Hekate Magick: Four Thieves Vinegar

Four Thieves Vinegar also known as Prophylactic Vinegar or Marseilles Vinegar/Remedy, is a health tonic made from vinegar, herbs, spices and garlic which was created in the middle ages to protect against the plague (black death).  Similar concoctions have been made as far back as the time of Hippocrates in Ancient Greece.

The basic recipe for the remedy is adding certain herbs to be placed and steeped in a vinegar solution for several days.

In the current climate of Corvid-19 it can be used as powerful disinfectant.  

I created an original recipe several years ago.  This recipe is based on a medieval recipe and has modern ingredients added which I personally found useful:

Setjataset’s Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  • Vinegar (rice wine or apple cider) – 2 litres
  • Wormwood (1 tablespoon)
  • Sage (1 tablespoon)
  • Marjoram (1 tablespoon)
  • Meadowsweet (1 tablespoon)
  • Campala Root (3 tablespoons)
  • Angelic Root (3 tablespoons)
  • Rosemary (3 tablespoons)
  • Horehound(3 tablespoons)
  • Champhor (3 tablespoons)
  • Thyme (2 tablespoons) – modern addition
  • Mint (2 tablespoons) – modern addition 
  • Lavender (2 tablespoons)
  • Cloves (25 cloves)
  • Rue (3 tablespoons) – optional
  • Garlic (3 cloves) – optional

Method

  1. Add dried herbs to vinegar solution.
  2. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop metal lid from corroding.
  3. Steep for 3 weeks in a secure glass jar, in a cool dark place.
  4. Strain solution through cheesecloth and then bottle securely in smaller jars.

Simple Use for Four Thieves Vinegar

Use as a disinfectant or house cleaning agent.

Cautions
DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY!
DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR LACTATING!
DO NOT USE/TAKE IF YOU HAVE ALLERGIES TO INGREDIENTS MENTIONED!

 

Recently I created an amended version of my Four Thieves Vinegar in dedication to Hekate which I made in conjunction with a prayer for plague protection I wrote in honour of her.

My suggestion is to repeat the prayer before you start making the vinegar, after you have created the vinegar and left it to steep and once again after you have decanted the final product, once it has been strained.

Here is my recipe for the Hekate’s Four Thieves Vinegar:

Setjataset’s Hekate Four Thieves Vinegar (© T. Georgitsis 2020)

  • Vinegar (apple cider) – 1 litre
  • Wormwood (1 tablespoon)
  • Sage (1 tablespoon)
  • Rosemary (2 tablespoons)
  • Thyme (2 tablespoons)
  • Mint (2 tablespoons)
  • Lavender (2 tablespoons) – culinary not aromatic
  • Cloves (5 cloves)
  • Garlic (3 bulbs) – optional
  • Bay Leaves (1 leaf) – optional

Method

  1. Add fresh herbs to a jar.
  2. Cover herbs with vinegar solution.
  3. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop metal lid from corroding.
  4. Steep for 3 weeks in a secure glass jar in a cool dark place.
  5. Strain solution through cheesecloth and then bottle securely in smaller jars.

Simple Use for Hekate Four Thieves Vinegar 

  1. 1 teaspoon diluted in a room temperature glass of water to be drunk once a week.
  2. 1 tablespoon in a bath once a week.
  3. 1 tablespoon in a small spray bottle to use on surfaces as required/daily.

Cautions
DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT OR LACTATING!
DO NOT USE/TAKE IF YOU HAVE ALLERGIES TO INGREDIENTS MENTIONED!

Here is the prayer I wrote for Hekate to go with the creation of her vinegar:

Hekate Prayer for Plague Protection (© T. Georgitsis 2020)

Hekate Alexeatis

I call to you as Averter of Evil

Keep this virus away from me (and my loved ones)

Hekate Aregos

I call to you as Helper

Help me (and my loved ones) to keep safe from this pandemic

Hekate Episkopos

I call to you as Guardian

Guard me (and my loved ones) against Corona-18

Hekate Ekdotis

I call to you as Bestower

Bring to me (and my loved ones) health and vitality 

Hekate Propolos

I call to you as Guide

Assist me (and my loved ones) during this difficult time

Hekate Soteira

I call to you as Saviour

Be there for me (and my loved ones) 


 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2014, Updated 2020

Hekate Magick: Khernips (Sacred Water)

Circe by John William Waterhouse

 

Khernips which is also known as lustral water is blessed or sacred water which is employed in Hellenic rites and can be used in the devotional workings of Hekate.

Khernips is primarily used for libations, offerings and to purge oneself of miasma (environmental and energetic pollutants believed to cause illness by the Ancient Greeks and modern Hellenes).  It can also be used to heal body/mind/spirit/emotion and can be consumed for internal use or applied externally (depending on the properties).

Khernips can be employed to bless or consecrate anything from shrine/altar tools, jewellery and places of practice, to plants, people and pets.  Washing one’s hands with blessed water before entering into ritual was common practice for the Ancient Greeks as it was believed to keep miasma at bay.  Khernips can be also used to put out a ritual fire, to wash ritual clothing and for use in practical and ceremonial magic, such as where one creates objects for specific purposes like a talisman from clay and water.

The Ancient Greeks made their khernips simply by collecting it from a sacred spring or well and storing it in a jug or similar vessel for devotional use.  The same technique can be employed now, however if you are collecting from a spring, be sure to leave an appropriate offerings like coins, flowers or herbs.

Another way to make this sanctified water is as easy as colleting rain water and purifying it.  My favourite technique of making khernips is collecting sea water. This can be ritualistically done by placing the vessel just on the shore line and collecting the water through a wave as it comes towards you. Several other methods of khernips I have successfully used over the years includes: mixing kosher rock salt and purified water, herbal/flower water (orange blossom, lavender, rose and angelica for Hekate), aromatherapy water utilising cold pressed essential oil and another method is purified water mixed with wine (sweet pine wine or any robust wine).

The way you can use khernips is by placing it in a glass lidded container for storage and then pouring it into a bowl or jug for ritual use.  You can then dip your hands into the bowl or alternatively pour the khernips over your hands from a jug to purify yourself before rites.  Use a bundle of tied up herbs to asperge* with or alternatively use your hands to sprinkle it over things like offerings, tools and sacred space.  Also putting khernips in a spray bottle to be able to diffuse it within an area works very well, as does using a water bottle or a bottle with a dripper. Some khernips, especially those having plant materials, need to be refrigerated or alternatively a preservative needs to be added such as a dash of wheat germ oil, olive oil or pure alcohol to keep it from going rancid.

This is a simple khernips creation and blessing I created as part of my regular devotional use for Hekate which I would like to share:

Setjataset’s Khernips Blessing ((C)T. Georgitsis 2013)

Ingredients:

  • Dried Bay Leaf
  • Purified Water (filtered water)

Method:

Light the end of a dried bay laurel leaf and say:

I banish all that is unclean, corrupt and profane with the aid of Hekate!

Plunge the lit end into the water and say:

It is purified, upright and sanctified in Hekate’s name.

You can employ the same method by holding some rock salt over a bowl of water, sprinkling the rock salt over the water and finishing off by swivelling around the mixture in the bowl with both hands.

Suggested Use for Khernips:

    1. To purify yourself before and after ritual.
    2. To remove miasma* from people, animals, physical items or spaces.
    3. To be used for libations in ritual and magickal workings.
    4. To be used as offerings.
    5. To water sacred plants, herbs and trees.

*Asperge = to sprinkle with sacred water.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2014, Updated 2020

Hekate Magick: Witches Flying Oil

Witches Flying Oil is an agent used to assist witches reach the astral or trance states.  In the 1300’s witches flying ointments were made with heated animal fats and nightshade herbs which was claimed to help them fly to the Sabbath on their brooms.  I have created a Witches Flying Oil which is a vegetable based oil, infused with herbs which is a milder version of witches flying ointments.

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I personally like to grow my own herbs as that way I know that they are organic and environmentally clean.  I know that not everyone can do that so if you need to source them I suggest you purchase organically grown or alternatively trade, barter or swap with friends or family who grow their own in a pesticide free environment. Also to note is to please be mindful when when wildcrafting herbs ensuring that the locations you are gathering them from are not sprayed with chemicals or polluted by traffic and negative human interference.

I like to speak or sing to the herbs I am utilising in my witches flying oil by respectfully calling them to action and setting their intentions.  I like to do this during the full moon, new moon or waxing moon – depending which herbs resonate with which moon phase with the aide of Hekate as her Pharmakia.  When my oil is complete I also like to charge it during new, dark or full moon.  I activate and charge my herbs and finished oil in a ritual dedicated to Hekate so I suggest you do something similar by creating sacred space and evoking Hekate, activating and charging the items as a form of offering, thanking and farewelling Hekate and closing sacred space.

The following herbs are the ones I like to use in my Witches Flying Oil, not only because they are used in Hekate’s practice but also for the following magical reasons:

Bay Laurel: Enhances psychic ability and prophecy whilst allowing healing energy and protecting against negative influences.

*Mandrake: Enhances imagination and psychic ability whilst encouraging hallucinations.  Also magnifies magickal workings energetically.

Mugwort: Enhances psychic projection/ability, prophecy, altered states of consciousness and divination whilst providing protection.

Wormwood: Enhances divination, visions and astral projection whilst also providing protection.

Poppy: Enhances success, dream work, calming and cleansing energies. Also used for its invisibility properties against those who want to see your magickal workings.

Olive Oil: Enhances protection, blessings and cleansing and great for working as an anointing base.


Medea photograph by Hulton Archive 

Here is my recipe for my Witches Flying Oil with details of how to make it and how to use it safely:

Setjataset’s Witches Flying Oil for Hekate (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  • Bay Laurel Leaves – 2 tablespoon crushed herb
  • *Mandrake Root – 1/2 teaspoon cut up root
  • Mugwort Leaves – 2 tablespoons cut up herb
  • Wormwood Leaves – 1 tablespoon cut up herb
  • Poppy Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon seeds
  • 375 ml size glass jar with lid

Method

  1. Place clean dry ingredients in a glass jar and fill the rest of the jar with extra-virgin olive oil.
  2. Before closing the lid, put some cling wrap over the jar mouth if it has a metal lid to prevent it from from corroding.
  3. Succuss (shake) the herbs in the oil solution daily for a month.
  4. Steep for a month in a cool dark place remembering to success the bottle daily.
  5. Strain solution through cheesecloth (at least three times) and then bottle securely in smaller jars. Label jars to ensure you know what they are for future reference.

Suggested Use for Witches Flying Oil

  1. Make sure you patch test on your bottom part of your inner forearm to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction and ensure you do not ever take this oil internally.
  2. Ensure that you are in a safe and comfortable environment when first trialling the oil and that you are feeling well and that there is someone close by in case of a medical emergency.
  3. If no allergic reaction occurs after trialling some on your forearm, place a small amount on your palms, on the inside of your wrists or back of your knees, or the nape of your neck for inducement of trance and flying on the astral.
  4. You should feel the effects of the flying oil which include an altered state of consciousness when you enter a trance state on the astral plane.
  5. When your astral journey is over ensure to properly wash the areas you placed the oil on thoroughly so it doesn’t cross-contaminate other items you touch or brush against.
  6. Journal your findings for future reflection and insights.

*Can be toxic do not take internally and use carefully.

USE AT OWN DISCRETION AND RISK.

DO NOT use if pregnant, lactating or have a medical or mental/emotinal condition which can put you at risk.

 

© T. Georgitsis 2014, Updated 2020

Vodka: Spell For Freezing

Aids: Banishing, cleansing, warding, strength, courage and perseverance. Movement forward and accomplishing targets set. Freezing someone out of your life. 

Chakra: Solar Plexus.

Element: Fire and Water.

Number: 5.

Planet: Mars.

Purpose: Used in magick to ensure spells last.

Star Sign: Fire and Water Signs (no specific star sign).

Tarot Card: Temperance.

Spell work: On the back of a photo of the person/situation you want to frozen out of your life write:

“I (your name) daughter/son of mother/father’s name
Hereby freeze (situation or person’s name).

Sprinkle vodka on the photo and the back of the photo.  Place in a zip log bag at the back of the freezer where it wont be disturbed until your desire is fulfilled.

(c) T. Georgitsis 2018

Speak Little Listen Much

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My mambo taught me a great lesson which I have taken on board in recent years – the act of saying nothing!

In Haitian Vodou they shun people as a way of expressing they don’t wish to interact with said people, due to not willing to mingle for reasons such as lack of integrity etc.

So in fact it’s a way of “keeping silent”.

Silence here is used as a way to disconnect and I have seen many masters and seekers employ this technique successfully.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2016

My Feelings on Pagan Education and Training

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The teachers and mentors I have had on my journey I have always been respectful towards (even if I wasn’t shown the same courtesy) and worked hard to learn and prosper with.

Unfortunately these days I find seekers out there don’t have that attitude and are in fact quite demanding, sometimes coming across like spoilt children if they don’t get what they want, when they want – when it comes to education and training.

You cannot demand someone educate and train you in the esoteric arts or pagan path-workings as having a mentor is a privileged honor and not a demanded right. There is so much information online right now which can be accessed with a few clicks that I have noticed many just expect to be spoon fed without actually doing any of the work.

When I started my foray into the public pagan scene in the mid 90’s the internet was only just coming into fruition with email and only a limited number of websites.  This was the day before social media and the only way to find a teacher was to find them in real life, usually through an occult store or through a pagancentric hard-copy magazine.  Study via correspondence was usually hand written through snail mail or through email in some cases where the teacher or school had access to it. To find like-minded individuals it was important to network in real life and attend events in real time.  You learned who you resonated with and who you didn’t and what teachers or groups were around who offered a course of study and/or practical working group.

To say I am thankful that I learned this way from real people is just the beginning of the benefits I found as now I find the pagan scene diluted with unqualified mentors/teachers, know it all armchair pagans and substance-less conversations in online forums.

I am also finding that the older I get, the more I am disillusioned with the public pagan community in general and the more I remove myself from any of its negativity.  I tend to shy away from egocentric and aggressively demanding people  who believe its their right to be served and unfortunately the scene is rife with these types.

Personally I prefer positive interaction where people speak to each other in a respectful manner and you learn by engaging proactively and getting together and doing things whether it be online or in real life.  These to me are real connections and ones which I only foster these days because they are valued.

(c) T. Georgitsis 2016

 

La Sirene – Blessings of the Sea

My partner drove me 3 hours return trip to Flinders  so I could perform an offering and blessing ceremony to La Sirene.  I grew up going to this beach and spending hours each day exploring the area and thankfully it hasnt changed since the last time I was there decades ago.

I set up a shrine on the beach underneath the alcove of a beach tree lest I be disturbed by a few families on the beach that day and left offerings for La Sirene in the lapping ocean water after the appropriate salutes and prayers had been made.

La Sirene

Pagan Blog Project: W is for Witches Flying Oil

Witches Flying Oil is an agent used to help witches reach the astral or trance states.  In the 1300 witches flying ointments were made with heated animal fats and nightshade herbs and it was claimed to help them fly to the Sabbath on their brooms.  Witches Flying Oil is a vegetable based oil infused with herbs which is a milder version of witches flying ointments.

witch_m_1728821a

Tina’s Witches Flying Oil for Hekate (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  • Bay Laurel Leaves
  • Mandrake
  • Mugwort
  • Wormwood
  • Poppy Seeds

Method

  1. Fill a glass jar with ¼ of dried herbs and fill the rest with virgin olive oil.
  2. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop the metal lid from corroding.
  3. Succuss (shake) the herbs in the oil solution daily for a month.
  4. Steep for a month in a secure glass jar and place in a cool dark place.
  5. Strain solution through cheesecloth (at least three times) and then bottle securely in smaller jars.

Simple Use for Witches Flying Oil

Annoint your third eye or back of neck for inducement of trance and flying on the astral.

© T. Georgitsis 2014

Pagan Blog Project: V is for Vinegar (Four Thieves)

Four Thieves Vinegar also known as Prophylactic Vinegar or Marseilles Vinegar/Remedy, is a health tonic made from vinegar, herbs and spices which was created in the middle ages to protect against the plague (black death). It can be used as powerful disinfectant and bug spray.

images

 Tina’s Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe (© T. Georgitsis 2014)

Ingredients

  • Vinegar (white wine or apple cider) – 2 litres
  • Wormwood (1 tablespoon)
  • Sage (1 tablespoon)
  • Marjoram (1 tablespoon)
  • Meadowsweet (1 tablespoon)
  • Campala Root (3 tablespoons)
  • Angelic Root (3 tablespoons)
  • Rosemary (3 tablespoons)
  • Horehound(3 tablespoons)
  • Champhor (3 tablespoons)
  • Thyme (2 tablespoons)
  • Mint (2 tablespoons)
  • Lavender (2 tablespoons)
  • Cloves (25 cloves)

Method

  1. Add dried herbs to vinegar solution.
  2. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop metal lid from corroding.
  3. Steep for 3 weeks in a secure glass jar in a cool dark place.
  4. Before closing the lid put some cling wrap to stop metal lid from corroding.
  5. Strain solution through cheesecloth and then bottle securely in smaller jars.

Simple Use for 4 Theives Vinegar

Use as a disinfectant or house cleaning agent.

© T. Georgitsis 2014

Pagan Blog Project: S is for Story

The Beginning and The End

She looked at her hands – flesh blistering and bleeding.  The raw pain she felt made her eyes sting, causing salty tears to streak down her face.  A muffled whimpering was echoing off the walls of her deep cell.  She soon realised it was coming from her.

“I will never confess.” She half whispered to herself, as she gathered the strength to steadily pick herself up.

She shuffled across the filthy floor, jingling the chains which bound her feet.  A foreboding feeling came over her, as she made her way to the barred window which overlooked the town square.  Shafts of light touch touched her vacuous face as she viewed the spectacle unfolding before her.  The townspeople gathered in the square.  Peddlers set up stalls selling sweet bread and ale, while others set up viewing stands in front of the pyre.

She raised her hand and gently touched her carelessly shaven head.  The raven hair was no more.  Her body repulsed at the thoughts of those men touching her.  She wore her pain like a mask, but those emerald eyes still remained her most alluring feature.  To this grand beauty they had put flames to the soles of her feet and palms of her hands.  On the rack they had stretched her like toffee and whipped her naked back until it bled.

“No mater ”, she whispered, “I know where I go.”

Her thoughts were interrupted with the loud creaking sound of the cell door being unbolted and opened by the guards.  In walked Father Toulouse carrying a well worn copy of the Malleus Maleficarum – the inquisitors bible – under one arm.  In the other he carried a small black leather bag, much like the Parisian doctors carry.

“Bring me a small table and a stool.” he snapped at one of the guards, while narrowing his eyes in the direction of the woman.

“Do you wish to confess now Verity?”

“Confess to what?” she answered.

“You are a member of the Vaudois, are you not?  You meet with other heathens and practice your rituals.  You cavort with Satan, do you not?  You perform your Sabbaths to honour him.  Do you confess!”

“What are you trying to say, Father?” she said teasingly.

“That you’re a witch!” he shouted, the last word echoing off the damp walls.

“Oh!  Such accusations!”

She began to laugh madly, her voice ringing out and scraping the cell.

“You sacrificed that child.  You took the life right out of it and gave it to the Devil!”

With a sudden burst of anger Verity leapt forward and stood stock still, two feet from him, her eyes piercing his like a needle.

“I was trying to help Emlen give birth.  Unfortunately the child was stillborn.  There was nothing I could do.  There was nothing anyone could have done.”

“Lies, all lies.  You can’t be trusted.  It is written in the Bible.  The Apostle John was heard to say that women were the downfall of man.”

“Believe that, let it comfort you.  John was a woman hater, the same as yourself.  You want to oppress me because you fear me.  You fear what I know.”

“How dare you speak such abominations to me!  You are Satan’s spawn, so help me God you will be driven into the pits of hell where you belong.”

“Satan doesn’t exist, you created him along with your idealistic God.  You think we are all born with original sin – how pathetic!”

“Curb your tongue witch.  You will be thrust down into the eternal fires of hell soon enough.  Many have witnessed your bewitching powers.  We have signed documentation stating you practice the Black Arts.  This alone can send you to your death, for heresy is against God’s law.

The cell door creaked open once again and the guard brought in the table and stool.

“Place them in the middle of the room.” ordered Father Toulouse.

Verity backed away and wrapped her arms around herself in a protective manner.  Father Toulouse proceeded to empty the contents of his bag onto the table.  He took out a box of matches, a yellow candle, a candle holder engraved with tiny dancing angels, a small brass bell and a Bible.  His trembling hands lit the candle and placed it in the candle holder.  He picked up the copy of the Malleus Maleficarum turned to a marked page and began to read out loud.

We exclude Verity Lore from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church, and we judge her condemned to the eternal fires with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as she will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church.

With that he closed the book, rang the bell once and extinguished the candle by thrusting it down onto the ground.

“Let God’s will be done.”

v v v

A short time after Father Toulouse had made his exit, some women from the village had come to her.  They had bathed her in wintry water scented with frankincense and dressed her in an unsullied white robe which reached down to her toes.

All the while Verity thought of her impeding fate.  She knew she was being prepared like wild pig for feasting.  Verity didn’t fear death –  that had never bothered her.  Leaving her kindred – that had never bothered her either, as she knew they would see each other again – if not in this life, in the next.  What bothered her was the exhibition she was being made into.  People had obviously come to see the burning of a witch – no matter if the accused was innocent or guilty.

It grieved her to think of her family watching as they set her alight.  Her body twisting and thrashing about with extreme agony.  Afterwards the chosen ones would gather her ashes and cast them to the four winds, not enabling her to have a final resting place.

“Here take this and carry it in front of you while you make your way towards the pyre.” said one of the women.

Verity let her thoughts return from the scene playing in her mind and looked at what the woman held before her.  It was a white, six pound candle.

“Is this supposed to invite death?” Verity said mockingly.

“You’re a marked woman now,” said the woman, as she gestured Verity to follow.

She was led out of her confining cell and up some squalid stairs until they reached the oak door.  This door connected the prison cells to the church anteroom.  Verity was then taken out of the dismal looking church and into the beaming light of day.  Many had gathered.  The town square was full of people pushing and elbowing each other to get a good view.

“Make your way to the pyre.” Another faceless woman said, as Verity was given a shove.

Verity swallowed her anguish.  With her hands outstretched bearing the candle she gradually made her way to the foot of the pyre.  The crowd oohed and ahhed as she passed.  A few actually called out to her, protesting she confess to her guilt.

Father Toulouse appeared out of the dense crowd and took a place by her side.  He nervously unrolled a piece of parchment he was holding and cleared his throat.

“Silence!” he yelled.

The crowd grew quiet in anticipation.  Father Toulouse took a quick glance at the crowd before focusing his attention to what was written before him.  He cleared his throat once more and announced:

I Father Michael Toulouse by the mercy of God of the Roman Catholic Church, seeing that you Verity Lore, of Arras in the province of Southern France, has been accused before us of such heresy as worshiping Satan and committing such crimes as taking another’s life, manipulating elemental force, shape shifting, the conjuring of spirits, sorcery with intent to harm and bewitching people to do your will.

Wishing to make sure the charges made against you are true and whether you walk in darkness or light, I proceeded to inform myself by diligently examining the witnesses and questioning you, and by proceeding in every way I was bound by the canonical decrees.

Wishing to conclude your trial in a manner beyond doubt, I have diligently examined each circumstance and the material provided in the present case and I find you Verity Lore have been legally convicted of having been infected with the sin of heresy for so long a time, that you have said and committed crimes against the Holy Church, and are therefore legitimately convicted of the said heresy.

The Church of God has waited for you to repent and acknowledge your guilt, and you have refused and still refuse, so the Church’s grace and mercy can go no further.  Therefore you must be an example to others and that they may be keep from all such heresies and that such crimes may not remain unpunished.

Hence, I Father Michael Toulouse on behalf of the Roman Catholic faith judge, declare and pronounce sentence that you Verity Lore standing her in our presence at the hour of midday on the 21st September 1688, in the town square of Arras are an impenitent heretic we deliver and abandon you to the sentence of death by fire to be carried out immediately.

A sudden wave of shouts arose from the crowd, declaring their consent.

Verity scanned the crowd for familiar faces.  None – all had abandoned her.

“I wish to speak!” she cried out.

“She wishes to confess,” one shouted.

“She wants to beg for forgiveness,” yelled another.

“Hear me out!  Let me speak!” she screamed over the crowd.

“Very well,” said Father Toulouse turning towards Verity.

“You may have a few moments, but chose your words carefully as they will be your last.”

“Silence everyone!” he yelled, “I will let her speak one last time before you.”

Verity thought silently for a moment.  She put the candle down on the cobbled stones and faced the crowd.  She raised her arms pleadingly and took a deep breath.

“I stand here before you all, a condemned woman.  Sentenced to die a hideous death – for what?  For the crime of serving you and your families.”

A loud mumbling escaped from the crowd.

“I cured you when you were struck down with ills.  I healed your broken bones and torn flesh.  I listened when you spoke of your sorrows and heartbreaks and I in turn offered advice to mend them.  I helped your mothers, wives and children birth comely babes.  This is how you repay me – with accusations and lies.  What has befallen you,  that you wish to see me destroyed when the only thing I ever gave you was my love? I weep for you now because you do not know what you have done.  The law of three will be upon you and I will not be able to deter what will come.  The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end.”

“Father”, she said turning her attention to Father Toulouse.

“I pity you and I hope you find the peace which you are searching for.  And to all of you, I bid farewell and may the gods have mercy on you.”

In the blink of an eye Verity ran up the pyre steps, grabbed the flint torch from the black hooded executioner and set the pyre alight.  She discarded the torch and thrust herself into the flames.  Screams erupted from the crowd as people ran in all directions pushing and shoving to get away.  Father Toulouse was so shaken he clasped his hands in prayer as he fell to the ground.

Meanwhile Verity twisted and convulsed as the flames enveloped her.  She let out a piercing cry…and then there was blackness.

In the distance a voice could be heard.

“Christine, Christine can you hear me?  Christine, when I count to three you will travel back to the present time.  You will open your eyes and find yourself in the safe and comfortable surroundings of my lounge room.  You will remember what you have seen but you will not bring back any pain from that time.

One, two, three.  Open your eyes now Christine.  Can you hear me?  Are you alright?”

“Um.…. yeah, I’m ok.  Just feel a little shaken.  Didn’t expect to see what I did.”

“I know, sometimes its hard going back, but that’s the only way you can figure out what baggage you’ve brought with you.”

“Well, I’ve seen it and I tell you what – I’m not going to forget it too soon!”

“You look like you need a cup of tea.  If you get something into you, it’ll help you get grounded.  Just relax and I’ll make you one.  I won’t be too long.”

“Sure, thanks.”

“The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end.” Christine half whispered to herself.

I would like to dedicate this story to the men, women and children whose innocent lives were taken during several inquisitions from 1231 – 1860.  During these centuries of injustice many innocent people were persecuted for acts they did not commit.  To our fallen brothers and sisters their memory lives on – for they live inside us.

(c) T. Georgitsis,  1998 (Appeared in a pagan anthology called “Beyond The Pillars” in 2013)