter, iron, dark magenta, purple, reds and greens so dark that they appear to be black. Their bodies are heavy and huge: in fact, they are the largest of all dragons. Their wide wedge-shaped heads sit atop long necks. Their serpentine tails are either barbed or with a spiked knob on the ends. Enormous wings carry them on swift flights.

When dragons of chaos and destruction make changes and help in rituals, they do everything in a big way. They go past your limited view of happenings, straight to the heart of the problem, so be certain you can stand their help before you call on them. These dragons work with re-creation of lives, relationships, and careers; breaking of barriers; changing luck; vast changes in general; work on past lives; divination; the confining or enemies or anyone who will hinder your forward growth or movement.

One of the very first recorded descriptions of a dragon is found in Babylonian records. The goddess Tiamat was considered to be the Great Mother Creator who built order our of chaos, on her own body. She was called a dragon and was said to be a monstrous creature with a scaly serpentine body, four legs, and horns on her head. After her spirit of initial creative activity. Tiamat spent her existence in repose. One of her offspring, the god Marduk, eventually killed her and build the earth and sky out of her body. This is a symbolic description of the activities of a chaos dragon: the breaking down of a static life-form and re-creation of another.

The ancient Egyptians said that before heaven and earth appeared a brood of serpents was created. They called these the Oldest of the Old. These serpents were very long and had only two legs. After the creation of the world and the universe, these serpents were confined, whether deliberately or by choice is not certain, in the Underworld, which every soul had to pass through on it way to judgment. The Egyptians advised that the soul should tread carefully on its journey, treating with respect the Oldest and his wife who reigned there.

The Egyptians also had a legend about the great serpent dragon Apep who daily threatened the sun god Ra when the Sun boat had to pass through darkness each night. The god Set who rode in the boat with the Sun god battled Apep on each nightly journey. When there was a solar eclipse, the Egyptians believed that Apep had broken out of his Underworld realm and had come into the physical world to do battle with Ra.

In Nordic myth, Niflheim was the lair of the great destructive dragon of chaos whose name was Nidhogg or Nidhoggr. Dread Biter, as he was called, lay coiled abut the root of the World Tree, constantly gnawing at it to destroy it. Nidhogg’s attempts at destruction were countered daily by the Norms who sprinkled the tree with water from their sacred well. But when Ragnarok, or the end of the world, comes the Norse say that Nidhogg will fly over the Hills of Darkness with the bodies of the dead on his wings. Another of Dread Biter’s tasks was to strip the flesh off all corpses.

Although dragons in general were looked upon as bringing disaster, depending of course upon their actions, chaos dragons are often quite literally omen of catastrophe. They can be seen in the area of disaster when other dragons create such things as great storms, earthquakes or floods, but their power lies in creating or precipitating wars, bloodshed, plagues, and desolation when humans have gotten things out of balance. Unfortunately, it seems to take such occurrences to make humans want to find a better way of doing things.

Although the dragons of chaos and destruction create upheavals and complete transformations and rebirths, they are not evil. Their magic power is vital to the magician. They require as much forethought and caution as when working with Fire dragons. But if your life and plans have become static, your luck stuck in a negative mode, or circumstances or people are making you feel helpless and hopeless, then these dragons will turn the tide of events. Just be very certain that you are prepare for the drastic change tat will come.

As with many kinds of dragons, the chaos dragons are connected with death and rebirth; in fact, more so than others of their species. Often, when riding the dragon in an attempt to destroy barriers and remove enemies, one finds oneself face to face with oneself–the worst enemy of all. This ride can turn into a dramatic rebirth for the magician if she/he is willing to accept what is being shown by the dragon.

This connection with death and rebirth can still be seen on coffin decoration well into the Middle Ages. A wooden coffin from Zobingen, Wurttembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart has a beautifully carved and coiling serpent on it.

A close magician friend of mine had a problem, not of her making, with another magician. Louise’s problems began when she married and no amount of magic seemed to lessen the mental attacks. Finally she called upon the dragons of chaos and destruction. She did not specify what they should do; she only stated the problem and the fact that she wanted a definite end to the situation. Up until the final moments of the ritual, Louise had not been sure exactly how she was being attacked and had only a suspicion by whom, but the dragons let her clearly know. As she was working with the dragon mirror, she was given a glimpse of her attacker, heard an audible crack, and “saw” a second mirror shatter. The attacking magician must have had a shock upon finding her ritual mirror in pieces. The attacks stopped. Louise now has a huge dragon that protects her home as well as the little guardian dragon who plays with her cat. The positive results of this ritual came from several important factors; the cause was just; there were no specifics given as to what should be done; harm was not intended.

The dragons of chaos and destruction must be called only within a cast and sealed circle. All movements and gestures within the circle must be counterclockwise. Burn patchouli, basil and dragon’s blood or binding incense. Use black or the darkest of purple candles. Greet these dragons with the sword in your power hand, the staff in the other.

Credit for this information
 
“Dancing with Dragons”
 
D. J. Conway

Calendar of the Sun for Jan. 16th

Calendar of the Sun
16 Wolfmonath

Muspellheim Day: Surt’s Blot

Color: Red
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of red set a great burning brazier of fire, many red candles, and a bottle of high-proof hard liquor.
Offerings: Bring fire to sacred places. The windows should be opened for the hour before Sponde, allowing cold to penetrate into the House. Then at Sponde, the sacred fire should be lit.
Daily Meal: Hot spicy food, of any kind.

Muspellheim Invocation

In the beginning there was Ginnungagap,
The darkness ever-stretching in every direction.
Then came forth two worlds out of that darkness,
And one was the world of Fire, home to Surt the Black.
And the World of Fire touched the World of Ice,
And from that touch came the life of all the Worlds.
Hail, Master of Muspellheim,
Guardian of the Wand of Light,
Eldest of the elders, first upon the World Tree,
Primal Flame that shines in the dark,
Your soul is of the power that births universes,
Your heart is the power of the fire beneath the earth,
Your flesh is the molten stone pouring forth,
Your hands are the flame that leaps forth,
The smoke of your hair is as dark
As your sight is bright and blinding.
Hail, Master of Muspellheim,
Keeper of the Eternal Flame,
Bringer of the first red light
Into the darkness of Ginnungagap,
Bringer of the first red warmth
Into the frozen cold of Niflheim,
Melter of ice, destroyer of worlds,
Spark of hope that begins life again.
Bless us, Surt the Black, Obsidian Lord,
From birthing coals to funeral pyre.

(The liquor is poured into the fire as a libation. All come forth and take candles, and light them from the flame. Then the fire is carried into each room of the house, and the windows are closed, and the heat resumed, and all hearths relit. Fires should be fed well and burn high on this day.)

Calendar of the Sun for Jan. 12th

Calendar of the Sun
12 Wolfmonath

Niflheim Day

Colors: White and Grey
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of white and grey place a crystal goblet of melted snow, crystal ornaments that mimic ice, snowflakes, white fur, figures of white bears, and a large white bowl of snow.
Offerings: Help someone to keep warm in the winter, such as paying their fuel bill, bringing them wood to burn, or bringing them warmer clothing. There should be no heat in the House today from Auge to Hesperis, save what is necessary for the plumbing. All should bear with the cold, and think on their ancestors, for whom heat was vital.
Daily Meal: Cold meats and fish.

Niflheim Invocation

In the beginning, there was Ginnungagap,
The darkness ever-stretching in every direction.
Then came forth two worlds into the darkness,
And one was made of Ice over Stone.
Earth and Water, yet frozen and unmoving,
Waiting for the touch of Fire to wake them.
Yet when that Fire came and melted the Ice,
Forth was born Ymir the Giant,
Huge as a mountain chain, vast and blind
As the Earth from whence he came.
Ancestor of all the frost-giants,
The storm-giants, the creatures of wind and mist,
From from Ice and Stone came Breath,
Air that rushes and batters, great blizzards of the North.
Hail the Land of Ice, Winter’s glory,
Home of the Lords of Wind and Cold!
Hail to the Land of Water, lakes and islands,
Fjords that touch the icy water.
Hail to the Chieftains of Niflheim,
Great Kari the North Wind, son of Mistblindi,
Brother to Fire and Ocean,
Frosti, Snaer, Thorri, Fon, Drifa,
Mjol the wind-rider, the sorceress.
Hail to the Land of Mists, from whence the Giants came,
One of the Two from which all the Worlds began.

(One who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual carries around the goblet of melted snow, and all drink from it. The rest is poured out as libation.)

Trees and Creation

In the Norse Tradition, Yggdrassil, the world tree, supported the nine realms of existence. At the top was Asgard, the home of the Aesir, the principle deities, led by Odin and his consort Frigg. This level also contained Vanaheim, the kingdom of the wind, fertility and sea gods, with whom the Aesir fashioned an uneasy peace, and Alfheim, home of the light elves. On the middle level was Midgard, the land of the humans. They shared this level with Jotunheim, the land of the Frost Giants and Nidavellir, the realm of the dwarves, who guarded their treasure and made artifacts for the deities. The lowest realm was divided between Niflheim and Hel, realms of the dead and Svartalafheim, home of the Dark Elves.

In Eastern Europe as well as in Asia the mythological world tree was considered the axis of the world with the pole star at the top. Shamans, the magickal Priests or Healers of indigenous people worldwide, climb this tree in a trance to reach other realms. Look up through the branches of a very tall tree on a starry night and you will see how this belief came into being.

The tree appears in numerous creation myths. In one Maori legend, the tree was the first thing to appear at creation and on it grew countless buds that contained all created life. A number of Nature North American creation myths tell how the first humans climbed pine or fir trees from the underworld and broke through on to the Earth. In Viking myth the first man was fashioned by Odin and his brothers from an Ash (Aesc)and the first woman from an Elma tree (Embla). The Gods found the trees while walking on the seashore.