The death bell tolls:
“nine knells for a man
six for a woman
and three for a child.”
But the church bell protects from witches:
“Much the witches fear the spell
When by night they hear a bell,
Off they fly over the sky
When they hear dondo dondo.”
(Old Gypsy Song)
Demdike’s Lament: Return of the Druid
In the days of old they called us
the Wise Women
and begged our aid
when the world beat against them.
The Druids crowned us
High Priestesses –
we raised storms to keep
the invaders at bay.
Dancers span spells
and wrought powerful potions,
bringing new life into being
and healing ill.
We brewed roots, bark, plants and
and sang to claim the winds and wilds.
Then the clergy spoke and made
all the Cunning
ostracized from the Divine.
We terrified them
and were ground down
under the boot of
the cruel Inquisition.
We became Witches
and the burnings began.
But we never honored Satan –
Yet those put to question
still gave up
their friends to fire and gallows.
We now roam the land as Vagabonds
and changing luck.
Skilled eyes that can pierce through the veil
will be Clairvoyants,
mastering the spirit world.
When doctors and science
fail to tame the feral –
they will label us mad and
Yet healers always find new ways
to combat superstition.
And when faith returns
I know Wise Women
will ride the moon once again.
John William Waterhouse
A lot of folk ’round here like to bury a live cat in the walls of their cottages.
This charme wards off evil and vermin.
The cat acts as a guardian spirit and they say it protects the home from witches!
Ha ha ha . . .
Here’s a little rhyme to tell your future by counting Magpies!
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told
Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten for a bird you must not miss.
Call it what ye will – but the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest.
Samhain means Summer’s End. We Wise Women celebrate on the nearest full moon afore November, after the harvest is gathered. This is halfway between Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It represents the end of summer and the start of the spiritual New Year. Samhain comes from the Celtic Fire Festival when all the Druids remembered the dead. Bonfires may be built to cleanse and protect – and sacrifices are offered to the gods. It’s a night of divination, mummers, feastin’, guisin’, and young lads followin’ the Hobby Horse about the village.
The Church of Rome made this feast into All Hallows’ Eve, the start of All Saints’ Day to honor the Christian saints and martyrs – and All Soul’s Day that remembers the souls of the dead. There’ll be Soul Cakes eaten instead of meat, candles lit for the dear departed, vigils, feasts, and the ringin’ of church bells everywhere.
The youngsters have just celebrated Halloween, short for Hallowed or Holy Evening, and remembered the frailty of life with skeletons, ghouls, cobwebs, tombstones, and demons. They hope to have chased evil and death away, by honoring the darkness. Some carved turnips into Jack o’ Lanterns for those lost souls who’ve been denied both Heaven and Hell. There were pranks and guising to imitate mischievous spirits, costume feasts, processions, and mummers’ plays.
Aye, it’s a powerful week — but be careful to guard your own soul!
Can’t choose between two lovers? Here’s a spell to help – but it must be cast on All Hallows:
Light a fire and take three walnuts. Name one for yourself and one for each suitor.
Place the three nuts on the fire with yours in the middle of the other two.
If either nut cracks – or jumps away – that union is not meant to be.
The two nuts that blaze closest together will make the best marriage!
For the ninth test, they’ll prick thee with a bodkin or a knife!
If thou feel no pain when poked –
or if thou fail to bleed –
or if that spot is cold to the touch –
they’ll claim that’s proof of witchcraft!