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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Black Toad: West Country Practices

The Black ToadThe Black Toad by Gemma Gary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cornwall, Devon and West Country are the more isolated parts of Great Britain. Christianity arrived to these parts much later then it did in the rest of the county. This isolation has caused many customs and traditions to be well preserved in practive and form. When you see the craft performed here you are looking at very unadulterated ways of old.

West Country witchcraft has been altered by outside influences. Practitioners of the craft were quite eager to adopt practices from Ceremonial Magick. The cunning folk read the grimoires, used Ceremonial tools like Athames and adopted the planetary hours. They cast circles and do their spell craft.

The Old ways of Cornwall bear very little resemblance to Wicca. Through out the book I found no mention of "The Lord and Lady". However, there were invocation and incantations to Jesus, Mother Mary and the Holy Ghost. Some of the spells involve saying psalms and biblical verses. Practices of the old way have a lot in common with Hoodoo. The use of biblical verses is used in both practices. Spell crafts that involve the use of wood, animals parts and stones are also used. Bags sewn with material, which in Hoodoo is called gris gris bags are used as well.

There is mention to the Horned god who is sometime called "Old Nick", "Deevil" and Bucca Dhu.He can be called on to curse and to bless. To get in initiated into some branches of the craft one must run 9 times around a "logging stone" and then a toad will appear and breathe on the initiate and they will have great powers. Another initiation is to run around a church 9 times saying the Lords Prayer backwards. After which the Devil will appear in the form of a toad.

Witches deems toads a blessing and will try to keep many of them in their garden, if they can. Toads are well fed and looked after. Non witches are paranoid of toads and they seem to feel that a witch can take the form of a toad. Which is why if a toad appears on your doorstep you may be cursed. This caused many people to kill toads. Some stories say that after the toad dies so does the witch.

Spell crafts are used for health, healing, love,protection, counter cursing and cursing people. There is no "harm ye none" if you can heal then you can curse. Beside herbs, woods and animal parts the craft makes use of magic squares, sigils and inscribed prayers. If you want an authentic look into the craft of old then this is a great book to get.


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