Tuesday 21 February 2023

Bad Witch Answers: A Spell to Grow Knowledge

Someone who read my blog emailed me with a question: "Do you have a spell to grow my knowledge?"

My short answer is that magic is no substitute for learning. If you really want to gain indepth knowledge about any subject then you need to read books on the topic or take classes on it or do lots of your own research. However, mythology does offer supernatural ways in which humans have gained knowledge without the hard study.

In Irish mythology a story goes that a salmon ate nine hazelnuts that fell into the Well of Wisdom. The magical mix of the nuts and water turned the fish into the Salmon of Knowledge. It didn't do the salmon a whole lot of good though, because a poet, Finegas, got the idea that if he ate the salmon he'd gain all that knowledge himself. However, it's a little unclear if it was knowledge or wisdom that he hoped to gain, or both. It took Finegas seven years to catch it, but he did. He then asked his servant, Fionn, to cook it but told him not to eat any of it. Of course Fionn had a little taste, as most cooks will, meaning Fionn gained the knowledge - or wisdom - and Finegas got very angry. 

You could use the symbolism of this tale in the quest for knowledge. Here's a spell idea:

First get a notebook, pencil, nine hazelnuts and spring water. 

Take the hazelnuts and spring water out into a place in nature, ideally beside a natural waterway, and leave the nuts and springwater as an offering. Then, spend some time in that place contemplating the specific topics in which you wish to increase your knowledge, why you want to do so, and what practical efforts you are going to make towards that goal. Make notes about any thoughts that came to you. 

Return to the same place seven times. Continue your contemplations and make any further notes. On the seventh visit, look around the area for something you know is edible and which it is OK for you to pick. You might have to research those things as you really don't want to poison yourself and you also don't want to break any laws about foraging. You don't need to take much. Fionn gained the knowledge of the salmon just by licking some fat from it that was on his fingers. As this is symbolic rather than a reenactment, you don't have to go fishing! It could be something like a single dandelion leaf that was growing in the grass. 

As you eat, ask the Salmon of Wisdom to guide you in your efforts to gain the knowledge you desire.

The photos were taken by myself. One shows a waterway out in nature, the other shows nine hazelnuts

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