Dance with the Witches



Come horse, come hound, come leaping toads,
Down from the forests and over the roads,
Through all the meadows and over the ditches;
Off to the Sabbath to dance with the witches.
Beavers and badgers and nocturnal creatures;
Cats, bats and howlets with comical features,
Flying and creeping and crawling and walking,
Dancing and singing and laughing and talking.
Folks from the cottages, people with riches
Come altogether to dance with the witches.
Flowers from the hedges with mosses and litchen
Carried by ladies and maids from the kitchen:
Squires from the manors and boys from the stable,
Young folk and old folk and all who are able,
Travel by twilight avoiding all hitches;
Everyone rushing to dance with the witches.
Round the bonfire they go merrily tripping,
Yelling and screaming and jumping and skipping,
Free as the wind they keep dancing and shrieking,
Bodies all gleaming and sweating and reeking.
This is far better than all of your riches;
Throw off your cares and let’s dance with the witches.
In the pale moonlight they romp till the morning,
When everybody is tired out and yawning.
Loudly they shout in the highest of pitches,
“O for the nights when we dance with the witches!”

–Arnold Crowther

The Samhain tide rises, in all its serene, dark, lustrous beauty.  The Old Ones draw near.  Our beloved Dead gather around the fires of hearth and heath.  The Inner World and the Outer change places.  Nothing is quite as it seems.  Shakespeare’s Wyrd Sisters sang:

Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover in the dark and filthy air!

The great cauldron of the Goddess moves betimes widdershins.  Her sacred Spiral coils and uncoils.  We learn many lessons.  Tears must be shed e’er the Moon is drawn down.

I had an experience yesterday that almost literally gave me a punch to the gut.  I was very forcibly reminded that the discipline of Witchcraft is a deeply physical one; that the wisdom of the flesh is not to be trifled with or thrust aside with contempt or willful ignorance; that for the Witch, the body is intimately bound up with mind, spirit, soulfire. Turn from this at your peril.

I feel so keenly the throb of the spirits as the leaves of my Teachers, the trees, turn to scarlet and umber and gold, the air arches keenly into my lungs with a hint of the Crone’s winnowing scythe, the bright ruthless skies of Autumn shine with an ever more glorious gleam that tell of the Winter that is to come.  I listen to the inward music of the Samhain rites approaching and remember the feral glory of my lover’s passionate clasp around my loins.  I weep for my Dead and I sing their praises with joy.  It is the tide of Samhain.  The Darkness will bestow its Blessings and the Spirits will have their due.

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