Full Moon in Aquarius

Apologies for the spelling and formatting, I am still without the laptop but the moon hangs low and pregnant in the sky…

Sun Sign – Leo
Common Names – Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Wort Moon, Hay Moon
Element- Air
Colour – bright blue
Insense – Eucalyptus, rosemary, fennel, pine, fenugreek, violet, valerian.

Spell /Ritual Themes
– Friendship
– Politics
– Social Justice
– Developing talents
– Problem-solving
– Breaking bad habits

Social Justice Warrior Spells
Although I’ve talked about social justice before I have avoided posting spells because there are a couple of powerful and effective group spells which people can tap into. The Trump Binding Spell and Hands Off Laws Off spell, both by Michael M Hughs, are widely available and brilliant for tackling those larger issues and can be adapted to represent other politicians (I suggest an inverted Fool card for Boris Johnson btw). These are, however, finely tuned into American politics and women rights issues and might not relate to your own interests or concerns well. This spell is more generalised but easily coordinated across a larger group for any issue or concern.

Social Justice Empowerment Spell

You will need

  • A Candle
  • Anointing Oil
  • Peppermint Out sigil, logo or other image representing your cause of choice
  • Anything necessary for raising energy (music, space etc)

Lay out your components and establish your sacred space to allow you to raise and contain energy during this spell.

Place the anointed candle in front of or on the sigil/logo/image and light it saying.

I honour the mistakes we have made as a society, and I give thanks for the people and organisations which show us that light still remains and stand for an improving world.

I honour my power as a witch, and as a human being, to make a difference. I give thanks for the opportunity to make this difference and ((to the God/Goddess/Gods/Spirits/ Universe)) for the chance to be a faithful channel for the gifts that are given me.

Now begin to raise energy. This might be through meditation, dance, swearing or even primal screaming if you feel it’s appropriate. Your connection with the issue/cause is a personal one and there are lots of ways to raise energy but ensure you visualise it as a tangible and gathering force and be sure to visualise the energy going forth and bringing about positive and needed change in the world. When the energy reaches its peak direct it into the sigil/logo/image in a rush as a seal in with a dab of peppermint oil and the affirmation;

It is an energetic priority for me to help our society move in a positive direction.

Allow the candle to burn down and place any wax remains and the sigil/logo into a manifesting box/location of your choice.

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Sculptures from the Secret Museum: The Visual Anthropology of Phallic Worship – A Talk by Dr H Wickstead

Another lecture at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, this time Dr Helen Wickstead, Course Director of MA Museum and Gallery Studies at Kingston University, London. Helen has written widely on prehistoric archaeology, histories of archaeology, heritage and the relationships between archaeology and contemporary art amongst her many other achievements. She is currently working on a book entitled Phallus: A History of Archaeology and Sex which develops on her Welcome Trust funded research into prehistoric phalli in national and regional museum collections and the talk she gave on Wednesday revolved around one particular collection; the British Museum Secretum

Up front disclaimer – This was not a talk about phallic cult worship. Dr Wickstead was very clear that it isn’t possible to give a talk on this because, like the matriarchal cult of Margret Murray, it was entirely fabricated by the gentleman scholars of the early London Anthropological Society and the men behind the Secretum. As a pagan, I’m quite comfortable with this notion as I am long over the Margret Murray power of the matriarchal cult. 

That doesn’t mean to say that there is no connection between the world these men were doing and modern paganism. Beyond the obvious phallic connection, these men influenced perceptions of Stonehenge, people like Freud and Alistair Crowley and brought us the westernised version and concept of tantric sex which is still popular today.  

Origins of the British Museum Secretum

The exact date that the Secretum was established is unclear. The core items within the catalogue were gifted to the Museum by George Witt, Mayor of Bedford (1804–1869) and certain items were put on display in the 1830s. In particular, a collection of wax copies of votive offerings from a Catholic origin were displayed alongside an ancient Herme at Witts assistance. It is not clear exactly when the items were removed from public display and placed in the private cabinets but it was at some point in the 1860s, probably sometime between 1865 and 1866, the catalogue was formally recognised. The collection was opened up in 1991 and the best of the collection shared across the general catalogue and other museums across the country. Now all that remains is Cabinet 55, the repository of the unloved and unwanted items such as wax votive phallus’s, the out and out forgeries and a collection of scrapbooks, which have been the main focus of Dr Wickstead’s recent work. 

At first glance, the books look like a titillating collection of naughty images. Including both drawings and copies of objects both originally in the British Secretum and from others around Europe in addition to contemporary pornography photos which make little to no sense until you start to read the accompanying commentary and consider the men who were working with the collection and creating the scrapbooks.

Secrets Can Be a Good Thing

Dr Wickstead had three strong points that she made through out the presentation. 

Firstly, although the formalisation of the catalogue was a direct act of preservation with the passing of the Obscene Publications Act in 1847 it was not the only reason for the secret nature of the collection. Limiting knowledge of the collection to the select few gave a greater degree of control of how the artefacts were studied. The restricted nature meant that it could be made available to “men of taste and education” (in the words of the Museum of the time) and whilst this may be seen as gender restriction to a modern mindset it reflected not only the mentality of the men who were accessing the collection but to a degree the mindset of the society of the time.

Secondly, it was not just a store for the artefacts but represents a way of organising information and reproducing knowledge for peer review. The other side to the secret nature of the collection is that it creates a set of exclusive knowledge, to the extent that anyone wishing to publish and comment of the subjects relating to the collection who did not make reference to the collection could be called into question. 

Finally, whilst the anonymity of donors at the time obscured individuals and thus protected them but now it is a source of debate and discourse as modern scholars attempt to identify individuals who contributed to the collection and to the study of it. Like any good historical subject it will be possible to talk back and forth endlessly about who a particular set of initials or monogram belongs to and leads of course to other avenues of research. 

Men of Taste and Education

The British Museum on the 1800s felt that the collection should be available to those “men of taste and education”. Most of the men involved were founding members of the London Anthropological Society which hived off the Archaeological society after it voted to include women in their membership (because you can’t do this kind of science with women around), were pro-slavery, interested in sciences like Craniometry, were involved in some very shady stock market manipulation including dodgy deals involving South American railways and were all round dilettantes and homo-socialites (aka a rather touchy feely old boys club). 

These were men with a mission, to prove the existence of an ancient phallic cult, and the scrapbooks and collection were the way they were going to achieve it. 

The secret collection is undoubtedly contains very ancient examples of phallic imagery, including but not limited to the illustration of statues, herms etc but it also contained wax casts from Catholic phallic cults and the very best in 1800’s French pornography. The artists involved, in particular Edward Sellon also included art of their own.

The No So Ancient Phallic Cult

This ancient cult has as much historical reality as Margaret Murray’s prehistoric matriarchal society in truth and like Murray’s work had a great deal of influence on the evolution of the new age perception of phallic worship. 

Certainly in the case of the most ancient examples the emphasis behind the objects was an apoptotic impulse to avert evil, give the enemy a one eyed up yours and generally bring good luck into their lives. This is the masculine equivalent of the Sheela-na-gig, who’s graphics display is intended to do the same. 

This wasn’t the interpretation of the men of taste and education, and they put a lot of time and energy building up the evidence to support their own hypothesis. The result are the wonderfully illustrated and annotated scrapbooks, which were clearly never finished judging by the numbered but blank pages that remain. The art work represents incredible talent, and represents artefacts from around Europe both known and currently lost to the record. They also show the evolution of that early tantric movement and how sacred geometry influenced its development. 

Final Thoughts

All in all it was a very interesting discourse which was recorded for posterity. I found out at this event that the lectures at the Henry Moore Institute are usually recorded and the recordings are available via the research facilities at the Institute. I am not sure how one would access the catalogue, or indeed what exactly is included in the 20 or so years worth or recording, but it is good to know these interesting discourses have not been lost.

I have kept the post  safe for work in terms of image content so I’m not including actual pictures to illustrate the post. Here are some useful searches which will yield images.

Tintinnabulum
Priapus statues

You should also consider downloading Dr Wicksteads publication on academia.edu as it also contains images from the scrapbooks themselves and those are as rare as hen’s teeth on the internet.

Dr Wickstead was evasive as to when Phallus: A History of Archaeology and Sex will be ready for publication but if the article above is any indication it will be interesting to any pagan wishing to understanding where the phallic undertones of the modern pagan movement evolved from. 

 

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Hekate – Goddess of Witchcraft

Hekate moves in her own way.

After posting my opinion on Hekate as a Goddess of Witchcraft and that as such may be invoked for political reasons, thinking that I should write about Hekate as the Goddess of Witchcraft I found I was invited to give a talk to the members of Morley Moon in West Yorkshire on Hekate as the Goddess of Witchcraft.

I am not the worlds greatest speaker, but what I lack in presentation skills I make up for in passion and research so I always make my notes and materials available after a talk in the form of a post. So without further ado I will skip the usually introductory preamble about Her origin, parentage and other interesting information and get right into the heart of the matter. 

Goddess of Witchcraft

The association of Hekate, Witches and the practice of Witchcraft does not begin with the capering of Shakespeare’s Witches but her appearance in the Renaissance classic has certainly gone a long way to filter the modern imagination about this role. In the sources she has always had an association with Crossroads, graveyards and caves as passageways to the underworld. Her association with witchcraft really began with the Roman Empire but even in the older Greek myths she was associated with herbs, both creative and baneful, and the women that practiced these arts. Some of these women were healers and midwives, others were witches and sorceresses, but their stories all add to the tapestry which is shows Hekate as the Goddess of Witchcraft. 

Circe

“ She [the witch Kirke] sprinkled round about her evil drugs and poisonous essences, and out of Erebos and Chaos called Nox (Night) and the Di Nocti (Gods of Night) and poured a prayer with long-drawn wailing cries to Hecate. The woods (wonder of wonders!) leapt away, a groan came from the ground, the bushes blanched, the spattered sward was soaked with gouts of blood, stones brayed and bellowed, dogs began to bark, black snakes swarmed on the soil and ghostly shapes of silent spirits floated through the air.”

Ovid in his Metamorphose book 10 

Circe (or Kirke) is described by Diodorus Siculus in the 1st century BCE as the daughter of Hekate and King Aeetes and was a sorceress renowned for her familiarity with powerful spells and magic. As indicated by the opening text she was said to have employed baleful plants in her spells, as well as conjurations and invocations to Hekate and as the aunt of Medea, who we will cover next, it is often implied that she learned them from Hekate herself. 

The most famous portrayal of Circe is as the ruler of a magical island encountered by the hero Odysseus in his long journey home. Circe, ruler of her own house and island, was distrustful of men and would transform any that strayed onto her island home into pigs. Odysseus was able to avoid that fate by threatening Circe, causing her to drop her potions and return all the remaining pigs back in to men. Circe’s other role in the Odyssey, and the reason for his visit to the island beyond the interesting diversion in of taking Circe as his lover, is to instruct Odysseus on using a particular Oracle of the Dead, a necessity should the Hero wish to discover the cause of his misfortunes. Again, the knowledge of how to use this Oracle has been given to Circe by Hekate, touching I the necromancy that is often associated with Her. 

Medea

Following the Diodorus Siculus genealogy Medea is Hekate’s second daughter by Aeetes, though others which place Circe and Aeetes as brother and sisters with Helios as the divine parent of Circe make Medea her niece. In either case Medea is described as having received her knowledge of herbs, magic and necromancy directly from Hekate. Reading from Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica; 

“[Argos, nephew of Medea, to the Argonauts:] ’There is a girl [Medea] living in Aeetes’ palace whom the goddess Hekate has taught to handle with extraordinary skill all the magic herbs that grow on dry land or in running water. With these she can put out a raging fire, she can stop rivers as they roar in spate, arrest a star, and check the movement of the sacred moon.”

Like Circe, Medea has an encounter with a Hero of Greece but whereas Circe has a sweet encounter with Odysseus which ended peacefully Medea’s tale is much longer and ends in tragedy and betrayal. Medea is often presented as the villain of the piece, a foreigner woman with knowledge of sorcery and baneful herbs, though all she does is through love of Jason. First she aids him in his search for the Golden Fleece by giving him magical instruction and potions to overcome the guardians of the Fleece. 

“[Medea prays to Hekate]: And yet I wish he [Jason] had been spared. Yes Sovran Lady Hekate, this is my prayer. Let him live to reach his home.” “[Medea to Jason:]There, kill a ewe and after heaping up a pure over the pit, sacrifice it whole, with a libation of honey from the hive and prayers to Hekate, Perses’ only daughter (mounogenes). Then, when you have invoked the goddess duly, withdraw from the pyre.”

Then she joins the Argonauts in the reminder of their quest on the condition that he marry her. The journey starts in misfortune, with death of Medea’s brothers leading to the voyage home being cursed with a similar his fortune to that experienced by Odysseus in the Odyssey. Like Odysseus the couple and their companions visit Circe and her island as they attempt to release a miasma associated with their escape. 

The Witches of Thessaly 

Thessaly is a land long associated with Sorcery and Witchcraft with the association beginning with Medea herself. On returning to Jason’s home she is said to have rejuvenated the life of Jason’s aged father through her knowledge of planets and magic and from here the image of Thessaly being associated with pharmaka and witchcraft grew and grew. 

The Greek word Pharmakis and Latin word Venefica both mean witchcraft or witch. The names are applied to both men and women who, according to the sources, are approached by  men of power to predict or influence the outcome of mundane affairs of war and politics. Here are many references to seers and witches throughout Latin classical writings but the most well known appear in the works of Horace and Apuleius. The seeress Erictho was said to both skilled and fearsome in her abilities, and though she aids the great men that approach her aid is not pleasant in nature, involving necromancy and corpses. More often than not these writers describe acts of magic taking place in the graveyard or upon a recent battlefield where death is fresh and strong. 

Whilst they are treated with respect they are also treated with fear, though the physical descriptions used are not always the most flattering possible. It is from the Roman authors that the a-typical image of the crone and hag emerge in association with Witchcraft. The fear of the power of the Witches of Thessaly was extended into a fear of their appearance. 

The Witches of Thessaly are associated with Hekate through a number of different links, none more recognisable that the ritual of Drawing Down the Moon. As a lunar Goddess and part of the Trivia-Diana, and her own role as a Goddess of Witchcraft Hekate is said to have taught the ritual to Her Priestess Medea when then passed it on to the Witches of Thessaly, and indeed this ability was seen as a trademark of a Which from Thessaly, or of someone who had trained under one. The author of the Argonautica suggests that by drawing the moon from the sky was an attempt by the Witch to work her craft hidden from mortal sight whereas Sarah Iles Johnston suggests in her book Restless Dead that the act of drawing the moon closer to the earth was to aid their search for herbs and plants during the full moon.

As Selene cries to the Hekate’s priestess Medea in the Argonautica

`How many times … have you [the witch Medea ] disturbed me with your incantations, making the night moonless so that you might practise your beloved witchcraft undisturbed.”

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.55

Gale and Galinthias

Gale the Witch is referred to by Aelian in his book On Animals as “a dealer in spells and a sorceress (Pharmakis)” describing her as being “incontinent” in nature (that is….) and holding if abnormal sexual desires. For her transgressions against her Goddess and her sex, she was transformed into a land-marten or polecat, an animal Aelian describes as evil.

Antoninus Liberalis refers to another Polecat in his book, Metamorphoses. Galinthias the Nurse was punished by Hera and the Moiria after she distracted their efforts to withhold childbirth from Alkmene, mother of Herakles. As in this transformation Galinthias is described as being forced to live in dark crannies, mating in “grotesque” ways as “she is mounted through the ears and gives birth by bringing forth her young through the throat” though this is probably better taken as misunderstandings of how polecat carry their young from one place to another. After her transformation, according to Antoninus Liberalis, Galinthias is taken by Hekate as a sacred animal. 

Both of these women are Pharmakis, concerned with magic spells and childbirth and are linked to Hekate in their punishment for transgressions against the Gods. Both writers portray the creature, and by extension the transformed women, in a very negative light, making much of the pungent musk of the animal, its preference for small dark places and its polygamous nature. This is consistent with other cultural interpretations of an animal sometimes known as the fowlcat. 

PGM and Curse Tables

In addition to the characters of the myths and legends there is the archaeological and literary evidence of Hekate being invoked as part of magical practices. 

The Green Magical Papyri or PGM are a collection of magical spells representing a blending of Greek, Egyptian and Chaldean magical practices and beliefs compiled between the 1st cen BCE and 2nd cen CE. They are best described as the magical manual of a jobbing sorcerer and represent both his interests and the interests of his customers. Operations for increasing magical power, love curses, binding spells etc fill the papyrus fragments but relevant to today’s discussion are the 14 spells which invoke Hekate either directly, by epithet or in conflation with another Goddess including Selene, Persephone and Demeter. 

The operations are largely referred to as being ‘necromancy” because they involve the death of an offering, in one case a cat in order to create an idol/talisma dedicated to a conflated deity known as Hermekate, or binding the spirits of the dead to enact spells such as love bindings, curses of sickness and slander. There are also spells that are intended to avert evil and death as well as to ensure victory. one interesting instructs the magician on how to coerce a goddess bearing two torches, implied to be either Hekate or Persephone but only named through epithet, to fulfil a petition by extinguishing her torches and promising to re-light them on delivering the desired outcome. Operations are either to be conducted at the graveside, and often the remains of spells, including lead tablets, are discovered in the graves of people who died violently or very young, presumably before they could fulfil socially accepted norms such as marriage and child bearing. These spirits are particularly associated with Hekate and are referred to as the Restless Dead.

Come, Hekate, of the three ways, you who with your fire-breathing phantoms oversee the dreaded paths and harsh enchantments. Come Hekate, I invoke you with those who have untimely perished and those heroes who have died wifeless and childless, whose souls hiss wildly with yearning hearts.”

Excerpt PGM IV 2708-2784  (2714-2734)

The anger and force behind those unfulfilled souls are part of the power behind these spells. 

Another example of Hekate appearing in magical operations are in relation to curse tablets or defixio’s. These spells are usually incised on a sheet of lead, which was rolled up and usually hammer through with at least one nail, presumably the same one used to inscribe the spell. The spell was then placed in a sacred or liminal space such as a well or hot spring, as is the case in Bath, in graves or in the walls of a temple in much the same way petitioners to the Western Wall in Jerusalem are known to do.

 

A Greek example of a curse tablet can be found in a curse excavated from the burial of a young woman from Piraeus in Greece which calls forth curses upon Demetrios and Phanagora “…in blood and in ashes, with all the dead, Nor will the next four-year cycle release you.” The pair appear to have been tavenkeepers and were possibly business rivals of the people casting the curse, which calls uping Hekate Chthonia and Hermes Chthonios and in addition to a binding calls down bad luck in gambling games, a mainstay of alehouses throughout the ages. 

The Bologna Defixio invokes the Mother of Witches, depicted as a snake haired figure, to bind a man called Porcellus who is portrayed as being bound and mummified beneath her feet. Part of the curse reads “Destroy, crush, kill, strangle Porcello and wife Maurilla. Their soul, heart, buttocks, liver …” and it indicates that Porcellus was a veterinarian of some kind so it may be possible that he was responsible for the death of an important animal, this causing the hatred of the creator of the Defixio. 

“Hekate Brimo . . . hearing his words from the abyss, came up . . . She was garlanded by fearsome snakes that coiled themselves round twigs of oak; the twinkle of a thousand torches lit the scene; and hounds of the underworld barked shrilly all around her.”

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 1194 ff :

Curse tablets represent the magical will of everyday people within the Roman Empire, more so than the PGM in some ways. Lead was a cheap and readily available material which could be easily worked by anyone who was literate and the spells don’t appear to have involved costly offerings of incense or other forms of sacrifice. The lead also offered an apparently imperishable surface. Even if the petition could afford papyrus and parchment it would fade and degrade over time, weakening the efficiency of the spell. Even if the person for whom the tablet was created wasn’t literate and it could be written by a magician or priest with the words and imagery of the client will have been incorporated in to standard magical forms. 

Final Musings

In addition to talking about the women and practice of ancient times I also covered subjects like Deipion, the various forms of Hekate’s Might (one of which is referenced to in my post “The Rite of Heakte” and others which I will pick a part in another post), and my own personal practices such as the Ephesian Compass and I talked about the various modern groups which constitute the modern Heketean Community. We also talked about Hekate’s relationship with the Moon, Spirits and Daemon’s of the air and sublunar realm and using scrying with bones and building relationships with spirits. All of these elements build, layer upon layer, with other things unmentioned in any depth to confirm the Hekate as a Goddess of Witchcraft; to the discomfort of many, particularly those who feel uncomfortable with the idea that both Hekate and Witchcraft are political in nature.

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Summer Solstice 2019

June has been a funny month both in terms of my posting schedule and the weather. Weeks of rain has finally let up and we’ve managed to get a good weekend of sunshine and warm weather just in time for Solstice.

To celebrate the season and the improved weather we took a trip out to The Forbidden Corner, a magical labyrinth located in the wilds of Yorkshire, which started life as a modern, privately owned folly, belonging to Mr C.R. Armstrong CMG, OBE. The park and garden is a 4 acre spread of tunnels, chamber, turrets and torments to delight the old and young alike. From the lofty towers of the folly to the deepest pits of the underworld the garden is lovingly scupltured to boggle the mind and have you going round and round in circles. The attraction is always growing, and since I last visited a whole new folly and mausoleum / haunted house have been added to possible finds.

© Victoria Newton

© Victoria Newton

© Victoria Newton

© Victoria Newton

© Victoria Newton

© Victoria Newton

© Victoria Newton

© Victoria Newton

Seasons blessing to you this Solstice, regardless of the hemisphere in which you reside. May the wheel ever turn in your favour.

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Full Moon in Capricorn

I am a little out of order with my postings after my midweek post on Hekate and being uber keen on posting my basic spell pouch crochet pattern and somehow managed to forget all about my full moon post. I suppose its better late than never.

Full Moon in Capricorn

Sun Sign – Cancer
Common Names – Strawberry Moon, Hot Moon, Mead Moon Rose Moon.
Element– Earth
Colour – dark green, dark blue, indigo
Insense – Myrrh, rosemary, chamomile, mullein, patchouli, marjoram.

Spell /Ritual Themes

  • Career
  • Promotion
  • Planning
  • Restructuring
  • Success

Road Unblocking Spell for Most Purposes

  • Citrus fruit *
  • White Candle (or colour to match your purpose)
  • Incense to your purpose
  • Petition on paper
  • Fire proof bowl and incense (frankincense or appropriate to purpose)

* minimum of four fruits, to be juiced and added to water as a wash. If you are having a bath you will conversely need more fruit. You can use any citrus fruit but try to weight the fruit toward the lemon and lime side as the sharper scents and tastes will ‘wake up’ your energies.

Citrus Fruit

Gather your spell items and set them out, already having written out your petition as a statement or as a sigil. It should represent either a situation which has become blocked or a particular block that needs removing.

Mix the citrus juice and water, stirring in a clockwise direction to activate and open the situation. Include a visualiation of your situation easig and/or the blockage being removed. Now either bathe filly or wash in the water making sure to wash your hands, feet and face. Allow your skin to airdry whilst you perform the rest of the spell – if you are very sticky wash off at the end otherwise try and leave it for as long as possible.

Annoint your candle with an oil appropriate to your purpose. Road Opening or Command and Conquer oil are the most commonly used but you may want to be specific to your situation. You can make a basic Road Opening oil by infusing a base oil with allspice, liquorice root and peppermint essential oil.

Light your incense and candle, invoking either deity or personal power, for example

I call on Hekate of the Crossroads, Mistress of Keys and Guardian of Gateways. Hear my petition and grant me guidance and aid in my time of need.

State petition as written on paper or explain the situation in simple terms.

Here I stand, at the crossroads of life, and all ways are closed to me but it will open at my command. All that hinders and harms my cause, before. All that serves me not, depart. By my word and deed the way is clear. Come to me o Keeper of Mysteries and reveal to me the way.

Alternativly

Here I stand, at the crossroads of life, and all the ways are closed to me.

State petition as written on paper or explain it in simple terms.

The road is closed, but it will open at my command. All that hinders and harms my cause, before. All that serves me not, depart. By my word and deed the way is clear.

Regardless of the invocation fold the petition paper three times away from you and visualise your way clear. Light the paper from the candle and allow to burn down safely.

Dispose in running water of if it is safe to do so, take the ashes and a coin down to a local crossroads and leave it in an out of the way place.

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

Crochet Pattern – Basic Spell Pouch

The school holidays have been and gone and it was my turn to herd the children for the (very long) week they were out in the wild. The weather was not great, and I don’t drive, so we spent quite a bit of time at home so I employed them in tidying up their own messes around the house. This included taking apart our sofa storage to clean out all the illicit food rappers and the like and in the process of which I assessed my yarn stash. It turned out that it included a bushel of double-knit cottons in rainbow colour from when I made spell pouches for a friend a few years back and was inspired.

Although I could remember the pattern I’d previously used I wanted to try something a little different but despite looking for patterns on Ravelry (the first rule of crochet) but nothing inspired and I didn’t find anything which I wanted to adapt (the second rule of crochet) so I started scrolling through Google images for ideas for inspiration in the hope I could come up with something myself. This is always my final resort because I don’t particularly consider myself an inspire freestyle hooker but the search made me realise that a pouch made of two flat circles stitches together with a drawstring for closing and neck wear was a simple pattern that even I could come up with. Having worked a couple up I decided the finished item looked swish enough to write up and share the pattern.

Basic Spell Pouch Pattern

This pattern is worked in a spiral until large enough but I have written the instructions for 7 rounds using double knit cotton and a 3mm hook. This makes a nice sized pouch for wearing around neck or hanging around home or altar and is big enough to accept a medium size tumbled stone, paper sigil, herbs and other assorted small curios. You could, in theory, use any size yarn and continue increasing to create a pouch of any size but regardless of the yarn you use I recommend using a hook at least one size smaller than recommended to ensure a tight tension to ensure integrity of content.

Stitches Used

MC – magic circle (aka magic ring)

Ss- slip stitch

Sc – single crochet

Increase – 2sc in the same stitch

Fsc – foundationless single crochet

Make 2

Basic Spell Pouch.png

Copyright Vicky Newton

Round 1 MC and sc 6 times do not join. (6)

R2 increase x6 (12)

R3 Sc, increase (18)

R4 2sc, increase (24)

R5 3sc, increase (30)

R6 4sc, increase (36)

R7 5sc, increase (42) ss in the next stitch.

Fasten off and sew in ends.

Put the two sides wrong sides together and using contrasting colour sc around the outer edge leaving at least 10 un-worked stitches but do not tie off. Work each side separately sc around evenly and ss to join. I tend to put a sc into the top of the first stitch of the joining round to close everything off neatly. If you want a heavier chain for the pouch to fasten off here, sew in the ends and skip the drawstring instructions.

To create a drawstring continue a second round – Ch1 and sc into the same stitch. (Ch1, skip a stitch, sc) evenly around and ch1 and ss into the top of the first sc to end. Fasten off

Crochet a chain long enough to go around the neck and tie off, leaving enough length to allow for sewing through the drawstring and the ends together if desired. You can thread it all the way around or just the front, which is my preference as it is sufficiently sealed but lies flat.

**

For a heavier chain with right side facing attach the contrasting thread (leaving enough free for sewing) to one corner of the pouch neck to allow you to fsc chain to the appropriate length. When done fasten with enough length for sewing and attach to the opposite side of the pouch neck securely.  You can either leave the pouch open or add a button or ties to give it some even of security.

You can download a pdf copy of the pattern using the link below

Basic Spell Pouch

You can also add the pattern to your Ravelry queue and find some of my other patterns.

All my patterns are free for use and you are welcome to sell finished items but you may not sell the pattern itself. If you would like to share the pattern please make sure you you link back to this original post in addition to keeping the pdf’s copyright notice intact.

Posted in Crochet, Magick, Witchcraft | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Will the one true Hekate please stand up?

Pathos writers are at it again. Pagan Voices has written a strong post about their interpretation of Hekate, in the process made some statements about Hekate’s feelings on how she is seen. A number of community leaders have responded, some rather eloquently. I particularly liked Christopher Penczak’s play on the Buddhist concept entitled “If you meet Hekate on the Road – Kill Her?”.

I’m going to add my two penneth, not because I am one of the ‘priestesses and mentors’ mentioned by Pagan Voices, but because I am an opinionated mare with a thought to share. It’s a subject I have thought long and hard, and if I can share it once I am willing to share it again. You can read it all or skip to the TLDR at the end of this post.

The One True Hekate

How do we know if we are truly connecting with Hekate? This is the core question being raised by the community, and whether or not that was the intent of Pagan Voices it is worthy of examination. When working with any form of spirit or Godform the potential to be misleading but tricksy spirits are there.

“Hekas, Hekas, Este Bebeloi – Far, far be removed ye profane”

A good magical practice will guard against such things because it will clear out energies that may interfere with magical working and invoking of deity. It is also good practice to request clarity and confirmation. If we were speaking of working with the dead or other spirits the word we would be talking of “challenge” but that might not be as polite or politic when working with deity. The language and tone may change but the intent remains the same.

Know your Gnosis

Even then, is it is impossible to know if what we encounter is the one true (TM) Hekate as encountered by our ancient predecessors. Gods change like people do, albeit more slowly, according to how we as humans interpret them. We can read and interpret the documentation left to us but these are nowhere close to being a full record of either shared or personal gnosis. Even then, the researcher’s bane is the tendency and trap of twisting information to fit a personal opinion and choosing to exclude all other interpretations out of hand. Jason Miller, in response, states that revelation and research should be kept separate and I agree with him. It is something to be celebrated when they match but we must avoid twisting research to fit experience (or visa versa).

At the end of the day, it’s a healthy thing to have clearly defined beliefs and it is human nature to try and define, own and propagate our interpretation of deity, particularly when we feel strongly about one point or another. For example, I hate the MMC concept as a whole and Hekate’s placement within it as a Crone particularly. I can and will make convincing arguments as to why the MMC sucks big time and/or why Hekate better fits the role of Maiden in the Eleusinian Mysteries. But these should not bind us, not blind us to the experiences of others.

The Fourth Face

The other thing I want to refer to is the phenomena which I like to call the “fourth face“. As mere humans, we can only comprehend so much of deity and they will appear to us in ways we can understand. That doesn’t mean all the other layers and faces don’t exist, and just as we should avoid writing off peoples UPG we shouldn’t write off the aspects of Hekate that don’t manifest for us. Continuing the example I can confidently state that in 8+ years Hekate has never presented to me as Crowley’s hate-filled and jealous crone but that’s not to say that people have never encountered her as such, not that I might encounter her in this guise at some stage.

This forth face has a second implication for the discussion at hand; that we should be wary of attempting to force our UPG on to others as the one true way for all to follow. This is really is what Pagan Voices comes off as attempting to do with their post, though to be generous they may have been attempting to provoke thought rather than various community bears.

There are a lot of BNP providing ways, means and methods to connect with practices through Hekate, and even Hekate herself, and they are very unique when they are compared against one another. I can see how it could raise the question as to how we know if we are truly connecting with Hekate. Equally, I can also see how it would provoke the fixed on mind into a frenzy and result in a little kickback against the various streams of “branding”. One provokes conversation the other sows seeds of confusion and dissension.

Our Behaviour

We are all responsible for the way we behave and communicate and personally think it’s a weak argument to claim that you are speaking for any deity. Unless you are channelling at that moment the only person you are speaking for is yourself because you have something to say.

I don’t expect us all to be meek and humble but an attitude of “this is my interpretation and this is my basis for it” followed by “hey that sounds interesting but I can’t see it myself” is far better for us as individual practitioners and the community at large in the long run. This is especially true if it is paired with diligent research and personal practice which is open and inclusive to other practices. It is certainly more preferable to the “my way or the highway” attitude, which only limits personal and spiritual growth.

Of course, we are all human, and it is easy to get blinkered when it is a subject we care deeply about but if we remember to check ourselves and stay open to other experiences and opinions we can be more aware of our own practices.

TLDR: we can’t truly know if we are connecting now an authentic and historical form of Hekate. We can try and seek confirmation, spiritual and historical, but must remember that the U in UPG stands for unverified, not universal.

Posted in Hekate, Musings, Rant | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments