The Witch

Witchcraft 101: The Rhythmic Practice Phase (part 3)

Witchcraft 101: The Rhythmic Practice Phase (part 3)

Author: Wren 

Since its inception, the Witches’ Voice, has been barraged with email asking the simple question… “How do I become a Witch”? Although, it has never been the mission of the Witches’ Voice to actually teach Witchcraft we find ourselves constantly shocked at the aweful responses the Teenage Witch or new seeker receives from many that “claim” themselves “elders” of the craft. For this we apologize. We will never preach or claim to “have the answer”.There are indeed many paths and many ways, it is our goal to give you the tools to get started and what to look out for.

Part #3…

The Rhythmic Practice Phase

How are you doing so far?

The first two lessons should have taken you about six months of study and practice to complete(if you worked at it diligently). You should now also be fairly comfortable doing the basic ritual from the previous lesson. Remember that you actually have to DO the ritual – not just read it, dream about it or visualize it. Get up on your feet, get your tools together, light those candles AND DO IT!

Effort requires that you either answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Teachers can always tell if someone who comes to them has done the work. The first time that a student will do a ritual or take part in one with others will clearly show his/her experience or lack of it.

If you have done the work, this does not mean that you will not be nervous your “first time out.” You will! But you will also be amazed at how quickly this nervousness will pass as the ritual progresses. Your spirit and inner child. (Him/her, again?) WILL remember all those practice sessions and soon you’ll be enjoying the whole thing immensely!

Along the way, DO Remember these four little things:

  1. Life is always changing. Nothing stays the same.
  2. To Know you have To Do. Experience requires action.
  3. The quality of each experience – as you draw it forth and do it and live it – becomes the substance of your wisdom.
  4. Yes, there will be a test on this. There is ALWAYS a test on this!

O.K., what’s next?

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters,
compared to what lies within us.
” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rhythms of Nature, Rhythms of Life:

The Neo – Pagan Paths that we are discussing – including Wicca and Witchcraft – are called “Earth – based” religions. The rituals and practices follow the seasonal changes of the Earth. Some Paths use the eight holidays of the Wiccan Wheel of Life; some adhere to the more traditional Four Fire Festivals calendar. Some groups have come up with their own cycles according to their belief systems. What calendar will you use?

When you have decided which Holiday calendar that you want to incorporate into your life – lesson, read all that you can about it. Take one Holiday at a time. Look for resources, descriptions and Myths about each Holiday. Think upon each one as both a special event and as a “marker” for the year.

During the Rhythmic Stage, you will explore the year through the cycles of Nature. And yes, this phase DOES last an entire year. There is no other way. You may begin to reach out a bit more during this time – exploring new contacts, taking some classes, attending public events – but the personal exploration of the Rhythmic Cycle of The Holidays should be your primary focus.

Why? It is in this cycle that you will learn much more about yourself and your place in the Universe. Everything that is exists as vibrational energy. Some things have a higher frequency, some a lower one. You will learn to “feel” the vibrational changes around you as the seasons come and go.( An essential skill to have in Magick! )

Do you get a little “spring fever” around April or May? Look at the earth. She is excited about this time of year, too! Buds are swelling on the trees and flower plants are poking their first leaves out of the ground as if to ask, “Is it safe to come out yet”?

Do you feel particularly invigorated in the Fall crisp air? Watch the squirrels run around and dig into the ground to hide their nuts. Hear the bees as they bob from plant to plant racing down the coming frost. “Hurry, hurry, hurry,” seems to rustle the drying leaves from the trees. (I’m sure you get the idea.)

There Are Patterns

I learn by going where I have to go.” – Theodore Roethke.

Most Pagans have a belief in reincarnation or transmigration of the soul. All things in Nature are born (germination), grow, mature, reproduce, and then decline and die. The cycle begins again. This is why reincarnation makes sense to most Pagans. By observing the Rhythmic Cycle, we reflect on this process and we may come to think that it just “seems right”. Not too surprising really. It’s “natural,” isn’t it?

You have a place in this cycle. You probably were not brought up to think in this way. Most aspiring Neo – Pagans weren’t. This year of study will show you not only where you fit into the cycle of Nature, but how your active involvement in these cycles can change your life. When you come to understand and work with the natural rhythms in the world around you, you will understand what it means to be Pagan.

Here are some reasons why “rhythmic learning” – and possibly reincarnation – works:

  • Effective experiential learning will affect the learner’s cognitive structures (action theories), attitudes and values, perceptions and behavioral patterns.
  • People will believe more in knowledge they have discovered themselves than in knowledge presented by others.
  • Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process.
  • Acceptance of new action theories, attitudes, and behavioral patterns cannot be brought about by a piecemeal approach.
  • It takes more than information to change action theories, attitudes, and behavioral patterns.
  • It takes more than firsthand experience to generate valid knowledge. Besides experience, there needs to be a theoretical system that the experiencer tests out and a personal reflection on the meaning of the experience.

(The above principles come from the work of Kurt Lewin, one of the important founding fathers of social psychology who influenced the development of the Group Dynamics movement in the early 1940’s.)

I’d add a seventh point – Make It Fun!

Hunt down seasonal objects for your altar. Think about colors for cloths and robes. Make a headpiece for each Holiday. Pick a mythic story and follow it throughout the year. Act it out! Dress the part! Dance! Sing! Write a poem! Cook up a recipe! Adopt a “totem” animal for each season. Make a special storage box for each Holiday’s special decorations. (Every Holiday will feel like Yule as you open your Holiday boxes next year. Add more goodies!)

A man of faithful thought may feel in light, among the beasts and fields,
the turning of the wheel.
” – Wendell Berry

WHY Are You Doing All This?

Transformation!

Transformation begins from within. Many people turn to a religion – or to magic! – in an attempt to change the things that they perceive to stand in the way of their ‘true happiness.” Many a love spell has been cast more to ease one person’s own inner loneliness than as a real desire for an equal relationship with the object of their current “affections.”

Inner transformational work is difficult, messy and anything but instantaneous. This explains the current nervous searching out of “just the right spell” by many a new seeker to the Craft. Hoping to somehow by – pass the true work involved in developing a magickal way of life, they hope for something in the order of a Hollywood special effect. “Just say the magic words…” and your insecurity problems, heartaches and financial worries are over! Uh – uh…it just doesn’t work like that. Sorry, Mr. Spielberg….

As you work through the year of The Wheel, you will learn a lot about yourself.

Such as:

  1. Respect – Both for the interconnection of all Life and for yourself.
  2. Thought – How you can change your life by changing your thoughts.
  3. Examination – Looking within yourself for answers and solutions.
  4. Release – Letting go of old habits and emotions that no longer work.
  5. Synthesis – How an individual can also be part of a whole.
  6. Creativity – Trusting your intuition to help you make viable choices.
  7. Action – Learning how to act rather than re – act.
  8. Love – Being able to give and receive healthy love.
  9. Strength – Inner courage to overcome circumstances without harm.
  10. Transformation! – The realization that only you can change what is not working in your life. Only you can make your life what you want it to be. And only you – through difficult, messy and lengthy work – can make your magickal Life one of Love, Light and Power!

The outstanding error of learners, in whom it is excusable, and of many teachers,
who teach without wisdom is that they associate Occultism with practices
rather than with PRACTICE. I teach the LIFE of concentration and meditation…

– P.G. Bowen

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Witchcraft 101: The Beginning Practice Phase (part 2)

Witchcraft 101: The Beginning Practice Phase (part 2)

Author: Wren 

Since its inception, the Witches’ Voice, has been barraged with email asking the simple question… “How do I become a Witch”? Although, it has never been the mission of the Witches’ Voice to actually teach Witchcraft we find ourselves constantly shocked at the aweful responses the Teenage Witch or new seeker receives from many that “claim” themselves “elders” of the craft. For this we apologize. We will never preach or claim to “have the answer”.There are indeed many paths and many ways, it is our goal to give you the tools to get started and what to look out for.

Part 2…

The Beginning Practice Phase…

Greetings and Welcome Back to Witchcraft 101! Before you begin this next section, perhaps it will be helpful to do a little summation. If you have been working through the “Interest Phase” and the “Exploratory Phase”, you will probably now be familiar with the following concepts and have some rudimentary knowledge in…

 

  1. The basic history of Witchcraft and its cultural origins.
  2. Some of the different Traditions and Ways that Witchcraft is practiced today.
  3. The basic ethical guidelines, such as the Rede or Law of Three.
  4. A basic overview of karma and reincarnation (or transmigration).
  5. An understanding on how Magick works.
  6. Deity Names and Aspects.
  7. The Elements and correspondences.
  8. Basic Tools of the Craft and their use in ritual work.
  9. Some divination, visualization and meditation techniques.
  10. Folklore and Mythology.

Great! This is the foundation from which your continuing studies will build and grow. Along the Way, you will stop often to ponder about new materials and visions. Remember to go slowly and to reflect much on what these concepts personally may mean to you. Again, it is very important to allow these new ideas to become integrated into your spirit. This is the only way that they can become “real’ to you. They become a part of who you are and how you think and feel. One of the ways to help this process along is through “practice.”

THE BEGINNING PRACTICE PHASE:

Chances are pretty good that you have already “dabbled’ a bit with some of the techniques of ritual work. Even if you have only begun this in your mind, you are beginning to feel the stirrings of a desire to actually DO the workings that up until this point you have only been reading or hearing about. Where do you “begin”? Do you dig through your books and find a ritual that appeals to you? Do you have a specific need in your life right now? What have you put into your Journal or Book of Shadows that you have underlined as important or particularly relevant? What do YOU feel?

You will notice a lot of emphasis on “feelings” throughout these articles. What do “feelings” have to do with all of this? Well, Carl Jung said it much better than I ever could:

Feeling informs you through its feeling-tones of the values of things. Feeling tells you for instance whether a thing is acceptable or agreeable or not. It tells you what a thing is WORTH to you….It is, like thinking, a rational function.

BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING:

 

  1. Look for SYMBOLISM-The subconscious mind works through pictures and symbols. This is why the “inner” work that you do is the starting point of all Magick. Look over your magickal tools and objects. Choose one or two at random. Touch them. Hold them in your hands. Close your eyes. What are they “saying” to your inner self? What images do they bring up and what memories do they unlock?

  2. You are using your IMAGINATION-You are not “making things up” when you are using your imagination. At least not in the sense that most of us have been lead to believe. If you have ever been reprimanded for “day dreaming” in class or at the dinner table, you may have to re-learn and “give yourself permission” to unlock this powerful tool again. Allow yourself some “flights of fancy” time each day.

    Imagination is the ability to use your mind creatively. The word “creative” is linked with “creation”. In a very real sense you are creating what you imagine. Just as a sculptor has an image of a work in his or her mind and then seeks to unlock the image from the physical materials at hand, so you create magick from the images that surface as a result of your meditations and desires. Have you used your imagination today?

  3. Now put the symbolism and the imagination together. What symbols came into your mind and what did your imagination do with these images? Ask a question and see if the images change around or become more clear. Don’t be surprised where you may end up. Your subconscious mind is a very rich and fertile place. It is the ‘playground’ of your spirit where anything is possible. And if you “wake up” with a start and realize that you have just spent 20 minutes in reverie, you are really getting the hang of it!

  4. The next exercise will be your first step from the mental/spiritual into the physical/spiritual realm. This is where you begin to actually DO THE WORK. You will start slowly and build on each previous step. Do not rush this process. This is very important. Let me explain a bit.

Do you remember as a child a favorite story that you never grew tired of hearing? You knew the entire book by heart. Part of its “magic” for you WAS knowing the entire story by heart. And remember how you would correct the reader of the story if they tried to skip a part or changed the words? The story for you was a ritual. The retelling of it the same way over and over was important to you. Because there were no surprises or changes, you could relax and really get “into” the entire tale in your…gasp!…imagination. (Don’t tell Grandma, but she was actually your first “Witchy” teacher!)

The gestures, tools and workings of your beginning ritual practice should be exactly the same each time that you do them during your Beginning Practice Phase. This repetition trains your subconscious mind to remember what is coming next. The subconscious is like the child who wants to hear that story the same way over and over. The “ritual”-repeated over and over- provides a safe and comforting setting for both your imagination and the symbolic elements to expand and grow. You’ll have plenty of time to “get fancy” later on.

The Practice Phase Do’s and Don’ts…

DO The BASIC RITUAL OUTLINE something like this:

  • Cleansing the Area.
  • Preparing the Altar.(nothing too elaborate, just a few of your favorite tools). Lighting the candles.
  • Casting the circle.
  • Welcoming the elements.
  • Welcoming the Deities.
  • Stating the Purpose of the ritual.
  • Magickal workings or devotions.
  • Raising the Energy. Releasing the Energy.
  • Grounding.
  • Thanking the Deities.
  • Thanking the elements.
  • Closing(or sometimes called opening) the circle.
  • Eating snacks!

There are many simpler or more elaborate ways to do a ritual. Many Traditions have their own formats as well. But if you know how to do this basic ritual, you will pretty much be comfortable in any open Circle that you may attend.

DO BEGIN! Start at the beginning of the above list. Make notes on each step in your journal as you begin to plan your ritual. How will you cleanse your working area? Salt and water? Besom (broom)? Incense? What will you place on your altar? (Making a list first insures that you will not forget something….”Matches, anyone?”, is the most classical “oops”!).

DO… Take time to sit quietly and center yourself before you begin. Be honest about your feelings. Are you excited…scared….nervous? That is normal. This is important stuff and not to be entered into lightly. O.K.? Now you can begin, but…

DO… Tell the Old Ones that you are “practicing’. Although They already know this (and They are ready to help you), it will be reassuring to YOU to state this in case you end up feeling that you may have “done something wrong”. You haven’t. You are “practicing” and practice involves a certain amount of trial and error. No one ‘upstairs’ is laughing at you.

DO… Perform each step slowly and carefully. Let the symbols speak to your inner self. Take time between each step to feel how the ritual has affected you and changed your surroundings. As you ground, listen for answers…listen for advice…listen to yourself…listen to the phone ringing because you forgot to take it off the hook….

DO… Listen. We ask for things and then we often do not take the time to listen for the answers. Write everything down. Doodle impressions in the margins. These symbols may be important later.

DO… this same basic ritual over and over and over again. Rather than becoming boring, you will probably find that it becomes MORE meaningful each time that you do it. And your inner child’s subconscious mind will be loving it! (Thanks, Grandma!)

DO… Continue to repeat the first Phases again. We are all constantly learning and going “back to basics” is always a good idea.


DON’T… worry about what you will say. Say what is in your heart. Use simple language-remember that “child” thing?-and DO remember to take deep breaths in between sentences. You want to ‘alter your consciousness”, not lose it!

DON’T… take any oaths or make lifelong dedications to the Old Ones. You have not made that decision yet. You are still trying to discover if Witchcraft is the right Path for you. This is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make in your life. Give it the respect and consideration that it deserves.

DON’T… be afraid. All those Hollywood movies may have made you a tad nervous about beginning actual ritual practice. Nothing like that will happen to you. You have done each step slowly and with much forethought. It is only when someone tries to go into places for which they are unprepared that the situation can get unpleasant. That is why teachers emphasize the NEED to go slowly. You HAVE taken the time to prepare yourself and done all the steps in order, haven’t you?

DON’T… do the ritual either too often or too little. Formulate a regular schedule-say once a week- and stick to that for a while. If you really desire to do something on a daily basis, a simple candle lighting ritual in the morning or evening will do just fine. Begin to think about Moon phases, Holidays and other times to do ritual Work. Witchcraft is based on the “rhythms’ of Nature and that will be the next step…

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Witchcraft 101: So Ya Wanna be a Witch? (part 1)

Witchcraft 101: So Ya Wanna be a Witch? (part 1)

Author: Wren 

Since its inception, the Witches’ Voice, has been barraged with email asking the simple question… “How do I become a Witch”? Although, it has never been the mission of the Witches’ Voice to actually teach Witchcraft we find ourselves constantly shocked at the aweful responses the Teenage Witch or new seeker receives from many that “claim” themselves “elders” of the craft. For this we apologize. We will never preach or claim to “have the answer”.There are indeed many paths and many ways, it is our goal to give you the tools to get started and what to look out for.

Part 1…

I Want To Be In A Coven. How Do I find One?

Many newcomers to the Craft begin to learn about Witchcraft/Wicca by reading a few books. It doesn’t take them very long to discover that each author has a different slant on the subject. Information, even about the most basic elements such as history, circle casting or spellwork, can sometimes be not only different, but often conflicting. At this point, the newcomer may throw up their hands in despair and decide to find a real live person to help straighten all this out. And who can blame them?

When newcomers ask the question, “Where can I find a coven?”, they are quite often taken aback by the response-or rather non-response- that they may receive to the inquiry. They are told to read more books, check out various websites and practice working on their own. This can seem like a ‘brush off” to the seekers-sometimes it is!-and they may go away more frustrated than before. So how CAN the new seeker find some help- and perhaps eventually meet other Pagans?

STARTING OUT…

So You Wanna Be a Witch?

There are some real issues that should be discussed right at the beginning of this section. The first thing that the seeker should know is that much of the “knowledge” that we possess today about Witchcraft and its origins is a combination of archeological data, the myths and legends that have been passed down and some historical documents that have been translated. The rest is conjecture and the “best guesses” of scholars who are working on “bringing it all together.” In other words, no one can say for certain what the Ancestors really did or why.

That does not mean that we have NO knowledge-we certainly DO!- just that we do not have THE historical knowledge of the origins of the Modern Craft. Different interpretations will continue to abound both in written materials and in any teachings that you may encounter. There will never be only one Way of practicing Witchcraft. Get used to it. No one has the “one true answer”…and any teacher worth his or her salt will tell you this up front.

The above is your first introduction to what is involved in following the path of Witchcraft. You are expected to do a LOT of research on your own. This is actually a very healthy way to approach the beginning study of any Path you are considering. Read many, many books on the subject-both scholarly and those that some would consider in the “fluff’ category. Why? Because this is your first foray into unknown waters. You should approach it with an open mind-ready to question and probe and ponder. I cannot overestimate how useful this first step will be. It can help you to formulate your own ideas about what this Path may mean to you.

Do not try to incorporate all that you read into one cohesive whole at the beginning. Look at whatever material that you are reading as a “theory” or “hypothesis” of Witchcraft. Some things will appeal to you right away. Others will seem “off the wall” or too fantastic to be of use. Accept or reject nothing at this stage; just keep on gathering information. You are doing “research”. The more you read, the more a “coming together” of certain aspects will begin to form within yourself. Then you will have a foundation from which you can take the next step.



Part One-The INTEREST PHASE:

You saw a movie (which shall remain nameless!), you read a few books, you stumbled onto a website, you talked to someone who said that he/she was a Witch-and now you want to know more! You have an “interest” in the Craft.

Many seekers at this point rush into the nearest message board area and cry out, “Teach me everything you know!” The reaction of others to this plea may range from the semi-helpful, “Do more research” to the out and out rude, “Those Wannbees!”

Either one of these responses will probably will leave you feeling unsatisfied (If not hurt!) and discouraged. Why can’t you get the help that you are asking for? Well, perhaps you did not phrase your request in a way that would elicit the sort of assistance that you were really looking for.

Witchcraft is a Path with depth. It can not be summed up in “25 words or less”. You need to learn how to ask SPECIFIC questions. This is where your previous research comes in. An intelligent and thoughtful question about a specific topic will generate an intelligent and thoughtful answer or opinion in return. Cite your sources. “This author writes that this is the way to cast a circle, yet this other author states it this way. Can anyone give me their opinion or experience on this? Does it matter?”

Interest Phase Do’s and Don’ts…

DO… Read as many books on the subject as you can-on History, Myths, Poetry, Psychology and Science as well as books on Witchcraft or Magick.

DO… Make yourself a research library. Take notes or highlight passages that particularly interest you. If you have a question on what is written, place a question mark next to that passage. You should enjoy what you read at this stage-the enjoyment will actually help you to retain what you read better than struggling through dusty tomes on alchemy (unless you happen to love alchemy, that is!).

DO… start a journal. You can even call it a “Book of Shadows” if you want to. (It can just be a loose leaf notebook, These are handy for creating different sections.) Write down both the things that you have found to be of interest and the things that you would like to know more about.

DO… Look at Nature. Witchcraft and most other Pagan paths are called “earth or nature based” religions. What is Nature saying to you? Bring home rocks, sticks, leaves or other things you find that attract your attention. Now ask yourself-WHY did you bring that home? Write it down.

DO… get organized. Concentration is an important skill in Magic. Disciplining yourself to make regular entries into a journal and writing things down will help you to develop concentration.

DO… learn to ask SPECIFIC questions of other Witches or Pagans when you need help. And ask yourself some questions, too. “What do I think Witchcraft is? What do I find here that has meaning for me?”

DO… tell the truth. Can seasoned Witches tell if someone is “full of it”? Yes, they can and rather quickly, too! Be honest about what you know and what you don’t.

DO… spend time alone to think carefully about how you feel and what you want for yourself. Some people think at the onset that Witchcraft will allow them to change other people or circumstances. But YOU will be the one who changes as you explore this Path. Do you really WANT to change?


DON’T… take it too fast. You have not made any commitments yet. You are doing research into a subject that interests you on a personal level. Jumping into a group situation at this point may hinder your development more than help it. You need to find out where YOU are going before you hit the trail with someone else.

DON’T… get discouraged. Sometimes it is very difficult to “go it alone.” But the Craft is made up of individuals who bring something of value to the Path-as well as receive benefits from it. Many “old timers” have the “Grampa attitude”. You know, the “When I was your age, I had to walk three miles to school every day…in the snow…with no boots…carrying my little sister…and a load of firewood…” Well, in a way that is true. It WAS much harder to be a Witch only a few decades ago. So be forgiving if they are not ready to hand you all their hand gathered “firewood” on a silver platter….you may have to walk a mile or two by yourself….in the snow…with no boots…..

DON’T… ask about joining a terraspace coven just yet. A coven is a close knit group working together. It is a difficult process to create an effective magickal unit. Most covens are not actively looking for new members, as each time a new person is added to the group, it takes time for the unit to re-adjust. There are some cyberspace “covens” that readily accept new members. If you look on it as a “training exercise”, you could learn a few things. Ask around the Internet.

DON’T… be afraid because you are not part of a group. Many, many Witches find out after much trial and error that they actually PREFER to work alone. Traditionally the Witch WAS a loner…and many still are by choice. Often solitary Witches get together to talk and exchange information and then happily go back to their solitary practice. You CAN do a little bit of both.

Still “Interested”? Then you will probably want to go further into…

Part Two-The “EXPLORATORY PHASE”:

You have read quite a few books, taken tons of notes and written faithfully in your Book of Shadows or journal. You have found some resources on the Internet and may have even asked a Pagan a few of those pesky questions that have been bothering you lately. Now what?

This is where you begin to exercise your discretion a bit. As you start weeding out the things that you have decided are not for you and embracing what DOES feel right, you are also making decisions about what sort of group you may eventually be comfortable with. (And many seekers still feel at this point that they DO want to find a group.)

Does the whole circle casting with sword, smoking incense and flickering candles appeal to you? Or would you rather simply sit quietly and let your heart speak?

Are you more introverted than extroverted? All grand dreams of leading a large public ritual aside, do you feel comfortable right NOW speaking to large groups of people? Or do you prefer the company of a few close and intimate friends?

Do you like to mull things over before making a decision? Or are you spontaneous and always dashing off to go rock climbing or roller blading?

Asking yourself these and similar questions will help you to make decisions. What are the reasons that you would want to be part of a coven or group-and what sort of group may that be?

You may also begin visualization techniques at this time. You begin to see yourself in the tales of mythic heroes and heroines. You may visualize actually doing the rituals and circles that you have read about. You imagine what it may be like to be a member of a coven-laughing as you all run through the woods on your way to the bonfire. How do these images and scenarios make you feel? Be honest. No one is looking over your shoulder at this point.

Most importantly, how comfortable are YOU with this Path that you are researching? Does it fit who you are? Not who you would like to be…not who you would like others to think that you are…but you as you are right now. Think about this a lot. It will save you much disillusionment in the future.

You may begin to collect a tool or two or think about setting up an altar area. You start buying lots and lots of candles and incense. You browse the herb shops and look through catalogs for magickal items. You may even buy some things. You are beginning to actually make some outward decisions about what you feel inside. You are “exploring” new possibilities.

Explorer Phase Do’s and Don’ts…

DO… Continue to read, study and record notes in your journal or Book. Why did you choose this athame over that wand? Why do you prefer sandalwood to jasmine? Should you hide your altar when Granny comes to visit?

DO… Begin to think about which Way appeals to you…Celtic? Egyptian? Druid? Can’t decide? Maybe you are the Eclectic type?

DO… Understand that you will be challenged as you begin to speak and interact with other Pagans. It’s our hobby. And it makes you think about what you say you believe in. It will tell you a lot about your commitment to the Path that you have chosen for yourself.

DO… Keep a sense of humor. It puts things into perspective. You will be laughing at yourself for a lifetime as you look back on your early days. We all do. We were just learning when we began and we weren’t always very good in our first attempts. (I’m laughing right now just thinking about the first time I cast a circle by myself!) But we did learn and you will, too. And since we all are continuing to learn each day, you will never run out of things to laugh about!

DO… “Talk little and listen much”. Lurk around the chat rooms. Peek in on a cybercircle. Check out your local area for open circles or workshops. Keep your eyes and ears open…opportunities for learning are everywhere.

DO… Continue to ask SPECIFIC questions. It is easier now that you have some real information under your belt, isn’t it? Instead of a broad-based “I dunno anything about this!”, you can ask “Well, what about THIS?” At last those answers are beginning to make some sense!

DO… begin thinking about Deities and ritual structure. Who of the Old Ones speaks to you? What sort of relationship would you have with the Deity of your choice-or the One who has chosen YOU?! What are the symbols associated with these Deities? Learn Their stories.


DON’T… Get ahead of yourself. All worthwhile lessons take time to become integrated into your spirit. The mind is usually the last to know! That is because your subconscious is learning through dreams and visions and symbols while your conscious mind is still struggling with the words. Continue to spend time alone to allow all your new feelings and thoughts to become clear. Take a walk and enjoy your life!

DON’T… Put all your spiritual eggs into one basket. Even though you may have a favorite author, continue to read other viewpoints. Even though you may respect a Witch or Pagan, continue to listen to other voices. Read about the latest “conspiracy theory”. It may be ridiculous, but it does train the mind to be on the look out for alternatives. (However do know that if you are abducted by aliens, they didn’t hear about you from us!)

DON’T… Tell all that you know and don’t pretend to know about something that you don’t. Complete honesty may be difficult with other people, but it is essential to be honest with yourself. Lies waste energy.

DON’T… get frustrated because you STILL haven’t found out how to contact a coven. That will come later…if it is still what you want to do.

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Getting Started On Your Spiritual Education Path

 Getting Started On Your Spiritual Education Path

 

Any spiritual practice requires research and study. Witchcraft is no different than any other path. Here is some basic info, words of caution, and suggestions for reading and starting your research.

How Can I Learn More? If you are one of the many people looking for information on how to become a witch, there are a few things you should ask yourself first.

1. What is your reason for wanting to be a Witch? If your reason is simply so you can cast a spell, it’s the wrong reason and you might find more information if you look for Spellcraft, than Witchcraft. If your reasons are truly from an interest in the faith or you feel drawn to the Craft as a religion, then you maybe on the right path. But you should learn more and make an informed decision.

2. Are you willing to live by the spiritual laws as a way of life? If you are, or if you’re not sure, do a lot of research on your own and find out as much as you can about the path you’ve chosen.

3. How Do I Get Started? Read, learn and read a lot more. Do your own research, and not just from magikal books or reference manuals. Through studying history, other religions and how they all inter-relate and interact. I have a favorite saying for this type of education: “Books can give you knowledge. But only your own personal experiences give you wisdom to decide your own path.”

Words of Warning.

Don’t take one persons word or teachings as the only truth or as the only way on this or any spiritual path. No one person has all the answers for you. Only you know what rings true within your own heart and soul.

When it comes time for you to chose a mentor, be very cautious. There are a lot of novice people claiming to be a High Priest or Priestess. The best advice I could give is find someone who can prove they have practiced the path for several years (my standard is 10 years or more).

Don’t just take their word for it. Find someone who is willing to answer your questions without charging you money.

Taking a class and paying for an instructors time is NOT the same thing as finding a “spiritual teacher”. (Classes are wonderful for making new friends and learning in a group.)

What you should really be looking for is a mentor or guide, not a person who thinks they have the right to tell you what to do or believe.

Lastly, always question!

Question everything you are told and everything you read.

Research other material to validate what you are being told or what you read in a book.

Make sure that a book is supported by other books and by history itself.

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The Witches Credo

The Witches Credo

Hear now the word of the Witch,the secrets once hid in the night,When darkness was for protection,We now bring forth in the light.Mysteries of the Water and Fire,The Earth and the wide-ranging Air,By hidden Quintessence we know them,and we bring honor in silence and fair.The birth and rebirth of all Nature,the passing of Winter and Spring,We share with the life Universal,rejoicing in the never-ending RingFour times in the year we give homage,come forth the Witches are seen,At Lammas and Candelas we’re dancing,so too on May Eve and old HalloweenWhen daytime and nighttime are equal,when sun is at it’s greatest and least,The four lesser Sabbats are summoned,again the Witches gather in feast.Thirteen silver moons in a year,thirteen to be the magikal array,Thirteen times at Esbat we make merry,for the work of the night and the day.

The knowledge has passed down the ages,each time between woman and manEach century unto the other,old times since the ages began.When drawn in the Magikal circle,by sword or athame of light,It’s compass between two worlds opens,in honor and love for this night.Our world has no right to know it,and the world beyond will tell naught,The oldest of Gods are invoked there,the great work of light’s Magik is wrought.For two are the mystical pillars,that stand at the gate of the shrine,And two are the powers of Nature,the forms and the forces divine.Do what thou wilt be the challenge,so be it in love that harms none,For this is the only commandment,By wisdom of faith so let it be done.

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Witches’ Pyramid

Witches’ Pyramid

Many of you have already heard of the Witches’ Pyramid, the foundation of our magickal acts:

To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Be Silent. This pyramid is the underlying structure of any spell formula.

 

To Know

Before you can cast a spell, you need to know who you are. Ego aside, you have to come to terms with who you are, how you operate, and why you do the
things you do.

The second thing you must know is precisely what you want. This is not as easy as it seems. People rarely sit back and consider what they really want out of life. Part of this is because they are afraid. They fear they may not get what they want, and they fear that they will fail. These fears stop us
from knowing.

For example, time and time again people I know have spelled for love. They have not done the ultimate no-no by targeting a specific person, but they do something just as bad–they don’t really know what they ultimately want. When they get what they spelled for, often they are disappointed, because
there is something attached to that new lover they didn’t think of. Therefore, all spells must be specific.

One of the best ways to begin a working is to write out, in detail, exactly what you want in one straight line on a piece of paper. Underneath,
phonetically begin to pare each word down. Underneath that line, pare the
words down again. Continue this procedure until only one letter from each
word is left. Interlock the few remaining letters into a sigil. Use this
sigil in whatever magickal application you have chosen to ensure your spell
remains specific.

 

To Will

Another stumbling block in spell casting is lack of will, whether it is will power, belief, or conviction. Will depends on how badly you want to make a change. Do you believe you are capable of making the change, or do you think it is only wishful thinking? Are you willing to re-program your mind, your environment, your relationships, in order to bring about ther change you desire? Without will, a spell will fizzle. Is your mind fogged with doubt, or unnecessary problems that will prevent bringing about the change you say you want?

One of the best techniques for increasing your will power is the use of meditation on a daily basis. Once you have learned to relax, use the alpha state to program the events you wish to come to pass. You should work on both short-term and long-term goals.

Another technique that is useful in spell casting is to write down why you wish to manifest something. Let this explanation sit on your altar overnight, then re-read it. Does it make sense? Is this what you really want? Does your reasoning still appear firm, or is it full of holes?

Are you patient? Patience has a lot to do with will. Once you have a firm grip on “will,” you are a third of the way through on accurate spell casting.

 

To Dare

To dare means you are not inclined to sit around on your laurels. It means
that you are not choosing to procrastinate, rather you are choosing to move
with purpose. To dare indicates that you are no longer afraid of the outcome, or fear failure. You are confident that you control your own destiny to the point where you won’t even argue about it, either with someone else, or yourself.

Although “to dare” doesn’t appear to create a lot of work, it does require you to make an active decision. This is the next catalyst for your magickal operation. From here, you will plan the appropriate day, hour, moon phase, astrological energies, and tools required for working magic,including what divinity you will choose. To dare can lead to a great deal of work and
preparation.

To Be Silent

Even if you are an adept, you should learn to be quiet about your magickal operations. There is only one exception, which is when you are working with a group. If the group mind is actively participating on a project they should be informed of their success or failure.

In the beginning, you should be silent so that you are not affected by
others’ opinions. Don’t tell them what you are performing magic for, as you
risk failure. Why? Because they can unconsciously affect you with their
disbelief or negativity.

Likewise, once you become proficient at spell casting, don’t announce
it–especially to a novice. No real adept will ever tell a novice that “My
spells always work.” Not only is it rude, it is also untrue. Everyone
fails. Imagine what a novice would think if they knew you lost your job,your
kids are running rampant, and you are deeply in debt. If your spells always
worked, you would not be in such a fix, would you? Foolish words can ruin
your reputation, which in turn, will ruin your own self-confidence.
Therefore, keep your trap shut–this ensures success in your magickal
operations as well as keeping your reputation intact. No one likes a
braggart, and no one considers an egotistical Witch a good leader or cleric.

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The Ordains

The Ordains

(The Witches Laws)

1.   And ye harm none, do as ye will.
2.   If you know the Rede is being broken, you must work strongly against it.
3.   Watch, listen and withhold judgment; in debate you your silences be long,
your thoughts clear and your words carefully chosen.
4.   Never boast, or threaten, or speak evil of anyone.
5.   Be truthful always, save when speaking would lead to a great harm.
6.   Keep clean your body, your clothes, and your house.
7.   Should you take a task upon yourself, work hard and well to accomplish it
properly and in good time. Always do the best you can.
8.   Do not haggle over the price of your ritual tools.
9.   Witches know that there are no absolute truths.
10.  Witches understand that the universe consists of perfect balance; therefore,
everything has an opposite.
11.  Witches realize that for every action there is a reaction. (The Law of
Three).
12.  Witches know that we are all one, we are all connected.
13.  Never lie to yourself for this is the ultimate act of deceit.
14.  Witches understand that the ultimate act of spirituality is the act of
positive creation through love.
15.  Witches realize that the energy created through worship and rituals
manifests as a circular stream of positive energy.
16.  Witches should never close their minds to knowledge.
17.  Never practice a magickal system that you don’t fully understand.
18.  Do not set a price on your magickal work.
19.  A Witch uses the magickal circle as a physical and non-physical
representation of a temple on the earth plane.
20. Witches use the energies around them to assist in raising power.
21.  Witches use common sense and do not share their mysteries with fools.
22.  A Witch who knowingly breaks the Law (Ordains) will not be permitted to
incarnate on Earth again.

 

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THE LAW OF THE POWER

THE LAW OF THE POWER

1.  The Power shall not be used to bring harm, to injure or control others.  But if the need  rises, the Power shall be used to protect your life or the life of others.
2.  The Power is used only as need dictates.
3.  The Power can be used for your own gain, as long as by doing so you harm none.
4.  It is unwise to accept money for the use of the Power, for it quickly controls its taker.  Be not as those of other religions.
5.  Use not the Power for prideful gain, for such cheapens the mysteries of the Craft and magick.
6.  Ever remember that the Power is a sacred gift of the Goddess and God, and should never be misused or abused.
And this is the Law of the Power.

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