witches ointment?

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rowancraft
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by rowancraft » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:34 am

Not at all. Its probably easiest just jotted as a list of the top of my mind in honesty.
Visual snow, quite severe.
Light sensitivity resulting in needing RX glasses.
Seeing insects and spiders flicker around 24/7, most intense in dark.
A strange translucent 'spiragraph billowing wind' again most notable in the dark. (Think desolate wasteland sorta dusty wind)
Muscular twitches from subtle to occasional jolt. (Nothing too over bearing though mind, thankfully)
A real tendancy to xerostomia (cotton mouth) which was never a problem prior to nightshade use.
Some of sort of peculiar cardiac feeling now n then, again since nightshade use. (Though I equate this maybe to another ingredient in my ointment more maybe). I wouldn't know how to explain this.
The feeling of falling when fallin asleep very often.
Mistaking completely sounds, not generally unpleasent majority of the time.
But positive effects have come from it to. It seems to of left the intuition highly tweaked, to an almost esp degree.
Made me much more sensitive to energy.
Definately increased 'psychic' ability on the whole.
Meditation has become a very visual thing as even vaguely entering a 'trance' will throw me back into nightshade alternate world dream state.
So good for the witch, bad for the body maybe? I can certainly see why the 'myth' of sorta peculiar seers of old occured.
Hope this helps somewhat, as I've not seen much on effects of long term or regular use of varying degrees of psychoactive and spiritual use.
Thee i invoke by the moonlit sea,
The standing stone and the twisted tree.

rowancraft
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by rowancraft » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:45 am

Ah I should add the falling feeling occurs not just when near sleep but also during all waking hours. Sort of funny that it makes me stumble a bit when it does. Gladly though it doesn't do too often when stood up.
And a lot of people stand, walk and wave in my periphery. Black shadows of empty people, and shadows of cats and dogs running through my visions peripheral and front. Sometimes familiar feeling, sometimes people I know. Usually just anonymous shadows who occassional whisper in echoes around me.
None of the 'shadow people' are intimidating at all though, I find myself and them quite harmonious. At times they're whisperings giving me valuable warnings or information/guidance. So regardless of my years of practicing the craft and shamanising to return to spirit, my belief is certainly deeper confirmed.
Thee i invoke by the moonlit sea,
The standing stone and the twisted tree.

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nepalnt21
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by nepalnt21 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:57 pm

very interesting. thanks for sharing.

some of the things you describe ive had myself, since i can remember. they might just be normal. that heart jumping thing ive heard is quite normal, and happens to me often, as well as the muscle/ nerve twitching. it seems to be maybe just a regular part of animal life.

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The Wrong Alice
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by The Wrong Alice » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:01 am

First it may be noteworthy that I was born with a lot of the effects of tropane alkaloids. I've always seen the pretty pretty colored lights (and auras), I see shadow people almost daily, I hear voices, and a few other weirdnesses that are just part of who I am. These are the kinds of things that made me a witch.

That being said, Datura was my very first psychoactive substance. I used it under the supervision of a skilled pharmakeus, and suffered no ill effects whatsoever. The shadow people and random phantom animals I saw anyway got more intense, but that was part of what I was going for.

The dose makes the poison. Yes these kinds of substances can have all kinds of nasty side effects, but only if used incorrectly. Most of human innovation would not have occurred if we all failed to explore because of the risks, and a good deal of the greatest discoveries in all of human history came from someone who didn't know what they were doing wondering what would happen.

I happen to make and sell a flying ointment, and so far I've had no complaints. My partner and I have both spilled the stuff on ourselves and in so doing taken several times anything that could be considered a safe dose, and suffered no ill effects. Feeling like your feet aren't touching the ground while you're sweeping the floor (with a broom, wink wink) is kinda cool.

By the way, the significance of the broom, as told by a practicing Hellenic witch:

The witch's broom and the shaman's staff are symbolic representations of the World Tree, which is a well known metaphor for the human consciousness. The tree is also a common visualization and metaphor for astral projection. There are several European myths featuring the act of climbing a tree as part of spiritual initiation. Including one in which a Celtic king abandoned his hunting party and ran off into the woods. He was found days later at the top of an Oak tree, having gone quite mad. In Gaelic, one word means both madness and enlightenment; the two are seen as interchangeable. Which by the way means that the madness caused by tropane alkaloids is desirable to and quite controllable by those who follow my path.

As a side note, in Middle Eastern and Abrahamic culture, the tree metaphor is replaced with a mountain. Moses and Mohammed went up the moutain, and it was astral projection.

The broom and the staff are tools used in an energetic capacity for astral projection. I don't know who said it was used to apply a flying ointment. It's possible someone somewhere did that, but no one I've ever heard of and probably an amateur. It seems exceedingly unlikely because not only would that be uncomfortable, since the brooms referred to were made of twigs from trees such as Birch and Broom, but it would be extremely inefficient because not all of the ointment would come off of the bristles... And have you ever held a broom and tried to brush yourself with it? We humans have things called fingers, best application method I know of.

Also, I prefer the inside of my elbow as an application site for oils.

And finally, Rhea's avatar is a well known actress.

May you find what you seek,
Alice
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Dr Zzz
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by Dr Zzz » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:21 am

Well, I'm not sure that the broom is simply an axis mundi. The problem is that witches are said to to fly on brooms throught the chimney. In that context, the chimney like the smoke hole of a teepee or ger, yurt, is your axis mundi. Well the axis mundi passes trought the hole. The broom seems to be a closer equivalent to the drum, arrow, etc used as trance instruments by shamans.
The broom also has an obvious cleaning, purificatory, symbolism. It is likely that is was used for that reason during ceremonies.

In modern witchcraft (traditional, not wicca), modern so we do not know to what extent it applies to the middle age, the broom is made of three different woods, symbolizing the earh, air, water. The places where those three realms (land, sea, sky) meet are considered very special, powerfull and otherwordly. The bristles are in some rituals a symbol for female pubic hair, so it is used to represent a sex from which your are reborn in another world, and so dead to this one.

The broom is a tricky one, it's all liminal and paradoxical. Axis, focal point where the whole of reality is accessible, purificatory tool, womb allowing death and regeneration... But the general conclusion is that is has the power to send you in another world.

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The Wrong Alice
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by The Wrong Alice » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:35 pm

Well said Dr. Zzz.

I would contest the idea of traditional witchcraft though. There isn't one. We have reconstructionists, and there's the neo-pagan scene. The closest to "traditional" is family traditions, which are at best partial traditions, and rarely shared with outsiders. Any time I meet anyone claiming to practice traditional witchcraft, I have to call bullshit. At this point no path is more traditional than any other.

May you find what you seek,
Alice
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by Dr Zzz » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:42 am

The Wrong Alice wrote: I would contest the idea of traditional witchcraft though. There isn't one.
I agree, I was just using a label.

I believe that so call traditional branches of witchcraft come from well learned 19th century occultists.
They blended kabbalistic knowledge with floklore and mythology. So basically they are older than wicca, a little bit, but by no way more "trad". Anyway identifiable groups like 1734 are fairly recents (60's) so...

Their vision of the craft is different, but it's difficult to know if it is closer to historical practices or not. Certainly they claim practices like incubation and necromancy that are well attested scnce antiquity, but... then what ? Who can prove a chain of transmission ? Sufis can follow theirs back to the Prophet, I doubt any trad can go beyond the 20th century.
Still some of them have very interresting writings, very esoterical and mystical. But it's closer to kabbalah and neoplatonism than anything. Which is fine by me.


Back to brooms and oinment.

That kind of subjet is highly problematic, as the whole witch/flying broom/chimney/familliar thing has close parallels with shamanism. The problem is that it is hard to determine when and how some bit of shamanism came to europe. There is that old naive theory claiming that shamanism is primordial and universal. Some archeologists think that paleolitc Europe was shamanistic, and that cave art is shamanistic art. I read a good book exposing that paleolithic Europe was not shamanistic at all, but that some anatolian (of siberian origin) peoples might have taken with them bits of their ancestrak traditions. The indo-europeans, coming from the steppe, perhaps carried some shamanistic elements too.

But if "witches" were really some kind of shamans, are we sure that they really used those ointments ? Not at all, most shamans reach trance using powerfull meditation skills. Drug usage exists but is not systematic. Some historians think that ointments were actually a drug in the recreative sense. High society ladies used them to reach a delicious narcosis and powerfull erotic dreams. As it shocked the morality of the times they were classified as witches. We must remember that the history of "witchcraft" is written by those who fought them so we have to read between lines.

We are facinated by those tropane plants but we forgot that people used a wide variety of plants, for exemple Pliny tells us that mulllein is a witch plant. One time I took enough mullein on a period of 48h (without sleep dreprivation there was a good night in the middle) and I did have reality-like hallucinations. Mullein stimulates dreams too. And mugwort, a herb of Artemis ? And vervain ? Known to the greeks by the name of "holy plant" used by celts to purifiy the altars, herb of Persephone, Isis, Juno, etc... Syrian rue was widely used as well, and I won't even delve it the subject of incenses...

No seriously this emphasis on those particular ointments is only our, it does not reflect the role they had in the middle ages.

Also keep in mind one thing. Ointment is a very very old and important part of religions and mysteries. It goes all the way back to egyptians cults, strongly linked with Hator (Ishtar, Hekate, Isis, Aphrodite, etc...) and passed, of course, in christianity. Everybody know that Khristos means "anointed". So this profane ointment must have appeared to the clergy an horrible thing, and an intolerable practice, because the thought that it was church only right to anoint people. That is probably why it was recorded and became infamous.

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The Wrong Alice
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by The Wrong Alice » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:17 pm

Well, I can't claim to know, no one can. But I can apply logical deduction and come to some interesting conclusions.

First, shamanic practices of some form existed in Asia, Russia, Europe, Africa, The Mediterranean, and the Americas dating back to long before the historical/archeological community acknowledges that these cultures could have had any communication.

Either shamanism is a universal state of the human consciousness, or all the cultures of the world were in direct communication much earlier than originally believed. Then again, there was also a piece of pottery found in Texas which was carbon dated to several thousand years before pottery was invented, so I'm disinclined to pay much attention to what the "experts" guess.

I would also contest your assertion that the use of entheogens is not a major shamanic practice. Amanita muscaria in Siberia, Peyote in the American midwest, Divinorum among Mexican brujas (though the classification of bruja as shaman or witch is subject to interpretation). The list goes on. In one American tradition, the shaman's initiatory ritual is the consumption of a potentially lethal dose of Tobacco juice.

While our historical accounts may not be entirely reliable, the frequency with which mind altering substances appear in accounts of shamanism, witchcraft, or any other form of magical practice are astounding and difficult to ignore. Bay leaves used to induce the trance of the priestesses of the Oracle of Delphi, a Belladonna based libation used by the Roman priestes of Bellona, the Henbane laced Pilsener from which modern Pilsner beer is derived, the draughts and potions described in Greek stories about Cerce and Medea... And that's just off the top of my head.

Sorry, but anyone who doesn't think the use of mind altering chemicals as an aid to magic has a strong traditional basis has a lot of reading to do.

May you find what you seek,
Alice
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by Dr Zzz » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:22 pm

Hey Alice! I was just saying that there is maybe too much emphasis on tropane ointments, and that witches used a lot of differents plants, and mind altering teks. That there may be precise reasons why ointments were recorded and not the others...

I know that my english sometimes lacks subtility, and that my point is not allways clear. Sorry if I did not express myself in a good way. But why the hell should I list a bunch of important magical plants in my post if I was denying their usage ?

Arhh and I don't like to talk about shamanism before defining it. So here's what I mean by shamanism :

Nowadays scholars and their readers speak about shamanism for about anything : celts, egyptians, paleolithic Europe, etc... While human mind is always the same and altered states of consiousness are always present, in all cultures, shamanism is a precise religious form. The word is Tungus, it has first been expanded to all similar siberian practices. Then to the americas where similar forms also exists.

Out of those lands the use of the term shamanism is problematic.

The core of siberian shamanism is:
a) a person gains power on the spirit world by marrying a spirit
b ) that acts as a helper, an additional soul
c) this persons now deals with spirits for his/hers for the community
d) and can travel to the otherworlds

African pocession cults are close but lack otherworld travel, it's not shamanism.
European witchcraft with its familiar spirits and flying to the sabbath is damn close.

There is tendency to use the word shaman for any kind of priest or wizzard, or whenever drugs are involved in religious matters. If it is just a word that's OK, this one or another... But if it leads to see shamanism everywhere, it's misleading. How can we see the common points of a given religious form different from shamanism with shamanis proper if we naively classify the said form as being itself shamanism ? The common point will loose its meaning. And we'll miss an opportunity to see something that may be older than shamanism and that other religion.

I think both your alternatives are true. There was a lot of contacts between civilisation, far earlier that we usually think of. And there is a common human wisdom, before settling in the four corners of the globe, we were one, at that time a kind of "primordial religion" should have existed, and all latter traditions comes from it. I just don't think shamanism is the right name for that primordial religion.

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The Wrong Alice
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Re: witches ointment?

Post by The Wrong Alice » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:49 pm

Hey Alice! I was just saying that there is maybe too much emphasis on tropane ointments, and that witches used a lot of differents plants, and mind altering teks. That there may be precise reasons why ointments were recorded and not the others...
In that case, I am entirely in agreement.

When I speak of shamanism, I am referring to a spiritual path which is defined first and foremost by work with spirits, and one may only be a shaman if the spirits bestow the title (in whatever language may be appropriate). The idea of marrying a spirit is a perfect example. The second defining characteristic of shamanism is service to the spirit world and to a community in the physical world, community sometimes being very loosely defined. All the other details are negotiable, but as far as I know the use of astral projection and altered states of consciousness is also universal.

I am not myself a shaman, but I know several people who are and I have communicated with such spirits. It simply was not my path and I chose to serve different ends.

One of the shamans I have spoken to on the subject holds the theory that the birth of shamanism was simultaneous with the birth of mankind as a self aware race, and has always existed. It may not have been the only spiritual path of that original human culture, but there's no reason to believe it wasn't one of them. It is important to remember that shamanism isn't a religion, it's a path. Shamanism is to the religious beliefs of the tribes that still practice it as priesthood is to the Catholics. Shamans exist in all cultures, in all religions. They are the spiritual leaders and guides of those cultures who's religion is survival, who focus on this life and feel that all things are spiritual, rather than concerning themselves with other worlds.

Defining witchcraft is far more complicated, and entire books could easily be written on the subject. However, I consider it also to be a universal practice, an idea so intuitive and natural to the structure of the human mind that it has occurred independently in nearly every culture in the world.

I have written a lengthy article on that subject, but to attempt to condense it into just a sentence, witchcraft is the practical art of applying personal power and natural energetic principles to manipulate physical reality. It requires no religious aspect, communication with spirits is optional, and it favors simplicity over the complex formulae used in ceremonial paths such as Kabbalah. I do not consider Gardner to have been a witch, but Scott Cunningham was. Much as a stockpile of herbs, wand, athame, and candles may be nice to have; the witch is just as effective turning any object that comes to hand into a magical symbol, or working with nothing more than pure visualization.

The Mexican bruja and the Italian Strega are witches by another name, and hoodoo is a form of witchcraft. Voudon is to hoodoo what Wicca is to witchcraft; a religion associated with the magic, but not integral to it.

Certainly other methods beyond flying ointments have always been used, but I feel the importance of the ointments should not be underestimated. Every one of these chemicals opens a different door. Opening all of them can certainly help one to achieve enlightenment.

May you find what you seek,
Alice
Read my BLOG or THIS if you want to know who I am. If not, you aren't allowed to click my links.

To my fellow poisoners, I offer my HERBAL. This is the only way to buy a book that gets longer after you have it.

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