Posts Tagged With: Macbeth

Halloween Herbs for Year-Round Health

Halloween Herbs for Year-Round Health

“Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble,” chanted the  witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as they added ingredients to their  brew. While an eye of newt and tongue of frog may not interest you, there are a  few other herbs that are fitting for both Halloween and great health. Adapted  from my book Arthritis-Proof, here are a few of my favorite  Halloween herbs (based on their names) that are great year-round:

Devil’s Claw—With a name like that, pain wouldn’t dare mess  with this herb. And that’s a good thing for anyone suffering from it.   Devil’s claw is one of the most effective pain remedies I’ve used. It is  effective for both joint and muscle pain, making it a good option for people  suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other type of pain disorder.

Witch Hazel—Small twigs of this North American shrub are  distilled to create a witch hazel solution that is effective for cleaning cuts  and wounds. Some herbalists recommend it as an application for varicose veins or  diffused into the air to aid nasal congestion.

Witch’s Aspirin—more commonly known as willow bark. The  effective ingredient in aspirin was originally found in willow bark, which is  also sometimes called white willow bark. The plant version offers excellent pain  relief when prepared as a tea or tincture (alcohol extract). It is a natural  blood thinner so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood  thinners.

Wolf Berry—More frequently referred to as goji berries, wolf  berries are superfoods full of disease-fighting antioxidants. They are used in  Chinese Medicine to improve eyesight, skin, and the kidneys and liver. They also  have anti-cancer and anti-aging compounds, including:  zeaxanthin,  physalien, cyptoxanthin, sesquiterpenoids, triterpenes, and beta sitosterol.  Like witch’s aspirin, wolf berries may thin blood so check with your doctor if  you’re taking prescription blood thinners.

 

About these ads
Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbal Remedies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk Witch – Incorporating The Animal Element Into Your Magick

magick21

Incorporating Animal Elements Into Magick

Anyone who’s read Shakespeare is familiar with the idea of using animal parts in magick: “Eye of newt and toe of frog, / Wool of bat and tongue of dog …” (Macbeth, Act IV, sc. 1). Where did this tradition come from Quite simply, humans have always trusted animal spirits (and the spirits of plants and inanimate objects) for their powers. A Magus (the singular form of Magi) who needed courage looked to nature’s blueprint and found a lion, whose heart may be carried or otherwise used in a spell (thus the phrase “heart of a lion”). When a Witch needed stealth, it made sense to use the chameleon’s skin as a spell component. When he needed perspective, a variety of birds came to mind, and he might harvest the eye.

Over time things changed, however. Only animal parts found in nature and properly cleaned are fit to be used magickally in Witchcraft. Modern Witches honor nature and her needs in their methods; eco- consciousness is a top priority. Here’s a brief list of animal components and applications you would likely find on a random walk in nature:

Antlers: Sliced antler makes a very sturdy carving surface, and may be used in making a personal set of runes. Alternatively, antlers can be carried to honor Artemis, Cernunnos, and Bacchus, or used as virility charms.

Eggshells: Traditionally, shells were buried or burned in healing spells (often after having been carried by the patient so the eggshells “absorbed” the illness). Eggshells also make a good womb symbol in which energy can be nurtured to maturity. Be sure to consider the color of the eggshell in the final application. For instance, use blue eggshells to nurture peace and joy.

Feathers: Use feathers for divination, for moving incense around the sacred space, or as a spell component in magick directed toward liberation and release. They’re also good for meditations in which you wish to connect with bird spirits or the air element.

Fur: Tufts of fur can often be found on burrs or other prickly bushes. If you can determine the animal that lost the fur, you can apply the fur as a symbol of that creature and its attributes in spells and rituals. For example, a bit of rabbit fur would be a good component to put in your power pouch for abundance and fertility. (Any small pouch will do as a power pouch. Use it to keep special items, like small stones given by friends and those that carry personal meaning.)

Nails: Nails serve utilitarian purposes (for gathering food) as well as defensive ones— when in the clutches of a foe. With this in mind, animal nails could be carried as amulets and talismans for providence and safety.

Teeth: One of the longest-lasting parts of any body, teeth have natural associations with longevity and durability. Furthermore, teeth affect the way a lot of creatures communicate, so use them in different communication spells, depending on the type of creature involved. For example, if you were going into a meeting where clever discourse was needed, carrying a fox tooth might be apt.

Whiskers: According to an old bit of folklore, cat’s whiskers that you find somewhere can be used in a wish-fulfilling spell. For this to work, burn the whisker and whisper a wish to the smoke. This spell might be accomplished with the whiskers of other animals too, like using a dog’s whiskers to inspire devotion and constancy.

The Only Book of Wiccan Spells You’ll Ever Need (p. 104).
Singer, Marian; MacGregor, Trish (2012-08-18).
Categories: Animal Guides/Totem Animals, Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Superstitions and Why They Exist

5 Superstitions and Why They Exist

By Allison Ford, DivineCaroline

I was at work a few years ago when a coworker walking by my desk let out a  terrified squeal. “Your purse is on the floor! Don’t you know that’s bad luck?”  Apparently, she was referring to a superstition which holds that to place your  purse or wallet on the floor is to invite money troubles. I had never heard of  this old wives’ tale and didn’t lend it much credibility, but on my way home, I  did notice my lifelong habit of avoiding sidewalk cracks, surely a leftover from  a youthful urge to protect my mother’s spinal health.

Superstitions ascribe supernatural origins to things that  humans don’t understand, and they occur across the world. Early humans had a lot  that they didn’t understand, but modern people are much more enlightened.  Superstitions about bad luck feel like the kind of things we tell gullible  children, so why do I still see people knocking on wood, throwing salt over  their shoulders, and refusing to walk under ladders? Exactly where do these  strange superstitions come from, and do any have even the tiniest basis in  reality?

Don’t Spill the Salt! Salt is one of our most ancient and versatile foodstuffs,  used for preserving food as well as flavoring it. For most of history, it was  incredibly valuable, too, sometimes even used as currency. Spilling such a  precious commodity was akin to dumping the thirty-year-old Scotch down the  drain. For anyone who was careless enough to waste salt, throwing a pinch over  the left shoulder was said to keep the devil away, since he was sure to be  following you after such a grievous offense.

Walking Under Ladders Brings Bad  Luck This superstition has its roots in religion. Some Christians  believe that any object with three points—like a ladder leaning against a  house—represents the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Early  Christians believed that to destroy or subvert a three-pointed object (like by  walking through it) one was expressing disbelief in the Trinity, and would  therefore probably go to Hell. As religious conviction softened, the promise of  eternal damnation was relaxed to merely the threat of bad luck. I admit to  following the rule against walking under ladders, but for a more practical  purpose—I don’t care for things dropping on my head, as is wont to happen when  people are working above.

Un-Lucky Number Thirteen Plenty of otherwise rational  people are loath to schedule important events on the thirteenth of the month,  and many buildings and towns don’t even include a thirteenth floor or thirteenth  street, because so many people believe the number to be cursed. The origins of  this superstition are factually tenuous, and there are many theories about how  it came about. Christian theology teaches that Judas was the thirteenth guest at  the Last Supper, making him unlucky. Norse mythology states that the god Loki,  who was the thirteenth guest at a banquet, killed the hero, Balder. Not to  mention the fact that several serial killers have thirteen letters in their  name, like Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer. Fear of the number thirteen even  has its own name, triskaidekaphobia, and many sufferers refuse to be the  thirteenth guest at a party, or to sit in row thirteen on an airplane for fear  that some terrible fate will befall them. In reality, there’s no credible  evidence to suggest anything sinister about any particular number, and in some  cultures, the number thirteen is actually considered quite lucky.

Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play” Many  actors refuse to say the name Macbeth, especially when they’re inside a theater.  The play is said to be cursed, and is usually referred to as simply, “The  Scottish Play.” Some accounts say that productions of Macbeth have been plagued  by an unusually high number of accidents, injuries, and deaths on- and offstage,  perhaps because the play itself is unusually ripe with fights, weapons, battles,  and opportunities for things to go wrong. Since the play features three witches,  some origin stories for the superstition say that the lines uttered by the  witches are real curses, that real witches were offended by the play and cursed  it, or that Shakespeare’s original prop master stole items from a real witches’  coven. The most likely explanation is that Macbeth, being one of the English  language’s most enduring pieces of drama, is often put on by theaters trying to  stave off bankruptcy, and the play eventually got a reputation as foreshadowing  a theater’s demise.

Sacred Sneezes
All cultures offer some sort of blessing  after a person sneezes. While the origins of the benedictions are muddled,  it seems certain that primitive people thought that a person’s soul could leave  the body through the nose, and asking for God’s protection was a way to prevent  its escape. Romans, however, believed that sneezing expelled demons, and  witnesses to a sneeze offered congratulations and support. During the sixth  century, there was a plague raging, and the populace thought that sneezing was a  symptom of impending death. Pope Gregory pronounced that the official response  to a sneeze would be “God bless you,” which was thought to invoke divine  protection for both the sneezer and the sneezed-upon.

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Mar. 7 – The Witch Head Nebula

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

IC 2118: The Witch Head Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Gimmi Ratto & Davide Bardini (Collecting Photons) 

Explanation: Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble — maybe Macbeth should have consulted the Witch Head Nebula. This suggestively shaped reflection nebula is associated with the bright star Rigel in the constellation Orion. More formally known as IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula glows primarily by light reflected from bright star Rigel, located just below the lower edge of the above image. Fine dust in the nebula reflects the light. The blue color is caused not only by Rigel’s blue color but because the dust grains reflect blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earth’s daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers in Earth’s atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. The nebula lies about 1000 light-years away.

Categories: Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Astronomy Picture of the Day for February 11

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 January 17
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

IC 2118: The Witch Head Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Gimmi Ratto & Davide Bardini (Collecting Photons) 

 

Explanation: Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble — maybe Macbeth should have consulted the Witch Head Nebula. This suggestively shaped reflection nebula is associated with the bright star Rigel in the constellation Orion. More formally known as IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula glows primarily by light reflected from bright star Rigel, located just below the lower edge of the above image. Fine dust in the nebula reflects the light. The blue color is caused not only by Rigel’s blue color but because the dust grains reflect blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earth’s daytime sky to appear blue, although the scatterers in Earth’s atmosphere are molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. The nebula lies about 1000 light-years away.

Categories: Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wishing You & Yours A Very Blessed & Prosperious Samhain!

Samhain Comments & Graphics


Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble…
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 

~William Shakespeare, “Macbeth” 

~Magickal Graphics~
Categories: Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Witch’s Charm Twice Told


Author: Zan Fraser

Those who seek clues as to the nature of English witchcraft prior to Gerald Gardner turn their attentions sooner or later to William Shakespeare’s tragedy of Macbeth. “Witch Plays” appear to have been highly popular with Elizabethan/ Jacobean theater-goers; virtually every significant play-writer from the 1580s to the early 1600s contributes a “witchcraft work” and Macbeth’s fame is such that nine people out of ten will cite it as their first association with witches. The virtue presented by these bodies of work is that they describe and demonstrate the puzzling phenomenon known as the “witch’s craft” in a way not found otherwise in period sources.

One should not allow oneself to be distracted by the disagreeable elements of Shakespeare’s presentation, such as the infamous ingredients-litany of the Witches’ Brew (IV.i.1-37) , which starts off with eyes of newts and toes of frogs before culminating in a horrific porridge of body-parts and animal intestines.

Such sections represent Shakespeare’s concessions to the rabidly anti-witch views held by Elizabeth’s successor, the new King James I of England, who ascended following Elizabeth’s death in 1603. As James VI of Scotland, his Majesty had published Daemonologie, an attack on witches as socially corrupt persons and failure to be in endorsement of royal opinion was a severely fraught stance.

Peering through the grotesque but self-protective veil that Shakespeare hangs in front of his work, one finds that the witchcraft depicted by the Bard of Avon nonetheless plays heavily upon two traditional and fundamental concepts- the performance of magic through the creation of charmed, circular space, and the powering of this specialized space by the raising up of magical, charming energies.

Folklorists have long identified the “ring-dance” (holding hands and dancing in a ring) as a particular activity of both faeries and witches; in Witches and Jesuits, Garry Wills interprets the blocking of the Three Witches of Macbeth in terms of their “spinning” or generating a magically charmed precinct through circular motion. (The notorious Cauldron Speech that opens Act IV actually accompanies such an “energy-generating” performance, immediately prior to the Scottish King’s entrance.

It is fascinating to consider that the Witches’ line “Open locks, whoever knocks” [IV.i.45] suggests that they have placed magical protections around their spell-working site- exactly as we ourselves would do- and that it is necessary to “cut” others into the circle. It is also interesting to reflect that they describe Macbeth as the “something wicked” that “this way comes.”) .

The conclusion to the so-called “Witches’ Scene” is another example of a witches’ circle-dance, as the Three launch into an “antic round” (IV.i.130) in mocking contempt for the Scottish King and Murderer: “I’ll charm the air to give a sound while you perform our antic round, that this great king may kindly say, our duties did his welcome pay!” Thus with one final whirling circle, the Three take their last leave of the soon-to-fall tyrant.

The instant before they first greet Macbeth (“A drum- a drum! Macbeth doth come!”) , the Witches (who have been anticipating this encounter since the play’s opening scene) perform a ring-dance (or dance in a witches’ circle) in order to create the charmed atmosphere that the late 1500s and early 1600s considered appropriate for events of a magical nature. As if to remove any doubt about the matter, they helpfully (in fact) inform us so (I.iii.31) :

“The Weird Sisters, hand in hand, posters of the sea and land, thus do go about! About! Thrice to thine and thrice to mine and thrice again to make up nine! Peace- the charm’s wound up.”

As the text makes plain, the Three join hands (“hand to hand”) and “thus do go about”- they go around in a circle (presumably nine times, although one imagines this may be fudged a bit during actual performances) . Their purpose is made explicit when they halt (“Peace”) and judge that their charm is “wound up.”

It is within this mini-arena of charmed and potent space that they greet Macbeth, soon to be the Scottish king through murder and usurpation.

Unique in Shakespeare’s canon is Macbeth’s status as a hexed play with a dark and malevolent curse attached. It plainly is not clear when this superstition might have developed, but within theater communities there is a firm belief against uttering The Name out loud when one is backstage, for to do so is to invite the terrible malignancy of outraged fate. (Productions of the Scottish Play, as it is cautiously called, are famed for plagues of injury and accident.) In sensible and sage manner, a ceremony exists to throw off the dark importuning of the Fateful Word. The rash actor must immediately move herself outside the space of the theater (or at least the dressing room or backstage area) and unwind the grim energies by spinning in a counter-clockwise circle- she must spin widdershins, in other words.

In the movie The Dresser, Albert Finney plays an actor who must perform this ritual when he lets slip the Name of the Scottish King. The superstition is fascinating because it mimics in minor the execution of a witch’s round-dance. However, in this instance, one does not “wind up” a charm- one “unwinds” bad or wicked fortune.

An activity on a par with much documented English folk-magic, the ceremony of “casting off” the dark energies of Shakespeare’s Scottish play has become as intertwined with the play as any portion of its text. How remarkable then, that within the play’s lore, are found two examples of the logic that lies behind the witches’ ring-dance – an express instance of the “winding up” of a witch’s charm and an implicit demonstration of the “unwinding” of ill-omened actions.

In both cases, these seem to me to be examples of the strange and obscure practice attributed to witches and articulated by Gerald Gardner as “raising energy.”

 

Categories: Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cauldron

The Cauldron
 

The Cauldron has a mythological based on the Celtic traditions, and another on popular beliefs. It has been associated with witches from the begining, as the place where the infamous potions were boiled. The symbology takes it both as a tool of transformation (elements enter it in one state and leave it in another) and as an image of the mother’s womb.

Celtic mythology tells us about the Goddess Cerridwen, who cooked in her cauldron the potion for wisdom for a year and a day, curiosly the same time one needs to serve as an acolite before being formally initiated. There are many mentions to the witches’ cauldron, and among the most famour we can name the one featured in a scene in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, when they make a potion as Macbeth decides his future as a traitor. Another legend taken from the Mabinogion tells us of a cauldron that has the virtue of bringing dead warriors back to life.

The cauldron we’re talking about here doesn’t need to be enourmous like we see in the movies. It’s still somewhat easy to find cooking pots very much like we need, even though they’re not the average nowadays. During rituals, depending on the size, we can either put it on the altar, or on the floor, to our left.

The uses of the cauldron varies. As representing the Primal Womb, is obviously feminin, belonging to the element of water. But as it’s solidly built, and usually isolated from the floor by three legs, we can use it, for instance, for every ritual that requires a small fire, or the burning of an element (paper or candles), without worries about security risks. It’ll be usefull in every case we need to symbolise a transformation or rebirth. Also, when full of water it can symbolise the element, though we’ll generally use the chalice. Another of it’s ritual uses can be as a place to discard every material used along the ritual, for instance matches or ashes, to keep them off the altar.

As with all tools, but with this in particular due to it’s possible uses, we must remember to scrupulously clean it after it’s use.

If necesary, it can be replaced by a small metal bowl if we need to burn something, or with the chalice if we just need it to contain water.

Categories: The Witch's Tools | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,017 other followers