Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Finding Fairies in Grimoires, part 1

Generally when we look for resources on fairies, particularly fairy Queens, we look (rightly) to folklore. There is however another more obscure source that can provide us some information and this is the later ceremonial magic grimoires. These texts are very different in nature and tone1 than other sources and we must keep that in mind as we look at them but they do give us a glimpse at a particularly English view of fairies from the 16th and 17th centuries. 

For our purposes today we will be looking at the material that addresses female fairies, which interestingly includes the only female beings found in the grimoire material2. When we look at the Grimoire material we find two main groupings of beings: Fairy Queens and the so-called Seven Sisters. These are all given names although the names vary in different manuscripts. The Seven Sisters can be bound to teach a person about herbs, nature, and provide a ring of invisibility (Harms, Clark, & Peterson, 2015). The queens can be called on for scrying, manifestation, sex magic, knowledge of nature, truth, and may also provide a ring of invisibility (Brock & Raiswell, 2018; Harm, Clark, & Peterson, 2015). All of the names given, however, are somewhat problematic in that they either can be found nowhere else outside the grimoire material or else they closely resemble common names or words.

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  • maitrishah2
    maitrishah2 says #
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Kitchen Witch Dolls: Modern Household Icons

My great-grandmother, whose father immigrated from Norway when he was around nine years old and whose mother was a third-generation German American, had a kitchen witch that was passed down to my mom, her granddaughter. Unfortunately, it was lost over time, but my mom remembers that it wore a long, red dress and perched on a straw broom. This is the traditional form of the kitchen witch: a long dress, usually a kerchief tied around its head rather than a witch hat, often a characteristic long nose on a friendly face, riding upon a miniature broom (or a wooden spoon!)

Over time, craftspeople have branched away from this traditional form, creating kitchen witches that reflect the various interests and needs of contemporary cooks. This is typical for folk traditions: to remain relevant, they transform over time, taking on new elements and meanings. One thing has remained the same, however: they are always friendly, always helpful, always good luck.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember a little kitchen witch over the sink in my parents house. I think one of my sisters got it after my mother died, but I

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Bone & Spirit

As Halloween and the Day of the Dead approach, I see more and more skulls both cheery and eerie decorating homes and businesses. This year I have seen them in greater abundance than in previous years. This may be true or it may be that I am taking better note of them. To be truthful, I have some skulls that are decor and some that are altar pieces that grace our home year round. Last night I took a crystal skull out of one of our cabinets and sat it on the table, and took a contemplative ramble.

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Witches, Fairies, and Hallowe'en

 When people think of Halloween, or from a more pagan perspective Samhain, the image of witches comes quickly to mind and it may be the single day of the year most strongly associated with witches in Western culture. Yet there is another layer to Halloween that also intersects with witchcraft and witches but isn't as commonly acknowledged in mainstream culture and that is fairies. Halloween and the general period of time around Halloween has long been known in the folklore and folk practices of the various Celtic-language speaking countries to be a time when the Good Folk are more active and more present.

The connection between witches and fairies more generally is complex and multi layered. Scottish witches who were brought to trial mentioned dealing with fairies as often as dealing with demons and were as likely to say they had sworn themselves to the Queen of King of Fairy as to the Christian Devil. This is discussed in Emma Wilby's books 'Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits' and 'The Visions of Isobel Gowdie' and touched on in Davies 'Popular Magic' which all review various material from the Scottish witchcraft trials in which confessed witches talk about their connections to the fairies. We also see references to both Irish witches and mná feasa [wise women] who learned their skill from the Good Neighbours, as well as specialists called fairy doctors in English who were supposed to have been taught by the fairies (Daimler, 2014). This overlap, briefly summarized here, was one where the witch might both serve Fairy and also be served by it. 

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My Spiritual Pilgrimage Day 3

Recently I was visiting Long Beach, Washington and while I was there I ended up visiting another site for the Confluence Project. Turns out that Long Beach was actually the first site consecrated for the project and what was fascinating to me was that you could see 5 different parts of the project. There was a board walk with writing on it about the geographic and historical dates for the Lewis and Clark trail, an amphitheater, a fish cleaning table and a view point. And all of those places were intriguing but the one which really spoke to me was the Cedar Grove Circle.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Cedar-grove.jpg

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Alfablot: Honoring the Spirits of the Earth and the Dead

“‘Do not come any farther in, wretched fellow’, said the woman; ‘I fear the wrath of Óðinn; we are heathen.’ The disagreeable female, who drove me away like a wolf without hesitation, said they were holding a sacrifice to the elves inside her farmhouse.” (“Austrfararvísur”)

Feast of Spirits

The Alfablot is an ancient Norse holiday celebrated around this time of year, the end of the harvest and the start of the winter season. As for many other peoples across the world, offerings to the spirits were in order during seasonal shifts, especially when advancing into the most challenging season.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Having read Journey to Ixilan by Castaneda and Supernatural by Graham Hancock I am inclined to view the Elves as primarily the spi
Experiencing Iceland: Stories and Spirits

I was fortunate enough last month to be able to visit Iceland for just under two weeks. I had never been there before and had been looking forward to the trip, as Iceland has a reputation for its beauty and for its deeply ingrained folklore. Neither disappointed. 

Words cannot do the country's beauty justice. It is truly amazing and everywhere you look seems more gorgeous than the last. Not only the natural places but even the cities, which I am not prone to favouring, are beautiful and full of statues and street art. I saw more murals on walls in Reykjavik than I have ever seen anywhere else and the art was a nice counterpoint to the natural beauty. My main focus wasn't on the ambience though, impressive as it was, but on the spiritual connection and folklore. 

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  • Morgan Daimler
    Morgan Daimler says #
    We did. When we first arrived we did something quiet and personal individually to introduce ourselves and to get to know the feel
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Great story! Iceland is now firmly cemented on my bucket list. I'm land-spirit sensitive, and I'm glad that Iceland was welcoming

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