Witches Of The Craft®
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We welcome you our new friend to our online home. Our site is a place of peace and refuge from the outside world filled with the Love and Presence of Our Goddess. You will not be judged for you are amongst friends. We offer friendship, fellowship and most of all knowledge. With knowledge the truth and beauty about our Religion can be spread. Witchcraft can then take its rightful place back into today’s mainstream Religions. This is our dream, this is our home, this is what we offer to you. We hope you find everything you seek amongst our walls. Safe journey on your Path, my dear brother or sister!
Paganism is one of the fastest growing spiritual movements in the West today. Pagans are those who worship the ancient pre-Christian Gods of our ancestors and of our lands. Originally, the word ‘Pagan’ was applied to those who worshipped the Gods of the pagus, which in Latin means ‘locality’. Pagan was also used in another sense by Christians – to mean ‘country dweller’. ‘Heathen’, of German origin, is also used by those who worship the Northern European Gods. Heathen means the someone of the heath who worships the Gods of the land. ‘Paganism’ is not a word that our ancestors would have used and it is seen by some as derogatory. Outside Europe, Pagans oftenreject it as an example of Western colonialism denigrating their traditional beliefs. In West Africa, the followers of indigenous spirituality refer to their beliefs as African Traditional Religion. In the West, the terms Native Spirituality, Celtic Spirituality, European Traditional Religion, the Elder Faith and the Old Religion are also used to describe the Pagan religions.
To worship ancient deities may seem strange in our modern world. Why do Pagans worship these ancient and dusty images We worship our Gods because they are not forgotten archaeological artefacts but living energies of great power. They have endured in their external images, their statues rescued from temples of long ago which now reside in museums all over the world, seated in temples of learning rather than of religion. More importantly, they have endured in the group memory of humanity, the collective unconscious, which is the storehouse of all our religious longing and experience.
Pagan religion is based on teachings handed down through myth and saga over thousands of years. Paganism has never died. Instead our ancient Pagan beliefs have been seen as merely myth or fairy stories, tales we learn at our mother’s knee or in school, which have no relevance today. However, the fact that we cherish and pass on these myths shows that they do have relevance. Through generations and generations these tales have been passed down by word of mouth. They were sung to the Greek lyre across the waters of the sparkling Aegean Sea, caroused by Norwegian bards or skalds to their mead-drinking lords around smoking moot hall fires and spun from the mouths of silver-tongued Irish bards so revered that they were immune from all violence and harm and could walk the fiercest battlefield with impunity.
The myths have survived because they speak to us in the language of the night, the language of dream, symbol and allegory. They tease the conscious mind because we do not fully understand them; yet we know beneath their symbolism are undying truths. They are like grit in the shell of the oyster. Our minds work away at them, often outside our conscious awareness. They linger and remain when other tales are forgotten. They are retold in novels of fantasy and science fiction that sell in their millions. And, like the grit in the shell of the oyster, eventually they make a pearl of great price – the pearl of wisdom.
Myths are important because they contain the spiritual wisdom not of one individual, but of many people over great periods of time. They are not the religious revelation of one man which has been worked and reworked to become so far from the original as to have lost all truth. They are the living breathing dreams of the Gods, sent to show us the way to our true destiny, which is to rest once more in unity and harmony with the Divine forces of Heaven and Earth.
The Pagan religion is all around us – in the landscape moulded by generations before into sacred hill and standing stone, into sacred burial ground and Holy Mountain, places where generations and generations have walked honouring the Gods of their people and their lands. It is a religion preserved in folk song and dance and in seasonal custom. We weave our corn dollies; we bob for apples at Halloween, not remembering that these are the remnants of the religious celebrations of our ancestors the Celts, the Germani and the other myriad tribes who make up our Western inheritance.
How do people come to Paganism? Many of us grow up with a sense that Nature is sacred and Divine. It is natural for children to make altars in the woods and to honour the spirits of the trees, in the same way that children everywhere make sand castles upon the beach. We do not need to be taught these things, though some of us are. As we grow up, many of us forget the sense of sacred presence in tree or stream or by the sea, but some do not. Many of us find that we turn our prayers spontaneously to the Goddess or to the Great Spirit; that the Gods we find in our city temples and churches are not the Gods that speak to us in our dreams and visions. Often we feel lonely, believing no one else shares our sense of mystery and wonder.
With other children we learn the myths of our ancestors at school, but for us these stories are not ancient history. They are alive and meaningful. We learn that centuries before our ancestors honoured the Gods of sky and wind, of sun and rain; and that they honoured not only Gods but Goddesses. We learn that once Goddesses were honoured and respected. They ruled battle and war, wisdom and learning, as well as those things which in recent centuries have been thought of as belonging to the realm of women – the hearth and home, childbirth and motherhood.
Many of us may have felt that a change was in the air. In adulthood we may have called it ‘a change of group consciousness’. The old Gods were waking. They filled our dreams and we wrote stories about them. Perhaps we painted their images. Perhaps we sensed that others felt this too. It may not have been our friends and relations.
There may be clues which led us to discover that we are not strange or otherworldly or bound up in a forgotten past, but that we are Pagans. We may have read a book about modern Paganism, heard a radio interview, read a magazine article, or met someone through work or college who said, ‘I am a Pagan,’ and we knew then that we were too.
Pagans have a variety of beliefs, but at their core are three which many would share:
1) The Divine has made itself manifest through many Deities in different places and at different times. No one Deity can express the totality of the Divine. This can be called polytheism – the Gods are many.
2) The Divine is present in Nature and in each one of us. This can be called pantheism – the Divine is everywhere.
3) Goddess and God: The Divine is represented as both female (Goddess) and male (God) while understanding that It is beyond the limitations of gender.
4) A fourth principle that some Pagans would share is called the Pagan Ethic: ‘If it harms none, do what you will.’
*Excerpts taken from the book, “Paganism: A Beginners Guide to Paganism” by Sarah Owen*
This book is currently on sale on Amazon.com in the Kindle Book Section