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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witchbury

In the tribal territories of the Hwicce, the old Anglo-Saxon Tribe of Witches, stands a hill called Wychbury Hill. The name means “Hill-fort of the Witches.”

It was once our tribal capital.

The old Northern ancestors didn't live in cities. Most people lived dispersed on their own holdings, but in every clan territory there would be a burg or hill-fort (= Keltic dún): a hilltop fort surrounded by high earthen walls topped with a wooden palisade. At the foot of the hill stood the village, the thatched houses of those of us who were not warriors.

In the burg itself stood the main hall of the drighten, the chieftain, and the homes of the dright, his war-band. The dright prided themselves on having been born within the walls; it meant that you were nobility. But during times of war, the entire village would take shelter behind those walls.

As, whenever we cast a circle, we still do.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Alas, Haley, the answer to your question is lost to the ages. Really, though, one has to imagine a certain amount of ribbing on th
  • Haley
    Haley says #
    So, then, would those born behind the wall in wartime be noble as well?

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

After walking the labyrinth on New Year’s Day my magic group was inspired to continue the ritual the next day. Oh, and the day after that and the day after that… actually for another eight days. We went to every direction in our Circle of Eight, one after the other, in order. At the end of that we couldn’t quite bear to end, so we committed to another round of visits, this time weekly so we could fit it in to our busy lives. One of the most amazing things was the amount of time we spent sitting around outside having breakfast or dinner picnics or late-afternoon homemade strawberry cocktails. It was Blue-Mountains-in-the-summer weather. It rained on many of these excursions, usually a light passing rain or heavy cloud arising or descending. It didn’t stop our picnic, trance or conversation.

Some of our Circle came on every excursion, the whole nine days in a row. Others came to several, or one but either way we spent a lot more time together than we usually do and that was wonderful. It felt like a spell for 2017 – if we begin this year with nine days of ritual (ten really, as we had done a ritual together on New Year’s Eve) – what a potent and deepening way to enter into the year. Surely our whole year will be filled with ritual? – and with each other? – and at the moment, we can’t think of anything better. 

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How Does a Coven Manage to Stay Together for Nearly 40 Years?

 It takes three witches to make a coven. Two witches is just an argument.

(Craft proverb*)

 

Come Harvest Home, we'll have been together for...well, for nigh on 40 years.

(“That's 90-something in cowan years,” my friend and colleague Sparky T. Rabbit would have quipped.)

In the fractious and ephemeral world of contemporary Witchdom, where covens tend to come and go, this is a pretty remarkable achievement.

So how have we managed to do it?

Well, every group is different. What works for us might not necessarily work for you.

But it might.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    All excellent points to remember. Thank you for sharing this!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
I'll Tell You

 

It is a fairly common custom for Traditions and Schools to have materials that are oathbound, teachings or practices that can only be shared with members or initiates. I have friends that are old school Witches, or Masons, or one of any number of systems that can eloquently explain why they have oathbound materials. I will not speak for them, and I honor their right to follow their ways. The Tradition of which I am a member, the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, does not have any teachings or practices that are oathbound, in fact it is more accurate to say that we are openbound. It is not my intention in this post to assert that oathbound, openbound, or any other approach is better than the other. What constitutes better is a matter of your perspectives, values, the purpose of your system, and the nature of your goals. What I’d like to offer here is information on how we manage boundaries for our lore and practices. The Assembly has been around since 1984 and we are 13 covens with a 14th in the process of formation.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Return to Witches' Tower

I became convinced that Hotel Circle in San Diego was cursed because every time T. N. and I went to visit his old city, some weird glitch happened with each hotel. One had a light that flickered out when the shower was in use, one had a keycard door that wouldn't co-operate and an a/c that wouldn't turn off, one had a plumbing issue that had the hoteliers tearing the wall apart as we quickly changed rooms, one hotel only booked us for one night, locked us out as we came back from the beach (wet and sandy, and cold, because it was winter and raining-- as I told the weather reporter who had to interview some fool tourist out on the beach in the rain, "the ocean is big and wet and salty whether it's rainy or sunny,") and then tried to move us into an incompletely renovated room missing such amenities as towel racks and a bed.

So, I decided that the next time we stayed in Hotel Circle, which is within the view from Witches' Tower, I would go up the Tower and perform an exorcism upon Hotel Circle. I first exorcised a place back in college, which I wrote about in my previous post The Day I Cast Out Satan. The first time I did such a ritual, I did not know any other heathens, all the people I knew in person that I could get magical advice from were Wiccan, and the only book I had about heathen magic was Futhark: Handbook of Rune Magic, so the ritual style was more Wiccan than heathen. In planning to perform such a ritual again, 30 years later, I had to decide if I was going to change anything about the ritual because I know so much more now than I did then. Ultimately I decided to change very little, because the first ritual worked, and that's the test of a magical ritual.

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Nine Weeks of Energy Clearing: Week 1—The Wyrd (Karma) of Used Things

Used things can be a boon or a bane. Often, it’s a bit of both.

Ritual purification was (and still is) a huge thing in many polytheist traditions, including Heathenry. For the next nine weeks (nine being a holy number), I’m going to focus on simple ways to examine the energy entering our lives and help keep it clean. For me, that’s a part of preparing for and welcoming the purifying aspects of Imbolc (Disablot/Tyr’s feast for some Heathens), prior Spring Equinox’s renewal.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Vestals Get a Modern Makeover

Hello all!  Most of the images we have of the Vestals, priestesses of the goddess Vesta, are of course from antiquity.  These are things like statues, relief carvings and images minted onto coins or engraved into seal rings.

As lovely and informative as these are, and as important as they are to giving us an accurate reflection of how these revered women looked, it is nonetheless wonderful to see more modern treatments.  For example, Angus McBride - the chap who illustrated the pic I've used for this blog- was a popular fantasy illustrator and his depiction of the Vestals is probably my all-time favorite.

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