Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Invocation of the Horned One

Another of my favorite chants, and one that is particularly appropriate this time of year, also comes from Doreen Valiente. I reproduce it here, with no further comment needed:

By the flame that burneth bright 
O Horned One!
We call thy name into the night 
O Ancient One! 

Thee we invoke by the moon-led sea
By the standing stone and the twisted tree
Thee we invoke where gather thine own
By the nameless shrine forgotten and lone
Come where the round of the dance is trod
Horn and hoof of the goat-foot God
By moonlit meadow on dusky hill
When the haunted wood is hushed and still
Come to the charm of the chanted prayer
As the moon bewitches the midnight air
Evoke thy powers, that potent bide
In shining stream and secret tide
In fiery flame by starlight pale
In shadowy host that ride the gale
And by the fern-brakes fairy-haunted
Of forests wild and wood enchanted
Come! O Come!
To the heartbeat's drum!
 Come to us who gather below
When the broad white moon is climbing slow
Through the stars to the heavens' height
We hear thy hoofs on the wind of night
As black tree branches shake and sigh
By joy and terror we know thee nigh
We speak the spell thy power unlocks
At Solstice, Sabbat, and Equinox

Word of virtue the veil to rend
From primal dawn to the wide world's end
Since time began---
The blessing of Pan!

Blessed be all in hearth and hold
Blessed in all worth more than gold
Blessed be in strength and love
Blessed be where e'er we rove

Vision fade not from our eyes
Of the pagan paradise
Past the gates of death and birth
Our inheritance of the earth

From our soul the song of spring
Fade not in our wandering

Our life with all life is one,
By blackest night or noonday sun
Eldest of gods, on thee we call:
Blessing be on thy creatures all.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chants: The Witches' Rune

My friends over at American Folkloric Witchcraft recently posted a version of Doreen Valiente's classic chant The Witches' Rune. It's one of my favorites, and I've used it often with good result; but the version I was taught goes a bit differently, and I thought I'd post it here for the contrast:

Doreen Valiente (Ameth)
"Darksome night and shining moon,
East then South then West then North;
Hearken to the Witches' Rune:
Here come I to call ye forth!

Earth and Water, Air and Fire,
Wand and Pentacle and Sword,
Work ye unto my desire,
Hearken ye unto my word!

Cords and Censer, Scourge and Knife,
Powers of the witch's blade,
Waken all ye unto life,
Come ye as the charm is made!

Queen of Heaven, Queen of Hell,
Horned Hunter of the night,
Lend your power unto the spell,
Work my will by magick rite!

By all the power of land and sea,
By all the might of moon and sun,
As I do will, so mote it be;
Chant the spell and be it done!"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Highland Witch's Powers

Unlike modern Wiccans, classic witches are not bound by the command of harming none; on the contrary, s/he would be fully capable of cursing and curing, with equal facility. Isabel Cameron, in her A Highland Chapbook, describes the powers of such a witch thusly:

(She) could o'ercast the night, and cloud the moon
And mak' the de'ils obedient to her crune,
At midnight hours o'er the kirkyards she raves
And howks unchristened weans out of their graves;
Boils up their livers in a warlock's pow;
And seven times does her prayers backwards pray;
Then mix't with venom of black toads and snakes.
Of this unsousy pictures aft she makes
Of ony she hates;--and gars expire
With shaw and racking pains afore a fire;
Stuck full of pins the devilish pictures melt;
The pain by fowk they represent is felt
Whilst she and cat sit beeking in her yard...

You'll note that the witch in question is credited with doing more than just casting the evil eye; she's also commanding demons, speaking incantations, and stealing unbaptized infants from their graves and using their organs in the making of poppets of her enemies. No "bright blessings" to be found here; these witches of auld were expected to throw down when the need arose! (Please note that the proprietress of the Classic Witchcraft blog does not condone or recommend grave-robbing or demon-summoning, and reports the above for entertainment purposes only!)

Of course, there were available countermeasures, should one find him- or herself on the receiving end of such attentions. Should you believe yourself to be "o'erlooked," pronounce the following countercharm immediately:

The eye that goes over me and through me,
The eye that pierces to the bone and the marrow,
I will overthrow and the elements will help me.

(The snippet of verse detailing the witch's powers appears to have been taken from the 1808 printing of the Scots pastoral play The Gentle Shepherd, by Allan Ramsay, albeit in a slightly edited form. The astute Googler will easily locate the work in its entirety.)