My Own Witchery

People started calling me a witch long before I adopted the title, which I did as a result of a book I wrote in 1996 called Every Woman a Witch (though it must be said that men as well as women can harness what are entirely natural powers).

When the book was published, some people in the media joked about my childhood in England's industrial Midlands - not considered a place where magick or spirituality can flourish. It seemed that they could not accept the fact that my spells focused on the mundane issues of how people might obtain the money to mend a leaking roof or find their own inner harmony amidst the clutter and noise of a family, rather than on more ethereal rituals celebrated by fey maidens wafting around in flower-filled gardens.

But, in fact, if I were to make any claim at all to authenticity (not that authenticity matters as much as sincerity of purpose), it would be through those Midland roots, which are connected to what is said to be the most ancient order of witches known. At the turn of the twentieth century, my father's family were canal people and my father grew up at a time when the boats were still a major form of transport for coal and iron. Some of these Midland canal people were known as 'water witches' because they practised a religion based on the sacredness of Water and Earth. Their symbol was the six-spoked Sun wheel, painted on their boats. This sign was once thought to be a ship's wheel, but this is improbable, since canal boats have large rudders.

Unlike the Romany gypsies, the Midland water witches were descended from the Friesian seafarers of the Netherlands and 1876 a book entitled Oer Linda was published, named after the family who had been custodians of the wisdom since the sixth century BC. Some insist the manuscript is a forgery and that the existing version dates only from the thirteenth century. But the authentic water gypsies knew their lore by inheritance rather than from a book, and the similarities are remarkable. Ritual was practised by the canal people within a triple magical square, each square joined by four lines and constructed from wood known as 'the mill'.

Only the women entered the sacred area, under the leadership of a senior female water witch, though the chief male, known as the Master, summoned the entity to assist in the ritual. If you would like to read more about this, you will find some recommended books listed in Further Reading, page 301.

Certainly, I can recall two terrifyingly swarthy aunts who commanded the family, and my father recounted many superstitions and much canal lore when I was young. This included the tale of a terrifying character called Kit Crewbucket, whose ghostly form would appear on a boat or be seen in the water before it went through a dark tunnel. Canal life has a whole mythology, much now lost as the old working boats have been replaced by weekend leisure traffic. You will find more on the details of these old superstitions in my book Ghost Encounters (Blandford, 1998).

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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