Superstitions love & marriage 4

Superstitions love & marriage 4

Superstitions love & marriage 4

A quivering or twitching of the eye is a sign that your lover is thinking of you

Take an eyelash, name your lover, and then blow the lash away. If you do not see the eyelash any more, your sweetheart loves you.

Pull an eyelash out and hold it between the thumb and the first finger. Let one person name the thumb and another finger. Open them.

Superstitions love & marriage 4

The one that the eyelash sticks to has the name of the
one that loves you.

If you go to the joining place of three farms, you will meet the person you are to marry.

If you find a crooked feather in your hair, your husband will be a humpback.

If you crook your little finger while holding a cup, you will never be married.

The number of times you can pop your fingers shows the number of sweethearts that you will have.

Anyone who can make the first and fourth fingers touch over the backs of the others may marry any one he chooses.

If you can cross your forefinger and little finger over your other fingers, you can get whom you please and please whom you get.

Name a lighted fire. If it burns, the person named loves you.

Superstitions love & marriage 4

If you can make a good fire, you will make a good husband or wife.

The man or woman that cannot make a good fire will not get a good wife or husband.

If your fire fails to burn, your lover is not busy.

If a fire that a girl makes goes out, her sweetheart is thinking of her.

If a girl builds a good fire, her sweetheart loves her.

If the first of a family to marry marries well, the rest will marry well, but if the first marriage is a poor one the rest will be poor.

While you are fishing, name the worm. If you catch a fish, your lover is true.

If a girl spills flour while she is baking, her husband will be a drunkard.

In pinning a bouquet on, if you put the flowers accidentally upside down, you wish to be married.

If you wear a flower with the stem up, you are engaged.

When a boy wears a flower to school, he is hunting a girl.

Certain crosses of stone, found in the mountains, are thought to have been tears shed by
the fairies when they learned of Christ’s crucifixion. The cross brings good luck, especially for lovers.

If two forks are placed at your plate, you will hear of a wedding.

Superstitions love & marriage 4

If a woman gets two forks at her plate, she will have two husbands.

If you have two forks at your plate, someone will take your girl away from you.

Put the web of a goose’s foot into the beverage of a girl whom you would have love you.

If a child is held down by a hair across his nose, the first word he says will be the first word he will say after his marriage.

Pull a hair through the fingers. It will curl. In whatever direction the hair points, your sweetheart

If a man to whom you give a hair from your head holds it between his thumb and his first finger, the first word he says will be the first word that he utters to his wife.

A hair found in the heel of your stocking will have the colour of that of your future husband.

If you pull a hair out of a girl’s head, she will love you.

Pull a hair from the head of a boy whom you wish to love you. If you bury his hair along with one of yours, he will love you forever.

If you sew a lock of your hair in the hem of a bride’s dress, you will be married before a year has passed.

If you wear a lock of your sweetheart’s hair in your hat, he will love no other.

If someone takes the combings from the comb after you have combed your hair, she will get your sweet- heart.

To find a hairpin is a sign that you will find a lover.

Superstitions love & marriage 4

When you find a hairpin, hang it up and name it a colour. The first boy you pass wearing a tie of this colour will be your husband.

Hang up a hairpin which you have found and name it for a friend. If anyone takes it before the week-end, she takes the friend.

If you wear in your shoe a hairpin which you have found in the road, the first man you meet with a red tie on will be your future husband.

If a girl finds a hairpin and keeps it six months, she will have a proposal at the end of that time.

On Hallowe’en name an apple that hangs by a string. If you can bite it, you are beloved by the person that you have named.

On Hallowe’en, he who can bite an apple by bobbing for it will marry.

If you walk in a grave-yard on Hallowe’en, you will see your future husband or wife.

Look into a mirror at midnight on Hallowe’en to see your intended.

On Hallowe’en look into a mirror on the cellar steps to see the person that you are to marry.

Make a lover’s knot of a handkerchief and pull the ends. The end that stays in most tightly shows the one that loves you the most.

The accidental crossing of hands as four people shake hands means that one of them will marry soon.

Superstitions love & marriage 4

If four people cross hands, the youngest will marry first.

It brings bad luck for the bride and a bridegroom to part the day they are married.

The loss of a wedding ring is thought a prediction of a calamity.

“As the wedding ring wears, So wear away life’s cares.”

To lose a wedding ring within the first month of marriage augurs great misfortune.

It indicates bad luck for a bride to stumble at her husband’s door.


Thought for the day

Man exists as an individual only as long as he is in possession of divine reason, and this reason is not an attribute of the human form, but a function of the divine Spirit which illuminates it.


Thank you for visiting our website may your God or Goddess be with you.

Spiders as Spiritual Guides

spiders as spiritual guides

spiders as spiritual guides

Spiders as Spiritual Guides for you

Spiders in Druidry:

As we all know, Druidry is a spiritual path based in Nature. The knowledge we have can be found everywhere. In Druidry, the Spider represents The Bard, the Ovate and the Druid. As a Bard it produces works of art as depicted in the many kinds of webs it can produce; as an Ovate seer, to determine the best spot for the web or hide-out for the hunt, and the lessons the animal teaches us shows us the Druid side of Spider lore, or as some call it, Spider Medicine.

The Spider is the guardian of the ancient languages and alphabets. Every society has had myths about how the different languages and alphabets were formed. One example is the Ogham. The Ogham can be found in the web of a Spider. This is why the Spider is considered the teacher of language and the magic of writing. Those who weave magic with the written word probably have a Spider as a guide.

I have found that we can learn much more from the webs and their makers, the Spider. According to Scottish Legend, King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, hid in a cave where he saw a persistent Spider weaving her web. The story about Robert the Bruce, the cave and the Spider is well known to all English or Scottish school pupils. However, outside the Isles it may not be this well known, so here is the story.

King Robert the Bruce I was born at Lochmaben Castle in 1274. He was Knight and Overlord of Annandale. In 1306 he was crowned King of Scotland and henceforth tried to free Scotland from the English enemy.

After being defeated at a battle, Bruce escaped and found a hideout in a cave. Hiding in a cave for three months, Bruce was at the lowest point of his life. He thought about leaving the country and never coming back. While waiting, he watched a Spider building a web in the cave’s entrance. The Spider fell down time after time, but finally he succeeded with his web. So Bruce decided also to retry his fight and told his men: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again’.

Old legend as told on

The lesson the spider is teaching here is persistence. King Robert the Bruce of Scotland and his army had this strong persistence and determination until they finally beat the English at the Battle of Bannockburn. And this is an important yet simple thing a Spider can teach us.

The Spider as an animal is a spiritual teacher in its own right. For example the Spider’s web is a constant reminder of the eight festivals. This is easily seen in the wheel webs some Spiders weave. The strands of the web, like the spokes of a wheel are straight from the edge to the middle and do form the eight fold wheel. That same web also shows the pentagram and the levels of spirituality known in Druidry as: Annwn, Abred, Gwynvyd and Keugant.

The Spider is The Bard, the Ovate and the Druid rolled into one. Let’s take a look at the lessons from the Druid Spider by contemplating its web.

Seeing the Spider weaving a web, it signals to us that we must weave our own lives. The Spider as a guide (or totem, familiar, etc…) serves as a reminder that our choices construct our lives. When the Spider appears to us, it is a message to be mindful of the choices we are making. Then ask yourself:

How are my choices affecting my life?

How can my choices improve my life?

How are my choices affecting others in my life?

Spiders and their webs draw attention to our life choices, but that is not all. They also show us how we can manipulate our thinking, so we can construct the life we want to live.

Spiders make us aware of the amazing construction of their webs. They are fully functional, practical, and perfect in design. Spider webs serve as homes, food storage, egg incubators and are almost limitless in their functionality. When we take a good look at this diversity, we can also look at the web-like construct of our own lives. How do we get the most effective life?

We can derive even more Spider symbol meaning when we consider certain subtle characteristics that represent ancient symbols of infinity. When we take a look at the Spider itself and consider most Spiders have eight eyes and all have eight legs, we can see that the Spider also shows the meaning of the number eight, which involves cycles, passage of time, evolution and, as mentioned before, the eight fold path of the year.

Spiders are also found to be connected to Halloween or Samhain. This is because Spiders are related to death because of the venom they carry. This venom is of course also used as basis for the antidote, connecting the Spider both to death and rebirth and thus she stands for the completion of the circle.

The Spider teaches us to maintain a balance – between past and future, physical and spiritual, male and female. The Spider also teaches us that everything we now do is weaving what we will encounter in the future. In the tarot deck is a card – The Wheel of Fortune. This is a card that has to do with rhythms – the rise and fall, the flow and flux. It is linked to the energies of honour and fame, and the sensitivities necessary to place ourselves within the rhythm of Nature. Meditation upon this card would be beneficial for anyone with the Spider as a guide.

The Spider, because of its characteristics, has come to be associated with magic and the energy of creation. It is a symbol of creative power, reflected in its ability to spin a silken web. It is also associated with keeping the feminine energies of creation alive and strong. This has ties to the characteristics of some Spiders, i.e. the female black widow, which will kill and eat the male after mating has exhausted it.

The Spider is also associated with its spiral energy, the links with the past and the future. The spiral of the web, converging at a central point, is something to be meditated upon by those with Spiders as a guide. Are you moving toward a central goal or are you scattered and going in multiple directions? Is everything staying focused? Are you becoming too involved and/or self-absorbed? Are you focusing on others’ accomplishments and not on your own? Are you developing resentment because of it – for yourself or them?

If a Spider is a guide in your life, ask yourself some important questions. Are you weaving your dreams and imaginings into reality? Are you using your creative opportunities? Are you feeling closed in or stuck, as if in a web? Do you need to pay attention to your balance and where you are walking in life? Are others out of balance around you? Do you need to write? Are you inspired to write or draw and not following through? Remember that the Spider is the keeper of knowledge and of the primordial alphabet. The Spider can teach how to use the written language with power and creativity so that your words weave a web around those who would read them.

Spiders in Druidry are linked with the Goddess, some Gods, the wheel of the year, spinning, weaving, each individual human, the world, creations and creation.

Spiders in other cultures

Spiders are very delicate creatures that play an important role in the myths and lore of many peoples as the teacher of balance between the past and future, the physical and spiritual. To the Native Americans, Spider is Grandmother, the link to the past and future. In India, it’s associated with Maya, the weaver of illusions. With its gentle strength, Spider spins together the threads of life with intricate webs. Spider knows the past affects the future and visa versa. It calls us to make use of our creativity and weave our dreams into our destiny. If you want to make a deeper connection with your Animal Totem, fill your environment with images of the animal to let the animal know it is welcome in your space.

Among the various Native American traditions, spider medicine has been known to represent creativity. Her eight legs represent the four winds of change and the four directions on the medicine wheel, while her body is in the shape of the infinity symbol, which represents infinite possibilities. Spider was said to have woven the alphabet, creating the means for people to communicate and record their history through language. Just like the Greek myth of the Fates, three women who weave the tapestry of life, spiders are said to weave the creative forces that bring forth the intricately symmetrical patterns of our lives.

Of course I must not forget the Greek myth of the maiden Arachne and the Goddess Athena. In the myth, Arachne claimed that she was a better weaver than the Goddess Athena. After winning from Athena, she was turned into a Spider and she and her offspring became the best weavers in existence. Nor must I forget to mention the West African and Caribbean trickster spirit Anansi, also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy whose story is like the tricksters Coyote, Raven or Iktomi found in many Native American cultures and Loki found in Norse mythology. Anansi literally means spider. These tales show spider teaching skill and wisdom in speech, slave resistance and survival as well as teaching mankind the techniques of agriculture and so we see again a kinship in spider’s lessons reaching many cultures in a profound way.


This practicum is designed to get to know the spider a little better.

Preform this while in your Sacred Grove after preforming your Light Body exercise or in a state of meditation or visualization.

In your mind, you see an open place with one exit. From that exit, you see a small garden Spider approaching. You follow the Spider and you see that she walks to a tree. In that tree she starts to weave a web blocking the exit. The spider weaves her web so steadily that is fascinates you and soon you realize that the weaving itself is a meditation. With that weaving you imagine her as a creator weaving the whole universe and you also imagine her as a dream catcher weaving the net to manifest our deepest desires. When the Spider is finished weaving, she sits in the middle of the web and she starts her teaching to you. She ends her teachings by telling you that she weaves a new web every day. She tells you that she takes down the web when it is ruined and begins again every day and she never has to think about it, she just spins her web with great care.

After giving her lessons to you, she takes down her web blocking the exit and leaves. By doing so she is signalling that it is time to end your meditation or visualization.


Grandmother Spider Steals the Fire. A Mississippi Choctaw Legend

The Choctaw People say that when the People first came up out of the ground, People were encased in cocoons, their eyes closed, their limbs folded tightly to their bodies. And this was true of all People, the Bird People, the Animal People, the Insect People, and the Human People. The Great Spirit took pity on them and sent down someone to unfold their limbs, dry them off, and opens their eyes. But the opened eyes saw nothing, because the world was dark, no sun, no moon, not even any stars. All the People moved around by touch, and if they found something that didn’t eat them first, they ate it raw, for they had no fire to cook it.

All the People met in a great powwow, with the Animal and Bird People taking the lead, and the Human People hanging back. The Animal and Bird People decided that life was not good, but cold and miserable. A solution must be found! Someone spoke from the dark,

‘I have heard that the people in the East have fire.’ This caused a stir of wonder, ‘What could fire be?’ There was a general discussion, and it was decided that if, as rumour had it, fire was warm and gave light, they should have it too. Another voice said, ‘But the people of the East are too greedy to share with us.’ So it was decided that the Bird and Animal People should steal what they needed, the fire!

But, who should have the honour? Grandmother Spider volunteered, ‘I can do it! Let me try!’ But at the same time, Opossum began to speak. ‘I, Opossum, am a great chief of the animals. I will go to the East and since I am a great hunter, I will take the fire and hide it in the bushy hair on my tail.’ It was well know that Opossum had the furriest tail of all the animals, so he was selected.

When Opossum came to the East, he soon found the beautiful, red fire, jealously guarded by the people of the East. But Opossum got closer and closer until he picked up a small piece of burning wood, and stuck it in the hair of his tail, which promptly began to smoke, then flame. The people of the East said, ‘Look, that Opossum has stolen our fire!’ They took it and put it back where it came from and drove Opossum away. Poor Opossum! Every bit of hair had burned from his tail, and to this day, opossums have no hair at all on their tails.

Once again, the powwow had to find a volunteer chief. Grandmother Spider again said ‘Let em go! I can do it!’ But this time a bird was elected, Buzzard. Buzzard was very proud. ‘I can succeed where Opossum has failed. I will fly to the East on my great wings and then hide the stolen fire in the beautiful long feathers on my head.’ The birds and animals still did not understand the nature of fire. So Buzzard flew to the East on his powerful wings, swooped past those defending the fire, picked up a small piece of burning ember, and hid it in his head feathers. Buzzard’s head began to smoke and flame even faster! The people of the East said, ‘Look! Buzzard has stolen the fire!’ And they took it and put it back where it came from.

Poor Buzzard! His head was now bare of feathers, red and blistered looking. And to this day, buzzards have naked heads that are bright red and blistered.

The powwow now sent Crow to look the situation over, for Crow was very clever. Crow at that time was pure white, and had the sweetest singing voice of all the birds. But he took so long standing over the fire, trying to find the perfect piece to steal that his white feathers were smoked black. And he breathed so much smoke that when he tried to sing, out came a harsh, ‘Caw! Caw!’

The Council said, ‘Opossum has failed. Buzzard and Crow have failed. Who shall we send?’

Tiny Grandmother Spider shouted with all her might, ‘LET ME TRY IT PLEASE!’ Though the council members thought Grandmother Spider had little chance of success, it was agreed that she should have her turn. Grandmother Spider looked then like she looks now, she had a small torso suspended by two sets of legs that turned the other way. She walked on all of her wonderful legs toward a stream where she had found clay. With those legs, she made a tiny clay container and a lid that fit perfectly with a tiny notch for air in the corner of the lid. Then she put the container on her back, spun a web all the way to the East, and walked tiptoe until she came to the fire. She was so small; the people from the East took no notice. She took a tiny piece of fire, put it in the container, and covered it with the lid. Then she walked back on tiptoe along the web until she came to the People. Since they couldn’t see any fire, they said, ‘Grandmother Spider has failed.’

‘Oh no,’ she said, ‘I have the fire!’ She lifted the pot from her back, and the lid from the pot, and the fire flamed up into its friend, the air. All the Birds and Animal People began to decide who would get this wonderful warmth. Bear said, ‘I’ll take it!’ but then he burned his paws on it and decided fire was not for animals, for look what happened to Opossum!

The Birds wanted no part of it, as Buzzard and Crow were still nursing their wounds. The insects thought it was pretty, but they, too, stayed far away from the fire.

Then a small voice said, ‘We will take it, if Grandmother Spider will help.’ The timid humans, whom none of the animals or birds thought much of, were volunteering!

So Grandmother Spider taught the Human People how to feed the fire sticks and wood to keep it from dying, how to keep the fire safe in a circle of stone so it couldn’t escape and hurt them or their homes. While she was at it, she taught the humans about pottery made of clay and fire, and about weaving and spinning, at which Grandmother Spider was an expert.

The Choctaw remember. They made a beautiful design to decorate their homes, a picture of Grandmother Spider, two sets of legs up and two down, with a fire symbol on her back. This is so their children never forget to honour Grandmother Spider, Fire bringer!


Thought for the day

Spiritual thought can penetrate where spoken words never reach, for thought is more real than sound.


Thank you for visiting our website may your God or Goddess be with you.

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

Ice Moon & Storm Moon

Ice Moon (February)

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

Also known as: Storm Moon, Horning Moon, Hunger Moon, Wild Moon, Red & Cleansing Moon, Quickening Moon, Solmonath (Sun Month), Big Winter Moon Nature Spirits: house faeries, both of the home itself and of house plants Herbs: balm of Gilead, hyssop, myrrh, sage, spikenard Colours: light blue, violet.
Flowers: primrose.
Scents: wisteria, heliotrope.
Stones: amethyst, jasper, rock crystal.
Trees: rowan, laurel, cedar.
Animals: otter, unicorn.
Birds: eagle, chickadee.
Deities: Brigit, Juno, Kuan Yin, Diana, Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite.
Power Flow: energy working toward the surface; purification, growth, healing. Loving the self.
Accepting responsibility for past errors, forgiving yourself, and making future plans.

               Storm Moon (March)

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

Also known as: Seed Moon, Moon of Winds, Plow Moon, Worm Moon, Hrethmonath (Hertha’s Month), Lentzinmanoth (Renewal Month), Lenting Moon, Sap Moon, Crow Moon, Moon of the Snowblind
Nature Spirits: Mer-people, Air and Water beings who are connected with spring rains and storms.
Herbs: broom, High John root, yellow dock, wood betony, Irish moss.
Colours: pale green, red-violet.
Flowers: jonquil, daffodil, violet.
Scents: honeysuckle, apple blossom.
Stones: aquamarine, bloodstone.
Trees: alder, dogwood.
Animals: cougar, hedgehog, boar.
Birds: sea crow, sea eagle.
Deities: Black Isis, the Morrigan, Hecate, Cybele, Astarte, Athene, Minerva, Artemis, Luna.
Power Flow: energy breaks into the open; growing, prospering, exploring. New beginnings; balance of Light and Dark. Breaking illusions.
Seeing the truth in your life however much it may hurt.

Goodies for the Full Moon

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

Full Moon Oil

13 drops of sandalwood essential oil

9 drops of vanilla essential oil or extract

3 drops of jasmine essential oil

1 drop of rose essential oil

Mix prior to a full moon. Charge in a clear container or vial in the light of the full moon. Use to anoint candles or yourself for full moon rituals or just when you feel like you need the moons energy. 


Witch Willows Assortment page 1

Tonic waters containing the energies of the moon embody very powerful healing benefits that bring about integral balance and wholeness throughout the body, mind and soul. Clear quartz crystal catalyses the absorption of lunar energies as well as amplifies the healing benefits.

Wait for a clear night, preferably on or right before the full moon. Put your crystal in a clear glass and cover with one cup of purified water.
Check an almanac for the exact time of sundown on the day you have chosen.
At sundown, place the glass out of doors in a moonlit place (cover the glass with clear plastic wrap).
Remove the glass at dawn. The water is now filled with lunar potency.
Drink the moon water every morning to prepare your body, mind and spirit for the stress of the day.

                Moments in Life

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

There are moments in live when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real.

When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the one, which has been opened for us.

Don’t go for looks; they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away.

Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be; because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Samhain is here

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

Samhain is here, cold is the earth,
as we celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth.
Tonight we speak to those through the veil,
the lines between worlds are thin and frail.
Ghosts and spirits in the night,
magical beings rising in flight,
owls hooting up in a moonlit tree,
I don’t fear you and you don’t fear me.
As the sun goes down, far to the west,
my ancestors watch over me as I rest.
They keep me safe and without fear,
on the night of Samhain, the Witch’s New Year.

              Happy Halloween!

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

It’s late and we are sleepy,
The air is cold and still.
Our jack-o-lantern grins at us
Upon the window sill.
We’re stuffed with cake and candy
And we’ve had a lot of fun,
But now it’s time to go to bed
And dream of all we’ve done.
We’ll dream of ghosts and goblins
And of witches that we’ve seen,
And we’ll dream of trick-or-treating
On this happy Halloween.

Magick Law

Witch Willows Assortment page 1

1. Law of Knowledge: to effect/affect a thing you must know the thing. The more you know about yourself the more you can know something else.

2. Law of Identification: with your will you can become anything- be one with anything. (Our only tool is the brain) 

3. Law of Contagion: anything that has been in contact with something else maintains contact with that thing through the ether.

4. Law of Names knowing the True Name of something defines the action you take to focus a function on that thing.

5. Law of Cause and Effect: under exactly the same conditions using the same actions you will always obtain the same results.

6. Law of Infinite Data: there is more in the universe than we can sense or know. Learning never stops.

7. Law of Association: if a thing reminds you of something else it can be used as a simulacrum for that something else for magickal purposes.

8. Law of Infinite Universes: change your perspective in one area and you change your universe. There are always three choices available.

9. Law of Invocation and Evocation: there are forces outside and inside of you that you can tap and direct through your brain.

10. Law of Pragmatism: if it works, it is true. 

11. Law of Predestination and Free Will: events are predestined, each person chooses whether and to what extent to participate in them.

12. Law of Polarity: everything contains and implies its opposite.


Thought for the day

You cannot conceive the vast extent of the ocean by seeing its waves lash the shore.


Thank you for visiting our website may your God or Goddess be with you.

Love Charms

Love Charms

Love Charms

Plants have always been largely used for testing the fidelity of lovers, and at the present day are still extensively employed for this purpose by the rustic maiden

As in the case of medical charms. More virtue would often seem to reside in the mystic formula uttered while the flower is being secretly gathered, than in any particular quality of the flower itself.

Then, again, flowers, from their connection with certain festivals, have been consulted in love matters, and elsewhere we have alluded to the knowledge they have long been supposed to give in dreams, after the performance of certain incantations.
Turning to some of the well-known charm formulas may be mentioned that known as “a clover of two,” the mode of gathering it constituting the charm itself:

“A clover, a clover of two,
put it in your right shoe;
The first young man you meet,
In field, street, or lane,
You’ll get him, or one of his name.”

Then there is the hempseed formula, and one founded on the luck of an apple-pip, which, when seized between the finger and thumb, is supposed to pop in the direction of the lover’s abode; an illustration of which we subjoin as still used in Lancashire:

“Pippin, pippin, paradise,
Tell me where my true love lies,
East, west, north, and south,
Pilling Brig, or Cocker Mouth.”

The old custom, too, of throwing an apple-peel over the head, marriage or single blessedness being foretold by its remaining whole or breaking, and of the peel so cast forming the initial of the future loved one, finds many adherents. Equally popular, too, was the practice of divining by a thistle blossom. When anxious to ascertain who loved her most, a young woman would take three or four heads of thistles, cut off their points, and assign to each thistle the name of an admirer, laying them under her pillow. On the following morning the thistle which has put forth a fresh sprout will denote the man who loves her most.

There are numerous charms connected with the ash-leaf, and among those employed in the North of England we may quote the following:

“The even ash-leaf in my left hand,
The first man I meet shall be my husband;
The even ash-leaf in my glove,
The first I meet shall be my love;
The even ash-leaf in my breast,
The first man I meet’s whom I love best;
The even ash-leaf in my hand,
The first I meet shall be my man.
Even ash, even ash, I pluck thee,
This night my true love for to see,
Neither in his rick nor in his rear,
But in the clothes he does every day wear.”

And there is the well-known saying current throughout the country:

“If you find an even ash or a four-leaved clover,
Rest assured you’ll see your true love ere the day is over.”

Longfellow alludes to the husking of the maize among the American colonists, an event which was always accompanied by various ceremonies, one of which he thus forcibly describes:

“In the golden weather the maize was husked, and the
Blushed at each blood-red ear, for that betokened a lover,
But at the crooked laughed, and called it a thief in the
Even the blood-red ear to Evangeline brought not her

Charms of this kind are common, and vary in different localities, being found extensively on the Continent, where perhaps even greater importance is attached to them than in our own country. Thus, a popular French one—which many of our young people also practise—is for lovers to test the sincerity of their affections by taking a daisy and plucking its leaflets off one by one, saying, “Does he love me?—a little—much—passionately—not at all!” the phrase which falls to the last leaflet forming the answer to the inquiry:

“La blanche et simple Paquerette,
Que ton coeur consult surtout,
Dit, Ton amant, tendre fillette,
T’aime, un peu, beaucoup, point du tout.”

Perhaps Brown alludes to the same species of divination when he writes of:

“The gentle daisy with her silver crown,
Worn in the breast of many a shepherd lass.”

In England the marigold, which is carefully excluded from the flowers with which German maidens tell their fortunes as unfavourable to love, is often used for divination, and in Germany the star-flower and dandelion.

Among some of the ordinary flowers in use for love-divination may be mentioned the poppy, with its “prophetic leaf,” and the old-fashioned “bachelor’s buttons,” which was credited with possessing some magical effect upon the fortunes of lovers. Hence its blossoms were carried in the pocket, success in love being indicated in proportion as they lost or retained their freshness. Browne alludes to the primrose, which “maidens as a true-love in their bosoms place;” and in the North of England the kemps or spikes of the ribwort plantain are used as love-charms. The mode of procedure as practised in Northamptonshire is thus picturesquely given by Clare in his “Shepherd’s Calendar:

“Or trying simple charms and spells,
Which rural superstition tells,
They pull the little blossom threads
From out the knotweed’s button heads,
And put the husk, with many a smile,
In their white bosom for a while;
Then, if they guess aright the swain
Their love’s sweet fancies try to gain,
‘Tis said that ere it lies an hour,
‘Twill blossom with a second flower,
And from the bosom’s handkerchief
Bloom as it ne’er had lost a leaf.”

Then there are the downy thistle-heads, which the rustic maiden names after her lovers, in connection with which there are many old rhymes. Beans have not lost their popularity; and the leaves of the laurel still reveal the hidden fortune, having been also burnt in olden times by girls to win back their errant lovers.
The garden scene in “Faust” is a well-known illustration of the employment of the centaury or bluebottle for testing the faith of lovers, for Margaret selects it as the floral indication whence she may learn the truth respecting Faust:

“And that scarlet poppies around like a bower,
The maiden found her mystic flower.
‘Now, gentle flower, I pray thee tell Love Charms
If my love loves, and loves me well;
So may the fall of the morning dew
Keep the sun from fading thy tender blue;
Now I remember the leaves for my lot—
He loves me not—he loves me—he loves me not—
He loves me! Yes, the last leaf—yes!
I’ll pluck thee not for that last sweet guess;
He loves me!’ ‘Yes,’ a dear voice sighed;
And her lover stands by Margaret’s side.”

Another mode of love-divination formerly much practised among the lower orders was known as “peascod-wooing.” The cook, when shelling green peas, would, if she chanced to find a pod having nine, lay it on the lintel of the kitchen-door, when the first man who happened to enter was believed to be her future sweetheart; an allusion to which is thus given by Gay:

“As peascod once I pluck’d, I chanced to see Love Charms
One that was closely fill’d with three times three,
Which, when I cropped, I safely home couvey’d,
And o’er the door the spell in secret laid.
The latch moved up, when who should first come in,
But, in his proper person, Lublerkin.”

On the other hand, it was customary in the North of England to rub a young woman with pease-straw should her lover prove unfaithful:

“If you meet a bonnie lassie,
Gie her a kiss and let her gae;
If you meet a dirty hussey,
Fie, gae rub her o’er wi’ strae!”

From an old Spanish proverb it would seem that the rosemary has long been considered as in some way connected with love:

“Who passeth by the rosemarie
And careth not to take a spraye,
For woman’s love no care has he,
Nor shall he though he live for aye.”

Of flowers and plants employed as love-charms on certain festivals may be noticed the bay, rosebud, and the hempseed on St. Valentine’s Day, nuts on St. Mark’s Eve, and the St. John’s wort on Midsummer Eve.
In Denmark many an anxious lover places the St. John’s wort between the beams under the roof for the purpose of divination, the usual custom being to put one plant for herself and another for her sweetheart. Should these grow together, it is an omen of an approaching wedding.

In Brittany young people prove the good faith of their lovers by a pretty ceremony. On St. John’s Eve, the men, wearing bunches of green wheat ears, and the women decorated with flax blossoms, assemble round an old historic stone and place upon it their wreaths. Should these remain fresh for some time after, the lovers represented by them are to be united; but should they wither and die away, it is a certain proof that the love will as rapidly disappear.

Again, in Sicily it is customary for young women to throw from their windows an apple into the street, which, should a woman pick up, it is a sign that the girl will not be married during the year. Sometimes it happens that the apple is not touched, a circumstance which indicates that the young lady, when married, will ere long be a widow. On this festival, too, the orpine or livelong has long been in request, popularly known as “Midsummer men,” whereas in Italy the house-leek is in demand.

The moss-rose, again, in years gone by, was plucked, with sundry formalities, on Midsummer Eve for love-divination, an allusion to which mode of forecasting the future, as practised in our own country, occurs in the poem of

“The Cottage Girl:”
“The moss-rose that, at fall of dew,
Ere eve its duskier curtain drew,
Was freshly gathered from its stem,
She values as the ruby gem;
And, guarded from the piercing air,
With all an anxious lover’s care,
She bids it, for her shepherd’s sake,
Awake the New Year’s frolic wake:
When faded in its altered hue,
She reads—the rustic is untrue!
But if its leaves the crimson paint,
Her sick’ning hopes no longer faint;
The rose upon her bosom worn,
She meets him at the peep of morn.”

On the Continent the rose is still thought to possess mystic virtues in love matters, as in Thuringia, where girls foretell their future by means of rose-leaves.
A ceremony belonging to Hallowe’en is observed in Scotland with some trepidation, and consists in eating an apple before a looking-glass, when the face of the desired one will be seen. It is thus described by Burns:

“Wee Jenny to her granny says,
‘Will ye gae wi’ me, granny?
I’ll eat the apple at the glass
I gat frae uncle Johnny.’
She fuff’t her pipe wi’ sic a lunt,
In wrath she was sae vap’rin,
She notic’t na an aizle brunt
Her braw new worset apron
Out thro’ that night.
‘Ye little skelpie limmer’s face!
I daur you try sic sportin’
As seek the foul thief ony place,
For him to spae your fortune;
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Great cause ye hae to fear it,
For mony a ane has gotten a fright,
And lived and died deleeret
On sic a night.'”

Hallowe’en also is still a favourite anniversary for all kinds of nut-charms, and St. Thomas was long invoked when the prophetic onion named after him was placed under the pillow. Rosemary and thyme were used on St. Agnes’ Eve with this formula:

“St. Agnes, that’s to lovers kind,
Come, ease the troubles of my mind.”

In Austria, on Christmas Eve, apples are used for divination. According to Mr. Conway, the apple must be cut in two in the dark, without being touched, the left half being placed in the bosom, and the right laid behind the door. If this latter ceremony be carefully carried out, the desired one may be looked for at midnight near the right half. He further tells us that in the Erzgebirge, the maiden, having slept on St. Andrew’s, or Christmas, night with an apple under her pillow, “takes her stand with it in her hand on the next festival of the Church thereafter; and the first man whom she sees, other than a relative, will become her husband.”
Again, in Bohemia, on Christmas Eve, there is a pretty practice for young people to fix coloured wax-lights in the shells of the first nuts they have opened that day, and to float them in water, after silently assigning to each the name of some fancied wooer. He whose little barque is the first to approach the girl will be her future husband; but, on the other hand, should an unwelcome suitor seem likely to be the first, she blows against it, and so, by impeding its progress, allows the favoured barque to win.

In very early times flowers were much in request as love-philtres, various allusions to which occur in the literature of most ages. Thus, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Oberon tells Puck to place a pansy on the eyes of Titania, in order that, on awaking, she may fall in love with the first object she encounters. Gerarde speaks of the carrot as “serving for love matters,” and adds that the root of the wild species is more effectual than that of the garden. Vervain has long been in repute as a love-philtre, and in Germany now-a-days endive-seed is sold for its supposed power to influence the affections. The root of the male fern was in years gone by used in love-philtres, and hence the following allusion:

“‘Twas the maiden’s matchless beauty
That drew my heart a-nigh;
Not the fern-root potion,
But the glance of her blue eye.”

Then there is the basil with its mystic virtues, and the cumin-see and cyclamen, which from the time of Theophrastus have been coveted for their magic virtues. The purslane, crocus, and periwinkle were thought to inspire love; while the agnus castus and the Saraca Indica (one of the sacred plants of India), a species of the willow, were supposed to drive away all feelings of love. Similarly in Voigtland, the common basil was regarded as a test of chastity, withering in the hands of the impure.

The mandrake, which is still worn in France as a love-charm, was employed by witches in the composition of their philtres; and in Bohemia, it is said that if a maiden can secretly put a sprig of the common clover into her lover’s shoe ere he sets out on a journey, he will be faithful to her during his absence. As far back as the time of Pliny, the water-lily was regarded as an antidote to the love-philtre, and the amaranth was used for curbing the affections. On the other hand, Our Lady’s bedstraw and the mallow were supposed to have the reverse effect, while the myrtle not only created love, but preserved it. The Sicilians still employ hemp to secure the affections of those they love, and gather it with various formalities, fully believing in its potency. Indeed, charms of this kind are found throughout the world, every country having its own special plants in demand for this purpose. However whimsical they may seem, they at any rate have the sanction of antiquity, and can claim an antecedent history certainly worthy of a better cause.


Thought of the day

Death is not the monarch of the dead, but of the dying.


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Samhain as is our way

Samhain as is our way

Samhain as is our way

SAMHAIN as is our way

ON November first was Samhain (“summer’s end”).

“Take my tidings: Stags contend; Snows descend Summer’s end!
“A chill wind raging, The sun low keeping, Swift to set O’er seas high sweeping.
“Dull red the fern; Shapes are shadows; Wild geese mourn O’er misty meadows.
“Keen cold limes each weaker wing, Icy times  Such I sing! Take my tidings.”
GRAVES: First Winter Song.
Then the flocks were driven in, and men first had leisure after harvest toil.
Fires were built as a thanksgiving to Baal for harvest.
The old fire on the altar was quenched before the night of October 31st, and the new one made, as were all sacred fires, by friction.
It was called “forced fire.” A wheel and a spindle were used: the wheel, the sun symbol, was turned from east to west, sunwise.
The sparks were caught in tow, blazed upon the altar, and were passed on to light the hilltop fires. The new fire was given next morning, New Year’s Day, by the priests to the people to light their hearths, where all fires had been extinguished. The blessed fire was thought to protect the year through the home it warmed. In Ireland the altar was Tlactga, on the hill of Ward in Meath, where sacrifices, especially black sheep, were burnt in the new fire. From the death struggles and look of the creatures omens for the future year were taken.
The year was over, and the sun’s life of a year was done. The Celts thought that at this time the sun fell a victim for six months to the powers of winter darkness. In Egyptian mythology one of the sun-gods, Osiris, was lsain at a banquet by his brother Sitou, the god of darkness. On the anniversary of the murder, the first day of winter, no Egyptian would begin any new business for fear of bad luck, since the spirit of evil was then in power.

From the idea that the sun suffered from his enemies on this day grew the association of Samhain with death.
“The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year, Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere.
Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the wither’d leaves lie dead; They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit’s tread.
The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrub the jay And from the wood-top calls the crow, through all the gloomy day.
“The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago, And the wild rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow: But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood, And the yellow sun-flower by the brook in autumn beauty stood, Till fell the frost from the cold clear heaven, as falls the plague on men, And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland, glade, and glen.”
BRYANT: Death of the Flowers.
In the same state as those who are dead, are those who have never lived, dwelling right in the world, but invisible to most mortals at most times.
Seers could see them at any time, and if very many were abroad at once others might get a chance to watch them too.
“There is a world in which we dwell, And yet a world invisible.
And do not think that naught can be Save only what with eyes ye see: I tell ye that, this very hour, Had but your sight a spirit’s power, Ye would
be looking, eye to eye, At a terrific company.”
COXE: Hallowe’en.
These supernatural spirits ruled the dead.
There were two classes: the Tuatha De Danann, “the people of the goddess Danu,” gods of light and life; and spirits of darkness and evil.
The Tuatha had their chief seat on the Isle of Man, in the middle of the Irish Sea, and brought under their power the islands about them.
On a Midsummer Day they vanquished the Fir Bolgs and gained most of Ireland, by the battle of Moytura.
A long time afterwards perhaps 1000 B.C. the Fomor, sea-demons, after destroying nearly all their enemies by plagues, exacted from those remaining,
as tribute, “a third part of their corn, a third part of their milk, and a third part of their children.” This tax was paid on Samhain.
It was on the week before Samhain that the Fomor landed upon Ireland. On the eve of Samhain the gods met them in the second battle of Moytura,
and they were driven back into the ocean.

As Tigernmas, a mythical king of Ireland, was sacrificing “the firstlings of every issue, and the scions of every clan” to Crom Croich, the king idol,
and lay prostrate before the image, he and three-fourths of his men mysteriously disappeared.
“Then came Tigernmas, the prince of Tara yonder On Halloween with many hosts. A cause of grief to them was the deed.
Dead were the men Of Bamba’s host, without happy strength Around Tigernmas, the destructive man of the north, From the worship of
Crom Cruaich. ‘Twas no luck for them. For I have learnt, Except one fourth of the keen Gaels, Not a man alive lasting the snare! Escaped without death in his mouth.”
Dinnsenchus of Mag Slecht (Meyer trans.).
This was direct invocation, but the fire rites which were continued so long afterwards were really only worshipping the sun by proxy, in his nearest likeness, fire.
Samhain was then a day sacred to the death of the sun, on which had been paid a sacrifice of death to evil powers.
Though overcome at Moytura evil was ascendant at Samhain. Methods of finding out the will of spirits and the future naturally worked better
then, charms and invocations had more power, for the spirits were near to help, if care was taken not to anger them, and due honors paid.
10 The Book of Hallowe’en By Ruth Edna Kelley


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