Household Spirits: Brownies and Lars

Pondering what a Fae is, I researched the difference between that Being and the Roman Lar (Note 1). In “Fairies: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk,” Morgan Daimler writes that “fairy” is a catch-all term for otherworldly beings. Teresa Moorey, in “The Fairy Bible,” classifies the Lars and Penates with House and Hearth Fairies.

Claude Lecouteux, the medieval scholar, describes how Brownies (Note 2) and Lars are connected. In “The Tradition of Household Spirits,” he explains that Brownies were originally Domestic Gods. They had two major duties. First, Brownies supervised the “ethics of the household” (i.e. the behaviors of the family). Second, they protected the house from both human and supernatural attack. For the Brownie to do his work, he and the household had to reach a mutual sense of understanding.

Delving deeper into the lore of Brownies, I find that they are one of the few Fae who prefer human habitation. Edain McCoy in “A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk,” says that Brownies want to keep the home peaceful and happy. (This fits with Lecouteux’s two duties for Brownies.) According to McCoy, Brownies are considered to be lucky to have around. If asked, they will protect the human heart.

McCoy says that the most benevolent Brownies are the House ones of Scotland. According to various sources, Brownies were brought to the New World by Scottish immigrants. That I can attest to since my Scottish Grammae did tell me about Brownies.

Daimler says that there are two species of Scottish Brownies. The Highland ones have no fingers or toes. The Lowland Brownies have no noses. McCoy details other Scottish Brownies. The Dobie is dull-witted while the Killmoulis looks after mills.

The lore concerning Brownies has many ambiguities. McCoy list Brownies as being world-wide under different names such as the Domovoi of Russia. Meanwhile, Moorey includes other Beings who live in homes as Faeries. My sense of Brownies is that they are to the Scots as the Lars are to the Romans.

In the lore collected by Daimler, a Brownie is usually referred to as “he.” Although females do exist, they are not often encountered. When a female is, she is generally rampaging against a person for harming her child or husband.

Traditionally, Brownies are depicted as squat brown beings. In the lore collected by Lecouteux, they wear brown rags. Do not offer a Brownie any clothing. He regards clothing to be an empty gift, since it indicates that he has to conform to human rules. Moreover, the clothing implies that the Brownie is a servant. An offended Brownie will immediately leave the home.

When a Brownie adopts a home, he will come unseen on a quiet night. He will clean and organize the house. If a human follows the rules that the Brownie has laid down, they will be blessed. Tara Sanchez, in “Urban Faery Magick,” writes that what makes a Brownie mad are messes. If a person regularly leaves a mess, the Brownie will trash the home. (A Bogart is a good Brownie gone bad.) To keep a Brownie happy, put out a bit of milk or bread in odd places.

Brownies remind me of the Roman Lars. Brownies would be as welcomed in my home as are the Lars. I make offerings to the Lars and Penates of milk and bread. Perhaps Brownies do inhabit my home since I do keep it neat and clean.

Note 1. As a Roman Polytheist, I have altars to the Lars and Penates (Roman Domestic Gods). The Lars protect the family and the home, while the Penates keep the pantry full.

Note 2: Lecouteux in “The Tradition of Household Spirits” refers to the Fae as “Brownies.” In “Witches, Werewolves and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages,” he explains that “fairies” are people’s doubles.

Works Used:
Daimler, Morgan, “Fairies: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folks.” Moon Books: Winchester (UK). 2017.
…,” A New Dictionary of Fairies: A 21st Century Exploration of Celtic and Related Western European Fairies.” Moon Books: Winchester (UK). 2020.
…, “Pagan Portals: Fairy Witchcraft.” Moon Books: Winchester (UK). 2014.
Lecouteux, Claude, “The Tradition of Household Spirits.” (Translated by Jon Graham). Inner Traditions: Rochester (VT). 2013.
…., “Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies.” (Translated by Clare Frock). Inner Traditions: Rochester (VT). 2003.
McCoy, Edain, “A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk.” Llewellyn: Woodbury (MN). 1994.
Moorey, Teresa, “The Fairy Bible.” Sterling: New York. 2008
Sanchez, Tara, “Urban Faery Magick.” Llewellyn: Woodbury (MN). 2021

Replacing Quicksilver (Mercury) in Planetary Magic

Since quicksilver (Mercury) is dangerous, other metals with that metal’s qualities are often used for substitutes in planetary magic. In pondering how to replace quicksilver, I decided to see how the Planetary Powers are regarded in Alchemy. In doing the Great Work (Note 1.), metals were considered alive in evolving to their highest nature. The chain of metals in this evolution is lead (Saturn), tin (Jupiter), iron (Mars), copper (Venus), quicksilver (Mercury), silver (Luna), and finally gold (Sol). In the philosophy of Alchemy, the Great Chain of Being is a hierarchy in which all emanates from the One (God) and returns to the One. (This is where the idea of turning lead into gold comes from.)

Denis Hauck, a noted Alchemist, states that in Alchemy that Mercury is the key to the transformation of the metals. Quicksilver has a dual nature of the life force and of death and decay. Hauck adds that spells involving the Mercury Archetype focus on mental clarity and change.

Meanwhile, in “Astrological Magic,” Benjamin Dykes and Jayne Gibson says that Mercury’s action is quick and subject to alteration. In addition, Mercury rules interpreting and philosophy. The authors name many significators of Mercury such instruments, delicate or intricate things, and carvings.

I pondered what metal has any of these qualities. I came up with bronze which is an alloy of copper and tin. Once bronze was created, it sparked a change in how people lived. Because bronze is low friction, the metal was used for cannons. Bronze was also used for bells, singing bowls, and other musical instruments. Since people regarded this metal to be sacred, they used it in burials, offerings, and rituals. All these qualities have me believe that bronze would be a good substitute for quicksilver.

Note 1. The Great Work of Alchemy is to “obtain control of the nature and power of one’s own being.” Zell-Ravenheart, p. 59.

Works Used:
Denning, Melita and Osborne Phillips, “Planetary Magick.” Llewellyn: Woodbury (MN). 1989.
Dykes, Benjamin and Jayne Gibson, “Astrological Magic.” Cazimi Press: Minneapolis. 2012.
Hauck, Dennis William, “Sorcerer’s Stone: A Beginner’s Guide to Alchemy.” Crucible Books: Sacramento (CA). 2013.
—, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Alchemy.” Alpha Books: New York. 2008.
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “Composition and Properties of Bronze.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020,
Zell-Ravenheart, Oberon, “Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard.” New Page Books: Franklin Lakes (NJ). 2004.

Karni Zor and Astrological Realms (2 of 2)

The Twelve Realms combine into becoming six life lessons of development. Zor says that there is a special connection between the two opposing Astrological Realms. She writes that there is great magic in these combinations that propels people forward..

The Key – The Gate:
The wisdom between the ability to find the Gate and with the ability to use the Key to open it. Then to be bold enough to take the next step, and leave the past behind.

Exchange – Flexibility:
How to travel freely between events and choices. How we are part of the fabric of life.

Giving – The Diamond:
The contradiction of creating diamonds and then giving them away. In giving, the value of the diamonds is revealed. By having diamonds, we can give.

Nobility – The Waterfall:
The two opposing Realms – The Waterfall, which flows eternally, and Nobility, which holds firm, form a dynamic balance of wholeness.

Abundance – The Lake:
The Lake, which collects abundance and shares it, combines with Abundance to hold and maintain abundance for all.

The Flame – Creation:
Together, they are the contradiction of the tangible and intangible. There is magic in combining the primary lifeforce into something tangible.

Karni Zor and Astrological Realms (1 of 2)

In various fields of metaphysics, practitioners often develop new systems based on older ones. At other times, they receive insights on how to refine existing systems. Karni Zor, an astrologist, realized that the Precision of the Equinoxes (Note 1.) has changed the timing of the Zodiac. She decided that this aspect of Astrology should be addressed.

Zor explains in “A Healing Journey with the Astrological Frequencies” that about 2,000 years ago the Romans fixed the times of the Zodiac. They had Aries beginning the Zodiac at the Spring Equinox. However, in 2,000 years, the Constellations of spring have changed. The Signs of the Zodiac have been falling backwards, with Pisces now at the Spring Equinox. Therefore, the Signs of the Zodiac are out of sync with the essence of the actual Constellations.

To reconnect to these Essences, Karni Zor developed what she names the Astrological Realms (the Twelve Developmental Pathways). These Astrological Realms each have a different octave to connect people to each of the Twelve Presences, who give the Zodiac life. She states “what we’re looking at are 12 sections of the skies that hold 12 possibilities for humankind…Being born into a certain Astrological Realm makes you a part of an Astrological Clan, inclined to specific radiation coming from this specific Astrological Realm onto Earth.”

The Astrological Realms are:

The Key (Taurus)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: The Gate
Long-term Mission: Learn the Natural Laws.

Exchange (Gemini)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: Flexibility
Long-term Mission: Allow some quiet time for the Higher Things to enter and enrich our lives.

Giving (Cancer)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: The Diamond
Long-term Mission: Release what is no long of use.

Nobility (Leo)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: The Waterfall
Long-term Mission: Ask for what are the principles that guides our lives.

Abundance (Virgo)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: The Lake
Long-term Mission: Appreciate life.

Creation (Libra)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: The Flame
Long-term Mission: Be aware of our thought patterns and the reality they have created.

The Gate (Scorpio)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: The Key
Long-term Mission: Always look for the Next Level.

Flexibility (Sagittarius)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: Exchange
Long-term Mission: Allow us to make the needed changes for the Path chosen.

The Diamond (Capricorn)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: Giving
Long-term Mission: Work repeatedly at what is of value, so it becomes an indelible part of our lives.

The Waterfall (Aquarius)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: Nobility
Long-term Mission: To be in service to the High.

The Lake (Pisces) (First Sign of the Vernal Equinox)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: Abundance
Long-term Mission: Widen your view

The Flame (Aries)
Complementary/Opposing Realm: Creation
Long-term Mission: Keep the Inner Flame burning.

Note 1. The Precision of the Equinoxes refers to the drift of the Equinoxes. Taking about 26,000 years, the Earth moves itself around its axis. As this is occurring, there is a slight drift of a few fractions of a degree in its position. This drift adds up to about one degree every 72 years, and moves westward relative to the fixed stars.

Modernity and Myths: Introduction

I am planning to write a series of posts over the year on myths and how modern people regard them.

In the 4th Century, Sallustius wrote one of the oldest known treatises on the Gods – called “On the Gods and the World.” According to Sallustius, myths were divine since they represent the Gods (Themselves) and their activities. He wrote “That myths are divine can be seen from those who have used them… But Why the myths are divine is the duty of philosophy to inquire.”

Sallustius asserts that the meaning of myths may not be apparent to everyone. Although the Gods do give commonsense to everyone, not all use it. “To teach the whole truth about the Gods to all produces contempt in the foolish and the lack of zeal in the good.” He explains that hiding the truth compels people to ponder it. Therefore, myths have revealed (clear) and unrevealed (hidden) aspects of the Gods. Sallustius does assure everyone that “the soul may immediately feel that words are veils to the truth which is a mystery.”

In his treatise, Sallustius divided myths into five categories. Theological myths speculate on the essences of the Gods. (These myths interest only philosophers.) Psychic ones discuss the Soul, while physical myths tell of the activities of the Gods in the world. (Both psychic and physical myths are for poets.) Material myths concern the archetypes of the Gods such as Apollo as the Sun (however the Gods are never archetypes). Mixed myths, the most common, aim at unifying the humans with the Cosmos and the Gods.

In contrast, people raised in industrial societies of the modern age have different ideas. They have many problematic assumptions of myths in general. For example, traditional myths today are regarded as stories to entertain. In contrast, history, which supposes what did happen, is the truth. Actually, history is selective in remembering certain events and deliberately forgetting others. In the minds of modern people, myths and histories have become fused to create a particular vision of reality. One example of this is the myth of progress, which is regarded by many people to be fact.

Moreover, time and memory are regarded differently. The Ancient Greeks viewed time as a block – past is future and future is past. Therefore, divination is prescience since it dips into the time stream. Modern people, in contrast, see time as an upward arrow – past is past, and future is future. Oral tradition is faulty, whereas the written word is true. The Greeks believed that the written word was suspect since the writer could change the myth. For them, oral tradition what was faithful to the truth.

Read a version here: