Posts Tagged With: Doreen Valiente

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

By , About.com

Were the Ardanes ancient knowledge, or written in the 1950s?

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 the complete text of the Ardanes below:

The Old Laws

(1961)

[A] The Law was made and Ardane of old. The law was made for the Wicca, to advise and help in their troubles. The Wicca should give due worship to the Gods and obey their will, which they Ardane, for it was made for the good of the Wicca, As the [5] Wicca’s worship is good for the Gods, For the Gods love the Wicca. As a man loveth a woman, by mastering her, so the Wicca should love the Gods, by being mastered by them. And it is necessary that the Circle, which is the Temple of the Gods, should be truly cast and purified, that it [10] may be a fit place for the Gods to enter. And the Wicca should be properly prepared and purified, to enter into the presence of the Gods. With love and worship in their hearts they shall raise power from their bodies to give power to the Gods, as has been taught us of old, [15] For in this way only may man have communion with the Gods, for the Gods cannot help man without the help of men.

[B] And the High Priestess shall rule her Coven as representative of the Goddess, and the High Priest shall support her as the representative of the God, And the High Priestess shall choose whom she [20] will, if he have sufficient rank, to be her High Priest), For the God himself, kissed her feet in the fivefold salute, laying his power at the feet of the Goddess, because of her youth and beauty, her sweetness and kindness, her wisdom and Justice, her humility and generosity. So he resigned his lordship to her. But the Priestess should [25] ever mind that all power comes from him. It is only lent when it is used wisely and justly. And the greatest virtue of a High Priestess is that she recognizes that youth is necessary to the representative of the Goddess, so that she will retire gracefully in favour of a younger woman, Should the Coven so decide in Council, For the true [30] High Priestess realizes that gracefully surrendering pride of place is one of the greatest of virtues, and t hat thereby she will return to that pride of place in another life, with greater power and beauty.

[C] In the days when Witchdom extended far, we were free and worshipped in All their Greatest Temples, but in these unhappy times [35] we must hold our sacred mysteries in secret. So it be Ardane, that none but the Wicca may see our mysteries, for our enemies are many, And torture looseth the tongues of many. It be Ardane that each Coven shall not know where the next Coven bide, or who its members are, save the Priest and Priestess, [40] That there shall be no communication between them, save by the Messenger of the Gods, or the Summoner. Only if it be safe, may the Covens meet, in some safe place, for the great festivals. And while there, none shall say whence they come, or give their true names, to the end that, if any are tortured, in their agony, they can [45] not tell if they know not. So it be Ardane that no one may tell any not of the Craft who be of the Wicca, nor give any names, or where they bide, or in any way tell anything which can betray any to our foes, nor may they tell where the Covenstead be, or where is the Covendom, [50] or where be the meeting s or that there have been meetings. And if any break these laws, even under torture, The Curse of the Goddess shall be upon them, so they never reborn on earth, And may they remain where they belong, in the Hell of the Christians.

[D] Let each High Priestess govern her Coven with Justice and [55] love, with the help of the advice of the elders, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods, if he cometh. She will heed all complaints of brothers, and strive to settle all differences among them, but it must be recognized that there be people who will ever strive to force others to do as they will. [60] They are not necessarily evil, and they often do have good ideas, and such ideas should be talked over in council. And if they will not agree with their brothers, or if they say, “I will not work under this High Priestess,” it hath always been the old law to be convenient for the brethren, and to void disputes, any of the Third [65] may claim to found a new Coven because they live over a league from the Covenstead, or are about to do so. Anyone living within the Covendom wishing to form a new Coven, to avoid strife, shall tell the Elders of his intention and on the instant void his dwelling and remove to the new Covendom. Members of the old Coven may join the New one when it be formed, but if they do, must utterly void the old Coven. The Elders of the New and the Old Covens should meet in peace and brotherly love, to decide the new boundaries. Those of the Craft who dwell outside both Covendoms may join either indifferent, but not both, though all may, if the Elders [75] agree, meet for the Great Festivals, if it be truly in peace and brotherly love. But splitting the coven oft means strife, so for this reason these laws were made of old, And may the curse of the Goddess be on any who disregard them. So be it ardane.

[E] If you would Keep a book let it be in your own hand of write. [80] Let brothers and sisters copy what they will, but never let the book out of your hands, and never keep the writings of another, for if it be found in their hand of write, they well may be taken and enjoined. Each should guard his own writings and destroy it whenever danger threatens. Learn as much as you may by heart, and when danger is [85] past, rewrite your book an it be safe. For this reason, if any die, destroy their book if they have not been able to, for an it be found, ’tis clear proof against them, And our oppressors well know, “Ye may not be a witch alone” So all their kin and friends be in danger of torture. So ever destroy anything not necessary. [90] If your book be found on you. ’tis clear proof against you alone. You may be enjoined. Keep all thoughts of the Craft from your mind. Say you had bad dreams; a devil caused you to write it without your knowledge. Think to yourself, “I know nothing. I remember nothing. I have forgotten everything.” Drive this [95] into your mind. If the torture be too great to bear, say, “I will confess. I cannot bear this torture. What do you want me to say? Tell me and I will say it.” If they try to make you speak of the brotherhood, Do NOT, but if they try to make you speak of [100] impossibilities, such as flying through the air, consorting with the Christian Devil, or sacrificing children, or eating men’s flesh, to obtain relief from torture, say, “I had an evil dream. I was not myself. I was crazed.” Not all Magistrates are bad. If there [105] be an excuse they may show mercy. If you have confessed aught, deny it afterwards; say you babbled under torture, you knew not what you did or said. If you are condemned, fear not. The Brotherhood is powerful. They may help you to escape, if you stand steadfast, but if you betray aught, there is no hope for you, in this [110] life, or in that which is to come. Be sure, if steadfast you go to the pyre, Dwale will reach you. You will feel naught. You go but to o Death and what lies beyond, the ecstasy of the Goddess.

[F] ‘Tis probable that before you are enjoined, Dwale will reach you. [115] Always remember that Christians fear much that any die under torture. At the first sign of swoon, they cause it to be stopped, and blame the tormenters. For that reason, the tormenters themselves are apt to feign to torment, but do not, so it is best not to die at first. If Dwale reaches you, ’tis a sign that you have a friend somewhere. [120] You may be helped to escape, so despair not. If the worst comes, and you go to the pyre, wait till the flames and smoke spring up, bend your head over, and breath in with long breaths. You choke and die swiftly, and wake in the arms of the Goddess.

[G] To void discovery, let the working tools [125] be as ordinary things that any may have in their houses. Let the Pentacles be of wax, so they may be broken at once. Have no sword unless your rank allows you one. Have no names or signs on anything. Write the names and signs on them in ink before consecrating them and wash it off immediately after. Do not Bigrave them, [130] lest they cause discovery. Let the colour of the hilts tell which is which.

[H] Ever remember, ye are the Hidden Children of the Gods. So never do anything to disgrace them. Never boast, Never threaten, Never say you would wish ill to anyone. If you or any not in the Circle speak of the Craft, [135] say, “Speak not to me of such. It frightens me. ‘Tis evil luck to speak of it.” For this reason: the Christians have spies everywhere. These speak as if they were well affected, as if they would come to Meetings, saying, “My mother used to go to worship the Old Ones. I would that I could go myself.” 4 To these ever deny all knowledge. [140] But to others ever say, “‘Tis foolish men talk of witches flying through the air; to do so they must be light as thistledown,” and “Men say that witches all be bleared-eyed old crones, so what pleasure can there be in witch meetings such as folk talk on?” Say, “Many wise men now say there be no such creatures.” Ever [145] make it a jest, and in some future time, perhaps the persecution will die, and we may worship safely again. Let us all pray for that happy day.

[I] May the blessings of the Goddess and the God be on all who keep these laws which are Ardane.

[J] If the Craft hath any Appanage, let all brothers guard it, and help to keep it clear and good for the Craft, and let all justly guard all monies of the Craft. But if some brothers truly wrought it, ’tis right that they have their pay, an it be just, an this be not taking [5] money for the use of the Art, but for good and honest work. And even the Christians say, “A labourer is worthy of his hire.” But if any brotherswillingly for the good of the craft without pay, ’tis but to their greater honour. So it be Ardane.

[K] If there be any disputes or quarrels among the brethren, the [10] High Priestess shall straight convene the Elders and enquire into the matter, and they shall hear both sides, first alone, then together, and they shall decide justly, not favouring the one side or the other, ever recognizing that there be people who can never agree to work under others, but at the same time there be some people who [15] cannot rule justly. To those who ever must be chief, there is one answer, “Void the Coven and seek an other, or make a Coven of your own, taking with you those who will to go.” To those who cannot rule justly, the answer be, “Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you,” for none may come to meetings with those with whom they are at [20] variance; so, an either cannot agree, get hence, for the Craft must ever survive. So it be Ardane.

[L] In the olden days when we had power, we could use our Arts against any who ill-treated any of the Brotherhood, but in these evil times, we may not do so, for our enemies have devised a burning [25] pit of everlasting fire, into which they say their God casteth all the people who worship him, except it be the very few who are released by their priests’ spells and Masses, and this be chiefly by giving money and rich gifts to receive his favour, for their Alther Greatest God [Greatest God of all] is ever in need of Money. [30] But as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for men and crops, So the God of the Christians is ever in need of man’s help to search out and destroy us. Their priests tell them that any who get our help or our cures are damned to the Hell forever, so men be mad for the terror of it. But they make men [35] believe that they may scape this hell if they give victims to the tormenters. So for this reason all be forever spying, thinking, “An I can but catch one of the Wicca I will scape this fiery pit.” But we have our hidels, and men searching long and not finding say, “there be none, or if they be, they be in a far country.” [40] But when one of our oppressors die, or even be sick, ever is the cry, “This be Witches Malice,” and the hunt is up again. And though they slay ten of their people to one of ours, still they care not; they have many thousands, while we are few indeed. So it is Ardane that none shall use the Art in any way to do ill [45] to any, howevermuch they have injured us. And for long we have obeyed this law, “Harm none” and nowtimes many believe we exist not. So it be Ardane that this law shall still continue to help us in our plight. No one, however great an injury or injustice they receive, may use the Art in any to do ill or harm any. [50] But they may, after great consultations with all, use the Art to prevent or restrain Christians from harming us and others, but only to let or constrain them and never to punish, to this end. Men say, “Such an one is a mighty searcher out and persecutor of Old Women whom he deemeth to be Witches, [55] and none hath done him Skith [harm], so this be proof they cannot, o r more truly, that there be none,” For all know full well that so many folk have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because they had money or goods to seize, or because they had none to bribe the searchers. And many have died [60] because they were scolding old women, so much so that men now say that only old women are witches, and this be to our advantage, and turns suspicion away from us. In England ’tis now many a year since a witch hath died the death, but any misuse of the power might raise the Persecution again; so never break this law, [65] however much you are tempted, and never consent to its being broken. If you know it is being broken in the least, you must work strongly against it, and any High Priestess or High Priest who consents to it must be immediately deposed, for ’tis the blood of the Brethren they endanger. Do good, an it be safe, and only if [70] it be safe, for any talk may endanger us.

[M] And strictly keep to the Old Law, never accept money for the use of the art. It is Christian priests and sorcerers who accept money for the use of their Arts, and they sell Dwale and evil love spells and pardons to let men scape from their sins. [75] Be not as these. Be not as these. If you accept not money, you will be free of temptation to use the Art for evil causes.

[N] You may use the Art for your own advantage, or for the advantage of the Craft, only if you be sure you harm none. But ever let the Coven debate the matter at length. Only if all are satisfied that none may be harmed [80] may the Art be used. If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way without harming any, perchance the aim may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none. May the Curse of the Goddess be on any who breach this law. So it be Ardane.

[O] ‘Tis adjudged lawful an anyone need a house or land, an none will [85] sell, to incline the owner’s mind to be willing to sell, provided it harmeth him not in any way, and that the full worth is paid, without haggling. Never bargain or cheapen anything which you buy by the Art. So it be Ardane.

[P] It is the Old Law and the most important of all Laws [90] that no one may do or say anything which will endanger any of the Craft, or bring them in contact with the law of the land, or the Law of the Church or any of our persecutors. In any disputes between the brethren, no one may invoke any laws but those of the Craft, or any Tribunal but that of the Priestess and the Priest and the [95] Elders. And may the Curse of the Goddess be on any who so do. So it be Ardane.

[Q] It is not forbidden to say as Christians do, “There be Witchcraft in the Land,” because our oppressors of old made it Heresy not to believe in Witchcraft, and so a crime to deny it, which thereby put [100] you under suspicion. But ever say “I know not of it here, perchance they may be, but afar off. I know not where.” But ever speak so you cause others to doubt they be as they are. Always speak of them as old crones, consorting with the Devil and riding through the air. But ever say, “But how may men ride through the air an they be not [105] as light as thistledown?” But the curse of the Goddess be on any who cast any suspicion on any of the Brotherhood, or speaks of any real meeting place, or where any bide. So it be Ardane. [R] Let the Craft keep books with the names of all Herbs which are good for man, and all cures, that all may learn. But keep [110] another book with all the Banes [poisons] and Apies. and let only the elders and trustworthy people have this knowledge. So it be Ardane. [S] And may the Blessings of the Gods be on all who keep these Laws and the Curses of both God and Goddess be on all who break them So it be Ardane. [The following two sections were added after 1960.] [T] Remember the Art is the secret of the Gods and may only be used in earnest and never for show or vainglory. Magicians and Christians may taunt us, saying, “You have no power. Do magic before our eyes. Then only will we believe,” seeking to cause us to betray our Art before them. Heed them not, for the Art is holy, and may only be used in need. And the curse of the Gods be on any who break this law. [U] It ever be the way with women, and with men also, that they ever seek new love, nor should we reprove them for this, but it may be found to disadvantage the Craft, as so many a time it has happened that a High Priest or High Priestess, impelled by love, hath departed with their love; that is, they have left the coven. Now, if a High Priestess wishes to resign, she may do so in full Coven, and this resignation is valid. But if they should run off without resigning, who may know if they may not return w within a few months? So the law is, if a High Priestess leaves her coven, but returns within the space of a year and a day, then she shall be taken back, and all shall be as before. Meanwhile, if she has a deputy, that deputy shall act as High Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away. If she returns not at the end of a year and a day, then shall the coven elect a new High Priestess. Unless there be a good reason to the contrary. The person who has done the work should reap the benefit of the reward, Maiden and deputy of the High Priestess.

 


Footnotes

My Lady Epona points out that this is precisely what Charles Cardell had claimed; that is, this paragraph is a response to Cardell, and so it was probably inserted into the Craft Laws after the run-in with the Cardells and Olive Green in 1959. This again is an indication that Gardner did not promulgate the Craft Laws as a document for the Book of Shadows until about 1960, when Mr. Q was initiated.

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Who Was Doreen Valiente?

Who Was Doreen Valiente?

By , About.com

If Gerald Gardner is the father of the modern witchcraft movement, then certainly Doreen Valiente is the mother of many traditions. Like Gardner, Doreen Valiente was born in England. Although not much is known about her early years, her website (maintained by her estate) verifies that she was born Doreen Edith Dominy in London in 1922. As a teen, Doreen lived in the New Forest area, and it is believed that this is when she began experimenting with magic.

When she was thirty, Doreen was introduced to Gerald Gardner. By this time, she had been married twice – her first husband died at sea, her second was Casimiro Valiente – and in 1953, she was initiated into the New Forest coven of witches. Over the next several years, Doreen worked with Gardner in expanding and developing his Book of Shadows, which he claimed was based on ancient documents passed down through the ages. Unfortunately, much of what Gardner had at the time was fragmented and disorganized.

Doreen Valiente took on the task of re-organizing Gardner’s work, and more importantly, putting into a practical and usable form. In addition to finishing things up, she added her poetic gifts to the process, and the end result was a collection of rituals and ceremonies which are both beautiful and workable – and the foundation for much of modern Wicca, some sixty years later. For a brief period, Gardner and Doreen parted ways – this is often attributed to Gardner’s love of speaking publicly about witchcraft to the press, while Doreen felt coven business should remain private. However, there is also speculation that some of the rift was caused when Doreen questioned the authenticity of Gardner’s claims about the age of some of the items they were working with. At any rate, they later reconciled and worked together once more. In the 1960s, Doreen moved away from Gardnerian Wicca and was initiated into a traditional British witchcraft coven.

Doreen may well be best known for her incredibly evocative poetry, much of which has found its way into the lexicon of modern ritual format, both for Wiccans and other Pagans. Her Charge of the Goddess is a powerful call to invoke the Divine within us. The Wiccan Rede is often attributed to Doreen as well. Although the Rede is typically summarized in brief as An it harm none, do what ye will, there is actually quite a bit more to the original work. Doreen’s poem entitled The Wiccan Rede can be read in its entirety here: The Wiccan Rede.

Near the end of her life, Doreen was concerned about the many misconceptions about modern witchcraft, as well as the wide distortions of original teachings. She became patron of the Centre for Pagan Studies, described as “offering a facility for learned research and a non commercial environment.” She passed away in 1999.

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White-Washed Witches

White-Washed Witches

Author: BellaDonna Saberhagen

Witches are good. They were the great priests and priestesses of the “Old Religion” that everyone turned to in times of need. They were healers and seers, guides and advocates. It was only when the big bad Christians came and burned the Witches (nine million women, to be exact) that they were seen as bad, malevolent, evil things seeking to destroy all that was good and holy. Christianity maligned the good people of the earth, demonized the gods, and spread the hatred and fear of Witches that survives until this very day.

The above sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s what many Pagan authors believe and would like their readers to believe. The only problem is, it’s not true. It’s rewritten history. Every bit of it. If we’re to grow beyond the haphazard anthropology of Margaret Murray, we have to accept that. Many Pagans do accept that (most Pagans by now, I would hope) ; but there is one part of it that seems to be ignored: that Witches are good, and in fact MUST be good.

Historically, often the opposite is true. I’m not speaking of Celtic or even Norse tales; one can argue that since they were not written down until after Christians took over their respective regions that they may well have been changed to suit Christian morality. However, the Greeks had tales of witches that far pre-date the Christian take-over, and even these do not paint witches too kindly.

Medea was a princess well skilled in magic. In the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, she plays a key role. Hera takes an interest in the success of the mission and asks Aphrodite to have her son Cupid strike Medea with love for Jason so that she would be willing to help him with her “dark knowledge.” Medea’s father was King Aetes, the keeper of the Golden Fleece. After being struck with love for the enemy of her father, Medea considers killing herself with one of her deadly potions rather than betray her father or her love. However, she decides to betray Aetes and help Jason, which sets the tone for future actions. She gives him a balm that makes him invincible for a day and tells him how to win the trial her father has set before him to win the Golden Fleece. After the trial is won, she learns that her father has no intention of honoring his bargain and handing over the Fleece. She tells Jason of this and he and the Argonauts steal the Fleece and take her with them as they flee. During the pursuit, Medea is responsible for allowing the Argonauts to escape by causing her brother’s death; either by asking him to rescue her and sending him into a trap or by cutting him into pieces herself and forcing her father to stop pursuit to gather the remains of his dismembered son.

Upon arriving home, Jason finds that his father, the rightful king, was forced to suicide by the evil Pelias (the entire expedition for the Fleece was a bargain made between he and Jason, if Jason could bring the Fleece, Pelias would relinquish the kingdom back to its rightful ruler) . Jason needs to bring Pelias down and again turns to Medea. Pelias is an old man, so Medea approaches his daughters with a magical way to make the old young again. She cuts up an old ram in front of them, puts the pieces in a pot of boiling water, says a charm and out springs a lamb. That night, the daughters happily cut their own father to ribbons in their effort to make him young again. Jason becomes king. Medea bears Jason two children, but he does not marry her. Instead, he marries the princess of Corinth in order to gain that kingdom as well and forces her and her sons to leave his realms because she threatens harm to his new wife and he has seen what she can do. In exile, Medea sends a poisoned garment that kills Jason’s wife. Once Jason finds out, he threatens to sell his sons into slavery, so Medea kills them herself so that they would not be so tortured and shamed; then she escapes as Jason curses her.

While some of her magic may have been for what she saw as good, she certainly did not live by the codes modernly associated with Witches. She was a Witch, but not a good Witch. Her early magic may not seem so bad, helping Jason to win the Fleece through the trial; but she had to betray her own family to even go that far and that was certainly seen as evil in those days. Circe was a “most beautiful and dangerous witch.” She turned every man she came upon into a beast, but with a human mind so that they remained conscious of their predicament. When Odysseus sent a scouting party out to check the island, she turned them into swine, save one who got away and ran back to tell his captain. Odysseus went alone to face Circe, having been given an herb by Hermes to prevent her magic from affecting him. That he was able to resist her magic sparked Circe’s romantic interest and she freed his men and told him what he must do next on his long journey home.

In another tale, Glaucus sought a love potion from her to make the woman he desired love him. His story made Circe love him, but he was not interested. She decided it was the fault of the woman for which he longed. Circe turned this woman into a monster that destroyed all that tried to get close. Her name was Scylla; she became a monster that different sea-farers worried about in several tales. She was another Witch doing evil things, possibly in the name of love, possibly for her own selfish aims.

The concept of Witches as evil is older than Christendom. These tales prove this. In fact, the idea of Witches as good is more modern than many would prefer to believe. The book, The Wizard of Oz was banned in some places for daring to have good Witches in it. Even Leland’s Aradia has Witches doing bad things (the age of this text is up for conjecture, I date it to Leland, since his claimed source was never heard from again; others consider it to be based on a much older text) . Aradia is told by her mother: “And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning, Of poisoning those who are great lords to all; Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces; and thou shalt bind oppressor’s souls; and when ye find a peasant who is rich, then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil how To ruin all his crops with tempests dire (…) And when a priest shall do you injury By his benediction, ye shall do to him double harm and do it in the name of me, Diana, queen of witches all!”

I find that Leland’s Aradia states that Witches should out-right harm those who oppose them (and even those simply better off than they are) very interesting since some of his writings were clearly taken and applied to some forms of modern Wicca. The Charge of the Goddess as written by Doreen Valiente states, “Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of She, who is Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will She teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites.”

From Aradia: “Whenever ye have need of anything, Once in the month, and when the moon is full, ye shall assemble in some desert place, or in a forest all together join to adore the potent spirit of your Queen, my mother, Great Diana. She who fain would learn all sorcery has not won its deepest secrets, then my mother will teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown. And ye shall be freed from slavery, and so ye shall be free in everything; and as the sign that ye are truly free, ye shall be naked in your rites.”

I only hope Valiente gave Leland credit and did not just outright plagiarize him. This piece is clearly taken from Aradia, but the morality taught in that book (what I took as proof of Witches doing bad things was from the very same chapter as the “Charge” was “borrowed” from) was discarded and the Wiccan Rede placed in its stead. Since, by what most modern Witches would prefer to believe, all Witches follow the Rede, there are no bad Witches; and if you believe Wicca is the “Old Religion” of Europe, there never were bad Witches.

This belief creates individuals who become indignant every time pop-culture and media portray Witches as anything but good. They cry everything from “Christian persecution” to “the patriarchy gets nervous about powerful women, so they have to make them evil, cruel and sometimes insane.” While these beliefs may not be baseless, it must also be understood that Witches are not always good, just as Christians are not always good, just as your five year-old is not always good. Witches are humans and as humans, we can make mistakes, get angry, be selfish, exact revenge and wish to protect our families and property at all costs. If modern Witchcraft really wants to strive to be one with nature, then we cannot go against nature. Nature is both destructive and creative, we need to be the same or we are unbalanced. It may well be true that “The Witch that cannot hex, cannot heal.”

I see the modern good interpretations of Witches to be like old B-rate horror day-for-night shots (outdoor scenes filmed in broad day-light with a filter over the lens trying to create the illusion of darkness and usually failing) ; they give the darkness lip-service but stay within the circle of their white-light lamp. Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone to get in touch with reality; you might not always like the reality you see, but at least it is real and not a fantasy. The Witch as always good is just as much a fantasy as the Witch that is always bad.

Footnotes:
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
Aradia or Gospel of the Witches by Charles LeLand
The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente

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The Way We Were vs The Way We Are

The Way We Were vs The Way We Are

Author: Ryan Hatcher

If we are to look back to the inception of modern paganism and the people who were the force behind it and were to observe how they practiced, worshipped and worked magic and compared it to how we practice, worship and work magic in modern times, while there is guaranteed to be a great deal of difference, the basic, core values should have remained the same.

I was in Norwich yesterday, a city with a strong pagan undercurrent of its own, for a brief look around the shops to pass some time while my partner enjoyed a 2-hour birthday massage, because of which my wallet had experienced a mass weight loss. So window-shopping it was. On my journey around the city I ventured into a Waterstones bookshop to have a look at their MBS section and had a skim through some of the material. Now, 90% of these books were paganism 101, which is fair enough for a standard mainstream bookshop, but reading through some of these 101 books — some of them recently published — it got me to reflecting: what is taught and considered western paganism now is much different than what it would have been considered to be 60-70 years ago.

What do I mean by this? Well, much of my personal pagan practice is inspired by these ‘old school’ methods with a touch of the modern for flavor (I’m talking about Doreen Valiente and Kevin Cochrane for the older styles, particularly Valiente; the Farrars (Stewart and Janet) represent an in-between period. Kate West and Christopher Penczack add the modern flare.) as I feel their values and ideas resonate with me. Now, keeping Valiente and Cochrane’s ideals in mind (again, more Valiente than Cochrane) , compare them to a lot of Penczack’s work and the work of similar contemporary styles and you’ll see what I’m trying to get at.

The styles and traditions of Valiente and Cochrane (hereon called the ‘older styles’) focus more on the earth-based worship side of paganism: seeing their Gods as personified manifestations of the forces of Life, Love, Death and Rebirth as well as the forces of nature in all it’s guises (be this as the four elements or simply as the grass in your lawn) . I also feel that animism in a subtler form was still there, if only felt and respected rather than overtly expressed.

The crafting of magic seems to have been simpler, as was the training (which doesn’t mean it was by any means easier than today; I’m inclined to say it was harder) . Metaphysical ideas such as energy centres, auras and layers of existence appear to have been acknowledged but were not the priority. The same for ‘the mysteries’ of the craft such as hypnosis, astral projection/trance journeying and psychism in all its forms. The works of the older styles show that they were an important part of their practice along with magic, but they were not the primary focus. I feel they were considered tools and techniques that developed along with the witch as he or she progressed down the spiritual path and was able to understand themselves and their developing abilities better and learn to control, focus and use them.

In contrast, the works of Penczack and his contemporaries (hereon called the ‘newer styles’) seem to focus more on the metaphysical ideas of paganism (energy centres, auras and layers of existence) , ‘the mysteries’ of the craft and magic as being of primary importance and therefore many chapters are devoted to these concepts. Now, I’m not saying this is strictly a bad thing; it may well suit many a new student to paganism, but when it comes to the core values about the spiritual and worship side of paganism, we start to enter the world of ‘love, light and blessed be’.

The realm of the FB, and those big furry ears seem to be cropping up more frequently in pagan literature. The spirituality of the newer styles appears to see the Old Gods as playmates: happy, fun, smiley and They do anything their precious ‘hidden children’ ask for. And unfortunately kids, you just have to look at the global history of paganism and myths of the world to now that is definitely not true. The honouring of nature and the earth extends as far as litter picking and recycling, which are very, very good ideas, and more is being suggested such as planting new trees, getting involved with wildlife protection trusts etc. Unfortunately, I feel many of the witches of the older styles, though some did get involved in these things, chose not to, possibly considering ritual devotion to be sufficient.

Ritual then is the moot point of both the old and new styles. As we are all aware, spiritual practice is a subjective thing, especially when it comes to ritual. Both new and old styles of witchcraft and paganism have placed varying levels of focus on ritual, and all have varying styles and methods in ritual that meets with their needs and the ideals of their respective traditions. However (there had to be a however) , and this goes for both old and new styles of paganism, whatever happened to just going out there and communing with nature face-to-face? No pomp and ceremony, no matter how elaborate or simple, just getting out there and being in the presence of the forces that we as pagans honour and worship.

I say, if you’re in a situation where celebrating a sabbat or an esbat with formal ritual isn’t an option, but you are within distance of a beautiful woodland, then screw it! Go for a walk in the woodland, sit under a tree and meditate! Commune with the spirits of the natural world around you and feel the power of the Old Gods, the powers of life, love, death and rebirth and pour your heart out in gratitude for all you have and for all that it means to be alive.

Wrapping it up: to me, the older styles and the newer styles and those of the styles in-between all have their good points and their bad points. The older styles are more grounded, simple and earthly. The newer styles are more flighty, ‘new-age’, hippy-esque and spiritual (in the modern concept of the word) . I’m sure you can see we have a Yin-Yang situation. And like the Yin and Yang, symbols of the older and newer styles do have parts of the other within them, but what we need to achieve is a balance between the two.

Paganism is a living and growing spiritual path and naturally changes with time, but it shouldn’t lose its heart. If we can bring together old and new, Yin and Yang, then we might be able to evolve paganism further, making it stronger, more refined and give us a definitive direction for us to aim for.

I hope that this essay will encourage pagans, both old hands and new, to review their beliefs, practices and crafts… to look back at the old, and freely explore the new and therein decide what is the best way forward in their spiritual path.

Footnotes:
Witchcraft for Tomorrow – Doreen Valiente

Witchcraft a Tradition Renewed – Evan John Jones with Doreen Valiente

The Witches’ Bible – Janet and Stuart Farrar

The Real Witches’ Handbook – Kate West

Gay Witchcraft – Christopher Penczack

Instant Magick – Christopher Penczack

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Mabon Comments & Graphics
Blessing, Consecration, and Procession of the Elements Now Begins

Four members of the coven who have been chosen beforehand now approach the
Priestess.  Each holds one of the following: an  incense burner, a candle, a vessel of water, and a vessel of salt.  Each in turn approaches the Priestess, recites their piece, receives her blessing, and then processes deosil around the perimeter of the circle while stopping to bow at each of the quarters.

(If you have any of these objects that you would like to be blessed, hold them to the computer screen at this time. Repeat what the member has to say to the High Priestess)

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The Ethics Of Magick

The Ethics Of Magick

Author:   Frances [a WitchVox Sponsor] 

Some people are of the belief that when it comes to the practice of magick that anything goes. Magick is after all, simply that – magick. It is not caught up in ethics or morals. While this is correct, magick is actually shaped by the inner beliefs, ethics and morals of the person who uses it.

In all orthodox religions there are certain laws and regulations of how a follower of that faith should conduct themselves – in Christianity, for example, there are the Ten Commandments. In many Pagan traditions, however, it is believed that there is actually little need for such dogma as each person is ultimately responsible for their actions. Such responsibility can be overwhelming for someone new to Paganism, especially if they come from a more orthodox background, so they find the need to create boundaries in the form of guidelines. Within Wiccan belief there are a number of guidelines such as the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law of Return which are designed to help the newcomer understand the essence of that belief.

The Wiccan Rede is a beautiful piece of poetry whose author is believed to have been the late Doreen Valiente. Within this poem many aspects of Wiccan beliefs and practices are outlined, such as the seasonal wheel of the year, honoring the Goddess and the God, and sacred trees to name a few. The poem ends with eight specific words that many Wiccans consider to be the main guideline as to how they are to live their lives: “If it harms none, do what you will.” Some critics of Wicca see this as an indication for followers to do anything they wish. However, when the statement is given due thought, its true meaning is understood – that as long as your actions do not harm anyone, then you are free to live your life as you please. Some Wiccans take this statement further, relating the “none” to animals and the environment as well.

The Wiccan Rede is a version of the Golden Rule, which can be found in most other religions, the earliest dating back to Confucianism, where a 6th century BCE statement, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others,” can be found. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and even Sikhism also have variations of the Golden Rule.

The second ethical guideline which many Wiccans follow is that of the Threefold Law of Return, where it is believed that every deed done will return to the doer three times greater. This means that a good deed will return three times stronger, but so will any bad deed that is performed.

Many Wiccans also hold either a belief in the Eastern philosophy of Karma, or the Universal Law of Cause and Effect, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Karma is often viewed on a more personal level, that the deeds of one’s life are counteracted in the next life, while the Law of Cause and Effect can be viewed on a more global scale. A good example of the latter is seen in our environment. People in the past have done what they like without concern or respect for the environment or the creatures that live in it. The effects of this lack of regard and respect are the depletion of the ozone layer, rising salt levels due to large scale land clearing, droughts and floods brought on by erratic temperature fluctuations, and so on, that are witnessed today.

Taking Responsibility For Your Actions

As not every person who uses magick follows a Wiccan path and therefore is not necessarily guided by the Wiccan Rede, magick itself does tend to have its own guidelines. What some people do not realize when they first desire to perform magick is that magick is based on energy. When you cast a spell, you are sending out energy. The Universe magnifies this energy and returns it to you. Therefore it is vitally important that, before a person performs any form of magickal act, they are fully aware of the energy exchange and are prepared to take full responsibility for their actions. In magick there is no such thing as coincidences – everything happens for a reason, and when you perform a spell you are creating the reason.

Taking responsibility means being honest with yourself about what you are doing and why. You also need to be able to acknowledge your mistakes and their consequences. Mistakes are often the greatest lessons we can learn in life. To learn from your mistakes, you must closely examine what went wrong and to find a way to rectify the error. However, mistakes when performing magick can have dire consequences, especially if your energy is directed at a particular person.

Magick should never be done on a whim. Before you perform any form of magickal rite you need to look careful at the reasons why you want to use magick to obtain something. You also need to be very clear about what you want to achieve. Some people find it useful to consult one form of divination or another, such as runes or the tarot, prior to casting a spell or magickal rite to determine all possible outcomes. Only when you are sure about what you are doing, should you perform magick.

Due to the amount of “spell books” around it is understandable why some people are of the view that magick is an easy and safe means to get whatever they want. However this is a misconception, for magick is not all that safe if you do not know what you are doing. Things can happen that you did not intend. Those readers who have seen the movie The Craft will be able to relate to the dangers of casting love spells – in the movie, the victim of such a spell became obsessed with the caster of the spell to the stage where he was stalking her. There are also numerous stories about people who have cast money spells and while they did end up with a monetary sum, this was obtained through some kind of personal disaster or upheaval, such as an insurance claim or even a death. Therefore it is vitally important to be very careful about what you ask for, because, as the saying goes, you could very well receive it, but not necessarily through the means you had anticipated.

Magick is serious business and should never be taken lightly. It can be dangerous for those who are unprepared and there are consequences if it is used carelessly or with malicious intent. However, if you abide by a few simple guidelines (such as the Wiccan Rede), take the time to properly understand what you are doing and use it responsibly, magick can help you can achieve positive and rewarding changes in your life.

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Brooms or Besoms

Brooms or Besoms

A broom is used by many Witches to cleanse an area of baneful* energies
before a rite. They can represent the air or fire element, depending on
each practitioner’s tradition. The staff or handle is considered masculine,
while the brush or broom part is considered feminine. This uniting and
balancing of polarities makes the besom a natural choice for Handfasting
rites. Brooms also represent purification, protection, fertility and
prosperity.

The classic images of Witches riding broomsticks may have originated from
ancient fertility rites. People would jump high in the air on brooms to
‘show’ the crops how high to grow. This is a form of sympathetic magick.

There are many other myths and associations of Witches with brooms. In
Ireland, the besom was sometimes called a “Faery’s Horse”. In medieval
times, the besom was equated with marriages outside of the church. So much
so, that it was recorded that weddings ‘by the broom’ were to be considered
illegitimate.

The broom eventually became a symbol of antiestablishmentarianism and and
sensuality. This led at one time to the word ‘besom’ becoming a slang term
for an easy woman. These associations may have been promoted by the church
to discourage marriages outside of the church.

Chapter 13 of “The Magical Household” by Scott Cunningham and “An ABC of
Witchcraft” by Doreen Valiente have additional information and lore about
besoms.

*Baneful in this instance is defined as energies that are not conducive to
the working at hand, are harmful, or are considered negative.

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The Craft: Reflections of an Obscured Path

The Craft: Reflections of an Obscured Path

Author:   Eilan  

The gossamer trail of mist-like light illuminates the cove as the elegant crescent rises to its throne in the heavens. Waves of cool, foamy water sweep over the shore, complacently destroying innocent patterns ingrained in the fine sand. Silence reigns in the depth of the night as if a loose drape has smothered all movement and sound. Then, a soft and gradual note begins, accompanied by the steadied pound of taut leather. Crimson flames dance and court the frantic veil of shadow, chased to distant horizons – cast out by the sudden burst of light and color.

“Darksome night and shining moon, East, then South, then West, then North; Hearken to the Witches Rune, Hear we come to call ye forth…” The sweet cascade of voices fills the hollow cove as a warm breeze sails eagerly by. The sinuous chorus dances vividly against the opaque darkness, painting a mural of gentle faith and eternal youth. Faster and faster their ancient words spill from their moist lips, wisps of euphoria melting into the resonating air. Their feet frolic against a whirlwind of floating dust and scarlet embers, unraveling the secret labyrinth buried deep within their hearts. Nostalgia courses along their heaving bloodlines, for they are weaving a web whose humble strands were birthed in the dawn of humanity. Witches have gathered and Magic is afoot.

Since time immemorial humanity has been awed in the presence of the spiritual. For the early nomadic tribes of the arduous Earth, hunting and gathering was a life pursuit. Over time the various tribes developed structure and cohesion from their observations of nature’s cycles, the behavior and movement of their prey and the distinct patterns woven into the very fabric of their physical being. Women became aware of their periodic bleeding which coincided with the moon’s changing face. The mystery of birth and the anticipation of new life grounded women in their evolving passages, accepting the burden of caring for children and thus partaking in the less strenuous labor of gathering seeds, vegetables, herbs and plants. Men, whose role in procreation became that of the virile warrior and Lord of the Dance, brandished their weapons of stone and flint, while stalking the fleeting herds of deer and bison. Theirs was the role of hunting and so the gradual growth in favor of flesh moved the tribes to follow the herds in hopes of fulfilling an un-sated craving. And yet each tribe grew accustomed to their unique environment, borders and the collective experience of those who had gone before them, their revered ancestors.

The mysteries of birth, death and the return of life flourished unchallenged, and various deities, spirits and beings expressed the raw emotive language carved into their history. Behind the myriad of names, faces and myths, an underlying evocation to the Mother Goddess of abundance, fertility and Earth and the Living and Dying God of strength, prevalence and potency moved the ocean of their unconscious. And as in all things, there were those who by oracle, synchronicity, intuition or prophecy came to life as the vessels of the spirits and who the tribes adorned with the marks of ochre and the skins of the hunted, for these were the sacred Priesthood, the advisors and the Shamans of the people. A charge to wisdom and the grace of the Gods ignited the flame of the consecrated and the sacred became the Witches.

Such is the story told by numerous NeoPagan authors today and despite the scrutiny with which various scholars and historians have regarded modern Witchcraft, there is a subtle and romantic truth behind the envisioned history of Witchcraft.

By conventional definition Witchcraft is the ability to harness seemingly “supernatural” forces and bend natural principles in order to achieve a goal, usually immoral and selfish. However this traditional interpretation has little to do with the truth as expressed by the practitioners of Witchcraft today. Witchcraft has been described as a skill, a philosophy, a way of life and a religion. However, in essence the most suitable definition of Witchcraft is as a way of life; that of attuning to the natural world and developing a relationship with the spiritual flow of life’s energy, and working with it to manifest desire. Nowadays Witchcraft is a spiritual pursuit that embodies various Pagan practices and customs that assist the individual in living a life of respect for Mother Earth, her creatures and the Self. However even that statement is dancing dangerously on the edge of unanimity, as Witchcraft is a decentralized and autonomous practice that, by its nature, evolves and changes in order to suit the diversity of personality.

The revival in interest of Witchcraft can be traced back to the early 1950s in England. In 1951 British parliament repealed the anti-Witchcraft legislation, which restricted the legal practice of mediumship and spiritualism, under pressure from Spiritualist organizations that desired to freely practice their craft. This auspicious event set off the beginnings of one of the most phenomenal movements in the Western world. In 1954 a British civil servant named Gerald Brosseau Gardner published Witchcraft Today – a non-fiction work describing Witchcraft as the ancient, Pagan religion of Western Europe, a theory that had previously been discussed by the Egyptologist, Margaret Murray. Murray’s hypothesis has long been discredited; however it must be made clear that Witchcraft is a spiritually valid system which has long been practiced by the people of this Earth under the guise of various local Shamanic and religious systems, or simply as a thread of the rich history of folk lore. Gardner claimed to have been initiated into a traditional Witches Coven in the New Forest in 1939 by a woman by the name of Dorothy Clutterbuck. Skeptics and scholars who frowned upon Gardner as a delusional charlatan questioned the existence of “Old Dorothy,” however research collated by the late Doreen Valiente (Witch and High Priestess of Gardner’s first Coven) has proven that Dorothy did indeed exist and that Gardner’s claims were not unfounded. What can be assessed is that Gardner created a working and accessible system which he called ‘Wica’ (now ‘Wicca’) by examining the commonalities in the religious experiences of the Neolithic peoples of Western Europe, Eastern ethics and spiritual disciplines (meditation), occult fraternities and organizations such as the New Golden Dawn and the Rosicrucians and the various medieval Gnostic groups. While he professed that Wica had direct links with an ancient past and probably sincerely believed this, the truth is that Wica comprises a multitude of cultural and spiritual systems that for lack of a better term have been equated with Witchcraft.

In truth Wicca, as it is spelt today, is a religious attitude that involves harnessing the Magical principles of Witchcraft to further attune the individual to both the sacred mysteries of Initiation and the keen diversity of the natural world. It is a religion of devotion, training, occult tenets and celebration of the Old Gods and their kingdom, the wilderness of Earth. For it is the understanding of Wiccans that Divinity resides in the present, in the physical manifestation of creation and that it pervades all things. Witchcraft in and of itself is not a religion, it is simply a way of life in which the Self is seen as the catalyst for change, growth and development. However, in this case the catalyst is consciously susceptible to the outcome and its effects.

Witchcraft, under the guise of ethics and spiritual values, has become the most popular form of the Craft today. The Western world has experienced this popularity of the “ancient” or rather naturalistic traditions as recorded by their statistical census reports, which in Australia alone have shown a 373.5% growth in people identifying as Witches from 1996 to 2001. This excludes Wiccans, Pagans and other nature-based spiritualities, which have all experienced similar influxes. As time goes on Witches, Wiccans and Pagans have become more willing to inform others about their practices and beliefs, and work actively to encourage accurate portrayals of Pagan culture in the media through pride festivals, charity associations, interfaith communities – the list goes on. Despite this, there is still discrimination against Witchcraft and its adherents and many Witches have been subject to horrendous mistreatment by fundamentalist Christian groups, local and federal governments and other ignorant individuals whose lack of sympathy and tolerance remains a thorn in the side of many Witches and Pagans today. But where did this all start? Why does society reject the truth in favor of sensationalist rumors and historical misconceptions? Where did this hatred of Witchcraft begin and who is responsible for spreading the myths of diabolism, devil-worship, infanticide and crazed orgiastic rites?

The word Witch is said to have its roots in the Indo-European word “Weik” which refers to religion and Magic and therefore the ceremonies that interlink them. Therefore historically, at least in the BC era, Witchcraft and those who practiced it were simply participating in a form of religious tradition which may have been celebrated through simplistic and festive fertility rites and more complicated forms of Ritual performed by talented individuals, i.e. Shamans. It was not until the birth of Christianity and its consequent acceptance as the “one true faith,” that Witches, or rather non-Christians, were perceived as irreligious, ignorant and idolaters. However, it cannot be assumed that the early Christians, whose numbers were few, actively preached against the evils of Pagan worship. Indeed there are various stories and legends, which convey a sense of peace and harmony between the first Christian settlers in Britain and the Druids, the Celtic priesthood. The belief in the innate opposition of good and evil and their tangible embodiments of Holy Spirit (God) and Satan respectively, has shaped the mode of Western thought and colored the belief that Witches’ immoral customs and roles served the Evil One, and thus this opinion was carried by the cancerous spread of rumors and religious indoctrination throughout Europe.

Patriarchy, war, government and propagandist institutions became favorable in the ancient Sumerian and later Babylonian civilizations and the once sacred and revered position of the temple priestess degenerated into petty acquaintances with oracles and soothsayers and the submissive service of the “sacred” prostitute. These societies whose roots were closely related to the development of Judaism influenced the popular view that Witches and their kin (mediums, oracles and diviners) were dark and suspicious characters who remained on the periphery of the community and dwelled in shadows to avoid assured persecution. The Old Testament decrees that, “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.” The passage goes on to address these acts as “abominations to the Lord” and warns that should anyone participate in any of the above they will be driven out by God. Even Roman and Greek writers described Witches as foul, unclean, haggish, unmerciful and predominantly women and officiated the approval of various Magical acts in hopes that this would encourage only regulated and “refined” Magical practice, rather than suffer the onslaught of curses and enraged spirits believed to be consorted with by the “common folk.” This was merely the beginning of a dark stereotype, an archetype that infused the warped unconscious of a hysterical continent into what has been termed the Women’s Holocaust.

As Christianity became the dominant ecclesiastical power in Europe and Paganism declined into the remnants of a deteriorating folk history, Witchcraft, which was intrinsically embedded in Pagan custom, attracted the attention of the Catholic Church. Through a period of crusades, publications (Malleus Maleficarum – Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer [1487]) and papal declarations, Witchcraft fell to the tyranny of both the secular and religious powers, and a hysteria swept over Western Europe which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, of which a significant percentage were women. The numerous trials the Inquisition imposed resulted in a consistency of confessions that “revealed” the decadent and diabolic revelry that featured prominently in the Witch’s Sabbat. The proposed reason for the universality of answers which the Inquisitors and judges extracted from the convicted is said to owe to the wide use of published manuals on witch-hunting. Confession to these wild allegations was offered as divine redemption and if the individual did not accept responsibility for their actions immediately (if indeed any of them committed such acts) torture was instituted as a means to provoke the desired response.

Nowadays the world has inherited this legacy of brutality, discrimination and complete ignorance, and myths of Satanic worship, cannibalism, curses and naked journeys through the night sky are accepted as fact, superstitious nonsense, or rather left without evaluation. Witches and Pagans have worked through the decades to counteract these misconceptions and rectify society’s assumptions; in many cases this has allowed for fairer treatment and opened doors for a safer public awareness. Witches have never worshipped the Devil, never flown through the frigid air on pitchforks and broomsticks, never eaten children for the sake of an unholy pact and they have never been consumed by the whims of demons and evil. Nor are Witches the epitome of a kingdom of purity and white light, for Witches honor the sacred balance between light and dark, masculine and feminine, night and day. For Life is a journey amidst the colors of a dancing rainbow, and shadow is merely the reflection of an obstructed light, and you are that which stands between them both.

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