The Lychgate

The Lychgate (lichgate, lyke gate or Wych gate), is seen as a liminal space between consecrated + unconcegrated grounds. It’s the last place a body will rest before they pass from this world to the next. Bodies would be sheltered under here, away from the elements + kept watch over by men (wooden seating would have been placed within), until their funeral, usually with a sheet covering them as coffins weren’t afforded commonly.

In folk practices, these are the spaces that we leave our offerings prior to working with the cemetery, paying your toll if you will. Coins would be left within the Lychgate or at the first Yew tree upon entering. Although in modern times, Lychgates aren’t as common, so you would leave the coins at the entrance.

In the cemetery side of the Lychgate, the spirit of the human, was said to be met by the guardian of the burial ground. Now this guardian could be the first or last person who was buried in this particular place (depending on region as this can vary) or could be what’s best describe as a hell hound (dogs were buried in the cemeteries, to take over from human spirits having to be the guardian of burial ground and some believe the reaper would meet you there.

Lyke-gates were common practice throughout the UK and would be the ending point to the corpse/coffin road.

On a practical level, Lychgates were shelter for the body that had been carried from the home to the graveyard. The gate gave shelter from the weather + with men watching over, would stop attempts of grave robbers stealing from the body, until the priest was to conduct the funeral.

Symbols Of Magick

Although you can carry out rituals using absolutely anything, you may like to create a special set of symbols for a variety of rituals. These you can keep in a separate box within your main store of magick artifacts so they do not get scattered or broken.

You may include a thimble to symbolize domestic affairs, a tiny padlock for security at home, a wooden toy boat for travel, a silver locket for fidelity, a key charm for a house, tiny painted wooden eggs for fertility in any venture – just to suggest a few. You can also use small fabric dolls to represent people, for example in a love spell.

Tarot cards also provide excellent symbols for magick: the Emperor for power, the Empress for fertility, the Ten of Pentacles for prosperity, the Lovers for romance, the World or the Eight of Wands for travel, Temperance for harmony, Justice for matters of law, etc. Even if you do not use Tarot cards for divination, a brilliantly illustrated pack, such as the Rider Waite or the Morgan Greer, will by their pictures suggest all kinds of images for your work.

You may also find a supply of white clay useful for creating impromptu symbols and if the clay is soft you can empower it with written words or symbols. I am not suggesting you create waxen images of the kind you see in B-movies, and I certainly don’t want you to collect nail clippings or hair in an attempt to harm anyone in any way; this is merely a representation of a person or desired object. It may be possible to find a natural source of clay.

The Pentagram

The Pentagram of the Witches is a five-pointed star formed by five straight lines, and encased in a circle, with one point upwards.

The five points of the pentagram represent the five elements.

The crowning point represents Spirit, and continuing in clockwise order, the remaining points symbolize Water, Fire, Earth, and Air.

The circle is related to the magic circle of Power, and connects all of the elements together, all of which is under the dominion of Spirit.

When inscribed on a disk, it represents the Pentacle, or ritual tool of Earth.

Small silver Pentagrams are favorite amulets of Witches and are often worn as ritual jewelry.

The first known uses of the pentagram are found in Mesopotamian writings dating to about 3000 BC.

The Sumerian pentagrams served as pictograms for the word “UB” meaning “corner, angle, nook; a small room, cavity, hole; pitfall”.

The Pentagram is a very ancient magic sigil and has been used by many groups under many names.

Among the names are

Pentalpha (the five A’s of Pythagoras),

the Endless Knot, the Eastern Star (used in Masonry, and the star the Magi followed in Biblical myth),

the Star of Knowledge, the Seal of the Templars, the Seal of Solomon (although this is a misattribution, as Solomon’s Seal is actually a six-pointed star),

the Pentagrammaton (or “the five-letter word”: YHShVH, the ineffable name of the God of the Hebrews when coupled with the Shekinah),

the Goat of Mendes, the Seal of the Microcosm, Gawain’s Garter (Gawain used this symbol on his escutcheon after defeating the Green Knight) the Witch’s Foot,

and the Goblin Cross. Christians once used the pentagram to represent the five wounds of Jesus.

The inverted pentagram represents Spirit triumphed by Matter and is used as a symbol for the second degree in some traditions of Witchcraft.

The planet Venus traces a pentagram in the sky every 584 days, and the pentagram’s associations with this planet – the morning star and the evening star – form some of the earliest stellar lore.

Cutting an apple in half reveals a pentagram within, formed by the seed cavities.

The apple blossom is five-petaled, as is the rowan, and the rose, all of which are associated with witchcraft and magic.

The Pentagram is used magically as a portal.