Witches, Wizards, Hobgoblins and all.

It has always been the case that Peiran, Pirates and Sea Wanderers have close
connections to Witches. This mainly because prior to medieval times Witches were
effectively the Doctors. In those days and earlier if you needed a cure you went to the
Witch who was also the Pharmacy and Midwife.

Of course the activities of the Witches and indeed Wizards in their relief of pain, saving
lives, presence at childbirth and Pagan knowledge of time took away many of the
powers of religion and the craft of the Witch was therefore banned and Witches were
banished.

Each and every time a ship dropped anchor anywhere the local Witch would be called
for immediately because one or more crew members would be sick or wounded. In
many cases the Witch or Witches would be on the beach as soon as the ship dropped
it's anchor. Of course the Witches were paid for their valuable service. If a crew member
needed a long time to cure he would be left under the charge of the Witch until the
ship returned.
Witches often went onboard Pirate ships to fumigate and disinfect them.
Most forms of payment were made in seeds of herbs and collecting local herbs. This
means the Pirates knew what was the best payment for the best service in advance and
their shipboard 'Medical store' was more complete than any city.

Such an inter dependency was the result of hundreds of years of real contact and dual
knowledge.  With the onslaught of the Vatican and the birth of present day Doctors,
Witches and Witchcraft and Paganism was wiped out or went underground.

The above was written so that the reader can see the closeness of Pirates/Witches and
the capacity of their understanding each other on a different level of consciousness.

So here are some of my personal experiences with the World of Witchcraft.

My first encounter with a Witch was on a train. I found myself sitting opposite a young
woman and her child. Within the first 10 minutes of the journey she was the first to
speak with a strange smile she said, You know what I am don't you.  I said yes without
saying Witch. Not many people can see what you see. The conversation made the
journey seem minutes and she told me so much and always with that knowing smile.

Philippines
I established our base on a Samar island in the Philippines. The base was disguised and
run as an Eco Island Resort, it was called the Flying Dog beach resort.
One night I woke up with a strange bad cough and it went on for many nights and
always at the same time, between 1am and 2am. Finally I went to the Doc who gave
me a course of antibiotics but they did no good. So I then went to the local hospital on
the mainland who gave me bigger and stronger antibiotics and again they did no good.
Ny now I was losing a lot of weight so I flew to Manila and the chest clinic who said
they could find nothing wrong with me but never the less gave me an even bigger
course of antibiotics. I returned to the Island but the problem quickly got worse. My
people said we should call in the Wack Wack which is the local term for Witch Doctor, in
desperation I agreed.

The following dark moonless evening the Witch Doctor came to see me. He was a
simple man with no signs of being a Wak Wak but the locals treated him with
reverence. He had no bag nor magic sticks, he only had a small candle and a ring with a
tiny needle in it.
He asked me to lay down and relax. Then he did a short kind of prayer to himself,
although I spoke the local language I didn't understand a word as he mumbled on.  His
hands hovered all over me for only a minute and then he smiled and took hold of my
arm with both hands, I though he was doing a kind of massage on my arm until he
started to prick the arm with the ring on his finger, it hurt a bit but was very bearable, I
looked at him, he smiled, I have it by the head he said as he kept pummeling my arm
now full of tiny pricks.
He seemed quite pleased with what he was doing so I thought I should remind him
that the problem was a cough and my arm was Ok. I had faith in the guy but thought
maybe something got lost in the translation of what was wrong with me. He smiled a
really strange smile and said, the cough you have is the tail of the snake but the head
of the snake is in your arm and it is the head that I have to take out.
I said no more, what was there to say, nothing. So I laid there motionless for some 20
minutes when had suddenly changed what he had been doing and was pulling violently
without hurting at my fingers, his usual smile up to the gone as he had a really serious
look on his face, then suddenly he fell backwards. I sat up a bit worried, his assistant
ran in the room and picked him up as he was quite a frail man.
As he got to his feet his smile came back bigger than before, it's out, he said, you are
cured.
After giving him some refreshment and a room to stay the night I wet to bed to try and
get a few hours sleep until I woke up at 2am as I usually did.  When I did wake up it
was 9am, the cough had gone, I was incredibly hungry. The cough has never ever
returned.
Because at that time I was an important person on the Island very many people were
witness to this story including the local Mayor.

Another event taught me that different Witchdoctors specialize in different things.
One day I woke up with a dead arm. The arm was stuck in a kind of half salute with
my hand in front of my face. I could not move it nor my fingers, eveything else was
fine and no pain or sensations, the arm was blocked.
I suggested we call in the Witchdoctor but was told he doesn't do arms so they called
another Lady Witchdoctor, a Witch who does arms and legs and who came down from
the mountains. She was old, tiny and frail but had the same kind of smile as the other
one.  
We met on the beach, our eyes met and once more that knowing smile and a few
moments later she said, I will touch your arm and it will fall to your side then it will be
yours again. Thank you, I replied, in a way that she knew I believed her every word.
She gently flicked my arm and in a split second my arm fell to my side and all was back
to normal.

I've met with many other Witches/Wizards, mostly in S.E.Asia, Laos, Thailand,
Indonesia, Papua NG and the Philippines, each of whom had a speciality yet all had one
thing in common, an empathy with snakes, I also employed on contract a snake
whisperer who would deal with our unwanted snakes simply by voice.

This leads me to something quite deeper which for some readers may need a little
understanding and it concerns the Philippine Communist New Peoples Army, known
simply as the NPA.
These guys have been fighting against almost all Governments since the early 70's and
are to this day still operating in several areas including the Island of Samar. They
operate in hard to get to areas, jungle and mountainous and because the always
ongoing Philippine army attacks, they are constantly on the move from camp to camp
hidden in the mountains.
The NPA being so outcast, perhaps 3 days march to a hospital, when things go wrong
and they often do, a sickness, a bite or a wound from a bullet, they depend on a
Witchdoctor a Wak Wak who travels with them.
When one of the NPA needs medical help, the Wak Wak will first inspect the problem
like any doctor would and then decide the best medication.
In the jungle there is no Pharmacy or medications. So the Wak Wak once decided on
which kind of medication is required to cure his patient opens two of the 5 or 6 small
wicker baskets he carries around his waist and takes out two different snakes. The
snakes are thrown to the ground and kept together by the Wak Wak's long stick, he
makes sounds and makes the snakes fight each other which they do until one snake is
the winner and the bitten losing snake is dying.
What happens next is within the realm of the snakes. Any snake when confronted by a
dying snake is obliged to cure that snake. So even though the winning snake has won it
is now bound to cure the loser.
So we are in the jungle and vision is restricted to a few meters but the winning snake
knows exactly what it needs to cure it's companion and off it goes to find the
ingredients for a cure potion which could be a leaf or a root or a combination of
plantlife. As the winning snake does this, following right behind it is the Wak Wak who
is led to the very same ingredients that he needs to cure his patient and together the
snake and the Wak Wak collect the medication and both the losing snake and the NPA
patient are cured.

I also witnessed and took part first hand when a guy had a deep knife cut on his arm.  
Giant ants were collected from a particular tree and one ny one handed to the Witch
Doctor who positioned the ants head across the cut and the ant was made to bite
which sealed the cut like a stitch, the body of the ant was twisted off leaving the head
in bite position, one by one the long cut was stitched together by ants heads. Leaves
with antiseptic properties were then applied. I saw the guy a week or so later and he
was fine and working.

The symbol of all Doctors is a stick and two fighting snakes curled around it. If you ask
most doctors where this symbol comes from and they don't really know.

The only people allowed to act as 'Go betweens' are Priests who also deliver their
money and Pirates, so I have been lucky to enter their world and be witness to so
many strange things.

I met with incredible visitors to our Island base which included a Shaman from
Indonesia who had wonderous powers of reading hands from a distance of many
meters.  The Great Master Tao was also a visitor.

Travelling in northern Laos I met a sect of Sky helpers disguised as poor Buddists
although very poor they were but they had that same smile and a magic that was more
of the soul than physical and they taught me more than I expected.

On the Island of Koh  Sichang in The gulf of Thailand I met the Great Buddist Magician
and entered his cave, he gave me that same smile and when he smiled it was a
conversation.

The director of our base in Samar was herself the daughter of a Witch who is still
practising.

So my experiences in the world of Witches and Wizards is quite broad and any advice I
can give to present Witches is to connect to each other more and be less secretive in
your actions an thoughts.   

Or perhaps Pirates should be a little more Witch and Witches should be a little more
pirate.
A Fairy story, with Witches and a
Wizard and of course Pirates.
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