The evil eye is an ancient, widespread and
deeply held belief in more than one third of the
world’s cultures, but is particularly strongly
feared even today in countries of Mediterranean
origin, and also in Celtic countries. Different
cultures have different ways of dealing with this
In Greece, it is thought that it doesn’t take
much to get the matiasma, or the evil eye. If
anyone so much as admires your shoes, even
from a distance, this envy can put a spell on
you. Anyone with blue eyes is particularly
suspected of being able to cast the evil eye.
It is believed that mothers have a particular
ability to remove it if their son is afflicted.
Though the knowledge is passed from mother
to daughter, a woman will not always learn the
prayers necessary to do this until she becomes
a mother herself. At that time she is prayed for
herself thus, since she is considered vulnerable:
…and with bright, shining Angels enfold and
cherish her, guarding her round about against
every attack of invisible spirits; yea, Lord, from
sickness and infirmity, from jealousy and envy, and
from the evil eye.
A mother can diagnose and then remove an
attack of the evil eye in the following way

Cailleach Bhéarra

She above all resonates most greatly with me. Being that shes irish and her home is said to be not far from where i live i love her. Maybe that i am too a crone now. The picture here not to be seen in the negative as it just depicts her as old and we all get old. I call on her often but especially each Samhain.

‘Cailleach’; a word that is older than the Irish language itself and a concept that has been deeply entrenched in Irish consciousness for millenia.

In mythology, she is seen as the personification of wintertime, her veil a symbol for a land hidden under a coating of frost. She is usually depicted beating back summer vegetation, or stirring up waves in the sea. Although this imagery seems sinister, she is more of a necessary force; a catalyst for the needed change the land and its people need to regenerate.

This concept is best depicted in the most famous ‘cailleach’, Cailleach Bhéarra, who was the daughter of the little sun of winter, and grew younger and stronger as winter progressed; eventually, transforming into Brigit at the beginning of spring, bringing new life and growth once more.

In the more modern interpretations of the ‘cailleach’, she is depicted as an old woman, often veiled, who doesn’t follow the conventions of society and therefore holds special powers. Communities throughout Ireland would have their own localised stories about the cailleach, often based around actual people and the powers they possessed. 

Spiders in Myth and Folklore

Nearly all cultures have some sort of spider mythology, and folktales about these crawly creatures abound!

Hopi (Native American): In the Hopi creation story, Spider Woman is the goddess of the earth. Together with Tawa, the sun god, she creates the first living beings. Eventually, the two of them create First Man and First Woman – Tawa conceptualizes them while Spider Woman molds them from clay.

Greece: According to Greek legend, there was once a woman named Arachne who bragged that she was the best weaver around. This didn’t sit well with Athena, who was sure her own work was better. After a contest, Athena saw that Arachne’s work was indeed of higher quality, so she angrily destroyed it. Despondent, Arachne hanged herself, but Athena stepped in and turned the rope into a cobweb, and Arachne into a spider. Now Arachne can weave her lovely tapestries forever, and her name is where we get the word arachnid.

Africa: In West Africa, the spider is portrayed as a trickster god, much like Coyote in the Native American stories. Called Anansi, he is forever stirring up mischief to get the better of other animals. In many stories, he is a god associated with creation, either of wisdom or storytelling. His tales were part of a rich oral tradition and found their way to Jamaica and the Caribbean by way of the slave trade. Today, Anansi stories still appear in Africa.
Cherokee (Native American): A popular Cherokee tale credits Grandmother Spider with bringing light to the world. According to legend, in the early times, everything was dark and no one could see at all because the sun was on the other side of the world. The animals agreed that someone must go and steal some light and bring the sun back so people could see. Possum and Buzzard both gave it a shot, but failed – and ended up with a burned tail and burned feathers, respectively. Finally, Grandmother Spider said she would try to capture the light. She made a bowl of clay, and using her eight legs, rolled it to where the sun sat, weaving a web as she traveled. Gently, she took the sun and placed it in the clay bowl, and rolled it home, following her web. She traveled from east to west, bringing light with her as she came, and brought the sun to the people.

Celtic: Sharon Sinn of Living Library Blog says that in Celtic myth, the spider was typically a beneficial creature. She explains that the spider also has ties to the spinning loom and weaving, and suggests that this indicates an older, goddess-focused connection that has not been fully explored. The goddess Arianrhod is sometimes associated with spiders, in her role as a weaver of mankind’s fate.

In several cultures, spiders are credited with saving the lives of great leaders. In the Torah, there is a story of David, who would later become King of Israel, being pursued by soldiers sent by King Saul.

David hid in a cave, and a spider crawled in and built a huge web across the entrance. When the soldiers saw the cave, they didn’t bother to search it – after all, no one could be hiding inside it if the spider web was undisturbed. A parallel story appears in the life of the prophet Mohammed, who hid in a cave when fleeing his enemies. A giant tree sprouted in front of the cave, and a spider built a web between the cave and the tree, with similar results.

Some parts of the world see the spider as a negative and malevolent being. In Taranto, Italy, during the seventeenth century, a number of people fell victim to a strange malady which became known as Tarantism, attributed to being bitten by a spider. Those afflicted were seen to dance frenetically for days at a time. It’s been suggested that this was actually a psychogenic illness, much like the fits of the accusers in the Salem Witch Trials.

Spiders in Magic
If you find a spider roaming around your home, it’s considered bad luck to kill them. From a practical standpoint, they do eat a lot of nuisance insects, so if possible, just let them be or release them outside.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley says in her Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft, and Wicca that in some traditions of folk magic, a black spider “eaten between two slices of buttered bread” will imbue a witch with great power. If you’re not interested in eating spiders, some traditions say that catching a spider and carrying it in a silk pouch around your neck will help prevent illness.

In some Neopagan traditions, the spider web itself is seen as a symbol of the Goddess and of the creation of life. Incorporate spider webs into meditation or spellwork relating to Goddess energy.

An old English folk saying reminds us that if we find a spider on our clothing, it means money is coming our way. In some variations, the spider on the clothes means simply that it’s going to be a good day. Either way, don’t disregard the message

Who is Krampus

Krampus is meant to whip children into being nice.

When listening to the radio in December, it’s unlikely to hear holiday songs singing the praises of Krampus:
a half-goat, half-demon, horrific beast who literally beats people into being nice and not naughty.

Krampus isn’t exactly the stuff of dreams: Bearing horns, dark hair, fangs, and a long tongue, he comes with a chain and bells that he lashes about, along with a bundle of birch sticks meant to swat naughty children. He then hauls the bad kids down to the underworld.

You better watch out . . .
St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. His saints day falls in early December, which helped strengthen his association with the Yuletide season. Many European cultures not only welcomed the kindly man as a figure of generosity and benevolence to reward the good, but they also feared his menacing counterparts who punished the bad. Parts of Germany and Austria dread the beastly Krampus, while other Germanic regions have Belsnickle and Knecht Ruprecht, black-bearded men who carry switches to beat children. France has Hans Trapp and Père Fouettard.
Krampus’s name is derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, and is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. The legendary beast also shares characteristics with other scary, demonic creatures in Greek mythology, including satyrs and fauns.

The legend is part of a centuries-old Christmas tradition in Germany, where Christmas celebrations begin in early December. Krampus was created as a counterpart to kindly St. Nicholas, who rewarded children with sweets. Krampus, in contrast, would swat “wicked” children, stuff them in a sack, and take them away to his lair.

According to folklore, Krampus purportedly shows up in towns the night of December 5, known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night. The next day, December 6, is Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day, when children look outside their door to see if the shoe or boot they’d left out the night before contains either presents (a reward for good behavior) or a rod (bad behavior).

A more modern take on the tradition in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic involves drunken men dressed as devils, who take over the streets for a Krampuslauf—a Krampus Run of sorts, when people are chased through the streets by the “devils.”
Participants dressed as the Krampus creature walk the streets in search of delinquent children .

Krampus is coming to town
Krampus’s frightening presence was suppressed for many years.
But Krampus has been having a resurgance over the past few years, thanks partly to a “bah, humbug” attitude in pop culture, with people searching for ways to celebrate the yuletide season in non-traditional ways. In the United States, people are embracing the dark side of Christmas with Krampus movies, special “Krampus” television episodes. They’re throwing Krampus parties, attending local Krampusnachts and running in Krampus-themed races.

For its part, Austria is attempting to commercialize the harsh persona of Krampus by selling chocolates, figurines, and collectible horns. There are already complaints that Krampus is becoming too commercialized and losing his edge because of his newfound popularity. 

Praise Gryla, a Terrifying Christmas Cannibal with 13 Deviant Sons

Gryla, a Terrifying Christmas Cannibal with 13 Deviant Sons
In Iceland, 54 percent of the population believe in elves and other paranormal beings. Grýla—who is believed to kidnap bad children and cook them into a soup—plagues them every year, as do her 13 Yule Lads.

The Christmas season is magical, enchanting, and fraught with heinous stories of diabolical supernatural beings. Boughs of holly deck hallways, sugar plum fairies dance inside children’s heads, and an old man forces himself into chimneys around the world after months of tirelessly surveilling children. There are so many wonderful stories that are told during Christmas—like those of reindeer who fly in the sky, or of Krampus, the Christmas demon that beats children with sticks and drowns them in streams. Then there is Grýla, the hideous Icelandic cannibal troll-woman who abducts children and boils them to death.
Descriptions of Grýla vary across time, but she is often depicted as a monstrous female being with hooves. In some stories, Grýla looks like a sheep who walks like a human; in others, she is clearly a troll. Sometimes she has 300 heads, or a beard, or blue eyes on the back of her head. One description portrays Grýla as having 15 tails, together bearing one hundred balloons filled with children.

“She is told to come to town around Christmas time and pick up naughty kids, disobedient kids, and take them to the mountain where she lives,” explains Magnus H. Skarphedinsson, the headmaster of The Elf School, a Reykjavik-based institution devoted to Icelandic folklore. “She cooks and makes a soup of them.”

In Skarphedinsson’s opinion, Grýla is most likely some combination of fact and fiction: “I think the origin of her is somebody saw a mean nature spirit around Christmas in the dark, and that’s where this started, and it’s escalated.”

To be clear, Skarphedinsson firmly believes in elves, hidden people, and other supernatural entities. (The distinction between these two first categories is that elves are small magical beings who look strange and have big ears, whereas hidden people are quite similar to human beings—they tend sheep, keep house, and sow fields, but exist in a dimension that overlaps with our own.) “I’ve met more than 900 people who’ve seen elves and hidden people, and I’ve met five or six people that have seen trolls, and probably one of them has seen Grýla,” Skarphedinsson tells Broadly. His experience with these witnesses has left him “totally convinced” of the existence of these phenomenon.

Skarphedinsson is far from alone in this regard: Belief in mystical beings like Grýla is quite normal in Icelandic culture. As the Atlantic reported in 2013, a 1998 study found that 54 percent of Icelanders believe that elves and hidden people exist. Icelanders are so concerned with supernatural entities, in fact, that civic development will sometimes take these paranormal entities into account. Most famously, there was an eight-year-long debate between the government, environmentalists, and elf believers spanning from 2007 and 2015, when the construction of a new highway threatened to destroy a 50-ton “elf church.” Naturally, the elves won and construction workers uprooted the massive rock to appease them. (According to the Guardian, the threat of displeasing elves is so real that “even non-believers would rather play it safe than risk incurring the wrath.”)

Similarly, many Icelanders fear and respect Grýla, who is an iconic folk figure in the Nordic island country. “I remember how scared we Icelandic kids were of this terrible troll, Grýla—and she still gives me the creeps,” one native put it in an article for Iceland’s largest online travel guide. Indeed, the ogress appears in texts throughout history. In The Origins of Drama in Scandinavia, folkloristic professor and author Terry Gunnell writes that Grýla “was clearly recognized as an ugly troll figure in Iceland at least as far back as the 14th century.”

Stekkjastaur’s only passion in life is to sneak up on sheep and suck on their nipples.

Grýla has remained a staple in Iceland in part because she is the mother of the nation’s version of Santa Claus, the Yule Lads. These 13 troll-like men come to your home sequentially in the 13 days preceding Christmas, and they either give children rotting potatoes or presents.

More importantly, these freaks are each defined by their unique fetishes. For example, the bowl-licker Askaskleikir enjoys hiding beneath children’s beds and licking bowls. Then there is Gluggagægir, charmingly known as the window-peeper. Around Christmas time, this voyeur enjoys sneaking up to windows and watching the people inside. Perhaps worst of all, Stekkjastaur has long, stiff legs and can’t bend his knees. The condition is quite sad, as Stekkjastaur’s only passion in life is to sneak up on sheep and suck on their nipples, which is hard to do without kneeling down.1700s it became illegal for parents to use Grýla to frighten their children. But Skarphedinsson does it anyway: One time he called his home and played a prank on his family by pretending to be a Yule Lad. When his daughter answered the phone, Skarphedinsson told her that his mother Grýla was angry with her for being disobedient. “She hid beneath the bed in the bedroom and she was very good and obedient after that,” Skarphedinsson says

Frau Perchta

Frau Perchta, also known as the belly slitter or Christmas witch from German lore. Like Krampus she goes after naughty people but mostly lazy ones. She hates dirty houses and she keeps a knife in her dress, and she uses it on those she finds slovenly.

She’s a witch/goddess who can look like a crone or Frigg, some say she is Frigg. Adding to that is the story that she rides in the wild hunt. She also has an army of Krampus like minions.

Her night is January 6


From totemic baton to sceptre, and from cursing rod to distaff, a shaft of wood or metal has been raised in the hands of women across the globe for thousands of years. Plain, crooked or carved, and bedecked with various impedimenta; fashioned in bone, skin, wood and metal, the phallic rod has perhaps attracted more attention than any other tool associated with magic and the Female Mysteries. Because of this, ‘wands’ became perceived almost universally as the magical tool par excellence, an imperative that assured their manifest survival within the veiled symbology of both secular and religious spheres, as a Tool of Office, celebrity or status. Historical precedents clearly inspired this gravid image of a Völur raising her Seiðr staff.

Seiðr is rooted through its etymology to Old High German terms relating to fetters and to bindings in all its forms. Halters, cords, withies, spun threads, snares and knots are used for enchantment and the manipulation of Wyrd, especially when combined with the distaff, which is not only symbolic of the Völur’s status, but is also the equivalent of the now familiar oaken stave used by warrior shamen.

Several examples occur throughout the sagas that imply a link between Seiðr magics and the winds generated by the scared breath or onð. Animal forms become the sorcerers ‘mind-emissary,’ and may be regarded as a snare, sent forth to ‘catch,’ or entangle its victim (prey), by twisting and wrapping around it, like a wind, specifically, a whirlwind. This is very much based in the principle of animism – articulated through a great many beliefs regarding the spirits of the wind, thunder and storm especially. 

The Cailleach

In the rich tapestry of Gaelic mythology, the Cailleach emerges as a revered and enigmatic figure. Known as the ‘old woman’ or ‘hag,’ she stands as a divine ancestor, intertwined with the landscapes of Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man, shaping the natural world and wielding control over the elements.

In the realm of Scottish folklore, the Queen of Winter, Beira, holds a place of prominence. Her might is manifested in the creation of mountains, forged by rocks either inadvertently dropped from her creel or intentionally placed as stepping stones. Armed with a mighty hammer, she carves valleys and shapes the rugged terrains, epitomizing the formidable force of nature.

The Cailleach’s domain spans the winter months from Samhainn to Bealltainn, marking the changing of the seasonal guard. This transition of power with Brìghde, ruler of summer, evokes celebrations around Imbolc and Bealltainn, varying in timing based on local traditions and climates. Whether facets of the same goddess or distinct entities, their partnership orchestrates the shifting tides of the seasons.

On Là Fhèill Brìghde, the Cailleach’s actions herald the duration of winter. Her gathering of firewood on a sunny day foretells an extended cold season, while foul weather signifies her slumber and an imminent end to winter’s icy grip. In the Isle of Man, she manifests as Caillagh ny Groamagh, a colossal bird bearing sticks, a sight associated with her wintry duties.

Legends intertwine her reign’s conclusion with the longest night, where she drinks from the Well of Youth, bestowing upon herself a gradual, rejuvenating transformation.

In Ireland, the Cailleach’s presence is tied to craggy mountains, such as the iconic Hag’s Head in County Clare. Meanwhile, in Scotland’s Perthshire lies Gleann Cailliche, home to Tigh nan Cailleach/Tigh nam Bodach. This sacred site harbors heavy, water-worn stones that legend links to the Cailleach, her husband-Bodach (also an ancient deity, today is commonly depicted as a bogeyman that kidnaps children), and their progeny. Local rituals involving these stones persist, performed during specific times to safeguard fertility and prosperity within the land, echoing a longstanding connection to ancient traditions.


Mermaids throughout time have been considered guardians and avengers of women and predictors of storms and future events. As true water spirits they can replenish our energy and be called upon to assist within the magick of water and Lunar energies. They refresh, clean and renew our spirits. Female Mer-people, often called water nymphs, are not always female nymphs. Mermaids, in the form of water nymphs, work to awaken our deepest emotions, stimulating our compassion and intuition. Each of us has a part within ourselves which is ruled and guarded by water spirits throughout our life.

The history of the Mer-world is ancient, reaching back as far as we have acknowledged and felt the sea’s magickal attraction. Surprisingly to most, the earliest evidence recalls the male of the species first. He is called the Sea-God Oannes (or Ea), the “great fish of the ocean,” who was also the Sun-God, seen rising from out of the ocean each day and disappearing again back beneath the waves each night. Oannes was worshipped by the Babylonians in recorded history from around 5000 BCE. It is believed Oannes taught mankind about the arts and sciences.

The ancient Syrian Goddess, Atargatis, is a symbiotic Moon Goddess and was the first officially recorded Mermaid listed within history. She was depicted with a fish’s tail and fish where her sacred totem. It is not unusual that this Moon-Goddess was depicted as a Mermaid, for the tides ebb and flow with the moon.

There is belief that during the suppression of Pagan deities, Mermaids and other supernatural beings also considered insignificant, were not seen as a threat to the growth and popularity of Christian beliefs and doctrine. Some historians and writers even go so far as to report that the Church actually believed in the Mermaid mythology. This comes from evidence found in ancient Church records depicting manuscripts and drawings on the existence of Mermaids and the Mer-World.

Mermaids are the symbols of feminism, beauty, sexuality and fertility; however, the male-dominated Christian Church used the symbol of the Mermaid to turn people from sin and the temptations of the flesh. According to T.K., “Mermaids are represented in early Irish and Christian medieval and post-medieval art, frequently as a warning to Christians against the sins of vanity, pride and lust.”

In ancient wisdoms, Mer-people worked with the Magickal essence of the Moon. Mer-Magick was used for Shape shifting and Transformation, and with time has become a nearly lost tradition. Mer-Magick is empowering and can be found within the sounds of the ocean waves and her creatures. The power can be found within the taste and smell of the sea as well as the movement of her waters. The reflection of the Moon on her waves and her surface is also a point of empowerment. Anything related to the sea is a source of power for Mer-Magick and those who call upon it.
Mer-Magick has its greatest power and its greatest energy potency during the Full Moon phase. Full Moons are approximately 14 days after New Moons and the energy lasts from three days before to three days after the actual Full Moon. The magick best worked within this time is for prophecy, protection, and divination or any working that needs extra magickal energy. This phase is also a good time to work magick for love, wisdom, manifesting goals, passion, healing, strength and power.
The primary colors of Mer-Magick are aqua, blue, cream and sea foam green. The planetary colors for Mer-Magic using Cancer are silver and white. The purpose within Cancer is the emotions, influence, fertility and lunar energy. Colors of Pisces are sea green and mauve. The planetary energies used are for escapism, entertainment, confusion, spirituality, psychic development and past-life regression work. Scorpio’s color is dark red. The purpose within Scorpio is for the work of intensity, stability, making plans, merging, fertility, lust and secrets.
For magickal work, calling on the energies of Mer-Magick, Monday is considered the day corresponding within this power. To a degree this is equal with the corresponding day employed with Moon Magick. Any day under the Full Moon stage of the moon is amazingly enhanced and excellent for calling the powers utilized within Mer-Magick.
I have found that working with the tides can be like a secret key for the working of Mer-Magick. Your magick, whatever it may be, is excellently enhanced by means of the natural rhythm of the tides.
Drawing energies uses the incoming of high tide while ridding or banishing uses the outgoing tide and the parallels go on. Mer-Magick for calling/drawing something or someone to you – love, money, power or people – should be worked when the tide is coming in.
Mer-Magick for strength, energy, power and growth should be worked at high tide. This is to assure that you are working for the highest possible success in whatever the need might be.
Mer-Magick for ridding yourself of problems, fears, banishing and cleansings – by means of cleansing your inner self – should be cast upon the waters of the outgoing tide. In this way the tide carries away all the undesired fragments of life.
Mer-Magick for balancing your life-force, focusing and clearing metaphysical sight, which is contained within magick or others, should be worked on the low tide and when the waters are as calm as possible. This is a time when all the things we hide inside the shallows of our lives can be seen or have been washed up within the waves of life.
As with the Moon, Mer-Magick’s planetary corresponding hours are 9 am to noon and 9 pm to midnight. These hours are best for: land cultivation, like gardening or farming; seeking favors from the feminine gender; attending to family matters; the needs of mothers, sisters and daughters; artistic pursuits; starting out on long journeys and the starting of a new business venture.
The gems corresponding with Mer-Magick include: pearl, shell, emerald, coral, lapis, blue crystal, jade and opal.
Herbs corresponding with Mer-Magick include: bladderwrack, Atlantic kelp, Norwegian kelp, sea salt, Irish moss (chondrus crispus), agar, algae and seaweed.

The Labyrinth

In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth (Greek labyrinthos) was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. Daedalus had made the Labyrinth so cunningly that he himself could barely escape it after he built it. Theseus was aided by Ariadne, who provided him with a fateful thread, literally the “clew”, or “clue”, to wind his way back again.

Devil’s Marks

According to witch-hunters, the Devil always permanently marked the bodies of his initiates to seal their pledge of obedience and service to him.

He marked them by raking his claw across their flesh or using a hot iron, which left a mark, usually blue or red, but not a scar.

Sometimes he left a mark by licking them.

The Devil supposedly branded witches at the end of initiation rites, which were performed at nocturnal sabbats.

The marks were always made in “secret places,” such as under eyelids, in armpits and in body cavities.

The mark was considered the ultimate proof of being a witch—all witches and sorcerers (see sorcery) were believed to have at least one.

All persons accused of witchcraft and brought to trial were thoroughly searched for such a mark.

Scars, birthmarks, natural blemishes and insensitive patches of skin that did not bleed qualified as Devil’s marks.

Experts firmly believed that the mark of Satan was clearly distinguishable from ordinary blemishes, but in actuality, that was seldom the case.

Protests from the victims that the marks were natural were ignored.

Accounts of being marked by the Devil were obtained in the “confessions” of accused witches, who usually were tortured to confess.

Inquisitors stripped off the accused witch’s clothes and shaved off all body hair so that no square inch of skin was missed.

Pins were driven deeply into scars, calluses and thickened areas of skin.

Since this customarily was done in front of a jeering crowd, it is no surprise that some alleged witches felt nothing from the pricks.

Inquisitors believed that the Devil also left invisible marks upon his followers.

If an accused witch had no likely natural blemishes that could be called a Devil’s mark, pins were driven into her body over and over again until an insensitive area was found.

British anthropologist Margaret A Murray said that Devil’s marks were actually tattoos, marks of identification, which she offered as support of her contention that
witchcraft as an organized pagan religion had flourished in the Middle Ages.

For some unknown reason, according to the codes set out for modern witches to follow,  Murray’s controversial ideas have been debunked.

However as with everything it is subjective to opinion, thus it is up to the individual to decide as to whether Margaret Murray’s opinions were valid.

At times Devil’s marks were sometimes called witch’s marks

Hermetica. Mystical Wisdom

Hermetica Forty-two sacred books of mystical wisdom attributed to the mythical Hermes Trismegistus, or
“thrice great Hermes,” the combined Egyptian and Greek deities of Thoth and Hermes, respectively.

The books, which date from somewhere between the third century b.c.e. and first century c.e., had an enormous impact on the development of Western occultism and magic.

Many of the spells, rituals and much of the esoteric symbolism contained in Witchcraft folk magic, and contemporary Wicca and Paganism are based upon Hermetic material.

The Hermetica may have been authored by one person—according to one legend, Hermes Trismegistus was
Hermes Trismegistus (Jacques Boissard, De Divinatione et Magicis) a grandson of Adam and a builder of the Egyptian pyramids—but probably was the work of several persons in succession.

According to legend, the books were initially written on papyrus. Clement of Alexandria, a chronicler of pagan lore, said 36 of the Hermetic books contained the whole philosophy of the Egyptians: four books on astrology, 10 books called the Hieratic on law, 10 books on sacred rites and observances, two on music and the rest on writing, cosmography, geography, mathematics and measures and priestly training.

The remaining six books were medical and concerned the body, diseases, instruments, medicines, the eyes and women.

Most of the Hermetic books were lost with others in the royal libraries in the burning of Alexandria.

According to legend, the surviving books were buried in a secret location in the desert, where they have survived to the present.

A few initiates of the mystery schools, ancient secret cults, supposedly know the books’ location.

What little was left of the surviving Hermetic lore has been handed down through history and has been translated into various languages.

The most important of these works, and one of the earliest, is The Divine Pymander.

It consists of 17 fragments collected into a single work, which contain many of the original Hermetic concepts, including the way divine wisdom and the secrets of the universe were revealed to Hermes and how Hermes established his ministry to spread this wisdom throughout the world.

The Divine Pymander apparently was revised during the early centuries c.e. and has suffered from incorrect translations.

The second book of The Divine Pymander, called Poimandres or The Vision, is perhaps the most famous.

It tells of Hermes’ mystical vision, cosmogony and the Egyptians’ secret sciences of culture and the spiritual development of the soul.

The Emerald Tablet. Also called the Emerald Table, the Emerald Tablet is one of the most revered of magical documents in western occultism.

Hermes Trismegistus was portrayed in art as holding an emerald upon which was inscribed the whole of the Egyptians’ philosophy.

This Emerald Tablet was said to be discovered in a cave tomb, clutched in the hands of the corpse of Hermes Trismegistus.

According to one version of the legend, the tomb was found by Sarah, wife of Abraham, while another version credits the discovery to Apollonius of Tyana.

The gem was inscribed in Phoenician and revealed magical secrets of the universe.

A Latin translation of the Tablet appeared by 1200, preceded by several Arabic versions. No two translations are the same, and little of the Tablet appears to make sense.

The significance of the Emerald Tablet, however, lies in its opening: “That which is above is like that which is below and that which is below is like that which is above, to achieve the wonders of the one thing.”

This is the foundation of astrology and alchemy: that the microcosm of mankind and the earth is a reflection of the macrocosm of God and the heavens.


The vomiting or disgorgement of strange or foul objects, usually associated with someone possessed by or obsessed with the Devil or other demons.

Such actions also once were seen as illusions or spells caused by witches or as attempts at suicide by the mentally deranged.

Most treatises on possession written during the Renaissance and later included the vomiting of unusual objects as an indication that the Devil had entered a person’s body.

The objects vomited by the victim could be anything from live animals, such as toads, snakes, worms or butterflies, to pieces of iron, nails, small files, pins, needles, feathers, stones, cloth, shards of glass, hair, seaweed or foam.

Simon Goulart, a 15th-century historian, tells of a young girl whose abdomen continually swelled as if she were pregnant.

Upon receiving drugs, the girl began vomiting a huge mass of hair, food, wax, long iron nails and brass needles.

In another account, Goulart says a man named William, succumbing to the fervent prayers of his master’s wife, Judith, began vomiting the entire front part of a pair of shepherd’s trousers, a serge jacket, stones, a woman’s peruke (hairpiece), spools of thread, needles and a peacock feather.

William claimed that the Devil had placed the items in his throat.

Finally, Goulart relates the case of 30 children in Amsterdam in 1566 who became frenzied, vomiting pins, needles, thimbles, bits of cloth and pieces of broken jugs and glass.

Efforts by doctors, exorcists and sorcerers had no effect, and the children suffered recurrent attacks.


Airts, The Four

This is an old Gaelic term for the four points of the compass, north, south, east and west.

They are important in magic, as the magic circle should always be orientated to them.

Early Christian churches were also carefully orientated, with the high altar in the east; though in modern days this custom is not invariably observed, probably because present-day scarcity of land compels church architects to build as best they can on the ground available.

The Great Pyramid is orientated with remarkable accuracy.

The magic circle usually has a candle or lamp at each of the four quarters.

The powers of the Four Elements are naturally connected with the Four Airts.

Different exponents of magic have differing attributions of these; but the most usual one in the Western magical tradition is air at the east, fire at the south, water at the west, and earth at the

This attribution is based on the quality of the prevailing winds.

In Britain the south wind brings heat and dryness, while the west wind usually brings warm rainy conditions.

So these quarters are regarded as the places of fire and water respectively.

The wind from the east is cold, dry and bracing, so this is the place of the powers of air.

The north wind is cold and freezing, coming from the place of eternal snow.

It represents the darkness of earth.

In other parts of the world, of course, these conditions will not apply; so the truly talented magician, unlike one who has merely read the subject up in books, will note the prevailing winds of his own country, and invoke the Four Elements accordingly.

The Gaelic Airts had a traditional association of colours attributed to them.

The east took the crimson of dawn; the south the white light of high noon; the west the brownish-grey of twilight; and the north the black of midnight.

It is notable in this connection that the song “Black Spirits” referred to in Shakespeare’s Macbeth was not written by him, but occurs in another old play, Middleton’s The Witch, and may well have been an old folk-rhyme.

It runs as follows:
2 Alphabets,

Magical “Black spirits and white,

Red spirits and grey,
Mingle, mingle, mingle,
You that mingle may !
Firedrake, Pucky,
make it lucky.
Liard, Robin,
you must bob in,
Round, around, around
about, about !
All ill come running in,
all good keep out!”
In fact, it is calling upon the spirits from the four cardinal points, by the colours of the old Gaelic Airts, and was thus singularly appropriate to the Scottish witches Shakespeare was depicting. Firedrake, Puckey, Liard and Robin were the names of the witches’ familiars.

A present-day witches’ version runs as follows :
“Black spirits and white,
Red spirits and grey,
Come ye and come ye,
Come ye that may !
Around and around,
Throughout and about,
The good come in
And the ill keep out.”

The magical ideas of dancing or circumambulating deasei/ or tuathal, are connected with the Four Airts. Deaseil, or sunwise, is fortunate, and a movement of blessing ; but tuathal, or widdershins, is generally a movement of adverse magic and cursing.

These names come from the Scots Gaelic words for the cardinal points; tuath, north; airt, east; deas, south ; and iar, west. Airt was the starting-point of invocations; so one turned right-handed to deas, or left-handed, literally the sinister side, to tuath.


A knotted loop of thread, also called a ligature, which witches were said to use to cause impotence, and perhaps even castration, in men; barrenness in women; and general discontent in marriage.

The aiguillette also served to bind couples in illicit amatory relationships.

The phobia of the ligature, or fear of satanic castration, was widespread in 16th-century France.

It was believed that at the instant when a priest blessed a new marriage, the witch slipped behind the husband, knotted a thread and threw a coin on the ground while calling the Devil.

If the coin disappeared, which all believed to mean that the Devil took it and kept it until Judgment Day, the couple was destined for unhappiness, sterility and adultery.

Couples living in Languedoc were so fearful of satanic castration that not 10 weddings in 100 were performed publicly in church.

Instead, the priest, the couple and their parents went off in secret to celebrate the sacrament.

Only then could the newlyweds enter their home, enjoy the feasting and go to bed. At least one physician, Thomas Platter, concluded that the panic was so bad that there was a local danger of depopulation.


In German and Scandinavian myth, the Alrunes are sorceresses or female demons who can change shape;

they are believed to be the mothers of the Huns.

As late as the 19th century in some rural areas, they were personified by small statues, which were kept in the home, clothed and made offerings of food and drink.

It was believed that the Alrunes could divine the future by responding to questions with motions of the head.

If the statues were not properly cared for, they were said to cry out, which would bring great misfortune to the household.


Footprints are reputed to contain the essence of a person and may be used in magical charms and spells.

Dust or dirt taken from a footprint may be used to obtain power over the person who made the print, just as clippings of hair and nails, bits of clothing, urine and excrement are believed to have magical potential.

In the lore of Lithuania, footprint dirt buried in a graveyard will cause someone to fall fatally ill.

Australian aborigines believe they can magically cause lameness by placing bits of glass or sharp stones in a footprint.

In European folk magic, lameness is caused by putting some earth from a footprint, a nail, a needle and broken glass into a kettle, and boiling the mixture until the kettle cracks.

In Vodun magic, dirt from a footprint placed in a gris-gris, or charm bag, will cause a person to follow one.

In parts of Africa, great care is taken to obliterate footprints, lest a witch or sorcerer use them for harmful magic.

Fairies also are associated with the magic of footprints.

In Irish lore, if you are passed by fairies on All Hallow’sEve, you should throw the dirt from your footprint after them, which will force them to surrender any humans they have taken captive.

In cases of possession and poltergeist hauntings, strewing ashes about the house will help identify the demon from prints left in the ashes.


The symbol of the “sabbatic goat,” portrayed as a half-human, half-goat figure, or a goat head.

The origin of the name Baphomet is unclear. It may be a corruption of Mahomet.

The English witchcraft historian Montague Summers suggested it was a combination of two Greek words, baphe and metis, meaning “absorption of knowledge.”

Baphomet has also been called the Goat of Mendes, the Black Goat and the Judas Goat.

In the Middle Ages the Baphomet was believed to be an idol, represented by a human skull, a stuffed human head or a metal or wooden human head with curly black hair.

The idol was said to be worshiped by the Order of the Knights Templar as the source of fertility and wealth.

In thirteen o seven King Philip  of France accused the Order of the Knights Templar of heresy, homosexuality and, among other things, worshiping this idol and anointing it with the fat of murdered children.

However, only twelve of the two hundred and thirty-one knights interrogated by the church admitted worshiping or having knowledge of the Baphomet.

Novices said they had been instructed to worship the idol as their god and savior and their descriptions of it varied: it had up to three heads and up to four feet;

it was made of either wood or metal, or was a painting; sometimes it was gilt.

In 1818 a number of idols called heads of Baphomet were discovered among forgotten antiquities of the Imperial Museum of Vienna.

They were said to be replicas of the Gnostic divinity Mete, or “Wisdom.”

Perhaps the best-known representation of Baphomet is the drawing by the 19th-century French magician Eliphas Levi, called “the Baphomet of Mendes.”

Levi combined elements of the Tarot Devil card and the he-goat worshiped in antiquity in Mendes, Egypt, which was said to fornicate with its women followers (as the church claimed the Devil did with witches).

Levi’s Baphomet has a human trunk with rounded, female breasts, a caduceus in the midriff, human arms and hands, cloven feet, wings and a goat’s head with a pentagram in the forehead and a torch on top of the skull between the horns.

The attributes, Levi said, represented the sum total of the universe—intelligence, the four elements, divine revelation, sex and motherhood and sin and redemption.

White and black crescent moons at the figure’s sides represent good and evil.

Aleister Crowley named himself Baphomet when he joined the Ordo Templis Orientalis, a secret sexual magic order formed around eighteen ninety six in Germany

Avalon, The Ancient British Paradise

Avalon, where the dying King Arthur found rest at the end of his epic story, has been identified with the present-day Glastonbury.

Many legends cling to this ancient place, among the green hills of Somerset.

Even today it is a land of enchantment.

Rumours of witchcraft meetings at midnight on Glastonbury Tor have been current for many years.

This was mentioned in Focus on the Unknown, by Alfred Gordon Bennett (Riders, London, Nineteen Fifty Three).

Today, a number of occult societies, quite unconnected with the witch cult, regard the Tor as an ancient sacred place, and occasionally meet there.

Glastonbury is sacred to both pagan and Christian.

An old poem called the “Prophecy of Melkin, or Maelgwyn”, tells us that Aval on was the great burial-place of pagans, before Joseph of Arimathea came there and founded the first British Church of Celtic Christianity.

Glastonbury Tor was the haunt of Gwyn ap Nudd, the King of the Fairies and an ancient Celtic God of the Dead.

Gwyn ap Nudd survives to this day as the Wild Huntsman, who rides on dark windy nights over the hills of Wales and the West Country. (The Saxons called him Woden.)

The presence of the pagan powers is the reason for the church which was built on the summit of the Tor, and dedicated to St. Michael.

It was an attempt to counteract their lingering and insidious influence.

Some years ago, most of this church was destroyed by a landslide, and today only the tower remains, a conspicuous and dramatic landmark on the Glastonbury scene.

Archaeologists are interested in the curiously terraced appearance of the Tor. It has been suggested that this is the remains of a processional
way, by which pilgrims climbed the Tor in a spiral or maze-like ascent, as a ritual of spiritual cleansing and purification.

Chalice Well, at the foot of the Tor, is built inside with massive stones, which the late Sir Flinders Petrie believed to be Neolithic, and fitted
together in a way that reminded him of the stones of the Pyramids. Its water has for many years been credited with super-normal properties
of healing.

Another local tradition declares that there is a secret cave within the Tor, which long ago was a shrine or sanctuary of some kind.

The names of Chalice Well, and nearby Chalice Hill, recall the association of Glastonbury with the mystical stories of the Holy Grail, which is said to be buried somewhere in the locality.

However, some of the oldest Grail legends make it clear that the Grail was not always a chalice.

This was only one of its forms; and it has a good deal in common with the Sacred Cauldron of Cerridwen, the goddess of Nature, of the moon, and of poetry, who was invoked by the Druids.

The cauldron so frequently associated with witches as one of their ritual objects, is really another version of the miraculous Cauldron of
Cerridwen, as Lewis Spence has pointed out in his book The Mysteries of Britain (Riders, London, Nineteen Twenty Eight).

It may be a surprising and even shocking thought to some, that the Holy Grail and the cauldron of the witches have a common origin in ancient Nature worship, but the evidence is strongly indicative of this.

The name of Avalon means ‘The Place of Apples’.

Somerset is still the county “where the cider apples grow” ; and real old-fashioned Somerset cider is a very potent drink indeed.

It may well have been associated in the past with orgiastic rituals in honour of the pagan gods.

Apple trees have been growing in Britain since very early times.

According to Stuart Piggott’s Ancient Europe, apples were being cultivated in Britain around Three Thousand B.C.

The tree or plant which gives an inebriating, and therefore magical product, has always been regarded as sacred and magical itself. To this
day, in the West Country, some people regard strong cider as a witches’ brew.

There is another reason for the fruit of the apple tree being regarded as sacred. It has the magical symbol of the pentagram, or five-pointed star, naturally imprinted within it. If one slices an apple across, the shape made by its core is a five-pointed star.

In witchcraft rituals today, the priestess stands with feet together and arms crossed upon her breast, representing the skull and crossbones,
the sign of the God of Death and the Beyond

. Then she opens her arms, and stands with arms outstretched and feet apart, representing the pentagram, the sign of the Goddess of Life and Rebirth.

The pagans believed in reincarnation ; and so Avalon, the Place of Apples, was the place of death and rebirth.

This is borne out by the inscription said to have been placed upon the tomb of King Arthur : “Hicjacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rex que futurus (“Here lies Arthur, the once and future King”)

The Birth of Dionysus and the Twelve Days of Dionysos

In Orphic tradition the Nativity, Epiphany or birth (Genethlia) of Dionysus is celebrated in the evening of 24th December, and is the beginnng of 12 days of ritual worship of Dionysus the Saviour, and with each day one of the Olympian Gods (and their Divine Consorts) is also honoured.

In Orphic myth, Dionysus has two (or three) births hence He is known variously as the Twiceborn (Digonon) or Thriceborn (Trigonon) God.

In His first birth He is born to Persephone, as the infant Zagrefs (Zagreus), sired by Zefs (Zeus).

This first birth is known as the first influence of Zefs. Zefs united with Persephone in the form of a serpent, and from this union Zagrefs was born.

Zefs was pleased with his son and enthroned him, naming Him as his successor, and gave him His thunderbolts and sceptre, and presented him to the Gods as their king.

But, spurred on by the jealousy of Ira (Hera), the Titanes (Titans) smeared their faces with gypsum, and lured Zagrefs away and distracted him, giving him seven toys, referred to as the toys of Dionysos, such that He put down His thunderbolts and was unprotected.

One of these toys was a mirror, and Zagrefs became fascinated by His reflection in the mirror, and whilst he was distracted by His own reflection, the Titanes grabbed him and prepared Him for a sacrifice, cutting Him into pieces with knives, but carefully preserving his heart and limbs.

Then they took the remaining pieces of his flesh and roasted them on spits and each ate a portion.

Zefs smelt the burning flesh and sent Athena to rescue the still beating heart. Athena took the heart of Dionysos Zagrefs to Zefs in a silver casket, and Apollohn took the limbs of the child and interred them at Mount Parnassus.

Zefs then struck the Titanes with a thunderbolt and from their ashes He fashioned the races of mortal beings, who have immortal souls, from the essence of Dionysos Zagrefs, but also the sinful flesh of the Titans and are chained to a sorrowful cycle of births and deaths.

But in His compassion, Zefs also conceived of a solution to the problem of the sufferings of mortal life.

Zefs made a potion from the heart of Zagrefs, and gave it to Saemaeli to drink, and She became pregnant with Dionysos.

Saemaeli was the daughter of Kadmos and Armonia, Armonia being the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares.

Zefs fell in love with Saemaeli and promised to grant her anything she desired. Ira, having discovered the affair between Her husband and the girl, convinced Saemaeli to ask Zeus to appear to her in the same form that he appeared to Ira in.

Zefs was unable to refuse this request because he had made an oath, and appeared with all his lightning and thunder.

Saemaeli was burned up by His divine flames, but wreaths of ivy grew around the babe in her womb, protecting Him from the flames, and Zefs rescued the baby, and sowed him up into his own thigh, until He was ready to be born, to teach the mysteries and free mortals from the cycle of births.

Thus was born Dionysos Aelefthaerefs, Dionysos the Liberator.

It is this second, (or third) birth of Dionysos that we celebrate on 24th December, and it is known as the second influence of Zefs.

The date is set not according to the Roman calendar, but according to to the Hellenic Zodiacal Mystic calendar.

It is the fourth day of the fourth month of the Mystic Year, the month of Aigocaerus, or Capricorn , ruled by Iphaistos, the Smith God who governs the Natural Law of Morphe or form.

It is on this fourth day of the fourth month, which falls on the evening of 24th December, that we celebrate the first appearance of the God in the world, the influence of Zefs on the soul, and fulfilment of Zefs’s divine providence.

On the Twelve Days of Dionysos we recite hymns and make offerings to Dionysos Aelefthaerefs each day, as well as to the Olympian of the day and the divine consort of the Olympian, beginning with Aestia (and Iphaistus), who rules the first Orphic month of Libra on 24th, then Ares (and Aphrodite) on 25th, Artemis (and Apollohn) on 26th, Iphaistos (and Aestia) on 27th, Ira (and Zefs) on 28th, Poseidon (and Demeter) on 29th, Athena (and Aermes) on 30th, Aphrodite (and Ares) on 31st, Apollohn (and Artemis) on 1st January, Aermes (and Athena) on 2nd January, Zefs (and Ira) on 3rd January, and finally, Demeter (and Poseidon) on 4th January.