"Have you consulted magicians...or, following pagan practice, have diviners divined for you...or have you invited those who would cast lots, or those who would foretell the future, or those who pay regard to auguries or incantations?"
--From the anti-pagan penitential by Bishop Burchard of Worms completed around 1012 CE. Much to what we might assume is his posthumous chagrin, his book remains a valuable resource for preserving folk spirituality. It includes detailed descriptions of ceremonies for rain, wakes for the dead, virility charms, the goddess of the witches--Hulda--and the various powers of women.
Those powers include:
Flying by night
Putting spells into woolen work--see yesterday's post
Having control over reproductive fertility
Being wild women of the woods, silvaticae, lusty and free
Performing ritual for the Norns, the fates, the "three women", for rain, for love, ritual and more ritual. Making magic in relationship with the world.
The loss of these powers is explained by the next millennia where (at the very least) hundreds of thousands of women were executed on suspicion of crimes that in Burchard's book were merely due a penance. Bread and water. Fasting. Offerings. :
Do you carry a memory of these powerful arts? Do you wish to? For them to be common knowledge means they must live still somewhere.
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