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My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: "Traditional Witchcraft, A Cornish Book of Ways" by Gemma Gary

I actually got this book some time ago, but am just now getting around to doing a full review. I'd heard so many wonderful things about it, but it's getting harder to find State-side, so I ended up ordering it directly from the website. I was not disappointed that I did so, as it's become one of my top five Witch related books ever.

The book details the history of Cornish Witchcraft and the specific deity(ies) that go to make it unique. It also explores how the local Witch or Cunning Person would have worked, and is honest about the fact that Witches did (and do) curse and do darker magic for money, though these days one can be more selective. Included as well are the names and descriptions of the traditional Cornish festivals and holidays, as well as rituals to be performed on those occasions.

I think what I like best about the book is just how practical it is. Far from being a dry collection of sterile customs, the book is actively designed for the working Witch. Recipes and spells for potions and workings, charms, the crafting and use of magical tools: it's all here. Though I am by no means a beginner, I still found plenty of new concepts and recipes to keep me busy; I especially like her recipes for Witch Oil and some of the magical powders, which I have set about making for myself. This is not the standardized religious rituals of Wicca, but a highly magical path of both practicality, and mysticism.

As I live in the Southern United States, I don't think I'll be celebrating the festivals of rural England any time soon. However, I still took an immense amount from this book, and will definitely incorporate what I learned into my own practice. This book is highly recommended to those looking to go beyond the "how to" or "101" books currently dominating the market. This book, along with Doreen Valiente's "The Rebirth of Witchcraft," is probably the closest to the Witchcraft I hoped for, believed in, and dreamed of growing up. My only regret is that it had not been written all those years ago, when I first set my foot upon the path.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mugwort Oil, a Movie, and Kitty in a Box

Sorry I've been away so long, but have been under the weather again and not coming online as much. I did get a chance to see the new Harry Potter movie, though, and let me say this: it was excellent, and I totally teared up more than once. I'm also pleased to report that my Mugwort infused oil is ALMOST ready to be strained (I might do it today, if I feel up to it) and bottled, and I'm quite excited as this is the first time I've made an infused oil in this traditional way. Now that I've got the hang of it, I'm going to be doing the same process with Vervain, Cinquefoil, and a few others as well as making some Four Thieves Vinegar. Keep an eye on my blog for a new article I am writing about the use of Dark Mirrors.

In other news, I had to bring a box inside to carry some dishes from one place to another, and left it on the floor for a few minutes. I turned back to find that my kitty, Marmalade, had discovered the box and decided it was the best toy ever. So, I had to find something else to use, and left her with her new prize. My black cat, Cosmic Creepers, also hopped in there later, but I unfortunately don't have a pic of that.

More soon, including an exciting post about the use of Black Mirrors!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Foxglove and Vine....And a New Book!

Despite the horrible, horrible heat of the Summer (and it's been unseasonably hot, even for Texas) some of my plants are doing well. My vines, for example, have flourished and are perhaps doing TOO well; they've gone off the top of their trellis, and are creeping their way around my door, trying to find a way in.

Nearby, I encountered some Foxglove, growing tall and wild, doing fine despite the oppressive heat. Now, I don't grow it myself (I had some, but decided it was too dangerous to keep around a busy apartment complex) but I wish I could. I've always found it beautiful, and of course it has many (cautious) used in magic and herbalism.

Also, my wonderful friend Jack Copal of "Bewitching Books" has finished my custom grimoire, and it should be on its merry way to the US from Scotland, right as we speak. It's a huge, post-bound volume, with a black leather and green brocade cover....and best of all, a huge septagram made from real sterling silver! For years, I've used small journals, loose-leaf paper, or big clunky binders and it will be wonderful to have a beautiful, custom book that I can use, and treasure, for the rest of my life. Here's a picture that Jack sent me, and I will of course post more and a full review as soon as the book arrives. I can't wait!