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Jaesin

Magic with the ash of your worts

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In many cultures of old, ash (also known as pyre) has always held a symbolism of sacredness.  European Christians (and now those beyond European borders) utilize the ash of burnt palm leaves to symbolize death & repentance.  In Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), the ash from a dhuni, or sacred fire, is a reminder of ones mortality, and directly tied to their Lord Shiva. 

In Primitive Witchcraft lore of birth and death as I have been taught, the human embryo resulted from the combination of male seed forming bones, and female blood providing flesh. The spirit of life enters the fetus through the cranial suture of the skull, with the growing embryo in a metaphorically being "cooked" by the heat of the womb. At the end of life - death, a symbolic reversal sees the heat of the pyre of cremation separating flesh from bones; the rite of skull-cracking that results from this heat frees the spirit for its ongoing journey.  In this sense, the pyre represents the releasing of life, spirit, and energy, to its full purpose.

During the rite of cremation, one was watchful for divinatory signs from the movement of the flames, to the direction of the smoke, and the sound of the body burning.  The pyre of the deceased is then looked upon for divinatory signs.  This practice is still performed today, especially in Buddhist practices where signs are sought as in indication of the deceased's next rebirth. Often, "relics" known as ringsels (pearl like objects) are found in the pyre and venerated in many cultures.  In Primitive Witchcraft, I have been told that they are links to the ancestors and thus utilized in ancestor magic.  Few today however have the gumption to sort through the cremated remains of a loved one for such items.

Yet, in out practice of witchery today,we have a link to this morbid magic of old.  We can continue to utilize the concepts of the cremation process for divination (as many do unknowingly in their workings today- such as smoke divination from burning herbs), and the ash of the material's cremation for sorcerous acts.

Here are multiple methods as found in Primitive Witchcraft. 

Create a poppet from corn husks (preferably as it is natural).  Be sure to instill your intent into the poppet as you build it.  You may tie on, or insert any personal concerns (Items of the individual that the poppet represents such as hair, fingernails, pieces of cloth, or even rub in semen, blood, or urine) into the corn husk poppet.  You can if you wish to anoint/dress it with an oil and stuff it with the worts that correspond to the type of work you wish to perform.  There are many ways to personalize the poppet to suit your needs.  Do the work and be creative.

Next, in the fashion of bodily cremation, in a safe place where you collect the ashes afterwords, light the poppet on fire thoroughly.  During the cremation process, pay attention to the dance of the flames, and then movement of the smoke for signs in regards to the purpose of your work.  These signs can be many, so be sure to do your research on pyromancy/pyroscopy (divination by fire) and capnomancy (smoke divination)-both of which I will write about in another post at a later time.   During this time, you can chant incantations, focus your deep intent etc, as the poppet burns, envisioning the words or intent entering the poppet of the subject as it incinerates, becoming one with the poppet.

Once the poppet is thoroughly burned to ash, there are two methods of pyre placement you can take.

1) collect the pyre and place it upon a dark plate (for negative works), or a light plate (for positive works), dusting the plate completely with the ash.

2) collect the pyre and bring it to a cemetery crossroad (for negative works), or a natural crossroad (for positive works), spreading the pyre in a full but smooth circle.

In the pyre, draw a sigil (which corresponds to your spell) with your pointer and middle finger outstretched (Symbolic of a blade)-or use a real blade, thus carving the sigil into the very being of the subject.  Then, depending upon which method of pyre placement you have chosen from above the following action is taken.

If you 1) collected the pyre and place it upon a dark plate (for negative works), or a light plate (for positive works), dusting the plate completely with the ash, and drew your sigil in it, you would then with full intention of your goal, and incantation if you wish- blow the ash with full force into the direction of your subject (North, South, East, West), thus sending out your magic by your own effort.

If you 2) collected the pyre and bring it to a cemetery crossroad (for negative works), or a natural crossroad (for positive works), spreading the pyre in a full but smooth circle, drawing your sigil in it, you say your intention, or incantation "on to" the ash and then let the wind carry the magic to the intended target, letting the spirits, or Nature (depending upon the crossroad you chose) take it's course.

The work is kept secret, known only among the one/s who participated in the sorcerous work itself. 

Enjoy,

Jaesin Thorn


 

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I've often used ashes of workings for many things. Markings, making boundaries, as delivery devices, the list goes on. Nice way to work. Fire is often a destroying or sending force - but the ashes always carry stuff with them. 

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I've often used ashes of workings for many things. Markings, making boundaries, as delivery devices, the list goes on. Nice way to work. Fire is often a destroying or sending force - but the ashes always carry stuff with them. 

I couldn't agree more with your use of ash for various purposes. I myself have always enjoyed utilizing ash in the manifestation of boundaries.  I have found a large portion of "witches" tend to either neglect this aspect of sorcery, or are just ignorant to the MANY used of ash.  In any case, this was the purpose of beginning this thread.

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Just one way I incorporate ash in my path is during this month particularly.  I will gather about a cup of ash from the fireplace (or cauldron, depending on where I live if I have a fire place or not).  Then I will add just enough spring water (from a local spring that comes out of the side of a mountain), or snow to the ash, and stir it with a small stick from a local tree. I will then do some trance work and while I am in the trance begin to dip the stick into the ash "ink", and create images or sigils depending on what it is when I come out of trance. Then I will divine the images, or create a more permanent sigil for the hearth of the house that will remain there until Samhain when it will be burned and sent back to the ancestors. 

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That was an interesting read-I especially enjoyed reading about how Buddhist practices tie into the topic and also found your method utilizing poppets and ash to be interesting. You mentioned Hinduism; I learned from a Saivite awhile ago that the burning of things strips any material (animal or plant) of its illusion-only leaving its primal essence (ash) and is seen as pure. So, sacred ash to them is seen as very powerful and is used in worship-the Tripunda marks are made of sacred ash, for example.

 

I use ash in different ways-some of it is inspired by the Hindu perspective that I learned, some of it isn't. I don't know if I would personally use it in cursing (would have to think on that concept a bit), but I do resonate with the thought that burning destroys....

 

On another note, one quick question, if you don't mind. Would you be willing to expound on your definition of what "primitive witchcraft" means to you? Is this a specific tradition maybe (I notice you capitalize both words)? I hadn't heard of it before.

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Just one way I incorporate ash in my path is during this month particularly.  I will gather about a cup of ash from the fireplace (or cauldron, depending on where I live if I have a fire place or not).  Then I will add just enough spring water (from a local spring that comes out of the side of a mountain), or snow to the ash, and stir it with a small stick from a local tree. I will then do some trance work and while I am in the trance begin to dip the stick into the ash "ink", and create images or sigils depending on what it is when I come out of trance. Then I will divine the images, or create a more permanent sigil for the hearth of the house that will remain there until Samhain when it will be burned and sent back to the ancestors. 

I like your take on this.  Why this month in particular?  I would assume due to the weather / temperature.  I love the idea of ash "ink".  It is something I am going to ponder and maybe work with a bit!  Thanks for the insight.

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That was an interesting read-I especially enjoyed reading about how Buddhist practices tie into the topic and also found your method utilizing poppets and ash to be interesting. You mentioned Hinduism; I learned from a Saivite awhile ago that the burning of things strips any material (animal or plant) of its illusion-only leaving its primal essence (ash) and is seen as pure. So, sacred ash to them is seen as very powerful and is used in worship-the Tripunda marks are made of sacred ash, for example.

 

I use ash in different ways-some of it is inspired by the Hindu perspective that I learned, some of it isn't. I don't know if I would personally use it in cursing (would have to think on that concept a bit), but I do resonate with the thought that burning destroys....

 

On another note, one quick question, if you don't mind. Would you be willing to expound on your definition of what "primitive witchcraft" means to you? Is this a specific tradition maybe (I notice you capitalize both words)? I hadn't heard of it before.

I tend to have my own style of writing that is at times lacking proper grammatical makeup.  I often capitalize to emphasize things (just a habbit).  :huh:

 

I dont want to deviate from the OP much so I will keep this brief, but will be more than happy to talk in detail with you in private message if need be.  When I speak of "Primitive Witchcraft" I am referring to one that is rather void of deep cultural appropriation.  There was a time when humans and non-humans (such as insects, animals, plants, etc.), and other-than-humans (Unseen World beings, etc.) communicated organically without any training and abilities.  It was not seen as anything extraordinary, but was simply daily life.  They did not have to "believe" as many do today, but they had a "knowing".  An example I like to use is in primates of the paleolithic.  Archaeology has proven that these primates, some 60,000 years ago had a knowledge of medicinal plants for their illnesses, which they indeed utilized.  It can be contended that this was not learned by random acts of trial and error.

 

So in nutshell, "Primitive Witchcraft" is just that.  It is a METHOD of Witchcraft.  One stripped of its cultural appropriation, etc. and practiced from its primal core.  It is a conceptual method of practicing the old ways.  There is no founder, it is deeply rooted, yet obscured due to technology, etc.  There is a bit more to this but I will leave it at that. Make sense?

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@Anara, I also wanted to say thank you for your kind words on the post,  and insight into the Sanatana dharma aspect!  Very informative.  This is what I love about this forum.  So much to learn and share.  My Buddhist perspective comes from my days as a monk (Chan Si Lun, Pure Land) with Mahabodhi Sunyata, and as an Anagarika with the Mahabodhi Maitri Mandala.

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This month in particular because here in the mountains it's the time where we are in a transitional sort of month. From mid January to mid February is when we usually have our coldest days and nights and our most snow. So we use the fireplace more often.

 

It's also the month I refer to as the Hearth Month or Hearth Moon for the full moon. Because it was the time that the family would have to gather at the hearth for warmth and food. Supplies would be running low and it would be terribly cold.

 

So I use the ash this month to connect back to my ancestors of these mountains, and definitely before they immigrated over.

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This month in particular because here in the mountains it's the time where we are in a transitional sort of month. From mid January to mid February is when we usually have our coldest days and nights and our most snow. So we use the fireplace more often.

 

It's also the month I refer to as the Hearth Month or Hearth Moon for the full moon. Because it was the time that the family would have to gather at the hearth for warmth and food. Supplies would be running low and it would be terribly cold.

 

So I use the ash this month to connect back to my ancestors of these mountains, and definitely before they immigrated over.

Love the the "tradition" aspect of your practice!

 

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I tend to have my own style of writing that is at times lacking proper grammatical makeup.  I often capitalize to emphasize things (just a habbit).  :huh:

 

I dont want to deviate from the OP much so I will keep this brief, but will be more than happy to talk in detail with you in private message if need be.  When I speak of "Primitive Witchcraft" I am referring to one that is rather void of deep cultural appropriation.  There was a time when humans and non-humans (such as insects, animals, plants, etc.), and other-than-humans (Unseen World beings, etc.) communicated organically without any training and abilities.  It was not seen as anything extraordinary, but was simply daily life.  They did not have to "believe" as many do today, but they had a "knowing".  An example I like to use is in primates of the paleolithic.  Archaeology has proven that these primates, some 60,000 years ago had a knowledge of medicinal plants for their illnesses, which they indeed utilized.  It can be contended that this was not learned by random acts of trial and error.

 

So in nutshell, "Primitive Witchcraft" is just that.  It is a METHOD of Witchcraft.  One stripped of its cultural appropriation, etc. and practiced from its primal core.  It is a conceptual method of practicing the old ways.  There is no founder, it is deeply rooted, yet obscured due to technology, etc.  There is a bit more to this but I will leave it at that. Make sense?

 

I understand. Thank you for taking the time to explain a bit further.

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@Anara, I also wanted to say thank you for your kind words on the post,  and insight into the Sanatana dharma aspect!  Very informative.  This is what I love about this forum.  So much to learn and share.  My Buddhist perspective comes from my days as a monk (Chan Si Lun, Pure Land) with Mahabodhi Sunyata, and as an Anagarika with the Mahabodhi Maitri Mandala.

 

Yep, sure thing.

 

Don't want the thread to get off track either, so just a quick mention-the more I learn about certain Buddhist practices (and I have a lot to learn), the more I see useful ideas inherent within some philosophies that can be helpful in certain witchcraft practices.

 

On that note, I think I would be one that would sort through loved one's remains, looking for a ringsel. I'll have to do some more research on that lore. Very interesting stuff. :)

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I am always drawn to ashes from my workings. I get some serious enjoyment from burning things while in the zone. Papers, herbs, resins, woods, etc. My ash is often mixed with sea salt, and if it is not something that I feel needs to be disposed of far away, I often keep it in my fire proof censor to host a coal for burning more incense or herbs. 

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I am always drawn to ashes from my workings. I get some serious enjoyment from burning things while in the zone. Papers, herbs, resins, woods, etc. My ash is often mixed with sea salt, and if it is not something that I feel needs to be disposed of far away, I often keep it in my fire proof censor to host a coal for burning more incense or herbs. 

Many traditions of witchcraft have a practice of keeping the ashes of various works for later use.  This is very prevalent in Old World Witchery when one burns various herbs, the ashes are saved to be used in works like I have described in the OP. 

Your application of the ash (hosting a coal) seems very practical as well.

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Thank you for sharing. This is beautiful. & a good conversation to be had: the use of ash in workings.

 

I am following this one.

You are more than welcome.  I am glad you enjoyed the post.  More to come!

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Even before I was consciously practicing witchcraft, I had this instinct to keep the ashes of prayers that I had written and burned, and I'd also keep the ashes of any incense that I burned while I was praying. I'd keep them in jars and label them with the dates as a reminder of difficult times that I'd gone through and that I'd survived.

 

These days, I still save all the ashes of workings but instead of keeping them in jars, at every New Moon I take the ash bucket out and scatter them around the roots of my favorite Oak that stands sentinel over the hill I live on. I usually bring a small libation of whiskey. I think the land spirits appreciate the gesture because the last few times I've done it, I've found some really beautiful natural "gifts" left at the base of the tree. Beautifully twisted branches or feathers or stones, that sort of thing. Items for putting on my altar or to be used in art projects. I love it.

 

And if anyone ever harms that tree.....woof. I'll be flexing my hexing muscles that day, indeed.

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