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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in tribe of witches

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Postcard from Micklegard

To Oswin King of the Hwicce, from his brother Osred: Greetings!

Well brother, Micklegard is a fine town, and no mistake. No matter what (or who) you want to buy, eat, or screw, they've got it here. Strong ale for the likes of this honest Hwiccan lad. 

Check out this dome. It's the city's chief temple. They worship the Moon here, just like we do back home—she's the city's patron goddess, in fact—only they call her Hekate. This is her temple as Lady of Wisdom. (Sound familiar?) Quite a sight, but I still can't figure why they go in under a roof to worship the Moon. Strange folk, Greeks.

Turns out that wandering gleeman was right after all: the High King here really does keep a special war-band of Westerners as body-guards. He calls it his "barbarian guard." Funny: he can't trust his own to protect him, yet we're the barbarians!

Thought maybe I'd give it a try, though. Fighting's fighting, wherever you go. I hear the pay's good, and like I said: You want it, they've got it.

My love to mother and the girls. Wine's fine, but what I wouldn't give right now for a beaker of good, honest Hwiccan ale.

Be hale, drink hale, brother.

More soon.

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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?
De Tribu Huicciorum: Concerning the Tribe of Witches

With all due respect, Uncle Gerald got it wrong.

Witches aren't a religion.

We're a tribe.

A tribe: what in the old Witch language would be called a thede.

Some of us are lineal descendants of the old English tribe of Witches, some not. But that's the way of tribes: you don't need to be born in to belong. You can marry in, you can adopt in, you can 'enculturate' in. Tribes have porous boundaries.

That's not to say that we're not all related. Of course we are.

Old Hornie sows his seed wherever he will, far and wide.

So you'll find us all over the world, on every continent (yes, even Antarctica!). Naturally (as one would expect) we come in different clans.

But wherever we go (and we go everywhere), we do share a certain family resemblance.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We're tribal animals, we humans. We've lived this way since the beginning, and chances are we'll be doing so again in the future.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Steven. I hear ya!
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    So mote it be.
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I really enjoyed this reminder. Tribe is a focus for me--intentional tribe calling. Thank you.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Throng of Boars

In the old Witch language, the constellation that we know as Orion was called Eofor-ðring: literally, “Boar-throng.”

We don't know why.

It's likely that there was once a story to explain the name. Doubtless this Ever-thring (as we would say today), this throng of boars, belonged to—or was defeated, or captured, by—some god or hero, and ended up in the sky as a result.

We'll never know.

Boars were meaningful to the ancestors. Their likeness appeared on battle-gear. Boars are fiercely protective, and nothing stops them. You can always recognize a boar-spear because it's got a cross-bar. If it didn't, the spitted boar would drive his own body up along the spear-shaft, just to get at you. Seriously.

In Old Norse mythology, the boar belongs to the phallic god Frey, whom some would identify (controversially) with the God of Witches. His name means “lord.” The Anglo-Saxons had the same word with the same meaning—fréa—but whether to them it also was the name of a god we simply don't, and probably never will, know.

So much has been lost since the old days, like the story of the Ever-thring. What has come down to us has come down to us in pieces.

And thereby hangs a mandate.

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Was the Keltic "Tribe of Witches" Originally the "Two Tribes"?

According to archaeologist Stephen J. Yeates, the original Tribe of Witches was the Anglo-Saxon people called the Hwicce, who inhabited the Cotswolds and Severn Valley of what is now southwestern England.

These were previously the tribal territories of an early Iron Age Keltic people known as the Dobunni. Both genetics and archeology suggest strong demographic and cultural continuity from the Keltic to the Anglo-Saxon periods.

The name Dobunni, known from inscriptions and Roman historians (Yeates 2-3), is of uncertain etymology. Yeates himself does not discuss a derivation.

It may be, though, that this ethnonym preserves a memory of the origins of the tribe itself.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Who's Your People?

How do you become a witch?

Well, some of us are born to the tribe. They say that He Himself overshadows our fathers at the moment of our begetting. That explains why we turn out the way we do.

But like other tribes, the Tribe of Witches tends to be porous around the edges. Opting in is always a possibility. (So is opting out, but that's another matter. And you know what they say: Once a witch, always a witch.)

You can marry in. Love is the ultimate bind-oath. Once you speak the language, eat the food, and keep the holidays, you're more or less in by osmosis.

Or you can adopt in. The old rites of initiation are essentially rites of adoption: you make the bind-oath to the gods of the thede (tribe), you're blooded, and you're in.

Because (with all due deference to Uncle Gerald) we're not really a religion at all.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
a-RA-di-a or a-ra-DI-a?

It's a name to conjure with, for sure: Aradia.

It's thoroughly in keeping with the irony-laden history of the modern Craft that one of the most common names for the Goddess of Witches should derive ultimately from the name of a first-century member of the Judaean royal house.

Well, it's a long story. (I'll tell it to you some time. If you don't already know and want to find out, you can do so here. Scroll down for the good stuff.)

No, my purpose today is much simpler: stress. Is it a-RA-di-a or a-ra-DI-a?

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