Author; Roger J. Horne
Preserved in medieval and early modern witch-lore, the image of the witch embarking upon flight has become iconic from a historic and folkloric perspective. In the accounts of previous ages, however, it was commonly understood that witches flew in spirit form rather than corporeal form, leaving the physical body behind as the practitioner voyaged into the otherworld to procure knowledge, learn charms, visit boon or bane upon others, and attend the spiritual gathering of the witches' sabbat.
In this unique offering, the author organizes the lore and charms of the transvective arts around thirteen central lessons and approaches in methodology, acting as gates through which the practitioner may cross. Some approaches offered here may be familiar to folk and traditional witches, such as via veneficium (by way of poison) and via equarum (by way of steed), while others, like via imaginibus (by way of image) and via tempestatis (by way of storm) draw on historic lore and charms in order to innovate upon old craft while maintaining the spirit that flavors these beloved arts.
By mastering the often overlooked work of sabbatic ekstasis, the witch is brought into direct contact with familiar spirits, powers of the land and of ancestry, and with the primal sources of witchcraft itself, yielding an inexhaustible and ever-unfolding curriculum of the art magical.
Roger J. Horne is a writer, folk witch, and modern animist. He is also the author of the Folk Witchcraft series. His personal spiritual practice is informed by the magical currents of Scottish cunning craft and Appalachian herb-doctoring. Through his writing, Horne seeks to help other witches rediscover the living tradition of folk craft and connect to their own sacred initiatory threads of lore, land, and familiar spirit. Learn more about him at rogerjhorne.com.
From the Introduction: The Transvective Arts in Context
Through keyholes and twisted trees, by moonlight and candlelight, across oceans and fields and forests, witches fly. This is something even children know. It is ingrained in the lore of cultures around the world. What is less understood in modern times is the inherent symbolism of witch-flight, which together forms a body of lore-born wisdom. The actual praxis of engaging in flight—the charms, rituals, and recipes associated with this tradition of our art—is even less understood.
Part of the problem lies in the diverse means and forms of folk witchcraft as a whole and our inability to make sense of its symbolism, abstraction, and pluralism when every other area of learning in our lives is governed by the cold science of empiricism. The other part of the challenge to understanding traditions of spirit flight is the romanticization of witchcraft that took place in popular literature from the early 1900s to sometime in the 1990s, exaggerating the role of the “hidden cult” and hiding the reality of folk craft practices in plain sight.
Nonetheless, witches are at this moment coming home to their ancestral, lore and land-based folk traditions in droves never before seen. Disillusioned with the New Age movement and the attempt to forge a “one-size-fits-all” model of craft, witches are again exploring the old lore and charms of our ancestors, wresting them from obscurity and reinvigorating them with modern approach. The old grimoires and folkloric texts are again popular, and our ancestors smile on us as we experiment and develop our methodology to working charms that were once old, but are now new again.
Among these, the rediscovered practice of transvection or spirit flight has enjoyed special popularity...