Goddess, transcendence, immanence, omnipresence, the void,  all and nothing, within and without, the center of the universe and the Self. Location/ Direction: Center; up, down and all around. Colour: Purple or white, rainbow, black. Season: The cycle itself. Season of Life: All life, life beyond death, rebirth. Time: Beyond time,[…]

Spirit Correspondences

The Theban alphabet otherwise known as the witch’s alphabet or runes of Honorious is believed to have emerged in the medieval period when cabbalistic practices were prominent among European magicians. Theban was first published in a book called the Polygraphia in 1518. This book was written by Johannes Trithemius. Before[…]

The Theban Alphabet 

I respect the solitary witches who blaze your own trails, walk your own paths, and listen to your own gods. It can be a lonely, yet rewarding, life. It is not for the faint of heart. From the solitary we can all learn self-reliance and how to listen to our[…]

A Call for the Respect of your Fellow Witch

The term hex comes from Early American Folk belief, and implies the use of magick to hurt or harm another person’s body, family, or property. The hex was usually cast by a hex-doctor or sorcerer, who used deep concentration and symbolic imaginary to affect his or her target. Although the[…]

Hex

Most magicians are familiar with the legend of the Golem,a figure made of clay and wood that was brought to life through a process discovered by Rabbi Yehuda Low. According to Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, the formula for creating a Golem was found in the Sefer Yetsirah, a theory of creation derived[…]

Golem

For a Wiccan, this is “cakes and ale” and is a sharing of food and drink that has a great deal of symbolism and meaning attached to it. For the Traditional Crafter, this goes deeper still. Known most often by its Cornish name of “Houzle”, the coming together of white[…]

Libation

Please Scroll down for Audio Compliment Raising the Cone of Power is a technique that can be found in the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, Katherine Kurtz’s Lammas Night, and most forms of Traditional Witchcraft. The details may vary, but the overall effect is the same. This is the technique that[…]

Raising the Cone of Power

Unlike raising the Cone of Power, this practice is less about raising energy, and more about creating a vortex. Also known as the Widdershins Walk, this is the way to descend to the Wasteland, where we can work directly with our most ancient Ancestors. Craftings involving treading the Mill are[…]

Treading The Mill

Please Scroll down for Audio Compliment For many practitioners of Traditional Witchcraft, the act of preparing the Sacred Space for ritual is known as Laying the Compass. Superficially, it resembles the Wiccan practice of casting circle, but it is done in quite a different way, and for quite different reasons.[…]

Laying the Compass

Sacred space means different things to different people. So really, the only way I can get around that is to tell you what it means to me. Sacred space is an enclosure we create, if you like, an artificial bubble in mundane reality, inside which we create an environment that[…]

Sacred Space

Please Scroll down for Audio Compliment The Quarters and Cross-Quarters can be seen as two sets of overlapping quarters. This has several advantages over the more typical eight-spoked wheel, because it gives a strong sense of the overlap in roles of the various deities, as well as making use of[…]

The Cycle of Ced and Celi

One of the significant differences between Wicca and traditional Witchcraft is the use of Cross Quarters. Four more gates, which lead to realms that hold initiatory Lore and experiences. Some Traditions have these gates guarded by deities, some by magickal creatures, such as dragons, or the traditional mythical beasties such[…]

Cross-Quarters

Another key feature of the Cunning Art is the emphasis that is placed on working with Ancestors, which is a good indication of the shamanic nature of the path. Modern practice is concerned with enfleshing Lore passed down from our ancestors, and recovering Lore that has been lost, using practices[…]

The Cunning Art 1.3

As an esoteric path, the Cunning Art is a journey of self discovery. Although much is taught through the use of myth and Lore, the emphasis is on personal experience. We examine the old stories, or myths, and extract Lore from them, from which we construct exercises and rituals in[…]

The Cunning Art 1.2

A lot of traditional witches do not cast a circle at all as this is not traditional witchcraft but some do cast a compass which is not a circle. It is very different. Rituals in Traditional Craft are very different from those that are Wicca and ceremonial based in that[…]

The Compass Round in Traditional Witchcraft

Traditional witchcraft is an umbrella term that includes many traditions. Essentially traditional witches are practitioners of forms of witchcraft that pre-date Wicca and new age practices. Some of these traditions may be passed down as family traditions, whilst others are cultural, where witches follow the traditions of their own or[…]

Traditional Witchcraft

Lycanthropy The transformation of a human being into a wolf. There are two types of lycanthropy: a mania in which a person imagines himself to be a wolf and exhibits a craving for blood; and the magical-ecstatic transformation of a person into a werewolf (“man-wolf,” from the Old English werewolves[…]

Lycanthropy

Levitation A paranormal phenomenon whereby a body or object is raised up into the air in defiance of gravity. Levitation has been reported in cases of bewitchment, hauntings (see ghosts, hauntings and witchcraft) and possession; it also is attributed to saints and holy persons. In 1550 in Wertet, Brabant, a[…]

Levitation

Knots The tying and untying of knots is used to bind and release energy in many folk magic spells and formulas. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks tied knots in cords for love spells. The “knot of Isis,” a red jasper amulet wound in the shroud of royal Egyptian mummies, summoned[…]

Knots

A curse that is the product of envy, revenge and anger. In earlier times, people commonly blamed their misfortune on the ill-wishing of others. If two people argued and then one suffered a mishap, became ill or had other problems, the other party was suspected of ill-wishing them. Remarks such[…]

ill-wishing

Round magical signs and symbols used by the Pennsylvania Dutch, primarily to protect against witchcraft but also to effect spells. Hex signs are both amuletic and talismanic (see amulets; talismans). Traditionally, hex signs are painted on barns, stables and houses to protect against lightning, ensure fertility and protect animal and[…]

Hex Signs

Also called “voodoo death,” hex death is death from a hex or curse resulting from black magic or the breaking of a taboo. The critical factor in hex death is belief. If a person believes that a witch or sorcerer can make him die by cursing him or by pointing[…]

Hex Death

 A spell or bewitchment. The term comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch, who borrowed it from their native German word for “witch,” Hexe, which in turn is derived from Old High German hagazussa or hagzissa (“hag”). In common usage, hex means an evil spell or curse, but among the Pennsylvania Dutch,[…]

Hex

An attempt in 1985 by two members of Congress, Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina and Representative Robert Walker of Pennsylvania, to outlaw religious tax exempt status for Witchcraft, Wicca and Pagan churches and organizations. Both measures failed. The effort was begun by Helms, who queried Secretary of the Treasury[…]

Helms Amendment

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn One of the most influential Western occult societies of the late 19th century to early 20th century. Like a meteor, it flared into light, blazed a bright trail and then disintegrated. Members included W. B. Yeats, A. E. Waite, Aleister Crowley and other noted[…]

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Hair and nails possess magical attributes that contain the essence of a person, and thus are important ingredients in many magic spells. Hair is associated with strength and virility, and with psychic protection. Abundant hair was considered an asset for many monarchs. The ancient Egyptians believed that a potion made[…]

 Hair and nails

An old, ugly woman believed to be a witch or sorceress; also, a supernatural, demonic being whose powers enable her to live an incredibly long time. The origin of the term “hag” is found in the ancient Goddess beliefs and myths of the Egyptians, Greeks, Celts and pagan Europeans. The[…]

Hag

 In Vodun, charms or talismans kept for good luck or to ward off evil. The original gris-gris were probably dolls or images of the gods, but most gris-gris today are small cloth bags filled with herbs, oils, stones, small bones, hair and nail clippings, pieces of clothing soiled with perspiration[…]

Gris – Gris

Handbooks of magic, some reputedly dating back to ancient sources, popular from the 17th to early 19th centuries. Grimoires still are consulted by students of ceremonial magic in modern times, though newer books have replaced them. In modern Witchcraft, some rituals may draw on ceremonial magic texts, but the Witch’s[…]

Grimoires

 In contemporary Witchcraft, a powerful, magical rite of sexual intercourse that pays homage to the male/female polarity that exists in all things in the universe. The Great Rite expresses the physical, mental, spiritual and astral union between man and woman, and the union of the Goddess and God. The Great[…]

Great Rite

Scottish witch whose stories of wild sexual escapades with the Devil titillated and shocked her stern neighbors and reinforced the prevailing beliefs in witches as evil creatures bent on destroying their fellow man. Isobel Gowdie, an attractive woman with red hair, a color associated with witches, voluntarily confessed to witchcraft[…]

Gowdie, Isobel (?–ca. 1662)

Hauntings by ghosts and poltergeists are sometimes blamed on witches and witchcraft, particularly in areas where fear of magic runs high. In Brazil, for example, where fear of magic is strong among the working class, many cases of poltergeist activity are attributed to witches’ curses laid on families. The notion[…]

Ghosts, Hauntings and Witchcraft

The Appalachian Granny Magic Tradition of Witchcraft is one that is only recently being heard of. Though the tradition is a very old one, dating all the way back to the first settlers of the magical Appalachian Mountains who came over from Scotland and Ireland in the 1700’s. They brought[…]

Granny Magick

A ritual kissing of five parts of the body, done in certain rites and ceremonies, such as handfasting, in some traditions of contemporary Witchcraft. It is done within a magic circle and is symbolic of the homage paid by the God and the Goddess to each other. The fivefold kiss[…]

Fivefold Kiss

An object, usually a West African wooden doll, that is possessed by spirits and represents those spirits to the fetish owner. Fetishes may also be animals’ teeth, snake bones, beautiful stones or even the huts where witch doctors commune with spirit guides. They are often worn as ornamental amulets or[…]

Fetish

 The causing of illness, misfortune, calamity and death by the looks of strangers and by envious looks. amulets and incantations (see charms) ward the danger off. The evil eye exists around the world, dating to ancient times. The oldest recorded references to it appear in the cuneiform texts of the[…]

Evil Eye

Arrowhead-shaped flints from the Stone Age found in many parts of the British Isles, Europe and northern Africa, which witches supposedly used as weapons against animals and people. Elf-arrow superstitions predominate in Ireland, Scotland and parts of En­gland, where fairy lore is strong (see fairies). According to lore, many witches[…]

Elf Arrows

Duncan, Helen (1898–1956) British Spiritualist whose conviction on flimsy charges of witchcraft led to the repeal of Britain’s Witchcraft Act of 1736, thus clearing the way for the public practice of Witchcraft. Helen Duncan, a Scotswoman, was renowned for her natural mediumistic abilities by the 1920s. During the 1930s and[…]

Duncan, Helen (1898–1956)

Drawing Down the Moon An important ritual in some traditions of Wicca in which a coven’s high priestess enters a trance and becomes the Goddess, who is symbolized by the Moon. The transformation may be accomplished with the help of the high priest, who invokes, or draws down, the spirit[…]

Drawing Down the Moon

Famous American witch doctor, Doctor John (also called Bayou John and Jean Montaigne) was a free black man who owned slaves in antebellum New Orleans. A huge man, Doctor John claimed he was a prince in his homeland of Senegal, sent into slavery by the Spaniards and taken to Cuba.[…]

Doctor John (19th century)

 According to witch-hunters, the Devil always permanently marked the bodies of his initiates to seal their pledge of obedience and service to him. He marked them by raking his claw across their flesh or using a hot iron, which left a mark, usually blue or red, but not a scar.[…]

Devil’s Marks

Christianity’s Prince of Supreme Evil. The Devil, or Satan, is not a god of Wiccans and Pagans. The association of witches with the Devil grew in the Middle Ages and Reformation, when belief in a personal Satan as the agent of all evil was particularly strong. Accusations of Devil-worship were[…]

Devil

Demons have been catalogued, ranked and classified since at least 100–400, the period in which the Testament Belial and djinn presenting their credentials to King Solomon (Jacobus de Teramo, Das Buch Belial, 1473) demon 95 of Solomon appeared, describing Solomon’s magic ring for commanding the djinn and listing the names[…]

The Hierarchies and Functions of Demons

A lesser spirit that intervenes in the physical world. Demons usually are associated with evil, but in pre-Christian and non-Christian cultures, demons were, and are, not necessarily good or evil. There are good and bad demons, and demons capable of both kinds of behavior. The study of demons is called[…]

Demons

A spell intended to bring misfortune, illness, harm or death to a victim. The most dreaded form of magic, curses are universal. They are “laid” or “thrown” primarily for revenge and power but also for protection, usually of homes, treasures, tombs and grave sites. A curse can take effect quickly[…]

Curse

Village witch or healer who provided cures, remedies, charms, spells and divination, usually in exchange for a fee or gift. Scott Cunningham (Courtesy Llewellyn Publications) 86 cunning man/cunning woman “Cunning” comes from the Old English term kenning, meaning “wise” or “knowledgeable.” Other terms for cunning man and cunning woman are[…]

Cunning Man/Cunning Woman

A heavily charged place of magic. The Greek goddess of witchcraft, Hecate, was also goddess of the crossroads, and animals were sacrificed to her at such locations. It was believed that Hecate appeared at crossroads on clear nights, accompanied by spirits and howling dogs. Offerings were placed there to propitiate[…]

Crossroads

The formal organization and working unit of witches and Wiccans. The origin of the word coven is not clear. Most likely, it derives from the verb convene, which includes in its variant convent, which once referred both to a religious meeting and the place of a religious meeting. Chaucer used[…]

Covens

A ritual doll, or variation of a poppet, used in traditional seasonal rites for fertility of the land. The corn dolly is a harvest figure made of either the last or first sheaves of grain. It is placed in the fields or used as a charm in fertility rites or[…]

Corn Dolly

 The raising and directing of a spiral of psychic energy in ritual and spellcraft. Gerald B. Gardner described the cone of power as one of the “old ways” of witches; most likely, he borrowed the concept from the various magical sources he used in constructing his rituals and book of[…]

Cone of Power

  They say that the longest journey begins with a single step. So, too, the exploration of Magickal studies begins with a single step. Though the first step in a physical journey is often self-evident, the First Step on a Magickal journey is often not quite so clear. While formally[…]

WHY DO WE CAST CIRCLES?

Charge of the Goddess In Wicca, a poetic and inspiring address given by the Goddess to her worshipers through her intermediary, the coven high priestess. The Charge of the Goddess is used primarily in the Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions, but is not limited to them. It was authored and popularized[…]

Charge of the Goddess

Amniotic fetal membrane that sometimes clings to a newborn’s head or body after birth. Being born with a caul, or veil, has significance in folklore related to magical powers. A person born with a caul was believed to have psychic gifts such as the ability to see ghosts and spirits[…]

Caul

The ability of witches to interfere with or destroy the fertility of man, beast and crop. This malicious destruction was considered a common activity among witches, and remedies and preventive actions circulated in folklore and magic. Blasting is the antithesis of rituals to enhance fertility, and accusations of it date[…]

Blasting

Aradia The Tuscan legend of Aradia, daughter of the moon goddess Diana who was dispatched to earth to establish witchcraft and teach it to witches, was published by the American folklorist, Charles Godfrey Leland, in 1889. Leland said the legend had been passed on to him by a hereditary Etruscan[…]

Aradia

African witchcraft In African tribal traditions, witchcraft is part of the accepted supernatural landscape and is generally something to be feared. Study of African tribal religions illustrates the African ancestry of modern Vodun, Santería and Candomblé. There is a fairly universal belief in a supreme God, who manifests himself in[…]

African Witchcraft

Abramelin the Mage (1362–1460) A Jew from Würzburg, Germany, Abraham, or Abramelin (also spelled Abra-Melin), created a body of magical works that for centuries influenced magicians, including Aleister Crowley. An expert on the Kabbalah, Abramelin said he learned his magical knowledge from angels, who told him how to conjure and[…]

Abramelin the Mage