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The Watchers, the Fey, and the Witch: A Study of Blood

Let’s consider for a moment several bits of myth and several bits of lore, and how mythic history interweaves with how things work in the craft.

The general starting point is the often misunderstood or misrepresented concept of witch-blood. I’m going to start from a mythic understanding here, with the warning that confusing myth and science can be damaging to one’s mental processes. Work with me here.

Starting with the premise that all who work the craft have witch-blood, that all witches are of the blood, you might say. Now, those with witch-blood have the Sight. The Sight, as folktales and folklore and myth and lore will tell you, is the ability to see what’s truly there, to see through glamour and see the true form of those who have assumed another shape, shapeshifters if you will, and other such things where the average observer doesn’t see what’s really there. People tend to see what they expect to see. The Sight shows otherwise.

Now there’s lore, a myth, of the Founders. I won’t go into it here, but the witch-blood comes from the Founders, and to them from the Daughters, and to them from the Watchers. And through the Ninth Mother to those with that witch-blood. So that’s the start of it.

So, the Sight, True Sight, being that which, in Celtic folktales, allows those with it to see through the glamour of the Fey. Now, if the witch-blood gives the Sight, and that blood comes from the Blood of the Watchers, the Sight comes from their blood. Now if the Sight is the seeing through the glamour of the Fey, it has power over their glamour. It would make sense that that which is greater trumps that which is lesser, so the witch-blood must be greater than the glamour of the Fey.

Now, consider the connection of the Fey to burial mounds and corpse roads, and other bits and pieces, and what this and other things imply. Now one group of the Fey are of interest here, at least in Ireland, which is the location I want to focus on here, the Sidhe.

Now Sidhe did not indicate a people originally, it means mound, as in a burial mound. And the stories are of them living in Hollow Hills. I’ll leave the connection between the two to you.

Now it was Manannán, son of Lir, that great sorcerer and shapeshifter, who was powerful in glamour among many other things, raised the Veil that separated Ireland into that above and that below, and the Tuatha De Danann went into the Hollow Hills. This was when it became obvious the Milesians, who myth says became the later Irish, would defeat the Tuatha. It’s not a huge leap to consider the possibility that the Tuatha are the Sidhe.

Note Manannán’s shapeshifting and glamour, and other abilities, this might be important.

Now, the Tuatha De Danann are often described as very tall, giants if you will, as were the Fir Bolg. The Fir Bolg were the people who living in Ireland when the Tuatha invaded, and the two fought for some time until the Tuatha ended up victors. Some descriptions, however, show the De Danann being a sect or offshoot of the Fir Bolg.

Consider, then, the Nephilim. “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Or, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.” It is not a stretch to link the descriptions of the Nephilim, the children of the Watchers and the Daughters, with the Fir Bold and De Danann. Other tales around the world similarly fit this parallel.

Now if Manannán’s powers, most of which are later seen in witch trial accounts and folktales of witches, and in various cultures around the world including modern trad craft, came from his bloodline, and his people, his blood, comes from the Nephilim, and hence from the Watchers, and if those are the same powers that witches possess, consider again the Sight, and who the Fey are.

Is it impossible that the Fey, especially the Sidhe, are the Mighty Dead, those of Watcher descent, of the witch-blood, who have passed beyond the Veil? And this Veil being the same that separates the two Irelands in the story of the descent of the Tuatha De Danann into the Hollow Hills?

Now, those living can see through the glamour of those who have passed if this is the case, and the blood is the source of Sight as we said, and also of the glamour and shapeshifting and other abilities the tales ascribe to Manannán and later the Fey and to witches.

Now blood is iron and blood is life. The dead have no blood, as we all know, as they have died, hence they have in much of the lore an aversion to iron, which is, as we said, of the blood. This is the reason it runs red.

So the power of the Fey is the result of blood no longer there, but for the power of a witch, the blood is still there. So the blood has power over the dead who have no blood, as the Sight of the witch overcomes the glamour of the Fey.

So the blood is the difference. The witch-blood. If you get my meaning.

FFF,
~Lorekeeper/Muninn’s Kiss

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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in muninnskiss

 

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Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis: Some Thoughts on Misruletide

’Tis the season. But what season? This is an interesting time of year.

Winter.

A time of rest.

The land stands fallow and sleeping.

The days shorten, the nights lengthen.

The shadows stretch, the darkness grows.

What season?

There is a time, a time outside of time. A season? Certainly. Better, a time, a tide.

A time outside of time. The Time of Misrule. The Tide of Misrule. Misruletide.

I’m not talking just about the Christmastime, Christmastide, celebration by this name, but the portion of time starting at All Saint’s or All Hallow’s and extending to Candlemas. I’m talking of a year ending at Hallowtide and starting at Candletide. The year has ended. The year has not yet began.

It is a time of rest. Certainly. A rest for whom? The land, well, yes, but who else? If it is the Time of Misrule, the Season of Misrule, the Tide of Misrule, we should start with what Misrule is, both in the festival use of the word and how we mean it here.

I won’t go much into the festivities or history, but the tradition of Feast of Fools and similar celebrations on Christmas and around that part of the year, was a celebration where everything was turned on its head, socially. It was a time or revelry and irreverence, a time of no rules, or, namely, misrule. Depending on where and when, it was sometimes a large scale celebration and sometimes a private affair. Regardless, the “ruler” over the festivities was among the peasantry or the lower clergy, taking the role of king or abbot. In Britain, the Lord of Misrule. One aspect of this, anything trying to hurt or cause problems for those higher in society would be mislead into going after those low in society as well. I can’t rule out that this aspect was not a part of things as well.

This is the sense I am using for this part of the year, from its end at Hallowmas to its beginning at Candlemas. The Time of Misrule, the time when the normal order of things is tipped on its head.

It is during this time of year, at various points, in various forms, that we see lore of the Wild Hunt and traditions and folktales that have descended from the Hunt. In its many forms, the faeries or the dead or witches or other beings ride abroad. They are lead by various figures, Öðinn, Frigg, Frey, Freyja, Holda, Frau Holle, Berchta, Diana, Gwydion, King Arthur, Nuada, Herne, the Devil, Sir Francis Drake, Manannán, Arawn, Nicnevin, Ankow, and many others. The Wild Hunt is said to occur, depending on the lore, on All Hallow’s Eve, on Midwinter’s Eve, on Christmas Eve, or on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), or simple during the winter months, during the Misruletide we are discussing.

The variations veil and hide things, for it is the nature of lore to shift, but under it all, we see a Hunt lead by a figure, or two figures, and a host of the Dead or of spirits. It is interesting to note that the lore of All Hallow’s Eve is of a time when the Dead or spirits roam in the world of the living. This is not the “normal” state of things, it doesn’t follow the normal rule. And many of the figures seen leading the Hunt are either dead folk heroes or gods or goddesses of death.

If we consider the parallel of a time when the Dead walk lead by a lord or lady of death with the Feast of Fools led by the Lord of Misrule, the idea becomes apparent.

Consider for the moment an image.

See a woman dressed in black robes with a red veil hiding her face. She stands in a stone chamber deep beneath the ground, a round chamber with stone benches carved in the sides. There are two thresholds in the room, an empty doorway with no door to her right, and a pair of massive doors to her left. A figure stands before the black doors, watching her, still as death, silent as the grave. In front of her is a black altar, a cube of unworked black stone, the colour of deepest night, deepest shadow. A body rests on this altar, or a Thread, there is less difference than there seems. The body is familiar. In one shrivaled hand, she holds a rod or wand, wood, made of a blackthorn root. In the other, she holds a knife.

When the time becomes full, when the tide is complete, the knife drops, the Thread is cut, the blood flows from the body, blood black in the shadows, covering the black altar. This time has ended, the Thread cut, the Cutter’s knife has fallen.

The woman raises the rod and points at the doors, and the figure before it moves. The figure it tall and thin, covered in black tattered robes. His face is hidden in the shadowed cowl. Folded at his back is a pair of skeletal wings with shadow stretched between the bones. His hands, sticking from the arms of the robes, are nothing but bone. In one hand, he holds a book, chained to his wrist. His other hand is em

When the woman raises the rod, the winged figure wipes a line from his book with one skeletal finger. The ink flows like smoke off the page and a figure rises from the body and joins it, the two becoming one, a spectral image of the body still on the altar. The figure reaches and opens the doors wide. Beyond, it is both as dark as the night and bright beyond imagination. A wind fills the cavern, and the body crumbles to dust and blows away.

The figure beacons, silent, and the spectre walks through the Gates of Life and Death, which are closed fast behind them.

It is finished.

This is the normal rule, the Quick die, becomes the Dead, cross through the Gates, and rest until the time comes for them to return, becoming Quick again. But this is the time of Misrule, the Dead don’t always stay dead, sometimes the Wild Hunt rides.

But who sides at the front of the Hunt? Who leads the Dead? Death. Like Hel leading the people of her domain in Ragnorak, like the Queen of Faerie leading the people of her domain forth, like Odin or Freyja leading the Dead they have gathered forth, Like King Arthur leading the knights that died, Death rides forth at the front of the Host.

But, if Death leads the Hunt, who guards the Gates? Ah. The Time of Misrule. The Quick caught up in the Host become Dead, and the Dead beyond the Gates can walk. This is Misruletide. Among other things.

Now, when the Keeper of the Lost sits as Regent, and the Quick and the Dead can switch station, now is when things aren’t always what they seem.

So, what do we have at Hallowtide? Not just All Hallow’s Eve. It is the Eve of All Hallows, of course, All Hallow’s Day, All Saint’s Day, which is followed by All Soul’s Day. Three days focussed on the Dead, in different ways. But let’s look specifically at All Soul’s Day.

This is of course best known in the part of the world I live in as the Mexican celebration of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, when masks are worn and feasts and presents are prepared for the Dead, often at grave sites, is a similar fashion to the tradition practiced by many of my Craft brothers and sisters in a Dumb Supper on All Hallow’s Eve. The giving of food to the Dead is present in many cultures throughout the world and throughout time, though not always this time of year. It is common this time of year, however.

In Catholic practice, All Soul’s Day is a day of commemoration for the “faithful departed”. This is a somewhat enigmatic phrase to many. It’s taken to mean those who have died and are in Purgatory. The phrase is, “fidelium animae”, fidelium, fidelis, fides, faith/belief/trust/confidence, so faithful, believing, or trustable, animae, anima, soul/spirit/life/air/breeze/breath, so spirit of the dead in this context. Those that believe but haven’t obtained heaven, basically.

Misruletide begins with a focus on the dead, and another use of the phase “fidelium animae” gives some interesting things to consider. A prayer has been commonly prayed for the “faithful departed” is as follows:

English:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Latin:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis. Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

The last phrase, many of us are familiar with, at least in English, “rest in peace”. This has become the most common expression for those who have died, though if you read lore of the dead from many times past, this directive implies a desire for the Dead not to be unrestful, not to rise. The Dead don’t always rest peacefully, that the Gates aren’t always sealed, as we’ve been discussing.

Consider this phrase in Latin for a moment, “requiescant in pace”. “Pace” is “pax”, meaning peace or harmony. The sense is not in terms of no war, like we often see in in English, it’s the sense of being silent, not being dissident, not conflicting. “Pax!” was also used like we would use, “Be silent!”, or “Hush!”. “Requiescant” is “requiesco”, to rest or repose or sleep. Rest in peace, sleep peacefully and don’t cause me trouble. If you pardon my humour.

But “requiesco” is “re-“ and “quiesco”. “Re-“ means back, backwards, or again. Basically, to go back to a previous state. “Quiesco” means to rest, cease, sleep, repose, abstain, cease, stop, and similar ideas. It is from “quies” and “-sco”. “-sco” changes a verb to have a meaning of starting to or beginning to. “Quies” means to rest, repose, quiet, and figuratively, to dream. So, getting to the root, we have the same meaning as we started with, but the combination implies a bit more specific sense than we saw with the original meaning. “Quiesco” would be, to begin or start to rest, repose, or be quiet. “Requisco” would be, to return to a state of beginning or starting to rest, repose, or be quiet. But beginning to rest or repose would be to go to sleep, basically, and to begin to be quiet would be to stop making noise. So, returning to these would be to go back to sleep, or to become quiet again. A returning to a previous state of sleep or quietness.

This brings to mind discussions of Charon the ferryman being silent, and of the Dead being silent until Odysseus provides blood, and other stories relating to the silent dead being given speak though blood or other methods. Bran the Blessed’s cauldron returned the Dead to life, but they were silent, unable to speak. This is common in much of the lore, the Dead cannot speak, they are silent, unless voice is brought by some means. To be Dead is to be Silent. “Requiesco” implies a return to a state of sleep and silence, a return to death.

In modern Catholic context, the prayer implies those in Purgatory moving on quickly to Heaven, but the wording has other repercussions, and begs the question, as this prayer was introduced by St. Benedict in the sixth century and is believed to be older still, was the meaning always what it is now seen as? The formalized beliefs concerning Purgatory were much later, though the concept existed in deferent forms back before Benedict. It seems possible, though, that the implications of the prayer as that to keep the Dead at rest is not impossible.

“Requiem aeternam” is of note. “Requiem” is of course from requies, also, a “place of rest”. “Aeternam”, “arternus”, is translated as permanent, lasting, eternal, endless, immortal. Hence, eternal rest, or an eternal resting place. The second word comes from “-rnus”, making it an adjective, and “aetus”, meaning lifetime or age. The root meaning is more about a resting place that will last a lifetime than the modern sense of eternity.

So, my tongue and cheek transition:

A place to sleep until we all die, O Lord please give them, and let the uninterrupted light shine on them, and those of the Dead who are trustworthy, by the mercy of God, keep quiet and not bother us. Amen.

Misruletide is a time when the Dead can walk among the Quick, and when much of the feasts, fasts, celebrations, measures, folk traditions, and rituals are concerned with keeping them from doing so, or misdirecting them so they don’t succeed in whatever they seek to do.

And, I say:

Hail, oh Builder of Storms, Keeper of the Lost, Regent of the North, Ruler of the Time of Misrule, bringer of Change.

Hail, oh Cutter, you whose Knife cuts every Thread when the time comes, the Last Witness, Priestess of the Black Altar.

Hail, oh Guardian of the Gates of Life and Death, Darkling Twin, Shadow of the World, Keeper of the Book in which all is written and all is erased.

May the Time of Misrule bring its secrets and lore and surprises, may the storms bring the life of spring, may the Dead speak when speech is needed, be silent when it is not, ride forth when it is time, and rest in peace when all is accomplished.

Dance, oh Spirits of Misruletide, dance through the long dark nights, and may the lights of the new year find us when Candletide comes again.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis. Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2016 in muninnskiss

 

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Dance Under Starless Skies, Fair King of the Pictish Witches

As more and more of a generation crosses the Veil, those of us left, both those of the generation that brought us to were where are and those of us that inherit their legacy and lore, contemplate mortality in ways that weren’t as literal not long ago. I could talk of many of the elders in our traditions and stream who have passed over the years and especially in recent years, but I’ll take the liberty of talking of one in particular.

On the Dark of the Moon this last Friday, Tony Spurlock, Brian DRGN, King of the Picts in Exile (no longer), and the founder and High Mojomuck of The First Church of The Doors, passed from the land of the living, leaving those of us remaining to mourn our loss and celebrate his gain. As has been noted, the King of Dead, long Live the King.

The timing saddens me, as I was possibly going to be in San Francisco later this month and was hoping to finally meet him in person, but it’s too late now. May he dance under starless skies. I would not be where I am or who I am if it was not for him, great soul. I will miss him greatly, and I know many others will. The Mighty and Blessed Dead embrace him, as he joins the Dragons who went before.

I have known DRGN only a short time, all said. Many who grieve have known him longer. I met him online five years ago, in 2009, on the 1734 list he had just joined, which I had been a member of for some time. At the time, I asked if he would be willing to teach me Anderson craft. He declined, not out of unwillingness, but because he felt he could not well teach it remotely. Over the years since, we shared much conversation, and I think I can honestly say that even though he wasn’t teaching me, per se, I learned more of my craft from him than any other, and wouldn’t be who I am or what I am today without him. And, though he felt in exile at times from the tradition, I think I can say the tradition would not be what it is today without him. And I’m talking the Heart of the tradition, that which will sustain and survive any tribulations the tradition may suffer, that which is true Feri by whatever name, that which is Anderson Craft.

It was with a heavy heart that I heard of his passing, and I do truly mourn, as do many. I truly wish I had met him in the flesh, and hope to meet him in spirit. I will always cherish the lore and insights and knowledge and understanding and wisdom he shared with me, and friendship and connection we shared.

Hold your head high, DRGN, King of the Pictish Witches! Dance, dance for joy, dance for sorrow, dance for all that was and is and will ever be.

“Forget the night.
Live with us in forests of azure.
Out here on the perimeter there are no stars
Out here we is stoned – immaculate.”

“For seven years, I dwelt
In the loose palace of exile
Playing strange games with the girls of the island
Now, I have come again
To the land of the fair, and the strong, and the wise
Brothers and sisters of the pale forest
Children of night
Who among you will run with the hunt?
Now night arrives with her purple legion
Retire now to your tents and to your dreams
Tomorrow we enter the town of my birth
I want to be ready.”

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss/Lorekeeper

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in muninnskiss

 

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Samhain Dumb Supper or Other Get Together

Anyone interested in a dumb supper or other get together around Samhain, in the Northern Frontrange area?

I.E., Denver, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Golden, Ft.Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Castle Rock, and surrounding areas, and those within driving distance that are interested.

Feel free to comment if you’re interested, or email me at muninnskiss @ grimr.org.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in muninnskiss

 

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Mistress Over the Dead: a look at the “Witch of Endor” and related myths

The subject has come up often lately in various places online of the “Witch of Endor”.  This is said as if it was title, and I read a discussion one place that said, was there’s only one witch in Endor, and was there never a witch there before or after?  The very question implies not understanding the passage, so thought I’d dig into it a bit.  ‘Eyn Do’r, or, technically, b’Eyn Do’r, “in ‘Eyn Do’r”.

First off, in case people are confused, we’re not talking about the moon called Endor in Star Wars.  🙂  This is in 1 Samuel in the Jewish Tanakh and Cristian Old Testament.  Endor is the way it’s typically rendered in English, but it’s two words in the Hebrew text.

Here’s the whole verse, from the Revised Standard Version:

Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at Endor.” ~1 Samuel 28:7 RSV

And the Hebrew:

ז  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל לַעֲבָדָיו בַּקְּשׁוּ-לִי אֵשֶׁת בַּעֲלַת-אוֹב, וְאֵלְכָה אֵלֶיהָ וְאֶדְרְשָׁה-בָּהּ; וַיֹּאמְרוּ עֲבָדָיו אֵלָיו הִנֵּה אֵשֶׁת בַּעֲלַת-אוֹב בְּעֵין דּוֹר

The phrase that matters here is:

Behold, there is a medium at Endor.

אֵשֶׁת בַּעֲלַת-אוֹב בְּעֵין דּוֹר

Breaking it down:

אִשָּׁה – ‘ishshah – woman, wife, female

בַּעֲלָה – ba’alah – mistress, female owner, sorceress, necromancer  From בַּעַל:

בַּעַל – ba’al – owner, husband, citizens, inhabitants, rulers, lords, master of <>, lord.  From בָּעַל:

בָּעַל – ba’al – to marry, rule over, possess, own

אוֹב – ‘owb – water skin bottle, necromancer, one who evokes the dead, ghost, spirit of a dead one, practice of necromancy, one that has a familiar spirit.  From אָב:

אָב – ‘ab – father of an individual, God as father of his people, head or founder of a household, group, family, or clan, ancestor, originator of patron of a class, profession, or art, producer, generator, benevolence and protection, term of respect adn honour, ruler or chief.

בְּעֵין דּוֹר – b ‘eyn do’r – in ‘Eyn Do’r

עֵין־דוֹר – ‘Eyn-Do’r – Endor, Fountain of Dor

עַיִן – ‘ayin – eye, spring, fountain

דּוֹר – dowr – period, generation, habitation, dwelling.  From דּוּר:

דּוּר – duwr – to heap up, pile, to dwell, to remain, to delay, to inhabit, to go around.

דּוּר – duwr – ball, circle

My translation:  “There is a woman that is mistress over the dead at the eye of the circle.”

So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments, and went, he and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit, and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” ~1 Samuel 28:8

ח  וַיִּתְחַפֵּשׂ שָׁאוּל וַיִּלְבַּשׁ בְּגָדִים אֲחֵרִים וַיֵּלֶךְ הוּא וּשְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים עִמּוֹ וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאִשָּׁה לָיְלָה וַיֹּאמֶר קָסֳמִי-נָא לִי בָּאוֹב וְהַעֲלִי לִי, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-אֹמַר אֵלָיִך

Divine for me by a spirit

קָסֳמִי-נָא לִי בָּאוֹב

קָסַם – qacam – to practice divination, divine.

נָא – na – please, if you please

לִי – li – to, for (first person singular)

בָּאוֹב – conjure up, invoke, in/with + אוֹב (see above)

My translation:  “Please divine by conjuring for me.”

The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the wizards from the land. Why then are you laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?” ~1 Samuel 28:9

ט  וַתֹּאמֶר הָאִשָּׁה אֵלָיו הִנֵּה אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה שָׁאוּל אֲשֶׁר הִכְרִית אֶת-הָאֹבוֹת וְאֶת-הַיִּדְּעֹנִי מִן-הָאָרֶץ וְלָמָה אַתָּה מִתְנַקֵּשׁ בְּנַפְשִׁי לַהֲמִיתֵנִי

cut off the mediums and the wizards from the land

הִכְרִית אֶת-הָאֹבוֹת וְאֶת-הַיִּדְּעֹנִי מִן-הָאָרֶץ

הִכְרִית – hkarath – the + כָּרַת

כָּרַת – karath – to cut, cut off, eliminate, kill, cut a covenant, to hew, to be cut off, to be cut down, to be cut off, to be chewed, to fail, to destroy, to take away, to permit to perish.

אֶת – et – to, with

הָאֹבוֹת – havot – the + אֹבוֹת

אֹבוֹת – avot – plural of אֹב:

אֹב – av – father, male parent, ancestor, forefather, progenitor, originator, prototype

וְאֶת – ‘owb – and + אוֹב (see above)

הַיִּדְּעֹנִי – hyidde’oni – the + יִּדְּעֹנִי

יִּדְּעֹנִי – yidde’oni – a knower, one who has a familiar spirit, soothsayer, necromancer.  From יָדַע:

יָדַע – yada’ – to know, to perceive, to discriminate, to distinguish, to know by experience, to recognise, to consider, to be perceived, to be made known, to be revealed, to cause to know, to be known, to make oneself known, to declare, to reveal oneself.

מִן – men – from

הָאָרֶץ – haarets – the + אָרֶץ

אָרֶץ – erets – country, land, territory, district, earth, ground, soil

My translation:  “removed ancestors and spirit knowers from the ground”

The king said to her, “Have no fear; what do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” ~1 Samuel 28:13

יג  וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ הַמֶּלֶךְ אַל-תִּירְאִי כִּי מָה רָאִית וַתֹּאמֶר הָאִשָּׁה אֶל-שָׁאוּל אֱלֹהִים רָאִיתִי עֹלִים מִן-הָאָרֶץ

a god coming up out of the earth.

אֱלֹהִים רָאִיתִי עֹלִים מִן-הָאָרֶץ

אֱלֹהִים – ‘elohiym – rulers, judges, divine ones, angels, gods, god/goddess, godlike one, works or special possessions of God, God

רָאִיתִי – raiti first person singular past tense of רָאָה:

רָאָה – raa – to see, to have vision, to observe, to look at

עֹלִים – ‘alim – plural indefinite form of עָלֶה:

עָלֶה – ‘alah – to go up, ascend, climb, meet, visit, follow, depart, retreat, spring up, grow, shoot forth, rise, excel, be superior to, be taken up, be brought up, be taken away, to take oneself away, to be exalted

מִן – men – (see above)

הָאָרֶץ – haarets – (see above)

My translation:  “a godlike one I See, rising up from the ground”

As Saul can’t see the shade, raa here is vision, the Sight, not physical mundane sight.

He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up; and he is wrapped in a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. ~1 Samuel 28:14

יד  וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ מַה-תָּאֳרוֹ, וַתֹּאמֶר אִישׁ זָקֵן עֹלֶה וְהוּא עֹטֶה מְעִיל וַיֵּדַע שָׁאוּל כִּי-שְׁמוּאֵל הוּא, וַיִּקֹּד אַפַּיִם אַרְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ

And she said, “An old man is coming up; and he is wrapped in a robe.” And Saul knew

וַתֹּאמֶר אִישׁ זָקֵן עֹלֶה וְהוּא עֹטֶה מְעִיל וַיֵּדַע

וַתֹּאמֶר – vatomar – and + תֹּאמֶר

תֹּאמֶר – tomar – third-person singular imperfect of אָמַר:

אָמַר – amar – to say, think, pronounce, intend

אִישׁ – ‘ish – man, husband, adult male

זָקֵן – zaqen – old, elderly, aged

עֹלֶה – ‘alah – (see above)

וְהוּא – vakharash – and + הוּא

הוּא – hi – he, it, he is, it is

עֹטֶה – atah – to wrap, cover, veil, clothe, roll, array, be clad, cover, fill, put on, turn aside

מְעִיל – m’il – robe or coat worn over a tunic by men of rank

וַיֵּדַע – vayeda – and + יֵּדַע (see above)

My translation:  And she pronounced, “And an elderly man rises and he is wrapped in a obe” And he knew

Interesting her is that “knew” is the same “knew” from which “knowers” above is derived.  He knew it was Saul when she spoke in the same way that those who had been removed knew spirits.  Insight, intuition, the beginning of Sight.  His eyes were opened, through her words. The story continues with him and Samuel taking directly.  He appears to now be able to both see and hear him.

Then Saul fell at once full length upon the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel; and there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. ~1 Samuel 28:20

I won’t worry about the Hebrew here, as it doesn’t reveal anything interesting to the discussion.  I will note that “ground” here, “earth” from which Samuel arose, and “land” from which the ancestral spirits and spirit knowers were removed are all the same word.

In summary, Saul asked for a medium and was told there was a mistress over the dead in the eye of the circle.  He seeks her out, and asks her to divine for him by conjuring a shade.  She is fearful because the king (whom she doesn’t yet know is him) had all ancestral spirits and spirit knowers removed from the land/ground/earth.  He reassures her and she calls forth the one he asks for (ingress).  She sees it is a holy man and gets an inkling what is happened, and tells him what she sees.  He asks what the shade looks like and she describes him, and in that description, he Sees and Hears and has congress with him.  After he is gone (egress), Saul falls to the ground, with no strength left. Afterwards she feeds him so he can renew his strength.

This conjuring brings to mind Odin conjuring the volva in Baldrs Draumar (Baldr’s Dreams).  Henry Adams Bellows’ translation (found at http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe13.htm) puts it thus:

1. Once were the gods | together met,

And the goddesses came | and council held,

And the far-famed ones | the truth would find,

Why baleful dreams | to Baldr had come.

2. Then Othin rose, | the enchanter old,

And the saddle he laid | on Sleipnir’s back;

Thence rode he down | to Niflhel deep,

And the hound he met | that came from hell.

3. Bloody he was | on his breast before,

At the father of magic | he howled from afar;

Forward rode Othin, | the earth resounded

Till the house so high | of Hel he reached.

4. Then Othin rode | to the eastern door,

There, he knew well, | was the wise-woman’s grave;

Magic he spoke | and mighty charms,

Till spell-bound she rose, | and in death she spoke:

5. “What is the man, | to me unknown,

That has made me travel | the troublous road?

I was snowed on with snow, | and smitten with rain,

And drenched with dew; | long was I dead.”

Othin spake:

6. “Vegtam my name, | I am Valtam’s son;

Speak thou of hell, | for of heaven I know:

For whom are the benches | bright with rings,

And the platforms gay | bedecked with gold?”

The Wise-Woman spake:

7. “Here for Baldr | the mead is brewed,

The shining drink, | and a shield lies o’er it;

But their hope is gone | from the mighty gods.

Unwilling I spake, | and now would be still.”

Othin spake:

8. “Wise-woman, cease not! | I seek from thee

All to know | that I fain would ask:

Who shall the bane | of Baldr become,

And steal the life | from Othin’s son?”

The Wise-Woman spake:

9. “Hoth thither bears | the far-famed branch,

He shall the bane | of Baldr become,

And steal the life | from Othin’s son.

Unwilling I spake, | and now would be still.”

Othin spake:

10. “Wise-woman, cease not! | I seek from thee

All to know | that I fain would ask:

Who shall vengeance win | for the evil work,

Or bring to the flames | the slayer of Baldr?”

The Wise-Woman spake:

11. “Rind bears Vali | in Vestrsalir,

And one night old | fights Othin’s son;

His hands he shall wash not, | his hair he shall comb not,

Till the slayer of Baldr | he brings to the flames.

Unwilling I spake, | and now would be still.”

Othin spake:

12. “Wise-woman, cease not! | I seek from thee

All to know | that I fain would ask:

What maidens are they | who then shall weep,

And toss to the sky | the yards of the sails?”

The Wise-Woman spake:

13. “Vegtam thou art not, | as erstwhile I thought;

Othin thou art, | the enchanter old.”

Othin spake:

“No wise-woman art thou, | nor wisdom hast;

Of giants three | the mother art thou.”

The Wise-Woman spake:

14. “Home ride, Othin, | be ever proud;

For no one of men | shall seek me more

Till Loki wanders | loose from his bonds,

And to the last strife | the destroyers come.”

We don’t see the weakness at the end, as it ends with her parting speech.  But there’s a feel to the conjuring much similar, with the spirit rising up from the ground, the spirit none to happy to be called and having a threatening tone.  Neither rose willingly, and neither could resist the call.

There is another tale we have of summoning the dead, that of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey.  Book Eleven says:

At the furthest edge of Ocean’s stream is the land to which all journey when they die. Here their spirits endure a fleshless existence. They can’t even talk unless re-animated with blood.

Accordingly, I did as Circe instructed, bleeding a sacrificed lamb into a pit. Tiresias, the blind prophet who had accompanied us to Troy, was the soul I had to talk to. So I held all the other shades at bay with my sword until he had drunk from the pit.

He gave me warnings about my journey home and told me what I must do to ensure a happy death when my time came. I met the shades of many famous women and heroes, including Achilles, best fighter of the Greeks at Troy

~Mythweb – http://www.mythweb.com/odyssey/Odyssey.pdf

While we don’t have the patterns we saw before, no rising from the ground, no hostility, no weakness afterwards, there is a parallel with Odin’s conjuring.  Odin road to just outside Hel to do the conjuring, the place of the dead.  Likewise Odysseus travels to the land of the dead before using blood to allow the dead to talk.

It is interesting to note that Odysseus’ name comes from ὀδύσσομαι, “to be wroth against” or “hate”, from μισώ.  The beginning of the name brings to mind Óð (as in Óðinn).  Many of Odin’s names bring to mind hate or anger.  While it is unlikely there’s a link between the two tales, it’s interesting to entertain.

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in muninnskiss

 

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Let Us Give Thanks

On this day that people in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s a day with a lot of energy, both of thankfulness and of hearth and home, larder and abundance, of friends and family.

It’s a day associated with the harvest, like many other days between the Summer and Winter Solstices, though probably the latest harvest festival of the Gregorian year.  It is a day that’s the height of increase. It’s interesting that this year it falls so close to the New Moon, at a place of decrease, and also that it falls when Mercury is retrograde, a time often associated with things going backwards.  Appropriate since there is a general spiritual climate with the current economy, with the unemployment, with the recent protests, of lack, not abundance.

With the importance of family on this day for most Americans, it begs the question, who are you thankful to?   Is it to the Divine or land spirits, those that bring abundance?   Is it to your living family and friends, those that are part of your life in the now, the present, and all the blessings they give you.  Is it to your ancestors, recent or ancient, blood or spirit, the ones that helped you get where you are today?  I think it’s as important to know who you’re thankful to as what you’re thankful for, for this tells a lot about you.

When you hear the word “ancestor”, what do you think of?  You grandfather that died a year or two ago?  Your father that died?  Those who you’re descended from who made the crossing to the New World?  Someone sitting in a grass hut in pre-history?  Or do you think of the Might Dead, of the dead of your spiritual line, those who mentored you, who mentored them?  Those form part of the current you ride in your journey?  If you believe in reincarnation, do you only think of the ancestors of this life, or of all lives?

Memory is passed in the blood and is stored in the bones.  Not the memories like what I had for dinner last night, but the ancient memories.  Who we really are, where we really came from.  As the baby grows in the mother, their blood mixes.  Her blood flows through her bones, picking up the memories.  Her blood flows down the umbilical cord, mixing with the baby’s, and passes, along with the oxygen and nutrients, the memories in her bones of what came before.  And the baby’s blood circulates through his body and those memories join others in his bones.

And other memories come also, memories from the Neshamah, who has lived many lives before.  She passes these memories along the cord, very much like the physical umbilical cord, that connects her to the newly developing Nefesh.  These memories are carried within her in the Threads of Wyrd, of Fate, that lie at her core.  They are passed down that cord to Nefesh.  And Nefesh is closely tied with the blood and the bones, and takes these memories and stores them in the bones to join the others in the baby’s bones.

These memories are what ties us to both our physical ancestors and our spiritual ancestors.  And the new born baby knows all things that came before, but can’t communicate them, being without words.  But with the coming of words comes restriction of memories, for the memories that he can’t put into words no longer hold meaning and are forgotten.  With language comes ignorance and forgetfulness.  And we spend the rest of our lives re-learning, re-discovering, re-remembering.  But the memories are still in our bones, as they are still in the wind that blows across our skin.  So close, yet so far.  Right there, yet they might as well be in the stars.  And they are.

Magic and the craft is in our blood and our bones, for those who aren’t clayborn.  It’s tied up in those memories.  Call it Witchblood, call it the Witch’s Mark, call it whatever you like, but it’s there, waiting for use to find it.  As it was in our parents, whether physical or spiritual, and in theirs, all the way back.  And where do we go, looking back?  How far and to whom?

There’s a story common in the Craft, and elsewhere, both esoteric and exoteric, both legend and myth,  The story tells of beings descending, seeing the beauty of the Daughters of Man, and having children of them, and teaching them all things, all crafts, all sciences, all arts, all magic.  Some call them Watchers, some call them Guardians, some call the Gods, some call them the Sons of God.  There are different counts of them, seven, eight, twelve, 200, other counts as well.  In many traditions, those with the Witchblood or Mark are those descended from these beings.  The things they taught aren’t just passed down from teacher to student, master to apprentice.  They are in those memories, in our blood and our bones.  If we’re not taught, still we can learn.  If we just listen to our bones, listen to our blood, listen to the wind.

If we are descended, both physically and spiritually from the Watchers, from the Guardians, they aren’t guides or teachers or protectors.  They are our flesh and blood, some of our most ancient ancestors.  They are family.  When we encounter them in the Circle or Compass, or at Dawn or Dusk, yes, they are distant and removed, the ultimate reaches, the stars in the sky.  But they are also family, also our ancestors, the most ancient of the Mighty Dead.  They are distant, but they are also close, in our very blood and bones, just as we were in their loins and seed.  The connection is more than just a teacher and a student, or a protector and witness to our Arte.  They are one with us and us with them.  One blood, one body, one soul.

When we say we’re thankful on this day, yes, let us look to the spirits and the Divine, yes, let us look to our friends and families, yes, let us look to our ancestors.  But let us look to all our ancestors, recent and ancient, physical and spiritual, human and stellar.  We are made of stardust, and we also carry it in our blood and bones, in our Nefesh, our Ruach, and our Neshamah, in the very strands of Wyrd that connect us to the past, the present, the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be, all space, all time, all earths, all heavens, the mundane and the sacred, the human and the divine.

“Let us give thanks…”

FFF,
~Muninn’s Kiss

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in muninnskiss

 

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The Return of the Dead

Yesterday, I received a new book in the mail.  A few years ago, I read a book called Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages by Claude Lecouteux.  I checked it out of the library and liked it so much that even though I had read the entire book, I bought a copy.  This new book is also by him and I am looking forward to reading it.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=widgetsamazon-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1594773181&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind looks like a very interesting book to me.  Here’s what the Amazon Product Description says:

“How the ghost stories of pagan times reveal the seamless union existing between the world of the living and the afterlife

• “Demonstrates how Medieval Christianity transformed the more corporeal ghost encountered in pagan cultures with the disembodied form known today

• “Explains how the returning dead were once viewed as either troublemakers or guarantors of the social order

“The impermeable border the modern world sees existing between the world of the living and the afterlife was not visible to our ancestors. The dead could–and did–cross back and forth at will. The pagan mind had no fear of death, but some of the dead were definitely to be dreaded: those who failed to go peacefully into the afterlife but remained on this side in order to right a wrong that had befallen them personally or to ensure that the law promoted by the ancestors was being respected. But these dead individuals were a far cry from the amorphous ectoplasm that is featured in modern ghost stories. These earlier visitors from beyond the grave–known as revenants–slept, ate, and fought like men, even when, like Klaufi of the Svarfdaela Saga, they carried their heads in their arms.

“Revenants were part of the ancestor worship prevalent in the pagan world and still practiced in indigenous cultures such as the Fang and Kota of equatorial Africa, among others. The Church, eager to supplant this familial faith with its own, engineered the transformation of the corporeal revenant into the disembodied ghost of modern times, which could then be easily discounted as a figment of the imagination or the work of the devil. The sanctified grounds of the church cemetery replaced the burial mounds on the family farm, where the ancestors remained as an integral part of the living community. This exile to the formal graveyard, ironically enough, has contributed to the great loss of the sacred that characterizes the modern world.”

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in muninnskiss

 

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