Posts Tagged With: Epiphany

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Twelfth Night, Epiphany of Kore, and Persephone

January 6

Twelfth Night, Epiphany of Kore, and Persephone

 

Traditionally, on this day the ancient Greeks would carry the statue of Kore around her temple seven times as they prayed for protection and good fortune. Following the temple activities a nocturnal rite was held in honor of Kore(daughter of Zeus and Demeter, whose name means “maiden”), an aspect of Persephone before her marriage to Hades.

On this day in Old Europe the ashes from the Yule log were removed, and either stored for magickal purposes of scattered on the fields to insure fertility. Later on in the day the Lord of Misrule, know as the King of the Bean, was selected. Cakes were made, and a bean was baked into one. Whomever found the bean in his cake was then elected king for the day. The king, along with the Queen of the Pea (selected by finding the pea baked into another batch of cakes) ruled over the final Yuletide festivities

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As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore

As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore

Today Is . . .
Twelfth Day (aka Twelfthtide)
Epiphany
Blessing of the Waters (Turkey)
Swap Day
King of the Bean (aka Bean Day)
Apple Tree Day
La Befana (Italy)
Maroon Festival (Jamaica)
Greek Cross Day
Three King’s Day
Feast of Aesculapius (Greek God of Healing)
Perch Tenlauf (Austria)
Take a Poet to Lunch Day
Children’s Day (Uruguay)
St. Peter Baptist’s Day (patron of Japan)
Army Day (Iraq)
St. Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchoir’s Day (patron of travelers)
Old Christmas Day
St. Macra’s Day (patron against breast disease)
National Shortbread Day
)0(
Day of the Triple Goddess ~ On this date in the year 1988, Circle Sanctuary of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, became legally recognized as a Wiccan Church by its local Township and County levels of government. Circle Sanctuary’s attainment of church zoning was a significant victory for Wiccans around the world, for it was the first time a Witchcraft group had been publicly sanctioned as a church by local government officials!

Christian/Pagan: Epiphany, Twelfth Night, Three Kings Day, Tirer Gâteau/Les rois (Voudun)

Greek: The sixth day of each month is sacred to the Goddess Artemis.

Greek/Roman: Koreion, the festival of Kore, also known as Persephone. In Roman-occupied Alexandria, water was drawn from
the Nile as part of the ceremonies. Theodosia celebrated the Gift of God on the island of Andros of ancient Greece, when it
is said that the water drawn of the spring nearby and drunk at the temple of Dionysos tasted like wine, starting on this day
and continuing for a week. The miraculous birth of Aion (Aeon), Kore’s child of a virgin birth, was associated with Dionysus and
Sarapis, and this may be why Christians associate the Epiphany of January 6th with the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana,
when Jesus turned water into wine (of even better quality than the wine which had been served by the family of the newlyweds!).
Although the celebration of Aeon’s birth to Kore is far older than the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus, Christians were
scornful of it and thought it mocked the story of the birth of the Christ child. They were also disgusted with the ritual where
the naked statue of Kore was brought up from underground, adorned with jewels, and paraded around Her temple seven times
for protection.  Despite their scorn, Christ’s birth was celebrated on the date of the Koreion, January 6th, rather than
December 25th, until the fourth century.

Celtic: Day of the Three-Fold Goddesses: Maiden, Mother, Crone.

Slavic Pagan: Turisi ~ Procines (January) 6
Turisi is the holiday of the bull, Jar-tur, a symbol of the powerful forces of life and fertility. People
celebrate by wearing masks and parading in imitation of the Great Bull. Young and old alike join in playing games, ending
the New Year holiday. http://www.irminsul.org/arc/010sz.html

Koreion – An early Church father, St Epiphanius complained that in Alexandria in the temple of Kore-Persephone, a hideous mockery was enacted on Epiphany. “And if anyone asks them what manner of mysteries these might be, they reply saying, ‘Today at this hour, Kore, that is the virgin, has given birth to Aeon.’” Part of the ritual involved bringing the naked statue of the Kore up from underground, adorning Her with jewels and parading Her around the temple seven times for protection.

Despite Epiphanius’s scorn, the myth of Kore giving birth to Aeon, the year-god, is much older than the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus which he thought it mocked. Until the fourth century, Christ’s birth was celebrated on January 6th rather than December 25th. Source: Rahner, Greek Myths and Christian Mystery

Epiphany – The Epiphany (which means apparition or manifestation) honors the arrival of the Magi and the first public presentation of the Baby Jesus. In Belgium, children dress up as the Three Kings and go from door to door singing a begging song. In Spain, the Magi leave gifts in the shoes children have set out on balconies or by the front door the previous evening, filled with straw and grain for the camels. Children who awaken to find a charcoal mark on their face are said to have been kissed by Balthazar. Since the twelve nights of Christmas are a liminal time, when evil spirits, like the Greek kalikatzari, can roam the earth, people protect their houses by chalking the Three King’s initials C or K (in Hungary G), B and M (for Caspar, Balthazar and Melchoir) on their doors.

In Bulgaria, housewives rise early and carry the family crucifix, icons and plough to the village fountain. There they wash them with salt and water saying, “May the wheat be as white as the plough, as wholesome as the salt.” The clergy also bless homes with holy water. If the water freezes on the priest’s boxwood whisk, the year will be good and the crops fruitful.

In Danube port towns, they bless the waters. In Philippopolis, the most important town of southern Bulgaria, the priest throws the cross from the bridge into the Maritza River. The man who recovers it is allowed to take it around from house to house and receive money gifts, then returns it to the priest who bestows his blessing.

A similar blessing happens in Hungary only the priest uses salt and water and blesses houses and puts the initials of the three kings (K, M and B for Kaspar, Balthazar and Melchior) on the doorstep.

Italians believe that animals can talk on the night of Epiphany so owners feed them well. Fountains and rivers in Calabria run with olive oil and wine and everything turns.

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night was written in 1600 for the popular celebrations that used to take place in Britain on January 5, the Twelfth Night revels.

The Bean King
In olden times, a bean (or a pea or a penny) was baked into the Twelfth Cake eaten on Twelfth Day, January 6. As the ancient Romans used to do at the festival of Saturn at this time of year, people elected a “king” for the day. The British had their “king” when someone found the bean in his slice of cake.

Druidic Customs
Old British customs for Twelfth Night abound, with scholars telling us some are Roman and some probably Druidic. A “king” was elected for the evening, and went through the house chalking crosses on the rafters against devils. After this, the master and mistress of the house went about the home with a pan of incense, a candle and a loaf to prevent witchcraft.

Who were the Magi?
The Wise Men of the East who brought gifts to the baby Jesus are known as the Magi (Latin for wise men). Tradition calls them Melchior, Caspar or Gaspar, and Balthasar. They offered gold (emblem of royalty), frankincense (divinity) and myrrh (woe and death). The latter, a herb used in mummification and embalming, symbolised the persecution Jesus would receive, that would even take him to death.

Kalikandjari
In Cyprus the souls of unbaptized babies, kalikandjari, arrive on Christmas day and leave tonight. They are evil demons who steal infants. Tonight housewives customarily knead pastry dough in total silence, frying it up and flinging it on the roof for the kalikandjari, while they sang,

Little piece, piece of sausage,
Knife with a black handle,
Piece of pancake,
Eat and let us go.

Carnival Begins
The period from Epiphany (January 6), until Shrove (or, Pancake) Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French) is called Carnival. In Roman Catholic countries it is a period for amusement and revelry, hence the fairground meaning of the word. It comes from the Latin carnis, flesh, and levare, to remove. Lent, when flesh may not be eaten, immediately follows Carnival. On Shrove Tuesday, people ‘shrive’(confess) their sins and might eat pancakes to use up the last of the eggs and butter before the fast of Lent … which is why the French called it Fat Tuesday.

When is Twelfth Night, January 5, or 6?

Many reputable folkloric sources say that January 5, the Eve of Epiphany (which is Twelfth Day), is the night
called Twelfth Night on which great revels used to take place all over Europe.

For example:

“The day before Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas, and is sometimes called Twelfth Night, an occasion for feasting in some cultures. In some cultures, the baking of a special King’s Cake is part of the festivities of Epiphany (a King’s Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA).”   Source

No less an authority than Encyclopedia.com’s article on the subject also claims the evening of January 5 as Twelfth Night.

However, according to the great Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough:

“The last of the mystic twelve days is Epiphany or Twelfth Night, and it has been selected as a proper season
for the expulsion of the powers of evil in various parts of Europe.”

So, to Frazer, Epiphany (January 6) is Twelfth Night. Moreover, in many places Twelfth Night is still celebrated
on January 6 (see this site).

Until I’m shown an authority greater than Frazer, not to mention many eminent others, such as Waverley Fitzgerald from School of the Seasons (who has a very good article on the celebration), I will stick to January 6, Epiphany, as being both Twelfth Day and Twelfth Night, January 5 being Eve of Twelfth Day/Night.

Source: EarthMoonandSky, Wilson’s Almanack and School of Seasons
•           •           •           •
Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!
•           •           •           •
Live each Season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
)0(
NOTE: Because of the large number of ancient calendars, many in simultaneous use, as well as different ways of computing holy days (marked by the annual inundation, the solar year, the lunar month, the rising of key stars, and other celestial and terrestrial events), you may find these holy days celebrated a few days earlier or later at your local temple.

 

Courtesy of GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

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As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore


Egyptian Comments & Graphics

As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore

Today Is . . .

Kore’s Day
Twelfth Night/Epiphany Eve.
Old Christmas Eve. Old Christmas Eve/Twelfth Night: With One Blow, Boys Would Nail The Tailcoats Of Window Shoppers To The Window Frame Of Pastry Shops.
Eve Of Wonder.
England: Twelfth Night Revel.
Syria: Night Of The Magic Mule.
Syria: Night Of Increase.
Southern Syria: Night Of The Magic Camel.
St. Agatha’s Day. Also Known As Santo Gato, She Appears As A Cat & Can Summon Storms When Angry.
Burning Of Greens.
Glastonbury, England: Blooming Of Glastonbury Thorn, Offshoot Of The Staff Of Joseph Of Arimathea.
Discordian Festival Of Blessed Saint Hung Mung.
Old Bohemia: Beginning Of Carnival.
Festival Of Pyrotechnics.
1834 — US: Kiowa Indians record this as the night the stars fell
Eve of Wonder
Bird Day
Fair Deal Day
Nones of January
St. Simeon Stylites (patron of shepherds)
Apple Howling Day
National Whipped Cream Day
Epiphany Fair (Italy)
St. John Nepomucene Neumann’s Day (1st male US Saint)

Twelfth Night and Wassail Eve (in England) heralds the end of Christmastide. In ancient Egypt times, it was believed that the waters of the mystical and sacred River Nile possessed special magickal powers on this date.

On this date in the year 1918, renowned astrologer and author Jeane Dixon was born in Medford, Wisconsin.

Epiphany Eve -During the week before Epiphany, Italian children sometimes dress up and go in groups of three, carrying a pole with a golden star on top, and stopping at houses to sing pasquelle, little songs about the coming of the Magi. Sometimes they are given money, but other places they receive gifts of food sausages, bread, eggs, dried figs and wine. In some small rustic towns, the Nativity is re-enacted on Epiphany Eve with the newest baby in town taking the part of Jesus.

In Friuli, families gather around the hearth to watch the Christmas log burn. For centuries, bonfires have been lit to light the way for the Three Kings. The fires are called pan e vin, bread and wine, or vecja, old one. Boys run through the fields carrying burning brands, jump across the fires, and roll burning wheels down the hill, shouting out the names of their fiancées as a way to announce their engagements. The ashes from the bonfires are used to fertilize the earth and assure a good harvest.

Carol Field describes an Epiphany procession in the town of Tarcento which ascends a hill to where a huge bonfire, made of sheaves of corn, brambles of brushwood and pine branches is set up. The fire is lit by the oldest man and ignites firecrackers and fireworks while bells ring in the town. The way the smoke blows foretells the prospects for the coming year: smoke blowing east predicts a year of abundance while smoke blowing west is a bad omen for the crops. People take home embers to fertilize their fields; the embers are magically said to transform into sacks of wheat.

In some places, a straw effigy of the Befana is placed on the fire and burned as a way of getting rid of the old year. Sometimes chestnuts are thrown on the fire and roasted, as a symbol of fertility.

Traditional foods served in Friuli on Epiphany Eve include mulled wine and Pinza, a rustic sweet bread, made with corn flour (or sometimes rye and wheat), filled with raisins and pine nuts and figs, spiced with fennel seeds and shaped like a simple round or a Greek epsilon with three arms of equal length. It was once cooked under the embers. It is considered good luck to eat pinze made by seven different families.Source: Field, Carol, Celebrating Italy, William Morrow 1990

Theodosia/Gift of God – On this day on the island of Andros in ancient Greece, the water of a spring by the temple of Dionysos tasted like wine. This continued for a week although it only tasted like wine inside the temple.

This was the same day in Alexandria that water was drawn from the Nile as part of the ceremonies of the Koreion. Blackburn notes that Aion (the miraculous child of Kore) was associated with Sarapis and Dionysus which may be why the liturgy for this day commemorates the miracle at the wedding-feast of Cana when Christ turned water into wine. Source:Blackburn, Bonnie and Holford-Strevens, Leofranc, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999
•           •           •           •
Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!
•           •           •           •
Live each Season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
)0(
NOTE: Because of the large number of ancient calendars, many in simultaneous use, as well as different ways of computing holy days (marked by the annual inundation, the solar year, the lunar month, the rising of key stars, and other celestial and terrestrial events), you may find these holy days celebrated a few days earlier or later at your local temple.

Courtesy of GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Epiphany,

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year

Twelfth Night, Epiphany of Kore, and Persephone

Traditionally on this day the ancient Greeks would carry the statue of Kore around her temple seven times as they prayed for protection and good fortune. Following the temple activities a nocturnal rite was held in honor of Kore (daughter of Zeus and Demeter, whose name means “maiden:), an aspect of Persephone before her marriage to Hades.

On this day in Old Europe the ashes from the Yule log were removed and either stored for magickal purposes or scattered on the field to insure fertility. Later on in the day the Lord of Misrule, known as the King of the Bean, were selected. Cakes were made, and a bean was baked into one. Whomever found the bean in his cake was then elected King for the day. The King, along with the Queen of the Pea (selected by finding the pea baked into another batch of cakes) ruled over the final Yuletide festivities.

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Journey: Where Are The Markers?

The Journey: Where Are The Markers?

Author:   Village Witch 

At one time there was a dilemma that I always seemed to come back around to when I contemplated who I was a Witch. It was easy in the beginning, as most things are. I just did whatever I wanted and learned as I went and had a blast with spells and rituals. With no discipline and no structure I fumbled in the dark with my close group of friends as we tried to find the path. One by one they turned back until it was just Epiphany and I, and sometimes even then it was just me.

Roughly three years into my tentative journey with the gods, I learned of the Seeker Ceremony and the Rainbow Year. I immediately knew that I would do it. Even if I wasn’t a newbie anymore, at least that wasn’t how I saw myself, I still felt deep down that I could learn more.

I knew without a doubt that I was no ‘Advanced Witch’ and if I ever was going to become a High Priestess I was going to need a lot of training, in anything and everything I could get my greedy little hands on. High Priestess seemed to be the ‘end’ goal, the highest point for me to aspire to. A leader of my own coven. The thought consumed me for some time, like a fire burning in my soul. I pushed myself then and pushed hard.

But what makes a Witch into an Advanced Witch? What makes him/her a student? Aren’t we all students, if we admit that you can’t know everything then doesn’t that mean we’re always seeking? Always the student? How do I know when I’m there? Will I ever be?

Do you see my dilemma yet? Being, for the most part, a Solitary Witch I didn’t have the pleasure and opportunity of a teacher. I was my teacher, it was difficult -once I stopped ‘playing around’- to force myself to be the teacher and the student. When I set guidelines and restrictions for myself that would help light the dark path towards my personal empowerment, I would also have to stick to them and follow through. So I would be able to find that wall, that place to which I needed to measure up.

When do you know that you’ve reached the point ‘advanced?’ Is there really a point to reach? Some teachers put down principles that their students must master in order to ‘go up a level’ in their studies of the craft. (Kind of like tests in school.) But since there are so many different traditions, do you have to meet all of their requirements before you can graduate to ‘advanced’ or ‘senior’ or ‘high priest/priestess’? Do you judge the competence of your abilities on how long you have been practicing or by how talented you are?

I have found that ultimately the choice is your own, but as a Solitary Witch I know how confusing it can be when you think about your abilities and how much they’ve grown. So how do you judge it? Do you use the thirteen goals of a witch? Many Neopagans do use Scott Cunningham’s informative list “The Thirteen Goals of a Witch” to guide them in the beginnings of their journey. But where do you go from there? Is there a place to go?

I do not believe there is a wrong answer. Just because you can no longer see the path doesn’t mean you’re lost. It’s just like a youthful solitary student stumbling in the dark, looking for the light.

I was recently in a Pagan chat room when I posed the question of how you know you are no longer a ‘seeker’ to the occupants. The most I got out of them was this:

“When you are immune, and are no longer surprised by what you learn.” I didn’t quite like this answer as I don’t like the thought of a person being immune to their faith, but then it was elaborated upon and after an amusing discussion the whole conversation came down to wisdom, and how you use the knowledge that you gain, and being selfless with it.

And how do you know? You know that you are there, because it is in your heart and it is in your spirit. You can feel your personal power and its closeness with the Spirit. Knowing you are secure in your faith is very different than knowing your faith. You know you are there when you cast your circle and instead of feeling the jitters and new awe of your power, you feel the comfortable, warm embrace of the spiritual world. You’re there when connecting with the Goddess is like slipping on a well-used glove, or embracing an old friend.

Epiphany likes to cut to the chase and when I asked her she broke it down to three things: Experience, Skill and Self Confidence. These are her three core elements that can set you apart and push you forward in your life long journey of personal empowerment. It’s the three things that advance you in any trade, faith, even hobbies; you name it, these simple core elements are what help you to move forward.

Experience, obviously comes with time. Patience is a lesson that you should teach yourself early on. There’s no use in trying to make time do anything; it’s on its own schedule. Use this time to practice the ritual of your faith. [Opening the Circle, Calling the Watchtowers, Performing the Rite, Closing and Giving Thanks.] All of these things are perfected over time.

Skills, through a mixture of repetition and talent, can be shaped and molded. I mention talent, because each Witch has his or her own special talents. [i.e. Some prefer Runes to Cards or Crystals to Mirrors.] Your talents are molded and refined into special skills that, whether we want them to or not, define us and show what type of person we are.

Self Confidence: this could be the most important of the three. If you have no confidence in your abilities then you will find yourself lacking in some way and you cannot, in good conscience, allow others to rely on your experience and skill if you can’t yourself. It’s with self-confidence that you can pull on your own experiences with the craft to help lead others. It’s with that confidence and your skill that you build on your Personal Power, and solidify your connection with the Spirit.

It is with all three of these things that you can light your way and lead yourself down the Old Path. In truth, you never stop learning, nor should you. Even the most seasoned practitioners should be able turn to their students, or friends and family and be able to be humble enough to learn from them. The ability to continue learning, when you are perceived to already be a master at your craft, can be the most self-rewarding gift you can give yourself.

Now that we know when we are there — if we really truly are — where do go? Say we agree that we never stop learning. But say we also have reached all those goals we’ve set for ourselves. Say that we are comfortable, humble, well-versed and even help to light the path for new practitioners. What comes next?

Since everyone’s journey is his/her own, there is no one universal answer that would please all. My answer, surprisingly enough, comes from a Buddhist’s view on “holding off” enlightenment until everyone is enlightened. To continue to walk the path and help others walk theirs, to continue to learn and seek as if there was no next step to begin with. Like with all things, I suppose, it truly comes back in a circle. The wheel returns to its starting place and we begin again and while looking for that light in the dark, or to label the accomplishment of knowing, we can be content with all that we do not know

___________________________________

Footnotes:
Scott Cunningham’s “Thirteen Goals of a Witch”
Buddha’s Enlightenment Vows

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December 5 – Daily Feast

December 5 – Daily Feast

The Cherokee calls this month U Ski’YA – the Snow Month. A dusting of snow softens the rustling leaves and defines the edges of rocks and trees that are hidden in heavy foliage in other seasons. This is the quiet time, the sharp edge of winter adjusting the land unto itself. The woods would be gray if it were not for the blue mist that hangs like soft gauze drapery through every glen and cleft in the hills. Evergreens thrive in soft leaf-matted ravines, and cottonwoods stand stark against the dark woods. When the winds lay down in late evening the horizon clears to show vivid colors and every window is gilded gold until the sun disappears and the blue hour comes. It is as quiet as when the earth was created – and then an owl calls.

~ I stand here upon this great plain with the broad sunlight pouring down upon it. We shall be brothers and friends for all our lives. ~

RED CLOUD – OGLALA SIOUX

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

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The Journey: Where Are The Markers?

The Journey: Where Are The Markers?

Author:   Village Witch  

At one time there was a dilemma that I always seemed to come back around to when I contemplated who I was a Witch. It was easy in the beginning, as most things are. I just did whatever I wanted and learned as I went and had a blast with spells and rituals. With no discipline and no structure I fumbled in the dark with my close group of friends as we tried to find the path. One by one they turned back until it was just Epiphany and I, and sometimes even then it was just me.

Roughly three years into my tentative journey with the gods, I learned of the Seeker Ceremony and the Rainbow Year. I immediately knew that I would do it. Even if I wasn’t a newbie anymore, at least that wasn’t how I saw myself, I still felt deep down that I could learn more.

I knew without a doubt that I was no ‘Advanced Witch’ and if I ever was going to become a High Priestess I was going to need a lot of training, in anything and everything I could get my greedy little hands on. High Priestess seemed to be the ‘end’ goal, the highest point for me to aspire to. A leader of my own coven. The thought consumed me for some time, like a fire burning in my soul. I pushed myself then and pushed hard.

But what makes a Witch into an Advanced Witch? What makes him/her a student? Aren’t we all students, if we admit that you can’t know everything then doesn’t that mean we’re always seeking? Always the student? How do I know when I’m there? Will I ever be?

Do you see my dilemma yet? Being, for the most part, a Solitary Witch I didn’t have the pleasure and opportunity of a teacher. I was my teacher, it was difficult -once I stopped ‘playing around’- to force myself to be the teacher and the student. When I set guidelines and restrictions for myself that would help light the dark path towards my personal empowerment, I would also have to stick to them and follow through. So I would be able to find that wall, that place to which I needed to measure up.

When do you know that you’ve reached the point ‘advanced?’ Is there really a point to reach? Some teachers put down principles that their students must master in order to ‘go up a level’ in their studies of the craft. (Kind of like tests in school.) But since there are so many different traditions, do you have to meet all of their requirements before you can graduate to ‘advanced’ or ‘senior’ or ‘high priest/priestess’? Do you judge the competence of your abilities on how long you have been practicing or by how talented you are?

I have found that ultimately the choice is your own, but as a Solitary Witch I know how confusing it can be when you think about your abilities and how much they’ve grown. So how do you judge it? Do you use the thirteen goals of a witch? Many Neopagans do use Scott Cunningham’s informative list “The Thirteen Goals of a Witch” to guide them in the beginnings of their journey. But where do you go from there? Is there a place to go?

I do not believe there is a wrong answer. Just because you can no longer see the path doesn’t mean you’re lost. It’s just like a youthful solitary student stumbling in the dark, looking for the light.

I was recently in a Pagan chat room when I posed the question of how you know you are no longer a ‘seeker’ to the occupants. The most I got out of them was this:

“When you are immune, and are no longer surprised by what you learn.” I didn’t quite like this answer as I don’t like the thought of a person being immune to their faith, but then it was elaborated upon and after an amusing discussion the whole conversation came down to wisdom, and how you use the knowledge that you gain, and being selfless with it.

And how do you know? You know that you are there, because it is in your heart and it is in your spirit. You can feel your personal power and its closeness with the Spirit. Knowing you are secure in your faith is very different than knowing your faith. You know you are there when you cast your circle and instead of feeling the jitters and new awe of your power, you feel the comfortable, warm embrace of the spiritual world. You’re there when connecting with the Goddess is like slipping on a well-used glove, or embracing an old friend.

Epiphany likes to cut to the chase and when I asked her she broke it down to three things: Experience, Skill and Self Confidence. These are her three core elements that can set you apart and push you forward in your life long journey of personal empowerment. It’s the three things that advance you in any trade, faith, even hobbies; you name it, these simple core elements are what help you to move forward.

Experience, obviously comes with time. Patience is a lesson that you should teach yourself early on. There’s no use in trying to make time do anything; it’s on its own schedule. Use this time to practice the ritual of your faith. [Opening the Circle, Calling the Watchtowers, Performing the Rite, Closing and Giving Thanks.] All of these things are perfected over time.

Skills, through a mixture of repetition and talent, can be shaped and molded. I mention talent, because each Witch has his or her own special talents. [i.e. Some prefer Runes to Cards or Crystals to Mirrors.] Your talents are molded and refined into special skills that, whether we want them to or not, define us and show what type of person we are.

Self Confidence: this could be the most important of the three. If you have no confidence in your abilities then you will find yourself lacking in some way and you cannot, in good conscience, allow others to rely on your experience and skill if you can’t yourself. It’s with self-confidence that you can pull on your own experiences with the craft to help lead others. It’s with that confidence and your skill that you build on your Personal Power, and solidify your connection with the Spirit.

It is with all three of these things that you can light your way and lead yourself down the Old Path. In truth, you never stop learning, nor should you. Even the most seasoned practitioners should be able turn to their students, or friends and family and be able to be humble enough to learn from them. The ability to continue learning, when you are perceived to already be a master at your craft, can be the most self-rewarding gift you can give yourself.

Now that we know when we are there — if we really truly are — where do go? Say we agree that we never stop learning. But say we also have reached all those goals we’ve set for ourselves. Say that we are comfortable, humble, well-versed and even help to light the path for new practitioners. What comes next?

Since everyone’s journey is his/her own, there is no one universal answer that would please all. My answer, surprisingly enough, comes from a Buddhist’s view on “holding off” enlightenment until everyone is enlightened. To continue to walk the path and help others walk theirs, to continue to learn and seek as if there was no next step to begin with. Like with all things, I suppose, it truly comes back in a circle. The wheel returns to its starting place and we begin again and while looking for that light in the dark, or to label the accomplishment of knowing, we can be content with all that we do not know.

______________________________

Footnotes:
Scott Cunningham’s “Thirteen Goals of a Witch”
Buddha’s Enlightenment Vows

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Journey: Where Are The Markers?

The Journey: Where Are The Markers?

Author: Village Witch

At one time there was a dilemma that I always seemed to come back around to when I contemplated who I was a Witch. It was easy in the beginning, as most things are. I just did whatever I wanted and learned as I went and had a blast with spells and rituals. With no discipline and no structure I fumbled in the dark with my close group of friends as we tried to find the path. One by one they turned back until it was just Epiphany and I, and sometimes even then it was just me.

Roughly three years into my tentative journey with the gods, I learned of the Seeker Ceremony and the Rainbow Year. I immediately knew that I would do it. Even if I wasn’t a newbie anymore, at least that wasn’t how I saw myself, I still felt deep down that I could learn more.

I knew without a doubt that I was no ‘Advanced Witch’ and if I ever was going to become a High Priestess I was going to need a lot of training, in anything and everything I could get my greedy little hands on. High Priestess seemed to be the ‘end’ goal, the highest point for me to aspire to. A leader of my own coven. The thought consumed me for some time, like a fire burning in my soul. I pushed myself then and pushed hard.

But what makes a Witch into an Advanced Witch? What makes him/her a student? Aren’t we all students, if we admit that you can’t know everything then doesn’t that mean we’re always seeking? Always the student? How do I know when I’m there? Will I ever be?

Do you see my dilemma yet? Being, for the most part, a Solitary Witch I didn’t have the pleasure and opportunity of a teacher. I was my teacher, it was difficult -once I stopped ‘playing around’- to force myself to be the teacher and the student. When I set guidelines and restrictions for myself that would help light the dark path towards my personal empowerment, I would also have to stick to them and follow through. So I would be able to find that wall, that place to which I needed to measure up.

When do you know that you’ve reached the point ‘advanced?’ Is there really a point to reach? Some teachers put down principles that their students must master in order to ‘go up a level’ in their studies of the craft. (Kind of like tests in school.) But since there are so many different traditions, do you have to meet all of their requirements before you can graduate to ‘advanced’ or ‘senior’ or ‘high priest/priestess’? Do you judge the competence of your abilities on how long you have been practicing or by how talented you are?

I have found that ultimately the choice is your own, but as a Solitary Witch I know how confusing it can be when you think about your abilities and how much they’ve grown. So how do you judge it? Do you use the thirteen goals of a witch? Many Neopagans do use Scott Cunningham’s informative list “The Thirteen Goals of a Witch” to guide them in the beginnings of their journey. But where do you go from there? Is there a place to go?

I do not believe there is a wrong answer. Just because you can no longer see the path doesn’t mean you’re lost. It’s just like a youthful solitary student stumbling in the dark, looking for the light.

I was recently in a Pagan chat room when I posed the question of how you know you are no longer a ‘seeker’ to the occupants. The most I got out of them was this:

“When you are immune, and are no longer surprised by what you learn.” I didn’t quite like this answer as I don’t like the thought of a person being immune to their faith, but then it was elaborated upon and after an amusing discussion the whole conversation came down to wisdom, and how you use the knowledge that you gain, and being selfless with it.

And how do you know? You know that you are there, because it is in your heart and it is in your spirit. You can feel your personal power and its closeness with the Spirit. Knowing you are secure in your faith is very different than knowing your faith. You know you are there when you cast your circle and instead of feeling the jitters and new awe of your power, you feel the comfortable, warm embrace of the spiritual world. You’re there when connecting with the Goddess is like slipping on a well-used glove, or embracing an old friend.

Epiphany likes to cut to the chase and when I asked her she broke it down to three things: Experience, Skill and Self Confidence. These are her three core elements that can set you apart and push you forward in your life long journey of personal empowerment. It’s the three things that advance you in any trade, faith, even hobbies; you name it, these simple core elements are what help you to move forward.

Experience, obviously comes with time. Patience is a lesson that you should teach yourself early on. There’s no use in trying to make time do anything; it’s on its own schedule. Use this time to practice the ritual of your faith. [Opening the Circle, Calling the Watchtowers, Performing the Rite, Closing and Giving Thanks.] All of these things are perfected over time.

Skills, through a mixture of repetition and talent, can be shaped and molded. I mention talent, because each Witch has his or her own special talents. [i.e. Some prefer Runes to Cards or Crystals to Mirrors.] Your talents are molded and refined into special skills that, whether we want them to or not, define us and show what type of person we are.

Self Confidence: this could be the most important of the three. If you have no confidence in your abilities then you will find yourself lacking in some way and you cannot, in good conscience, allow others to rely on your experience and skill if you can’t yourself. It’s with self-confidence that you can pull on your own experiences with the craft to help lead others. It’s with that confidence and your skill that you build on your Personal Power, and solidify your connection with the Spirit.

It is with all three of these things that you can light your way and lead yourself down the Old Path. In truth, you never stop learning, nor should you. Even the most seasoned practitioners should be able turn to their students, or friends and family and be able to be humble enough to learn from them. The ability to continue learning, when you are perceived to already be a master at your craft, can be the most self-rewarding gift you can give yourself.

Now that we know when we are there — if we really truly are — where do go? Say we agree that we never stop learning. But say we also have reached all those goals we’ve set for ourselves. Say that we are comfortable, humble, well-versed and even help to light the path for new practitioners. What comes next?

Since everyone’s journey is his/her own, there is no one universal answer that would please all. My answer, surprisingly enough, comes from a Buddhist’s view on “holding off” enlightenment until everyone is enlightened. To continue to walk the path and help others walk theirs, to continue to learn and seek as if there was no next step to begin with. Like with all things, I suppose, it truly comes back in a circle. The wheel returns to its starting place and we begin again and while looking for that light in the dark, or to label the accomplishment of knowing, we can be content with all that we do not know.

Footnotes:
Scott Cunningham’s “Thirteen Goals of a Witch”
Buddha’s Enlightenment Vows

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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