Posts Tagged With: Craft

Wishing A Very Blessed Thursday to All My Brothers & Sisters Of The Craft!

Blessed Be Comments
Bless this gathering of Witches
Brought together this day
In the name of the Goddess and the God
To dedicate themselves to each other
And to the Old Way that led them here.
 
Bless this gathering of Witches
That we might work together in harmony
Learning and growing together
As we follow the Wheel of the Year
And bask in the glory of this Day.
 
May the Earth grant us all strength
May the Air grant us wisdom
May the Fire grant us passion
May the Water grant us all flexibility
So that we might work together for the good of All.
 
Bless this gathering of Witches
Brought together this Day
In the name of the Goddess and the God
To dedicate us to each other.
 
Bless us, O Goddess and God,
And bless the WOTC, all our
Brothers and Sister of The Craft
and all who enter our site.
 

So Mote It Be.

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Who Is A Real Witch Anyway?

Who Is A Real Witch Anyway?

Author:   Amergin Aradia   

It seems that the debate about who is and who is not a “real Witch” is coming to a head. Is this sect real as opposed to that sect? Are those in covens real Witches as opposed to solitaries’. And on and on it goes. It’s beginning to sound like the fight between factions of the Christian religion or between organized religions as a whole. That’s probably the way they began too.

This silly useless debate is pulling our community apart as well. The truth is, are any of us real Witches. And how do you define a real Witch? By whose standards and rules?

As an illustration of my point I’ll tell you my story. I have always known that I was a Witch, even before I really knew what that was. When I was very young (grade school) I had certain abilities and interests that other kids didn’t. I practiced raising energy, practiced ESP (as it was called then) , I astral projected, and I cast spells. I was drawn to the night, the moon and stars, and I identified with all things “magical.”

I wasn’t trained by anyone because there was no one to train me. I had to figure it out for myself and that was in the 1950’s so you know there were very few references to rely on even if I knew where to look. As I grew up I did what everyone else did then, got a job and tried to live what was considered a “normal” life, as unsatisfying as that was.

I maintained my interests and practices over the years as best I could, if only peripherally. There may have been one or two occult bookstores in the area but you really had to search them out and I only managed to get to one every so often and then only to browse because I didn’t know what I was looking for. You didn’t just walk up to someone and tell him or her you were a Witch and wanted to join a coven. And people didn’t come out of the woodwork to invite you to join one, even if you knew where to look.

So I dabbled, training myself the best way I could using instinct as my guide. At the time I would have loved to have found someone to train me and I would have loved to have found a coven to join so that I wouldn’t feel so alone. But they didn’t exactly advertise. And there was no Internet in those days to bring us all together.

So unless you were lucky, you were on your own. Like it or not.

Now that we have all these books, magazines, and web sites to fill in the gaps I find that my instincts did very well by me. Everything that I taught myself way back then is now being touted as the way to do it by the “experts.” I have since collected an entire library of books hoping to find information that would help me advance my practice but with the exception of a few interesting bits that I’ve added here and there, I have been disappointed.

I have also attended classes, open groves, and ceremonies, and while the people that I met were very nice it just didn’t feel right for me. I’ve also become very disillusioned with the influx of the newest brick and mortar shops. They seem to have become havens of self-help, yoga, meditation, and coffee and music.

And while I practice yoga and meditation myself I don’t want to go to my local Craft shop to pick up a yoga mat, balance ball, or a book by Dr. Phil. I want to pick up the tools for my ceremonies and spell crafting and, unfortunately, the kind of shop I want seems to be few and far between (except on line.) It feels as though the craft as I remember it is being homogenized and made so “acceptable” in the eyes of the general public that it is becoming useless to serious practitioners. But I digress here.

So to sum up this article, does it mean that I am not a real Witch because I had no one to “lead the way” or no coven to adopt me and teach me “their right way”? Quite frankly I think that makes me an even better real Witch because I had to figure it out for myself. And because of that my understanding and beliefs don’t quite fit into any prescribed dogma. So that is why I stay a solitary practitioner and that is why I have stepped back from the community as a whole.

But then I don’t look at being a Witch as a religion, with all of its implied rules and regulations and dogma. I look at being a Witch in the same way that the old village Witches looked at it. I revere the earth and heavens and do my best to respect and tread lightly on her.

I try to live a spiritual life without bowing to or begging the acceptance of any one archetypal being. I look at the Goddess and Gods as a representation on this plane of the source of all energy and power. I cast spells for my own benefit, and mine alone, as I don’t believe I have the right to manipulate anyone else’s life. And I believe that Karma will out eventually.

I believe that being a Witch is as simple as that. It’s in your heart, it’s in your soul, and it’s who YOU know you really are. Not because someone gives you permission to be one simply because you read and adhere to someone else’s views as written down and published. Or because you attend meetings once a week, or once a month, or even once a quarter.

But because YOU know you are. And whether you are solitary or a member of a group, no matter what that group represents, you are really on your own. You must practice, practice, practice, and hold that knowing in your own heart…alone.

That’s what makes you a “real Witch.”

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Solitary Spirituality

Solitary Spirituality

Author:   Jessica Marie Baumgartner   

Being a solitary Witch does not mean that you have to do everything alone. I myself have been a member of a coven and practiced on my own as well, finding that not everyone is meant to perform rituals and works of magic with others. Sure, sometimes it is nice to be joined with others of your own faith. But being a part of a coven is not for everyone.

I found my path about ten years ago. A friend in high school introduced paganism to me. Mind you, this was also during a time when the movie “The Craft” had already gained cult status and being a witch became somewhat of a trend. My sister and a friend of ours also became interested and we dedicated ourselves as a coven before I knew it. For a few weeks the four of us were so close that we enjoyed practicing meditations, working with our energies, and celebrating midsummer nearly every day. Things seemed so great; I had finally found my calling and felt that the world was at peace with itself. Unfortunately that would not last long.

Our high priestess, my friend who introduced this faith to me, had her own agenda. That’s not to say that she meant any harm, and I will always be connected to her through the bonds of friendship. But the power this young high priestess felt over the rest of my coven mates and me seemed to overcome her better judgment. She began playing us against each other, praising me for my strength with the elements, only to use that as a way to make one of the other coven mates feel powerless. Then this same high priestess would turn around and favor my sister in a way that brought me down. It wasn’t long before the three of us realized what was happening. So instead of turning against each other, we started distancing ourselves from our leader.

The coven was eventually disbanded; we were young and had much to learn. It was a true experience, but since then I have not felt the need to join another coven. Nor do I think that I will ever want to again. Our high priestess has, to my knowledge, stopped practicing altogether, along with our other friend who has completely withdrawn from her beliefs. My sister and I witnessed quite a few people go through the fad of enjoying the ‘benefits’ of becoming a Witch, and when they realized that there is so much more to Paganism than just doing spell work and wearing the color black, they moved on. But Wicca was so much more to me, as it has been for many others. I became enamored with its teachings, and immersed myself in as many books, articles, and shops that I could find.

My sister has always been very encouraging and still holds her beliefs, but she is not as active in her faith as she used to be. We have sometimes celebrated the Sabbaths together, but I was often on my own. Luckily, the years have been kind to me. My connection to the Gods has only grown stronger as I have worked very hard to maintain a balance between living a healthy natural life and finding my place in society. A challenging task at times, but I always say that this is the best time to be a witch.

I am now married with a daughter of my own, and though I still consider myself a solitary witch, the wheel of the year is quite a beacon of light in our home. Celebrating the holidays reminds me that love is the main ingredient in any faith. And the Gods sure have graced my family with plenty of love. We highly enjoy our festivities with our shy lion head rabbit Penny, our scaly fish Einstein, our two fluffy cats, Smokey and Tortoro, as well as our sweet dog Willow. I feel more at ease performing ritual with my family, including these beautiful creatures, than I ever did in a coven.

Some days I enjoy my meditations and rituals alone, whereas there are others where my husband and daughter join in. We are linked through our beliefs like many people, but my husband is a Taoist so his participation is based more on ideals than ritual. Not being a part of a coven has had a very positive effect on me. I have the freedom to focus on my own journey, while not feeling too self-centered. I take my faith very seriously while trying to know how to loosen up and enjoy my beliefs. Finding many solitary guides has made this possible. There is a multitude of books, magazines, and online sources that give me the information I need as well as offering a sense a community.

Being lonely is not part of being a solitary witch because true Pagans are very personable. There is nothing more I love to do than speak with others about faith, as long as I am speaking with someone who is respectful. I live to enjoy life, knowing that the gods are always around me. If I do feel the need for a little Witchy interaction from time to time, there is always the “Pagan Picnic”, classes I can take at my New Age Shop and “the Witches Ball”. Our annual Renaissance Festival has quite a few Pagan elements included as well. Having the opportunity to attend these events allows me to be social enough with other people of my own faith without having to worry about the demands of being part of a coven.

Some Wiccans prefer those coven/group bonds, and that is understandable. Words cannot express the kind of link that one has to the other members of their coven. But many of us are perfectly happy to have the freedom of practicing our beliefs on our own. After all, everyone has their own path to take and being a solitary Witch is full of freedom, happiness, and adventure.

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Let’s Talk Witch – Getting Started On Your Spiritual Education Path

 Let’s Talk Witch – 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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Practice Scrying Makes Perfect

Practice Scrying Makes Perfect

Like all forms of divination, constant usage will bring better results. It may be slow going, so the following practice may help.

You will need a candle, preferably white, in a candle holder, a table, chair and most of all, a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for a while.

Prepare the candle as above. Make sure that you are not disturbed by closing or licking the door, drawing the blinds, or whatever is necessary for your peace of mind. If quiet music is appropriate, put on a tape of CD, making sure that it will not finish before you do. You may want incense although if you dress the candle with a fragrant oil, the smoke from incense will not distract you.

Light the candle then extinguish all lights. Draw a circle or image of a circle of protection around you and the table. Sit in the chair facing the candle. Make sure that you are in a comfortable position. Center and ground. When you feel ready, look at the candle flame. Observe the various colorings and shading in the flame. Notice the shape of the flame, how the bottom is wide and round and tapers up. See the round indentation near the wick, and the wavering tip where the got gasses move up and out.

Now look at the center of the flame while allowing your vision to broaden to see the halo, the aura, the corona around the flame. You may at this time see and feel the clouding from the sides of your vision moving in and blocking out everything else you could see in the room. There will be just blackness with the candle in the center. There is no reason for fear. Be assured that in surrendering your self at this time, will not make you vulnerable. You have the power to stop the exercise at any time. When you feel absolutely comfortable, continue.

Watch the aura of the candle glow. Use your mind to move the aura from smaller to larger. Increase the size of the aura as you make the candle flame get taller. Change the brightness of the flame from bright to dim and back again. Notice the color of the flame and change it. Make it into a rose color and gradually turn it into a blue flame and finally into gold.

After you have played with the flame for a while, sit back, relax, close your eyes if you need to. When you are ready, get up, take up the circle, mentally or physically. Turn on the lights and walk around. You may find that you are hungry or thirsty now. Satisfy this urge. Psychic work take up quite a bit of energy.

This exercise may not be completely successful the first time you do it, but it can be done on a regular basis to increase your abilities.

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The Witches Magick for Jan. 31st – Ouija Board Magick

Ouija Board Magick

You will need:

1 Ouija Board

1 Candle (preferably white)

Incense ingredients for burning, incense sticks or aromatic oil for burners (optional)

Always have 2 or more people present for best results (it is not recommended for beginners to use the board alone)

Pen and paper

Conditions for a successful séance

Only have people present who are serious and respectful. If the board is used without care or in a joking manner, this can attract unwanted and potentially dangerous negative energies and spirits.

Do NOT drink alcohol or use any mind altering drugs including marijuana!

Clear your mind of all negative thoughts or distractions. Your mind must be clean and clear.

Anybody having any psychosis or psychological disorders or persons who are nervous, anxious or have addictive tendencies must not use the board.

Never ask questions relating to your own death or death of another person.

Keep your posture straight and do not cross your legs under the table.

Make sure you visually protect yourself and have faith that you are protected. Imagine a white light surrounding you and your friends. It is always a good idea to make an affirmation before you begin. For example, “With the power of the elements, spirit guides, angels and higher self, I and the users of this board are protected from all negative spirits, entities, energies and influences.” This is what I personally use, but you should say something that resonates personally to yourself.

One person should be the main person to ask any spirits to come forward and talk. This same person should be the one to close the board down at the end too (see “closing down the board”). Everyone should lightly place their fingertips on the planchette. The main person should start by asking for protection against any negative influences (by visualising a light around you and the participants and asking your spirit guides and higher self or angels to protect you and that you are only willing to communicate with spirits for your/our highest good).

Then ask if there are any spirits that would like to come forward and speak. Something along the lines of “Are there any spirits in the room that would like to speak to us. Please communicate with us by using the board only. When you are ready please move the planchette to YES or move it in circles”. It is safer if you ensure that the spirits only communicate through the board – make it certain that you are in control of the board and either ignore any other spiritual activity in the room (knocks, bangs, tapping, lights etc) or ask the spirit to either use the board or leave.

When you receive contact through the board ensure that you thank the spirit that has come forward (it is very important that you remain at all times with utmost respect and gratitude). When receiving an answer to your question, each letter must be clearly visible in the hole of the planchette – if it is between letters, ask the spirit to reconfirm the letter and it should move to the correct one. ALL fingers (2-4 fingers per person) must remain on the planchette at all times.

It can take up to 15-20 minutes before any spirit will come forward to talk. Remain calm, keep your fingers on the planchette and clear your minds apart from focusing on the planchette. If nothing happens then slowly move the planchette yourselves in large circles around the board a few times, then pause and wait – usually the spirit will take over from here. If you still have no luck after about 45 minutes then close down the board and try it another evening.

Suggestions to ask

Asking the name of the spirit is always a good question to start with.

Occasionally spirits cannot or do not wish to answer certain questions so respect their silence and do not ask the same question over and over again. Ask once, once again to confirm and that is all.

Ask if the spirit is a good spirit. If the planchette goes to NO, it is advisable to close down the board and wait at least half an hour before attempting to make contact again.

You can ask any general questions about your own life, for example:
How can I live better?
What am I doing wrong?
Am I in the right job?
What can I do to improve my life/situation etc?

Note: Take the answers like you would anything else that somebody tells you (alive or dead). Do not revolve your life around answers you may receive as they may be inaccurate.

Closing down the board

This is extremely important! The board MUST be closed down properly at the end of each and every séance. Start by thanking the spirits for coming forward and talking with you. Wish them peace and say Goodbye. The spirit should move the planchette to GOODBYE and you may pack up the board.

If the spirit does not move the planchette to GOODBYE, then tell the spirit that you are saying goodbye and that you ask they do the same. If the spirit STILL refuses to leave, then you must move the planchette to GOODBYE and in a stern strong voice say GOODBYE and LEAVE out loud. Remove your fingers from the planchette. If you feel that is not enough you can also slam the planchette down on a hard surface (obviously take care not to break it!) or pass it through a candle flame if it is not made of flammable material.

Source:

Sandy Cristel – Traditional Healing & Craft

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Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Author:   Medea  

I am a ‘public Witch’. The phrase means different things to different people but generally it means I am one who has come ‘out of the broom closet’. That has come to mean different things to me as the years have gone by.

I never was really in the ‘broom closet’. From the time I was introduced to The Craft by way of The Tarot at age eighteen, I was very open about it. Sometimes the openness was just for ‘shock value’. Sometimes it was just to be ‘different’. More often than not my openness was just a part of my personality. Like a puppy, I gleefully and playfully was just ‘me’ all over the place.

Now, at the age of forty-seven (can I really be that old?) and High Priestess in my tradition, I am still open about it, yet in very different ways. I rarely go for ‘shock value’ anymore (there are, however, those occasions when I cannot seem to help myself) . I have been a professional Nurse for twenty plus years and have learned in some instances the less said, the better. This learned, of course, the hard way. In many, many areas of my life I am much more tolerant and not so quick to take offense. I cannot attribute this to age or wisdom, as in many ways I am very immature and like it that way. It is a by-product of the path in which I have chosen to walk. One of the many, many gifts I receive.

I no longer feel the need to flash a Pentacle ring or necklace every chance I get. Most jewelry associated with the Craft and my religion are worn in private or under my clothes, close to my heart, as they should be. Yet, if I choose to wear such things in public (or forget to take them off) I make no effort to hide them, give no explanations, and make no apologies. My car is no longer adorned with bumper stickers proclaiming me ‘Witch’ or ‘Happy Heathen’. I didn’t take them off, but simply quit feeling the need to replace them each time I had to replace a vehicle. Yet I would not refrain from putting one on my bumper if it caught my fancy.

These days when I find it necessary or appropriate to speak of the Divine in general company I am as apt to say ‘God’ as ‘Goddess’ or ‘The Gods’. I have seen that getting caught up in nomenclature or schematics lessons somehow the sacredness of what one speaks of. If I am asked what Church I go to (a common question here in the South) I tell them. I don’t use flowery or holier- than -thou phrases such as ‘Nature is my Church’.

I say I am Pagan, if need be I say I am ‘Witch’, but more than that, I say I am a person of faith. And in some eyes I see the flash of recognition and in others I see distrust and incomprehension. These things no longer bother me. I am not meant to crusade. Neither am I, or my life, meant to be perfect. I can lapse in my old ways from time to time without being ‘lost’. I can make mistakes.

These days my Pentacle hangs on the lamppost in my yard. It hangs there for protection of my home and property as well as a nod to The Craft. It matters not who sees it and who does not. My home is Pagan and I call it a Temple House. It is where our rituals are mostly held. Where our classes are held. Where I sit and work on my computer on things that are important to the Temple. It is filled with altars which range from very simple to elaborate. Like all things, they change as they should, and I understand one does not need the trappings of religion to walk one’s faith. The house is lived in. It is welcoming to The Gods and Spirits I call, to my blood family and my Temple family and to visitors who come and go. It is meant to be welcoming to visitors of all faith and I believe for the most part it is. It is a work in progress, like the Temple itself. Like all things which grow and change. Like me.

I returned to the place I was born and raised after a twenty-year hiatus. It is a rural area in the Wilds of Tennessee, deep in the Bible Belt. It is a wonderful and beautiful place and the people are wonderful and beautiful too. Yet suspicions and prejudices linger along side traditions that smack of the Old Religion. I am known as a Witch and there is no mistake I am ‘the Real Thing’. At first I was humored, seen as a local girl who went ‘Out West’ and got some very strange ideas. There is often surprise when it is learned I was first introduced to the Craft in good ol’ Nashville, Tennessee. But here in the Wilds, Nashville, too, is a long way and there are many strange ideas to be found there. Maybe not as strange as ‘Out West’, but still strange.

When the realization came that this is not a passing fad for me, and that not only did I practice what I believed but ‘preached’ what I practiced the attitudes began to change. Family members and childhood friends, some I loved dearly and had missed for a long time, began to avoid me. Their attempts to ‘save my soul’ fell on deaf ears, and I took offense to being prayed for in Churches that I would ‘find my way and be saved’. They could not convert me, could not understand when I asked ‘saved from what?’ or said ‘I’m already saved’. And so I became a lost cause and to some a threat. There is no brand of persecution as scorching as that of those we know and love. My invitations to my home were unanswered by some. It became clear there were homes in which I was no longer welcome.

The Goddess does not demand sacrifice though at times it may seem so. I eventually came to understand that in order to have the things I found important in my life there were some things that by nature had to go. There is always grief, but as all things it passes and is, if not understood, accepted.

There were those who came and went. And there are those who stayed. Rituals of one became rituals of two and then three and then as many as fifteen at any given time. Others want card readings or advice or a little magick to ‘help out a situation’. Sometimes they are open about it and do not care who knows or what is thought of their association with me. Sometimes they come on the sly. I have learned to recognize those who come for a reason, such as the Goddess may have, and those who want what I can give and firmly believe me to be going to a Christian hell. There are those who do not care what becomes of me, but care about what it is I can do. Sometimes I still grow angry, usually out of hurt from the fall of one who I may have at some point respected. Mostly I do what I feel to be right and it has become very easy.

Inevitably the question will come from somewhere: ‘How did you get into that?’ that, of course, being Paganism or Witchcraft and sometimes thinly veiled ‘in league with The Devil’. I no longer feel the need to explain how Christianity never ‘felt right’ for me, implying of course I was somehow superior to that particular belief. These days I usually shrug and say ‘Like anyone of faith, I was called to it.’ This leaves little to argue about.

In my tradition today we celebrate Lenaia at the time of Imbolc, yet like so many things, the lines are blurred and the messages are the same. This Imbolc season I find myself taking stock and reflecting on many things about my life and the Path I walk. They, this life and this path, have somewhere along the line become one and the same. Perhaps it is the knowledge of having achieved this very thing, without setting out to do so or even hoping that I could, which is causing me to reflect. Perhaps it is my age, and the realization that, though I am not so old, I have most certainly lived longer in this life than I am going to live. It could be the weathering of so many changes over the last several years, some devastating enough to make me question my faith. Having come to terms with myself I have accepted many things I thought I could not. I can do this; accept these things, because at some point I began to trust that my Gods know what they are doing.

In January of 2001, I performed a solitary ritual outside in the yard at the old house my brother and I shared, divorced siblings clinging together in the changes of life. This was many years after I had picked up my first Tarot deck and felt the power of Otherworlds and the promise of mysteries revealed in them. It was cold and the Full Winter Moon rose high in a dark and starless sky. The moon was the color of ecru and its light brightened and dimmed with my incantation and my song. I had felt and witnessed the Power of the presence of the Divine before. I had seen first hand the workings of magick. Yet this was different. It was as if I were tapped on the shoulder. I had the feeling that Someone had finally gotten my attention. She had been waiting patiently for me to notice She wanted my attention. The voice I heard on the Wind, though the night was Windless, was real even though I could not make out the words. It was as if there was one voice, no, a thousand voices, and though the words were unintelligible I knew they said ‘Follow Me’.

I did not call the God and Goddess by name then, a last holdout of my Pentecost upbringing. They were to me The Lord and Lady. Yet I knew there were names, many names, and I would come to know Them. Although I became a Priestess of Hekate, it was Diana, the Huntress Mother, who called to me that night. I now know Her feel and Her smell and I recognize Her voice. When I hear Her name mentioned I see in my mind’s eye the silver disk floating in the Winter Sky. I often thank Her for calling me.

It wasn’t long after that I held my first private Imbolc ritual, as I have ever since, as I will continue to do. The day was sunny, bright, and cold. The kind of day that often depressed me. With stick incense in hand (patchouli because that is all I had) and the instructions from Scott Cunningham’s ‘Wicca’ in my head I picked my way through the thickets behind our rental house. I found a clearing and sat down, my nose running and the frozen ground pressing against my too thin pants for the weather. I meditated in silence, one thing I was only beginning to get good at. I sat there a long while, sometimes registering the sound of small animals in the thickets. Somehow understanding the sounds of the animals were gifts. I then told the Gods the things I have told them many times since:

I am Your daughter and Your lover. I give myself to You in this life and in any others to come. Set my feet upon the path You wish for me. Teach me the things I need to know. Give me the strength to learn them. I honor You and I love You. So Mote it be.

I meant those words the day I said them. And many times after, even as I wondered how hard this life has to get. I mean them now. The Gods listened and they knew I meant them and they have granted me the very things I asked for.

I love this life. It is at times messy and ugly, often chaotic, and on occasion extremely painful. It is equally interesting, comforting, and fun. And so there is balance. And so I am very, very blessed.

I love being Pagan. It is a wonderful thing to know what one’s path is and to be allowed to walk it. The Buddhist say ‘do the dishes for the sake of doing the dishes’. The clean dishes are only a result of doing the dishes correctly and wholeheartedly. Clean dishes are not the goal, doing the task well is the goal, everything else is, well, gravy. They say the same about the journey we call life. The journey is the point, the destination only the result of taking the journey well and wholeheartedly. Take the journey for the sake of taking the journey, walk the path for the sake of walking the path. Every now and then cast your eyes to the top of the mountain for a moment, but only a moment, focus on your goal, reassess your progress, make the proper adjustments, and get back to the task at hand.

In giving true love for the sake of giving true love, I have been given the truest of love. In giving friendship for the sake of giving friendship, I have received friendship. In being faithful for the sake of being faithful, I am given faithfulness. In giving mercy and kindness and justice for the sake of giving mercy and kindness and justice, I have received mercy and kindness and justice far beyond that I ever expected. In teaching the things I know for the sake of teaching the things I know I have been taught. And such fine teachers I have.

I walk the Pagan Path and the Path of the Priestess (and yes, Witch) for many reasons but mainly because it is my journey, what is put before me to do. It is an awesome task, an honor, and a door to many fleeting moments of happiness, which add up to a joyful life when all is said and done. Sometimes this path of mine is walked on nothing but faith because all else seems to elude me. Yet that which eludes me becomes mine if it is meant to be, and though I question and rail against the way, I am committed.

Along the way I catch the most peaceful sunrises, beautiful sunsets, healing breezes, and mighty storms. I am taught humility; I am reprimanded, led gently back when astray, and kicked hard when I need it. I am loved unconditionally and I know this without a doubt. I neither fear Death nor look for it, waiting for the rewards that I think might be my due. My rewards are many, and they are now. I may at times dread the act of dying and wonder if I will be granted a merciful death or if suffering at the end of this life is part of my lesson and task. Yet I trust that I will have what is needed for me and what is in the end the best. And I will not make that journey alone.

Those who have gone before will welcome me. The Gods will guide me and the Lady Hekate will walk with me as She always has. Cunningham pointed out that there is a difference in believing in something and knowing something. Many of the things I thought I believed I have come to know. To know a thing to be true is to accept it without having to understand it. There are many things I do understand and many things I will someday understand. But knowing, that is something that is not given lightly. It cannot be earned or bought; it can only come from walking the journey and walking it with an open heart and a willing soul.

I am one of many who aid this Phoenix we call Paganism to rise. My voice is among the silent ones who roar their presence into this world in this time. Our books and our Temples were burned and like so many things, though the way could have been easier, it had to be. Our Temples stand in our hearts and in our souls, in our country homes, and our suburban yards, in our small apartments in sprawling cities. This wonderful thing we call the Internet weaves us together across many, many miles. We have new books with words from Powerful hearts. We have remnants from the past which survive and which are important yet unimportant and therefore kept in perspective. We have the new and the old in which to learn and to build from. Balance. As it should be.

I am parched with thirst, and perishing,
But drink of me, the ever-flowing spring on the right (where) there is a fair cypress.
Who are you? Where are you from?
I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven, but my race is of Heaven (alone)
— Orphic Lamella from Thessaly

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What Witchcraft Means To Me

What Witchcraft Means To Me

Author:   allisjames 

So what does witchcraft mean to me? Wow. What a question. Is there an easy answer? No! Witchcraft is beautiful and complicated, mysterious and wonderful. For some it is all about the gods and goddess; for others it is about spell-work and ceremony; and for the rest it is just the flavor-of-the-month religion or practice.

Is Witchcraft a religion, or is it a practice? Is Witchcraft different then Wicca?

Wicca, we know, came into being somewhere between the 1930’s and the 1950’s via Gerard B. Gardner. Yet history blooms with stories of witches, brooms, black cats, and spell-work. People were burned as witches in both England and America. The monotheistic religions had a hard time with anyone who believed in other gods other then their own. Apparently, Jesus dying on a Roman stake was not good enough for the Western church – more blood had to be spelled.

But every society seems to have had some kind of equivalent to the witch. They may have been called Shamans, witch doctors, gypsies, maybe even grandmother herself. Whoever the healers were in society – the psychic, the spiritualist, the herbalists- you had the makings of a witch. And witches were not exactly liked by the church.

Gerard Gardner brought witchcraft back to mainstream society after the last laws banning witchcraft were repelled in England in the 1950’s. He reintroduced ‘The Craft’ to the world with his book ‘Witchcraft Today;’ a book published in 1954.

My initial introduction to the Craft was through a 1960’s TV show called ‘Bewitched, ’ a comedy about an American witch who married a mortal man. Throughout the show we were introduced to covens, rituals, magic, wands, warlocks, Sabbats, and spell-work. Even though a lot of the show was based on false premises (witches being immortal) , the show was on-point with true witchcraft in many ways.

In the 1980’s I came across a book by Erica Jong called ‘Witches.’ This was a coffee table sized book loaded with text, pictures, and poetry explaining Witchcraft. I devoured this book like no other. Erica Jong crafted a very fitting tribute book to a religion she never claimed to be party too. But her involvement in the neo-pagan life style is evident from reading her books and interviews. Erica’s views on sexuality and religion are very close to my own views.

To put it bluntly – I was drawn in.

In 2004 I became a member of Unity Church of Fredericksburg, VA, USA. This church was strong on the Father/Mother God concept, the unity of all things, meditation/yoga, and the divine in all of us. By 2005 I was examining, via the Internet, Wicca or Witchcraft. I started taking a course on Witchcraft through http://www.magickaschool.com. I was also hobnobbing with different witches in the local area where I lived. I did complete one course on the Introduction to Witchcraft through magickaschool.com, and still have a little ways to go on course number two. I am also involved somewhat in the Northern Virginia Witches and Pagans Meetup Group.

After a year of being homeless, I find myself once again drawn to the magick and mystery of this Path. I am reading books on the subject, meditating more, and enjoying the outdoors more. I especially enjoy watching the moon at night going through its many phases. Currently I am reading books by Raymond Buckland and Deborah Lipp. I am also learning The Hidden Path divination cards by Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor, with artwork by Mickie Mueller.

As a pagan/witch/wiccan I am no longer restrained by the shallowness and limitations of the Christian Church. I will put down no religion, but my calling seems to be more metaphysical then revelation based. I believe strongly in the line from the movie ‘Inherit the Wind’ where the defense attorney, played by Spencer Tracey, said regarding the Bible – “The Bible is a good book, but it’s not the only book.”

The path of Witchcraft is an inward path and a mystical path. In a way all spiritually minded people are witches – we all believe in some divine being, we live by some code of law, we believe in the concept of magic/miracles, and we all reach for inner transformation.

I am a Witch because I can be nothing other then a Witch. I can’t twiddle my nose like Samantha in Bewitched and cause magick to happen. It doesn’t work that way. And it’s not about that anyway. Witchcraft is about inner transformation, empowerment, magic, and ultimately LOVE. We love, not by judging and condemning, but by understanding and appreciation. All life is sacred because all life comes from a divine source. That should be the heart and soul of any religious path.

Witchcraft satisfies an inner hunger like nothing else. It is a lifelong study and practice that draws me closer to the god/goddess, keeps me open for all sorts of possibilities, and makes me a channel for light and magick. I feel more at home in this vast universe, and more appreciative of life in general. As I celebrate the Sabbats and esbats, I also celebrate the seasons and learn to adapt to each one. No matter what season, I can follow the moon as it waxes and wanes through each of its cycles.

My spiritual journey began with my introduction and acceptance of the Christian path. But even then I knew there had to be more. And there was: Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism, Voodoo, The Golden Dawn, Freemasonry, Gnosticism, and Cabbala, as well as the historical evidence of goddess worship spanning way back into the Old Testament periods.

Witchcraft, in one form or another, has always been here. I embrace it with open arms freely and in sound mind and body. The more I read and study the Craft, the more I am drawn into it. Coming out of the sixties, Witchcraft appeals to me because of its Nature based emphasis, its emphasis on the sacred in everything, its openness to change and its encouragement to grow on whatever Path you are on. Somehow, the idea of celebrating the Goddess out in the openness of nature – singing, chanting, dancing, (skyclad or not) , under an open sky, or under a full moon, appeals to me. Celebrating Nature, and not just theological dogma’s, is what worship is all about.

When I see the full moon in the sky now, I feel like I am walking on sacred ground. The earth is my Cathedral and the Divine is everywhere. I don’t have to worry whether I am theologically sound, or politically correct – it is just me, the goddess, and Mother Nature creating energy and magick through each season, through each rising sun, and through each phase of the moon.

What does it mean to be a Witch? Everything!

So mote it be.

___________________________________

Footnotes:
My personal journey from Christianity to Witchcraft.

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