Saturday, 24 April 2010

Old v. New

Has anyone else noticed that older books on witchcraft focussed on hexing and cursing, but for the modern witch looking at books, these are rarely discussed and certainly instruction is absent?

Yet, the ability to curse, hex or work magic to the detriment of others (steal their milk, crops, lover) using foul ingredients seems to have been mainstay of the historical witch. Even love spells of old involved the use of semen, blood and urine and not always with the consent of the intended paramour. When I hear of a modern witch collecting afterbirth, hen's feet, graveyard dirt, snake skin and poisonous substances, I doubt the knowledge to know how to work with these items comes from modern books.

Nowadays, the focus of today's witchy authors seems to be on healing the self, raising protection or attracting good fortune and love, but the ingredients are now more likely to be a pretty crystal, nice incense, or an unbroken mirror (no blood, sweat, tears or toenails for the modern witch). Historically, finding lost items, reversing bad luck, providing protection were once the preserve of the cunning folk, who worked against witches, but no-one ever seems to take up that title anymore and certainly no books on becoming one (or is there?).

So what's changed? Why do modern authors stay away from the older forms of witchcraft and its ingredients, with apparently years of proven results? Why, too, are there so few books on hexes, curses and other baleful magic? Where do these modern witches working the old fashioned way get their knowledge? Why aren't these witches publishing their work for consumption by the modern witch?

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