The Wild Witch and the Dance of Bones
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Cultivating the Devil’s Apple aka Thornapple
I spent part of this afternoon harvesting my Thornapple plants. One of them grew to be close to five feet high! The Thornapple I grew this year is a Datura stramonium var. tatula; similar to the common Datura stramonium only it is less shrubby and has lavender-purple flowers. I harvested leaves, seedpods, and stems. I have a few workshops coming up over Samhain season on different aspects of the Poison Path and like to have the actual plants on hand for anyone interested in working with them. Part of my bargain with said plants is to make them available to others and teach people how to use them. All parts of the plant are going to be put to various uses. The leaves are dried and used for spirit offerings, intense personal cleansing and as spell ingredients. The stems, when dried become hard…
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And not a drop to drink? No, sorry, wrong poem.
Sometimes it can be a bit hard for folks to wrap their heads around how a person can have a devotional practice without having a patron, per se, or at least being henotheistic or monist for that matter.
I’m one of those rare, blessed writers in the blog-o-sphere who gets passed around from unseen critter to unseen critter–usually within the same couple of cultures mind you, but I definitely am poly when it comes to my spirits. It’s sad when accusations of “spirit collecting” or “Poké-god” get tossed around. I don’t doubt that there are some people who are always moving onto the next best Being, but that’s not what I see from the majority of my cohort.
The reality (or my operating reality at any rate) is that we are surround by multitudes of spirits. Here are a few…
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As an animist druid, I recognize the spirit of all beings. I honor and interact with the spirits in the land, in the trees, in the animals and birds, in the insects, in the rivers, in the mountains. Animals die, plants die, insects die. Their spirits live on. In the Anthropocene, even mountains die, they are removed for mining activities all along the Appalachians and in many other places. Rivers die, and have been dying cor centuries as we fill them with refuse. In the Anthropocene, many things die. What happens to that mountain’s spirit when the mountain is gone? What is happening now to the millions of non-human lives that are dying because of human activity? That’s the question we focus on today–as part of my druidry for the 21st century series. Earlier posts in this series include Druidry for the 21st Century and Druidry in the age of…
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By now, most have vague notions of the Ouija board horror narrative, in which demonic spirits communicate with – even possess – kids. Director Mike Flanagan furthers this trope in his new film ‘ Ouija: Origin of Evil .’ Set in 1967, a widow and her daughters earn a living scamming clients seeking to contact dead loved ones. The family business is relatively harmless until the youngest daughter discovers an old Ouija board, attempts to contact her deceased father and instead becomes possessed by evil spirits.
In fact, the Ouija board developed out of Spiritualism, a 19th-century movement known for its optimistic views about the future and the afterlife. As Spiritualism’s popularity waned, the Ouija board emerged as a popular parlor game; it was only in the 20th century that the Catholic Church and the horror movie industry rebranded the game as a doorway to the demonic.
The Spiritualist movement is often said to have begun in Hydesville, New York in 1848 when two sisters, Kate and Maggie Fox, reported hearing a series of mysterious raps in their tiny home. No one could discern where the raps were coming from and they manifested in other houses the sisters visited. With no apparent source, the raps were attributed to spirits and they appeared to respond to the sisters’ questions.
The Fox sisters became overnight celebrities and Spiritualism, a religious movement based on communicating with the dead, was born. Spiritualism spread across the Atlantic and into South America, but its popularity surged in the wake of the Civil War. The bloodiest war in American history had left many grieving families longing for ways to speak with their lost loved ones and many sought comfort from spirit ‘mediums’ – people like the Fox sisters who could allegedly talk to the dead. In 1893 Spiritualism became an official religious denomination and in 1897 The New York Times reported that Spiritualism had eight million followers worldwide.
View original article at: Ancient Origins How The Ouija Board Got Its Sinister Reputation
Little is firmly known about the particulars of today’s holiday since the limited sources available are either folkloric literature like the Celtic sagas or Roman authors who would have likely “trashed” the traditions of a culture with which they were often in conflict.
Although, you can kind of imagine what really went on back then. Different cultures around the world gathered in a ceremony to honor their ancestors on and around November 1st. This sacred day was often known as a cosmic aperture, where the veils get thin, and the souls from “the other side” can contact us with more ease. There’s plenty of written experiences where people have encounters with spirits or ancestral anecdotes from all over the world regarding the ceremonial processing of these mystical energies. Samhain, for example, is very well known as its a three day ancient Celtic pagan festival…
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