How the blog works

The poems on this blog are mostly written on the basis of my historical reading and are intended to be both educational and entertaining.
Recently I have also begun posting some of my work with Anglo-Saxon charms. This work is somewhat speculative and is conducted as an amateur researcher and keen Pagan historian.

Please feel free to use anything on this site as a resource if you think that it may be relevant to your needs.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Here be witches

 ‘Here be witches’ Introduction
This poem recalls some Anglo-Saxon place names that refer to witches.
Several old English words were often used to refer to a witch (hexe, hexen, haegtesse, hag and calliach). these names morphed over time.  Walkern has been included as the name is said to have been chosen by the devil and the last person (Jane Wenham) to be condemned for witchcraft was ducked in the village pond in 1710.

Hekse and hexen, hægtesse and witch,
Since Saxon times did, our landscape enrich.
Cailleach  kerling, and hag art the same,
Concealed and hidden, within a place name.

Valley of witch's, Hascombe in Surrey,
The hag she sleeps sound, no need to worry.
An ancient hill fort, with old sacred spring,
Still cleanses the land, no spell need she sing.

Carlinghow Yorkshire, the old woman's hill,
Much holly and oak, grows on the tor still.
Sacred oak grove, noble hag resting place,
Field names refer to, the sun and oaks grace.

Two old woman's hills, there be in Yorkshire,
This one worked iron, did hag interfere?
Coal pit long since closed, did kerling obstruct,
Flooded with water, now village is ducked.

Valley of witches, Hescombe Somerset,
Both hamlets were lost, when Black Death they met.
Now only fields on, the ground to be seen,
Removed without trace, did hex intervene.

Chosen by devil, was village Walkern,
Walk on one and all, and do not return.
The last witch was ducked, in dark village pond,
Saxon church still stands, till Jane points her wand.

Hessenford Cornwall, perhaps witch's ford?
This village still stands, ye witches ignored.
Beware of those that, thee can’t tell apart,
For they art adept, at Cornish dark art.

Copyright January 2012 Andrew Rea

Monday, 19 November 2012

With Faerstice

With Faerstice

This poem is my adaptation of the translation of Lacnunga CXXXIV-CXXXV, which forms part of a medical text from circa 1050. The name means against a sudden stich and could apply to anything from a stich to acute appendicitis. The words would have been use in conjunction with a herbal preparation and the use of ritual. The use of magic is apparent.
The reference to ‘a little spear’ refers to elf shot which was fired by dark elves (these were the latter day demonised version of the early Saxon light elves). The shot was forged by the Smithas.
‘The mighty women’ refers to Haegtesse (hag) which were groups of terrifying supernatural females that rode over the land causing harm, the origin of the word hag, also meaning witch.
Notice that the penultimate verse contains a lot of repartition, this was common in Anglo-Saxon galdors (spells or charms).
The last verse sets out that wherever the shot came from (man, elf or hag) that this is the cure.

With Faerstice (against a sudden stitch)
Based on: - Lacnunga CXXXIV-CXXXV

Loud were they, when they rode over the mound,
They were fierce, when they rode over the ground.
Shield thyself now, that thee this evil win.
Out now, little spear, if thee be herein!
Stood under linden, under a light shield,
Where the mighty women, their power sealed,
And their screaming spears, now to be sent.
I back to them, again another went,
A flying dart, be returned to thine kin,
Out thee little spear, if thee be herein!
Sat elfin smithy, forged he a knife long,
Little iron elf shot, in the wound strong.
Out little spear, if thou be’est herein!
Six smithies sat working, war-spears they spin.
Out thou retched spear, thou be not in spear!
If a small bit of iron, be in here.
Haegtesse thy effort, it shalt now rot,
If were in skin shot, or were in flesh shot,
Or were in blood shot, or were in bone shot,
Or were in limb shot, may thee beat her plot.
If it were sir’ shot, or it elves' shot be,
Or it were hag's shot, now I willst help thee.
This cure for ’sir shot, this cure for elves' shot,
This thine cure for hag's shot; I willst help thee.
No rest for it, into the hills It flea,
Whole be’est thee now, Divine Lord help thee!

Copyright Andrew Rea 2010

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Drawing down the moon

Drawing down the moon

By the vigor of my acorns,
I do call thee down from above.
By the might of my burly bowers,
I do summon thee with my love.

By the breeze in my supple branches,
By the warmth of my growing shoots.
By the sap rising in my trunk,
By the firm earth beneath my roots.

Show yourself to us thy servants,
Draw down the moon and us address.
Reveal thine profound mystery,
Enter the body of thy priestess.

Copyright Andrew Rea March 2010

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Stir up Sunday

Stir up Sunday (November 25th)

Stir up Sunday, Its Christmas pudding day,
All stir the pudding, lets go have a play.
Stir from east to west, good fortune for to be,
With 13 ingredients, a blessing unto thee.

A silver coin will bring, wealth to the finder,
Keep it safe till Christmas, who’ll be the minder?
A lucky life thimble, if thee do discover,
A ring to bring marriage, it may be thine lover.

Copyright Andrew Rea 2009

Friday, 2 November 2012

November (Blotmonath)

November (Blotmonath)

Blotmonath, the month of blood and sacrifice,
Culling the weakest, or paying the price.
Not enough fodder, in the barn to keep,
All of the animals, so we must reap.

In honour of the gods, we sacrifice,
Preparations before, the months of Ice.
Meat is laid down, for the winter and feast,
Frosty winds now blow, suns power has ceased.

But let us rejoice, mead cup bearing boys,
All join in the feast, and share in the joys.
Delight in the spread, and line the benches,
Drink hail now me lads, to those young wenches.

Spells be laid to, blunt the blade of coldness,
Darkest frosty days, where art thou boldness.
Dreadful Goblins, Grendel bog to banish,
Earthen dwarfs, in Nida’vel’lir to vanish.

Greybeards hath they, endured cruel winter tides,
In dead of night, the darkest elf now strides.
Spirit spell to cast, dark elves to Svartheim,
Let us live to see, another summer time!

Copyright Andrew Rea 2009