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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Hwicce

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
If Paganism Had a Motto...

In the Old Language of the Witches, a verbal artist (i.e. a bard) was called a sceop: literally, a “shaper.”

Likewise, “creation” was sceopung, shaping; “creator” scieppand, a shaper. (In Modern Witch, we would say sheppend.)

For the ancestors, to make was to shape: to mold what already is. This view of art—and of creation generally—stands at variance with the more recent notion of creation ex nihilo: from nothing.

As myself a shaper, and long-time observer of the creative process, I find it axiomatic that, in fact, nothing comes from nothing. Even the most original art always derives from what went before, if only by reaction.

As the ancestors saw it, the artist's work is to shape the old to the new, and the new to the old.

In this way, the present becomes a conversation of past with future.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    No indeed. As the Egyptian tells Big Anna in Edgar Jepson's Horned Shepherd, "All the world is the country of the Wise": there are
  • Andrew
    Andrew says #
    "In the Old Language of the Witches" Witches weren't confined to speakers of Old English.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
One for the Price of Three

A witch once came before a king bearing three books.

“Sire,” she said, “I have here three books of prophecies. I will sell them all to you for ten thousand gold pieces.”

“Ten thousand gold pieces for three books?” said the king. “Good mother, have you taken leave of your senses?”

“Let a brazier of fire be brought,” said the witch.

A brazier of fire was brought, and the witch proceeded to burn one of the books to ashes.

“Sire,” she said, “I have here two books of prophecies. I will sell them both to you for ten thousand gold pieces.”

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    You've got a good memory, Anthony. I first came across the story back in Latin 1--though I think it was the Senate that the Sybil
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I have read this story before. As I recall it was the Sybil who presented the king of Rome with three books and the king only bou

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Do You Say 'Religion' in Witch?

A friend once asked me why I don't capitalize 'pagan.'

Here's why.

 

Back in the old days, we didn't have a separate word for 'religion.'

We didn't know that we needed one.

In those days, religion interlaced with everyday life and behavior like intertwining patterns on a runestone.

In the language of the Anglo-Saxon Hwicce—the original Tribe of Witches—the word þéaw (today we say thew) meant “tradition, custom, usage, habit, conduct.” In the plural it meant “virtues, manners, morals, morality.”

But that was as close as we got to 'religion.'

That's why we had to import the foreign word.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Name (Tribe)

There's a conventional usage in the First Nations press which I think, for various reasons, would be a good fit for the pagan community as well.

There it's customary to identify someone both by name and by tribal affiliation:

Winona la Duke (Anishinabe)

Arvol Looking Horse (Dakota)

This makes perfect sense. In traditional societies, you don't just need to know who someone is; you need to know who her people are as well. In traditional Dine (Navajo) culture, when introducing yourself to a fellow Dine, you mention not just your own name, but your maternal and paternal clans as well. This gives you not just an identity, but a context.

Since pagans come in different kinds, it seems to me that this makes sense for us, too:

Isaac Bonewits (Druid)

Alison Harlow (Feri)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Happy Summersend

We don't know whether or not the Anglo-Saxon Hwicce—the original Tribe of Witches—celebrated Samhain.

If they did, we don't know what they called it.

It's generally acknowledged by historians that, both demographically and culturally, the Hwicce emerged from a Keltic-Germanic meld. If so, and if they kept Samhain, they may well have called it something like Samonios.

Among their latter-day descendants, the November quarter-day generally goes by one of two names: Keltic Samhain and Germanic Hallows.

Samhain (however you choose to pronounce it) is an Irish name for an Irish festival. The word's original meaning is not entirely clear; likely it derives from samh, “summer.” Folk etymology would read it as “summer ends” or “summers' end.”

It's a good name, an ancient name, but it is and will always be an import.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Nicely put, Courtney; I thoroughly agree. Our work, it seems to me, is not just to know and to transmit the Lore faithfully, but a
  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    I've always been okay with the name Samhain b/c half of the modern Wheel came from the big Celtic festivals. But I'm also not look

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Boy Who Never Complained

A Lost-Found Dobunni Folk-tale

 

There was once a man who, feeling the approach of death, summoned his sons that he might divide his wealth among them.

When all that he owned had been distributed, it was found that he had overlooked his youngest son.

Father, is there nothing for me? asked the boy.

Alas, my son, said the man, There is nothing left but this old copper kettle. But I give it to you with my blessing.

The boy took the kettle without complaint.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Should We Scrap the Word 'Magic'?

It's fascinating to note that the Anglo-Saxon Hwicce, the original Tribe of Witches, had no word for 'magic.'

Instead, they had numerous words denoting different kinds of magic. At this remove of time, we can often no longer distinguish clearly between them

Bealcræft, 'bale-craft': magic intended to harm.

Drýcræft, 'druid (?)-craft': Possibly, druid magic. Specifically what kind of magic the Anglo-Saxons believed the druids to have practiced, we no longer know.

Dwimorcræft: 'dwimmer-craft': Necromancy (?)

Dwolcræft, 'dwele-craft': Apparently, magic intended to mislead or cause confusion.

Galdorcræft, 'galder-craft': Sung magic.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Parthenogenetrix" is one of my own favorites.
  • Karena
    Karena says #
    I curtsy in your direction- parthenogenetrix is lovely! And so much less rare than one would be led to believe, LOL!
  • Karena
    Karena says #
    I'm not so sure. Although the word encompasses a number of experiences and intents, & isn't terribly specific, I think it might st
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I, too, have always used the word spellcraft, together with the word ethical. As always, thanks for this.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Me too, Critter. Amazing word, 'spellcraft.' 1400 years, and it's still pronounced the same, and means the same thing.

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