The Ceanothus Witch

I'm Liz! | PNW Based | 25 | She/Her | Actress | Your Local Garden Nerd | Proud Hippie | Heathen Omnist | Historical and Modern Magic | Neurodivergent | Historical reenactor focusing on Scottish and Norse history. TERFs and White Power "Vikings" NOT WELCOME. If you gatekeep your community, go away. Follows through: ignitelimelight

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Furby, that creepy 1990's doll, has a tumblr page.

theceanothuswitch·an hour agoText


Spell to bring two people together❤️✨🌹

What you’ll need: ❄️

  • Bowl of water (for safety)
  • Rose oil
  • Red/pink rose petals
  • Violets (optional)
  • Two pink/red/white candles
  • Carving tool
  • Red/pink yarn, chord or string or whatever

Spell instructions:💫

  1. Surround your bowl of water with the rose petals and violets
  2. Take the two candles and carve a one person’s name into each of them (I made a sigil of them but that step is optional)
  3. Annoint the candles with the (!properly diluted!) rose oil
  4. Tie the yarn around the candles in an infinity shape . (Hint in picture) while doing so chant: “Two hearts that long for each other, afraid of what the other can offer. With this chord two hearts are bound, since between them live is found. For the good of all and harm to none, I said it, the spell is done”
  5. Put the candles and yarn into a bowl and let them burn down
  6. Bury the remains under a tree and wait


This spell will not “make” anyone fall in love with you. It only works if they’re are mutual feelings already present


I did this for two friends of mine. It worked within a month. They did break up since for personal reasons though.

Let me know if you try this, I’m curious about your results

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theceanothuswitch·an hour agoText



“The impulse to water down feelings and consequently declare oneself “mature” is a deadening, cheapening, and unethical approach to life. Rationality, self-knowledge, and clarity of mind are in no sense antithetical to intensity. And resisting the latter is certainly not a good path to any of the former.”

— William Gillis [x] (via anaisnein)

the source essay is really good:

“… [L]ove isn’t some kind of passive entertainment or fleeting hunger; love involves serious ontological reconfigurations. Or at least there’s a thing that happens, when you grow to know a person, when that person is smart, creative, and kind, when they can surprise you, see the same things you can see, and behave with either such compassion or regularity that you can relax your shields around them, where they become qualitatively more real to you. Almost as real as yourself. Where your mirror neurons jiggle and dance in tune with them, a ghost of them moving alongside you at all times.

Loving someone remakes yourself. But most importantly, even if that ghost fades to a silent unnoticed echo, the impression left by the experience reshapes your ethical reality. You are not alone. Tangibly. Provably. There are other minds. In a way impossible to ascertain merely kicking balls with the shrieking automatons on the playground or banging one in a bathroom or being overcome with the novelty of a new automaton with handsome hydraulics. And this implies an absolute ethical obligation.“

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theceanothuswitch·2 hours agoAnswer
What's the rune for luck/prosperity/good fortune?

Wunjo is for luck and good fortune. 

Fehu is prosperity

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theceanothuswitch·2 hours agoVideo









The Black Footed cat is the smallest wild cat in Africa and one of the smallest wild cats in the world.

Here’s an adult kitty for size comparison:

too smoll

OK but you can’t mention my all-time favorite cat without also mentioning that these little motherfuckers are legendary for being 1000% ready to throw down with anyone at any time, they’ve literally been seen trying to fight a giraffe and are known to successfully bring down sheep by getting underneath them and ripping their bellies open like what the fuck, chill

Their name in Afrikaans means “anthill tiger” because they’ll hide inside a hollowed out anthill and then jump out and try to rip your face off

They are perfect and I love them

Aw, look at these little murder muffins.

smallest and deadliest wild cat. Observed at a 60% success rate in hunting, and averaging a kill every fifty minutes—a lion might succeed in hunting twenty, twenty-five percent of the time. Their small, energetic bodies require a rate of a-murder-per-hour in order to sustain their metabolisms.

(“miershoop” can also mean “termite mound”, which is one of their preferred places to sleep)

Smol handsome murderbaby

I’m so proud of them

@scottislate you need to see this

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theceanothuswitch·2 hours agoText


“Most of the time the universe speaks to us very quietly in pockets of silence, in coincidences, in nature, in forgotten memories, in the shape of clouds, in moments of solitude, in small tugs at our hearts.”

— Yumi Sakugawa
(via spirituallyminded)

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theceanothuswitch·3 hours agoPhoto


February 2020 - Railway blockades in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en are paralyzing the Canadian economy. The Wet’suwet’en are defending their land from the Canadian government who are invading unceded native territory to help the KKR hedge fund (among other investors) build a gas pipeline. [video]/[video]

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theceanothuswitch·3 hours agoLink
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theceanothuswitch·7 hours agoPhoto


𝙾𝚜𝚌𝚊𝚛 𝚆𝚒𝚕𝚍𝚎, 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙶𝚊𝚛𝚍𝚎𝚗 𝚘𝚏 𝙴𝚛𝚘𝚜 (𝟷𝟾𝟾𝟷)

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theceanothuswitch·7 hours agoPhoto


Bellringer („Dondolaš“) from Grobnik - Kvarner, Croatia

Bellringers tradition of Kvarner is old Slavic folklore relic that dates back to pagan antiquity. Even today, men covered in sheepskin with bells around their waists and animal masks march through local villages scaring away evil spirits and welcoming the arrival of spring.

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theceanothuswitch·9 hours agoText


I challenge all of you as I’ve challenged myself this year.

To be more sincere, more authentic, more true to yourself and your ideals and ethics and morals. Be you, unabashedly, unapologetically, and whole heartedly. It doesn’t matter if others accept or understand you, so long as you embrace who and what you are, as long as you stand firm and sure in who you are.

Be true. Inside and out.

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theceanothuswitch·a day agoAnswer
What's the thing with meditation? How tf do you meditate? Meditation strenghtens magic?? I got ADHD and I'm either doing the "getting a thought than letting it go" on a daily basis or it's diffcult af for me

Thing is, folks always think that meditation means “Don’t think anything”. It doesn’t, not quite. 

I talk about it here

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theceanothuswitch·a day agoText


aka, little things to distance your craft from capitalism

Let’s all just admit that buying stuff is fun. That said, there’s a big issue of consumerism within the witchy/pagan scene. As magic work and the pagan “aesthetic” becomes more of a commodity in the mainstream, there’s a mounting attitude of needing All The Items in the highest quality (even if we’re not certain we’ll use them,) and big corporations mass-producing cheap stuff to make a buck off of a growing trend. Here’s some things you can do to help detach your practice from that and support other people in the craft:

  1. Go outside. Check your backyard or local park for local plant life, waters, roots, etc. If your work involves things from nature at all, you can probably find a lot of your supplies… in nature. It takes a little more time, but it’s free and then you’ve gathered stuff yourself! 
  2. Make stuff. This one is pretty straightforward. There may be key items to your practice that you can make yourself instead of buying it! That said, I know sometimes spending money is inevitable so I won’t dwell too much on this… let’s talk more about shopping:
  3. Shop mindfully. The price of a lot of items will skyrocket once it has a pentacle or other symbol engraved on it. For example, little mortars and pestles can be very pricey in witchy shops, but you could probably get a bigger one that’s actually food safe for less at a nice grocery store. Antique stores and international markets are now your new best friends.
  4. Support small businesses! Things are cheaper on Amazon, but the extra money goes to support real people, likely other practitioners. If you can, supporting small, local, independent shopkeepers and crafters does a ton of good. It also helps build and sustain a local community. 
  5. Shop based on need. Don’t get something “just in case” (unless it’s banishing or hex breaking stuff; those are decent to have on hand.) It’s tempting to impulse-buy a ton of niche items and ingredients, but unless you have a reasonable idea what you’re going to use them for in the near future, it’ll probably just create clutter for you to deal with later.
  6. Prioritize effectiveness over aesthetic. Ultimately your practice has to work for you, not just look good. I think making your work aesthetically pleasing to yourself can be an important part of really connecting with what you’re doing, but don’t make that desire burn a hole in your wallet and distract you from what brought you to this path in the first place. Altar envy is a real thing. 
  7. Recycle/Upcycle. Use old clothing fabric for an altar cloth. That old trinket dish makes a great offering dish. Enchant jewelry you already own. That jar of strawberry jelly you just finished off will work just fine for that spell. Things can be re-purposed and made into new things.
  8. Analyze your offerings. Special occasion wine isn’t a special occasion if you do it every time. Not every offering needs to be a grand gesture, regular maintenance is more important generally.
  9. Organize trades. Have any pals that also practice? See if you can help each other! You could trade different goods (that old mini cauldron you bought and never used for that abandoned tarot deck, maybe?) but also services. A protection spell for a luck charm. A reading for a reading. You help them with the laundry and they cook you a meal one day. 

As always, the goal is to foster a local community of individuals doing honest work, and shedding the consumerist mindset society taught us to make us spend more money. Take up the idea that you can do magic completely on your own with what you already around you, and if you do want to spend money, see if you can do it in a way that helps the world a tiny bit.  :) 

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theceanothuswitch·a day agoText



by Zeph Craven

A dear friend of mine, Marz (@HillbillyOracle on Tumblr) asked me about how blood has been used traditionally in witchcraft and magic and I decided to go all out with my response! Naturally, the traditions I’ll talk about here are from around Europe and European-derived cultures in the Americas, as these are the areas with which I have the most experience and feel qualified to speak about. Even this is limited by what has been written in English or Italian, which means I’m missing a lot of material! Of course, some of the following will be gory, bloody, or violent so please read with discretion (and TW: blood, animal abuse, violence). Many traditional uses of blood are inherently related to animal sacrifice or drawing blood from animals – I am not suggesting or condoning violence towards animals or people, only presenting the history and traditions as they have survived and as I best understand them.

The manners in which blood has been used in religion and mythology, or for magic and power, are both varied and continuous throughout European cultures. Some of these traditions have carried on, even if secluded to remote regions of Europe’s mountains, while others have truly fallen into obscurity. Witches, magicians, folklorists, classicists, and anyone who has seen a violent movie about cults will be familiar with a few topics covered here – if not in detail, then at least in dramatic atmosphere.

Sacrificial Blood
The most common and widespread use of blood is as an offering to a spirit or deity. A simple and broad-sweeping discussion is best applied here; but I promise to not speak so generally in the following sections. Sacrificial blood is most often spilled from the neck of an animal – which is usually raised, treated, or traded in a sacred or special way. The animal might also be adorned with special ritual garbs, garlands, or ointments for the slaughter. While it is common in domestic and in secretive ceremony to offer up your own animal, in public or temple ritual the process of bringing the animal to the spirits and collecting its blood is almost always officiated by a priest or high-level initiate of some kind. This is a difficult and powerful act that must be overseen by someone trained in sacrifice, which is definitely practical to an extent – you have to know how to cut a throat – but I think the status of the officiant is mostly indicative of the intimacy and sanctity of such an offering. The moment of death is often celebrated by onlookers or participants, or else mourned as if their beloved were being slain.
The blood may be spilled onto or into an altar or sacrificial pyre, or let flow into the water or soil at a sacred site such as a bog, hill, or field of repute. Frequently, the blood is collected instead. In many traditions, the blood of a sacrificed animal is sacred in itself – and the sacred is useful.

Sacrificial blood, being inherently hallowed, is an ancient and widespread tool for blessing. In fact, the English word “blessing” likely traces back to the word bledsian or ‘blood-sain’ (i.e. to hallow with blood). The blood gathered from a living sacrifice might be poured or sprinkled onto statues, walls, animals, or people. The sprinkling might be executed with a branch, rod, or sprig of a sacred herb. In chapter four of The Eyrbyggja Saga, the description of the temple notes that the bowl and rod used for sprinkling blood were kept on the altar-like stall in the center of all the god representations. Clearly, these tools were integral to the regular ceremonies of the temple.

Blood from a sacrificed animal is also a powerful, though complex, agent of purification. In ancient Greece, it was used to purify a shrine or temple 1  - frequently pig’s blood was applied as in Apollo’s case, while doves were common for Aphrodite, who abhorred swine. Purification with sacrificial blood would be accompanied by many rituals: supplications, prayers, offerings, and a disposal of the polluted remnants or lumata. It is important to note that not all blood was considered holy or ‘pure.’ In fact, the prime example of this kind of purification in Greece was almost a balancing of bloods: the sacrificial blood washed away the miasma or “pollution” of immoral bloodshed, such as murder. A murderer might suck out the blood of their victim and spit it forth repetitively to expiate the corruption of their crime. It wasn’t the physical blood of violence that needed cleansing, so much as the foul vengeful spirit of the person and the event, what we might now call ghosts and trauma. The animal’s lifeblood was sprinkled on the hands of the murderer where impure blood had shed, and then washed away. Some length of time (inconsistent through history and region) had to pass between the crime and the cleansing, and during that time the killer was somehow excluded from society. Though it is not difficult to make sense of this paradox, cleaning blood with blood was criticized even in the times of its practice. 2 In the previous example, the mechanics are only paradoxical if read hyper-literally. It is not as though any two insignificant bloods cancel each other out by contact; instead, it is something holy and potent that overpowers something wicked and polluted. Just as household cleaning agents must be engineered to bind to the dirt or oil they cleanse, there may also be some link between sacred blood attaching to dirty blood: the ‘like-affects-like’ principle making sacrifice a potent solution for this particular kind of miasma.
There were epithets of deities that presided specifically over this ritual of purification and reintegration, called catharsis or κόθᾰρσῐς (kótharsis). According to Oxford Reference:

“The god who presided over purification from blood‐guilt was Zeus Katharsios, ‘Of purification’; this role derived from his general concern for the reintegration into society of displaced persons (cp. Zeus ‘Of suppliants’ and ‘Of strangers’). Apollo too could be seen as a ‘purifier of men’s houses’ because his oracle at Delphi regularly gave advice on such matters.”

Violent bloodshed, childbirth, death, and corpses could all pollute a person or place with miasma, and sacrificial blood was only one tool of many for cleaning it away. Interestingly, the violent bloodshed of battle was less important and could simply be washed off. 3  With no greater significance is the trauma and poison of war-blood treated now.
Later, on the outskirts of Greek cult-influences, menstrual blood was considered a pollutant that must be purified before entering temples – along with many other bodily fluids such as semen – yet menstrual fluids were rarely written of at all. 4 Some ‘scientific’ texts from this period suggest that menstruation is a form of purification itself, which could indicate why some might have considered the expulsed fluids impure. There are ancient Roman writers that speak of menstrual blood as a destructive force, in many ways that actually sound quite useful. However these are not the documentations of practices – rather products of solitary musings on agricultural metaphysics. These writers weren’t documenting, they were thinking ‘out-loud.’

Yet, it is not a far stretch to suppose that menstrual blood may have been considered a form of miasma in later Mediterranean sacred structures, especially looking at the modern practices of purification by sacrificial blood in some mountain communities of Georgia (Pshavi, Xevsuri, and Svaneti), which have strict taboos around menstruation in ritual structure, village composition, and social functions such as hunting. 5 These areas of Georgia were not once so distant from the cultures of the Greek empire, Colchis being a notable region of these mountains where the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece took place. In this story, Colchis is the kingdom of the infamous sorcerer Aeëtes and his daughter Medea, the witch, for whom Circe herself performed a purification of miasma by pig’s blood with prayers to Zeus of Suppliants. 6 The Kartvelian societies, in modern-day Georgia, were conquered in succession by Persia, Greece, and Rome.
Where these rituals have survived (though some have supposed they were reinvented) in Georgia, the ganatvla sacrifice is carried out by a priest in a space kept pure and guarded with taboo, in the presence of St. George, his female partner, and/or other “children of God” (xvtisšvilni). Healing and benediction are prayed for as the bovid’s life spills over the supplicant’s arms, and this good blood is thought to drive out bad blood and impurities. One of the primary impurities is menstrual blood, and menstruating people are made to leave the general border of the village and pass their cycle in designated huts on the outskirts of the community.

In Xevsureti, the purification of religious spaces with sacrificial blood is so vital that they have creatively managed to introduce blood on structures restricted to humans. There are certain buildings so pure that even the highest priests cannot go near them, yet they soak snowballs in blood from the sacrifice and launch them at the walls from afar in blessing. 7 However, impure blood, such as the blood of a cat, might be spilled to sever the link between community and divinity, as seen in the ballads of the Zurab Cycle.

Well into the 20th century, rural Ireland would have been familiar with the bleeding of geese, cockerels and hens, pigs, or goats (though geese were most popular) on the eve of Martinmas (Nov. 11th). The animal would be offered to St. Martin and its blood spilled and sprinkled around the household, with some variation county to county. It was almost always spilled at the doorstep or on the doorposts, but often sprinkled in the corners of the house or kitchen as well, and this pattern was mimicked in the stables. Crosses were sometimes made with the blood on the floor and on the foreheads of the family members. Once, it would have been common in some counties to soak up the blood with cotton. This object was then hung up in the rafters, or else pressed against the body to relieve pains. The whole ritual kept out sickness and danger for the year.
The reasoning behind the sacrifice, as well as the choice in animal, shifted frequently – usually having some connection to how the saint was killed, or else being a specific sickly animal promised earlier to St. Martin in exchange for its continued health until Martin’s Eve. Though blood-pudding was a relatively common dish, there were frequently taboos about using this sacrificed blood for consumption. Many good examples of this celebration can be found in the Duchas National Folklore Archive. Dr. Billy Mag Fhloinn has argued that this Martinmas blood-sacrifice is a remnant of older Samhain traditions – as the shift to Gregorian calendar would put November 11th (modern) around October 30th in the Julian calendar. I hesitate to indulge this theory, as I do not see all pivotal rituals, games, and social functions transferring dates to match the contemporary calendric year except this singular rite, but Mag Fhloinn himself is hesitant and cautious enough. I think it highly plausible that this is a purely Irish-Catholic ceremony, incorporating rituals that inherently reveal the functions of the natural world according to older Irish world-views: in other words, that blood sacrifice as a means of purification and protection was not in contradiction with the sanctity of God and the Church. It just worked, so it kept on.

This is actually amazing, considering the contradiction of blood as a purifying agent (mentioned previously) was such a severe point for philosophers and theologians over a thousand years prior, though that ilk is by definition less concerned with what is practical. Blood sacrifice is inherently dramatic. Like orgies, infanticide, and cannibalism, Greeks and Romans eventually used the image of blood sacrifice as a polemic tool for propaganda against Pagans, Jewish communities, and more distant cultures. Most especially utilized was the image of far-off ‘barbarians’ sacrificing humans, a point that some Roman historians used to criticize their own history [read: chart their sophistication.] By the 3rd Century CE – things are getting a little Christian now – even animal blood sacrifice was brought into suspicion in the high seats of Roman imperial religion, scholarship, and governance. Pythagoreans and Platonists moved away from the older practical applications of purification as a directly effective ritual, bringing catharsis to a metaphysical, philosophical, and eventually psychological light. 8

Initiation by Blood
Unspecific to tradition, there are some initiatory rituals that call on blood (be it from sacrificed animals, the initiate, or even divine blood) to be reborn. A striking example of this is the taurobolium: an initiation of priests into the cult of the goddess Cybele, who came from Asia Minor where she was worshiped for millennia under unknown names. Her oldest appearance is from around 6,000 BC in Phrygia, though the detailed descriptions of this ritual come from later Roman writers after her cult had travelled to that peninsula, where she was called Ma’tris Magnae (Great Mother) or Ma’tris Deum (Mother of Gods). 9 In English, she is often referred to as Magna Mater but I’ve always found that bothersome; I think if you’re going to use a Latinate name then use the real Latin name! If that’s too hard, just translate it and call her Great Mother. Her cult was perhaps most infamous for its priesthood of male eunuchs and its castrated-animal sacrifices – very threatening concepts to the imperial patriarchy.

The initiate would stand in a pit that had been covered by planks of wood, in which holes had been made, and a sacrificial bull would be lowered onto the planks. As the initiate covered his ribbon-crowned head with his toga, the bull was killed and its blood released by spear thrusts and tugs that widened the wounds. The initiate would emerge from the pit, unrecognizably drenched in hot, smelly blood. According to Prudentius, the blood was even expected to be let into the mouth, which strikes me as indicative that you are not only purging outside influences with the holiness of the sacrifice but also inner impurities and insufficiencies, making your whole self ready for service to the Great Goddess. Some accounts say a goat or ram might be killed in conjunction with the bull as a sacrifice to Ma’tris Magnae’s lover, Attis. Both animals would be castrated. 10

One brief example from the Greek Magical Papyri (Papyri Gracae Magicae, or PGM) describes a ritual of initiation into the mysteries of magic by drinking the blood of a white cockerel (or rooster) before jumping into the Nile. 11 Submersion into natural, especially sacred, bodies of water is common in initiation rituals throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, but this is a pretty unique application of cockerel blood. White and black cockerels are common fauna in Euro-centric magical recipes along with cats, goats and rams, owls, lapwings, and doves or pigeons. A white cockerel has the properties of a high masculine divinity, of an upper-worldly or celestial persuasion, and might therefore be used in magic for success, love, conquering, protection, or appealing to that same divinity. In this initiation ceremony, we might understand the consumption of its blood as integrating these properties to the self, alongside a purification and rebirth in the sacred river.

Jumping forward about 1,200 years, we see a very different use of blood in a very different kind of initiation. Isobel Gowdie gave a confession in 1662 to crimes of witchcraft near Auldearn, Scotland. She gave many vivid accounts of her illicit outings with the Devil, the fairies, and her coven. The following scene describes the renunciation of her baptism and the ritual of being re-baptized by the Devil:

“Margaret Brodie, in Aulderne, held me up to the Divell, until he re-baptised me, and marked me in the shoulder, and with his mouth sucked out my blood at that place, and spouted it in his hand, and sprinkling it upon my head and face, he said, ‘I baptize ye, Janet, to my self, in my own name!’”

Janet is the new name bestowed upon Isobel by the Devil here, her un-Christian name you could say. Her own blood is applied, in place of the baptismal water or oil. It is noteworthy that the blood is sucked into the Devil’s mouth before being used to anoint her, perhaps cycling it through his divinity and imbuing it with ‘unholiness.’ This initiation might be seen as necessary for a witch to work with the Devil. Since the Catholic ritual of baptism is a cleansing of sins and an exorcism of the Devil in its own right, it might prevent such ungodly powers working within a person. In this light, the consumption and sprinkling of Isobel’s blood may function as a re-administration of sin into her soul, thus severing her connection with God.

Another 277 years later, and an ocean away, we find a new kind of blood in the initiation of witches and magicians. There is blood to be found in folk stories of witches sacrificing animals (black cats and black cockerels) to the Devil for initiation and ensuing magic throughout the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains, yet the most fascinating example is neither a direct sacrifice nor an ingredient. A story from Wise County, Virginia recounts how a young man gained his powers. After eight mornings of rigorous ritual process:

“On the ninth morning, he took his gun and the silver bullet with him. He shot the bullet toward the sun as it came up over the ridge. They had told him that if the sun looked as if it were dripping blood as it came up, then he would be a witch.”

The ninth morning didn’t present him with all the required signs of confirmation, and it took him two full years to complete his initiation as a ‘conjure man.’ Shooting the sun follows many clearly chthonic and sacrilegious rituals, which might indicate that this is a metaphor of wounding God and denouncing him. The dripping blood is confirmation of the initiate’s power to stand against the Christian God, who was once frequently associated with solar imagery. This is truly speculative, yet if the symbolism holds in context, this would be an example of divine blood within initiatory divination. 12

Bloody Witchcraft
Now that we’ve dipped our toes into early modern witchcraft, let’s go in deeper. When the image of the early modern witch is merged with the image of blood, one might first jump to the scenes of paranoia previously listed: orgies, infanticide, and cannibalism. Thanks to twelfth century theologians and sixteenth century Protestants, we can now add dramatic demonic sacrifice to that list. Despite the excitable and repetitive fanfare of the Witch Craze, there are many intriguing elements of blood-work in witchcraft to be examined besides the initiations discussed previously.

In late 1500s England, it was common knowledge that familiar spirits (i.e. beings provided to a witch or magician by the Devil, God, its previous owner, or the monarchy of Fairy to help with magic and mischief) might be fed with blood from the witch’s body. While milk, bread, or butter was the most common offering, blood remained a more fanatical portrayal for the popular culture of the courts and taverns. It was common knowledge that a witch might feed their familiar spirit with blood let from the mark left on them by the Devil, perhaps at initiation. 13

In continental Europe, examples abound of witches that feed on blood from quite ancient to very modern folklore. The definition of “witch” is blurred in this context: they might be incorporeal beings that can afflict, abduct, and loot not unlike the fairies, sucking the blood from men and babes in the night. 14 The witch may instead be your very tangible neighbor: unlikeable and affronting, who frequents Sabbats and wets their gullet with blood while feasting on infant corpses before dancing erotically for the Adversary. There is an association with witches and the creature strix (screecher), as blood-sucking entities 15 that find victims in the night. Through evolution or syncretism the strix became strigoi, and was related with vampyr, and vrykolakas: creatures of a sorcerous nature that thrive on human blood and remains.
Incorporeal, animal, or humanoid witches might feed on blood for power and longevity. The latter might use it to attain those non-human shapes. Witches in the Balkans were said to use children’s blood as an ingredient in their transformative ointments and unguents 16  – though infant fat was far more common elsewhere on the continent, I doubt much effort would have been made to wash clean their diabolical cooking lard so we can bet on some blood in there too. In Scandinavian witch trials, there is an example of the blood and pelt of a cat being adorned to take on its very form. 17 For witches, blood is sustenance and life or it is a gory detail in scenes of taboo ceremony. If the story of any particular witch’s ritual incorporates elements of more Abrahamic magic, then its use of blood will align better with those covered in the grimoire section below. As Matteo Duni discusses throughout his book Under the Devil’s Spell, the intersection of witches and literate magicians in early modern Europe was broader than many suppose, and these folks talked and traded secrets quite a lot.

Blood as Medicine
Blood has medicinal functions as well as diabolical. In older Euro-centric medical thought, our blood might carry forces within it that induce illness. The spiritual and the scientific were not so juxtaposed once, and it may have been a build-up of that hot, red humor or a malefic presence in the blood that caused a fever, high blood pressure, apoplexy, and/or headaches. The persistent cure was letting that excessive/bad blood out of the body: i.e. bloodletting.

Some cures prescribe blood as a magico-medical ingredient. In County Kerry, Ireland a swelling or injury in the leg could be cured by taking the blood from a cat’s ear and drawing a ring with it around the affected area. There was also a belief in some areas of the country that the blood of people in certain families could cure specific diseases, for example folks with the last name of Cahill could make symbols with the blood of their little finger and speak a prayer to cure someone of “wild-fire” disease. The blood of a black cat could cure the same affliction. In the Pennsylvania-Dutch magico-medical text Long Lost Friend, we find a cure for epilepsy in drinking the blood of a dove.

Blood in Divination
A common form of divination in North and Central America is divination by egg, or oomancy. The egg is passed ritualistically over the patient’s body before being cracked into water. The signs that the floating whites and yolk make can be read to tell fortunes or diagnose problems. Any spots or streaks of blood in the mixture are considered an incredibly bad omen.

The shades of the dead around the ancient Mediterranean would feast on spilled blood, and the blood of all-black animals was an efficacious offering to them. In the Odyssey, most-likely written down in the 8th century BC, Circe gives Odysseus advice for consulting with the dead: in a particular cave, a trench was to be dug (a proper altar for underworldly spirits) into which libations of milk, honey, sweet wine, water and barley grain were made. Finally, sheep were led to the edge of the pit where Odysseus cut their throats and let the dark blood spill in, all the while making prayers to dwellers in the house of Hades. He stands with his sword between the pit of blood and the shades when they come, postponing their desire to feast on it and tantalizing them until he receives his intended counsel.
Over 2,000 years later, this ritual of consorting with the dead has survived in the grimoire of Arthur Gauntlet, though understandably changed and with a subtly different interpretation on the means of summoning:

“Now these souls…are easily allured by the [body-] like vapours, liquors and savours. From hence it is that the souls of the dead are not called forth, without blood, or the putting of some part of the forsaken body & we perfume with fresh blood in the calling forth of Shadows, with the bones of the dead, and flesh, with Eggs, Milk, honey, Oil and the like which attribute a fit means for the souls to assume their bodies.” 18

Around the 1st century BC, Varro also mentions the pouring of blood into a divination bowl to draw the spirits of the deceased – who see much more than we – to the diviner. 19

Blood in Magic
In magic, the main uses of blood draw on its continued association with its original host. An animal’s blood may be included in a spell because of that animal’s magical properties and associations. A person’s blood contains their essence and maintains a link with the target or the spell-caster respectively, which is manipulated through ritual. The connection with the source of blood, or perhaps the implied sacrifice, also gives power to writing magical words and symbols.

Personal effects are bodily fluids or trimmings that are included in spells to increase the power of the ritual. For example, a figure of a person made in wax or clay would have some power over the target just by being shaped and named for them. However, the inclusion of blood, hair, or nail clippings dramatically increases the efficacy of the magic. Even personal items, such as bits of clothing, are useful, though much more so if they’ve soaked up some of the target’s sweat.
The blood of the spell-caster might be administered to their victim, disguised in food or drink, as a consistent method of forcing love and seduction. Sometimes the type of blood fed to a victim is unspecific: sometimes it is menstrual, and other times it is even an animal’s. Usually, the latter would be a dove or pigeon, which are associated with Venus.

Blood could also be used in undoing magic and breaking spells. In Hungary, 1730, a Mrs. Mihály Jóna presented a cure for the evil eye to her patient: the mother was to procure three drops of blood from the little finger of the person who “saw” her daughter (gave her the evil eye) and to drip it into her daughter’s eyes. This would relieve her of the illness that the evil eye caused. 20 In early modern England there was a rather specific belief that a witch sighting their own blood would have all their spells broken. This obviously led to some relatively violent attacks on suspected witches.
Perhaps a callback to the previously discussed purification by sacrificial blood, a Devon cunning-woman named Agnes Hill performed this ritual to cure a woman of sickness by witchcraft:

“Hill then said we must kill the cock, and desired her mother to cut its throat, which she did with a razor. The cock was held over the new earthen pan, holding the fasting water [her mother’s urine] and the blood, which was mingled together, and then put over the fire to boil. Hill then cut open the cock, and took out its heart, and told her mother to stick seven new pins into it, likewise seven new needles, and nine blackthorn prickles. The ash wood was put on the fire under the pan, the heart was hung up to roast before the fire, and it was afterwards thrown into the fire, pins, needles, and all.” 21

Here the cockerel’s older associations with the sun, success, and conquering might be invoked to drive away the malefic influences of the witch. Perhaps the celestial masculine divinities of which it was once symbolic were even replaced by or subtly aligned with the Christian god of Agnes’ time in 19th century Devonshire.

The weightiest source of blood-use in magic comes from the grimoires of continental Europe, Iceland, and England. Sometimes, the application of specific animals’ blood seems to break from the overall patterns, and the text itself can seem to be sewn together from opposite ends of missing sentences. The way these tomes were passed on was often by hand-copying each word, and the transference of some very ancient rituals over the span of many hundreds of years has surely let some material and context fall into the cracks of history. Due to the overwhelming and obscure specificities of the material, these examples will be found predominantly in the post-script notes.

Properties of animals in folk magic and grimoire traditions directly correlate to the applications of their blood. To quote Agrippa, in a hyper-literal example, “It is also believed that the blood of a bear, if it be sucked out of her wound, doth increase strength of body, because that animal is the strongest creature.” 22 Every animal has some magical properties, but these associations definitely change over time and by location. There are very common animals, and persistent patterns, that allow parallels and conclusions to be drawn. In continental European and American folk magic for example a cat might represent a woman and a dog might stand for a man. Bits of those animals are used to affect their respective genders and provide a symbolic link to the magical targets. In the Balkans, blood of a dog and cat were sprinkled on the path between wandering husband and his paramour to cause dislike between them, which could be read differently as the essence of two animals that like to fight being used to cause discord. The color of the animals would have likely been relevant, but this is not included in the account. 23
In the continental and English grimoires there is usually an implied proper procedure for procuring blood from an animal – not just where to cut, but when, and accompanied by which exorcisms, etc. That blood was used in the consecration of sorcerous ritual tools; as an ingredient in or as itself a magical ink; combined into a perfume with herbs and other fleshy or mineral bits; mixed into oil to make a lamp; or anointed as a refreshing face-mask!

If the blood must come from the magician, it is almost always drawn from the little finger, or else it does not specify. The magician’s own blood is used for writing sacred words and incantations, mostly in love spells and cures – though in at least one instance for the conjuration of spirits with a more arcane intention. In Long Lost Friend there is a different sort of love administered, with the magician feeding a dog their blood to create an instant bond between the two.

However, Icelandic magic uses the magician’s blood drawn from specific and varied areas of the body such as certain toes or fingers, or the thigh. Blood would be traced into carved symbols and words on wood, bone, skin, or stone. One example is how the witch Þuríðr uses magic to defeat a great Icelandic hero, rubbing her blood into runes on a beached log while speaking a charm, and walking around it counter-clockwise. 24

Blood leaves a mark: that has always been said. Places of great bloodshed are sacred to the spirits of Mars in grimoire magic. They are also very feasible settings for raising the dead. However, the most famous and infamous bloodstains are a break from the previous sections; 25 they are not made from animals or mortals.
When the blood of gods is spilled, there is a creation to it and a power to it. Jesus, Chronos, and Prometheus all had blood spill from them in torture or death. Whatever this blood touched was changed; adding colors to animals, plants, and minerals, or else creating powerful new flora that have great use to any magician. The spilling of the blood of Jesus is a pervasive and consistent image in magical charms and prayers of all sorts. It is his blood that is consumed in the wine of every communion ritual.
In the Prose Edda, the gods of the Æsir and Vanir formed a peace treaty, and from the spittle of their treaty they created a man of pure wisdom named Kvasir, who entertains them and travels the world answering many riddles and questions. The dwarves, Fjalar and Galarr, who value little above what they can create and forge, pulled Kvasir aside, slitting his throat and draining his blood into vats of honey for making mead. This mead carried his wisdom, scholarliness, and poesy forever through his blood. It was once said that whoever had a genius for poetry had drunk from this mead.
In 20th century Irish manuscripts from the Duchas archive, there are many entries about bloodstains from violent deaths where the ugliness of the crime was so wicked the blood refuses to be cleaned. There are also many stains on stones and churches from martyred priests that likewise never fade, in which we see a touch of the divine. The blood of the otherworld neighbors, the fairies, has also stained many a stone throughout Ireland’s counties, said to be the sign of a battle between the Good Neighbors.
Whether it’s godhood, otherworldliness, or extreme violence, some blood doesn’t wash away – my sympathies to Lady Macbeth.

The way we look at blood in ritual has undergone many cycles of change and of repetition, traces of which can be seen in our current cultures. From practical applications, and cosmological ramifications, to a prop on a stage of fear, there are examples from literal thousands of years ago through to this past Sunday. Sacrifices and stains surround us, and we walk around with this potent fluid sloshing through our bodies, invisibly waiting to be tapped and put to use in casting enchantments or feeding our secret spirits.
I hope this has been illuminating to you, in some degree, and I beg forgiveness for any major oversights or misinterpretations in this text. Be nice to your pets please. See post-script for endnotes, and for examples of blood in grimoire texts.

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theceanothuswitch·a day agoText


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