Tag Archives: Book of Shadows

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

By , About.com

 

In the 1950s, when Gerald Gardner was writing what eventually become the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, one of the items he included was a list of guidelines called the Ardanes. The word “ardane” is a variant on “ordain”, or law. Gardner claimed that the Ardanes were ancient knowledge that had been passed down to him by way of the New Forest coven of witches. However, it’s entirely possible that Gardner wrote them himself; there was some disagreement in scholarly circles about the language contained within the Ardanes, in that some of the phrasing was archaic while some was more modern. This led a number of people – including Gardner’s High Priestess, Doreen Valiente – to question the authenticity of the Ardanes.

Valiente had suggested a set of rules for the coven, which included restrictions on public interviews and speaking with the press. Gardner introduced these Ardanes – or Old Laws – to his coven, in response to the complaints by Valiente.

One of the largest problems with the Ardanes is that there is no concrete evidence of their existence prior to Gardner’s revealing them in 1957. Valiente, and several other coven members, questioned whether or not he had written them himself – after all, much of what is included in the Ardanes appears in Gardner’s book, Witchcraft Today, as well as some of his other writings. One of Valiente’s strongest arguments against the Ardanes – in addition to the fairly sexist language and misogyny – was that these writings never appeared in any previous coven documents. In other words, they appeared when Gardner needed them most, and not before.

The dispute over the origins of the Ardanes eventually led Valiente and several other members of the group to part ways with Gardner. The Ardanes remain a part of the standard Gardnerian Book of Shadows. However, they are not followed by every Wiccan group, and are rarely used by non-Wiccan Pagan traditions.

You can read a complete text of the Ardanes here: Sacred Texts – the Gardnerian Book of Shadows

 

Let’s Talk Witch – Nine Steps To Becoming A Witch

Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments
Nine Steps To Becoming A Witch

 

STEP ONE – discovering your path

Read and study. Read everything you can get your hands on. You need to read anything that will tell you more about the beliefs of witchcraft, magazines, books and web pages. While studying there are other forms of the craft that help. (nature) For example you could go hiking or go camping. Sunbathe, moonbathe, watch animals etc. This step should take you at least 2 months.

STEP TWO – defining your path

In a notebook, folder or journal start writing down some reasons why the craft is for you. What does being a witch mean to you? What do you hope to achieve? How do you visualize the God and Goddess? What does the Divine mean to you? Be honest. This notebook will become your book of shadows.

STEP THREE – Exploring magic

Magic is simply raising and channeling energy that is found in yourself, nature and the divine. Before you begin working with magic you need to understand what it is. You also need to know the basic structure of a ritual, casting circles, calling quarters, invoking the God/dess, raising and directing energy, grounding and centering and closing the circle. Know the moon phases. Learn to feel how the moon effects your body. Keep records of all you have learned in your book of shadows. This step will probably take you about another couple of months.

STEP FOUR – learning to focus

Now you should start working on meditation and visualization exercises to increase your concentration. Learn to be calm. You can start out by meditating at least 3 times a week for about five minutes. You should do this for at least a month. Remember to keep a record in your book of shadows.

STEP FIVE – working with magic

Now you can begin some basic spell work. Start with a full moon ritual or a new moon ritual. Every witch should write her own spells.

STEP SIX – self dedication

After you have been studying for at least five or six months on meditating and working with magic it is time to perform a self dedication ritual. Design it however you want. A self dedication ritual means you are dedicating yourself to the craft.

STEP SEVEN – the year between dedication and initiation

You can initiate yourself when you feel you are ready. The year you spend between your self dedication and your initiation you should spend celebrating the Sabbats, meditation, practicing your spellwork and studying. Use this time to learn about different forms of divination, such as Tarot or Runes, and different forms of healing, such as herbalism. Make sure you are recording in your book of shadows.

STEP EIGHT – Networking

You should spend a solitary year study after self dedication before a witch considers joining a coven or a circle. This gives you a full year to celebrate the cycle of Sabbats.

STEP NINE – Initiation

An initiation should be something that’s meaningful to you. The ritual should be written only by you. A coven initiation is a means of bonding a group together. Initiation into the craft should always be a solitary ritual.

You still have to learn and practice. If you truly want to be a witch be prepared to spend the rest of your life studying and learning about this religion.

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

By , About.com

 

In the 1950s, when Gerald Gardner was writing what eventually become the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, one of the items he included was a list of guidelines called the Ardanes. The word “ardane” is a variant on “ordain”, or law. Gardner claimed that the Ardanes were ancient knowledge that had been passed down to him by way of the New Forest coven of witches. However, it’s entirely possible that Gardner wrote them himself; there was some disagreement in scholarly circles about the language contained within the Ardanes, in that some of the phrasing was archaic while some was more modern. This led a number of people – including Gardner’s High Priestess, Doreen Valiente – to question the authenticity of the Ardanes.

Valiente had suggested a set of rules for the coven, which included restrictions on public interviews and speaking with the press. Gardner introduced these Ardanes – or Old Laws – to his coven, in response to the complaints by Valiente.

One of the largest problems with the Ardanes is that there is no concrete evidence of their existence prior to Gardner’s revealing them in 1957. Valiente, and several other coven members, questioned whether or not he had written them himself – after all, much of what is included in the Ardanes appears in Gardner’s book, Witchcraft Today, as well as some of his other writings. One of Valiente’s strongest arguments against the Ardanes – in addition to the fairly sexist language and misogyny – was that these writings never appeared in any previous coven documents. In other words, they appeared when Gardner needed them most, and not before.

The dispute over the origins of the Ardanes eventually led Valiente and several other members of the group to part ways with Gardner. The Ardanes remain a part of the standard Gardnerian Book of Shadows. However, they are not followed by every Wiccan group, and are rarely used by non-Wiccan Pagan traditions.

A Little Secret That Only Witches Can Know About. Can I Trust You?

Every secret organization or religion has a secret or two. Of course, you won’t never hear about them because they are secrets. Makes senses. Most of these organizations and religions have secrets to keep the public out and in the dark, to exclude them. On the other hand, our religion is not like that we have had to keep it secret just to keep it alive. If it was for our ancestors keeping our entire religion secret, we wouldn’t have a religion.

The secret I am getting ready to share with you is not that big of deal. It was used in the Burning Times to determine if the person you were meeting was a witch. You can see during this period of time why it was very important to know who you were meeting.

Here is the ritual. Enjoy!

This is a magic witches hand shake spell. This spell is cast to find out if someone you know may or may not be a witch. After casting this magic spell, you will then shake the hand of the person you are inquiring about, and your answer will be revealed in the handshake. It can also be used to slightly put a thought or idea inside the mind of a person without coming right out and suggesting it. We offer many more free magic spells here for you to use and to try.

Extend your right index finger and lightly touch the wrist of the person exactly where the pulse is felt. By touching the pulse it throws the acquaintance completely off his balance for just an instant , but in that instant plant an initial
thought, ( example : I am the one you want for the job) this
really works and is cool, try it.

*You can also determine if the other person is a witch by the way they grasp your hand. If their right index finger is extended and touching your pulse area, more than likely they are a with.*

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Journey To Witchcraft

Journey To Witchcraft

Author:   The Wild Sorceress  

Hello from an Australian Eclectic Witch. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a procrastinator. I’ve been thinking about writing an essay for some time but as all procrastinators will tell you, it’s always the thinking, never the doing.

I have always been interested in witchcraft. I think the awareness and the interest started when I was 13, (inspired from seeing The Craft. Yes, I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right. But we all find our path in different ways).

I went to see the movie with three friends and at the end of the movie, like all teenage girls who are not considered ‘popular’ we thought “Wow this is for us”. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble the teenage way. And like all teenagers, my three friends lost interest fairly soon after.

The interest always stuck with me in various ways over the next few years but being in high school one has enough stress and doesn’t always find the time to delve into the spiritual.

So as the story goes, years later I was cleaning out my room and came across a book my parents had bought for me when I was 13 called The Nice Girl’s Book of Naughty Spells. (Yes you read correctly, my parents bought it for me).

I also came across articles I had ripped out of magazines and a booklet I had sent off for from the Church Of Wicca in Perth, WA. It grabbed me, and then it lost me. I began working and again, it took a back seat. I think at that stage in my life, it wasn’t time for me to walk the path. (Procrastination again).

I was about 22 when the interest became more of a spiritual need, a path I felt I needed to walk. I bought books to read. My first 2 were Witch A Personal Journey and A Magickal Year by Fiona Horne, followed soon by Book Of Shadows by Phyllis Currot and then finally Wicca by Scott Cunningham. It really hit me: this is what I wanted, and I felt it was right for me.

Luckily I didn’t have any religious conflicts. For all intents and purposes my mother was a single mother and she felt, not being religious herself, that she did not want to baptize her children (I have an older brother). She felt that we should feel free to pick our own path when we were old enough to understand what religion was. Suffice to say, Christianity was not for me.

I’ve always been an independent free thinker and the rules and rigmarole of organized religion was not for me.

The way I got here was interesting. As a general rule when I was younger, nature and its elements were actually very boring to me. I knew there were trees and flowers and things of that nature but it didn’t really impact me in any fashion. I used to hate helping my mother garden. Also, every time I tried to grow something it would die. The natural world, seemingly, was not my friend.

As I began to study witchcraft the natural held more interest and I felt better and more alive when I would go outside. We have this massive Oak tree in our yard and it is magnificent and really old. Now when I stand with it and look at it or touch the leaves, I feel an affinity I never thought I would. I feel a spiritual recognition, a connection with its beauty and its sense of history. I grow herbs under it and they flourish nourished by its shade. Being a fire sign, Oak is also one of my Celtic trees.

I feel my personal power growing. I have always had a strong sense of intuition and occasionally have psychic flashes that more often than not just leave me with a head spinning sense of déjà vu.

I am now able to grow herbs. I’m currently growing about 8 different kinds from seed and they are going really strong now. To me, this is a sign that the Goddess is helping me walk this path.

The one thing that originally boggled my mind was the amount of ‘things’ needed in witchcraft. There are athames and wands, chalices, censers, candles, herbs etc and I thought that my new path — although giving me great spiritual fulfillment — was going to drain my finances. But I have found that these items have come to me when I have needed them, not before. I think that instead of rushing out and buying everything all at once that if you wait, the Goddess will deliver. If not, I have 2 great recommendations for you.

EBay is a great place to get different ritual items. I got my first lot of herbs, most of my books, runes and two lovely wooden pentagram boxes from EBay.

Another is an Australian website called Uncle Festers. They have a club called the Cauldron Club and each month for 13 months they send you a package, slowly building up all your ritual supplies. Since being with them I haven’t really bought anything. I wait; it comes. I love it; it’s like my birthday every month.

My mother and stepfather have always been incredibly supportive of my choice (as has my brother and friends). I never had to worry about their disapproval. It breaks my heart when I read articles on here about new witches who fear rejection and anger from their parents if they share with them the news of walking the path of the Goddess. It’s sad that people are not flexible minded enough to realize that what may be good for them religion-wise is not always good for someone else.

My advice is to stay strong and be true to who you are because ultimately in this world, the only person who you have to please is yourself.

Wow, do I go on. So this is the story of a 24-year-old Eclectic Witch from Australia who wanted to write an article for Witchvox.

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WOTC Extra – Ten Questions You Should Be Able to Answer After a Year and A Day

WOTC Extra – Ten Questions You Should Be Able to Answer After a Year and A Day

1.) How would you define Witchcraft?

How would you define Wicca?

What would you say if asked? Are you able to discuss the history of the Craft and how Wicca relates to Magick?

2.) Upon what premise does the moral foundation of the Wicca rest?

Do you consider yourself a practitioner of the dark arts or the white- (or light) magickal arts? Why do you think this?

03.) Explain what is meant by divination.

Explain what is meant by the following terms:

aura reading,

palomancy,

crystalomancy,

magick mirror,

runecasting,

Iching?

Have you found a favorite method of divination?

What is this method?

Have you become skilled at this, and how skilled?

Do you consider yourself a Master of the Art?

Are you practicing this form of divination for yourself and others on a regular basis, and if not, why not?

04.) Are you thoroughly familiar with some form of the healing arts?

What do you know about the following:

color or sound therapy,

aromatherapy,

herbal healing?

Which of these have you studied enough to have become quite familiar with the healing art?

Are you a Master of the Art?

Do you intend to become a Master?

Have you begun your hand-written herbal or other log of your healing practice?

05.) Have you accumulated all your magickal tools?

How many of these tools have you made yourself?

What was given to you?

Why did this object become a part of your magickal collection?

Are these tools all consecrated?

Why are they consecrated?

Are you knowledgeable enough about the uses of all these tools to be able to explain their uses to another?

06.) If someone, a friend perhaps, comes to you for help in the following areas, can you help them?

The areas might be love, health, wealth, protection, uncrossing, legal aid, self-help or development.

Could you devise a spell to help him or her? Would you? Why? Why not?

Could you include all the proper correspondences, talismans, stones, crystals, candles?

Would you be able to cast the spell during the correct phase of the Moon, the most auspicious day of the week and hour of the day?

Have you kept accurate records of your magickal work in your Book of Shadows or hand-written Magickal Diary?

If not, why not?

07.) Are you able to explain the Sabbats and Esbats?

Can you perform an impromptu ritual for each?

Have you begun your personal hand-written Book of Shadows?

08.) Are you familiar enough with any of the Pentagram Rituals to explain them to others?

09.) Have you composed at least two complete Sabbat rituals and a full or new Moon ritual, incorporating all the proper correspondences;

astrological timing,

proper god and goddess forms for the particular ritual,

the correct candles,

scents, invocations, etc?

10.) Can you explain why Wicca is important to you -and why you wish to become a Witch and Wiccan?

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Let’s Talk Witch – Rites of Passage

Let’s Talk Witch – Rites of Passage

Rites of passage are rituals that mark important moments in the wheel of human life. The birth of a child, coming of age, the death of a loved one, marriage, and eldership are five rites of passage that immediately come to mind. At the birth of a child, Wiccans welcome his spirit into the world. This process often includes an introduction to all the elements and a blessing.

When that child comes of age, he has the right to become a fully recognized adult member of the community and begin participating fully in ritual (if he so wishes). The coming-of-age ceremonies vary from culture to culture but generally include elements of learning, initiation, and social affirmation. At this time, magickal tools are often presented as gifts and he is now expected to be responsible for them.

The marriage (or handfasting) ceremony allows the community to witness and support the adult’s choice of a life partner and links two spirits into a harmonious one (in which neither individual is lost). A magickal marriage often includes jumping over a broomstick or sword at the end of the ritual. This rite marks passage into a new life together and also fosters fertility.

Eldership honors a person’s wisdom and contributions to the community. Croning ceremonies are usually celebrated when the witch has completed her second Saturn Return (at the age of about fifty-eight to sixty). Some things do get better with age, and magick is certainly one of them. The Neo-Pagan community does not view old age as a detriment; it is respected and the insights that old witches offer are gratefully accepted.

At the end of a witch’s life, her spirit is ushered on to its next form of existence. This ritual is typically called a Summerland rite. At this gathering, people open the circle for the spirit of that individual to join them in one last dance and song, and to say their farewells. In this way, the circle provides peace and closure, trusting that everyone will meet again in another life.

Source:
“The Everything Wicca & Witchcraft book’
Author: Skye Alexander
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We Who Shall Inherit Ourselves

We Who Shall Inherit Ourselves

Author:  Brannawen Ravenhart

 

Over the course of the past decade or two, the giant surge of information on Paganism and Wicca, and Witchcraft in general has swelled to enormous proportions. Whereas I used to have to scratch pathetically through musty bookstores, or wait patiently for a dog-eared and battered single paperback copy of “Drawing Down the Moon” by Margot Adler at the library, or, if great luck would have it, borrow a book or two from some other fortunate soul who not only owned books, but might even know someone who knew someone who might have more; now I can walk into any mall, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks and find many different books in a wide range of topics, depths, and styles. I can surf the Internet and find information on anything I desire. Videos, DVD’s, television documentaries, are all available to me like chocolates in a candy store. What do I want to pick today? What do I wish to learn? What path do I want to know more about? What do I want to know of our own history? The plethora of books and authors allow luxuries today that were unheard of years ago. They also allow a freedom of choice that was never dreamed of. Before, we had to be happy with what we got, and if we did manage to get our hands on something, we often followed that specific information to the people and paths where we eventually ended up. The ways to wisdom had but few trails in the wilderness, and we ended up exactly where they took us.

In a way, this was a very good thing. The hardworking, dedicated individual could find their way only through the mysterious maze of the guidance of others. This led to strength and conviction and solidarity within the covens, groves, groups or even to the Solitary Practitioner, due to the inherent nature of the learning. There are pros and cons about the ‘opening of the Book of Shadows’ to the general public, and there are many valid points to each pro and each con. However, I know what I have felt transform in my own life. I have to base my experience and knowledge on what is real to me. No longer do I have to hide. I may still be cautious, but I know that I can stand in community now, shoulder to shoulder with other battle weary survivors of the shrouded times. I am not alone. I can now say ‘We.’ To that I add “We, who live in the Information Age.”

To me, it is the transformation of having to get up and manually changing one of the three grainy channels on a TV dial to holding the remote control for 400+ stations on digital cable. It is my great luck and fortune to be living in this time, the same way my grandmother and great-grandmother lived through horse and buggy days to rocket ships to the moon. I am a witness. I will never lose sight of that blessing.

This deluge of information, of availability, has propelled Paganism into the face of the forefront of our American culture. No longer complete outcasts, or hidden away, we now have been recognized, have constitutional protections, freedom of speech and religion that is allowed to any other person in this country, as it should be. And we are growing. The information feeding tube has given birth to fantastic amounts of interest, media coverage, watchdog organizations and it is a burgeoning vein that feeds back into itself. By this very exposure we have been given tools and opportunities to defend ourselves against ignorance and segregation, against defamation and harassment (and worse) from other faiths or beliefs who once shunned and persecuted us.

In the same breath, I will also say that I fully agree that now, our own worst enemy is ourselves. Over the years, I have run into many myths about Wicca and Witchcraft, from the days when I wrote my first little book on Witches at age seven (a horrible caricature which makes me squirm due to the naivetŽ it represents — I was equally fascinated and repelled by the wicked witch myth, ) up to today where I see infighting and slander from one group to another. Here is the irony: I conquered my own reservations and cultural enslavement to the myth of ‘evil and Witchcraft, ‘ and then found my way. I conquered my fear of the unknown and of unknown people when I reached out to find others who believed the way I do, and found my way again. I conquered my fear of speaking out and letting my family and friends know about my beliefs, and found acceptance. Now I find myself trying to conquer the anxiety and confusion caused by our own infighting.

I do realize that something this new, this tremendous, this explosive, this controversial will have, by it’s own combustive nature (the birth of a new wave of faith) these types of interwoven battles. Are they of supremacy? Possibly. Jealousy? Of what, I am not sure, but yes, of jealousy too. Does this make sense? No. But I think that at this time, we are not only here to find ourselves, but to find and define each other.

Every single one of us has at this time the potential to make a mark in this path. Relatively speaking, there are so few of us. Human nature makes us want to shine out, speak out, be noticed, be recognized. I have to admit to that. The key here is; what mark is it that we truly want to leave? This is why it is so important to be careful, think hard, and speak wisely. We all have the opportunity here to be heard, if we stop pushing a little. No biting, kicking, scratching or shoving, and as for our kids, well, they just better mind their manners also! We should take the opportunity now of our few numbers, and our own voices, to promote the greater good, rather than ourselves. We can all be heard. Perhaps in another millennium, surrounded by billions of Wiccans, Druids, Shamans and Neo Pagans of all paths, when we are culturally mainstream, we would not have this chance. But now? This is the time to work with each other. To be here and now in this time is such a gift. It is sobering to realize that not everyone can see this.

We are writing our own history. This has been said many ways, many times. This is so true. This is also what upsets me sometimes, when I see someone or hear someone who doesn’t seem to understand or recognize this, or who uses subversion or duplicity to undermine one faction just to promote his or her own. On the other hand, I also feel compassion. We do have to make mistakes to ‘get’ the lesson. That is why we are here, after all. The most we can do is hold onto that thought if and when we do make those mistakes ourselves. All we have to do is notice and thank the ones who do manage to speak out clearly, and fight not only the misconceptions about us, but also the misconceptions we have about each other. We hold in our hands the pen that will leave the mark on the wall of our history. Will it be graffiti? Or poetry? Caricatures? Or great art? We are at the beginning. Our forefathers are living here among us. They could even be ourselves. This is an endowment we should never lose sight of.

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