The Nightmare Charm

To protect the dreamer from being hag-ridden or plagued by nightmares, take a length of horsehair and braid it into a cord. While braiding, chant the following charm over it:

Tha mon o´micht, he rade o´nicht
Wi´neither swerd ne ferd ne licht
He socht tha Mare, he fond tha Mare,
He bond tha Mare wi´her ain hare,
Ond gared her swar by midder-micht
She wolde nae mair rid o´nicht
Whar aince he rade, thot mon o´micht.

This binding charm dates from the 14th century, and a version of it is quoted in King Lear. It should be chanted a total of nine times. In modern English it translates to:

The man of might, he rode all night
With neither sword, nor army, nor light.
He sought the Mare, he found the Mare,
He bound the Mare with her own hair,
He made her swear by mothers might
That she would no more ride at night
Where once he rode that man of might.

Once you have the horsehair cord, thread it through a hag-stone and knot it, forming a loop. Hag-stones, also called holy stones or Odin stones, are stones which have a hole naturally worn through them and can be found at the beach or streams and rivers. They’re used in folk magic for a number of uses, but one of which was to protect dreamers and horses.

You may also put a religious medal of Saint George, who is often named specifically as the man of might in other versions of the charm (see Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft), on the horsehair cord as well. Hang the amulet either from the bed or over it and the work is done.

Johann_Heinrich_Füssli_053The Nightmare. Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1790−1791

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