From Household Tales, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, 1909-1914:
“Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters; one of them was beautiful and industrious, the other ugly and lazy. The mother, however, loved the ugly and lazy one best, because she was her own daughter, and so the other, who was only her stepdaughter, was made to do all the work of the house …
“Her stepmother sent her out every day to sit by the well in the high road, there to spin until she made her fingers bleed. Now it chanced one day that some blood fell on to the spindle, and as the girl stopped over the well to wash it off, the spindle suddenly sprang out of her hand and fell into the well … in her distress she jumped into the water after the spindle.
“She remembered nothing more until she awoke and found herself in a beautiful meadow … ”
… where she met Mother Holle. Dame Holda, associated with Habondia, one of the witch goddesses described in Huson’s Mastering Witchcraft (but then I did warn you that this blog’s been highjacked for the duration of our book discussion!)
It comes as no surprise that wells are liminal spaces; entryways to the Otherworld. And what better way to get there than to ride a distaff — not just a tool for spinning thread, but an excellent trance inducer. Often ridden to the sabbat, perhaps before the broom gained that honor.
Don’t have a well or a distaff? No problem. We witches are nothing if not pragmatic.
Take up a bowl. A plain dark one worked best for me. Fill it with water, which you have exorcised/consecrated in your usual fashion. Add a drop of your own blood. In a pinch, a little of your own spit works just fine. One of your own bodily fluids to link you to the water.
If it’s daytime, drape a shawl or thin towel over your head, so that you have some light, but no reflections upon the water. If it’s night or you’re in a darkened room, fiddle with the candles or lights so that you have just enough light to see by, but again, no reflections.
Call to the water, saying:Thou the well and I the Moon, I flow within Thee. I see my face upon Thy face, Fall in, And by my light, have knowledge of Thee.
Breathe your question onto the water, saying “Show me …” Using your finger, draw — above the water — a triangle with a dot in the center. Then “dive” headfirst into the center dot.
Let your consciousness fall through the well and into the Otherworld.
The spindle’s optional.