Fiction Friday – Lost and Found – Chapter 16

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I fell into an easy sleep in no time at all. I concentrated on Joel as I did; using the techniques that Jared had drilled into me during my training and picturing Joel as I had seen him that first time. Soon enough I found myself in the familiar field of stars from my lessons where each peg of light represented a person’s dream. I focused on Joel, thinking about him as hard as possible, and in a short amount of time I found myself drawn to a particular star.

I pushed myself that way and when I reached out to touch it, I found myself standing at the edge of the white cliffs of Garelan. The river was about forty feet down, and it ran fast and deep where it cut through the rock toward the sea. The opposite shore was about sixty feet across from me and the forest was twenty yards behind where I stood. In the distance to my right I could see top turrets of Horsetower where we were to travel the next day and I stayed still a moment and I took in the large structure. Ahead of me was a man walking toward the castle and I noticed for the first time that Blar was at my feet, looking up at me expectantly.

I looked down at her with a small smile as I started off toward the man at a brisk walk. “Is that him?” I asked the wolf who trotted beside me.

She glanced up at me, and in answer sped up her pace a little. Joel was walking slowly, almost as if he were enjoying this quiet time after a tedious day. I caught up to him fairly quickly, but Blar reached him first. When she came into his field of vision, he stopped and bent to pet her, seeming a bit confused by her sudden appearance.

“What are you doing here, girl?” he asked. As if the answer hit him suddenly, he turned to look at me about the same time that I reached him and he smiled. “Corrine.”

I smiled back at him as I took a moment to catch my breath from the fast pace I had set to get to him. “We’re here,” I told him, clasping my hands in front of me because they were itching to reach out to touch him. “We are staying at an inn in the city. How do we get to you?”

Joel straightened from petting Blar and looked down at me, his face serious. “You’re in Grimhaven?” he asked expectantly. When I nodded he said, “Did—who came with you?” He was a little anxious about the question.

I smiled again, knowing that he was eager to learn if Mac was here since it appeared as if their destinies were intertwined. “We’re all here. Glenn, Siofra, Eliza, Mac and myself. We were told that Taeynd will have open court tomorrow and we are coming.”

He closed his eyes in relief for a second when I mentioned Mac’s name, then frowned when I talked about coming to the castle. “You would walk into the viper’s nest?” he asked, his voice warming me so that goose bumps jumped on my flesh.

I regarded him seriously for a moment with one of those ‘hello’ eyebrow lifts that expressed slight irritation. “It’s not like you told any of us how to go about doing this once we got here,” I told him with a smile, then I sobered. “What do we have to do to free you?”

“If I knew I’d have freed myself long ago,” he replied with a sigh and paused. “That’s not entirely true.” He turned away from me and looked over the river, half angry, half regretful. “I know how to free myself, but I will not do it.”

I moved around him so that I could see his face. “What do you mean?” I asked, nearly whispering the question.

Joel looked down into my eyes for a few precious seconds, then reached for my hand and tugged on it so that we began to walk along the edge of the cliffs, away from Horsetower. “What do you know of sorcerers, Corrine?” he asked as he looked ahead of us.

I glanced at him while we walked, unsure why he was asking. “I know that Mac came back as one and that for some reason mages look down on them. I’m guessing that it has something to do with the difference in power between the two groups. Personally I think the idea of looking down on someone is ridiculous. It’s what is in your heart that makes you who you are. But I don’t think that’s what you are asking about.”

We were walking hand in hand slowly along the cliff edge and I tried not to enjoy the secure feeling I had being at Joel’s side. The ground was rocky and uncertain here and I found myself clutching at his hand at times as we moved along. But Joel’s grip was strong and he guided me easily, making sure that I didn’t stumble. “My family has always believed that Sorcerers receive their power from Great Spirits, either to fulfill a task for the spirits, or to repay a debt they owe to the person receiving the power,” he explained. “Your father has a task to perform, rather a series of them, some of which he has already completed.”

“And is helping to free you so you can return to your family one of them?”

“In a way,” Joel replied, glancing down at me with an emotion in his eyes that I didn’t understand. “There are things I must teach him, things Gwrhyr cannot. I had planned to be in Galway when he returned, but…” He turned his head to look out over the water, his voice full of regret. “I thought fate could not touch me if I did not acknowledge it,” he said almost absently.

I watched his features as best as I could while we continued to walk, but my eyes narrowed at his last comment. “You sounded like Mac just then,” I commented. “What made you change your mind? About fate?”

“A man can only run from his destiny for so long,” he replied, still not meeting my eyes, keeping his face turned almost as if he were ashamed. “The Fates have ways of forcing one to their will.” He finally looked down at me again, and smiled sadly. “I like to think I have learned my lesson. I bow to the wisdom of the Fates,” at that he gave a short bow from the waist, “and give thanks for their mercy.”

I stopped and used our still joined hands to make him stop as well. “Did they put you here as a way of making you bow to their will?” I asked my voice low and showing that the idea was not an agreeable one to me. I lifted my other hand so that I could touch his cheek, “That’s not fair.”

“No,” he said with that sad smile. “I came of my own free will, believing I could somehow elude their plans. Had I not run so hard from my destiny, I would not have fallen so deeply into their grasp. It was a hard lesson to learn, but learn it I did.” His hand came up to cover mine and his smile lost some of its sadness. “And it is not always so difficult to follow the Fates, sometimes their grasp is sweet as honey, and gentle as a flower bending in the summer breeze.”

I nodded and looked down at his chest. “I don’t know what to do. We read a prophecy that seems to tell about us coming here, but it doesn’t say how we go about doing what needs to be done.” My gaze met his again. “Will we see you tomorrow?”

‘Only ruin may open the traveler’s cage’,” he quoted part of the prophecy to me. “Only her death can free me,” he looked away from me and toward the water again, “and I know that I should do it, but I cannot, must not.” His voice was very low, almost urgent, and I could tell that the idea killing Taeynd really bothered him a great deal. It bothered me as well.

“Taeynd must die so that you can be free?” I asked in astonishment. Without realizing what I was doing, I took a step forward as if to move into his arms, but I caught myself and pulled back again. “I had hoped it wouldn’t come to that. What kind of powers does she have? I get the feeling she isn’t nice. Maybe there is a way to barter with her for your freedom or trick her.”

He laughed almost harshly. “Don’t you think I’ve tried?” he released his hold on me and turned to walk a few feet away toward the very edge of the cliffs. He was obviously agitated as he spoke, “I have no power here to escape except here in my dreams, and waking I have no power over my own mind. She has bound me to her with the power of blood so strong I cannot break free.” He turned to face me. “One does not ‘negotiate’ with Taeynd, or trick her. She is the strongest creature I have ever known, and if you try, she will destroy you, as she has destroyed so many others. I’d not see your life end on your knees before her, nor your father’s life, nor any of the others. Elizabeth is the only one she might spare, and then only for her own purposes.”

I knew that he was very serious in his claims, but I wasn’t about to stop now since we had come so far. “You said blood. Is she a vampire or something?”

He shook his head, his hair moving in waves around his face. “Not the way you mean, not the way Cormac was. I have felt the warmth of her skin, heard her heart beat. Vampires on our world lose their lives and keep their souls, Taeynd has kept her life, but her soul is gone. She feeds on others, but not of their blood; she feeds on their hearts, their magick, their souls.” He turned again, as if he remembered something horrible that he had tried to forget. “She used our blood combined to bind me to her with a magick so strong I couldn’t fight it, I still cannot.”

Hearing the finality in his voice cemented in me the need to see him free of Taeynd. I went around him so that I could see his face and put my hands on his shoulders to hold him there. “I need to know how to break it,” I said to him sternly. “Is killing her the only way? I relish the job no more than you, hell I don’t even know if I could kill her, but I will do what is necessary to see you free from her.” I made sure that he was looking into my eyes for my next statement. “You must help me do it. Tell me what I must do. You are the only one who can. We are not of this world and we don’t know how everything works.”

“I don’t know how to break the spell,” he replied as he rested his hands on my waist. “I can’t use magick the way that you can, I can’t see or feel what it was she did to know how to undo it. I know only that her death will break it and that only because she told me so, and gave me a knife to do the deed.” He pulled me into his arms and the warmth of his chest against mine was almost like he was holding me in the waking world. “There are times when I wish I could have done it, but I cannot, dare not.”

I pulled him closer, wrapping my arms around his neck. “We’ll figure it out. Don’t worry. Somehow we’ll figure it out. Can she feel that we have power? Will she know it if we get too close? We need every advantage we can get by the sounds of it.”

“She can smell magick if you use it in Horsetower,” he warned, speaking into my hair. “Macalister may be able to use his brand of magick, I’ve managed to keep mine hidden from her the few times I’ve been able to use it.”

“Okay, no magick until it’s time.” I pulled back enough to look in his eyes as I cupped his face with my hands. “Will she be able to tell where the magick came from? Or will she just know that it’s there?” I was so worried that we might be too late; that maybe whatever hold Taeynd had over him was too strong to break.

Joel opened his mouth, but what he was about to say was lost when I heard Siofra call out to us urgently. Joel straightened and both of us turned to watch my aunt as she hurried across the white rocks. She was wearing jeans and a shirt and Princess was beside her.

“Siofra,” I said in bewilderment as I pulled away from Joel to move toward her. Where had she come from? “What’s wrong?” I called out.

She greeted us hurriedly then said, “I was just with Taeynd and I was able to fight her off, but I don’t know how long it will last.” She looked at Joel and went on, “She knows that we are here to rescue you and she is going to kill you. We have to hurry.”

I felt the blood drain from my face. I couldn’t process what she was saying. “What have you done?” she asked quietly, in disbelief. I felt the numbness as it crept into my soul at the thought of Siofra seeking the woman out. What had she been thinking? How could she have told the woman that we were here and meant to free Joel? It was like signing his death warrant.

I glanced at Joel, who paled a bit, but gave us a wry smile. “She won’t kill me, Sprite, but she’ll make me regret your visit to her.”

“What’s done is done,” Siofra said to me as if she were speaking to a child whose favorite toy had just broken by her own hand. “There isn’t much time. We need to wake Mac and Eliza and come up with a plan.” She turned to Joel then. “I am sorry for what she may do to you. If there is anyway that I can fix it I would. Please be careful and avoid her if you can. We must go, now,” she said to me.

I felt Joel’s hand as he placed it on my shoulder. “Take care, I’d not have you lose your life for mine,” he told me as his gaze moved to Siofra. “Any of you.”

I turned to him and not knowing what else to do, touched his face. “Will you remember this when you awaken?”

He nodded. “Perhaps. You, I find hard to forget.”

I swallowed hard then spoke. “Then remember this, we will get to you and we will get you away from her.”

Siofra was eager to be gone, but at the moment I didn’t care. “I’m sure that he will, Corrine. Now we must hurry.” She grabbed my hand, and with a last regretful look, Joel let me go. I awoke back in bed at the inn, but I hadn’t forgotten the danger Siofra had deliberately put Joel in and I could feel my temper begin to rise uncontrollably.

 

 

 

 

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My Mala Beads

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Part of an assignment during the first seven weeks of my Witchcraft 5 class was to obtain and start to use a set of mala beads. I knew what mala beads were before that lesson, but I didn’t know how they were used and I found the idea to be a useful and I was excited to add them to my practice.

If you’re a reader of the blog, then you know that I am a crafter and one thing I like to do is make jewelry. That being said, it was natural for me to say to myself, hey, I’m going to make my own mala set! I did some YouTube searching to learn about the process on how to make them and found a really great DIY video that was incredibly helpful. I’ll link it below:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZVU7753DGY&t=760s

 

Then came the best part… shopping for supplies! I usually gravitate toward natural stone beads for my projects, but for some reason that didn’t feel right for this project. When I was at a Michael’s store prior to learning about this homework exercise, I had seen some really cool wooden beads that were carved in flower designs that I liked. I hadn’t bought them at the time because I didn’t have a use for them, but they were the first thing I thought of to use for a mala set. Alas, when I went back to buy them, there had been a big sale and the ones I’d liked were all sold out. Time for plan B.

 

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After doing some more looking, I found these cocoa beads that spoke to me. I had this feeling that I wanted my mala set to be really neutral looking. No flashy colors. No bling. I wanted them to be comfortable in my hands, like an extension of my fingers. I liked how the beads had a similar design on the hank, but had subtle hue variances. I was also happy to find that these beads came in two sizes, so I could have my Mountain bead match the rest of the set. The main beads are 8mm and the Mountain bead is 15mm.

 

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Mala bead sets can be a little as 9 beads and a large as 108. If I remember correctly, the bead count needs to be divisible by 9. At first, I was thinking of going somewhere in the middle, but then I decided, what the heck, go big or go home, right!? I went with 108. As for string, I was worried about thickness and decided to go with a natural looking one. In hindsight, I had to knot my string multiple times to keep the beads from slipping through, so I could have gone with a thicker one. But that’s okay, I still love my set.

Even with the extra knotting, I was surprised by how quickly I was able to complete my set. I pretty much followed the directions in the video I’d found, including gluing all my end knots.

I’ve had my set for a few months now and I really like it. It’s not perfect. Some of the knots are wonky looking and my spacing could have been better, but that’s okay. It’s for me and sometimes I’m wonky looking and my spaces are uneven. I find comfort in the unperfectness of it.

If you’ve made your own mala, I’d love to hear about it or see pictures. Hope you have a great week and thanks for walking the Path for a little while with me. And until next time… Blessed Be!

 

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Heart of the Witchs Path YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNFiMg7JNvy2wIywW-OEAHw

 

PodOmatic site for podcasts:

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iTunes site for podcasts:

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Fiction Friday – Lost and Found – Chapter 15

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cw-02-lost-and-found02

Everyone at the table turned to see who spoke and when we did we found the woman who had been talking with the nobleman standing a few feet behind me.

“Are you in the habit of over listening to people’s conversations?” Siofra asked, her defenses clearly slamming into place at the stranger’s approach.

The woman smiled prettily as she met Siofra’s suspicious glance with level eyes. “At times,” she replied, her tone suggesting that she wasn’t entirely innocent from my aunt’s charge.

I watched as Mac turned on his natural charm in the form of a natural smile while I opened my mind and probed the woman, hoping to learn something about her intentions in approaching us. We were strangers here and while everyone had been kind and eager to please thus far, we were still strangers and that meant untrustworthy most of the time. “We’re looking for useful information, my lady,” he said.

She smiled at Mac when she turned to him. “All information is useful,” she told him in an easy tone.

My probe completed, I only felt good vibes coming from her and I allowed myself to relax slightly as I continued to watch her closely.

Mac regarded her silently for a moment, as if assessing her himself, then said in a casual tone, “I had a companion once. We traveled and adventured together. I’ve since lost track of him, and wish to regain his company.”

“Does he have a name?” she asked, tilting her head to one side as she did.

He hesitated again and I watched them both closely, hoping we didn’t put Joel’s safety in any further jeopardy by divulging his name to her. “Jolesic.”

The woman nodded to herself as she pursed her lips prettily, then looked around the table at each of us and smiled, “May I join you?”

Mac nodded. “Certainly.”

Since I was the closest to her, I moved my chair to my left to make room for her at the table. When I looked up again I saw that her companion was joining us as well and was bringing chairs for both of them.

“And what is your name?” Siofra asked as they settled into their chairs, the woman carefully arranging her skirts as she attempted to cover up the fact that she was trying to get a better look at Gwrhyr.

“I am Peorth,” she said as she straightened and put a hand to her chest. She then gently laid the other on the arm of the man beside her. “And this is Os-tur,” she added, looking at Siofra expectantly, as if she now awaited our names.

“I am Cormac,” Mac said as he leaned back in his chair and crossed a leg over his knee. He then introduced each of us and indicated who we were with an informal point of his finger. “This is my sister Siofra, her husband Glenn, my wife Elizabeth.” Eliza gave him a dirty look at the use of her full name and I had to stifle a giggle behind my hand as he came to me. “Her sister Corrine Mackenzie, and our companion, Kenaz.”

“And the wolf?” Peorth asked, glancing under the table again.

“The wolf is mine, he is known as Gwrhyr.”

Introductions out of the way, Peorth sat back and studied us. “The seeker, the lover, the mother, the dreamer, the dagger,” she commented as she looked around the table. “What are you all doing in Grimhaven?”

Siofra’s brow creased as she glanced around the table. “Why do you call us that?”

At the same time, Mac heaved a heavy sigh. “Seeking,” he commented almost forlornly as he picked up his wine goblet and looked at Peorth with an ironic expression. “Fulfilling my bloody hell destiny,” he continued to no one in particular as he drained the remaining liquid.

Everyone except Eliza either laughed outright or snickered at Mac’s reaction to Peorth’s words. His lack of enthusiasm about his destiny was obvious and had become a bit of a joke to the family, but Eliza eyed him with concern.

“Why do you call us by those names?” Siofra asked again.

“A gathering of five will point the way,” the other woman answered cryptically. “It has been foretold.”

Siofra eyed her with a guarded expression and when she spoke there was a touch of sarcasm in her voice. “Uh-huh. So have a lot of things. Do you want to be a little more specific?”

“You came here and you don’t know why you’re here?” Peorth countered, her brow lifting slightly in challenge.

“Seeking the seeker,” Mac answered.

“We know,” Siofra added, glancing between her brother and Peorth as if she thought Mac was giving away too much, too soon.

Peorth looked at her quizzically. “Then why do you ask?”

Siofra was uncomfortable, not sure how to answer. “Well, because…”

“Because you seem to know as well,” Cormac finished for her.

“You seem to know a little bit more,” Siofra commented. “Because, well, I don’t recall hearing those terms for us before. The only one we’ve ever heard is the seeker.”

Peorth’s brow lifted in mirth. “You’ve never been called mother?”

“By my child,” Siofra replied with a shrug. “I’ve been called a lot of things. I’m not referred to by them on a daily basis.”

Peorth looked around the table again with a serious expression. “It was foretold that five would come, the seeker, the lover, the mother, the dreamer, the dagger.”

Siofra crossed her arms and looked around the table as Peorth had. “And who is who?” she asked.

“Don’t you know who you are?”

I watched as Siofra’s brow lifted and her mouth twisted slightly as she regarded the other woman. “Obviously I’m the mother, who’s everyone else? We know my brother is the seeker.”

Peorth smiled. “Well, he’s not the mother.”

“We’ve already discerned that I am,” Siofra countered.

Peorth shrugged. “Perhaps you are, perhaps you’re not. Any of you can be any of the names, except of course, the men and the mother.”

Siofra sniffed.

Mac looked across the table at me. “I’m pretty sure Corrine’s not the dagger,” he said, his words causing me to go on the defensive. It was always so naturally assumed that I would never be able to amount to anything more than a child that would need everyone’s protection and that knowledge caused a great sadness in my heart. Ever since Mac’s return I had been really trying to step up my training in the physical fighting aspects that the others of the family could teach me. So far I had been able to hold my own in the sparring that I’d done with Mac and Uncle Angus and I hoped that they hadn’t been holding back too much. It hurt that Mac still thought I couldn’t be a fighter like Eliza was.

Peorth’s gaze moved to me as well. “Perhaps,” was all that she said.

“You don’t know her as well as you believe you do,” he said.

Peorth met his gaze evenly. “I know none of you,” she said simply.

“Where’s Joel?” I asked, wanting to get the discussion off myself and my inability to defend myself.

She glanced at me again and smiled a little smile as if she understood my need to know. “He’s in Horsetower.”

“You seem to know us well enough to call us by those names,” Siofra said going back to Peoth’s description of us. “You know who’s who, you know that we came, you know why we’re here…”

“It’s merely prophecy,” Mac commented, picking up for his sister. “Glenn, myself… any of us could quote off an infinite number of them.”

Peorth gestured to Os-tur, who immediately pulled out a sheet of rolled parchment paper from his vest and handed it to her. She pushed the sheet across the table to Mac and said, “Have you not seen the prophecy?”

As Mac picked up the paper and began to read, I wondered suddenly if Peorth had any idea what she was talking about. I thought of using divination to gain knowledge, particularly the set of Ogham sticks my cousin Stephen had gifted me. There was no way that I could cast the sticks covertly at the crowded table, so I didn’t even try to hide them as I pulled a few from my belt pouch and dropped them on the table in front of me.

Since she was sitting next to me, Peorth turned her head toward me as I quickly studied the sticks before picking them up again and playing with them in what I hoped would be perceived as a nonchalant way. As far as I had been able to tell the prophecy she spoke of was true, but I had no way of knowing if it had anything to do with us specifically. In that time Mac had finished reading the paper that Peorth had given him and passed it over to Eliza, who began to read immediately. I couldn’t tell how long the document was because the paper was so thick and the light in the room was so poor.

“So what does this all mean?” Siofra asked as she waited her turn to peruse the page.

“It means many things,” the strange woman replied.

Siofra pressed. “Such as? Could you explain this a little bit better? It’s all a bit vague.”

Peorth nodded in understanding. “Prophecies usually are,” she replied, still not giving an adequate answer.

“Do you know where Joel is?” Mac asked.

“Horsetower,” his sister replied as if he hadn’t been listening to the conversation so far.

Mac glanced at her annoyingly before looking back at Peorth. “More specifically.”

She shrugged and glanced toward Os-tur. “With Taeynd.”

“I told you that,” Siofra scoffed. Eliza glanced up from the page with an unknowing look on her face as she passed it along to Os-tur who leaned across Peorth to hand it to me.

“No,” Mac pointed out, his annoyance growing. “You said Horsetower.”

Siofra crossed her arms in a huff. “I told you with Taeynd,” she insisted.

Peorth leaned close to me. “Do they always argue like this?”

I smiled at her as the paper in my hands practically burned for me to read it. “They are brother and sister,” I pointed out, bringing Mac’s attention back to the stranger.

“We’re all Brennans,” he said dryly and I lowered my gaze to the parchment and began to read.

 

‘These are the lines drawn across the stroke of time

The teacher must die that the dagger should live

The dagger must live that the seeker should seek

The seeker must seek that the seed will be sown

A seeker travels through a forest of danger

Known by many names, he shall fall to temptation

The snake shall rise before 7 days have passed

In the keep where music once graced its walls

The dagger may falter while the rivers yet remain

A house stands full of dreams safe and warm

Destiny yet calls to the lover reborn

A gathering of five will point the way

That the dreamer shall not be alone

Only ruin may open the traveler’s cage l

While the dead sleep unaware

To be calm in the eye of the human storm

The teller of tales shall heed magick’s call

When the smoke is gone and the wolf can see

The seeker through bloodshed will be saved

On the distant horizon the sun approaches

Garelan runs red as the gods will

When bloody bodies lay on the cliff heights

Blood gathers in the gray circle

As the distant bear rises a door will open

The dagger will carry new beginnings’

Where the distant masses stand on high

The wolf’s cry will herald a new dawn’

 

“Could you be more specific about this prophecy?” I heard Siofra ask when I finished reading and handed the page to Glenn. “We’re obviously this party of five.”

“There is much debate as to what the prophecy is. We’re fairly certain that the snake is Bloodmark.”

“Why?” Siofra continued.

Peorth seemed uncomfortable when she answered. “Because she took Horsetower in seven days.”

She had my aunt’s complete attention now. “From…”

Peorth eyed Siofra as if she should have understood her meaning immediately. “From the previous owner, Duke…,” she said slowly.

“And where is he?”

Peorth answered quietly and seemed to glance around the room to see if anyone was openly listening to our conversation. “Dead now. And Horsetower is the ‘keep’, for it once was a place of music and happiness and is no longer.”

“Why did she take it?” Siofra asked.

Peorth shrugged as she looked around the table. “Because she could?”

Siofra nodded. “Fair enough.”

“It is easily defendable,” Peorth explained. “No one knows her reasoning for certain.”

Siofra shifted in her chair next to me and crossed her legs. “And how do we play into this? I’m sure we’re not the first group of five to come through this area.”

Now it was Peorth’s turn to nod. “This is true, but there are other portents that said the group would come soon. Entrails, flights of birds.”

“So what were you and the guardsman arguing about?” Mac asked. I think he was trying to throw her off and see how honest she would be at the same time.

“Whether or not I was an elf or a witch,” she answered, without hesitation.

“And what are you?” Siofra asked.

“I’m neither,” she answered, almost too innocently for my tastes, which didn’t satisfy Siofra either.

“What are you then?” my aunt asked.

“I am of those who watch,” Peorth said.

Siofra laughed stiffly. “Wow, could you be more vague?”

Peorth looked around the room again. “I cannot be more specific in this place.”

“Then what is he?” Mac asked, indicating the man next to her.

She glanced at her companion, who hadn’t said a word since the pair had joined us, and smiled slightly. “That’s Os-tur.”

Siofra rolled her eyes and leaned forward in an attempt to drive her question home. “Uh-huh, and what is he?”

Mac wasn’t accepting her answer either. “I didn’t ask who, rather what. Ishonmir’s pet,” he said, causing the man in question to growl like I had heard Stephan and Uncle Angus do during one of their sparring matches with each other.

“Is it he who we saw earlier?” Siofra asked, undaunted by Os-tur’s attempt at warning us off the subject. He didn’t know that she had grown up with a werewolf for a brother and wasn’t easily put off by his attempt at intimidation.

“What did you see earlier?” Peorth asked, again pretending innocence and still doing a bad job of it.

“A flying creature,” Mac answered for her.

Siofra glance at him in annoyance. “A flying cat, black.”

Peorth drew in a deep breath. “He is an Im-ryn,” she conceded finally.

“He’s a shapeshifter,” Siofra corrected.

Peorth nodded with a small smile and a raised brow. “Yes. And since we’re being so forthright, what are you?”

Siofra smiled coyly at the question and I somehow knew she wouldn’t answer truthfully. “A mother,” she replied.

Peorth laughed slightly and turned her attention to me. “Are you a witch?” she asked casually, as if she wanted me to pass the salt.

“She is not a witch,” Siofra was quick to answer for me. I looked at Eliza and saw that she was barely able to stop herself from reaching for the blade in her cleavage because of Peorth’s inquiry. I thought that I should defuse the situation before it got ugly.

“Those around me like to remind me that I am but a novice only,” I said, deciding that partial truth would help finally get some straight forward answers. “There are certain things that I have learned and that is all.”

Siofra frowned at my answer and asked, “What else do you know about the prophecy?”

“I can, but guess,” Peorth began with a slight sigh. “You’re here to return Jolesic to his world.”

Siofra acknowledged her comment with a slight nod. “Okay, what part do you play in this?”

“I’ll aid you if I can,” Peorth told her.

Siofra frowned and glanced around the table. “Why? You don’t even know us.”

“But I know Taeynd,” Peorth countered.

Unfortunately, I didn’t and I was worried about what had been done to Joel in the time that he had been here. “What kind of hold does she have over him?” I asked, carefully avoiding the gaze of all my family members. They wouldn’t understand how important it was to me to get Joel out of here so I wanted to hide my intentions for now.

Peorth’s expression turned quizzical at my question. “It’s not clear. I met him on the road to Grimhaven and warned him not to come here, but he told me to trust in destiny, that those who came behind him would make sure all would be well.”

“When did he come here?” I pressed as I saw Mac pull a pipe and tobacco from a pocket in his tunic across the table and fill it.

Peorth thought a moment then answered, “Several years ago.”

“Have you seen him since?”

She nodded. “From a distance.”

“You can’t get close to him?” I continued. “Or you never tried?”

“It would not be prudent for me to get that close to Taeynd,” she answered cryptically, glancing at Os-tur again which caused him to shift discreetly to rest his hand on the back of her chair protectively.

“Why?” Siofra wanted to know.

The other woman’s gaze turned to her and she replied, “Let us say that she can see things that others cannot.”

“Is she a witch?” I asked.

Peorth nodded. “Of a sort.”

Now what kind of an answer was that? “What kind of sort?” I pressed.

“I’m guessing not the good kind,” Siofra commented as she looked around the table at us for our opinions.

“Exactly,” Peorth answered.

“The wicked witch of the east,” Siofra added dryly.

Peorth frowned slightly. “Actually, this is the west, but I suppose she could be considered that.”

“If one wished to get to him, how hard would it be?” I asked, attempting to find out as much as I could from the strange woman who couldn’t seem to answer a direct question with any amount of direct detail.

Peorth shook her head. “Depends on the day, the circumstances.”

I frowned at her obtuseness. “What do you mean?”

“Taeynd holds court of sort one day a week.”

“Are we close to that day?” Siofra asked.

“It is tomorrow,” was the reply.

Siofra glanced around the table at all of us again. “Then we go tomorrow,” she said, her head nodding as if the motion locked in her decision.

That was a given for me so I didn’t feel the need to answer, but asked another question instead. “Is he always with her?”

“I have never seen him not with her,” Peorth replied as she regarded my kindly. “That does not mean he is never without her.”

Siofra turned to Mac and Glenn. “What do you think?”

“I think it’s all prophetic bullshit,” Mac answered her in Gaelic so Peorth wouldn’t understand.

“So then we shall go home?” she asked, speaking Gaelic as well.

“Nay,” I replied quickly, bringing their attention to the fact that I spoke the language as well. How could Siofra even suggest that?

Mac glanced at me quickly then said, “I don’t think we can until we’ve rescued Joel.”

“Aye,” I added with a nod. Both of them fell silent for several moments and I had the feeling that they were continuing the conversation in a way so that the rest of us couldn’t hear them.

“Fine,” Mac said finally. “We leave in the morning.”

Glenn had been quiet for most of the encounter with Peorth and Os-tur, but now he spoke. “We need to be very careful not to get too close to Taeynd until we find out what it is that she can see that others cannot. It wouldn’t do for all of us to end up in her dungeon,” he informed us wisely.

Siofra nodded as she looked at her husband and Kenaz, whose eyes were heavy because of the late hour. The young girl was leaning against my aunt’s shoulder with heavy eyelids. “Should we all go, or only a couple?”

“I’m not sure we should split up,” Glenn advised.

I didn’t like the idea of splitting up at all and Siofra seemed to agree, too. “Well, I have much to do then, if we are to leave in the morning,” she said as she glance down at Kenaz’s bobbing head. “And she needs to get to bed.”

“I’m all right,” the girl said in protest as she righted herself again, but spoiled the proclamation with a wide yawn. Siofra stood and said goodnight as Glenn picked up the little girl and they made their way to the stairway. Kenaz said something as they passed that caused Os-tur to smile at her while Peorth regarded the rest of us still seated.

“I am staying here at the inn, and if you want my help, I’m willing to give it,” she told Mac.

“We will be going to Horsetower in the morning,” Mac replied. He then asked for her room number, and said that we would get with her in the morning.

 

*****

Glenn and Siofra joined us in our room after we returned for a discussion on what we had learned from talking to Peorth. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but Glenn had kept the page with the prophesy that Peorth had shared with us at the table and he was now carrying a book that he had brought with him from our world that I had seen him with before. He told us that it contained most of the prophecies that his mother had made prior to her death and had come into his possession afterward. He showed us an entry that was very close to the one on the parchment, but it wasn’t word for word.

I didn’t know what to make of the similarities. I wasn’t like Mac and I didn’t balk at what Destiny may or may not have in store for me, but knowing that a prophecy existed in two separate worlds that pointed in the same direction was kind of creepy when you thought about it. After looking it over, I sat back and waited to see what the others thought.

“This is a timeline prophecy,” Mac said, the book still in his hands.

Glenn frowned as he moved to look over Mac’s shoulder. “Yeah?” he asked as if he hadn’t thought of the concept before.

Mac nodded as he reread the prophesy, using his finger to guide his progress. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure.”

Siofra picked up the copy of the prophecy that Peorth had shared with us and reread it again. “Yeah,” she replied after a moment. “It follows.”

Glenn reached over Mac’s shoulder and pointed at a line in the book. “If this snake rising before seven days has already happened…”

“This has already happened because I’m here,” Mac pointed out. “Peorth said this when she walked up to us.”

We began to discuss the two prophecy’s line by line, looking for explanations. Siofra read aloud from the Peorth’s page. “’The dagger that carries new beginnings’. That’s Eliza,” she said matter of factly, gaining a blank look from the other woman. I had figured that the passage meant that Eliza would have a child, which was totally possible now that Mac was human again, but Siofra looked around at us and asked, “Will carry new beginnings?”

Mac reached out and patted Eliza’s belly, earning yet another strange look from his wife for a split second, until her face showed that she got the meaning, causing her to glance down quickly in embarrassment. “But we’re not there, let’s worry about where we are,” Mac said.

“But this is the future,” Siofra insisted.

He thought a moment as he continued to look over the lines in the book and nodded. “The very near future, it appears.”

“Why do you say that?” Eliza asked.

“Well, because we’re here,” he replied, pointing to the line that read, ‘A gathering of five will point the way’.

Eliza agreed hesitantly, looking uncomfortable at finding herself in the middle of a conversation that didn’t involve kicking someone’s ass. “Okay, but if this was however many years ago, this could be that many years in the future.”

Siofra chimed in as she looked at her. “Yeah, but you’re not getting any younger,” she said with a sly smile, obviously liking the idea of Mac and Eliza having another child.

“She’s not getting any older, either,” Mac said dryly with a grin as he glanced at her.

“I’m not getting any older, either,” Eliza said at the same time.

“Yeah, that’s true,” Siofra commented. “I guess. None of us are.”

“Well, the wolf maybe,” Eliza said. “And you know, it’s only been a year since Mac came back. He could be getting older.”

“Feel old yet?” Siofra teased her brother.

Mac rolled his eyes and shook the book that he still held. “Let’s just worry about this, shall we?”

Siofra got serious again. “Yeah, but if you look up here, ‘known by many names he shall fall to temptation’… well, I guess if it’s right before, Taeynd is taking over.”

“Maybe he fell to her,” Glenn said, meaning Joel.

Siofra nodded. “Instead of Corrine. Yeah, but this part up here, the beginning, talks about Mac, then we go into this, technically it could be her.”

“Which would make it not a time line. Unless he fell to her before…” Glenn looked over at me and smiled good-naturedly. “Have you been meeting guys and not telling anybody?” he teased.

I rolled my eyes at the jibe and replied in what I hoped sounded like a dead pan voice, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Glenn chuckled. “Well, if this is a time line, and you’re this temptation, and it happened before the snake rose, then…”

I shook my head at the preposterous idea Glenn was proposing. “I don’t think that I’m a temptation in any way,” I told them, earning skeptical looks from everyone but Mac as I tried to look calm.

“Aren’t the dead pretty much unaware anyway?” Glenn asked, moving on to another line of the prophecy.

“Yeah,” answered Siofra.

“She’s a necromancer,” Mac suggested.

Glenn skimmed down a little further and commented on another line. “The wolf could be Gwrhyr, or one of the avatars, or a werewolf.”

“Except that we don’t have one with us,” Siofra pointed out. “Not that there couldn’t be one here.”

“We have a werekitty,” Glenn corrected, but not totally dismissing the fact that the prophecy might not include them, he added, “There could be a werewolf.”

“’The seeker through bloodshed will be saved’,” Siofra read. “Well…”

Glenn picked up for her. “We think that’s Joel and that someone’s going to have to die to get him out, which has already been said, I think, in someone’s dream, that only harm could set him free, and he couldn’t do harm or something like that.”

“He can’t harm her,” Mac said in a way that made me frown at him, wondering what he was talking about.

“Taeynd?” Siofra asked him and Mac nodded.

“And why is that?” Glenn asked.

Mac shrugged as he kept his eyes on the book. “We’ll ask him when we find him.”

Glenn agreed. “Okay, let’s do that. Sunrise somewhere, the battle, Garelan runs red. Is that the river or the cliffs?”

“The cliffs,” Mac said.

“’The cliffs of Garelan will run red’, or something like that,” Siofra quoted.

“This is just Garelan,” Glenn pointed out.

“I imagine the river would run red, too,” Mac commented.

Glenn nodded. “Depends on the amount of blood, and when that happens, ‘blood gathers in the gray circle’, which could be family… or could be an injury.”

“Could be us returning home,” Siofra suggested as well. “We’re family.”

Glenn agreed by nodding his head absently then moved on. “Not that we know what the bear is. Maybe it’s a local thing.”

“Here or home?” Siofra asked.

“Here, but could be home. We were in a cave, its possible there were bears there, though not likely in the middle of Nashville.”

Siofra shook her head. “I haven’t heard of any. I wonder if one of the Fates would have something to do with that. Avatar? Familiar? It’s possible, they are odd.”

“Especially Carlene,” Glenn mentioned, the leeriness I had seen before in his eyes at the Fates house returning once again.

Siofra looked down at the prophecy again. “We don’t know who ‘the bear rising’ is. ‘The dagger will carry new beginnings’, we already know that one.”

“You think you know that one,” Eliza corrected, obviously uncomfortable with everyone taking for granted that she was the one to have a ‘new beginning’ in the form of a baby.

“Yeah,” Siofra said unswayed as she continued to look over the prophecy.

Mac looked over at Siofra and me. “Could be any of you,” he pointed out, trying to redirect his sister’s teasing of Eliza. The hesitation in his gaze when he looked at me would have offended me if I weren’t thinking about how all this would affect Joel when we got him away from Taeynd.

Siofra turned to me then and her eyes narrowed at her brother’s suggestion. “Could be you,” she offered.

“What?” I said, rejoining the conversation.

“Haven’t you been paying attention?” Siofra scolded.

“No,” I admitted.

“She’s thinking about Jolesic,” Mac said.

“’The dagger will carry new beginnings’,” Siofra sing-songed.

“I’m not a dagger,” I said. “Mac already said that.”

“He could be wrong,” she said absently with a shrug.

“That was before I read the prophecy,” he said.

“It is possible that it is you, Corrine,” Siofra said seriously. “It is possible that it could be all three.”

Glenn spoke up. “This could be Corrine up here where the dagger must live that the seeker should seek, because Mac saved you in Salem.”

“Anyone could be the dagger,” Siofra said while Mac stretched and yawned. Then she went back to the end of the prophecy again. “Someone will carry new beginnings. Plural. Could be twins.”

“True,” Glenn relied, trying not to look at Eliza, who was beginning to not like how often the subject of pregnancy kept coming up during the conversation.

“Sorry for your luck,” Siofra told her good naturedly with a laugh.

“Or yours,” Mac told her.

Siofra shook her head. “No, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be yours, because you know…”

Mac stood and I could see him fighting back another yawn. “We have a long road ahead of us tomorrow,” he said, suggesting that it was time for sleep.

“What about the rest of this?” Siofra asked, holding up the parchment page. “There are two lines left.”

“’Distant masses stand on high’?” Glenn read. “Nashville?”

“Family?” Siofra suggested. “We have no idea how time passes here, if it’s the same as home. It could go slower or faster.”

Glenn thought about what she said and nodded. “There could be an army coming, distant masses.”

“Come to help us return home?” she asked.

“Come to kill us before we get there?” Glenn countered.

Siofra shook her head. “No, I like my idea much better,” she said in her pampered way. “‘The wolf’s cry will herald a new dawn.’”

Glenn nodded. “That could be, again, Gwrhyr, or a werewolf, or an avatar.”

Siofra frowned. “Well, not yours,” she pointed out. “Angus?”

Mac, who was still standing and regarding Siofra with an annoyed glare, had finally had enough. “Good night,” he said with a clipped decisiveness.

“We weren’t finished,” his sister protested.

“I’ve been trying to kick you out of my room for ten minutes now,” he countered.

“I thought you wanted to go over this?” she replied in a huff as she indicated the parchment in her hand.

Glenn leaned back and studied the other man. “He’s not interested in destiny, remember?”

Siofra glanced at her husband quickly and then back to her brother. “This isn’t destiny, this is a prophecy.”

“Get out of my room,” Mac said, pointing to the door that separated the two rooms.

Glenn stood and smiled. “Come on; let’s leave him to his, ah, musings over his destiny.”

Mac expression hardened. “I’m sleeping so I can keep your pampered arse alive.”

“Pampered?” Siofra repeated in outrage.

Mac met her glare for glare. “Yeah, Princess.”

Glenn took his wife’s hand and tried not to laugh as he pulled her toward the door. “Let’s go.”

“You’re all Dreamspeaker,” Mac called out as they entered the other room, leaving the door ajar. “You’ve all read the prophecy. Go dream now.”

“What shall I let you dream of?” Siofra taunted from the other room.

“The prophecy,” Mac ground out through clenched teeth.

After securing the outside door to the room we quickly changed for bed and snuffed out the lights in the room. As I lay in my bed next to Mac and Eliza’s, I found myself worrying about Joel and if he was okay. I was sure that we would be able to get him away from Taeynd, but what happened after that? Would we be able to find our way back home safely?

I decided to try to find Joel. I had to be sure that he was alright and there was only one way to do that right now.

 

 

 

 

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ABCs of Angel Mythology – Eremiel

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Eremiel

This is an archangel from among the ashim, “souls of fire,” who watches over souls in the underworld, and who is called a guardian of souls in the Midst. Eremiel is stationed in the first heaven, Tibel-Vilon, and sends forth emanations and hosts into the realms of the Midst, the domains of archons, the inner earths, hungry ghost realms, hells realms and so on, ministering to souls bound up in them, and helping them find their way of release. On account of this, Eremiel is also an archangel that is invoked for spiritual assistance to earth-bound spirits.

Joined with this, Eremiel is also invoked by initiates for the discernment of spirits in the afterlife states, and the nature of spiritual assistance that might be offered; hence, for intuition of spirits of the dead.

Eremiel is also known to hold great knowledge of the world of spirits – knowledge of spirits of all kinds, having knowledge of their abodes and powers, and how they may be invoked and banished. It is because of this that Eremiel is considered a great ministering angel to the world of spirits, and is known as an angelic preacher of the Gospel to spirits.

In general, Eremiel is an angel of mercy and compassion, but does have a fierce side when defending souls in the Midst against unclean or evil spirits, or when helping in the exorcism of a soul that is obsessed or possessed by spirits of the Other Side.
 

 

 

 

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Summer 2017 Crafty Craft Day

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The two craft days that my coven plans each year are incredibly popular and something we all look forward to. And this year’s summer craft day didn’t disappoint!

I was in charge of planning this event and when you see the list of projects we made, you find that I was apparently feeling the need for some protection. Let’s go over what we did!

 

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Cathy was really interested in making Black Salt this year, so that was the first project on my list to research ingredients for. To clarify, there are two different kinds of black salt, the culinary variety from India and the witchy kind used to banish negative energies, protection and hex breaking.

Can you guess which one we made?  😉

Here is the recipe I found online that we used:

  • 2 parts Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • 1 part skillet scraping OR
  • 1 part ash from fire pit OR
  • 1 part crushed black chalk dust OR
  • 1 part finely ground Charcoal
  • 1 part finely ground Black Pepper

We had both fire pit ash and black pepper available to go with the salt (I like to give options), but I thought that skillet scraping was a really interesting idea for an ingredient. I’d love to know if anyone has made this, or a similar recipe, and how it’s worked for them. Our ash had been rained on, so Cathy brought some inside to dry out so we then sifted it to make sure all the big pieces were removed.

 

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How to use Black Salt… you can sprinkle it at windows and doorways to keep bad energies away or you can sprinkle it at the edge of your property for protection. Also, if you are experiencing bad dreams, you can put it in a bowl under the bed.

 

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I hit up Pinterest for some craft suggestions for this year and found a couple I thought were really worth trying. The first one was a recipe for Banishing Oil. I’ve never really felt the need to do any banishing or binding in my time as a witch, I guess I’ve been lucky that way. But lately I’ve found myself in a situation where I’m feeling the need to push some negative energies away from me and there was something about this pin that spoke to me.

It’s still steeping so I haven’t used it yet.

 

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Here’s the other Pinterest find I couldn’t pass up. Car protection is something that is always on my mind, mostly because I have a commute to work and a portion of my drive is on country roads. The ingredients were interesting, too.

 

Supplies:

Small charm bag or a piece of cloth and ribbon

Sage (dried)

Cedar or Rosemary (dried)

Pinch of salt (Course is better, but table salt works too)

3 pieces of Dragon’s Blood (use a hefty pinch if powdered)

3 Cat whiskers and/or strands of wolf hair

Small rock (anything that means protection to you)

Small pentacle or other protection charm (optional-ties on bag)

When putting your sachet together, you are supposed to visualize the occupants of the vehicle arriving safe and secure. Put everything but the charm in the bag while doing this. One thing to note, we used organza bags and anything powdered is going to go right through it so you might want to stick to solid Dragon’s Blood. Then take a few moments to hold the bag and charge it in the way that works best for you.

Next you tie the strings of the bag three times and repeat the words of power below. Now is the time to attach your charm, if you are using one.

 

With each knot, I bind this spell

Safety, protection, all is well

Sheltered and shielded, this vehicle shall be

Three times three, SO MOTE IT BE!

 

Then all you need to do is put it in your car. The spell suggested either tying it to your mirror or putting it under a seat. One of my coven sisters decided to put hers in a pocket on the back of one of her seats so it wouldn’t get misplaced by anything that might work it’s way under her seat.

 

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The last thing we made were sets of either Elder Futhark or Witch’s Runes. I found a couple of printouts on Pinterest with pictures of the runes and their meanings to share with everyone there, that way we all had examples of what to draw and had the divination meaning when we went to use them.

For the rocks, I had two options… the first were decorative rocks (black and white) that I found at my local craft store in the home décor section and the second were natural river pebbles that I bought in the garden area of my local Meijer. The river pebbles came in a pretty big bag (something like 25 lbs) that I had to sort through to pull out flat ones, but the price was a great deal less than the two little bags of the decorative ones I bought. I liked the natural look better, too, and I can use the left-over stones in my yard.

To make things easy for drawing on the symbols, we used different colored Sharpie and paint markers that worked really well for everyone. I also had a spray sealant available to lock on the markings. One of my coven sisters planned to take hers home and paint on some clear nail polish, so that’s an easy option as well.

At the top of this post is a picture of the Witch’s Rune set that I made for myself and above is a picture of the Elder Futhark set one of the other ladies made. Here is a picture of Cathy’s Witch’s Rune set.

 

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The best thing about Crafty Craft Day is the time we spend together. If your group or coven does something similar, then I’d love to hear about it. Until next time, thanks for walking the Path with me… Blessed Be!

 

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Robert Cochrane

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Cochrane is one of many names connected to the revival of Modern Witchcraft in Britain in the 1950s and 60s, along with Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, Alex Sanders and Sybil Leek. But he was different from the others. Like many Witches, I knew of Robert Cochrane and was aware of his impact on Occultism and Wicca from my studies in the Craft. I’d never taken the time to learn about the man before and I’ve found him an interesting individual. I feel it’s unfortunate that he died so early in life because I can’t help but wonder how else he would have shaped Modern Witchcraft.

 

Early Life

Robert Cochrane was born Roy Leonard Bowers in London in 1931 to a Methodist family and was one of eight children. There isn’t much known about his formative years, other than the area in which he grew up in was a working-class neighborhood. Cochrane was quoted later in life as describing the area a ‘slum’, but there is no evidence that it was.

I wonder if Cochrane and his siblings had remained in London during World War II. I know that many children from the city were relocated to the countryside at the time because of all the bombings the city suffered. I can’t help but wonder what life would have been like if he had in fact stayed in the city and how that might have effected a young boy. He would have been only 8 years old at the beginning of the war. The thought is horrifying.

He apparently had a mentor or teacher as a teen that was probably either a member of the Druid or Celtic Tradition. He claimed to be a hereditary witch, but there was never any proof of this and even his stories differed from time to time (see Occultism and Practice section below). What is known for certain is that he read a great deal and researched the best he could until he created what he thought was the Old Religion.

He served in the English Army in the 1950s and went AWOL for a time, which landed him in military prison for a time. He was a blacksmith at a foundry and that was probably where he picked up the name for his future coven, from the mythical blacksmith Tubal Cain.

He married a woman named Jane and they had a son.

 

Occultism and Practice

Cochrane first came to Occultism after attending a lecture given by the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), a group whose purpose is to understand psychic and paranormal activities that was founded in 1882.

It was after this experience that he began to claim that he had been born to a hereditary family of witches whose practices went back to sometime in the 17th century. In an article by George Knowles (linked below) I found an interesting quote:

 

“He claimed to be a hereditary witch and at times spoke of a great-grandfather who supposedly practiced witchcraft in Warwickshire, he also referred to an Aunt Lucy who kept an impressive collection of ‘Witchy’ things in her home. In one of his letters he describes her as a ‘terrible old woman’. Another claim was that he had ancestors who had been executed for witchcraft, and at other times a great uncle on his mother’s side who had been his teacher. Then in contradiction to this he claimed his mother had taught him as her grandmother had taught her. Whatever the truth none of the above has yet been proved.”

 

His nephew, Martin Lloyd, has refuted that the family were ever Witches, insisting that they were Methodists, while his wife Jane also later asserted that Cochrane’s claims to have come from a hereditary Witch-Cult were untrue.

He was a talented philosopher and poet whose writings held a great deal of mystic influence. He wrote articles for periodicals such as The Pentagram and Psychic News and attended meetings of the short-lived Witchcraft Research Association.

He formed a coven before his better known Clan of Tubal Cain, but it was short lived when one member died and Cochrane had a falling out with another. I couldn’t find name, or anything else about the coven.

 

Clan of Tubal Cain

Cochran formed a coven known as the Clan of Tubal Cain in his early 20s, about the same time that Gerald Gardner founded his own coven in the early 1950s. He named his coven after Tubal Cain, the first blacksmith, who is also a masonic deity, and the coven still exists today, but in two different lines.

 

“Searching for members, he placed an advert in the Manchester Guardian requesting that anyone interested in Graves’ The White Goddess contact him; he received a response from the schoolteacher Ronald Milland White, known to his friends as “Chalky”] White then introduced him to George Arthur Stannard (also known as George Winter), who ran a betting shop near Kings Cross in Central London. White and Stannard joined this nascent coven, the latter taking up the position of Summoner.  Describing his creation of his Witchcraft tradition, later Maid of the Clan Shani Oates remarked that ‘Like any true craftsman, he was able to mold raw material into a magical synthesis, creating a marvelous working system, at once instinctively true and intrinsically beautiful.’”

 

The coven was a combination of Celtic mysticism and village witchcraft philosophy and they always performed rituals outside, sometimes near Cochrane’s home in London or they would travel to more remote places like Mendip Hills in Somerset, or to Brecon Beacons in Wales. They wore black hooded robes and danced around a fire in the center of a circle. They worshiped the Wheel of the year and had 2 central deities, the Horned God, in a goat-footed form that represented fire and death, and the Triple Goddess that ruled over fate and destine. From their union was created the Horned God (also referred to as the young solar deity).

 

“The tradition usually used a stang instead of an altar; a forked ash staff with an iron nail hammered into the base, decorated with wreaths and crossed arrows for the sabbats.”

 

In 1964 Cochrane met Doreen Valiente, who had formerly been a High Priestess of the Gardnerian Bricket Wood coven, through mutual friends which he had met at a gathering at Glastonbury Tor held by the Brotherhood of the Essenes. The two became friends, and Valiente joined the Clan of Tubal Cain. She later remarked that there were certain things in this coven that were better than those in Gardner’s, for instance she thought that “[Cochrane] believed in getting close to nature as few Gardnerian witches at that time seemed to do”. She also commented on how Cochrane did not seem to want lots of publicity, as Gardner had done, something which she admired. She began to become dissatisfied with Cochrane however, over some of his practices.

Cochrane often insulted and mocked Gardnerian witches, which annoyed Valiente. This reached such an extreme that at one point in 1966 he called for “a Night of the Long Knives of the Gardnerians”, at which point Doreen, in her own words, “rose up and challenged him in the presence of the rest of the coven. I told him that I was fed up with listening to all this senseless malice, and that, if a ‘Night of the Long Knives’ was what his sick little soul craved, he could get on with it, but he could get on with it alone, because I had better things to do”. She left the coven, and never came back.

After Doreen’s departure, Cochrane committed adultery with a new woman who had joined the coven, and, according to other coven members, did not care that his wife Jane knew. In May 1966, Jane left Cochrane, initiating divorce proceedings and considering performing a death rite against her husband involving the sacrifice of a black cockerel. Without her, the coven collapsed.

 

1734 Tradition

The interesting thing about Cochrane is that he never wrote a single book or had more than the one coven. “He became famous from his letters of correspondence with a young American, Joe Wilson, in the year before his death. From the teachings and religious philosophy within Bowers’ letters and articles, Wilson founded the 1734 Tradition in the United States.”

Later in his life, Wilson moved away from 1734 and focused on forming another group, the Toteg Tribe, based on shamanic teachings. He died in August of 2004 and the 1734 tradition was continued by Joe’s students, Dave and Ann Finnin who founded The Ancient Keltic Church in California and who traveled to England to meet

 

Death

There is a great deal of discussion concerning Cochrane’s death in 1966. The formal word is that he committed suicide, but some believe that it was a ritual suicide. Prior to his death, Cochrane’s wife had filed for divorce and afterward he began to show signs of mental instability. He was diagnosed with depression and given a prescription for lithium.

On was the eve of the Summer Solstice and he ingested a mixture of belladonna leaves, lithium and hellebore, the contents all spelled out in a note left by Cochrane for the Coroner. He was found wrapped in a sleeping bag on his couch in a coma and taken to the hospital, where he died nine days later.

Much speculation surrounds his death. Some believe it was an accident, others believe it was plain suicide. Still others, particularly his craft members believe that he appointed himself the “actual” male sacrifice, as is sometimes symbolically enacted at the height of the Summer Solstice. After his death, his personal papers were burned by his brother and there was no mention of witchcraft in his obituary.

 

Contributions After Death

Even though he never published any books, Cochrane continues to be seen as a key inspirational figure in the Traditional Witchcraft movement. Ever since his death, a number of Neopagan and magical groups have continued to adhere to his teachings, including the original Clan of Tubal Cain, even if they are said to have strayed from their origins.

Evan John Jones edited two anthologies with Mike Howard, The Roebuck in the Thicket (an anthology of Cochrane and Jones’ articles from The Cauldron and The Pentagram) and The Robert Cochrane Letters, Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed (with an introduction by Valiente). These books and others with the same influences form the basis of many traditional witchcraft practices today and, as said in the disambiguation of the traditional witchcraft lesson, some people may be led to think that this is the only tradition within traditional witchcraft. While Cochrane’s legacy is certainly one of the strongest influences, it is not the only one.

 

 

 

Robert Cochrane Facts:

Born – January 26, 1931, London, England

Died – July 3, 1966 (suicide)

Real name – Roy Bowers

Spouse – Jane Bowers

 

robert_cochuranphoto2

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cochrane_(witch)

http://sarahannelawless.com/2009/09/14/cochrane-based-witchcraft-traditions/

http://www.clanoftubalcain.org.uk/letters.html

http://www.controverscial.com/Robert%20Cochrane.htm

 

 

 

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Fiction Friday – Lost and Found – Chapter 14

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We started down the trail again when Kenaz had finished with her meal, the child walking between Siofra and myself in the line we had formed during our earlier portion of the trek. We walked for a few hours until we came upon a hill at the edge of the forest. When we arrived at the top, we found ourselves looking down over a fortified town that was surrounded with cleared green fields. Since I had grown up on a farm, I knew right away that the small plants were just the right size for early spring, so it was logical to guess that whatever this world was called at least followed the same time of year that ours did.

A tower stood a good distance beyond the fields; I guessed a couple of miles by the look of things. It was afternoon now, about three, and I was tired from the long walk that was hindered by the long dress that I was wearing.

“I think we should go into town first,” Mac suggested as we all gathered together to discuss our next step. I was still eager to find Joel, but I knew that we had to be careful or risk being caught ourselves, so I stayed silent for the moment.

Siofra nodded in agreement. “Get lodgings for the evening.”

Kenaz informed us that the town was called Grimhaven and the tower beyond was Horsetower, the same structure I had seen in the Fates’ pool when I had dream walked with Siofra. That was where Joel was.

The town had a six-foot tall, wooden wall that encircled it. A shallow river divided to the east of the walls, and encircled them like a moat, coming together just past the walls to the west of the village. Only one bridge crossed the river on the side of the town where we stood, and guards in leather armor stood guard at the wooden gate. There were watchtowers at various points along the wall, and one on either side of the gate. The road we had been traveling all day led straight to the gate.

“We should buy horses and a wagon, more supplies,” Mac said absently as we all studied the town and surrounding area from the top of the hill. “The women can go shopping for clothing, Glenn and I can buy the horses and equipment.”

“I wouldn’t suggest splitting up,” his sister cautioned as she, too, systematically considered the view.

Mac shrugged, turning his head to the west and following the course of the river. “The town doesn’t look that large. Let’s get lodging, and discuss it from there.”

We started down the hill along the path that now widen to look more like a road then it had in the forest. “I know of an inn that you can stay at,” Kanez told us.

Mac turned and looked over his shoulder at the girl, then at Siofra and me. “One outfit for her. We don’t need to be picking up charity cases.”

“I wasn’t thinking about going overboard,” I replied, stifling the thoughts of the cute outfits that I was sure we could find for the little urchin. I wouldn’t dare admit that thinking of clothes we could get her was taking my mind of Joel and the fact that he was only a few miles away.

As we drew closer to the bridge, I was able to get a better look at the guards. They all wore black leather armor and I was able to make out a patch visible on their shoulders that depicted a black snake. They were equipped with swords, guns, and daggers and looked quite capable of using all of them as they watched people pass by them in a lazy way I had seen Mac do when he was covertly assessing someone. Mac donned his cloak to detract attention away from the fact that he was armored better than they were and we continued on.

Using magick, I felt out around to get an idea of how many people there were in the town and surrounding areas. We could see the guards and the farmers in the fields, but I wanted to be sure that there weren’t any large groups of people lurking in the thickets that lay between the forest and the walls of the town that could turn out to be potential antagonists.

Always know your surroundings, Cormac Brennan lesson 101. I didn’t sense anything out of the obvious, so I continued on with the rest of the group in silence.

We had walked along the road for about ten minutes when the thunder of a large group of horses started to ring through the air from behind us. They were approaching us rather quickly, so Mac had made sure that everyone moved off the road by the time they came into view.

Fifty mounted soldiers in rows of three left the forest in a cloud of dust. They all appeared to be wearing the same kind of armor that Mac was, as well as the black tunics that were similar to those of the guards of the town. One if their number carried a black banner that bore the same black snake that looked poised to strike. The same snake was on the middle of the tunics on their chests and backs that I saw after they had sped past us. They were well armed, rifles visible sticking out from the saddles of their mounts. The riders were very well appointed, but dirty from riding.

Kenaz hid her face in Siofra’s skirts and I moved closer to them to make sure the child was completely hidden from the soldiers. I kept my eyes downcast, as a woman of the times should, but also in an effort to keep any of them from remembering me later.

The horses passed by in a roar, but one of the soldiers near the front separated himself and turned to gallop back a few paces as the others thundered past. He was looking our party over expertly, and as the end of the line reached him, he turned back again and urged his mount faster to catch back up to the front of the line. About that time, ten of the number broke off from the main group and headed toward the town while the rest continued on to Horsetower. They rode through the gate without question and disappeared from view.

When we were in visible sight of the town, Mac said something to Gwrhyr, who then disappeared in a blink. I assumed he sent the animal ahead to scout out the city.

“How far is the inn?” Siofra asked the child who had come up to walk beside her now.

“Not far from the gate,” the girl replied.

Siofra looked down at her and smile. “Would you like to stay with us?”

“Why do you want me to stay with you?” Kenaz asked suspiciously.

I could almost see Siofra shrug behind me before she answered. “Because you have no place to stay.”

“I live in the forest,” was the firm answer.

Siofra, however, wasn’t one to give in easily. “Wouldn’t you be much warmer if we got you a new dress and some food and you stayed with us for a couple of days?”

The girl was silent for a few minutes the said, “I guess.” I could hear the reluctance in her voice, but she had agreed.

“It’s all right; you can stay in the room with myself or Corrine. You don’t have to go back to the forest right now. We’ll take care of you.”

 

*****

There was a bridge over the river where it forked near the town and Mac and Glenn rejoined us so that we approached the settlement in a group with him slightly in front of the rest of us, Eliza on one side and Glenn on the other.

The guards at the gate looked us up and down when we approached. “What business do you have in town?” one of them asked, his tone reminding me of old English in structure, but no yeh’s and thee’s.

Mac took point as leader and spoke for all of us. “We come for supplies and an evening’s rest.”

The guard looked us over again, and then stepped aside to let us pass.

“Good day,” Mac said and started through. As he did Siofra grabbed my arm and pulled me closer to her.

I smiled at the guards as we walked by to cover her sudden action, then glanced over at her questioningly, wondering what she was doing when her voice spoke in my head. “The one on left finds you extremely desirous.”

I looked again just as we were passing them by and found that the man she indicated was leering at me as if he could already see me without clothes on. “Great,” I thought, not sure that she was listening, as I looked down and quickened my pace to get past him.

“What’s the name of the inn?” Siofra asked Kenaz and the child promptly gave it as well as directions to find it.

The village was a fairly clean one I found as we wound our way through the cobblestone streets, following the girls’ instructions. There were trenches down the middle of each street to get rid of the waste that was thrown from the houses and businesses and to my great surprise; the air didn’t smell too bad because of it.

I had taken a world civilization class in my freshman year of college that had described in great detail the workings of medieval style towns as well as the filthy conditions where disease had run rampant because of the unsanitary conditions. All in all it was pretty clean for a town of the time, visible improvements looked to have been made in the last few years and while it was obvious that not everyone was rich, no one was suffering, either.

We found the inn without issue and Mac made arrangements with the innkeeper for two connecting rooms with four beds on the second floor. Mac, Eliza and I would share one room while Glenn, Siofra and Kenaz took the other. The accommodations weren’t big, but comfortable enough for our needs. The innkeeper left us to settle in after telling us what time dinner was served and tips on where to shop, as well as some places to avoid.

“What’s the plan now?” Siofra asked after the door was closed behind us.

Mac answered, “We supply a little bit.”

“Are we going to stay together?”

Mac shrugged. “We can if you want, but we can cover more ground separately.”

We went to the market area of town as a group, and then split up to locate the items from our various lists. Mac and Glenn made up one group that was looking to buy horses and tack, while the rest of us made up the other group that would buy extra clothing and foodstuffs that we might need if we had to suddenly leave town. I was pretty sure that Eliza wanted to stay with Mac, but he made her go with us for ‘protection’.

It took most of the afternoon to complete the shopping, but Eliza, Siofra and myself managed to find everything on our list without trouble. We made sure that Kenaz had a couple of changes of clothing and undergarments, as well as a cloak that matched Siofra’s and Glenn’s so strangers would think that she belonged to them. We also bought her a doll. We had been treated nicely by the owners of the various shops we visited, even though Eliza got some strange looks that I attributed to her male looking attire and the fact that she looked like she would attack anyone who looked at us wrong.

“Take it down a notch, or fifteen,” I told her in a whisper as we made our way back to the inn.

“The reason I came with you guys was to protect you,” she said defensively.

I glanced at her, and then rolled my eyes at the fact that she still thought everyone but her was helpless. “Yes, and while I appreciate that, because I’m so helpless. I can’t possibly take care of myself…”

“I don’t see you wearing leather,” she pointed out as if that made all the difference in the world.

I knew this was an old argument and one that would get me nowhere if I continued to fight it. “So, look over here at this lovely window display,” I said sarcastically to change the subject.

“She’s Mac’s daughter,” she said to Siofra, who grinned at the comment and shook her head in merriment.

“Are you getting a dress?” I countered, deciding that if she was going to continue her protection racket that she was stuffing down my throat that I would make her squirm a little as well.

Eliza blinked like the idea was preposterous. “There’s a dress in my pack. I’m buying men’s clothes.”

I pulled her into the next shop that sold women’s garments and made her by a dress just to make her fidget uncomfortably while Siofra bought a set of clothes that she claimed was for her husband, but I knew they were really for her.

We met Mac and Glenn later on the street to find that they had purchased a wagon and four horses to pull it, along with two more horses for riding. Inside the bed of the wagon was rope and cloth for lean-to’s and the stakes to go with them along with bows and quivers of arrows and various other provisions. Eliza, Siofra and I added our bundles to the rest and we returned to the inn for dinner.

 

*****

When we arrived back at the inn, the first thing I noticed was the large warhorses that were standing in the stable yard. I was worried that maybe some of the soldiers that we had seen earlier in the day had somehow found out that we were staying at the inn and had come to question us. Worry clouded my brain as we gathered the clothing and food from the wagon and went inside, so I didn’t listen to the conversation the others were having behind me as I made my way.

We headed upstairs to put our things in our rooms and met another guest who was making his way down to the common rooms. He was a handsome man with long, blonde hair and he looked at Kenaz pointedly as we passed him, then gave Eliza a strange look while he pretty much ignored the rest of us. I was relieved when we finally reached our rooms without being stopped and willed myself to quit worrying about the soldiers who were probably just staying at the inn. I remembered seeing another inn in town while we had been shopping, but the one where we were staying was by far the larger and nicer of the two.

An interesting topic came up while we were getting ready for dinner. “I think Eliza should dress more appropriately,” Siofra commented from the doorway to her room. I turned to look at her and she gave me a knowing smile that Mac didn’t see.

“Yes,” I agreed, “in a dress.”

Eliza’s brow shot up in surprise. “That’s what you get for thinking,” she commented.

“So we don’t draw more attention to ourselves then we already do,” Siofra insisted as she moved to fully stand in our room.

I agreed again, liking the idea. “Right. Unless you want to cut off your hair and bind your chest.”

“Look,” she started, but before she could get another word out Mac spoke up.

“Fine, I’ll get out of my armor,” he said as he reached for the straps that held part of the chest pieces together. Apparently he was of the opinion that if he weren’t ready for an all out battle that she wouldn’t feel the need to be as well.

Eliza looked horrified now and I had to fight the grin that was threatening to spread across my lips. “Are you saying that I have to wear the dress?” she asked, clearly panicking at the thought.

He looked at her pointedly. “Yes.” And like that, without another word in argument, she picked up the dress and went behind the screen to change into it.

“We’ve drawn enough attention to ourselves, we should lay low,” Siofra said, openly smiling.

“You can carry a woobie knife,” Mac told Eliza, who was muttering to herself behind the screen.

“I’ll carry more than that, thank you,” she informed him as her tunic was flopped over the top of the screen. “Is the sword going to fit on over this dress?”

“No,” I told her.

“No one else appeared to be armed in the dining room, I think you’ll be all right,” Siofra added.

“He’s the man,” I added, meaning Mac.

Eliza came out from behind the screen and to my surprise she had the dress on properly. “Can I just put my hair up and bind my chest?” she asked, appearing to be pained by the yards of material that now swished around her legs.

“No,” I said again.

Siofra shook her head, as well. “No. It won’t hurt you, Eliza.”

She grumbled about it, but didn’t put up too much of a fight and we went downstairs to eat, sitting together at a big round table that stood in an out of the way in the corner of the dining room. It was nearly twilight and there were candles lit on all the tables as well as the large chandeliers that hung from the high ceiling. A great fire burned warmly in the grate, giving an effect that was comforting and inviting. Not too dark, but enough light where one could see in all the shadows of the room.

The guards, whose horses must have been the ones we saw earlier in the yard, were sitting at a table near the fireplace. Two more stood next to a rather arrogant looking nobleman who seemed like he was attempting to intimidate a dark haired woman who was dining with the man we saw coming down the stairs after we got back from shopping. Kenaz was frightened by all the soldiers in the room and did her best to hide behind Siofra, even after we were all seated.

The waitress soon came to our table to take our food order. After she left, the argument that was beginning between nobleman and the couple seemed to escalate slightly and I used a weave of magick to bring their conversation to my ears so I could hear it. I pulled out a small piece of paper from my pouch so that I could write down their conversation.

“I am neither an elf, nor a witch,” the woman at the table said calmly. I glanced over my shoulder as if I were looking for the waitress and saw that she had lifted her hair for some reason to show the man her ears. “I am a simple woman come to trade in Grimhaven.”

“Simple women do not have Ishonmir’s pet for companions,” the nobleman barked. I didn’t know what an Ishonmir was, but I figured it had to be something these people feared. Supernatural creature maybe?

“I am no pet,” the other man growled in response, telling me that whatever it was, he was the one the other man was talking about.

The woman spoke again as if she were trying to sooth the nobleman at the same time. “I was not aware that Bloodmark forbade them. If that is the case, I can have him wait in the forest.”

“She has not,” the nobleman replied tightly. “Keep your pet on a short leash or I will pen him for you.”

I heard the man growl again, but it was the woman who said, “As you wish, my lord.”

“What are you doing?” Siofra asked as I capped the ink once more and passed the page around table, handing it to Eliza first since she sat next to me.

“Any idea what this Ishonmir’s pet is?” I asked as she started to read my quickly scratched notes.

To which Siofra posed the question, “Do you remember seeing the flying cat?” When I looked at her with a surprised expression she continued, “While we were at the stables, there was a flying jaguar/dragon/cat thing overhead. I think the man may be Ishonmir’s pet, if that’s what that is.”

I nodded in understanding; not knowing for sure if that was the case, but definitely thinking it was a likely possibility. Kenaz sat drinking her mulled wine, having relaxed a little since our arrival, but not confirming or denying that our guess was right. In fact she appeared to be playing with Gwrhyr under the table, who looked like a puppy waiting for a playtime romp instead of the mystic wolfie we had come to think of him.

Suddenly, there was a great deal of movement behind me and I turned to watch as the nobleman and the soldiers stood and left the room together in a mass of leather and muscle, leaving the dining room much quieter in their wake. At the same time our waitress approached the table again with our meals. Mac waited for her to turn slightly to serve Glenn, who sat on his other side, then passed his plate down to Gwrhyr on the floor, after which pretending that the waitress hadn’t brought him one.

“You forgot mine,” he said with a quick grinned that stayed in place while she regarded him with surprise, then apologetically said that she would be back directly with his plate.

The food was decent, not my mom’s or grandmother’s cooking, but palatable as we all dug in hungrily. “Do you think we should maybe start to ask about Joel?” I asked the others at the table. “Maybe not by name, but should we come up with a story of a warrior of some sort that protects the area?”

Mac looked at Glenn and smiled. “I think one of us should go drinking.”

“No,” Siofra and Eliza replied together.

He looked between the two of them questioningly. “Yeah,” he said with another grin.

Siofra shook her head, a look of disbelief on her face that he would even think about drinking in this strange place to get information, much less involve her husband in the scheme as well. “Really, no.”

Mac’s features took on the look that said he was losing his patience with the argument, but I think I was the only one who noticed. “Really, yeah,” he replied tightly.

Unfortunately, he sister was just as stubborn as he was and didn’t back down as quickly as others would. “Um, no,” she countered again, this time leaning forward to meet his hardened gaze with one of her own.

Mac relented slightly and eased back in his chair. “Go find a tavern, hear some stories, where the soldiers are…”

“No,” Siofra said again, Eliza looking panicked, like she wasn’t sure how to talk him out of it.

“Okay,” he said dismissively. “I’m going.”

Siofra clapped her hand on the table beside her to show her frustration. “I think Eliza said no,” she said, looking at the other woman for back up.

“I don’t remember asking,” Mac ground out through clenched teeth.

“You tell her what to do,” Siofra countered.

“She’s the one that listens.”

“Then you should listen, too.”

I was starting to get dizzy from the verbal tennis match they were having when Mac switched tactics. “We came here to gather information and supplies. We have the supplies, we need the information.”

“I’ll go with you,” I volunteered.

“No, you won’t,” Mac and Eliza replied.

“Why not?”

Mac held up a finger. “A, ladies are not allowed in taverns,” he pointed out, and then lifted another finger. “B, you’re not allowed in taverns.”

I felt my eyes narrow on him in disbelief. I loved the way he and the rest of the family had selective memory on the fact that I was twenty-one years old and an adult. I understood that they loved me and all, but I didn’t want to be wrapped in tissue and put on a shelf somewhere, only be taken down when they wanted to look at me.

“Some ladies are,” Siofra informed him.

“Those aren’t ladies,” was Mac’s response. “Those are ladies of the night.”

“What kind of information are you looking for?” a female voice asked from behind us.

 

 

 

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Fiction Friday – Lost and Found – Chapter 13

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We arrived back at Glenn and Siofra’s house around noon. Siofra asked if anyone was hungry and fixed a light lunch, but it was obvious that some of us were too worried about what lie ahead for us to eat. Eliza went outside with a cup of coffee and Mac refused everything his sister offered.

I suggested that we call Grandmother and Grandfather to let them know what was going on and that maybe they should keep Ian while we were gone. Siofra thought that it was a good idea and I was elected to make the initial call. Once they were each on their own extension, I told them about the dreams that everyone but Eliza had experienced the night before and what we intended to do about it. As expected, they were surprised by the circumstances and expressed concerns about our intentions, but I was the one that was really surprised to find out that they knew of Joel. They wouldn’t tell me much about him, other than he had been missing for a few years and that he was from Northern Ireland. They informed me that his family name was Fenian and that they had connections to the fey, but weren’t fey themselves.

By the end of the conversation my grandparents agreed that it was best that we help Joel and that they would keep Ian and Eddie while we were about it. Siofra quickly put together some of Ian’s things and I traveled through the portal with her to drop him off in Ireland.

When we got back everyone began to prepare to leave. We raided Siofra’s pantry for food and water for the trip since we didn’t know where we would be able to readily find it once we arrived at our destination. We tried to keep things light so we could travel quickly and we all changed into comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes in case we had to walk any long distances.

Siofra opened a gateway to the caves in Shelby Park about a half an hour later. It was dark in the caves, but everyone was prepared and had flashlights ready. It didn’t take long to find the stone circle that looked just as it had in the vision from the Fates’ pool. Eager to get our adventure underway, we touched the stones in turn as we had been instructed and put the necklace on Gwrhyr, who sat on the center stone.

In the blink of an eye we were mystically transported to the gray circle I had seen in my dream. The first thing I noted was that our clothing had changed dramatically. I was now wearing a long, silver dress with sturdy, knee-high riding boots and a cloak. Siofra also wore a long dress, but hers was burgundy. I saw that her boots were similar to mine as well when she lifted the hem of the dress and a cloak that was draped on her shoulders, too. Her hair was swept up in a pretty twist with wispy tendrils of hair brushing her neck.

I almost giggled out loud when I saw that Mac was wearing plate armor over a chain mail shirt that went to his knees. He wore an over tunic of blue that had a wolf’s head embroidered on the front. He looked like he had stepped out of the pages of a book of King Arthur stories and strangely enough, it looked natural on his muscular frame. I watched as he examined the armor and mail expertly to be sure that everything was situated properly.

Eliza looked like his page, complete with leather armor that went nearly to her knees with leather leggings underneath and knee boots. Glenn was dressed similarly, but his leather was a darker shade of brown compared to Eliza’s. A closer look at everyone told me that we all wore a wolf like Mac’s somewhere on our person with the exception of Glenn, who wore a raven on his shoulder.

A quick inspection of our surroundings showed that we seemed to be alone in the forest. The trees were thick; like I remembered from my dream, but when I checked with magick I could tell we were the only ones in the area. There was a sense of foreboding in the air, however, and I couldn’t stop myself from worrying about what awaited us.

All of our belongings had been changed as well into their medieval era equivalent. The most startling change was that my cell phone became a scroll with ink and a quill to go along with it. Our bottles of water became flasks and all the other plastic packaging on the food we had brought was now clean cloth. Our money had been changed to gold and silver coin that I had to assume was the type of currency used in this land. Credit cards became letters of credit from a bank that none of us had ever heard of.

Siofra eyed Mac closely. “Can you walk quietly in that?” she asked half serious as she pointed at the armor and mail.

Mac gave her the hairy eyeball in return. “Yeah.”

Our weapons were converted to their medieval equivalent, too. Everything except the stakes, that is. Even our knives were similar, but not constructed the same as they had been. Our guns were archaic in fashion now, along with all the provisions needed for them, like powder and packing, that was among our supplies.

“You’ve got to be joking,” Siofra commented as she examined the gun she had pulled from her bag. “Do you know how to use this? I’m not sure I do.”

Proving once again to be an unbelievable source of information, Mac came forward and gave all of us a quick demonstration on medieval firearms; how he knew about them I’ll never know. They were very different from our modern day weapons so I only felt vaguely comfortable with them. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to reload when I needed to so I just hoped that I wouldn’t have to. Putting my weapon away, I decided that it was time to exercise my magick more to see how well it was working. Reaching out once more with Life, I allowed my senses to spread out around me. All I felt were small animals in the forest around us, which eased my nerves a great deal for the moment.

“Is this the circle you saw?” Mac was asking Glenn.

The other man looked around. “It appears to be yes, although it was dark in my dream and it’s not now.”

“Maybe we should take the trail,” Siofra commented, indicating a small path that ran through the undergrowth that looked a game trail.

“All right, Gwrhyr,” Mac said and the wolf turned his head toward him. “You’ve been here before, now where do we go?” I noticed that he still wore the medallion that the Fates had given us so I went over to slip it off so he didn’t loose it.

“I’d like to follow this trail,” Siofra said as the wolf looked up at Mac innocently. As if taking a cue from her, he started off down the trail and we all fell into single file behind him. Mac took the lead, followed closely by Eliza, then myself, with Siofra and Glenn bringing up the rear.

I slipped the medallion over my head and was about to tuck it under my dress when I realized that it had shifted slightly. The animal depicted on the pendant looked a little different from when I’d first been given it, but I figured that like everything else, it had adapted for this place and I allowed it to drop between my breasts.

I took the time to notice of my surroundings as we moved along the trial, using magick to get my bearings and to sense what was around us so we could find our way back to the circle of stones. I was sure that the others were doing the same and for now I felt only the presence of trees, but at the far edges of my field of awareness, there was habitation.

The game trail was narrow and lined with many of trees. We walked for a long while until finding a better traveled path that led us south. After a while a thought occurred to me.

“What are we going to tell people?” I asked, looking in front of me where Eliza trudged with her crossbow case and another pack on her back.

“We’re just passing through?” Siofra suggested from behind me. “We’re traveling to meet old friends. We’ve come to seek a new existence… I don’t know.”

“A wandering freak show,” I heard Mac put in from the head of the line sarcastically.

“Yeah, that’ll go over real well,” Eliza replied, a grin evident in her voice.

Mac stopped and we gathered in a circle to discuss on the path. “Look at it this way, between all of us we can do enough to back it up,” he said, attempting to sound convincing now.

“Are we going to charge money for admission?” Eliza asked, playing off his suggestion.

The mood sobered and we tossed around some ideas on potential stories to use and settled on one that said we were travelers whose horses and provisions had been stolen by bandits on the road to whatever city we were coming to. That established, we continued down the trail until we eventually came to a clearing on our right. It was a small one, where the big trees had roots that were just about the right height for sitting on comfortably. To everyone’s surprise, on one of the roots sat a little girl, no older than ten or twelve.

She was a cute little thing with long dark hair and quick brown eyes that stood out even from the six to eight feet that separated us. She reminded me of a friend of mine that moved away when I was young and the likeness was remarkable. She sat there as if she was expecting us, but her demeanor said that she was saddened.

“She looks like the girl that ran away,” Siofra commented to Glenn.

He shook his head. “I don’t see the resemblance, but she reminds me of my mother.”

Siofra left the path and walked up to the girl and said, “Hello.” The girl appeared a little afraid at first, but I could see her face when she looked up at her shyly at my aunt. “Why are you out here in the middle of the woods all alone?”

“Where else would I be?” the child asked as if the answer should be perfectly evident. Her clothes were remarkably clean for someone who supposedly lived in the forest. They were well worn, but the skirt displayed no evidence of dirt or tearing that one might expect.

“At home with your parents,” Siofra suggested, causing the little girl’s eyes to sadden as she looked down at her hands that were in her lap.

“I’m sorry,” Siofra told her as she moved to sit down next to her on the root and the girl shifted away slightly in uncertainty.

Mac moved to edge of clearing where he could keep watch of the road and Eliza stuck close to him as Siofra made a heart felt attempt to befriend the girl. “Is there something I can help you with? Something I can do for you, you seem… lost.”

The child bristled slightly, pulling her little shoulders up so that she appeared older. “I’m not lost, I know these woods.”

Siofra had to stifle a smile as she watched the girl. “Would you like something to eat?” I could see the hunger in the child’s eyes, but I also saw her resolve that said she wouldn’t ask for anything, either. “I have lots of stuff in my bag if you’d like something,” Siofra pressed.

The little girl hesitated a minute more, and then nodded her head slightly. Siofra opened her pack and offered many things from the selection of food that she had brought with her. It was obvious that the girl didn’t want to be greedy and in the end Siofra gave her an apple and some cheese that she tore into hungrily.

“Thank you,” the child said, eyeing the rest of us as she ate.

“What are you doing out here alone?” Siofra asked her.

“I live out here,” she answered matter of factly.

Siofra looked around the clearing. “Where?” she asked and the girl pointed toward the east. “Would you like us to take you back?”

The child shook her head as she swallowed. “No, I can find my way, thank you.”

Siofra considered her for a moment. “Do you know a person named Joel?”

“Worldwalker?” Mac asked when the child shook her head.

She shook her head no again and took another bite.

“What was the woman’s name?” I asked, moving a few steps closer to her.

She chewed carefully as she watched my approach. “Taeynd,” Siofra answered, causing the child to look at her quickly with fright in her eyes.

“You know the lady?” she asked Siofra in disbelief.

Siofra shook her head. “No, I don’t. I’ve seen her. She’s the one that Joel is… I think he is friends with her.”

“She doesn’t have friends,” the girl informed her.

“Well she seems to think he is her friend.”

I moved forward then and squatted down in front of the girl. “My name is Corrine,” I told her with a smile. “And this is my family.” I looked around at the others then turned back to the child. She was looking at them as well as I introduced everyone. “This is Siofra,” and she smiled at her benefactor who had given her a meal.

I quickly pointed out the others who all smiled warmly at the girl in turn. We were told that we would have need of a guide. Maybe that’s what the girl was meant to be, even if she was only a child. “What’s your name?” I asked her after.

“Kenaz.”

I nodded and smiled again. “Do you know where Taeynd lives?”

“She lives at Horsetower.”

I studied her curiously. “Horsetower? Is that the name of her house, or the name of a town?”

“It’s a castle. It’s that way,” she said, pointing toward the southwest.

“Is she a nice person, or kind of?” I asked, which caused the child to shake her head vigorously. “I didn’t think so. Are people scared of her?”

Kenaz hesitated, and then nodded her head as Siofra put her hand on her small shoulder to sooth her fears.

I decided to take the chance that she might be our guide. “Do you think you could show us the way to this Horsetower?”

She was visibly frightened. “I don’t want to go there.”

“You don’t have to,” Siofra said, attempting to ease her fear.

Kenaz looked up at her. “I could show you where, but I don’t want to go there.”

“Ask her about the cliffs,” Mac suggested.

I nodded. “Do you know if we’re close to the Cliffs of Garelan?” Maybe we could just get some background information from the child to point us in the right direction, but I didn’t feel right just leaving her out here by herself.

“Horsetower is on the cliffs,” Kanaz answered.

I looked back at Mac and Eliza. “That must be the castle we saw.” Then I turned back to the girl again. “Just out of curiosity, are there soldiers that work for this woman?”

She nodded. “A lot of them.”

I wondered if her people were one of the armies on the field that faded in and out during my dream. “What color do they wear?” I asked.

“Black,” she answered, confirming my thoughts.

I pressed forward to see if there was anything else that I might learn from her. “Do you know of an army that wears red?” I asked, hoping to get some kind of idea who our friend might be, but the child answered no.

“Do you know a man named Jolesic?” Siofra then asked.

She seemed to light up at the mention of that name. “Uh-huh,” she told us.

Siofra smiled at her. “Do you know where he’s at?”

“He’s with the lady.”

“Is he mean?”

Kenaz shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Have you ever talked to him?” she pressed.

“Once,” was her response.

Siofra and I continued to ask the girl various questions while she finished the cheese and apple and the others waited nearby. Kenaz was adamant that she didn’t want to go to Horsetower, but she did consent to show us the way, which was a great help since we were unfamiliar with the lay of the land. She claimed to know the woods well so we agreed that taking her with us was a good idea until she had proven herself untrustworthy.

 

 

 

 

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ABCs of Angel Mythology – Dumah

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dumah_by_omardumore-d4g01mx

Dumah

Dumah is an angel mentioned in Rabbinical literature and is a popular figure in Yiddish folklore. Dumah is the Aramaic word for silence.

Duma(h) or Douma (Aramaic) is the angel of silence and of the stillness of death.

Dumah is also the tutelary angel of Egypt, prince of Hell, and angel of vindication. The Zohar, the foundational texts of Jewish Kabbalah, speaks of him as having “tens of thousands of angels of destruction” under him, and as being “Chief of demons in Gehinnom (Hell) with 12,000 myriads of attendants, all charged with the punishment of the souls of sinners.”

In the Babylonian legend of the descent of Istar into Hades, Dumah shows up as the guardian of the 14th gate.

Dumah is mentioned in Isaiah 21:11 as one of the twelve sons of Ishmael and also mentioned is a “burden of Dumah” that some believe could be a prophecy.

 

 

 

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Home Funeral Article

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I came across this interesting article about the increasing popularity of home funerals. It’s worth a read. Click the picture below.

death article

 

 

 

 

Heart of the Witchs Path YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNFiMg7JNvy2wIywW-OEAHw

 

PodOmatic site for podcasts:

http://heartofthewitchspath.podomatic.com

 

iTunes site for podcasts:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/heart-of-the-witchs-path/id1141474394

 

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