Friday, January 31, 2014

Between the Realms

Cornish Myth and Magic by Cheryl Straffon
In this exploration of the Cornish Celtic Otherworld, Cheryl Straffon expertly guides us through a realm of traditional tales, stories, myths, legends and folklore wherein we encounter supernatural beings, such as fairies, piskeys, mermaids, witches, giants and other strange creatures.

Between the Realms examines the writings of the folklorist collectors, and oral traditions born from the prehistoric sacred landscape of Cornwall.

Cheryl explains how, in this material, we find themes and narratives strikingly similar to those encountered within much earlier works that refer to beliefs and events that were current in the ancient past. In turn we find that Celtic sagas and mythic tales seem to exhibit the same way of interfacing with the world of magic and spirit as seen in the beliefs and practices of many native indigenous peoples from around the world.

As Cheryl tells us in her introduction to this book, ‘It is a realm that has some similarities to our own, but one that is also strangely unfamiliar. It is a dangerous world to enter, but nevertheless one that can give new insights and experiences that change our world view when we return to our mundane world.’


Pagination: 152 pages, illustrated with line drawings by Gemma Gary and with black & white photo plates.



1: Rituals and Rites at Cornish Sites

2: Shamans and Druids

3: The Fairy Lands

4: Piskey-led: Lost in the Mists of Time                             

5: The Cornish Otherworld

6: Celtic Totem Animals

7: Mermaids and Sea Goddesses

8: Faces in the Rocks, Spirits in the Stones

9: When Giants Strode the Land

10: Songlines: Legends in the Landscape

11: Celtic Goddesses and Gods

12: Riding a Stem of Ragwort

13: The Arthurian Realms

14: Saints and Serpents

15: Other Realms, Other Realities

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Witches Herbal

by Michael Howard

“Throughout human history the often secret and sometimes forbidden knowledge of herbs and plants has always been the special province of those practising witchcraft and the magical arts. Although it tends to be a neglected study among those modern witches who live in an urban environment divorced from nature, in the past an understanding of plants that have medicinal properties, are poisonous, or have hallucinogenic qualities was the stock-in-trade of the old cunning man, wise woman, witch, warlock and wizard.”

The Witches’ Herbal is a guide to the subject of magical herbalism in three parts. Part one: a concise history of herbal healing and the use of folk remedies from ancient times to the present day. Part 2: a comprehensive A-Z herbal and plant glossary, providing the reader with a list of herbs and plants common to the British Isles with their botanical, cultural, magical, folkloric and medicinal significance. Part 3: information on the magical, folkloric and pagan religious role of common British trees based on Robert Graves’ famous Celtic Tree Alphabet.
Michael Howard is editor of long running The Cauldron magazine and author of many books on occult and related subjects.

Michael Howard has been the editor of The Cauldron witchcraft magazine since 1976. He has written numerous articles for other occult and neo-pagan magazines and since the 1970s has had over thirty books published on the runes, witchcraft, angelic magic, folklore, herbal remedies, and occult parapolitics.

Amazon carried it but still lists it as 'out of print'.

Contact: Red Thread Books for purchase

Friday, January 17, 2014

Botrychium lunaria

Common Name: Moonwort from moon shaped leaflets.

Family: (Plants) various ferns of the genus Botrychium,esp B.lunaria, which has crescent-shaped leaflets; (US): grape fern.

Name Origin: Botyrichium, from the Greek botrus (botrys), "grape"; the Grape Ferns; lunaria, from the Latin luna, "moon "

Parts Used: leaves and root

Planet: Moon and Mercury

Element: Water

Metal: Silver

Deities: Diana, Hekate

Life Cycle: Spring, fades in June.

Zone: 2; Perennial from rhizome (rootstalk).

Habitat: Open turf or gravelly slopes, shores, meadows, woods, disturbed sites, usually on basic soils with calcium content. Found Greenland to Alaska; south to parts of the extreme northern United States to Eurasia, Alaska to Greenland. In Southern Hemisphere, South America and Australia. Prefers moderate light. In Maine found where mussel and clam shells leave deposits on shore.

Identification: Like most members of the genus Botrychium (Grape-ferns), B. lunaria is distinguished both by its succulent texture and fertile frond which appears above the sterile frond.  Cluster of golden-brown globular sporangia. Stem only about 2" long, hollow and fleshy.
Lunaria variety differs from the other succulent Botrychium species due to it possessing the sterile blade only once-pinnate (divided), with the segments distinctly fan-like (lunate) in shape.
Entire plant usually stands less than 3+" high.  Sterile frond a 5" single leaf closely spaced, subdivided into four to six pair, smooth edged; Leaf appears in spring, dying in latter half of summer; rootstalk upright; roots few, short, horizontally spreading.

Rare: Thinly found.

Magic & Folklore: Ancients regarded B. lunaria greatest magical power to be key to the time of it's gathering which must by moonlight. Used in incantations by necromancers, the mere mention of the word imbued the work with greater power.
Blacksmiths used it to unshod horses with ease.  Thieves carried it to make 'picking a lock' silent. Lunaria's crescent shaped leaflets were an ingredient used by alchemists to convert mercury into quicksilver.
According to the Doctrine of Signs, Moonwort cured lunacy, epilepsy, and sleep walking, if ailment was associated with the phases of the moon.

Folk Medicine: Mashed leaves in oil produced a salve to stop bleeding.  Botrychium plants boiled in red wine have been used as stomach medicines, tonics and to stop bleeding. There are references of its application for diarrhea and tuberculosis. A wash or poultice has been used regarding eye inflammations, sores and wounds, bruises, fractures, and skin dislocations.

Modern day medicinal use has fallen from favor.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Occult Experience (1985) documentary

I first came across this in video-form years back while in a Blockbuster.  After viewing it I contacted a number of participants in the film but unfortunately no one knew where I could still find a copy.  Finally through the help of a community member in central MA I was gifted a copy on DVD.  Since that time I've obtained an additional copy in it's original form.

Many of the participants in this film are still out there 'doing the work'.  

Enjoy a blast from past.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Call unto the Goddess of the Night

by Patrick Larabee © Shadows of Midnight
© Hekate Illustration: by the author

Heka, Hekat, Hekate, Hekate!

O' Hecate, Ancient Goddess please preside over this,

our practice of the Arte of the Mysteries of the Moon,

ever abiding in Thy Presence and Bliss Undying,

be with us this evening our Lady of Midnight's Noon!

Mistress of Magic, here upon the Cross'd Way we stand,

we humbly seek and beseech the Powers of Thy Dark Grace,

by the Powers of the Emerald Toad and the Wise Serpent,

come upon Our Compass with Black Embrace.

O' Hecate, by the Reddened Skull and the Verdant Leaf,

We call upon the Powers of the Holy Wain,

Mistress of the Keys and Lady of the Crossed-Roads,

Open the Sacred Gates and show the Blessed Way!

Mother of the Wise, Great Goddess of Heaven and Hell,

Gracious Light-bearer of the Full Moon's Power,

A Sacred and Blessed Essence abloom like a Flower,

Descend, arise, within Our Compass be Alive!

O' Hekate! Open the Way, ever by the Sign of the Crooked Path.


(Here follows an inscribing upon the Aires the Aethyric Form of the Crooked Serpent with Astral Light, begin chanting "Heka, Hekat, Hekate, Hekate!" until Her presence is felt, and follow with small moment of reflection and contemplation.)

Hekate Invocation and Illustration granted by permission.