Category Archives: Folklore
With tomorrow being Valentines Day a lot of people are looking for love spells and quick romances. While these spells can be effective, they can also end up in dangerous and destructive relationships. To prevent that it is best to work a spell that is about attracting love in general.
If you really desire a relationship than it is important to work towards attracting a specific type of person rather than an individual. So for example rather than addressing Jill from reception or Phil from across the street your spell would adress the type of person you are attracted to. You would include things like hobbies and interests (example enjoys role playing game or being out doors) as well as quality and personality traits (an example being likes being around children, strong heart, passionate about their interests etc). This allows you to be open to the universe rather than drilled into a specific person who may not be a good fit for you.
This spell here is geared towards attracting the right person to you. The items used in the spell not only attract love but also open and enhance sexual desires and friendship.
Come to Me Love Spell
Witches Red Salt
Red Rose Petals (Love)
Catnip (happiness and Joy)
Lavender (Peace, love, romance)
Passion Flower (Friendship, Passion)
Cinnamon (sweeten the universe and that type of person to you)
Spice Up Desires Oil (aromatherapy oils or ritual oils work well here)
Sharp Object to ensrcribe the candle
Red Ribbon, chord or string
Take the pen and on the paper write out all the qualities of the type of person that you are attracted to. Be sure to include things like hobbies and interests you would like to share as well as personality traits (cares for others, emphatic, etc). These are the things that you are looking for in your partner for your relationship.
Take the knife or sharp object and inscribe love, relationship, passion, friendship, and joy
Light the charcoal
While the charcoal is starting take the Rose petals, Catnip, Lavender, Cinnamon, and Passion Flower.
Combine them in your mortar and pestle. Grind them into a fine powder.
As you grind the herbal mixture together visualize yourself surrounded by love. See yourself in a red and pink light. See that light extending out to the universe bringing love to yourself and others.
Sprinkle half of the herbal mixture of the censor (this is your incense) this will burn and send the love energy gathered into the universe
Next add a drop of the Spice up desires Oil to the burning incense.
Add three drops of the oil to the candle. Take the oil and run it on the candle from the bottom to the top. You want love to grow.
Next take a portion of the remaining herbs and add them to the candle. Again apply them from the bottom of the candle to the top of the candle.
Now light the Candle
Take the petition paper and sprinkle the Red salt over the petation papewr
Next fold the petition paper towards yourself. As you fold the petition paper towards you begin to chant:
“Love flowing like a fresh stream
Bring me a partner to be a team
Bring a lover that is new
One who to me will be true
A love that is alive
A love that will thrive”
Turn the paper 180 degrees towards you. Once again sprinkle the Red salt and recite the above chant. Continue to turn the paper packet and fold it. Before you fold the paper each time sprinkle the red salt and then fold the paper in half towards you.. Repeat the process until you can no longer fold the petition paper.
Grab the Green ribbon or chord. Start to wrap the chord around the folded pack towards you.
When you have wrapped the paper five times tie a knot. As you tie the knot state:
“I seal in love”
After you tie the knot turn the packet 180 degrees towards you and again wrap the chord. Repeat with the knot after five wraps. Continue this process five more times.
Once you have completed the process take packet over to the candle.
Pick up the candle and drip a little bit of wax over the packet.
Bring the packet over to the incense and pass it through the smoke.
When the candle and incense are done burning bury them on your property at the base of a tree. You can also bury them at a cross roads sending the energy out into the universe.
Carry the packet with you until love manifests in your life.
Once your love has manifested burn the packet outside and sprinkle the ashes into the wind and around the tree or at the cross roads where the candle and incense remains were buried. This will finish sealing in the magic.
Items used in the spell
The Candle and the Crossroads:
A book of Appalachian Conjure And Southern Rootwork
This is one of the most powerful books I have read in recent history on spirituality in general. While yes the book focuses on Rootwork and Conjure as the author knows them, the book is highly spiritually focused. For me even if I don’t put all of the information into practice, the components of the book that made me question spirituality and what it means were well worth the investment.
So to begin my review I have to say that even if you don’t follow any magical spiritual path as a guide for spirituality any one of any path can get something out of it. I would even recommend this book to Christians who are looking to deepen their personal spirituality and connection to their religion. Everyone on any path in life can get something out of this book. The connection to your own spirit that this book teaches us to develop is important for everyone and everything.
If you are looking for a book on spells you wont find them in this book. There are several workings discussed but actual spell work for money, wealth, love, etc are not really seen in this book. There are magical techniques for baths and creating mojos as well as connecting to spirits in this book. So there is magic with in the book but not necessarily spells for luck, love or mney drawing as most people are familiar with.
The focus on this book is the spiritual component of Hoodoo and Conjure rather than the spells. Too often people want to jump into the spells and workings of magic without the spirit component and thus they miss a huge part of the Southern Conjure traditions. This book provides that spiritual information. It is that focus which sets this book aside from others.
This is one book I am going to be referencing again and again. There are several exercises, meditations, and self questions that I am going to be looking at periodically. There are many things in this book that made me think and start to evaluate my personal path and practices. For this reason I am going to be using this as a reference and guide to develop my own connection to my spirituality and my own personal spirit.
The first chapter in the book is all about the foundation of this practice. Here we learn the authors experiences and his history with the practice as he knows it. This is where we see how his experiences and lessons in life and explains the reasons why he wrote this book. He mentions what the foundations of his personal magical practice are. By knowing this information you can better understand the worldview and practices presented in the rest of the book.
The second chapter is about the starting of finding your paths to the spirit that is you. The core teaching of this book is that humans are spirits as well. We are spirits having a physical existence as humans. In the teachings of this book and worldview if you start to realize this you will not only come into your own power but also start be be more whole yourself. This chapter starts a basic discussion on types of spirits that walk with us as well as types of spiritual paths. After talking about the paths there are also descriptions on how we are called to find our paths including symptoms of the different calls.
The third chapter is short but very important. Here is where we get into the history of the actual practices that formed Southern Conjure as the author knows it. The author mentions slavery and African traditions and their importance in the tradition. Here we see what Conjure really is about and how it survives over the years. There are warnings in this chapter about working with the spirits of Conjure and how powerful they are. There is a quote that illustrates the power and spirirt of Conjure work very well that I am going to share with you here.:
“If you are not willing to cry for, be angry for, pray for, and ask help of its spirits, then stay away from this work. These spirits went through hell when they first came to America in boats of flesh. No one can change this root, and why would we want to?
If you want to find the root that cannot be bound, then then root spirit of conjure is for you. If you want to grow your spirit from a place of truth and spirit power then conjure is for you. If you want to reach deep and pray high, then welcome to this deep well of spirit and spiritual nuturance.
But come through the door blessing and praying for the ancestors that suffered. This builds a bridge of grace to the spirit world and begins to establish the essence and flavor of the spirits that come when you conjure.”-Orion Foxwood Conjure and the Crossroads
The rest of the chapter focused on what the Root of conjure and the cultural mixtures that made up his conjure. The author mentions honoring his own Roots and how he works with them. After mentioning the spirits of African, Native American, and European folk practices who settled in that area he goes into the roles that Conjure played in that culture and still continues to play to this day.
The fourth chapter is about the Nature and Power of conjure. Here the author gets into the fact that Conjure does have ties to Christian spirituality and Christian religions. He addresses that many conjures use words like God and Creator and occasionally Maker. Here we see the power in conjure comes from the source of creation and the power to create which resides in our own personal spirit. The author gets into a few types of spirits that are connected to this power. One of them being the God of Christianity and divine beings. The author is specific in that for the reader and seeker that it doesn’t have to be the God of Christianity but it is the Source of all creation and all essence which is a spirit of sorts.
This is where we first start to actually get introduced into some of the techniques in this practice. The author goes into several different ways that conjure works with spirit. These include prayer, baths, blessings, healing, and cleansing. After starting the basics on techniques we are introduced to a few of the different types of spirits that are worked with in conjure.
Chapter five was probably my favorite chapter in the book. Its for me really the most important chapter in the book. This is the chapter that focuses on growing our spirit. The author had previously mentioned that working with ones own spirit and knowing ones own spirit was the most important thing in conjure. Here we finally learn to address the spirit and work with our spirit.
The best part of this chapter was the checklist on the attumement to our spirit. Not only does the author give a list of questions and symptoms of disconnect with our spirit but he provides remedies to help fix the situation. For me this was really the way for me to start to see how connected I am to my own spirit and what I can do to fix it. The author does mention that some of those ailments are actual symptoms of health issues (depression, anxiety and other mental health issues) and if you answered yes to many of them that you should seek professional help. For me that disclaimer and statement shows the connection between the mind, the body, and the spirit and how mental health can effect spiritual health.
This section provided me with the most enlightenment. It gave me tools to adjust and start working on my own personal spiritual path and development. One of the reasons I had started to explore Conjure and Rootwork was for a spiritual connection and a way to deepen and develop my spirituality beyond the basic 101 books. Here I have tools to find what I was missing and develop my path. The chapter ends with providing you with the steps to growing in your spirit which is what you need to do after you start the work of attuning to your own spirit.
Chapter six is about maintain spiritual health. The main focus on this chapter is spiritual cleansing and cleaning. The author explains how important is is to cleanse ourselves from the different forces in our lives that can cause spiritual clutter. He told a story of a client that his mother had to illustrate the issue. The author ends with a working for spiritual cleansing. This provides the start of our practical conjure spirit workings.
Chapter seven is about fixing or attracting good spirits to you. Here we learn how actions we take and the way we live our life sends signals to spirit. One of the first lessons in this chapter is that often we focus on our lack of something when we want something then more often than not we are going to be stuck with more of what we do not have. The author then begins to go into how we send images and messages to spirit so we can attract what we actually want.
The author then starts getting information on working on attracting the right spirits. The first real focus is on a prosperity spirit. The author provides a recipe or a ritual working outline to attract a prosperous spirit. One thing this working outlines is that in Conjure everything is spirit and everything has spirit. If you can accept that view and work with it then you are going to work conjure.
After the pot the author talks about maintain the spirit and provides steps and techniques to keep spirit alive. The first part of this practice is the establishment of an altar. The author continues with a ritual working for the altar set up and the consecration of the altar, yourself, and your home. While the workings are not exact they provide you an outline to make the conjure your own. In the end you must be the one to do the work.
Chapter eight was probably my second favorite chapter in the book. One thing I have personally been interested in for years has been working with graveyards and various forms of graveyard magic. This book is the first book I have seen that addresses this practice. Its considered Taboo in many modern magical traditions yet many acknowledge that there is strong power in the graveyard. Finding this chapter thrilled me to the core. It started to lift the veil on these workings.
There is so much in this chapter that covering the techniques and information would be a review in itself. I will say the author provides information on the power of the graveyard works and why we should work with graveyards. He provides information on working with graveyard spirits as well as how to gather graveyard dirt and work with graveyard dirt. The author spends the other half of the chapter talking about working with our ancestors and providing ways to honor them and work with them in our home and life.
Chapter nine is an interesting chapter. It covers ways to enter into the spirit world as well as working with a spirit unique to his tradition and practice. The technique discussed I found most interesting and will most likely try myself was the concept of tapping or knocking. Its essentially like you are knocking on the door to the spirit world like you would a regular door. After tapping and knocking he covers river magic as well as fire and candle access to the spirit world. Here there is a working for river magic specifically outlined.
The last part of the chapter includes a ritual and a poem I am likely to work into ritual work. Here is where the author teaches us about the Dark Ridder and gives us a way to introduce ourselves to him and work with him. The spirit known as the dark rider had been mentioned earlier in the book as a traditional spirit but not much was told about him until now. The author does make it clear that what he shows us is not the full formula for encountering this spirit. The working he provides is an introduction to the spirit and nothing more.
Chapter ten is the final chapter in the book. In some ways it works very much like a conclusion focusing on working the Root or working the spirit which is the force of Conjure and Root work. This is how the chapter starts anyway. It is here we see the final outline of the techniques and practices covered in the book to develop and connect with our spirit. The chapter ends with talking about a few specific plant spirits and with a formula for making a spirit bag.
This book provides several powerful tools for any spiritual tradition. In the end this book illustrates not only the power of Conjure and Southern Rootwork but also the power of working from your own spirit. The author provides an excellent introduction to the spiritual components of Rootwork and Conjure while also providing a few practical workings in the magical sense.
This book is not exactly what I expected. However Mama Starr didn’t leave me without wisdom and insight. To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure exactly what I thought I was getting when I got this book. I knew there would be folk remedies in there but that was about it. It was actually for the folk remedies that I bought this book.
The introduction of this book is actually very uplifting. This section should not be ignored. It contains the reason why she wrote this book and a cleansing exercise for the readers to do if they are ready to start making changes in their lives. Its simple exercises and affirmations that really make the meat of this book. The introduction cleansing rite is just the first to open the doors.
Prior to really getting into the meat of the word Mama Starr provides associations for candle colors and other magical and spiritual associations for the days of the week. The first section of this books covers daily affirmations. There is an affirmation or “daily wisdom” for each and every day of the year. Each month starts out with the Herb of the month, basic month trivia, sacred stone for the month and birthstone for the month.
The second part of the book is full of folk magic and healing remedies. She starts this section off with a fair warning that she does not expect anyone to try these themselves but if they do each individual must take their own responsibility for any averse effects that the treatments may have. She is not a doctor after all. These are just things that her family did while she was growing up to treat various ailments as they had no money to go to the doctor.
This is the reason why I bought this book. This section covers a small variety of the remedies that she used growing up and continues to use them. From earaches to dipper rash, nightmares and spirit removal this small section of the book covers many remedies that have proven to be effective. Some of these remedies are things I had seen elsewhere like the earaches with garlic oil.
Finally she ends the book with resources and references that readers may find useful. She also includes her own websites on there for further references as well as many other well known and trusted Conjure resources.
So if you are looking for a book of simple daily wisdom this is it.
For many years the only definition of heathen was one who was not Christian. If you look in the dictionary you will still find that as part of the definition of heathen. Today however I am not talking about the dictionary definition. I am talking about how it relates to the modern Pagan culture and the culture of Germanic pagans. My heathenism studies have been a major influence in my path and on my craft as a witch.
The heathens of today are often hard to define. For some people it is an umbrella term for an eclectic Germanic recon path. For other people is a very specific tradition with in the label of Germanic religions. I consider it to be a term for an eclectic approach to being a semi Recon based practitioner.
You may be thinking wait a minute you can’t be both eclectic and a Reconstruction can you? When it comes to the Germanic religions it is more possible. There are several Germanic cultures to choose from. You have the Angels and the Saxons, The Danish, The Norse, The Icelandic, the Franks, and several other tribes. Each tribe had slightly different lore. By studying the lore of all the paths and tribes a person can gain a fuller insight into the lore for Germanic paganism.
It is the Nordic lore which we have the most information from. It was also in Norway and Iceland where the religious practices of the Germanic tribes lasted the longest. Several of the sagas that many heathens use as source texts for their practices and understanding of the culture are preserved in a book titled The Sagas of the Icelanders. These sagas tell of the social structure and the social etiquette. From these sagas we learn how they lived. That is why they are excellent sources to use. The other books which provide sagas and lore about the Gods are:
Right now I am in the process of reading Heimskringla. I’ve already gotten some information about lore but not a whole lot. Snorri used the same tale about Odin founding the Kingdom of the Norse in both the prose Edda and in Heimskringla. Both tales are very interesting and explain a bit of the culture of the Gods. Yet my preference is for the origins discussed in the poetic Edda.
My Heathen Practice
My personal heathen practice is more related to the magical practices and the crafts. Witchcraft as we know it ultimately came from the Anglo-Saxon culture. There are three primary deities associated with Magic and witchcraft Odin, Freya,and Loki. Many of the books I have read on Traditional witchcraft have had a Germanic slant. That’s one of the things that started my more invested study and practice with Germanic pagan traditions.
Aside from Raymond Buckland’s Seax Wica there are several other traditions of witchcraft which have a more Germanic leaning.. These books along with the Eddas and Sagas has helped me develop and understand how Germanic magic worked and what the culture was like. As a witch I have found this knowledge and information immensely helpful and informative. I have gained much wisdom from those practices. Yet it is not the only part of my heathen practices.
So what makes me a Heathen? Worship of the Aesir, Vanir, and Jotun. I have accepted the Nine Nobel virtues as part of my moral and ethical guidelines. The Germanic tribes had a concept of Fate of sorts called Wyrd. There is a lot about Wyrd I am still trying to understand and evaluate for myself, I am not discouraged by it though.
The Norse were very much a warrior culture. For them it was about honor and the battle. Yes they had head hunting and other practices that today are considered “Barbaric” but to accept the deities with out accepting an understanding of the culture which worshiped those deities is meaningless. Yes. The Germanic tribes were considered barbarians to the Romans & Greeks, but so were the Celtic tribes. It is only by understanding or trying to understand the culture in which the deities were worshiped that we can truly understand how the religion and spirituality of those times worked.
My interest as an anthropologist really plays into why I work so hard to reconstruct what I can. It is actually through historical sources such as the Sagas of the Kings and warriors and the few archeological finds that we have any concept of what that culture was like. The practice of heathenism also plays deeply into my desire to connect to something from my blood ancestry. For me it was sort of embracing a part of my history and understanding where my family origins were.
What my heathen practice entails
I have not fully developed a comprehensive unified product of witchcraft and Germanic paganism. While witchcraft is a part of my worship and practice of Germanic paganism, there is a lot more to it than that. My heathen practice entails doing a specific form of ritual called a Blot to the Gods. It involves prayers and obviously magic.
I am looking into learning more about rune lore so I can try my hand at runic magic. Working with the runes would also allow me to learn the mysteries of the Runes. Rune magic is actually one of the priary forms of magic used in Germanic paganism. It was gifted to Odin after he sacrificed himself to himself on the tree of knowledge and wisdom. There were several sets made I know of one for humans, one for the Gods, and one for the Dwarves.
My practice also entails a lot of study. There is probably more study than worship at times, and that works for me. My worship is actually often times more impromptu than it is for specific holidays or occasions. I have even developed my own ritual structure for their worship which they don’t seem to mind which is a combination of a Blot and a typical religious witchcraft ritual. One of the reasons I study so much is there is a lot of lore to pour over and assimilate and there is also a lot of history and multiple translations of sacred texts to read.
The path to wisdom is never ending. This is just one place you may also be able to find wisdom and truth.
Many people talk about mythology and folklore and how they study them to gain ideas and insights about their religious paths and practices. Today witches actually have a plethora of lore that we have access to. For many people this is a problem as there is so much lore out there they don’t know where to go looking for lore and they don’t know what to do with it once they have found the lore. This blog entry is going to cover a few of those concepts.
The goal of this blog is to help witches and pagans know just how much lore there is for them to sort through. Part of that process is going to be giving examples of lore and how I have started to study and interpret folklore. The following concepts will be outlined and discussed in this blog entry:
- What defines Lore
- Where to find Lore
- How to decide what lore to use
- Interpreting Lore
- Why we use lore
- Applying lore to practice
- Writing your own Lore
What defines Lore
There are many different ways that people define lore. For myself I define lore as sets of oral and written stories and practices that inspire the practices of various witches and pagans. Many people often forget that family recipes and traditions are also different types of lore that can be included into their practices. For myself there are family traditions that I have started to incorporate into my practices. For example every year for Christmas my mother makes Meat Pie which is a throw back to her family’s French Canadian roots. As a pagan and witch I have added this to my Winter Solstice as well as my Yule celebrations. Freyr was worshiped by the Franks (French and Yule is his holiday) and meat pie as made by my family mixes beef and pork. So for me baking a pie for the Solstice and for Yule are perfectly acceptable lore additions to my practice.
Where to find Lore
One of the things when I first started to practice witchcraft I found was that there were no specific myths for my practice. While many neo-pagan witchcraft books contain a basic mythos for the sabbats and the wheel of the year I often found that concept to be rather incomplete. There were no specific myths written out that I could find that described the events in the wheel of the year. For a time I went with what was told and figured that was all there was to the concept. Then when I started to actually do more in depth research I found a few authors who actually gave a few of the fairy tales and myths associated with various spirits and analyzed them. Then I started to really look.
So where can you find lore? The answer is every where. There is lore in poetry, songs, plays, little sayings, old traditions that no one seems to remember where they come from, history, and anything far and in between. Fairy tales are rich sources of lore. Myths from various cultures can be fascinating pieces of lore as well. Old stories and tales often considered “legends” often have deep traces of lore in them. Believe it or not the book “Hammer of the witches” along with the accounts of the witch trials are actually full of lore. Some of it can be pure hate based, but there are aspects of gold in there.
yes I did just say that you can use the witch trials as sources of lore. Now why would I as a modern witch even think of using hate based lore? The simple fact of the matter is that the stuff about witches shape shifting is true, but not in the literal sense. The same thing goes about the witches sabbats. Often times there were and still are sexual themes and uses of substances to enhance the ritual trances and achieve unions with the divine. You just need to know how to read and look through the lore.
Deciding What Lore to use
This is a very personal thing that only you can really decide. There have been bits of lore that I have accepted and there are bits of lore I have not accepted for my practice. In the end while I can give you some advice it is a personal choice what you use for the lore that make up your unique practice. No matter what any one else says there will always be something unique about your practice. So now on to how we pick out which lore you will use.
The first thing you need to do is read any and all lore that you can get your hand into. Once you start reading the lore you need to pick up a notebook to write down any and all thoughts that you have after you read the lore. After you read the lore look at your thoughts and your emotional reactions to the lore. If the symbolism in the myths and lore relates to how you view and understand the world than you should add it to your personal collection of lore. If the symbols and the theme of the tale doesn’t relate to your views than you can simply not work with that lore.
Like everything else you need to work with that which makes sense and works for you. One of the first things you will need to do before you can work with lore is have some sort of understanding of your own beliefs and views of the world. If you dont know what you believe you wont be able to gain insight from lore. our beliefs are what form the basis of our practices and the understandings we have about the world around us.
Over the last few years I have spent several semesters studying various stories and myths. One of the things literature classes teach their students is how to analyze the literature that they read. A key thing in analyzing and interpreting lore is being able to back up what you get from the tale. For example I did a paper on Poe’s story “The Fall of the House of Usher” and I compared the story to Poe’s real life and I used it as an example of sickness. Through out the paper I used quotes from the story and his own life to support the views.
When a person starts to interpret lore there are many things that need to be taken into consideration. The first thing is cultural research and historical information. By looking into the history and culture of an area you can gain a better insight as to what they symbols may have meant to the people who originally read or told the stories. By looking at the culture context becomes clear and the meanings of stories become more obvious.
Context is key in interpreting lore. Once you have context you can start to apply personal meaning to the deeper messages and thus start to gain a deeper practice. Personal meaning comes from the reflections and thoughts that a person has after they read or hear the lore. Interpreting Lore is something that takes a bit of meditation and work, but the rewards are worth it.
Why we use Lore
There are many reasons why witches and pagans use and study lore. The most basic reason is that lore provides insight as to why things are done the way they are. Lore can also provide keys for the deeper mysteries that provide the gateway to ascension and higher spiritual evolution. Lore provides understanding to the personalities and the interests of the various spirits. It gives ideas as to what we can use for offerings and what is sacred to these beings.
Applying Lore to practice
In the previous sections I mentioned that one of the uses of lore is to gain an understanding as to what the various deities and spirits may enjoy for offerings and sacrifices. One of the things that is essential to have a successful practice that is very fulfilling you need to have a connection to the deities and spirits. The best way to establish these relationships is through sacrifices, offerings, prayer, meditation, and contact. The best way to learn these things is through reading and researching lore.
Once you start reading the lore you will find some practices and myths that relate to your practice. You take your information gained from reading and your own thoughts and combine the two together. Once combined you are then well on your way to having a nice and well rounded practice that will be supported with references and research.
Writing your own Lore
One of the things I have started to do is write my own lore based on my experiences in my trances. I use these experiences to create the myths that work for myself. I use these myths to round out my practice. It takes a long time of piecing together experiences and rituals to have a setup where you can write lore that works for you.
What counts as writing your own lore? writing poems, stories, and anything that is done in honor of the spirits and deities that you work with. Once you start writing your own lore you’ll be able to really piece together your own practice based wholly on your own personal experiences and nothing more or less. The first and most important step here is for you to write down all your thoughts, experiences and the like.
Additional reading and sources:
Hedge Rider by Eric De Vres
Witching Way of the Hollow Hill By Robin Artisson
Fairy Tales and Folk Lore
For many years my only sources for the mythology of witchcraft as a religion came from the typical Neo-Pagan Eclectic witchcraft books. I felt that they were lacking in many areas. For a time I thought I could force the myths of other deities into the 8 Sabbats I was following as a witch. While the practice worked for a while, it was unsatisfactory. I felt as if the Gods were hearing me, but were telling that there is more to do and elsewhere to look.
For a long time I had considered looking into fairy tales for the missing pieces of the mythology and lore I was looking for. At the time I was of the mindset that fairy tales were for children. After being exposed to the Disneyfied fairy tales for so long it seemed to me that the only reason an adult had to think about fairy tales was for their small children and not for fun.
A friend of mine told me that if I was interested in the path of Traditional witchcraft beyond what I had read in Artisson and other places I should look into fairy tales. He even gave me a few to look into. That was when I first started to consider it. yet at the time I still couldn’t figure out the connection myself. So I waited and the answer did come to me.
Ok. You may be thinking whats the connection? Witches in many fairy tales are nasty things. Why would looking into fairy tales and folklore be beneficial to a new witch or even an experienced witch?
The simple answer is that the lore found with in many folktales about elves and dwarves contain a lot of lore that is applicable to the understanding of the beings that traditional witches work with, as well as witches in general. Many ideas of the Witches Goddess can be found in folk lore and fairy tales. There are hints at what these beings are like, what the role of witches are and why witches do the things they do.
I have found that Robin Artisson’s The Withching Way of the Hollow Hill to be very useful in understanding the importance of reading folk lore and fairy tales. In Artisson’s other book The Horn of Evenwood he also continues to explore the importance of folk lore and fairy tales as sources of a witches knowledge and wisdom. HedgeRiderby Eric De Vres is also another book that goes into details about the importance of fairy tales and folklore.
Those were the Pagan author who have helped me to see the importance of fairy tales and folklore. Last semester in school I took a local inspired fairy tale and folklore class (New England Folklore and Mythology). That class has inspired me to learn more about folklore. I became adept at analyzing and studying folklore for any of the possible myths and fairy tales I have read over the years. This had confirmed my position on continuing the path of a philosopher, folklorist, and anthropologist.
While I am still sorting through and coming to my own analysis of various tales and folklore that I will eventually pass on to my own students, I have started to gain a deeper understanding of the path of the witch and the various roles we have had over the years.
Ok. So what does folklore entail?
Folklore contains local legends and superstitions. I can be simple things that people grow up doing because every one does it in an area but doesn’t know why. It can be legends of people that lived there who were either detested or respected. They can be practices and customs. Folklore comes in many forms.
Many people wouldn’t consider the witch trials to be a source of lore and wisdom for witches. This is actually quite far from the truth. While I have not read many of the transcripts of the witch trials, I have learned much from books which have cited trials as sources for lore and practices. While that was a dark time for witches (and most if not all of the people accused were not witches at all) and the craft, it still has rich history and events that can become a part of witch lore.
Fairy tales by their very nature are magical and thus hold keys to the mysteries of the magic out there. They provide clues to how the magic was worked and those who ruled magic. There were only a few of the adults that ever remembered their entrances into the fairyland, and these became the magicians/witches and the storytellers.
So, I see how they can be useful. What sorts of fairy tales should we be looking into?
That depends on what cultural background you are coming from. Strega witches will use Italian folklore, fairy tales, and mythology to form the basis of their practices. If you are practicing a Celtic form of Witchcraft you would work with that mythology, fairy tales, and folklore setting. If you are an eclectic witch you would work with which ever cultures you chose to work with. I myself use the Germanic fairy tales and folklore most because that is my ancestry, and those have been the tales which have given me the most insight into my own beliefs and practices.
While you should start with a specific culture in mind, that doesn’t mean it should be your only source of information. I also use English fairy tales and folklore. I also find inspiration in rewritten fairy tales and folklore such as the tale of bearskin. I just said you should have a single culture as a starting point.
I have covered why I read and adapt folklore to my path. As for when I first started to use and truly understand the role of folklore and practices in my own path, that is harder to pinpoint. I think it’s started to happen slowly over time since I took that folklore class and started to look at fairy tales in a new light. Still there is much more for me to learn and explore.
There are many great books out there. I suggest starting with Grimms Fairy tales as they are the most well known. It is in the unknown fairy tales found within those books that you might find the most interest in. Once you have done that you can start looking at any fairy tales from any culture. They may still provide you insight.
For moral and ethical tales Aesop’s fables are an excellent source of ethics and morals or important lessons that should be learned. In many ways the very first stories that children are exposed to such as fairy godmothers, and the like will come back to be the source for hidden wisdom and insight found within those tales.
While they may be dark, you should still read them. Darkness and depression are simply parts of life. In many cases in the darker tales the more important lessons are learned. It is not a requirement, but again simply advice. After all life is not all roses and sunshine. Life is confusing and painful. The fairy tales that include those aspects of human life are just as important as the ones that focus on intense happiness and joy.