Call of the Selkie
Folk magic has strong ritualistic animism roots. It is often separated into white and black magic by anthropologists. Healing and protection from harm considered white benevolent magic. While necromancy (raising of spirits) and the evil eye (cursing) considered black malevolent magic. There is also a third kind that is called prognostic magic, which includes divination and prophecy. All kinds are alchemical. Work with the hidden forces of nature and the elements of air, fire, water and earth. Folk magic is carried out for a specific purpose, such as to affect the weather, ensure a good crop, to heal or harm. Its rites/rituals were often carried out in public but the incantations were of great importance and known only to a few who muttered them in secret.
In ancient Caledonia, there were cults of wells, trees, stones and animals. There were over six hundred healing wells in Scotland at one time. Many trees were sacred to the Celts with the Oak venerated as the symbol of power, with the Rowan was said to be a potent protection charm. There were many magical herbs including St. John's Wort that was said to prevent someone from being taken by the fairies. Certain stones such as menhairs, dolmens and cromlechs (stone circles) like the Callanish, Stones of Stennis and the Clava Circles were also sacred. The most famous in Scotland is perhaps the stone of destiny which was used in ancient king making rituals. Stones were also used to bear witness to important oaths. Some were regarded as places of sanctuary. Some credited with great healing and fertility powers. Amongst the magical animals of Scotland were the serpent, the salmon and the bull. Reverence was paid to the cycles of the sun and the moon. Men tipped their bonnets to the sun and women bowed to the moon. The Celtic seasonal fire-festivals of Samhuinn, Imbolc, Bealltan and Lugnassad had many associated holy rites. Almost all began with the ceremony of walking three times around the circle in a sun-wise direction, as the journey of the sun was considered sacred. The right hand turn (deiseil) is regarded as the way of 'good', while the left hand turn (widdershins) is associated with 'evil'.
In Scotland, we have a rich culture of documented folk customs and beliefs. We have our own magical traditions of druids, seers, healers, keeners, charmers, cunning folk, wise women and a faery faith. It is some of these old Scottish folk ways, along with stories from my land that are at the core of my own practice. I often hold small gatherings at each of the quarter days for those that are interested in traditional folk customs and beliefs. I also run other workshops that focus on elemental folk magic. Please get in touch if you would like more information.
"The course was both spiritual and informative. I've learnt how to use different energies for healing and also lots of different techniques. It has changed me in many ways. I am more aware of nature and have released some negative thought patterns and emotions". (David Connor)