Category Archives: Books and writing

Fiction, non fiction, blogs, magazines and Pagan writing.

Cursing, Hexing, Bottling and Binding

Pagan Portals

By Spellbook & Candle: Cursing, Hexing, Bottling and Binding

The subject of cursing is something that crops up quite frequently on social media, usually in the context of whether it’s ever justified.  Plus the endless compendiums of superstition and folklore contain endless charms, talismans and amulets for protection against the witches’ curse.  So, let’s put the subject into some form of perspective:

Curses have given the world its greatest stories, and the more grisly and gory, the better we like them. But cursing, or ill-wishing, is not confined to magical practitioners – black, white or

grey – it is a form of expression intended to do harm in reparation for some real or imagined insult. And can be ‘thrown’ by anyone of any race, culture or creed without any prior experience of ritual magic or witchcraft.

Curses have also been taken seriously in literature. In Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome, we discover that Roman poets Ovid and Horace recorded all manner of cursing in their writings. Or the most famous (albeit apocryphal) – that of the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, which inspired six dramatic novels by French author Maurice Druon – The Accursed Kings. Precious jewels connected to royalty and infamy have also inspired a variety of curses, especially where tragedy has repeatedly struck. As a result, the gems have been deemed to be cursed – with ruin and even death the unhappy lot of whoever owns them, as demonstrated in Simon Raven’s contemporary novel, The Roses of Picardie.

Folklore also casts long shadows, with some infamy bringing a curse down on a family, which in turn has resulted in numerous tall tales, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, featuring fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Elizabethan curses appear in Shakespeare … and the Bible, where the most vigorous and far-reaching are to be found in the

Old Testament … and in children’s stories such as Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. And how many schoolgirls have giggled over Tennyson’s immortal lines: ‘The curse has come upon me,’ cried the Lady of Shallot?

Confusingly, some curses have passed into the language – the ‘Curse of Scotland’ for example can refer to (1) the nine of diamonds in the game of Pope Joan – the Pope, the Antichrist

of the Scottish reformers. (2) A great winning card in comette, introduced by Mary, Queen of Scots, and the curse of Scotland because it was the ruin of so many families. (3) The card on

which the ‘Butcher Duke’ wrote his cruel order after the Battle of Culloden. (4) Or the arms of Dalrymple, Earl of Stair, responsible for the massacre of Glencoe. (5) The nine of diamonds is said to imply royalty and ‘every ninth king of Scotland has been observed for many ages to be a tyrant and a curse to the country’. [Tour Thro’ Scotland, Grose 1789]

The dictionary definition is: To invoke or wish evil upon; to afflict; to damn; to excommunicate; evil invoked on another person, but under what circumstances can we challenge this established way of thinking and ask ourselves: Can cursing ever be justified? And if we hesitate for just a moment, then we must ask the next question: Is cursing evil? The Christian priesthood obviously felt their cause was just and as a result, the Church’s curses are so

virulent that it’s not just the ‘victim’ that suffers but their offspring in successive generations. And if a curse is thrown at the perpetrator of some terrible crime, can it really be deemed to be evil?

One curse still heard quite regularly is: ‘A plague on both their houses!’ taken from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As John Wain observes in The Living World of Shakespeare, there is no reason, other than sheer stupidity and bloody-mindedness, that keeps the Montagues and Capulets at each other’s throats. The blame for the subsequent tragedy is equally divided between both families and therefore the curse should strike both in equal retribution, so is considered justified.

Nevertheless, do remember that curses, like chickens, have a habit of coming home to roost. This is because if not properly ‘earthed’, curses return to the curser, just as chickens that stray during the day return to their roost at night.

So … having ascertained that your ‘enemy’ is genuine, you must decide how you wish to repulse their advances. The form of your retaliation will be decided by your own personality and sense of morality – it is an extension of your own inner mind. There are no hard and fast rules, but do bear in mind that a half-hearted response is just as bad as going over the top. In either case you

will have misjudged or misread the situation; alerted your enemy to the fact that you’re on to them; and given them the opportunity to change tack. Take a look at your options:

 

  • Double up on personal protection and take defensive measures rather than taking the war into the enemy’s camp;
  • If you are not 100% sure of the source, channel the returning curse through your personal guardian/deity with the proviso that it should be ‘returned from whence it came’;
  • If you are 100% sure of the source and you wish to pay back in kind, then the method, strength and outcome should be magnified three, five, ten or a hundred fold;
  • If anger or ego is clouding your judgement, delay the return for 24 hours and reflect.

It is important not to be led astray by ego or paranoia because whatever anyone tells you, it is impossible to recall a curse once it’s been sent – which is why you need to be 100% sure of the source before retaliating. What you don’t want is to become embroiled in an astral equivalent of Gunfight at the OK Corral with magical six-guns blazing – it is tiring, time-consuming and

generates nothing but negative energy on both sides. Bob Clay-Egerton’s advice under such circumstances was: ‘There is nothing wrong with turning the other cheek, or with forgiving an offence. But there is nothing wrong either with taking protective measures against further slaps. If this is done, then you are perhaps doing a good deed by demonstrating to the attacker that, although you, yourself are not attacking, you are guarding yourself in such a way that their attacks are turned against themselves and that they are, in effect attacking, not you, but themselves. Beware then, not only of excess pride but also of excess humility. Both can be damaging.’

 

One of the most popular methods of deflecting a curse is to hang an empowered witch-ball in the main entrance hall of your home. The first written record of this method dates back to 1690 where a large glass ball, brightly painted to give a reflective surface to deflect any negative energies coming from any direction and returning them to the sender. A more modern application is the use of a mirrored ball that ‘confuses’ the energies with its broken or distorted patterns. The curse cannot connect and, having nowhere else to go, goes winging back to the sender, gathering momentum in the process.

Specifically vervain and dill were mentioned in the poem, Nymphidia, by Michael Drayton (c1627) – as a protective spell against curses. Accompany the installation of the ball with the sprinkling of those herbs cited in the 17th-century rhyme:

Trefoil, vervain, John’s wort, dill

That hindereth witches of the Will.

In Defences Against the Witches’ Craft, John Canard writes that he is a ‘great believer in returning the energy a person puts out to them. If they are sending you negative energy, reflect it to them and let them have a taste of their own medicine. The best way to ensure that somebody does not make the same mistake of directing negativity at you is to switch the tables so they receive what they were trying to give.’  But then … why go to the bother of cursing, when a bottling or binding can be just as effective?

So Mote It Be!

Pagan Portals: By Spellbook & Candle – Cursing, Hexing, Bottle and Binding by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books.  ISBN 978 1 78099 563 2 : Pages 90 : UK£4.99/US$9.95.  Available in paperback or e-book format.

A Book-Worm’s Eye View of the God

By Melusine Draco

 

As most of my readers will know, I have a fascination for odd and obscure historical facts that are hidden away in the millions of sources that outstrip and confound the confines of the Internet – it’s finding them that presents the stimulation and the challenge. If we merely rely on the regurgitated information of contemporary paganism not only does our mind become stagnant, but for those who follow the Craft of the witch, so do our magical abilities.

In traditional British Old Craft, ours is a nameless god – a composite of all the images from the ancient world that The Orphic Hymns hailed as:

I call strong Pan, the substance of the whole,

Etherial, marine, earthly, general soul,

Immortal fire; for all the world is thine,

And all are parts of thee, O pow’r divine.

Which probably explains why in Coven of the Scales schooling, Meriem Clay-Egerton always

saw Pan as the Horned God … and the Horned God as Pan. This was a traditional British Old Craft coven that honoured Aegocerus the ‘goat-horned’ – an epithet of the Greek Pan – not

Cernunnos, the stag-horned deity the Celts had brought with them from northern Europe. It should also be understood that although Coven of the Scales held firmly to the philosophy and

opinion that all faiths were One and all Paths led to the same Goal, it did not advocate what is now referred to as ‘eclectic paganism’. So how on earth could this ancient, pre-Olympian

Greek deity find his way into the beliefs of traditional witchcraft in Britain?

Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches is an exploration of how an Old European deity who, even in Classical Greece defied their ethnic love of order and refused to be pigeon-holed, categorized and compartmentalized to fit into the Olympian pantheon.  This ancient libertine was too scruffy and unkempt to be included among these exalted creatures – but then again, he was far too powerful to be ignored.  Needless to say, Pan possessed all the conventional abilities of the Olympian gods such as super-human strength and longevity, shape-shifting, stamina and resistance to injury. He also had some mystical powers, especially those associated with music and dance, and its magical potency; not to mention a very wily mind, a raucous sense of humour and a shout or scream that instilled terror in the hearer.

Yet Pan’s image retained its immense power when Greek myth passed into Christian myth, with Pan’s cloven-footed appearance providing a perfect concept for the Devil in the eyes of the new, evolving priesthood. In ancient and medieval times the common people were taught by being exposed to holy images, and fear would not have been instilled in them by being shown pictures of the Olympian ‘beautiful people’; particularly during the medieval period, when the Devil was conceived as having horns and a goat’s hindquarters. Pan’s activities are those of a giver of fertility; hence he is represented as vigorous and lustful – the latter being one of the Devil’s bestial characteristics and a condition abhorrent to the Christian clergy.

Nevertheless, once an image has become firmly engrained in the cultural unconsciousness it is extremely difficult to dislodge. Joseph L. Henderson of the Jung Foundation described it as an area of historical memory that lies between the collective unconscious and the manifest culture pattern; having some kind of identity ‘arising from the archetypes of the collective unconscious which, on one hand, assists in the formation of myth and ritual, and on the other, promotes the process of development in individual human beings…’ These mythological motifs, or primordial thoughts, lie dormant until some dream, vision or epiphany brings them to the fore – and often with conflicting emotions between faith and instinct.

Because behind every myth, fairy tale and legend – hidden within the art, song and structures of those ancient times – is an encoded layer of wisdom, science and truth passed down through countless generations.  Between 1890 and 1926 there was an ‘astonishing resurgence of interest in the Pan motif’. He appears in poetry, in novels and children’s books, and as the eponymous ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908), providing the reader with one of the most evocative images of the Great God Pan ever written:

…saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humorously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the ripping muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the panpipes… saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs…

Find out more about Pagan Portals Pan here – https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/moon-books/our-books/pagan-portals-pan 

Paganism in isolation

Weathering the Storm is a new anthology from Moon Books, and it is free to download from most book selling platforms.

Written in three parts, psychological, spiritual and practical, Weathering the Storm is an anthology offering support to those of us who are isolated or vulnerable.

There are many contributing authors from different backgrounds, so there’s likely something for everyone in here. Covering areas from loneliness and anxiety, self-care and gardening, to cooking and crystals, Weathering the Storm is a book designed to help everyone through uneasy, unprecedented times.

 

Aubry’s Dog: Power Animals in Tradition Witchcraft

Dog’s are never out of the limelight these days.  They lead the visually impaired, alert the hard of hearing and support those with mental problems.  The load and unload washing machines; help with medication; sniff-out substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics; they are members of the armed forces, police and the fire service. The use of dogs in search and rescue is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people.  They make wonderful companions and research has shown that caring for a canine might actually extend our lifespan. Previous studies have shown that dog owners have an innate sense of comfort and increased well-being and they provide a calming influence to help reduce both physical and psychological reactivity which is particularly relevant for veterans who are suffering from PTSD … and the list goes on.

Is it surprising then, that magical practitioners can drawn on the ‘power of the dog’ ? DNA research has led to the deciphering of the genetic code of the dog, which makes the choice of the dog ideal as a ‘power animal’.   An article in the Science Journal reveals that many of the 360 inherited dog diseases have human counterparts, and that the genetic code of the dog is spelt out by about 2,500 million ‘letters’, compared with the 3,000 million that describes their owners. “Dogs and humans share 650 million ‘letters’ and scientists have found an equivalent dog gene for three quarters of known human genes,” explained Dr Venture“The fact that they are so similar, despite millions of years of evolution along separate tracks, suggests that they are important.”  A fact that should not be overlooked by magical practitioners when searching for a compatible power animal.

To put power dogs in their true magical perspective we need to recognise which breeds are the aristocrats in terms of our own ancestral associations – as well as theirs. We must also understand why certain dogs are better suited to individual spell casting, protections and curses.

In Aubry’s Dog we examine the various breed characteristics that can be looked upon as further canine ‘correspondences’ for use in magical working. When using ‘dog power’, we need to be able to create an amulet, charm or talisman that will reflect these characteristics. For seeking lost property over distance, for example, we would not enlist the help of the greyhound (sight

hound) – but we would use the image of a bloodhound (scent hound); for defeating our enemies we would be ill-advised to use a terrier, when we can call upon the energies of the mastiff.

When working with wild energies, however, we must refrain from attempting to give them the anthropomorphic characteristics of the domestic dog. Wild dogs are voracious and ruthless hunter-killers, sometimes turning their attentions on humans if and when circumstances warrant. As much as we may admire their fearless survival skills, it is inadvisable to underestimate them

both in the wild, and in magic. When invoking the energies of the wild dog, regardless of species, we are calling upon their primeval instincts over which humans have no control.

Like the Egyptians, the early Babylonians, Assyrians and Chaldeans, who were living between the two great rivers the Euphrates and the Tigris, also revered the dog. History relates that the governor of Babylon owned so many dogs that four towns were made exempt from taxes provided the inhabitants fed their dogs properly.  According to encyclopaedia Man, Myth & Magic, because the Egyptians worshipped the dog, the Hebrews hated them and scorned the belief that dogs could detect the presence of spirits and ghosts or were familiar with the world beyond the grave.

Nevertheless, in contemporary society, the animal’s value is due to its remarkable companionable abilities and because a dog’s senses are much keener than a human’s.

  • A dog’s hearing is attuned to pick up extremely high-pitched tones from a considerable distance. The so-called ‘silent- whistles’ used by dog trainers demonstrate the great range of a dog’s hearing powers and make it invaluable as a guardian of family and livestock.
  • A dog’s nose is so sensitive that we are unable to conceive the great range of odours that canines detect. A piece of wood touched only by the tip of its owner’s finger can be selected by a trained dog from 20 other identical pieces. Bloodhounds have been known to follow perfectly the trail of a stranger 48 hours after the path was traversed. There is no known method of measuring this sensitivity of the dogs’ olfactory powers, but it is among his strongest and most often utilised senses.
  • A dog’s sight is considerably weaker than man’s although they have a greater sensitivity to movements, however slight. Some breeds, specifically the ‘gaze-hounds’ do make great use of their sight in following game across open country.
  • A dog’s ‘fleetness of foot’ means that it can pursue and overtake its quarry, or outrun its rivals. In the wild, a wolf’s speed makes all the difference to whether the pack goes hungry or not.
  • A dog’s strength and tenacity is not necessarily determined by its size. Smaller dogs, especially the terrier breeds, can often be the champions in terms of sheer grit and determination.

In Aubry’s Dog, we look at creating a protective charm for the home and a healing amulet, as well as taking the physical attributes of the various different breeds and creating a very personal, protective amulet. One of the simplest ways is to acquire a piece of jewellery, or even a metal key ring, bearing the image of one of the more popular dog breeds (or wolf, fox, etc.,) and charge it magically. For those who prefer to create an amulet from scratch in the traditional way, however, first catch your dog! Or rather acquire something from a canine that suggests strength, i.e. claws, bone, teeth, rather than the softness of fur. This does not, of course, mean that any living canine should be deprived of these accoutrements. Seeking them out over a period of time should be viewed as part of the magical quest … but your vet might be able to help out with claws or the odd tooth. A dead fox could provide everything, but as a mark of respect do bury the remains within the parameters of magical ethics.

Once we have acquired our canine ingredient (natural or manufactured) focus on the breed of our astral canine protector.  It could have been selected for its:

  • Eyesight (to see danger or detect opportunity).
  • Hearing (warning sounds or hearing something advantageous).
  • Smell (detecting a threat or danger).
  • Speed (fast action in dealing with a problem).
  • Strength (the power to help overcome adversity).
  • Tenacity (the will to persevere or fight against the odds).

This is a personal amulet, so only we can decide what the focus will be. Do we want a general charm that will go everywhere with us like a trusty dog; or are we looking for specific protection (in the workplace, while out hunting, or from rivals/the opposition, etc.,); or do we need backup in areas where our own faculties are not fully functioning? Do bear in mind that a focused magical spell will be much stronger than a more general purpose one.

Aubry’s Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in paperback and e-book format ISBN 978 1 78099 724 7  Shaman Pathways series : pp84 : UK£4.99/US$9.95  www.moon-books.net

Attachments area