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Posts posted by PapaGheny

  1.     Well, I realized I left this though hanging. Where I was going with asking about the weather where Citoyenne is gos to something we see here. Some folk say whatever the season was like in a place called Frostburg(a ways off near Punxy mentioned above) that would be about what our next year would look like. Its not true, but it was. Throughout the 70's and a good bit of the decade before we matched up near enough to one year late to Frostburg's seasonal outcomes. The trend seemed to end when things evened out with the consistent heatwaves and heavy winters of the 80's. Then it failed to fall back in step after.

    Hearing the description of Citoyenne's season sounded at first like last year here. However, if the fruit trees made it but the vines and low bearing blossoms didn't then it sounds more like the my year before last. This gave me a vague notion that with this speeding up we may be able to look to places of greater distance to see whats coming. Luckily modern communications(where its reliable) makes that a bit easier.

        So I'm looking at a solid point of reference to get a long rang forecast. The same way as asking a traveler what the weather was like where they came from for more immediate forecast. However, it might also open doors to getting a feel for the changing patterns. I know one of the difficulties in forecasting with out communication systems is that we only see whats hitting us. This leaves us to look to our signs for short term changes to get our early warning. However, if we do find points of reference for a year and a given distance away we could start to map the approximate change over time and distance.

        One thing I've observed is that it seems better for me to get a first hand account rather than a report. The reports are handy, but often don't reflect the effect the weather has on things in a relevant way. It for instance doesn't take into account things like wet or dry ground or if pants and animals were already struggling from heavy rain a week ago when a new rain comes. That 70 degrees and 2” of rain means something altogether different if your coming out of drought rather than flood.

        Anyway this is all just a loose thought, but I know for me this added familiarity with the turbulent weather patterns would like to help me connect more with them. I know connection makes all the difference in the world with divination for me.


        One way or the other loosing your vines and low fruit is not a small thing. I feel your pain there. Like I said we lost the lower fruit the year before last. Last year we lost all the fruit. I know I would watch close just in case one proceeding the other is a trend. We had an early blooms in that spring from a warm spell. Then one cold night right at our frost safe date took it all by morning. I think there is to many variables between here and there and think we need to look to closer topography to find reference points. All the same I'd keep a little caution in the back of my mind myself. This year on the other hand its all back and looks better for its troubles. We only lost the spring foraging and are fighting back to much water.

        Had my first apple the other day and even a touch early it tasted great. Ether that or I missed it more than I though.


        I talked about a keeping a weather journal, another study aid I find quite useful studying any divination is a journal of predictions. This is just simply a notebook to jot down my predictions, how they came to me, and anything that might be useful to look at later about them. I find what works best for me is to keep a pre-punched note book to write in. Then I move it to a binder so the pages can be reordered to the date I expect to see it play out, rather than the date I made the prediction. Then I can take a quick look at it every morning to see if I should be expecting anything and to comment on the outcomes of the day before.

        Now in my experience this does best as a simple no frills book akin to school notes. I have at times tried using a fancy, handmade, or otherwise, special books for this. The result was often that it was less comfortable to just scribble casually about things I was less sure of. I figure I just had something in the back of my mind about keeping it nice or some such thing. It can always be added to a nicer book later if deemed worthy.

        For me this tool is a wealth of advantage in honing my divination. For starters it allows me to track successful readings. This lets me be more mindful of why readings went wrong. It also lets me track over all accuracy in a method of reading by finding the percentage of successful readings. Having a gauge of my overall accuracy can be quite important to me. It tells me where I need to devote work. It also means I have something to guide me in how comfortable I should be in sharing my predictions. I typically find I'm okay with throwing something out there in conversion as what I'm expecting to see if I'm seeing about 70% accuracy in the method and feel pretty good about it. I don't often feel comfortable about giving it to others as a prediction or on a mater of importance till I'm at 85 – 90%. In the end after all the question for me is always, am I willing to risk my good name on it.

        Another of the many things this is useful to me for is tracking trends in the predictions themselves. For instance the I'm noticing in this study I'm finding a trend in seasonal prediction. Looking over my forecasting of when seasons will change I'm finding I'm putting it less in terms of distinct weather shifts and more in terms of plant life cycles. Thing along the lines of the dandelion will peak at this point, we'll see deadnettle from this date to this date, and the basil will be gone by this time of this month. This makes me think that I should make more of an effort into reckoning by plants and likely work with particular plants to better define the local seasons.

        Right now its showing me this month has been about what I expected to months ago.


        I'm sure others learned study tools on these lines or maybe have entirely different methods that works best for them. I'm always interested in education and study methods and how they do for folk. So if anyone would like to share some of their study tools successful or not I'd much enjoy hearing about them.

  2. Thank you Mountain Witch. That be the safe bet and shes the expert. I'd bow to her wisdom.


    I'm at the other end of these hills, a good ways north. Mine disappears after the first week or so of snow and I don't see it till spring. However, you go about it if your winters stay rough or your in one of your wonderful valleys the cold lays in. Then I'd look for a tolerably dry spot that gets good sun. That's what mine seems to like to make happily through the year.

  3. Its early days, but its going well I think. Thank you for asking NatureMama.


    I think your right it sounds like we do see pretty near eye to eye on this. Though I think you've said a lot of it more elegantly than I'd like to have managed.


    When you talked about our expectations of the signs and used the example of the wooly bear, a few bits really stud out to me. First and most blatant, but I think still should be voiced is the relevance to the predictor. One thing I've noticed is that when we say wooly bear are wrong, its more likely saying it to be a hard winter all through. Around here at least they have also seemed to predicted more hard winters than not of late. But, as you said we've seen processions of one extreme to the other in these winter. With that in mind I think it likely the wool bear and possibly others we look at to communicate signs may be telling us of there own interest. If like you said the wooly bear predicts a hard winter and we see extreme cold and unseasonable warmth it isn't wrong, but only telling us of what is important to it. If that observation holds then the next bit would be to find just who's interested in telling us about the rest of the story. Other plants or animals perhaps to tell us of the reoccurring warmth giving them safety or the rate of fluctuation or mean of the winter.


    Another thought comes to me from there and some of your phrasing throughout. This is that it is easy to say a sign is wrong when we know it is a sign, but things go different than expected. However, as I learned it the world doesn't care to lie. I personally feel the responsibility of an accurate reading is on us. When it doesn't go the way we think it should've its not the fault of the goose, it's breast bone, or even misplaced trust in our ancestors. We're the ones trying to understand what they are telling us and blaming them can only work against us and hold us back.


    As we are on the topic of misreading or the changing meaning of signs here's one that I'm seeing quite a bit in my reading of local folklore. When all the food from the supper table was finished the same Great Grandmother I mentioned above would say “It'll be a clear day tomorrow.” Now as a quip this has always meant no leftovers to be stored and incorporated in the next days meals. Though she often said it as a quip, she also taught her daughter a deeper meaning. I won't go to far into it here as it wasn't weather related as such, but it had to do with guiding the next days behaviors. I suppose you could say it somewhat related to a combination of the more modern sayings “you are what you eat” and “tomorrow is a new day”.

    As I first found this in writings about local folklore, the folklorists would relate it to the weather. Of course my trust in my ancestors made me say right off, they got it wrong. As it continued to pop up I briefly began to think maybe Grandma got it wrong, despite her being there and the folklorists not. Sometime later I settled on the thought that both my Great Grandmother and the local folk that said this in regard to the weather came from the same culture. However, they brought the sign with them to become part of and influince new cultures. This sign and others then change their meaning to the significance seen in the new cultures they where forging. I again think this is a case of the world doing as it will the reading being up to us. Even if that reading has to change with place and time. These folk had been taught by their ancestors that this sign was significant, but it was up to them to apply that significance to their own life.

  4. Holdasown, I'm not sure what your weather is like, but I've had good luck with it indoors all winter. Then I move it out in spring. Its been pretty hardy and survived even when other hardy plants failed around it. I'm hoping I finely have a patch into make the winters out side this year. With our winters here it seems it needs to be well established before things get rough. At least that's how is been for me.


    You know I just look at your location on your profile. I'd bet if you start some now outdoors it

    could likely come back for you in spring. If your in doubt having a safety in a pot in the house never hurts, but their pretty easy going.

  5. Duchess to the question “How can we currently come up with new ways to read them, when the climate is still in a massive state of flux and change? “

    I'm not quite sure how it will end up as I'm still currently still working on it. I think in the end it may look something like, finding signs that are already around that can give us several steps ahead to account for the quick change. Or maybe signs that skip over and pick out points in the future. This is not much different than say the wool bear caterpillar telling us about the winter to come. It may also take any number of signs working together. Maybe we could compare this to reading cards. Seldom is one card used and the interplay of more cards give more information.


    As I said if we are at point things are to unstable I figure we may have to look to other forms of divination. We may also need to use those other forms of divination to find the reliable signs.


    As for Citoyenne taking offense to my post all I can say has already be said. What ever Citoyenne thought was implied was not. Plane and simple. If you see it to, maybe I worded poorly? But as it was not said I can't say. As I said in that post I was typing quick.


    And let me point out.

    In the quote you pulled out you edited out the bits where I was making the point, we all in the same boat or we wouldn't be talking about it to begin with.

    If your gong to pick and choose which words you read it can say what ever you like.


    And your right belly aching. It can help at times. Just not my reaction to this issue.

  6. Well You've said somethings that got me thinking there.


    But first.

    I don't quite see where I said anything about how clever of a witch you are. Maybe where I was talking bout the methods some use and described some witches as being “clever with signs”? I used the word clever there. Well some are some use other methods. I wouldn't have the foggiest if you are. But I do hope you got more out of that bit than putting words in my mouth to insult yourself. You know that's twice in this topic you decided put words in my mouth and were offended by the words you made up for me.

    That said I suppose you're not a clever enough witch to have figured it out already(not that you wont). Now, I'm not singling you out there, nether one of us has figured it yet or this would be a different conversation. You could just explain it to me, or sit on it while I got there on my own. Instead we're talking over ideas. Cause we aren't there yet. I don't know of any witches to get a handle on it yet, but suspect some will. If they haven't. I'd like to think one of us would be among them, but we're going to need to get a bit more clever apparently. So, I'd hope you wouldn't take the phrasing personally, and speak for me. There was defiantly no insult or disrespect intended.

    Quite the opposite I wouldn't be discussing the topic this much if I didn't think it could go somewhere. But, I'll tell you what. If you stop thinking I'm trying to offend you. I will unmistakably tell you if I decide to. Though I cant see why I would.


    I'm glad you mentioned the gulls in the field. In my state we fallow that one, but name specific towns. If gulls are in those towns there is a storm blowing in. Not that I would know. Those towns are about 200/320 mile/km or so down hill and coastword. That said I should add it to my notes.


    We have one I don't see a lot, but gos with your trees. “If the trees lose their leaves from the top first, then hard winters coming. If the bottom first, mild.” this tends to be true here.


    Its good to hear the clouds are working for you. That can be a difficult one here. First seeing them in time to matter. We have high horizons from peeks and woodlands. There are spot the world falls away that folk would go to and see whats coming from one direction. However, that would mean taking a few hours a day to get there. I suppose if the right days could be figured out it could be handy. Not only that when it gets here low laying pressure systems change quickly in the steep hills and valleys.

    All this adds up to asking passer by’s what the clouds where like where they came from. I'm baffled by how few folk look up. It also means odd or quick changing weather. In my journal so far I count four times this year that we had lightning within a few mile on every side and a sunny sky over head. One lasted two days and the stars where clear that night. At the end of it they ether blow off and maybe we get a little rain, maybe not. Or they fall in on us and we get hit till it blows out. In these cases it doesn’t matter what the passed by's have seen. Folk come by with wet horses from storms we never get.


    Funny you mention the groundhog. I'm not too terribly far from Old Phil where the town takes him very seriously and honers him year round. There is quite a lot of changing folklore and takes on the groundhog oracle. For instance the shifting air masses you pointed out. I actual haven't fond that one before 1900, still looking. Some of the old pioneers recorded that to them it was about the frequency in spotting them. Simply put if here's not a lot of groundhogs up and about winter ain't over. On the other hand there are still some that hold that the groundhog(ether all or just Phil) is the embodiment of a grandfather spirit(some say reincarnated). This is an ancestor spirit particularly clever at spotting a early planting season. He then reveals this on candlemas/imbolc. It seems this tracks back to southeast Germany. Though around here if a folklorist can't find providence “it came from Germany”. But, it stuck around well enough that short pudgy old men are told not to leave the house on groundhog's day to keep them from seeing there shadow.

    For me groundhog's day falls close enough to an ancestor ritual. That I ask directly and fallow more on the pioneer’s side keeping track of when they get out and about.


    As for the weather your relating, it has me thinking a bit.


    To start with what we want here is a hard snowy winter, real hot summer, and long spring and autumn. This keeps everything in check and gives us food through the better part of the year. The winter kills off our weak and sick. The summer damn near kills to make everything hard and strong enough for winter. Spring and autumn is to get most of the work done to prepare.

    What we are getting is things flatting out to hot followed by wet. With spikes throughout. This means nothing can take the spikes. Animals are born late or early, sickness festers in everything, topsoil washes out and clay bakes. The last one there happened in one week this year. We got a late frost, within rang but just in time to kill our first foraging(six more weeks of last year's wild buckwheat). Spring, and I'm thinking autumn, get cut short. Now its floods then droughts about a week apart. If our normal drought hits in early Sept. things are going to get interesting. Meanwhile, I been trenching and welling so much the neighbors are joking about how much I like digging. Coarse their gardens are dead. I've been using that to gauge if what I'm doing's working. So far so good. Now I should point out they aren't stupid. A few are lazy and too busy look at their phones the tv to do anything about it. The rest don't hold with phones or tvs, but are doing what grandpa did instead of using what he taught them.


    Now I'm truly sorry to here about your fruit trees. That I can relate with, but it was winter before last. I still haven't tasted an apple that didn't come from a jar since. This year they made it and I can't wait for harvest. Now a few of us that saw the frost coming, but didn't know it would be enough to takeout the fruit trees. We only spotted it by the pricking of our thumbs and a few flowers not blooming. It was more of somethings not right, than a late frost's coming. So we planted late and had a good tomato and herb year. As you said that winter none of the signs seemed to hold.


    How is the rest of your crop coming now?

    Are you head into drought after torrential rain?

    Was the winter before last wickedly cold but mildly extending on both ends?


    Just a thought, but what your describing sounds like you may be a year or two behind us. Same winter same spring.


    I hate to rely on communication system(here they're more unpredictable than the weather). That said I remember stories of the Babylonians using weather from several different locations in Mesopotamia for long term weather prediction. If New York's like this in this season and Ontario has this kind of winter, whats that mean here? Just a stray though really.


    I don't know if I can hold with your drunk god analogy. The personification suits me, but to me it feels a bit deliberate for that. I also keep getting this feeling its more abrupt and drastic than random. Maybe like someone telling a kid to turn off and on the water, while the kid just want to play with the taps.


    I can relate with the spirits to. Its made for a strong and active, but odd and not altogether pleasant ritual year.


    On the human senses as short term predictors. Smell's a pretty good one. If I can smell the deer, wild roses, or cow pastures, in the morning. Then its likely to rain. I can smell the deer grazing throught the window right now and betting it will hit before long.

  7. Thank you for saying so Nature Mama. Glad you found some use there.

        I was thinking about your mention of feeling pressure change. When we're talking about the sensations of weather we often focus on pressure or pain from inflammation. Its not often we talk on other senses, such as hearing. Around here I learned in school if you could hear a horse for a minute before you could see it expect rain. We have a folklore explanation for that they didn't teach. But are folklore didn't stop us from later saying if you could hear a train before you see it or here a plain you can't see rain is coming. In my younger days my friends and I would sit on a bridge over the train track till one came by. Often the outcome would end up picking the activity of the day or what campsite to head for. It seldom lead us wrong. Anymore, I use a neighbors horse. Its got a distinct voice and I can only hear it if its going to rain.


    Well that struck me as funny Citoyenne. Thanks for that.


        I think you've brought up a lot of good point to look at there. So much of it got me thinking I'll have to see how much I can respond to right off.


        To get it out of the way. Yep, the majority of my food for the year is affected by the world around me. If its a hard year we learn to do without. So yes, I can relate there.

        And yes, like most of the world are weather is in a rapid state of flux. Though if I remember your home ground, I hear y'all are having it pretty rough.

        As for it being an opportunity, that’s not the word I would use. It is what it is, its our world, and our life. And, I for one ain't going to belly ache about the cards that been laid out. I'm going to do what I can and keep livin' it.


        As for signs that don't pan out, I wouldn't discard them right off myself. Although, some like the seagulls you mentioned are more about regaining family lore. If any seagulls show up here I'm more like to give them directions and ask if they need a place to stay for the night than anything else. However, like you said we're in a flux. This means what's true today isn't necessarily true tomorrow. The world is always in a state of flux(all be it typically slower). So, in the past this meant what was true last year or decade may not be true today. For the old farmer that knows many of the weather signs this means noticing that something isn't holding and not trusting it for a spell. But, it may come back around.

        However, I find this is not necessarily the case for a witch. Depending on the witch, their methods and how clever they are at reading signs, I find there are many more factors at play. Say for instance a deeper knowledge of the sign. I find its not always enough to know what was said. It helps me to also know what they meant and what they were talking about. I'm still collecting data in my personal study, but the next bit will be track back the sings and building understanding of them. The hawk flying low we could say is a reaction to presser systems. We could also say it is because the hawk is a messenger of the sky. I see no reason for these things to be mutually exclusive, however knowing them can add versatility and connection.

       I think the idea of this connection can take us to the bigger point. That is that for many witches there is more to reading and distinguishing signs than the event taking place. If we were to write out every sign passed down and in published folklore we likely couldn't look anywhere without seeing something that is a sign. Many would also conflict with others. For many what separates the event from the sign is this connection that tells us what to read and when to read it. Back to the hawk there are three hawks that I see on a daily basics. Through a day of working the land I may see any combination of the three flying both high and low, these are events. When it is a sign the connection is made, and the importance is clear.

        As a witch I also may look to those signs that hold deeper spiritual significance. For instance what direction are the horns of the moon pointing. This can tell me a lot about what to prepare for. I also may look to direct communication with the forces sending the messages to begin with to seek clarity. Or, I may communicate with those that can advise me on what is to come or how to proceed. These are just a handful of many ways some might work.


        More in the immediate. I'm glad to hear your getting a handle on day to day weather changes. I'm making good progress in being more comfortable there as well. I think most would agree with you that the deeper into the future we try to look, the foggier it gets. I've been getting some forecasts for our winter together. More than my topical “It'll be rough” or “I don't think you need to worry”.

        Winter's not like to be the way it was in past years with this spring and summer. Again I've been looking a lot to the animals. I should probably say that this is playing on my strengths, I work a lot with the wildlife. I think honing that is good, but I need to push more out of my comforts. But, for now its been some direct communication and a lot of being nebby about what the deer, bear, coyote, and fox are getting up to when the weather's fair. This is giving me impressions about what they think is coming. For instance the coyote are fighting a lot, but not hunting much. I'd think likely concerned about pack size. That got me thinking, along with what the others are doing they're figuring on having steady, but not abundant food. Then its a matter of that weather's likely to match that expectation.


        As for establishing new patters, well no one said it will be fast or easy. I'm feeling that to. You also make a good point that most folk now days can't get out there every day. I might still suggest keeping a weather journal even if its limited in data. Mine at the moment has some entries like “Hot as blazes, but a cold night”. Got to start somewhere.

        This far I'm only seeing a few possible patterns, but hope it will bare more fruit in the long run. Can't say if the same will work for others, but some of my work is making me think the small repetition of short term weather will give more about long term changes. This came largely from spiritwork. I figure I'll be looking much more to spirits and divination to give me advice and inspiration in where I might look for more possible patterns.


        I suppose a lot of what I'm saying here is, there is more to traditional ways than repeating the actions of our folk. Their actions were built from the same lessons they taught us. They used those lessons to find ways though their lives and we can do the same. To simply go through the motions they did and hope the world hasn't changed would be learning how to take the test, without knowing the lesson. It wont help when the test's over.




    Well I hope this is readable and makes sense. My communication lines have been down a few days and I rushed through this in case it dropped again.

  8.     I can get to feeling that all forms of aromaticity are a pretty weak area for me. I have read many signs from the sky in my life, but not without having them spelled out in bold highly reliant ways. Then I often getting a smack in the head to get my attention. This makes it a topic I enjoy hearing about and thinking about very much.


        The red sky in the morning and night is one that's well known because its a good one. As I understand it this is the sky's way of saying “I don't know if you can see this, but there are a lot of heavy clouds building over here”. If in the morning in the east if in the evening the west. In the areas this saying has been found popular storms often come from the east. Particularly at the times of year reading the weather is most often done.

    To me this also makes it a good one for changing patterns. By watching how the patterns are changing and the direction the storms are likely to come from we can add those bits of information to the conversation.


        As you say Citoyenne these changing climates and weather patterns are frustrating to overcome in weather prediction. However, as I understand its not a new frustration. Although we are in a time of these changes being sped up, those responsible for foretelling the weather have faced times when the signs don't hold. This often leads to having to dig deeper into our knowledge and intuitions. It can create a need to track what signs are holding and like to keep holding. For example many signs of daily rather than seasonal animal behavior. Other time we need to build our own new observations as Zombee mentioned. Other times we are left to relay solely on the signs of a more mystic or spiritual nature. This would fall into the realm of communicating with ancestors and many of the moon signs and such.

        I think it also can define a witch as being accomplished or clever with signs that they not only know their relevance, but when it is relevant.

        I suppose what I'm getting at is that the factors you've brought up can be frustrating. However, if we are pursuing greater skill and knowledge in weather prediction and reading signs we should not let those frustrations discourage or hold us back.

        That all said I think working past those changing factors are a great part of the topic. If any of you have thoughts or experiences to go deeper on that side of the conversation I know I would be interested.


        WitchInPlainSight to me it sounds a little too similar to be simple coincidence. I've always payed attention to the old saying like this in my family. That side of the family however cared very little for it. So the way it came to me was that if we where walking somewhere with gulls around. Then my father would sometimes count how many to a grouping. So he would say something like ”A group of four and a group of three no storm today.” or “Those seven are standing away from the flock. My grandmother(his not mine) would say a storm is coming.” Later I noticed his brother would argue that she said it was how many took off from the flock. So if seven fly off together and the rest stay or if seven fly over low it meant a storm. However, these were just nostalgic musings about their grandmother and they had no other interest.

        Now, I figure its worth mentioning that all the rest of her sayings they related match the sayings of my more traditional folk.


        Just to be clear Onyx the goose bone I was referring to is the breast bone or keel and not the wishbone. On a cooked bird this long bone would divide the white meat of the breast. That said I get up to some crafts and I truly enjoy the idea. Thank you for sharing it.

        By the way Onyx I'm finding you were dead right about the swallows. It will take some time for me to get accustomed to it and to strengthen the intuition of when to read them. But, the behavior is spot on and I think it will easily fall in to regular practice.

  9. “Now I'm trusting me. “ Zombee, you said a mouth full there.


        I also think I see what your saying there. I don't work circles typically. Though, I've found points in the year that seem they line up, but it just doesn't feel right or it was more appropriate before I meddled with it. I drop them right off.


        Mostly for me its getting away from the calender and its standardized dates. For instance nothing wrong with celebrating Samhain or Halloween at the 31st most of mine do, but I end up adjusting my ritual work and our ancestor's feast to one of a few days later. This is a slight alteration on my great grandmother's changes, but it calculating better to the lunar solar events we are drawing on and has proven better results for the works I do there. The down side is collecting the astronomical data and writing a new calender for every year. Then superimposing it on the slandered calender for the family that observe it. But, I find between Midwinter and Groundhog day is a good time for that kind of work.

  10. Everyone is coming up with a lot of good stuff here.


        Thank you for passing that along Khundekling. I've been looking for decent books on the topic, but like most things I've resorted to a chapter out of some and a paragraph from others. I made a note of it on my books to find list.


        I'll also say I'm not entirely apposed to technological and scientific methods, or even forecasts. If they're often right. I look at them as good advice, and figure good advice shouldn't be ignored. The question I ask myself is am I willing to stake my good name on it. Well that and communication and power are out a quite a lot here.


        Again, yesterday the hawks didn't let me down. This time all day looked like a storm any moment. By early afternoon there was distant lighting and thunder in all directions but up. I noticed a hawk flying high and the storm didn't hit us till well after dark.


        Onyx we have a mess of barn swallows, but you know I hardly take notice of them through the day. Mostly when the works done I just lay about and watch them swooping like bats for their supper. I'm going to have to start keeping an eye on them.


        I'd say your lucky your geese do as they should Zombee. Our pond they ether take out as soon as their young can fly or they wait till after the snow flies. They just don't seem to get it.


        Going on geese, years back it was a tradition here that when you ate a goose in late summer or fall the patriarch of the family held the beast bone up to a light. Then they'd read the harshness of the coming winter by the thickness. If they're clever they can map the whole winter. Unless your cousin put a shotgun pellet or two through it. Then it seem traditional not to let them live it down for twenty years or so.

        For a witch this bone can be held to a fire for scrying out even more little going ons.


        Nature Mama feeling pressure changes and old troubles is a good one. It's little too inconsistent with myself. Seem the more I look after myself and am acclimated to the world around me the less I notice. However, I do take note of the complaints of some of my folk that are a little more consistent.

        That kind of gos with the strong sudden urges to. I'm always getting pulled this way and that by whatever I let at me, but sometimes watching folk's behavior is as good as watching the critters. For instance seeing violence escalating in the newspaper can mean a heatwave coming on. If my daughter gets all wound up and starts heavy clean and moving her furniture winters about to brake.

  11. Well I said about the hawk above. The saying is “Hawks flying high means a clear sky. When they fly low, prepare for a blow.”


    If today is anything to judge by the same gos for eagles. Around noon it was hot and sunny with a clear blue sky. Then I spotted an eagle quite close it danced around just over the tree tops. I thought of the saying with the hawks, but the day stayed clear for four or five hours. Then quite fast the sky went black and the lightning started.

  12. Well Zombee as I mentioned on another topic I think our seasonal shifts sound pretty close. You could say I follow the 8 points of the wheel but the meaning or date could be off a bit from the typical. Mostly the dates are based on the astronomical event or the reconstruction of my predecessor(our family's last Witch) old notes rather than the calender. A few of these days have become family holidays others I just observe or have ritual work to do.

    Zombee if your interest in looking at how we think it should be or how others have done it I seem to remember a topic on changing the wheel to fit the weather.


    So more specific to the topic. When I was younger I worked neo-pagan events doing maintenance, set up and the like. It was really just a job, but often a good time.


    I often look in on family holidays and local festivities. Mostly just long enough to show support and approval anymore. In the family its mostly the Christians putting something on for their holidays, but now and then I try and get someone to start a tradition if I see a need to be filled.

    The local festivals are mostly based on nature or agricultural. We have festivals for berries, flowers, trees, corn, the changing of the leaves and so on. Not to mention the Groundhog not far off. These are often a bit public for me. However, now and then it seems to matter to some folk so I may show my face, just to let them know I like what their up to.

  13. Now that's a good one Zombee. Around here we call them Woolly Bears. That's one I definitely go by. Sounds like we have about the same spread of winter snow fall mid to late October, last frost can sometimes be mid May. Here we just kind of look at it as spread over the winter rather than the 13 weeks. I also say with the Woolly Bear, that I think they're a little sensitive. Their idea of a hard winter isn't what I'd necessarily call a hard winter, but it will sure feel like winter and they typically know what part will be the worst of it.

    I seem to remember an article in the Old Farmers Almanac that said they think that one started in the Catskills up in NY State.

    Now thick corn husks mean we'll get hit pretty hard.


    I'll have to keep an eye on the fog in August and to see if that works out here.


    I'm also looking at the 5th and last Friday of the months. Is said the weather on the 5th will describe the rest of month and the last Friday the month to come. I'm watching this month as I get the feeling it will hold, but the forecasts all disagree in the opposite direction as they're typically off.

  14. Well no mater it got to you it sounds like you picked out what it was saying. I also think that's kind of the way it should work. When we are familiar enough with what we've learned and worked with knowledge, instinct, and inspiration can just sort of blur together. That always seem the most effective way to me.


    If you recall and are inclined to say, I'd be interested to hear how that one gos. Was it just “Seven seagulls for a storm”? I ask because we don't use that one here given our lack of gulls. However my great grandmother was from Germany and would tell her kids that. In this case we ended up with her two grand sons arguing about it being seven seagulls standing together or taking flight together. Makes me think it was just seven together and they just remember the way it was when they where told it.


    Around here we have, fowl roosting in the day means a storm is coming.


    One I use quite a lot is, when birds frenzy in the morning there will be long rains in the after noon. This is particularly true if they clear out right after.


    There's, a bird singing in the rain means its going to stop.


    Another good one is, if a hawk stays low in the sky a storm is coming. While if it stays high the storm will miss you.


    Still on birds a chicken that molts in the front first means the beginning of winter will be the rougher bit, if the rear molts first the end of winter will be rougher. I find that's holds but doesn’t say anything to how rough. I had someone point out their hen molting in the front a few years back. When winter started it was mild. I thought the chicken was mistaken till the end of winter was almost springlike.

  15. Determining what the weather is going to do is about as old a tradition as one could find. These predictions often hold great importance, affecting travel, acquiring food, the design and materials we make things with, the list keeps running long. The responsibility for this great endeavor has often fallen on the shoulders of witches, mystics and the like. I figure rightly so, it often takes uncommon skills and knowledge and sometimes an extra edge to be right more than not.


    Going back there's been no shortage of methods. Talking to ancestors, looking at clouds, arthritis as a tool, local news papers, groundhog oracles, and again it just gos on.


    For myself I think I've mostly taken notice of soon to come local weather shifts. Its mostly subconscious. I'll figure its going to rain in the after noon so try and finish up in the garden early or keep my tools under cover on a work site. Its not till thinking back on the day that a realize I'm reacting to what the birds where doing in the morning or the sound of a distant horse and such, and if I'm wrong so what the weather seldom bothers me. Likewise with getting the all clear in spring and time to pack up in early winter. I just go with my gut. It most often works out.


    However, anymore folk are asking me about the weather. More and more often this is connected to things important to them like planing an outdoor wedding or birthday. Or it has heavy consequences such as planting season or preparing for winter. Maybe their loosing faith in the weatherman. If so I can't really blame them the forecast is always off here by a somewhat reliable amount.


    No matter what the reason, I figure its high time to put some effort into it. For me that means study by working to remember, seek out and compile methods. Put them to use and testing myself till I get things successful enough that I'm comfortable with my ability.


    That and I figure such a old broad topic might strike up some good conversation here. So if you've got any interest in what the weathers going to do speak up.

    • Upvote 1

  16. Those sound like some good picks Zombee. I don't know Gobekli Tepe by Graham Hancock I'll have to take a look. Not trying to sound funny but Gilgamesh never gets old. Its just as good now as when I was a kid.


    As far as recommendations I find it really depends on the type of study your doing at the time with such large topics. Of late I've been focused on local folklore, and how superstition and witchcraft play out and affect daily life in a cultural.


    More recently I've enjoyed.

    Pierre Dubois's works on fairy lore it's been worthwhile. All I can really say so far is that he seems to take his work seriously. His writing and the illustrator he found to work with have made it quite enjoyable.


    I've been reading several booklets on Pennsylvania folklore. This included “Popular Home Remedies and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans”, by A. Monroe Aurand, Jr. I found pretty good. These small booklets are a tradition in Pennsylvania, but I also enjoy the insight of local writers and historians. They often have perspective not seen in more many stream works.


    For something more to the topic of starting out.

    Those who have read myths and folklore and now want to go a bit deeper into it. I would say check out Joseph Campbell's work. I personally disagree with many of his ides. However, he was able to look at and talk about folklore and mythologies as more than stories in a way that allowed an easier shift to deeper academic studies. I find its worth it, even if you want to yell at him a lot like I often do.


    What are your specific areas of interests in these topics Wildflower? Do you have any recommendations?

  17. I was glad to see this post Zombee. I had heard about using aspirin, but never talked to anyone that had done it. Your thorough description of the results is quite helpful.


    Mostly I've made up fresh crushed garlic, ground cloves, and vinegar poultices. Its had about the same healing stages you've described, but my notes show 5 to 10 day results. I may look at moving to the aspirin or including it in the cloves.


    I was wandering if anyone here ever used any of the old potato spells for worts? I used it once on someone else and my daughter must have used it 3 or 4 times as a kid. It seems to have good results if the person with the wort is willing and patient enough.

  18.     I've been meaning to comment on this topic for sometime. Three things had stopped me. First was that it was in the public area making it harder to share lesser know things. Next was the massive amount of published studies on the topic. I figure why bother saying it if its in every public library and there are websites devoted to it. Then its also a bit difficult trying to comment on what make your home and your folk odd. I figure we're odd, but I figure most are when looked at by outsiders. However, these oddities are common place here so why would I think anybody wants to hear about them. That all said I think I finely hit on one worth talking about here.


        In most books about Pennsylvania customs, folklore, and the like you find a phrase like “Many practices of witchcraft have made their way into the customs of daily life in Pennsylvania.” Then the writer typically distracts us with superstitions and never gives an example of what practices or how they manifest in common life.


        The use of pendulums is often the goto for these parts. Its passed down to the girls in a family typically when the first girl in the generation is pregnant all their female siblings and cousins are sat down and a older family member teaches them all. Its not as if they are teaching a secret art. The moods more like if the where showing them how to knit.

        I asked around a few years back and couldn't find a girl over thirteen years that didn't know how to use one. Most just to determine the sex of an unborn child. Some to answer questions like a magic 8-ball. A few could really make it talk, and all calmed it was never wrong. However, I find that a little too easy. Pendulums have been around so long there quite well known in the world.


        Then I happened upon this conversation that got my attention. I was stuck waiting in a public area along with a man and a woman. None of us knew one another, but they both worked for the same company and started talking on the hazards of different work sites. It didn't take long for ticks to come up(they're like a plague here) and that always leads to how best to detach them.


        The woman then throws this out there. Take a bit of dawn dish soap on your finger tip. Draw a circle around the tick counterclockwise three times. As you go around it say “tikee, ikee, kee”. Then wait and if your patient before long the tick will leave on its own.

        The man asked if it worked and excepted it when she said it did. His only question was “Does it have to be counterclockwise?”. She said it did or it wouldn't work. He joked that what amazed him was that the tick could tell the difference, then added that he would try it.


        Now to some of us this might seem odd, particularly the childish chant. However, I remember learning this one. First to remove a tick then as an example of rudimentary spellcraft. Back when I first learned it you used bleachy water, then later gasolene. The incantation was “Tik, Ik, K, . ,”. Later in my studies I found it(or close variations)  to be well published in older works on Pennsylvania witchcraft. Through learning the workings and parts of spells we can see that all the elements of the spell have been common place for hundreds of years.


        Now the two folk talking where not witches and would likely think you weird if you asked if they were. They where just working folk that had picked it up somewhere. Like as not they had no idea where it came from. Since then I have ask around a found it has made it to a at least two people I know from independent sources.


        I think this sort of thing may be what those writers where getting at with out being able to put their finger on it.


        Bye the way, I find the spell to be about 60% successful. That's not quite enough for me, but maybe I've just been too inpatient with it.

    • Upvote 2

  19. I figure things may have been a bit different for me than some. I was being taught about Witchcraft, folklore, and superstition since before I could read. There was no internet and only one or two satisfactory books at the public library, none that covered spellwork and such. Growing up a lot of what I learned came from being around witches or mystics, cultists, and like. We were all from different backgrounds and walks of life. In my experience its seldom that two witches are just alike. Sometimes I found them or the other way round, ether way we would teach each other some of the things we learned, or more often just learned from being around one another.


    I suppose what I'm getting at is I never struck out to be a witch. I had interest and aptitude that I nurtured. Because I nurtured it so did the world around me. Had I not had aptitude I would like to have studied the same things with scholarly intent or just for the sake of keeping up an interest.


    When I was younger sometimes folk would call me a witch. Sometimes talking me up, more often in that “Don't let your kids hangout with them.” sort of way. If they said it to my face I would mostly tell them, I had learned enough about witches to know I wasn't one, or that they didn't know what that meant.

    After years of this witches I knew would ask for help with more difficult spellwork. They had started relying on my outcomes for their own work and I had gown comfortable with that responsibility. Then folk started coming to me for advice or with their troubles they though otherwise impossible to deal with. Sometimes I did what I could, other times I'd tell them they needed a doctor, someone clever with money, or to just stop picking at it. It's still that way.


    Eventually this all came to the point that when I overheard folk call me a witch for good or ill it couldn't be denied anymore.


    A laid back rainy morning seems to be trying to make this a bit long winded. So suppose, the advice I'm trying to give is not to try to hard to be a witch. You might trip over your own two feet, or worse not like what you become. Folk may get a lot further if they just follow their interest and let themselves grow into the person they should be. May'hap one day they find that they're a witch, or maybe just happy and knowledgeable.

  20. Horses on the hill have been hollering on and off all day. The neighbor's dog is crying and calling hunt loud enough that I can hear it through the trees. So, I'm think'n he is not getting out of the hospital this time.


    This one is old and common. Around here the baying of the dog morning someone they are close to before they die is most widespread. I find its mostly the Amish that still take note to the crying mare foretelling a local death. These seem to have made their way in to the area with the German settlers. However, my research has come a crossed it back as far as old Greek writings. As I learn more I figure it will show up much earlier.


    If anyone knows other areas where these ones are still common it would be interesting to here about it.

  21. Mountain Witch I've had the rabbits get at my tagetes, but the deer have never eaten my calendula. That's rough.

    The only time they haven't worked for me was last year all the rest would hang around the other side of the yard, but one fawn. She would show up every morning at sun up, Then go right through them to eat a few jalapenos. The whole thing was so odd I just left her go.


    I could see how that chicken wire would work. I'll have remember that one. Phaedra I'd think just like skirting a tree. You could cut the ring in half then wire it back together.


    I'm also making a note of your tip on moles and voles. We're rotten with them and the only thing I've found affective was, well cats. They don't seem to eat them, but sure like to leave them laying around.


    It can be horrible stuff to work with, but I talked to a fella this morning that used fox urine to train his cats away from the flower pots. That got me thinking a fox paw charm, tail, or bit of fur, may do the same without the smell. Just a thought really, fox skins are real oily and musky.

  22. Most of the cats here are feral and I just put in my catnip in the areas I want them to hang about.


    My grand mother would put aluminum foil around the top of the pot. I'm told they don't like the feel on their feet.


    I've also heard orange or lemon peal tossed in the top of the pot, but it seems no one saying it has tried it. Supposedly they don't like the smell. Maybe wave some around and see if they find it off putting first.


    I'll ask around and see if anything else turns up.


    For deer I plant calendula and tagetes all about. That seems to help quite a bit.

    You said about cayenne. An old woman up the road uses cayenne to keep the varmints out. I don't think its keeping her deer back(but she thinks so), but it seems to help with rabbits. That said she is out there applying it after every rain.


    I 'd figure your right about cayenne and cats. That approach sounds like they just don't want go for it twice.

  23. Good to hear the tomatoes did well for you and the weather turned in your favor. I'm looking at getting the garlic and onions ready myself. I find having a patch of garlic particularly rewording.


    I started some lemons and oranges just as the year started that are now indoor plants till spring. But, I've never tried bringing up a pineapple. It seems like it could be worth while.


    Mugwort I had not grown for several years. Then messaging a friend here a while back got it in my head again. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed its company. I have it growing on the bank overlooking my personal garden where I take launch and one in a pot on my writing desk. I fond it low maintenance and just pleasant to hang around. That's one I would likely keep it around without any benefits as an herb.

  24. Well we've had a hard frost followed by two good freezes over the past two weeks. So the less cold tolerant plants have finished up here. The cabbage family, greens, and hardier herbs are holding on. For me its time to get things redded up and plan and prepare for the next planting season.


    It was a bit of a tough year, but we did well enough. It was particularly good for tomatoes and herbs. While the orchard fruit and gourds struggled. All said we got enough put up that this winter should be easy going.


    I'm curious how the year has been for the rest of you?

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