Category Archives: The Heredity of Witchcraft

The Witches’ Ointment

The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic by Thomas Hatsis, has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher Inner Traditions, under the Park Street Press imprint.

Thomas Hatsis The Witches Ointment

“In the medieval period preparations with hallucinogenic herbs were part of the practice of veneficium, or poison magic. This collection of magical arts used poisons, herbs, and rituals to bewitch, heal, prophesy, infect, and murder. In the form of psyche-magical ointments, poison magic could trigger powerful hallucinations and surrealistic dreams that enabled direct experience of the Divine. Smeared on the skin, these entheogenic ointments were said to enable witches to commune with various local goddesses, bastardized by the Church as trips to the Sabbat–clandestine meetings with Satan to learn magic and participate in demonic orgies.

Examining trial records and the pharmacopoeia of witches, alchemists, folk healers, and heretics of the 15th century, Thomas Hatsis details how a range of ideas from folk drugs to ecclesiastical fears over medicine women merged to form the classical “witch” stereotype and what history has called the “witches’ ointment.” He shares dozens of psychoactive formulas and recipes gleaned from rare manuscripts from university collections from all over the world as well as the practices and magical incantations necessary for their preparation. He explores the connections between witches’ ointments and spells for shape shifting, spirit travel, and bewitching magic. He examines the practices of some Renaissance magicians, who inhaled powerful drugs to communicate with spirits, and of Italian folk-witches, such as Matteuccia di Francisco, who used hallucinogenic drugs in her love potions and herbal preparations, and Finicella, who used drug ointments to imagine herself transformed into a cat.

Exploring the untold history of the witches’ ointment and medieval hallucinogen use, Hatsis reveals how the Church transformed folk drug practices, specifically entheogenic ones, into satanic experiences.” — back cover

Hands of Apostasy

Hands of Apostasy: Essays on Traditional Witchcraft, edited by Michael Howard and Daniel A. Schulke, in special and standard hardcover editions from Three Hands Press, and available for pre-order now, may be of interest.

Michael Howard Daniel A Schulke Hands of Apostasy from Three Hands Press

Old-style Craft, also known as traditional witchcraft, endures as a distinct body of archaic magical practices in present-day Britain, North America and Australia. Originally nameless, such bodies are related to a variety of historical magical streams, most notably the practices of the Grimoires or ‘black books’, folk-healing, and popular magic of the early modern era. Typically, such groups operate in secret, with strict means of initiatic succession, and practice sorcery characterized by a dual ethos of healing and harming. Though an internally contentious issue, the word witch is accepted as a descriptor for practitioners of this art, as is anti-witching for practices of removing curses and binding magical malefactors.

Though still obscure, even in occult circles, the variety and idiosyncrasy of Old Craft traditions is remarkable. The witches of Cornwall, with their corpora of folk charms and blessings, are one such phenotype. The Pickingill Craft as described by E.W. Liddell, remains despite its controversy one of the most unique and potent Craft persuasions, as do the teachings and practices of Robert Cochrane, founder of Clan of Tubal Cain. The Manx Old Order, the Skull and Bones tradition of Pennsylvania, and the Cultus Sabbati, with the medieval Witches’ Sabbath as an important organizing principle, are yet other distinctive traditions.

Hands of Apostasy is a groundbreaking witchcraft anthology presenting nineteen articles written by both scholars and practitioners, addressing such crucial Old Craft topics the Devil, Initiation, the relation of witchcraft to the grimoire corpus, the mysticism and magic of herbs, folk-charming, the nocturnal flight, the Romantic movement, the witches’ cauldron, and the powers of moon and tide. Representing widely-varying witchcraft traditions and perspectives, the book is a sound testament to the Craft’s history, diversity and strength, as well as the characteristic marks of an evolving and contemplative tradition. A complete list of essays and authors is found at right.

The work is profusely illustrated with a specially-commissioned set of illustrations by renowned Finnish engraver Timo Ketola, pleasing both sensus and spiritus. In his darkly opulent style evocative of nocturnal tableaux and forlorn landscapes, Mar. Ketola’s work for Hands of Apostasy is a stunningly original addition to the iconography of the witch. In conjunction with the book release we are also offering a limited edition print of Timo Ketola’s LUCIFER.”

“Authors and Essays
The Magic of History: Some Considerations
Andrew Chumbley

A Family Craft Tradition
Douglas McIlwain

Killing the Moon:
Witchcraft Initiations in the Mountains of the Southern United States
Corey Hutcheson

Pentacles of Wood
David Rankine

Moon-Raking in the Old Craft
Cecil Williamson

The Cauldron of Pure Descent
Martin Duffy

Spirits and Deific Forms: Faith and Belief in British Old Craft
Melusine Draco

Waking the Dead: The Ancient Magical Art of Necromancy
Michael Howard

The Witching Hour
Peter Hamilton Giles

The Man in Black
Gemma Gary

Origins and Rationales of Modern Witch Cults
Andrew Chumbley

Mirror, Moon and Tides
Levannah Morgan

The Traditional Witchcraft of Ellan Vannin

Unchain the Devil!
Radomir Ristic

Where the Three Roads Meet:
Oneiric Praxis in the Sabbatic Craft
Jimmy Elwing

Witches as the Plant People of Old Europe
Raven Grimassi

Conjure-Charms of the Welsh Marches
Gary St. Michael Nottingham

The Blasphemy of Things Unseen
Daniel A. Schulke

Romantic Age Roots of Traditional Witchcraft
Lee Morgan”

The White Wand

The White Wand: Ruminations, Meditations, Reflections toward a Feri Aesthetic by Anaar (April Niino), foreword by Cora Anderson, is part of the collection at the Reading Room. This book has been made available as a free download courtesy of the author.

Anaar The White Wand

“My artistic tradition stems from my religious tradition. THe work I do, and the way it is done is a direct result of my training as a priestess. As children we played a game with string. Holding the string we wove a web between out hands. Like spiders spinning their universe, between our hands fell a web of magic. Mimicking the Star Goddess, we held a web of power. I dive between my partner’s hands to lift this net, forever changing its shape. And she dives into mine, changing it again. Artists, like children are weaver shamans creating a world between their hands.

My process has been described as an exploration of the intersection of Feri and the arts. It is the process of creation, and is central to my intimate connection to God Herself. These meditations come from personal practice; some are a gift from the Goddess, in dream and memory; most are from the teachings of the Grandmaster Victor Anderson.

The ground of this work is the blood source of our Feri ancestors, running in our veins. The expression is our lore, the awesome power of night and day. The source is the sensual ritual of The Star Goddess, manifest in our bodies. The language of Feri is the language of poetry, of art, of ritual. The foundation of this language is our intimate communion with God Herself.

This is a collection of reflections, ruminations, and meditations on the White Wand of the Feri Tradition.”

The Heart of the Initiate

The Heart of the Initiate: Feri Lessons by Victor H Anderson and Cora Anderson, from Harpy Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Victor H Anderson Cora Anderson The Heart of the Initiate from Harpy Books

“Featuring rare teachings from Victor and Cora Anderson on the Feri Tradition of Witchcraft, this compact and unique resource covers initiation, sexual ethics, the Guardians, the black heart of innocence, possession, Deities, and more. Including commentaries, letters to students, and extraordinary interview excerpts, The Heart of the Initiate reveals profound insights into the Goddess, rites, symbols, and the mysteries of the Craft.” — back cover

Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition

Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition by Cora Anderson, foreword by Dennis Strand, from Acorn Guild Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room. (Anderson Feri Tradition materials are now from the related Harpy Books imprint.)

Cora Anderson Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition from Acorn Guild Press

“How does one begin to write about a person you have known for almost thirty years, who has taught you their secret Craft, introduced you to the Goddess, given you their personal style and form of charms and Craft tools, set your feet upon a path that would deliver you from false religious fantasies, and opened the door of spiritual perception? Cora has been my spiritual mother and guide, and through the years has given me a love that in time grew to match my true love, that of Goddess herself.

Her name gives us a clue to her stature, Cora is one of the oldest and most enduring names for the ancient Goddess herself. Since the Goddess is the central figure in Craft theology, possessing one of her names as one’s own is in itself a great honor. However, honor is one thing and living up to that honor is quite another matter. Cora has done both.”

“The Old Craft, as sometimes it is called, has a very dangerous side inherent in its practice. The very forces used are the same ancient ones that set this universe into motion. This major point is too often forgotten, glossed over, never fully realized, or completely realized! Don’t forget the powers of Nature’s creation include dangerous ones too, like death, disease, pestilence, destruction and deterioration. Nature has her pathological side. So without a basic Craft yardstick by which to measure and separate truth from religious fantasy one is lost, dangerously lost.

Spiritual authority in the Craft rest solely upon the ability of the teacher’s art to manifest the Gods, not on a book, notoriety or fame. The authentic Craft teacher will have the distinct talent to put the student into direct contact with the Gods, and as a result create new states of awareness through dreams and visions that open the student to a higher state of himself without the use of drugs or self-denial. Dignity to the self and to sex are held in the highest degree of respect at all times. The student, for the first time in his or her journey, is acquiring that treasured yardstick, which is vital to separating the grain from chaff, truth from illusive spiritual morbidity, dignity from disgrace.” — Dennis Strand, from the Foreword

Etheric Anatomy

Etheric Anatomy: The Three Selves and Astral Travel by Victor H Anderson, with additional material from Cora Anderson, from Acorn Guild Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room. (Anderson Feri Tradition materials are now from the related Harpy Books imprint.)

Victor H Anderson Etheric Anatomy from Acorn Guild Press

“What Every Witch Should Know

‘In order to comprehend more fully our psychic structure, it must be understood that the human being is a trinity. This is neither a metaphor nor an abstract illustration. The human soul and spirit body is made up of three definite parts or entities. Each of these three entities has its own individual and collective existence in the soul and personality, just as surely as the three atoms in a molecule of water.’—Etheric Anatomy

This volume offers the clearest explanation available on the Three Souls teaching for Witches and Pagans. Etheric Anatomy gathers rare writings by Victor and his wife, Cora, that demystify:

· The three parts of the soul
· Seeing and evaluating auras
· Developing etheric sight
· Out-of-body experiences
· Astral sex
· Feri prayers and exercises, including:
  – The Flower Prayer—to contact the God Self
  – The Ha Prayer—to raise mana
  – The Kala Rite—to clear energy blocks

Etheric Anatomy contains information not found in any other book. The Three Souls teaching is the foundation of the Feri Tradition, but informs all seekers who wish to understand the nature of the self and develop their psychic skills.” — back cover

Lilith’s Garden

Lilith’s Garden by Victor H Anderson, introduction by Anaar, from Acorn Guild Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room. (Anderson Feri Tradition materials are now from the related Harpy Books imprint.)

Victor H Anderson Lilith's Garden from Acorn Guild Press

“There are many Feri lessons within his poems. Victor was a wealth of lore and historical information, a master magician, and a great rebel. But poetry was his main devotional vehicle. Poetry was his expression of a passion few could understand.

One of Victor’s main concerns regarding his teaching was that his students understand poetry. His students found that he would test them not on their knowledge of poetic form, he did not care if you knew the definition of iambic pentameter. And he would repeat his questioning until he was certain you understood. One could not get far with Victor if one did not understand poetry.

Poetry was a prerequisite in Victor’s world. That is how you come to know the Goddess, and that is how you come to express such a love. As Victor says, ‘Every poem is a love letter to the Goddess.’ Presented here is a symphony of Victor’s great divine love. It is his marriage bed with the Goddess.” — Anaar, from the Introduction

Thorns of the blood rose

Thorns of the Blood Rose by Victor H Anderson, edited and introduced by Gwydion Pendderwen, from Acorn Guild Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room. (Anderson Feri Tradition materials are now from the related Harpy Books imprint.)

Victor H Anderson Thorns of the blood rose from Acorn Guild Press

“Victor’s poetry reflects thirty years of struggle with a world that rarely rewarded his talents. Publication of the first edition of Thorns of the blood rose in 1970 brought him the public recognition he deserved, but it also brought him in contact with the Neopagan community, who were willing and eager to listen to his philosophy and learn how to use their own latent powers. Very few, however, actually made it as far as entering training with him, as his standards were both exacting and alien.

I have known the Andersons since 1959, so there was never a time in which I was unfamiliar with the alternate reality which formed the pattern of Victor’s teachings. At about the same time that we published Thorns, we were engaged in developing the ritual material of the Faerie Tradition, and it was ever the challenge to we Victor’s metaphysics to traditional Faerie lore. Ultimately, we were able to put into writing a body of ritual materials adequate for an initiatory tradition of modern Witchcraft. The seeds of much of this tradition are the poems of this book.” — Gwydion Pendderwen, from the Introduction


Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue #120 is a collection on “Witchcraft. Used and Rare Books.” and may be of interest.

Welcome to this, the one hundred and twentieth of our on-line catalogues. The subject of the catalogue is Witchcraft, with most of the works relating to what might loosely be termed “The Western Witchcraft Tradition,” spanning the period from the late Middle-Ages, through the European and American witch trials, to the modern witchcraft revival. Most of the books are quite modestly priced used books from the second half of the twentieth century, although there are some rarities scattered throughout.

The rarities include a copy of Robert Calef’s scathing account of the Salem witchcraft trials More Wonders of the Invisible World: or The Wonders of the Invisible World Displayed (Salem, 1796) and an extremely rare edition (limited to only 50 copies) of Michael Smith’s, The True Story of Father Girard and Miss Cadiere (1840) which recounts the sagas of Catherine Cadière and Jean-Baptiste Girard, subjects of what is commonly regarded as the last of the French witch trials and the last public examination of a case of “possession.” The works of the witch-hunters themselves are represented by a number of handsome limited editions edited by the remarkable Reverend Montague Summers. These include Henry Boguet, An Examen of Witches (1929), Richard Bovet, Pandaemonium (1951); Nicholas Remy, Demonolatry (1930); and Jacobus Sprenger & Henry Kramer, Malleus Maleficarum (1928).

Another work of considerable rarity is a first edition of Charles G. Leland’s Aradia. or The Gospel of the Witches of Italy (1899), an account of the beliefs, rituals and practices of an ancient Tuscan witchcraft tradition that is often cited as the work which fired the twentieth century witchcraft revival. Also by Charles Leland is the huge, handsome, but rather deceptively-named volume: Etruscan Roman Remains in Popular Tradition (1892). The book comprises two parts, “Gods and Goblins” and “Incantations, Divination, Medicine, and Amulets,” with the latter part of particular importance to those with an interest in magic and witchcraft. There are two different issues of the book in the catalogue, the one is the “ordinary” edition, the other, the “fine edition” is slightly larger format and limited to 100 numbered copies (of which this is number 2), signed by Leland, and with an original black and white drawing by him tipped in facing the title-page.

More recent works include scarce biographies of two of the most significant figures in the twentieth century withcraft movement in Britain, Gerald Gardner and Maxine Saunders, the former being J. L. Bracelin’s Gerald Gardner: Witch (1960), and the latter Richard Deutch’s The Ecstatic Mother: Portrait of Maxine Sanders – White Queen (1977). Another significant figure in twentieth century occultism who is only now starting to achieve recognition was the artist Rosaleen Norton, represented here by an unusually clean first edition of The Art of Rosaleen Norton with Poems by Gavin Greenlees (1952), a limited edition book that was banned in both Australia and the US at the time of its publication on account of its allegedly obscene artwork, as well as a second edition of the same book (1982) signed by Walter Glover, who not only published both editions of the work but was instrumental in its conception. [via]

Witchdom of the True

Witchdom of the True: A Study of the Vana-Troth and the Practice of Seiðr by Edred Thorsson (as Edred), a 1999 paperback from Rûna Raven Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Edred Witchdom of the True from Rûna Raven Press

On the title page, this also has “Volume I: Lore and History” and “From a Manuscript Formerly Entitled ‘True Wicca'”.

“‘Edred does it again! The Witchdom of the True is an invaluable resource to Wiccans and to those who follow Asatru alike. In clear and compelling language, it restores the Vanir-faith to its place as an integral part of the dynamic and diverse Northern tradition. Long known as the leading light in the modern runic revival, Edred now pulls back the curtain of time to show us the origin of Wicca in the Vanir cult of he ancient Northlands. This is an exciting book, and a breath of fresh air in a field that long needed the windows and doors thrown open!’ — Stephen A. McNallen, Asatru Folk Assembly

Found in Witchdom of the True
· History of the Vanic Faith
· Survival and Revival of Witchdom
· Cosmology
· Myth and Lore of the Lord and Lady
· Ritual Working Formula of Witchdom
· Lore of Witchcraft
· Lore of Seith

‘In this book the author finally makes clear once and for all the deep and ancient nature of the true cult of the Lord and Lady, its origins and mythology. Modern Wiccans will be delighted to have this lore clarified, and it is hoped the information will help transform the Wiccan movement in the next millennium by returning it to its natural roots.’ — Inga Steddinger, High Priestess, Author of Wiccan Sex Magic” — back cover