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September 30, 2014 by weekiwitch
June 25, 2013 by weekiwitch
One of my amazing commenters, Cloven Hoofed, has sent me a remarkable copy of an advertising poster for the Witches Mill.
Wouldn’t it be something to go back in time & dance with Gardner at the Witches Mill?
He has this to say:
“I have a friend who lives on the Isle of Man, he’s a bookseller and knows a lot of local people – he also knows that I’m interested in acquiring Witches Mill / Gardner-related items. A contact of his on the island has a large collection historical documents of all kinds relating to the history of the place and she gave him a photo-copy of the poster to give to me…….
I guess most of us know the standard GBG drawing of the witch flying over the tower – but I haven’t seen this drawing before.
It’s undated, the writing is clearly in a ‘calligraphic’ style (could it be by GBG?).”
There are several questions that arise:
Did Gerald have a hand in it’s making?
If not, then who commissioned it? Gerald, Monique Wilson?
Was the dancing at the Mill during Gerald’s lifetime?
Could the phone number a reliable indicator of the date?
We have our own theories. What do you think?
Side note: Speaking of Witches Mill, I managed to get my hands on an original Witches Mill booklet. It’s so tiny, less than 5 inches tall! This is a later edition, published by the Wilsons. You can see scans of an excellent earlier version at the invaluable geraldgardner.com
June 24, 2013 by weekiwitch
Recently, I was doing some light research on the history of the classic “Eko, Eko, Azarak” chant. After some digging, I finally found a copy of it’s original source and thought I’d share. The chant comes from a beautiful article entitled “The Black Arts” by J.F.C. Fuller (1921). Where Fuller got it, who knows…if you have any info on that front, please feel free to pass it my way.
“Eko, Eko, Azarak” has become somewhat ubiquitous since 1921, exploding into many and varied forms from it’s use in “High Magic’s Aid,” into the 1970’s and onwards. Many people have put forth theories on meanings and linguistic origins, but none so far that I give any serious credence to.
This chant has long held a real fascination for me. I am completely enamored with it, not only for it’s weird history but because it feels powerful to me, and not something I employ without care.
It is often paired with lines from the play, Le Miracle de Théophile (such as “Bazabi lacha bachabe”), or has “Eko, eko, Cernunnos/Aradia” tacked on the end. However, I prefer it in it’s original, unedited form.
The article in question, “The Black Arts,” has this to say about it:
In the Middle Ages of Christian rule did once again the spirit of man break the shackles which bound him, and it broke them by an
alliance with Satan. Mad, if not insane, would the sorcerer creep
forth to some heath or grove, far away from monastery or church,
and, bereft of his senses through the gloom of those desolate places,
would he shriek to the stars:
Eko! eko! Azarak. Eko! eko! Zomelak!
Zod-ru-kod e Zod-ru-koo
Zod-ru-koz e Goo-ru-moo!
Eo! Eo! Oo … Oo … Oo!
Though the words be different, it is the same chant of the Assyrian
seer, for it is the conjuration of freedom, freedom which was to
beget the arts and sciences of today, that consciousness which, though latent, was unconsciousness when these words were uttered. They were the love murmurings of a new betrothal.
Fuller could write, I am besotted by this. The whole thing is beautifully done. So for posterity, here’s the rest of the article: **CLICK HERE**
March 27, 2013 by weekiwitch
If you look at the very bottom of this ad from FATE Magazine (Nov 1981), you can see that the remains of Gardner’s Witches Mill collection somehow ended up in Florida.
Want to know something? They’re still in Florida. Crazy right?? Is this common knowledge? I have no idea.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m fairly materialistic. That’s probably bad…but I like my stuff. I love my witchy stuff, and I extra love stuff with historical context. The idea that I could own something that used to be on display at the Witches Mill fills me with childish glee.
I spend a lot of time in Florida, and have been able to sort of retrace the steps of this collection’s migration patterns. Allen Greenfield tells a remarkable story about his search in Florida for the Gardner’s Ripley’s left overs, finding the OTO Charter and other priceless treasures at the “Old Jail” tourist trap museum in St. Augustine…which might be the most ludicrous tale I’ve ever heard.
When Ripley’s shut down their museums in Gatlinburg and San Fransisco, the collection went to a broker in Florida and… just sat around mostly. They made a catalog of the items in the early 1980’s, but then not much happened as far as I can tell. In the mid 1990’s, the Floridian dealers “Unique and Precious” put the items up for sale online individually. They’ve been on the exact same website ever since, slowly selling one piece at a time.
(Side note: I can’t believe that Gardner’s stuff was in dedicated Witchcraft museum in Gatlinburg of all places. I go there several times a year and just wistfully sulk.)
I’ve put together a crude pdf of the catalog, there are several copies of the real one on ebay (for $25) if that’s your thing.
After discovering this, there was no way I couldn’t buy something. I ended up getting a little charm that seemed to call to me. It’s not much, but I like it. What’s great is it came with a whole packet of stuff, an authentication letter from Ripley’s, excerpts on Gardner from Valiente and the Witches Mill booklet. It also included some newspaper articles and the folder it came in looked like it hadn’t been opened since the early 1980’s. All pretty awesome, IMO.
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March 27, 2013 by weekiwitch
Yes, yes, more Patricia Crowther. I’m never going to run out of things to say.
If you read “The Secrets of Ancient Witchcraft with the Witches Tarot,” which is a very fun read, there’s a little chapter on hair magic…with a large large portion devoted to underarm hair. This is not something I ever thought about, perhaps I’m just not well read enough.
Some interesting parts:
“Hair in the armpits, or ‘shade’ as it used to be called, was considered one of the more erotic parts of the female body. In fact, it was considered much more attractive than women’s breasts….The short-sleeve dresses of older periods obscured the view of underarm hair, but girls who were out to attract fellows would cunningly raise their arms and expose the hair, knowing the sexual effect if would have on their admirers.”
“In ancient manuscripts, to take the power from a witch one was advised to catch her and shave the hair from her armpits. This was believed to stop her from having power over evil spirits, and because as long as she retained the hair, she had no fear of them.”
In parts of Germany, it was said a witch could be recognized by the excess of hair under the arms, and that by raising them and show it, she could exorcise evil spirits, frighten away ghosts or bewitch people.”
It goes on and on…The cumulative effect of this chapter is to make one go, “hmm.” I’ve never really considered the idea of not shaving, because you know, it just isn’t done. This book makes the best case for it I’ve heard, but it’s hard to entirely deny one’s cultural programming. I wonder if Patricia ever followed her own lore?
The world may never know.
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March 25, 2013 by weekiwitch
Some days the sun shines on you and ebay sends you a saved search alert that actually contains something useful. I finally got a copy of the original 1965 “The Witches Speak” by the Crowthers.
When the book arrived, it was a bit of a surprise, because it’s essentially a magazine. It was published by Athol as a special offer from FATE magazine. Still, that only adds to it’s ephemeral nature and it has some fascinating pictures not included in the later edition.
The book kind of what you’d expect from the time period and format…it’s a very general overview of Witchcraft, history etc. It’s written in a way that anticipates lay people’s questions and reactions to the topic, reads a bit defensively, which is understandable.
I went through both books page by page to spot any differences. Turns out the only things different are the pictures (1976 is all illustrations, 1965 is photographs) and the forward by Leo Martello in 1976. The forward is very interesting, it gives some great historical context for the book.
Overall I’m not sure which I’d recommend. The 1976 illustrations and forward are very interesting, but the 1965 version is such a cool piece of history.
**CLICK HERE** to continue to the gallery where you can see all the images from both books. Enjoy!