The Blending of Magick
Author: Lady Abigail
Somewhere deep within the Ozark Mountains, on a mid summer night, stood a small gentle woman wearing a long dark skirt covered with a crisp, clean white apron.
Her face, careworn from years of life, could only give a glimpse of the knowledge she held from worlds long since past.
As she walked across the dry grassy meadow her long skirt brushed against the ground as she looked for where she could best see the night sky. In the middle of the clearing she stood beneath an endless blanket of stars. The warm fragrant breeze was softly blowing her long silvering hair across her face. She began to smile with the understanding she received from this moment in time, a foretelling of a life to come.
This is how, I would be told by my Great Grandmother, that she gained the knowledge of my coming. My Great Grandmother was a Witch, one of the wise ones. She never considered herself as being born a Witch, or that she had came from so many generations of Witches that the number was simply unknown; magick was just part of her and it was her life.
My Great Grandmother was a strong and kind soul of many lives. She was of mixed traditions, a blending of half Native American and half French. She was raised in a time when those who could not believe would try to stop the powers they feared. A time when, with heart and love, anything was possible within the forces of the Earth and Nature.
She was born into a world that was beginning to forget the wonders hidden within every element of nature. A world that scoffed and made fun of those who were different and those of the Old World. At times, it could be a very dangerous world for those born of magick, because such things were considered wrong and somehow evil. What some would, in fear and ignorance, call sinful.
Her upbringing was a mixture of her family traditions; French, Native American, Southern and Cajun, as well as those which came from a long and contented life. She knew potions and charms, how to heal the sick with herbs and soothe a broken heart with a cup of tea sweetened with a listening heart. She could see what others could not see, or would not see. And oh, yes…she could cast spells and work glorious magick.
I loved being with my Great Grandmother; she taught me that life and magick just “are,” no matter what others may believe. That people are only a tiny a part of the mysteries found within life and love, energy and light. For there are truly more things between the worlds than those which can be seen.
I can remember my Great Grandmother telling me stories of her family and childhood, teaching me how it was possible to call the wind in a whisper, stop the motion of time and call on the powers that are held within the elements of nature. She also taught me how we are a part of the natural world and that, if we desire, we can communicate with the animals and insects as well as read the messages, sent to us by all the universe, that appear on a starry night.
She would teach me how to draw on that energy, the magick found in the understanding that we are the Air, the Fire, the Water and the Earth surrounded by all Spirits. We are the concept and the deed. We are all things and all things emanate from within us.
Recently in my studies I have learned of others that come from mixed traditions, such as the mixing of the first settlers of the Old World and the American Indians. The blending of magickal beliefs from those who came over from Scotland, Ireland and, for me, France in the seventeenth century. Some call it Appalachian Granny Magick, Ozark Magick or White Witch Magick. I was raised that it is a gift of Mother (or Goddess). Whatever name you call it, the tradition is complete.
Many times I observed my Great Grandmother as she watched the signs and concocted potions and brews for people from all around where she lived. This act of creation was common practice for families of her time; there was little money and doctors were expensive. Normally a person would have to travel a day or more just to reach a doctor. That travel was not generally possible. She was the Wise Woman, or Healer, of the area.
I remember going with my Great Grandmother, my “Mom Ma,” to pick berries and herbs for different workings. We would make the blackberries into wonderful pies that she would take to those who were ill and cobblers that were for other workings. I would sit and listen to her say wonderful incantations and spells while she stirred the beginnings of a blackberry cobbler or pie. Once the pie was done she would proudly announce, “This, my little love, is a Money Pie, and as you eat, money you will meet.” She was always right.
I didn’t understand or appreciate at the time all the wonders my Great Grandmother would place into my life. Even now she influences my life with wonder and Magick. When I am struggling, or can’t quite decide what the right ingredients are that I’m looking for, if I will find a quiet place and allow my mind and heart to open I will hear the answers. Whispers on the wind are my Great Grandmother’s voice.
Mixed Traditions, like many of the older ones, were passed on from parents to their children for many generations and generally not “taught” outside of the individual family structures. Many times within the community old customs, wisdom, and practices were considered unacceptable. With the modernizing of areas and beliefs, one will often find ancient Irish, Scottish, French and Native American songs, rhymes, dances, recipes, crafts, blended within what we know as “The Craft.” This history has been passed down for many years in this way, though sadly with the original meanings sometimes being lost in the winds of time.
In the hills and mountains of the Ozarks this quality of the ancient religion of Witchcraft continued right on through the decades into the early twentieth century. At times when Witchcraft elsewhere was being eliminated by the increasingly modern and Christian world, the people of the Ozarks were still calling upon Mother Nature. The fertility of the crops, the livestock, and of the people themselves was vital. Therefore, fertility, and the worship of Mother Nature, Father Winter, Chloe, Spider Grandmother, Demeter, and such varied deities continued on within this region, staying a current part of the people’s faith rather than becoming a mythic memory as such “nature worship” did elsewhere.
The terms “Witch,” “Witchcraft,” “spells” and “charms” were not seen as evil or bad. Each community had their local Witch or Wise Woman and openly called them such. This reference was considered to be a title of honor, not an insult or a charge of crime as the term later became known.
Witches were called upon to heal the sick, deliver babies or tend to the dying, just as their ancestors had been so charged with doing in Europe so many years ago. Many times a community had no medical doctor to call upon so the local Witches continued to work as the only healers well up until the early twentieth century.
Many will claim that Magick isn’t possible and that such things are not to be believed in. However, is it not strange that children just know Magick is all around them, but as they grow older they are forced to think they must stop believing in that which just…”is?”
Witchcraft is a blending of Traditions and Magick. Whatever practice you believe in, you are most assuredly a mix of many things such as traditions, beliefs, society, ethnicity, family, social experiences, region and time. We are all from a mixed and proud Magickal background. We are also practical and down-to-earth. Witchcraft, no matter what name you call it, is very eclectic naturally.
A Traditional America Indian Earth Blessing:
A da we hi a ne he ne ha
Do hi u a iu ni
O lo hi a li ga lu lo hi u nah ta
Ga li e li ga O sa da du
Wise Protectors, they are so giving
Serenity, it resounds
Mother Earth and Father Sky are so giving
I am thankful, it is good