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Category: History and Folklore

Lammas and the legend of John Barleycorn

August 5th, 2022

Lammas: the first harvest festival of the Wiccan wheel of the year!

This rite is celebrated at the beginning of August (1st/2nd) and marks the grain harvest and the first yield from the union of the god and goddess. It is a spectacular time to commemorate, full of intriguing myths and fascinating deities to honour!

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Kill or Cure: Victorian Remedies

June 30th, 2022

The Victorian era is known for many advancements in society, and none so important as the understanding of medicine with the groundbreaking development of anesthesia and the establishment of antiseptic surgery. However, by today’s standards the practices are considered truly peculiar and on the verge of butchery in some cases! But the remedies used for the common ailments were undoubtedly fascinating.

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The Medieval Method: Torture

April 26th, 2022

The Middle Ages conjures images of impoverished peasants, filthy prison cells, and torture chambers reserved for even the most minor crimes. And those contraptions designed to extract confessions and punish sinners were created with utmost barbarity – many devices were constructed in such a way that death didn’t come for hours even days. Such are the methods of an experienced torturer – to maim but not murder until what they needed was obtained!

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The Tale of the Vampire

March 4th, 2022

The vampire is known to anyone who has ever opened a book or seen a film – characterised typically by a lust for blood or flesh, sharp fangs, and an undead form.

From the teen heartthrobs of Twilight to the kickass creatures of Blade, vampires have been part of modern fantasy and fiction. But could there be any truth to the original stories? Are these tales purely the work of frightful imagination or is there any real evidence of the vampire accounts?

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Krampus: The Dark Side of Christmas

December 23rd, 2021

Who is Krampus?

Krampus is a less well-known figure associated with the Christmas holiday – while St Nicholas rewards the good children, Krampus punishes the bad!

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Poe: Man of Mystery

November 26th, 2021

Edgar Allan Poe, circa 1849Everyone who is into gothic culture knows the name, Edgar Allan Poe. The genius writer of gothic literature is as well-known as The Adams Family or Frankenstein to anyone who is a fan of the dark side of life! Poe was a master crafter of mystery and the macabre but did you know his own death was just as mysterious as his works? The circumstances surrounding his demise are still unclear and the cause remains never truly understood.

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Halloween Myths and Magic!

October 28th, 2021

At long last, it is that time we have all been waiting for… Samhain, All-Souls Eve – HALLOWEEN!

And what is more iconic than those scary-looking carved pumpkins sitting on every porch or in every window? But where did this tradition come from? Why the big orange veg?

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Wiccan Harvest Festival: MABON

September 20th, 2021

What is Mabon?

The Wheel of the Year is turning and for many people, this means the descent into those dreary darker months – cue colder weather (more unpredictable than usual), darker nights and leaves falling fast!
But it is also a wondrous time of year for those that follow the seasons as we approach our Autumn Equinox; Mabon. (September 21st-22nd)

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Baphomet: Deity or Demon?

August 12th, 2021

Who is Baphomet?

Baphomet is a mystery. A contradictory and enticing symbol depicting a goat headed god with both male and female anatomy often surrounded by symbols and markings. And currently Baphomet is more popular than ever; influencing subculture scenes, fashion and much more! But it is so often misunderstood and is frequently tarnished with the same ideology of being a symbol of darkness and evil. In fact, Baphomet is not so simple as that. And to say that Baphomet is meant to represent all things in the universe is only the tip of the iceberg.

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Happy St. George’s Day

April 23rd, 2021

We would like to wish everybody a happy St. George’s Day.

To learn more about the story of St. George and the Dragon you can read our previous blog here.

We Wish You a Scary Christmas

December 20th, 2019

Once upon a time, before Christmas became sanitised, Americanised and candy-coated by Santa Claus and Coca Cola, in Europe Yuletide was more ominous, weird, and occasionally downright scary than jolly. Few are better qualified to explore the dark side of the holiday season than the Folk Horror Revival group. ‘Folk’ has recently become the hottest buzzword in horror circles, ‘folk horror’ the term to describe that elusive area where rural folklore and arcane tradition intertwine with the ghostly and ghastly on page and screen. In early December of this year the Folk Horror Revival group held a symposium on all things spooky and seasonal they entitled Winter Ghosts 2019.

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The Story of Stingy Jack

October 25th, 2019

Pumpkin HeadWith Halloween just around the corner it seems like a good time to explore the history of the popular pumpkin-based lighting solution known as the jack-o’-lantern.

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The End of the World – Medieval Style

February 22nd, 2019

The Book of Revelation – the final book of the Bible – describes the coming end of the world. Written in the 1st Century AD, the author appeared to expect the Apocalypse to occur in their lifetime. Happily, they were disappointed, but Christians have remained fascinated by the subject ever since, with doomsayers keeping it alive by reinterpreting Revelation to refer to their own age, or creating their own version of the imminent End Times. During eras like the Middle Ages, when few people could read, such warnings needed to be communicated visually.

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Cannibalism, Human Sacrifice, and the King of the Werewolves

August 19th, 2016

LykaionAncient Greece is most often associated with its intellectual achievements – in fields like philosophy, mathematics, and politics – leading many to regard it as the bedrock of Western civilisation. But a recent archaeological discovery has served as a grim reminder that the Ancient Greeks had a sinister side.

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The Lost Library of the Queens Sorcerer

November 17th, 2015

John_DeeIStudents of the occult and devotees of the darker fringes of history will be delighted to hear that the Royal College of Physicians, in Regent’s Park London, are planning an exhibition dedicated to John Dee. A pioneering scholar – learned in mathematics, philosophy and navigation – Dee was one of the most fascinating and brilliant figures at the 16th century court of the English queen Elizabeth I, universally admired for his learning.

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