Seasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays And Some Not So Ancient!


Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments

Seasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays And Some Not So Ancient!

 

Today Is …

 

Swaziland Festival of the She-Elephant. Feed the elephants at the zoo or place an elephant figurine on you altar.

Osiris: On this day, the birth of the vegetation- and fertility-god Osiris is celebrated by many Wiccans of the wiccan tradition.

The annual death and rebirth of Osiris personifies the self-renewing vitality and fertility of nature.

Japan: In the country of Japan, the annual Bon festival is celebrated on this date in honor of ancestral spirits.

1527: John Dee was born in London, England. He was renowned as an alchemist and was skilled in the arts of wizardry.

For many years he served as the royal astrologer of Queen Elizabeth I. He died in poverty in the year 1608.

Kronia – In ancient times, the Greek month of Hecatombion was also called Kronion, in honor of the old agricultural god Kronus, whose symbol was the reaper’s scythe. On the full moon (like the full moon of September which is also a Harvest Moon), the farm year ended with masters and slaves gathering to enjoy a harvest dinner together.

Obon Festival begins – Japanese Buddhist festival to honor the departed souls who return and share a life with us during these days. It is also called the Festival of the Lanterns, because of the colorful paper lanterns light the way. On the last day, the souls of the dead return and are given food offerings, accompanied by a silent, gliding circle dance, the bon-odori. Spirits with no relatives are honored with little boats bearing paper lanterns which are set afloat on the Tide of Returning Ghosts to drift out to sea. (Also celebrated in some places on Aug 13-15.)

Buddhist: Asala (Dhammacakka Day – Turning of the Wheel of Teaching) Buddhist observance of the day when Gautama Buddha made his first public proclamation to five ascetics. He taught the middle way, the noble eight-fold path and the four noble truths.

2003: Essex, England. Strange lights which floated and darted through the air were spotted in the skies over Cornwell Crescent in the town of Stanford-le-Hope at about 3:30 in the afternoon. The lights were caught on video by two witnesses. “I thought it was a UFO as there is no other explanation,” said one of the witnesses.

Remember The Ancient Ways and Keep Them Holy!

• • • •.

Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

Art of Scrying

Art of Scrying

Scrying can be an auto-deepening trance process that progresses in stages using tools such as a crystal ball, or other medium. Initially, the medium serves as a focus for the attention, removing unwanted thoughts from the mind in the same way as a mantra. Once this is achieved, the scryer begins a free association with the perceived images suggested, for instance in a crystal ball, by the tiny inclusions, web-like faults and/or the cloudy glow within the ball under low light (i.e. candlelight).

The technique of deliberately looking for and declaring these initial images aloud, however trivial or irrelevant they may seem to the conscious mind, is done with the intent of deepening the trance state, wherein the scryer hears their own disassociated voice affirming what is seen within the concentrated state in a kind of feedback loop. This process culminates in the achievement of a final and desired end stage in which visual images and dramatic stories seem to be projected within the mind’s eye of the scryer, like an inner movie. This overall process reputedly allows the scryer to “see” relevant events or images within the chosen medium.

Scrying has been used for thousands of years by different cultures. Ancient Egypt used scrying in their Initiations.   This included water scrying, dream scrying, oil scrying, and mirror scrying. One legend states that the goddess Hathor carried a shield that could reflect back all things in their true light. From this shield she allegedly fashioned the first magic mirror to “see.”

Ancient Persia — the Shahnama, a semi-historical epic work written in the late 10th century, gives a description of what was called the Cup of Jamshid, used in pre-Islamic Persia, which was used by wizards and practitioners of the esoteric sciences for observing all the seven layers of the universe.

Ancient Greeks and Celts practiced scrying using beryl, crystal, black glass, polished quartz, water, and other transparent or light catching bodies.  Nostradamus is believed to have employed a small bowl of water as a scrying tool into which he gazed and received images of future events. Alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee employed a form of scrying using a small crystal ball or shewstone – a piece of polished obsidion. The crystal ball and wax tablets used by Dee and Kelley are on display at the British Museum in London.

Scrying is the occult practice of using a medium, most commonly a reflective surface or translucent body, to aid perceived psychic abilities such as clairvoyance. The media often used to “see” are water, polished precious stones, crystal balls, or mirrors. Scrying, in this context, uses a “visual” process. There are some who believe the art of scrying is not limited to the use of “reflective” or “translucent” bodies only, but includes other media. Scrying has been used in many cultures as a means of seeing the past, present, or future; in this sense scrying constitutes a form of divination.

 

Source:
Crystalinks.com

No, I haven’t left yet, I’m sorry, lol!

I have a collection of old documents some have been seen on the net, others’ haven’t. Most of the documents have been moved over to disc. I had a moment to catch my breath and drug some of the discs out last night. I ran across one that I am getting ready to put on here. It is about Gerald Gardner and a collection of writings that were written down by one of his followers. There was never an official Book of Shadows for the Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft. So you can imagine any piece of writing that was contributed to Gardner was considered very sacred.

Some of the writing Gardner contributed to an ancient clandestine witch cult, which he claimed to have been initiated into. However, modern researchers have concluded that it was composed by Gardner. The text shows influences from English and Celtic Folk-lore, the Enochian system of John Dee, Thelema, the Golden Dawn, Stregaria, Tantric Yoga, the KJV Bible and even Kipling.

I know some revere Gardner as being the father of Wicca, the traditional Witch. I am thinking it so I might as well say it. How do you become the father of Wicca and then proclaim yourself to be a Witch at the same time? Curious. No matter how you feel about the man, love him or hate him. It is very seldom that you have the opportunity to look into someone’s thoughts and beliefs.. I think these few pages will give you an idea of how Gardner thought.

There is a lot of material on this site. But there is no cold, hard information from those who played an important part in our history. That is going to change. When I run across such information from now on, I am going to place it on the site. I know the Elders have probably already read the material. But we have several generations of new witches coming up. They need to know. If we don’t show the info to them and tell them, then who will.

CRYSTAL GAZING – PART ONE

CRYSTAL GAZING – PART ONE

Karen Charboneau-Harrison

Crystal Gazing is a type of SCRYING (meaning to descry, to observe, to see). Scrying is an old English term for divining by gazing at an object, whether it be a pool of water, a mirror, a shining orb or a crystal ball to foretell past, present or future events. The object upon which one gazes is called, in general terms, a speculum.

Scrying is an ancient divinatory practice common to all cultures. In Egypt, a few drops of ink were placed in water in the palm of the hand and a small child was employed to gaze upon it; the Maories of New Zealand used blood in the same way. At the Temple of Demeter on the coast of Achaia a mirror was lowered by a cord to the temple fountain until the edge of the mirror just touched the water. Then a priestess of Demeter would divine the health of the querent by images found on the mirror’s surface. In America, people of the Pawnee nation would pour the blood of a badger into a ceremonial bowl and the children of the tribe would gaze at the surface to see their future as part of an initiatory rite.

Scrying is a very subjective divinatory art and, as such, serves to develop the intuitive and receptive psychic talents to a high degree. The different specula employed such as crystal balls (crystallomancy), pools of water (hydromancy), and magick mirrors (catoptromancy) all can be used equally well to see past, present and future.

Naturally enough, crystallomancy is practiced with a crystal ball and tradition dictates the use of a ball shaped from rock crystal, which is a clear and colorless quartz. Rock crystal has an inner geometric trigonal formation which is considered part of the hexagonal pattern, the difference between the two being that although they both form hexagrams, hexagonal formations come to a point at both ends and trigonal forms a cylinder. Being trigonal, rock crystal gives off energy and will not absorb it. It will amplify and interact with the energies of the individual using it, making it a useful healing stone as well as scrying tool. Since rock crystal will not absorb energy, the initial purification, consecration and charging of the stone is enough for the duration of its use. Rock crystal has the ability to define and clarify which accounts for its popularity in divination. The purchase of a rock quartz crystal ball, however, can run from, at the least, $150.00 and can move into the tens of thousands of dollars for a gazing ball. Also available for scrying are leaded glass balls and reconstituted rock crystal balls, both of which are more affordable. Leaded glass balls and reconstituted rock crystal balls (these are made by grinding up rock crystal into powder and then reshaping the material into a ball of whatever diameter desired) are perfectly clear while untreated rock crystal balls have naturally occurring striations, refractions and other optical inclusions which I have found to be very helpful to focus on while scrying.

Hydromancy, (gazing into a pool of still water), is closely related to crystal gazing. All that needs to be procured is a cup or goblet to gaze into – the methods of scrying are the same. As with any tool used magickally, this cup or goblet will be used only for gazing and will be put away from curious eyes and hands when not in use. You may wish to paint the inside of the goblet black or leave it as is. If you wish to paint it, refer to the directions for painting the magick mirror which you’ll find below.

Dr. John Dee, the famous magician during Queen Elizabeth the First’s reign, used both a crystal ball and a magick mirror made of jet. Ceremonial magicians use a magick mirror composed of a seven metal alloy. However, you don’t have to be a stone mason or metal smith to have a magick mirror. The simplest magick mirror is one constructed from a round, concave piece of glass from an old clock face, old picture frame or purchased at a glass shop. You should construct your mirror when the moon is full in Cancer, Pisces or Scorpio. Purify in your usual way and then paint the convex side (the side that bows out) with black enamel paint into which you have mixed a little powdered cinnamon, gum mastic and ground wormwood. You must paint the surface three times, allowing the paint to dry thoroughly between each coat. Now you’ll make a stand for your mirror from a piece of square wood that is an inch or two wider than the mirror glass. This can be painted black like your mirror or just left natural. Make a round hollow in the center of the wood to set the curve of your mirror. You can also use a book stand to allow your mirror to set up for ease in gazing.

CONSECRATION AND CHARGING OF THE SPECULUM

Before consecrating and charging any tool, you will always purify it to remove any extraneous energies that it might have absorbed before your use. Take a cup of distilled or spring water and sprinkle approximately ½ teaspoon of sea or rock salt into it. Wash the tool, in this case your speculum, with the salt water, visualizing the salt water (representing the elements earth and water) cleansing the object of any negative vibrations that may have accrued to it before your use. Next, light an incense charcoal and place some frankincense resin or Purification incense on it in an incense burner. Pass the speculum through the resulting incense smoke and again visualize the object being cleansed and purified by the elements fire and air.

On a night when the Full Moon is in Pisces, Cancer or Scorpio (consult your favorite almanac for this information) gather together your speculum, spring water, salt, gum mastic, wormwood, wisteria oil, a dark silk cloth, a cup containing distilled or spring water, an incense burner, Scrying incense and incense charcoal and a lavender candle.

Outside in a secluded place, bathed in the light of the full moon, place your speculum and other equipment down on a flat surface. Light your candle and incense. Consecrate your water by placing the salt in it and purify your speculum and silk cloth with this water. Place the cloth on the ground with the speculum on top of it and ring your speculum with salt on the cloth. Now drop a little gum mastic into the spring water in your cup, keeping in mind the gum mastic’s divination aiding properties. Next drop in a little wormwood, keeping in mind it’s qualities of grounding and balancing. Now drop 7 drops of the wisteria oil into the water. With each drop of your wisteria, say your personal charging mantra. Gaze into the infusion you have made in the cup and release into it your psychic energy, thereby charging and magnetizing the water.

Hold your speculum up to the Moon and dedicate it to clear perception and compassionate understanding. Begin bathing your speculum with the infusion. Now set it back onto the dark cloth and inside the ring of salt. Allow the speculum to dry while you meditate on it.

Let it sit out in the light of the full moon until the moon sets. The speculum is now ready for use – no further charging is necessary for future gazing. Keep your speculum out of the sun light and in a safe quiet place when it is not in use.

Atho: The Horned God of the Witches

Atho: The Horned God of the Witches

Author: WiLL

In the early 1960’s a man named Raymond Howard offered a correspondence course called “The Coven of Atho”. The first lesson begins by telling the reader they are going to be taught about the symbolism and rites of a “clan of White Witches” that is known as “The Coven of Atho”. It was taught, “ATHO is the name of the Horned God of Witchcraft.” But going back just a bit further Raymond Howard became the handyman of a Charles Cardell in 1959 that had started to teach people in 1958 about this same God named Atho. Both of these men had their own version of a story where they learned about Witchcraft and the God Atho. The one thing they had in common was this was an ancient God that had some sort of connection to Atlantis.

One witch named Doreen Valiente wrote about Atho in her book An ABC of Witchcraft. She made a drawing of it and included it next to the well-known image of Baphomet “the god of the knights Templars” drawn by Elphas Levi. She writes a good bit about her personal observations of this wooden head that was carved from single piece of dark oak. The horns were decorated with the signs of the zodiac and in the center of the head were five circles, which stood for the five different types of circles cast by a witch. Some symbols are a bit harder to notice like the nose in the shape of a chalice.

There are only a handful of known photos of this wooden head and one was shown in the book Dancing with Witches by Lois Bourne. She saw the head in 1964 while on vacation in Crantock, Cornwall in the UK. The last known photograph ever taken was published in the “Eastern Daily Press” on March 6th, 1967. Shortly after that article came out the head was stolen. Searching through Doreen’s personal journals she did give a hint about who stole this head and where it currently resides. She pondered why Charles Cardell would steal the head from Raymond Howard if the head were a fake. She later noted that the head was buried in Charlwood in the county of Surrey in the UK.

It was reported to a few people that the son of Mr. Raymond Howard recalls observing his dad work on the head. This has made some to believe the head was a fake. In a brief correspondence in 2009 the son of Raymond Howard told me that while he did recall observing his dad work on the head of Atho he could not be positive he recalls him starting it from the beginning. Mr. and Mrs. Cardell hired Mr. Raymond Howard as their ‘handyman’ in 1959 but they had already were teaching witches in 1958 and corresponding with witches like Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente in 1958. Also in 1958 Mr. Cardell published in a magazine called “Light” an article entitled “The Craft of the Wiccens”.

In one of Doreen Valiente’s journals I borrowed and transcribed from, there were some descriptions of various photos and in one was the head of Atho at Stonehenge “with two cloaked figures kneeling on either side of stone altar, on which is Head of Atho” was placed. In the Coven of Atho books I studied were a list of ‘witch words’ it included the word “Atho – The God or visual image”. A similar list of ‘witch words’ was shared with Jack Bracelin by Gerald Gardner that also contained the word ‘Atho’. It is still possible Raymond Howard was commissioned by Charles Cardell to carve this head of Atho. It is also possible the head of Atho was first created by Charles Cardell and was later handed over to Raymond Howard to make further modifications. But I’m quite certain the word ‘Atho’ was in use by Mr. Cardell before Mr. Raymond Howard was ever hired as the handyman in 1959.

It was Doreen Valiente who wrote down in one of her smaller diaries “ATHO=Welsh Addhu or Arddhu. (Look this up in Welsh Dictionary) .” Later she would publish in An ABC of Witchcraft that the name “Atho is evidently a Sassenach version of the Old Welsh Arddhu, ‘The Dark One’. She wrote that ‘dd’ in Welsh is pronounced as ‘th’. So this would give us ‘athu’ and arthu’. These are quite close to the word Atho and yet there is nothing else Welsh about the Atho material I studied and transcribed. It has closer ties to Greco and Roman Paganism with stories of Atlantis, and the Gods Mercury and Diana. So I wondered why would some Welsh God get paired up with the Goddess Diana who is the Goddess worshiped in the Coven of Atho.

I came across one reference in the book The Mothers by Robert Briffault and in Volume III he wrote that “ ’Arthur, ’ that is to say, ‘the Black One’ (ardu = ‘black’) …”. Doreen is possibly correct that these two words ‘addhu’ and ‘arddhu’ might have something to do with the color black. In using an online Welsh dictionary I did get ‘âr = ploughed land” and ‘du = black’ which came out to be “black plough”. If it were ‘yr du’ it would be ‘the black’. Another similar word in Welsh could be ‘aradr’ which is the plough but it does not have the ‘th’ sound in it. In Gaulish ‘art’ means ‘Bear’ and this is close to the Welsh word ‘arth’ for bear and in Irish it is also ‘art’. Some researchers have speculated that this might be the root of the modern name Arthur. There might possibly be some sort of connection between the God Atho with Arthur, or the color black, or the plough or even all of them. While this may not seem relevant Doreen seemed to think there might be a connection because she wrote a good bit about the constellation “The Plough” which consists of Seven Stars which is also called “the Great Bear”. This had even some deeper meanings to even more symbols found in the Coven of Atho.

One of the symbols of Atho was the trident but another symbol used for Atho was an old symbol for Mercury and was called the “Monogram of ATHO”. In a drawing of the eight paths of magick in the Coven of Atho a better known image for the symbol of mercury was used which stood for “Atho, The Horned God of Witchcraft. This is the study of all the Arts and Teachings of our Order and it is only the Initiated Members of the Coven of Atho who can learn all these things.”

Yet another symbol used for this God Atho written about in the Atho material I studied is the Monas Hieroglyphica first drawn by Dr. John Dee in 1564. Again there is nothing Welsh about the symbols associated with the God Atho and it is wrong to just state Atho is a ‘horned god’. In many ways he is a guardian of the mysteries of magick. He is a mystery to be solved through communion and gnosis. While the symbols all used are quite complex they only tough the surface for the deeper Mysteries of Atho.

Since the head of Atho is sort of frightening looking with big horns it made me think more of the Minotaur at the center of the maze. Even in Mr. Raymond Howard’s lesson he wrote that the head is “a rather frightening thing.” Lois Bourne wrote in Dancing with Witches that the head of Atho was “most curious and slightly repellent”. Doreen wrote in An ABC of Witchcraft that the head was “very impressive carving, having a crude strength and power”. When I was first shown a drawing of the Head of Atho by Raymond Howard I must admit my first impression of Atho was repulsive and yet there was this strong strength in him.

This year in reading about the God Mercury I came across a reference by a Dr. Miranda Green who wrote some about an epithet that has the words “Mercvrio Avg Artaio” on it. She believes this ‘Mercury Artaius” to be a “bear-god”. Besides the lore Doreen transcribed between 1958 and 1963 from first Charles Cardell and later from Raymond Howard this is the first actually historic reference I’ve come across that link the Gaulish word ‘artos’ or bear with the God Mercury. There apparently was some sort of Romano-Celtic period of influence.

During one of the first meetings Doreen Valiente had with Charles Cardell in 1958, he had tried to pass off a statue of Thor as a Celtic Horned God. Doreen had to tell him he was very wrong. So I do wonder how could he have known or guessed that Atho was maybe an old Welsh word and yet also have known about this Celtic-Romano period and have included a lot of teachings from the Mediterranean Mystery schools.

Doreen wrote in one of her journals that it was Charles Cardell who stole back the head of Atho from Raymond Howard. She wondered why he would steal back the head if it were a fake. Later in her personal diaries she would write the location of the head of Atho is buried in Charlwood which is a particularly large 1, 000 acre wood in the UK close to where both Raymond Howard and Charles Cardell lived in Surrey.

Doreen made one comment about some of the material in the Coven of Atho to being much more complex than it first appears. Atho is one of those complexities and is not just a simple “horned God of the Witches”, but then is any God really all that simple? Atho is if anything a reflection of the complexities of our own minds and imaginations and yet as a Priest and Witch in BTW and now a follower of Atho I’ve come to see this God as independent of me. He is a harsh teacher of the Mysteries of Magick and a guardian to it as well.

Atho was worshiped by a few who called themselves Witches and if anything Atho is quite similar to the God Baphomet. They are both a mass of symbolism and have many facets of light and dark to them. The first response many get when seeing this Horned God might be repulsion and I suspect many will then turn away. It takes a bit of understanding and wisdom to see the light in the dark. Atho is only half the Mystery.

I would like to end with giving a great deal of credit and thanks to The Centre For Pagan Studies and to Doreen Valiente’s last High Priest John Belham-Payne who graciously lent to me a few of Doreen’s journals and notebooks containing her writings on The Coven of Atho. I also would like to thank Doreen Valiente for sharing her insight into the Craft and the Arts and sharing her research into magick and witchcraft.

Seven words of blessing to remember given by a member of The Coven of Atho are “Blessed Be They Who Worship The Goddess”

Mirror Scrying

Mirror Scrying

Mirror scrying is an evolved form of water scrying. When it became possible to build mirrors they were regarded as being like water that was fixed into one place.

The early mirrors were made of polished copper, brass, marcasite, tin foil or mercury behind glass, polished silver and obsidian. All types of mirrors may be used for scrying and the size is not important.

Because mirrors are linked to the moon mirrors should be backed with silver. Try and use a round or oval mirror instead of a square mirror.

For the frame try and use a mirror that has a silver frame. Old mirrors also seem to work better than new mirrors.

Most seers prefer to use a black mirror. Because this is difficult to buy you may have to make one.

Just simply take out the glass and paint it black. You may have to give it a few coats of paint though. When you put it back in the frame make sure the glass part is to the front.

The use of black mirrors may be traced back over the centuries. John Dee used a black mirror of obsidian.

When using the black mirror for scrying you do not want to see your reflexion. The best is to leave the mirror on a table and look at it from an angle.

Look into the depths of the mirror as though you were looking into a bowl of water. At first it may appear grey than colours will come and go.

With time and practise you will be able to see scried images like still photographs or moving film images. Spirits may sometimes look at the scryer, talk to the scryer or even touch the scryer.

The visions may even exist outside the mirror and surround the scryer on all sides.

Introduction To Scrying – Establish the boundaries

Introduction To Scrying

 

Establish the boundaries

Until your magickal space is well-established, you should begin every session by affirming its invulnerability. Imagine that your space is invisible to any being but yourself, and is impenetrable by any force or person without your express, conscious permission. Think up an image of your space’s boundaries that reflects these ideas. I imagine my magickal spaces as “pocket universes” that, seen from the outside, are so tiny as to be lost in the immensity of our own universe; seen from inside, they are as big as I want or need them to be. Other people I know of imagine theirs as surrounded by an adamantine shell, or by a science-fiction force field that “bends” all forces so that they bypass it.

Once you have the boundary of your space established, imagine yourself inside it. As you enter into it, feel all the pressures and demands of your daily life being locked out behind you, unable to follow you in. Imagine that they became completely disconnected from you at the moment you entered your space. They are not trying to force their way in; they can not even sense your space or yourself inside it and are drifting away without anything to attach themselves to. Feel yourself to be totally safe, totally free of any connection to the mundane world.

This matter of feeling safe is very important. As in the relaxation exercises, the feelings you generate are the way you tell the unconscious parts of yourself, the “sub-minds”, what to believe and how to act. As far as they are concerned, what you feel is what is real; tell them something often enough, and they will begin to cooperate in making it so, to an extent you could not manage with your conscious resources. If you feel safe and free from pressure in your magickal space, then in a short time you will actually _be_ safe and free there.

MIRROR SCRYING

MIRROR SCRYING

 
 
Mirror scrying is an evolved form of water scrying. When it became possible to build mirrors they were regarded as being like water that was fixed into one place.
 
The early mirrors were made of polished copper, brass, marcasite, tin foil or mercury behind glass, polished silver and obsidian. All types of mirrors may be used for scrying and the size is not important.
 
Because mirrors are linked to the moon mirrors should be backed with silver. Try and use a round or oval mirror instead of a square mirror.
For the frame try and use a mirror that has a silver frame. Old mirrors also seem to work better than new mirrors.
 
Most seers prefer to use a black mirror. Because this is difficult to buy you may have to make one.
Just simply take out the glass and paint it black. You may have to give it a few coats of paint though. When you put it back in the frame make sure the glass part is to the front. The use of black mirrors may be traced back over the centuries. John Dee used a black mirror of obsidian.
 
When using the black mirror for scrying you do not want to see your reflexion. The best is to leave the mirror on a table and look at it from an angle.
Look into the depths of the mirror as though you were looking into a bowl of water. At first it may appear grey than colours will come and go.
With time and practise you will be able to see scried images like still photographs or moving film images. Spirits may sometimes look at the scryer, talk to the scryer or even touch the scryer.
The visions may even exist outside the mirror and surround the scryer on all sides.