Witchcraft

Let’s Talk Witch – Ethics of Love Magic – Is it OK to Perform Love Spells?

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Let’s Talk Witch – Ethics of Love Magic – Is it OK to Perform Love Spells?

By Patti Wigington, About.com

Love spells. They’re one of the things that often draws new folks to Wicca and Pagan religions. However, there’s a lot of question within the Pagan community about the ethics of casting a love spell on someone else. After all, if you’re performing magic on someone without their knowledge, aren’t you messing with their free will?

Most Wiccans will tell you that the best way to approach love magic is to avoid focusing on a specific individual as a target. Instead, use your energy and skills to focus on yourself — to draw love your way, or to help you present yourself as a person worthy of love. You could use your magical abilities to feel more confident and attractive, much like a magical makeover. In other words, fix yourself, not someone else.

Bear in mind that many Pagan traditions have no restrictions on the use of magic to change someone else. If you’re part of such a tradition, the use of love magic may well be within the boundaries of your ethical guidelines. In some traditions of folk magic, love magic is perfectly acceptable. It’s something that’s done as a matter of course, and is no more unethical than wearing a sexy perfume or a cute push-up bra. Magic is viewed as a tool, and can be used in tandem with the mundane to bring you what you want — after all, if you didn’t want to change things, you wouldn’t be doing magic in the first place, right?

Before casting any sort of working that affects another person, though, be sure to think about consequences. How will your actions affect not only you, but other people? Will it ultimately cause harm? Will it cause someone to be hurt, either directly or indirectly? These are all things that should be evaluated before performing any working at all, whether it’s a love spell or some other type of magic. If your tradition or belief system prohibits you from performing magic on someone without their consent or knowledge, then you’d be better of skipping the love magic, and focusing instead on self-improvement and self-empowerment.

Rather than aiming a love spell at someone and expecting them to become your devoted servant and doormat, consider looking at love spells as a method of (a) getting someone to notice you AND (b) getting the person to, once they’ve noticed you, find all the things about you that they like. If you maintain this perspective, you should be able to work love magic and still keep within your ethical boundaries.

Source:
About.com

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Offerings to the Gods: What’s an Acceptable Gift?

Offerings to the Gods

What’s an Acceptable Gift?

By

In many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it’s not uncommon to make some sort of offering or sacrifice to the gods. Bear in mind that despite the reciprocal nature of our relationship with the divine, it’s not a matter of “I’m offering you this stuff so you’ll grant my wish.” It’s more along the lines of “I honor you and respect you, so I’m giving you this stuff to show you how much I appreciate your intervention on my behalf.”

So the question arises, then, of what to offer them? Different types of deities seem to respond best to different kinds of offerings. For example, you wouldn’t offer flowers to a war god, would you? When making an offering, it’s important to think about what the god represents. The Roman Cato described an offering for agricultural prosperity: Make offerings to keep your oxen in good health. Make the following sacrifices to Mars… three pounds of wheat, four-and-a-half of lard, four-and-a-half of meat and three pints of wine. While it’s probably not necessary to go that far and offer up enough food to feed a small army to your god, the passage does illustrate the fact that our ancestors thought enough of their gods to take their offerings very seriously.

In general, bread, milk and wine are nearly always appropriate for any deity. Here are some ideas for specific offerings you can make to deities, based upon the types of gods they are:

Hearth and Home Gods:

  • Food: Bread and grains, cooking oil, salt
  • Drink: Milk, wine, cider
  • Herbs: Rosemary, thyme

Gods of Love and Passion:

  • Food: Eggs, honey, apples
  • Drink: Wine, fruit juice
  • Herbs: Lavender, sandalwood

Garden/Nature Deities:

  • Food: Bread, cornmeal, fruit
  • Drink: Milk, water
  • Herbs: Bay

Gods of Prosperity and Abundance:

  • Food: Grains, dairy products like cheese or eggs
  • Drink: Milk, beer
  • Herbs: Mint, pennyroyal, catnip

Ancestor Spirits:

  • Food: Any meal from your family’s table
  • Drink: Drinks from the family table
  • Herbs: Sage, sweetgrass

Childbirth or Fertility Godesss:

  • Food: Eggs, baked sweets like cookies
  • Drink: Milk (including breast milk)
  • Herbs: Rose, sandalwood, apple blossoms

 

Source:
About.com

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Appropriate Worship – Honoring the Gods the Right Way

Appropriate Worship – Honoring the Gods the Right Way

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One issue that comes up often for people learning about modern Pagan spirituality is the concept of appropriate worship. There tends to be some question about what, exactly, is the right offering to make to the gods or goddesses of one’s tradition — and how we should honor them when making those offerings.

Let’s imagine that you have two friends. First, we have Jill. She likes French cuisine, Meg Ryan movies, soft music and expensive wine. She’s someone who lets you cry on her shoulder when you’re feeling blue, and she offers some wise and thoughtful insight when you can’t solve a problem on your own. One of her best qualities is her ability to listen.

You also have a friend named Steve. He’s a lot of fun, and sometimes shows up at your house at midnight toting a six-pack. Steve likes watching movies with lots of explosions, took you to your first Metallica concert, and can rebuild a Harley with his eyes closed. He eats mostly bratwurst and Funyuns, enjoys picking up strippers at bars, and is the guy you call when you want to have a good time.

When Jill comes over, are you going to have a nice quiet dinner with a glass of wine and Josh Groban playing in the background, or are you going to hand her a cheeseburger and a beer, pull out the Wii for a round of God of War, and stay up until 3 am seeing who can burp and fart the loudest?

Likewise, if Steve shows up, are you going to do things that he enjoys, or are you going to say, “Hey, Steve, let’s watch Steel Magnolias and talk about our feelings?

Much like our friends Jill and Steve, the gods have certain things they like and value, and certain things they don’t. To offer one of them something better suited to another is not only disrespectful, it shows that you really don’t know them at all and worse yet, haven’t even taken the time to learn about them. What do you think Steve is going to say when you offer him a vegetarian soup and turn on some chick flick? He’s going to bail, that’s what he’s going to do. Because not only did you present him with something he dislikes, but you’re showing a fundamental lack of knowledge of someone you claim is your friend.

Sure, you love Jill and Steve equally, but they’re not the same person, and they don’t have the same likes and dislikes. The gods are the same way — you may honor both Aphrodite and Mars, but that doesn’t mean Mars wants to you to leave him a bouquet of flowers and a glass of milk while you sing him Kumbaya. You can also be sure that Aphrodite probably isn’t interested in offerings of blood and raw meat, or warrior chants.

The idea of right or appropriate worship is not about someone telling you what’s “right or wrong.” It is simply the concept that one should take the time to do things – including worship and offerings – in a way that is conducive to the demands and needs of the god or goddess in question.

When you honor the gods, take the time to put some thought into it. Ask yourself what it is you hope to obtain by making the offering — are you trying to gain something, or merely show your appreciation and gratitude to the Divine? Learn about the types of deities you’re about to honor, and study the specific gods and goddesses of your tradition, so that when you do make an offering or present a ritual in their name, you can do so in a way that truly does them honor.

 

Source:

About.com

 

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Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

By

Question: Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

I’m interested in Wicca, but my mom says Wiccans and Pagans don’t believe in God. I feel weird not believing in a universal force of some sort. What’s the deal here?

Answer: The deal is that most Wiccans and Pagans see “god” as more of a job title than a proper name. They don’t worship the Christian god, but that doesn’t mean they don’t accept the existence of deity. Various Wiccan and Pagan traditions honor different gods. Some see all deities as one, and may refer to The God or The Goddess. Others may worship specific gods or goddesses – Cernunnos, Brighid, Isis, Apollo, etc. – from their own tradition. Because there are so many different forms of Pagan belief, there are nearly as many gods and goddesses to believe in.

Many Pagans, including but not limited to Wiccans, are willing to accept the presence of the Divine in all things. Because Wicca and Paganism place a good deal of emphasis on the idea that experiencing the divine is something for everyone, not just select members of the clergy, it’s possible for a Wiccan or Pagan to find something sacred within the mundane. For example, the whisper of wind through the trees or the roar of the ocean can both be considered divine. Not only that, many Pagans feel that the divine lives within each of us. It’s rare to find a Pagan or Wiccan who sees the gods as judgmental or punishing. Instead, most view the gods as beings that are meant to be walked beside, hand in hand, and honored.

Another aspect of this that’s important to keep in mind is that not everyone who is a Pagan happens to be Wiccan. There are many other paths of Paganism, many of which are polytheistic. Some Pagan paths are based on a concept that all gods are one. There are also some Pagans who follow an earth- or nature-based belief system outside of the concept of deity completely.

 

Source:

About.com

 

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Spell Caster’s Affirmation

Witchy Comments
Spell Caster’s Affirmation

There is one Presence and Power in the Universe
That manifests to me as Goddess and as God
It guides the stars and the planets
It guides me and moves through my life
For I am a perfect incarnation of God /dess
And a perfect priest/ess of God/dess
I am a complete manifestation of this power
I release all imbalanced energy and it’s effects
I harness harmonious energy
And shape it for the good of all
In accordance with free will
With ease and with joy
With love and kindness
So mote it be

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You’ve Studied Witchcraft & Wicca, Now Choose A Magickal Name

You’ve Studied Witchcraft & Wicca, Now Choose A Magickal Name

Personality Labels

We all can attest to the fact that our given name has, through the years, labelled us in some manner. First names tend to stereotype people and last names can often present the same type of response, and there are times when we wish our parents had chosen to name us something else other than what we are, but saying that at times we may be proud of our names we go by.

When you enter the craft you are building a new extension of yourself, a new personality so to speak. This new self lives in a no limit world, save for the restrictions that you set yourself. So to speak you are opening yourself to a brand new world. Achievements that you yourself never dreamed of are now all of a sudden possible and the personality characteristics that locked you in a specific pattern are now being lifted and changed to mould the way you want to be and not how others perceive you. Most initiates wish to choose a new name to reinforce that special part of themselves that now exists.

However, in a coven environment an individual may take on two different names. The first being known as the “circle” name, thus being used within the coven and the second being the “magical name” to be used in ceremonial rituals, where it is only known by the god/goddess and the individual or the individuals teacher. The number, type and knowledge of names does not differ from tradition to tradition. As a solitary witch would use the same name till such time as she saw fit to change it, some never change there names at all, others use separate ones for correspondence and such alike.

Care should be taken in choosing your magical name, it should represent the beauty of yourself and your higher personal values and ideals.

Finding your magickal Name

Since your new name does not, well not very often, reach out and pinch you, you might have to look a bit for it. Some witches choose to take a name that is traditionally connected with magick, perhaps from a legends story or a name from the tarot and the runes etc. Some witches scry to find their name, they tend to be kind of mystical names, quite often naming animals such as black panther and silver hawk, these are merely examples.

When looking for your name try the following… Take out a piece of paper and write at the top “my magical name should stand for the following strengths…” Leave blank spaces and go down to about the middle of the page and write “This name should have the characteristics of the following deities, plants, elements etc. Then start to answer these questions, do it over a period of time don’t rush into it as said before care should be taken to ensure that you are truly comfortable with your name and that you shouldn’t have to change it on a regular basis, it tends to confuse others and yourself if you do it to much.

Once you have selected your name, get used to it. Sign all letters with it, practice using it and become as one with your name as it does with you. Set up a dedication ceremony, even dedicating your magical name and the bonding you have with it at the same time.

Source;

Empathy’s Mystical Occult Site

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The Essence Of Witchcraft Is Therapy

The Essence Of Witchcraft Is Therapy

The younger generation, that generation unfairly labelled Generation X, has an alarmingly dark cast looming over them. They are the first generation who are not expected to fare better than their parents. They are the depressed generation, with an alarmingly large percentage of these children on Prozac or other anti-depression drug, they have been warped by television, violence, illegal drugs and absentee parents. It is no wonder then, that many of these young people have turned to the Pagan religions for solace, turning Witchcraft and other Pagan religions into very quickly growing paths.

It is no puzzle why young people find the pagan religions attractive, they offer a degree of freedom and individualityuncommon to most other mainstream religions, they offer the practitioner strength and power. Because these religions integrate the magickal arts into their core theology, people who need a sense of empowerment are drawn to these religions. In Witchcraft especially, the practitioner is taught that they hold all the power, that will is all one needs to shape their fate and that we all have the ability to determine our futures. But Witchcraft also teaches that along with the power of independence comes responsibility, when we are forced to take responsibility for our actions, we become much more aware of them and this realisation is in itself a kind of therapy.

While many Craft leaders would be hesitant to accept the fact that Witchcraft is therapy, the truth is that any practice which advocates self exploration, self empowerment and self expression is therapeutic. The entire purpose of spirituality in its pure and unadulterated form is to provide a link between the individual and the Divine. Once this link is established and a firm relationship develops, the seeker becomes cleansed. A renewed understanding of self and a new-found self respect is instilled, thus the end result is the same result striven for in any kind of therapy. The re-connecting of the mind and body to the Earth and Goddess is the ultimate form of self affirmation therapy.

Unfortunately, however, the therapeutic aspects of Witchcraft are often masked not only by Hollywood facades which present Witchcraft as a fairytale practice, but also by many books that speak almost exclusively about magick and its application. While it is true that Witchcraft wouldn’t be Witchcraft without magick, it is also true that magick simply will not work without a deep understanding of self and a deep relationship with Earth, Universe and Goddess. Books that give guidelines for rituals and spells do nothing to add dimension to Witchcraft as a bona fide religion, though it appeals greatly to the younger generation. Yet watered-down Witchcraft can never feed the soul and when the young practitioner discovers that their magick does not work (because the books they read have neglected to inform them that they must transform themselves before they can work magick) they turn away from Witchcraft and never come to gain the very thing that they came in search of.

Because witches are very wary of those who proselytise, they are wary to do so themselves. Witches are willing to teach those who are sincere in their desire to learn and who are mature enough to discipline themselves in the manner required of true scholarship. The trouble however, is that most teenagers and young adults who encounter Witchcraft are not lucky enough to have a physical teacher. They read books, magazines and consult the Internet for their teachings. Yet precious little of these media offer valuable and accessible theological and/or philosophical information to the student. Most often, students are taught the Wheel of the Year and the Wiccan Rede without ever being taught why these things are sacred, how they are integrated into our daily lives and how the student is to interpret these guidelines for themselves. In fact, because many publications focus heavily on the eclectic side of Witchcraft, they often offer the student these empty words…Do whatever feels right to you. In some instances, such advice is favourable, but many times, the student has no idea what they should feel, let alone if that feeling is right.

Though teenagers and young adults come to Witchcraft for many reasons including a desire for control, love or for some rebellion against controlling parents, the reason these people stay with Witchcraft is because they feel a sense of coming home.While love and money spells may lure them in, those who are not willing to change for their religion will not stay. Witchcraft is first and foremost, a religion that advocates metamorphosis and self transformation and these things do not come from the wave of a magick wand. These things only come with perseverance, determination and discipline. Many books mention this fact, but most do not stress it enough. It is almost as though they are afraid of scaring away the reader. But why mask what our religion is? Why try to market it is as something that it is not? If we know that Witchcraft is a therapeutic religion that can reconnect the individual with Earth, why do we try to bury this beauty underneath magick spells and rituals? Why are we afraid to tell the student, If you want it bad enough, you can have it, but not without getting your hands dirty? In an age where we are losing a generation to drugs, violence and sexually transmitted disease, why do we deny them the exhilarating liberation that Witchcraft-as-therapy has to offer?

Perhaps writers are afraid that their work won’t be published unless they offer mass public appeal and the public wants magick. Maybe they are afraid that publishing a belief system is so close to proselytisation that they are afraid to cross that line. Yet if Witchcraft is to remain a bona fide religion, it must enculturate the younger generation and it must offer them something useful in return. Witchcraft is a truly beautiful religion, once one gets to the very meat of it and it is a religion truly fit for combating the decay of our young people. Unlike many mainstream religions, witches do not believe that they must rely on an outside source for fulfilment and happiness. Witches believe that the witch saves them self and in an era where self denigration and self hate is on the rise, it would be wise for the teachers of the Craft to make this information readily available to the student. The most valuable thing I ever learned from Witchcraft is that by the simple fact that I am, everything I do, say, feel and think is not only valid, but sacred as well. When we learn to accept ourselves as sacred, we come to understand that others are sacred and mutual respect is established and unity grows.

While it is never too late to teach these principles to anyone, it is much easier to integrate them into the teachings of the beginner, because they are so willing to learn. Instead of filling our bookstores with how-to books that may sell well but offer very little, we must teach and publish that which the younger generation needs to hear, which is that only through self discovery and understanding can we ever be truly successful, be it in work, love or magick.

Souce:

Empathy’s Mystical Occult Site

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Wicca & Witchcraft – The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide

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

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

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

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

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

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