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Hie to Carterhaugh: Ballads Green Grow the Rushes: Songs & Chants
Wortcunning: Seeds and Weeds Blackthorn and Hawthorn: To Harm or Heal
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Tom Tit Tot: Faery Lore The Fabled Hare Artful Avians: Bird Lore Standing Stone and Elder Tree Labyrinths and Mazes Beneath the Mask: Guising Midsummer Lore Merry Misrule Kilkenny's Wytch: Dame Alice
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*Vervain, St. John's Wort and Dill, hinder Witches of their Will*

     It has been stated that one must know how to hex in order to know how to heal and while many pagans and wiccans may shy away at the thought of working with the darker energies and arts, the aphorism stated above about hexing and healing makes total sense when considered in a wider scope and broader sense. 

     Just as a physician cannot repair or mend a wound or affected area until he knows what baneful thing was the creator and cause neither can one who works with spiritual energies, and with the related fieldwork with the soul, know how to correct imbalances and misalignments in that sort of setting without being aware of the potential causes and consequences. 

     Being well versed in the education and knowledge of the mechanics and actions that would have easily been construed as maleficent or baleful in previous eras does not necessarily mean that you must act on such knowledge and use it today. Indeed, not without a very good reason.

     Forewarned is most certainly forearmed in regards to your own personal safety whether you are protecting from a physical snakebite for example or a more malignant attack of an etheric nature. This essay will not be a diatribe on the ethics of cursing and hexing. Nor will it take on the specific task of condoning such activity and behaviour. 

     With these words I will share various concepts and ideas, perhaps even recipes, formulas and spells in regard to both ends of this thorny spectrum. What you choose to do with this information is purely a speculative gesture on my end. Your own conscience, personal ethics and moral compass shall guide you in regards to your own state of actions. 

     Please note that I am additionally of the opinion that if you are of the nature and temperament to use any of the bits posted here for those maleficent purposes that one could just as easily use nursery rhymes or passages from whatever book you may call bible. While I fully recognize that words do have an inherent power and those whose names you call do come, it is your intent with the material that is truly important, and not what words you intone.

     The brief mention that I will make in regards to the possible toll and the lasting after affects that cursing or hexing may take on you if you choose to incorporate any of the workings or rites listed here is to summarize what the late authors Doreen Valiente and Evan John Jones wrote about in Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed from their own personal experiences.

"...Like many things of the Craft, the powers of healing are balanced by the powers of cursing. In effect, the power invoked in both cases is one and the same thing. It is only the end results that differ. Instead of transmitting the power of good through healing, the power of evil through hate is transmitted. The technique used is exactly the same; and should the Goddess grant the placing of a curse, there is still that sudden feeling of a barrier giving way and the cold, dark waves of hatred pulsing through the gathering and outwards. Once again there is a time to do this sort of working; and once again this time should be governed by the lunar phase. As stated above, the time of cursing is during the dark of the moon. This phase signifies the dark side of the Goddess, in the shape of the old Hag or Angel of Death. In this guise she is the one who lines her nest with the bones of poets, the Sheela-na-Gig figure with the all devouring sex organ. From her womb came all life - and with life came death. In this aspect she is the Goddess of Revenge.

     To call on this aspect of the Goddess, any group or coven must be certain in their own minds that there is good enough cause for this working and appeal for justice. Once this side of the Goddess is invoked and put into motion,  a price will be extracted from the group. For months afterwards, the group generally feels flat and empty. The rapport and harmony that should be part of the coven or group psyche are broken and in some cases a whole year's workings can be lost. Time alone can and does heal this; but if the working has been of a particularly heavy nature, a full ritual of purification should be used to leave behind all the negative influences generated by the cursing rite..."

     Obviously, if I were willing to exact such a toll from myself and my working partners I would make damn sure that it was well worth it, at the risk of such debilitating effects to the group as a whole and the associated interpersonal dynamics, and there would surely have to be a greater reason than some petty and minor personal idea of vengeance or revenge. 

     The direct results of the person's actions that I was considering hexing or cursing would have to include a serious endangering of others (by physical or magical means). And any such acts by them would have to be done with a callous disregard as well as a grave disrespect for all life. Additionally the possibility of this manifestation being readily observable that myself or someone that I knew and loved would be caused undue harm by exposure to this person or groups of persons presence or influence and such that I would find these acts by that person's hand unacceptable on any measurable scale .

     The chippie sales girl who is rude and arrogant behind the counter at Dillard's doesn't warrant much of my physical attention, let alone any serious magical efforts or energies exerted on my behalf. Nor would the driver who cut me off in traffic get much more than a dirty scowl and the occasional middle digit salute. I wouldn't deign to feed the banks of these activities with any of my spiritual coinage for actions that would be deemed less negligent or less threatening according to the requirements described in the preceding paragraph.

     Woe be to the one who does meet those aforesaid requirements though as I and those of my house shall do everything possible by all means to thwart and divert that intended danger. 

     Let us begin with some simple yet fundamental background information on the two items mentioned in the title of this essay, the lore and the mythologies associated with both the hawthorn and the blackthorn.

Hawthorn (Crataegus Oxyacantha) -- is known by many other names, Hedgethorn (haw being an older word for hedge), Quickthorn, Whitethorn, Hagthorn, Huath, Bread and Cheese Tree, May Flower, May Bush and takes the Latin name from Kratrus, meaning hardness of the wood, Oxus, meaning sharp, and Akantha, meaning thorn.

Medicinal: Hawthorn's healing abilities are great and all parts are used of the plant to bring about certain medicinal functions. Being ruled by Mars and considered masculine this makes working with the Hawthorn's fiery essences a boon in such primal uses as in fertility magic and related spellwork and bids of petition. On the medicinal level, Hawthorn is a very beneficent plant and aids in all various forms used both as a diuretic and as well as an astringent. Hawthorn also is an aid in cardiac situations when used a as a tonic for both both organic and functional problems of the heart. Hawthorn is also helpful in treating angina and arteriosclerosis and can be used to lower blood pressure.

Mythical: Thomas the Rhymer (True Thomas, Thomas of Erceldoune) is said to have received his initiation at the hands of the Queen of Elphame (who came riding amid the sound of nine and fifty small silver bells) underneath the Hawthorn. A prophecy spoken by Thomas in regards to his lands was in reference to this very Thorn tree; "As long as the Thorn Tree stands,  Erceldoune shall keep its lands.". In 1814 a terrible gale took down the aged Thorn and a series of financial disasters swept through the community and all the common land was sold to make payment on an outstanding debt thus fulfilling the words spoken by Thomas 600 years earlier.

  • Wood from the Hawthorn provides one of the hottest fires thus showing its fiery Martial nature. 

  • Hawthorn is one of the Nine Sacred Woods of the British Isles and traditionally used in Roodmas balefires.

  • Hawthorn trees guard Sacred Wells in Ireland and folks are known to leave objects called clouties which are pieces of cloth that are hung about the thorns and are left as a physical representation of the wishes and desires of the heart.

  • Witches are said to be able to transform into the delightfully musky scented Hawthorn at will.

  • An old legend states that the first Hawthorn bush grew from the staff of St. Joseph.

  • Hawthorn branches hidden in the rafters of the barn will keep the cattle safe and protect against unwanted wights, lightning and storms.

  • Hawthorn leaves placed in cradles will protect the child within from baneful influences.

Blackthorn (Crataegus Tomentosa or Calpodendron) -- is known by many other names, Sloe (from whence Sloe Gin is derived), Pear Hawthorn, and Urn Tree. As in the earlier description of Hawthorn, the identical meaning for the word Crategus remains and Tomentosa is added, meaning that the leaf of this plant is covered with densely matted filimental hairs. Additionally, the reference to the urn shaped fruits is where the term Calpodendrun arises in the secondary Latin name given.

Medicinal: Blackthorn is also ruled by Mars and has similar associations. This plant can be seen as rather the inverse or obverse of the meanings attributed to Hawthorn when used in way that seeks catabolic rather than anabolic effects. When used for the idea and intent of healing the properties of Blackthorn can be quite benevolent when used as an astringent, diaphoretic, as well as a diuretic. As with the Hawthorn, all parts of this small tree or shrub are used from the flowers to the fruit and even the bark is utilized at times into teas and infusions for stimulating the appetite.

Mythical: Major Thomas Weir, who was burned as a Witch in 1670 in Edinburgh, went to his death along with the tool that he (and many others) considered his most powerful -- a staff of Blackthorn that had been carved with a Satyr's head that Weir claimed to have received from the Devil himself. This staff enabled him to fly among other feats according to the tales told in regards to the Major. Weir had previously been considered the Saint of West Bow due to his pious sermons until one day he confessed to his many years of unholy and devilish activities with his sister Jean. They were both tried and both condemned to death as a result of his confessions.

  • It was once thought that the Devil pricked the finger of those who had given themselves over to him in deed or pact with a Blackthorn as a secret sign of initiation.

  • In Scottish lore Winter is said to begin when the Callieach strikes the ground with her Blackthorn staff.

  • The sharp thorns of the Blackthorn were called pins of slumber when used by Witches of the British Isles to pierce their poppets in their acts of cursing.

  • English Witches will also use an entire stang made from Blackthorn for the express purpose of cursing and cursing alone.

  • The Irish Walking/Fighting Stick, the Shillelagh, is often made from the sturdy and plentiful wood of the Blackthorn.

  • British Witches of a Northern Persuasion would often carve the rune Thorn on a Blackthorn stave for protection.

  • Rudyard Kipling has immortalized the Thorn in his tales of Puck of Pook's Hill with the memorable verse that contains these lines; 

"Of all the trees that grow so fair, 
Old England to adorn, 
Greater are none beneath the Sun 
Than Oak and Ash and Thorn."

*********

     We shall now commence to reading through some of the many charms, spells, bids, petitions and relics of rites of both a benign and of a malignant nature. Ones listed in green text are benevolent and ones in the brown are to be considered malevolent. 

 

  • Irish Spell for Wounds: 

The poison of a serpent, the venom of the dog, the sharpness of the spear, doth not well in man. The blood of one dog, the blood of many dogs, the blood of the hound of Fleithas -- these I invoke. It is not a wart to which my spittle is applied. I strike disease, I strike wounds. I strike the disease of the dog that bites, of the thorn that wounds, of the iron that strikes. I invoke the three daughters of Fleithas against the serpent. Benediction on this body to be healed; benediction on the spittle; benediction on him who casts out the disease. In the name of God, Amen.

 

  • Spanish spell for Hatred:

At Midnight on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday the Witch shall prepare a fire. She then takes a small bit of salt, a pinch of coriander and sardine in one hand and begins to make passes back and forth from one hand to another while saying:

"I conjure thee salt and coriander,
By Barrabas,
By Satanas,
And the Devil, I conjure thee
that is most able,
I do not conjure thee in the name of salt and coriander,
But in the heart of __________."

Then she throws the mixture into the fire and continues with her spoken spell:

"Thus, as thou art burning
Let the heart of __________ burn,
And bring it to me here."

"I conjure thee by the Sardine Queen,
And by the name of Hell,
And by the navigators who sail the sea."

"I call thee __________
By Barrabas,
By Satanas
And by the Devil, I conjure thee,
Him that is most able
By all the Devils in Hell,
Devil of the Star
Enter into ___________.
And bring him to me here
Quickly."

"Devils of the abbatoir,
Guide him here to me;
Devils of the Cocodover,
Bring him to me as dast [fast!] as you can."

"With more messages I send to call thee,
By the Saracen Queen,
By the Queen of King Faraon,
Who walks by day in the fields,
At night by the Crossroads,
Catching wars and battles,
I join all of you and go,
And into ________ I enter,
And from there bring me
Diligently; well seized."

"Seizing his side,
His lungs,
And the strings of his heart."

This spell was to be spoken three times in succession.

 

  • Finnish Spell to keep the Fingers from Freezing: 

Old Cold, pup of puff,
Don't you freeze my fingers up.
Don't you freeze my little hands.
Freeze the willow where it stands.
By the water, please.
Freeze the clumps of white birch trees.

 

  • Spell used to do away with another Witch:

In an iron pot burn chips of ironwood and throw in vervain and yarrow. To the ashes add oil and as you do say these words:

"Xapeth, Xith, Xandra, Zaped, Zapda, Zik"

Bottle up the mixture and find some way to place it on the person whose demise you yearn and wish for.

 

  • Devonshire spell to keep the Buckies away.

Bucky, Bucky, biddy bene,
Is the way now fair and clean?
Is the goose ygone to nest?
And the fox ygone to rest?
Shall I come away?

 

  • The Black Fast

The black fast was worked by those who wished to do the most harm possible to a foe. This was normally worked on those who were some distance away and not in the immediate vicinity of the curser. At the beginning of a twenty eight day lunar phase (dark of the moon) a fast was begun in the name of whomever you wished to curse. Nothing but the barest minimum of bread and water was taken in; flesh meat, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk were all specifically denied. Yet all the favorite and beloved foods of the curser were prepared to tempt and torment one. Each day as they refused the foods they loved so well they cursed in the name of the person they were working the fast for. On the last day, a complete rite was enacted focusing all malevolent intents and energies on the one whom they wished to harm. Those of a particularly vitriolic temperament would begin a new Black Fast on the direct heels of the last, making it doubly potent and malicious. You may also use the verse shared by an Arteful Anonymous Wytch below in your efforts.

When the filcher steals,
When the robber sacks,
When the brigand strikes,
When the safebreak cracks,
When the highwayman
Lays your purse to waste,
Cast this spell to make him chaste:

Begin as the Moon does fullsome ride
Through the night, across the sky.
Set a fork and plate at your feasting place,
Then cook a meal to lavish taste.

A fowl fair roasted, some sweets and greens,
A sup for kings, a feast for queens.
When your mouth is yearning, when your gullet growls,
Set you down to eat the fowl.

Adore the feast, each morsel each,
But when within your hungry reach,
With a violent hand push the feast away,
And as you do so three times say:

*Evil thief,
So come to grief,
Until you right
The wrong you've done!*

Drink nothing but water, eat nothing but bread,
For as you fast, the spell is fed.
Thus proceed a fortnight's time,
At the evening meal, you may not dine.

Through every moon thus vent your rage,
Till your goods return or your wrath's assuaged.

  • The Charge of the Artificer's Son

An Irish *charge of great power* was made with onions and dillisk, ambrosia and garlic. Let the plants be broken up and boiled upon beer then add the gall of a hog's liver and a drop of wine or doe's milk. When well strained pour it into an amphora of brass and then apply to the eye. The benefit is certain.

 

  • Magic Squares

According to S.L. McGregor Mathers magical squares should never be placed where one may find it and make use of it as the square is certain to bring harm to the finder.

C A S E D
A Z O T E
B O R O S
E T O S A
D E B A C

 

  • Lucky Horseshoe Charm

Nail up a horseshoe for luck using your left hand and while reciting this charm. Remember that only Smiths and Farriers were allowed to hang up horseshoes with the points down, towards the earth, allowing the magic or luck to spill out. If you are neither of those, your shoe should be hung points up.

Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Nail the Devil to the Post.
Thrice I smite thee with the Holy Crook.
With this mell I thrice do knock.
One for God, One for Wod[in] and One for Lok.

 

  • Knotted Spell for Impotence

This spell is worked with a length of cord and was primarily used by jilted lovers. Take a length of cord, red works best, and with all the malicious intent and malevolent desire you can evoke wish and fervently pray that your ex-lover's sex organ be as limp and soft as the cord you work with. Tie six knots about the length of the cord and as you tie each knot imagine vividly your ex-lover trying to work up and muster the needed physical state for passion and being unable to do so. As you tie each knot make up a little verse or rhyme utilizing his true name and specify that you wish for him to be unable to fulfill such needs with no exception. This spell works especially well when used at the same moment of an ex-lover's wedding or hand-fasting. 

 

  • East Anglian Remedy for a Viper Bite

To perform this spell take two wands of Hazel wood and lay them on the snakebite. Then breathe the following spell on the wound:

Underneath the Hazelen mote
Is a maggoty worm with a speckled throat.
Nine double is he,
Now from nine double to eight double,
And from eight double to seven double,
And from seven double to six double,
And from six double to five double,
And from five double to four double,
And from four double to three double,
And from three double to two double,
And from two double to one double,
And from one double to no double,
No double hath he.

  •  Spell to Wish Barrenness on Another

This spell is best used at the dark of the Moon. Begin by tying nine knots into a length of red thread. As you tie the knots think of beneficent and healing, generative type properties. When your cord has been tied off with the last knot then totally reverse your thinking and concentrate on the opposite of those earlier effects and begin to untie each knot beginning with the last knot that you tied (you should end with the first knot you made being the last untied). As each knot is untied recite one line of the following spell listed below When you get to the ninth knot focus your intent and speak the name of the one whom you wish to be made barren three times as you at the same time thrust your stang or staff sharply onto the ground after each utterance. After all the knots have been untied bury your length of cord in a small packet with any of the following herbs: rue, yew, wormwood, nightshade, wolf's bane or hemlock.

For legacy though you do yearn,
An empty cradle shall you rock.
Your progeny deterred in turn,
No lineage, no tribe, no stock.

Descendants none shall your house earn,
Tempus Fugit cried the clock.
Ripe womb meets fallow seed with spurn, 
At fruitless doors ill-fained you knock.

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