Mothers Gypsy Fertility Charm

Being brought up in a Queens, New York, neighborhood not far from a Romanian Gypsy settlement that existed in Maspeth from the mid-1920s until 1939, my mother was both leery of, and intrigued by, the Gypsies. Like many other children growing up in the early decades of the 20th century, she was frightened by the old stories she heard of Gypsies stealing babies and was warned by her elders that the Gypsies were a people not to be trusted.

This, however, did not prevent her from later marrying a man whose paternal grandfather was a Gypsy from Bohemia. Nor did it stop her in the spring of 1959 from seeking the counsel of a chovihani (a Gypsy-Witch) after her two consecutive attempts to have a child resulted in miscarriages.

According to my mother's account, the Gypsy woman first read her palm and then her tea leaves in a cup that was marked all the way around with astrological symbols. After interpreting the signs, she then presented my mother with a small silk pouch that contained a root (which I strongly suspect was from a mandrake plant) and instructed her to keep it with her, day and night, throughout the entire term of her next pregnancy. Desperate to have a child and willing to try just about anything at that point, my mother followed the Gypsy's advice. Two days after Christmas in 1959 as an afternoon snowstorm raged, I finally came screaming and kicking my way into the world. (This, incidentally, is how one of my magickal names, "Lady Mandragora," came to be, although my mother always affectionately referred to me as her "little witchling.")

In 1962 my mother tried a fourth (and final) time to have a child but failed to use the Gypsy's fertility charm as she had done during her previous pregnancy, which led to my birth. In October of that year, while sitting in the living room with my father and watching a television news broadcast about the Cuban missile crisis, my mother suddenly took ill and lost the baby. Coincidence? You decide.

Not surprisingly, Gypsy folk magick and divination have long been two of my passions. An interest in old Gypsy customs developed early on in my life despite the fact that my father never discussed his Gypsy heritage. For whatever reason he had, whether it was a sense of shame instilled during his childhood or a fear of discrimination from the predominantly Irish community in which we lived, he made it a point not to let others know that his ethnic roots encompassed more than just Irish and Czech. In fact, I was not even aware that my paternal grandmother was a Native American hailing from the Hopi Tribe in Arizona until my bereaved grandfather mentioned it at her funeral. Around the age of 10 I found myself drawn to cartomancy (divination by cards), and by my early teen years, I was already experimenting with some of the spells contained in Charles Godfrey Leland's Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling.

In Leland's book, the Gypsies of England are said to be believers in Witches existing among their own people. These Witches are feared for their powers, but are not associated with the devil. Leland calls it "remarkable" that the Gypsies regard their Witches as "exceptionally gifted sorcerers or magicians" rather than "special limbs of Satan."

Gypsy folk magick draws heavily upon the use of herbs and other natural amulets, particularly seashells, eggs, animal teeth, and human hair. It also seems that a great deal of Gypsy spells are aimed primarily at the attainment of love and the warding off of the evil eye, the power of which many Gypsies both believe in and fear greatly.

Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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