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In Perfect Love and In Perfect Trust - Find Your W
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Irish Soma
By Peter Lamborn Wilson

Many scholars believe that the Indo-Europeans used an entheogenic or
psychedelic drug in their rituals -- called soma amongst the Vedic
people of India, and haoma in Iran. The ancient Greeks also used an
ergot-based preparation in wine as the entheogenic trigger of the
Eleusinian Mysteries. Soma has been identified as amanita muscaria
or the fly agaric mushroom; haoma may have been the same, or it
might be "wild rue," a harmaline-containing shrub (see Bibliography
under Flattery and Schwartz). If there's any truth to these
theories, we would expect to find that other Indo-European peoples
also used such drugs shamanically or ritually. Terrence McKenna
believes that psilocybe was once even more widely distributed than
it is now, and therefore must also be considered in the soma
context. Certainly entheogenic religions are far more thoroughly
attested today than when Wasson launched ethnomycology with
his "wild" speculations, which now seem rather conservative. Even if
we cannot accept the "psychedelic experience" as the origin of
religion, I believe that we must certainly see it as one of a
complex of "origins", a complexity which might best be expressed in
a palimpsest of theories about those origins; in short, I would
maintain that the failure to consider entheogenesis ("birth of the
god within" by ingestion of psychotropic substances) must be
considered a serious flaw in any integral History of Religion.
I consider it strange that in all the writing I've read about
psychedelics, and about Ireland, not one text has connected the two
subjects. My reading is of course far from complete, and my first
query concerns this point. I can scarcely believe that I'm the first
to consider the question of a soma cult amongst the Celts, those old-
fashioned Indo-Europeans so loyal to ancient ways -- and so fond of
intoxication. An immediate presumption would be that the Celts lost
soma, if they ever had it, when they migrated West from the Indo-
European heartland; at best, they may have developed mead as a
substitute. I know of no reference to intoxicants other than alcohol
in use among the Celts, who in fact quickly became major importers
of Mediterranean wines. We know, however, that a vast amount of
orally-transmitted Druid lore is lost beyond recall, and we als/o
know how entheogenic cults can thrive under the very nose
of "civilization" and not be noticed (as in Latin America). Wasson
and his school have demonstrated how mushroom language tends to be
euphemized, masked, coded, buried in etymologies and even "false"
etymologies. If we are to speculate about the possible existence of
a Celtic -- specifically Irish -- soma, we must exercise a bit of
detective work. Using some of their findings as possible structures
for our exegesis, we can go back and read our texts over again and
hope for a few glimmerings or clues.

Irish myths and legends were not written down till the Christian
era, and then only by monks who might well have misunderstood or
even censored any references to a soma-type substance or cult. By
that time, any entheogenic knowledge or ritual once possessed by
druids might well have already vanished (or retreated into
folklore), and the memory of soma distorted beyond recognition. Any
mushroom lore that survived till the ninth to twelfth centuries A.D.
would be the province of illiterate peasant wise-women and wizards --
not of literate monks. For this reason we can expect that the myths
and legends of the monkish manuscripts will be hard to read from our
special perspective. But Irish folklore, as distinct from myths and
legends, may prove a much clearer source. For reasons known to
folklorists, Ireland is a special case of the survival of Indo-
European lore, comparable perhaps only to India. In fact, Indian
material should be used to throw light on Irish material where areas
of darkness exist. From this point of view I think we can take for
granted that whatever we may find in Ireland that looks like soma,
and smells like soma, so to speak, might very well be soma, although
we may never be able to prove the identity. But the well-known
affinity between Celtic and Vedic cultures should pre-dispose us to
at least a certain open-mindedness.

The Irish material abounds in references to magical substances which
bestow knowledge and/or pleasure when ingested. Perhaps the best-
known are the hazelnuts of wisdom, eaten by the Salmon, fished up by
the Druid, and cooked by young Finn--who, as "sorcerer's
apprentice", burns his thumb on the Salmon's skin, sticks thumb in
mouth, and attains all the wisdom in his master's stead.
The "shamanic" overtones of this story are quite obvious. Turning to
the older manuscripts, we have the enigmatic "Geste of Fraoch" [1],
concerning the hero Fraoch who is half-fairy (Sidh) in origin. His
sister is the nymph of the River Boyne. He seeks to marry Find-
abair, daughter of Aillil and Maeve, the witch-queen. He arrives at
their kingdom with his retinue and impresses everyone with his
beauty, and his skill at music and chess. Find-abair falls in love
with him. They meet secretly and she gives him her gold thumb-ring.
Aillil and Maeve agree to the wedding, but secretly plot the hero's
destruction. Maeve invites Fraoch to bathe in her magic spring.
Growing on its bank is the rowan tree.


Every fourth and every month
Ripe fruit the rowan bore:
Fruit more sweet than honey-comb;
Its clusters' virtues strong,
Its berries red could one but taste
Hunger they staved off long.

Rowan Berry juice could preserve life and cure dread disease. Maeve,
sitting on the shore, begs Fraoch to swim over and pluck some
berries for her. As she well knows, the rowan-berries are guarded by
a dragon (or water-serpent), who attacks Fraoch. In one version, the
beast kills him. In another version, as Maeve, her daughter, and the
court ladies enjoy the sight of Fraoch sporting naked in the pool,
Aillil steals the gold thumb-ring from Fraoch's purse, shows it to
Maeve, and throws it into the water. Fraoch notices this, and also
notices that a salmon gulps down the ring. Without anyone seeing
him, he catches the fish barehanded, and hides it "a hidden spot by
the brink" of the water. Thereupon Maeve demands the rowan-berries;
Fraoch complies; the monster appears. Find-abair strips to the buff
and leaps into the water with a sword, which she tosses to her
lover. He slays the beast. Aillil and Maeve now plot the death of
their own daughter. A ritual bath is prepared for Fraoch, "of fresh-
bacon broth and heifer-flesh minced in it," a sign that he will be
raised to royal status. Afterwards a feast is organized. During the
feast Aillil orders that all his treasures be brought out and
displayed. In order to complete this vulgar show, he demands that
Find-abair produce her gold thumb-ring; when she fails to do so he
threatens her with death. But Fraoch has meanwhile retrieved the
salmon from its hiding-place and given it to Find-abair's maid to
cook. The girl brings in the fish, "broiled..., well prepared with
honey dressing." The ring is of course discovered. Aillil and Maeve
are foiled.

In this version the tale ends happily. Ignoring the temptation to
unpack too many clues from this story, we should confine ourselves
to asking whether or not it can be read for possible ritual content.
The sacred pool, the sacred tree, the combat (which can be seen as a
sacrifice, either of Fraoch or of a substitute, the salmon, or of
the monster), the beef-and-bacon bath -- during which a chorus of
fairy women (Fraoch's sister Boyne and her maidens) appear and sing.
All these motifs suggest that our legend is (at least in part) a
masked ritual. In that case, the berries may also have a ritual
significance. The salmon (with honey) and the thumb ring remind us
of the shamanic complex again. The old manuscripts also preserve a
number of imrama, or sea-going voyage-tales: the voyages of St.
Brendan, of Bran, of Maeldun, and of the O'Corra brothers. The
sailors in these romances find many marvelous islands, and on some
of these islands they find marvelous fruits -- some poisonous, some
euphoriant, and some which stave off hunger. In "the voyage of the
sons of O'Corra," for example, they visit an island whose trees
are "laden with fruit, and the leaves dropped honey to the ground.
In the midst of the island was a pretty lake, whose waters tasted
like sweet wine. But after a week of rest by its shores,
a "monstrous reptile rose up from the lake, and looked at them." The
monster, however, disappears without harming them. [2]

Maeldun and his crew also experience an "Isle of Intoxicating Wine
Fruits:"

They were now a long time tossed about on the great billows, when at
length they came in view of an island with many trees on it. These
trees were somewhat like hazels, and they were laden with a kind of
fruit which the voyagers had not seen before, extremely large, and
not very different in appearance from apples, except that they had a
rough, berry-like rind. After the crew had plucked all the fruit off
one small tree, they cast lots who should try them, and the lot fell
on Maildun. So he took some of them, and, squeezing the juice into a
vessel, drank it. It threw him into a sleep of intoxication so deep
that he seemed to be in a trance rather than in a natural slumber,
without breath or motion, and with the red foam on his lips. And
from that hour till the same hour next day, no one could tell
whether he was living or dead. When he awoke next day, he bade his
people to gather as much of the fruit as they could bring away with
them; for the world, as he told them, never produced anything of
such surpassing goodness. They pressed out the juice of the fruit
till they had filled all their vessels; and so powerful was it to
produce intoxication and sleep, that, before drinking it, they had
to mix a large quantity of water with it to moderate its strength.
St. Brendan seems to have visited the same island but, being a
saint, he failed to experience the deep trance and euphoria of the
more worldly Maeldun. [3] Note that the color of the magic substance
is usually red. Even hazelnuts are "reddened" by association with
salmon-flesh. Maeldun sees red apple-like or nut-like fruit with a
rough rind -- which could be an accurate description of a fly-
agaric "toadstool" or its dried cap. Maeldun's squeezing of the
juice reminds us directly of Vedic soma-ritual, and the warning to
cut the juice with water reminds us of the Greek injunction to mix
certain "wines" twenty-to-one with water, lest they be too powerful -
- obviously not wine as we now know it, as C. Ruck points out in
Persephone's Quest. [4]

Persephone's Quest is the book which sparked my intention to draft
this query. The specific impetus rose from Ruck's brilliant essay
on "The Offerings from the Hyperboreans," i.e., the votive offerings
sent from the semi-mythical land of Hyperborea to Apollo's shrine
oracle at Delos. In this text, Ruck makes no mention of the often-
repeated but not very convincing identification of Hyperborea as
Ireland, or the insular-Celtic lands in general. The route taken by
the offering (a sheaf of wheat hiding some other plant, apparently),
is traced by three ancient authors, who all place Hyperborea beyond
the Danube and beyond Scythia, near the Altai Mountains. This might
locate Hyperborea somewhere near the vague (and controversial)
origin-point of the Indo-Europeans and hence of the Celts. A
Siberian origin for the Indo-Europeans is strengthened by Vedic
references and a mass of other material which must not detain us
here; suffice to say that the "Hyperboreans" are very close to the
area in which A. muscaria still provides the entheogenic juice for
shamanic practice. Ruck marshals a great deal of circumstantial
evidence to identify the offerings as fly agaric, dried and wrapped
in straw.

A possible historical connection between Hyperborea and the Celts,
however fascinating, will not serve our purpose so well, however, as
Ruck's discussion of a certain tribe living along the route of the
offerings and involved with their delivery, the Arimaspeans. Their
name, in the Scythian language, supposedly describes them as a one-
eyed people, akin to gorgons and griffins. A number of other one-
eyed and/or one-legged races appear in the story of Apollo and the
Hyperboreans--for example, the Telchines, magic metallurgists "with
a reputation for sorcery and drugs" [5], masters of herbalism and
the "evil eye". Ruck explains:

"The fungus of the Hyperborean homeland would have come ... from the
wooded slopes of the Altai Mountains, where conifers and birch
abound, an environment, therefore, where Amanita muscaria is
commonly found. Presumably, it would have fruited in the autumn and
been preserved by drying so that it could be conveyed over the long
journey, wrapped in straw, to arrive on Delos in late spring along
with the other offerings of first fruits. Is there anything, we must
now ask, in the Apolline traditions that might suggest that this was
the identity of the secret plant?

The one-eyed Arimaspeans, who, as we have seen, were either just
another name for the Hyperboreans or, as a separate people, were the
first intermediaries in the transmission of the subterranean gold
that was mined by the griffins. [They] are a personification of one
of the attributes of soma as the "single eye." So, therefore, are
the Cyclopes, whose murder as primitive surrogate occasioned
Apollo's expiatory sojourn amongst the people of his northern
homeland. There were two versions of these Cyclopes, and the
Anatolian ones probably arose from a separate dissemination of the
metaphor through Asia Minor, where the later discredited Lycian
Telchines display the same attribute as their evil eye. These one-
eyed creatures are a variant of another attribute of soma as the
figure with a single foot, a characteristic of a supposed race of
people called the Shade-foots, who came from the Indus valley and
were fancifully implicated, according to Aristophanes6 in a profane
celebration of the Lesser Eleusinian Mystery. It appears that the
Arimaspeans may have come from the same general region, for
Herodotus's supposed Scythian etymology of their name is probably
not correct, but they were really an Iranian tribe, called the
Argempaioi or Argimpasoi. All these fabulous creatures can be traced
to fungal manifestations and testify strongly that it was some kind
of mushroom, if not actually Amanita, that was originally the
Hyperborean plant. In its Hesperidean version, the plant bears still
another attribute of soma as the 'mainstay of the sky', which is the
role that Atlas plays as 'pillar of heaven' in the west [7], just as
his Titanic brother in the east, Prometheus, when presented as a
Shade-foot, impersonates the sacred plant as a "parasol," which is
the same Sanskrit word as mushroom. The single-footed trait can also
be seen in certain Greek heroes who, like Oedipus, have mythical
roles as Apolline surrogates."

The Shade-foots were also known as Monocoli or "One-legs". [8] This
latter name is particularly interesting because when we find these
people in modern times, they will be a particular plant involved in
Asiatic shamanism. Monocoli in Greek was an epithet of plants9. In
modern times, the prodigious strength of their single leg will also
be remembered from ancient traditions.

In his own essay, "Persephone's Quest," Wasson also discusses a
number of one-eyed, one-footed beings from various folkloric and
iconographic sources, including the Cyclopes, and soma itself, which
is described in Vedic Sanskrit as Aja Ekapad, "Not-born Single-
foot." Mushrooms are "not born" because they have no seed; they are
caused by lightning bolts. And mushrooms are single-footed, of
course. The penis is the "one-eyed serpent," and the mushroom is a
penis. Folklore can be scoured endlessly to rake up further
examples; Wasson's point is that one-eyed one-legged beings are to
be decoded as mushrooms, at least in certain contexts.

The Irish also have a one-legged one-eyed race in their past: the
Fomoire or Fomorians. In some legendary histories they seem to be
the very oldest inhabitants of the island, but still they come from
elsewhere, either "from the sea" (but "sea" is probably a false
etymology for their name, fomorian); or else they invaded Ireland
from Africa. In some tales the Fomorians live under the sea (like
Chinese dragons) or else more prosaically on Tory Island. Sometimes
they are giants, and moreover they can appear as one-eyed one-footed
giants. Sometimes they appear to be a race of wizards, "human"
enough to inter-marry with the Tuatha de Danaan (who, however,
aren't all that human themselves). In fact the half-breed King Bres,
who causes war between the two races10 is described as the most
beautiful youth in Ireland -- even though the Fomoire are usually
depicted as ugly, low, hideous, deformed, etc. One gets the
impression that the Fomorians represent a pre-Celtic Irish race, and
that we are seeing them through the texts of the Celts, who invaded
their land and subdued them, and now wish to present them as
villains, boors, snake-worshippers, or even nonhuman monsters. This
is a universal theme in folklore, which often seems to harbor
memories of an archaic "us/them" situation. Ultimately it may lead
us back to the emergence of agricultural peoples and
their "conquest" and enslavement of hunter/gatherer tribes -- i.e.,
back to the very beginnings of civilization and history. The
Fomorians, who are connected with the megaliths by folklore, and who
survive to play roles as ogres and giants in Irish fairy tales, may
have been remnants of the great Atlantic Megalithic peoples, who
created the culture of New Grange and Stonehenge long before the
Celts arrived in Europe. The marginalized "race" or "caste" survives
as tinkers (primitive metallurgists, perennial outsiders),
minstrels, vagabonds, fortune-tellers, herbalists, servants, grooms,
prostitutes, wizards. Much later in history the Celts will undergo
the same marginalization by new "invading races"--the Fomorization
of the Celts, as it were.

What interests us here, however, is not the fate of the Fomorians
but their special role as one-eyed shade-foots -- i.e., their role
in folklore. Whatever their other qualities in history, myth, or
legend, they are clearly "Arimaspeans", and hence are to be
suspected of kinship with mushrooms. And if hazelnuts, or red
berries, are used to "mask" the mushroom in Irish tradition, we
should look for Fomorians lurking somewhere in the underbrush near
the sacred tree.

Just such a conjunction occurs in the saga of Dermat and Grania,
which in turn forms part of the Finnian Cycle. [11] The hero and
heroine are fleeing from the jealous wrath of Finn himself. Their
flight takes them all over Scotland and Ireland, where many dolmens
are still called "beds" of Dermat and Grania. At one point they come
to the Forest of Dooros (a name containing the Celtic word for "oak"
and thus identifiable as a druid grove) in the district of HyFicra
of the Moy (later known as the barony of Tireagh, in Sligo). At this
time the forest was guarded by Sharvan the Surly, a giant of
Lochlann.

"Now this is the history of Sharvan the Surly, of Lochlann. On a
certain occasion, a game of hurley was played by the Dedannans
against the Fena, on the plain beside the Lake of Lein of the
Crooked Teeth. They played for three days and three nights, neither
side being able to win a single goal from the other during the whole
time. And when Dedannans found that they could not overcome the
Fena, they suddenly withdrew from the contest, and departed from the
lake, journeying in a body northwards.

The Dedannans had for food during the game, and for their journey
afterwards, crimson nuts and arbutus apples and scarlet quicken
berries, which they had brought from the Land of Promise. These
fruits were gifted with many secret virtues; and the Dedannans were
careful that neither apple nor nut nor berry should touch the soil
of Erin. But as they passed through the Wood of Dooros, in Hy Ficra
of the Moy, one of the scarlet quicken berries dropped on the earth;
and the Dedannans passed on, not heeding. From this berry a great
quicken tree sprang up, which had the virtues of the quicken trees
that grow in Fairyland. For its berries had the taste of honey, and
those who ate of them felt a cheerful flow of spirits, as if they
had drunk of wine or old mead; and if a man were even a hundred
years old, he returned to the age of thirty, as soon as he had eaten
three of them.

Now when the Dedannans heard of this tree, and knew of its many
virtues, they would not that any one should eat of the berries but
themselves; and they sent a Fomor of their own people to guard it,
namely Sharvan the Surly, of Lochlann; so that no man dared even to
approach it. For this Sharvan was a giant of the race of the wicked
Cain, burly and strong; with heavy bones, large thick nose, crooked
teeth, and one broad, red, fiery eye in the middle of his black
forehead. And he had a great club tied by a chain to an iron girdle
which was round his body. He was, moreover, so skilled in magic that
fire could not burn him, water could not drown him, and weapons
could not wound him; and there was no way to kill him but by giving
him three blows of his own club. By day he sat at the foot of the
tree, watching; and at night he slept in a hut he had made for
himself, high up among the branches"

The Fena or Finnians or followers of Finn are Milesians, the last
Iron Age Celts to arrive in Ireland. The Tuatha De Danaan are an
earlier people, perhaps also Celtic but Bronze Age. The De Danaan
have magical power, and after their final defeat by the Milesians
they will retire into the megalithic mounds, such as the Brugh na
Boine at Newgrange (which in this tale is the Castle of Angus, the
god of love, patron of Dermat and Grania). They are in fact the
fairies. The land of Promise or Land of Youth or Tirnanog, etc., is
the mundus imaginalis or fairyland, Isles of the Blessed, Hy Brasil,
etc. -- the spirit land where the De Danaan are also "at home". This
is the origin of the various "crimson nuts and arbutus apples and
scarlet quicken berries," which are not native to Ireland but to
the "other world," the place where shamans go in trance. The quicken
tree is the "quicken beam or mountain ash, or roan-tree; Gaelic
Caerthainn," a tree holy to the druids. The tree with its red fruit
guarded by a giant recalls the Golden Fleece and the Golden Apples
of the Hesperides; it is thus the world-axis, the shamanic ladder,
and also the tree beneath which one finds fly agaric; it is the
beanstalk, Alice's tunnel to Wonderland, and all other liminal
structures or gateways between levels. The fruit of the tree, like
that of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis, is
the principle of transformation and realization; it is the
sacrifice; and it is soma. This will become more clear as the tale
unfolds.

Dermat makes a peace-pact with Sharvan the Surly: refuge in the
Forest, so long as Dermat keeps his hands off the quicken berries.
For a while all goes well. Meanwhile, Finn receives an offer of
fealty from two former enemies, the sons of Morna. Before he
forgives them, however, he demands an erc, or blood-price:
either "the head of a warrior, or the full of my hand of the berries
of a quicken tree."

Finn's son Oisin takes pity on the sons of Morna and explains the
situation to them; nevertheless they undertake the quest and set out
for the Forest of Dooros. Dermat easily overcomes them. Meanwhile
Grania has developed an overwhelming obsession with the berries: she
must taste them, or perish. Reluctantly Dermat sets out to find
Sharvan, taking the sons of Morna along as witnesses. The giant is
asleep; Dermat whacks him on the head and rouses him. The hero asks
for berries, the Fomor refuses. They fight a ferocious duel, and
Sharvan is slain by three blows of his own club (just as the soma
was sacrificed by pressing or "wounding" the plant). Dermat orders
the sons of Morna to bury the corpse while he goes to fetch Grania.
Dermat then satisfies Grania's desire, and also gives berries to the
sons of Morna, who thank him profusely for sparing their lives, and
set off to return to Finn. Dermat and Grania take over Sharvan's
tree-house high in the branches of the fairy-quicken, and settle
down in bliss again.

Finn explodes with fury, rouses his loyal and not-so-loyal
followers, and sets out to capture Dermat and Grania in their lair.
They arrive at the Forest and find the tree, but no sign of the
lovers. They gorge on fruit, and then settle down to wait. Finn and
Oisin play chess beneath the tree. Time passes. Finn tells Oisin
that he can win in one move, but Oisin can't see the move. He
ponders endlessly. Suddenly a quicken-fruit falls ripely onto the
chessboard, as if to show Oisin the correct move; he makes it and
wins. They play again, and the same thing happens: wisdom falls from
the tree as fruit: Oisin wins. And a third time!

Finn finally realizes what's up. He calls up into the tree, and
Dermat answers from the treehouse. In a fury, Finn orders his men to
surround the tree -- then offers a huge reward for the head of
Dermat O'Dyna. At this point nine men, all called Garva (and all
hailing from various mountains around Ireland) attempt the coup
against Dermat, but they all fail. The love-god Angus -- deus ex
megalitha -- has flown invisibly from Newgrange to save his
worshippers, Dermat and Grania. As each Garva climbs the tree, Angus
casts a spell over him so that he appears to be Dermat. Each Garva
is then pushed from the tree by the real Dermat, falls to the
ground, is mistaken for the enemy, and at once beheaded. The Garvas
might be related to the Ghandarvas, who appropriated soma from the
gods and became its guardians. [12]

Angus then wraps Grania in his cloak of invisibility and flies off
with her to Bruga of the Boyne. Dermat decides to stay behind, do
the honorable thing and fight his way out. He makes a speech in in
self-defense, and the great hero Oscar is converted to sympathy with
him. Oscar offers his life as surety for Dermat's, but to one dares
to fight him. Dermat leaps lightly out of the tree, lands on his two
spear shafts, pole-vaults over the heads of Finn's circle, and
escapes with Oscar. He and Grania wll live to flee Finn again and
again -- and eventually die at his hands.

On the assumption that the fairy-fruit of the quicken-tree is indeed
soma, and that as soma it must be associated with a ritual, with a
sacrifice (of itself), and with transcendence (either ritual or
pharmacological), this charming tale would appear to function as
a "mask" for just such a ritual. The berry is constantly equated
with the head. The Celts were head-hunters, very much like the Dyaks
of Borneo, the Guarani of Paraguay, etc. All wisdom and power are in
the head. Because Dermat has taken on (or stolen) the wisdom of
Sharvan by "dashing out his brains" (no doubt beheading him), Dermat
acquires insight. In this heightened state, he plays the near-magic
trick with the fruit and the chess-board, thrice-repeated. This
foreshadows the thrice three heads of the Garvas, which will also
(in a sense) fall ripely from the tree.

The one-legged one-eyed Fomor loses his head like a berry. Dermat
should be the next sacrifice (like Gawain after the Green knight)
but a substitution is made "at the last moment" (as usual). Nine
mountain-men's heads are sacrificed -- nine more berries, as it
were -- in Dermat's place. In the original tale, Dermat (like
Grania) would no doubt have ascended the tree and escaped into
the "other world"; instead another substitution
(or "rationalization") is made, the acrobatic spear-leap. The point
is, Dermat flies. He goes above. He transcends. He has shamanic
powers, gained (or reinforced) by his overcoming and absorption of
Fomorian/Fairy magic.

The tale of Sharvan the Surly is just that, a tale, not the text of
a ritual. Nevertheless folktales have been known to "mask" myths,
which in turn may serve as aetiological legends for certain rites,
which in turn may derive in part from earlier myth, ritual, or lore.
This particular tale seems to contain such ritual elements. The
structure of the tale and many of its details might well pre-date
its inclusion in the Finnian Cycle; any hero might experience such
an adventure. And the Finnian Cycle itself seems to have roots in a
past so distant that agriculture has not yet appeared, a world of
pastoralism and hunting/gathering. Finn and his "merrymen" are
anachronisms, free forest guerrillas held by only a slender link of
reciprocity with settled society, and perilously close to that taboo
realm of sorcery and alien otherness, the Forest. The world of
Sharvan the Surly seems an archaic one indeed, ancient enough to
contain traces of the soma ritual once common to all Indo-European
people, as well as to the Semites, the Siberians and the New World
Indians, etc.

That's my hypothesis. I wouldn't even begin to argue that we
have "detected" an Irish soma. What we have here is a mere
suspicion, not a case. I'm looking for support and/or refutation. A
number of queries must be directed to specialists. From philologists
we need exhaustive comparisons of mushroom and soma/haoma vocabulary
from all the relevant languages, such as that which Allegro carried
out for the Semitic languages in The Mushroom and the Cross. Celtic,
Persian, and Sanskrit should be the main candidates for word-
sleuthing. The Vedic soma ritual needs to be compared in detail with
all texts and fragments from Celtic sources relevant to magic
substances.

Ethnomycologists should investigate Irish (and insular Celtic)
mushroom lore. Does Amanita muscaria grow in Ireland, and might it
have grown in Ireland in ancient times? I've never come across any
written material on this, but during my last trip to Ireland (May,
1993) I made a few discoveries. At least one magic mushroom grows in
Ireland, the "Liberty Cap," a type of psilocybe; I saw it grown at a
mushroom farm in County Cork, but it is also found wild.
Subsequently, in a village on the coast of the province of Munster,
I interviewed a certain well-known shanachie or traditional story-
teller, who must remain anonymous here due to his involvement in gun-
running and pot-farming (neither very successful). "Mick" is said to
speak the purest Irish in the southern Gaeltecht--and (somewhat
magically) is reputed to live on nothing but pigsfeet and Guinness.
In response to my query, he stated that magic mushrooms were known
in Ireland in the time of the druids, and he agreed with me
that "this explains a lot" about the druids! Since I'd been
introduced to Mick by an old friend of his, I doubt he was trying to
pull my leg; certainly he failed to elaborate on his statement,
which he appeared to think was rather unexceptional.

Yes, it would explain a lot--but itself needs to be explained!
Therefore, I ask for collaboration. The answer (however tenuous)
seems genuinely worth knowing.

Peter Lamborn Wilson,
c/o Autonomedia, Box 568 Brooklyn, NY 11211
dmandl@panix.com



FOOTNOTES
1. v. the Celtic Dragon Myth, J. F. Campbell and G. Henderson
[Edinburgh, 1911]; Lemma Publisher, New York, facsimile, n.d.
2. Joyce, 421; see bibliography.

3. The Voyage of St. Brendan, translated by J. O'Meara [Dolmen
Press, 1976], pp. 46-47.

4. Persephone's Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion, a
collection of essays by Wasson, Stella Kramrisch, J. Ott, Carl Ruck,
and Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (Yale, New Haven, 1986)

5. Ruck, p. 236

6. Birds, 1553 ff.

7. Aeschylus, Prometheus 351

8. Pliny, Natural History 7.2.23; Aulus Gellius 9.4.9

9. Theophrastus, How Plants Grow, 2.25, Enquiry into Plants, 9.18.8

10. In the Cath Maige Tuired, or Second Battle of Mag Tuired, ed.
E.A. Gray [Irish Texts Society, Naas, Co Kildare, 1982])

11. Joyce, 313 ff

12. See "The True Identity of soma" in M. T. Greene, Natural
knowledge in Preclassical Antiquity (J. Hopkins University, 1992),
p. 116.]
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Protecting with Wards

Guarding people and places is within our ability today, and setting wards is one way to do it. This method is based on the shape of a square used in other pagan work. Picture a square or rectangle, fitting outside the area or person to be protected. You might wish to set the wards around the bed of a sleeping child before the babysitter comes, or around your house as you leave on vacation. You can set them around your car whenever you park it, or around yourself, your family, and your possessions when traveling. Until you perfect the practice, it is preferable to be physically present where you want the wards set. Later on you can do it from a distance.

Let’s go through the procedure. It is all done by envisioning and waiting to receive a protective image. Stand outside the envisioned square and select one corner to start the protecting. Usually begin at the front left corner. You will be designating the corners as black - white - black - white. Call the first corner “black” and allow the polarity of blackness to be there. With strong intention, start some energy at that corner in order to ward off anything unwanted. Turn toward the next corner (you may not be able to see it in actuality) and call it “white”. Move your intention and the protective energy around to that corner. Continue: the third corner is black and the fourth is white. Move the protection all the way back to the starting point. Two corners opposite each other are white.

They will be holding a dynamic guardian tension among them. You have set the perimeter and called in the balance of light and dark to work with you. Complete safety, however, requires three-dimensional protection, moving into the spheres of Above and Below. Envision the protected area extending down into the earth and up into the sky.

The next part of setting the wards requires you to shift from sending to receiving an image. Stand there and concentrate on the space or person you are protecting. Let an image come to you that arises naturally. It will be the correct one. You won’t have to make an effort. You will simply be the conduit for the already existing spirit of place or the guardian of the person. Let that image emerge and move until it covers the entire space, above, below and all around. The power that has chosen to be the guardian has volunteered and knows what to do. In your mind, see and say clearly what the protective image is. You can leave now, in total confidence that the wards are set and the space or person is protected. Reset the wards if anything changes, such as a child going to a new school, getting the car back from the mechanic, or building an addition on your house.

“Druid Magic” - Sutton/Mann
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For simplicity and popularity, candles have become the all purpose Witches’ tool. They are used for spells, rituals, prayer, and to create sacred space. The candle flame has been believed to be a doorway to the Spirit World for many thousands of years. Some magickal practitioners describe the candle as a focus point for magickal work but it is much more than that. The candle emits light energy, imbued with the intention of the Witch who charges it to manifest results. Thus the candle continues to do magick after your ritual is complete.In some Wiccan rituals, consecrated white candles are placed on altars and at
the four quarters of a magic circle. If a ritual calls for it, candles are placed at the
points of a pentagram.

Colored candles are used in many magical spells; each color has its own vibration,
attribute, symbolism and influences.

As part of the preparation for casting a spell, rub a candle with anointing oil while concentrating on the purpose of the spell. The formula of the oil will be determined by the purpose of the spell. Or, write a spell on a candle and then burn it.


The following are some of the energy vibrations and influences evoked by colors.
Burning colored candles in magical work enhances the vibration of the colors.



WHITE
Spiritual truth and strength; purity and purification; meditation; attract benevolent spiritual forces; break curses; feminine principle.


PINK
Love and friendship; harmony; entertaining; morality; domestic tranquility;
the sign of Cancer.


RED
Sexuality; strength; physical health and vigor; passion; protection; the signs of
Scorpio and Aries; masculine principle.


ORANGE
Courage; communication; solving of legal problems; concentration; encouragement;
the sign of Taurus.


YELLOW
Persuasion; confidence and charm; aid to memory and studying; the signs of
Virgo and Gemini.


GREEN
Healing; money and prosperity; luck; fertility; the sign of Sagittarius.


BLUE
Psychic and spiritual awareness; peace; prophetic dreams; protection during sleep;
the signs of Aquarius and Virgo.


PURPLE
Ambition; ruling authority; reversing a curse; speeding healing in illness; extra power;
the sign of Pisces; lavender for the sign of Libra.


GOLD
Protection; enlightenment; masculine principle; the Sun; the sign of Leo.


SILVER
Intuition; subconscious; feminine principle; the Moon.


BROWN
Protecting pets; solving household problems; attracting help in financial crisis;
the sign of Capricorn.


GRAY
Stalemate; neutrality; cancellation.


BLACK
Loss; sadness; discord; releasement; negativity.




Candle magick is magick performed exclusively with candles. Candles used can be
fashioned by the witch his/herself or purchased from a local provider. It is believed that
candle magick is the most successful when the witch makes his or her own candles.
This allows the candles to be made for a specific purpose, thus increasing their
magickal strength.


There are numerous books on crafting candles and there are simple candle making kits that can be purchased at just about every craft store in your area.


Although creating one’s own candles is suggested, purchasing candles for
magickal use is fine as well.

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Crystal Healing and Crystal Divination have a long history of being used by shaman, healers, wise women and priestesses for contacting spirit helpers and guardians .From as far back as Atlantis and Lemuria crystals have played an important role in maintaining spiritual connection to source.

For contacting your angelic helpers specific crystal properties are lending themselves to the opening of the third eye chakra.

A lot of crystal healing properties utilizes the gentle energy of the guides to facilitate spiritual healing and emotional wellbeing.

I would like to introduce you to some of my favorite Angel crystals, those whose vibrations are especially aligned with the angelic kingdom.

Tips for Choosing a Crystal

You may find that you already have a specific crystal that aligns itself well with your own vibration thus enabling spirit communication.

You might also find that you want to start with one of the crystals that are known to facilitate angelic communication to give you a starting point for crystal properties exploration

Asking the crystal to assist you in communication with the angels and stating your intention is always a good way to open clear psychic pathways which make it easier to align your vibration to that of the spirit guides
Angelite crystal is said to be a beautiful angelic connection stone.
It can facilitate communication with all aspects of the celestial realm. Teh Celestite crystal enables the user to attune to their vibratory rate
and raise consciousness to a higher level.

Chakra: Throat chakra
Element: Wind

Crystal Healing and Crystal Divination have a long history of being used by shaman, healers, wise women and priestesses for contacting spirit helpers and guardians .From as far back as Atlantis and Lemuria crystals have played an important role in maintaining spiritual connection to source.
Angelite Crystal Properties

Quote Melody , crystal healing expert and author of " Love is in the Earth "
Angelite crystal is an excellent balancing agent,polarizing and aligning thr physical body with the ethereal network. Angelite is both a sender and receiver,telephatic communication is enhanced


Quote Judy Hall , crystal healing expert and author of " Crystal Bible "
Angelite crystal is one of the stones of awareness for the New Age. It represents peace and brotherhood. It enhances telepathic communication and anables out of body journeys. Angelite is a powerful stone for healers because it deepens attunement and heightens perception.Angelite has been used to enhance astrological understanding. Applied to the feet it unblocks meridians and energetic pathways.


Quote Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian
crystal healing expert and authors of
" The Book of Stones "

Robert Simmons:
Angelite is a stone which can act as the physical representative or anchoring talisman for the energies of one's guardian angels, guides or other friends in spirit.Carrying, wearing, holding or being near and angelite (anhydrite) stone provides one with a focal point of connection for receiving love, guidance and help from the invisible ones who surround us on the higher planes.Communication and Communion with beings on higher dimensions is angelite's special gift and this makes these crystal stones useful for those wishing to develop powers of psychic attunement, channeling,mediumship,clairvoyance and spiritual healing.Useful tool for astrologers,tarot readers,and others involved in spiritual counseling.

Naisha Ahsian:
Angelite is a strong wind element stone.It facilitates connection and can assist one in moving into meditation easily.The frequency of Angelite crystal is very soothing on the emotional body.
Celestite crystal is said to be a beautiful angelic connection stone.
It can facilitate communication with all aspects of the celestial realm. The Celestite crystal enables the user to attune to their vibratory rate
and raise consciousness to a higher level.

Crystal Healing and Crystal Divination have a long history of being used by shaman, healers, wise women and priestesses for contacting spirit helpers and guardians .From as far back as Atlantis and Lemuria crystals have played an important role in maintaining spiritual connection to source.
Celestite Crystal Properties

Chakra: 3rd eye ,crown, upper realm chakra
Element: Wind

Quote Melody , crystal healing expert and author of " Love is in the Earth "
It can also promote a pleasant disposition and can provide fo fluency in communication. Celestite has "stories to tell". It can provide for access to, and transfer of, information from the purity of the angelic realms. It assists in clairaudient endeavors, affording lucid, distinct, and articulate verbalization of the messages received. It also contains an innate wisdom which is accessible to the user... It is a stone for astral travel... it is a bright hope in days of despair...inhabited by the fairy of good fortune..Quote Judy Hall , crystal healing expert and author of " Crystal Bible "
Celestite crystal stone has a high vibration and is a teacher for the new age. It takes you to the infinite peace of the spiritual and contacts the angelical realms.It jump starts spiritual development and urges you towards enlightenment.Placed on the third eye chakra clestite crystal opens connection to the universal energies. A large piece of Celestite crystal placed within a room heightens the vibrations in that room.

Quote Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian
crystal healing expert and authors of
" The Book of Stones "

Robert Simmons:
Celestine offers a gentle and uplifting energy which can raise and expand one's awareness into the higher realms.It is one of the most effective healing crystal stones for accessing the angelic realms and can facilitate communication between oneself and one's guardian angel or angelic guides.
Naisha Ahsian:
Celestite crystal is a wonderful gemstone ally that stimulates the spiritual senses and one's connection with the celestial realms and divine guidance. Blue /Grey Celestite crystals frequency aids in connecting with the angelic realms and the source of divine healing.It is aligned with energy and attracts helping or protective spirits.Petalite crystal is said to be a beautiful angelic connection stone.
It can facilitate communication with all aspects of the celestial realm. The Celestite crystal enables the user to attune to their vibratory rate
and raise consciousness to a higher level.

Chakra: Third eye chakra, crown chakra, higher realms chakras
Element: Wind

Crystal Healing and Crystal Divination have a long history of being used by shaman, healers, wise women and priestesses for contacting spirit helpers and guardians .From as far back as Atlantis and Lemuria crystals have played an important role in maintaining spiritual connection to source.
Petalite Crystal Properties

Quote Melody , crystal healing expert and author of " Love is in the Earth "
Petalite has been known as the stone of the angels and has been used to further ones angelic connection, ones connection to ancient civilizations and ones alliance with spiritual guides and totem animals. It has been used extensively in medicine wheels, carried during vision quests and shamanic ceremonies

Quote Judy Hall , crystal healing expert and author of " Crystal Bible "
Petalite is sometimes known as " Angel stone" because it enhances angelic connection. With a high pure vibration Petalite crystal opens to cosmic consciousness.Its is particularly useful for ancestral and family healing.Petalite is a shamanic stone. It provides a safe environment for spiritual contact or for a vision quest.Even a small piece of Petalite crystal is extremely potent as an elixir.

Quote Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian
crystal healing expert and authors of
" The Book of Stones "

Robert Simmons:
Petalites have a deep connection with the spiritual realms.Petalites are crystal stones of vision. They can open the inner eye to the many mansions of the higher dimensions , Petalite can be used to enhance psychic powers such as clairvoyance and telepathy. Healers are advised to wear Petalite during sessions with clients as this will help open the spiritual channel through which the healing energies are accessed.
Naisha Ahsian:
Petalite is an activator of the higher mind.It has a soft balanced energy that can lift one easily and quickly into the higher realms of awareness during meditation.
www.angel-guide.com

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Divining with Runes, A SIMPLE manual.

Divining with runes can be a simple process, with the knowledge of
the runes, and not just the modern meanings, one can literally pull
apart the knot and take apart the person psychologically and give
the querant an accurate reading. With the deceptively simple three
rune reading, the reader can pull out at least six different
possible readings with a "simple" knot. By adding three more runes
to the knot, it will add more complexity to the reading, giving
possible alternatives to the querant's question or concern. We can
go further in this, and add 6 more runes, and make the knot so
complex, that it could, if necessary go into complete detail of the
person's personality, all the way down to the malfunctions. If the
querant chooses to fix those malfunctions of personality, then that
individual will grow and mature more completely to a whole human
being. The nine rune knot is based on Yggdrasil, and the realms that
Yggdrasil represents, from Vallahala to Hel's realm.

The definitions of the runes are based on the ancient meanings of
the runes, referring to the rune poems that several countries have
written. The different, yet similar definitions and descriptions
from only three different tribes in that part of the world, the
complexity is shown in vivid detail. If you add the various writings
from those peoples, it can teach us the value of listening to
yourself. Through studies of my own, I have noticed also noted
similarities in the Oham, the Celtic language, and the more modern
interpretation of the Oham oracle.

To become a Runist:

To become a student of the runes, the student must come to the
understanding of the ancient meanings of that language, as well as
their own interpretation from those meanings. The student must as
well understand the runes in the corresponding gods that represent
those runes, with the corresponding stories attached. Only then
will the student become at least adept enough to translate knots and
to express themselves in that language. Now you note that I call it
a language first. From my own experience on the runes, runa, means
mystery or secrets in a couple of modern Nordic languages. This is
my own opinion on why now there are some people that use runes as a
magical language: One: the charms that the ancient Norse used to
give them strength, Two, the fact that in those times, literacy was
a bit rare in those days, and if some common guy saw a chieftain get
what he painstakingly tried to memorize from his own chieftain, from
somewhat mysterious scratching, well I would think of them as magic
too!! I digress a bit, but that's just my thoughts on that
particular topic. Magickal binds with rune is very powerful, but
only as powerful as the practioner of that magick. Now the only
thing about using rune binds in magick…….the price………for those that
know and love me, understand and have seen that concept.

Interpreting the runes:

Everyone and their mother have different definitions on runes, but
if you take apart the multitude of definitions, one will find out
the common thread of those multitude of definitions. Mostly its
based on individual interpretations on the rune poem or some book
that the individual has read and memorized. Please, if you decide to
get a book and do it the lazy way, (my opinion), that's fine, but
please don't get mad when you go to another book when their
interpretation is different then yours, even if that particular
author took a different route then you. My personal meanings of the
runes came from dedicated study of the rune poems, the Eddas, (even
though they were finally written down in the Christian era), the
Norse myths, and my own family history. One thing that I have
noticed over my long study and learning process is that, when the
runes are in order, it talks about the creation and the eventual end
of the world. ((in they're eyes))

The Blank rune controversy:

Now every modern set of runes I've ever run across has this blank
rune, that usually represents something like Odin, or secrets, or
something, people feel the need to use it as such. In my own family
tradition, a blank rune was placed because it was called the "blood
rune". The owner of that particular set would cut their finger and
place their blood to that rune, and put it back in the bag, meaning
more so that they're life hue is forever bonded with the knowledge
that is in that bag, nothing more. Before a bind for someone else,
the Runist would remove the blood rune, and set it aside, and not
used for the reading. Yes, I know that some people on this board
will think that this is wrong, but I am giving you my knowledge that
came from my family. To me, the blank rune is more a identifying
marker saying, "this set is mine, GR beats on sheild with sword"

Now if you want MY definitions on the runes, come get a bind done
with me one day. Ill tell you what I see, within you and the runes
only, and if you ask for future, I will laugh, and state, the future
is not created yet…..I cannot tell you your future, for it does not
exist yet. So, don't ask. I will post the basic definitions on the
runes in a future post, but it is up to you to come up with your own
understanding.

Lady Kat



F. (wealth) is a comfort to all men; yet must every man bestow it freely, if he wish
to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.

U. (the aurochs) is proud and has great horns; it is a very savage beast and fights
with its horns; a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.

Th. (the thorn) is exceedingly sharp, and evil thing for any knight to touch,
uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.

O. ( ? ) is the source of all language, a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise
men, a blessing and a joy to every knight.
R. ( ? ) seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors and very courageous to
him who traverses the highroads on the back of a stout horse.

C. (the torch) is known to every living man by its pale, bright flame; it always
burns where princes sit within.

G. (generosity) brings credit and honour, which support one's dignity; it furnishes
help and subsistence to all broken men who are devoid of aught else.

W. (bliss) he enjoys who knows not suffering, sorrow nor anxiety, and has
prosperity and happiness and a good enough house.

H. (hail) is the whitest of grain; it is whirled from the vault of heaven and is
tossed about by gusts of wind and then it melts into water.

N. (trouble) is oppressive to the heart; yet often it proves a source of help and
salvation to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.
I. (ice) is very cold and immeasurably slippery; it glistens as clear as glass and
most like to gems; it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.

J. (summer) is a joy to men, when God, the holy King of Heaven, suffers the earth
to bring forth shining fruits for rich and poor alike.

I. (the yew) is a tree with rough bark, hard and fast in the earth, supported by its
roots, a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.

P. (the chessman?} is a source of recreation and amusement to the great, where
warriors sit blithely together in the banqueting-hall.

Z. (the ?-sedge) is mostly to be found in a marsh; it grows in the water and makes
a ghastly wound, covering with blood every warrior who touches it.

S. (the sun) is ever a joy to seafarers (or, in the hopes of seafarers) when they
journey away over the fishes' bath until the courser of the deep hears them
land.
T. ( ? ) is a (guiding) star; well does it keep faith with princes; it is ever on its
course over the mists of night and never fails.

B. (the poplar) bears no fruit; yet without seed it brings forth suckers, for it is
generated from its leaves. Splendid are its branches and gloriously adorned
its lofty crown which reaches to the skies.

E. (the horse) is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors, a steed in the pride
of its hoofs, when rich men on horseback bandy words about it; and it is ever
a source of comfort to the restless.

M. the joyous (man) is dear to his kinsmen; yet every man is doomed to fail his
fellow, since the Lord by his decree will commit the vile carrion to the earth.

L. (the ocean) seems interminable to men, if they venture on the rolling bark and
the waves of the sea terrify them and the courser of the deep heed not its
bridle.

NG. (Ing) was first seen among the East-Danes, till, followed by his car, he
departed eastwards over the waves. So the Heardingas named the hero.
OE (an estate) is very dear to every man, if he can enjoy there in his house
whatever is right and proper in constant prosperity.

D. (day), the glorious light of the Creator, is sent by the Lord; it is beloved of men,
a source of hope and happiness to rich and poor, and of service to all.

A. (the oak) fattens the flesh (of swine) for the children of men. Often it traverses
the gannet's bath, and the ocean proves whether the oak keeps faith in
honourable fashion.

AE (the ash) is exceedingly high and precious to men. With its sturdy trunk it
offers a stubborn resistance, though attacked by many a man.

Y. ( ? ) is a source of joy and honour to every prince and knight; it looks well on a
horse and is a reliable equipment for a journey.
IO ( ? ) is a river fish and yet it always feeds on land; it has a fair abode
encompassed by water, where it lives in happiness.

EA (the grave?) is horrible to every knight, when the corpse quickly begins to cool
and is laid in the bosom of the dark earth. Prosperity declines, happiness
passes away and covenants are broken.


Although the oldest of the three poems, a great deal of Christian language has crept into the verses, and all heathen material has been eliminated. Notice that the Icelandic poem, which is the latest has far less that is Christian and more that is pre-Christian. There are marked similarities between all three, however, and they may all come from a much earlier prototype, perhaps from before Teutonic speech divided into several distinct languages.
The Norwegian Runic Poem

1. Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;
the wolf lives in the forest.

2. Dross comes from bad iron;
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.

3. Giant causes anguish to women;
misfortune makes few men cheerful.

4. Estuary is the way of most journeys;
but a scabbard is of swords.
5. Riding is said to be the worst think for horses;
Reginn forged the finest sword.

6. Ulcer is fatal to children;
death makes a corpse pale.

7. Hail is the coldest of grain;
Christ created the world of old.

8. Constraint gives scant choice;
a naked man is chilled by the frost.

9. Ice we call the broad bridge;
the blind man must be led.

10. Plenty is a boon to men;
I say that Frothi was generous.
11. Sun is the light of the world;
I bow to the divine decree.

12. Tyr is a one-handed god;
often has the smith to blow.

13. Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub;
Loki was fortunate in his deceit.

14. Man is an augmentation of the dust;
great is the claw of the hawk.

15. A waterfall is a River which falls from a mountain-side;
but ornaments are of gold.

16. Yew is the greenest of trees in winter;
it is wont to crackle when it burns.
The Icelandic Runic Poem

1. Wealth = source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and the path of the serpent.

2. Shower = lamentation of the clouds
and rain of the hay harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.

3. Giant = torture of women
and cliff-dweller
and husband of a giantess.
4. God = aged Gautr
and prince of Asgard
and lord of Valhalla.

5. Riding = joy of the horseman
and speedy journey
and toil of the steed.

6. Ulcer = disease fatal to children
and painful spot
and abode of mortification.

7. Hail = cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents.
8. Constraint = grief of the bond-maid
and state of opression
and toilsome work.

9. Ice = bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.

10. Plenty = boon to men
and good summer
and thriving crops.

11. Sun = shield of the clouds
and shining ray
and destroyer of ice.
12. Tyr = god with one hand
and leavings of the wolf
and prince of temples.

13. Birch = leafy twig
and little tree
and fresh young shrub.

14. Man = delight of man
and augmentation of the earth
and adorner of ships.

15. Water = eddying stream
and broad geysir
and land of the fish.

16. Yr = bent bow
and brittle iron
and giant of the arrow.
Aside from the three surviving rune poems there is a certain amount of rune lore. The passage below from the Havamal may at one time have stood alone as a runic charm poem. Like all Norse rune lore of the viking age it is based on the Younger Futhark, though the fact that there are eighteen charms suggests that a couple of extra runes have been added. Unfortunately, though we are told what the charms can do, we do not have the charms themselves. The translation is from Henry Adams Bellows. His verse form is based on that of the original, though he gives himself some lattitude with the form either from laziness or ineptitude.
The songs I know that king's wives know not,
Nor men that are sons of me;
The first is called help, and help it can bring thee
In sorrow and pain and sickness.

A second I know, that men shall need
Who leechcraft long to use.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .

A third I know, if great is my need
Of fetters to hold my foe;
Blunt do I make mine enemy's blade,
Nor bites his sword or staff.

A fourth I know, if men shall fasten
Bonds to my bended legs;
So great is the charm that forth I may go,
The fetters spring from my feet,
Broken the bonds from my hands.
A fifth I know, if I see from afar
An arrow fly 'gainst the folk;
If flies not so swift that I stop it not,
If ever my eyes behold it.

A sixth I know, if harm one seeks
With a sapling's roots to send me;
The hero himself who wreaks his hate
Shall taste the ill ere I.

A seventh I know, if I see in flames
The hall o'er my comrades' heads;
It burns not so wide that I will not quench it,
I know that song to sing.

An eighth I know, that is to all
Of greatest good to learn;
When hatred grows among heroes' sons,
I soon can set it right.
A ninth I know, if need there comes
To shelter my ship on the flood;
The wind I calm upon the waves,
And the sea I put to sleep.

A tenth I know, what time I see
House-riders flying on high;
So can I work that wildly they go,
Showing their true shapes,
Hence to their own homes.

An eleventh I know, if needs I must lead
To the fight my long-loved friends;
I sing in the shields, and in strength they go
Whole to the field of fight,
Whole from the field of fight,
And whole they come thence home.
A twelfth I know, if high on a tree
I see a hanged man swing;
So do I write and color the runes
That forth he fares,
And to me talks.

A thirteenth I know, if a thane full young
With water I sprinkle well;
He shall not fall, though he fares mid the host,
Nor sink beneath the swords.

A fourteenth I know, if fain I would name
To men the mighty gods;
All know I well of the gods and elves,--
Few be the fools know this.

A fifteenth I know, that before the doors
Of Delling sang Thjothrorir the dwarf;
Might he sang for the gods, and glory for elves,
And wisdom for Hroptatyr wise.
A sixteenth I know, if I seek delight
To win from a maiden wise;
The mind I turn of the white-armed maid,
And thus change all her thoughts.

A seventeenth I know, so that seldom shall go
A maiden young from me;


An eighteenth I know, that ne'er will I tell
To maiden or wife of man,--
The best is what none but one's self doth know,
So comes the end of the songs,--
Save only to her in whose arms I lie,
Or else my sister is.
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Non-Pagan history describes familiars as low-ranking demons in
constant attention to Witches for the purpose of carrying out spells
and bewitchments. Familiars usually assumed animal forms - cats,
toads, owls, mice and dogs seem to have been the most common - though
virtually any animal or insect could be suspected. In the Witchcraft
Trials, if so much as a fly buzzed in the window while someone
suspected of being a witch was being questioned or tried, it was said
to be her (or his) familiar. The inquisitors took the Bile to heart:
those who had familiars were "an abomination unto the Lord" and
should be "Put to death: they shall stone them with stones: Their
blood shall be upon them" (Lev. 20:27).

Familiars - also called imps - were said to be given to Witches by
the Devil or bought or inherited from other Witches. A Witch could
have several of them. Cats were the favored forms, especially black
ones. The fear that all cats were Witches' familiars was one of the
primary reasons for the famous cat massacres that swept through
medieval Europe.

Familiars were given names like any household pet, which most of them
undoubtedly were. Perhaps the best known familiar name is Pyewackett,
the monicker the Witch's cat in the movie Bell, Book and Candle, and
a name that dates back to Renaissance England. Pyewackett, Matthew
Hopkins (the famous Witch hunter) stated, was a name "no mortal could
invent."

During the Witch hysteria of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the
obsession with familiars was confined mostly to England and Scotland,
where they are mentioned in numerous trial records, especially those
related to Hopkins. The Witchcraft Act of 1604 made it a felony
to "consult, convenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward any
evil and wicked spirit to or for any intent or purpose." But the
Malleus Maleficarum (1486), the major Witch inquisitor's handbook,
offers no instructions concerning familiars in the interrogation and
trial of Witches. The book does acknowledge that an animal
familiar "always works with the Witch in everything." There is a
scant evidence of familiars in early American Witch trials. In the
Salem Trials in 1692, John Bradsheet was indicted for "inciting a dog
to afflict." The dog was tried and hanged as a Witch.

Outside of Witch trials, more benevolent familiars were believed to
exist, serving wizards and wise men (and women) who were magicians or
village healers. The familiars helped diagnose illnesses and the
sources of bewitchment and were used for divining and finding lost
objects and treasures. Magicians conjured them in rituals, then
locked then in bottles, rings and stones. They sometimes sold them as
charms, claiming the spirits would ensure success in gambling, love,
business or whatever the customer wanted. This sort of familiar was
technically not illegal; England's Witchcraft Act of 1604 prohibited
only evil and wicked spirits. Some familiars were said to be Faeries.
Oberon was a popular name for fairy familiars in 15th and 16th
century England.

Many modern Witches have animal familiars, usually cats, which are
their magical helpers. Some also have dogs, birds, snakes or toads.
Witches do not believe the familiars are "demons" or spirits in
animal form but simply animals whose psychic attunement makes them
ideal partners in magical workings. Some Witches say that it is
possible to endow pets with magical powers and turn them into
familiars, though others don't believe it should be done. Still
others believe familiars are never "pets" (and should never be
treated as such) but are animals who volunteer to work as familiars
and are Karmically attracted to Witches. Witches who do not have
familiars send out psychic "calls" to draw the right animal.

Familiars reputedly are sensitive to psychic vibrations and power and
are welcomed partners inside the magic circle and other magical work.
They also serve as psychic radar, reacting visibly to the presence of
any negative or evil energy, whether it be an unseen force or a
person who dabbles in the wrong kind of magic. Familiars are also
given psychic protection by their Witches. Some Witches it seems also
use the term familiar to describe thought-forms created magically and
empowered to carry out a certain task on the astral plane.

Sorcerers and shamans in cultures around the world also have helpers
in the form of spirits. Dispatching them on errands to heal, harm or
kill - called sending. The physical shape of a familiar varies. New
Guinea sorcerers rely on snakes and crocodiles, while in Malaya, the
familiar is usually an owl or badger passed down from generation to
generation.

Throughout Africa, the wild creatures of the bush are said to be
Witches' familiars: for the Lugbara, they are said to be the toad,
snake, lizard, water frog, bat, owl, leopard, jackal and a type of
monkey that screeches in the night; for the Dinka, they are black
cobras and hyenas. The Zulus' familiars are said to be corpses dug up
and re-animated with magic; they are sent out at on night errands to
scare travelers with their shrieking and pranks. In Shamanism, a
novice shaman acquires his familiar spirits, usually manifesting in
animal, reptile or bird shapes, when he completes his initiation. He
or she may send them out to do battle in his or her place, but if
they die, so does the shaman. Familiars usually stay with their
shaman until death, then disappear. Among certain Eskimos, the
familiar is embodied in an artificial seal, not a live animal.

In closing, what I usually instruct in this area is that the student
of magic who feels that they have found a familiar is that they
should practice an exercise called "Trading Places" by Keith Harry.
This exercise is simple enough to memorize and to practice, and
though it was not written specifically for bonding with an animal
familiar it was designed for becoming familiar with an animal, and
inducing a mystical experience. I think you will readily discern its
value in the acquiring of a familiar.







Trading Places Exercise

Objective: To trade places (mentally) with a dog or cat, or other
animal. Setting: Home, Zoo, Wilderness, etc. Instructions: 1. Relax
your body as completely as you can. Calm your mind, eliminating all
thoughts which do not relate to your intent and purpose. Sit so that
you are comfortable, and as nearly as possible on the same level with
the animal you will be working with. Lie down if you like. The
important thing is that you are able to comfortably make eye contact
with your animal partner in this exercise. It is also important to
satisfy yourself that the animal is likewise comfortable and secure
with you. 2. Take a deep breath. As you slowly exhale, look into the
animal's eyes, and imagine that a part of your awareness is being
transmitted through your breath into the animal's mind. Watch the
animal breathe, and imagine that a part of its awareness is being
transmitted into your mind. 3. Continue looking directly into the
animal's eyes until you fell your consciousness merge with the
animal's consciousness. Benefits: As the boundaries between you and
the animal dissolve, you may feel as if you've really traded places
with a member of another species, as though a part of you has become
the animal - this is the height of subjective merging. You may begin
to feel compassion for another species. You'll also probably
recognize some of the artificial differences between the human and
animal worlds. You may be able to feel or sense the actual flow of
the animals emotions and mental imagery. Should you accomplish this
then it should be no trouble for you to contract with the animal to
serve as your magical partner. Asking another to become such a
partner also places upon you the responsibility of becoming its
partner. I would not recommend contracting an animal to become your
familiar and then treating the animal as a pet. A pet is something
you possess, own. A Familiar, to my way of thinking, is an individual
who has entered into a mutually beneficial relationship (partnership)
with you, and therefore should be afforded the respect and
consideration due a partner.






A Meditation for a Familiar

The first thing to concentrate on during meditation is the relaxing
of the body. Begin with the toes and feet. Mentally tell the muscles
to relax. Slowly moving up through the body relaxing the muscles as
you go. Don't strain at this. Take as long as necessary. Spend more
time working on the muscles of the shoulders, neck, and jaw as these
are the ones we tense almost constantly.
When you are relaxed, surround yourself with white light. Breathe it
in; wrap it around you. Now visualize a well before you; you can also
use the image of a pond or river, if you like. Mentally take all the
problems, including people, that are bothering you and drop them into
the well. If the problems or people won't stay in the well, visualize
a lid with a stout lock to keep them inside. Doing this symbolizes to
your subconscious mind that these need to be taken care of. You don't
want to go into meditation carrying negative feelings with you.
Visualize scenery around you. This can be forests, jungles, deserts,
whatever, but picture a place without buildings or other humans. You
may be surprised to find yourself in a place you didn't have in mind
at all. Accept whatever scenery is shown and begin a leisurely walk
around. Be very observant of any creatures that appear.
If a creature approaches you, try to communicate with it. Watch what
it does and how it responds to you. Since this is the astral plane,
it is possible to communicate with any creature you see.
Communication is commonly by telepathic conversations within the
mind. You may be told that this creature will be one of your astral
familiars or that it has come to make you aware you have need of some
of its traits. You may find yourself communicating with several
astral beings before you are ready to return to this plane of
existence.
When you have wandered through this landscape, and perhaps through
others, and observed several astral creatures who show an interest in
you, thank them and begin to pull back to your physical body. As you
think of your body, slip gently back into it and slowly open your
eyes. Move your arms and legs slowly to get the circulation going
before you try to stand up.








Shape-Shifting Meditation

Prepare yourself for the meditaion by being in a quiet room, relaxing
the body, and dumping your problems.
Visualize yourself face to face with a leopard. (You can choose any
cat you wish.) Feel yourself slowly merging with the leopard until
you can look through it's eyes at the scenery around you. The
darkness of night is falling around you. You are lying on a limb of a
jungle tree. Notice that the way a leopard uses its senses
differently from your perceptions. Sniff the breeze; try to sort out
the odors that come to you. Feel the breeze ripple through your fur.
Be aware of the tree bark beneath you as you flex your claws.
You jump down the tree and glide quietly through the grass toward a
water hole. Your ears turn from side to side as you listen to every
noise around you. When you reach the water hole, there is a hyena
already there. You challenge it with a snarl. You feel your ears
flatten against your head, your lips pull back to expose strong white
teeth. The hyena flees.
You crouch at the water's edge and lap the cool water. Even while you
are drinking, you are constantly aware of what is happening around
you. Your senses are highly alert. The rising Moon shines into the
water. Licking the last water drops from your whiskers, you stretch
and pad back into the high grass.
Now, pull your consciousness back from the leopard and watch it fade
away into the darkness. Become aware of your physical body and slide
back into it.








Cat (Animal) Healing

Materials: Statue of Bast and/or Sekhmet or of a black cat. Picture
of the cat (or animal) to be healed, or at least their name written
on a piece of paper. Green thread. A blue or white candle. Incense:
lavender, lotus, or myrrh.
Timing: Healing should be done any time it is needed; repeat the
spellworking on the next Full Moon to reinforce and strengthen the
healing power.
The Spell:
Set up a little altar or sacred space, arranging the statues to the
rear of your working area. Place the candle to the side of the statue
or inbetween if you are using two statues. Light the candle and the
incense.
With the photo or paper with the sick animal's name on it before you,
ask the Goddess Bast to grant a healing. Take as much time as you
feel you need to express this petition.
Sit quietly for a time, visualizing a stream of healing blue light
comming from the candle and blending into the picture or paper before
you.
When the blue light ceases, take the green thread and cut off a piece
thirteen inches long. If you are using a paper with a name written on
it, roll the paper into a small cylinder and wrap the green thread
around it several times, tying it when you are finished. If you are
working with a photo, just loosely wrap the thread around the photo.
Do the thread wrapping while chanting:

"Lady of cats, large and small, Answer my entreating call. Cast out
the sickness, bring in the Light. Grant loving healing through Thy
might. Renewing green, healing blue, I bind these energies into you.
As threads around your image wind, Perfect healing to you I bind."
Lay the thread-wrapped photo or paper near the statue, leaving it
there until the candle is burned out. Burn the thread and paper (if
you are using a photo, remove the thread to be burned and return the
photo to the proper person) and dispose of the ashes and candle wax.








Love Ritual of the Wolves


Supplies: incense burner, charcoal, and ground orris root or rose
petals (incense sticks of rose or jasmine may be substituted); rose
petals and yarrow; a pencil; four pink hearts; four pink stones.
Extra candles: pink, yellow, blue.
Place the four pink stones at the four directions. Sit on a blanket
in the center of the area and breathe evenly until you relax and you
feel the room begin to fill with power. You may shake a rattle, or
softly beat a drum at this time if you wish.
Chant: I have a need, great wolves I ask your presence and guidance.
Write the word "prosperous" on one of the hearts and place it near
the northern candle.
Chant: Great wolf of the North, Send me a loving companion Who is
prosperous in thought and deed. Write "common sense and wisdom" on
the next heart. Lay it in the East.
Chant: Great wolf of the East Send me a true companion Who is wise
with common sense. On the next pink heart write "love for only me"
and put it in the South.
Chant: Great wolf of the South, Send me a true companion Who is afire
with love for only me. Take the last heart and on it write "matching
religious thoughts." Place it in the West.
Chant: Great wolf of the West, Send me an intuitive love Whose
religious thoughts march with mine. Now light the extra candles.
Chant: These are for a lover kind, Like of soul and like of mind.
Allow the candles to burn out completely in a safe place. The next
day gather up the hearts to put under your pillow. Leave them there
until the next Full Moon. You will first find your true companion in
the astral dream state before he or she appears in your physical life.








Dream Work

Supplies: picture of a dragonfly if possible; white or silver candle;
mimosa stick incense of mugwort, bay laurel, and hyacinth oil (one
drop) to burn on charcoal. Optional stones: auqamarine, beryl, quartz
crystal, mother-of- pearl.
Sit in a comfortable chair before your altar or a small table. Light
the candle and incense. Set your stone or stones next to the candle.
If you have a special stone, hold it in your power hand. Look
intently at the picture of the dragonfly. If you can't find a picture
of a dragonfly on which to focus, try to imagine one.
Dragonflies are beautiful creatures of vivid colors. Imagine your
dragonfly coming to land on your hand. See its huge faceted eyes
gazing into yours.
Chant: A key to my dreams, an eye for the truth, An ear open to
spirit for messages bold, Will break down illusions and transform my
life, So I make myself in a positive mold. Now explain to the
dragonfly in your own words about your need for help in interpreting
your dreams. If you've had difficulty recalling dreams, ask that you
remember them. If you've had a series of actions or symbols repeated
in dreams, ask the dragonfly to sweep away the illusions of your
subconscious mind and present you with an explanation and the truth.
If you are looking for answers to a particular situation or problem,
tell your spirit creature to send dreams that will help you.
Continue your conversation with the dragonfly as long as you feel a
need. Then thank it for its help. Extinguish the candle, saving it
for a similar ritual at a later time. Put your special stone, or one
of the stones you used, under your pillow when you go to bed. First
thing the next morning, write down all the details of your dreams in
your journal.







Invisibility Magick

True invisibility is the mental discipline to project that you are
not there. It is learning to temporarily take on characteristics of
such creatures as the fox or mouse and pass unnoticed into or out of
a room full of people. This is quite useful at times, especially if
you would rather not talk to someone like a talkative "friend" or an
ex-spouse.
The following little ritual can be used before going to meetings,
group gatherings, parties, or any place where you feel you might need
the stealthy quality of the fox to make a dignified, but unseen,
retreat, if matters warrant it.
Using a particular stone as a power-sink is not a new idea. It has
been done with stones, statues, even special places just by the
continued and renewing practices of people.
Supplies: statue or picture of a fox; any type of stone, and of any
size, that you can keep in your ritual area; orange or black candle;
magnolia or wisteria incense stick or nutmeg; galangal, and mugwort
to burn on charcoal. Stones: Quartz crystal, sunstone.
Prepare for a mini-meditation. Choose a comfortable place to sit. Set
out your fox picture or statue where you can see it easily as you
open or close your eyes. Place the stones near the picture. Light the
candle and set it in a safe place. Light the incense, setting it far
enough away that it won't make you choke on the smoke.
Surround yourself with white light, relax your body, and dump your
problems. Either hold your special power stone or have it close by
where you can put your power hand on it.
Visualize yourself sitting on a log in a little grove of trees. The
sun is warm, the birds are singing in the tree above you. Soon a fox
trots through the bushes and comes to sit at your feet. Explain to
the fox your need to borrow her or his power of invisibility for a
time.
As the fox begins to pour this special power into you, you must
concentrate on sending it into the stone you are using as a power-
sink. When the fox is finished, it may speak to you, mind-to-mind,
before it trots away.
When you are finished and back in your physical body again, put the
power-stone in a safe place where no one will be handling it. Choose
one of the other smaller stones and set it on or near this power-
stone for about 30 minutes. As you go off to your meeting or
gathering, carry with you this smaller charged stone. This little
stone will have a direct connection with the power-stone; if you need
added energy, you can use it as a pipeline to the larger supply. When
you need to move unnoticed, simply call upon the fox magick. Think of
yourself as a fox slipping unseen through the forest. Hold that image
in your mind as you move quietly and easily out of a room.








DO YOU KNOW YOUR ANIMAL TOTEMS?

Begin the process of discovering your animal totems by examining the
animals you have been most interested in & the times of your life
that interest was piqued. Use the following questions to help
determine which animals are probably totems to you in your life.

1. Which animal or bird has always fascinated you? (We are drawn to
that which most resonates with us. Those animals which fascinate us
have something to teach us.)

2. When you visit the zoo, which animal do you wish to visit the most
or first? (esp. children)

3. What animal(s) do you see most frequently when you are out in
nature? Have you had encounters with animals in the wild? (The
animals we encounter, in their city environments or in the wild,
havesignificance for us. We can learn from them, even if only about
survival within that environment.)

4. Of all the animals in the world, which are you most interested in
now? (Our interests in animals change. Yes, we usually have one or
two that are lifetime, power animals, but others become prominent
when there is something importance or specific to teach us.)

5.What animal most frightens you? (That which we fear the most is
often something we must learn to come to terms with. When we do that,
it then becomes a power. Some shamans believe that fears will take
the shape of animals, and only when we confront them without fear do
their powers/medicine work for us instead of against us. Such an
animal become a shadow totem.)

6. Have you ever been bitten or attacked by an animal? (Historically,
if a shaman survived an attack, it was believed that the animal was
the shaman's spirit totem and the attack was the totem's way of
testing the shaman's ability to handle the power.)

7. Do you have dreams with animals in them or are there animal dreams
you have never forgotten? (This is especially important if the dreams
are recurring or if at least the animal image in the dream is a
recurring one. Children often dream of animals, & attention should be
given to these animals. They will often reflect specific spirit
totems of the child.)

Information from "Scott Cunningham"
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1.Trance - a small movement of the consciousness which may result in
projection of consciousness or psychic events

2.Witches' Cradle - consciousness is turned within and becomes aware
of spiritual energies not normally noticed

3.Fire - flame has a beneficial effect on the body, and when light
from the flame is slowed down with your mind, it aids transformation
of the physical body

4.Ritual - uses spiritual tides to accumulate power, and frees
consciousness to focus on other realms

5.Music - chanting in rhyme, and the repetition of sounds opens doors
to other worlds

6.Sex - an exchange of energies, it imitates the Great Work and
accelerates the Work

7.Dance - the deprivation of oxygen causes the brain to use unused
systems

8.Drugs - allow new or unusual patterns of thought, belief and
feeling to emerge

9.Meditation - meditation is a method of directing your consciousness
by crossing the bridge of inner silence

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Irish Soma
By Peter Lamborn Wilson

Many scholars believe that the Indo-Europeans used an entheogenic or
psychedelic drug in their rituals -- called soma amongst the Vedic
people of India, and haoma in Iran. The ancient Greeks also used an
ergot-based preparation in wine as the entheogenic trigger of the
Eleusinian Mysteries. Soma has been identified as amanita muscaria
or the fly agaric mushroom; haoma may have been the same, or it
might be "wild rue," a harmaline-containing shrub (see Bibliography
under Flattery and Schwartz). If there's any truth to these
theories, we would expect to find that other Indo-European peoples
also used such drugs shamanically or ritually. Terrence McKenna
believes that psilocybe was once even more widely distributed than
it is now, and therefore must also be considered in the soma
context. Certainly entheogenic religions are far more thoroughly
attested today than when Wasson launched ethnomycology with
his "wild" speculations, which now seem rather conservative. Even if
we cannot accept the "psychedelic experience" as the origin of
religion, I believe that we must certainly see it as one of a
complex of "origins", a complexity which might best be expressed in
a palimpsest of theories about those origins; in short, I would
maintain that the failure to consider entheogenesis ("birth of the
god within" by ingestion of psychotropic substances) must be
considered a serious flaw in any integral History of Religion.
I consider it strange that in all the writing I've read about
psychedelics, and about Ireland, not one text has connected the two
subjects. My reading is of course far from complete, and my first
query concerns this point. I can scarcely believe that I'm the first
to consider the question of a soma cult amongst the Celts, those old-
fashioned Indo-Europeans so loyal to ancient ways -- and so fond of
intoxication. An immediate presumption would be that the Celts lost
soma, if they ever had it, when they migrated West from the Indo-
European heartland; at best, they may have developed mead as a
substitute. I know of no reference to intoxicants other than alcohol
in use among the Celts, who in fact quickly became major importers
of Mediterranean wines. We know, however, that a vast amount of
orally-transmitted Druid lore is lost beyond recall, and we als/o
know how entheogenic cults can thrive under the very nose
of "civilization" and not be noticed (as in Latin America). Wasson
and his school have demonstrated how mushroom language tends to be
euphemized, masked, coded, buried in etymologies and even "false"
etymologies. If we are to speculate about the possible existence of
a Celtic -- specifically Irish -- soma, we must exercise a bit of
detective work. Using some of their findings as possible structures
for our exegesis, we can go back and read our texts over again and
hope for a few glimmerings or clues.

Irish myths and legends were not written down till the Christian
era, and then only by monks who might well have misunderstood or
even censored any references to a soma-type substance or cult. By
that time, any entheogenic knowledge or ritual once possessed by
druids might well have already vanished (or retreated into
folklore), and the memory of soma distorted beyond recognition. Any
mushroom lore that survived till the ninth to twelfth centuries A.D.
would be the province of illiterate peasant wise-women and wizards --
not of literate monks. For this reason we can expect that the myths
and legends of the monkish manuscripts will be hard to read from our
special perspective. But Irish folklore, as distinct from myths and
legends, may prove a much clearer source. For reasons known to
folklorists, Ireland is a special case of the survival of Indo-
European lore, comparable perhaps only to India. In fact, Indian
material should be used to throw light on Irish material where areas
of darkness exist. From this point of view I think we can take for
granted that whatever we may find in Ireland that looks like soma,
and smells like soma, so to speak, might very well be soma, although
we may never be able to prove the identity. But the well-known
affinity between Celtic and Vedic cultures should pre-dispose us to
at least a certain open-mindedness.

The Irish material abounds in references to magical substances which
bestow knowledge and/or pleasure when ingested. Perhaps the best-
known are the hazelnuts of wisdom, eaten by the Salmon, fished up by
the Druid, and cooked by young Finn--who, as "sorcerer's
apprentice", burns his thumb on the Salmon's skin, sticks thumb in
mouth, and attains all the wisdom in his master's stead.
The "shamanic" overtones of this story are quite obvious. Turning to
the older manuscripts, we have the enigmatic "Geste of Fraoch" [1],
concerning the hero Fraoch who is half-fairy (Sidh) in origin. His
sister is the nymph of the River Boyne. He seeks to marry Find-
abair, daughter of Aillil and Maeve, the witch-queen. He arrives at
their kingdom with his retinue and impresses everyone with his
beauty, and his skill at music and chess. Find-abair falls in love
with him. They meet secretly and she gives him her gold thumb-ring.
Aillil and Maeve agree to the wedding, but secretly plot the hero's
destruction. Maeve invites Fraoch to bathe in her magic spring.
Growing on its bank is the rowan tree.


Every fourth and every month
Ripe fruit the rowan bore:
Fruit more sweet than honey-comb;
Its clusters' virtues strong,
Its berries red could one but taste
Hunger they staved off long.

Rowan Berry juice could preserve life and cure dread disease. Maeve,
sitting on the shore, begs Fraoch to swim over and pluck some
berries for her. As she well knows, the rowan-berries are guarded by
a dragon (or water-serpent), who attacks Fraoch. In one version, the
beast kills him. In another version, as Maeve, her daughter, and the
court ladies enjoy the sight of Fraoch sporting naked in the pool,
Aillil steals the gold thumb-ring from Fraoch's purse, shows it to
Maeve, and throws it into the water. Fraoch notices this, and also
notices that a salmon gulps down the ring. Without anyone seeing
him, he catches the fish barehanded, and hides it "a hidden spot by
the brink" of the water. Thereupon Maeve demands the rowan-berries;
Fraoch complies; the monster appears. Find-abair strips to the buff
and leaps into the water with a sword, which she tosses to her
lover. He slays the beast. Aillil and Maeve now plot the death of
their own daughter. A ritual bath is prepared for Fraoch, "of fresh-
bacon broth and heifer-flesh minced in it," a sign that he will be
raised to royal status. Afterwards a feast is organized. During the
feast Aillil orders that all his treasures be brought out and
displayed. In order to complete this vulgar show, he demands that
Find-abair produce her gold thumb-ring; when she fails to do so he
threatens her with death. But Fraoch has meanwhile retrieved the
salmon from its hiding-place and given it to Find-abair's maid to
cook. The girl brings in the fish, "broiled..., well prepared with
honey dressing." The ring is of course discovered. Aillil and Maeve
are foiled.

In this version the tale ends happily. Ignoring the temptation to
unpack too many clues from this story, we should confine ourselves
to asking whether or not it can be read for possible ritual content.
The sacred pool, the sacred tree, the combat (which can be seen as a
sacrifice, either of Fraoch or of a substitute, the salmon, or of
the monster), the beef-and-bacon bath -- during which a chorus of
fairy women (Fraoch's sister Boyne and her maidens) appear and sing.
All these motifs suggest that our legend is (at least in part) a
masked ritual. In that case, the berries may also have a ritual
significance. The salmon (with honey) and the thumb ring remind us
of the shamanic complex again. The old manuscripts also preserve a
number of imrama, or sea-going voyage-tales: the voyages of St.
Brendan, of Bran, of Maeldun, and of the O'Corra brothers. The
sailors in these romances find many marvelous islands, and on some
of these islands they find marvelous fruits -- some poisonous, some
euphoriant, and some which stave off hunger. In "the voyage of the
sons of O'Corra," for example, they visit an island whose trees
are "laden with fruit, and the leaves dropped honey to the ground.
In the midst of the island was a pretty lake, whose waters tasted
like sweet wine. But after a week of rest by its shores,
a "monstrous reptile rose up from the lake, and looked at them." The
monster, however, disappears without harming them. [2]

Maeldun and his crew also experience an "Isle of Intoxicating Wine
Fruits:"

They were now a long time tossed about on the great billows, when at
length they came in view of an island with many trees on it. These
trees were somewhat like hazels, and they were laden with a kind of
fruit which the voyagers had not seen before, extremely large, and
not very different in appearance from apples, except that they had a
rough, berry-like rind. After the crew had plucked all the fruit off
one small tree, they cast lots who should try them, and the lot fell
on Maildun. So he took some of them, and, squeezing the juice into a
vessel, drank it. It threw him into a sleep of intoxication so deep
that he seemed to be in a trance rather than in a natural slumber,
without breath or motion, and with the red foam on his lips. And
from that hour till the same hour next day, no one could tell
whether he was living or dead. When he awoke next day, he bade his
people to gather as much of the fruit as they could bring away with
them; for the world, as he told them, never produced anything of
such surpassing goodness. They pressed out the juice of the fruit
till they had filled all their vessels; and so powerful was it to
produce intoxication and sleep, that, before drinking it, they had
to mix a large quantity of water with it to moderate its strength.
St. Brendan seems to have visited the same island but, being a
saint, he failed to experience the deep trance and euphoria of the
more worldly Maeldun. [3] Note that the color of the magic substance
is usually red. Even hazelnuts are "reddened" by association with
salmon-flesh. Maeldun sees red apple-like or nut-like fruit with a
rough rind -- which could be an accurate description of a fly-
agaric "toadstool" or its dried cap. Maeldun's squeezing of the
juice reminds us directly of Vedic soma-ritual, and the warning to
cut the juice with water reminds us of the Greek injunction to mix
certain "wines" twenty-to-one with water, lest they be too powerful -
- obviously not wine as we now know it, as C. Ruck points out in
Persephone's Quest. [4]

Persephone's Quest is the book which sparked my intention to draft
this query. The specific impetus rose from Ruck's brilliant essay
on "The Offerings from the Hyperboreans," i.e., the votive offerings
sent from the semi-mythical land of Hyperborea to Apollo's shrine
oracle at Delos. In this text, Ruck makes no mention of the often-
repeated but not very convincing identification of Hyperborea as
Ireland, or the insular-Celtic lands in general. The route taken by
the offering (a sheaf of wheat hiding some other plant, apparently),
is traced by three ancient authors, who all place Hyperborea beyond
the Danube and beyond Scythia, near the Altai Mountains. This might
locate Hyperborea somewhere near the vague (and controversial)
origin-point of the Indo-Europeans and hence of the Celts. A
Siberian origin for the Indo-Europeans is strengthened by Vedic
references and a mass of other material which must not detain us
here; suffice to say that the "Hyperboreans" are very close to the
area in which A. muscaria still provides the entheogenic juice for
shamanic practice. Ruck marshals a great deal of circumstantial
evidence to identify the offerings as fly agaric, dried and wrapped
in straw.

A possible historical connection between Hyperborea and the Celts,
however fascinating, will not serve our purpose so well, however, as
Ruck's discussion of a certain tribe living along the route of the
offerings and involved with their delivery, the Arimaspeans. Their
name, in the Scythian language, supposedly describes them as a one-
eyed people, akin to gorgons and griffins. A number of other one-
eyed and/or one-legged races appear in the story of Apollo and the
Hyperboreans--for example, the Telchines, magic metallurgists "with
a reputation for sorcery and drugs" [5], masters of herbalism and
the "evil eye". Ruck explains:

"The fungus of the Hyperborean homeland would have come ... from the
wooded slopes of the Altai Mountains, where conifers and birch
abound, an environment, therefore, where Amanita muscaria is
commonly found. Presumably, it would have fruited in the autumn and
been preserved by drying so that it could be conveyed over the long
journey, wrapped in straw, to arrive on Delos in late spring along
with the other offerings of first fruits. Is there anything, we must
now ask, in the Apolline traditions that might suggest that this was
the identity of the secret plant?

The one-eyed Arimaspeans, who, as we have seen, were either just
another name for the Hyperboreans or, as a separate people, were the
first intermediaries in the transmission of the subterranean gold
that was mined by the griffins. [They] are a personification of one
of the attributes of soma as the "single eye." So, therefore, are
the Cyclopes, whose murder as primitive surrogate occasioned
Apollo's expiatory sojourn amongst the people of his northern
homeland. There were two versions of these Cyclopes, and the
Anatolian ones probably arose from a separate dissemination of the
metaphor through Asia Minor, where the later discredited Lycian
Telchines display the same attribute as their evil eye. These one-
eyed creatures are a variant of another attribute of soma as the
figure with a single foot, a characteristic of a supposed race of
people called the Shade-foots, who came from the Indus valley and
were fancifully implicated, according to Aristophanes6 in a profane
celebration of the Lesser Eleusinian Mystery. It appears that the
Arimaspeans may have come from the same general region, for
Herodotus's supposed Scythian etymology of their name is probably
not correct, but they were really an Iranian tribe, called the
Argempaioi or Argimpasoi. All these fabulous creatures can be traced
to fungal manifestations and testify strongly that it was some kind
of mushroom, if not actually Amanita, that was originally the
Hyperborean plant. In its Hesperidean version, the plant bears still
another attribute of soma as the 'mainstay of the sky', which is the
role that Atlas plays as 'pillar of heaven' in the west [7], just as
his Titanic brother in the east, Prometheus, when presented as a
Shade-foot, impersonates the sacred plant as a "parasol," which is
the same Sanskrit word as mushroom. The single-footed trait can also
be seen in certain Greek heroes who, like Oedipus, have mythical
roles as Apolline surrogates."

The Shade-foots were also known as Monocoli or "One-legs". [8] This
latter name is particularly interesting because when we find these
people in modern times, they will be a particular plant involved in
Asiatic shamanism. Monocoli in Greek was an epithet of plants9. In
modern times, the prodigious strength of their single leg will also
be remembered from ancient traditions.

In his own essay, "Persephone's Quest," Wasson also discusses a
number of one-eyed, one-footed beings from various folkloric and
iconographic sources, including the Cyclopes, and soma itself, which
is described in Vedic Sanskrit as Aja Ekapad, "Not-born Single-
foot." Mushrooms are "not born" because they have no seed; they are
caused by lightning bolts. And mushrooms are single-footed, of
course. The penis is the "one-eyed serpent," and the mushroom is a
penis. Folklore can be scoured endlessly to rake up further
examples; Wasson's point is that one-eyed one-legged beings are to
be decoded as mushrooms, at least in certain contexts.

The Irish also have a one-legged one-eyed race in their past: the
Fomoire or Fomorians. In some legendary histories they seem to be
the very oldest inhabitants of the island, but still they come from
elsewhere, either "from the sea" (but "sea" is probably a false
etymology for their name, fomorian); or else they invaded Ireland
from Africa. In some tales the Fomorians live under the sea (like
Chinese dragons) or else more prosaically on Tory Island. Sometimes
they are giants, and moreover they can appear as one-eyed one-footed
giants. Sometimes they appear to be a race of wizards, "human"
enough to inter-marry with the Tuatha de Danaan (who, however,
aren't all that human themselves). In fact the half-breed King Bres,
who causes war between the two races10 is described as the most
beautiful youth in Ireland -- even though the Fomoire are usually
depicted as ugly, low, hideous, deformed, etc. One gets the
impression that the Fomorians represent a pre-Celtic Irish race, and
that we are seeing them through the texts of the Celts, who invaded
their land and subdued them, and now wish to present them as
villains, boors, snake-worshippers, or even nonhuman monsters. This
is a universal theme in folklore, which often seems to harbor
memories of an archaic "us/them" situation. Ultimately it may lead
us back to the emergence of agricultural peoples and
their "conquest" and enslavement of hunter/gatherer tribes -- i.e.,
back to the very beginnings of civilization and history. The
Fomorians, who are connected with the megaliths by folklore, and who
survive to play roles as ogres and giants in Irish fairy tales, may
have been remnants of the great Atlantic Megalithic peoples, who
created the culture of New Grange and Stonehenge long before the
Celts arrived in Europe. The marginalized "race" or "caste" survives
as tinkers (primitive metallurgists, perennial outsiders),
minstrels, vagabonds, fortune-tellers, herbalists, servants, grooms,
prostitutes, wizards. Much later in history the Celts will undergo
the same marginalization by new "invading races"--the Fomorization
of the Celts, as it were.

What interests us here, however, is not the fate of the Fomorians
but their special role as one-eyed shade-foots -- i.e., their role
in folklore. Whatever their other qualities in history, myth, or
legend, they are clearly "Arimaspeans", and hence are to be
suspected of kinship with mushrooms. And if hazelnuts, or red
berries, are used to "mask" the mushroom in Irish tradition, we
should look for Fomorians lurking somewhere in the underbrush near
the sacred tree.

Just such a conjunction occurs in the saga of Dermat and Grania,
which in turn forms part of the Finnian Cycle. [11] The hero and
heroine are fleeing from the jealous wrath of Finn himself. Their
flight takes them all over Scotland and Ireland, where many dolmens
are still called "beds" of Dermat and Grania. At one point they come
to the Forest of Dooros (a name containing the Celtic word for "oak"
and thus identifiable as a druid grove) in the district of HyFicra
of the Moy (later known as the barony of Tireagh, in Sligo). At this
time the forest was guarded by Sharvan the Surly, a giant of
Lochlann.

"Now this is the history of Sharvan the Surly, of Lochlann. On a
certain occasion, a game of hurley was played by the Dedannans
against the Fena, on the plain beside the Lake of Lein of the
Crooked Teeth. They played for three days and three nights, neither
side being able to win a single goal from the other during the whole
time. And when Dedannans found that they could not overcome the
Fena, they suddenly withdrew from the contest, and departed from the
lake, journeying in a body northwards.

The Dedannans had for food during the game, and for their journey
afterwards, crimson nuts and arbutus apples and scarlet quicken
berries, which they had brought from the Land of Promise. These
fruits were gifted with many secret virtues; and the Dedannans were
careful that neither apple nor nut nor berry should touch the soil
of Erin. But as they passed through the Wood of Dooros, in Hy Ficra
of the Moy, one of the scarlet quicken berries dropped on the earth;
and the Dedannans passed on, not heeding. From this berry a great
quicken tree sprang up, which had the virtues of the quicken trees
that grow in Fairyland. For its berries had the taste of honey, and
those who ate of them felt a cheerful flow of spirits, as if they
had drunk of wine or old mead; and if a man were even a hundred
years old, he returned to the age of thirty, as soon as he had eaten
three of them.

Now when the Dedannans heard of this tree, and knew of its many
virtues, they would not that any one should eat of the berries but
themselves; and they sent a Fomor of their own people to guard it,
namely Sharvan the Surly, of Lochlann; so that no man dared even to
approach it. For this Sharvan was a giant of the race of the wicked
Cain, burly and strong; with heavy bones, large thick nose, crooked
teeth, and one broad, red, fiery eye in the middle of his black
forehead. And he had a great club tied by a chain to an iron girdle
which was round his body. He was, moreover, so skilled in magic that
fire could not burn him, water could not drown him, and weapons
could not wound him; and there was no way to kill him but by giving
him three blows of his own club. By day he sat at the foot of the
tree, watching; and at night he slept in a hut he had made for
himself, high up among the branches"

The Fena or Finnians or followers of Finn are Milesians, the last
Iron Age Celts to arrive in Ireland. The Tuatha De Danaan are an
earlier people, perhaps also Celtic but Bronze Age. The De Danaan
have magical power, and after their final defeat by the Milesians
they will retire into the megalithic mounds, such as the Brugh na
Boine at Newgrange (which in this tale is the Castle of Angus, the
god of love, patron of Dermat and Grania). They are in fact the
fairies. The land of Promise or Land of Youth or Tirnanog, etc., is
the mundus imaginalis or fairyland, Isles of the Blessed, Hy Brasil,
etc. -- the spirit land where the De Danaan are also "at home". This
is the origin of the various "crimson nuts and arbutus apples and
scarlet quicken berries," which are not native to Ireland but to
the "other world," the place where shamans go in trance. The quicken
tree is the "quicken beam or mountain ash, or roan-tree; Gaelic
Caerthainn," a tree holy to the druids. The tree with its red fruit
guarded by a giant recalls the Golden Fleece and the Golden Apples
of the Hesperides; it is thus the world-axis, the shamanic ladder,
and also the tree beneath which one finds fly agaric; it is the
beanstalk, Alice's tunnel to Wonderland, and all other liminal
structures or gateways between levels. The fruit of the tree, like
that of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis, is
the principle of transformation and realization; it is the
sacrifice; and it is soma. This will become more clear as the tale
unfolds.

Dermat makes a peace-pact with Sharvan the Surly: refuge in the
Forest, so long as Dermat keeps his hands off the quicken berries.
For a while all goes well. Meanwhile, Finn receives an offer of
fealty from two former enemies, the sons of Morna. Before he
forgives them, however, he demands an erc, or blood-price:
either "the head of a warrior, or the full of my hand of the berries
of a quicken tree."

Finn's son Oisin takes pity on the sons of Morna and explains the
situation to them; nevertheless they undertake the quest and set out
for the Forest of Dooros. Dermat easily overcomes them. Meanwhile
Grania has developed an overwhelming obsession with the berries: she
must taste them, or perish. Reluctantly Dermat sets out to find
Sharvan, taking the sons of Morna along as witnesses. The giant is
asleep; Dermat whacks him on the head and rouses him. The hero asks
for berries, the Fomor refuses. They fight a ferocious duel, and
Sharvan is slain by three blows of his own club (just as the soma
was sacrificed by pressing or "wounding" the plant). Dermat orders
the sons of Morna to bury the corpse while he goes to fetch Grania.
Dermat then satisfies Grania's desire, and also gives berries to the
sons of Morna, who thank him profusely for sparing their lives, and
set off to return to Finn. Dermat and Grania take over Sharvan's
tree-house high in the branches of the fairy-quicken, and settle
down in bliss again.

Finn explodes with fury, rouses his loyal and not-so-loyal
followers, and sets out to capture Dermat and Grania in their lair.
They arrive at the Forest and find the tree, but no sign of the
lovers. They gorge on fruit, and then settle down to wait. Finn and
Oisin play chess beneath the tree. Time passes. Finn tells Oisin
that he can win in one move, but Oisin can't see the move. He
ponders endlessly. Suddenly a quicken-fruit falls ripely onto the
chessboard, as if to show Oisin the correct move; he makes it and
wins. They play again, and the same thing happens: wisdom falls from
the tree as fruit: Oisin wins. And a third time!

Finn finally realizes what's up. He calls up into the tree, and
Dermat answers from the treehouse. In a fury, Finn orders his men to
surround the tree -- then offers a huge reward for the head of
Dermat O'Dyna. At this point nine men, all called Garva (and all
hailing from various mountains around Ireland) attempt the coup
against Dermat, but they all fail. The love-god Angus -- deus ex
megalitha -- has flown invisibly from Newgrange to save his
worshippers, Dermat and Grania. As each Garva climbs the tree, Angus
casts a spell over him so that he appears to be Dermat. Each Garva
is then pushed from the tree by the real Dermat, falls to the
ground, is mistaken for the enemy, and at once beheaded. The Garvas
might be related to the Ghandarvas, who appropriated soma from the
gods and became its guardians. [12]

Angus then wraps Grania in his cloak of invisibility and flies off
with her to Bruga of the Boyne. Dermat decides to stay behind, do
the honorable thing and fight his way out. He makes a speech in in
self-defense, and the great hero Oscar is converted to sympathy with
him. Oscar offers his life as surety for Dermat's, but to one dares
to fight him. Dermat leaps lightly out of the tree, lands on his two
spear shafts, pole-vaults over the heads of Finn's circle, and
escapes with Oscar. He and Grania wll live to flee Finn again and
again -- and eventually die at his hands.

On the assumption that the fairy-fruit of the quicken-tree is indeed
soma, and that as soma it must be associated with a ritual, with a
sacrifice (of itself), and with transcendence (either ritual or
pharmacological), this charming tale would appear to function as
a "mask" for just such a ritual. The berry is constantly equated
with the head. The Celts were head-hunters, very much like the Dyaks
of Borneo, the Guarani of Paraguay, etc. All wisdom and power are in
the head. Because Dermat has taken on (or stolen) the wisdom of
Sharvan by "dashing out his brains" (no doubt beheading him), Dermat
acquires insight. In this heightened state, he plays the near-magic
trick with the fruit and the chess-board, thrice-repeated. This
foreshadows the thrice three heads of the Garvas, which will also
(in a sense) fall ripely from the tree.

The one-legged one-eyed Fomor loses his head like a berry. Dermat
should be the next sacrifice (like Gawain after the Green knight)
but a substitution is made "at the last moment" (as usual). Nine
mountain-men's heads are sacrificed -- nine more berries, as it
were -- in Dermat's place. In the original tale, Dermat (like
Grania) would no doubt have ascended the tree and escaped into
the "other world"; instead another substitution
(or "rationalization") is made, the acrobatic spear-leap. The point
is, Dermat flies. He goes above. He transcends. He has shamanic
powers, gained (or reinforced) by his overcoming and absorption of
Fomorian/Fairy magic.

The tale of Sharvan the Surly is just that, a tale, not the text of
a ritual. Nevertheless folktales have been known to "mask" myths,
which in turn may serve as aetiological legends for certain rites,
which in turn may derive in part from earlier myth, ritual, or lore.
This particular tale seems to contain such ritual elements. The
structure of the tale and many of its details might well pre-date
its inclusion in the Finnian Cycle; any hero might experience such
an adventure. And the Finnian Cycle itself seems to have roots in a
past so distant that agriculture has not yet appeared, a world of
pastoralism and hunting/gathering. Finn and his "merrymen" are
anachronisms, free forest guerrillas held by only a slender link of
reciprocity with settled society, and perilously close to that taboo
realm of sorcery and alien otherness, the Forest. The world of
Sharvan the Surly seems an archaic one indeed, ancient enough to
contain traces of the soma ritual once common to all Indo-European
people, as well as to the Semites, the Siberians and the New World
Indians, etc.

That's my hypothesis. I wouldn't even begin to argue that we
have "detected" an Irish soma. What we have here is a mere
suspicion, not a case. I'm looking for support and/or refutation. A
number of queries must be directed to specialists. From philologists
we need exhaustive comparisons of mushroom and soma/haoma vocabulary
from all the relevant languages, such as that which Allegro carried
out for the Semitic languages in The Mushroom and the Cross. Celtic,
Persian, and Sanskrit should be the main candidates for word-
sleuthing. The Vedic soma ritual needs to be compared in detail with
all texts and fragments from Celtic sources relevant to magic
substances.

Ethnomycologists should investigate Irish (and insular Celtic)
mushroom lore. Does Amanita muscaria grow in Ireland, and might it
have grown in Ireland in ancient times? I've never come across any
written material on this, but during my last trip to Ireland (May,
1993) I made a few discoveries. At least one magic mushroom grows in
Ireland, the "Liberty Cap," a type of psilocybe; I saw it grown at a
mushroom farm in County Cork, but it is also found wild.
Subsequently, in a village on the coast of the province of Munster,
I interviewed a certain well-known shanachie or traditional story-
teller, who must remain anonymous here due to his involvement in gun-
running and pot-farming (neither very successful). "Mick" is said to
speak the purest Irish in the southern Gaeltecht--and (somewhat
magically) is reputed to live on nothing but pigsfeet and Guinness.
In response to my query, he stated that magic mushrooms were known
in Ireland in the time of the druids, and he agreed with me
that "this explains a lot" about the druids! Since I'd been
introduced to Mick by an old friend of his, I doubt he was trying to
pull my leg; certainly he failed to elaborate on his statement,
which he appeared to think was rather unexceptional.

Yes, it would explain a lot--but itself needs to be explained!
Therefore, I ask for collaboration. The answer (however tenuous)
seems genuinely worth knowing.

Peter Lamborn Wilson,
c/o Autonomedia, Box 568 Brooklyn, NY 11211
dmandl@panix.com



FOOTNOTES
1. v. the Celtic Dragon Myth, J. F. Campbell and G. Henderson
[Edinburgh, 1911]; Lemma Publisher, New York, facsimile, n.d.
2. Joyce, 421; see bibliography.

3. The Voyage of St. Brendan, translated by J. O'Meara [Dolmen
Press, 1976], pp. 46-47.

4. Persephone's Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion, a
collection of essays by Wasson, Stella Kramrisch, J. Ott, Carl Ruck,
and Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (Yale, New Haven, 1986)

5. Ruck, p. 236

6. Birds, 1553 ff.

7. Aeschylus, Prometheus 351

8. Pliny, Natural History 7.2.23; Aulus Gellius 9.4.9

9. Theophrastus, How Plants Grow, 2.25, Enquiry into Plants, 9.18.8

10. In the Cath Maige Tuired, or Second Battle of Mag Tuired, ed.
E.A. Gray [Irish Texts Society, Naas, Co Kildare, 1982])

11. Joyce, 313 ff

12. See "The True Identity of soma" in M. T. Greene, Natural
knowledge in Preclassical Antiquity (J. Hopkins University, 1992),
p. 116.]





BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Court, Artelia, Puck of the Droms: the Lives and Literature of the
Irish Tinkers (University of California,1985).

Davies, Michael, Mythic Ireland (Thames and Hudson, London, 1992).

Flattery, David S., and Martin Schwartz, Haoma and Harmaline: The
Botanical Identity of the Indo-Iranian Sacred Hallucinogen soma and
its Legacy in Religion, Language, and Middle Eastern Folklore
(University of California, Near Eastern Studies #21, 1989).

Joyce, P.W., Old Celtic Romances (Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1978;
facsimile from the 3rd edition, 1907).

MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology (P. Bedrick, NY, 1968, 1983).

O'Driscoll, R, ed., The Celtic Consciousness (Geo. Braziller, NY,
1981); contains "Near Eastern and African Connections with the
Celtic World" by Heinrich Wagner, and "Irish Folk Tradition and the
Celtic Calendar" by Kevin Danaher.

Quinn, Bob, Atlantean: Ireland's North African and Maritime Heritage
(Quartet Books, London, 1986)

Rees, Alwyn and Brinley, Celtic Heritage (Thames and Hudson, London,
1961).
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i just want to stop by and say a brief hello. I'm kind of new to live journal, so HI! I've been involved in practical witchcraft for several years, and was and still is a reader of the runes..so, um...there you go...:))

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kajira_crymzon
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Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.

For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.

Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.

Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.

When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart's desire seek.

Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.

When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.

Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God's
insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.

As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.

When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.

In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it's height time for Oak and Holly to fight.

Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you'll be.

Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you'll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.

With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.

Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.

These Eight words the Rede fulfill:

"An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"
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kajira_crymzon
magikal_circle
kajira_crymzon
The Magick Circle

Circle of starlight
Circle of fire
filled with enchantments
bright with desire.
Turning, turning
beginning to end
end to beginning
again and again.
Circle of wisdom
Circle of love
silver with moonbeams
bright from above
Circle of death
Circle of re-birth
Circle of the Mother Earth.
Shining, shining
forever and ever
Spinning, spinning
ending never.
Weaving the threads
of the midnight hour.
Weaving the web of Goddess power.

*************************

Prayer for Strength

Goddess Mother help me
to be patient and strong
to see what is truly important
to act without selfishness or fear

Goddess Mother help me
to trust your wisdom
to resist the coward's way
to walk in faith and compassion
to be truly human in spirit and heart


**************************

Healing Chant

Deep in my Bone
the Goddess is alive
Deep in my cells and blood
the Life Force is strong
Deep in my heart and spirit
I believe I will heal

I feel the Goddess at my core
filling me with faith and health
Abundant Life Forces of the Universe
flow in me, and banish all disease

My blood, my bones, my cells and my body
are healing now, are healing now
The Goddess force is in me
and healing me now




Healing Prayer

Oh Great Goddess
Mother of Mercy and Healing

Send the energy of Hygeia
to nourish from Her Sacred Bowl

Send the energy of Brigid
to heal with waters of Her Sacred Well

Send the energy of Demeter
to restore life to withering cells

Send the energy of Quan Yin
to bless the healing with peace

Send Your healing wisdom to the body
to restore its sacred balance

Thank You Great Goddess
Mother of All Life


**********************

Invocation to the Goddess

Now listen to the words of the Great Mother,
who was of old also called, Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione,
Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride,
and many other names.




Whenever ye have need of any thing,
once in the month,
and better it be when the moon is full,
then shall ye assemble in some secret place, and adore the spirit of me,
who am Queen of all witches.

There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery,
yet have not won its deepest secrets;
to these will I teach things that are as yet unknown.

And ye shall be free from slavery;
and as a sign that ye be really free,
ye shall be naked in your rites;
and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.
For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit,
and mine also is joy on earth;
for my law is love unto all beings.

Keep pure your highest ideal;
strive ever towards it, let naught stop you or turn you aside;
for mine is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth,
and mine is the cup of wine of life,
and the cauldron of Cerridwen,
which is the Holy Grail of immortality.

I am the gracious Goddess,
who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man.
Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal;
and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom,
and reunion with those who have gone before.

Nor do I demand sacrifice;
for behold, I am the Mother of all living,
and my love is poured out upon the earth.

Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess;
she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven,
whose body encircles the universe.

I who am the beauty
of the green earth and the white moon upon
the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.

For I am the soul of nature
that gives life to the universe.
From me all things proceed and unto me
they must return.
Let My worship be in the
heart that rejoices, for behold,
all acts of love and pleasure
are My rituals.

Let there be beauty and strength,
power and compassion,
honor and humility,
mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know me,
know that the seeking and yearning
will avail you not,
unless you know the Mystery:
for if that which you seek,
you find not within yourself,
you will never find it without.

For behold,
I have been with you from the beginning,
and I am that which is attained
at the end of desire.

*************************

Calling the Quarters

Calling the Quarters

After casting a circle, face north and say:

"Oh spirit guaridian of the North,
Ancient one of the earth,
I call thee to come forth and charge this circle,
with the power of three and rock."

Next face East and say:

"Oh spirit and guardian of the East,
Ancient one of the air,
I call thee to come forth and charge this circle,
With the power of the winds."

Next face the South and say:

"Oh spirit and guardian of the South,
Ancient one of the fire,
I call thee to come forth and charge this circle
With the power of the Flame."

Next face West and say:

"Oh Spirit and guardian of the west,
Ancient one of the water,
I call thee to come forth and charge this circle.
With the power of the tides."

Turn to the North once again and say:
"Charge this circle with your power, Old Ones, for as above, so below."



Hope you all found these useful and don't mind me posting to help us all out!!

Brightest Blessings

Current Mood: creative creative

2 comments or Leave a comment
kajira_crymzon
magikal_circle
kajira_crymzon
I wished to offer a bright welcome here to our little magikal niche of the livejournal world. I felt this could be a happy, friendly safe haven for all us Wiccans to freely open ourselves up and be who we truly are. It truly doesn't matter if you are a coven member, a solitary or just new and finding your path, here you will find friendly folks who truly love the lifestyle. I would prefer that we keep our membership to the Over 18 crowd as they truly do understand the depth of their actions. But I am sure exceptions can be made for the right kindred. So, welcome and might I add, this should not be a request community for those seeking spells for their own personal gain as i have seen most communities fall because of -kids- asking for spells to better themselves, but yes, we may share our spells, and rituals and whatever we wish to share, recipies, oils whatever your Pagan heart may desire..

Now about me, i am 32 almost 33 and a natural born Celtic Witch, studying the Egyptian and Norwegian, and Icelandic paths as well as my natural one. I am am empath and a avid tarot reader, not my facade but by truth and perceptions and rarely does my deck do me wrong. I am beginning candle magick and herbalism and have been actively practicing for a few years. Due to circumstances, I have not been celebrating the Feasts but once things settle i forsee that picking back up.

Thank you for your interest here and enjoy, Post to your hearts content.


Sincerely Scarlet, Crymzon, or Melissa , or even Lissa for those that know me.
We're All Mad Here.
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