All teachers have these annoying axioms that they are always repeating. One of mind is “All Sorcery is Local”. I encourage all my students to make contact with the local spirits of where they live and visit as well as researching the local origins of “big” spirits with global reputations.
Anyway, I have relocated to Vermont for the summer and as soon as I got up here I started to feel a call to honor the spirits of the dead. As soon as I did though I had a vision of a woman in a black shroud who my spirits suggested I honor. I knew immediately that they must be talking about Black Agnes.
It is said that if you sit in Black Agnes’s lap that you will die in 7 days, 7 months, or 7 years. I don’t buy into that, and know plenty of people that have sat in Agnes’s lap, but I do understand how spirits can take up residency in statues with symbolic resonance to their nature, and decided to take a drive to make some offerings.
You will notice I said “take up residency in statues with symbolic residence” rather than “inhabit statues of themselves”. That’s because Black Agnes is not on a grave of anyone named Agnes. Its not even the statue of a woman. It’s a statue of John E Hubbard, a philanthropist that left most of his fortune to the town, which eventually paid for the park, the library, and the gates to this cemetery.
So why did this statue become known as Black Agnes then? Well, as it turns out, there are a few Black Agnes statues all over the United States. For instance in West Virginia there is a Black Aggie statue also on the Grave of a man, one General Felix Agnus.
All of this might remind my UK readers of “Black Annis”, a legendary witch or monster (or both) who dwells in a cave in Leicestershire. Legends surrounding her are the typical “child-stealing” variety that get leveled against female spirits and witches going all the way back to the Empusae and Mormo of ancient Greece and even further back to Lilitu of Babylon. Just the kind of woman you find running around with Hekate on a New Moon Night.
Whether the legends arise from spirits inhabiting the site, or spirits inhabit the site because of the legends, I do not know. But I made several offerings, followed by a short Chod rite. Scheduling forced me to visit during the day rather than the night, but I feel that my offerings were well received.
I also made an offering to John Hubbard, whose grave this is on after all, and i promised him I would share one of the inscriptions he has on the site:
“APPROACH THY GRAVE LIKE ONE WHO WRAPS THE DRAPERY OF HIS COUCH ABOUT HIM AND LIED DOWN TO PLEASANT DREAMS.”