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Every Little Thing is Magick




Welcome to this edition of The Curated Witch, where magick, spirituality, and history merge.


Delve into the dark depths of Scandinavian history about the dramatic love affair that ignited the region’s first witch trial. Journey through the haunted landscapes of Canewdon and Wallasea Island, where the whispers of witches echo through the centuries, and discover how to celebrate the Spring Equinox with wisdom from a Wiccan High Priestess. From the ancient traditions of Fife witches to the vibrant celebrations of Hellenic Polytheists welcoming Dionysus and the coming of spring, embrace diverse pagan practices and rituals.


LGBTQ+ articles discuss how The Witch of Southern Light’ illuminates spiritual paths and question if the inclusive nature of Wicca can accommodate nonbinary believers.

Uncover the magic of Russian Maslenitsa bonfires and Blini and find sacred spaces between worlds in churches like St Mary's and All Saints Church & Holy Well.


In the world of Tarot, learn how to avoid counterfeit decks, harness the power of Eclipse Season readings, and explore how pop culture uses Tarot to tell untold stories and spark creativity.


Finally, indulge your senses with Leek stew to celebrate the season's bounty, learn about super-moons, and delve into book reviews on witches and witch hunts.



Witches



Image: From the collection of Johann Jakob Wick / Wikipedia commons)


Devil’s pacts, love magic, heresy, and curses.

Ragnhild Tregagås is the woman who in 1324 cast a curse over her secret lover and his newlywed wife in front of several witnesses at a vicarage in Western Norway.



In 2020, you may have seen a viral TikTok video about how everyday actions can closely resemble witchcraft, like blowing out candles or chanting rhymes. That was the Marshall, the Witch of Southern Light’s first viral video, symbolizing a new chapter in both his spirituality and career.



But the attention to the two sexes has presented problems for Wiccans proud of the religion’s progressive framework, as its reliance on gender binaries in both practice and belief has seemed to exclude LGBTQ+ individuals.



Witches and witchcraft have always held a huge fascination in popular fiction (just look at Harry Potter). But with the rise of TikTok, witchcraft is gaining ever more fans – with ‘witchtok’ amassing 57 billion views and ‘witchlit’ becoming hugely popular in the book lists. However, 49-year-old Carolyn Turmaine was a fan even before the internet explosion. From the age of three, she knew she wanted to be a witch.


(Image: Google and Archive)

AS "WITCH FEVER" swept Essex in the 16th century, more than 300 women were accused of witchcraft - and Rochford hosted its fair share of sordid sorcery.


According to legend, Canewdon village and Wallasea Island were both haunted by witches.



the Wiccan priestess Vivianne Crowley tells Vogue how she celebrates the first day of spring.



Mike Deal / Free Press


Kari Giavedoni is a practising witch, a wife and a mother of three. She runs MommaBatWitchery, where she gives tarot and astrology readings. Giavedoni, 34, also runs Wicked Bazaar, a witches market featuring a variety of alternative makers. She posts market dates regularly on her socials @thewickedbazaar and @mommabatwitchery.



A group which is raising awareness about the Scottish witch trials are holding a National Day of Remembrance for accused witches.


The Creative Coven, which has some members from Fife, is preparing to host The Weaving Creative Threads Event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre this summer.


Pagans



Historian Francis Young had a very good piece on his Substack last week titled The Crisis of Ritual. In it, he uses “the archaeologist’s stereotyped use of ‘ritual’ as a catch-all label for the unexplained” as a lead-in to the fact that while ritual is clearly important to us as humans, we don’t understand it all that well, and its practice has diminished since the latter part of the 20th century.


Haiduc, Wikimedia Commons, public domain


We are gathered, dressed in black, in the shade of the remains of the temple of Dionysius. The ancient altar is set with wildflowers, crowning an effigy of the God of Spring. Brilliant yellow acacia blossoms punctuated with white achillea (yarrow) blooms and red mastic berries evoke springtime in real-time: harvested from the surrounding area, their beauty is an offering to the Gods, and a reminder of their connection to the earth’s cycles.



This past week Russians across the country celebrated Maslenitsa.

The weeklong holiday marks Shrovetide, the last week before Lent begins, but has roots in Slavic pagan traditions. The holiday culminates in large bonfires and the burning of straw effigies — a symbolic funeral for the winter that has just passed.



(Annie Barker / The Herald)

Bella LaVeau, 58, leads the Aquarian Tabernacle Church with Archpriest Dusty Dionne, 40. Based in Index, the duo guides a congregation of about two dozen Pagans in person, with hundreds more online. On the first and third Saturday each month, the riverside grounds adorned with Greek statues and wood carvings come alive, as Pagans stream in from all around Puget Sound.





. . . An ancient yew tree and holy well nestle beside a remarkable 13th-century church.

Before the 13th-century stone church was built, the area was a sacred, pagan place of worship. Today, right inside the picturesque churchyard, an ancient yew tree dominates the surrounding cemetery. The tree is thought to be up to 1,500 years old. It no longer has a main trunk so visitors can stand inside its hollow body. The yew predates the medieval church and historians suggest it may have been worshipped in pagan times.


Tarot



. . .being a tarot or oracle artist–especially a self-published one–is really difficult post-2022. A lot of artists, myself included, feel as though our work and even very spirits are under assault. Several recent developments have made being a tarot and oracle artist a lot harder and less fun. One of those things is how people are now using generative AI to pump out huge amounts of spiritual tools, esoteric books, and tarot decks. AI for tarot and oracles is not good for a lot of reasons, but especially true when artists have had massive amounts of their work stolen to create generative AI.


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Prepare for life to accelerate in a major way! The first eclipse season of 2024, arriving between March 19 and April 18, is set to bring eye-opening revelations to all zodiac signs. Eclipses are rare alignments between the luminaries (sun and moon) and act as tools the universe utilizes to instigate change in our lives. The March 25 full moon eclipse in Libra brings an imminent ending—followed by a major new beginning at the April 8 new moon solar eclipse in Aries.



Tarot cards have long been an intriguing element in various forms of media, including movies, TV shows, literature, and music. Their portrayal holds significance beyond mere symbolism, often serving as catalysts for plot development, character exploration, and thematic depth.



Tarot cards, often associated with fortune-telling, are potent tools for sparking creativity and artistic expression. These cards, each adorned with vivid imagery and symbols, serve as prompts for storytelling and inspiration for artists across various mediums. Kris Waldherr frequently offers a course called Tarot for Writers, which I highly recommend. She has a book on the subject coming out soon. Kris also created The Goddess Tarot deck.


Miscellaneous



A supermoon is a powerful astrological event that occurs a handful of times a year, on a full or new moon, when the Moon comes closest to the Earth in its orbit. When full, this makes it look even larger and more luminous than usual (about 7% larger and 15% brighter than an average full moon) and amplifies its lunar powers. When new, the same lunar power surge occurs but without the visibility (as the moon is almost invisible during a new moon).



Spring has sprung and green shoots are poking their heads out of the earth, so it seems like a good time to celebrate the humble leek – the first green vegetable of the year and an important staple in our early ancestors’ diets.


Leeks have a surprisingly magical history, and not just in Wales, where you might expect it, being their national vegetable.


Books, Videos, Movies, & Games



A legendary set of cards is the key to unravelling decades of secrets in this dazzling novel about the power of art and deception, from Governor General's Award–winning author Sarah Henstra.



Last year I had the chance to read a great book. It answered questions I didn’t know I had, while also offering new information about the history of Witchcraft. The book is Witchcraft Unchained: Exploring the History & Traditions of British Craft by Craig Spencer and with a foreword by Ian Chambers, and even though it focuses on the United Kingdom, I’m sure several readers will find it useful.



Britain has a long and bloody history of burning people accused of witchcraft at the stake.


About 4,000 were sent to their death in Scotland and 1,000 in England, but curiously just five were killed in Wales.


In his new book, Witches and Witch Hunts Through the Ages, author and historian Phil Carradice tries to unpack this anomaly and finds several explanations.


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