The Proverbial Witch

Proverbs, Maxims, and Wise Words

The Proverbial Witch

Proverbs, Maxims, and Wise Words

An Arteful Anonymous Witch

A proverb is a short saying based on long experience. Proverbs contradict each other. Such is the wisdom of mankind.


  • The witch belongs everywhere, but fits in nowhere.
  • All the Craft is in the catching.
  • The Craft is a kingdom.
  • The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for thy wits to grow sharper.
  • Neither so sinful as to sink, nor so godly as to swim.
  • One to rot, One to grow, One for the pigeon and one for the crow (for planting seeds).

Fate, Destiny, and Necessity

  • Just because it is difficult does not mean it is not your destiny.
  • Do not curse the fool; let his Fate be to bear himself.
  • He that is born to be hanged will never be drowned.
  • If a man is destined to drown, he will do so even in a spoonful of water.
  • The bound must obey.
  • The weak shape their own destiny.
  • The purpose of life is to experience life.
  • Grief and Joy revolve on the wheel of Fate.
  • Fate is met often on the road taken to avoid Her.
  • Never name the well from which you will not drink.
  • You must take Fate as your Master before you may take Her as your Mistress, for She is seduced only by submission to Her laws.
  • Many there are whom She sinks that they may rise the higher.
  • Granting one’s wish is one of Fate’s saddest jokes.
  • The acts of this life are the destiny of the next.
  • What you condemn, you will become.
  • Fate does not cease to exist because She is ignored.


  • A fool will put home in the morrow, but a witch will make use of the night.
  • Wish honestly, then conjure boldly.
  • A stroke of good luck is worth more than a spell.
  • A little wine is good for magic, but too much wine is not.
  • No need, no magic.
  • Concentration brings near the distant goal.
  • Practice not thine Arte, and it will soon departe.
  • A full belly conjures badly.
  • Magic never works too late.
  • Thoughts are things.
  • Believe you have it, and you have it.
  • Better to desist in spellmaking than be careless with it.
  • From a trivial spell badly done, great contests oft arise.
  • A good cause makes stout the wand and strong the arm.
  • The best is to cast thy spell and say nothing.
  • Desire will pierce even a rock.
  • Grain by grain, the loaf; word by word, the charm.
  • He who cannot attract Pan, approaches Proteus in vain.

Compasse and Spirits

  • Mark ye well the compasse round and keep the spirits honest.
  • The spirits will ignore you if you call too often or call too seldom.
  • Not every spirit who calleth should be served.
  • A good spirit does not fear the Hazel. Var. A good spirit does not fear the sword.
  • Raise no more spirits than you can conjure down.
  • The spirits hover but three feet above your head.
  • Be bold in your compasse, but not too bold.
  • Better outside the compasse than inside the stocks.
  • A spirit’s first counsel is the best.
  • The dead have few friends; be one of them.
  • The dead may open the eyes of the living.
  • Evil deeds done in secret are seen by the spirits as a flash of fire.
  • With the sun, without; against the sun, within.
  • To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.
  • The fall of a leaf is a whisper to the living.

Secrecy and Truth

  • Do not speak in the street by day what you have heard in the woods by night. Var. Do not speak by sunlight what you have learned by moonlight.
  • Lies need adornment; truth goes naked.
  • Keep your vows, even when danger has passed.
  • Silence and secrecy are a witch’s greatest powers.
  • Either be great and hold your tongue or be weak and depart.
  • The moving tide reveals the truth.
  • Secrets are best hid in plain sight.
  • What magic hides, magic may reveal.
  • Of what does not concern you, say nothing good or bad.
  • When a witch talks to a fool, two fools are talking.
  • The strong are strong, but the silent are stronger.
  • If you speak the truth, keep one foot on your broom.
  • No ear hath heard, no tongue can tell, the virtue of the pimpernel.

Mysteries and Wisdom

  • All mysteries may be experienced, but not all may be understood.
  • The advice of an aged witch never misleads.
  • Leave the stranger to his strangeness.
  • To learn what is good, a thousand days will not suffice; to learn what is evil, an hour is too long.
  • On the crooked path, there is neither brother nor friend.
  • The cauldron may appear half empty or appear half full depending on whether you are filling it or emptying it.
  • To those who know, it needs no explanation. to those who do not, there can be none.


  • Both blessing and bane may grow on one stalk.
  • Three marks of the good herbwife: she feeds the land before it hungers; she gives it rest before it tires; she weeds it before it crowds.
  • A witch who plants loves others besides herself.
  • A violet is always a violet, though it be among nettles.
  • Where the bee sucks honey, the spider sucks poison.
  • All witches have a secret garden.
  • More in the Garden grows, than the Witch knows.
  • Thus saith the Rowan: Cross my arms and red wool wind, if thou wouldst wicked evil bind.
  • Why should a man die while sage grows in the garden?
  • Eat sage in May, and live for aye.
  • The witch may extract sweetness even from a bitter herb.
  • Often the prickly thorn produces tender roses.
  • Where rosemary grows, the missus is master.


  • There is a cure for everything but stark dead.
  • A little poison may cure; too much balm may kill. Var. A little bane may cure; too much boon may kill.
  • A witch that cannot curse, cannot cure.
  • If you brew well, you will heal the better.
  • A dry cough is the trumpeter of Death.
  • Haste in healing is rarely speed.
  • Past cure, past care.
  • The witch who cannot heal says the herb has no virtue.
  • To comfort the brain, smell chamomile, eat sage, wash measurably, sleep reasonably, delight to hear melody and wining.


  • When the Sun rises, use your eyes; when the Moon rises, use your ears. Var. If it is too dark to see, cease looking.
  • The more powerful, the more humble.
  • If you would be powerful, first conquer yourself.
  • Never conjure up more than you can make good use of.
  • Do not honor those who merely have power; honor those who have both power and use it for good.
  • Names have power; be the thing you would be called.
  • Where there’s a witch, there’s a way.
  • The witch of skill is not known by her means, but by her results.
  • To light a candle before you is to cast your shadow back.
  • Even a few witches may sink a fleet.
  • A book may give knowledge, but practice gives power.
  • Talk does not stir the cauldron.
  • As you call, so will you be answered. Var. As ye dictate, so shall ye be governed.
  • Cannot has no craft.
  • What one witch cannot, another can.
  • Witchery is better than beauty.
  • Much chatter, little power.
  • Do not conjure the storm unless you can bear the rain.
  • The mind is more clever than force.
  • When someone shalt say to thee, “thou knowest naught”, and it bites thee not, then knowest thou that thou hast begun the work.
  • Behind a skillful witch are other skillful witches.
  • Witches and warlocks without any bother, like gypsies on meeting well know one another. Var. Power knows power.


  • Power may be present from birth, but witchery must be learned.
  • Witch’s blood will not lie, nor can it be hid.
  • An ever-smiling child seldom makes a good witch.
  • Be not ashamed of your family’s craft.
  • The old custom will prevail.
  • Custom without reason is ancient error.
  • What’s born, will speak.
  • No moon, no man. (A child born on the dark-of-the-moon amounts to little).
  • An old woman without learning; it is she will be doing charms.
  • The witch is born above the breath. Var. Marked above the breath, a witch reborn from death.

Danger, Evil, Trouble, and Cursing

  • A witch who sleeps with a sword must rise with wounds.
  • Evil never makes fair bargains.
  • Trouble follows all extremes.
  • Highest in the kingdom, closest to the scythe.
  • Keep the blackthorn hidden until you see your own blood.
  • Never banish something that may be freed by a blessing.
  • Evil often masquerades as good to those newly come to power.
  • If you bear the white wand, be patient; if you bear the black wand, strike hard.
  • Better a free witch than a captive king.
  • Better a brother’s curse than an enemy’s blessing.
  • A crooked branch has a crooked shadow.
  • To judge is to harm.
  • All evil deeds are repaid on earth.
  • Evil done returns to the sender thrice; good returns a hundredfold.
  • Do not trust the sparrow to do the raven’s work.
  • Catching is before hanging.
  • Curse without cause, be cursed without cause.
  • Company’s good if you are going to be hanged.
  • A clear conscience can bear any curse.
  • The corruption of one is the generation of another.
  • Courtesy is not incompatible with wickedness.
  • Cunning against cunning makes no living.
  • A red cap on the right road beats a green cap on the wrong road.
  • A curse is like a donkey: tether it well or it will follow its master.
  • A curse without cause will not cross the victim’s threshold.
  • A danger foreseen is half avoided.
  • However long the night, dawn will break.
  • Invoke not evil; it will come fast enough unbidden.
  • Evil more willingly enters a house than leaves it.
  • Sometimes the best gain is to lose.
  • It is impossible to spoil what never was good.
  • She that courts injury shall obtain it.
  • If the witch dies by your blow, she will forgive you; if she lives, we shall see.
  • When scattering thorns, do not dance barefoot.
  • Don’t use up all your arrows before you go to battle.


  • Even a young hand finds power in an old stang.
  • All’s lost that is put in a leaky cauldron.
  • Two witches may not wield one wand.
  • Not every forked stick is a stang; not every pot a cauldron.
  • Power, not tools, make the witch.
  • Precious tools make none the better witch.
  • A cracked bell will never sound well.
  • The used key is always bright.
  • Keep your knife sharp.
  • A bad broom leaves a dirty room.
  • Do not cast aside an old cauldron until you know whether the new one holds water.
  • Small and great, we all boil in the same cauldron.
  • Straddle your own besom, and leave others to straddle theirs.
  • No coin is too precious to liberate your own.
  • A witch is known by her knife.
  • The wand does not make the witch.
  • Both wand and gallows are made of wood.
  • The stang will protect thee in the forest whence it grew.
  • Do not light a candle, but speak a blessing first.


  • Do not feed a hungry man with an empty spoon.
  • Neither beauty nor trickery shall ease pain.
  • A creature in distress is a sacred object.
  • Need not who needs not thee.
  • Doubt the witch who cackles often, but never lays an egg.
  • A candle lights others and consumes itself.
  • He that refuses to buy counsel cheap shall buy repentance dear.
  • Patience will kill sorrow.
  • Vice rules where gold reigns.
  • Do not be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly use.
  • A witch is the hand of her Father on earth.
  • No sea refuses a river.

Prentices and Teachers

  • To know a prentice, winter him and summer him, then wait but one more day.
  • You can make a good witch of a rogue, but you will end up fighting him in the end.
  • A library of books does not equal one good teacher.
  • Practice is better than a teacher.
  • One teaches best what one most needs to learn.
  • Those who ask are foolish for a moment, those who do not ask are foolish forever.


  • The shortest Sabbat is where the company is good.
  • The Sabbat is a movable feast.
  • Best is the Sabbat from which comes peace.
  • Because all of Nature is our kin, we invite whomso we will to our table, and the company always outshines the meal.


  • A coven does not fail for want of a single witch.
  • Better to conjure alone than in bad company.
  • A headless coven conjures badly.
  • The will of a single witch is broken more easily than the will of a coven.
  • Shun evil company.
  • The coven is a conspiracy of witchcraft.
  • The more witches, the worse the potion.
  • Three witches, five opinions.
  • All are equal under the Moon.


  • The messenger of the Gods bears no blame.
  • What has been, may be again.
  • A pack of cards is a book of destiny.
  • Counsel before action.
  • Good counsel comes overnight.
  • A dream that has not been deciphered is like a letter unread.
  • Nothing is sudden; all things have a past.
  • Crouch to see; upright to command.
  • Forewarned, forearmed.


  • Faithfully serve your imp, and he shall faithfully serve you.
  • After dark, all hares are witches.

Out and About

  • A flying witch will sometimes fall.
  • However high your broom may soar, you must turn your hands to earth.
  • One body cannot perform two tasks, but two bodies can.


  • Men fear death as children do to go in the dark.
  • Look upon death as a going home.
  • When the game is all done, both the King and the Pawn return to the same box.


  • Call Justice upon another, call it upon yourself.
  • Everyone loves justice, but shuts the door when he comes.
  • There is a point at which even justice does injury.


  • Clap thrice for thunder, whistle thrice for winds, spit thrice for rain.
  • Dance in time to the crickets if you wish for rain.
  • Waves sell wind cheaply.

The Gods

  • The best way to know the Gods is to love many things.

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