Mar 30, 2015

Conjuring and banishing the elements, traditional weather witchery, spiritual work and magick

     The art of affecting and controlling the wind, rain, hailstorm, snow, or even the ever-so-intangible thunder and mist, with spells and rituals is extremely old. Examples of such practices can be found in almost every ( If not every ) of the world’s traditions, religions and magickal systems.

     From the sacrificial offerings to the Tethys , an ancient Greek Titaness deity, to the water swirling in  a freshly dug up small pit in the ground, weatherworking methods spun the globe , as invaluable pieces of cultural heritage, and they still do, although to a bit lesser amount. We have to thank all sort of misinformed, and clumsy practitioners for that, parroting all over the World Wide Web, how weather witchery is fantasy, distancing therefore the newcomers from the magickal history, and heritage, and watering down the knowledge. Alas, not even spirituality is immunes to such insipid things as trending and misinforming. That being said, one of the main reasons for composing this little article, is to let people know that weather magick is nothing less effective than Your love spells, banishing spells, money spells, divination, or any other  magickal methods for affecting the world around us. Unlike what You will hear on occult related social networks ( at least predominantly ), it’s not a thing of fictions, it’s  genuine magick.

     And  article like this… it’s really only befitting for the weather whimsy season  that spring is J

     History of the weather magick and rituals

     One of the very early written information on weather magick, comes from Herodotus, a V century Greek historian, as noted in his “History of the Persian wars”, he mentions sacrifices made by magi to conjure the winds. Empedocles, also mentions controlling the elements of the storm. By the XVI century, the weather working was equally alive and prominent, which we can attest even from the literature. For example, this section from the  Shakespeare ‘s notorious “Macbeth” shows the three witches boasting their weather working skills ( among other ) :

Second Witch
 11   I'll give thee a wind.

      First Witch
 12   Thou'rt kind.

      Third Witch
 13   And I another.

      First Witch
 14   I myself have all the other,
 15   And the very ports they blow,
 16   All the quarters that they know
 17   I' the shipman's card. “  [1]

     A demonologist from the early XVII century (Francesco Guazzo ), in his work “Compendium Maleficiarum” asserts that witches can control rainstorms, hail, and  “with God’s permission” even the lightning.

     Two extremely popular phenomenon of  the weather magick, that have been practiced since the antiquities, and are well recorded, are so called “whistling up a/the wind” and “wind knots”.
     Gerina Dunwich, a renowned occult books author notes this in her “Exploring spellcraft” :

 “ In the 12th century, Sumner wrote in Last Will and Testament, “In Ireland and in Denmark both, Witches for gold will sell a man a wind, which in the corner of a napkin wrapp’d, shall blow him safe unto what coast he will.” “ [2]

     According to the same source ( Dunwich )  The  “Irish times” magazine published a story on the alleged witch who sold magickal wind knots, well into 1814th .

     The wind knots, are a magickal charm, created ritually, on some elevated, windy place ( such as mountaintops  ) by “catching”, or trapping the wind into a piece of fabric, or even a rope, by tying three knots, while speaking befitting words of power/incantations. Such charms were often sold,     to the sailors and fisherman, for it was widely held that undoing these knots will release the wind, creating anything from soothing wind to power the ships, to winds storms which could sink the ship. Different traditions may  also accentuate some specific aspects of the ritual, such as specific sailor knot which was used in trapping the wind, or the rule that the hair must always be unbound when doing this. 
A man, selling wind knots to the sailors, woodcut

     Whistling up the wind, is a practice that pertains in Paganism, nature magick and superstitions even nowadays. Doreen Valiente speaks of people who are naturally gifted to “whistle up the wind” in her “Natural magic”, and this is in fact a widespread belief, not just in Europe, but also among some Native American tribes, and even in Philippines.  Whistling is believed to encourage the wind to start blowing, and to empower it, strengthen, If need be. However, it’s widely held to be a risky endavour, as it was oftentimes hard to predict the outcome, let alone control or remedy it. Hence why it’s so ill-advised to whistle while on ships, even nowadays, for the sailors are superstitious, and might make you walk the plank If You do it lol. Or more likely demand, terrified, that you stop with your attempts to bring about demise for all  who are on the ship.

     Even nowadays, some witches and people who are “gifted” to whistle up a wind, will go to the seashore, and whistle for the wind, sometimes swirling a piece of seaweed above their heads, in clockwise direction.  

    For those who were not gifted   with the talent to whistle up a wind,  there were other methods, such as making whistles from Alder tree ( Alnus spp. ) , or swirling lengthy wooden blades on a string, called bullroarers above one’s head [3]

    Even the Christian religion, which arguably condemns, but certainly does not glorify magickal practice, had in past resorted to the  rituals and masses to affect the weather,  especially in times of great need, during extremely dry periods, or to  halt  a threatening storm.

     The New York times, from the February of 1989. published and article dealing with one such  draught “incident” in Italy, on which occasion the Roman Catholic priests included an old, rarely used prayer for bringing rain in the mass. [4]

     In the Orthodox Christian Church, “The Great Book of Needs” or the “Euchologion”  ( prayer and ritual book for the clergy ), contains official Christen prayers , which are to be recited, in cases of prolonged and threatening draughts to bring up the rain. People who live from agriculture in Balkan peninsula, will even nowadays, request from their local   ministers to read these prayers, If their crops get “under the weather”, for example during the summer, excuse the pun.

     In remote villages of Serbia,  Bulgaria,  and Macedonia,  even nowadays there are  folk ceremonies/festivities, basically the rain dances, with young women dancing, and singing rain calling folk incantations, without clothes, covered instead with plants, leafs and flowers. This custom is referred to as “Dodola” ( also Dodole, Dudulya, and few other variations ) , as is one young women, or a girl, who is anointed as leader, and leads all the other girls, from house to house, singing the songs, and getting water poured on her, by people. This dance, was believed to ensure plenty of rain thorough the year, or  to end the draught, if  performed when the need has risen. It's not too much unlike the Native American rain dancing . 

     Some interpretations link the Dodola dances to the Slavic pagan deity, wife of perun, called Dodola, who was believed to cause rain, while milking her cows.  These ceremonies have actively been done in Macedonia up until 1960. [5]

     Magick and spiritual work to conjure the wind

     Some common methods of conjuring the wind, were already discussed earlier in this article. However, there are few other, practical methods that are of interest.
     Weather magick makes use of brooms, though not so much the broom in the traditional sense, even though, ordinary cleaning broom, or the witch’s  ritual broom may certainly be used as well. It’s rather a very small broom, or technically speaking a bit larger herb bundle, made from specific herbs, which are regarded as auspicious and helpful in this particular type of spiritual magick. And the best choice for conjuring the wind, is certainly the Scotch Broom plant ( Cytisus scoparius L. ) .
     So, in order to conjure the wind, a person can get some branches of the Scotch broom, tie them up in a bundle, and head over to some elevated, less frequented place, such as hilltops or mountaintops, or even forests. Upon reaching a favorable place, one should simply wave the broom over their head, or “stir” the air with it in clockwise direction , while chanting appropriate words of power, for example:

     “To stir the air, and wind to raise,
       I call you sylphs, I give you praise,
       A breeze, or gale, or even more still,
       With Broom and You, I cause by will!”

     Should you found that what you’ve conjured is more than what you can handle, tradition suggests to simply burn the Broom You’ve used and place the ashes  into a whole You’ve dug up, and then cover it with ground.

     Magick and spiritual work to conjure the rain

     During one particularly hot summer, without rain, the Sicilian people have felt so threatened, that they could not think clear. They took the Statues of the Saints and placed them outside the Churches, and removed all the fancy decorations and embellishing from the statues, and even threatened the “statues” with lynch, If the rain does not start falling soon.   Or so the story goes, anyway.
     Yet what may seem as irrational behavior on the first sight, is merely an aspect of Christian folk magick ; as practiced among Catholics in some parts of the world. They threaten the Saints, or rather, images ( statues most often ) of them, flog them,  or turn upside  down, or even threat    asking for something specific. This is almost exclusively done in situations of dire need, but that does not make it any less sacrilegious and unsettling, though, in my humble opinion that is.
     A more “appropriate” Catholic Christian spiritual-folk practice, to conjure the rain in times of draught include washing the Statues of Saints in bodies of natural water, while devotedly praying for salvation   in form of a  timely, nourishing rain. As mentioned before, Orthodox Christians read specific prayers instead, whereas the Catholics would probably consider such prayers “unfit” as part of official Church services, masses or rituals.
     Witches, and other kind of magick practitioners, on the other sides have always had quite a few methods which have been ( and still are ) popularly used to conjure the rain.  Some are simplicity itself, at least in terms of casting the spells, physically,  but may require  a  strong, intention, and genuine need. As is the weather , volatile  and unsteady, so are the effects of weather spells cast on whim, or just  for the sake of trying out.

     One spell calls for gathering Sage leaves, after the sunrise, in the early morning, and then digging a deep hole and burying them inside.  According to the very spell, when the leaves decay the rain will come. [6]

     Another popular method is, again, like in the case of wind conjuring with a  broom.  Usually made for the Heather plant ( Calluna vulgaris L . ) , which is dipped into a water, or stricken over a  river ‘s surface, and then shaken above the head, or on all the four corner, to sprinkle/asperse  some of the water from it. This was commonly done, followed by incantations.

     Heather is considered a plant of rain and mist, and was in the “old times” mixed with Henbane and Fern and burnt as an incense to conjure the rain. [7]

      Throwing Sesame, or Rice seeds in the air, or even ( a more recent variation  ) throwing some on the map of the area, sometimes followed by the words of incarnations,  is believed to draw the rain, from sky to the land. 

     Another popular method is to dig a hole in the ground, pour some water in it and stir it. [8] Some sources insist that one must stir continuously with a finger, and if they get tired, other person may take over, but the stir motion must not be interrupted, until the rain starts.  [9] Some other schools of thought claim that the same method may be done by digging up a small hole with a knife, pouring water in it, preferably rainwater, and then stirring with the knife, while invoking the rain. One may chant something along these lines, as they stir:

     “Nereids, and water nymphs,
       Water spirits and air sylphs,
       Raise now high, and fly around,
       Tear the clouds, bring rain to ground!”

     A popular belief in Europe suggests that If one desires to bring about rain, they should pour water through a sieve on a stone. Ideally, not just any stone, a Fae’s stone, or Folk’s stone, which are large stones believed to be inhabited by or sacred to the Fae or Fairies. But You are going to have to try really hard to find one of those outside the Ireland and Scotland.  In which case, a consecrated stone, used for Your spiritual works only, or even better for conjuring rain only will do.
     Ritual to conjure the mist

     I have written this particular ritual, some time ago, but I’ve never used it myself. Some friends have though, and  they have reported    good  results.
     It’s simple. Hold a piece of Ametrine in one hand, and a lit blue-yellow candle in another. Chant:

     “To conceal and hide, and wrap in mist,
       I invoke air and water; combine and twist,
       Spirits of Air and Water, from far and wide,
       Conjure mist and fog, bring them by  my side!”

     Alternatively, one could try pouring some water in a ceramic/aroma lamp, mixed with dried and powdered Heather plant, and as the fumes rise, invoke the fog.
     Visualizing fog and mist filling one’s head/mind, is said to effectively render  powerless people to penetrate and read mind of one who’s using the simple technique.

     Magick  and spiritual work to protect from, and banish, the storm

     Storm is a destructive and formidable force. One to be feared of, respected, harvested, and perhaps most importantly, protected from.  Protecting from the bad weather is the whole idea behind weather divinations and meteorology.
      People have used all sort of herbs and charms to protect from bad weather.
      Houseleek, St John’s wort, and Feverfew are among the best choices to protect from lighting.  Particularly the Houseleek, which is said to be the most powerful charm against the thunders and lightings.
       Rowan tree planted in front of the home,  and Elder tree   behind  the home, are said to also confer safety from electric atmospheric discharges. Very powerful is a nice sprig of Mistletoe hung on the front door.
       Nettle and Oak tree’s wood, are carried on one’s behalf, as charms  against the lightning.
       A sharp object, such as knife, an axe, or   a    pair of    scissors , pinned in a ground, at the edge of one’s property, is according to the widely spread superstition, a way to break the upcoming wind, hurricane, tornado, or storm, split it , and spar your home of it. 
      Blue Chalcedony, as well as Heliotrope stones were used to protect from bad weather, and even help  control in, in the “old times”. [10]
       The "Malleus Malleficarum", suggestes reciting the following to halt a storm:

“I adjure you, hailstorms and winds,
By the five wounds of Christ,
Arid by the three nails which pierced His hands
and feet
And by the four Holy Evangelists, Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John,
That you be dissolved and fall as rain!”

     Also, three hailstones would be, in turn, one after another thrown into a fire, while reciting the Our Father prayer and the Angelic   salutation, to achieve the same result,  finished by reciting Gospel of St. John, and saying: “By the words of this Gospel may this tempest be stopped!” [11]

     In Austria, there’s a custom of throwing wheat, outside the window,   to hinder a storm magickally. The  belief probably arises from the notion that storms are embodiment of some lower level evil spirits, that due to their obsessive compulsive nature  get interrupted, and distracted   by seeds  thrown on ground. 

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, so If You wish to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits: Shadow of the Shadows magick place, or a direct link to this post
[2] Quoted from: “Exploring spellcraft” pg. 136th  New Pages books, 2008th,  by Dunwich, Gerrina , used here for educational and informative purposes, without any ill will
[6]  “Witches potions and spells”, 57th page, Kathryn Paulsen, 1971. Peter Pauper Press
[7]  According to the :  “Cunningham’s encyclopedia of magical herbs” , by Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn publications
[8] According to the  source listed under [3]
[9] According to the  source listed under [6]
[10] According to the   Judy Hall, as stated in various of  her books on Crystals
[11] According to the same source as under: [2],  on 138th page

IMAGE CREDITS: First image is from  ,   digitally edited for  the use here, by myself, used for illustrative and explanatory purposes without any ill will

The second is from  Likewise, this image is also used for illustrative and explanatory purposes, without any ill will

Mar 20, 2015

Birds in magick and divination

     The birds almost deserve a separate branch of magick, a system If You will, dedicated to solely to them. Like  the Fairies ( Fairy magick ) or magickal gemology ( crystal magick )… Many beliefs and folklore about them, spin the globe, and connect the cultural heritage of diverse ethnic and national J
groups, transcending thus the physical, and fictive,  boundaries, we humans had set. They can fly after all

     And it’s the very ability of flight, that had earned the birds almost instant association with magick, in human mind, according to anthropologists. We can easily understand, and agree with this.

     However, there is always something more, something intangible, and subtle, delicate and inconspicuous to the “unwary” eye of a non believer. Birds were guides of shamans, witchdoctors, and witches through human history. 

     Birds   were ominous to humans, and predicted either catastrophes or successes of civilizations, as well as individuals, as far as human memory goes back.  Also, birds were held to be   messengers of deities, and sometimes deities themselves in disguise. Examples are many. Sparrows and swallows, and sometimes doves, were considered sacred to Aphrodite. Owls are told to always accompany to the Judaic demon Lilith, and she would often morph in one of them. Hence the name, “night owl” , which was often used as synomum for Lilith. Native Americans firmly believe that the Eagle carries on his imposing wings, prayers to Wakan Tanka or Maitou ( name varies in tribes ) that is the Great Spirit. Ravens, although almost universally seen as bad omens  in the world, is also a bird that had feed the St Elijah the prophet , in Judeo-Christian lore. The white Dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Christianity and omen of blessing, empowerment , and salvation.

The four feathers

Native Americans, hold particularly sacred these four species of birds:

·         Eagle ( most often Bold eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) – Native American people consider Eagle a chief of    the bird tribe, and is believed to carry prayers of the people  to Great spirit.  It’s a symbol of strength and courage, and his feathers carry some of  that power, hence their use among Native   American people, as a fetish, or amulet bestowing courage, while also being a medal of honor of a kind. Direction associated with the Eagle is East, and season is spring.
A White headed Eagle

·         Hawk ( subfamily Accipitrinae, various genus’ and species ) –  Native American people held that the Hawks were messengers of spirits, and that they were associated with  the mystical Thunderbird.  The feathers of the Hawk were consequently used for invocation of the rain  in some tribes, and were widely used  among various tribes  in healing  rituals.  Direction associated with the Hawk is south, and the season is summer.

·         Owl ( many of the genus’ from the family  Strigida, and from the order Stigiformes ) –  Owl, as a night-bird is in Native American though associated with the Moon, unlike the Eagle and the hawk who are associated with Sun. It’s also associated with the knowledge, and sometimes magick and transformation. Direction associated with the Owl in North, and season is winter.

·         RavenCorvus spp. ) – Raven is believed to be a messenger of the Great spirit according to Native American people,  guardian of the Sacred laws,  the theft who had once stolen the Sun, trickster and a bird of transformation.  Direction associated with the Raven is west, and the season is autumn.[1]

     Here are some additional Native American beliefs associated with the Owl:

     “Some Native American cultures link owls with supernatural knowledge and divination. In the Menominee myth of The Origin of Night and Day, Wapus (rabbit) encounters Totoba (the saw-whet owl, Aegolious acadicus) and the two battle for daylight (wabon) and darkness (unitipaqkot) by repeating those words. Totoba errs and repeats "wabon" and daylight wins, but Wapus permits that night should also have a chance for the benefit of the conquered, and thus day and night were born. The Pawnees view the owl as a symbol of protection; the Ojibwa, a symbol of evil and death, as well as a symbol of very high status of spiritual leaders of their religion; and the Pueblo, associated with Skeleton Man, the god of death and spirit of fertility. On a warm afternoon in August 1985, one of the authors (DHJ) observed Ojibwa peoples at a weekend cultural celebration in Duluth, Minnesota using dried wings of Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianas) as hand-held fans to cool themselves after participating in native dances.” [2]

     Read about some more Native American legends,  associated with the Owl,  on the Owl pages 
In any case, the four feathers of these birds were placed on four cardinal points of the wheel inside Wigvams of those starting spiritual journey, for the sake of illumination, vision quest or   initiation. As we have seen earlier in the text the position of the feathers was following:


Birds in divination, ornithomancy and avimancy ( also ornithoscopy )

     The divination by observing birds, and hearing their singing is called   ornithomancy. There are many methods and variations, depending on the culture, tradition, and even the bird species. But there are general guidelines for  what should be observed in a  typical “reading”  via birds , if we can call it that.

     After the practitioner had asked the questions, in many traditions three times, aloud, somewhere outside, he/she/it observes for appearance of bird, and some other specific thing.

Aspects important in divination via birds that seem universal in the world are following:
a)      Direction - in which the birds appear and are seen, when the diviners spots them. For example, the birds moving towards the diviner, foretell about the happy times awaiting the questioner.
b)      Direction change – sudden or abrupt change of the direction was also “diagnostic”. For example, a large flock of birds suddenly changing the direction was indicative of, sudden intense change in emotional life of the diviner , emotional instability and doubt.
c)       Color – was an important aspect too. Majority  of the flock consisting of light colored birds, was a sing to take action, while the majority of the flock   being made from  the black or dark ones, was a sing that more planning is due, and probably, that the questioner should ask someone for  an advice.
d)      Height – When it comes to height of bird’s flight, the simple rule of thumb applies, when it comes to interpretation.  Plainly, the higher the better. On the other hand, horizontal, up-down and zigzag flight, is  a warning   of the forthcoming obstacles on  diviner’s road to success.
e)      Singing – Bird’s song is interpreted differently depending on the species, but  generally,  if the bird/s are squawking a lot and flying in circles it’s a very bad omen. If a  whole flock is doing it over a specific town, area… it can be sing of a natural catastrophe of some kind.

     Later in the article, we will touch upon the divination with specific bird’s such as Cuckoo bird, and others,  upon discussing these particular birds. The variations are so many that it would hardly be possible for me to explain them all in a blog post like this.  Follow the given  guidelines, in general divination and experiment with them. Teach Yourself to observe birds and pay attention to them more, they have a lot to teach, those that are ready  to listen, according to the words of the wise people.

Birds in folk magick and divination of Balkan Peninsula

     I decided it’s best to approach the animal magick from the perspective I am most familiar with, here. Its traditional Balkan witchcraft, folk magick and lore. I  have also  observed animal magick, from perspective of Hoodoo,  but that’s a topic for some other post/s. If fact, I hope I will  have the opportunity to write about chicken as a magickal bird, in more detail in a separate post. I will save Hoodoo insight on the issue of bird magick for such occasion.

     In Balkan peninsula, birds, as ominous creatures  and folk medicine source, were always held at high regard. Even by people who are not superstitious. They might not believe, but they are at least cautious and open-minded, about the possibility that birds indeed carry messages from Higher Power.  Or that they know something. It may have to do with the rich body of folklore, which is a cultural heritage of people in this part of world, and that dealing with birds is extremely large. It can, alone fill tomes and tomes of books. Here I shall deal with  those extremely popular and well known, as it’s only appropriate for this type of work ( blog post ). I will give the species* of the bird spoken of, or at least that which is most commonly identified as such. So let’s begin.

Raven ( Corvus corax , Ordo Passeriformes, Fam. Corvidae )


     According to one legend, raven was the first bird that the Noah had released to seek the dry land, but the bird got too distracted by eating carcasses, so the Noah had  to send the dove, which brought back the olive branch.
     For the Balkan peninsula people, especially in Serbia, Montenegro and some parts of Bulgaria, the raven is purely and exclusively a bad omen.  Seeing it, hearing it, flying, sitting on a tree,  on a chimney, it matters very little. It’s a sign of a great misfortune, either way.  In fact raven is plainly seen as a sign of great misfortune. There are even various incantations that are to be “said” ** upon seeing eitheer a flock of ravens, or a single one on Your rooftop in Your yard, flies over Your village etc. to negate the power of this omen. The only positive thing about this bird is that it had various applications in folk, ritual medicine, and was a powerful, according to the folk “probatum” cure for many, otherwise hard to  treat or incurable conditions. For example, salt poured through the dry head*** of the Raven was a cure for poor memory, it restored the memory faculty, and could even activate immune system in some cases. A few drops of raven’s blood, slipped (  ritually ) into the vine of a drunk, would gradually or instantly ( sometimes it had to be done few times to take the full effect )  them of alcoholism, and the reckless behavior associated with it.
     Raven is  also associated with the Celtic deities Bran the blessed, and Lugh, whose name  actually derives from the Celtic word for “raven”.

Magpie ( most often Pica pica, also O. Passeriformes, Fam. Corvidae )

     Another one seen as exclusively or almost exclusively as a  bad omen, depending on  it’s behavior, in some areas of Balkan Peninsula. It might have been seen as omen of upcoming news, on rare occasions.  But the Magpie, was much like Raven, ironically used in  ritual medicine profusely.  Among others, it was a definite cure for epilepsy when   “prepared” in specific way.  If someone was stuttering badly, or had lost the ability to talk, due to some kind of nervous system blockage, even those magickaly induced, they were cured by means of feeding them ten pulverized magpie tongues, in a glass of milk on a New Moon night.
     Magpie feather, in Europe is widely held to be a magickal charm ( or talisman ) that can help one retrieve and locate lost items and people.

Crow ( various species Corvus sinatus, C. frugilegus, C. cornix and others, also O.Passeriformes, Fam. Corvidae )

     A crow, landing on a tree, in front of Your house, or a lone one sighted in nature,  according to the Balkan folk  foretells of a arrival of some guest.  One  heard squawking, while flying over Your house  or resting near it foretells of some  important news.  Just for precaution, upon such occasion, Balkan folk would say, in their mind’s voice:

If it’s a good voice/news, let them squawk, if it’s a bad one, let them fly away and carry the misfortune with them

     The crow was not used much in ritual medicine, but there are some indications that it was sporadically used as a sacrifice to some deities of pagan Slavic pantheon. [3]

Cuckoo bird (many species from the Cuculidae family, particularly of Cuculus genus )

     Balkan Peninsula folk, have always considered Cuckoo birds to be prophetic birds, often harbingers of death even, but an utmost friendly harbinger.  Whatmore, they were treated as godsend omen! But mind You, Balkan Peninsula folk believe that a cuckoo bird singing on the house chimney, predicts dead of some of the house inhabitants.  But unlike with Ravens and magpies, cuckoo bird’s singing is rather a friendly warning, about unnatural death (premature, not destined), that can thus be stopped. Hearing the Cuckoo bird’s “song” coming from the east, was ominous of lucky, successful year, whereas the singing coming from the west was a warning to “slow down”,  dela y  all unnecessary journeys, and think things through a bit more. If you hear the Cuckoo bird for the first time some year, on an empty stomach, that is before you ate, it would be a sign that you will be troubled with insomnia and fatigue, throughout the upcoming year. To prevent the “fulfillment” of such prophecy, simply say as many times as the bird sounded the following: “For life and health”.  There is a curious dream incubation recorded being done here, upon seeing a Cuckoo bird for the first time in the year. This simple rite, is said to induce prophetic dreams.  On such occasion one is to dig up some earth from where they are standing with their right hand, and wrap it in some white or red paper. This “sachet” is then to be placed bellow pillow.  In some parts of Balkan Peninsula spotting Cuckoo bird on a tree, was a chance for diviners to get some answer. They would sit down below the tree, asking YES or NO questions aloud, and counting the  bird’s “replies”,  even numbers would mean YES, and odd number of cuckoo sounds would mean NO. The tree where the bird had spent some time, or rather the very branch, was considered to attain special healing powers afterwards.  Particularly in helping the hair growth, and becoming beautiful in Young women.

Divination by rooster’s choice, or alectryomancy
     This type of divination, common among rural areas of Europe, was/is particularly often done with roosters, but in ancient Rome, where from the divination originates, it had been done with white chickens, or “holy birds”, which were hens, used solely for divination, and carried around in luxurious cages, by Roman soldiers.
     The very method is rather simple, the diviner/s draw circles on the ground, mark them with symbols ( answer  options, or even letters of the alphabet ) and then cast a few seeds of a kind, oftentimes wheat on each. The birds are then released from the cages, and it’s observed and noted, which seeds they ate first, second etc., that is from which one of the marked circles, and what where the symbols/meanings behind it.

Divination by Magpies

A Magpie

     An old nursery rhyme, popularly referred to as “One for sorrow” is actually an example of apantomancy,   combined with numerology, and folklore superstitions.
     In short, the little poem, first time recorded around 1780. (in John Brand's “Observations on Popular Antiquities on Lincolnshire” )  it consisted of four lyrics, attributing ominous meaning and symbolism, or accidental encounter with Magpie birds; one was indicative of sorrow, two were foretelling  mirth ( sometimes also births ), and so on.

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
And four for death” [4]

     Which latter evolved into a tad more lengthy poem, having ten lyrics, and therefore observing the symbolism of accidental encounter with one, two, three, etc. up to ten Magpies. In parts of the world where magpies are not that common, the same symbolism may apply to Crows, or Ravens.

One for sorrow,
Two for luck; (or mirth)
Three for a wedding,
Four for death; (or birth)
Five for silver,
Six for gold
;Seven for a secret,Not to be told;
Eight for heaven,
Nine for [hell]
And ten for the d[evi]l's own sell! [5]

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, so If You wish to use any parts of it elsewhere, feel free, but provide credits; Shadow of the Shadows magick place , , or a direct link to this post

[1] According to Cassandra Eason as stated in her : “Encyclopedia of magck and ancient Wisdom”, adopted  and edited here by myself.
[2] Retrieved from: posted here  for educational purposes without any ill will
[3] Various sources, mostly : magazine :”Bakini recepti za srecu” #11 , 5th August  2012., pg. 36th and 37th,  ( see more about the magazine on here :     ) also  “Srpski Rjecnik” by Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic“, and:  Mit I religija u Srba” Veselin Cajkanovic, all dealing with cultural anthropology, religion, superstition and myths in Balkan peninsula inhabitants
[5]  Retrieved from:  same source listed under [4] Originally quoted from: I. Opie and M. Tatem, eds, A Dictionary of Superstitions (Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 235-6

 All used here for illustrative and explanatory purposes without any ill will

Feb 28, 2015

Traditional folk healing magick

IMPORTANT NOTE: None of the methods described in this article is meant to replace standard treatment of orthodox medicine. They are presented for their spiritual, folkloric and historic value, as well as means of complementary methods to be used alongside, orthodox medicine. Those that are not harmful anyway. I will not (!!!) be held responsible for anyone's lack of  common sense. Full stop. If you are dubious about whether or not you should use some of the methods described or not... You should not. Use that as a rule of thumb.

    Spiritual medicine should never replace the orthodox medicine, and likewise, neither should the orthodox medicine substitute, or suppress spiritual medicine. Each have their own spectrum of effects and influence, which don’t necessarily overlap, though they can. Most of the times, they can work combined, and they can complement each other.  
Abracadabra, the written charm; written in manner
 suggested in "Liber medicinalis" was believed to fence off
misfortune , and banishes and curse diseases. Some ( like
A. Crowley for example ) speculated
that the  true form of the word is : Abrahadabra 

     Let’s illustrate it with an utterly simple example; a person having a fracture should certainly not try to fix their bones with an incantation, but the person stricken with the night-mares, should not get an operation for apnea. It’s not unlike proper physiologically active substance applied for specific condition. Forgetting or putting away the old methods of healing, because we live in a “modern age” is equally stupid, as trying to heal a bacterial infection with the few words of some dodgy chant.  Everything has its place in this world, and tossing away something old ;  that’s effective and working, just to get something new, which is not working, is the ugly example of stupid notion that neophilia is.

     Another, I must say, and excuse the strong language; idiotic, misconception about magickal healing is that some aspects of “alternative” medicine, such as herbal medicine or aromatherapy equate with it. Nonsense, a good deal of alternative medicine, is based on the holistic approach to the medicine, but obviously has rules and limitations, and limits. What more, the mentioned aromatherapy and herbal medicine are extremely scientific, in an orthodox way.  Just because some ideology or practice is old, or even ancient, does neither make it pseudoscience nor magickal. It’s completely astounding to find even people in magickal community, confusing alternative medicine and magickal healing. Magickal healing, unlike alternative medicine, or as I prefer to address to it holistic medicine ( I do crystal therapy myself ), Is plainly neither predictable neither limited. If you have problems differentiating the two (alternative medicine and magickal or spiritual healing), simply keep in mind the two main differences, predictability, and limits. Now that (hopefully) we have obliterated the misconceptions, let’s focus of magikcal healing here, more specifically on folkloric, or traditional healing magick, for we have also the more “modern”, or “up to date” healing magick, like candle work etc., of which I have written before on here.

     Traditional, folkloric and spiritual healing magick and its “modus operandi”

     We could say that the healing magick is indeed an ancient art. Or rather and ancient form of magick. It eventually gave birth to the orthodox medicine. But it never stopped existing itself, and with a good reason. It’s equally effective as it used to be, for conditions which need to be treated with it. Ancient Egyptians would’ve place powdered Malachite on their eyes to prevent the eye infections that were so common in the valley of Nile. Hebrew people would read Psalms, and sometimes would do elaborate community ceremonies, or rituals involving multiple people to heal conditions and restore health Some of which, If we are to trust sources like “Sixth and Seventh book of Moses” to describe these practices accurately, were rather macabre, and involved torturing and maiming animals, as it were ( for example an eye healing ritual requires, among other things, eyes of dog to be pierced with needles, in Sixth and Seven book of Moses psalmody section ). Christian religion is very opulent in examples of miraculous healings performed by Lord Christ Himself, and many Saints as well, including complete restoration of lost organs, limbs etc. St. Cosmas and Damian, were believed to have performed transplantation surgeries, of whole limbs easily and successfully, with the Divine help, as early as in III century.

     Though the magickal and religious/spiritual healing, are definitely not one and the same, the former is certainly influenced by the later. Which can be seen in Christianized chants, appearing throughout Europe, for example, used to cure burns, remove warts… or stop bleeding.  Many of these have found their way into the classic and old, medieval grimoires, and latter texts such as; “Egyptian Secrets” by Albertus Magnus, “Pow-wow’s of along lost friend”, folkloric works of  Henry Middleton Hyatt, “Pettit albert” and consequently many early and even some contemporary farmer’s almanacs. Even during the “burning times” ( Inquisition ), this type of “magick” was considered folk medicine, and was along with the apotropaic magick, condoned, or even coveted, least one was happened to have  any kind of disagreement with  Inquisition authorities. But in such case, even walking down the street, or eating an apple, or washing hair… You name it, the most mundane activity, could have been twisted and turned around, to make-up for a shaky-leg, senseless accusation. Otherwise however, folk healing magick, and apotropaic tricks were completely acceptable. This is another reason, why the information about it, and beliefs survived in great number of cases, in intact, raw forms, and is present in readily accessible sources ( such as public books ).

     And how does exactly the traditional, magickal healing work?  It rarely, or ever, centers on 
magickal and planetary correspondences, or timing, etc. In fact, it has a rather raw approach, based on doctrine of signatures, beliefs, lore and superstitions, as well as    interaction with the spirits.

    Indeed, in Easter Europe, for example, there is abundance of rituals, some surviving from the times of paganism, and others yet more ancient and more modern, trying to appease certain spirits, and to  get them to heal a sick individual, which could either not be cured by orthodox medicine, or was struck with specific, spiritual conditions, or “unnatural”diseases   . In Eastern Europe, another common form of traditional/folk healing rituals involves a form of Fairy magick , that is making pact with the fairies,   and a  interestingly  peculiar example, is one where the sick person is left  to lie next to Burning bush  ( the  REAL burning bush, which would be  Dictamnus albus  and not the decorative Evyonumus ) plant, ritually chosen, and a burning candle with the offering to the fairies. This odd  ritual is performed on the St. George’s day ( as  commemorated in Eastern Orthodox Christian Church ) which falls on 23rd / 24th of April, in a forest where the Burning bush, a mystical plant deemed particularly  sacred to the Fae ( by Slavic people and their descendants ) grows in abundance. But for the ritual to work, the plant must be whole, undamaged, not even as much as single petal being nipped. After a lengthy ceremonial actions, the sick person is left with the candle, and offerings to the Fae ( Cakes, bread, honey, vine etc. ) to sleep through the night, next to chosen plant. Hopefully, I can go into detail on this fascinating custom/ritual on another occasion.

     They can come in form of incantations ( spoken magickal charms ) or written charms, for example, various  charms words written in form of downwards triangle, created by removing a first and last letter from the word, in each next line in which the word is written, like the “Abracadabra” charm for example. There are similar charms, which   too employ the decreasing symbolism in a similar fashion but are rather spoken than written, or in some cases both is done.

     Finally, there are beliefs about the use of specific items, or visiting specific places, that are believed to possess miraculous healing and restorative powers, somewhat alike to those of the Healing relics in Christianity, but to a less degree. A common white, water washed tumbled stone is believed to possess power to remove negative effects of an insect bite or absorb negative emotions, in European witchery, a living hen can be applied directly to the snake bite to absorb the venom, in Native American lore, sacred wells contain healing power that can remove even terminal sickness and replace it with health, or even regenerate tissues and cells, in worldwide spread folklore and Neo-paganism. In both Vodoun and contemporary Voodoo,  there is a notion of a “cure-all”, an preparation, or a charm, that is supposed to be  an universal cure, somewhat like early herbal medicine tonics, which were not to cure a specific aliment but rather to improve and restore health in whole, in general.

    So the charms, incantations and items in the folkloric healing magick, seem to contain innate healing powers, which do not even need to be directed in any specific way, as it’s often done in modern rituals. They do not need grounding, focusing, centering or releasing energy, nor is the knowledge about the specific, spell or ritual needed, beyond the very instructions. They may appear with a closing word “probatum”[1] in older Grimoires, which serves to illustrate this notion; and implies  that they have been proved to be efficient  by experience or trials/ experiment.

    And before, proceeding to illustrate with examples, let’s just make it clear, that folk healing magick, is usually concerned with specific   set of conditions, which may or may not be treated by orthodox medicine as well. As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, spiritual or magickal healing treats some conditions for which orthodox medicine experts readily accept, that there is no known cure or even treatment to them, and often considers removing spiritual conditions such as “witchcraft”, “curse” or “evil spirits” an act of  healing.

     So called “witch cake” is Your typical example of folk diagnosing and healing magick, even though it was ( supposedly ) the reason for one of the very  first witch trials as recorded in Salem. [2]
     Following are some examples to illustrate, or to be put to use. The sane ones obviously, If a magickal recipe tells You to drink sulphur or acid, is there really anyone else to blame but Yourself, If You do it ? That being said, before You proceed; please, read once again the IMPORTANT NOTE, posted at the beginning of this article, for , once again, I will not be held responsible for anyone’s lack of common sense.

To remove a toothache

“To remove a toothache, wrap a barley straw around a stone and throw it into running water saying:
Oh, pain in my teeth,
Trouble me not so greatly!
Do not come to me,
My mouth is not thy house,
I love thee not at all
Stay thou away from  me;
When the straw is in the brook
Go away into the water”[3]

(In this example, we can notice the application of  innless-absorbing  qualities of the stone, and barley’s toothache healing properties, combined with the principle of binding and transferring magic. While still simple in terms   of  plain performance, this one is a bit more complex in symbolism than  your average folk healing magick procedures) *

Voodoo cure all recipe

Mixing Jimsonweed, with Sulphur and honey, in a glass, rubbing it against black cat and then sipping slowly, was supposed to cure all ills and pains and solve all problems, according to Louisiana Voodoo beliefs. (!!! ) [4]

(Of course that Jimsonweed is poisonous, and that Sulphur is harmful)

To cure any illness; witchcraft method

To cure any illness bore a hole into the side of a living tree, and spit into it three times strongly. Then cover up a hole” [5]

To heal a burn

     A traditional, cunning folk method for healing the burns, from United Kingdom. Blow on the place where the burn is thrice, as you chant:

“Three Angels came from North, East and West,
One brought fire, another brought frost,
And the third brought the Holy Ghost
So out fire and in frost
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost “   [6]

(The very chant comes in many variations, the variables are most often the number of angels, two or three, or mention of ladies/giants/wise men instead of angels, or the directions from where they came. The chant is also popular in some parts of America)

Wart charming

     A common method of removing warts, includes decomposition of some organic substance, that   had been used to rub it against the wart, followed by appropriate chants/incantations. Incantations are many, they differ from place to place, or even person to person, but they are usually very short, they are easy to learn by heart, and they rhyme.
     Often it’s suggested that they are done, for three, five, seven or nine  ( rarely more )  consecutive days, during the waning moon phase, preferably, finishing on the day prior to the new Moon.
     So for example, one is to take potato, slice it on two halves, rub one half over the wart, as they chant something like this:

One, two, three,
warts go away from me,
one, two, three, four,
never come back no more” [7]

     And then the potato would be buried in ground to rot or decompose.  Sometimes, it’s suggested to  rub the wart counterclockwise, 7 or 9 times, simultaneously chanting the chant for seven, or nine time,    and then bury whatever was used to rub the wart in the ground, and no more  repeating of the  ritual was needed. Frequently used are also apple, and bean seeds to rub the   wart.

     Another popular method was to prick and make bleed the wart with a sharp-pointed object such as needle, or pin, or nail, and then bury it. Alternatively, some methods require to prick the wart, then let some blood drip on the piece or paper, or another object (in some versions   a coin), then leave the object on the crossroads for someone to pick it up. When someone does, the warts would pass on them, hence another example of magick of transfer.

     Finally there were some liquids believed to cure warts effectively, like dandelion root juice, lemon juice, vinegar, urine and other, but it’s not always clear which  one of those  were plainly a mundane and which a magickal cure.

To remove toothache II    

     A Christian influenced prayers speaking of Lord Christ walking to find Peter (or Peter and Paul, or some other characters too, sometimes unknown men), who cries and complains on toothache and the Lord heals him, is another very popular charm in Europe and the States. It seems to suffice for a healer just to utter it with respect,   for the afflicted person to be rid of the toothache. One version goes like this:

Peter and Paul sat on a marble stone,
Jesus came alone,
Peter, said he, what makes you quake?
Lord and master, it’s the toothache.
Arise, Peter and be healed!” [8]
     These type of prayers are thought to rely on symbolism and channeling of Healing powers of the Lord through, reenacting the situation, as it were.

To stop bleeding

Was it not a happy hour when, when Jesus Christ was born, was it not a fortunate hour when Jesus Christ arose from the dead. These three blissful hours stop thy    bleeding, and heal thy    wounds, that they may not swell or fester, and within three or nine days be well again” [9] 
( If You ever desire to try this ; I’d issue a word of advice, I don’t suppose it’s meant to somehow magickaly cauterize the wound, instead, after   using some first aid methods, like cleaning/disinfecting the wound, putting a plaster/bandage etc.  recite over wound three times to ensure that the blood stops and healing starts ).

To remove fever

Recite the following, as many times as You can


I have actually used this one with great success, as well as the next one, with the same purpose. It comes from Rabbi Eleazar of the Worms, from the Middleages.

To remove fever II

Hold a handful of salt for a while (I use right hand), then toss it into flames, while saying: “Sickness burn, good health return!”

To cure unnatural eye disease

In the Hebrew lore, a demon called Shabriri, is believed to weaken the eyesight, cause blindness, and several waterborne diseases. To prevent it from accomplishing such effect, once a person starts feeling negative changes, in regard to their eyesight, they should recite:

My mother  told  me to beware of Shabriri, briri, riri, iri, ri!” various times.

In case of waterborne diseases; one is to write the decreasing demon name, in an inverted triangle fashion, starting with “Shabriri”, and ending with “ri”, and carry it on oneself. It’s both considred to protect and cure from the waterborne diseases. [10]

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself. If You  desire to use any  parts of it  elsewhere online  feel free, but add credits (!!!);  Shadow of the Shadows magick place, or a direct link to this post. 


* Text in the brackets following the examples, is my own commentary
[1] See “Egyptian secrets: or white and black art for men and   beast” by Albertus Magnus for examples
[2] Read more about it here:
[3] Quoted from: “Witches potions and spells” by Kathryn Paulsen, page 28st Peter Pauper Press 1971st
[5] Quoted from same source as given under [3] page 29th
[6] The chant text is retrieved from: , Cassandra   Eason mentions this method of healing burns, saying   how the person who uses the chant  blows three times on the burn; that is how it’s custom done In Summerset. In her book  : “Encyclopedia of magick and ancient wisdom “
[7] Chant retrieved form: “New perspectives on witchcraft, magic and demonology; Volume 5; Witchcraft, healing and popular diseases” , edited by  Brian P. Levack
[8] As under [7] pg 28th
[9] Retrieved from the title suggested under [1]
[10] According to   E. A. Wallis Budge; as stated in his “Amulets and Superstitions”,  though also mentioned in   the Talmud  , Pesachim  112

IMAGE CREDITS:  Photo  taken, and edited digitally by my minority