A Tale of the Driftless Witches
Once upon a time, witches used to have a church of their own, just like everyone else.
Well, maybe not just like everyone else.
The witches' church, you see, was made out of cheese.
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Shadow Animals: Part Three
In my series on types of Shadow Animals, I am introducing two terms that may seem unfamiliar to many Pagans: “nahualli” and “heyoka.” People may have heard these terms as they are common to New Age beliefs. Nahualli and the more familiar “nagual,” are often discussed in New Age Toltec writings. I prefer nahualli as defined by Caelum Rainieri and Ivory Andersen in their discussions about Aztec religion. The common usage for heyoka is to denote “crazy energy.” However, this Lakota term also refers to the person, a sacred clown who is touched by Wankan Tanka (the Great Mystery). To the Lakota, the heyoka holds the sacred duality of the universe....
According to Edred (“Bad Boy of Ásatrú”) Thórsson's ground-breaking 1999 work of revisionist witch history, Witchdom of the True, those seeking Keltic origins for Wicca are barking up the wrong tree of life.
They should instead, he says, be sniffing around the roots of Yggdrasil. Historically speaking, the Lord and Lady of modern Wicca, he holds, are actually none other than Frey and Freyja.
It's a contentious idea, especially among contemporary heathens.
We don't know whether or not the heathen English worshiped Frey and Freyja. It's certainly possible that they did, but we have no proof. (Anglo-Saxonist Stephen Pollington calls the evidence "circumstantial.") Considering how little we know about pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon religion, the lack of evidence doesn't prove much.
If, however, the Hwicce—the Anglo-Saxon tribe which, according to maverick archaeologist Stephen Yeates, gave rise to modern witchery—did indeed know Frey and Freyja, we can say what they would likely have called them. Both Norse names have cognates in the Old English word-hoard.
I was reading my latest issue of Witches and Pagans and came across Michael Greer’s excellent piece on magick and the NeoPagan community. This was the first time I had read about how some busybodies were making themselves obnoxious by attacking the reality of magick. While Greer did a good job of putting these folks in their place, I want to add a personal note....
Imbolc, coming up in less than two weeks, marks a period of quiet growth. Seeds are coming to life underground, the sun is growing in strength, and waters begin their mid-winter thaw, another indication of the flow of life to come (Brigid, as Goddess of healing, had many ancient wells dedicated to her. Those that are still extant remain sacred to Saint Bridget). As an act of sympathetic magic, hoops would be set afire and rolled down hills, or pinwheels (Bridget’s crosses) staved and set to turn in the wind. In this way, the return of the sun was encouraged....