’Tis All Hallows Eve and we did think that folk may require advice on how to protect themselves from the witches who do be abroad this night. In all honesty, avoidance is the best policy – it is never wise to upset a witch, or refuse to lend her something. The wearing of red, being the colour of Christ’s blood. can help, as can carrying a charm or amulet. We hope you are all aware that the witches do inhabit the elder trees. Should you need to prune an elder tree you are advised to apologise to the witches first. Some herbs are abhorrent to witches, so the planting or carrying of herbygrass (rue) or Herb John will help. Ideally, you will grow a bay tree either side of your cottage door. As the herbalists of our time, including the revered Master Culpeper, do tell us – wherever there be a bay neither thunder nor lightening nor devil nor witch may come. You would thus, as we do say, be keeping the witches at bay.
Secrete the bellarmine (witch bottle) at your threshold or in the chimney – places where the witch may seek to enter your home. These small stoneware bottles containing pins, hair, pieces of bone or urine hath protective powers.
If you wish to know more of witchcraft in our time, we do provide talks on the topic for young people and adults, or you could consult Mistress Agnes’ wonderous tome Coffers, Clysters, Comfrey and Coifs: the lives of our seventeenth century ancestors