Quantum malorum clausa nullo limite Cogit libido, quamque dulci carmine Purissimas mortalium mentes rapit Furias in omnes, sed cito quam fallimur. Vitam brevem breve gaudium Mors occupat momentulum quod ridet, aeternum dolet.
“How many evils does Lust command, in the small secluded margins; who with enchanting spell the pure minds of mortals does subdue, and in everyone induces rage, but quickly each is deceived. Death, seizes fleeing Life and brief joy. He laughs for a moment, and forever despairs. “
This engraving by Jan van de Velde depicts a witch as thought of during the height of witchcraft hysteria in Europe. The bare-breasted wild woman stands proudly in her Circle of Art, while demons surrounding her wait to do her bidding to summon some misfortune. All around her are the tools of her craft: the grimoire, the diviner’s cards, flasks of potions, a horn of herbs and a wand, and the goat which she undoubtedly flew in on.
Flemish artist Adriaen Collaert (1560-1619) produced the engravings, pictured here, which depict personifications of Aristotle’s classical elements: Earth, Water, Air & Fire, printed in a wunderbuch in the collection of Jean de Poligny. Now located at the Rijksmuseum. Prior to modern atomic theory, these elements were postulated to be the prima materia whose infinite combinations were the physical composites of all things in the Universe. Each engraving was modeled on paintings by the Flemish master de Vos the Elder.
Between 1999 and 2003, an archaeological excavation of the Sainte-Catherine river produced a remarkable collection of medieval pilgrim badges. Between C. XII and C. XV, Christian pilgrims would display these inexpensive badges as charms bought at shrines to the saints.
Some pilgrim badges would display a mundane concern to which the pilgrimage was dedicated (healing, expiation for sins committed, special blessing, travel concerns, etc.) while others were fashioned through verisimilitude to have the same protective powers as the sacred relics they represented.
These badges, or signs, not only represented the experiences of the pilgrimage, but also presented the wearer’s status as a pilgrim as well as what pilgrimage they were set upon. These would also function as a visual language between pilgrims who did not speak a common tongue. The wide popularity, mobility and cheap easy production has resulted in a high number of found examples. Besides their apotropaic qualities, to the medieval pilgrim, the badge also served as a visual memory of their encounter with the sacred relic–a souvenir.
In the image above, a variety of examples from Canterbury Cathedral depict the head relic of St. Thomas à Becket. The head was removed from public veneration and the Cult of Becket was outlawed during the English Reformation.
Bibliography Blick, Sarah, ‘Comparing Pilgrim Souvenirs and Trinity Chapel Windows at Canterbury Cathedral: An Exploration of Context, Copying, and the Recovery of Lost Stained Glass’, Mirator (2001), 1-27 Lee, Jennifer, ‘Beyond the Locus Sanctus: The Independent Iconography of Pilgrims’ Souvenirs’, Visual Resources 21 (2005), 363-381 TIXADOR A. Enseignes sacrées et profanes médiévales découvertes à Valenciennes, Service archéologique de Valenciennes / Illustria-Librairie des Musées, 2004.
The most sacred and important holiday of the year is upon me. My birthday! This year’s festivities were scaled down due to the pandemic but they were no less decadent than in the past. My small chosen-pandemic social group got together to assist a Black Mass to celebrate my LIFE (and what a life it’s been so far).
This year’s altar was in stark contrast with the severe torch-lit ceremonies of the past. To celebrate indulgence and all the pleasures of the world, we built an altar toFaustus, the god who is ME–covered in gold, jewels, and all sorts of glittering trinkets which glowed in purple light. My favorite music filled the air as I offered (myself) choice incenses and an oil of frankincense, cinnamon and violet. Our holy communion was a delicious goat cheese with raw honey, and the “Elixir of Life”, Veuve Clicquot with a hearty splash of Chartreuse.
The Faustus candle was lit and bedecked with all the treasures of the altar, where its flame will continue to burn for many days, fortifying ME in my renewed hunger for LIFE.
Readers of this Book, and visitors to my Instagram, will already be highly familiar with my deeply seated hatred for Donald Trump and his cohort of evil. I have been an active member of the #MAGICRESISTANCE and Bind Trump movement since the very beginning. Unfortunately over the years, I have found the common spells used in the movement to be weak and pusillanimous. I do believe that the Trump Binding ritual has been effective in containing a great amount of what human evil this man is capable of unleashing on the world (things could be MUCH worse).
Still, the time for binding is over for me. I, and a large number of witches I know out there, have moved on to cursing. The stakes are too high in this election/pandemic/uprising/disaster fueled year to take any chances. Not only are we cursing the president himself, but his enablers, the GOP, and even his local supporters in my own town. If you fly a Trump logo near my house, I will be happy to include you in these workings. (Coincidentally, as soon as we started cursing some of the neighbors, the Trump flags started to disappear).
Some in my coven are working a series of rituals both simple and complex, almost every night for the foreseeable future, including the Operation of the Grand Bewitchment being held on Tuesday, June 15th. Below is a description of one such ritual we developed, which after a month of introspection, has shown itself to be effective not only against Trump’s reputation, well-being and safety, but has been a much needed catharsis for us internally.
Saturday, May 16th 2020, ☽︎ in ♓︎, Day & Hour of ♄
On this night of a waning moon, and in the day and hour of Saturn (which governs death, destruction, illness, and other dark influences), the Priestess and I gathered to conduct a five part ritual of destruction against Donald Trump, the GOP and other far right evildoers. The altar having been prepared, the torches lit, and the concelebrants in full regalia, we intoxicated ourselves with liquors, cannabis and visionary herbs.
I. Opening the Hellish Vortex
The LBRP was omitted for this circle casting, as we welcomed all malice, wickedness and evil spirits to be present at our baneful altar. In its place, the Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram was used to remove even any positive influences present. Infernal powers were invoked with the solemn ringing of a bell, and calling out the names of the princes of Hell: Leviathan to the West, Belial to the North, Lucifer to the East, and Satan to the South. Then using the formulae of the Opening by Watchtower, the elemental powers at each quarter were called upon, and their influences equilibrated at the center of the altar. Next, as Saturn began to rise above the horizon, we performed the act of Drawing Down Saturn. As the gong sounded beyond the Sphere of Art, the space was enveloped in a dark flame which burned with wrath and fury. The elemental, diabolical and planetary energies now filling the chamber, we circumambulated the altar to form a vortex of these powers.
II. Binding the Enemy
We then performed the binding traditionally used by the Bind Trump movement, only now including the printed images of all our GOP worst-favorites as well. This time, however we had a secret weapon! You see, after Congress authorized a stimulus payment to the priestess and I due to the pandemic, by law the IRS was required to send notification to each recipient by mail. In this case, Trump decided that it was necessary to make the IRS send a letter in his name, and with his own signature at the bottom. By the Law of Contagion, this granted us immediate magical access to the person of Donald Trump, granting us a new avenue of magical influence over him we did not have before. The first Trump letter was consumed for this binding. To prepare the next step, a special Saturnal incense was prepared (henbane, sulfur, chicory, pepper, myrrh and dried blood) and the space was fumigated thereby.
III. The Curse Jar
Continuing to circle the altar, we entered the next phase by reciting the mantra, “Bring forth the flames of Hell!”. As we marched around, reciting this mantra with great passion and hatred in our hearts, we visualized the writing and scorching black flames of hellfire rising in this space, as the drum and the gong continued. A cauldron had been set in the center of the altar for burning our photos of the victims. Each of us took turns with these images, pouring our hate out onto them, piercing them with nails, and imbuing them with enmity, then casting them to the fire in the iron pot. Whenever we held an image that inspired additional outrage, we were free to throw burning phosphorous into the cauldron as well. Bring forth the flames of Hell! Seeing the faces of Trump, McConnel, Pence, DeVos, DeSantis, Scott, Rubio, and others–GOP lobbyists, EPA violators, alt-right murderers, criminals, killers, liars and cheats–burning up in our hands, brought us great delight at the thought of their downfall. Bring forth the flames of Hell! We continued this movement, until the heat, the sweat, the panting, the rage, the tears and the fury were built to a horrible crescendo–FRENZY!! Bring forth the flames of Hell! We took our coven’s sacred sword aloft, and pierced it through the air towards the burning cauldron, thrusting all our rancor, wrath and despair into the smoke and ash of their smoldering, writhing faces. Bring forth the flames of Hell! The images having been consummated by flames, we removed the ashes from the cauldron and added them to the Curse Jar. Inside the jar were the artifacts from the binding (above), the second Trump letter, the Saturnine incense, dirt from the yards of all the Trump supporters in my neighborhood, and my own concoction of Goofer Dust. This dust contained quantities of the following: graveyard dirt, cayenne pepper, habanero pepper, snake skin, a snake’s head, bone dust, salt, poppy seed, coal, the hair of a black dog, a spider and her eggs, and iron filings. Bring forth the flames of Hell! The Curse Jar was then topped off with an anointed death’s head candle, inscribed with the name Donald J Trump, whose wax was then let to drip through the whole jar as it melted and finally suffocated itself. We poured the rest of whatever malice we could find inside our hearts, into the jar, and sealed it with black candle wax. Bring forth the flames of Hell!
IV. Toast of Destruction
Having spent our rage to the utmost of our ability, we then poured out blood red wine infused with bitter herbs, into ornate crystal chalices. “A toast…to the end of the GOP, to the death of tyrants, and to the suffering of Trump!” I let the bitter wine flow down my throat to drown the fires of my burning anger, to soothe my body and comfort my soul.
V. Down by the Riverside (Closing)
The Curse Jar made ready, the conflagration within drowned with wine, and all our energy spent, we left the circle and marched in solemnity and silence to my town’s canal, carrying the Curse Jar (and a second curse jar made months previously) in hand. To the ritual mind, it felt like holding a ticking time bomb, a hand grenade which could explode with our condensed acrimony and blistering vengeance. With some solemn words of release, we dropped the jars into the canal, letting the water carry them away to the sea. When we returned to the circle, we dismissed the quarters, bade farewell to the Infernal powers, and purified ourselves with the LBRP and other purifications.
The ritual was then concluded, and we left to go spend time and play games with our friends across town to refresh ourselves.
This may be the last place you’d expect to find content like this, I’m sure. At the time of this writing, the world is currently stuck in the clutches of the awful Covid19 pandemic. Naturally my our energies are spent on more important things than writing on a niche website. But this particular bit of papal magic was not only extremely interesting, but also quite moving. More importantly, it is living history unfolding before our eyes.
Last week was the Pope’s semi-annual Urbi et Orbi declaration, where he traditionally pontificates on the state of the Church and the world, took place in an emptied St. Peter’s square. After his address, the small number of clergy present performed the rites of Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. Here, the pope took the ostensorium in his hands, and blessed the whole city of Rome, and perhaps the whole world, with the sacred host. As he did so, the basilica and the surrounding churches began to PEEL with thunderous resounding, while the sirens of the gendarmeria blared in salute. As soon as the pope had finished, the bells stopped and silence again fell over the empty square. It was like watching something from the end of the world.
Also present was a miraculous crucifix which was reported to cure the City during a plague in 1522. The pope reverenced this relic as it was also exposed to the open square, obviously in the hopes that the pandemic will soon end. We shall see what efficacious qualities this rite may bare.
I admit that I’ve been scoffing at the Christians who have been pleading on the blood of Jesus to stop the pandemic. But so many of those crazy shitheads have been foolishly using their faith as the only means of protection, with no clear intentions of actively containing the spread.
Meanwhile, my country’s government has been pretending this was all a hoax until just the other day, and we are starting to prepare for a worst case scenario where our under developed healthcare system will fail us, and we will be left to our own devices. My state’s government has shut down bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, and many other gathering places. Meanwhile food and sanitation products are becoming difficult to obtain.
As much as I personally would love to see the collapse of society while a plague rushes over the land, I am going to do my part. While using scientifically proven best-practices, you all know what that entails by now, AND spiritual exercises of compassion, we can get through this weird fuckin’ period of history.
My coven will be conducting a spell for the containment of SARS-CoV-2 on Saturday, March 21st 2020 at 22:00, EST. If you want to join in virtually, see the livestream on my instagram, @heissowitty .
According to medical historian Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris, tooth worms were a legitimate concern in dental medicine as far back as 5,000 BCE, where they were first mentioned in a Sumerian medical text. By the 8th century CE, the idea of worms causing tooth decay had reached Europe. As they describe it:
Treatment of tooth worms varied depending on the severity of the patient’s pain. Often, practitioners would try to ‘smoke’ the worm out by heating a mixture of beeswax and henbane seed on a piece of iron and directing the fumes into the cavity with a funnel. Afterwards, the hole was filled with powered henbane seed and gum mastic. This may have provided temporary relief given the fact that henbane is a mild narcotic. Many times, though, the achy tooth had to be removed altogether. Some tooth-pullers mistook nerves for tooth worms, and extracted both the tooth and the nerve in what was certainly an extremely painful procedure in a period before anaesthetics. – Fitzharris
In this unattributed 18th century ivory carving which stands at 4″ tall, demons can be seen wrestling with the tooth worm amid swirling hellfire, next to figures beating and clubbing the souls of the damned in eternal pain. Anyone who has ever suffered an extended toothache can sympathize with the hellish torment depicted here.
Many medical spells for toothache can be found throughout history. One spell found in the Cambridge Book of Magic (1530’s), the cunning man is instructed to “write on bread or in an apple or in cheese: ‘Loy: Gloy: and Zedoloy’, and say an Our Father, Hail Mary and Creed.” In Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica (1900), there is listed a folk spell from Scotland where toothache sufferers would drink water from a magic well called Cuidh-airidh. A number of spells from Germany involved magically transferring the toothache somewhere else, especially with a coffin nail. The sufferer would ask a grave-differ for a coffin nail, poke it into his gums, then drive the nail into the ground a crossroads, or into a door, taking the toothache with it. One time I myself had a terrible wisdom toothache (and no dental insurance!), so I ate a single psilocybin mushroom, and then earnestly begged the spirit of the mushroom to heal me of the pain. For what it’s worth, the pain did go away until I had to have my wisdom teeth finally pulled. Experience has shown me that magic is never a proper substitute for good medicine.
It is difficult to speak of ancient Egypt in concrete terms because of the great length of Egyptian history and culture, which spanned a period of almost 3,800 years and over 30 dynasties. As such it can’t be treated monolithically. Still we can recognize certain themes which repeat themselves over the ages, especially in magic and religion which are slower to change. In ancient Egypt, magic and religion were both part of a broader holistic worldview which also included medicine, astronomy, law, politics and beyond. It is hard to even use the word magic in the context of Egypt, since our word magic comes from the Greek μαγεία, which carries a connotation of trickery, malice or charlatanism. In Egyptian thought, there was no such thing as evil magic. To them, magic itself was deified in the person of Heka. Heka was often depicted in cooperation with the Sun and other gods of creation, and was the power they possessed. So, magic was an integral part of their religion. Because their magic, Heka, was a god, there is no place in Egyptian life where magic was illegal, except if used against the pharaoh (which to them would be blasphemy).
Magical activity was present in almost every facet of Egyptian life. Scholars usually identify three aspects of magical practice: apotropaic, curative and transformative magic. Magic was conducted by all manner of people: priests, physicians, local wise men and the pharaoh were all magicians. It was this group of practitioners who were able to summon gods and the liminal beings we would now refer to as demons. Spells for protection can be found on numerous objects, amulets, papyri, coffins, jars, books, murals and figurines for example. Curative magic was used for healing, and spells are often found on statues meant to heal the sick. Medico-magical texts were used in earnest by physicians. Transformative magic, equally popular around the rest of the Mediterranean, was used in the form of not only love and binding spells, but for Egyptians in the Books of the Dead where the deceased would use magic to transform themselves into a god, a plant, a bird or a perfected spirit.
Magical characters, tools or spells can often be identified by their common elements, especially by the presence of the serpent. Could this have also shown how Egyptian magic was understood by other cultures such as the magical battle between Aaron the the court magicians (Ex. 7:9-12)? Gods, magicians, priests and demons could be seen with serpent wands and other attributes if they were performing spells.
How were gods and demons distinguished? They were often represented in similar forms. Gods appeared in myths of creation whereas demons did not. Gods took care of mortals both living and deceased. Demons could communicate with humans but mainly they just needed to be appeased. Gods were also distinguished by their worship in cults, and so they had a more fixed iconography.
There is an issue of translation of modern to ancient concepts and terms. The modern idea of demons is formed by the Judeo-Christian sense of an evil spirit sent to punish sinners, or as symbols of temptation. The ancient Greek δαίμων served as an intermediary between gods and mortals.
“For the divine does not mix with the mortal, and it is only through the mediation of the daimones that mortals can have any interaction with the gods, either while awake or asleep.” -Symposium, 202d, 13-203a
This fits well with the Egyptian idea of demons as liminal figures who communicate between the world of the main gods and humans. While the Greeks distinguished between good and bad demons, the Egyptians mainly did not. These spirits were guardians and servants of greater gods. They were often depicted in mortuary settings such as tombs and sarcaphogi, because they were known to guard specific regions or gates of the netherworld. From the 1st century BCE, coffins were often used similarly to papyrus by being covered in written spells. The Egyptians wanted these spells as close to the body as possible. They could only be dangerous to the one who did not have the specific knowledge needed to approach them. This knowledge was contained in spells written in papyri and coffins, which listed their names and told which gates they guarded. Their names often illustrated their appearance or function, such as “The Hearer”, “Sad of Voice”, “One Who Stretches Out His Brow”, “One With Vigilant Face”.
Demons could be conjured to protect from other demons, although malicious demons are never depicted in Egyptian art. Wandering spirits, bringers of disease, and godly messengers all fell under this category of demon. One XIX Dynasty headrest depicts demons with the head of a crocodile or vulture, spitting out serpents, holding snakes and daggers, which was meant to ward off evil spirits. These more malicious beings were controlled by the main gods. Demonizing an illness may have psychologically helped patients cope with their suffering, which is why we have so many spells where medical prescriptions are also included. Egyptian doctors used magical spells together with medical knowledge to great effect.
Article based on notes from public lecture given by Professor Rita Lucarelli to the Harvard Semitic Museum, Feb 21 2019.
Through all of history, witchcraft has been (and still remains) one of the means by which women, the poor, outsiders and all who were otherwise disenfranchised have empowered themselves against systems of control and corruption. See this new report by VICE on the Romanian witches who are cursing European politicians. I don’t know anything about Romanian magic, but the themes they are talking about resonate with those of the magical resistance in these U.S.A.
Yes I watch and read VICE! They are returning to their original standards of actual journalism (sometimes).