New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson

New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson and published earlier this year by Llewellyn is a must-have for your personal occult library, and this book review will try to convince you of why.

The text is subdivided into Twelve Rites, from defining witchery and discussing initiation to coverage of common practices in North American traditional folk witchcraft, with exercises and practical work, all the way to commentary on witchcraft in pop culture.

That is one ambitious scope, and Hutcheson pulls it off– this is quite the hefty tome of a book!

Let’s start with defining who is a witch. I appreciate Hutcheson’s acknowledgement: “Whatever image pops into your head when that word passes by in conversation–whether whispered reverently or barked in anger– that will be the definitive image for you.” That kind of has always been my own bone to pick with the term “witch.” What does it even mean? How is the label useful today? He continues, “Many magical practitioners reject the term ‘witch’ either because of its negative or its religious connotations.”

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A Curious Herbal (1737) by Elizabeth Blackwell: Hand-colored engravings

These hand-painted engravings of healing herbs and garden vegetables are a delight, and I’m sure at least one creative person seeing this will get ideas, download, and do something lovely with these illustrations, so here you go.

They’re from Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal (1737). Below you’ll find a zip file you can download of high-res images from the book. Or view it in the entirety, courtesy of The British Library, Catalogues & Collections.

A Curious Herbal (1737)

Download Zip File

About the Book:

Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal is notable both for its beautiful illustrations of medicinal plants and for the unusual circumstances of its creation.

[It] contains illustrations and descriptions of plants, their medicinal preparations, and the ailments for which they are used.

The first herbal was written by the Greek physician Dioscorides in the first century AD.

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Aberdeen in about 1700, but moved to London after she married. She undertook this ambitious project to raise money to pay her husband’s debts and release him from debtors’ prison.

Blackwell’s Herbal was an unprecedented artistic, scientific and commercial enterprise for a woman of her time.

She drew, engraved and coloured the illustrations herself, mostly using plant specimens from the Chelsea Physic Garden.

It was highly praised by leading physicians and apothecaries (makers and sellers of medicines), and made enough money to secure her husband’s freedom, although she later had to sell the copyright as well.

This finely-bound copy of A Curious Herbal is from the collection of King George III, held in the British Library.

British Library 34.I.12 -13

Crafting with a Ba Gua Mirror in Traditional Asian Witchcraft

Learn a little more about this common ritual tool in traditional Asian folk magic. I’m inviting you to give the ba gua or eight trigrams mirror a try.

This video covers a few pointers on how to use a ba gua mirror to tell whether you’ve been hexed or cursed (a folksy practice that’s interesting to learn about, at the very elast), how a ba gua mirror can amplify your spell-crafting techniques, a simple intention-setting candle spell, how to make your own ba gua mirror if you can’t source one, and how to integrate this one tool and folk practice into what you’re already doing.

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The Witch’s Power to Bless (and the Magic Chain)

This is a supplemental lecture in Module 11 of the Witchcraft Fundamentals course, titled “The Magic Chain.” If you’re working through the course in the order outlined by the syllabus, then watching this video lecture would come after having watched the video lecture for Chapter XI in the Doctrinal Basis workbook.

However, this supplemental lecture is being provided for free public access.

Download the LECTURE NOTES (PDF):

The Magic Chain & The Witch’s Power to Bless

PURCHASE THE COURSE PACK:

Witchcraft Fundamentals: Doctrinal Basis

1: The Candidate [from the online course offering, Western Witchcraft I]

The Candidate

This is the second module of Western Witchcraft I: Fundamentals and Doctrinal Basis online course  provided for free preview. Learn more about that course and how to enroll by clicking here.

VIDEO LECTURE:

DOWNLOAD LECTURE NOTES:

Click here to download the lecture notes (pdf)

WORKBOOK READING:

Chapter 1: The Candidate (pdf)

Continue reading “1: The Candidate [from the online course offering, Western Witchcraft I]”

0: Introduction [from the online course offering, Western Witchcraft I]

INTRODUCTION

This is the preliminary module to the Western Witchcraft I: Fundamentals and Doctrinal Basis online course. Learn more about that course and how to enroll by clicking here.

VIDEO LECTURE:

DOWNLOAD LECTURE NOTES:

Click here to download the lecture notes

WORKBOOK READING:

Continue reading “0: Introduction [from the online course offering, Western Witchcraft I]”

Seal to Defeat All Foes

A “Seal to Defeat All Foes”? Oh, snap. That sounds badass. We definitely need to give this one a try, right?

You’ll find my write-up of this in one of the back-end appendices of Key of Solomon and Collected Studies on Spirit Conjure. It’s a free e-book download hereand if after checking out the pdf version you realize you want it in physical hard copy paperback, that link will give you instructions on how to order one.

In the pdf, check out p. 505.

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First Pentacle of Mercury: My Own Version

In this post I’m going to share how I modify the instructions from the Key of Solomon for the First Pentacle of Mercury and adapt the core principles from Key to make it my own.

If you want to read the original instructions, you’ll find it in this 560-page e-book (physical copy of the text is pictured above) by downloading it from here.

The more common representation of the First Pentacle is what you’ll see above, where the Hebrew letters for the angelic spirit name AGIEL (אגיאל) are inscribed around the pentagram counter-clockwise and then around the outer ring clockwise.

Above, in the carved wood disc on the left page spread, you can compare it to the original instructions and see how I’ve changed it up so it’s more “me.”

I was working with birch wood for the wood’s protective qualities (metaphysical correspondences) and carved the design into the wood with a wood-burner (pyrography– writing with fire! ooh, how fun!). My pentacles are also two-sided. I’ll talk about what I did with the back side of the pentacle later in this walk-through.

Left: Features Phoenician alphabet letters, heavily stylized; Right: Features the Celestial Alphabet from Agrippa (1533)

I made two different versions, which you’ll see above. The left one is a stylized version of the Phoenician alphabet equivalent, and the right one above is in the Celestial Alphabet.

Worth noting here that practitioners will hold very different and conflicting perspectives on just how much you can embellish or modify the original seals. I think, like any other science, it depends on how you’ve modified the original seal.

Working with the doctrine of analogies, it really is just like cooking. You can swap in different ingredients, but exactly what ingredients you’re swapping with will affect the taste of the resulting dish. Some ingredients are enough like the original that you probably can’t taste a difference, though there will still be subtle undertones you can pick up on; and with others, you’re probably basically creating a totally new dish.

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Seals of Solomon Magic Cards by Inna Vinitski

Inna Vinitski’s Seals of Solomon Magic Cards are the perfect companion tool to go along with your copy of the Key of Solomon, or Clavicula Salmonis, which I offer a free download of here. So although this deck does not come with a guidebook, everything you need to know about these seals and now to work with them can be found in that free download. I’m going to be making page references to that free download pdf of Key of Solomon.

I think the single most compelling reason to acquire this deck for your toolkit is to use them as easy, go-to charging plates for your charms, talismans, gemstones, crystals, and other metaphysical knick-knacks. Here, Inna Vinitski has already done the work for you. Once you get these cards, consecrate them and voila! Incredible! A set of tools for planetary magic at your fingertips!

This post will both showcase the Seals of Solomon cards, which I urge you to get if you want to deep-dive into working with the Key of Solomon, and also get into what the Key says about these seals, or pentacles.

To start, let’s try a little something, shall we? Below in the photo of the three magic cards, take a moment to gaze at each one, connecting your third eye (that space just between your brows) with the eye depicted on the card back. For one of these three cards, the tug at that space between your brows will feel stronger, more intense than for the others. Note which of the three cards gives you the strongest intuitive sensation.

Remember it, because we’ll be returning to your card selection later.

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