Friday, 22 January 2021

Review: SpellCast – Folk Magic for the 21st Century

There aren't enough books of practical spells for 21st-century witches that aren't aimed at complete beginners or just coffee-table books. That's why I was delighted to read an early copy of SpellCast – Folk Magic for the 21st Century, which is specifically aimed at intermediate and advanced practitioners. 

Assuming that readers know things like how to cast a circle, the book goes straight into a chapter on instant magic for quick results. These include chants to get a car parking space, find a lost item, and slow time if you are rushing to make a deadline. I'm definitely going to try these out! Other chapters offer a wide range of spells using a variety of techniques. It isn't dumbed down or preachy about ethics either. If you want to bind or banish someone, that's okay, just as it's okay to wish for love or do a spell for money.

Here's how the authors Luna Hare and Antony Simpson describe the book: 
 "SpellCast is a comprehensive compendium of spells, oils, charms and talismans. It is purely a book about magic, folk magic for the 21st century. The spells are ones that are tried and tested, with some that will stand the test of time. In SpellCast you will read about the power of instant magic, of banishment and bindings, blessings, cleansing, communication, death, employment, finance and money, fertility, friendship, happiness and joy, health, love and relationships, luck magic, protection, tranformative magic and wishcraft." 
The book is a really useful addition to my library. I'm sure I'll be referring to it for years to come. It will be officially released on February 2nd and you can view SpellCast on Amazon.

 

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Treasured Possessions: Finding the Magic of Old Things

I love old things, and this is a post exploring why I find them magical. I'm writing it because the other day a friend shared a quote saying that when you buy new things, it devalues your old things. I disagreed. 

Don't get me wrong, I love getting new things. New books, new clothes, a lovely new coffee mug; these things delight me. But I also have things I've kept from my childhood that I'll never get rid of. Just opening up my battered copy of The Arabian Nights brings back the enchantment I felt when I first read the tales. 

My favourite old pair of jeans don't stop being my favourites when I buy a new pair - they'll need a lot of wearing in before they even have a chance of doing that. It's the same with shoes. My new slippers might be warm and cosy, but my flip-flops will be better when warm weather returns. With most shoes it takes a while for them to be comfortable and I only throw them out when they're beyond mending. Even then, I've usually become so attached to them that they've become almost part of my identity. I wonder if that's the reason behind the historic folkloric practice of people putting old shoes up in their lofts for protection?

I love the coffee mug I was given for Yule, but I still fill one from decades ago with coffee every morning. It doesn't matter that it's scratched and scuffed. It's become part of my routine and helps me get in the right frame of mind to start my work. I have new candleholders, but the ones my grandma once owned usually light my altar.

With jewellery, old is often better too. One of my most precious possessions is an amber necklace I inherited from my mother. She in turn inherited it from my Polish great aunt, who inherited it from her mother. I don't know its history before that, or how long it had been passed down through the family or when it was made. And, of course, the amber itself is millions of years old. In witchcraft amber is associated with our ancient ancestors rather than just our grandmothers or great-grandmothers. No new necklace is going to devalue my amber beads.

There are many reasons why old thing seem more magical. Perhaps it's because we build up associations with those objects. Our memories of them and how they were used affects the way we think of them, and how they make us feel. It could be that objects pick up energy from the people who habitually use them, and how they were used. An animist view might be that everything has a spirit, and those spirits get older and more defined through time. Perhaps it's a mix of all those things.

You can use the magic of old things to add power to spells and rituals. Would a vintage glass that belonged to your grandmother be better than a brand new chalice in a ritual to honour the ancestors? Would a knife your grandfather used to sharpen pencils or open letters be the perfect athame to direct energy in a spell for communication? Would their wedding rings add extra symbolism to a spell to find true love? 

Spellwork: Finding the Magic of Old Things in Your Home

Wander around your home and collect a few old things. They could be everyday items you often use, they could be things you keep for special occasions or sentimental value, or they could be objects you inherited but have tucked away in a drawer and almost forgotten. 

Find somewhere to sit with those items where you won't be disturbed. This could be at an altar or another special place you have set aside for spellwork, or it could be the living room when no one else is about. Cast a circle around yourself and the objects to create a safe and special space in which to work witchcraft. Then, spend a little time with each item. With all your senses and your magical intuition, contemplate what it means to you and what energy it has.

  • What do you know about this item?
  • What does it mean to you?
  • What does it feel like in your hands?
  • Does it have a smell of any kind and how does that make you feel?
  • How does its energy feel?
  • Can you sense the spirit of the item, or even some lingering connection with those who owned it in the past?
  • What will you do with it in future?
When you have finished, thank the items and any spirits you sensed, then uncast your circle. Ground by having something to eat and drink to help bring yourself back to the real world. 

The top photo show a very old candleholder I inherited; the lower picture shows a book from my childhood with a flower I found pressed inside it and a magnifying glass I still use to read small print, my favourite jeans, an old scarf, my amber necklace, my parents' wedding rings and items from my mother's sewing box that I still use.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Online and London Pagan Events in the Next Week

Here's a list of online events and activities for pagans, witches and those with similar interests over the next week or so. I generally list events in the UK, especially in or near London, but some are outside that time zone. If you know an online ritual, talk, meeting or workshop you want included, please email me at badwitch1234@gmail.com

Wednesday 20 January; The Seasonal Self Forest Bathing. Online event with London Forest Bathing Meet-up Group. Time: 9.30am. Tickets: £35. https://www.meetup.com/London-Forest-Bathing-Nature-Connection-Meetup/

Wednesday 20 January (every Wednesday); Wellbeing Wednesdays with Nadine and Caitriona. Online event. Two sessions: 12.30pm and 5.45pm. Tickets: £6 per session. https://behappiest.co.uk/ 

Wednesday 20 January; Cord Cutting Meditation with Lucy Porter. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 7pm. Tickets £5-£20 per session.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Wednesday 20 January; Intuition Meditation with Lucy Porter. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 7pm. Tickets £5-£20 per session.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Wednesday 20 January, What is Seidr? Introduction Class Online with Imelda Almqvist. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £35. https://pregnant-hag-teachings.teachable.com/p/what-is-seidr-introduction-class

Wednesday 20 January (tbc but usually every Wednesday); Social Online Gathering via Zoom. Organised by Aho Studio. Time: 7pm. www.aho.community 

Wednesday 20 January (every Wednesday); The Witching Hour on the Witches Inn YouTube channel. Time 8pm. Free. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw4Kl-MbdjsApFvodCnvANA

Thursday, 21 January; Work with Shamanism to Grow Personally and Professionally. Online event with Harriet Goudard every Thursday. Time: 10am. Free. https://www.meetup.com/awaken-the-inner-shaman-london/

Thursday, 21 January; Midweek Meditation with the College of Psychic Studies. Time: 3pm. Tickets: free for members/£7.50 for non members. https://www.collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk/

Thursday, 21 January; Breathwork for Creativity. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Tickets: £5-£20. Time: 7pm. https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Thursday, 21 January; South East Folklore Society Reading Group. Online event by George Nigel Hoyle and South East London Folklore Society. Time: 7pm. Free. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2438110887/

Thursday, 21 January; Jackie Tonks on 'Is Dogman a Type of Bigfoot'. Online ASSAP talk (every Thursday). Time: 7pm. Free event. Tickets available to all ASSAP members. To join ASSAP, for £5 per year, visit http://www.assap.ac.uk/.

Thursday, 21 January; Victorian Lady Horror Writers. Online talk by Rosalind Buck. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets · £2-£7.50. www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/victorian-lady-horror-writers-tickets-133089862361

Thursday, 21 January; Heart Sings Open to the Potential of the Now. Online event with Goddess Awakening. Time: 8pm. Free, but you must reserve a place. https://www.meetup.com/GoddessAwakening/events/275826247/

Thursday, 21 January;  New Light on Medieval Graffiti: Ritual Protection Marks and Apotropaics in The Kent Churches.  Online event by Bexley Archaeological Group. Time: 8pm. Free. https://www.facebook.com/events/3568427019932127/

Friday 22 January; See the Northern Lights via  Facebook Live. Event by Delta College Planetarium. Time: 00.00 UTC. Price: Free. https://www.facebook.com/events/145013087379293/

Friday 22 January (tbc but usually every Friday); Friday Live Chat hosted by Rachel Patterson, author of the Kitchen Witch series of books. Time: 9am. Free event. https://www.facebook.com/RachelPattersonbooks/

Friday 22 January (usually every Friday); Shakti Yoga - Deep Dive. Online event with Dancing the Goddess. Time: 9am. Tickets: £7. https://www.meetup.com/Dancing-the-Goddess/

Friday 22 January; Treading the Liminal. Online talk via Children of Circe, a private pagan group run by Richard Levy and sponsored by the Doreen Valiente Foundation. You have to join the group to watch. Time: 8pm. Free event. https://www.facebook.com/groups/725752541262809

Saturday 12 January; Global Meditation Day. Online event via  Mind Body Spirit Festival. Starts 8am. Free. https://www.facebook.com/events/392334758733736

Saturday 23 January; Portal to Imbolc - Crossbones Online Vigil. On the 23rd of every month since June 2004, people have honoured the outcast dead of Crossbones Graveyard, Southwark, but at the moment this are virtual events. Time: 7pm. Free. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/GooseandCrow/  

Saturday 23 January; An Evening with Zoë Howe. Online talk as part of the Magickal Women Conference Spotlight Speakers. Time: 7pm. Tickets: £5. https://ti.to/magickal-women-conference/speaker-spotlights

Saturday 23 January; The Folklore of Crafts. Online lecture, organised by the Folklore Podcast. Time: 8pm. Tickets: £5. https://thefolklorepodcast.weebly.com/store/c9/Tickets.html

Saturday 23 January; Fairies of Deptford. Online storytelling with London Dreamtime, with videos shot on location and a chat about fairy folklore. Time: 8pm. Tickets: £5. Email email vanessa@londondreamtime.com or visit https://www.londondreamtime.com/event/fairies-of-deptford-online/

Monday 25 January (usually every Monday); Mindful Still Life Monday Sessions with London Drawing, via Zoom. Two sessions: 12.30pm and 6pm. Free, but donations welcome. https://londondrawing.com/online-creative-sessions/

Monday 25 January; Practical Magic: Protective Magic. Online workshop with Rebecca Beattie, author of Nature Mystics, via Treadwell's Online. Via Zoom. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: £20. https://www.treadwells-london.com/events

Tuesday 26 January; Astrology Circle - Uranus. Digital event by She's Lost Control. Time: 7pm. Tickets £5-£20.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Tuesday 26 January (usually every fortnight); Heron Drums Online Shamanic Drum Circle via Facebook or Zoom. Time: 7pm: Details: https://www.facebook.com/herondrumsuk/

Tuesday 26 January; Witch Hunting Old and New. Zoom Lecture with Ronald Hutton via The Last Tuesday Society. Time: 8pm. Tickets £10. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/witch-hunting-old-new-ron-hutton-zoom-lecture-tickets-132402825415 

Wednesday 27 January;  January Moot - Imbolc. Online via Zoom with Hertford and Ware Pagan Moot. Time: 8pm. Free. https://www.facebook.com/events/1020842838410047/

Wednesday 27 January; Full Moon Sound Journey. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 8.30pm. Tickets £5-£15.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Thursday, 28 January; Scrying Skills. Online talk with Julian Vayne, author of Chaos Craft, via Treadwell's Online. Time: 7pm start. Tickets: online live £20, delayed viewing of recorded lecture £18. https://www.treadwells-london.com/events

Thursday, 28 January; Full Moon Circle. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 7pm. Tickets £5-£20.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Thursday, 28 January; Crystal Masterclass. Digital event organised by She's Lost Control. Time: 7pm. Tickets £25-£30.  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/digital

Friday 29 January; Full Moon Event with Peace Fires. Light a candle or fire for peace wherever you are in the world, for just for 10 minutes or an hour or longer and state the intention: “Let there be peace on earth and love for one another.” Details: http://peacefires.org/

Friday 29 January; Leo Full Moon Breath Ceremony with Lisa Li via Zoom. Organised by Aho Studio. Time: 6pm. Tickets: £22.50. www.aho.community 

Saturday 30 January; Imbolc Ritual: FB Live with the Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple. Time: 9.30pm. Free. https://www.facebook.com/events/161042172471267/

Please note that I am not responsible for the content of any of these events, so do contact the organisers directly if you have any questions or to check ticket availability. Where a practitioner is offering information about magical protection, this is *not* medical advice. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

News: Witchcraft, Satanism, History and Magic

 

Here's a round-up of news stories including witchcraft on film, an arson attack on a Satanist's home, links to history, and looks at modern pagan and new age witchcraft.

"‘The Witch of Kings Cross’ (Trailer)" - Details at If .com, with link to the trailer itself above: https://www.if.com.au/the-witch-of-kings-cross-trailer/

"Poughkeepsie arson: Satanists mourn loss of 'Halloween house'" - story at Poughkeepsie journal: https://eu.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/01/15/poughkeepsie-arson-satanists-mourn-loss-halloween-house/4178187001/

"The farmer’s boy and the ship of gold: uncovering the treasures of Sutton Hoo" - story at The Observer: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/jan/17/the-farmers-boy-and-the-ship-of-gold-uncovering-the-treasures-of-sutton-hoo?

 "400 year old Toxteth chapel with surprising link to the Salem witch trials" - a look at history in the Liverpool Echo: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/400-year-old-toxteth-chapel-19624042

"A peek into the average day of a real new-age witch" - story at Metro: https://metro.co.uk/2021/01/15/a-peek-into-the-average-day-of-a-real-life-modern-witch-13903594/

"New shop will stock supplies for witches" - story at Uckfield News: https://uckfieldnews.com/new-shop-will-stock-supplies-for-witches/

"Love spells: a beginners guide" - at cosmopolitan.com: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/love-sex/relationships/a35200265/love-spells/

Monday, 18 January 2021

Pagan Eye: Mandragora Whole Root Amulet Jar

Here's another amazing photo by Matt Xai Malachi Porter of a poisonous, witchy herb that he has cultivated and turned into something magical. He wrote: 

"I have last week hand made I Mandragora Whole Root Amulet Jar which is unique in its wax seal for which I have used a Mandragora Sigil Stamp to make the impression in the wax that is blood red in colour. "
At the bottom of this post you can see links to some of Matt's earlier photos.

My Pagan Eye posts show photos that I find interesting - seasonal images, pagan sites, events, or just pretty pictures. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to badwitch1234@gmail.com Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself. 

The photo at the top is copyright Matt Xai Malachi Porter.