Ravemore's Notes

A little meandering… Pagan reflections on a left hand path.

Category: Lesser Powers

Gusion

Gusion is a great Fomori Lord. He commands 45 legions of his brethren, and when conjured forth often appears as man of middle years, swarthy, and enveloped in voluminous saffron colored robes. Sometimes he has the head of a frog. He speaks softly and his advice always seems good in consequence… but be wary. Appearances can be deceptive. He has a strong dislike of Danu’s second children the Tuatha De Dannan, and her third children, human kind. Treat this great Fomori Lord with respect and caution, lest you lose yourself. Like most of his kind, his memory is long and he remembers well the Time of Exile.

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Seal of Gusion

Buer

Buer, is a great Fomori Lord. He commands 50 legions of his brethren, and when conjured forth often appears as a creature with five legs… the number of legs being the only constant in his physical manifestations. If compelled to do so, he teaches all manner of herbal medicines and skills related to treating the ill. There is no disease or sickness that he cannot heal. He also teaches philosophy and logic. He can provide and bind to a summoner all manner of servants, both corporeal and incorporeal.

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Seal of Buer

Paimon

Paimon is a great Fomori King. He is more deferential to the great Goat God of the Witches than other Fomori Kings. His estate and domain lie in a northwestern branch of the Great Oak, and your thaumaturgic circle should point in that direction when summoning him forth. He commands 200 legions of his brethren. This Demon has been worshiped as a god by many ancient peoples, and he expects nothing less from those who are intrepid enough to conjure him forth. He is said to be one of the better tempered demons to deal with. Paimon has a great voice and roars in a deafening cacophony when he first appears, and will continue in this manner until the conjurer compels him to do otherwise. He will then answer clearly any questions he is asked… whether truthful or deceitful is another matter though. Paimon usually appears in the form of a man with a feminine face and figure. He wears a crown encrusted with gems and precious metals, and often appears while riding a black dromedary, also known as a camel. Paimon is usually accompanied by a host of other demons, some sources quoting 25 legions… a potentially deadly situation. He has also been known to appear with two other great Fomori Kings that serve him, Labal and Abali. These two Demon Kings have no known seals.

Paimon’s summoning requires that some offering or sacrifice must be performed. Something of high value must be given up if something of high value is to be obtained. A key interaction with this demon also requires the conjurer to answer truthfully a question asked by Paimon in order to obtain the same from him. The answer to this question will often determine if the conjurer is worthy of this demon’s attention. Paimon teaches all arts, philosophy, sciences, and secret things. He can reveal all mysteries of the Great Oak, wind, water, what the mind is, and everything the conjurer wants to know. He provides good familiars when requested. He can also bind mortal men to the conjurer’s will, an often sought out service. (24)

Seal of Paimon

Seal of Paimon

Barbatos

Barbatos, is a great Fomori Lord. He commands 30 legions of his brethren, and when conjured forth often appears with other companion demons. This can make summoning him a dangerous proposition, and is recommended only for those with the knowledge and will to confront and overcome multiple entities if things go awry. Barbatos is prone to using numbers to his advantage.

Barbatos appears as a horned archer or hunter, and his arrows always strike true. He is often “bearded”, which his given Latin name suggests. He understands the singing of birds, the barking of dogs, the lowing of bullocks, the voice of all living creatures, and can bestow this gift upon a conjurer. It is said that he can also speak through animals.

This demon has the power to find treasures that are protected by enchantments or hidden with magic, and this is the skill he is most often conjured forth to perform. Also of significant value is his ability to tell of things past and future. He has been known to appear unbidden in animal form to those he favors. (24)

Seal of Barbatos

Seal of Barbatos

 

Amon

Amon the Devourer, also known as Ammon, Amaimon, Amoymon, Amaymon, and Aamon, is a great Fomori Lord. Similar to Bael, this demon has been worshiped as a god by many ancient peoples. He commands 40 legions of his brethren. When conjured, Amon is said to appear as a wolf with a serpent’s tail, vomiting flames and sulfurous fumes. To protect oneself from this foul breath, the conjurer must be in possession of a Silver Ring, duly consecrated and worn on the middle finger of the left hand as a form of protection. When the ring is presented and he is commanded, the demon will cease spewing forth the poisonous fumes. An outdoor conjuring is recommended for Amon. Sometimes when evoked, he will appear as a human with the head of a raven. He can also be compelled by a conjurer to take this second form, if appearing in the first. He is stern in countenance and not one prone to humor or gentle words.

It is rumored that Amon is in service to the demon Astaroth, but details regarding this are ephemeral at best. Some sources also state that he has power over the demon Asmodai, and viceversa. In the summoning of Asmodai, if one does not stand upright and remove their hat or cowl in a sign of respect upon completion of the evocation, the gate will bring forth Amon instead, and he will doom their work… and possibly put their mortal form in danger if they are not strong of will and knowledgeable of exorcism.

Amon is often linked to the sin of Wrath, a state of uncontrolled hatred and anger which frequently culminates in violence and self-destructive behavior. He tells of all things past and future, therefore he has strong links to powers of divination. He is also said to procure or ignite feuds and reconcile controversies between friends and foes. What most do not elaborate on is that reconciliations are often in a way that is final… utter destruction fed by Wrath. If you are looking for a peaceful resolution to a feud or controversy, this demon is not one you will want to solicit assistance from. (24)

Seal of Amon

Seal of Amon

Valefor

Valefor is a great Fomori Lord. Other names he has been known by are Malaphar, Malephar, Valafar, and Valefar. This demon initially appears in the form of a lion with the head of a man, or a lion with the head of an ass, but when compelled to take on an appearance more conducive to negotiating a pact, he will comply. Like most demons, he is not bound to one physical form. He commands 10 legions of his brethren. He is a patron of thieves and is often called upon to assist in the successful execution of thefts. He is a master of temptation… using greed, avarice, and pride to great effect. He is an incarnation of materialism. He tests the abilities of a thief… pushing boundaries, sharpening skills… both the mental and the physical.

Unlike most demons of the Ars Goetia, this demon can be persuaded to stay with the conjurer for a period of time, assisting in the planning and execution of thefts that are worthy of his name and stature. Use great caution though, as there have been whispered rumors among thieves that he has been known to convince a conjurer to steal items with his assistance that are actually property the demon himself wishes to obtain, and those poor souls have been abandoned to authorities to take the fall, and often ended up hanging from the gallows or languishing in prison. He takes a perverse enjoyment from this. (24)

Seal of Valefor

Seal of Valefor

Marbas

Marbas is a great Fomori Lord, also known as Barbas. This demon initially appears in the form of a great lion, but when compelled to take on an appearance more conducive to negotiating a pact, he will change into the form of a man. There is no specific race, gender, or description used more often than another on record. He commands 36 legions of his brethren. He will disclose, or direct his subordinates to seek out and disclose, the secrets of another or the location of that which is hidden. Be cautioned… although he is bound to answer truthfully, his servants are not. His touch and his breath can bring disease, and he is able to cure the same. This demon is often sought out to be a patron for those engaged in the mechanical and engineering professions. The technical wisdom he can impart to those in these fields is vast. He frowns upon those with little or no technical knowledge, and can be more difficult to negotiate with for those without the base prerequisite skills. He is also partial to those who earn a living with handcrafts.

Marbas also has the power to change mortal men into other shapes. Ensure that any pact asking for this benefit also contains a clause requiring him to change you back… otherwise an animal form may be the last one you inhabit before your feet touch the Low Road and you begin your journey back to the cauldron. If you are seeking the gift of lycanthropy, you would be better served with an appropriate ritual. Asking for the aid of this demon would not hurt though. Many who have set their feet upon that path carry his mark. (24)

Seal of Marbas

Seal of Marbas

Samigina

Samigina is a great Fomori Lord, and also one that will respond favorably to a daytime conjuring. Other names this demon has been known to answer to include Gamygin and Gamigm. He commands 30 legions of his brethren. Like many of his kind, he is prone to taking multiple shapes when appearing to mortal man. Some even say his true form is female in gender. He often appears initially as a small horse, and when compelled by the conjurer will take upon a new form better conducive to interaction, the most common of which is that of a small, gruff, wizened man. It is said that he speaks with a hoarse voice, likened to gravel scraping upon stone. He can be bound to teach languages, literature, history, philosophy, mathematics, and science. In fact, many present and past great minds, and fathers of invention owed debts to Samigina for knowledge gained.

The assistance and power that this demon is most often sought out for is necromantic in nature. He has the power to command the souls of those who have died in sin, or drowned at sea, to manifest in incorporeal form to answer to interrogatories at the conjurer’s whim. He has no power over others. The definition of what constitutes “sin” is open for debate. I suppose if he hauls your spirit from the Low Road, or the Underworld… you’ll know for sure. He is also said to stay with the conjurer until he, or she, is satisfied. (24)

Seal of Samigina

Seal of Samigina

Vassago

Vassago is a great Fomori Prince. He is not in service to another Demon King, but his counsel is often sought out by his own kind. He commands 26 legions of his brethren. Vassago is one of the less dangerous demons of the Ars Goetia to interact with… yet one should always exercise caution. He most often appears as a man, but his eye sockets are empty, containing orbs of utter darkness. He has also been known to appear as a blood-red serpentine dragon, or as a diminutive red scaled devil with cloven hooves and a forked tail. His sight pierces into all branches of the Great Oak, and he has a keen ability to see into the future and divine possibilities… tangents of past and present time. He is known for explaining his visions in minute detail, and does not often cloak what he sees in allegory or metaphor. He has the power to make what is hidden visible, both the physical and otherwise. He can also find what is lost. He is often called the “Prince of Prophecy” among those who transact with demon-kind. Vassago is often invoked to discover the most deep and dark secrets of women.

Vassago is a prime demon to summon for assistance with scrying and other forms of divination. The power he can channel into these endeavors is boundless. Remember though, the truth can hurt… beware what you ask this demon to reveal to you. He revels in causing pain, hate, and distress with the simple truth of a matter. If you dread the answer… don’t ask. (24)

Seal of Vassago

Seal of Vassago

Agares

Agares is a great Fomori Lord, and hails from the eastern branches of the Great Oak. He is in service to Bael and commands 31 legions of his brethren. This demon is exceptionally willing to answer a summoning. Although he usually appears as an older human male, he is very feminine, some even argue seductive… more than capable of coaxing an erection by innuendos, double talk, and body language. He has also been known to appear in female form. He is usually depicted as an old man carrying a hawk on his fist while riding a great crocodile. Be wary of the hawk, as it is a demon that hungers for the human soul, and the crocodile is a great consumer of flesh, sinew, and blood.

Agares has the power to destroy dignities, both temporal and supernatural. Love, respect, and veneration being but a few of the temporal dignities he can extinguish, thereby strangling the good and wisdom they are capable of giving birth to. Supernatural dignities are developed through the participation by a lower being in the natural perfection of one that is higher, arguably Faith being one that is a primary target of this demon… if he is so inclined. He has the power to make one who runs away to return, and one who seeks to escape to fail in their attempt. He can instill such feelings of fear and dread in one who is strong of heart and stout of soul that they can do naught but run if he so commands it. He teaches languages, causes earthquakes, and finds great pleasure in providing knowledge of carnal and immoral deeds, actions, and thoughts.

Exercise caution with this demon if you are not strong of will, or suffer from depression or bi-polar disorder… as it is whispered that he has a fondness for convincing those who summon him to commit suicide. (24, 25)

Seal of Agares

Seal of Agares

Bael

Bael is a great Fomori King. His estate and domain lie in an eastern branch of the Great Oak, and your thaumaturgic circle should point in that direction when summoning him forth. He commands 66 legions of his brethren. He often appears in the form of a man, cat, toad, or any combinations thereof. His voice is loud and rough, but articulate, intelligent, and well versed. To spread his name and influence holds much value to him. His power waxes strong in the fall. He teaches the art of invisibility when asked, can make one wise, satisfies all cravings, and can convey special powers with a handful of ash he keeps in his pocket. His hatred of the Sidhe runs deep. This Demon has been worshiped as a god by many ancient peoples, and he relishes the attention and devotion of his followers and acolytes. He is tricky to negotiate with, often seeking to make a servant of the master. His schemes and plans are often grand in scale, and can span decades or centuries. A pact with this demon must be equally farsighted, and the value presented to him very great. (24)

Seal of Bael

Seal of Bael

Demons of the Ars Goetia and My Left Hand Path

This is going to serve as an introduction of sorts to approximately 72 posts, along with a couple more to lay some groundwork, which will be uploaded in fairly close succession over an unknown period of time. These posts will expand upon each individual demon in the Ars Goetia. There will probably be other miscellaneous writings dropped here or there while this venture is underway, but for the most part I’d like to keep this project both on track and in a fairly cohesive presentation. In my Left Hand Path demons are referred to as “Lesser Powers” only because they are not the Gods I have chosen to worship. It is in no way a reflection of their ability, stature, or actual power to manifest and affect change in our world. Some border on godhood in ability, and are worshiped by many practitioners of the darker paths as such.

The first question an aspiring adept will probably field is: “What value do demons have to me?” This is not an easy question to answer. Summoning demons and interacting with them can be very dangerous and trying, but through adversity, danger, and pushing the envelope in our self-development we are able to obtain tools and knowledge we would otherwise be deprived of. Through pacts with these lesser powers we are able to exchange services and grow in power and understanding while also facilitating allies who have a peculiar interest in our world and the human race.

The next likely question is probably: Why the demons of the Ars Goetia specifically? This answer is more simple and straightforward. These specific demons have been conjured, worked with, and have for the most part been parties to productive pacts for centuries. They are more of a “known factor.” This does not make them safe though. They are akin to a bladed weapon in that they are just as likely to cut you as they are to cut an enemy if you do not respect them and interact with them in a cautious manner. Demons can possess living creatures, both human and animal, therefore it is unwise to open a gate and summon anything willing to step through it. The known danger is much preferred to the unknown.

In my presentations you are going to see that I am going to attempt to strip out a lot of the Christian garbage that has been attributed to them over the centuries. The old medieval titles are going to be missing as they are not relevant and merely a way to classify these beings in a way that fit within the paradigms of the period in which the grimoires were compiled. The rituals will be adapted to my Left Hand Path. It will have more of an ancient Greek feel to it, as the hellfire and brimstone will be noticeably absent, and they will be regarded as they truly are.

Lares

Ancestral spirits who protect the home and hearth, all cultures seem to have them in one form or another… but the word “Lares” just seems to roll off the tongue and feels good. The dead often self-bind themselves to our physical world, delaying their journey on the Low Road, and the living relatives that they leave behind are often the reason. Love, duty, honor… they are all strong concepts that carry over. As long as we give them reasons to tarry, and a sense of purpose, those spirits will remain with us to watch, protect, and comfort. Small devotional altars, or shrines, are recommended. Pictures or mementos of our ancestors, things that were important to them should be placed there. Offerings of incense, food, and other comforts should be made on a regular basis to let them know we think of them and appreciate their sacrifices and attention. If you have a hearth or fireplace, that location would be ideal, and failing that a kitchen, as they are areas intimately tied to the family structure, places where family members come together to prepare food, eat, and ward away the darkness and cold of the winter months.

Shrines are always very personal creations, and there is no right or wrong way to build one. No exact measurements. No specific items to be placed on them. I always love seeing pictures and reading about other people’s shrines. Look around for inspiration, particularly in those cultures that have been practicing this art for ages… there are many.

Cron Annwn

The fogs and mists drift through the woods, flowing down from the hills like an opaque stream and collect in brushy hollows and low spots. Eddies and currents powered by light tendrils of wind move it randomly, almost hypnotically in random directions. The fog glows softly with light from a full moon you cannot see through low cloud cover. You can feel the silence… it is almost tangible. Nights like this are when we often see spirits of the dead who have self-bound to our world walking the night, or hear stories of frightening encounters with the Unseelie Court. We know not whether it is something inherent in a foggy night, or the result of our own projected fear and apprehension. We just know it is this way.

There are abundant stories, passed on orally from father to son and mother to daughter, of the White Hounds in the mists… Cron Annwyn. Few have seen them, but those that have claim they are spotless white of fur with red colored ears, standing nearly the height of a grown man. Their howling is loudest when they are at a distance, and as they draw nearer, it grows softer and softer as they approach their quarry. They roam the mists hunting the spirits of the dead, or those who have committed serious evil deeds, devouring them to sustain their own existence. It is more than probable that they are Sidhe, and it is said they dwell in the Underworld under the sway of Morrígan, The Crone, when they are not roaming the surface world.

The hunt does not differentiate between evil and good spirits, and this serves as another reminder on why we must not stray from The Low Road when it is our time to begin our own journey to the Cauldron. Also, the next time you find yourself in the fogs and the mists, when the sun has dipped below the horizon, listen for Cron Annwn… and if their howls seem to be receding, and you have evil in your heart… head indoors and cast your wards. (14)

Evoking and Summoning

Evoking and Summoning are very dangerous arts, but a source of considerable power. The Will must be strong, and the Focus sharp when working these types of magic. Many traditions frown upon these types of craftwork, but as a practitioner of a Left Hand Path, this does not concern me. Some will point out that Evoking and Summoning are the same art, but this could not be further from the truth. Evoking is the practice of dealing with, commanding, and binding of spirits and Lesser Powers that have been summoned, usually through processes such as pacts or exorcism. Summoning is attributed to the process of calling a spirit or Lesser Power. The Goat God of the Witches has given us the knowledge necessary to accomplish these things, and as such we should explore this darker side of our craft.

The purposes of evoking and summoning are many, but the most common are for guardians, protection, assistance with tasks or desired outcomes, knowledge, and as weapons. The same principles here apply to both evoking and summoning of Lesser Powers, and the spirits of the dead who have been bound and linger. The ideal time for evoking and summoning are “the witching hours”, 12:00 a.m. until the break of dawn.

A summoning will require the casting of a proper ritual circle for protection, and construction of a thaumaturgic triangle outside of the perimeter of the ritual circle, in the northern quarter. A thaumaturgic triangle is simply an equilateral triangle drawn within a circle, all three sides of the triangle touching the edges of the circle. Inscribed in the enclosed points outside the triangle, inside the circle, but not touching any of the lines of the triangle or circle, will be custom incantations tailored to the type of summoning that will be conducted. There are many other valid types of containment, but this is the one I choose. Charge the thaumaturgic triangle similar to the ritual circle with your athame.

Remember that anything with a “hollow” or open space can be used to house or contain a spirit or Lesser Power; therefore you do not ever want to perform a summoning in your home, or within a permanently inscribed thaumaturgic triangle. Allowing the possibility of an entity taking up residence where you live can be a bad idea. I strongly recommend against binding spirits into portable items with the intent of keeping them indefinitely. They will rebel and seek your undoing. If you ever come across one of these items, I recommend not touching them and leaving the area immediately. Often times these entities or spirits have been tortured, abused, and forced into compliance by strong willed practitioners and they are not going to be friendly. You have been fairly warned…

You may hear from other sources about thought form construction in relation to summoning. This is not truly evoking or summoning and a separate art entirely. At some point I will post concerning that type of working. I would just like to comment that if the purpose of your evoking and summoning is to be offensive in nature, thought form construction is a much safer route for you as the practitioner… and it can be much more effective, reliable, and devastating.

After the ritual circle and thaumaturgic triangle are constructed, you must prepare a written pact. This is the bargain you intend to strike with the spirit or Lesser Power you will summon. Some research may be required to discover what payment or exchange the intended entity may be inclined to accept. Often they will desire a small portion of your life energy, which I deem acceptable. Sometimes something of value must be given before one can take something of value. All commerce with spirits is founded upon a law of exchange. Have caution that you do not bargain your soul though, for any pact using that as currency will be binding, and will be to your greatest ruin. Also, if you feel like your soul, or your entire life essence is the only thing of value you have to offer, the Left Hand Path may not be the road you are intended to walk anyway. After you have successfully summoned a willing spirit or Lesser Power you may have to negotiate changes, so have writing implements on hand. Some practitioners forgo negotiating and simply bind the entity through force of will to accept the pact. This is dangerous, but very possible. The first part of any pact should address the requirement that no harm to you, or yours be perpetrated or aided by the spirit or Lesser Power. The pact shall spell out what is required of both parties, the terms of the agreement, and the termination of the contract after both parties have fulfilled their obligations. The writing of the contract is a form of binding, and the written words are sigils imbued with the magic of your craftwork. Do not be afraid to walk away without coming to an agreement and entering into a pact if the price asked is too high. Be cautious if a spirit or entity asks for your blood, hair, or a personal item as part of your pact, as this can give it power over you. As Arthur Edward Waite has said “Against these you must be on your guard, because the guileful friend becometh an open enemy.” (11.) It is advised that no spirit or entity be detained beyond the time of one hour.

Light several incense sources near the thaumaturgic triangle, and ensure there is a copious amount of candlelight around both diagrams. Often times a summoned entity will manifest in the smoke and shadows. Sometimes they will speak audibly, sometimes only in your mind. Also, have a bowl of salt available in your protective ritual circle in case the need to exorcise a difficult or aggressive entity arises. Be aware, this is always a possibility. Also be aware that you may not be successful in a summoning as there may be no answering entity

Stand within your ritual circle facing the godstang, with an appropriate wand in hand, and an athame laying near your feet. Hazel is an ideal type of wand wood for a working such as this.

Raise your protective wards.

Cernunnos, Goat God of the Witches, I beseech thee to bless this rite,

watch and protect me in this endeavor, light the darkness with the cunning light between thy horns.

From a bowl you have within your ritual circle, grab a handful of dry earth with your left hand and let it slowly trickle through your fingers onto the ground, using caution not to allow it to fall onto the lines comprising your ritual circle. If you are summoning a spirit, grave soil is most appropriate.

I cast forth earth, symbolic of the surface world, Domain of the Third Children of Danu.

By wand I implore a willing entity, (A specific name if known)

come forth and heed my call, manifest that we may parley.

By wand I implore a willing entity,  (A specific name if known)

come forth and heed my call, manifest that we may parley.

By wand I implore a willing entity,  (A specific name if known)

come forth and heed my call, manifest that we may parley.

Three times the call goes forth, do any (You) answer?

If there is no answer, the above can be incanted two more times before the rite should be abandoned until another night.

If a spirit or entity makes an appearance, negotiate your pact. Once an agreement has been reached, or one has not been reached and the space of an hour has elapsed, the spirit or entity can be released from the triangle by grounding the diagram with your athame. Grounding merely consists of a minor working that involves pointing your athame at your thaumaturgic triangle and willing the barrier to discharge its energy into the earth. It is a similar task to raising and lowering your protective wards.

Cernunnos, Goat God of the Witches, I thank thee for watching over my rite,

I walk in shadows and seek the light,

My face looks to the heavens for the morning star, and as always I will find thee burning bright.

Once the terms of the pact are discharged it should be burned and the ash buried in the earth.

If the pact is not honored by the entity or spirit, it can be forced into compliance through other means using the pact, or released if you are of kinder disposition.

If the pact is not honored by you, woe may come knocking upon your door.

The Sluagh

The Sluagh in Irish and Scottish myth are the spirits of the restless dead, a host of evil vagabond spirits roaming the land in the form of a flock of black birds. They are the ghosts of evil men and women self-bound to the surface world, intent on causing sorrow and despair. They are most often seen flying from the west, and they seem drawn to households where the dying are taking their last breaths. Legends state they come to take possession of the souls of the dying before they can set foot on The Low Road, therefore it is common to find windows on the western sides of a home being shut and barred when there is an individual on their death bed. The Sluagh carry their unfortunate victims with them, often for ages, torturing them and dispensing all manner of misery… until they can make an escape or The Host tires of them and releases them to find their way belatedly to The Low Road.

So, when you see that cloud of black birds in the distance and their shrill cries make the hair on the back of your neck stand on-end, and the goose flesh crawl up your arms… be cautious. It may not be a flock of birds.

Fairies According To Wirt Sikes

Note, the following are edited excerpts and the full text typically has expanded descriptions and witness testimonies. This provides a starting point for further investigation and research. The Sidhe are an important aspect of my Left Hand Path and represent significant Lesser Powers. Further attention will be given to the subject in future posts.

Asrai…are small, delicate, female fairies. They cannot be exposed to sunlight, or captured; else they will melt away into a pool of water.

Banshee… The bean-sidhe (woman of the fairy may be an ancestral spirit appointed to forewarn members of certain ancient Irish families of their time of death. According to tradition, the banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors, the O’Gradys and the Kavanaghs. Intermarriage has since extended this select list.

Whatever her origins, the banshee chiefly appears in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron or a raddled old hag. She usually wears either a grey, hooded cloak or the winding sheet or grave robe of the unshriven dead. She may also appear as a washer-woman, and is seen apparently washing the blood stained clothes of those who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the bean-nighe (washing woman). The banshee may also appear in a variety of other forms, such as that of a hooded crow, stoat, hare, and weasel – animals associated in Ireland with witchcraft.

Bogles…generally evil-natured Goblins, although they are more disposed to do harm to liars and murderers.

Brownies…have traditionally attached themselves to humans and human households. Traditionally they are friendly and genuinely helpful.

Bwbach, or Boobach, is the good-natured goblin which does good turns for the tidy Welsh maid who wins its favour by a certain course of behaviour recommended by long tradition. The maid having swept the kitchen, makes a good fire the last thing at night, and having put the churn, filled with cream, on the whitened hearth, with a basin of fresh cream for the Bwbach on the hob, goes to bed to await the event. In the morning she finds (if she is in luck) that the Bwbach has emptied the basin of cream, and plied the churn-dasher so well that the maid has but to give a thump or two to bring the butter in a great lump. Like the Ellyll which it so much resembles, the Bwbach does not approve of dissenters and their ways, and especially strong is its aversion to total abstainers.

ChangelingVariant: stocks

It appears that fairy women all over Ireland find birth a difficult experience. Many fairy children die before birth and those that do survive are often stunted or deformed creatures.

The adult fairies, who are aesthetic beings, are repelled by these infants and have no wish to keep them. They will try to swap them with healthy children who they steal from the mortal world. The wizened, ill tempered creature left in place of the human child is generally known as a changeling and possesses the power to work evil in a household. Any child who is not baptised or who is overly admired is especially at risk of being exchanged.

It is their temperament, however, which most marks the changeling. Babies are generally joyful and pleasant, but the fairy substitute is never happy, except when some calamity befalls the household. For the most part, it howls and screeches throughout the waking hours and the sound and frequency of its yells often transcend the bounds of mortal endurance.

A changeling can be one of three types: actual fairy children; senile fairies who are disguised as children or, inanimate objects, such as pieces of wood which take on the appearance of a child through fairy magic. This latter type is known as a stock.

Puckered and wizened features coupled with yellow, parchment-like skin are all generic changeling attributes. This fairy will also exhibit very dark eyes, which betray a wisdom far older than its apparent years. Changelings display other characteristics, usually physical deformities, among which a crooked back or lame hand are common. About two weeks after their arrival in the human household, changelings will also exhibit a full set of teeth, legs as thin as chicken bones, and hands which are curved and crooked as birds’ talons and covered with a light, downy hair. No luck will come to a family in which there is a changeling because the creature drains away all the good fortune which would normally attend the household. Thus, those who are cursed with it tend to be very poor and struggle desperately to maintain the ravenous monster in their midst.

One positive feature which this fairy may demonstrate is an aptitude for music. As it begins to grow, the changeling may take up an instrument, often the fiddle or the Irish pipes, and plays with such skill that all who hear it will be entranced.

Prevention being better than cure, a number of protections may be placed around an infant’s cradle to ward off a changeling. Iron tongs placed across the cradle will usually be effective, because fairies fear these. An article of the father’s clothing laid across the child as it sleeps will have the same effect.

Changelings have prodigious appetites and will eat all that is set before them. The changeling has teeth and claws and does not take the breast like a human infant, but eats food from the larder. When the creature is finished each meal, it will demand more. Changelings have been known to eat the cupboard bare and still not be satisfied. Yet no matter how much it devours, the changeling remains as scrawny as ever.

Changelings do not live long in the mortal world. They usually shrivel up and die within the first two or three years of their human existence. The changeling is mourned and buried, but if its grave is ever disturbed all that will be found is a blackened twig or a piece of bog oak where the body of the infant should be. Some live longer but rarely into their teens.

There can also be adult changelings. These fairy doubles will exactly resemble the person taken but will have a sour disposition. The double will be cold and aloof and take no interest in friends or family. It will also be argumentative and scolding. As with an infant, a marked personality change is a strong indication of an adult changeling.

Changelings may be driven from a house. When this is achieved, the human child or adult will invariably be returned unharmed.

The least severe method of expulsion is to trick the fairy into revealing its true age. Heat and fire are anathema to the changeling and it will fly away from it.

Coblynau are always given the form of dwarfs, in the popular fancy; wherever seen or heard, they are believed to have escaped from the mines or the secret regions of the mountains. Their homes are hidden from mortal vision. When encountered, either in the mines or on the mountains, they have strayed from their special abodes, which are as spectral as themselves

Dwarves…are stocky, short and powerful.  They mature at 3 years old, and are gray and bearded by the age of 7. It is said they cannot appear in the light of day for to do so, would turn them to stone. However, there are potions and spells to help them endure the sunlight.

Dryads…are spirits that dwell in the trees, preferably oaks. The Druids turn to them for inspiration.

Dullahan… Variants: dullaghan, far dorocha, Crom Dubh

The dullahan is one of the most spectacular creatures in the Irish fairy realm and one which is particularly active in the more remote parts of counties Sligo and Down. Around midnight on certain Irish festivals or feast days, this wild and black-robed horseman may be observed riding a dark and snorting steed across the countryside.

Dullahans are headless. Although the dullahan has no head upon its shoulders, he carries it with him, either on the saddle-brow of his horse or upraised in his right hand. The head is the color and texture of stale dough or moldy cheese, and quite smooth. A hideous, idiotic grin splits the face from ear to ear, and the eyes, which are small and black, dart about like malignant flies. The entire head glows with the phosphorescence of decaying matter and the creature may use it as a lantern to guide its way along the darkened laneways of the Irish countryside. Wherever the dullahan stops, a mortal dies.

The dullahan is possessed of supernatural sight. By holding his severed head aloft, he can see for vast distances across the countryside, even on the darkest night. Using this power, he can spy the house of a dying person, no matter where it lies. Those who watch from their windows to see him pass are rewarded for their pains by having a basin of blood thrown in their faces, or by being struck blind in one eye.

The dullahan is usually mounted on a black steed, which thunders through the night. He uses a human spine as a whip. The horse sends out sparks and flames from its nostrils as it charges forth. In some parts of the country, such as County Tyrone, the dullahan drives a black coach known as the coach-a-bower (from the Irish coiste bodhar, meaning ‘deaf or silent coach’). This is drawn by six black horses, and travels so fast that the friction created by its movement often sets on fire the bushes along the sides of the road. All gates fly open to let rider and coach through, no matter how firmly they are locked, so no one is truly safe from the attentions of this fairy.

This fairy has a limited power of speech. Its disembodied head is permitted to speak just once on each journey it undertakes, and then has only the ability to call the name of the person whose death it heralds. A dullahan will stop its snorting horse before the door of a house and shout the name of the person about to die, drawing forth the soul at the call. He may also stop at the very spot where a person will die.

On nights of Irish feast days, it is advisable to stay at home with the curtains drawn; particularly around the end of August or early September. If you have to be abroad at this time, be sure to keep some gold object close to hand.

Unlike the banshee, the dullahan does not pursue specific families and its call is a summoning of the soul of a dying person rather than a death warning. There is no real defense against the dullahan because he is death’s herald. However, an artifact made of gold may frighten him away, for dullahan’s appear to have an irrational fear of this precious metal. Even a small amount of gold may suffice to drive them off.

EllylIdan is a type of elf exactly corresponding to the English Will-o’-wisp, the Scandinavian Lyktgubhe, and the Breton Sand Yan y Tad. The Welsh word dan means fire; dan also means a lure; the compound word suggests a luring elf-fire. The Breton Sand Yan y Tad (St. John and Father) [Keightley ‘Fairy Mythology,’ 441]is a double ignis fatuus fairy, carrying at its finger-ends five lights, which spin round like a wheel. The negroes of the southern seaboard states of America invest this goblin with an exaggeration of the horrible peculiarly their own. They call it Jack-muh-lantern, and describe it as a hideous creature five feet in height, with goggle-eyes and huge mouth, its body covered with long hair, and which goes leaping and bounding through the air like a gigantic grasshopper. This frightful apparition is stronger than any man, and swifter than any horse, and compels its victims to follow it into the swamp, where it leaves them to die.

Like all elves of this class, the EllylIdan was, of course, seen dancing about in marshy grounds, into which it led the belated wanderer.

Ellyllon are the pigmy elves who haunt the groves and valleys. The English name was probably derived from the Welsh el, a spirit, elf, an element; there is a whole brood of words of this class in the Welsh language, expressing every variety of flowing, gliding, spirituality, devilry, angelhood, and goblinism. Ellyllon (the plural of ellyll), is also doubtless allied with the Hebrew Elilim, having with it an identity both of origin and meaning. [Pughe’s ‘Welsh Dictionary.’ (Denbigh, 1866)] The hollows, or little dingles, are still the places where the peasant, belated on his homeward way from fair or market, looks for the ellyllon, but fails to find them. Their food is specified in Welsh folk-lore as fairy butter and fairy victuals, ymenyn tylwyth teg and bwyd ellyllon; the latter the toadstool, or poisonous mushroom, and the former a butter-resembling substance found at great depths in the crevices of limestone rocks, in sinking for lead ore. Their gloves, menyg ellyllon, are the bells of the digitalis, or fox-glove, the leaves of which are well known to be a strong sedative.

Fir Darrig…(Fear Deang) are practical jokers of a fearsome nature. They can assume any visage they wish.

Ganceann… A fairy which filled girls’ heads with pleasant fantasies and daydreams when they should instead be working. The name means “without a head” or “love talker,” and thus this fairy in particular is the personification of daydreaming.

Ganceann… Was also called Gancomer, and was considered to be a faerie who preferred to spend his time making love to milkmaids and shepherdesses.

Gnomes…are Earth Elementals.  They live underground, and guard the treasures of the earth.   They are wonderful metal workers, especially of swords, spearheads, and breastplates.

Goblins…is the name used for an uglier species of Fairy.  They are small and malicious, and usually band together.

Grogochs… were originally half human, half-fairy aborigines who came from Kintyre in Scotland to settle in Ireland. The grogoch, well-known throughout north Antrim, Rathlin Island and parts of Donegal, may also to be found on the Isle of Man, where they are called ‘phynnodderee’. Resembling a very small elderly man, though covered in coarse, dense reddish hair or fur, he wears no clothes, but sports a variety of twigs and dirt from his travels. Grogochs are not noted for their personal hygiene: there are no records of any female grogochs. The grogoch is impervious to searing heat or freezing cold. His home may be a cave, hollow or cleft in the landscape. In numerous parts of the northern countryside are large leaning stones which are known as ‘grogochs’ houses’. He has the power of invisibility and will often only allow certain trusted people to observe him. A very sociable being, the grogoch. He may even attach himself to certain individuals and help them with their planting and harvesting or with domestic chores – for no payment other than a jug of cream. He will scuttle about the kitchen looking for odd jobs to do and will invariably get under people’s feet.

Gwragedd Annwn (literally, wives of the lower world, or hell) are the elfin dames who dwell under the water. I find no resemblance in the Welsh fairy to our familiar mermaid, beyond the watery abode, and the sometimes winning ways. The Gwragedd Annwn are not fishy of aspect, nor do they dwell in the sea. Their haunt is the lakes and rivers, but especially the wild and lonely lakes upon the mountain heights. These romantic sheets are surrounded with numberless superstitions, which will be further treated of. In the realm of faerie they serve as avenues of communication between this world and the lower one of annwn, the shadowy domain presided over by Gwyn ap Nudd, king of the fairies. This sub-aqueous realm is peopled by those children of mystery termed Plant Annwn, and the belief is current among the inhabitants of the Welsh mountains that the Gwragedd Annwn still occasionally visits this upper world of ours.

Gwyllion are female fairies of frightful characteristics, who haunt lonely roads in the Welsh mountains, and lead night-wanderers astray. They partake somewhat of the aspect of the Hecate of Greek mythology, who rode on the storm, and was a hag of horrid guise. The Welsh word gwyll is variously used to signify gloom, shade, duskiness, a hag, a witch, a fairy, and a goblin but its special application is to these mountain fames of gloomy and harmful habits, as distinct from the Ellyllon of the forest glades and dingles, which are more often beneficent.

Hobgoblins…Originally a general name for small, grotesque but friendly Brownie-type creatures. Hobgoblins were one or two feet tall, hairy, and naked or wearing brownish clothing. They lived by the flames of the fire and rarely went outside. They were described as friendly, impish, ugly, mischievous, good-humored, helpful, mean, grotesque, and fond of practical jokes. If annoyed, they would turn nasty.

Leprechauns… The name leprechaun may have derived from the Irish leath bhrogan (shoemaker), although its origins may lie in luacharma’n (Irish for pygmy). These apparently aged, diminutive men are frequently to be found in an intoxicated state, caused by home-brew poteen. However they never become so drunk that the hand which holds the hammer becomes unsteady and their shoemaker’s work affected.

Leprechauns have also become self-appointed guardians of ancient treasure (left by the Danes when they marauded through Ireland), burying it in crocks or pots. This may be one reason why leprechauns tend to avoid contact with humans whom they regard as foolish, flighty (and greedy?) creatures. If caught by a mortal, he will promise great wealth if allowed to go free. He carries two leather pouches. In one there is a silver shilling, a magical coin that returns to the purse each time it is paid out. In the other he carries a gold coin which he uses to try and bribe his way out of difficult situations. This coin usually turns to leaves or ashes once the leprechaun has parted with it. However, you must never take your eye off him, for he can vanish in an instant.

The leprechaun ‘family’ appears split into two distinct groups – leprechaun and cluricaun. Cluricauns may steal or borrow almost anything, creating mayhem in houses during the hours of darkness, raiding wine cellars and larders. They will also harness sheep, goats, dogs and even domestic fowl and ride them throughout the country at night. Although the leprechaun has been described as Ireland’s national fairy, this name was originally only used in the north Leinster area. Variants include lurachmain, lurican, lurgadhan.

Merrows… The word merrow or moruadh comes from the Irish muir (meaning sea) and oigh (meaning maid) and refers specifically to the female of the species. Mermen – the merrows male counterparts – have been rarely seen. They have been described as exceptionally ugly and scaled, with pig-like features and long, pointed teeth. Merrows themselves are extremely beautiful and are promiscuous in their relations with mortals.

The Irish merrow differs physically from humans in that her feet are flatter than those of a mortal and her hands have a thin webbing between the fingers. It should not be assumed that merrows are kindly and well-disposed towards mortals. As members of the sidhe, or Irish fairy world, the inhabitants of Tir fo Thoinn (the Land beneath the Waves) have a natural antipathy towards humans. In some parts of Ireland, they are regarded as messengers of doom and death.

Merrows have special clothing to enable them to travel through ocean currents. In Kerry, Cork and Wexford, they wear a small red cap made from feathers, called a cohullen druith. However, in more northerly waters they travel through the sea wrapped in sealskin cloaks, taking on the appearance and attributes of seals. In order to come ashore, the merrow abandons her cap or cloak, so any mortal who finds these has power over her, as she cannot return to the sea until they are retrieved. Hiding the cloak in the thatches of his house, a fisherman may persuade the merrow to marry them. Such brides are often extremely wealthy, with fortunes of gold plundered from shipwrecks. Eventually the merrow will recover the cloak, and find her urge to return to the sea so strong that she leaves her human husband and children behind.

Many coastal dwellers have taken merrows as lovers and a number of famous Irish families claim their descent from such unions, notably the O’Flaherty and O’Sullivan families of Kerry and the MacNamaras of Clare. Despite her wealth and beauty, you should be particularly wary about encountering this marine fairy.

Pixies…Often take the form of hedgehogs.  They are mischievous fairies who enjoy playing practical jokes on humans and other fey folk.  They also love to steal horses to ride and bring them back before morning with tangled and knotted manes. They can sometimes can be placated with gifts of food and milk left on the porch.

Phouka…Can appear in various animal forms and are considered to be dangerous. Variants: phouka, puca

The pooka is a feared fairy This may be because it is always out and about after nightfall, creating harm and mischief, and because it can assume a variety of terrifying forms.

The guise in which it most often appears, however, is that of a sleek, dark horse with sulphurous yellow eyes and a long wild mane. In this form, it roams large areas of countryside at night, tearing down fences and gates, scattering livestock in terror, trampling crops and generally doing damage around remote farms.

In remote areas of County Down, the pooka becomes a small, deformed goblin who demands a share of the crop at the end of the harvest: for this reason several strands, known as the ‘pooka’s share’, are left behind by the reapers. In parts of County Laois, the pooka becomes a huge, hairy bogeyman who terrifies those abroad at night; in Waterford and Wexford, it appears as an eagle with a massive wingspan; and in Roscommon, as a black goat with curling horns.

The mere sight of it may prevent hens laying their eggs or cows giving milk, and it is the curse of all late night travellers as it is known to swoop them up on to its back and then throw them into muddy ditches or bogholes. The pooka has the power of human speech, and it has been known to stop in front of certain houses and call out the names of those it wants to take upon its midnight dashes. If that person refuses, the pooka will vandalize their property because it is a very vindictive fairy.

The origins of the pooka are to some extent speculative. The name may come from the Scandinavian pook or puke, meaning ‘nature spirit’. Such beings were very capricious and had to be continually placated or they would create havoc in the countryside, destroying crops and causing illness among livestock. Alternatively, the horse cults prevalent throughout the early Celtic world may have provided the underlying motif for the nightmare steed.

Other authorities suggest that the name comes from the early Irish poc meaning either ‘a male goat’ or a ‘blow from a cudgel’. However, the horse cult origin is perhaps the most plausible since many of these cults met on high ground and the main abode of the pooka is believed to be on high mountain tops. There is a waterfall formed by the river Liffey in the Wicklow mountains known as the Poula Phouk (the pooka’s hole), and Binlaughlin Mountain in County Fermanagh is also known as the ‘peak of the speaking horse’.

In some areas of the country, the pooka is rather more mysterious than dangerous, provided it is treated with proper respect. The pooka may even be helpful on occasion, issuing prophecies and warnings where appropriate. For example, the folklorist Douglas Hyde referred to a ‘plump, sleek, terrible steed’ which emerged from a hill in Leinster and which spoke in a human voice to the people there on the first day of November. It was accustomed to give “intelligent and proper answers to those who consulted it concerning all that would befall them until November the next year. And the people used to leave gifts and presents at the hill…

Redcaps… A Red Cap or Redcap, also known as a powrie or dunter, is a type of malevolent murderous goblin. They inhabit ruined castles found along the border between England and Scotland. Redcaps are said to murder travelers who stray into their homes, sometimes by pushing boulders off cliffs and on to them, staining their hats with their victims’ blood (from which they get their name). Indeed, redcaps must kill regularly, for if the blood staining their hats dries out, they die. Redcaps are very fast in spite of the heavy iron pikes they wield and the iron-shod boots they wear. The most infamous redcap of all was Robin Redcap. As the familiar of Lord William de Soulis, Robin wreaked much harm and ruin in the lands of his master’s dwelling, Hermitage Castle. Men were murdered, women cruelly abused, and dark arts were practiced. Yet Soulis, for all the evil he wrought, met a very horrible end: he was taken to the Nine Stane Rigg, a circle of stones hard by the castle, and there he was wrapped in lead and boiled to death in a great cauldron..

Sluagh…is the host of the Unforgiven Dead, The most formidable of the Highland Fairies. The Sluagh were the spirits of the restless dead. Sometimes they were seen as sinners, or generally evil people who did not travel into the Pagan Otherworld and who had also been rejected by the Pagan deities and the earth itself. They are almost always depicted as troublesome and destructive. They are seen to fly in groups like flocks of birds, coming from the west, and were known to try to enter the house of a dying person in an effort to carry the soul away with them. West-facing windows are sometimes kept closed to keep them out. Some consider the Sluagh to also carry with them the souls of innocent people who were kidnapped by these destructive spirits.

Spriggans… Spriggans are diminutive members of the fairy kingdom, more closely related to sprites and boggles than goblins and dwarves. In the natural state, they could easily be mistaken for a cat if seen from a distance, due to their large luminous eyes, furry bodies, and long tails. But spriggans are otherwise only similar to cats in their complete disinterest in anything other than their own agenda – which, being of the nature of other faeries, changes from moment to moment. Being a prominent figure of faerie, they possess certain magical powers that allow them to change shapes at dramatic speeds, ranging in size from tiny insects to towering monsters. They can also travel instantly across vast distances in the blink of an eye.

Trolls…Have an aversion to daylight; in fact the rays of the sun petrify them into stone. They are frequently observed performing a curious lop-sided danced called ‘Henking’.

Urisk… The Urisk is a faerie resembling a goat-man that haunts pools of water and waterfalls near the Scottish Highlands. He is said to be lonely and often seeks out human companionship; however, the unusual nature of his physical appearance often frightens away anyone he tries to interact with. Like many fairy-folk, the Urisks are known to help farmers with their fields and others, but also like fairy-folk, they are known to torment and toy with those by following them through lonely places. (6)

Fairy Rings

The Fairies, or Sidhe, have often been observed dancing in dense and dark woods, frolicking around circles of mushrooms or fungus, circles of grass or grain laid flat by their cavorting and dancing, or moss covered stones laid in circular form. Some say Sidhe magic resides in these circles, even when they are not present. The yew tree is often found in proximity to fairy circles, and care must be exercised to never harm it. Intruding into these sacred places carries dire risk.

If you inadvertently find yourself in one of these places, watch what you say, and take care where you tread, lest the ire of the fair folk is stoked and brought to life. Offer your apologies, leave an offering, and hasten to depart. Many who have not heeded this advice have been enticed or ensnared by sorcery to dance with the Fair Folk in their fairy rings… and they are either never seen from again, or return many years later untouched by the passing of decades and with minds clouded or fogged by ancient magic.

Familiar Spirits

It is the Goat Headed God Cernunnos, Lord of Witches, who gives knowledge of the Familiar Spirit. The ways a Familiar Spirit can manifest itself to a witch are many. Sometimes they appear unbidden when a practitioner is in need or distress, and sometimes they are sent by the Horned One in response to a prayer or plea. A Familiar Spirit can be a demon, angelic being, lares, or other lesser power. In most cases they are said to be able to manifest in corporeal form. Some are even said to be shape shifters and able to take on multiple physical forms. Some are animals like the proverbial cat, dog, or toad, the Familiar Spirit possessing their physical body. A stray animal that just shows up and exhibits an extraordinary bond with you could be a Familiar Spirit. However a Familiar Spirit appears to you, be aware it is a profound gift from the Horned One. You will know beyond any doubt when one enters your service. The connection will be electric. It’s with a smile when I think back upon all of the small children I have known who have had “invisible friends”, that special person or creature that only they are able to see and communicate with. The Horned God shows interest in all of the Great Goddess’s Third Children, even the small and young.

Familiar Spirits often serve as guardians, helpers, and reservoirs of power that can be drawn upon to strengthen spells and curses. They lend moral support, commune, and act as guides during astral travel. They watch and they listen. They will usually maintain their service until either the witch dies, or they are destroyed. Some have even been known to continue service along family lines for multiple generations. It is entirely proper for you to name your Familiar Spirit, and it does not matter if others know, for it is a rare event indeed for even a witch bound to their Familiar Spirit to know its “true name.”

If you are actively seeking the gift of a Familiar Spirit, it is recommended that a prayer be offered on Esbat, under the light of the full moon, beseeching The Goat Headed God for the boon of a Familiar Spirit.

  • In preparation it is recommended that you fast from the dawn prior to the Esbat to the dawn after.
  • No Circle is necessary for this working.
  • The location of this ritual should be outdoors and in an area that will be free from interruption and prying eyes.
  • If you have an animal you wish a Familiar Spirit to possess, have it nearby in a cage. If the Horned One grants you a Familiar Spirit, it may choose it as a host, or it may not.
  • Have a ritual cup and some dark ale at the ready.
  • When the moon is visible in the sky it is proper to proceed.
  • Kneel and face north.
  • Light a small fire, and have plenty of small pieces of wood available to feed it throughout the ritual.

Say:

I invoke thee Cernunnos, Lord of Witches, my Morning Star.
Ignite the Flame betwixt thy horns Great Goat God,
That the path may be illuminated and I shall be found from afar.
That a union can be forged between flesh and spirit.
Cernnunos, Dark Master, I pray thee, send forth a Familiar Spirit,
That we might be bound together in Craft and Blood.

Feed the fire and begin a soft chant: Great Goat God, send forth a Familiar Spirit.

Continue this chant, for hours if need be, keeping your small fire fed. Allow your senses to roam and the chant to carry your awareness to your surroundings. A Familiar Spirit can appear at any time, in actual physical form or in spirit. Avoid preconceptions and your desires to color what type of Familiar Spirit answers your call. Let the Spirit choose you. Watch and listen as you chant, and when a figure does appear you may cease chanting and commune in speech or thought. If the Familiar Spirit chooses to be bound to you it will answer, if not it will depart. If none appear, do not worry, as you may have been observed and still under consideration. The Familiar Spirit may appear to you at a later time. You can continue this ritual on each full moon thereafter until a Familiar Spirit answers your call.

Whether or not you have success, make an offering of dark ale, holding a cup of it up, and say:

Cernunnos, Lord of Witches, my Morning Star, I offer my thanks for lighting the way.

Drain half of the ale, and pour the rest out on the ground in front of you. The ritual is complete.

The Sidhe

In time mortal man multiplied, and they traveled the seas under the guidance of Manannán mac Lir. When the Sons of Mil arrived on the shores of Ireland they found the Tuatha De Danann in possession of the land and engaged them in battle. The Great Mother’s Second Children recognized they would thereafter be in decline, for their seers foresaw that mortal man would become legion, more numerous than the heather on the hills. They invoked the Great Goddess Danu seeking her advice and judgment, and she convened a conclave of the Gods at which all of the Tuatha De Danann attended.

Discussion and debate ensued for three days and three nights. There were two distinct and different schools of thought. Some argued that war was the answer and that to the victor should go the spoils, for through strength of arms the vitality and the protection of the world was certain. Others argued that mortal man should be forced into a peaceful coexistence, for through their combined strength, defense against the Fomori if they should return was assured.

The Great Goddess Danu merely watched and listened, and she duly noted that throughout the conclave Cernunnos had not uttered a single word. She then spoke and silence settled over the gathering. She asked Cernunnos for his thoughts. All eyes turned to the Goat Headed God, many suspicious, for his origins and race prior to ascension were well known. When he spoke, his guttural voice carried to all, and none interrupted.

“There will be mortal men proud enough to believe themselves Gods, and some brave enough to endure much and accomplish it, they are beautiful creations indeed. Free will is wisdom, for the balance will always strive to regain its natural state. The Tuatha De Danann have never truly had leeway to freely choose their own destinies, therefore they find it difficult to see this gift handed so easily to the Third Children of Danu and seek to either destroy them, or force them into servitude. This conclave has not been about the fate of the Tuatha De Danann, but that of mortal man. I say that the Second Children of Danu should now be given this choice, for whichever path they choose they are still one side of the same coin. The dominion of the Third Children is a certain future. Those that choose to war against and harm mortal man, so be it. Those that choose to aid them, so be it. Dominion to all touched by the sun and the moon should go to the Third Children, and the hollow hills and other places below the surface to the Tuatha De Danann.”

Many of the Tuatha De Danann looked away at his words for they sensed the unadulterated truth in what he said. Some were ashamed, some merely accepting. The Great Goddess Danu smiled, for she saw wisdom in the words of Cernunnos. The assembled Tuatha De Danann were then transformed by the Great Goddess Danu into the fairy folk, later known as the Sidhe.

Those who were more inclined to help man formed the Seelie Court, and those more inclined to harm the Unseelie Court, and they departed for the realms below. The Sons of Mil then took the lands of Ireland for their own, and their encounters with the Fair Folk are well documented, even up to today…

Creation

There was once a time when there was no time. There was only the void and the darkness. Eventually the void and darkness transformed, became self-aware, and named itself Danu. In that self-awareness she felt loneliness, so she stretched forth her hand, whispered words of power, and created the worlds… intent on filling the emptiness inside her heart. She brought the stars into existence, the mountains, and the seas, yet she still did not feel complete. So she continued in her contemplation and walked the worlds.

In the waters of a river she looked upon her reflection and saw the image of the sun over her shoulder. She saw that the light was beautiful, felt that its warmth was good… and she stretched forth her hand again and whispered words of power, giving birth to our Great Lord Lugh, forming him from the fires of the Sun, and their desire knew no bounds. Their coupling brought much into existence, plants, animals, insects, and the First Children of Danu, The Fomori.

The Fomori were giants, creatures of destruction and chaos. Lesser Powers. More than mortal, but less than true Gods. They ruled the land for ages, worshiping Danu as “Domnu”, and even now they are often called the “Children of Domnu.” Their rites were powerful, black, and terrible. Some places even now carry a taint, a leftover taste of their former glory. Her First Children brought her great satisfaction, but the world lacked a sense of balance, and much of her creation could not realize its potential. So she continued her contemplation and walked the worlds.

Our Great Sun God Lugh saw our Great Mother Danu deep in thought, and asked her what troubled her so. She replied that her worlds and creations were many and none could experience the other. In answer to Danu’s distress Lugh traveled to the Northern Lands and in a long valley near the sea planted a seed, blew his breath upon it, and whispered powerful magic. From that seed sprang a Great Oak Tree, its branches and limbs climbing into the heavens to connect all of the Great Mother’s worlds, and its roots delved deep into the earth and the hollow places below. Danu saw Lugh’s gift and knew happiness.

In time the Great Goddess again stretched forth her hand and whispered words of power and brought into being her Second Children, the Tuatha Dé Danann, or “Children of Danu.” They were fair and many. Lesser Powers. More than mortal, but less than true Gods… and they warred unceasingly with the Fomori. In time the Fomori were defeated and driven forth. They traveled the branches of the Great Tree to lands bound in shadow.  There they still lurk, plotting and scheming the conquest and destruction of the lands from which they were exiled. A tide of chaos held in check by the power of order. They are dangerous beings, full of hatred, and their memories are long.

The worlds now embodied law and chaos, good and evil, light and darkness. The Great Goddess Danu then prepared for the creation of her Third Children… mortal men and women. Beings given choice over which paths they would walk… law or chaos, light or darkness. Beings with the capacity to be kind and cruel, good and evil. Beings with a divine spark, a piece of the essence of the Gods… a soul.

Danu then empowered Morrígan of the Tuatha Dé Danann to cut the threads of fate that bound the souls of her Third Children , and gave her reign and providence over the underworld to where they would go after death to await rebirth.

She then empowered Brigid of the Tuatha Dé Danann to teach her Third Children healing, and the art of the spoken word, and gave her reign and providence over the hearth and home.

She then empowered Manannán mac Lir of the Tuatha Dé Danann to teach her Third Children to master the waters, and the value of wit and wile, and gave him reign and providence over the seas, mists, and the weather.

And to the dismay of these three new deities, the Great Mother Danu empowered a goat headed Fomori called Cernunnos to teach her Third Children of fire and sorcery, and tasked him with watching over the souls of the dead as they traveled the Low Road to the Underworld of Morrígan, and to incite the creatures of field and fen to reproduce when the appointed seasons came. He would later be known as the Goat God of the Witches to the faithful, and a Devil to those of other faiths.

The Great Mother Danu scooped up a handful of clay, shaping them into man and woman. Manannán mac Lir sprinkled water upon them, thereby aiding their shaping and tying them irrevocably to the element.  The heat and light of our Sun God Lugh set them in form. Brigid whispered words of power and touched her fingertip to their hearts and infused them with the desire to search, question, and reason. Morrígan waved her hands above them, chanting the dirge of death, ensuring they were to be mortal. With these tasks complete Lugh, Manannán mac Lir, Brigid, and Morrígan departed to prepare for the arrival of the Third Children. As they left The Great Mother Danu looked upon her incomplete creations in contemplation. From the depths of the dark wood Cernunnos crept and knelt next to the clay forms, the Great Mother watching intently what he would contribute. She had been aware of his presence from the beginning as he watched from the shadows. He whispered an incantation, dark and ancient, and a small fire ignited between his horns. He removed two small flames with his finger tips and dropped them into the clay where they disappeared into the material. He then departed into the woods, the hand of Danu caressing his shoulder with affection as he left. She smiled, for he had gifted her Third Children with souls… and the potential to become Gods and overcome fate. Danu then completed her task of creation and departed the garden from which her new children had begun to awaken.

On Lesser Powers

You will see many references to “Lesser Powers” in this collection of works. The term is used to describe those entities that are less than gods, but more than mortal man. Demons, devils, fey, demigods, spirits, angelic beings, etc. are all prime examples. I will make no illusions, or beat around the bush. Some are good and helpful, and some are evil and will not hesitate to do you harm. Many can be summoned, bound, and made to serve. Some can be bartered with. Some can be pleaded with. Some will ignore you and have nothing to do with you. Any interaction you have with them can be uncertain. With that being said, my Left Hand Path finds nothing wrong with any of the aforementioned activities. The decision is purely a personal one.

I will tag any reference to entities in this category as a “Lesser Power” to enable ease of research…

Horned Wolf

Polytheist Pagan and Witch. Hurrah!

The Pipe Smoker

Pipe Smoking is Not a Habit.

Coven of the Catta

Founded in 1967

The Coven

Must be the season of the witch.

Sparks of Insanity

Haphazard Explorations & Experiments In Fiction

Adversus Mentis

Ad Umbra et Tenerbrarum in Aeternum

Encyclopedia Satanica

As above, so below

Aleister Nacht's Satanic Magic Blog

Satanism and Satanic Magic Blog - Aleister Nacht

THE LOS PERSPECTIVE

The Journey and Adventures of a Hindu Pagan

Theruine

Theruine Wordpress.com

Queen of Swords

Using the tarot in imaginative ways

DISSONANCE THE DARK ASPECT

A WORLD OF GODS AND MONSTERS

ONA-NXS:352

THE ORDER OF NINE ANGLES

Frisson

I am a warrior, who's only liberation is myself, and through myself, others.

The Darkest Places

Before there is light, there must be darkness.

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

The Seeker's Dungeon

Troubling the Surf with the Ocean

D'arcy Digs Her Heels

Words of folly and ascension

Fabulous Realms

Worlds of Fantasy, Folklore, Myth and Legend

A Writing Vice

The Guilty Pleasure of Words

Blau Stern Schwarz Schlonge

BlueStarBlackSnake - An Appalachian witches daily musings and interests

Kiera World

A World of Magick and Mystical Fun

  Rogue Priest

a philosopher's journey to meet the gods

Son of Hel

I walk a Helish road, the only road that I have ever known.

harvestliberty

A 21st Century Homemaker's Castings on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Whatever Necessity Requires

Uncanny UK

Dedicated to British ghosts and folklore. And general weirdness!

Druid Life

Pagan reflections from a Druid author - life, community, inspiration, health, hope, and radical change

Peragro Umbrae

The chronicles of a Wanderer through the Shadows of Existence

The Dark Aspect

Part of the Force Academy, founded in 1998.

freaky folk tales

A haunting we will go...

The Great Unspoken

Sex, Race, Art and Afterlife.

Confessions of a Hedge Witch

on the cunning arts, and other strange tales

The Wanton Witch

All things wyrd and wonderful.

Magic of the Ordinary

encounters with mystery, politics and sex

Abhainn

That's Mr. Abhainn to you!

stormyviews

Just another WordPress.com site

Hunting for Diamonds

Sifting though the sediment in my brain

Fenland Wyldcraft

A solitary English Witch

Angel's Devilish Creations

the art of Angel Laveaux

Maleficus Amor

A playground for the musings and scribblings of a Sith.

The Tight Fisted Photographer

Fighting the System with a camera. British budget photography

The Gates Of Magick

A Fool & Her Journey

Cassie & Sophie NSFW

Ladies of the Left

Jack of Many Trades

where words mean things

Devil's Advocates

Satanic family life, thoughts and issues.

Sinister Arcanum

A Resource for Dark Side Devotees.

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