Besom, Stang, & Sword: A guide to Tradition Witchcraft, the Six-fold Path, and the Hidden Landscape

besom stang and sword

This non-theistic book by Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire treats witchcraft as a practice, not a religion, in the Blacktree Tradition.

When you think of witchcraft, what comes to mind? Is it gathering herbs deep in the woods? Gazing into a crystal ball? Burning incense and entering a deep trance to commune with the spirits?

If your version of witchcraft is more craft and less religion, then Besom, Stang, and Sword is a book that could feel at home in your collection.

Besom, Stang, and Sword: A Guide to Traditional Witchcraft, the Six-Fold Path, and the Hidden Landscape by Christopher Orapello & Tara-Love Maguire is a non-theistic, regional approach to Witchcraft that takes a step away from the fertility and agricultural cycles of Wicca-influenced witchcraft.

Besom, Stang, and Sword is ideal for readers who are looking for a structured approach to developing their craft, or those who feel disconnected from the fertility-influenced approach in contemporary witchcraft.

The Six-Fold Path encompasses History and Lore, Magic, Divination, Herbalism, Necromancy, and Hedgewitchery. Besom, Stang, and Sword provides a loose structure and an ideal starting point for the reader to develop their craft while allowing room for creativity and self-exploration.

The reader will have the opportunity to explore a selection of rituals, rites, and spellwork. Each chapter provides an overview of the basics and suggestions for further study. The reader who completes this book will quite possibly find themselves returning to it with a deeper understanding after finishing the well-cultivated bibliography at the end of each chapter.

The approach to craft taken by Besom, Stang, and Sword has a decidedly American influence. Hex Signs and the Pow-wow* Tradition of the Long-Lost Friend are just as at home in the Blacktree Tradition as flying ointments and ritual tools. The familiar correspondences found in many Western systems are absent or edited heavily in the Blacktree Tradition. What may be disorienting to some readers will feel like home to others: The shifting of the elements in the Northern Quarters System may be just what you need to feel the connection of energy in your work.

*Pow-wow does not in this instance refer to Native American tradition. Instead, Pow-wow – also known as Brauche or Braucherei in Deitsch – is folkmagic tradition based on an American Grimoire influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch traditions and folk magic. It is entirely separate from Native American ritual and culture. The most commonly-known form of Braucherei is the painting of Hex Signs on barns.

The tenets of the Blacktree Tradition:

  • Every witch is a sovereign entity.
  • Witchcraft is not necessarily a religion; it is a practice.
  • Witchcraft is a multi-disciplinary path of personal sovereignty which combines history and lore, magick, divination, herbalism, hedge witchery, and necromancy.
  • Magick is a force within nature and doesn’t contain or imply a moral code on its own or in and of itself.

While Besom, Stang, and Sword adheres to its claim of being non-theistic, readers will be supported in developing a relationship with the Witch Lord and Witch Queen. These primal spirits of place will guide the reader in fostering a relationship with the ancestors, spirits of the home, and spirits of the reader’s local landscape.

This book requires the reader to participate in the leg work. Easily adaptable to any region, Besom, Stang, and Sword will not tell you what your relationship to your environment will look like or what the outcome may be. Instead, it will guide you in developing a meaningful practice that will grow and develop alongside you.

You can find the book at your local bookstore, library, or on Amazon.