Mary Bateman – The Yorkshire Witch

Mary Bateman (ne Harker) was born to a farming family at Asenby (parish of Topcliffe nr Thirsk) in 1769. She started working life working as a household servant in the homes of the well to do of first Thirsk and then York before moving to Leeds in 1888 following one too many visits to York Assizes for theft from her employers.

Upon arriving in Leeds Mary took a position as a seamstress and soon married John Bateman in the Parish Church of St Peter’s, who was originally from Thirsk. The pair took rooms in and around the Kirgate area of Leeds, moving from tenancy to tenancy frequently, mostly likely because Mary had a habit of steeling from fellow tenants.

As a seamstress Mary came into the servant and poor classes of the city and found that she was able to supplement her income and theft by drawing on the connection between country dwellers and the old ways. She starting out by selling simple fortune telling’s, charms and love philtres but soon branched out to professing to own a prophetic chicken which could be witnessed laying eggs reading “Crist is come” for a penny a time. In time Mary began to present herself as the agent of a wise woman called Mrs Moor.

Mary Bateman – Illustration from The Extraordinary Life and Character of Mary Bateman, The Yorkshire Witch

Mrs Moor was the seventh child of a seventh child, skilled in the Old Ways particularly charms and a process known as “screwing down”. Screwing down was a way in which a troublesome person or situation could be “fixed” to the benefit of the client. The client would receive a fortune from Mary, usually predicting some form of financial worry in the form of the rent man or some other debt collector. Mary would offer to write to Mrs Moor and, for a fee, perform the appropriate charm that was suggested in the reply.

For example – in response to a request for a fortune telling one Mrs Greenwood was advised that her husband would soon be accused of a crime and confined by four men. For the price of …

  • Four pieces of leather
  • Four pieces of blotting paper
  • Four brass pins
  • Four gold coins 

Mrs Moor would use these objects to “screw down” the guards to ensure that Mr Greenwood would not die as a result of their attentions.

Most of the properties where Mary lived were in and around the Kirgate area, some of which can still be seen today.
Closeup from Plan of the Town of Leeds, with the recent Improvements. Surveyed in 1821 by Chas. Fowler, Leeds

When Mrs Moor became too successful and overly in demand she unfortunately passed away and Mary replaced her patroness with Miss Blythe from Scarborough who particularly specialised in astrology and detecting witchcraft. It was for consultation with Miss Blythe what Mary was approached in the summer of 1806 by a man by the name of William Perigo from Bramley. William’s wife Rebecca was in poor health and his doctor, having exhausting all medical possibilities, had suggested that he approach a Witch to discover if she had been the victim of an ill wish.

Mary initially requested an item of Rebecca’s clothing, wore close to the skin, to be sent to Miss Blythe for instruction. One flannel petticoat was provided and a series of letters followed with Miss Blythe confirming the presence of an ill wish and the Pergio’s asking for guidance. Instructions soon followed in October 1806

My Dear Friend – you must go down to Mary Bateman’s on Tuesday next, and take four guineas notes with you and she will give you other four in exchange for them, which I have send, and when you have read this letter it nest be burned.

William duly visited Mary with the notes and soon she visited the Perigo home to sew linin pouches containing the be spelled notes into the corners of the couples mattress. A month later, following a further letter from Miss Blythe, Mary visited the home to mount a horseshoe above their front door using the handle end of a pair or pincers which would then be held in trust for 18 months whilst the magic worked.

These transactions continued in this fashion for 18 months in a similar fashion but Miss Blythe would also request other items from the Perigo’s such as;

  • Camp bed and bedding, including two pillow slips,
  • Three yards of Knarsebrogh linen cloth
  • Two Barrels
  • Two
  • Three bottles of spirits etc

For example in March 1807 Miss Blythe wrote

Mr Dear Friends – I will be obliged to you if you will let me have half a dozen of your china, three silver spoons, half a pound of tea, two pounds of load sugar and a tea cannister to put the tea in, or else it will not do – U durst not drink out of my own china. You must burn this with a candle.

Eventually a letter arrived in April 1807

My Dear Friends – I am sorry to tell you, you will take an illness in the month of May next, either t’one or both, but I think both but the works of God must have its course … your wife must take half a pound of honey from Bramley to Mary Bateman’s at Leeds, and it must remain there till you go down yourself, and she will put in such like stuff as I have sent from Scarbro’ to her…. You must eat pudding for six days, and you must put in such like stuff as I have sent to Mary Bateman…. If ever you find yourself sickly at any time, you must take each of you a ten-spoonful of this honey… you must bring this down to Mary Bateman’s and burn it at her house when you come down the next time.

The Pergio’s were fully under the thrall of Mary and Miss Blythe so from the 11th May, after receiving further instruction and said pudding from Mary, Rebecca Perigo began to eat the pudding. For the first five days neither William nor Rebecca noted anything particular about the pudding but on the 6th both noted that the pudding tasted bad. William Perigo did not finish eating it but Rebecca did, and when both began to feel unwell they took doses of the honey as per instruction. William took 2 spoonful’s whilst Rebecca took between 7 or 8.

The couple experienced various symptoms including a violent heat came out of the mouth, a pain in the head “20 times worse than any common headache” and skin changes around the mouth to the point the skin turned black. Rebecca tongue also swelled so that she could not shut her mouth, leaving her constantly thirsty. Rebecca was by far most affected by this illness whilst William was ill but recovered with a lingering nervous stomach. After an extended illness Mary died in extremis on Sunday 24th May.

Shortly following his wife’s death William contacted a surgeon in the town, Mr Chorley, who examined him and advised him he had been poisoned by mercury chloride which had undoubtably been added to the pudding and/or honey. This did not move William to action and from May to September 1808 he received a number of letters from Miss Blythe. These ranged in terms as words of comfort for his loss, requesting and accepting gifts of Rebecca’s belongings, providing further advice, charms and fortunes and offering dire warning should he take action against Miss Blythe and her agent based on his clearly waning confidence.

In the final letter in September 1808 Miss Blythe lamented her clients lack of faith saing

My Dear Friend – I am sorry to tell you, that should you think so much evil of Mary Bateman, when she has been such a trusty servant to you. I wonder that you should think that I have destroyed your property, to think what I have done for you, it has cost me many a hundred pounds; and it is the last time that I shall take any one under hand again for it has nearly killed me. You must burn this letter at some public house in Leeds, and get a pint of beer, and burn the letter in the same fire at the house you got the beer.

On the 19th October 1808 William Perigo opened the bedding into which the magic pouches had been sewn and opened the silk and linin bags. Where he expected to find guinea notes he found only paper. Where he expected to find gold, he found a halfpenny, a farthing or pieces of lead. He went straight away to Mary to ask about the matter who proceeded to chide him for opening the bags before the appointed day. This, she said, had broken the magic and turned such treasures into the dross he found.

William returned the following day with Constable Driffield who finds many of Rebecca’s belongings and the items gifted to Miss Blyth over the years in Mary’s home.

On the 17th March 1809 Mary Bateman is brought to trial at York Assizes for the extortion of the Pergio family, the value of which was states as £100 (approximate 2017 value £4,652.52), the attempted murder of William Pergio and murder of Rebecca Pergio.

A number of frauds and con’s came to light during the trial, including the mysterious deaths of the Kitchen family, a mother and two adult daughters, who rang a small drapery shop in the city. The women received fortunes from Miss Blythe, as well as charms, spells and “country medicine” when they one by one fell ill and died, diagnosis Cholera. After the death of the last Kitchen’s it was found that their entire estate and home had been plundered for all it was worth and it wasn’t fully realised until the trial that it was Mary who had done the plundering.

Mary’s defence was to deny everything in a written statement and then refuse to speak except to profess her innocence. The Local Packet stated that Mary looked “very plausible and not like someone who is hiding poison in her potions … she looks polite and respectable …. despite having a tongue in her head to wheedle the devil.”

The jury went out for a short period of time, let’s say a fag and a good chin wag, and returned a guilty verdict.  The judge, donning the black cap, stated that “for crimes like yours the gates of mercy are closed”.

In a last ditched effort to avoid the inevitable Mary declared that she was 22 weeks pregnant – resulting in a stampede as all the women in the courtroom to attempt to escape. Why? well because none of them wanted to be called upon to examine Mary to verify the proof of her claim. The judge however barred the doors and a second jury of 12 women were sworn in to confirm, or more accurately refute, Mary’s claim. Following the examination, she was declared to have lied to the court and she was taken down to be transferred to York and the place of execution.

On the 20th March 1809 Mary Bateman was executed at York Castle to a large crowd, somewhat disappointed that she didn’t use her magic to escape death at the last moment. Her body was returned to Leeds and put on display for the two and half thousand people who paid 3pence (in advance) to view it as it is taken to Leeds Hospital for dissection.

As part of the dissection, she was skinned so that, like many other notorious Georgian murders, she could be included into a tradition known as anthropodermic bibliopegy. Her skin was tanned and used to bind books including Sir John Cheeke’s Hurt of Sedition: How Grievous it is to a Common Wealth (1569), and Richard Braithwaite’s Arcadian Princess (1635). In the case Arcadian Princess the book existed in the library of Mexborough House until it mysteriously went missing when the library was being catalogued for sale in the mid-nineteenth century. There is also said to be a medical textbook which came into the possession of George VI, but I am unable to provide a title for this volume. Needless to say, one Yorkshire witch translates into three books and a dozen or so curios, including a folding cup.

Mary’s skeleton was preserved and put-on display at Leeds Medical School, and was moved to Thackery Medical Museum. It is still housed there but no longer on display following a BBC documentary focused on the familial descendant of Mary’s and a successful petition for the respectful treatment of human remains. 

Taking a Closer Look – Screwing Down

Screwing Down is probably best described as a form of binding, magically constraining someone from doing harm to others. The details of how Mary practiced screwing down is limited to the list of items requested of the client but we can make some educated guesses how we might use those items today.

Let’s modify this a little and reduce the number of items to one a piece and replace the gold coin with a representation of money, because there was no way Mary would have put a gold coin in anyone’s charm.  

  • A piece of leather – for creating a pouch/packet, replace with a pouch
  • A piece of blotting paper – for a written charm
  • a brass pin – to seal everything
  • a gold coin   a representation of money / representation of the situation

A similar written charm in this instance would be to write the name of the person who needs to be bound in the centre of the blotting paper a magical number of times (lets say three times). The name of the charm holder, or one of the many names of God is then written over their name multiple times, until the first name is entirely blotted out or “overcome”. Whilst doing so a psalm could be recited. There are lots of possibilities but for example Psalm 9 (for overcoming enemies), 10 (to prevail against all odds) or Psalm 59 (to be rid of enemies) would be appropriate. Once finished the written charm is placed within the leather, folded into a pouch with the coin and everything secured with the brass pin. The charm can then be carried on the person, or placed somewhere intimate such as under the bed.

Another way to construct the charm, using a pouch, would be to fold the paper charm three times away from you (still reciting the psalm) and securing the paper with the pin. The pinned charm is then placed in the pouch along with the coin representing the financial matter, though the coin is really unnecessary.

In the case of the Greenwood’s it had been decreed that Mr Greenwood was being pursued by four men wishing to obtain money from him and that Mr Greenwood was at risk of “dying of their attention”. The written charm can be adorned with imagery associated with the financial matter, be that currency symbols as well as other symbols and sigils associated with financial matters (saturnian symbolism would be most appropriate in this place as we are wanting to restrict the target).

A charm to constrain an enemy aka Screwing Down

You will need

  • A piece of paper
  • A black pen
  • A pin (either dressmaking or safety pin)
  • A pouch

Identify an appropriate Psalm and personalise it to yourself and your enemy. For example;

  • Psalm 9 (for overcoming enemies)
  • Psalm 10 (to prevail against all odds)
  • Psalm 59 (to be rid of enemies)

Recite your personalised psalm throughout the operation until complete.

Write the name of your enemy three times in the centre of the piece of paper. Around the names illustrate the situation in which they are troubling you along with the planetary symbol for Saturn and associated sigils. Once completed proceed to write your own full name across each of those of the target until their name is entirely obscured by yours.

Once completed turn the written charm so that the writing is facing away from you and then fold the paper in half away from you. Turn the paper anti clockwise 90 degrees, fold in half away from you. Turn again anti clockwise and fold a away from you a third time.

Secure the paper charm using your pin and place it into the pouch. Carry the spell, or keep within a secure place until your enemy has withdrawn from the conflict. Dispose of the charm as appropriate.    

Some Resources

The Extraordinary Life and Character of Mary Bateman, the Yorkshire Witch by Davies and Company, Stanhope Press, Leeds, 1811

The Yorkshire Witch – The Life and Trial of Mary Bateman by Summer Strevens, Pen & Sword History, Barnsley, 2017

The Poisoners Cabinet Episode 14 – Mary Bateman the Yorkshire Witch

Posted in History, Magick, Rituals & Rites, Spells, Witchcraft | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Cunning Folk of Leeds

Cunning folk are practitioners of folk medicine, folk magic, and divination within the context of various traditions of folklore in Christian Europe. In Britain such people may have carried the title of Wizard, Witch, wise woman/man or even conjurer depending on the perspective of the person people about them.  The tools of the cunning folk were herbs, spells and charms. They would be consulted on matters ranging from the treatment of animals and family members, locating lost or stolen items (up to and including the punishment of the transgressor), drawing a lover and providing predictions of the future.

Early opinion held that such people, whilst capable of doing good in their community, were in league with the devil and all his minions and should harm fall upon a community even a previously accepted “white” practitioner would fall victim to the witch trial. The first witchcraft laws enacted reflected these beliefs.

By the late 1700’s to early 1800’s the Industrial Revolution caused mass migration of labour from the countryside to the town or city. Those who practiced magical traditions moved from the surrounding villages into the city proper for work and opportunities, bringing their magical skills with them. There had also been a shift in the belief underpinning witchcraft laws and the Witchcraft Act 1735 started from the understanding that witches did not, and indeed had never had, existed and that those that claimed such abilities were vagrants and con artists. The punishment for these crimes was far less than the death penalty which had existed under earlier acts and those sentenced under the act usually received fines or imprisonment (usually with hard labour). Other laws that such people ran into included section four of the Vagrancy Act of 1824, which referred to “persons pretending or professing to tell fortunes, or using any subtle craft” and on occasion the Aggravated Assaults Act 1854.

One reason for focusing upon these acts of law is because we find out most about town and city based cunning folk from newspaper reporting on local and county courts and assizes. Another source of information, mainly for the men, are local business directories. Though the terms used are not usually as blunt as cunning man, witch or wizard there was a large number of astrologers, water casters and herbalists working out of the backrooms of other established businesses such as pharmacies and grocers. Once you have a name it is then possible to trace the individuals and their families through census and parish records, accessing court records where they are available/exist.

My plan is to give you a brief introduction to these individuals and focus in on one of the spells, charms and/or practice as something we might do today. Each of the main characters will get their own post, with a final post rounding up some other interesting cunning folk we can find in the record.

Lets introduce the main protagonists (please note, links will be updated as posts go live).

Mary Batman – The Yorkshire Witch

Mary Bateman
Mary Bateman

Henry Harrison – The Wizard of South Market

There are no images avalible of Henry Harrison but this is a good representation of what I think he looked life.

Isaac Rushworth – The Planetary Ruler

There are also no images of Isaac Rushworth but James Tunnicliffe is a good example of the type.

William Dawson Bellhouse – The Galvanist

A note on story telling – the modern reader might be incredulous at the apparent level of gullibility of some of the people we will meet in these story’s but that is because we are able to see the whole picture all at once. The extent of many of these situations were never fully understood until the trials of those involved and certainly any gossip or suspicion would have been couched in terms socially acceptable to the people of the day.

It is also necessary to take tales with a pinch of salt, as it is often the case that during or immediately after a trial every man and his dog would come forward to the press to obtain their moment of fame by association, or an opinion of a person that in truth they had never met. Still, these make for some very interesting tales and I will try not to skimp on the details.

Posted in Ancestors, History, Witchcraft | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting with the Elements – Spirit

Direction – Centre
Colour – White
Tattva – Black Egg

When all of the four come together it is possible to precieve a fifth element, Spirit. Sometimes known by the older name of Aether, this is not really an element in the same sense as Earth, Air Fire and Water, rather is it a broader concept of being both of ourselves and of the wider world.

Some people like to describe Aether as space as in outer space and the stars but it can also be described an inner state of balance and connection, be that to nature or the divine self. Aether is the state which is achieved when all four elements are in harmony within ourselves. This is a concept which can be seen within the Witches Pyramid when “to Go” is included at the point. In this series of rituals we’ve build individual connects with and understandings of the four elements and so to bring the process to a head we use them to connect with the Aether.

Unlike previous posts this will be a single ritual dominated by a visualisation though it shouldn’t be considered as a one and done process. Just as you can walk the Witches Pyramid many times in many ways so too can your confirm and reconfirm your connection with the elements and Spirit.

Setting Up Your Elemental Altar

As a quick revision, the classic tools are

The Wand – Air
The Athame – Fire
The Cup – Water
The Pentacle -Earth

If you have all of these items then wonderful but don’t worry if you don’t. The preceding four weeks of working with the elements should have helped you identify one item which you connect strongly with each of the elements.

It is also traditional to orientate your altar to the four directions, ideally facing north. Where directionality isnt possible you can set up your altar with the earth represented a true side furthest away from you, air to the right, water to the left and fire directly in front of you. In both cases the Aether becomes situated in the centre of the altar.

This is all well and good but in a small altar set up this can mean you are constantly learning over the element of Fire which can constitute a health and safety risk. In this case it would be better to situate a representation of Aether opposite you, as far back as possible, to act as a focus. Earth can be placed to the immediate right of this representation with Air a little close to you whilst Water can be situatied to the immediate left of Aether with Fire on the same side. This should leave a working space open in front of you meaning that whilst you still need to be aware of the potential fire hazard of the Fire representations you are not as likely to have an accident.

Elemental Talisman © Vicky Newton

Elemental Ritual

This ritual, unlike the other, will be dominated by a meditation which focuses on uniting the four elements. Ensure that in addition to your preferred elemental representation you have a glass of water and a representation of fire you can gaze in to.

With your altar prepared begin by invoking the four elements in turn;

“I call upon the powers of Earth, upon the stable foundation of all living things. May I be grounded, protected and nourished for all of my days.

I call upon the power of Air, upon the breath of life and joy. May I be energized, inspired and granted clarity for all of my days.

I call upon the power of Air, upon the breath of life and joy. May I be energized, inspired and granted clarity for all of my days.

I call upon the power of Water, upon the cleansing flow of love and life. May I be cleansed, calmed and have peace of mind for all of my days.

I call upon the Aether, upon the One, the All. Body, breath, mind and soul; may I be united with the four in one, centered and balanced for all of my days.”

Another way is to take a cleansing drink of water before gazing into a representation of fire as you achieve a meditative style of breathing. Focus first on the on your breath moving in and out and then on the sensations within your body, letting each area of tension or sense of distraction to melt away. Slowly close your eyes and begin to turn your mind inward to dwell on our connection with the universe, the divine spark that allows us to recognise and be part of manifest reality.

Visualise before you four concentric circles of coloured light with a bright white light in the centre. The outer ring is green and represents Earth. Mentally walk the outer ring and consider all the things you have come to understand about this element, allowing the thoughts (new and old) to come and go without dwelling on them. Allow yourself then to spiral in to the next circle which is yellow to represent Air and repeat the process. Next is the red circle representing fire and finally the blue circle representing water. This will then bring you to considering the central point of light, Aether.

Visualise it as a bright light within the four elements and consider what it is to be a being at one with these elemental forces and what it means to you. Again, allows the thoughts to flow and take note but do not hold on to any longer than a few seconds. Now visualise the light pulsing and expanding to encompass not only the elemental circles but you also, making you one with this divine energy. Consider what implications this has and take a moment to recall the preparation take for this meditation and that the elements are united within you as well as around you. Take some time to experience this sense of oneness, allowing your thoughts and emotions to flow around you without dominating the experience.

To close the visualisation allow the light to receed to the centre of the concentric circles but be aware that some of that light pulsates within the centre of your being. Allow sensation to return, becoming aware of your body and the world around you, the sounds and the smells, even as you open your eyes and allow light to return to you. Bring yourself back to the present by taking another sip of water.

” I thank you, great powers of earth, air, fire and water for your time and attention as I have worked with your energies. I thank you Aether, o four in one, for revealing yourself to me. Though we part may I remain centred and balanced for all of my days.”

Posted in Magick, Rituals & Rites, Witchcraft | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

One Pagans Perspective of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Lockdown three is well underway here in the UK. Personally, I think lockdown two should have gone one for longer, or that there should have been more restrictions over the Christmas period but it is what it is.

Given all the years that I had spent as a solitary practitioner you would think that I would be easily to be able to slip back into a solid internalised personal practice but in reality it was initially hard, in no small part because of the stress and anxiety associated with a global pandemic.

The other side to not being able to cheerfully reclaim a solitary status is the fact that there really is not replacement for sharing space and time with your magical family. Even as other places of worship reopened religious and faith communities who do not have a communal worship space outside of a domestic residence and of course Paganism falls within this giant crack within the existing legislation. Yes, I’ve been luck. I have been able to remain connected to friends and fellow Pagans over the internet but it hardly satisfying to witness someone conducting a ritual on your behalf and its bloody awkward to try and conduct individual rituals in spaces which are not necessarily suitable for the task in a coordinated manner.

There is still spiritual sustenance and development to be had. I have been participating in a series of workshops and meditations on the Hermetic Mysteries. In addition to benefiting from some really effective resilience training which is integrated into the practice the sessions have helped me maintain a weekly meditation routine. I’m also trying to exercise my historical interests by revisiting The History of Witchcraft podcast and attending various online lectures around associated subjects.

As a friend pointed out to me, this inward turning of mind and development is very in keeping with the energies which have been at play since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdown one arrived just in advance of Spring Equinox 2020. I know that I didn’t observe the turning of tide from lustration to activation in the same way as I have in previous years and in many ways we didn’t energetically leave the tide of lustration.

Lustration takes its name from ancient Greece and Rome, and their Lustratio purification rituals; the Tide is a period of time when one looks inwards, as everything in the external world withdraws in order to renew itself for the year to come. Usually lustration is followed by activation (Spring), consolidation (Summer) and finally recession (Autumn) before the cycle begins all over again but in 2020 the cycle apparently stalled at lustration.

Perhaps we have much to purify from ourselves and our wider world. Covid-19 has highlighted much that was wrong with our day to day lives such as the way we balanced our time between home and work, or the way that we interact with one another. The pressures brought to bear by the virus have been amplified by so many other critical events world; such as the Australian wild fires, the death of George Floyd and Brexit. One way or another the dark side of human nature and behaviour has been brought to light and it is time to make serious efforts to cut away all that no longer serves, giving us more space in which to grow. Usually this is a principle we apply to our personal lives but the experiences of 2020, and now early in 2021, scream for us to widen the practice.

I’ve talked about resistance and political activism in the craft before and the principles hold as true now in early 2021 as the did in early 2020. They are part of the outward expression of lustration and are necessary to leave behind us those things which no longer serve the greater good.

As ever the community gives us some great tools like a sigil for 2021 and a sigil for living democracy if you are looking for something from which your magical hat.

Posted in Musings | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Elen of the Ways – poem

I’ve been getting all arts and crafty this weekend just on the off chance 2021 gives me the opportunity to, your know, go places this year.

© Vicky Newton



Oh, lady of the moonpath bright,
and Sea-lanes laid by sun’s fair rays,
the Dragon paths from height to height,
and all the hidden holy ways
   Oh Lady Elen of the Ways…

From heath and hill to marsh and fen
Thy dogs shall guide us all our days;
Through crocked paths laid down by men
Sweet Lady show us all the ways,
    Oh Lady Elen of the Ways…

When vision fades and courage fails
May thy light lead us from the maze;
When neighter strength nor sense avails
Let thy love teach the heart new ways,
    Oh Lady Elen of the Ways…

Priestess of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Diana L. Paxson

Posted in Foraging, Photo Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting with the Elements- Earth

Element – Earth
Direction – North
Time – Midnight
Season – Winter
Tarot – Pentacle/Coins
Tool – Pentacle / Salt / Rocks
Elemental – Gnome
Elemental King – Ghob
Colour – Green
Tattva -Yellow Square
Archangel – Uriel

The element of earth is the most foundational of all the elements, representing the physical world and all things material. It is the very thing we stand upon when we live our lives, and it is to the Earth we return when our days are done. Magically, the element of earth is associated with physical manifestation, health and material matters such as wealth and abundance as well as protection and safety.

So the maxim says: from the tiny acorn sprouts the mightestes of oaks. A single seed, small an inconsequential, can be nurtured by the earth into something much greater and this metaphor can work in many areas of our lives. We can ask the earth to nourish our finances, our health and things such as creative projects. By linking in with the generative qualities of Earth we can use our magic to make most things physically manifest in our lives.

We also look to the Earth for protection against thing that may seek to harm us. The earth sheltered our early ancestors, in the form of caves, and it was with rocks from the earth that great defences were constructed. The pentacle, symbol of this element in the magic circle, is the foremost symbol of protection in the lexicon of modern pagan symbols and salt is most frequently used in magical acts of protection.

The Earth grounds us, bringing us back to ourselves and reawakening us to the material realm. This is important in magical practices as it is very easy to find ourselves carried away and loose sight of the day to day things that matter. Regularly connecting with the Earth and its stability is often overlooked, but it is a highly valuable practice which should be cultivated.

Manifesting Earth in Our Lives

Prepare yourself an altar space in a location which you will see/pass on a daily basis. The predominant colours should be green, black and brown with a single votive or pillar candle placed centrally. Around this place representations of the element of earth, including magical tools such as the Pentacle and a small bowl of salt. Other items might include living plants, crystals and garden stones (not stones gathered from watery places like the sea or rivers) or images of places which your feel are particularly connected with the element of Earth.

Spend a little time at this altar each day, lighting the candle with a short invocation to earth followed by one or more of the daily practices outlined below. Research something related to earth each day, be that magical, esoteric or environment in nature, and journal your thoughts, knowledge and experiences.

Daily Practices

Here are a couple of daily practices which will help you feel more connected with the element of earth.

“I call upon the powers of Earth, upon the stable foundation of all living things. May i be grounded, protected and nourished for all of my days.”

Taste a pinch of salt and as the salt dissolves in your mouth visualise roots extending into the earth to ground you.

If it is possible and safe to do so spend a little time each day barefoot outside to physically connect with the bare earth. Alternatively, try and include a small potted plant in your altar and spend a few moments talking to the plant as you touch the earth around it.

Visualise the elemental triangle of earth in your minds eye and meditate on the properties of Earth, it’s magical and esoteric associations and any associations you have with the element in particular. Allow thoughts and images to form in your mind, acknowledge them but allow then to pass without examining then too deeply, always returning to the central focus of the elemental triangle. If you are able to do so, form the elemental triangle using your hands and fingers for added emphasis. Recording your observations and impressions each day.

These practices are just a guide, be lead by any insights you may have and develop your own daily practices should you feel drawn to do so.

Elemental Ritual

At the end of your period of communication with the element of earth perform a final ritual to both thank the energies that you have worked with but also the objects on your altar before it is dismantled and replaced by the next elemental altar.

Light your central candle and invoke the element of Earth for the final time.

“I call upon the powers of Earth, upon the stable foundation of all living things. May I be grounded, protected and nourished for all of my days.”

Reprise your favourite daily practice, be that one outlined above or that you developed yourself over the course of the week.

Say a short thank you for the insights you have receive and particular mention of any that felt particularly important to you.

Close by finally dismissing the energies by saying

“I thank you great powers of earth, for your time and attention as I have worked with your energies. Even though we part may I remain grounded, protected and nourished for all of my days.”

Finally dismatle your elemental altar, making a final note in your journal as to which item you felt most connected toso that your can incorporate it into your final elemental altar.

Posted in Magick, Rituals & Rites | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Vintage Granny Star Blanket

So my 2020 square a day project didn’t turn out as I might have liked but then again, neither did 2020. This time I decided to try and keep things a little more simple.

Rather than track moon phase and star sign I’m just going to stick with moon phase. I’ve increased the number of chromatic shades and will change colour based on the percentage illumination at the point I look at it (based on my moon phase app). This should result in a nice colour change which replicates moon phase calendars.

I am using James C Brett Top Value DK for this project.

I still wanted to incorporate a star into the final blanket, and be able to join as I go or else I’d loose the will to live sewing all the parts together. Fortunately I found a vintage blanket tile pattern by Annoo which could be turned into a join as you go module blanket tile by dropping the final round and modifying the corners from a 3dc cluster into a v-stitch cluster. I also decided to drop the colour change and worked out how to complete the joining round without breaking the yarn.

Unfortunately I found the starting change did not work for me. At first I didn’t understand why so increased it from 23 to 26 chains, placing my first dc into the 6th chain from the hook. It wasnt until I’d finished the third days tile that I realised what the problem had been… I’d read the pattern wrong.

The pattern title of had locked my brain into a traditional granny cluster placed in chain spaces, like a traditional granny square or stripe. So, using the original starting chain, I created clusters. This of course didn’t work out, resulting in a tight and uneven first and second rows. I checked back on the pattern, couldn’t see what I was doing wrong, so added the three chains and changed the first worked stitch, assuming that there was a typo.

I should have more patience, because I was not reading the pattern with due care and attention. Annie’s pattern is worked across stitches of the previous row, anchoring stitches rather than leaving them floating in chain spaces. This results in a slightly more ridged tile, though I dont think the over all size is affected.

My Vintage Granny Star Tile

By the time I’d realised what I’d done wrong I already had three tiles joined and weaved in all my ends and was not massively keen on frogging or just abandoning the yarn and starting again, particularly as I like the effect and the star doesn’t loose anything in its form. I have decided that at the end of every month I will block the blanket by pinning it out on the living room carpet, which is not something I did for last years Moon and Stars blanket as it should help with the overall shape of the final blanket.

Hopefully the pattern snafu will be the only problem this years project has, just like I hope one instance of open insurrection in the United states is the the worst thing we have have to deal with this year… though excuse me while I don’t hold my breath on either count.

Posted in Crochet | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting with the Elements – Water

Element – Water
Direction – West
Time – Sunset
Season – Autumn
Tarot – Cups
Tool – Cup / Cauldron
Elemental – Undine
Elemental King – Niksa
Colour – Blue
Tattva – Silver Crescent
Archangel – Gabriel

The element of water is the coolest and most relaxing of the elements. It is by the water we often find a sense of peace, be that in the roar of the ocean or the babbling of a brook. Water is represented in our physical bodies by our vital fluids, and of all the things that sustain us, it is water that we need the most. We can survive for days and weeks without food, unpleasant as it may be, but will last no more than three days with fluids to replenish us and should we lose sufficient blood quickly enough we can be dead in minutes.

Magically water is connected to the inner mind, to contemplation and inner wisdom. When deep levels of introspection are called for it is water that we are drawn to. Water also represents emotions, in all states from the still calm pool to the raging oceanans is also a powerful tool of cleansing the emotional and energetic bodies.

Water shapes the world around us, just as much as a quick and destructive fire or abrasive and howling wind, but in patience, only Earth can exceed it. The lesson of the water, most often told, is that water will wear away the mighty rock and this is something that we touch the edges of as we contemplate the sound of running water.

The most common way to represent water is by including a bowl of water on our altar but the particular tool of this element is the feminine chalice. Seashells, images of sea creatures, particular types of crystals and pictures of eagerly locations that particularly invoke the element for us are all ways to represent the element.

Manifesting Water in Our Lives

Prepare yourself an altar space in a location which you will see/pass on a daily basis. The predominant colours should be deep blue, green and perhaps grey with a single votive or pillar candle placed centrally. Around this place representations of the element of water, including magical tools such as a chalice and bowl of water where possible. Other things may include shells, water rocks, toys boats and images of things and places which your feel are particularly connected with the element of water.

Spend a little time at this altar each day, lighting the candle with a short invocation to water followed by one or more of the daily practices outlined below. Research something related to water each day, be that magical, esoteric or environment in nature, and journal your thoughts, knowledge and experiences.

Daily Practices

Here are a couple of daily practices which will help you feel more connected with the element of water.

“I call upon the power of Water, upon the cleansing flow of love and life. May I be cleansed, calmed and have peace of mind for all of my days.”

Pour yourself a fresh glass of water from any water source, though preferably not from bottled water, and slowly sip it whilst considering it’s importance to your life and the ways you encounterer water in your life day to day. Visualise the water glowing with a soft white glow and that light filling you as you drink it.

Try to spend some time outdoors with running water and spend sometime in quiet contemplatingn of it’s character. If this is not possible listen to a variety of water ambient noises such as waterfalls, brooks, rain and ocean sounds, and make a note of how each different type affects you emotionally and energetically.

Visualise the elemental triangle of water in your minds eye and meditate on the properties of water, it’s magical and esoteric associations and any associations you have with the element in particular. Allow thoughts and images to form in your mind, acknowledge them but allow then to pass without examining then too deeply, always returning to the central focus of the elemental triangle. If you are able to do so, form the elemental triangle using your hands and fingers for added emphasis. Recording your observations and impressions each day.

Elemental Ritual

At the end of your period of communication with the element of earth perform a final ritual to both thank the energies that you have worked with but also the objects on your altar before it is dismantled and replaced by the next elemental altar.

Light your central candle and invoke the element of Water for the final time.

“I call upon the power of Water, upon the cleansing flow of love and life. May I be cleansed, calmed and have peace of mind for all of my days.”

Reprise your favourite daily practice, be that one outlined above or that you developed yourself over the course of the week.

Say a short thank you for the insights you have receive and particular mention of any that felt particularly important to you.

Close by finally dismissing the energies by saying

“I thank you great powers of water, for your time and attention as I have worked with you energies. Even though we part may I be cleansed, calmed and have peace of mind for all of my days.”

Finally dismatle your elemental altar, making a final note in your journal as to which item you felt most connected to so that your can incorporate it into your final elemental altar.

Posted in Rituals & Rites | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2020 Picture Perfect

2020 has been one hell of a year – my other half read me a perfect description found in his news feed “it’s like checking both ways before crossing the road and being hit by a submarine”. Not much has worked out as planned despite all the best efforts.

My blanket for 2020 similarly hasn’t worked out. By the time I’d completed the square for the 25th December I called it quits. I could have carried on into early 2021 to get a full lunar year in but it was square and I’d had enough.

I have a plan for 2021 – and it isnt just to join in on the Attic24 crochet along starting in February. I’m going to follow my original instinct and make a blanket which just follows the moon phases, but still incorporates a star or two.

I don’t want to end my 6th year of blogging on a relative downer so I thought I would share something else that I have made in the last couple of weeks which are far more beautiful. I had a lot of Stylecraft yarn left over from my epic four landscapes harmony blanket and have used it up by making a series of self fastening scarves / long shawls with arm holes.

The colour way for Moorland somewhat matches the original Attic24 Moorland blanket and uses the same neat wave stitch. Heath was roughly colour matched to a picture of heath that I found online and uses a crisscross crochet stitch. Both scarves have sky colours above the arm holes to give the impression of a full landscape

I have just enough left for one more, which I am partway through. I have messed up the colour way a little but I’m hoping it will be a little like a purple heather patch surrounded by heath once it is done.

Whatever 2021 brings I hope we will continue to weather it together.

Posted in Crochet, Photo Inspiration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting with the Elements – Fire

© gatierf

Element – Fire
Direction – South
Time – Midday
Season – Summer
Tarot – Swords / Wands
Tool – Athame/ Candle
Elemental – Salamander
Elemental King – Djin
Colour – Red
Tattva – Red Triangle
Archangel – Michael

The element of Fire burns the brightest of all the elements, being emblematic of light in it’s most primitive form. If the earth is our body, air our breath and water our bodily fluids the fire represents the very spark of life within us all. It is an element of movement and momentum, never still, and one which infuses us with a sense of confidence and bravery.

Fire is also associated with creative and generative forces through it’s connection with the forge. Through fire and heat we are able to transform even the most resistant materials, turning them into entirely new materials. This process of transmutation is one that we can tap into in order to bring about change in our lives, with within and without, but it is not a process without danger.

Before being harnessed by primitive man fire was an element to be feared. Even after it’s domestication it is necessary to treat fire with the greatest respect. Able to bring both light and warmth, and all the comfort and safety these imply, Fire is also able to bring destruction and bites the hand that feeds it in the most horrific way.

Finally the light of Fire has a deeper esoteric meaning. A way of seeing through the darkest of nights fire becomes a representation of not only truth but of knowledge as well. Various esoteric cults, ancient and modern, hold fire as not only a manifestation of divinity but as representation of the sacred knowledge central to the cult itself.

Manifesting Fire in Our Lives

Elemental Altar

Prepare yourself an altar space in a location which you will see/pass on a daily basis. The predominant colours should be red, orange and yellow with a single votive or pillar candle placed centrally. Around this place representations of the element of fire, including magical tools such as the athame, additional candles and incense where possible. If you struggle to have an open flame or wish to supplement your altar include fire salt. Include metal objects, particularly bronze and copper, and incorporate images of things and places which your feel are particularly connected with the element of fire.

Spend a little time at this altar each day, lighting the candle with a short invocation to the fire followed by one or more of the daily practices outlined below. Research something related to the fire each day, be that magical, esoteric or environment in nature, and journal your thoughts, knowledge and experiences.

Daily Practices

Here are a couple of daily practices which will help you feel more connected with the element of fire.

“I call upon the power of Fire, upon the light of mind and soul. May I be protected, enlivened and spiritually awakened for all of my days.”

Light a candle and spend 10 minutes gazing into the flame. Allow your mind to relax and wander and if you find yourself receiving insights make a note of then in your journal.

Connect with the passion and creative/transformative forces of fire by feeding your passion for creativity. Do one thing a day which you feel passionate about, or which allows you to create something new.

Visualise the elemental triangle of fire in your minds eye and meditate on the properties of fire, it’s magical and esoteric associations and any associations you have with the element in particular. Allow thoughts and images to form in your mind, acknowledge them but allow then to pass without examining then too deeply, always returning to the central focus of the elemental triangle. If you are able to do so, form the elemental triangle using your hands and fingers for added emphasis. Recording your observations and impressions each day.

© Vicky Newton

Elemental Ritual

At the end of your period of communication with the element of earth perform a final ritual to both thank the energies that you have worked with but also the objects on your altar before it is dismantled and replaced by the next elemental altar.

Light your central candle and invoke the element of Fire for the final time.

“I call upon the power of Air, upon the breath of life and joy. May I be energized, inspired and granted clarity for all of my days.”

Reprise your favourite daily practice, be that one outlined above or that you developed yourself over the course of the week.

Say a short thank you for the insights you have receive and particular mention of any that felt particularly important to you.

Close by finally dismissing the energies by saying

“I thank you great powers of Fire, for your time and attention as I have worked with you energies. Even though we part may I be energized, inspired and granted clarity for all of my days.”

Finally dismatle your elemental altar, making a final note in your journal as to which item you felt most connected to so that your can incorporate it into your final elemental altar.

Posted in Magick, Rituals & Rites, Witchcraft | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment