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Tell any non-Pagan with a sense of humour that you are a witch and this familiar question from the Wizard of Oz is usually the response you receive.  The familiar reply of Neopagans is “none of us are bad witches, we are only good! Well those are both lovely if naive viewpoints akin to removing all the negative cards from a tarot deck and leaving only the positive ones –you can still perform readings, but they will not be complete, truthful, or balanced. Now having said this it is also important to understand that many folk magic practitioners throughout the world were both witches and witch doctors and many practitioners hold the belief that, although you can be one or the other, it is best to be both and use both hands when practicing magic. One of my favourite comparisons of the divisions belongs to author and mystic Dale Pendell who describes two types of witches: Sun and Moon sorcerers. Across Animistic cultures who had some form of shamanic practitioner, there were many divisions not just one general “shaman” or witch or the two types mentioned above.  In many of these cultures there are also types of practitioner who they do not even classify as shamans and who are considered specialists. Healers – Usually your average shaman, witch, witchdoctor, rootworker, or other folk magic and medicine practitioner. Lore-Keeper – The holder of oral lore, myths, tales, fables, and history of a people and their beliefs and traditions. Ritualists – Practitioners who specialize in necessary rituals, especially when it comes to rites of passage and the cycles of the Earth’s seasons. On the point of the Divine Monarch, though, I wonder if you’ve ever heard of the tradition of a Monarch’s touch being able to heal those near death? The Idea of Balance reminds me of The Crook & Flail of Egypt and some old legend of a double edged sword who blade heals or harms, but only in equal measure. The Necromancer description started off much shorter but I had to elaborate as I had people emailing thinking they were Necromancers, when really they just cared deeply about how the dead were treated by the living. It’s a little off topic but, am I supposed to take away the sins of the Dead and near dead or is that more a reference to the helping of the Dead cross over and sendings?
This winter I read the works of Ross Heaven who apprenticed with a Welsh Sineater in his youth.
Sineaters also ate the sins of the living too though and were essentially fairy doctors or folk medicine practitioners.
I love Russian mythology and folklore as well – couldn’t resist using this image! Magic: Dandelion belongs to Hecate and is mainly a chthonic plant associated with the underworld and necromancy.
Drink Dandelion wine, made from the flowers, to aid in communion with deities and spirits of the upperworld. Dig up larger two year old roots and scrub them with an old toothbrush or a potato scrubber to clean. When I was little we would take the head of a dandelion and show it under the chins of one another.
Come to think of it, my Catholic grandmother (and avid green thumb, that woman has a remarkable connection to nature and can grow ANYTHING in her garden) had a lot of faery stories. This text explores the representations of tuberculosis in nineteenth-century literature and culture. One of the main witch-hunters involved in the infamous Islandmagee Witch Trial is an ancestor of the American author and humourist, Mark Twain, according to University of Ulster historian, Dr Andrew Sneddon. Dr Sneddon says he unearthed evidence of the family connection between Edward Clements of Clements Hill, Straid, the man who led the Islandmagee witch-hunt in his role as Mayor of Carrickfergus and the writer  Samuel Langhorne Clemens who used the pseudonym Mark Twain, while carrying out research for his latest book.
Dr Sneddon teaches on the only history course in Ireland dedicated to the study of the great European witch-hunts between 1500-1800.
The tale of the Islandmagee Witches began a year earlier when Mrs Ann Haltridge, the elderly widow of Rev John Haltridge was staying in in the area.
In 1711, in County Antrim, eight women were put on trial accused of orchestrating the demonic possession of young Mary Dunbar, and the haunting and supernatural murder of a local clergyman’s wife. Mary Dunbar was the star witness in this trial, and the women were, by the standards of the time, believable witches – they smoked, they drank, they just did not look right. Please tell me the name of the print that you used for the first pic – the lovely witch casting circle with he cauldron adn crows. A short peek into history as well as local folktales shows these viewpoints come up short on truth. For example, you cannot become a medical doctor by only learning about treating illnesses, you also have to learn all about disease or you will be unable to diagnose and therefore unable to treat patients. The Sun sorcerer works on this earthly plane practicing healing, love, and fertility magics working with the lighter gods and benevolent nature spirits.
The following terms I use are just simple ones I’ve chosen because they are easily recognizable and understandable. Chiefs, kings, and leaders who had supernatural powers bestowed upon them by the land they are guardian of. They heal the body, mind, and spirit not just treating symptoms like modern medical doctors. These are the bards, poets, musicians, storytellers, oral historians, oral genealogists, etc who are inspired by the divine and trained in their skills for many years, usually from a very young age into adulthood. This type has a natural knack for leading people in ritual, bringing others into trance states, and also bringing others into the presence of the spirits. It was believed this type could not be trained, they had to be born with innate psychic abilities and in some cultures the “gift” was considered hereditary. I think it can be dangerous to write about their actual practices as those without the ability, not believing you have to be born with it, will try anyway and end up hurting themselves, their families, or worse. I’ve heard Sineater are a reference to a near mythic sect of christians who absolved the sins of others by the words of The gospel of Thomas. The two sights and other supernatural abilities are directly connected to the land spirits and ancestral spirits, but usually requires generations of a people living in the same spot and so requesting such a gift from a spirit may be met with refusal or inability. With it’s fluffy seeds easily carried by the winds, Dandelion has spread across the world with its deep roots helping it to evade weeding attempts. Mostly from cursing them while digging them out of their yards or spraying their roots with harsh chemicals to kill them.
It is beloved by bees, goats, pigs and is considered a toad plant (all have a certain underworld nature), with bees sometimes acting as psychopomps in old folklore. Then chop them up into medium dice and place on a baking sheet in a 250°F oven for about two hours – maybe giving them a shake or a toss now and then. My neighbors probably hate me though, because I’ve let the little buggers take over the backyard, hah. Yesterday I noticed a whole bunch of them around the area of my current working space which I never noticed before.

If the yellow reflected under your chin you loved butter, if it did not shine then you did not like butter.
My grandmother told me that they seeds were little fairies that would carry my wishes away to be granted (by God, I’m assuming, since she is a Catholic woman, but she was careful not to talk too much God stuff around us as kids). The book is part of Reaktion Books’ Edible History series which publishes short books on all manner of foods including doughnuts, bananas and beer. This widespread and deadly disease decimated huge numbers of the population in the nineteenth-century, and consequently also had a significant impact upon public consciousness. It details Ireland’s only ever mass witch-hunt and contains new insights into charms, witchcraft, and demonic possession in Ireland. He says it is commonly assumed that the European witch craze of the 16th and 17th centuries never reached Irish shores. The mass trial of the Islandmagee Witches in Carrickfergus in 1711 demonstrates that fear surrounding witchcraft was indeed present in Ireland,” adds Dr Sneddon.
The witch-finder who did the most to ensure this drama took place in open court was Mayor of Carrickfergus, Edward Clements, an ancestor of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. With echoes of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and the Salem witch-hunt, this is a story of murder, of hysteria, and of how the witch craze that claimed over 40,000 lives in Europe played out on Irish shores. When times are hard, like they are now, we all really need to focus our thoughts on manifesting better days ahead.
Look to the classic works of the founders of modern witchcraft like Sybil Leek, Doreen Valiente, and Paul Huson and you will find the same warnings against dark sorcerers and black magicians as found in folktale.
Well, go to rural Africa or India and proudly tell the locals you’re a witch and they will most likely chase you away with farming implements or actually kill you, but tell them you’re a witch doctor and they will treat you with a fearful respect and probably try to hire your services. The same goes for a witch doctor, you must work with both your right and left hands in order for your practice to be balanced and complete — much like the oft misunderstood Bokor of Haitian Vodou. The Moon sorcerer is usually a necromancer working with the underworld, night, and darkness and who’s practices include darker more mysterious magics and rituals involving the gods of the underworld and souls of the dead as well as malevolent spirits known to the Scots as the Unseelie Court.
Each individual culture has their own titles for these types of practitioner as well as more unique divisions, so I highly recommend looking into the divisions within the cultural framework you work within. Very few true to this type still exist as many were wiped out by conquering peoples and new religions. They also have the ability to be possessed by spirits so they may speak to those who cannot see or hear them. Like the other types mentioned, Seers also serve their community with duties including foretelling the weather, war, natural disasters, the movements of animals for hunting and fishing, the actions of others, the reasons behind the actions of others, the truth of a dispute, where lost or stolen objects can be found, as well as foretelling the usual themes of love, money, children, and happiness which are the reasons so many people today flock to tarot readers and psychics. Most of my influences for this article are from shamanism texts and experience to be honest!
I plan to write an article about it specifically including it’s place in gender, social structure, as well as magic and religion. Excluded from society much as the Bokor of Haitian Vodou, they worked with both the light and dark aspects of magic and healing – life and death. You can intentionally grow them from seed, or by transplanting, to more easily keep track of the age and size of the roots as well as for lettuce greens. There is no need to plant Dandelion as it will grow everywhere regardless and is usually quite plentiful. Dandelion is also a very Mercurial weed associated with the air element explaining its use in aiding in communication with the dead and increasing psychic ability. Pour some in a small hole dug in the earth and cover it, walking away without looking back (an ancient Greek custom when offering to underworld deities). Peel one lemon and the orange adding the rind to the pot and then juice them and add that too. After the 2 weeks are up, strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and pour into a new, clean canning jar. It is most well known as a diuretic to help the liver and gallbladder, but it is also popular for cleansing the blood. I used to hug trees because she told me it would heal the faery that lived in the tree and that they were sad because humans cut down too many trees. In Water: A Global History, Ian Miller traces the history of our relationship with drinking water—our attempts to find it, keep it clean, and make it widely available. Based on a wide range of sources, it is a highly original and innovative study of beneficial and harmful magic, from the later medieval period up until the twentieth century.
Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the book draws from the diverse methodological disciplines of medical history, history of science, cultural studies, Irish studies, gender studies and food studies. Fears about gender roles, inheritance, degeneration, national efficiency and sexual transgression are all epitomised by consumption, a disease which encompassed a variety of cultural meanings and associations. It delves the reader into a world of magic, levitation, demonic haunting, ghosts and miracles, and is the first book dedicated to Ireland’s last witchcraft trial.
Witchcraft is the practice of magic and ritual for personal benefit whereas a witch doctor’s magic and knowledge are for the benefit, protection, and healing of their entire community.
If you are a witch in the sense that you only practice magic for your personal benefit (which is not a bad thing at all as most witches are this type), then learning how to use both hands is less important.
Healers are able to directly communicate with the spirits of plants, minerals, and animals and learn spirit medicine from them. In some of the local Native tribes where I live this person is usually female and holds the title of Copperwoman.
However, precautions must still be taken to protect the medium and they must be as good at banishing as they are at evoking. Seers are the clairvoyants, psychics, oracles, and soothsayers who are considered a class of their own usually considered unrelated to witchcraft and magic but with many practitioners having this ability on top of their other supernatural powers.
Their touch was supposed to bestow blessings as well, they could make a barren woman fertile, an unlucky person lucky, and so on. I think this is plain to see through the amount of mental illness that runs rampant within the modern witchcraft communities.
The Morthwyrtha and Seuwa were basically the Norse and Coast Salish versions of the Sineater but with more emphasis placed on communication with the dead, sacred funerary rituals, and sometimes the ability to travel to the underworld. Drink an infusion of the dried and roasted roots to enhance your psychic abilities before performing divination or summoning spirits of the dead. Grind the dried toasted roots as you would coffee beans and either run through a coffee maker or place in a tea bag or ball as you would infuse a cup of tea.
Allow the sediment from the root to settle for 2-4 weeks and then filter off the clear liquid.

Home brewers love to joke about how drinking Dandelion wine doesn’t count as drinking as the properties of the Dandelion fix any problems the alcohol causes as you drink it.
It examines the dynamics of witchcraft belief and accusation in the early modern period, and offers new explanations for the lack of sustained witch-hunting in Ireland.
Making use of an impressive range of sources, it maps the pivotal role of food in the shaping of Irish society onto a political and social backdrop of famine, Land Wars, political turbulence, the First World War and the struggle for independence. Via an examination of a range of Victorian texts, from well-known and popular novels by Dickens and Gaskell, to critically neglected works by Mrs Humphry Ward and Charles Reade, this work reveals the metaphors of illness which surrounded tuberculosis and the ways those metaphors were used in the fiction of the day. The Frog Princess), stories of rival shamans from Siberia to British Columbia, Medea and Circe from Greek myth, Black Annis from British folklore, La Ianara from Italian folklore, and many more. For example, the Cunning Folk, Fairy Doctors, Spaewives, and Pellars of the UK were actually witch doctors not witches. But if you wish to serve others with your magic it becomes necessary to acknowledge and work with both the dark and bright. It is obviously much more dangerous to be a Moon practitioner as for many that road leads to madness and darkness of the soul.
Their duty is to use their powers and rituals given by their spirits and ancestors for the benefit of their entire community. Healers also belong to the community and there is no room for selfishness in their practice. They are greatly feared and highly respected and usually only called upon in times of death or near-death to perform their sacred rituals and ceremonies to help souls properly cross over and complete their journey from our world to the next. I would say most modern Wiccans and Pagans who are in the priesthood fall under this category. The root is still alive and the leaves will come back once the root is used to its new home.
Collect the bright yellow flowers before they go to seed on a sunny day to make sweet Dandelion wine.
Imagine all those little seeds you blew germinating and growing – your wish sympathetically growing and coming into being a hundred times over. Bottle in an old tincture bottle with a dropper if you have one and take 1-3 droppers 30 minutes before meals to stimulate your digestive system. Dandelion makes a great detoxifying tonic and eating the fresh greens can actually aid in bone health and growth.
He covers the histories of water treatment and supply, belief in its medicinal powers, and much more, all supported by fascinating historical illustrations. It demonstrates that during the eighteenth century sections of the educated elite backed away from witchcraft belief for largely ideological reasons, while the witch figure remained a strong part of popular culture. It will be of interest to historians of medicine and science as well as historians of modern Irish social, economic, political and cultural history. The book also contains detailed analysis of the substantial body of writing by nineteenth-century physicians which exists about this disease, and examines the complex and symbiotic relationship between medical “fact” and literary fiction. By making poor choices in your life that degrade your soul and the souls of those around you, anyone can easily and unintentionally become a black magician, it is simply one of the pitfalls of walking this oft crooked path of witchcraft.
Their magics were to prevent and protect from witchcraft, the evil eye, and harm caused by the good folk.
But if one blends both they are protected by the light when entering the dark and can travel to the both the Otherworld and Underworld and back whole and untouched by madness.
After visiting the gods and spirits they return with codes of law, ethics, and societal rules. The healer is akin to the Divine King also acting as intermediary between realms, but on a smaller more individual scale helping all their people who come to them for aid and healing. Instead of tossing Dandelions you dig up into the compost pile, save the leaves for salads or cooked greens and save the roots to dry for magic or roast for a delicious coffee substitute. This can be applied to sympathetic magic, meaning this weed is excellent for walking between realms and communing with the spirits that reside.
Large Dandelion roots are also a very fitting and traditional root to make alrauns (root poppets) from. Toasted Dandelion roots also make a great addition to chai recipes and can be substituted for the black tea leaves. These bitters can also be used for magical work by ingesting before divination, necromancy, or walking between the worlds. The leaves are bitter so be sure to mix them with sweeter greens when eating fresh or cook them with something tasty like bacon, onions, and a touch of lemon juice.
As access to fresh water becomes an ever more potent problem worldwide, the book is a fascinating reminder of our long engagement with this most vital fluid. Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland also offers a new interpretation of the role of cunning-folk and popular magic in Irish society, along with a re-assessment of the attitudes of religious authorities, both Protestant and Catholic, to their activities. Just as it is dangerous to work only with the light and good it is equally as dangerous, if not more so, to only focus on the dark aspects of the Craft. They are also expected to act as intermediary between the spirit realm and our realm for the happiness and harmony of those who dwell in both worlds.
In the Coast Salish tongue of British Columbia they are called Seuwa, in the UK they were known as Sin-Eaters, and were also known as Morthwyrtha or Volva in old Norse who were usually priestesses of the goddesses Freyja and Hel. To make a tonic tea, harvest the plant whole before it flowers or just the leaves while it’s flowering and steep them in boiled water just as you would a tea. The way in which suspected witches and cunning-folk were treated by the Irish legal system, both before and after the repeal of the 1586 Irish Witchcraft Act in 1821, is also explored for the first time. Cap with an airlock and keep an eye on it the first couple days to make sure it doesn’t leak liquid everywhere.
Dandelion is also a great flower for honey production as it flowers in the fall as well as the spring allowing bees to have one last mad honey-making dash before winter. Allow to ferment for six months before bottling – be sure the yeast is dead before doing so!

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