Like the glint of light off a blade, his eyes flash with poison and he smiles a wicked grin. His goat-like body is hollow, like a structure of wood and bone. His horns are long and sharp. When he runs toward me and opens his mouth, I allow myself to get swallowed, and inside his belly I arrive at the Sabbat, to partake in the great rite with the Devil.
The Phouka is a shapeshifting goblin from Irish folklore, who is often seen in the shape of a goat, horse, dog or bull. He is usually black in colour with fiery eyes. He is often seen as a trickster-like figure, taking people for wild rides, and throwing them off along the way with a devilish laugh.Within Irish folklore, however, he is seen as a helpful spirit when shown kindness.
In the middle ages, the word Pouk, or Pook, referred to The Devil. The Devil’s Portion of a harvest or offering, could also be considered the “Púca’s share” given as placation. Overripe blackberries were considered to have been spoiled by the Phouka’s spit or feces and therefore were not eaten. When I harvest berries and fruits from the garden, I always leave a share behind for the Fae, often these last bits of harvest were considered to be fairy- blasted and inedible.
Come, come, come to the Sabbat
Come to the Sabbat, Satan’s there
-Black Widow- Come to the Sabbat
I drank absinthe, the venom of the green fairy, and the Phouka came to me, maybe not even for the first time. In my dream he was chasing my puppy around playfully, and I had kept a part of my door locked, at first frightened, not knowing whether this creature would be to harm or to help. After a while, I braved opening the door…
This last Sunday, me and The Hedgehog, went to a workshop and made some herbal liqueurs, namely- Strawberry wine, limencello and Cognac. On straining the Strawberry wine, I had the thought that the Phouka may enjoy the alcoholic mush of the strawberries and herbs, and so I offer to him, this Puca’s share. November 1st is celebrated as The Phouka’s Feast day, and it is appropriate to offer ale, berry wines, and the Swill of any offering.
Black Nightshade or Solanum nigrum grows in the garden among many of my other plants. The berries, when ripe are edible, but when green are poisonous as they contain Solanine the same poison found in tomatoes, potatoes and Bittersweet Nightshade. The herb can therefore be employed carefully as both an edible and a poison, being both a protective plant of the ancestors and fae, as well as a cursing herb. Black nightshade is often confused for Atropa Belladonna- a much deadlier berry which is used in Flying ointments, but is no-where near as scary. A berry wine made of the fruits and infused with the leaves of the Black Nightshade can be offered as a libation for The Phouka, and other fae, and a delicious jam known as Nastergal jam is made in my country.
Poisonous berries, and poison berry wines and teas, have much potential in use as offerings to fae, infernal and saturnine spirits, to both placate them from blighting the harvest as well as to invoke their protection and aid. At Deipnon, offerings and libations of blackberry and nightshade infused wines can be left for Hekate and Her troupe- which phouka’s most certainly often frequent, offering wild rides to no where or neverwhere.
The last Deipnon, being the Dark Moon in Sagittarius, was a potent time for crafting protection, vengeance and cursing magic. The arrow of Sagittarius, when dark and reversed, becomes the poison arrow or Devil’s arrow, dipped with dark and dangerous witches herbs and berries, this arrow can be used for cursing or protection, as a warning, and a ward.
I craft my witches protections, filled with Witches Rage and Bitterness at the witching hour. I turn my eyes into hollow shells and holed stones, and my words into adders and arrows.
Sources and Further Reading
Faeries-Brian Froud and Alan Lee