A Blood Witch's Initiation

 

The Dark Baptism

While European traditional witchcraft practices, such as the ‘dark baptism’—performed at a witches’ sabbath—or coven gathering, is an important part of history, the witch trials and ‘burning times’ in Scotland during the sixteenth and seventeenth century, these traditions and rituals are relevant in the present time and have been a crucial part of my bloodline’s craft for centuries. Ceremonial practices such as these—commonly performed by a traditional blood witch, Satanic witch or their coven—are highly controversial and severely intense, but are also a proclamation of raging femininity and the conquering of patriarchal control. 

“Demonologically-themed witch-records commonly describe witches’ sabbaths . . . at which the demonic pact and sexual relations with the Devil were performed . . . Witches in the Auldern region formed covens which periodically met in the presence of the Devil at the quarters . . . there was disciplinary ritual and a hierarchy . . . the coven made obeisance to the Devil and engaged in promiscuous sex . . .”

Emma Wilby, from The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland

Throughout my family’s history, a blood witch’s bond to the Devil is consummated through the ceremonial act of the ‘dark baptism’ during which the witch seeking initiation into our bloodline’s coven will renounce the Catholic faith and offer themselves to the Devil by spiritually surrendering body and heart. Often this ritual is performed with the interweaving of blood and sex magick throughout intercourse between the witch and their lover—one who they have chosen and intuitively understand to be an important link between themselves and our creator. The sexual and passionate force exchanged between the witch, her lover and spirit partner during this ritual binds the witch to our coven and the Devil himself. 

“I put one of my hands on the crown of my head and the other to the sole of my foot and renounced all between my two hands to the Devil . . . He marked me in the shoulder and sucked out my blood from the mark and spat it into his hand . . .

Isobel Gowdie, from The Confessions of Isobel Gowdie, Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland, compiled by Robert Pitcairn

While it was said to be a common tradition throughout the history of European witchcraft that a witch would be given ‘the Devil’s mark’ during an initiation ceremony, in my family of hereditary witches—we were born with this distinct mark upon our flesh. We carry this trait without shame as a declaration of our vow to ‘live deliciously,’ if you will—that is, we have chosen to live a life of creation and magick—crafting art, passion, romance; all that is erotic, fulfilling and that which we deem sacred. We live without restriction, allowing ourselves to embrace all that the dark divine has to offer us. 

This particular chosen path is often represented poorly—or distorted entirely, implying witches of our kind seek to hurt or destroy—and yet, our only genuine desire is liberation and the ability to choose for ourselves. Our path is one that relinquishes our kind from oppression, and it has done so for centuries. 

Though not all witches believe in or worship the Devil (or even follow a darker path)—and the ‘dark baptism’ is not considered to be a common practice involved in the craft of modern-day witches—the ritual itself remains an important part of the history of European traditional witchcraft. It is a dark and primal rite representing the birth of the witch—the beauty of declaring oneself as a powerful and independent individual capable of crafting their fate through the manipulation of magick. 

I shall turn into a crow, with sorrow and sigh – and a black throw! And I’ll go in the Devil’s name, aye while I come again.

Isobel Gowdie, from The Confessions of Isobel Gowdie, Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland, compiled by Robert Pitcairn

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.

 

The Tradition of Handfasting

 

A Timeless Romantic Rite

Handfasting, a Celtic binding ritual and blood oath, is a tradition that has been a rite of passage for the Scottish for many centuries. At the time of a wedding, a handfasting is a romantic sacrament that involves a bloodletting by a cut on the wrists or palms. After reciting vows, the betrothed are bound, blood to blood, with a soft garment which is tied in a knot to represent a spiritual lacing of hearts—it also denotes the integration of two paths, so from that moment on the lovers walk through life together. 

Traditionally, the practice of ‘tying the knot’ was a lifelong promise of love and devotion to another and was taken very seriously by the Scottish. While the custom of ceremonial handfasting drastically faded by the late 19thcentury, the ritual is still appreciated by many who carry on their family’s traditions. Handfasting has also been adapted to be performed throughout nature-based religion wedding ceremonies (commonly Wiccan or Pagan)—though often without the inclusion of a blood oath.

Blood oaths and binding rituals such as a handfasting are traditions that have been crucial parts of my bloodline’s practices for many centuries. Coming from a lineage of hereditary blood witches, it is our innate calling and desire to manifest through the art of blood magick. Blood is life and death—it is passion and pain—the fluid of the heart flowing through the veins. Blood is the force which binds us to each other and those who came before us. Throughout the performance of witchcraft, the integration of our own blood ties us to our passions and longings. Blood is a powerful tool which can be used to intimately personalize any spell or ritual, especially one which has been crafted to sew heart and soul together in romantic love, like the Celtic handfasting rite.

Handfasting is only one of the many romantic traditions practiced by our Celtic relatives that is fading away with time. As witches cultivating our own customs and rites today, some might say that it is important to also remember, or even carry on, the practices of our loved ones who lived before us, and to know that there is much to be found in our past and our blood. As we celebrate the magical nature of connection and the witch’s coven this month, now makes for a wonderful time to ask your relatives about their roots and perhaps along the way, hunt through your history to reveal a world of enchantment that lives within you.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.

 

Rose Salve Recipe

 

Crafted by Effy Winter

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of olive oil

  • 1 ounce of beeswax

  • 1 handful of dried red rose petals

  • 1 handful of dried pink rose petals

  • 1 teaspoon of crushed rose thorns

  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary

  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme

  • 5 drops of rose oil

  • 3 drops of blood (from the witch and a lover)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pour 1 cup of olive oil into a glass jar. Add your herbs (rose petals, crushed thorns [for penetrating/binding hearts], rosemary and thyme ). Add 5 drops of rose oil and 3 drops of blood into the herb mixture.

Allow this mixture to sit for 3 – 6 weeks so the properties of the herbs may be absorbed into the oil. After 3 – 6 weeks have passed, warm 1 ounce of beeswax on the stove on low/medium heat. 

When the beeswax is melted, add your oil/herb mixture into the pot. Stir the wax and oil well.

Pour the mixture into a container (tin is recommended) and allow it to cool and harden.

 

USE/APPLICATION:

Before using this flying ointment, perform a spot test. Apply a pea-sized amount of the salve to the inside of your wrist to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction. Discontinue use if irritation occurs. Before a sex ritual, anoint your skin (and your lover’s) with the salve, applying it to your wrists, ankles, temples, forehead and over the heart. You may anoint your entire body if you wish but avoid sensitive areas and the mucous membranes. 

After ritual, make sure to wash off the ointment using soap and water.

All information given is for entertainment purposes only. Spot test for allergies 24 hours prior to use. Discontinue if an allergic reaction, redness or irritation is noticeable. Always use caution when applying any product containing essential oils. Results may vary, and the recipe listed should only be followed by those with the knowledge and reverence for doing so.

Witch Way Magazine and Effy Winter are not responsible for the improper use, reactions, or results of how you use this product. Please consult your doctor or healthcare provider for any contraindications and/or interactions with current medications. Always inform your healthcare provider if you are taking any herbal remedies or supplements.

*Please note that The Lovers’ Rose Salve recipe does not include any hallucinogens for safety/liability precautions. For those interested in the original family recipe, please contact Effy Winter privately by reaching out to Witch Way Magazine’s staff at contact@witchwaymagazine.com.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.

 

Romantic Incantations & Rose Witchcraft

 

I carve through roses of blood and flame
to find my heart weeping near the lovers’ haven.

A hymn pours from my flushed mouth,
bleeding into a garden of hell
and softly I wilt,

a bouquet on fire within your sore flesh.

Poetry/Incantation by Effy Winter,
from Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019)

The rose, commonly referred to by many as The Queen of Flowers, has been used in traditional witchcraft for centuries for its powerful properties which invoke love, lust and romance. The flower itself is a symbol of beauty, love and truth—therefore, it is often gifted from one lover to another—but in many cultures this flower also represents death and rebirth. Throughout history it has become a common tradition to plant roses upon a loved one’s grave or leave this flower as a symbolic gift which acknowledges the survival of a soul after its vessel has perished. Most importantly, the rose represents the depth of true love—it is a flower of worship, devotion and eternal adoration. According to ancient legend, the rose is said to have been created during the birth of The Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, and the rose blooms red for the first time upon the fatal wounding of her lover, Adonis, while she cradles his dying body. Her tears intertwine with a pool of his blood and thus, this hauntingly striking flower is born making it the powerful representation of romance that it remains to be to this day.

Rose (Rosaceae) Magickal Correspondences 

Botanical Name: Rosa
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Uses: Love, Lust, Romance, Healing, Divination

For practitioners of love and sex magick, nothing is more sacred than the rose. Its petals can be used to make salves, sleep sachets, love drawing baths, romance oils and garland, and the flower’s thorns/decay may also be of use when crafting a curse to be cast upon an ex romantic partner that has caused deep anguish within one’s heart. As a blood witch, knowing the rose’s symbolic connection to blood makes this a powerful flower and ingredient that I use often throughout my personal practice of the craft. The rose is an ideal offering to leave upon an altar while worshipping gods and goddesses of love and fire, as well as dark deities which radiate sensuality, intensity and a special bond to romance itself.

A fountain of blood pours from my crown of roses. 

I need to be thin so that you are able to swallow this soreness
of red flowering, putridity,
the chrysalis. 

I worship in my wet deathgown of blushing flesh. 

Poetry/Incantation by Effy Winter,
from Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019) 

As I’ve touched upon before in my article, Origins of the Witch’s Flying Ointment (appearing in Witch Way Magazine’s November 2018 digital issue), the crafting of magickal salves was an important tradition passed down from one Satanic witch to another within my bloodline. Most of the ointments made by myself and my witch foremothers have been crafted to be of aid during sex rituals or the performance of love magick serving to bond two hearts to each other eternally in the presence of our deliciously dark god. Here, you will find my family’s recipe for The Lovers’ Rose Salve.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.

 

The Witch's Whisk

 

European Witchcraft & Hereditary Traditions

As a modern-day hereditary blood witch, the practices of my bloodline have been passed down through the women in my family for generations and these traditions are deep-rooted within the heart of my craft—they are crucial when it comes to the art of practicing dark, traditional witchcraft. My witch mothers, natural-born hedgecrossers, relied on magickal tools such as flying ointments and brooms which were extremely useful to them when crossing the veil. Amongst their tools used during spellwork was what is commonly referred to as a witch’s whisk—an herb bundle which aided them throughout sacred rituals.

The witch’s whisk, which European traditional witches used for cleansing and protection, is a bundle of blackberry twigs bound at one end with dark twine. The whisk is coated in handmade blackberry stain and hung to dry before being burned during a ritual, séance or spellcasting—the witch taking care to weave her sacred circle using the magickal properties of the blackberry twigs. Though the witch’s whisk was often crafted for the purpose of purification by many magickal practitioners and healers in Western Europe during the 16th century, my family recognized it as a powerful shadow work tool. The coven of Satanic blood witches within my lineage deeply cherished the blackberry plant and found it to be exceptionally important to their craft—it has been said that it was the blackberry bush that cradled those who fell from heaven. My Scottish witch mothers coated these blackberry twig bundles with their blood (sometimes menstrual fluids when casting bewitchments for fertility) and used this tool to hold a sacred space during ritual or a coven sister’s dark baptism.

While blackberry is widely known for its ability to cleanse and banish, this plant is said to belong to the fairies which makes the witch’s whisk an influential tool in fairy magick. For theistic Satanic witches who follow the path of dark European traditional witchcraft, blackberry is a hallowed fruit if it is offered by the Fairy Queen—an important figure in Western European folk magick and the lore of The British Isles—she is often associated with the Devil and the dark craft. According to Celtic fairy lore and historical written confessions from women within my lineage, alongside the Fairy Queen, the Devil would guide witches to their spirit lovers—this is one of the many reasons why my witch mothers performed sex rituals at their Sabbats. To find out more about the witch’s spirit lover or my bloodline’s magickal practices, read my previous articles which appear in Witch Way Magazine’s 2018 autumn and winter digital issues.

The witch’s whisk may have in fact led to the development of the modern-day kitchen whisk. Dating as far back as the 1600s, documentation of Pagan recipes indicate that bundles of twigs would be tied together and used throughout food preparation to infiltrate a floral fragrance or fruit sap into a dish by using a whisking motion and beating the cooking batter—eventually this practice inspired the kitchen whisk we use today which was invented during the early 1800s.

For witches who are drawn to or follow the path of European folk magick, traditional dark magick and/or are of strong Celtic descent, I would recommend the use of a witch’s whisk when it comes to cleansing and protecting a sacred circle or drawing in power throughout the performance of dark magick. This is a powerful herb bundle and a tradition that is often overshadowed by the practices of modern witchcraft. For Celtic witches especially, the witch’s whisk can prove to be a very precious magickal tool.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.

 

The Witch's Spirit Lover

 

Sustaining a Romantic Relationship with a Dead Familiar

The witch’s spirit lover and familiar is a spirit of the dead who forms a romantic and lifelong bond with a witch offering them passion, care and guidance throughout their practice of the craft—they may act as a teacher or servant for the witch. This is a relationship that is based upon mutual respect and love. The spirit lover may be a soulmate or even a familial spirit of the witch’s kin, but the witch also has the ability to cultivate a romantic relationship with a spirit by summoning one themselves (a spirit cannot be forced into this—both the witch and spirit must be in agreement).

Bonding with a spirit lover was a crucial part of my bloodline’s practice of traditional witchcraft. My witch mothers harnessed power through the art of sex magic and found catharsis in romantic vitality—they would often invoke their dead familiars during coven gatherings, partaking in copulation with their spirit lovers throughout the Sabbat. My family’s traditions have taught me how to intensify my relationship with the dead (which has proven to be very rewarding) through hedgecrossing, which I will discuss in the next part of this article. 

When a witch is bonded with a spirit lover/dead familiar, it is imperative that this relationship flourishes, as this strengthens a witch’s magic and spellcasting and blooms passion within the heart. Though the familiar may be worshipped and cared for with offerings from the witch, copulating in the spirit realm is a beautiful way to cherish this passionate bond.

 

The Art of Hedgecrossing

Hedgecrossing is the practice of traveling outside of the physical body and passing into the Otherworld. When a witch crosses into the spirit realm, they have the ability to speak to the dead and interact intimately with their deities, spirits and loved ones. Hedgecrossing was the most effective way for my relatives to further develop their relationships with their spirit lovers/dead familiars. They were able to do this by crafting flying ointment (used to aid a witch in crossing into the Otherworld). In last month’s issue, you will find my recipe for a salve for sensual hedgecrossing. It was crafted to help a witch partake in sexual relations with their spirit lover. In this article, I will teach you how to use it.

How to Bond with A Spirit Lover and Familiar

After crafting a flying ointment for sensual hedgecrossing and allowing it to age in your cupboard, coat your body in the salve from head to toe, careful not to cover parts of your body that may be irritated by the ointment.

Find a place to relax and meditate—this can be in a dark bedroom or out in nature in the middle of the night (which I find works best). Close your eyes and concentrate on connecting your energy to the spirit you are wanting to bond with. During this time, the flying ointment will aid you in slipping into a trance-like state—you may begin lucid dreaming. Witches’ flight can be achieved naturally but might require practice for some. Be patient with yourself. It is important to remember that you must let yourself go. Let your body dissolve around you and do not overthink this practice. Embrace the blackness that you see and feel your spirit fall away into another world.

When your spirit begins to leave your body, you will feel as if you are floating and all of your senses may be heightened. Often times, the witch will see their physical body below them as they separate from it. As you make your way through the veil to the Otherworld, take care not to follow clouded areas that feel unsafe. Understand that there are risks that come with spirit flight—many things exist in this realm. Always protect yourself and call upon your guides if you need them.

After bonding with your spirit lover in the Otherworld, begin returning to the physical plane. Ease back into your body. Allow yourself to gently return to the world of the living and expect that you may feel light-headed from crossing between the veil. Make sure to wash off the flying ointment after spirit flight.

Find more information on flying ointment and my salve for sensual hedgecrossing in Witch Way Magazine’s November 2018 issue.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.

 

Salve for Sensual Hedgecrossing

 

Crafted by Effy Winter

When using this flying ointment, a healthy reaction may include feeling lightheaded, flushed and euphoric. Your senses are likely to be enhanced and you will feel as if you are existing in a dream-like state. This ointment is a natural aphrodisiac and is intended to aid a witch in connecting with her spirit lover. Although the ways of my ancestors were effective, their practices were not considered to be harmless but risky. I do not recommend applying this ointment to the mucous membranes in case you need to quickly wash it off due to a reaction—you do not want it to be smeared inside of your body. As always, please use caution when handling your herbs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of olive oil

  • 1 ounce of beeswax

  • 1 handful of rosebuds

  • 1 teaspoon of jasmine flower

  • 1 teaspoon of lavender

  • 1 teaspoon of valerian root

  • 1 pinch of damiana*

  • 3 drops of jasmine oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pour 1 cup of olive oil into a glass jar.

Add your herbs (rosebuds, jasmine flower, lavender, valerian and *damiana).

Add 3 drops of jasmine oil into the herb mixture/oil.

Allow this mixture to sit for 3 – 6 weeks so the properties of the herbs may be absorbed into the oil.

After 3 – 6 weeks have passed, warm 1 ounce of beeswax on the stove on low/medium heat.

When the beeswax is melted, add your oil/herb mixture into the pot. Stir the wax and oil well.

Pour the mixture into a container (tin is recommended) and allow it to cool and harden.

 

USE/APPLICATION:

Before using this flying ointment, perform a spot test. Apply a pea-sized amount of the salve to the inside of your wrist to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction. Discontinue use if irritation occurs. Anoint your skin with the salve, applying it to your wrists, ankles, temples, forehead and over the heart. You may anoint your entire body if you wish but avoid sensitive areas and the mucous membranes. When you return from your spirit flight, make sure to wash off the ointment using soap and water.

*Damiana acts as a sedative and may induce a very mild high. Using this herb is optional.

Spot test for allergies 24 hours prior to use. Discontinue if an allergic reaction, redness or irritation is noticeable. Always use caution when applying any product containing essential oils. Results may vary, and the recipe listed should only be followed by those with the knowledge and reverence for doing so.

Effy Winter is not responsible for the improper use, reactions, or results of how you use this product. Please consult your doctor or healthcare provider for any contraindications and/or interactions with current medications. Always inform your healthcare provider if you are taking any herbal remedies or supplements.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.

 

Origins of the Witch's Flying Ointment

 

A Bloodline’s Traditions

Flying ointment, which originated thousands of years ago, was a salve or oil made of animal fat and hallucinogenic herbs. Through historical text and the written accounts of those who came before us we have learned that during the Middle Ages this ointment was concocted by the traditional witch to help initiate spirit flight, also known as hedgecrossing—the practice of traveling outside of the physical body and passing into the Otherworld.  

During the crafting of flying ointment, animal fat was used to absorb a plant’s mind-altering chemicals called tropane alkaloids. The concoction would age in the dark for months before being smeared upon the skin of the witch, making her body a vessel for magical properties that would invoke hallucinations, wild rides and frenzied dancing throughout sleep or a dream-like state. Spirits would then unroot the witch and drag her into their realm. An alternative method and tradition of applying flying ointment involved the witch anointing a wooden staff or broomstick and straddling it. Doing this helped her absorb the ointment through the mucous membranes, as it was considered dangerous or lethal to ingest the concoction. This practice accounts for why we have artwork which depicts naked witches flying on brooms. Today, the traditions and crafting of flying ointment is considered to be a precarious and controversial practice, as many of the herbs used by magical practitioners during the Middle Ages were poisonous, having the potential to cause serious illness or death if used unwisely. Witches of this time period typically used herbs of the nightshade family in their flying ointment such as mandrake, belladonna, henbane and datura which had powerful hallucinogenic properties.

The witches within my bloodline are known for their ability to perform blood magic but they are also skilled in hedgecrossing and have used flying ointment since the late 1600s to drift into the spirit realm and connect with their deities, guides and loved ones, but the salves they crafted were most commonly used before hedgecrossing to a sabbath, black mass or a blood witch’s dark baptism. During these rituals and gatherings my witch mothers would engage in practicing the craft with their coven, consummating with spirits, gods or the Devil himself. Discreetly performing spellwork by hedgecrossing protected them during the Burning Times when witches were being tortured and executed for their beliefs and traditions. It was not always safe to conduct coven meetings in the physical.

As a modern-day hereditary witch that carries on the practices of my predecessors, the tradition and crafting of the flying ointment is a very important part of my craft. Often times I use flying ointment and a sex magic enchantment to consummate with my lover who resides in the spirit realm. Here, you will find my original flying ointment recipe for sensual hedgecrossing. The herbs used in this ointment are non-toxic and do not contain hallucinogenic properties—though damiana is known to have a mild sedative effect (using this herb is optional). It is safe for beginners and those who are interested in practicing hedge witchcraft.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.

 

A Hereditary Witch's Roots

 

Bearing the Mark of the Devil

Within blood that seethes with fire, there is a thickening of root beneath my flesh. It contorts itself, calling out to the witches that bled before—my mothers who burned, swallowed the dark whole and resurrected themselves from their own ashes. These women have sewn their witchcraft and ravenous thirst into the heart of my ribcage and it has been purging wildly since birth. 

It is said that the witches within my bloodline carry the mark of the Devil and since the Dark Ages we have laid down willingly for him upon hallowed ground as red salvia and flesh-eating plants rose from black soil to clasp our bodies, calling our spirits to the hot swallow below. As mistresses of the Devil, my foremothers have walked in the shadows for centuries, feeding human mouths and the dirt of the earth with fervor and passion. They were lusted after because of their feral and provocative nature and were called upon in secret for their ability to harness immense power through their spellwork.

It was a common practice of my predecessors to nurture their bond with the Devil through the art of ritual in which they would put one hand on the crown of the head and the other to the sole of the foot while they offered all of the body existing in-between to him. According to the historic written accounts of my ancestors, during an initiation ceremony, a witch would sign her name in Satan’s black book and would then be marked with a cut on the shoulder. The blood would be sucked from the wound by the Devil himself and spat back out into his hand and he would follow this by dripping it upon the witch’s head, baptizing her in his own name. Throughout these sacred ceremonies and practice of the craft, my witch relatives would embrace the Devil as a spirit lover, consummating with him as a form of worship. 

Though the witches within my bloodline were born to harness the intensity that is the dark, it is through this sacred source that we are able to transform and manipulate everything we touch. We are natural born healers, particularly skilled in exorcising illness, relying on our bond with the Devil to do so as he leads us through our spellwork. We are known for forming relationships with spirits to manifest our desires and are also gifted in performing the art of blood and sex magic. Necromancy has been our primary form of divination for centuries.

It is a common misconception that the witches within my family strive to summon evil. It has only been our nature to create a crucial balance within the cosmos through the use of our craft and at times this may mean getting our hands dirty, but our talent for conducting dark ritual and seeking justice and liberation must not be misconstrued to mean that we partake in performing heinous acts such as murder. It is in our blood to long to venture into the blackest corridors, as this is our way of harnessing divine power and the treasure of hidden knowledge. We are bold, unafraid and will come for those that have harmed us through the art of hexing, but we are also capable of crafting strong spells to help others achieve their own ambitions. In the past, my ancestors were deeply respected in secret for their magical abilities and were often sought out by women and men alike who had a yearning for something more. 

My bloodline’s intimate bond with the Devil is congenital, as if he had claimed us long before we were born into our flesh cages, but our intrinsic desire to work with him comes from our craving for sexual liberation and longing to awaken the power within ourselves. The Devil encourages us to embrace our sexuality and renounce any sense of shame. He has offered us immense pleasure and dominance during times of the oppression and degradation of women. While working with him, we have crafted ourselves into forces that do not bend to authority and we assert our right to exercise free will, especially when it comes to our magic. I am proud to be a descendant of a lineage that represents liberation and exploration of the divine self.

As a modern-day hereditary blood witch, carrying on the practices of my relatives is essential for my survival. Though I am often persecuted for my bloodline’s traditions and our unique practice of the craft, I find strength and release in using my poetic voice to unveil this part of myself without shame.

Poetry is an art form that not only allows us to express our true selves, but it can also be used in witchcraft as incantations to speak during ritual. I have found poetry to be a very powerful tool when it comes to the act of summoning, as it is birthed from the deepest part of my soul and nothing is more intimate than this. The art of crafting poetry is tremendously personal and the catharsis that is bred from writing can be offered as a sacrifice to the gods. When we access this divine fragment of ourselves while performing spellwork, we reap great reward. Sometimes, our words spill gems from within our souls that we did not know existed.

Since I have found my voice, I am beginning to understand the importance of using it to speak out about my practice of the craft and my heritage. I feel an obligation to help those who are called to dark witchcraft to let go of their fears and embrace themselves for who they are whilst doing so fearlessly but carefully and with proper guidance. The dark offers many gifts to those who are daring enough to lurk through its dwelling.

All witches are sacred and essential for the thriving of the universe. Each practitioner offers a unique skill to help promote the cycle of life, death, nature and spirit. For some of us, it is our calling to form a bond with the shadows. It is in our nature to explore fiery, uncharted territories and dance with the Devil—for this is how we heal; this is how we are resurrected and allow ourselves to flourish.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.