History Witch: Uncovering Magical Antiquity

Want to know about real magic from history? This is the place. Here we explore primary texts and historical accounts from the past.

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Halloween, Samhain -- or Straif?

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

The surrealist artist Ithell Colquhoun may not be a name on everyone's lips. Though less well known than their mail counterparts, painters like Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Leonor Fini have been getting their due much more lately. That will probably change after Amy Hale's book comes out in January 2020, but for the mean time she remains outside popular consciousness despite her long connection to occult and magic circles from the Golden Dawn to the O.T.O and the Society for Inner Light.

Colquhoun developed a completely unique and abstract vision of tarot that was inspired by colour. You can buy the book of her paintings from Fulgur Press.

She was a painter and a writer as well as a practitioner. Her poetry reimagined the magical year with new names and practices, inspired in part by the Welsh folklore of the Mabinogian. Grimoire of the Entangled Thicket refers to 22 poems though it contains only 8 along with drawings and other art.

Her Samhain poem goes like this:


(Samhain, October 31)

Recall, dark one, the delicate flesh

Scenting your leafless twigs with bloom

In moonlight's month of the blackthorn wind


Retrieve that nightmare contrast, summon

Your life-in-death -- the light-in-dark

That stripes a hollowed agate, banding

The granite chasm where plunge your roots --

For a rite this phantom Eve, recall!

[from Grimoire of the Entangled Thicket, Ore Publications, 1973]

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K. A. Laity is an all-purpose writer, medievalist, journalist, Fulbrighter, social media maven for Broad Universe, and author of ROOK CHANT: COLLECTED WRITINGS ON WITCHCRAFT & PAGANISM, DREAM BOOK, UNQUIET DREAMS, OWL STRETCHING, CHASTITY FLAME, PELZMANTEL, UNIKIRJA, and many more stories, essays, plays and short humour. Find out more at www.kalaity.com and find her on Facebook or Twitter.


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