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Monday, 27 August 2007

The Devil Of Great Island Witchcraft And Conflict In Early New England

The Devil Of Great Island Witchcraft And Conflict In Early New England Cover

Book: The Devil Of Great Island Witchcraft And Conflict In Early New England by Emerson Baker

Anyone even remotely interested in early New Hampshire history, genealogy, New England witch trials, or anyone with ancestors from coastal New Hampshire must read The Devil of Great Island, by Prof. Emerson Baker, PhD, of Salem State College. (No, I'm not related to him - that I know of, anyway - nor do I own stock in the publisher, sadly...) I was quite pleasantly surprised to read a historian's account of 17th century life that was not bland and boring. Dr. Baker mentions at least 8 people that I am related to...anyone with deep and early New Hampshire roots probably will encounter an ancestor in this book!

Baker, who teaches history at Salem State College, examines a witchcraft accusation made a decade before the more famous Salem outbreak. In June 1682, someone showered stones at a Great Island, N.H., tavern owned by a Quaker named George Walton. When the stone-throwing continued through the summer, Walton accused his neighbor, widow Hannah Jones, of witchcraft. The neighbor, in turn, charged that Walton was a wizard. Baker helpfully connects the Great Island event to other stone-throwing episodes in early New England, and he uncovers some of the social factors—including town politics, a property dispute, and struggles between Walton and his servants—that lurked underneath the Great Island drama. His examination of anti-Quaker sentiment is especially nuanced. Baker is widely read in the academic literature on witchcraft; in fact, his analysis is mostly derivative, leaning heavily on works by John Demos, Carol Karlsen, Mary Beth Norton and others. Baker's use of anachronistic analogies like the witchcraft accusation... might be seen as the seventeenth-century equivalent of 'playing the race card' do more to obscure than illuminate. Still, colonial history buffs will appreciate this account of the strange happenings in Great Island.

More importantly, Dr. Baker strips away the hype of the Salem witch trials and the subsequent accusations of witchcraft elsewhere in New England, most notably on Great Island (later New Castle), New Hampshire, and systematically explains the reason behind the accusations. He also describes the major players, and even finds the likely culprits behind the mischief. For anyone who doesn't know, Jane (Guy?) Walford, (my many-times-great grandmother) of Great Island was accused of witchcraft, initially in 1648. She fought the allegations for 21 years! During that time, not only was she exonerated, but she actually counter-sued for slander and won...the first and only such case in recorded history. She and her husband, Thomas Walford, had successfully taken on a number of life-altering challenges, such as their being the first European settlers of Charlestown, MA, defiance of the formidable Puritan establishment in that colony, and another pioneering move to New Hampshire. (Their character may help explain some of my own family's stubbornness!) In the end, Dr. Baker explains in detail not only WHAT happened during the now-famous "Lithobolia" (stone-throwing devil incident of 1682) on Great Island, but WHY it happened, and WHO probably did it. Along the way he mentions my relatives (and possibly yours) including the Amazeen, Brookings, Shapleigh, and Walford families. Of course, many, many more local families were involved and are included. Of all the books I have read so far about the incident and local history (which number in the dozens), I must say this one is my favorite, I guess because it is more lively and descriptive. A simple web search of the book name and author will provide anybody interested in lots more information about the book and how to find it. As a side-note, I realized not long ago that a former colleague at work is a direct descendant of Jane Walford's accusers Elizabeth and Nicholas Rowe. Although he and I got along just fine, most of my other peers avoided him quite vigorously due to his "contrary" nature! Very interesting...

"Does a fine job of bringing to life a little-known aspect of the tumultuous Puritan era."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Enthralling . . . Baker's welcome account throws a strong light on an American witchcraft episode that has not hitherto received the attention it clearly deserves."
--The Historian

"With deft insights, Tad Baker illuminates a supernatural mystery from seventeenth-century New England. Thoroughly researched and clearly written, The Devil of Great Island leaves no stone unturned, revealing a popular culture of marvels and wonders. And it offers a gripping tale well told."
--Alan Taylor, author of American Colonies

"Thoroughly fascinating and fascinatingly thorough, Baker's lively narrative of a witchcraft episode in early New Hampshire exposes the many reasons why a 'stone-throwing devil' attacked George Walton and his tavern. In learning about life on Great Island, at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, readers also learn much about a part of New England that does not fit our standard Puritan stereotypes and thus about a diverse aspect of our collective past that will now become better known."
--Mary Beth Norton, author of In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692

"The witch trials of seventeenth-century New England have been extensively worked over by historians, and yet, as this fascinating book shows, there are new insights to be gained by moving the focus beyond Massachusetts and the Puritans. In this meticulously researched case study, Emerson W. Baker not only makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of supernatural beliefs in colonial North America, but also weaves an enjoyable and accessible story that leads the reader up to the events at Salem."
--Dr. Owen Davies, author of Popular Magic: Cunning-Folk in English History

"Emerson Baker combines his talents as historian of early New England and historical archaeologist to untangle the web of personal conflicts, property disputes, and tensions political and religious that underlay the events on Great Island. The Devil of Great Island will surely take its place among the must-read books on witchcraft in seventeenth-century New England."
--James Leamon, author of Revolution Downeast: The War for American Independence in Maine

Buy Emerson Baker's book: The Devil Of Great Island Witchcraft And Conflict In Early New England

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Elizabeth Reis - The Devil The Body And The Feminine Soul In Puritan New England
Kate Dumycz - Female Power Witchcraft And Gender In Elizabethan England
Garfield Tourney - The Physician And Witchcraft In Restoration England
Justin Winsor - The Literature Of Witchcraft In New England
Nathan Johnston - The Devil And Demonism In Early Modern England

Monday, 20 August 2007

Common Herbs For Common Illnesses

Common Herbs For Common Illnesses Cover

Book: Common Herbs For Common Illnesses by William Mcgrath

This book has been written because of the author's personal Experience in being healed from asthma and arthritis through the use of herbs. Hopefully it will be helpful to those curious about various old-fashioned natural cures obtained from herbs and plants. This Information is not presented with the intention of diagnosing or prescribing, but is intended to help one cooperate with his doctor in a mutual desire to build and maintain health. In the event one uses this information without his doctor's approval, he is prescribing for himself. This is his constitutional right, but no responsibility is assumed on the part of the author, publisher or distributors of this book. It is not the purpose of this book to replace the service of a physician. This book does not promote the sale of any patent medicines, endorse the sale or consumption of any medicinal or nutritional preparations, nor guarantee the effectiveness of any recipe.

The purpose of this book is to edify and enlighten the general reader, not to sell medicines or advance any claim for infallibility. The various herb recipes mentioned in this book were gleaned from herb books, ancient and modern. The reporting of how they have been historically used as remedies and treatments does not constitute any unqualified endorsement or guarantee of cure. We doubt if the use of simple home remedies could or should ever be eliminated. Nor should home remedies ever make doctors and physicians obsolete. Herbs, like all good natural foods are preventive remedies containing essential vitamins, minerals, hormones and enzymes. If one made more use of them, one would need to impose less on the time of our busy doctors. The well-known American naturalist, Henry David Thoreau, wrote, "A man may esteem himself happy when That Which is his food is also his medicine." In a day when the asphalt jungles of cities are spreading like a blight over our polluted planet, and it is popular to indiscriminately exterminate wild plants by herbicides, many city dwellers unknowingly loathe and despise all wild flora as "weeds". But herbs have been used since the beginning of recorded time for medicinal and nutritional purposes and modern scientific research has proven that plants contain many remarkable healing properties.

For those who wish to study the subject in great detail, numerous books are available for further reference. We invite readers to correspond with us on additional herbal home remedies or in the event errors are discovered in this text.

Download William Mcgrath's eBook: Common Herbs For Common Illnesses

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Ragner Storyteller - How To Invoke Freya Valkries For Protection And Defence
Hermes Trismegistus - Book I Hermes Trismegistus
Hermes Trismegistus - Book Xi Of The Common Mind To Tat
Anonymous - Dictionary Of The Forgotten Ones
William Mcgrath - Common Herbs For Common Illnesses

Sunday, 19 August 2007

The Staff

The Staff Cover
The Staff is generally known as a male mystery. This means that females were not taught the skills necessary to make or consecrate a Staff. However, even the most closely guarded secrets often get out, and today females can make and use a Staff during ritual. Sometimes it is frowned upon, but it is generally accepted as any other working tool of a Witch.

In yesteryears, the Staff was used spear-fashion, to hunt animals and fish. Because it was such a powerful tool it became shrouded in mystery. The priestess females tended to the homefires and the cooking, but food provision and the tools used therein were male mysteries. Women had much to do, and silently let it fall to their men.

By the time more efficient weapons had been devised, such as bows and arrows, the Staff became of use as a walking stick. Canes are generally used by older, wiser people, and perhaps the story of the "magic walking stick" came about because some old apothecary
had a cane to help him in his old age.

By the time the Middle Ages came along, the Staff had been adopted by the Christian church. They believed in magical staffs, as seen in the Story of Moses' magickal stick turning into snakes. And the Christian church decided that if they had staffs, none other could, and the posession of anything looking like a "tool of the devil" resulted in land, money, and status being taken away, as well as the threat of death by hanging or fire. Witches and magicians of the times would make their magickal staffs into brooms, by tying twigs onto the bottom, and using it as a broom. This is how the theory of the witch's broom came about.

Nowadays, when times are a little less threatening, we can carry staffs like the original shamans and villiage priests did. We can gussy them up and hang doodads on them, polish and varnish them, carve runes and mystical symbols on them, and no one really cares. Many Pagans, Witches, and people of other religions carry fancy staffs with them to gatherings.

My Staff

I made my staff fairly simply. I found a branch that seemed to me to be perfect for the task , and I stripped off all of the bark. Because I was using Chinese Cherrywood, underneath the bark was a lovely pale cream colour of wood. I eagerly tore off the remainder of the bark , but was soon dismayed to see that the wood at the top of the staff, where I had started peeling, was turning a dull reddish colour. As the wood dried, it's colour deepened. At first I was none to happy, but I eventually grew, through working on the staff, to like it much better than that creamy colour.

After all of the bark was off, I gathered it all up and put it in a bag. I later burned it in a small cauldron to represent the elements of air and fire in my staff's consecration ritual. I then proceeded to carve the runes upon my staff. I carved the Egyptian
Symbol of Life on one side, and several words along the other side. Using Ogham runes I carved the words, "To Heal, To Love, To Learn" and my
name rune , and farther down, "Summer Solstice, 1991", being the date upon which I finished my staff!

After all the carvings were finished I proceeded to sand it down, using the heaviest grade of fine sandpaper. I sanded until my bloody arms were going to fall off. Don't do this one at home kids, leave it to the professionals . When all of the staff was smooth, I then began to resand the whole thing again, this time with really fine sandpaper. It turned out to be really smooth.

After I re-etched the runes to make sure they would stand out okay, I varnished the staff with a spray-on varnish . I did this 4 times, letting it dry overnight before reapplying. Then I hung my doodads on it, stuck it in the altar room, and off I went on the night of the full moon to consecrate it.

Consecration Ritual

Consecrate the staff the way you would consecrate any magickal tool. I sort of "edited" the usual version of the ritual because I had the bark to burn as incense.

Pass the Staff through the smoke of the fire, saying:

O Creature of Wood and Spirit!
With incense made from thy own bark,
Representing the Element of Air,
I cense thee!

Pass the Staff through the flames of the fire, saying:

With Fire bright, also of thy own bark,
I burn away all impurities!

Sprinkle the Staff with the consecrated water, saying:

With Water, clear and cool, that once fed thy roots,
I wash thee clean and free!

Sprinkle the Staff with the consecrated salt, saying:

With the Salt of the Earth,
I ground thee firmly to thy purpose!

Thou shalt be an aide in the Directing of my Will.
Thou shalt be a physical symbol of the Masculine within me.
As the Egyptian symbol of Life is etched on your side, so shall the
Feminine and Masculine meet and join,
And be stronger and wiser because of the union!

Free e-books (can be downloaded):

Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - The Saffron Robe
Howard Phillips Lovecraft - The Festival

Keywords: necronomicon  secret gothick darkness  pagan protection symbols  greek babylonian lunar  hel  

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Hedge Witchery

Hedge Witchery Cover The word hedgewitch comes from the Saxon word haegtessa meaning ‘hedge-rider’. The hedge in hedge witchery is not a fence of shrubs and wildlife, but instead represents the border between our material world and the otherworld – the unknown. In trance-work (also called journey-work, journeying or just “travelling”) the hedgewitch crosses this border in order to contact spirits on the other side to learn from them and bring back knowledge to the material world. A hedgewitch may also use this ability to enter trance in healing rituals, both physical and mental, and also to perform divination. These practices are very shamanistic in nature. Shamans from around the world would talk to spirits and ancestors through trancework in order to learn about specific chants and herbs for healing. Illnesses were sometimes thought to be caused by evil spirits and it was the shaman’s job, along with the help of their spirit guides, to drive out the evil spirits from the afflicted person. These practices can be linked from the fairy doctors of the UK to the halaait of British Columbia. The hedgewitch is essentially a witch doctor with the difference being that their practices are usually based on European witchcraft most likely stemming from the spaewives, volvas, sei?kona, and fairy doctors of our pagan ancestors.

Hedgewitches use various methods to enter into trance including: entheogens (hallucinogens), meditation, breathing exercises, dancing, drumming, visualization, and others. Usually hedge witchery is not a path on its own, but instead is part of the practices of a cultural or traditional witch. The practices of contacting ancestors (both ancient and recently deceased family members), spirit guides (familiar spirits), the good folk, and others are all a part of traditional witchcraft practices. The use of entheogens is always controversial. There is evidence along with recipes for the use of hallucinogens by witches in the Middle Ages and later, one example being the use of flying ointments. Before then, psychoactive plants may have been used by our pagan ancestors in their religious rituals and ceremonies. (Note: Do NOT attempt to make and use a flying ointment unless guided by a professional herbalist or a very experienced practitioner, many of the ingredients are poisonous and harmful even just to the touch)

Books in PDF format to read:

John Musick - The Witch Of Salem
Ann Moura - Green Witchcraft
Margaret Alice Murray - The God Of The Witches
Frank Luttmer - Chelmsford Witches
Alfred Elton Van Vogt - The Witch