Return of the Witch

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To she who is Guardian have I left my sword which is called “Moonfire”–the sword which is made only for my hand. I have dishonoured it in no way, yet I have built into that sword the dreams that are longer than iron and brighter than steel.—E. A. St. George, The Book of A. D. I. C. (Absolute Deity in Infinite Continuums) (1972)

E. A. St. George, aka Elizabeth St. George, known to her friends as Sandra West, was born on November 8, 1937, in London.  When World War II erupted and London was under threat from Nazi bombers, Sandra and her family removed to the Bahamas, where they spent the War. After 1945 the family returned to London.  Sandra was sent to a girls’ school, Roedean, in Brighton.  She was interested in entomology and spent a brief period working at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington.  Throughout her life, she was an outspoken activist on behalf of animals, their care and their rights.  Most ancient Egyptian Deities were associated with animals of one sort or another.  When Elizabeth wrote about these divinities, she included information on the proper care of the animals involved and encouraged those devoted to the ancient cults to actualize their worship through volunteering at animal care organizations and donating money for conservation.

E. A. St. George had an active, vigorous life.  She became formally involved in the occult, it would appear, in her twenties, when she had a stint working at the legendary Atlantis Bookshop.  Later on, she became a familiar figure at occult fairs and Pagan festivals.

I am going to share some of Elizabeth’s poetry here.   Though seldom mentioned in histories of the period,  in my personal research I have found her to have been an exceptional personality in the British Pagan community of the 1970s-2000s. She certainly made a very strong, generally favorable impression on those who knew her, and she was much mourned by her friends and those who had spent time with her when she died on the Full Moon of June 1, 2007.

From the first poem of hers that I was lucky enough to find, in the book Bast and Sekhmet: Eyes of Ra (1999) by Storm Constantine and Eloise Coquio, I felt something very special, an unusual mixture of grace, wit, and sensitivity to the aesthetics of ancient magic and Pagan worship.  And I wanted more.  I am presenting here a minor selection from my research, which has lasted now some fifteen years.  I have found these poems in various books Elizabeth published through her own firm, Spook Enterprises, under the byline of E. A. St. George.

I will start with a poem invoking Mercury, as a phase of Mercury Retrograde is soon to visit us once again.  I myself am quite fond of the Dancing Darling as I like to call Him, but others can have difficulties with His tricky ways and devious arts.  The association with the beech tree may have its origin in the fact that the Druids sometimes used beechwood for tablets on which Ogham was carved; it may be a specifically English correspondence for the most honorable God of Sending and Escorting and Receiving.

Invocation to Mercury, to speed the return of a stolen car (from Return of the Witch)

Thief lord, thief lord, come to me this hour.
Thief lord, swift lord, answer witch’s power,
Sharp Lord, Swift Lord, come to me with speed,
Grant a fiery spirit here to aid me in my need.

Beech lord, beech lord, bring us back our own,
Offerings are in thy hand, we stand before thy throne,
Sharp lord, swift lord, answer us with aid,
Grant thy help unto a witch, a debt must be repaid.

Thief lord, thief lord, bring the vessel back,
Send a hunting spirit fast upon intruder’s track,
Beech lord, sharp lord, keep us in thy care,
Let the car come home again with all its contents rare.

Beech lord, thief lord, little is the time,
Send a hunter spirit swift to swift redress the crime,
Sharp lord, bright lord, knowing all we need,
Let the stolen be returned unharmed, O Lord, at speed!

The Curse of Macha (from The Book of Ghastly Curses)

Gather up a magic spell, summon forth the hounds of Hell!
Over sea and over land, answer to a Witch command
Changing moon from bright to dim,
The hounds of Hell must follow him.

Gather up a magic rite, hounds of hell go forth tonight!
Follow him where he shall go, follow hounds, the Witch’s foe.
Where he lies the blood will mark.
Changing moon from light to dark.

Gather up a magic spell, follow him, O hounds of hell
He who has betrayed must bleed, hounds of hell behold the deed
Changing moon from bright to dim,
The hounds of hell must follow him.

The target as written is male, but it could very easily be rewritten for a female malefactor; something like:

Seethe the cauldron, seethe and stir:
Hounds of Hell must follow her!

Poem XII from Under Regulus: a Handbook of the Magic of Sekhmet (1995) (despite the title, this is a slim booklet of twelve poems with a very short introduction; the first sentence of the latter may be of significance to some:  “The triple star, a Leo, once was considered to rule the heavens.”  She refers to the star of Regulus, one of the Four Royal Stars.)

Thou livest, O star at the heart of the lion.
The life doth surge in thy nostrils, O star.
Hail unto thee.
Hail thou star who dost burn in the heavens, O let me come unto thee.
I will dare the way, even the way through the darkness.
I will dare all the terrors of the underworld.
I will brave the fiends of the void and all the demons thereof.
I will walk the edge of the sword blade to come unto thee.
O star at the heart of Sekhmet.

Equally memorable is this devotional poem in honor of the Lady of the East, the Gracious Bringer of Joy, Royal Bast:

The beautiful cat that endures,
Lead us to peace, O Bast,
We wait for the sound of thy footfall,
Grant us thy sleep, O Bast.
Most beautiful cat that endures,
Guide us through night, O Bast,
We watch for thine eyes in the dark,
Lead us to light, O Bast.

E. A. St. George published many books–it would be fascinating to compile a complete bibliography.  They include such titles as Dog is God spelled Backwards, Voyage to the Cat StarAncient and Modern Cat WorshipGods with Wings, Meretseger the Snake GoddessHorse Lore and MagicA Place called Werewolf HallThe House in Warlock Road, and The Theurgicon.  I have never been able to track down more than a few of these.  Among those I do own, I think my favorite is Return of the Witch, originally published in 1984.  It concludes with yet another poem:

Witch Song

Mother Goddess, wild and free,
Spinner of our Destiny,
Guardian of fated door,
Let the soul return once more.
Moons must wax and moons must wane,
Let the witch return again.

Mother Goddess, wild and dark,
Let the soul the witch-light mark,
Lady who doth guard the gate,
Mother Goddess, shroud of fate,
Moons must rise and wax and wane,
Let the witch soul come again.

Mother Goddess of the way,
Souls come forth from night to day.
Grant the witch return to life,
Seek the rod, the cup, the knife.
Moons must rise and moons must fall,
Grant thy blessing on us all.

motherskemeth

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One Response to Return of the Witch

  1. Yvonne Aburrow says:

    Wonderful – I was unaware of this author, and really enjoyed the poems. Thank you.

    Like

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