The Witch

Let’s Talk Witch – Two Opposing Views on Being A Christian Witch

Egyptian Comments & Graphics

Two Opposing Views on Being A Christian Witch

View No. 1: Can You Be A Christian Witch? Answer: No— Ellen Dugan

I am often asked about this controversial topic while I am at an author event, teaching a class, or speaking at festivals. At first I could not figure out what the fascination was with my answer , but as my quick, snarky answer never changes, and the reaction is always gales of laughter, I began to realize that folks just enjoyed hearing me say it. Can you be a Christian Witch? My standard answer is, “Can you be a Baptist Jew? No, you can’t. So get off the fence —it’s one or the other.”

Oh my , I have probably just offended someone . Well, I get offended when some chick in a white eyelet sundress wearing Halloween-costume fairy wings and sporting a big crucifix around her neck stands there simpering at me, wanting me to assure her that she won’t go to hell just because she is dabbling with a bit of Witchcraft. After all, she just loves faeries and magick. It’s all so pretty… but she can still be a Christian, right? Don’t forget, she has lots of magickal books; they are so cool. Plus she has seen every episode of Charmed. Good grief.

In my opinion, no, you cannot be a Christian Witch. Why? Because Witches are following a polytheistic religion. We believe in and worship more than one god; we believe in the god and the goddess and the many faces thereof. We believe in karma, in reincarnation, and that our actions in this life are important. We are not “forgiven” for any misdeed ; instead , we know that we are responsible. Witches work hard on maintaining their magickal neutrality. We embrace the sacredness of life and of nature, communing with spirits and believing that prophecy and visions are, in fact, not only real but a part of our spiritual rights as humans. Also, Witches do not believe in proselytizing ; we do not recruit or convert others.

There is no fear in the Craft, but it seems to me there is a very real fear at the core of Christianity— the fear of divine retribution from an angry, jealous, and vengeful god. Before someone accuses me of Christian bashing, I invite you to research the history of the church’s conversion of the masses. Countries, territories, and entire races of people were converted by force or they died. Anyone who was different or worshipped differently was branded a heretic and met with an unfortunate end. There is a long, bloody, and violent history to Christianity. Even the crucifix is a symbol of torture and suffering. Roman Christian soldiers emblazoned it on their shields and banners as they moved into and conquered new territories. This was a way to advertise just what would happen to the people if they did not fall into line. Let’s be honest here, in ancient times the common folk could not read, but they understood what that symbol meant when they saw it: death by crucifixion.

And don’t get me started on the burning times, also known as the women’s holocaust. While the numbers of the victims vary from several hundred thousand to millions, depending on who you ask, it is true that across Europe many lost their lives from being accused of practicing Witchcraft. The bottom line is those atrocities were real. The torture and murder of women, men, and children all to save their souls in the name of Christianity is sickening.

Still think you can be a Christian Witch? Then again, I invite you to take a realistic and honest look at the guidelines of Christianity. Divination, visions, a belief in reincarnation, communing with spirits, any sort of magick, and, of course, the belief in more than one god and/ or a divine feminine is frowned upon most strongly, which is a nice way of say it is forbidden. There , in a nutshell, is your answer. You cannot claim to be both a Christian and a Witch when these two belief systems are in such direct theoretical opposition from one another.

I do respect other spiritual paths. We could all stand to have an open, honest dialogue with each other. However, I am standing by— and standing up— for my spiritual beliefs. As an author, I am in the unique position of having had the opportunity to meet different sorts of magickal folks from all over North America. That whole wanna-be-Witch-chick-in-the-white-sundress scenario really happened, and I get hit up with variations of this question almost daily. How would you feel if you were confronted with that on a regular basis?

While I appreciate that Witches are so popular in our culture, thanks to television and fiction, the truth is that Witchcraft is a spiritual practice— and one that should be respected, not played with. There is nothing more dangerous than a magickal dabbler. People who play with the Craft because they think it’s romantic or cool typically cause chaos. It annoys me to no end for folks to take my religious practices and turn them into what they imagine is a sort of fun hobby because they are looking for a thrill.

You do not get to have this both ways. Embrace the spirituality of the Witch wholeheartedly or stick with your own religion and stop playing with the Craft. Witches know that our spiritual path is not for everyone, nor should it be.

View No. 2: Can You Be A Christian Witch? Answer: Yes— Tess Whitehurst

Here’s why I believe that you can indeed be a Christian Witch: when it comes to spirituality, I absolutely refuse to subscribe to rules regarding what names you can and can’t call yourself, and what those names may or may not mean to the world. I belive we’ve had quite enough of that as a culture. Not to mention, there are as many ways to be a Witch as there are Witches. And since spirituality is an utterly, utterly personal thing, I believe that there are also as many ways to be a Christian as there are Christians.

Joseph Campbell said, “Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.”

By “trouble,” I assume that he means everything from petty squabbles to discrimination to violence and even war and murder, which are all ridiculous ways to behave when what you’re really at odds about is a metaphor for the Divine. And the way I see it, saying you can be this but then you can’t be that is a symptom of getting stuck in metaphors and interpreting them as facts.

And so, yes, by many conventional definitions of the words “Christian” and “Witch” (of which there are many), I understand that it might not make sense to say that you’re both at the same time. But I am not interested in conventional definitions. I am interested in creative spirituality: in finding what inspires you personally and not what someone else told you should inspire you or what a narrow definition dictates. What’s more, when we’re talking about the Great Mystery (one of my favorite names for God/ dess), we are, to quote Joseph Campbell again, talking about “that which transcends all levels of rational thought.” So by its very definition , if we are actually talking about the Great Mystery or any way that we may interpret or celebrate the Great Mystery, it will almost definitely not make any rational “sense.” (If it did, it would not be the Great Mystery . Consequently, we would be talking about something else entirely.)

Now that my philosophical rant is out of the way, I’d also like to point out that where I live (California), because of the large Mexican population, there are plenty of Catholic practitioners of something that may not always be called Witchcraft but looks pretty much like the same thing from where I’m standing. I first learned about this from my visits to botanicas. Have you ever been to one? We have them in or near just about every town, regardless of size. California towns that have no New Age bookstore will quite often have at least one botanica. If you ever get the opportunity to go to one, do! They’re magical! Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice is every kind of tall jar candle you can think of, from Catholic saints to Yoruban orishas to magical intention candles of countless varieties. (Please be advised that many of these candles, like “Come to Me Lover” and “Shut Your Mouth,” do not honor the free will law and will come back to bite you in the butt if you burn them with the intention to manipulate another. I, uh, guarantee it… yup, definitely won’t ever do that again. Honestly , I’m lucky I survived my baby Witch years relatively intact.) You’ll also find herbs, statues, incense, candles, soap, rosary beads, scented waters, and pretty much any variety of spiritual or magickal supply you might need in a pinch. Often the owner of the botanica (or someone who works there) will also offer alternative healing work of some kind.

If you examine the roots of this Catholic/Yoruban/ folk mixture, you’ll see that , like many ancient and indigenous spiritualities during times of Christian conversion , South American folk beliefs were not completely eradicated but rather assimilated and syncretized to Christianity— in this case (because South America was colonized by Spain), Catholicism. And so, in much the same way that the goddess Brighid in Ireland is said to have become Saint Bridget and Avalon became Glastonbury, the Great Goddess of the Americas became Mother Mary and folk remedies and practices became infused with Christian iconography. The African influence found its way in into the mix too (via the Carribean), hence the orisha candles.

All of this just goes to show that as comforting as it may be to imagine that there are cleanly drawn lines between what constitutes a “Christian,” what constitutes a “Witch,” and what constitutes any other name you might have for any particular spirituality or cosmology, this is simply not the case. You might as well say that all Christians have to stop having Christmas trees or burning Yule logs in December , as these traditions are derived from ancient Pagan customs. You might also say that I have to stop calling on Saint Francis of Assisi every day to watch over my cats, which is something that I am absolutely not willing to do. (Incidentally , Saint Francis might be called something of a Christian Witch, although if he had declared such a thing during his lifetime, it would certainly not have gone well for him. He talked to the birds and wrote poems about the sun, moon, stars, and elements, after all.) Spirituality is fluid, words are just words, and we are all one big human family. You could get hung up on distinctions, but why?

Call yourself what you want to be called, just don’t get stuck on your chosen label( s). Interweave whatever inspires you into your spiritual path, and allow others to do the same. Do what thou wilt. Harm none.

Every Witch Way: Spells and Advice from Two Very Different Witches
Ellen Dugan; Tess Whitehurst
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Let’s Talk Witch – Rites of Passage

Witchy Comments & Graphics

Rites of Passage


Wiccans have several rites of passage, the most common of which is initiation. Others include the marking of important phases of life such as birth (wiccaning), coming of age, marriage (handfasting) and death. A rite of passage unique to Wicca is Eldering or the honoring of elder Wiccans.

Wicca is a religion by choice. For this reason, initiation takes on great importance since it marks a formal entrance of a free-willed individual into Wicca. Some Wiccans have a collective, celebratory ceremony, whereas others are happy with a simple, solitary meditation. Whichever way it is marked, it is a greatly spiritual moment, marking the beginning of a religious journey.

Various traditions and individuals have different ways of performing a Wiccan initiation ritual. Under British Traditional Wicca and other similar traditions, there are usually three degrees of initiation.

There is also a prescribed period of dedication before the first initiation. During the dedication period of a year and a day, a person promises to make an effort to study Wicca as much as possible. After that, the first degree initiation may be held. For coven initiates, there is usually a ceremony in which an individual is granted entrance into the Wiccan community. A first-degree Wiccan initiate then becomes responsible for his or her own spiritual well-being. The second and third degrees in Wicca mean an increase in the level of responsibility.

Another interesting, commonly performed Wiccan ceremony is handfasting. This rite is performed to join together two individuals in the eyes of the God and Goddess. Wiccan handfasting ceremonies are as varied as regular wedding ceremonies. They are usually performed in a circle like other Wiccan rituals. The hands of the couple are tied together for symbolic value. A common wedding vow amongst Wiccans is a variation of the beautiful phrase “for as long as love lasts.”

Wiccans have a naming or wiccaning ceremony upon the birth of a child. Although this child may not choose to be a Wiccan when he or she grows up, his Wiccan parents wish to keep him or her under the protection of the God and Goddess.

A fairly newer rite in Wicca is to honor those who have been on this religious path for more than 20 years. It is called eldering, and is a sort of a retirement for a senior Wiccan from a position of power. In the ceremony, the elder tells stories about his or her journey of Wicca. He or she shares experiences and gives advice to younger Wiccans. A passing away or death rite is also observed by many Wiccans. Usually this custom is started before the Wiccan’s actual death so that he or she may take part in it as well. The practices vary with each individual but are designed to make the dying Wiccan’s passage easier.

Wicca Made Easy: Simple Spells for Love, Money, Luck, Success, Weight Loss & More!
Sarah M. Lancaster

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WOTC Extra – Your Magical Name

Mermaid Comments & Graphics

 Why a Magical Name?


Ah, the magical name. So many people find Paganism or Wicca and decide right off the bat that they’re going to name themselves Lady Such-and-Such or Lord Whatsis. Go to a Pagan event and you’ll meet more fifteen-year-old Lady Morganas than you can shake a stick at. And it’s virtually guaranteed that within about three months, at least one of those Lady Morganas will decide her magical name, sometimes called a craft name, is really supposed to be Starfluffle or Moongypsy, and she’ll change it.

In fact, she’ll probably change it two to three times a year.

The Name-of-the-Month Club:

This odd phenomenon, known as the Name-of-the-Month Syndrome, happens most often because the person in question hasn’t taken the time to research and learn, which is crucial to finding the right magical name.

A magical name is unique to the practitioner, and there are several ways to find yours. When you find the right name, you’ll keep it for a long time. In some traditions, it‘s customary to wait until you‘ve studied a year and a day before claiming your magical name. In others, it is selected at the time of initiation, but still after significant thought has been put into it. Some Pagans have two magical names — one which they use in public and one which is known only to the gods and members of the person’s coven.

Think Long-Range:

One method by which people sometimes find their magical name is to simply choose something they like. A problem with this method is that what we like on one day, we may find silly a year down the road. If you’re going to choose a name based on whether it sounds cool or not, stop and think about it. What is it about the name that appeals to you? Ten years from now, are still going to feel comfortable saying, “Hi, I‘m Fairypuddle,” when you meet a new person?

Names with Meaning:

Choose a name not only for its sound, but its attributes as well. For example, someone wishing to convey strength in their name might include “oak“ or “iron“ as part of their moniker. A person who is highly creative might select a name that reflects their art or craft. You may want to choose a name based rooted in folklore or mythology. Many people include the name of an animal that resonates with them. A cautionary note here: in the Pagan community, certain animals pop up all the time. You’ll meet two dozen Ravens and just as many Cats, but it’s unlikely you’ll encounter anyone calling himself Wombat or Penguin.

Names to Avoid:

Another bit of advice — generally, the titles Lord and Lady are reserved for people who are elders or have a significant amount of leadership experience under their belt. To name oneself Lady So-and-So without any credentials is considered presumptuous by many Pagans. Likewise, in many traditions it’s seen as hubris to give oneself the name of a deity. You may want to choose a name that indicates your dedication to a god or goddess, but don’t co-opt their names. It’s just rude. If you’re a dedicant to Apollo, don’t call yourself Master Apollo, call yourself something like Apollonius instead.

Using Your Birth Number:

Another popular method of finding a magical name is to choose one that corresponds with your birth number. To find your birth number, begin by adding the digits of your birth date.

If your birthday was September 1, 1966, you would start with the numbers 911966 = 9 + 1 + 1 + 9 + 6 + 6 = 32.

Now take those two numbers (3 and 2), and bring it down to a single digit: 3 + 2 = 5. That number — in this case, 5 — is your birth number.

Use the grid below to find a name that corresponds to the number 5, by calculating the sum of the corresponding letters.


1 = A, J, S

2 = B, K, T

3 = C, L, U

4 = D, M, V

5 = E, N, W

6 = F, O, X

7 = G, P, Y

8 = H, Q, Z

9 = I, R


Let’s say you’ve decide you like the name Willow. Using the letters in “Willow” you would take the numbers 5 + 9 + 3 + 3 + 6 + 5 = 32. From there, 3 + 2 = 5. If the name you like doesn’t match your birth numbers, try some creative or alternate spellings to see what happens.

A Gift from the Gods:

In some cases, you may be fortunate enough to have your new name bestowed upon you by a god or goddess. In these instances, you may encounter someone in a dream or a vision who tells you, “Your name is Such-and-such.” While you may choose to add to it or come up with a variation on it later, if this happens to you, accept the name as the gift that it is.

Whatever method you end up using, think carefully before you finalize your new name. While it’s okay to change your name later on as you evolve spiritually, changing your name every few weeks or every time you see a new episode of “Charmed” is probably not the best course of action. Find the name that is right for you — and when it IS the right one, you will know.

Author: By Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert

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The Wheel of a Lifetime


(NE - Infancy)  Everything is brand new and there is a blur between the self and                          
others. There is also a sense of trust that we will be cared for. We are still 
deeply connected to our parents.

(EAST - Childhood)  We become more independent from our families. Friends are                                    
of great importance and we find a great many things we are interested in 
learning and doing.

(SE - Adolescence)  We begin to be more independent from our families. Friends 
become very important. We struggle with the uncertainties of who we are and  
what we look like to others.

(SOUTH- Young Adult)  We finish our formal education and begin to settle into 
jobs and perhaps marriage and a family. It is a busy time of  caretaking, 
establishing careers and community involvement.

(SW -  Middle Adulthood)  We begin to take a look at our life and at how we can 
bring to balance.  There is often a shift of focus, perhaps from job to family 
or from volunteer organizations to personal interests.

(WEST - Middle Age)  This is often a time when we discover that there are things 
we are clinging to and need to release before we can move on; perhaps it is a 
relationship, a job a house or a grudge.

(NW - Senior)  Children are grown and retirement nears or begins. We find we 
take more quiet contemplative time for ourselves.  We see things more in 
perspective and appreciate things we were to busy to notice before.

(NORTH -  Elder)   We are grateful for what we have and what we have had in our 
lives.  We are more accepting of things and are able to guide others without 
expectations of how they might use that guidance.

It is important to be aware that we reach these stages at different ages. Some 
folks reach the South quite young with an early marriage and family. This may 
force them into the care taking of the South before they have had the time to 
really process the Southwest. Others take may years to sort out who they are in 
the Southwest before they take their place in the South.
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The Wheel of the Month

The moons energies affect us on a more emotional level that is hidden to us 
unless we carefully pay attention.

The first sliver of the waxing crescent moon represents the Northeast. She is 
the newborn moon and reflects all possibilities. That  first sight of the new 
moon brings a sense of hope for the future.

As the moon moves toward the waxing first quarter inspiration of the East comes 
easily. This comes more often in the form of intuitions or dreams.

When waxing gibbous moon begins to assert herself in the sky we are in the 
Southeast. We may begin to become more aware of how we are feeling. We must be 
careful to avoid confusing our feelings with who we are.

The full moon represents the South in all its power and full emotion. We tend to 
feel wakeful and full of energy. We can use this energy to get out and enjoy 
friends and activities. 

As the moon moves into her waning gibbous phase in the Southwest we calm a 
little from the high energy of the full moon. Our emotions may begin to come to 
balance as we see what we can create and accept what cannot be.

The waning last quarter moon of the West can at times be jarring. The moon seems 
to be deserting us as she becomes smaller and smaller in the sky. Often emotions 
must be released in order to be able to move on.

Gradually the waning crescent of the Northwest becomes smaller and smaller. We 
are able to let go a little easier and are in a highly intuitive, receptive 
state. Deep understandings may come to us at this time.

At last we cannot see the moon at all. We are in the dark of  the moon, the 
North.  This is a deeply inner time that restores us in readiness for the first 
glimmering of the visible new moon as we continue around and around.

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Witches Affirmation

Celtic & British Isles Graphics

Witches Affirmation

A witch is…

One who has power over her/his own life
One who makes his/her own rules, but can abide by the rules of Nature
One who refuses to submit to self-denial
One who recognizes no authority with greater esteem than her/his own, who is loyal to self
One who is untamed and tamed
One who transforms energy for the good of all
One who can be passionate about her/his ideals and values as they are changing
One who is explosive, whose intensity is like volcanoes, floods, winds, and fire
One who is disorderly and orderly
One who is ecstatic
One who alters reality
One who says, “I am a witch” aloud three times

“I am a witch”
“I am a witch”
“I am a witch”

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Merry Meet & Welcome On This Glorious Monday Morn’ The Goddess Has Given Us!


Bless this gathering of Witches
Brought together this day
In the name of the Goddess and God
To dedicate themselves to each other
And to the old ways that led them here.
Bless this gathering of Witches
That we may work together in harmony
Learning and growing together
As we follow the wheel of the year
And bask in the light of the full moon
May the earth grant us strength
May the air grant us wisdom
May the fire grant us passion
May the water grant us flexibility
So we might work together for the good of all
Bless this gathering of Witches
Brought together this day
In the name of the Goddess and the God
To dedicate ourselves to each other and
The Ways of Old.

So Mote It Be



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Let’s Talk Witch – Thresholds of Power

Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments

Thresholds of Power

The door has long captured the imagination of poets, mystics and magicians. It is symbolic, often appearing in dreams and nightmares. What lies behind the door? What strange creatures, fabulous wonderlands, hidden dangers?

While more pedestrian, windows have their magical properties and lore as well. If they are the eyes of a home, the door is its mouth. Both possess special powers, and both are generally blessed to prevent the entrance of unfriendly energies into the home.

A door isn’t much-a flat piece of wood, two knobs, three hinges, some hardware. But doors are entrances into other dimensions. In form, they echo the trilithons of Stonehenge and other European megalithic structures: two upright stones with a third resting on top, creating a threshold of power.

Doors are entrances to buildings as well as exits from them; therefore, they are often seen as gateways to other worlds. They also serve as protective devices that bar the dangerous from entering. Because of this, the door and all its parts (lintel, posts, threshold, keys) have assumed magical, almost sacral qualities.

Many of the rites associated with doors are protective in nature. Hanging a gourd on both sides of the outside of a door will ward off unwanted negativity, as will a piece of bamboo or a wreath of leaves and thorns placed over it. A circle chalked on the door bars ghosts from entering; garlic or dill suspended over the front door repels those who are ill-disposed or envious of you from gaining entrance; and a bag of salt or bells hung from the knob will set demons to flight.

Other spells favored to guard the home from the entrance of evil include: placing two crossed needles

under the doormat; painting the door blue, a sacred color; sprinkling mustard seeds or ground dragon’s blood on the doorsill; and hammering three nails in the shape of a triangle (one point up) on the outside of the front door.

Specific herbs are grown on the porch to further protect the home. Ferns, lilies, marigolds and juniper are grown there in pots. An old sock filled with salt, sage, mullein, tansy and any other protective herbs can be buried beneath the front porch to keep ghosts from the home. A box of holed stones or a knife beneath the porch are similarly potent magical protectants.

The door also functions as an ideal place for inviting certain energies or attributes into your home. Five shiny pennies placed beneath the porch will bring the household money and love, for instance, and a bit of food buried there ensures that you won’t know hunger.

If you wish to see a ghost, the doorway is an ideal place to practice, according to ancient tradition. At dusk or midnight, stand at any door in the dark, looking into another room. With the door half-opened, lay your cheek against it and peer just past its edge. If you persevere, you may see spirits and strange shapes. Why? Because the door is an entrance to other worlds.

If you wish to be rid of ghosts, they can be exorcised simply by slamming a door several times in succession. The ghosts get caught between the door and the frame and will soon have enough of the torture and leave. If you enjoy ghosts, however, don’t slam doors!

The Magical Household: Spells & Rituals for the Home
Scott Cunningham;David Harrington.

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