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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Hwicce

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Watchtowers

Q: What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a Wiccan?

A: Three Watchtowers.

These days witches' circles are often cast complete with invocations to the guardians of the Watchtowers, one in each cardinal direction.

According to researcher John Michael Greer, the Watchtowers most likely entered the Craft from the Golden Dawn, which in turn derived them from John Dee's Enochian magic. During the original Enochian workings, during the 1580s, scryer Edward Kelly had a vision of four great towers at the quarters of the earth, the seats of guardian archangels (Greer 581).

Down the years, the Watchtowers and their guardians have acquired a deal of lore, little of which has anything to do with the original metaphor. But rising above the amassed archangels, elements, and Enochian tablets stands a simple, clear image: an image with implications.

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  • Piper
    Piper says #
    Well, maybe the bible, but I share 2 lodges (Blue and SRICF or SRIA)with these three guys: Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers Willia
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I thought the watchtowers thing was taken from the freemasons, and that the masons in turn got it from the Bible. I can never rem
Why Witches Keep Cats: A Folktale of the Latter-Day Dobunni

They say that long ago, before things were as they are today, the Moon fell in love with her brother.

She tried everything she could think of to get into his bed, but he was having none of it. Only Cat shared his bed, no one else.

So Moon goes to Cat one day and says: Cat, trade shapes with me.

And Cat, being Cat, says: What's in it for me?

Says Moon: Someday I shall bear a great many children, and my children will always make a place for you at their hearths.

And Cat, being Cat, says: What else?

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  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    So it is.
The War of the Elements: A Folktale of the Latter-Day Hwicce in an Age of Climate Change

They say that once the elements were at war.

The land quaked, and the sea rose up to drown it. Wildfires raged; the winds wreaked havoc.

The people were frightened and sent a delegation of elders to the forest to speak with Him of the Horns.

They found him sitting at the foot of an oak, wearing Grass Snake around his neck. He heard their words, and when they had finished, he took Grass Snake in his hands. Grass Snake began to grow and grow until he was as big as the world. Then he wrapped his long body around the whole world and took the tip of his tail into his mouth.

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The People of the Black-Handled Knife: A Folk-tale of the Latter-Day Hwicce

They say that back in the dawn of days, She of the Moon conceived a desire to divide This from That.

She went to the stag and said, "Stag, give me your antler, that I may divide This from That."

The stag gave her his antler, and from this she made a knife. But when she went to divide This from That, lo! the knife broke in her hand. 

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Nine Jars of Compassion: A Folk-tale of the Latter-Day Dobunni

They say that He of the Horns looked upon his people and his heart was moved with compassion at their suffering.

For an age and an age, two ages, he wept, and the tears of his weeping filled nine jars.

And when his weeping was ended, he took these nine jars and, with their waters, extinguished the fires of Hell.

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The Story of Saba and Brychan: A Folk-tale of the Dobunni

Saba was in love.

At fourteen summers, she was ready, and surely she was glad to be second daughter to the chief and not first. For her sister Cordaella, as chief's first daughter, was thereby Royal Woman of the tribe, whose husband would some day be king, and such things cannot be left to chance and mere liking.

Well, Cordaella was newly married and seemed pleased enough with the choice that the elders had made. But Saba, second daughter, could, in the way of things, choose for herself. And of all the young warriors, her eye had turned upon tall Brychan, he of the gray eyes and mouse-pale hair.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

As a storyteller, I tend to do much of my thinking through stories. In the ongoing discussion of cultural appropriation it seemed to me that abstract theorizing may well benefit from the wisdom of narrative. So I began casting about for a story that addressed the subject.

Theorist Cei Serith says, “When confronted with a new situation, first consult ancestral precedent.” The Received Tradition (or at least those portions of it with which I am personally conversant), has little to say on the topic of cultural appropriation directly, but in fact the practice has a surprising number of parallels with the grand old Keltic pastime (one could almost call it a sport) of the táin, the cattle-raid. The Kelts came by cattle-rustling honestly (so to speak): it would seem, in fact, to have been an ancient tradition of many Indo-European peoples (and, indeed, of pastoral cultures in general: compare the current problems with the self-same practice in South Sudan).

We have, to the best of our knowledge, no surviving mythology from the Dobunni, the Keltic tribe that inhabited the Severn basin and Cotswolds in what is now the south-west Midlands of England. (The “creation myth” that Stephen Yeates “recreates” in A Dreaming for the Witches cannot truly be called a story.) There seems to be good genetic and archaeological evidence to indicate that Dobunni population and culture survived into Anglo-Saxon times as the tribe known as the Hwicce. Maverick archaeologist Stephen Yeates would contend that the tribal religion of the Hwicce, with its strong continuities with the preceding Dobunni religion, is in fact what would become historic Witchcraft (and later, Wicca). Historical or not, it's a powerful story, for which I will admit a certain personal fondness, perhaps because some of my own ancestors hail from this same region.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    One wonders to what degree (if at all) memory of the tain remained current in 19th century Irish popular culture (before the liter
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Interestingly, I've suspected that the cattle-rustling in the American West, carried out in large part by Irish cowboys, was a cul
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks and hail, daughter of Dobunnia. Kindly give my regards to the Severn.
  • Danu Forest
    Danu Forest says #
    great stuff thanks for posting! the dobunni are thought to be the tribe where i actually live! hail the storyteller! ;-)

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