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How to Become a Witch

by Ber Weyde

Below is an interesting ritual from a 1938 publication (privately published) by Manx author W. Walter Gill.

“From a Southside source, anonymous by desire, I learn that a woman who was ambitious to succeed in bespelling and charming, and all the other branches of witchcraft, would give herself to the Devil by means of the following rite. She would go at midnight to a bridge that spanned a stream of uncontaminated water, and get beneath the archway (Freemasons please note). There she threw on the water the sacramental bread that she had secreted at Holy Communion. She then undressed and washed herself, saying as the water flowed over her that she wished every trace of God and godliness to be washed away from her, and go down with the flowing water as the bread had done.”

(source: A Third Manx Scrapbook by WW Gill (1938/1963); artwork by John William Waterhouse ‘Magic Circle’)

Footnote by Ber Weyde:

Gill’s title ‘How to Become a Witch’ is rather misleading.  This may be a cleansing ritual and perhaps part dedication and initiation…the releasing of the communion wafer and its flowing away; the washing of herself and asking that the last traces of beliefs she no longer holds are also washed away. She is cleansing herself of the old to make way for the new.


Bridges allow two areas/realms to be connected and offer a way to move from one to the other.  Here she was under the bridge, in the arms of its span and protection while she performed her ritual.


And the mention of the devil?…Satan exists in the Christian tradition and, therefore, casts no shadow in the new world she is embracing.

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