Black Moon Society
- Animals Speak- Totems
- Candle Magick
- Coven or Solitary
- Crow Tarot
- Draconic Magick
- Herbal Grimoire
- Magick 101
- Magickal Correspondences
- Moon Magick
- Poppet Magick
- Stones & Crystals
- The Elements
- The Sabbats and Esabbats
- Tools of the Craft
- The Witches Corner
- The Witches Familar
- Winter Poems
- Wiccan Grove
- Witches Alphabet
- Witchcraft and Wicca
- Our Gift Shoppe
- Friends Sites
Friday, July 10, 2015
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Brujeria (also brujaria) is Spanish witchcraft or witchery. spells magic spells
Both men and women can be witches, brujos and brujas respectively. Brujos is the plural term that can mean either a group of male witches or both male and female witches. The female witch is considered the most powerful, and traditional brujos believe that the sacred bloodline or spiritual bloodline is passed down by the female (matriarchal lineage). This means that the line is inherited from a female but ends with a male.
The word bruja is believed to derive from bruxa, which is from the the Celto-Iberian dialect in Spain known today as Gallego. It shares its roots with Portuguese. The present day Portuguese use the term bruxsa. The original meaning is roughly evil or unwholesome night-bird, which are retained in modern Portuguese, but have evolved in Spanish to mean simply ‘witch’.
Brujeria is used amonst brujos to mean both the ‘ways of the witch’ as well as witchcraft, while hechiceria means ‘the craft of the witch’ – witchcraft, or more literally, spellcraft.
Amongst the people I know we use brujaria solely for the ways of the witch. On this site, you will see both, with a predominance for my use of the terms.
My experience is that most people understand brujeria (also brujaria) from a North American perspective. So it is considered a path from Latin America, more specifically, as derived from Mesoamerica.
However, a bruja/o is a witch who is of Spanish descent. This means that brujeria cannot solely be derived from mesoamerica.
Mesoamerica is a region that is roughly what is now Central America. Brujeria is a Spanish word. So the brujeria of Central America is a combination of Spanish and the indigenous people of that region (predominantly Mayan), so it is heavily influenced by ancient paganism.
Further south of that region, brujeria is diverse, from a similar mix of indigenous and Spanish culture, to the European styles found in Argentina and Uruguay. In these latter countries, brujeria often takes on Christian, specifically Catholic, influences.
However, the term bruja/o has just as many negative connotations as does its English counterpart ‘witch’. To refer to somebody as a bruja/o is often to label them an ‘evil doer’. So most South Americans of European descent refrain from using it in reference to themselves. Some of these people have adopted the term curandera, which means faith healer, a family reference, or simply no term at all. In contrast, brujos from Central America or the north of South America are usually respected member of the community. They are sought for their powers of healing, divination and spellwork.
It should be noted that curanderismo is also a practice that is totally distinctive from witchcraft, in that they do not use spells or divination but rather, work as psycho-spiritual healers doing such things as soul retrievals.
The brujos from Spain are either Christian or pagan-witches. The first group use folk magic and combine it with Catholic ritual and beliefs. This includes priests and nuns. The latter group are not Christian and either practice secretly or veil their practices under Catholic ones. Non-Christian brujeria from Spain is predominantly influenced by the ancients, either Greco-Roman, Celtic, or Phoenician. This latter group does not tend to use folk magic, but instead practices what is commonly known as traditional witchcraft.
With the large Hispanic emigration into North America, brujaria has naturally gone there as well. The brujos of America are either traditionalists, combine with vodhu, or have reconstructed a modern style.
So essentially there are three distinct forms: ancient pre-Christian form, Christian or modern form, and a contemporary reconstruction.
Beliefs and Practices
Beliefs vary between traditional and modern brujos. Traditional brujos hold core beliefs that are similar to or identical to the witchery around the world. Modern brujos are diverse and can resemble faith healers, be shamans, spiritualists, or pagan.
Practices are greatly diverse and are dependent upon the locale and the form of brujaria. Ancient forms tend to reflect the religions of the indigenous cultures, whilst modern forms tend to be syncretic and use the current dominant religion (usually Catholic).
The most well known practices are similar to English witchcraft: spells (hechizos), charms, amulets, divination, and use of plants (usually herbs). Other practices might include phenomena similar with traditional English witchcraft; namely shapeshifting, glamoury and hedgeriding. Brujos pagano (pagan-witches) might participate in ritual or ceremonial ecstacies.
Is shamanism all that different from modern witchcraft? According to Christopher Penczak, Wicca's roots go back 20,000 years to the Stone Age shamanic traditions of tribal cultures worldwide. A fascinating exploration of the Craft's shamanic origins, The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft offers year-and-a-day training in shamanic witchcraft.
Witchcraft and Shamanism
There is a large and growing body of evidence in anthropological and historical literature that historical European-style witchcraft was a form of shamanism. There are essentially three lines of argument here: One, espoused by Éva Pócs and Carlo Ginsburg, connects medieval and Early Modern practices to pre-Christian religious beliefs, mostly in eastern Europe where conversion happened later and the lines of connection are easier to trace (but with implications for other regions). The second, presented by Claude Lecouteux in his book Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies, compares accounts of supernatural experiences during the medieval period (including transcripts from witchcraft and werewolf trials) in Germany to the relatively undisturbed shamanic practices further north. The third, presented by Emma Wilby in her book Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, puts the experiences and practices of Early Modern witches into a context of world-wide shamanic practice.
To be clear, the definition of “shaman” in use here is an anthropological one. The word originates from the Tungus language of Siberia, and has been somewhat misapplied to the religious beliefs and practices of Native Americans (which are quite diverse; some are certainly shamanistic, others not so much). A shaman in this context is a magical practitioner who works with the help of spirits, usually (though not always) on behalf of or to the benefit of his or her human community, by means of healing, divination, and the like. Shamanic experiences world-wide share some general characteristics: the “call” in the form of a traumatic personal experience and/or a visitation by spirits, the formation of a strong bond (often including an agreement, pact, or spirit marriage) between the new shaman and one or more helping spirits, and a working relationship with those spirits, frequently characterized by ritual invocation and spirit flight or trance states to achieve specific goals.
Emma Wilby in particular lays out the comparison in detail and by using case studies. In Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, the historical case she focuses on is that of Bessie Dunlop, a woman who was executed for witchcraft in Scotland in 1576. Dunlop while in crisis (her cows had died and her husband and infant were both ill) was visited by a spirit (in this case, the ghost of a man she knew) who approached her several times. She agreed to “be loyal and true to him in whatever she could do.” He then taught her how to heal people and told here where to find lost or stolen items; these abilities brought in a modest living, until one of the people she accused of stealing turned her in for witchcraft. Wilby’s second book focuses on the trial of Isobel Gowdie, who worked in a coven rather than alone and whose activities included malefic magic as well as beneficial. It’s worth noting here that the law did not distinguish between witchcraft which healed and that which cursed; more than one hapless individual was executed for the crime of curing illness by means which appeared mysterious.
Given that most of our information comes from trial records and interrogations and the accused were subject to torture, it can be hard to sift truth from confabulation. All of the authors I have mentioned take this into consideration. Several point out that the folkloric material was not what the interrogators were interested in, and in fact was considered a distraction; subjects of interrogation would be pressed to describe a formulaic encounter with the Devil wherein they traded magical power for their immortal soul. Instead, accused witches often described encounters with fairies and the dead. This is consistent with what we know about fairy beliefs: that Elphame or the realm of the Fair Folk was also the realm of the dead (cf. The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W. Y. Evans-Wentz). External evidence for the folkloric material, including beliefs about fairies and specific beliefs to do with spirit flight, doubles, and familiars, combined with the fact that interrogators actively discouraged it, lend a degree of confidence to the picture they paint of what medieval and Early Modern witches were up to.
They worked alone or in groups. They often had named spirit helpers who appeared to them frequently; these spirits might be in the form of a cat, rat, toad, bird, human being, or non-natural creature. They also encountered other figures, including the King and Queen of Elphame, who sometimes presided over gatherings and sometimes helped them directly. They described leaving their homes and flying or going forth in the forms of animals, generally a cat or hare. Their interactions with spirits, flying, and other seemingly fantastic or impossible activities are described as straightforward experiences. They also performed numerous acts of witchcraft, ranging from healing or other beneficial spells to malefica, without distinction between what we would now consider herbal medicine and what we would think of as “magic.” This is consistent with books of “home physic” from that time period and later, which often include both an herbal concoction and an incantation in a single cure.
What does all this mean for a modern witch? For one, we might reflect on the relative lack of distinction between the material and the imaginal which is not unique to the witches but part of a pre-Enlightenment world-view. This is absolutely consistent with the way that shamans from other cultures describe their experiences as well, but is so far from current Western ideas as to be feared as pathological. Another thing to take into consideration is that becoming a witch fully is something that you can neither inherit nor study nor buy, but only receive as the gift of an ongoing relationship with the spiritual realm from beings independent of human agendas. That has profound implications for how a witch seeking to be traditional will approach such things as training, teaching, and joining an initiatory lineage. I plan to discuss all of these issues in further detail in later posts.
Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awordtothewitch/2014/08/06/witchcraft-and-shamanism/#ixzz3MZEGP3mh
Saturday, November 29, 2014
A New eclectic Nocturnal Pagan - Occult Community offering various interest groups, forums, educational ,support,,magickal areas. Geared more to the darker path members must be 21 to join. We are:
Eclectic- We Incorporated various beliefs, and paths that work for us
Pagan- We Not Christian
Nocturnal- We favor the shadow, the darker half of the Craft, and life.
Guides- yet we are guided. Teachers, yet we are ever learning.
We are Female, and Male- Yin and Yang. Yet we offer women only groups, and men only as well
Our foundation is the old ways. of Witchcraft, and Magick.
Join us on Ning- Click Me
Thursday, November 27, 2014
The Crone Goddess or dark mother is the last aspect of the Triple Goddess, together with the Mother and the Maiden she represents part of the circle of life. In todays society where we worship youth and beauty, this aspect of the Goddess is the most frightening and misunderstood of the three, as she represents our destruction, decay and death. Traditional societies however, view death as part of a cycle. Here, as in nature, the death of Winter is followed by the promise of rebirth in the Spring.
Her colour is black and she is associated with the waning or new moon, Autumn and Winter.
In her positive aspect she is often depicted as a Grandmother, a wise woman, or a midwife. The word Crone is derived from the old word for crown, suggesting the wisdom that emanates from the head like a halo. Her own child baring days are past; she is the wisdom keeper, seer and healer and midwife, whose knowledge is sought out to guide others during life's hardships and transitions.
Unfortunately in the Middle Ages the church feared these woman and the esteem with which their communities held them. Many of them were killed during the Inquisition and the wise woman of old was relegated to the Wicked Witch and Hag Archetype of our fairy tales. This is a corruption of the original meanings of the word witch and hag which respectively derived from the word wit, denoting wisdom and hagio meaning holy. Today as more woman live longer and take more prominent roles within society the tide is starting to turn as they start to reclaim their power.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Santa Claus: Where Did he come from?The origin of Santa Claus depends on which country's story you choose to adopt. Santa Claus comes from the Dutch words "Sinter Klaas", which is what they call their favorite saint, St. Nicholas. He is said to have died on December 6, A.D. 342. December 6th is celebrated as his feast day, and in many countries this is the day he arrives with his presents and punishments.
Nicholas lived in what is now called Turkey. He was born about A.D. 280 in the town of Patras. His parents were wealthy and he was well
Santa on the roof!
Chimneys aren't the only means of entrance for Santa Claus. Locked doors aren't a problem for him .
educated. Nicholas seems to have had a remarkable childhood. While still a young boy he was made Bishop of Myra, and because of this he has been known ever since as the Boy Bishop. He was renowned for his extreme kindness and generosity – often going out at night and taking presents to the needy. Santa's rise to fame can be traced to two legends – the three daughters and the children at the Inn.
The first story shows his generosity. There were three unmarried girls living in Patras who came from a respectable family, but they could not get married because their father had lost all his money and had no dowries for the girls. The only thing the father thought he could do was to sell them when they reached the age to marry. Hearing of the imminent fate, Nicholas secretly delivered a bag of gold to the eldest daughter, who was at the right age for marriage but had despaired of ever finding a suitor. Her family was thrilled at her good fortune and she went on to become happily married. When the next daughter came of age, Nicholas also delivered gold to her.
According to the story handed down, Nicholas threw the bag through the window and it landed in the daughter's stocking, which she had hung by the fire to dry. Another version claims that Nicholas dropped the bag of gold down the chimney.
By the time the youngest daughter was old enough for marriage, the father was determined to discover his daughters' benefactor. He, quite naturally, thought that she might be given a bag of gold too, so he decided to keep watch all night. Nicholas, true to form, arrived and was seized, and his identity and generosity were made known to all. As similar stories of the bishop's generosity spread, anyone who received an unexpected gift thanked St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas and Children
Another one of the many stories told about St. Nicholas explains why he was made a patron saint of children. On a journey to Nicaea, he stopped on the way for the night at an inn. During the night he dreamt that a terrible crime had been committed in
the building. His dream was quite horrifying. In it three young sons of a wealthy Asian, on their way to study in Athens, had been murdered and robbed by the innkeeper. The next morning he confronted the innkeeper and forced him to confess. Apparently the innkeeper had previously murdered other guests and salted them down for pork or had dismembered their bodies and pickled them in casks of brine. The three boys were still in their casks, and Nicholas made the sign of the cross over them and they were restored to life.
Where did religion come in?In newly Christianized areas where the pagan Celtic and Germanic cults remained strong, legends of the god Wodan were blended with those of various Christian saints; Saint Nicholas was one of these. There were Christian areas where Saint Nicholas ruled alone; in other locations, he was assisted by the pagan Dark Helper (the slave he had inherited from the Germanic god Wodan). In other remote areas, where the Church held little power, ancient pockets of the Olde Religion controlled traditions. Here the Dark Helper ruled alone, sometimes in a most confusing manner, using the cover name of Saint Nicholas or "Klaus," without in any way changing his threatening, Herne/Pan, fur-clad appearance. (This was the figure later used by the artist Nast as the model for the early American Santa Claus.)
The Catholic Saint Nicholas also had a confusing past. He was a compilation of two separate saints (one from Myra in Asia Minor, the other from Pinora), both of whom were – as the Church now admits – nothing more than Christianized water deities (possibly related to the Greco-Roman god Poseidon/Neptune.)
After the Vikings raided the Mediterranean, they brought the Christian Saint Nicholas cult from Italy to northern Europe, and there proceeded to build Saint Nicholas churches for the protection of their sailors. When, for instance, William the Conqueror's fleet was hit by a storm during his invasion of England, he is known to have called out for protection to Saint Nicholas. Although in those days, church services only mentioned Saint Nicholas as the protector of seafarers, they initially condoned a blending of the Mediterranean Nicholas myths with some that had been attached to the pagan Germanic god Wodan and to those of the even earlier Herne/Pan traditions.
By absorbing such pagan feasts and traditions, the Christian Church could subtly bring in its own theology: in this case, establishing the good Saint Nicholas, bringer of love and gifts, while grudgingly allowing the presence of the Olde Religion's Herne/Pan, but only as a slave to Saint Nicholas. Thus, in parts of Europe, the Church turned Herne into Saint Nicholas' captive, chained Dark Helper; none other than Satan, the Dark One, symbolic of all evil. His only remaining tasks now were to carry the bag, scare maidens and children into devout behavior, and drag sinners and pagans off to the Christian hell. Yet, in spite of this character assassination, the poor masses continued to see in this enslaved Dark Helper a reflection of their own enslavement. He remained their Herne, thumbing his nose at the Christian Church; a mischievous, nostalgic reminder of the days of their own free and lusty pagan past.
In Holland and several other European countries, the Saint Nicholas figure is still highly esteemed. He appears as a tall dignified bearded white-haired old man dressed as a Catholic bishop complete with cloak, mytre, and pastoral staff, a seemingly genuine Catholic saint, but with a bizarre quite unsaintly habit of riding through the skies on a white horse followed by his Dark Helper. It seems that our Catholic saint inherited some of these customs from the pagan Germanic god Wodan, who had also been a bearded, white-haired old man, also dressed in a hat and cloak, carried a staff (or spear), rode a holy white horse and dragged along the same dark slave/helper on a chain.
The Dutch Sinterklaas brings gifts to good children, while bad children are harassed by Zwarte Piet, the Dark Helper, who – brandishing his peculiar broom-like rod – threatens to put sassy young women and naughty children in the sack in which he has carried the gifts, the idea being that he will take them away to some terrible place in Spain (where Saint Nicholas, for no known historical reason, was supposed to have come from). This, of course, never happens since the good Christian Sinterklaas always intervenes on behalf of the naughty child – provided the child promises to better his or her ways. The bad (pagan) Dark Helper is then admonished by Sinterklaas and ordered to stop threatening the children.
Next, Sinterklaas distributes gifts to all "who have been good" (or until the twentieth century, to all "who knew their prayers"). In exchange, the children are supposed to leave food offerings for the saint's horse (usually hay and carrots), placed in either a shoe or stocking. In some areas, a glass of gin is also left as an offering for the good saint himself. When, by daybreak, the offerings have disappeared and been replaced by gifts, it proves that Sinterklaas has indeed paid a visit during the night.
We can clearly recognize in all this the lesson taught the pagans by the Christian Church, here represented by Saint Nicholas: You may enjoy your old fall/winter feasts, as long as you have learned your prayers and become good Christians. You will then be rewarded, but if you have not done so, you will be dragged away to hell by your own fearful, pagan past and its representative, the dark Herne/Pan – who is none other than Satan himself – unless you repent, here and now!
To read more
"Oh! where do fairies hide their heads,
When snow lies on the hills,
When frost has spoiled their mossy beds,
And crystallized their rills?"
~Thomas Haynes Bayly
Solstice a Cause for Celebration Since Ancient Times
for National Geographic News
December 20, 2002
The winter solstice is again upon the Northern Hemisphere, and though the year's shortest day heralds the onset of winter it also promises the gradual return of the sun after a prolonged period of darkness.
That there are holidays at the time of this astronomical event is no coincidence. Since ancient times, people have celebrated the solstice and observed it with many different cultural and religious traditions. Some of them survive to the present day—though not always in the form you might expect.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice always occurs on or about December 21 and marks the beginning of the winter season. As many people notice, it's the shortest day of the year, featuring the least amount of daylight between sunrise and sunset.
In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the time of the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. From now on, as the northern days grow longer so do the southern days get shorter.
The term solstice means "sun stands still." On the year's two solstices (winter and summer) the sun appears to halt in its incremental journey across the sky and change little in position during this time. Of course, contrary to appearances from Earth, the sun's "changing position" throughout the year is actually caused by the rotation of the Earth on its tilted axis as it circles the sun each year.
The solstice occurs twice a year (around December 22nd and June 21st) when the sun is farthest from the tilting planet's celestial equator.
For half of each year the North Pole is tilted toward the sun, and for half of the year the South Pole enjoys that privilege. This phenomenon creates our changing seasons, because the hemisphere facing the sun receives longer and more powerful exposure to sunlight.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs in December when the tilting of the earth makes the sun appear to be furthest to the south and furthest away. In the Southern Hemisphere, both the seasons and solstices are reversed.
Winter Solstice Has Been Celebrated Since Ancient Times
The holiday timing of the winter solstice is rooted in ancient religions. Throughout history, humans have observed this seasonal milestone and created spiritual and cultural traditions to celebrate the rebirth of sunlight after the darkest period of the year.
Modern pagans attempt to observe the solstice in the traditional manner of the ancients. "There is a resurgent interest in more traditional religious groups that is often driven by ecological motives," said Harry Yeide, a professor of religion at George Washington University. "These people do celebrate the solstice itself