Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year
Blowing the Midwinter Horn, Agonalia
The Netherlands festival of Blowing the Midwinter Horm is more than 2000 years ol and takes place annually on this date. All around the countryside, farmers take out their birch-wood horns and blow them. It is hoped that the sounds emanating from the horns will frighten away any evil influence that may effect the settle upon the land during the Winter season.
Agonalia, called dies agonales, was held four times a year in ancient Roman, possibly got for Janus, although even the Romans seemed to be unsure exactly which deities were actually involved. However at each of the celebrations a ram was sacrificed at the Regia and a different God, honoring, including Janus, Vediouvix, and Sol Indiges.
“To marry over the broomstick,” “jump the besom”, was an old-time form of
marriage, in which both parties jumped over a broomstick to signify that they
were joined in common-law union. Also in the Netherlands, one can still find the
old saying “over de bezem trouwen” (marrying over the broomstick). At gypsy
wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom jump backwards and forwards over a
broomstick. A besom used to be placed before the doorway, the married couple
had to jump over it without dislodging the broom, from the street into their new
home. At any time within a year, this process could be reversed to dissolve the
marriage by jumping backwards. All this had to take place before several
In folk-belief, like that in Yorkshire, it was unlucky for an unmarried girl to
step over a broomstick because it meant that she would be a mother before she
was a wife. Light-hearted wags used to delight in putting broomsticks in the
path of unsuspecting virgins.
The Magick Square
Squares have a strong folk magick traditions; a magickal square would be marked in a field with hoes, takes or other agricultural implements. In times of persecution squares could be consecrated as a magickal space, but were much easier to disguise a magickal workings than circles. Some were undoubtedly use to mark as sacred as magickal workings than circles. Some were undoubtedly used to mark as sacred land where a former sacred Roman temple stood, just as a circle of stones or tree stumps beneath a church or cathedral might mark a former sacred Druidic grove.
In Scandinavia, the magickal square formed the outline for a grid of nine squares, three by three. These were made by the seior, the witch seers of the Norse world who channeled wisdom from the spirit world, specifically from Helheim where the crone goddess Hel cared for the deceased. The seior sat on raised thrones within the grids and traveled astrally to Helheim to talk to the ancestors and receive advice for the living. Only later did the goddess Hel become demonized and in recent years there has been a revival of seior craft.
The water witches of the West Midlands also used a magickal square, or mill as they called it, for magick. They were people who came from the Netherlands to live and work on the Midland canals in the 1800s. They practiced an ancient form of folk magick that did not die out till the mid-1900s and there are still a few practitioners remaining. Rituals were practices by these canal people on a square of land adjacent to the canal bank within a triple magickal square. Each square was joined by four lines and constructed from wood and was known as the Mil. Only women entered the sacred area under the leadership of a senior female water witch, through the chief male, known as the master, standing at the edge, summoned a spirit entity to assist in the ritual.
In modern Iceland, the Landvaetir or Land guardians often have particularly sacred square fields that cannot be built on, where offerings are left in order to bring protection to the homes and farms around.