Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Oxford is embarrased...

The Earl of Oxford making his low obesiance to Queen Elizabeth I,
 happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed 
that he went to travel seven years.
On his return the Queen welcomed him home and said, 
'My Lord I had forgot the Fart.'

from Brief Lives by John Aubrey late 17th century

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Talking of witches....

Here is more old yarns from Dorset about witch craft...
'At Shipton one day, while a chimney sweep was engaged at work he bought
 from a chimney a  bullocks heart, stuffed with pins, the strangest thing being, 
not that the heart should get up a chimney at all but that the pins were all stuck 
in the wrong way, that is, they were pointing outward, like the prickles of a hedgehog.'
( I mentioned the use of bullocks hearts in my novel The Lavender Witch)

There were two old spinster sisters called Ridout who lived in a cottage below 
the churchyard at Sturminster Newton. They earned a living making rush mats 
and hassocks. They associated with no one and were avoided by all as having 
the evil eye. They practiced charms, hanging a bottle up the chimney with 
frogs entrails and a bullocks heart stuck with pins. They had a peculiar aversion
 to the village schoolmaster who they thought had bewitched them. The only remedy 
to break the spell by drawing a little of his blood. This they accomplished by 
scratching him with a pin when they met him in the street. They were both 
found dead later in the snow by Hayden Farm and their graves were marked 
with two crosses, which could still be seen up until the late1930's

When the bullocks heart dries up and falls down  into the fireplace, the witch 
was supposed to become powerless to harm her victim again. This method of 
counteracting the evil eye was very popular in country areas, along with urine filled 
bottles and shoes; even a walled up cat has been found in a bid to protect 
the house against witchcraft.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Old Country cures..

Living in the country I have come across many strange tales 
and here is one of them...
During the middle of the 19th century there was such a person called a 
Toad Doctor who practiced his arts around Dorset. 
This one, called Buckland lived at Pulham near Cerne and every year in 
the month of May and according to the phases of the moon he would hold a fair, 
known far and wide as 'Dr Bucklands Fair'.
He would attend all dressed in white and was assisted by his three daughters, 
also similarly attired. 
They would attend to people who came from far and wide to seek his help. 
His method was very unusual, for he kept toads which he used alive,
 hanging them under his patients clothes. 
As long as the toads twitched and moved, the cure progressed! 
If the toad died before the patient was cured it was a sign that it was a hopeless case!
Many of his patients used to come as they said they were suffering from 
the effects of overlooking by those with the evil eye.
It was also very popular for scrofula ( the kings evil)
I am lucky I have two toads living in my garden, not that I intend to wear them under my clothes tho! I am sure it is a good sign to have them here.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Troubled with vampires?

If you have problems of the toothy kind either 
plant a bramble near to your house or place blackberries 
on the threshold. 
The vampire will obsessively count the berries and thorns 
until the first light of day when he will have to depart.

To keep off evil spirits, pick bramble at the full moon and 
make a wreath, including rowan and ivy. 
Then hang over the doors to your house; this will also protect
 the inhabitants against evil spells. 

Faerie Flora 2013

Monday, 22 July 2013


Just had an interesting conversation
 with somebody about adapting 
The Lavender Witch 
for the screen!!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer Daisies

Putting a daisy chain around your child's neck will prevent it from being  
taken by malicious faeries.
The belief in the power of the daisy flower goes back to Celtic times  
when they believed that the flowers were the spirits of children  
who had died at birth and had returned to earth to comfort 
their grieving parents.

Faerie Flora 2013

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Summer and roses...

Now the summer is well and truly here, hurrah!, my roses are in full bloom and the faeries in my garden are absolutely delighted for they adore roses.
As I have mentioned before if you wish to attract faeries o your garden 
grow loads of roses!
 And if you need a love spell sprinkle rose petals under your feet and dance 
on them while asking the faeries for their help in winning the one you love, 
and they will give their blessings on your magic.

Roses are also extremely useful in medicine; rose hips are a good source of 
vitamin C and according to Culpepper a decotation made with red rose petals
 and wine is a good remedy for headaches. 
Is that the hair of the dog remedy I wonder?

While the faeries use the roses themselves...
a faerie can make her self invisible by eating a rosehip and spinning 
anti clockwise on the same spot three times. To become visible again the faerie 
must eat another rosehip and spin again, but this time clockwise, three times.

I also have another love charm if anybody needs one...
Take three roses, white, pink and red.
wear them next to your heart
for three days
Steep them in wine
For three days more
Then give them to your lover
When he drinks, he will
Be yours forever.

Faerie Flora 2013

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Advice from a 17th century spell book

If you are not interested in love potions but wish instead to rid yourself of unwanted 
attention from a suitor read on..
The 20th  of July is the feast of St Wilgefortis ( not one of the better known saints )
She was the daughter of the King of Portugal and had made a vow of perpetual 
virginity: when her father tried to make her marry she prayed for deliverance and 
at once sprouted a copious beard! 
Her suitors then fled in horror and her outraged father had her crucified.
Known forever after as St Wilgefortis or Uncomber, the original bearded lady. 
She was invoked by women who wished to uncomber themselves of troublesome
 husbands or importunate suitors.

Another little pearl of wisdom from the same spell book...
To know if your husband or wife is bewitched  or not; look well into their eyes and 
if you can discern your picture in them, they are not bewitched; if you cannot discern 
your likeness, some person hath bewitched them.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

If the love potions have proved successful..

 Now I know what you're thinking, that I haven't given you much time for all 
the brewing of potions and casting spells to catch your true love but, 
forewarned is forarmed as they say!
If you intend to get up and personal, heh ! heh! checking his or her moles 
is a good idea, and I am not talking cancer or anything like that! Or small brown fluffy things that live underground..
According to 'The Old Egyptian Fortune teller' of 1710 the position of a mole 
on the body is a sure way to know the character of a person!
 So here goes.. a mole on the right shoulder denotes happiness to man or woman; 
if on the left shoulder, if a man, he will be quarrelsome, if a woman she will 
have many husbands. On the left cheek, fruitfulness in man or woman; on 
the left ribs, a man to be very cruel, a woman vain and proud; on the right breast, 
denotes a man to be  a slave to love, and shows that a woman will beloved
 of great men; under the right loin, signifies and industrious man and good to a 
woman; on the buttocks, denotes honour to a man and riches to a woman. 
On the right side of the belly, denotes a man to flow in riches and a woman to 
be happy in marriage; one near to the navel signifies many children.
And I can hear you all rushing to the bathroom to examine your moles!!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

If you are in need of a love potion..

With all this lovely weather we are having thoughts turn to love.. or so I am told. 
If you are in need of a love potion read on..
According to Reginald Scott writing 'The Discovery of Witchcraft'  in 1584, 
'the toys which are said to procure love are these. The hair growing in the nethermost 
parts of the wolf's tail, a wolf's yard ( I think he means penis!) 
the brain of a cat,newt or lizard. The bone of a green frog, the flesh thereof 
being consumed by ants, the left bone whereof engendreth love, the bones on 
the right side, hate. Also it is said of a frog's bones that some will swim and 
some sink: those that sink being hanged up in a white linen cloth, engender 
love but if a man be touched therewith, hate.'
 Of course wine and chocolate usually works as well...

For a gentler love spell sprinkle rose petals under your feet and dance on 
them while asking the faeries for their help in winning the one you love 
and they will give their blessings on your magic. 

Faerie Flora- Elizabeth Andrews

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Midsummer Eve- old style

 bs ew Robin Goodfellow [Daniel Maclise]

The 4th July is Midsummer Eve, old style and is a good time to make prognostications according to 18thC wise women. At this time three or four of you must take your shifts and dip them in the water, then turn them inside out and hang over a chair before the fire. On another chair lay some salt, speak not a word while doing so. During the night an image of your future partners will appear and turn your shifts, drinking a toast to you at the same time.

You must be wary during Midsummer Day that you are not misled by Robin Goodfellow.

In English folklore, Puck is a mythological Fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.
The Old English puca is a kind of half-tamed woodland sprite, leading folk astray with echoes and lights in nighttime woodlands or coming into the farmstead and souring milk in the churn.
Puck's euphemistic "disguised" name is "Robin Goodfellow" or "Hobgoblin",[1] in which "Hob" may substitute for "Rob" or may simply refer to the "goblin of the hearth" or hob. 
If you had the knack, Puck might do minor housework for you, quick fine needlework or butter-churning, which could be undone in a moment by his knavish tricks if you fell out of favour with him. He may also do work for you if you leave him small gifts, such as a glass of milk or other such treats, otherwise he may do the opposite by "make[ing] the drink[beer] to bear no barm" and other such fiendish acts. Pucks are also known to be inherently lonely creatures, and often share the goal of acquiring friends. "Those that Hob-goblin call you, and sweet Puck, / You do their work, and they shall have good luck" said one of William Shakespeare's fairies. Shakespeare's characterization of "shrewd and knavish" Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream may have revived flagging interest in Puck.[2]
According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898):
[Robin Goodfellow is a] "drudging fiend", and merry domestic fairy, famous for mischievous pranks and practical jokes. At night-time he will sometimes do little services for the family over which he presides. The Scots call this domestic spirit a brownie; the Germans, kobold or Knecht Ruprecht. Scandinavians called it Nissë God-dreng. Puck, the jester of Fairy-court, is the same.
When'er such wanderers I meet
As from their night sports they trudge home
With counterfeiting voice I greet
And call on them, with me to roam
Or else, unseen, with them I go
And frolic it, with ho! ho! ho!

If you do meet him or any other misleading and mischevious faeries, turn your coat or cloak inside out.
Whilst in this mill we labour and turn around
As in a conjuror's circle, William
A means for deliverance; turn your cloaks
Qouth he, for Puck is busy in these oaks.