book notes

Witchcraft Today: Chapter 5 & 6

Notes made while reading “Witchcraft Today” by G.B.G


  • GBG sees “little people” as pygmies, conflating European legend with current African & South-East Asian races
  • pre-Celtic races, small and strong, good friends but dangerous enemies
  • witches often intermarried with them; hence link between witch & fairy
  • pushed to living on the heath by invaders/conquerors; “heathens”
  • mixed with Roman invaders, took on Roman syncretism of deity
  • cult desired prosperity & fertility for the tribe, life after death in happy conditions, reincarnation into their tribe

Saxons vs. Normans

  • urban Saxons as Christians, rural remain pagan
  • Normans as ex-heathens become Christians in deal with French king
  • Norman elite as members of or friendly with witch cult; i.e. Robert the Devil, William the Conqueror, William Rufus, ladies participating in Sabbats of Bensozia
  • breach between wild, cult-friendly Norman nobles and staid, Xtian Saxons

May games

  • witch sabbats -> foresters parties -> May games
  • orgies, the phallic maypole, coupling in the woods
  • priests leading fertility rites ceased as witchcraft became heresy

Death & afterlife & reincarnation

  • old religion: only initiates went to best heaven for rest before being reincarnated, others went to a heaven where they had to work
  • Xtianity offering paradise to all saved, others go to hell

Knights Templar

  • witch law: power passed cross-gender, only exception is for parent-child, because great love can “occurs between people who go through the rites together” – Templars initiated man to man, led to sin, brought about downfall of order. (There’s a lot to unpack here, mostly GBG’s homophobia)
  • Templars as possible crossover cult: initiation kiss, fertility magic aspects, skyclad, night time worship, Baphomet as the witch god of death and what lies beyond
  • journey to grail as journey of soul through underworld in search of paradise
  • lack of belief in Christ as essential to salvation
  • members disappeared during persecution
  • wearing of cingulum

the Hallows

  • grail, cup, chalice = cauldron of Cerridwen, restores the dead, brings fertility to the land
  • sword, dagger, spear – dripping blood/wine into the cauldron/cup
  • head, skull = Lord of Death

Delicious tidbits

  • GBG offers idea of witches on their way to sabbat as origin of Wild Hunt myths
  • also connects chivalry with cult of the goddess
  • witches have methods for inducing otherworldy powers, only works on those who are sympatico
  • Robin Hood doubles as spirit of the wood, leading his coven of 12 including HPS Marian, all dressed in fairy green
  • significance of numbers 3, 5 and 8
  • “It has occurred to me the witches have a rite which involves kissing and then beating an object, with the intention of charging it with power. It is not a cross and they do not speak or think of it as a cross; but on reading this account it struck me that an observer at a little distance might easily mistake it for one. It is rather cross-shaped.”
  • the HPS standing with arms crossed = skull and crossbones = God of Death
  • the HPS transitions into legs apart and arms outstretched = pentacle = Goddess of Life

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