How often have your nerves been jangled by the use of the term ‘Bitchcraft’ when referring to Witch wars, forum squabbles and factional arguments?
As if Witches were no more than a two-legged canine species who are beyond any sort of self-control or of acting responsibly upon the power of reasoning, incapable of discernment and who engage in rip-roaring altercations where all that is requested of one is to bark louder than the next, yap and bite with the aim to injure the opponent, come what may, in any manner possible, no matter what, without any regard, respect, compassion or common courtesy for whom it is we might be dealing with?!
Its use should be discouraged, unlearned and discarded as something demeaning which incites folk to a negative attitude, creates an excuse for the cultivation of unacceptable uncooperative spirit as well as the promotion of unwillingness to discuss or work together despite differences. It prevents coming to the understanding regarding the benefit of differences, the privilege of coming to satisfactory compromises (an agreement to disagree with decorum), in the knowledge that opposing ideologies favour and permit the freedom of choice for the multiple types of personalities who approach our path.
Throughout the evolution of mankind our genes have carried vital and important information necessary for our survival. Our instincts are part of this genetic memory, a remembering that is passed through to us at conception, through our DNA. Everything that resonates with energy has this form of memory, as does the Earth and the entire Cosmos. Animals have the genetic memory which advises them when to hibernate, which prompts the Earth and all its creatures to commence awakening at Spring. Birds lay eggs, trees sprout leaves and blossoms; everything is geared towards another, brand-new cycle. Likewise we inherit our parents’ propensity for alcoholism, rash tempers, aggressive behaviour or a hardworking nature.
Is the mystery of our argumentative natures, our inevitable resorting to this so-called bitchcraft locked within our genes? Has the behaviour and ways of our Celtic progenitors come down through the ages to us through genetic memory? Well, not being comfortable with bad science nor being willing to succumb to weak spiritual postulations, I will visit certain historical facts and analyze this possibility and treating it merely as interesting food for thought. In one of my previous articles I wrote about our common Celtic ancestry, so it is right here that I will commence our analysis.
The Celts (Galloi/Keltoi) were an aggressive race that loved war. They were organized into Clans and when they were not engaged in war, they took to farming, fishing and animal husbandry. Their priests, the Druids, were their holy men, teachers, political advisers, law keepers, ambassadors, law enforcers and physicians. One can quite comfortably say that the Druids were the glue that held together Celtic Society and culture.
Is it any different today? We are still belligerent people who love a good argument, who organize ourselves in Groves, Covens, Clans and Kindred. We are very attached to our group and hostile towards others. We are still a priestly warrior class and our leaders are expected to be law keepers, political champions, advisors, healers, teachers, etc. Our spiritual leaders still pave the way and work towards unison in autonomy.
In Julius Caesar’s ‘The Conquest of Gaul’ he says “In Gaul, not only every tribe, canton, and subdivision of a canton, but almost every family, is divided into rival factions. The object of this ancient custom seems to have been to ensure that all the common people should have protection against the strong; for each leader sees that no one gets the better of his supporters by force or by cunning – or if he fails to do so, is utterly discredited.” Julius Caesar further describes the Germanic tribes as utterly warlike and similarly factionalized.
A typical part of Celtic warfare was that of single combat. Strict rules governed this folkway and it was termed fir fer (fair play). This rule stated that a single combatant would be opposed only by another single opponent. In the Tain, the Connachtman Ferchu Loingseach went into combat with his men, against Cu Chulainn “and they came forward to the place where Cu Cuchlainn was, and they did not grant him fair play or single combat, but all 12 of them attacked him straight away.”
Is this not reminiscent of our behaviour on certain contemporary chat forums when allies join forces, against the controversial / militant / radical / liberal thinker or ‘outsider’ who may come across as being a possible threat to the status quo of forum, or even of being an energy which may revolutionize the thinking of that said collective?
In the Mabinogion, we read about single combat when Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, is approached by Arawn, King of Annwn (the Otherworld) to request assistance in a single combat against Hafgan, his rival. The battle takes place in a ford. “Gentles, give good heed. It is between two kings that this meeting is, and that between their two bodies and each of them is a claimant against the other, and that for land and territory; and each of you may stand aside and let the fight be between them”.
Does this not remind us of those amongst us who are gifted with peace-making skills, their fairness untouched by their own personal bias or opinion?
Our Celtic heroes would begin to spoil for battle by reviling each other all the while praising their own ancestors and Clan, as well as boldly announcing their own battle skills and boast about their prowess. This behaviour would stir up fury and passionate rage in their hearts, preparing them thus for battle, to which they would give themselves viciously, with bloodthirsty lust as well as gut-wrenching brutality.
On going to battle, the warrior would request that his charioteer assist him by saying the right words to him, whilst driving the chariot towards the enemy ranks. This is obvious in the Tain, when Cu Chulainn encounters his foster-brother Loeg on the battlefield. He asks his charioteer “You see yonder, my friend Laeg, the worry brilliant wonderful feats performed by Fer Diad, and in due course now all those feats will be directed against me. Therefore, if it be I who am defeated this day, you must incite me and revile me and speak evil of me, so that my ire and anger shall rise the higher thereby. But if it be I who inflict defeat, you must exhort me and praise me and speak well of me, that thereby my courage rise higher.”
Diodorus Siculus wrote “And when some one accepts their challenge to battle they proudly recite the deeds of valour of their ancestors and proclaim their own valourous quality at the same time abusing and making little of their opponent and generally attempting to rob him beforehand of his fighting spirit.”
In his memoirs, Emperor Augustus said that it was good for men to do what their forefathers had always done even if they no longer believed in the efficacy of its practice. In other words, it is good to keep the ways and culture of our ancestors alive through their continued practice.
Should we continue to deny that which we really are? Should we not rather know ourselves intimately and attempt to become true to our inherent nature, striving for its refinement through the adoption of ancestral tactics and modus operandi, as well as through the re-introduction of ancient ethics and the cultural principle of fir fer?
If the mystery of our argumentative natures is locked within our genes, then may the time honoured tradition of bitchcraft be restored to its former glory and remain with us for all future generations of free-thinkers and occult practitioners.
Everyday Life of the Pagan Celts by Anne Ross (1970)
Tain Bo Dualnge by C. O’Rahilly (1967)
The Mabinogion (1949 translation)
The Celtic Ethnography of Posidonius, Vol.60, Section C No.5 by J.J. Tierney (1960)
The Histories by Polybius (1960)
The Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar, translated by S.A. Handford (1951)