Mar 30, 2015

Conjuring and banishing the elements, traditional weather witchery, spiritual work and magick

     The art of affecting and controlling the wind, rain, hailstorm, snow, or even the ever-so-intangible thunder and mist, with spells and rituals is extremely old. Examples of such practices can be found in almost every ( If not every ) of the world’s traditions, religions and magickal systems.

     From the sacrificial offerings to the Tethys , an ancient Greek Titaness deity, to the water swirling in  a freshly dug up small pit in the ground, weatherworking methods spun the globe , as invaluable pieces of cultural heritage, and they still do, although to a bit lesser amount. We have to thank all sort of misinformed, and clumsy practitioners for that, parroting all over the World Wide Web, how weather witchery is fantasy, distancing therefore the newcomers from the magickal history, and heritage, and watering down the knowledge. Alas, not even spirituality is immunes to such insipid things as trending and misinforming. That being said, one of the main reasons for composing this little article, is to let people know that weather magick is nothing less effective than Your love spells, banishing spells, money spells, divination, or any other  magickal methods for affecting the world around us. Unlike what You will hear on occult related social networks ( at least predominantly ), it’s not a thing of fictions, it’s  genuine magick.

     And  article like this… it’s really only befitting for the weather whimsy season  that spring is J

     History of the weather magick and rituals

     One of the very early written information on weather magick, comes from Herodotus, a V century Greek historian, as noted in his “History of the Persian wars”, he mentions sacrifices made by magi to conjure the winds. Empedocles, also mentions controlling the elements of the storm. By the XVI century, the weather working was equally alive and prominent, which we can attest even from the literature. For example, this section from the  Shakespeare ‘s notorious “Macbeth” shows the three witches boasting their weather working skills ( among other ) :

Second Witch
 11   I'll give thee a wind.

      First Witch
 12   Thou'rt kind.

      Third Witch
 13   And I another.

      First Witch
 14   I myself have all the other,
 15   And the very ports they blow,
 16   All the quarters that they know
 17   I' the shipman's card. “  [1]

     A demonologist from the early XVII century (Francesco Guazzo ), in his work “Compendium Maleficiarum” asserts that witches can control rainstorms, hail, and  “with God’s permission” even the lightning.

     Two extremely popular phenomenon of  the weather magick, that have been practiced since the antiquities, and are well recorded, are so called “whistling up a/the wind” and “wind knots”.
     Gerina Dunwich, a renowned occult books author notes this in her “Exploring spellcraft” :

 “ In the 12th century, Sumner wrote in Last Will and Testament, “In Ireland and in Denmark both, Witches for gold will sell a man a wind, which in the corner of a napkin wrapp’d, shall blow him safe unto what coast he will.” “ [2]

     According to the same source ( Dunwich )  The  “Irish times” magazine published a story on the alleged witch who sold magickal wind knots, well into 1814th .

     The wind knots, are a magickal charm, created ritually, on some elevated, windy place ( such as mountaintops  ) by “catching”, or trapping the wind into a piece of fabric, or even a rope, by tying three knots, while speaking befitting words of power/incantations. Such charms were often sold,     to the sailors and fisherman, for it was widely held that undoing these knots will release the wind, creating anything from soothing wind to power the ships, to winds storms which could sink the ship. Different traditions may  also accentuate some specific aspects of the ritual, such as specific sailor knot which was used in trapping the wind, or the rule that the hair must always be unbound when doing this. 
A man, selling wind knots to the sailors, woodcut

     Whistling up the wind, is a practice that pertains in Paganism, nature magick and superstitions even nowadays. Doreen Valiente speaks of people who are naturally gifted to “whistle up the wind” in her “Natural magic”, and this is in fact a widespread belief, not just in Europe, but also among some Native American tribes, and even in Philippines.  Whistling is believed to encourage the wind to start blowing, and to empower it, strengthen, If need be. However, it’s widely held to be a risky endavour, as it was oftentimes hard to predict the outcome, let alone control or remedy it. Hence why it’s so ill-advised to whistle while on ships, even nowadays, for the sailors are superstitious, and might make you walk the plank If You do it lol. Or more likely demand, terrified, that you stop with your attempts to bring about demise for all  who are on the ship.

     Even nowadays, some witches and people who are “gifted” to whistle up a wind, will go to the seashore, and whistle for the wind, sometimes swirling a piece of seaweed above their heads, in clockwise direction.  

    For those who were not gifted   with the talent to whistle up a wind,  there were other methods, such as making whistles from Alder tree ( Alnus spp. ) , or swirling lengthy wooden blades on a string, called bullroarers above one’s head [3]

    Even the Christian religion, which arguably condemns, but certainly does not glorify magickal practice, had in past resorted to the  rituals and masses to affect the weather,  especially in times of great need, during extremely dry periods, or to  halt  a threatening storm.

     The New York times, from the February of 1989. published and article dealing with one such  draught “incident” in Italy, on which occasion the Roman Catholic priests included an old, rarely used prayer for bringing rain in the mass. [4]

     In the Orthodox Christian Church, “The Great Book of Needs” or the “Euchologion”  ( prayer and ritual book for the clergy ), contains official Christen prayers , which are to be recited, in cases of prolonged and threatening draughts to bring up the rain. People who live from agriculture in Balkan peninsula, will even nowadays, request from their local   ministers to read these prayers, If their crops get “under the weather”, for example during the summer, excuse the pun.

     In remote villages of Serbia,  Bulgaria,  and Macedonia,  even nowadays there are  folk ceremonies/festivities, basically the rain dances, with young women dancing, and singing rain calling folk incantations, without clothes, covered instead with plants, leafs and flowers. This custom is referred to as “Dodola” ( also Dodole, Dudulya, and few other variations ) , as is one young women, or a girl, who is anointed as leader, and leads all the other girls, from house to house, singing the songs, and getting water poured on her, by people. This dance, was believed to ensure plenty of rain thorough the year, or  to end the draught, if  performed when the need has risen. It's not too much unlike the Native American rain dancing . 

     Some interpretations link the Dodola dances to the Slavic pagan deity, wife of perun, called Dodola, who was believed to cause rain, while milking her cows.  These ceremonies have actively been done in Macedonia up until 1960. [5]

     Magick and spiritual work to conjure the wind

     Some common methods of conjuring the wind, were already discussed earlier in this article. However, there are few other, practical methods that are of interest.
     Weather magick makes use of brooms, though not so much the broom in the traditional sense, even though, ordinary cleaning broom, or the witch’s  ritual broom may certainly be used as well. It’s rather a very small broom, or technically speaking a bit larger herb bundle, made from specific herbs, which are regarded as auspicious and helpful in this particular type of spiritual magick. And the best choice for conjuring the wind, is certainly the Scotch Broom plant ( Cytisus scoparius L. ) .
     So, in order to conjure the wind, a person can get some branches of the Scotch broom, tie them up in a bundle, and head over to some elevated, less frequented place, such as hilltops or mountaintops, or even forests. Upon reaching a favorable place, one should simply wave the broom over their head, or “stir” the air with it in clockwise direction , while chanting appropriate words of power, for example:

     “To stir the air, and wind to raise,
       I call you sylphs, I give you praise,
       A breeze, or gale, or even more still,
       With Broom and You, I cause by will!”

     Should you found that what you’ve conjured is more than what you can handle, tradition suggests to simply burn the Broom You’ve used and place the ashes  into a whole You’ve dug up, and then cover it with ground.

     Magick and spiritual work to conjure the rain

     During one particularly hot summer, without rain, the Sicilian people have felt so threatened, that they could not think clear. They took the Statues of the Saints and placed them outside the Churches, and removed all the fancy decorations and embellishing from the statues, and even threatened the “statues” with lynch, If the rain does not start falling soon.   Or so the story goes, anyway.
     Yet what may seem as irrational behavior on the first sight, is merely an aspect of Christian folk magick ; as practiced among Catholics in some parts of the world. They threaten the Saints, or rather, images ( statues most often ) of them, flog them,  or turn upside  down, or even threat    asking for something specific. This is almost exclusively done in situations of dire need, but that does not make it any less sacrilegious and unsettling, though, in my humble opinion that is.
     A more “appropriate” Catholic Christian spiritual-folk practice, to conjure the rain in times of draught include washing the Statues of Saints in bodies of natural water, while devotedly praying for salvation   in form of a  timely, nourishing rain. As mentioned before, Orthodox Christians read specific prayers instead, whereas the Catholics would probably consider such prayers “unfit” as part of official Church services, masses or rituals.
     Witches, and other kind of magick practitioners, on the other sides have always had quite a few methods which have been ( and still are ) popularly used to conjure the rain.  Some are simplicity itself, at least in terms of casting the spells, physically,  but may require  a  strong, intention, and genuine need. As is the weather , volatile  and unsteady, so are the effects of weather spells cast on whim, or just  for the sake of trying out.

     One spell calls for gathering Sage leaves, after the sunrise, in the early morning, and then digging a deep hole and burying them inside.  According to the very spell, when the leaves decay the rain will come. [6]

     Another popular method is, again, like in the case of wind conjuring with a  broom.  Usually made for the Heather plant ( Calluna vulgaris L . ) , which is dipped into a water, or stricken over a  river ‘s surface, and then shaken above the head, or on all the four corner, to sprinkle/asperse  some of the water from it. This was commonly done, followed by incantations.

     Heather is considered a plant of rain and mist, and was in the “old times” mixed with Henbane and Fern and burnt as an incense to conjure the rain. [7]

      Throwing Sesame, or Rice seeds in the air, or even ( a more recent variation  ) throwing some on the map of the area, sometimes followed by the words of incarnations,  is believed to draw the rain, from sky to the land. 

     Another popular method is to dig a hole in the ground, pour some water in it and stir it. [8] Some sources insist that one must stir continuously with a finger, and if they get tired, other person may take over, but the stir motion must not be interrupted, until the rain starts.  [9] Some other schools of thought claim that the same method may be done by digging up a small hole with a knife, pouring water in it, preferably rainwater, and then stirring with the knife, while invoking the rain. One may chant something along these lines, as they stir:

     “Nereids, and water nymphs,
       Water spirits and air sylphs,
       Raise now high, and fly around,
       Tear the clouds, bring rain to ground!”

     A popular belief in Europe suggests that If one desires to bring about rain, they should pour water through a sieve on a stone. Ideally, not just any stone, a Fae’s stone, or Folk’s stone, which are large stones believed to be inhabited by or sacred to the Fae or Fairies. But You are going to have to try really hard to find one of those outside the Ireland and Scotland.  In which case, a consecrated stone, used for Your spiritual works only, or even better for conjuring rain only will do.
     Ritual to conjure the mist

     I have written this particular ritual, some time ago, but I’ve never used it myself. Some friends have though, and  they have reported    good  results.
     It’s simple. Hold a piece of Ametrine in one hand, and a lit blue-yellow candle in another. Chant:

     “To conceal and hide, and wrap in mist,
       I invoke air and water; combine and twist,
       Spirits of Air and Water, from far and wide,
       Conjure mist and fog, bring them by  my side!”

     Alternatively, one could try pouring some water in a ceramic/aroma lamp, mixed with dried and powdered Heather plant, and as the fumes rise, invoke the fog.
     Visualizing fog and mist filling one’s head/mind, is said to effectively render  powerless people to penetrate and read mind of one who’s using the simple technique.

     Magick  and spiritual work to protect from, and banish, the storm

     Storm is a destructive and formidable force. One to be feared of, respected, harvested, and perhaps most importantly, protected from.  Protecting from the bad weather is the whole idea behind weather divinations and meteorology.
      People have used all sort of herbs and charms to protect from bad weather.
      Houseleek, St John’s wort, and Feverfew are among the best choices to protect from lighting.  Particularly the Houseleek, which is said to be the most powerful charm against the thunders and lightings.
       Rowan tree planted in front of the home,  and Elder tree   behind  the home, are said to also confer safety from electric atmospheric discharges. Very powerful is a nice sprig of Mistletoe hung on the front door.
       Nettle and Oak tree’s wood, are carried on one’s behalf, as charms  against the lightning.
       A sharp object, such as knife, an axe, or   a    pair of    scissors , pinned in a ground, at the edge of one’s property, is according to the widely spread superstition, a way to break the upcoming wind, hurricane, tornado, or storm, split it , and spar your home of it. 
      Blue Chalcedony, as well as Heliotrope stones were used to protect from bad weather, and even help  control in, in the “old times”. [10]
       The "Malleus Malleficarum", suggestes reciting the following to halt a storm:

“I adjure you, hailstorms and winds,
By the five wounds of Christ,
Arid by the three nails which pierced His hands
and feet
And by the four Holy Evangelists, Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John,
That you be dissolved and fall as rain!”

     Also, three hailstones would be, in turn, one after another thrown into a fire, while reciting the Our Father prayer and the Angelic   salutation, to achieve the same result,  finished by reciting Gospel of St. John, and saying: “By the words of this Gospel may this tempest be stopped!” [11]

     In Austria, there’s a custom of throwing wheat, outside the window,   to hinder a storm magickally. The  belief probably arises from the notion that storms are embodiment of some lower level evil spirits, that due to their obsessive compulsive nature  get interrupted, and distracted   by seeds  thrown on ground. 

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, so If You wish to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits: Shadow of the Shadows magick place, or a direct link to this post
[2] Quoted from: “Exploring spellcraft” pg. 136th  New Pages books, 2008th,  by Dunwich, Gerrina , used here for educational and informative purposes, without any ill will
[6]  “Witches potions and spells”, 57th page, Kathryn Paulsen, 1971. Peter Pauper Press
[7]  According to the :  “Cunningham’s encyclopedia of magical herbs” , by Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn publications
[8] According to the  source listed under [3]
[9] According to the  source listed under [6]
[10] According to the   Judy Hall, as stated in various of  her books on Crystals
[11] According to the same source as under: [2],  on 138th page

IMAGE CREDITS: First image is from  ,   digitally edited for  the use here, by myself, used for illustrative and explanatory purposes without any ill will

The second is from  Likewise, this image is also used for illustrative and explanatory purposes, without any ill will

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