Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Witches at Midnight

"If you see two witches at midnight
With a peacock feather all of white
You may be assured there's a lover's spat
So steal the feather from off their hat
Pick a four leaf clover and your lover keep
On Halloween and there'll be no cause to weep."

Peacocks are typically associated with luxury and outward display, an obvious link thanks to the male's flamboyant nether plumage. White peacocks are rare in captivity and even more so in the wild, so that additional symbolism may come into play here. Captive peafowl are monogamous, whereas their wild counterparts typically are not.

What does any of this have to do with the verse/spell given? My frantic, and fruitless, attempts at making this thing make sense.

Why would a white peacock feather symbolize a lover's spat? I haven't the slightest idea. My (admittedly half-assed) research into the subject brought me no answers. Perhaps it's the fact that two witches are fighting over the feather; although it's not explicitly stated that the witches are at odds over the feather, experience indicates that if there are two witches present and one thing that both of them want, there will be strife. Note, however, that while the verse initially speaks of "feather" singular, the image shows each witch with a feather of her own. Are you as confused as I am? Good.

One is then instructed to steal the feather from the witch's hat, and then pick a four leaf clover to ensure harmony in one's relationship. Good luck finding said clover after dark on Halloween night. Better to be finding yourself a place to hide, since those witches probably will be annoyed at having their hat plumes stolen. They might even come after you, at which point a lover's spat will be the least of your concerns.

All joking aside, this is a lovely example of an early 20th century Halloween postcard. The colors and imagery are rich and elegant, and many of the classic symbols of witchery and the season are present: pointed hats (these with buckled bands and plumes, no less), black cats with fine collars, a glowing carved jack-o-lantern, a bat in flight, a full moon casting a denuded forest into silhouette, a besom for one of the witches, an owl, and surrounding it all a beautifully intricate scrolled border. Even if the spell verse makes no sense, this is still one of the prettiest cards I've come across. I hope you all enjoyed it too.

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