Monday, 4 August 2014

Under Spell

Figure 1- Witch by Viviana Gomez
Every Friday night coming to completion on a full moon, throw salt on an open fire with your right hand while speaking these words:  
"It is not salt I turn to fire , but the heart of the man/woman I seek.  Let him/she have no peace of mind until he/she come to me".
This spell must be cast three times on each occasion. On the third occasion the wording should be altered slightly to: 
"It is not the salt I turn to fire, but the heart of the man/woman I seek. He/she shall have no peace of mind until he/she come to me".

With this spell, the love of your life sought usually appears within a few weeks. (12)
A good friend of mine started a new job as an assistant. She basically has to do what many assistants do: greet and assist clients with bookings and re-arranging appointments. Nothing strange about that except for the fact that her boss is a witch.
My friend is very happy with her new job and always is telling me with enthusiasms how fascinating is all that world of witchcraft, beside you are a believer or not. So joking I asked her if she has to wear pointing hats or black dresses to go for work. Of course she hasn't but we all have that stereotype image of an ugly woman flying in her scrum or dancing around a pot preparing a potion with an evil spell. They got a better reputation after the popular Harry Potter and we love to decorate our house and office with their images in Halloween. Witchcraft and its associated ideas are never far from the surface of popular consciousness and—sustained by folk tales—find explicit focus from time to time in popular television and films and in fiction. [1] But, could  be possible their existence in the past and, even more intriguing , today ? What is real and what is fantasy behind this mythic figure that we usually called "witches"?

I resorted to the dictionary to start with a good definition and I found that a witch is a person who practices witchcraft, the exercise or invocation of alleged supernatural powers to control people or events, practices typically involving sorcery or magic. (1) That sounds pretty cool, but in the past witches were far from being cool at all. The intensity of these bad fame is best represented by the European witch-hunts of the 14th to 18th century, and even in the bible where the punishment of witchcraft is mention to be death.
However magic was not always frowned. Early converts to Christianity looked to Christian clergy to work magic more effectively than the old methods under Roman paganism, and Christianity provided a methodology involving saints and relics, similar to the gods and amulets of the Pagan world. As Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe, its concern with magic lessened.[2]
Saint Boniface declared in the 8th century that belief in the existence of witches was un-Christian. The emperor Charlemagne decreed that the burning of supposed witches was a pagan custom that would be punished by the death penalty. In 820 the Bishop of Lyon and others repudiated the belief that witches could make bad weather, fly in the night, and change their shape. This denial was accepted into Canon law until it was reversed in later centuries as the witch-hunt gained force.  Other rulers such as King Coloman of Hungary declared that witch-hunts should cease because witches (more specifically, strigas) do not exist.
Subsequently, the Protestant Christian explanation for witchcraft, such as those typified in the confessions of the Pendle witches, commonly involves a diabolical pact or at least an appeal to the intervention of the spirits of evil. The witches or wizards engaged in such practices were alleged to reject Jesus and the sacraments; observe "the witches' sabbath" (performing infernal rites that often parodied the Mass or other sacraments of the Church); pay Divine honour to the Prince of Darkness; and, in return, receive from him preternatural powers. Witches were most often characterized as women. Witches disrupted the societal institutions, and more specifically, marriage. It was believed that a witch often joined a pact with the devil to gain powers to deal with infertility, immense fear for her children's well-being, or revenge against a lover.

Figure 2  Representation of Sabbat gatherings from the chronicles of Johann Jakob Wick.
Witch-hunts first appeared in large numbers in southern France and Switzerland during the 14th and 15th centuries. The peak years of witch-hunts in southwest Germany were from 1561 to 1670.[3] Current scholarly estimates of the number of people executed for witchcraft vary between about 40,000 and 100,000.[4] The total number of witch trials in Europe known for certain to have ended in executions is around 12,000.[5]
And finally is good to mention one of the most famous witch hunt in North America. Between February 1692 and May 1693, in the colonial Massachusetts, United State, the most infamous trails were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in Salem Town. The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft. The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, most of them women. (11)
Form a triangle with the three blue candles, a bit apart from one another. Inscribe the name of the person you plan to heal on the candles. Light the candles and concentrate on peace, health, and positive energy. Recite the following incantation while looking at the candle flame:
Healing light, shining bright,

Let this sickness flee in fright!

With harm to none including me,

I cast this spell, so mote it be.
Repeat this incantation three times. Once you've finished, let the candles burn out while you meditate. Visualize seeing the person as healthy, happy, and whole. (12)
But witches far from disappeared  (or never existed considering that all past accusation of witchcraft was false), today they are walking among us. You might controvert or not the possibility of magic itself but the fact is that there are groups that adopted witchcraft as something real. Someone could be doing a spell against you at this very moment if they are belong to some of the following groups:

Wicca: The first Neopagan groups to publicly appear, during the 1950s and 60s, were Gerald Gardner's Bricket Wood coven and Roy Bowers' Clan of Tubal Cain. They operated as initiatory secret societies. [10] During the 20th century, interest in witchcraft in English-speaking and European countries began to increase, inspired particularly by Margaret Murray's theory of a pan-European witch-cult originally published in 1921, since discredited by further careful historical research.[6] Interest was intensified, however, by Gerald Gardner's claim in 1954 in Witchcraft. Today that a form of witchcraft still existed in England. Wiccan writings and ritual show borrowings from a number of sources including 19th and 20th-century ceremonial magic, the medieval grimoire known as the Key of Solomon, Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis and pre-Christian religions.[7][8][9] Both men and women are equally termed "witches." They practice a form of duotheistic universalism. Since Gardner's death in 1964, the Wicca that he claimed he was initiated into has attracted many initiates, becoming the largest of the various witchcraft traditions in the Western world, and has influenced other Neopagan and occult movements.

Stregheria: is an Italian witchcraft religion popularised in the 1980s by Raven Grimassi, who claims that it evolved within the ancient Etruscan religion of Italian peasants who worked under the Catholic upper classes. Modern Stregheria closely resembles Charles Leland's controversial late-19th-century account of a surviving Italian religion of witchcraft, worshipping the Goddess Diana, her brotherDianus/Lucifer, and their daughter Aradia. Leland's witches do not see Lucifer as the evil Satan of Christian myth, but a benevolent god of the Sun and Moon. The ritual format of contemporary Stregheria is roughly similar to that of other Neopagan witchcraft religions such as Wicca. The pentagram is the most common symbol of religious identity. Most followers celebrate a series of eight festivals equivalent to the Wiccan Wheel of the Year, though others follow the ancient Roman festivals. An emphasis is placed on ancestor worship.

Feri Tradition: is a modern witchcraft practice founded by Victor Henry Anderson and his wife Cora. It is an ecstatic tradition which places strong emphasis on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. Most practitioners worship three main deities; the Star Goddess, and two divine twins, one of whom is the blue God. They believe that there are three parts to the human soul, a belief taken from the Hawaiian religion of Huna as described by Max Freedom Long.

So believe or not, witches, or people claiming to be one, are still among us. Not only dressed up in fancy custom during Halloween or in Disney movies, but in a new modern version and practising their own potions, rituals and spells in the belief to control events for good or for bad. And they still followed by enthusiastic fans or rejected with violence by intolerant. Loved and feared. Embraced and denied. May be what we have to discover is not if witches are real or not, but how deep in our collective unconscious and how strong the history of our cultures make us to believe in the possibility that they exist and even more, that theirs powers could work.
Whenever you find a coin on the floor, step on it and say,
"Money on the floor, money at the door."
Then pick it up and put it in your pocket. (12)
A simple money spell and rituals that might help to increase the overall prosperity in our lives. I it found very handy as I am always finding coins around my house. If you try it, please let me know if it worked for you.

August 4, 2014 - Viviana Gomez
Figure 3 The Iron Maiden Witch by Banished-shadow on deviantART

Notes, Resources and Bibliography
1.                   Witchcraft - Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2013-06-29
2.                    Maxwell-Stuart, P. G. (2000) "The Emergence of the Christian Witch" in History Today, Nov, 2000.
3.                  H.C. Erik Midelfort, Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany 1562–1684,1972,71
4.                    Brian Levack (The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe) multiplied the number of known European witch trials by the average rate of conviction and execution, to arrive at a figure of around 60,000 deaths. Anne Lewellyn Barstow(Witchcraze) adjusted Levack's estimate to account for lost records, estimating 100,000 deaths. Ronald Hutton (Triumph of the Moon) argues that Levack's estimate had already been adjusted for these, and revises the figure to approximately 40,000.
5.                    "Estimates of executions" Based on Ronald Hutton's essay Counting the Witch Hunt.
6.                  Rose, Elliot, A Razor for a Goat, University of Toronto Press, 1962. Hutton, Ronald, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1993. Hutton, Ronald, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, Oxford University Press, 1999.
7.                    Hutton, R.,The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, Oxford University Press, pp. 205–252, 1999.
8.                   Kelly, A.A., Crafting the Art of Magic, Book I: a History of Modern Witchcraft, 1939–1964, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 1991.
9.                   Valiente, D., The Rebirth of Witchcraft, London: Robert Hale, pp. 35–62, 1989.
10.                Gardner, Gerald (1936), Keris and other Malay Weapons, Singapore:. (1954), Witchcraft Today, Rider.  (1959), The Meaning of Witchcraft. The Story of the famous Witches Museum at Castletown, Isle of Man (guidebook). Heselton, Philip (2000). Wiccan Roots. Capall Bann. ISBN 978-1-86163-110-7.
11.                Jackson, Shirley (1956), The Witchcraft of Salem Village, Random House, ISBN 0-394-89176-7
12.                Everything Under the Moon -

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