Podcast 30: Magical Professions


This episode is all about the magical professions found in folk and fairy tales. Laine discusses weaving in WitchCraft, and Cory looks at iron and War Water in Spelled Out.


Download:  New World Witchery: Episode 30

The Element Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft, by Judika Illes

Some of the fairy tales and folklore we reference are:

We’d like to ask our listeners to consider giving to funds like the Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund or the Heart of Missouri United Way in light of recent natural disasters in those areas.

Please also consider donating to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which is currently helping victims of severe weather across the country.

Finally, both Laine and Cory will be attending the Second Annual Pagan Podkin Supermoot in Salem, MA, on the weekend of Sept. 17th, 2011.  Find out more details about the event and opportunities to come meet us in person at the PPSM2 Website. [Laine respectfully asks that she not be in any photographs, due to privacy concerns—Cory will be happy to wear a wig and pretend to be Laine, however].

Promos & Music
Title music:  “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues.  From Magnatune.
Promo 1 – The Infinite & the Beyond
Promo 2 – Lakefront Pagan Voice
Promo 3 – Pennies in the Well

10 thoughts on “Podcast 30: Magical Professions”

  1. I really enjoyed this episode! You mentioned an author by the last name of Hyatt but I didn’t see a link for him in the shownotes:( I’m interested because I was born and raised in Illinois and would love to read up on any regional folklore!

    Cory, you should sing more often 😀

    1. Hahaha! Um, no, I think I’ll try to keep my singing to a bare minimum–we want to *keep* listeners 😀

      The Hyatt I referenced was Harry Middleton Hyatt, and he’s written two works that are of interest to folk magicians: Folklore of Adams County Illinois (can be found free on the web) and Hoodoo-Conjuration-Witchcraft-Rootwork (a 5-vol. set that sells for around $1000-2000 if you can even find it). You can find a good bit of Hyatt’s hoodoo info at Cat Yronwode’s site or through the Hyatt_Spells Yahoo! Group.

      Thanks for the comment, and all the best!

  2. I am anxiously awaiting the PPSM2 ever since I first heard word of it from Velma and Fire Lyte! Of course, I’m counting on my son deciding to make his first appearance in this world either early or on time (he’s due 9/9) so I will have enough time to relax and heal after before making the hour drive to Salem!

    On another note, I enjoyed this episode. I never thought about which occupations tend to reappear in lore over and over. I just want to ask: what about the wordsmiths/storytellers? While the occupation itself isn’t generally mentioned, if it weren’t for the folk who share a love of words and telling stories, we wouldn’t even have the tales to refer back to. Additionally, words can be a very powerful thing in their own right.

    Just my own two cents. 🙂 I hope to see you at the super moot!

    1. Hi Lizz!

      Wow! I hope you manage to make it, too, but if you don’t you’ve got a pretty good excuse 🙂 Warm wishes and blessings to you for a healthy pregnancy and a safe, easy delivery!

      I think the storyteller/writer can definitely be a magical occupation (though in some ways I’d connect that to the student/scholar, too). We’ll probably wind up having to do a second episode on this topic eventually, as we keep getting great suggestions for other magical jobs. If you have other ideas and suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

      Thanks again, and all the best,

  3. Hey Cory and Laine!

    Just finished listening to this episode and a thought occurred to me while you two were talking about weaving and weavers. This is just my interpretation, but it seems to me like the only place women had any power or authority was in the home and where ‘women’s work’ was concerned, particularly weaving. Its interesting that this activity has been correlated with fate and the weaving of destiny considering the low status most (female) weavers were given.

    But I was thinking, maybe that’s because its one of the few ways women could take control of a part of their own lives, their own destinies. In the lore, magical weavers get themselves into trouble when they grow too big for their britches, so to speak, and challenge their predetermined (pre-woven?) destinies. Women who take control of their fate are often cast as the witch in the stories, while women who are deprived of the ability to or coerced into weaving or spinning, thus losing their little bit of control, often find themselves in hot water.

    A good example is the story of Sleeping Beauty–when her parents were told that she would prick her finger, they banned spinning wheels (and thus probably a loom, as well). If Sleeping Beauty had been brought up spinning and weaving, the chances she would have pricked her finger seem to be much smaller because she would have developed a fair amount of skill at her craft. But instead this ability to assert herself and take some small part in the shaping of her own destiny not only screwed up the next hundred years for her, but for her whole kingdom. Maybe the lesson in these stories is one of caution for patriarchy–push too hard in repressing women and stripping them of control of their own affairs, and bad things might happen.

    I’m sure you could go through a bunch of stories and make an argument for or against this interpretation, I just thought it might make interesting brain food. Love the podcast, keep up the good work!


    1. Hi M,

      I think that this is a perfectly good interpretation of the point, and I’m glad you brought it up. It sort of makes me think of a book called the Distaff Gospels, which is a late medieval/early Renaissance book which records a great deal of folklore from women doing just that kind of “women’s work.” In many ways, women were marginalized and ignored despite the amazing amount of information they had at hand, with only a few remarkable exceptions to that pattern surfacing in history. Domestic power might well have been the primary power of women, which is why a domestic enchantress (like a witch) would have been more powerful and more feared than, say, a hermit magician in a lonely tower.

      Anyway, great response, and good food for thought! Thank you for sharing with us!

      All the best,

  4. Cory & Laine:

    Thanks for the great episode. I enjoyed your discussion of magical professions very much and it came across as well researched. I’d like to suggest that an example of a more modern magical profession would be an attorney or judge. They are often considered keepers of the seemingly “arcane” knowledge of the law, legal precedent, and procedure. These are areas open to study to all, but practically speaking reserved for the few. Attorneys are often accused of working in legalese, a somewhat coded/secret language. They are often sought after to help others resolve issues that could not otherwise be resolved. Need I mention the black robes of judges and the frequent use of Latin in briefs? Perhaps this is only an example of a profession that can appear magical, but I think it worthy of consideration. Your thoughts?

    Thanks for the always insightful podcast.


    PS- In the interest of full disclosure, I am an attorney.

    1. Hi Win,

      You’ve probably seen my replies to others, but we’ll definitely have to do a second show on other magical professions. We missed quite a few! The judge motif is certainly one to include (especially the sort of “diabolical judge” who shows up in Southern folklore). And you make great points about the ritualistic accouterments of the profession!

      Thanks for the great suggestion!
      All the best,

  5. I sort of can’t believe y’all didn’t mention Harry Potter! Silver hand (Wormtail…transformative element to bring Moldywart back), as well as the Scholar (Dumbledore knowing far, far more about Harry’s quest), and a whole host of other mythological elements that Rowling wove (so to speak) through the various books.

    I figured if Buffy was fair game, so was the Potterverse. 😀

    1. Lol, well, if we had started on Harry Potter we probably wouldn’t have been able to stop. But yes, Potter is definitely fair game in our show 🙂


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