Mountain Ash Grove Traditional Witchcraft
Article ID: 13641
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,249
Times Read: 4,285
RSS Views: 42,876
Author: Old Richard [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: December 20th. 2009
Times Viewed: 4,285
The Mountain Ash Grove is a small extended-family stream of traditional Anglo-American folk wisdom and the cunning arts. It has its origins in the studies of one Richard Hanson and his now-deceased first wife Janet in the 1980's and 90's. It was established as a current in its own name by Richard and his new wife Cynthia Turrentine-Hanson several years ago and is currently training its third generation of corded members. Because the Mountain Ash Grove is in its third generation of Keepers with ties to three states, it can rightly be considered a legitimate Tradition.
The Grove is a heathen animist Mystery tradition, drawing it's core praxis largely from the lore and methods of the shamanic/ecstatic Northern European and English hedge riders of old, coupled with the natural healing arts of the village witch-doctor and herb-wife. The emphasis is on the Hidden Arts worked as a practical matter without the ceremonial trappings of rote religion. Apprentices are taught to work both sides of the hedge, as sorcerers and healers, necromancers and diviners.
There is a central set of great beings worked with regularly, as well as many other spirits. Proper names are seldom ascribed to the Ancient Ones, preferring to use kennings out of respect for the Power of Naming. These Mighty Ones include The Old Veiled One, the Blacksmith, the Bone Woman, and the Cunning Master. Being animists, we work with all manner plant, animal, and land spirits as well as the primal forces of the elements.
The Mountain Ash Grove holds to the concept that witches, like any other mystical practitioners, are born with certain natural abilities that only need to be unlocked and nurtured to be fully empowered. Unfortunately for some, no amount of mundane study can grant the abilities essential to shamanic sorcery. Sadly, Old Fate is neither fair nor egalitarian in this regard. Everyone has a personal spiritual journey in store for them, but not every journey can lead to the Meadows of Elfame.
Being an oral tradition, the Mountain Ash Grove has no Books of Shadows or grimoires. Instead, members are expected to be Keepers of the wisdom, and teachers to others so that the Virtue and knowledge will not be lost. Corded members are free to work their art either in groups or alone. There are no formal covens or cuveens, merely working groups formed on an ad-hoc basis for doing what is necessary. The main working group in Virginia is also involved in establishing a sacred land conservancy for the use of the entire extended family.
One will recognize some things as common to many of the better-known streams of traditional crafting, but the Grove has a lore and methodology all it's own. There are no formal Circles cast for example, viewing these as unhelpful and unnecessary barriers and filters. Instead, a simple Compass Ring is used to raise power for the work at hand, if one is used at all. There are no degrees or formal titles, merely functional descriptors. When an apprentice is offered her/his cord, that is considered recognition enough. There are no oaths of initiation, initiation being an Underworld matter and recognizing that one's promised Word of Honor is sufficient.
The Mountain Ash Grove also works a unique annual cycle. The solar quarter-days are viewed essentially as "work days", with seasonally appropriate workings done for the common benefit of those in the general community so desiring. Certain other days are reserved for powerful private workings and deep personal development. These are the Quickening or Awakening, Walpurgis Night, The Hallows, and the Mother Nights. The Grove's Year begins the day following the 12th Night and ends with The Hallows. The winter interregnum is the Dead Time or the Time Between Times, known to some as Misrule or the Season of the Witch.
There is no Rede or Witch Law for the Mountain Ash Grove, only the old imperative to do what must be done, and pay the coin. Adept cunning folk are expected to always use wise discernment of outcomes and influences before undertaking any working. A clear understanding of the web of Wyrd is essential to the Mountain Ash Grove metaphysic.
There is no “Skyclad” or ritual sexuality. Conversely, in closed workings there is no embarrassment about the common practices of personal spontaneous erotic-ecstatic acts specifically related to traditional fetch-flight and personal initiatory experiences. Privacy and mutual respect among the membership is fundamental.
Unlike most pagan traditions, the Mountain Ash Grove system makes no use of the Star of Solomon or pentagram. Rather, the traditional triangle of art is used for the focusing of the power being worked. There are no ritual altars, merely a convenient working table for tools, talismans, and simples when needed. Shrines and spirit houses are the affair of individual members and their patron spirits. The nearest comparison to the function of an altar would be a Man in Black’s stang or staff.
No use of standard rote incantations or prose liturgies is made. Charms and petitions are rhymed and/or sung spontaneously as an expression of deeply-felt personal intent. Much use is made of plant-spirits and familiar powers in the Grove's system of Wyrd-working, and many of the charms used would be familiar to any cunning practitioner. These include knotted cords, poppets, boneworks, salves and oils, among others.
Other important parts of the praxis involve ancestral wisdom, working with the runes, and the ultimate attainment of personal transformation to Wholeness or True Being.
The Grove is always careful to point out that it is not in any way derived from or beholden to any other stream of practice, except where wisdom is graciously shared through teaching, collaboration, or correspondence. Similarities will always exist, because history is common to all and ultimate Truth is universal. The Grove respectfully holds its peer groups in the highest regard, while keeping its sui generis Virtue as its own.
More information may be gained via the contact links here on The Witches’ Voice. Haresleap!
Copyright: No Copyright
Location: Strasburg, Virginia
Author's Profile: To learn more about Old Richard - Click HERE
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Old Richard... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2013 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).