Of The Turning, The Toad Nights and Tarantism

Tarantism (n)

a mania characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to dance, especially as prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th century, popularly attributed to the bite of the tarantula.


The Witch has many allies- rat, snake, toad, dog, cat, hare, and even spider. One ally who I have always honoured as household spirit is the Spider, a venomous being oft feared by even by the toughest of witches.

Before the Equinox, or the Turning, Spider came and gave me some of that biting medicine, that medicine that makes you dance, that magic that unsticks you when you are stuck. When Spider comes, and spider bites, if you don’t dance, you will die. It is not surprising that the Spider, a disguise of the Yaga came to me so soon after moving, I cannot sit around in a space of nothingness just because I am afraid to move on from the Goose Moon’s darkest lessons. I asked for this didn’t I?

I know the Equinoxes as The Turning, because the great weavers of Fate- the Older Beings- rule these times, when day and night are equal and are on the knifes edge of turning, one way or the other. These are the times to honour the Elder ones, and so I look to Spider, outside of an ally, and see Spider as Great Fate. It is time to accept that I need to write, need to draw, need to create and work, and do what needs to be done in The Yaga Hut. Sometimes it is just so difficult to put pen to paper. Even now, I feel like my typing is as slurred as drunken speech.

The Toad That Swallowed the Moon is the one that guided me further down the rabbit hole, I call Toad with the wooden percussion instrument and read of Toads, and Toadstools, and the deadly, venomous power of these strange beings.

It has been too long since I have seen a toad. The weeks following the Equinox are Toad nights, being the nights that frogs and toads are meant to be active, but these are dry nights, hot nights, nights with no rain, and the likelihood of drought. How I long to see frogs and toads again.

The Yaga has a task for me, I must go searching for Toads. But on my journey I instead happen upon a deathly being- an Underworld ally- Argemone ochroleuca. These Prickly Poppies grow well in these dry and droughty times. Although regarded as pests in my land, few know their true nature, as entheogenic teachers, and food of the dead.With Flowers as sickly pale as death, and leaves so spiny that all they say is do not touch, these can only be plants of the otherside.


Argemone ochreuluca – Pale Mexican Poppy, Prickly Poppy,  Devils Fig

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