Daily Archives: March 14, 2012

Definitions of Wicca, Pagan & Witchcraft

Definitions of Wicca, Pagan & Witchcraft

 
 
Wicca: A modern Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence for nature. Some major identifying motifs are: reverence for both the Goddess and God; acceptance of reincarnation and magick; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena; and the use of magickal circles for ritual purposes.

Wicce: Synonymous with Wicca. In some circles, Wicce is used for women and Wicca is used for men.

Witch: A practitioner of folk magick, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, colors, wells, rivers, etc. It is used by some Wiccans to describe themselves. This term has nothing to do with Satanism.

Witchcraft: The craft of the witch – magick, especially magick utilizing personal power in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colors, and other natural objects. This belief system also has nothing to do with Satanism.

Pagan/Neo-Pagan/Paganism: General term for followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions. Also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and Spiritual belief systems.

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THE ABC’S OF A WICCAN LIFE

THE ABC’S OF A WICCAN LIFE
by Victoria Martyn

Accept others as they are. We are all individuals.

Belief in yourself is a necessity.

Concentration is important in any endeavor, both magickal and in life.

Do what you will, so long as it harms none.

Empathy is an important life skill… learn it, practice it.

Find strength in yourself, your friends, your world and your actions.

God is multifaceted… the Lord and Lady, all deities take many names and faces.

Help others every chance you get.

Intelligence is something that cannot be judged on surface.

Judge not… what you send out comes back to you!

Karma loves to slap you in the face. Watch out for it.

Learning is something that should never stop happening!

Magick is a wonderful gift- but it is not everything.

Nature is precious. Appreciate and protect it.

Over the course of time your soul learns many lessons. Make this life count!

Pray.

Quietness both physically and mentally restores the soul; meditate often.

Remember to take time for yourself as well as others.

Spells can help you, but you must also help yourself!

Tools can only do so much… they are not the foundation of all.

Unless you enjoy worrying, keep a positive mindset!

Visualize the success of your goals before you set out to achieve them.

Wisdom can often be found in the least expected places!

Xenophobia (a hatred of those different from you) is a path to misery.

You are a beautiful person who is capable of anything!

Zapping away all of your troubles is not going to happen

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WHAT IS WICCA?

WHAT IS WICCA?
An Introduction to ‘The Old Religion’ of Europe and its Modern Revival
By Amber K, High Priestess

This leaflet may be reproduced and distributed exactly as is, without further
permission from the author, provided it is offered free of charge. Changes in
the text, however, must be approved in advance by the author. Thank you!

WICCA (sometimes called Wicce, The Craft, or The Old Religion by its
practitioners) is an ancient religion of love for life and nature.

In prehistoric times, people respected the great forces of Nature and
celebrated the cycles of the seasons and the moon. They saw divinity in the sun
and moon, in the Earth Herself, and in all life. The creative energies of the
universe were personified: feminine and masculine principles became Goddesses
and Gods. These were not semi-abstract, superhuman figures set apart from
nature: they were embodied in earth and sky, women and men, and even plants and
animals.

This viewpoint is still central to present-day Wicca. To most Wiccans,
everything in Nature — and all Goddesses and Gods — are true aspects of
Diety. The aspects most often celebrated in the Craft, however, are the triple
Goddess of the Moon (Who is Maiden, Mother and Crone) and the Horned God of the
wilds. These have many names in various cultures.

Wicca had its organized beginnings in Paleolithic times, co-existed with
other Pagan (‘country’) religions in Europe, and had a profound influence on
early Christianity. But in the medieval period, tremendous persecution was
directed against the Nature religions by the Roman Church. Over a span of 300
years, millions of women and many children were hanged, drowned or burned as
accused ‘Witches’. The Church indicted them for black magic and Satan worship,
though in fact these were never a part of the Old Religion.

The Wiccan faith went underground, to be practiced in small, secret groups
called ‘covens’. For the most part, it had stayed hidden until very recent
times. Now scholars such as Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner have shed some
light on the origins of the Craft, and new attitudes of relgious freedom have
allowed covens in some areas to risk becoming more open.

How do Wiccan folk practice their faith today? There is no central
authority or doctrine, and individual covens vary a great deal. But most meet
to celebrate on nights of the Full Moon, and at eight great festivals or
Sabbats throughout the year.

Though some practice alone or with only their families, many Wiccans are
organized into covnes pf three to thirteen members. Some are led by a High
Priestess or Priest, many by a Priestess/Priest team; others rotate or share
leadership. Some covens are highly structured and hierarchical, while others
may be informal and egalitarian. Often extensive training is required before
initiation, and coven membeship is considered an important commitment.

There are many branches or ‘traditions’ of Wicca in the United States and
elsewhere, such as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Welsh Traditional, Dianic, Faery,
Seax-Wica and others. All adhere to a code of ethics. None engage in the
disreputable practices of some modern ‘cults’, such as isolating and
brainwashing impressionable, lonely young people. genuine Wiccans welcome
sisters and brothers, but not disciples, followers or victims.

Coven meetings include ritual, celebration and magick (the ‘k’ is to
distinguish it from stage illusions). Wiccan magick is not at all like the
instant ‘special effects’ of cartoon shows or fantsy novels, nor medieval
demonolgy; it operates in harmony with natural laws and is usually less
spectacular — though effective. Various techniques are used to heal people and
animals, seek guidance, or improve members’ lives in specific ways. Positive
goals are sought: cursing and ‘evil spells’ are repugnant to practitioners of
the Old Religion.

Wiccans tend to be strong supporters of environmental protection, equal
rights, global peace and relgious freedom, and sometimes magick is used toward
such goals.

Wiccan beliefs don not include such Judeo-Christian concepts as original
sin, vicarious atonement, divine judgement or bodily resurrection. Craft folk
believe in a beneficient universe, the laws of karma and reincarnation, and
divinity inherent in every human being and all of Nature. Yet laughter and
pleasure are part of their spiritual tradition, and they enjoy singing,
dancing, feasting, and love.

Wiccans tend to be individualists, and have no central holy book, prophet
or church authority. They draw inspiration and insight from Nature, tradition,
the arts, literature, science, and personal experience. Each pracititoner keeps
a book or journal in which s/he records magickal ‘recipes’, dreams,
invocations, songs, poetry and so on.

To most in the Craft, every relgion has its own valuable prespective on the
nature of Diety and humanity’s relationship to it: there is no One True Faith.
Rather, religious diversuty is necessary in a world of diverse societies and
individuals. Because of this belief, Wiccan groups do not actively recruit or
proselytize: ther is an assumption that people who can benefit from the Wiccan
way will ‘find their way home’ when the time is right.

Despite the lack of evangelistic zeal, many covens are quite willing to
talk with interested people, and even make efforts to inform their communities
about the beliefs and practices of Wicca. One source of contacts is The
Covenant of the Goddess, P.O. Box 1226, Berkeley, CA 94704. Also, the floowing
books may be of interest: (Ask your librarian.)

Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
Positive Magic by Marion Weinstein
What Witches Do by Stewart Farrar
Witchcraft for Tomorrow by Doreen Valiente

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Wiccan Beliefs

Wiccan Beliefs

Their beliefs include:

* Wiccan Deities: Most Wiccans believe that a creative force exists in
the universe, which is sometimes called “The One” or ” The All”. Little
can be known of this force. They regard the Goddess and the God as
representing the female and male aspects of the All. Most regard
various pagan Gods and Goddesses (Pan, Athena, Diana, Brigit, Zeus,
Odin, etc) as representing various aspects of the God and Goddess.
* Respect for Nature: Wicca is a natural religion, grounded in the earth.
All living things (including stars, planets, humans, animals, plants,
rocks) are regarded as having spirit.
* Gender Equality: Wiccans celebrate the sexual polarity of nature: the
fertilizing rain is one manifestation of the male principle; the
nurturing earth symbolizes the female. Females are respected as equal
(and sometimes at a slightly higher rank) to males. They aim for a
female-male balance in most of their covens (groups), although men are
typically in the minority. Sexuality is valued, and regarded as a gift
of the Goddess and God, to be engaged in with joy and responsibility.
* Three-fold Law The law states that:

All good that a person does returns three fold
in this life; harm is also returned three fold.

* The Wiccan Rede: This is the main rule of behaviour:

An’ it harm none, do what thou wilt

This means that a person should feel free to do what ever they want to,
as long as it does not harm themselves or anyone else. This and the
three-fold law obviously prevent a Witch/Wiccan from doing harm to
themselves or to others, or attempting to manipulate others, or taking
illegal drugs, etc.

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WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT

WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT
————————————
The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide
Steven S. Sadleir

Wicca, or Witchcraft is the old religion of Europe, which apparently evolved
from Druidism. Wiccan is generally a term applied to a “Wise One” or
“Magician”, and Wicca is the practice of “magic”, which is the application and
utilization of natural laws. As Witchcraft competed as a religion with
Christianity (the ‘new’ religion) in the Christianized Western World, witchcraft
became repressed as a form of paganism (i.e., a Primative Teaching) and was
given an evil stigma, and therefore was not practiced openly. However, with the
repeal of the English Witchcraft Act in 1951, many covens, or congregations,
have opened up to teh public and many new groups have formed. There are now
dozens of Wiccan orgnaizations in the United States and Europe, with perhaps,
thousands of active Wiccans and Witches. Most witches practicing the craft
publicly are considered ‘white’ witches, that is, they yse their knowledge for
good ends and practice the Wiccan Creed: “Ye hurt none, do as ye will.” Black
Witches (which has recieved most of the notoriety, but are considered a
minority) are generally not visible to the public and use thier knowledge for
selfish or evil means. Satanism is NOT considered a form of witchcraft, but was
created by people who believe there is a Satan, or Devil.

Wicca/Witchcraft generally involves some form of God or Goddess worship, and
many involve the workings of spiritual guides as well. Wicca/Witchcraft is a
very individualized religion, and each person chooses his or her own deities to
worship. Generally, the supreme being is considered ‘genderless’ and is
comprised of many aspects that may be identified as masculine or feminine in
nature, and thus a God or Goddess. Originally, the horned God of hunting
represented the maculine facet of the deity, whereas the female qualities were
represented in the fertility Goddess. The Gods and Goddesses from the
personalities of the supreme being, and are a reflection of the attributes that
worshippers seek to emulate. Wiccans may draw upon the ancient civilizations of
the Druids, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, or other polytheistic cultures to
commune with the particular aspect of the deity that they identify with. Some
favorite gods include Osiris, Pan, Cennunnos, and Bacchus. Facotie Goddesses
include Isis, Caridwen, Rhea, Selene, and Diana.

Wiccans generally observe the four greater Sabbaths of Samhain, Imbolc,
Beltane, and Laghnasadh; and the lesser Sabbaths – the Spring and autumn
equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. There celebrations are typically
free-spirited, and are sometimes held ‘skyclad’ (naked) or in various styles of
robes. Other services include handfasting (marriage), handparting (divorce) and
wiccaning (birth rite). Regular meetings, called Esbats are also held, at which
magic and healing are performed. Wiccans/witches meet in small groups (up to
twelve) called a coven, whcih typically join with other covens to form a
‘Grove’.

Rituals are typically held outside and consist of forma a circle and
erecting the temple (consecrating the circle); invoking, praising, and
soliciting assistance from gods, goddesses, and elementals; observing the change
of season and energies represented by the various seasons; singing; dancaing;
‘cakes and ale’ (sharing of bread and wine); and clearing the temple. Personal
practive includes meditation and prayer, divination, development of personal
will and psychic abilities through spells and various forms of healing. Most
Wiccans/witches have altars where they burn candles and incense and practice
thier rites. To perform thier rites, other tools of the craft are used, such as
an athame, yag-disk or, seaux (a handmade and consecrated knife), a sword, a
wand, and sometimes special jewelry, amulets or talismans (magically empowered
objects). Sometimes these objects are inscribed with magical writings. Joining
a coven or grove typically involves an initiation, which is stylized by each
individual group, but generally involves the confirmation that the initiate
understands the principals and an oath of secrecy.

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What is Witchcraft/Wicca?

What is Witchcraft/Wicca?

Wicca was the first (or at least one of the first) of the neopagan religions.
As a result, it is the best known, and tends to overshadow its younger, smaller
siblings. This bias appears in the postings in alt.pagan and in this FAQ.
This does not mean that Wicca is more valid than other neopagan religions –
just larger and louder.

Wicca, however, is only one of the things called W/witchcraft (or sometimes,
the Craft, a term also applied to Masonry). There are a whole range of styles
of folk-magic around the world which are called witchcraft in English. If the
word Witch is capitalized, it indicates that it is being used to refer to a
member of a pagan religion, not just to a practitioner of folk-magic. There
are also Witches who practice religions called Witchcraft which are not Wicca.
These religions tend to be more folk-pagan than Wicca, drawing on the heritage
of a specific culture or region.

Wicca itself is a new religion, drawing strongly on the practices of Ceremonial
Magic. While there are claims that Wicca goes back into the mists of
pre-history, honest examination of the practices and history of the Wicca will
make it clear that Wicca is new. (Actually, the word “Wicca” itself is
recently coined, at least in its present usage. The OE “wicca” was pronounced
“witch-ah” and meant male magician. The new word “Wicca” is pronounced
“wick-uh”, capitalized as a religion, and means a religion, not a person.)
However, Wicca has developed in many directions and should not be seen as a
unified whole, even though it is fairly new. Rituals and beliefs vary widely
among Witches.

Unlike most of the neopagan religions, Wicca is an initiatory religion, that
is, people who choose to practice Wicca believe that the commitment to this
path set changes in motion in their lives. Many Traditions (sects) of Wicca
formalize this with a ritual (or series of rituals) of initiation. Others,
especially Solitary Witches, trust that the Gods will do the initiating of the
Witch.

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MAGICK & WICCA

MAGICK & WICCA
The Wicca Handbook by Eileen Holland

**************************************
Magick is love. All magick should be performed out of love. The moment anger or
hatred tinges your magick you have crossed the border into a dangerous world,
one that will ultimately consume you.
– Scott Cunningham
*****************************************

Magick itself is neutral, a tool: like a hammer, it can be used to smash or to
build. Intent is what colors it. White magick is a term to describe that which
is positive, constructive or helpful; black magick that which is negative,
destructive or harmful. If you have a business and you work spells to make it
prosper, that’s white magick. Doing spells to destroy your competition would be
black magick. These are not racial terms: good and evil, dark and light, are
other words which can be used to express this same concept.

Why black and white, not some other colors? To answer this you have to go back
into prehistory and imagine how terrifying the night was for humans before we
learned to use fire. The black of night was full of unseen threats, a dangerous
time you might not survive. The white light of day brought illumination and
safety, welcome relief.

White magick is the right-hand path, black magick the left-hand one. The
symbolism of right and left is also very ancient: the right hand was used for
eating, the left hand for bathroom functions. Imagine life without toilet paper
and you’ll understand why it’s customary to shake right hands. This has nothing
to do with being right- or left- handed, but it does explain why left handed
people were often forced in the past to learn to write with their right hands.

There are several theories of gray magick, but I think gray magick is what
Hindus call maya – illusion.

One theory holds that since good and evil both exist, some people need to do
black magick in order to balance the white magick. I don’t buy that for a
minute. Do murderers balance nice people, or child abusers balance loving
parents? If they create balance, does this excuse their crimes? Try telling that
one to a judge! “Well your honor, I only stole that car to create balance in the
universe.” There is another polarity theory, where if you do two hexes and two
healings they balance one another or cancel each other out. There is some logic
to this one but its still just a self-serving excuse, a way to delude yourself
you are a white witch when you practice black magick. Some traditions hold that
which you cast on yourself as white magick, that which you cast on others gray
magick. The wordsmith in me quibbles with this one on semantic grounds. I think
a spell that harms yourself or anyone else is black magick; one that helps or
heals anyone, including yourself, is white magick. Being of service to people in
need or distress is one of the things witches do best, so I see nothing “wrong”
in casting spells that help others ñ with their permission, of course.

Some witches argue there are evils too great, situations too grave for white
magick to deal with; that the end justifies the means, makes black magick
necessary for the greater good. That is the best argument of the lot, but I have
never encountered a situation I couldn’t handle with white magick. Binding,
banishing and transformation are the powerful tools of a white witch. The term
green witchcraft is sometimes used to describe Celtic magick, fairy magick,
earth magick or any combination of those.

Seekers and novices sometimes ask me how they can avoid being seduced by the
dark side of magick, avoid the temptation to hex or harm others. The answer is
to have an ethical framework in which you practice magick. Seduction by the dark
side is not a concern for Wiccans. We have our Goddess and our Law to guide us:

an it harm none, do as ye will.

Every Wiccan is a witch, and every one of us voluntarily agrees to do no harm.
We walk in the Light and serve the Goddess. Magick is just one part of our
religion.

There are excellent moral and ethical arguments against practicing black magick,
but if you don’t buy those here is a practical one:

what goes around comes around

Everything we put forth is eventually returned to us. Wicca recognizes the Law
of Three, believes this return is triple. Black magick might provide instant
gratification, but it ultimately does more harm to you than to anyone else. Many
white witches learned this lesson the hard way.

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What Is Magick

What Is Magick

 

I suppose I could ramble on for quite some time about what Magick of Wicca, Witches and Witchcraft is or is not. Instead, I will offer this brief writing I found somewhere. Unfortunately I cannot remember where I came across it or who the author was, but I thought it was clear, concise and to the point. It very simply dispels everything that some religions, old superstitions and of course Hollywood have tried to make people believe magick is.

Magick is finding your connection to the Earth and all that is natural, alive and moving in the universe! It binds all that exists together.

Magick is living in balance with the flow of life, and knowing that you are a vital force within that flow. Magick is everywhere! In the trees, rain, stars, and in the sea. It is the spark that quickens a seed to rise up from the soil.

Magick is laughter, joy, wonder and truth the of the world around us!

It is the subtle enchantment that reminds us not to waste a single moment of this gift that we call life! Magick is not greed, or power, or pretense…It is real. It exists. And it works.

Magick is the mystery that lies in the secret soul of the world. It is the essence of creation. What we imagine, we have the power to create!

MAGICK IS WITHIN YOU…

With it you can create your dreams, heal your world, love your life and find the peace that lives in every human heart.

Author Unknown

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