I Am a Witch of the Old World

I Am a Witch of the Old World

Author: Lady Abigail

I am very much a Witch of the Old World. NO, Not because I am ‘Old’ but because I have trust the Old World ways of healing and magick. Herbs are truly a gift of the Goddess. Everyday of our lives we have the opportunely to hold these gifts in our hands. Those of us called Herb Witches have also learned how to touch the Goddess. How to hold Her blessings of both healing and power within each of Her green gifts.

From the time of my Great Grandmother herbs were used for both Magickal and Medical works. My Great Grandmother was the Wise Woman, the Wise One, the Sage Woman. She was a Witch. She was Cajun, half Quapaw Indian and half French.

I would learn in secret from my Great Grandmother how to watch the signs of Nature. She taught me what herbs were best for concocting potions, teas, tonics, powders and brews. Which herbs were just right for not only healing but the magick of healing as well as for spells and with heart and love, anything was possible from the powers of the Earth and within Nature.

I learned the ways of the Old World. In the same way as my Great Grandmother had learned from her Grandmother and her Grandmother had learned from all the generations before. I learned by watching, listening and helping my Great Grandmother.

My Great Grandmother was raised in a time where it was common practice for people to go to the Wise One, the Wise Woman or Shaman, for help in healing or for help in magick. Many would come for help with problems of money, love, and harvest, as well as healing.

People would come to get the magick within her spells, pouches or brews for everything from, money, to protection. They came for mixtures of healing herbs and leaves when sick. I watched as she would work with her wonderful gifts of magick in healing and the magick of nature.

There were usually no doctors around for miles and little money to pay one. I would learn from My Great Grandmother how to call the wind in a whisper.
How to see what wasn’t seen, not by the in-worlders. Those who would or could not see the magick all around them. I would hear her speak wonderful incantations and spells. I would watch her make potions and brews to heal the sick. I would see her do magick, the kind of magick that stirs the soul.

I was brought up as a child to understand such things were never spoke of, and considered foolish by many. I wouldn’t truly appreciate all these wonderful gifts of healing and magick until much later in my life.

Even now, my Great Grandmother still influences my life with wonder. I can when quietly listening, hear her sweet voice upon the wind in whispers. As if within magick.

It was so heartbreaking that as my Grandmother passed away, and for many years, so did the magick. All her great wisdom pasted down through the generations. Her wonderful gifts would be rejected as with the old ways.

There are many facets of Magick, Herb Magick being one of the blessed ones. I believe that a Witch’s Herb cabinet is one of our most essential tools. Herbs have been used in Magick and Healing since the beginning for time. Used in Home Remedies, Make-up, Poultices, Salves, Creams, Infusions, Brews, Teas, Potions, and Elixirs. Most herbs have both a Magickal and Medical use. You must have a great respect for herbs. Whether using them Medicinally in Healing or Magickally in Spells. You need to be careful and sure of what you are using. Always make sure the herb is exactly what you think it us.

In a quick look, Queen Ann’s Lace, Angelica and Hemlock look a lot alike, but the out come will be completely different. If you are looking for a particular herb for use in either Magickal Work or Healing, and you’re not completely sure if the one you have found is that herb. Just, Don’t Use It!

You will find that in most cases the herbs and plants you need can be easily be acquired from your local grocery, herb shop, or even a florist. For some of the less common and less known herbs you may find it easer getting them from an herb shop.

When there’s a certain Herb called for in a spell and you don’t have that particular herb, check what it is being used for. Is it for power, is it for psychic power, is it for dreams, is it for the Goddess or God…?

In most cases when a spell calls for Herbs for a particular purpose, there are other Herbs out there that have the same influential powers. This is wonderful because if you’re working on a spell for psychic powers and can’t find Sumbul or Stillengia you can always use Bay Leaves, Cinnamon or Grass. All of these herbs are for strengthening psychic powers. Normally grass is pretty easy to find though I wouldn‘t use it in a tea potion or brew that was going to be drunk. Grass has a truly rank taste.

Herbs have also been used throughout history for medical healing. From poultices for bruised and blacken eyes, to healing sickness and disease. Being one of Wise One’s who carried the knowledge of healing was considered to be a great gift and this gift was not shared with everyone.

Today you will find more and more people as well as doctors who are returning to The Old Ways and a more natural way of healing. You can’t go through a department store, grocery store, or even a mall without seeing a place that sells herbs and natural remedies.

It seems so ridicules that this Old World knowledge is looked upon as some New Age miracle. It may well be a miracle or magick, but one that was given to us at the beginning of time, through the blessing of Mother Earth.

But for some reason we of this ultramodern world seem to think if we didn’t come up with an idea on our own, than it must not be a good one. So we call everything New Age. All the wonders that are of the Old World, Old Religion and Old Knowledge have somehow became New Age. No matter what you call it, New Age or Old World Knowledge, it works.

Remember those fairy tales and stories you were told as a child? Where the old Witches used Bat’s Wings and Devil‘s Eye, within their magickal brews. Get ready, you will find yourself using them as well. That’s because in the Old World, witches used many folk names for plants and herbs. Bat Wings are dried English Holly leaves, think about it, they do kind of look like Bat Wings and Devil’s Eye is just another name for Periwinkle. It may sounds strange but if there were ingredients you wanted to keep secret and not share with anyone wouldn’t this be a fabulous way to do it.

Especially, if you kept a Book of Shadows, Book of Secrets or Cookbook as my Great Grandmother Called hers, where you wrote down your Spells and Healing potions. You would use Folk names, names the In-worlders didn’t understand. (In-worlders: those who cannot or will not see all the magick before them.) Knowing it’s a lot harder for someone to find Devil’s Eye than Periwinkle.

Making your herbs into medicine that you can use to help heal and ease another’s pain is truly rewarding. It was amazing for me as a child to watch as my Great Grandmother as she would put together just the right herbs for people who would come to her for help and healing.

They would tell her all the problems they were carrying and you could see her, as she would listen to their needs of healing and of heart. It didn’t matter if someone came to her with complaints of something so insignificant as warts or complaints of great pain. She would begin to mix and brew, stir and work the wonderful magick of healing.

It is a shame that we have allowed so much of this knowledge of healing to be lost in the rush to have instant fixes for what ales us. You can go to just about any doctor and walk out with a fist full of prescriptions, for anything and everything. Many times the instant fixes and quickie trips through the doctors’ offices leave us felling more like cattle than like people with souls and spirits.

I sometimes wonder where the heart of caring and understanding has gone. So many of those in the medical professions just simply don’t have or don’t take the time for the heart that is truly needed in healing.

Don’t get me wrong there is a time and place for all kinds of healing, including doctors and pills. But I think we have become so dependent on the instant fixes that we have forgotten the ability of true healing.

True healing comes from within the body, mind and spirit. If you leave one of these uncared for this will allow the illness to return. In true healing it doesn’t matter if you are healing a disease or a hangnail be sure you look for all the answers. The answers that are found in the Heart.

There is a power we find within ourselves when crushing and blending, brewing and stewing up remedies and spells. Herbs are used in healing everything from the day-to-day aches and pains of life to the magickal answers of lost loves. Magick is not about only the spells or the healings, it is about who we are and the Old World gifts given to all the Wise Ones from a time when magick and wonders were forever possible within your heart with truth, and love.

Blessed Be….
Lady Abigail


Footnotes:
* Some excerpts were taken from “Witch of the Old World Book of Herbs”
by Lady Abigail

American Witchcraft

American Witchcraft

Author: Spirit Walk Ministry

The subject of Witchcraft in America is a confusing one, the concept being muddled primarily from a basic misunderstanding of what Witchcraft is, and what it is not.

Witchcraft is the name that was used by the Christian Church to stigmatize the pagan practitioners of “The Old Religions”, which was the continuation of the practices of the native spiritual and cultural beliefs of Europeans and others that existed prior to the advent of Christianity. Simply put, it is a descriptive (and demonizing) term for anyone who practices a pagan or nature based religion.

As in most areas of the world where Christian “civilizations” colonized the native peoples the term witchcraft, as we think we understand it today did not exist prior to the arrival of the Europeans to America. Even when the label “witch” was used it was exclusively applied to the European settlers and not the native people themselves. Those native people that practiced the Old ways were referred to as “heathens” and their religious leaders as either medicine men and women or “shamans”.

The word “shaman” originated in Siberia and it describes a specialized type of holy person who practices not only with prayer, ritual and offerings, but also through direct contact with the spirits themselves. Because trances were so important to the Native American people as a means of getting in touch with spiritual forces, the title “Pow-Wow”, (from the Algonquin word “pauwau”, meaning “one who has visions”) , was accorded to those who fulfilled this role in the tribe. The word, whose spelling was eventually settled in English as “pow-wow”, was also used as the name for ceremonies and councils, because of the important role played by the pauwau in both. Though the nature of the shaman and the pauwau is similar, many Native Americans find the word “shaman” offensive and one should not use the word to label Native American tribal vision seekers.

All pagan religions are local nature religions, meaning that although the principles are universal, local myths and legends predominate the culture, which the local ritual must embody, as the local tribal allegorical references. It was therefore, within the natural order, that when European settlers of tradition pagan beliefs immigrated to America that they adopt local myths, customs and into their pagan beliefs and rituals. While some wish to claim these traditions as Wiccan or neo-paganism the traditions of American Witchcraft are merely a communion of the European “Old Ways” with the spirits and energies of the land that is now their home.

The homeland is quite possibly the most important aspect of Traditional Witchcraft. The homeland is the home of the Gods, and in many beliefs the two are synonymous. The early inhabitants of Europe believed that the Gods they venerated inhabited the land itself. Many were migratory people, and so as they traveled across the continent they took their Gods with them. As they traveled, though, these people often looked toward the North Star, Polaris, for guidance. It was a fixed point in the night sky that they used as a reference point.
When these early Pagans wished to honor their Gods, they created a connection between their homeland, where their Gods resided, and the land where they stood. In this way, the new land became a part of the homeland. The elemental correspondences to the cardinal directions act as a way of aligning yourself with the homeland.

When a Witch is within the land that is within the boundaries of the homeland, they do not need to use the correspondences to make a connection. Instead, they evoke or invoke the land itself. The concept of the homeland is something that is very integral to the practice of Witchcraft, but completely missing from the Neo-Pagan movements.

The Pow-Wow Tradition is a classic example of this melding of “The Old Ways” of the Europeans and local native beliefs. Though some claim that the Pow-Wow Tradition is German in its origin, it is more an adoption of local Native American traditions by the early German and Dutch immigrants of pagan heritage who settled in the Pennsylvania region of the United States.

Observing the Algonquin’s powwows, the pagan immigrants discovered that like themselves, the Natives used charms and incantations for healing. Impressed with their methods of driving out evil spirits, they adopted the term “powwowing” to refer to their own magickal healings. As their practice of magick was also centered on herbs and healing, they learned from the local people about the native roots and herbs for use in charms and healing.

As stated earlier, the term Pow-Wow comes from the Algonquin word ‘pauwau’”, meaning ‘vision seeker’ and the Pow-Wow Witches encompass shamanic like rituals of healing through visions and the application of traditional medicines, which are often accompanied by prayers, incantations, songs, and dances. The Pow-Wow Tradition places great significance on the vision seeker as the nexus of group (coven) activities and rituals.

Perhaps the most fascinating of the European/American merging of pagan ritual and practices is the Appalachian Granny Magic Tradition. Dating back to the first settlers of the Appalachian Mountains who came to the United States from Scotland and Ireland in the 1700’s and who brought with them their “Old World” magical traditions. Those traditions were then blended with the local traditions of the Cherokee into a combination of folk remedies, faith healing, storytelling and magick.

The ‘Granny’ Witches call themselves ‘Doctor Witches’ or ‘Water Witches’ depending upon whether they are more gifted in healing and midwifery, or if they are more in tune with dowsing for water, lay lines and energy vortexes. This tradition is termed ‘Granny’ from the prominent role played by older women in the mountain communities. Which calls to mind the image of “Granny” or “Doctor Granny” from “The Beverly Hillbillies” who, though a comic parody, was a fairly realistic representation of an actual Appalachian “Granny Witch”.

Therefore, the traditions of American Witchcraft are not a “new witchcraft”. They are not Wiccan, nor neo-pagan. They are simply the ways that pagan immigrants have found to bring the native spirits of their new homeland into harmony with their traditional beliefs and practices in order to find their way around the new neighborhood.

Finding Dragons

Finding Dragons

 
 
Dragons live deep underground in caverns, usually with many passages and inner caves where the treasure is kept.
 
Some areas, like Wales or the Catalan region around Barcelona, have strong fire-dragon traditions.
 
Visit places with dragon or drake names such as Dragon Hill near Uffingham on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire borders, close to the huge chalk horse symbol of the Celtic horse goddess Epona.
 
Go also to those spots where there are dragons legends, such as Krakow in Poland where the dragon lived in a cave beneath Wawel Hill under the castle. You can be sure people in times past experienced dragon energies there and so wove the legends. Enter ‘dragon’ in the regional website of the place you intend to visit.
 
Explore dry, rocky, sandy regions, like Almeria in the south east of Spain. Visit also the bush lands of Australia and the Midwest of America and New Mexico, where European and Scandinavian settlers from the Old World carried the dragon mythology and the absorbed energies to join with the indigenous myths.
 
Explore the sacred sites of the creatrix rainbow serpent in Australia. In American, Serpent Mound in Ohio, just east of Cincinnati, which was used for worship by the Adena Indians, somewhere between 800 BCE and CE 100, is another perfect dragon location.
 
Most deep forests also have their share of dragon legends, especially in Germany. Visit different cavernous or rocky areas and feel for your dragon.
 
You may even find friendly fire-dragon energies near seaside caves in sandy coves (watch for tides). Western dragons traditionally live alone except for mating.
 
Collect the legends and your own impressions in your Book of Shadows.