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  • Writer's pictureHeather Morrison-Tapley

Ancient Scottish Jewelry: Hag Stones, Penises and Acorns

A stone with a hole in it was called a Hag Stone

The Picts were ancient people whose culture eventually became absorbed into the Celtic culture of Scotland. They practiced Wicca, the root of witchcraft. Wicca comes from an ancient word for Wise, and Wiccans followed the Wise Ones. They had a strong culture of herbal remedies for illness and for protection. And many other traditions were handed down by families to this day. My father is Scottish, raised there and with a very strong connection to the culture. Even though I spent most of my childhood in the United States, I have always felt a strong connection to the UK and its ancient healers. So...this post is about Pictish Wiccan jewelry, which served a purpose beyond dressing up your nice scratchy wool outfit when you were going out on a Saturday night to drink mead in your neighbor's mud house.

A TALISMAN is an object that is believed to protect the person wearing it. Talismans are items which can be made to have special powers through ritual or magick. These exist to this day, not just in Wiccan culture, but in cultures who carry a depiction of an eye to ward off evil eyes, or a live cricket kept in a little cage is considered a talisman in China. An AMULET is an object that is believed to possess magickal or protective powers naturally. Nothing needs to be done to an amulet to give it it's powers. One object believed by many traditional cultures, including the Picts, to have such powers are special stones. A stone with a hole through it, in some Wiccan systems, is called a Hag Stone as the hole symbolizes female genitalia and therefore is associated with the Goddess, and so is very powerful. A hag stone can be carried in the pocket or worn around the neck on a string or piece of leather. The hag stone should be found by the person wearing it. If you purchase one, or someone give you on they have found, the stone will not have the same power. Many Wiccans will search for years to find their own hag stones, and once found, they are cherished items. A long phallic shaped stone is also valued by Pictish Wiccans as it symbolizes penises...or is it peni? These stones were called God Stones. Can I interrupt for a moment and comment that the female stone being called a Hag stone and the male stone being called a God stone is early Pictish sexism! But I digress. An amulet, as it possesses it's powers naturally, does not need any ceremony to enchant it or give it magick. It can be rinsed in a stream and held up to the sun to clear it, but other than that your stone is ready to wear!

What is another must have accessory for the Scottish Picts? Acorns. The acorn was considered an amulet that was powerfully protective. As Oak trees were sacred to most Wiccan and Druid people, it also had an enchanted energy. Acorns were said to give the wearer strength and protection. They were carried in the pocket or several were strung onto a cord and worn around the neck. My first son, Ian MacKenzie - good Scottish name - would never go on a walk without picking up two acorns and holding them in his hands when he was very young. Carrying on the ancient traditions! Good Bairn!

I am currently on a search for my own Hag stone. I'll let you know if I find one. In the meantime, acorns it is!

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