Posts Tagged With: Silver RavenWolf

The Charge

Goddess Comments & Graphics
The Charge

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old, called amongst men,  Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionhod, Bride and by many other names.
At mine Altar, the youths of Lacedemon in Sparta made due sacrifice. Whenever ye have need of anything, 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 Me, who am Queen of all the Witcheries. Then  shall ye assemble, who are feign to learn all sorceries who have not as yet won my deepest secrets. To these will I teach that which is as yet unknown. And  ye shall be free from all slavery and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall sing, feast and make music, all in my presence. For mine is the ecstasy of  the Spirit and mine is also joy on earth. For my Law is love unto all beings. Keep pure your highest ideals, strive even towards them. Let none stop you or  turn you aside. For mine is the secret that opens upon the door of youth and mine is the Cup of the Wine of Life and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the  Holy Grail of Immortality. I am the Gracious Goddess who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man upon earth. I give the knowledge of the Spirit Eternal,  and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before. Nor do I demand aught or sacrifice, for behold I am the Mother of all  things, and my love is poured out upon the earth.
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Halloween Charm Bag For Drawing Money

Halloween Charm Bag For Drawing Money

from “HALLOWEEN, spells, customs and recipes”
by Silver Ravenwolf

You could make a bunch of these to use as Witchy Party favors at your Samhain party…. Write the instructions and ingredients to the charm but provide each guest with the orange bag. Okay here we go….. you will need (per charm):

7 pumpkin seeds 1/4 teaspoon dried, ground pumpkin rind 1/4 teaspoon dried mint 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon 1 silver coin 1 small orange flannel bag with 17 in. red ribbon black felt pen

On a new moon before Halloween, mix the herbal ingredients together Hum:

“East and west, and south and north Prosperity, I bring thee forth.”

Draw a dollar sign on each side of the pumpkin seeds.. Add the pumpkin seeds to the mixture. Pour into the orange bag. Hold the coin in your hands until it gets warm. Humming the same chant all through this. On the following Thursday, hold the bag in your hands and repeat the chant until the bag becomes warm. Add 7 knots to the ribbon around the bag – two are for money, three for abundance, four for stability, five for protection, six for luck, and the seventh know to seal the spell. Put away until Samhain.

On Samhain, hold the bag in your hands over the need fire until the bag warms in your hands. Repeat the chant as you do this. Keep on your person or in your purse etc. Good for one full year. You can rework the spell on a new moon to keep the bag at its peak This makes a very nice gift for the certain someone.

—RavenandCrone

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Young Adult Witches: The Generation In Between

Young Adult Witches: The Generation In Between

Author:   Soull the University Witch   

For some youth, the world of Wicca and magick in general is a rather strange and awkward world. In middle school, they hide their new-found religious interest to “different faith” parents. In high school, they may continue on that course, or flaunt it as a means of rebellion to those same parents whom they had to hide their faith from. Anyone today, from Pagan to Mundane, can read it and see it, in many forms of media. It is almost a stereotypical plot device in books, television, and movies.

But after high school comes the tricky age.

What happens when Witches enter young adulthood? Already, society demands they have the same responsibilities as an adult, and yet they have none of the experience, nor are they really treated as “adults” by the older generation. Those who have entered the world of Witches (or have been so all of their lives) , hit a rather strange crossroads that, for some, can either make or break their religious path.

Many religions have a place of social congregation, such as a church, or a synagogue. The Wiccan/Pagan religions do not, as most of the ritual and any form of ceremony and celebration can take place within the house or backyard of another Witch. Minus the large gatherings of the Sabbaths, other Witches may also practice in covens.

For young Witches, coven is a word, an almost sacred word, that holds some sort of rite of passage to it. In a way, to them, being in a coven makes you a real Witch. Of course, this is not true at all. There are many Witches who are solitary practitioners, young and old.
But is that by choice, or unfortunate circumstance?

There are several books, perhaps hundreds, written to guide the solitary practitioner. That’s far too many. Witches have the word ‘coven’ to use it, to form one, to be in one… and yet there are witches across the country, the whole world, who find their magick merely at their own altar, burning candles and tossing the ashes of their regrets into the wind. Alone.

There’s a bit of disconnect between the older generation and the new Witches who are finding this path in a strange and uncertain new century. Do they think young Witches are merely there for a thrill, or for fun? Do they not believe that the younger generation can take this path seriously?

Of course, we cannot just blame the older generation for the odd gap. Are younger Witches unwilling to sacrifice convenience for tradition? Do they take an interest in Witchcraft merely due to the media, and once they find out it takes more than a wave of wand to create and make magick work for them, do they give up?

The branches of Neopaganism are essentially a religion, even if outsiders such as ‘mundanes’ have a hard time grasping such a concept. It is a spiritual path that does not attempt to bring people into the circle though means of recruiting and “spreading the word”. It is the happenstance that those interested in the Craft find us. Other religions have people who go door-to-door to spread the word of their faith. Witches don’t do such a thing, instead preferring that people decide this path is right for them on their own.

Do all of us take it a step too far when it comes to not pressing our religion onto others? It seems more than not that instead of sharing who we are and what we do with those whom express curiosity, that we merely clam up and choose to not inform supposed outsiders. The ways of Paganism can be something that sounds outlandish to those who have never crossed ways with it before, or only have the knowledge of what the media provides. But how do we expect these new people to become kin with us if we’re unwilling to dispense information? We certainly can’t expect that everyone can merely “look it up” themselves. In an age where paper books are becoming less common and the Internet reigns, someone interested in Neopaganism can easily stumble upon false information.

For those of the younger generation, the Internet may be the only source of information they touch in this regard. For some, it’s the only way; an outing to the bookstore with a parent or guardian could end up badly if they catch them in the new age or metaphysical section, especially if the parent is unaware of their interest. It’s also rather hard to just find people whom are of the same path to speak with in regards to magickal faith. It is this generation whom will be the next High Priests and Priestesses, the metaphysical shop owners, and the authors of many books about magick-based religions. Both parties should make sure the right information is being passed down.

The age of the young adult Witch is a strange time. The Neopagan community as a whole should strive to find ways to make a smoother transition from this early Witch stage and into adulthood. Websites should reconsider the way they separate things for “adults” and “teens”. Witches in their mid to early twenties have a wide variety of interests. Some Witches may still be interested in the topics teen Witches are covering, while others many wish to partake in the more serious discussions you can find in forums for more mature Pagans. Said forums should attempt to find a way to bridge the divide, such as adding a “young adult section” (which could also be handy for teens who wish to move on from the discussions found on younger forums) .

There are plenty of books that offer introductory advice on solitary practice for teenagers, such as Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch and Confessions of a Teenage Witch: Celebrating the Wiccan Life by Gwinevere Rain. However, very rarely can I find something that reaches for an age beyond the teenager years, but not quite into true adulthood.

By implementing a few simple changes, or even supporting and promoting websites, books, workshops, and events geared towards a younger crowd of adult Witches, we can ensure a smoother transition, and perhaps even increased openings for change in the Wiccan community. Like all religions, more people are turning to the path of the Old Ways, and there is a strong potential for growth within this age range.

If both sides are able to set aside generational and cultural differences, there is room for plenty of improvement… and change.

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Traditional vs. Eclectic: We’re Not “All One Wicca”

Traditional vs. Eclectic: We’re Not “All One Wicca”

Author:   Hexeengel 

[Please note: For the purposes of this piece, the terms “Wicca” and “Wiccan (s) ” will refer to the British Traditional family of religious Witchcraft Traditions and those who follow them, the Traditions then including, but not limited to, such lines as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Moshian, Blue Star, etc. “Neo-Wicca” and “Neo-Wiccan (s), ” then, indicate the perhaps more wide-spread and certainly more widely known Eclectic (and often Solitary) practices espoused by such authors as Scott Cunningham, Fiona Horne, Silver Ravenwolf, and others, the majority of them published by Llewellyn Books. I also use the term “Witch” interchangeably with “Wiccan, ” since nearly all Wiccans contend that they are indeed Witches.]

Anyone who’s been a part of the Wiccan or Neo-Wiccan communities for more than a week is undoubtedly aware of the schism between these two groups. The cause of much frustration for Wiccans is that some Neo-Wiccans misunderstand the distinction made between the practices. Wiccans contend that, while there is nothing wrong or bad or invalid or worthless about the practices of Neo-Wiccans, it is nonetheless a separate and distinct practice (or practices, as Neo-Wicca is Eclectic, after all) from Wicca; neither is better (except in a personal preference, subjective sense), but they are certainly different.

Many Neo-Wiccans, on the other hand, dislike that this distinction is made at all. Some are even offended by the use of “Neo-Wicca” or any classification other than “Wicca, ” but are yet very adamant that “we don’t do that, ” meaning that they find some aspects of Wicca ridiculous, unnecessary, or even offensive. It leads one to ask, if it’s all the same thing, then why isn’t it all… well, the same?

This piece is meant to serve as an outline of how much these two groupings of paths really do differ, and to explain some of the more controversial aspects of Wicca that draw much negative attention and criticism from some Neo-Wiccans. The biggest dividing factor, that then encompasses others, is the Wiccan practice of oathbound secrecy.

Many Wiccan Traditions are esoteric, oathbound practices. This means that there are certain things that are not to be revealed to non-initiates, and that initiates swear an oath to protect those aspects (an oath that they are then expected to keep for the rest of their lives, even if they choose to leave the Tradition at a later time). This is not meant to be used as an ego-trip or a form of elitism, but is instead in place to protect the experience of the Tradition and its rites and Mysteries. However, Wiccans do not contend that their path is the only way one may reach and experience the Mysteries, just that this is the way that suits them. What is usually kept secret, then, are the names of the Gods, the specifics of ritual, the identities (Magickal and mundane) of those who participate in the rituals, the tools used in ritual, and any other non-ritual contents of the Tradition’s Book of Shadows.

God-names are kept secret because They (the God and Goddess honored) are considered “tribal, ” wholly unique to the Tradition. In non-initiate training rituals, a Priest and Priestess may choose to utilize place-holder names of similar Deities, ones with compatible traits, qualities, and associations. However, some may choose to simply use the non-specific terms “God and Goddess” or “Lord and Lady” instead of proper names. That decision is left up to the Priest and Priestess of the ritual/group. If place-holder names are used, they are then a tool to help teach those in training about the God and Goddess they will meet and commune with during and after initiation, so that there will be some degree of familiarity once the initiate comes to face the Gods of their chosen Tradition.

The specifics of ritual, as was aforementioned, are not told to non-initiates to protect the experience. Think of it this way; you and a friend both want to see a newly premiered movie, and your friend gets the opportunity to attend a showing before you do. How impolite and improper would it be for your friend to not only tell you every single detail of the film (including the ending), but also the emotions it will evoke from you, and the impact it would have on your life in general? I’m betting anyone would be pretty darn upset.

This is the same reasoning behind Wiccan rituals being kept secret, so that each initiate who experiences them does so as “untainted” as possible. This explains secrecy in regards to those seeking initiation, but for those who do not, a similar analogy is appropriate; if you see a movie but your friend has absolutely no interest in it, regardless of your opinion of said movie, they probably won’t want to hear about it at all. The logic then is that, since those not seeking initiation are assumed to be uninterested in the Tradition all together, what reason do they have to concern themselves with its practices?

Additionally, this secrecy maintains the authenticity of the rituals, and also the integrity of the initiating line back to the Tradition’s founder. Thus, the rituals cannot be altered or misused, and only those experienced in the Tradition’s Mysteries can go on to teach them to others.

As far as participants’ identities go, that’s fairly self-explanatory on one level; “outing” someone as a Witch is not something taken lightly, regardless of where one counts one’s self on the spectrum Wicca has become. But there is another level to it, in that Wiccans tend keep their lineage oathbound as well. One’s lineage is the line of initiating High Priestesses that leads from one initiate back to the founder of the Tradition, be they Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders, etc.

And lastly, the tools used and the other, non-ritual contents of the Book of Shadows (BoS) are oathbound because they are related to the specifics of Wiccan practice and experience, and so revealing them can take away from those elements, just as describing pivotal scenes from a movie can taint the enjoyment of the whole thing.

These levels of secrecy and occultism (where “occult” takes on its more accurate meaning of “hidden or secret; to be known only by the initiated”) are a stumbling block to some Neo-Wiccans; they cannot fathom the reasons other than to make Wiccans feel special or better somehow, but as illustrated above, there are very real and important reasons.

Some folks though cannot find it in themselves to abide by these guidelines, but still feel the desire to walk a similar path. Partly because of this, Neo-Wicca and its policy of openness and universality were born. Neo-Wiccans are free to follow any and all God forms that may call or appeal to them, regardless of cultural or religious origin. Neo-Wiccans are also more prone to share their ritual scripts and spells with others. Some even post the entirety of their BoSs online or otherwise make it available for public consumption, such as through published books, which then are a large part of Neo-Wiccan learning materials.

Conversely, learning Wicca involves a specified path that utilizes the repetition of form to facilitate function; the actual movements and words are the same at each ritual, however it is the experience that differs and is truly the most important. This is an orthopraxic approach, that of correct practices leading to Divine experience, rather than orthodoxic, that of correct belief.

While many of us have come to associate “orthodox” with meaning oppressive or outdated and referring specifically to Christianity as often as not, if one simply takes the word at its face value, then Neo-Wicca is in fact an orthodox practice; as long as one believes the “right” things, then one is Neo-Wiccan and then can practice it in whatever fashion one desires.

But what are the “right” beliefs? Is it the duality and balance of God and Goddess? Not according to those called Dianic Wiccans, who hold the Goddess superior to the God, if He is even recognized at all. Additionally, as stated before, Wiccan God names are specific to each Tradition and oathbound, so by default Neo-Wiccans do not and cannot honor the God and Goddess by those same identities, so neither does “right belief“ include the specific Deity forms.

Is it then following the Wiccan Rede? That’s not it either, since there are practitioners out there who discard the Rede all together and still lay claim to the “Wiccan title” (and yes, I’m aware that “rede” means “counsel or advice” and not “commandment, ” but I’ve yet to encounter a Wiccan who thinks its irrelevant).

What about celebrating the Sabbats? Well, okay, almost anyone along the Wicca/Neo-Wicca spectrum can agree that these eight points of the year are important, but what’s not agreed on is how one celebrates them, or even what they’re called (as far as I can tell, only Samhain, Yule, and Beltane are universally used names, the rest can vary). In some cases, the dates are even in dispute, since there are those who figure the Greater Sabbats relative to the Lesser Sabbats each year, marking them as the precise midpoints between the astronomical Solstices and Equinoxes rather than the “fixed” dates of the common calendar.

This final point segues nicely into another striking difference, that of ritual form and elements. Not all Neo-Wiccans cast a Circle in the same way nor include all the same components as others (in some cases, even the rituals for the same event differ each time they are performed) , and being that Wiccan ritual structure is oathbound, one can infer that Neo-Wiccan rituals bear little, if any, resemblance to their Traditional counterparts. If Wicca and Neo-Wicca was indeed the same thing, wouldn’t we all use the same rituals, honoring the same God forms in the same ways?

Wiccans also contend that only a Wiccan can make another Wiccan, that one cannot enter Wicca without someone to teach and guide them. A popular Neo-Wiccan counter to this comes from Scott Cunningham, and is something along the lines of, “but who made the first Wiccan? The God and Goddess. So who are we to be so bold and presumptuous as to usurp and appropriate Their power? Who has the real power to make a Wiccan?”

I can agree to a certain extent; the Wiccan Gods are responsible, to a degree, for Wicca’s existence, in that They provided the original inspiration, need, and desire for a way to honor Them. However, I also believe They intended for things to be done in just that way, else why would They have put the idea in a human mind? Why the need for rituals at all, if any way one honors them is acceptable?

Let me clarify – when I say “the Wiccan Gods, ” I mean those names, faces, forms, aspects, and attributes that are oathbound and specific to the Traditions of Wicca. If Gods other than those have different desires and requirements, then so be it, but then They are not the Gods of Wicca, and therefore need not be honored in the Wiccan way.

The Wiccan way is one practiced by humans to reach out to and commune with the Wiccan Gods, and therefore only one who knows that way can teach that way. A dentist, while a medical professional, cannot teach someone to perform open-heart surgery. So it follows that someone inexperienced in the Wiccan Mysteries, regardless of any other gnosis, knowledge, and experience they may have gained, cannot teach them to anyone.

To add to this, in Wicca the initiating High Priest and High Priestess are seen as representations and “substitutes, ” if you will, of the God and Goddess on this material plane. They are infused with Divine Will and Power at the time of initiation (and in all other rites), so in the realism of non-duality, it IS the God and Goddess who are making new Wiccans, not “merely” other humans. However, the HP and HPS are specifically chosen and trained to perform these duties using the structure and methods of their Tradition.

A Neo-Wiccan, or anyone else who is not HP or HPS even if he/she is a Wiccan initiate, has no such training, and so cannot perform an initiation rite as the representative of the Wiccan Gods.

Clearly there is great disparity between not only practice, but also belief, between those called Wiccans and Neo-Wiccans. All this points to Neo-Wicca being an outgrowth of Wicca, rather than a continuation of it, much like Buddhism was an outgrowth of Hinduism. Buddhism and Hinduism both include the ideas of Karma, Dharma, and Samsara, Yantras, etc., but they differ on the nature and application of these ideas.

Buddhists do not recognize a pantheon of Gods in the way Hindus do, and also do not perform elaborate rituals. The two paths do have commonalities, but are distinct and separate belief systems. It would be improper, inaccurate, and doing a disservice to both paths if one was to say they are the same.

This can also be applied to Wicca and Neo-Wicca; Wicca recognizes a specific set of Gods, while Neo-Wicca does not. Wicca includes much formality and formulary in its rituals, which is not necessarily true of Neo-Wicca. They are related practices, one springing from the other, but they are fundamentally different, and it is improper, inaccurate, and doing a disservice to both to try and say that they are the same.

Of course, it’s all very well and good for these kinds of things to be said by someone who prefers Wicca to Neo-Wicca, someone who is seeking to walk the Gardnerian path. I concede that it would be far more impacting and impressive had this article or one similar been written by a Neo-Wiccan, because there’d be less risk of accusations of elitism, or discrimination, or exclusion. If, however, any Neo-Wiccan found truth in what I’ve presented here, I encourage them to write a similar piece, putting the focus on their practices, revealing the value and beauty that perhaps stems from the differences, rather than in spite of them.

What are the benefits of Solitary work? How is self-study more fulfilling than working under another’s tutelage? How does the tapestry of cultures and customs enrich your practice; is the old adage, “student of many trades, master of none” inaccurate?

I’m not personally looking to be convinced, I’ve found my home and my path, but that kind of piece may go a long way to strengthening other Neo-Wiccans’ sense of identity and purpose. And anyone finding peace and feeling whole on their spiritual journey is a beautiful thing, regardless of what that path may be called.

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Traditional vs. Eclectic: We’re Not “All One Wicca”

Traditional vs. Eclectic: We’re Not “All One Wicca”

Author:   Hexeengel 

[Please note: For the purposes of this piece, the terms “Wicca” and “Wiccan (s) ” will refer to the British Traditional family of religious Witchcraft Traditions and those who follow them, the Traditions then including, but not limited to, such lines as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Moshian, Blue Star, etc. “Neo-Wicca” and “Neo-Wiccan (s), ” then, indicate the perhaps more wide-spread and certainly more widely known Eclectic (and often Solitary) practices espoused by such authors as Scott Cunningham, Fiona Horne, Silver Ravenwolf, and others, the majority of them published by Llewellyn Books. I also use the term “Witch” interchangeably with “Wiccan, ” since nearly all Wiccans contend that they are indeed Witches.]

Anyone who’s been a part of the Wiccan or Neo-Wiccan communities for more than a week is undoubtedly aware of the schism between these two groups. The cause of much frustration for Wiccans is that some Neo-Wiccans misunderstand the distinction made between the practices. Wiccans contend that, while there is nothing wrong or bad or invalid or worthless about the practices of Neo-Wiccans, it is nonetheless a separate and distinct practice (or practices, as Neo-Wicca is Eclectic, after all) from Wicca; neither is better (except in a personal preference, subjective sense), but they are certainly different.

Many Neo-Wiccans, on the other hand, dislike that this distinction is made at all. Some are even offended by the use of “Neo-Wicca” or any classification other than “Wicca, ” but are yet very adamant that “we don’t do that, ” meaning that they find some aspects of Wicca ridiculous, unnecessary, or even offensive. It leads one to ask, if it’s all the same thing, then why isn’t it all… well, the same?

This piece is meant to serve as an outline of how much these two groupings of paths really do differ, and to explain some of the more controversial aspects of Wicca that draw much negative attention and criticism from some Neo-Wiccans. The biggest dividing factor, that then encompasses others, is the Wiccan practice of oathbound secrecy.

Many Wiccan Traditions are esoteric, oathbound practices. This means that there are certain things that are not to be revealed to non-initiates, and that initiates swear an oath to protect those aspects (an oath that they are then expected to keep for the rest of their lives, even if they choose to leave the Tradition at a later time). This is not meant to be used as an ego-trip or a form of elitism, but is instead in place to protect the experience of the Tradition and its rites and Mysteries. However, Wiccans do not contend that their path is the only way one may reach and experience the Mysteries, just that this is the way that suits them. What is usually kept secret, then, are the names of the Gods, the specifics of ritual, the identities (Magickal and mundane) of those who participate in the rituals, the tools used in ritual, and any other non-ritual contents of the Tradition’s Book of Shadows.

God-names are kept secret because They (the God and Goddess honored) are considered “tribal, ” wholly unique to the Tradition. In non-initiate training rituals, a Priest and Priestess may choose to utilize place-holder names of similar Deities, ones with compatible traits, qualities, and associations. However, some may choose to simply use the non-specific terms “God and Goddess” or “Lord and Lady” instead of proper names. That decision is left up to the Priest and Priestess of the ritual/group. If place-holder names are used, they are then a tool to help teach those in training about the God and Goddess they will meet and commune with during and after initiation, so that there will be some degree of familiarity once the initiate comes to face the Gods of their chosen Tradition.

The specifics of ritual, as was aforementioned, are not told to non-initiates to protect the experience. Think of it this way; you and a friend both want to see a newly premiered movie, and your friend gets the opportunity to attend a showing before you do. How impolite and improper would it be for your friend to not only tell you every single detail of the film (including the ending), but also the emotions it will evoke from you, and the impact it would have on your life in general? I’m betting anyone would be pretty darn upset.

This is the same reasoning behind Wiccan rituals being kept secret, so that each initiate who experiences them does so as “untainted” as possible. This explains secrecy in regards to those seeking initiation, but for those who do not, a similar analogy is appropriate; if you see a movie but your friend has absolutely no interest in it, regardless of your opinion of said movie, they probably won’t want to hear about it at all. The logic then is that, since those not seeking initiation are assumed to be uninterested in the Tradition all together, what reason do they have to concern themselves with its practices?

Additionally, this secrecy maintains the authenticity of the rituals, and also the integrity of the initiating line back to the Tradition’s founder. Thus, the rituals cannot be altered or misused, and only those experienced in the Tradition’s Mysteries can go on to teach them to others.

As far as participants’ identities go, that’s fairly self-explanatory on one level; “outing” someone as a Witch is not something taken lightly, regardless of where one counts one’s self on the spectrum Wicca has become. But there is another level to it, in that Wiccans tend keep their lineage oathbound as well. One’s lineage is the line of initiating High Priestesses that leads from one initiate back to the founder of the Tradition, be they Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders, etc.

And lastly, the tools used and the other, non-ritual contents of the Book of Shadows (BoS) are oathbound because they are related to the specifics of Wiccan practice and experience, and so revealing them can take away from those elements, just as describing pivotal scenes from a movie can taint the enjoyment of the whole thing.

These levels of secrecy and occultism (where “occult” takes on its more accurate meaning of “hidden or secret; to be known only by the initiated”) are a stumbling block to some Neo-Wiccans; they cannot fathom the reasons other than to make Wiccans feel special or better somehow, but as illustrated above, there are very real and important reasons.

Some folks though cannot find it in themselves to abide by these guidelines, but still feel the desire to walk a similar path. Partly because of this, Neo-Wicca and its policy of openness and universality were born. Neo-Wiccans are free to follow any and all God forms that may call or appeal to them, regardless of cultural or religious origin. Neo-Wiccans are also more prone to share their ritual scripts and spells with others. Some even post the entirety of their BoSs online or otherwise make it available for public consumption, such as through published books, which then are a large part of Neo-Wiccan learning materials.

Conversely, learning Wicca involves a specified path that utilizes the repetition of form to facilitate function; the actual movements and words are the same at each ritual, however it is the experience that differs and is truly the most important. This is an orthopraxic approach, that of correct practices leading to Divine experience, rather than orthodoxic, that of correct belief.

While many of us have come to associate “orthodox” with meaning oppressive or outdated and referring specifically to Christianity as often as not, if one simply takes the word at its face value, then Neo-Wicca is in fact an orthodox practice; as long as one believes the “right” things, then one is Neo-Wiccan and then can practice it in whatever fashion one desires.

But what are the “right” beliefs? Is it the duality and balance of God and Goddess? Not according to those called Dianic Wiccans, who hold the Goddess superior to the God, if He is even recognized at all. Additionally, as stated before, Wiccan God names are specific to each Tradition and oathbound, so by default Neo-Wiccans do not and cannot honor the God and Goddess by those same identities, so neither does “right belief“ include the specific Deity forms.

Is it then following the Wiccan Rede? That’s not it either, since there are practitioners out there who discard the Rede all together and still lay claim to the “Wiccan title” (and yes, I’m aware that “rede” means “counsel or advice” and not “commandment, ” but I’ve yet to encounter a Wiccan who thinks its irrelevant).

What about celebrating the Sabbats? Well, okay, almost anyone along the Wicca/Neo-Wicca spectrum can agree that these eight points of the year are important, but what’s not agreed on is how one celebrates them, or even what they’re called (as far as I can tell, only Samhain, Yule, and Beltane are universally used names, the rest can vary). In some cases, the dates are even in dispute, since there are those who figure the Greater Sabbats relative to the Lesser Sabbats each year, marking them as the precise midpoints between the astronomical Solstices and Equinoxes rather than the “fixed” dates of the common calendar.

This final point segues nicely into another striking difference, that of ritual form and elements. Not all Neo-Wiccans cast a Circle in the same way nor include all the same components as others (in some cases, even the rituals for the same event differ each time they are performed) , and being that Wiccan ritual structure is oathbound, one can infer that Neo-Wiccan rituals bear little, if any, resemblance to their Traditional counterparts. If Wicca and Neo-Wicca was indeed the same thing, wouldn’t we all use the same rituals, honoring the same God forms in the same ways?

Wiccans also contend that only a Wiccan can make another Wiccan, that one cannot enter Wicca without someone to teach and guide them. A popular Neo-Wiccan counter to this comes from Scott Cunningham, and is something along the lines of, “but who made the first Wiccan? The God and Goddess. So who are we to be so bold and presumptuous as to usurp and appropriate Their power? Who has the real power to make a Wiccan?”

I can agree to a certain extent; the Wiccan Gods are responsible, to a degree, for Wicca’s existence, in that They provided the original inspiration, need, and desire for a way to honor Them. However, I also believe They intended for things to be done in just that way, else why would They have put the idea in a human mind? Why the need for rituals at all, if any way one honors them is acceptable?

Let me clarify – when I say “the Wiccan Gods, ” I mean those names, faces, forms, aspects, and attributes that are oathbound and specific to the Traditions of Wicca. If Gods other than those have different desires and requirements, then so be it, but then They are not the Gods of Wicca, and therefore need not be honored in the Wiccan way.

The Wiccan way is one practiced by humans to reach out to and commune with the Wiccan Gods, and therefore only one who knows that way can teach that way. A dentist, while a medical professional, cannot teach someone to perform open-heart surgery. So it follows that someone inexperienced in the Wiccan Mysteries, regardless of any other gnosis, knowledge, and experience they may have gained, cannot teach them to anyone.

To add to this, in Wicca the initiating High Priest and High Priestess are seen as representations and “substitutes, ” if you will, of the God and Goddess on this material plane. They are infused with Divine Will and Power at the time of initiation (and in all other rites), so in the realism of non-duality, it IS the God and Goddess who are making new Wiccans, not “merely” other humans. However, the HP and HPS are specifically chosen and trained to perform these duties using the structure and methods of their Tradition.

A Neo-Wiccan, or anyone else who is not HP or HPS even if he/she is a Wiccan initiate, has no such training, and so cannot perform an initiation rite as the representative of the Wiccan Gods.

Clearly there is great disparity between not only practice, but also belief, between those called Wiccans and Neo-Wiccans. All this points to Neo-Wicca being an outgrowth of Wicca, rather than a continuation of it, much like Buddhism was an outgrowth of Hinduism. Buddhism and Hinduism both include the ideas of Karma, Dharma, and Samsara, Yantras, etc., but they differ on the nature and application of these ideas.

Buddhists do not recognize a pantheon of Gods in the way Hindus do, and also do not perform elaborate rituals. The two paths do have commonalities, but are distinct and separate belief systems. It would be improper, inaccurate, and doing a disservice to both paths if one was to say they are the same.

This can also be applied to Wicca and Neo-Wicca; Wicca recognizes a specific set of Gods, while Neo-Wicca does not. Wicca includes much formality and formulary in its rituals, which is not necessarily true of Neo-Wicca. They are related practices, one springing from the other, but they are fundamentally different, and it is improper, inaccurate, and doing a disservice to both to try and say that they are the same.

Of course, it’s all very well and good for these kinds of things to be said by someone who prefers Wicca to Neo-Wicca, someone who is seeking to walk the Gardnerian path. I concede that it would be far more impacting and impressive had this article or one similar been written by a Neo-Wiccan, because there’d be less risk of accusations of elitism, or discrimination, or exclusion. If, however, any Neo-Wiccan found truth in what I’ve presented here, I encourage them to write a similar piece, putting the focus on their practices, revealing the value and beauty that perhaps stems from the differences, rather than in spite of them.

What are the benefits of Solitary work? How is self-study more fulfilling than working under another’s tutelage? How does the tapestry of cultures and customs enrich your practice; is the old adage, “student of many trades, master of none” inaccurate?

I’m not personally looking to be convinced, I’ve found my home and my path, but that kind of piece may go a long way to strengthening other Neo-Wiccans’ sense of identity and purpose. And anyone finding peace and feeling whole on their spiritual journey is a beautiful thing, regardless of what that path may be called.

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

A Word Abou Pet Passing Rituals

Pet Passing Rituals

I posted Silver RavenWolf’s Pet Rite today for a reason. The reason it was the first Rite as far as a beloved animal passing I had to do. I always had my family around me and they would do the Rite for my animals. I also watched them do their own.

The first time I had an animal pass on me, I was all by myself.  It was my first hybrid wolf dog, Rocky. He died with me holding him in my arms singing to him. I felt his Spirit leave but I wouldn’t let go of him. Finally I put him gently down and said my good-byes to him. After watching my mother, aunts, uncle, grandmother, I knew he needed a proper burial. I knew bits and pieces of the ritual but I didn’t know the whole thing. So I found Silver RavenWolf’s book and I used that exact passage when my first wolf passed on.

Since that time, I adapted that Rite to my needs and hopefully made it much more formal.

Mine differs quite a bit. Let’s take a look at it……

Before you arrive, the men will go and dig a final resting place for the animal. Then like Egyptians, we wrap the body up.. When the body is securely wrapped, it is solemnly transported to the grave site.

We now all have on our ritual attire. I am gathering up what was special to the animal in the refuge. If the animal was close to me, I will include something from me on the altar. I do gather up the same amount of candles, the mint, lavender, food and a purple sash. I put all this in my wicker basket, pull my hood up and we walk up to the grave in a silent procession.

When we reach the grave, the procession surround the burial site. I take my place at the altar. I arrange all the items on the altar. I proceed to light the candles. I light the mint. I do not light the lavender and you will see why in a moment.

Next, I ask the Goddess to guide this poor creature to a happier life. Let him/her be by the Goddess side continuously. Show him/her love, love they did not know on this plane. (If it is one of our personal animals that last part is changed.)

Now I walk over to the grave, I raise the lavender to the sky. I ask it to give this creature peace. Let them know nothing but peace from now on out, in the next plane and in his/her next life. My she/him reincarnate into a world of love and nothing but peace. I gently lay the lavender across the creature.

Next, I pick up the purple sash. I raise it to the sky. I ask for blessings of protection on this simple sash. I ask the sash protect the animal to he/she reaches the love and security of our Goddess. Then let the sash be a constant reminder that he/she is part of something bigger than all of us. He is a child of the Goddess. No more cruelty, no more mistreatment, just love and comfort. I then lay the sash across the animal’s chest.

I then return to the altar and ask anyone if they have any blessings they would like to send. If so, their blessings are said.

Afterwards it is time for the Rite to end. I pick up a clump of dirt and say,

“For the earth you came,

to the Earth you shall return.”

So Mote it be!

The others are now allowed to leave if they like. I stand solemnly at the head of the grave. I chant softly as the grave is filled in. Once the gave is filled in, I give a final blessing and the leave.

Personally I think the way we do the Rite is very beautiful and has a true meaning to it. The first Rite I gave you today was to inspire you the way it did me. You see now what kind of Rite we perform. Frankly it doesn’t even resemble Silver RavenWolf’s rite at all anymore.

I always tell you to use the spells and rituals found on this site as examples. Learn to write your own. See what a difference it makes. See how beautiful they can turn out.

Categories: Animal Guides/Totem Animals, Articles | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simple Passing Ceremony for a Pet

Simple Passing Ceremony for a Pet

Supplies:

One purple candle, holy water, Oreo cookie, one favored pet toy, stalks of fresh mint. NOTE: Purple is the color associated with the dead. The Orea cookie, with its white and black coloring stands for the darkness before the Fire Mother and the Light of Spirit. (It also happened to be my pet’s favorite food). Mint is used to banish negative energy as well as provide protection for the spirit of the deceased during his or her journey to the Summerland.

Instructions: Band the stalks of the mint together with string or a rubber band. Lightly crush the mint, once, in your hand. Dip the leaves in the holy water and sprinkle over the altar, then sprinkle around the area in a clockwise direction. Return to the altar. Sprinkle the candle (avoiding the wick). Hold the candle in your hands and close your eyes. Think of your pet being happy in an environment that he is or she loved. In your mind, surround your pet with favorite toys and food. Know that your pet is safe and in the arms of the Goddess and God. Focus loving energy into the candle. Take a deep breath, relax and open your eyes. Place the candle back on the altar and light, saying:

 

“I love you and I release you to the happy,

loving place where Your Spirit belongs.”

 

Allow the candle to burn completely out. Bury mint, candle end, food, and toy on your property, or place on the grave.

The day after you pet has passed away, you may not feel so good physically, which is to be expected.

Excerpt from:

“Rite of Passage”
The Ultimate Book of Shadows
for the New Generation
Solitary Witch
by Silver RavenWolf
Categories: Animal Guides/Totem Animals, Articles | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death And The Witch {Part 2 – Ceremony of Remembrance To Follow}

Death And The Witch

{Part 2 – Ceremony of Remembrance To Follow}

 

Witches believe that when a person or pet passes away, they still have the ability to hear you and be with you. This doesn’t mean they are “stuck” and can’t go on, it just means that Spirit provides the deceased with the ability of lending love and support to those who are still living until they realize in their hearts that death is not the final chapter, only a new one. Most Witches believe that once the deceased individual has given some type of farewell, the spirit of the person goes to a truly wonderful place beyond our realms of understanding called the Summerland. In the Summerland we grow strong again, review what we did in the last life, learn new things, and choose (or not) to return to the Earth plane once again. This belief is called reincarnation, where we are born, live, die and are born again — the sacred cycle of life and death.

When dealing with death, the people left behind need some type of closure, especially if the death was a sudden one. It is thought by some that there is a resting time from death until the person is able to communicate with you, and for some this time will be longer than others. The condition of your emotions also has a lot to do with their ability to communicate with you. If you are extremely upset, or believe that dead is dead is dead, with no hope of message, then

they may not be able to go through for quite a

while

The American public does not deal well with death, although we watch gaint-screen movies of murder and mayhem, read mystery books by the truckload, and never miss America’ Most Wanted. When it comes into our own back yard, however, we seem to be at a loss as to what to do. Some Wiccans have ancestral altars or shrines where they honor deceased friends and relative on a regular basis. Mine is a shelf on my desk that contain several photographs.

Wicca is a religion of freedom and you will find this is our funerary rites and crossing rituals. There is no specific way to conduct either. And where other religions require the wearing of black, Wiccans normally wear white which means that we honor Spirit and we honor the new birth of the individual whose has passed away.

Although the funeral and the crossing can be the same thing, they can also be separate ceremonies. The funeral is conducted for the grief of the living and the crossing is done to ensure that the loved ones find their way safely to the other side of the veil. The reason for separate ceremonies, sadly, is that although the deceased may be Wiccan, his or her family may follow a different faith and insist on doing it their way. When this occurs, the crossing is a separate matter done by coven members or close friends who had no problem with the faith of the Witch. Sometimes Wiccans are buried with their measure taken at the time of initiation, the original candle ends from that ceremony, and a few of their favorite tools.

Crossings are also done in honor.

Excerpt from:

“Rite of Passage”
The Ultimate Book of Shadows
for the New Generation
Solitary Witch
by Silver RavenWolf
Categories: Wicca, Witchcraft | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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