Artist

Alexander Averin

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Halloween

Dear Diary,



To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal ... a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance ... a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to lose and a time to seek; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


It is official, it is the end of Summer, and we have reached Halloween or Samhain, as this time of year is known in the Celtic calendar.

M and others have always called me a witch and I always tell (some) people that I am one, strictly tongue-in-cheek you understand.

M used to make me silver witch jewellery, many moons ago and he paints witchy pictures too.

With me it’s more of a state of mind that I have had since childhood, some people might call me a hedge witch.


That reminds me of the good book that is Hedgewitch by Beth Rae. I was led to it again last week when I was browsing in a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye; a day or so after I had been thinking about the actual book, funnily enough, (or not).

What is a witch anyway? This label started way back in the pre-Christian era before most people could read and write. I hate the word witch; it’s one of those labels I detest so much. Usually out of utter ignorance, society likes to lump people, along with their belief systems, into boxes and stick a label on them. But ignorance always mutates into fear and then from fear into hatred.


I’ve recently read a good book called ‘White Magic’ by Lucy Cavendish. It’s an excellent read if you want to understand the history of the so-called witches who were really the healers, midwives, herbalists, the country women who were in tune with Nature, the wise women (and a few wise men!) of the area. They knew and worked with the cycles of the Moon and the Sun, were attuned to the seasons, the wind and the rain and learned to plant seeds, tend plants and harvest them along with these rhythms. They made remedies (soon to be re-named ‘potions’) and were the nearest thing to a doctor in those days in their power to heal. These potions came to be called ‘spells’ when these ‘witches’ were seen as too powerful. But that’s what the power of a spell is really; it’s part belief, part imagination (I-magic), what we call creative visualisation nowadays, or positive thinking. In the olden days, well not that long ago actually, in order for authorities to have religious dominance over the people, these ‘secrets’ were suppressed.

The wise ones believed in the magic of Spirit, the joy of the Earth and they had an awareness of energies. Many people still do. And where sex is concerned the females of our species have always had the power to enchant, in order to attract a male. It is in our nature to be alluring, to bewitch, to cast our spell!

If you are interested in this subject two more books I would recommend are The Elememts of Natural Magic or A Witch Alone, both written by Marian Green.




I was asked for my three favourite words yesterday and one of mine is alchemy. True magic. From its simplest form, making a cake for example, or baking bread, they can both be construed as magical, do you not agree? Feng shui is another type of alchemy. Try de-cluttering, clearing out, and you will notice how it will lighten your load and make you feel so much better.

My other favourite words are love and peace, not original choices perhaps but they are the only two things that matter in the world, that much I have learned.

There is a Dark Side to all these energies of course; there is a Shadow for everything if harnessed in a Negative way, that way Black Magic and all things Evil lie.


*

People have been baptised in the river that runs through our garden as it lies close to a well-known old Welsh chapel. It might account for the special feeling of peace in this valley, who knows?

It got me thinking about witch-hunting and the millions of European witches who were drowned in rivers, hung and/or burned to death. The song Burning Times says it all
I have it on a CD with the same name and beautifully performed by Christy Moore but it was written by Charlie Murphy.

Here are his lyrics.

The Burning Times

In the cool of the evening, they used to gather
'Neath the stars in the meadow circling an old oak tree
At the times appointed by the seasons
Of the earth and the phases of the moon


In the centre, stood a woman
Equal with the others and respected for her worth
One of the many we call the witches
The healers and the teachers of the wisdom of the earth

And the people grew through the knowledge she gave them
Herbs to heal their bodies, spells to make their spirits whole
Can't you hear them chanting healing incantations
Calling forth the wise ones, celebrating in dance and song?

{Refrain}
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Innana (3x)


There were those who came to power, through domination
And they were bonded in their worship of a dead man on a cross
They sought control of the common people
By demanding allegiance to the Church of Rome

And the Pope declared an inquisition
It was a war against the women, whose power they feared
In the holocaust against the nature people
Nine million European women died

And the tale is told of those, who by the hundreds
Holding together chose their death in the sea
While chanting the praises of the Mother Goddess
A refusal of betrayal, women were dying to be free

{Refrain}

Now the Earth is a witch, and the men still burn her
Stripping her down with mining, and the poisons of their wars
Still to us the Earth is a healer, a teacher, a mother
The weaver of a web of life that keeps us all alive

She gives us the vision to see through the chaos
She gives us the courage; it is our will to survive

Charlie Murphy



Something to think about especially today, this Halloween, 31st October 2007, when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest and the gates are open back on the Past and forward into the Future.

The light may be fading but the Earth’s energies are rising, the trees are scattering their leaves and the frosts are stirring. A time to prepare for Winter, a time for New Ideas.

For my part, I will also be rediscovering the delights of Early Nights, Good Books and cocoa or rather organic hot chocolate. I’ve treated myself to a new goose down duvet (because I’m worth it!) and soon I hope to spoil myself further with a new patchwork quilt. (My original one has been ‘borrowed’, don’t ask…..).

Enjoy the day,

Bye for now
Go mbeannaí Dia duit
Many Blessings,
Caitx

15 comments:

Casdok said...

What a lovely post. And i wont aske about the patchwork quilt, but i want to!!

Suffolkmum said...

I call myself, half-jokingly, a hedge witch too. I'm so into my herbs! I know the first book you mentioned, but not the others. I've just read a wonderful book about herbal lore called Memories, Wisdom and Healing by Gabrielle Hatfield. Happy Halloween!

Faith said...

Always interesting your blog, Cait, and soothing too. Thank you.

Inthemud said...

Your blog made fascinating reading, such an interesting selection of witchy books.
Like the idea of a Hedge Witch.

elizabethm said...

I love the idea of a hedge witch (bodran is definitely one!). Also loved your words. Where are you exactly? Would love to come and say hello if you would like that.

CAMILLA said...

Such a lovely Blog Cait as ever. Thank you for the info on books, have made a note of them.

I love your descriptive words, have you ever thought about writing, there is so much to consume, all so interesting.

I love quilts, a new one for Christmas I think maybe.

Camilla.xx

DJ Kirkby said...

Thank you for the book reccomendations.

Wooly Works said...

Interesting stuff on your blog. I've never heard of a hedge witch before, so I've looked it up. I think my sister might qualify for that, as she's a self made herbalist and wise when it comes to nature and all things natural. I had a midwife who would have qualified as well. Food for thought. Thanks

Inthemud said...

Cait, re deer hunting, no he doesn't shoot near the foot path, it just where he brings the game back to afterwards for preparation, the footpath goes through his yard area.

Tom Foolery (TF) said...

I love Christy Moore his adaptation of the Rose of Tralee is well worth listening to...TFx

snailbeachshepherdess said...

The family refer to me as a witch...especially when I can smell the imminent arrival of snow!
I will treat myself to the White Magic book and see how right they are!
Lovely blog Cait as always

The Country Craft Angel said...

Sorry I haven't read blogs for a while Cait-have been busy with orders, then on holiday and have come home and gone down with a throat and ear infection.

I was feeling grot and have just got up today so I wanted to read one of your lovely blogs...

I am too fragile (and dizzy) to catch up as I have missed so many of your blogs over last few weeks.
But I loved this one and did find it very soothing.
I always find halloween/witches fascinating and not spooky.

Super blog as always. Thank you

warm wishes
xx

IrishEyes said...

Chonaic mé an blog seo, tá athá mór orm nuair a tá me criochnaithe. Loved it, love Christy Moore, loved going to Planxty concerts back in the day, and am so relieved we didn't have a bonfire here where we live this year, last year two of the neighbours houses nearly burned down and the green area was destroyed, again, for the 20th year.

Very spiritual. Cait, you really can draw us in.

LittleBrownDog said...

Ooooh, Cait - that was a beautiful, and dare I say it, utterly bewitching blog. I'd love to read some of those books. And, yes, I think there are certain places in this world blessed with a spirit of their own, and your valley is very possibly one of them.

PS Thank you so much for posting that lovely card on Purplecoo - it was so thoughtful of you. LBD x

Pipany said...

The books sound good Cait. I ove the term hedge witch - so much prettier than white, though that is apparently what my female ancestors were xx