“As she making her beede in her Chamber, there appeared in the shape of a man in blacke cloaths and blackish cloaths about five weeks past, and bid her good-morrow. And shee asked what his name was, and he said his name was Blackeman, and asked her if she were poore, and she said I; and then he told her he would send one Grissell and Greedigut to her, that shall do anything for her...and after Blackeman was departed from her, within three or 4 days, Grissell and Greedigut came to her, in the shapes of dogges with great brisles of hogges haire upon their backs, and said to her they were come from Blackeman to do what she would command them, and did aske her if shee did want anything, and they would fetch her any thing” - from “The Witches of Huntingdon” by John Davenport, 1646.
Modern witches make things so complicated; go to a graveyard at midnight, burn some hard to find herbs and make offerings of goat’s blood to summon the Man in Black for pacts of riches and fancies. Apparently in the old days it was easy as making your bed to summon such spirits! All joking aside, this is a common theme in traditional craft these days, making contact with this Witch Father...but is there a modern significance of these beast-spirits which appear to be familiars of Him?
Stories of Black Dogs, Hares,Cats and Birds abound in witch trial confessions as both familiars and fetches of the accused. The Devil appears to witches in various animal forms such as serpents, dragons and ‘night birds’, which inhabit ‘desolate places’...the real form of Him being too terrible to behold:
“He is some ugly terrible Creature to look upon, some black man with with a pair of Horns on his head, and a cloven foot, and a long Tayl, or some monstrous Beast that inhabiteth in the Woods, and walketh about in the night to scare people” (A Candle in the Dark)
Animals could also be ‘hag ridden’ by suspected witches to get around during their nocturnal journey; bewitched and innocent creatures were believed to be kidnapped for their infernal bidding. Or the animal would be the Devil Himself, becoming a horse or goat for the same purposes of transportation. Animals were used as tools of magick, more likely their parts being ingredients for particular spells and workings. The most famous, at least among modern witches, is the Toad-bone; gathered in a particular manner and used to give the witch power over any animal but particularly horses.
“There was one charm she told me of wich was practiced wen any one wanted to get comand over there fellow creaturs. Those that wished to cast the spell must serch until they found a walking toad. It was a toad with a yellow ring round its neck, I have never seen one of them but I have been told they can be found in some parts of the Cuntry. Wen they found the toad they must put it in a perforated box, and bury it in a Black Ant’s nest. Wen the Ants have eaten all the flesh away from the bones it must be taken up, and the person casting the spell must carry the bones to the edge of a running stream the midnight of Saint Marks Night, and throw them in the water. All will sink but one single bone and that will swim up stream. When they have taken out the bone the Devell would give them the power of Witch craft, and they could use that power over both Man and Animales” (Haggard, ed., 1935, pp. 13-14).
Supernatural animals also appear in folklore traditions as guides, such as the appearance of the phantasmal Black Dog who is a harbinger of death, much the same as an Irish Banshee (bean-sidhe). One of the earliest in recorded history occurred during the Italian Ver Sacram (“sacred spring”) when lost tribal warriors were each led by a different animal totem, various species sent by the patron God Mars.
- Francisco de Goya Lucientes, "Witches' Sabbath (The Great He-Goat)"
The Goat, in particular, has one of the oldest connections with witchcraft and the historical Witch Father than of any other animal. From the deity Ra in ancient Egypt, to the Greek cult of Pan and later the famous Mendes Goat worshiped by modern Satanists, the twisted horns and side-protruding eyes of these cloven-footed creatures have been involved with the mysteries of witchcraft for thousands of years. One of the first animals to become domesticated, it has lived within close proximity to humans a long time; and like Cats, easily revert back to their once wilder behaviors. Able to eat practically anything and live in almost any environment, the Goat is present in nearly every culture of the world.
It was only in recent years the Goat made a huge comeback as a familiar spirit, a most charismatic and frightening beast named Black Phillip in the 2005 film “The Witch”. Making small appearance throughout the story, which takes place in 1630’s New England, it is not until the very end when He transforms into the very Devil we expect...to entice a young soul with promises of dresses, butter and ‘to live deliciously’ in exchange for her signature in a pact. Of COURSE the puritan girl signs, then follows Black Phillip into the woods and joins the wicked sorority who have already gathered there. The promise of “Living Deliciously” is not a new concept, after all. In some witchcraft trial records there are similar promises made, by Witchfathers and Faeries alike:
“Thow art a poor woman and a beggar among a cumpanie of harlots, goe with me and I’ll make the a Lady and put in a brave castall quhair thou shalt want nothing and I will free the of all the poverties and troubles thou art in” (Stuart, 1843 "Extracts from the Presbytery Book of Strathbogie").
The imagery, the words, the goat...all enchanted many movie-goers, especially this witch. It was this egregore of a Devil, the Witch Father, which inspired me to seek out His hand. Lucifer is a similar being, but with too many ties to the Judeo-Christian current. Black Phillip has stepped forward from these shadows of blasphemy to become something meaningful.
But how was I to even begin working with this egregore? After all, he is only a fictional character from a movie, right? Well...not really. The spirit which Black Phillip was based on wears a devilish mask; it is still the same Man in Black. For such pop cultural magicks, I looked to the Chaotes for inspiration with a sigil by using a great website that makes them, and prayed for guidance through my Matron, Hekate. The following is an operation which I created, included friends with and who saw amazing results. I then gave it to others, who also received blessings both great and small. It is now time to test it on a broader spectrum...to anyone else who feels their life does not have enough deliciousness in it, who needs a good ‘road-opener’ and who would like to make contact with Black Phillip in all His blackened glory.Think on the meaning of what is IS to 'live deliciously'? Is it to have enough money for travel? More friends? A better job so you don't have to worry about bills so much? Maybe more time for bubble baths and massages? The sky is the limit in this operation...just be sure to have a very clear picture before beginning.
The “Living Deliciously” Spell
1 Seven Day Candle, in white/purple/or red, blessed and consecrated
Essential oil each for Jupiter and Venus (or a blended planetary oil for each)
2 bowls for offerings
Fresh flowers, fruit or incense of your choice
Clarified butter (ghee)
A bottle of red wine
An application or table of the planetary hours
A piece of paper
A green inked pen, preferably sharpie or other permanent marker
Begin thy spell upon a New or Waxing Moon, within the hour and day of Jupiter (Thursday) or Venus (Friday).
Upon a sheet of paper, blessed and consecrated in hours of Jupiter or Venus, write names of thy witches of Black Phillip. Whilst inscribing these names, visualize how they will be 'Living Deliciously': imagine what it is like for thou to have all desires met, comforts and beauties associated with those blessings. Set the charged paper aside.
Write upon the glass of thy wicked candle this following sigil:
Thou mayest include other symbols or images which doth conjure living deliciously; mine own contained Venus and Jupiter symbols.
Place into thy vessels for receiving offerings of rich butter and blood wine, arrange thy fragrant flowers.
When ready place thy paper upon the altar, place thy candle atop it. Light thy flame, burn thy incense and begin thy evocation, in whatever way thoust sees fit. Sayeth these words aloud:
Black Phillip, I conjure thee!
Bless this spell, and empower me
The means to live deliciously!
Hold within thy witches' mind the Vision of Living Deliciously whilst gazing at thy sigil.
Allow thy candle to burn, adding to it thy corresponding oils (Jupiter during the hour of Jupiter and Venus during the hour of Venus) into the melted wax, evoking Black Phillip throughout the rest of this first day as often as possible.
Repeat every day in thy hours of Venus and Jupiter, or every Thursday and Friday throughout this moon phase until the Full Moon, in which thou shalt rest until it is anew. Dispose of thy offerings as thy see fit.
Repeat the entire process every month, with ghee and wine being primary offerings but adding a third different offering each time, of thy choice.
When thy candle has completely burned down...thank Black Phillip wholeheartedly and receive your blessings in full! Dispose of thy candle glass safely in thy recylcing bin.
Suggested further reading: