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.)

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