Wicca

WOTC Extra – The Nature of Our Way


Mermaid Comments & Graphics

The Nature of Our Way

 

• As often as possible, hold the rites in forests, by the seashore, on deserted mountaintops or near tranquil lakes. If this is impossible, a garden or some chamber shall suffice, if it is readied with fumes or flowers.

• Seek out wisdom in books, rare manuscripts and cryptic poems if you will, but seek it out also in simple stones and fragile herbs and in the cries of wild birds. Listen to the whisperings of the wind and the roar of water if you would discover magic, for it is here that the old secrets are preserved.

• Books contain words; trees contain energies and wisdom books ne’er dreamt of.

• Ever remember that the Old Ways are constantly revealing themselves. Therefore be as the river willow that bends and sways with the wind. That which remains changeless shall outlive its spirit, but that which evolves and grows will shine for centuries.

• There can be no monopoly on wisdom. Therefore share what you will of our ways with others who seek them, but hide mystic lore from the eyes of those who would destroy, for to do otherwise increases their destruction.

• Mock not the rituals or spells of another, for who can say yours are greater in power or wisdom?

• Ensure that your actions are honorable, for all that you do shall return to you three-fold, good or bane.

• Be wary of one who would dominate you, who would control and manipulate your workings and reverences. True reverence for the Goddess and God occurs within. Look with suspicion on any who would twist worship from you for their own gain and glory, but welcome those priestesses and priests who are suffused with love.

• Honor all living things, for we are of the bird, the fish, the bee. Destroy not life save it be to preserve your own.

• And this is the nature of our way.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

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Let’s Talk Witch – Words To The Wise By Scott Cunningham


Mermaid Comments & Graphics

WORDS TO THE WISE….

 

O daughters and sons of the Earth, adore the Goddess and God and be blessed with the fullness of life.

Know that They have brought you to these writings, for herein he our ways of Wicca, to serve and fulfill the keepers of wisdom, the tenders of the sacred flame of knowledge. Run the rites with love and joy, and the Goddess and God will bless you with all that you need. But those who practice dark magics shall know Their greatest wrath.

Remember that you are of the Wicca. No more do you trod the ways of doubt. You walk the path of light, ever climbing from shadow to shadow to the highest realm of existence. But though we’re the bearers of truths, others do not wish to share our knowledge, so we run our rites beneath moon filled skies enwrapped in shadows. But we are happy.

Live fully, for that is the purpose of life. Refrain not from earthly existence. From it we grow to learn and understand, until such time that we are reborn to learn more, repeating this cycle ’till we have spiralled up the path of perfection and can finally call the Goddess and God our kin.

Walk the fields and forests; be refreshed by the cool winds and the touch of a nodding flower. The Moon and Sun sing in the ancient wild places: The deserted seashore, the stark desert, the roaring waterfall. We are of the Earth and should revere Her, so do Her honor.

Celebrate the rites on the appropriate days and seasons, and call upon the Goddess and God when the time is meet, but use the Power only when necessary, never for frivolous ends. Know that using the Power for harm is a perversion of Life itself.

But for those who love and magnify love, the richness of life shall be your reward. Nature will celebrate.

So love the Goddess and God, and harm none!

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

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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
Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Witch, Wicca, Witchcraft | 1 Comment

The Law of the Power


Witchy Comments & Graphics

The Law of the Power

The power shall not be used to bring harm, to injure or control others.
But if need rises, the Power shall be used to protect your life or the
lives of others.

The Power is used only as need dictates.

The Power can be used for your own gain,
as long as by doing so you harm none.

It is unwise to accept payment for use of the Power for it quickly
controls it’s taker. Be not as those of other religions.

Use not the Power for prideful gain, for such cheapens
the mysteries of Wicca and Magic.

Ever remember that the Power is the sacred gift of the
Goddess and God, and should never be misused or abused.

And this is the law of the Power.

 

—Wicca Chat

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Wiccan Ethics


Witchy Comments & Graphics

*Wiccan Ethics*
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“An it harm none, do what ye will” is considered the main tenant of Wicca. It is similar to the Golden Rule, in that it mandates that you can do whatever you want, but only if you do not harm anything, anyone or yourself in the process. This belief constantly reminds us that there are many consequences to our actions and we must consider all possible outcomes before acting. The Wiccan Rede thereby binds Wiccans to do the right thing, for if we don’t, then the Law of Three applies: “Whatever you do will return to you threefold”.

The Belief in Light & Dark

Most Wiccans acknowledge that there is “light” and “dark” to the universe. This polarity (light vs. dark) is part of the natural order of things and is not necessarily “evil” or “bad”. What is considered to be “light” are those events or processes which are beneficial, such as the birth of a healthy baby. Whereas, things that are “dark” are events that might be harmful. As an example, death is “dark” but it is part of the natural process of life and is not feared by Wiccans, but natural and accepted.

Evil

Evil is different from “dark” when it is used to describe human actions. When a person commits a certain action for personal gain, or to serve a personal end, it is considered “evil”. If a volcano erupts and destroys a village, this process would be thought of as “dark” but there was no evil or malicious intent on the part of the volcano. However, when an individual commits murder, for instance, this individual set out to harm another person, therefore, their action can be described as “evil”. It is not only the act, but the malicious intent that differentiates “evil” from “dark”

Balance

Wiccan believe in a joyful balance of all human functions. This outlook is perfectly expressed in the Charge of the Goddess, which is an integral part of most of the rituals of all Wiccans, “Let My worship be within the heart that rejoices; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals, and therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.”

The Wiccan is always conscious that compassion must be partnered with power, humility with honor, and reverence with mirth. Love of life in all its forms, is the basic ethic of the Nature Religions. We are bound to honor and respect all living things and to serve the Life Force.

We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon, and the seasonal Quarters, and Cross Quarters.

We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment of life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called “supernatural,” but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity – as masculine and feminine – and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and the feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness, Inner Planes, etc. – and we see in the inter-action of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena, and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it – a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft – The Wiccan Way.

Calling oneself “witch” does not make a witch – but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that makes life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with nature.

We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

Wicca Chat

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American Council of Witches and The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

American Council of Witches and The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

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Basic Principles and Concepts of Wicca

Basic Principles and Concepts of Wicca

Introduction:

There’s an old saying that if you ask any ten Wiccans about their religion, you’ll get at least fifteen different answers. That’s not far from the truth, because with hundreds of thousands of Americans practicing Wicca today (and the actual numbers are unclear), there are thousands of different Wiccan groups out there. There is no one governing body over Wicca, nor is there a “Bible” that lays down a universal set of guidelines. While specifics vary from one tradition to the next, there are actually a few ideals and beliefs common to nearly all modern Wiccan groups.

Do keep in mind that this article is primarily focused on Wiccan traditions, rather than on the principles of non-Wiccan Pagan belief systems. Not all Pagans are Wiccans, and not all Pagan traditions have the same set of principles as the core beliefs of modern Wicca.

Origins of Wicca:

Wicca as a religion was introduced by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Gardner’s tradition was oathbound, initiatory, and secret. However, after a few years splinter groups began forming, and new traditions were formed. Today, many Wiccan groups owe their basic foundation to the principles laid out by Gardner. Wicca is not an ancient religion, but Gardner did incorporate some old esoteric knowledge into his original tradition, including Eastern mysticism, Kabballah, and British legend.

Who Is a Wiccan, and How Do You Find Them?:

Wiccans come from all walks of life. They are doctors and nurses, teachers and soccer moms, writers and firefighters, waitresses and computer programmers. In other words, anyone can be Wiccan, and people become Wiccan for many reasons. In fact, a recent study estimated nearly half a million Wiccans in the United States today – and frankly, that number seems inaccurately low. As to where to find them, that might take a bit of digging — as a mystery religion that doesn’t proselytize or actively recruit, it can sometimes be difficult to find a group in your area. Never fear, though — the Wiccans are out there, and if you ask around enough, you’ll bump into one eventually.

Calling Upon the Divine:

Wicca acknowledges the polarity of the Divine, which means that both the male and female deities are often honored. A Wiccan may honor simply a non-specific god and goddess, or they may choose to worship specific deities of their tradition, whether it be Isis and Osiris, Cerridwen and Herne, or Apollo and Athena. In Gardnerian Wicca, the true names of the gods are revealed only to initiated members, and are kept secret from anyone outside the tradition.

Initiation and Degree Systems:

In most Wiccan covens, there is some form of initiation and a degree system. Initiation is a symbolic rebirth, in which the initiant dedicates themselves to the gods of their tradition. Typically, only an individual who has attained the rank of Third Degree dedicant may act as a High Priest or High Priestess. Study is required before an individual may advance to the next degree level, and often this is the traditional “year and a day” period.

Someone who is not a member of a coven or formal group may choose to perform a self-dedication ritual to pledge themselves to the gods of their path.

Magic Happens:

The belief in and use of magic and spellwork is nearly universal within Wicca. This is because for most Wiccans, there’s nothing supernatural about magic at all — it’s the harnessing and redirection of natural energy to effect change in the world around us. In Wicca, magic is simply another skill set or tool. Most Wiccans do use specific tools in spellcrafting, such as an athame, wand, herbs, crystals, and candles. Magical workings are often performed within a sacred circle. The use of magic is not limited only to the priesthood — anyone can craft and perform a spell with a little bit of practice.

The Spirit World is Out There:

Because the concept of an afterlife of some sort is typical in most branches of Wicca, there is a general willingness to accept interaction with the spirit world. Seances and contact with the unknown are not uncommon among Wiccans, although not all Wiccans actively seek communication with the dead. Divination such as tarot, runes, and astrology are often used as well.

What Wicca Isn’t:

Wicca does not embrace the concepts of sin, heaven or hell, the evils of sex or nudity, confession, Satanism, animal sacrifice, or the inferiority of women. Wicca is not a fashion statement, and you do not have to dress a certain way to be a “real Wiccan.”

Basic Beliefs of Wicca:

While not exclusive to every single tradition, the following are some of the core tenets found in most Wiccan systems:

  • The Divine is present in nature, and so nature should be honored and respected. Everything from animals and plants to trees and rocks are elements of the sacred. You’ll find that many practicing Wiccans are passionate about the environment.
  • The idea of karma and an afterlife is a valid one. What we do in this lifetime will be revisited upon us in the next. Part of this idea of a cosmic payback system is echoed in the Law of Threefold Return.
  • Our ancestors should be spoken of with honor. Because it’s not considered out of the ordinary to commune with the spirit world, many Wiccans feel that their ancestors are watching over them at all times.
  • The Divine has polarity — both male and female. In most paths of Wicca, both a god and goddess are honored.
  • The Divine is present in all of us. We are all sacred beings, and interaction with the gods is not limited just to the priesthood or a select group of individuals.
  • Holidays are based on the turning of the earth and the cycle of the seasons. In Wicca, eight major Sabbats are celebrated, as well as monthly Esbats.
  • Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Personal responsiblity is the key. Whether magical or mundane, one must be willing to accept the consquences — either good or bad — of their behaviour.
  • Harm none, or something like it. While there are a few different interpretation of what actually constitutes harm, most Wiccans follow the concept that no harm should intentionally be done to another individual.
  • Respect the beliefs of others. There’s no Recruiting Club in Wicca, and the Wiccans are not out to preach at you, convert you, or prosetylize. Wiccan groups recognize that each individual must find their spiritual path on their own, without coercion. While a Wiccan may honor different gods than you do, they will always respect your right to believe differently.

 

 

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5 Mistakes New Pagans Make – and How To Avoid Them

5 Mistakes New Pagans Make – and How To Avoid Them

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