Monthly Archives: April 2016


Things That Go Bump in the Night–Zombies 4 comments

I grow weary of TV and movie zombies. Bloody, yes; scary, not so much. The truth is far more terrifying. A zombie is a supposedly dead person who has been reanimated. In Haitian voodoo, which may have its roots in Western or Central Africa, a zombie is an undead slave created by a witch or priest or priestess. The creature was once alive but, by the application of magic and a few household ingredients in the right proportions, got […]


Things That Go Bump in the Night–Yawkwawiak, the Giant Bear 1 comment

Y is another tricky letter but the Yawkwawiak makes a fine addition to the bestiary we are developing at Sorchia’s Universe He’s also called Katshituashku by the Penobscot Nation and is an elephant-sized bear who enjoys munching on unwary nature-lovers—or anyone else who wanders into the forest. The stiff-legged bear makes an appearance in the lore of several Native American tribes. The Penobscot Nation reports that the big, shaggy mammal can’t bend its legs and leans on trees to […]


Things That Go Bump in the Night–Xing Tian, the Headless Giant 1 comment

X is notoriously a difficult letter to make work during an A-Z Blog. Fortunately, there are freaky critters all over the world! Xíng Tiān  is a creature in Chinese mythology. The giant Xíng Tiān followed his master into exile after a bitter defeat at the hands of The Yellow Emperor. After this Yellow Emperor caught up and executed Xing Tian’s master, Xing Tian issued a challenge for a duel. Xíng Tiān and The Yellow Emperor fought a ferocious battle […]


The short definition of witch is someone who practices magic—but the story is much more complex than that.

First, witches can be male or female. Many male witches particularly hate the term warlock because it creates a division where there is none. Witches are old souls who have been through many lifetimes and in many forms. Male and Female just don’t apply. The tradition is matriarchal, but the form is variable.

malewitch

Second, magic is one dish with many flavors. You have the everyday magic of seeds sprouting, babies laughing, and beauty appearing everywhere—that’s something to which we all have access. The kind of magic witches do involves the application of knowledge and intention to cause a result. It’s like ordering a pizza on your phone—the phone is there and accessible to everyone, but unless you take the action of picking it up, unless you know the correct number to dial, and unless you know how to communicate with whoever is on the other end—no pizza is going to magically appear on your doorstep.

Witches know how to use the phone and they know the number and they know what to say. And –voila—let there be pizza.

So magic is, as Alexander Crowley defines it, the science and art of causing change to occur in conformance with will—using the super powers that reside in the natural, as Leo Martello adds. In fact, many witches don’t consider magic supernatural at all. To them, magic is a science—a naturally occurring phenomena which has gotten really bad press. (A few decades ago, alcoholism was a moral issue, traveling faster than the speed of sound was impossible, cloning only happened in science fiction, and the Web belonged to Charlotte.)

Not all witches are Wiccan and not all Wiccans consider themselves witches. Many who follow the old ways don’t refer to themselves as witches because of the whole green-skinned, warty, child-roasting image witches have. Others flaunt the term for the same reasons.

wicked witch of the west

In general, witches revere the earth, believe in and practice a variety of magic including garden magic, candle magic, and divination, and enjoy the occasional ritual to connect to those forces which guide and order the Universe.

As for deities, many witches use ancient gods and goddesses as a focus, but don’t think of those entities as real people—The gods and goddesses simply represent aspects of the Universe. By invoking the names of gods or goddesses, witches tap into a millennia-old traditions using sympathetic magic—The Law of Attraction. Witches believe everyone and everything possesses a spark of the divine which they are free to use in any way they choose. Karma sorts it out later. And Karma has nothing to do with punishment and reward—it is about learning and evolving.

I can’t speak for all witches, but a great many—I want to say the vast majority—not only do not worship Satan, they don’t even believe in Satan and reject the idea of a war between good and evil out of hand. As witches see it, Nature is simply Nature and people are only a part of a greater reality. Good and Evil is subjective—Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. Charles Adams as quoted by Morticia Addams.

morticia

This is not to say that witches are all fuzzy bunnies and gentle, pink puffballs. An acquaintance tells the story of the witch who cursed him and his farm with a two year drought over a little matter of a disputed fence line. “I don’t believe in such things,” he says, “but after she said that, I didn’t see rain for a long time.”

drought

While witches adhere to the Threefold Law, which says whatever you send out into the world will come back to you times three, every law has a loophole. This one has a little wiggleroom which allows bindings and banishings.

Let’s say somebody pisses you off—cuts in front of you in the checkout lane, knocks your toddler down, steals the tinkly wind chime out of your yard. As a witch, you would know how to banish that person from crossing your path again and you can take it a step further by speeding up and intensifying the process of sending their own energy back to them with a binding spell. Some witches figure that Karma works in mysterious ways and who knows –maybe part of your job is to give it a hand from time to time.

A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her. Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith

 

Pray for me and I'll dance naked in the woods for you

Tomorrow–For the Dreaded X-Day at A-Z Blogging Challenge–Xing Tian–and other Headless Men

 


Things That Go Bump in the Night–Voodoo Dolls 2 comments

A busy time here at Sorchia’s Universe. I’ve missed a couple of letters but plan to finish strong–with a BIG announcement coming soon. Here’s the thing about Voodoo dolls–they are not really Voodoo after all. Many religions use dolls or human figures in rituals–including Voodoo. The association, however, is mostly pure Hollywood. Ancient Greeks called them Kolossoi, and used them to protect a village by binding the deity and preventing harm from that source. Native Americans and other agricultural […]


Things That Go Bump in the Night–Rougarou 8 comments

We are in the last half of the A-Z Blog and I’m getting my second wind. Since I write about this kind of stuff all the time, it isn’t unusual to find similar posts. Be sure to click the link at the end of this short post to read more about werewolves. Rougarou is  the Louisianan or Cajun French version of Loup garou, a French term for werewolf. The story is the same except that the rougarou prowls the […]


Things That Go Bump in the Night–The Questing Beast 2 comments

  The Questing Beast is one of those critters who seem to only exist in literature—but it starts with Q so . . . . .   It appears in Arthurian legend as a dragon-like creature with the head of a snake, the body of a leopard and the haunches of a hart. Its bite is poisonous with no antidote save intervention by one who knows the ancient religion. The curing spell requires a sacrifice of a life to […]


Things That Go Bump in the Night–Popobawa 3 comments

Most of the creatures we’ll look at during this A-Z blog have their roots in ancient history. Except this one. According to the story, an Arab sheik released a Djinn sometime in the 1970s. The sheik planned to use the Jinn to take vengeance on the sheik’s neighbors, but Djinns being Djinns and sheiks being sheiks, nothing worked out as planned. The Djinn escaped from the sheik’s power, but continued to wreak havoc. Popobawa is a fairly local phenomena, […]