Monday, 9 November 2009

Moon Paste

Was reading a book on Scottish folklore and belief, when reference was made to Isobel Goudie and the making of moon-paste, the formula for which was still current in Morroco and Brittany (the book was written in the 1950s).

So, after extensive googling, which resulted in two pagan-y boards which made only a passing reference, I know very little about this paste.   I found a reference to it in R. A. Gilbert's "The Sorcerer and His Apprentice", which states it was referenced in another book, "The Devil's Mistress".

"The details of the making of Isabel Goudie's moon-paste I have recorded in The Devil's Mistress, the lacunae in the Scottish accounts being supplied from Morocco, the processes being obviously identical. In the trial of Lady Monro of Fowlis, June 22, 1590, the material was clay. "

... a quote which is mentioned in other forums, but only to say that there was reference to the paste in that book, too. Not the formula, nor any other information on its use in Brittany or Morocco.Is anyone is a position to enlighten me?

It also rates mention in "A Highland Chapbook" by Isabel Cameron (page 97):
Moon paste, perhaps the most mysterious of all magic mediums, is also one of the oldest. The making of it was known and practised in ancient Thessaly; magicians in Morocco and in Brittany knew of it, and except for the language being different, the ideas and forms were the same as were used in Scotland so lately at the end of the seventeenth century. Water from seven wells, herbs gathered at certain phases of the moon, clay taken from a special place, and dried in the fire, and afterwards pounded into fine dust, all played their part in the making of the paste. It required, however, the magic of the full moon, and this could only be got by incantations, sung widdershins, and a most elaborate ritual. This paste could unite sundered lovers; it could cure illness; and if its owner so willed it, it was capable of bringing disaster upon one's enemies; in fact, it was capable of working magic; both black and white.
And on page 61:

Witches who had attained a very high standard of their art used, as a medium of black magic, moon paste. As the name implies, this was made by the moon being pulled out of the sky. This medium had to be made when the moon was full. Certain herbs had to be pounded and mixed; water taken from seven different wells and the whole thing had to be kneaded in a trough in a kirk yard with chantings and muttered words and turnings innumerable to "widdershins." Images made of this paste were capable of bringing weal or woe according to the wishes of the witch who owned it. Isabel Goudie used it to help Jean Gordon of Gordonstown, but she used the same medium to bring sickness and death to the house of the Laird of Park

Again, no reference to which herbs, gathered when, which "special place" to beget the clay, which incantations and so on. I was hoping an historian or someone who lives in Scotland might have further information.

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