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Ancient Ways: Reclaiming the Pagan Tradition

Ancient Ways: Reclaiming the Pagan Tradition

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Ancient Ways: Reclaiming the Pagan Tradition

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Jan 8, 2015


Pauline and Dan Campanelli's classic companion to Wheel of the Year is back for a new generation of readers to enjoy

Celebrate the seasons of the year according to the ancient Pagan traditions. Ancient Ways shows how to prepare for and conduct the Sabbat rites, and helps you harness the magickal energy for weeks afterward. The wealth of seasonal rituals and charms within are drawn from ancient sources but are easily performed with readily available materials.

Learn how to look into your previous lives at Yule. At Beltane, discover the places where you are most likely to see faeries. Make special jewelry to wear for your Lammas celebrations. For the special animals in your life, paint a charm of protection at Midsummer.

Most Pagans feel that the Sabbat rituals are all too brief and wish for the magick to continue. Ancient Ways can help you reclaim your own traditions and heighten the feeling of magick all year long.

"A delightful, joyous guide to celebrating the seasons and festivals with homespun magic."
—Scott Cunningham, author of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

"A delightful book that beautifully complements the authors' Wheel of the Year."
—Ray Buckland, author of Practical Candleburning Rituals

Jan 8, 2015

Sobre el autor

The Campanellis have been practicing Wiccans since 1968. Because of their deep religious beliefs they have evolved a lifestyle based on natural magick. In their 18th century home in western New Jersey, magick is a part of their everyday life. Pauline and Dan have written and illustrated several books and many articles on Witchcraft. They have also recounted their personal experiences with the Spirit World for Circle Network News and FATE magazine. Other paranormal experiences shared by Pauline and Dan have been included in Haunted Houses: U.S.A., and More Haunted Houses, and in Alan Vaughn's Incredible Coincidence. Both Dan and Pauline are professional artists. Dan works in watercolor, Pauline in oils. They are each listed in thirteen reference books, including Who's Who in American Art and The International Dictionary of Biographies. Their home and artwork were featured in Colonial Homes, March/April 1981 and Country Living Magazine, April 1985 and October 1992. New Jersey Network produced a program on their artwork and lifestyle for PBS in 1985. Their paintings have been published as fine art prints and are available throughout the United States and Europe.

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Ancient Ways - Pauline Campanelli

About the Author

Pauline Campanelli was an author, artist, and beloved member of the Pagan community. Her popular paintings are still enjoyed around the world, with her prints having sold hundreds of thousands copies over the years. In 1976, Pauline and her husband, Dan, restored a historic stone home in western New Jersey that they named Flying Witch Farm, where they lived an old-world lifestyle based on natural magick until Pauline’s passing in 2001.

Dan Campanelli has been a practicing wiccan since 1968. Because of his deep religious beliefs, magic is a part of daily life in his eighteenth-century home in western New Jersey. He has contributed articles on Pagan symbolism and traditions to Circle Network News and to past editions of many of Llewellyn’s almanacs and annuals. Other paranormal experiences shared by Dan have been included in Alan Vaughn’s Incredible Coincidence and are on file at the University of Virginia.

Dan is also a professional fine artist and works in watercolors. He has been listed in numerous reference books, including Who’s Who in American Art and The International Dictionary of Biographies. His home and artwork has been featured in Colonial Homes and Country Living, and New Jersey Network produced a television program on his artwork and lifestyle for PBS in 1985. His paintings have been published as fine art prints that are available throughout the United States and Europe.


Reclaiming the Pagan Tradition

by Pauline Campanelli illustrated by Dan Campanelli

Llewellyn Publications

Woodbury, Minnesota

Copyright Information

Ancient Ways: Reclaiming the Pagan Tradition © 1991 and 2014 by Pauline Campanelli and Dan Campanelli. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, includi

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any matter whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Llewellyn Publications, except in the form of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

As the purchaser of this e-book, you are granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. The text may not be otherwise reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, or recorded on any other storage device in any form or by any means.

Any unauthorized usage of the text without express written permission of the publisher is a violation of the author’s copyright and is illegal and punishable by law.

First e-book edition © 2014

E-book ISBN: 9780738745398

Cover, photos, and interior illustrations © Dan Campanelli

Llewellyn Publications is an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.

Llewellyn Publications does not participate in, endorse, or have any authority or responsibility concerning private business arrangements between our authors and the public.

Any Internet references contained in this work are current at publication time, but the publisher cannot guarantee that a specific reference will continue or be maintained. Please refer to the publisher’s website for links to current author websites.

Llewellyn Publications

Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.

2143 Wooddale Drive

Woodbury, MN 55125


Manufactured in the United States of America

Dedicated to

The Old Gods



List of Illustrations

List of Photographs

List of Tables and Diagrams

Chapter One: IMBOLC


Chapter Three: BELTANE

Chapter Four: MIDSUMMER

Chapter Five: LAMMAS


Chapter Seven: SAMHAIN

Chapter Eight: YULE



1. A Corn Dolly 1

2. Dressing the Corn Dolly 3

3. A Corn Husk Doll 4

4. A Butter Churn 13

5. Magickal Potions 15

6. A Pysanky Egg Charm 27

7. Making Hot-Cross Buns 29

8. A Bird-headed Goddess 33

9. An Ancient House Blessing 37

10. Pysanky Ritual Tools 41

11. Eostre Basket Cookie 44

12. Wild Bird Eggs 49

13. The May Queen’s Crown 51

14. Crowning the May Queen and King 53

15. A Faery Ring of Mushrooms 58

16. A Troll Bridge 63

17. The May King’s Laurel Crown 75

18. A Charm of Rowan and Rue 79

19. Gathering Vervain 81

20. A Hex Barn 92

21. The Cup 103

22. The Witch’s Ladder 109

23. A Corn Sun Wheel 113

24. Harvest Time 115

25. Sand Candles 120

26. A Bellarmine 121

27. A Reaping Hook 123

28. Squaw Corn 131

29. A Gourd Rattle 137

30. Rock Art 139

31. Gourds 148

32. Gourd Dippers 149

33. Cornstalks 155

34. The Cauldron 161

35. Telling the Future at Samhain 163

36. Jack-O’-Lantems 168

37. A Crystal Ball 181

38. A Feathered Mask 183

39. The Witch’s Besom 187

40. A Charm of Mistletoe 191

41. Lighting the Yule Log 193

42. Folded Paper Cranes 197

43. Fossils as Amulets 205

44. Early Tree Ornaments 211



1. Flying Witch Weathervane xvii

2. Bride’s Bed 11

3. Magickal Stones 17

4. Antique Valentines 25

5. Dionysus 31

6. Hot Cross Buns 45

7. An Ancient Oak 59

8. A Witch Broom Tree 59

9. Wishes on a Hawthorn Tree 61

10. The Beltane Altar 73

11. The Beltane Fire 74

12. The King Stone 77

13. Sprig of Rue Amulets 83

14. Herbs Drying 85

15. Pow Wow Doctor’s Cabin 97

16. The Sword 99

17. A Sun Wheel 107

18. A Lammas Necklace 122

19. The Lammas Altar 127

20. Corn Bread Sticks 134

21. Herb Closet 145

22. Petroglyphs 153

23. The Altar at the Autumn Equinox 159

24. Antique Halloween Party 165

25. Using a Pendulum 173

26. The Witch Sampler 178

27. A Besom and Cauldron 189

28. A Rune Stone 201

29. A Holey Stone 201

30. A Pinecone Elf 213

31. The Altar at Yule 219


Tables and Diagrams

1. The Sabbats and their Opposites 5

2. To Make a Simple Pouch 7

3. Some Traditional Corn Dollies 9

4. Elements, Directions, Seasons, Times of Day 35

5. Some Traditional Ukranian Egg Designs 39

6. Natural Dyes and Runes 43

7. Kinds of Faeries 55

8. Sabbats & Roman Holidays 71

9. Numerology Chart 89

10. Hex Signs 93

11. Six-sided Rosette 95

12. Six-sided Figures 95

13. Making the Corn Mother 125

14. Magick of Deciduous Trees 141

15. Animal Omens 195

16. Making a Yule Log 219



The wheel of the year has turned four times since I wrote a book by that title, and for Dan and me, the quest for the old ways continued.

As Pagans we believe that:

All of nature is a manifestation of divinity or the creative forces, and that everything in nature has a spirit.

These divine creative forces can be perceived as a pantheon of gods and goddesses.

As everything in nature has its complement, so must it be with the gods, a polarity of male and female, spirit and matter, god and goddess.

As nature proceeds in the cycles of the season, so must we be born to die and be born again.

And that by actively participating in these natural cycles through ritual, we can attune ourselves to the creative forces that flow through us, to live happy, creative, and productive lives for our own benefit and that of the planet.

The simplest way to do this is to celebrate the seasons of the year according to the ancient Pagan traditions of our ancestors, and we have all of the traditions of all of the nations of the old world to examine for Pagan origins. Some of the places these traditions have been found are in the seasonal celebrations of the new religion, in legends and faery tales, and in the objects and ornaments used to celebrate the seasons.

This book is arranged according to the Great Sabbats, and it tells of ways of preparing for, enhancing, and celebrating the Sabbats of the old religion. The magical charms, spells, and rituals given here are drawn from ancient sources, but are easily applied to contemporary practices. Many of the activities are planned to use to fullest advantage the currents of magical energy that ebb and flow prior to and following each Great Sabbat.

The time has come for all of us on the Pagan path to examine these ancient ways and to reclaim them as our own.

Pauline Campanelli

Flying Witch Farm

Oak Moon, 1991


Chapter One



Intricate and lacy designs etched in frost on the window panes frame a scene rendered in shades of gray, of horses in a snow storm, as the winter sun rises just a bright spot in a lead-colored sky. In the sheep’s pen the sweet smell of hay and grain scent the warmer air of the cozy straw-filled shelter, and on the roost in the chicken coop the hens take turns being in the middle and warmed on both sides by the other hens.

Inside, the fire is kindled early and every minute of daylight is used to advantage. With the gardens resting in the frozen ground beneath the snow, daily activity is turned inward. Creativity flows in the silent snowy days of winter, and ideas for projects to be carried out in times of greater light and warmth begin to take form.

As the sun climbs higher in the sky and begins to break through the clouds, the snow tapers to flurries, and droplets of it, melted, flash like beads of crystal hung from every branch and twig. On the downspout above the rain barrel, a brilliant drop hovers for a moment, flashing col­ors of the rainbow as an icicle begins to form.

The dark curtain of the winter night descends early, and we gather by the fire’s glow after dinner to discuss the events of the day and to plan tomorrow’s. The pungent smell of simmering herbs and warm, wet wool, wafts through the house as another skein of handspun yarn is dyed and the results are admired and hung to dry.

When the fire has died down and the embers have been banked, we climb the stairs to the warmth of camphor scented quilts, while outside on this frosty winter night, beneath Her quilt of purest white, the Earth Mother has been visited by the Spirit Father as She slept, and even now new life begins to stir in Her.

Late in January, as the Wolf Moon wanes or the Chaste Moon waxes to full, we begin to prepare for the Imbolc Sabbat. Since Lammas, the Corn Mother, which presided over the Lammas Feast, has rested in silence and darkness in a cedar chest in the attic. The Corn Mother is a physical representation of the Goddess, and while it rested, the Goddess Herself went to the Land of Spirit (or Avalon or Anwyn) where she rested and regained her youth. Now she is the Maiden again, so the same figure made of wheat or oats or corn that represented the Corn Mother at Lammas now represents the Corn Maiden. Lammas and Imbolc stand opposite one another across the Wheel of the Year like two sides of the same coin: one the Maiden who, from lmbolc to Lammas will wax to full; the other, the Crone, who from Lammas till lmbolc will wane like the Moon, until She is renewed.

Dressing the Corn Dolly

A Corn Husk Doll

Every Sabbat has its opposite on the other side of the Wheel of the Year. Just as Lammas and Imbolc express the waxing and waning aspects of the Goddess, so do Midsummer and Yule oppose one another as the waxing and waning aspects of the God. At Midsummer, He is seen as the sun at its zenith in all its radiant splendor, just as it is about to be­gin to wane; while at Yule, He is seen as the Divine Child reborn on the darkest night of the year. This same quality is expressed in the myth of the Oak King and the Holly King who take turns defeating one another at Midsummer and at Yule.

The Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes also stand opposite one another and both represent a time of perfect balance between the light half of the Wheel of the Year and the dark half; but the Vernal Equinox is that moment when the balance is about to shift and the time of light, growth, and physical life is about to become greater than the dark. The Autum­nal Equinox is that moment of perfect balance just before the Wheel turns into the dark, the time of physical death and spiritual life.

the sabbats

and their opposites diagram

Just as the Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox oppose one an­other, and Lammas and Midsummer oppose lmbolc and Yule, so do Bel­tane and Samhain stand across the Wheel from one another. Beltane is the time of the Sacred Marriage when the Goddess, as Earth Mother, is united with the Spirit or Sky Father, who descends upon her in order to renew life and replenish the Earth. Samhain is the Sabbat of communion with Spirits, when the Goddess as the Crone leaves the earth’s realm and ascends to the realm of the Horned One in order to rest and renew herself there. The symbol of Beltane, the Maypole planted upright in the earth (or sometimes in a sacred well), is the venerated phallus or the World Tree through which Spirit descends into the material world and impreg­nates it with new life. While its opposite, the Crone’s broomstick at Sam­hain, represents the same World Tree upon which we can ascend into the world of Spirit.

Each Sabbat has its opposite on the other side of the Wheel of the Year, one always on the dark half, the other always on the light half. This polarity is as much a part of the balance of things as the God and Goddess themselves.

A similar polarity occurs once a month on the fifteenth night. That is, the fifteenth night of the Moon, or the night after the Full Moon, when, as the Sun is about to set in the West and stands just above the horizon, the Full Moon rises over the horizon in the East, and the two, the Sun and Moon, the God and Goddess, stand opposite one another for a brief moment in perfect balance and perfect harmony. Then, the Sun slips be­low the horizon, relinquishing the night sky to the Moon alone.

This is a powerful time for any magick that involves balance, power, a uniting of opposites, or the charging of a charm or an amulet with the energies of both the Sun and the Moon.

Here is a typical example of such a charm: prior to the fifteenth night obtain a twig of oak (about 2 inches in length) and a length of willow of similar proportions, two herbs sacred to the Sun such as bay laurel and angelica, and two herbs sacred to the Moon such as lily and orpine, a length of red thread, a piece of white cloth (about 21⁄2 inches by 31⁄2 inches) and a piece of black cloth the same size, and a sewing needle and thread. Sew the black and white cloth together to form a pouch.

To make a lined pouch, simply make a slightly smaller pouch of silk or satin and stitch it in place with the running stitch that forms the drawstring of the outer bag. These pouches can be embellished with powerful magickal signs and symbols in textile paints or embroidery stitches before they are assembled.

When the pouch is ready, just before sunset of the fifteenth night, assemble the ingredients of the charm, preferably in a place where both the Sun and the Moon will be visible (but if that is not possible, then in a place where the Moon will shine). Tie

To Make A Simple Pouch

the oak and willow twigs together to form an equal-armed cross with the red thread. Place the cross on a flat surface and arrange the herbs so that the two Moon herbs are at either end of the willow twig and the Sun herbs are at the end of the oak twig. Then at the moment when the Sun and Moon face each other, en­chant the objects with words like:

By life-giving Sun and mystical Moon,

I conjure this charm to grant a boone.

By the power of this night,

By sunshine and moonlight,

A charm of magickal power (or protection or healing) this will be,

By Artemis and Apollo, so mote it be!

This charm can then be worn whenever magick charms are being performed to enhance their power.

As the Sun and the Moon represent opposite polarities, the God and the Goddess, so do the Corn Mother at Lammas and the Corn Maiden at Imbolc represent the two aspects of the Goddess Herself.

At Imbolc, the Maiden aspect of the Goddess might be represented in a great variety of ways. She might be symbolized by a simple bunch of corn or the same figure made of grain that was used at Lammas may now be dressed as a bride, or straws of wheat or grain braided into an intricate or abstract form often called a Corn Dolly may be made for this occasion.

In many cases, the straws used to weave the Corn Dollies were plucked from the Lammas Corn Mother, or the last bundle of grain cut at the harvest. This handful of wheat straws (with grain still attached) is sometimes called the neck.

Regardless of the style of Corn Dolly being woven, certain preliminary steps must be taken first. To begin with, a number of the finest straws of grain are chosen. These are soaked in a tub of cool water for about half an hour, and then kept wrapped in a towel for another fifteen minutes. Now the grain is ready to be woven or braided.

One of the earliest forms of the Corn Dolly is the tall spiral. To begin making this type, select five straws of wheat and tie them together using a clove hitch knot, just under the grains of wheat. Then turn the wheat upside down so that the wheat hangs down like a tassel. Lay the straws out flat in the form of a solar cross with one of the arms being made of two straws. Begin weaving by taking one of the two straws and folding it over the straw next to it, so that it is now parallel to the next arm of the cross. Bend that straw around the new one and fold it over so that now it is parallel to the third arm of the cross. When the first round is complete, a square will have been formed. Continue weaving in the same manner, laying each new round of straw outside the square, thereby increasing the width of the Corn Dolly’s spiral until the desired width is reached.

Some Traditional Corn Dollies

The spiral can then be decreased by folding the straws to the inside of the square formed by the previous round. If the straw should run out, replace it with a plain headless weaver. When the neck of the Dolly has been reached, braid the remaining straws together and tie them into a loop.

Bride’s Cross (St. Bridget’s Cross), is somewhat simpler. Select four short straws of wheat with heads. Tie them together in pairs, end to end, so that each pair has a head of grain at each end. Then begin weaving an Eye of God by holding the end of a length of straw across the center of the cross and winding it across, behind, and over each arm. If the straw runs out, add more by inserting a new straw into the hollow center of the last one. To finish, tie the end of the last weaver to an arm of the cross with cotton thread.

Simpler versions of the Corn Dolly are the Love Token or the Lov­er’s Knot. These are made by braiding the straws of wheat together rather than weaving. Some of the most complex are the Welsch Fans, which are sometimes further complicated by combining several of the fans to form a circle.

Corn Dollies are kept as amulets of protection and fertility, and according to Rhiannon Ryall in West Country Wicca, a pair of them were hung up on the gable ends of houses as protective charms by the men who thatched the roofs, one Dolly representing the God, the other the Goddess. It is easy to see how the Welsch Fan might represent the Horned God while others might symbolize the apron or pubic area of the Goddess.

Whichever form of the Corn Maiden is chosen, whether simple ears of corn, an intricately woven Corn Dolly, or the Corn Mother from the Lammas Sabbat, the ritual of Bride’s Bed is becoming a popular Imbolc tradition. The Corn Maiden is dressed as a bride during the Imbolc sabbat. This might be done with cleverly folded white lace handkerchiefs or lengths of white lace, ribbons, and linen. A necklace or beads or other symbols of the Goddess might be added to the figure to add power to the rite. When she is ready the figure is lain in a basket, which might be adorned with ribbons and flowers befitting the God­dess’ bridal bed. Finally, an acorn tipped and ribbon-entwined wand, representing the God, is placed across the Corn Maiden. Candles are lit on either side of the basket, while symbolic figures of the God and the Goddess are enchanted with words like:

Welcome Bride,

To your bed and cover.

Blessed be the Maiden,

Blessed be the Mother.

Bride’s Bed

Bride is typical of the universal Goddess of Fertility. Her counterpart in Celtic traditions is the Cailliach, or Crone. In some traditions the Maiden is held captive by the Cailliach during the winter months; in others, she is the Cailliach, beautiful on one side, dark and ugly on the other, bringing life and fertility on one hand, death and destruction on the other. In these details the two Goddesses who are one, are very simi­lar to the Roman Goddesses Ceres and Proserpina, and their Greek predecessors Demeter and Persephone. In the myth of these Goddesses, the Mother blasts the crops in anger while her daughter, the Maiden, is held captive in the Underworld. Both Ceres and Proserpina (or Demeter and Persephone) are considered two Goddesses that are one, and probably had their origins in the ancient goddesses of Old Europe who presided over the coming of Spring, the harvesting of sacred grain and the ritual baking of bread.

In many Pagan traditions, the mythology of the Goddess tells of her descent into the Underworld. Probably the oldest such myth is that of Ishtar. But in other traditions the Goddess is said to be sleeping or resting while her consort, the Horned God as Spirit Father, presides. In cultures that believe in reincarnation, death is looked upon as a resting period between lives. Even in our present culture eternal sleep and rest in peace are euphemisms for death. The tale of Snow White is, in a sense, a version of this myth—of the Goddess’s descent into the Underworld, where she

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  • (4/5)
    Wonderful book with lots of everyday ideas for living pagan life with the whole family.
  • (4/5)
    very detailed info on sabbats and associated crafts, recipes, etc. much more geared to wicca than folk magic but that's ok. also additional useful info (stones, coorespondences) but need to go elsewhere for real detail as they are worked in as extras. good source for ideas for activities in group or family setting, although sometimes lacking in complete instructions
  • (3/5)
    Great for ideas on how to celebrate the 8 NeoPagan/Wiccan holidayshas lots of activities, and interesting mythology. However be careful she sometimes gets her history and mythology wrong. (i.e. Burning Times, lumping deities together)