People often ask me about books and resources to learn more about British Folk Magick and magico-religions, the fairy faith, and pre-Gardnerian Witchcraft. For my purposes, I am sticking with the British Isles / Celtic countries, simply because that’s my wheelhouse. There are also tons of books about Hoodoo, Conjure, Vodoun, and other Afro-Caribbean folk magico-religious traditions. All of these are valuable, and some are similar to one another – not due to appropriation, but because of people sharing customs, trading information between populations, and parallel practices arising at the same time in different locations.
While books are awesome – I wrote a few, y’know – also suggested is looking online at museum collections, at photos in magazines, photos of scenery, photos of living people doing ancient folk dances, folkplays, and calendar customs, looking at town historians and tourism sites, listening to music online, and watching videos of living customs on You-Tube. If possible, visit some of the events that are still occurring or that are being revived.
So anyway, here is a list of authors, teachers, presenters and venues from modern times who have worked with European versions of Folk Magick, especially the British Isles and amalgamated traditions that came to the USA.
Kelden Mercury – Modern folk magick
Byron Ballard – Appalachian folk magick
Shani Oates – British Traditional Witchcraft / Cochrane’s Craft
Michael Howard – Transcribed Robert Cochrane’s information and wrote his own stuff, too
Gemma Gary – Cornish Traditional Witchcraft
Cory Hutchinson – New World Witchcraft
Elsa Marie Edmond – Celtic ways
Kristopher Hughes – Welsh ways, translated some of the older Cymraeg (Welsh) documents
Lupa (Greenwolf) – Bones, vulture magick
Sarah Anne Lawless – Herbalism, poison path blog and store
Nigel Pearson – old world Witchcraft
Silver Ravenwolf – Germanic / Dutch “Pow Wow” / Brauche tradition
John Michael Greer – Druidry, European magick
Ian Corrigan – ADF Druidry
Jason Mankey – Gardnerian Witchcraft, but with info from pre-Gardnerian traditions
Robin Artisson (although I think he is a jerk)
John & Caitlynn Matthews
Emma Wilby – Cunning Folk And Familiar Spirits : Shamanistic Visionary Traditions In Early Modern British Witchcraft And Magic
“Caileach’s Herbarium” – Scots Magick blog
“Cronekdhu” – Traditional Cornish Witchcraft blog
Museum of Witchcraft and Magic – Bostcastle, Cornwall, UK
Buckland’s Museum of Witchcraft and Magick – Cleveland, OH, USA
Sharyn McCrumb (fiction author)
Old World Witchcraft store
Artes & Craft store – proprietor Paul Barbary is a blacksmith and Trad Brit W’craft practitioner
Here are some books and authors that are older, which have transcribed folk magick traditions, sometimes by observation, and sometimes by interviewing practitioners and witnesses. A caveat – some of these are really classist, sexist and racist, as they present from the viewpoint of the intellectual elite, Christian white males from the upper crust of British society. However, these resources have valuable information on folklore and magico-religions.
The Book of English Folk Tales – Sybil Marshall
The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales
The Book of English Magic – Philip Carr-Gomm & Richard Heygate
The Encyclopedia of Folklore & Literature
Bloodstoppers & Bearwalkers (tales from the Upper Peninsula of MI) – Richard Dorson
Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britian – John Brand & Henry Ellis
Old English Customs Extant at the Present Time: an account of local observations, festival customs, and ancient ceremonies as yet surviving in Great Britain – Peter Hampton Ditchfield
The Golden Bough – Sir James George Fraser
The English & Scottish Popular Balads – Francis James Child (aka the Child Ballads) (Five volumes)
A Popular History of the Ancient Britons or the Welsh People – Sir John Evans
The Welsh Fairy Book – W. Jenkin Thomas
The Mythology of the British Islands – Charles Squire
Celtic Myth & Legend – Charles Squire
Cunning Folk & the Production of Magical Artefacts – Owen Davies & Timothy Easton
Palgrave Historical Studies of Witchcraft & Magic
Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia – John Koch
“Fairy Books” (by color, such as “The Green Fairy Book”) – Andrew Lang
The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries – Walter Evans Wentz
Barddas – Iolo Morganwg
The Mabinogion – translated by Lady Charlotte Guest
The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns & Fairies – Robert Kirk
The Magic of the Horse Shoes – Robert Means Lawrence
Teutonic Mythology – Jakob Grimm
Heroic Romances of Ireland – A.H. Leary
Visions & Beliefs in the West of Ireland – Lady Augusta Gregory
Fairy & Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry – William Butler Yeats.
In fact, ANYthing by Yeats!
Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts – Patrick Kennedy
The Witch Cult in Western Europe – Dr. Margaret Murray
God of the Witches – Dr. Margaret Murray
The Gododdin Poems – William F. Skene
Celtic Folklore, Welsh & Manx – John Rhys
Carmena Gaedelica – Andrew Carmichael
Scottish Fairy & Folk Tales – Sir George Douglas
Notes of the Folk-lore of the North-East of Scotland – Walter Gregor
Traditions & Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall – William Bottrell
The Folk-lore of the Isle of Man – A.W. Moore
A Peep at the Pixies – Anna Eliza Bray
Tales of the Dartmoor Pixies – William Crossing
Survivals in Belief Among the Celts
A Book of Folklore – Sabine Baring Gould
The Origins of Popular Superstitions & Customs – T. Sharper Knowston
English Fairy & Other Folk Tales – Edwin Sidney Hartland
English Fairy Tales – Joseph Jacobs
Popular tales of the West Highlands – J.F. Campbell
Irish Druids & Old Irish Religions – James Bonwick
The Religion of the Ancient Celts – J.A. MacCulloch
The Book of Halloween – Ruth Edna Kelley
Geoffrey of Monmouth (pseudo-history)
Saturday, August 14 from 10 AM to 8-ish PM at the Proud Lake Recreation Area, near Flint, MI
The Detroit Conjure and Folk Magic Festival
This event features vendors, nature walks, a campfire, and lots of presenters giving demonstrations of Hoodoo, Conjure, Folk Magick, Afro-diasporic magico-religions, older folkways, Appalachian Granny Magick, and more!
Event staff are looking for presenters and attendees. It's FREE! There is a small fee to get into the park, unless you have a Michigan Recreation Passport on your license plate.
My own presentations will be on creating apotropaic hex marks, witches' marks, sigils and talismans for self- and location- protection, as well as the Infamous WICKER CHICKEN. Which is a harvest rite / offering like the Wicker Man, only more fun.
Hope to see you there!!!
This is a discussion about how to prevent the dreaded electronic gremlins from invading your phone, TV, and computer.
Magick and electronics do not mix, as many Witches, Pagans, and Ceremonial Magicians have discovered. Always, I have had trouble with batteries going dead, cars refusing to start, and phones which freeze. And don’t even get me started on computers.
Recently, I was honored and privileged to be a presenter at WitchCon online, a virtual conference featuring classes and demonstrations with over a hundred prominent Witches. Many of them were famous, revered elders, wise in their craft. Most had written books. Several, like event promoter Christian Day, had electronic equipment that could “launch the Space Shuttle”, as he put it. Others, like myself, struggled along with rural satellite wifi, older equipment, and little computer knowledge. Still, it went pretty well. Mostly. In fact, it was amazing, when we consider that nothing like this event had ever been attempted before.
So, to level the playing field for me, my dear husband Dave bought me a new camera and microphone. I practiced with my tech-savvy son Bran, and attended the online instructional session with Kevin Wright, the patient and knowledgeable computer-meister at Hex Education Network, the company which facilitates WitchCon and other wonderful events. Everything worked fine, prior to the actual broadcast. There were tech support people standing by to help presenters go live. Then came the time for my vendor commercial, and the class itself, and the gremlins came out to play. The mic was buzzing, then quit altogether. The computer did not recognize the camera. Ten excruciating minutes went by… and finally, we hit the airwaves. The annoying hum was still present, but at least I could be seen and (mostly) heard.
Other people had issues as well – mostly folk magick practitioners, and older Witches who were not as used to using the new technology. Video was lost while sound still functioned, and vice-versa. There were funny noises, slow broadcasts, and some classes even went totally dark. Others had to be postponed. A few viewers could not see the classes they wanted. Afterwards, we all agreed that the tech staff, supervised by Kevin, were superb. It wasn’t even necessarily glitchy equipment. It was likely our magick, interfering with the electronics.
My son’s laptop died around the same time, with the fan going dead and the inner workings overheating. This amounted to $125 worth of repairs. While the computer was not around when I was doing my presentation, Bran helped me with the tech. He’s also a magickal practitioner. I was starting to see a pattern, here.
When watching others’ classes, I noticed some incredible magickal artefacts in the background. We actually had some antique ritual tools and elder objects used for spellwork in the same room with the computer equipment. This interaction between the eldritch artes and newfangled technology may have caused all the problems. So, on the WitchCon presenters’ group page on FB, I asked for some practical advice. I also asked Chris the High Tech Redneck at Tri-County Computers in Watervliet MI, and Paul Barbary of the huge metaphysical shop, Artes and Crafts of Hartford, MI for suggestions. Here is what people said:
Anna Meadows suggested wearing a “grounding cord” around one’s ankle or wrist, which can go out a window and connect with the ground. Using a “grounding pad” to sit on, put one’s feet on, and under the computer was another idea. Fill the pad with rock salt, and crystals such as shungite and tourmaline, to ground out any excess energies. Anna speculated that magickal energies which normally stay in the subtle realms can flow into the electromagnetic – which might be a form of psychokinesis. Jana Nieves suggested putting grounding pads beneath the keyboard, and also on the armrests of the chair, and underneath the computer operator on the floor. The pads should contain hematite and black tourmaline. Ah, this might be why my test-run went smoothly – I was wearing my black tourmaline amulet for the instruction but NOT for the actual broadcast.
Several other people recommended shungite crystals, as well. Author Diana Rajchel suggested grounding with hematite, rather than the quartz crystals I had previously placed on my computer tower. She said that computers have enough silica – and also, clear quartz boosts energies. Diana advised putting shungite near the CPU or on the laptop. Paul Barbary said that shungite is not just a “woo-woo” thing, as the crystal is used by professionals to ground out static electricity. Sandra Mariah Wright, author and owner of Gallows Hill Witchery, also suggested orgonite pyramids and shungite to reduce EMF and negative waves. Sandra said she’d used a carnelian for author Laurie Cabot, who had no trouble with her broadcast.
Other holistic practitioners agree with these ideas. Bess O’Connor, who writes a holistic healing blog called Sivana Spirit East, posted an article called “Four Crystals to Protect You From EMFs”. This is short for electric and magnetic fields / frequencies. Those really are a thing, according to electric company Southern California Edison. Ms. O’Connor states that the energies emitted by light sockets, tablets, cell phones and computers can have a detrimental result on the body, mind and spirit. They can cause headaches, anxiety, nausea and fatigue, amongst other physical and mental symptoms. She also recommends hematite, orgonite, black tourmaline and shungite. How had I never heard of this before?
On the more techy side of the table, Christian Day, who offers the “HEX Offenders” You-Tube show, as well as facilitating WitchCon and numerous other events, suggested getting a power-conditioning power strip, which can eliminate buzzing and static sounds in audio. He recommends a Furman SS6B Power Conditioner. Plain surge protectors do not cut it. Author and presenter Elohim Leafar suggested using the phone to watch an online broadcast, as most phones are newer. Computers older than 2020 might not be up to the task of working with Zoom or Crowdcast, which uses more juice than either FaceBook or YouTube. And while Chris the Redneck Geek from Tri-County Computers scoffs at grounding pads (he is not familiar with magick), he suggested making sure that computers, cords, microphones and cameras are designed for web broadcasts, and that all of them work together. Turns out, the innards of my camera were fried, and one of the USB sockets was destroyed. I believe this was caused by doing magickal workings close to it. However, Chris blamed the wiring in my house lacking proper grounds – rather than ME lacking grounding. Oh well, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
Kevin Wright recommends ensuring that we test all equipment, and all devices used together before going live with an online broadcast. “The day before the conference is not a good time for an upgrade,” he cautioned. Kevin told us to make sure that all permissions for auxiliary devices are assured within the system, and that security programs recognize the software for the device (I *think* I’m saying that correctly…) While Kevin says that taking measures to ground oneself is a great idea, he thinks that variances in wifi speeds and static electricity are to blame more often than magickal energies or problems with electronic devices. Next year, a tech check will be mandatory for each presenter before WitchCon is broadcast. Since Kevin is the wizard behind HEX Education Network, we really must take his advice seriously.
With all of these good suggestions, I bought a new web camera specifically for the purpose of presenting a live class or ritual. New cords were also a must. Chris the High-Tech Redneck tested everything, including the computer tower and the external devices. I went to Artes and Crafts and bought a hematite bead bracelet, and a handful each of shungite, hematite, and black tourmaline crystals. These magickal stones are currently taped to our monitors, keyboards, laptops and perched on top of the tower. Some of them are in velvet bags, tied to power cords. So far, everything is working much better. And as more Witchcraft and Pagan festivals are broadcast online, more of the bugs will be worked out with the technology. WitchCon has opened the door for an amazing new form of communication between esoteric teachers and seekers. Yay!
25 Fart Jokes That Will Knock The Wind Out Of You
1) Why do you have to watch out for ninjas’ farts?
They’re silent — but deadly.
2) What’s invisible and smells like carrots?
A bunny fart!
3) What happens when you make a bean and onion casserole?
4) What do you call a ghost fart?
A spirit bomb.
5) I didn’t fart.
My butt likes you so much it blew a kiss.
6) Two flies are sitting on a piece of poop.
One fly farts and the other fly cries, “Hey! I’m trying to eat here!”
7) Why won’t the skeleton fart in public?
He doesn’t have the guts.
8) What is invisible and smells of worms?
A bird’s fart.
9) What’s the ideal weight of a fart?
Zero pounds. If it’s anything more, you’re in trouble.
10) Why did the man stop telling fart jokes?
He was told that his jokes stink.
11) Why did everyone notice when Bill Gates farted in the Apple store?
Because they didn’t have any Windows.
12) Farts are like children.
You don’t mind your own, but you can’t stand other people’s.
13) Do you know what’s scary?
Attempting your first fart after having diarrhea.
14) I got fired from my job delivering leaflets on flatulence awareness.
Unfortunately, I let one rip.
15) What do you get when an aristocrat farts?
A noble gas.
16) I just rang the Incontinence Hotline.
The woman said, “Can you hold, please?”
17) I farted at work yesterday and my co-worker opened the window.
It must have been bad — we’re flight attendants.
18) My partner said he wanted to heat things up in bed.
So I farted under the sheets.
19) I didn’t fart in front of my partner until we got married.
Her family wasn’t too impressed.
20) An old married couple is at a concert one Friday night, when the woman turns to her husband and says, “I’ve just let out a really long, silent fart. What should I do?”
The husband tells her, “Replace the battery in your hearing aid.”
21) A fart is like success.
It only bothers you when it’s not your own.
22) If you farted while traveling at the speed of sound, would you smell it before you heard it?
23) Why did the chicken cross the road?
She didn’t want the other chickens to notice that she farted.
24) Did you hear the one about the blind and heartbroken skunk?
She fell in love with a fart.
25) Farting on an elevator is probably the worst thing you can do.
It’s just wrong on so many levels.
Today is the first day of March, so did you say “Rabbit, rabbit” for good luck?
This day has considerable significance, magickally speaking:
For fellow Welsh / Cymric people, it is St. David’s Day, or Dydd Dewy Sant. This Catholic feast day honors a Celtic Christian clergyperson and aesthetic, who was said to be able to work miracles, including bringing a dead child back to life. However, the day has become more about pride in Welsh culture and national honor than about religion. There are parades, festivals, and music and dance – usually, for in this year of plague, almost everything is still shut down. However, we’re still wearing our daffodils, the symbol of Cymru (ours are cloth, because here in MI, there is still snow on the ground, and no flowers are showing yet). We’re going to eat Cawl, a stew made of lamb, beef or pork, containing turnips, rutabegas, and other root vegetables, cooked in a cauldron, with dark beer and whiskey added for flavor. We’ll toast our ancestors with shots of whiskey, and listen to Welsh music, and do Beating the Bounds – a video of which will appear on this site, as well as on You Tube.
For all practitioners of Witchcraft, magick, and Pagan traditions, March first was the first day of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 in Massachusetts. The hysteria over witches had actually been going on since the 1100s in Europe, but they got especially bad in the British Isles during the Protestant Reformation and the reign of King James VI. Here in the USA, the craziness took place with the hysterical invectives of some teenage girls seeking attention… which can happen again at any time… for example, the McCarthy era during the 1950s, when accusations of Communism led to trials, people losing their careers and reputations. We see this event mirrored in today’s “cancel culture” where false accusations can ruin people’s lives. Remember the Witch Trials, and the people who were imprisoned, and even died. Bendythion.
Weather-wise, March is said to come in like a lion, and leave like a lamb, or vice-versa. This means that if there is snowy, rainy, windy or cold weather on March 1st, then on March 31st, it will be sunny and warm. Or the other way around. Today is chilly and windy, yet the sun is shining in Michigan, so we’ll see where we go.
On March 1st is the Roman holiday called Matronalia, which celebrates motherhood. Mater means “mother” in Latin. The Goddess of childbirth, Juno Lucina, was honored in ancient Rome and in the territories which were colonized. Gifts were given to mothers and women who take on a motherly role. This event was later rolled into the Mother’s Day holiday on the second Sunday of May. Hence, today we revere mothers – biological mothers who gave birth, stepmothers, adopting mothers, foster mothers, grandmothers who care for their grandchildren, mothers who take care of neighborhood kids, mothers who work for charities and causes. The Three Matronae were a representation of an actual Triple Goddess, statues of which can be found throughout Europe. So call your mom!
Yes, it’s only the end of February. Yes, we just had record cold temperatures in the double-digit below-zero ranges across the nation. However, we can see the finish line… spring is coming!
Here in Southwest Michigan, it’s subtle. There is still frost on the grass at night, or snow on the ground, but the days might warm up to as high as 40o Fahrenheit. Migratory birds are returning. Sap is running. Hibernating animals are awakening. And it SMELLS like spring!
Here are some signs of Spring:
Snowmelt circles around the trees: Because the days are a bit longer, and warmer, the dark tree trunks absorb sunlight, and melt snow in a ring around the tree roots. Dry brown grass with a hint of green is showing. Some plants are peeking above the earth. Snowdrops are blooming in some sunny locations. Crocuses and daffodil leaves are sneaking up from underground. Springtime herbs like chives are beginning to emerge. We’re reminded of the legends of Persephone / Kore / Rhiannon, who escape from the Underworld to return to the surface, bringing spring weather.
Hibernating Mammals: Of course, the first to show their head in legend is the groundhog, seeking after his shadow on Feb. 2nd, in order to predict six more weeks of winter (or not). As mentioned in a previous blog entry, in the UK, it’s a folkloric badger that foretells the weather. The little brown bats who dwell under my porch roof have awakened, and are talking at night, squeaking, cheeping, and scrabbling around on the wooden surfaces. “Where are all the insects?” “I dunno, do you think we can eat shield-shaped stinkbugs?” “If we can, we’re gonna get so fat we can’t fly!” Raccoons have emerged from their hollow trees and are leaving handprint-shaped tracks in the snow, checking the bird feeders for suet and corn. Up North, there are tales of bears coming out of hibernation, grumpy and hungry, so lock your cars and garage doors.
Migrating Birds: Here in SW Michigan, the bluebirds return around Candlemas. I’ve been hearing their musical calls, along with redwinged blackbirds, song sparrows, and a few robins. Some of the latter overwinter, and local news sources have been publishing photos of robin flocks for a couple of weeks now. Starlings have again invaded our yard, searching for gaps in the house soffits and holes in tree trunks to build their nests. They’re pretty, but the invasive species sometimes crowds out other birds for housing and space at the feeder. Wild turkeys, which stay all winter, are chattering to find the perfect mate. “Hey Gladys, wanna go out with me?” “Oh, Tom, you surely have the most gorgeous tailfeathers!” Blue herons seek open waters to hunt fish. Just this morning, I saw a couple of Canada geese, scouts for the main flock, soaring over my house, squawking their heads off.
Alban Eilir / Oestara / Easter candy and baskets in the stores: We bought some. Will it last until the Equinox? Hopefully Dave hid it well enough…
You know you're from SW MI if ...
You know what "shelf ice" is.
You've worn a winter coat and boots, and shorts and flip-flops, all in the same day.
You call it Pop.
You've been to a concert at Wings Stadium, the Mendell Center, or Miller Auditorium.
Your car has beach sand in the floor mats, the trunk, the glovebox...
You know an elder who worked for Checker Motors, Gibson Guitar, or Upjohn Company.
You know what "Lake effect" is.
You've ever had deer in your backyard, wild turkeys on your deck, Canada geese on your front walk, and/or a pileated woodpecker drumming on the side of your house.
You go camping at least once a year.
When tornado sirens go off, you go outdoors to watch.
You know who FIPs are.
When you say you're going to "the Big Lake" for the afternoon.
You've ever skipped school or work for the opening day of firearm deer season.
You say "Meijer's" when you mean the grocery store.
Your town's major industries include a craft brewery and a medical marijuana growing center or dispensary.
You or an elder can recall the big snowstorms of 1969, 1978, and 2014. Bonus points if you were snowed in for a week.
Your neighborhood has experienced a meth lab explosion.
You don't pronounce the T in mitten, or you pronounce ING as "in", for instance: "I'm goin' sleddin' ".
You have ice skated, tobogganed, jet-skied, charter fished, and / or gone for a ride on a sailboat.
You have been to a Native American tribal-owned casino. Bonus if you won on the slots.
Your town has at least one marina, VFW / American Legion post that serves dinner, commercial greenhouse, Underground Railroad stop, and tavern.
You can remember the May 13, 1980 tornado and what it did to Bronson Park.
Your town has at least six churches, even though the population is only 2,000.
There is a guy selling barbeque cooked in an old fuel oil drum, in the Hardings' parking lot.
Your neighbor or Grandpa has a pontoon boat sitting in his driveway.
You've ever gotten in a traffic jam on South Westnedge.
You can still drive in 2 feet of unplowed snow. Bonus points if you know what a "Michigan Stop" is.
Your granny, auntie, or neighbor has ever won more than $500 on a scratch-off ticket.C
The USA is currently undergoing a profound cold snap. Places that usually do not get cold, like NOLA and Texas, are experiencing snow, ice, howling winds, and rolling blackouts or power outages. People are chilled. We here in the Upper Midwest are having single-digit or below-zero temperatures, with wind chills in the double-digit negatives. We’re kinda used to it, but our southern pals are not, which is why we’re going to talk about some ways to keep warm, and some “snow magick” rites and rituals.
How to stay toasty in freezing temps:
First, you need to worry about keeping your family warm. Wear layers of clothing. Make sure your body sweat does not pool up in cotton or wool fibers, which will only make you colder. Wrap yourself in fleeces, blankets, and comforters. Don’t forget warm socks, and use gloves indoors if you must. Your fingers and toes are most vulnerable to frostbite. Limit times outdoors, especially if its windy. Cover your face with a scarf and wear a hat. Your mask to prevent Covid is not enough to keep warm. Bring your livestock indoors, even if it’s a garage. Bring pets inside the home. Straw works better in animal enclosures than blankets, which can freeze.
Clear ice and snow away from exhaust vents of furnaces or heaters, as well as your clothes dryer. Otherwise, deadly carbon monoxide fumes can back up into your home.
There are electric heating devices for stock tanks and pet water dishes. You may have to break the ice on watering tanks in order to give your livestock a drink. There are also “can’t freeze” external faucets for the home.
For your car, start it and leave the engine running for at least 15 minutes every day. Those jump starters and chargers you buy at the store can work to bring life back to a dead battery. Add gasline anti-freeze and radiator anti-freeze as needed, to keep your gaslines and hoses from freezing and bursting. If you’re sheltering in your car, running the engine, ensure that the muffler is not sticking into the snow. Clear it so the exhaust fumes can escape.
I suggest you invest in a wood-burner or a kerosene heater for your home. Both will work without electricity. If you’re using either, keep a window cracked open. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but you don’t want to suffocate. Using any burner within the home can create deadly carbon monoxide gas and poison you. If you lose power, and use a generator, make sure that the exhaust is outdoors. Running a generator inside, even in a garage, is very dangerous. Jump starters for cars can also be used for needed medical devices, like a C-PaP or insulin pump. Charge it up on the car battery, then plug in the device. It will run anywhere from ½ an hour to several hours. In a pinch, the old trick of burning a few votive candles / tea lights on a brick, underneath a terra-cotta flowerpot propped up on bricks above the candles, can really work to heat a small space.
Keep everyone together in one room. Push sofas and chairs together, or shelter under blankets in a large bed. Make it a game for the kids, like a blanket fort. Read aloud from books with a flashlight. Eat snacks, and cuddle together for warmth. Play board games or cards. Warm small children and babies with your own body heat. Be sure to dress them in layers, too. This is not the time to take a bath or shower. For cleanliness, I recommend using wet wipes, and those only on faces, hands, and bottoms. You can bathe when it’s warmer.
Do NOT put space heaters, candles, or other combustibles underneath a blanket. FR, we had a friend who died in a house fire from having their electric space heater too close to bedding. If you’re using your gas oven or range to heat your home, be very cautious. Crack open a window to release fumes.
Frozen pipes are really a thing. If your home’s plumbing pipes freeze, the expanding ice can make copper, galvanized steel, or even plastic /PVC pipes crack or burst, causing leaks. Keep the water faucets dripping if possible. If pipes do freeze, you can use a hair dryer to thaw them. Use a heat lamp, such as the ones for warming baby poultry, to keep pipes from freezing and to keep the water pump warm enough to work. For drains, pour warm (not hot!) water down the drain. Electric heat tape can keep pipes warm and prevent freezing as well. If you are without power, this can be a problem. For water, you can melt snow on a wood burner or over a kerosene heater in an iron or steel pot. Snow reduces to about ¼ or 1/8 the amount of water. If you’re going to ingest it, strain out any impurities through a coffee filter or muslin cloth. This is not necessary for pets or washing water. Don’t ingest cold snow or ice; it just reduces your body temperature.
Outside, if locks freeze, warm them with a hair dryer or heat lamp, or even a lighter. Spray vinegar onto locks to prevent freezing. Use de-icer products on locks or on frozen windshields. Rock salt and halide can melt snow and ice on your sidewalks.
Eat lots of carbs and fats, if only temporarily. You need to keep your body temperature up. And oh, try not to drive anywhere, if possible. Getting stranded by the roadside, with your car running out of gas, is no fun.
Now for some winter magick:
Like moon water or spring water, snow can be used for purification and cleansing. Wash floors with snow water to banish disquieting energies. Snow water can also be used in teas, decoctions, and for cleaning ritual implements. For bathing, mix a little snow water into your regular washing water in your sink. Bathing your face in snow water is invigorating (if it’s cold in your house, don’t do this unless the snow water is warmed.) Let the snow melt naturally in a pot. As mentioned above, if you’re going to ingest snow water, strain out any impurities.
Icicles can be used in the same manner as an athame or ritual sword, for ceremonies held outdoors. Name something you want to banish, give it to a snowball, and throw it far away. Write names of undesirable situations on paper, and bury it in the snow. This “freezes out” unwanted conditions. As the snow melts, the situation is banished.
The Caeleach is a wintertime Goddess of the British Isles. Wiccans sometimes view her as a Crone entity. She can be appealed to for banishing / removing undesirable situations, things that require calm and tranquility, conditions that require meditation and reflection, restful sleep, hibernation and relaxation, natural aging, wisdom, and during times of decay /dissolution, in hopes of changes for the better. She also appreciates symbolic gifts of firewood, blankets for the homeless, or ice cream or frozen yogurt.
The verb for “to snow” in the Cymraeg (Welsh) language is bwri, pronounce boo-ree. This means the same as to cast, and also to drop or give birth. Magick done for the purpose of birthing something, like bringing a project into manifestation, is especially effective when it’s snowing. Ask for abundance and plentitude when snow is falling – as many snowflakes as I see, let that be the amount of my wealth.
Make angels or fairies in the snow by lying down, flapping your arms and scissoring your legs. Try to stand up without ruining your creation. (Note – don’t do this if it is really cold, and wear adequate winter gear when you do it.) Play “Fox and Geese”, where the fox must pursue those designated as geese, sticking to trails stamped out in the snow. Build snowmen, snow effigies, snow sculptures. Feed the birds. Go sledding or tobogganing. You don’t need a fancy sled; a cardboard box or a wide shovel can work. You might have to slide downhill a few times to pack the snow. See if your region has a skating rink, and learn to ice skate. Look for frost fairies’ art on glass windowpanes. Drink hot cocoa or coffee with a bit of peppermint or chocolate added. Enjoy the winter, and know that springtime will be here soon enough.
As promised, a Fart Joke:
This one is fairly old, and I’ve heard it from a multitude of cultures… the joke, and the farts themselves, LOL!
There once was a young man who was courting a lovely maiden. He really wanted to impress her, as well as her parents. So one evening he had dinner with the family, a repast which consisted of several Celtic delicacies: boiled cabbage, brussels sprouts, navy beans, onions, and garlic. So much garlic! He was not of Celtic descent, so all of this gassy food had a bad affect on him. The dinner was churning around in his stomach. He desperately needed to let a fart, but he did not want to embarrass himself in front of his lady fair, nor her Mam & Da’. The young man knew that he’d be judged harshly for passing gas in front of the womenfolk.
After supper, the young gentleman came into their parlor, where his intended was playing the piano. Mam and Da’ sat down to enjoy some after-dinner coffee, but the young man was squirming in his chair, thinking to himself, “I really must cut a fart. If I can’t relieve myself of this awful gas pretty darn soon, I might explode!”
Just then, the family’s elderly dog waddled into the room. It was a Plott Hound, a breed known for hunting bears, loyalty, and well, also for having really stinky farts. This doggy was ancient, and fat, with grey around his muzzle. The old hound meandered over to the young guy, and flopped down underneath his chair. “Aha!” thought the man. “I could let go a fart, and blame it on the dog! The family will never know that it was me.”
The young lady was still playing the piano, the mother was sipping her coffee, the father was talking about sports. The young gentleman leaned slightly to one side, and let a small, yet noisy fart. It was pretty smelly, as well. Da’ looked up, and said, “Rover, get on out’a here!”
“Ha,” thought the guy, “it’s working. I successfully blamed my fart on the old dog! They’ll never know that it was me.” So he let fly with another one. This fart was even louder, and smelled like rotting garbage on a hot day. The father looks over at the elderly hound laying beneath the suitor’s chair, and yells, “Go on, Rover, get out’a here, right now!”
Nonplussed, the young lady continued playing the piano. Her mother delicately took a sip of her coffee. The father continued talking about the local sports team. And the suitor felt a churning in his guts. All of that cabbage, the beans, and the garlic was making its presence known. The young gentlemen leaned over to one side, and released the noisiest, most rancid, rumbling noxious fart ever in the history of all mankind. The varnish began to peel off the chair. A picture fell off the wall. Flies were circling. The young man was relieved, for not only had he released the pressure within his bowels, he’d successfully made the old dog the scapegoat for it. Or so he thought.
Then the father hollered, “Rover! Get the hell out of here, before this guy craps all over you!”
Technology just is not my thing. Heck, I still cook on a woodstove. Anyone who knows me has a funny story about exploding computers, electronic disasters, cinematic frustrations, and questions like, “Which icon-thingy do I use again?” “The one that looks like a horse penis!” Not to mention screaming, tears, and breaking things every time I have to upgrade.
It does not help that I am legally blind. And everything is written in very small tiny miniscule print. And that I have the patience of a hungry sparrow.
So, I accepted this wonderful offer to bring my folklore class online, to a wide international audience at WitchCon, courtesy of the HEX Education Network. The trouble is, I’ve had to learn to use the technology to do so – all within the past month. That includes figuring out how to do this website. My high-decibel foul language made the cats run and hide. I’ve learned how to make a shaky badly-produced video on my phone, which likely gave everyone who watched it severe vertigo. Next was a podcast. That’s where someone talks online – but you knew that. The very nice people at Widdershins Radio – Marta and Michael Correll – asked me to do an interview about my class. Oh, no! More technology!
“All you have to do is download the ap.” “What’s an ap?” “It’s EASY!” Every time I hear that, I panic. It’s like the phrase, “We’re from the government, we’re here to help.” For the record, it was NOT easy. My poor, long-suffering husband had to walk me through the steps, like a kindergartener learning to do algebra. “First, you multiply the 18 by 7.” “Um, what does a 7 look like, again?”
Living in the woods, our InterNet is crawling slow. It comes to the satellite dish, when it’s not covered in three feet of snow, at < three MBPS (whatever that means) when I’m told we need 6. Think of turtles mating. My phone is old, and so it pixelates, and it sounds like I am talking underwater.
However, it’s worth it to bring British Isles Folkloric Tradition to a wider audience. WitchCon is gonna be mega-awesome, with around 100 presenters, from dozens of different countries, and a wide variety of magickal paths and traditions. There will be amazing topics. I can’t wait.
Please listen to my podcast / interview / discussion on Widdershins Radio on Monday, 15 Feb. at 6PM Central time. You need a specific ap for that, but it will tell you how to do it – and YOU will understand what they’re talking about!
The Widdershins Radio Show:
WitchCon Online Magical Conference: