Dancing Lions & Lucky Lettuce

This is the time of the year the terrible Nian comes out of the dark to feed, and roams the neighbourhood looking for vulnerable people it can snap up and crunch down. The Nian was originally indigenous to rural China and was close to extinction in the 1800’s, but over the years has interbred with…

Vanquish a Love Rival via Voodoo

Sometimes you need to get somebody out of the way. I’m well aware that it would be v. bad ju-ju to destroy an enemy or rival by use of the dark arts… but…. Let me make it clear now that we will not be using poppets, D.U.M.E oils, hexing, cursing, left-handed grimoires nor will we…

Follow The Bear

A straw bear or Wild Man is a vaguely man-shaped animated heap of straw with a pointy head that appears in Shrovetide celebrations in the more remote Bavarian villages and rather more unexpectedly, at the modern town of Whittlesey in the Fenlands of Cambridgeshire. In The Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer described many examples of…

Super Blue Blood Moon lucky horoscopes for YOU

The lunar situation is getting a bit complex, so let’s summarize. A Blood Moon is when a complete lunar eclipse makes the moon appear red. A Blue Moon is when an additional full moon occurs as well as the 12 usual full moons we have every year. As this only happens occasionally (like a Leap…

Hand of Glory

If you thought that stuffing a chicken in a duck in a turkey after totally deboning them all like a sort of festive amateur surgeon to make a Turducken seemed like too much effort this year, or have been daunted by Delia Smith’s spaghetti sauce recipe with its four kinds of meat and three hour…

Ride the Pooka or An Ideal Martini

A pooka is a shapeshifter which prefers the shape of a black horse, although it may also appear as a rabbit, wolf, raven, fox or cat. You should always be on your guard when meeting an unknown creature with a black coat, especially if its eyes are green or red. Especially at parties. Remember those…

Halloween – the poet, the witch and the eel

Halloween is a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands. This year was no exception, at our dark shrouded hovel. But why am I talking about it, when I should be poeming about it? Up in old East London Things roam on claw’d feet We dare…

Killing the Corn-Spirit or Hello, Dolly!

In the village of Siddington in Cheshire in the shadow of the monolithic radio telescopes of Jodrell Bank, lives a gentleman with an unusual hobby. Raymond Rush makes corn dollies, and at Harvest Festival time decorates the local church with over 1,000 of these sinister pagan relics. In his workshop next to an old hand…

Mezcal Magic & The 400 Rabbits

Mayatl the ancient Zapotec goddess of mezcal is a beautiful woman with 40,000 breasts like agave pines. Living in the desert surrounded by shadowy holes in the ground, she flowered into being when lightning struck an agave plant – cooking, opening it and spilling the first mezcal across the sand. The holes are inhabited by…

Today the Gates of Hell open for Hungry Ghosts

The Hungry Ghost festival is held during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar, on the first night of the full Corn Moon. This is when the gates of Hell open and Hungry Ghosts are freed from the lower realms to roam the earth, where they seek food and amusement. These Ghosts are believed to…

Feline fine, sound familiar?

In Japan, they’ve invented a wine for cats, although Nyan Nyan Nouveau does not contain any alcohol, rather being a mixture of grape juice and catnip. My cat Cujo prefers Amaretto Sours, just replacing the amaretto with tuna brine, and swapping out shrimps for the lemon juice.   It’s his birthday today so I’m having…

Bunny Chow & Pinch Punch

Saying “Pinch punch” and spitefully poking somebody or just saying “White rabbits!” before midday on every 1st of the month is a popular folk tradition whose origins have become hazy with the passing of time. Almost nobody remembers now that the “pinch punch” was a symbolic blow to cast out evil spirits from people around…