Posts Tagged With: Wiccan Rede

Wizardry and Enchantments on Samhain/Halloween

Wizardry and Enchantments on Samhain/Halloween

 

Halloween is not only a night for contacting spirits, divination, and revelry. For witches throughout the world it is also a time for conjuring, spellcasting, and brewing up the finest of potions.

Magick that inspires love, connects a witch with the spirit world, or works like a magnet to attract good luck is traditionally practiced at this time of year. Since ancient times, there have existed three basic types of magick that witches and other practitioners of the magickal arts have utilized. They are known as imitative, contagious, and sympathetic.

Imitative magick dates back to prehistoric Europe, and is based on the primitive belief that the act of painting or drawing a picture of something happening will actually cause it to manifest. It is believed that many of the pictures painted on the walls of caves over twenty thousand years ago were created for magickal purposes. For instance, a painting of a hunter spearing his four-legged game would have served to magickally empower the hunter whom the painting depicted.

Contagious magick uses various items belonging to the person to whom the spell is directed. Such items commonly include, but are in no way limited to, an article of worn clothing, a lock of hair, and fingernail clippings. Historically, contagious magick has been used in both the arts of love enchantment and the casting of hexes on enemies.

Sympathetic magick, also known as image magick, is a popular form of magick that operates on the basic principle that “like attracts like.” It is common among those who practice Voodoo, African tribal magick, and Hoodoo folk magick. The sticking of pins into a Voodoo doll to bring pain or death to the person whom the doll represents is one example of the darker side of sympathetic magick. Although the use of Voodoo dolls is generally uncommon among practitioners of the Craft, many modern witches have been known to employ special herb-stuffed cloth dolls known as “poppets” in their healing rituals and amatory enchantments. However, sorcery (also known as Black Magick) and the spreading of negative energy to harm others, gain revenge, or satisfy selfish desires is not what Halloween is about.

The majority of modern witches adhere to a simple and benevolent moral code known as the Rede (or Wiccan Rede), which is as follows: “An’ it harm none, do what thou wilt.” The exact origin of the Rede is somewhat of a mystery; however, some writers have suggested that it is the witches’ version of the Christian’s “Golden Rule.” Its meaning is basically this: Be free to do, either magickally or mundanely, what your heart tells you is the correct thing to do as long as your actions bring harm to none. Most witches believe that if they work any form of magick that is contradictory to the Rede, bad karma (threefold or greater) will return to haunt him or her sooner or later.

 

 

Witch’s Halloween: A Complete Guide to the Magick, Incantations, Recipes, Spells, and Lore
Gerina Dunwich
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Lessons Learned from Self-Teaching and from Teaching Others

Lessons Learned from Self-Teaching and from Teaching Others

Author: Trey Justice

I’m writing this article in response to the current topic of teaching and learning in our community. I have always been and still consider myself a solitary Wiccan. Despite my solitary status, I have participated in group teaching/lessons, group ritual, group exercise, and a few years ago, taught a person new to Wicca and helped guide her on her own solitary path. I am currently a member of a Wiccan/Pagan study group.

I have learned a few lessons from my experiences and am sharing them to, at the very least, make at least one person’s spiritual path a little easier. I’ll start with lessons I learned for myself and then discuss lessons I’ve learned from teaching others. I think that lessons from both can be equally applied to both situations.

Lessons from Self-Teaching

1. Read a lot. Read as many books as you can get your hands on. Read books from different publishers. Read different authors. Try to find books written in the beginning of the Witchcraft revival. Try reading a mixture of several books BEFORE beginning any type of magickal or ritual work. No matter how experienced you are, you can always still learn and it’s just waiting for you to get involved!

2. Learn and understand history and geography. In my case, the preference was for northern Europe before and during early Christianity. This will help you later with mythology, the history of the Craft, and God/Goddess studies.

3. Learn to meditate and visualize. Practice! Continue to practice even long after “you’ve got it”.

4. Question yourself and examine your motivations/knowledge. Always.

5. Keep an open mind and eye to other religions. They all contribute to your understanding of your path and yourself.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself or others unpopular questions or questions that will cause doubt or confusion in your understanding of Wicca. You need to examine the path you’re on from as many angles as possible. This can only be done by examination and searching.

7. Don’t be afraid of admitting you’re wrong or ignorant on a topic. There’s no shame in admitting that you don’t know everything. Accept all information from as many sources as possible. In time, you will be experienced enough to sort out what is right, what is wrong, and what is just plain crap.

8. Be honest with yourself and your intentions long before thinking of self-dedication or self initiation. You should have a very solid understanding of Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism, and Magick before embarking on your path as a “full fledged” Witch.

9. When choosing books, always try to find those done by actual scholars and historians. Anyone can write a book. Not anyone can write a book with decent material AND sources for information. Go for academics, not fluff to make you feel good.

10. Try to study early Christianity as much as possible. This will shed light on information about the history of Witchcraft, Paganism, and how things came to be. Medieval history and Roman history are good sources that offer insight into Celtic and Teutonic history/paganism as well.

11. When conducting ritual or casting magick, start out small. Focus on the basics and essentials. You can always build up on that at your leisure. And of course, remember the Wiccan Rede and Three Fold Law.

12. There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

13. I do recommend finding and meeting other Witches and Pagans. I’m not necessarily talking about teacher/student relationships. It’s good to meet others because it will reaffirm that, at the very least, you’re not alone, and by talking to others, you learn automatically and will gain new insights into the path that you’ve chosen. It’s always good to make new friends as well.

Lessons from Teaching Others

1. My first biggest lesson was to examine myself as to WHY I wanted to teach, and in turn, I had to deal with the responsibility of teaching someone else. I didn’t want to teach for glory, ego, reputation, fame, money, sex, etc. I wanted to give something back to the community for all that I have learned; I wanted to contribute to the greater whole, I wanted to give to and strengthen our community. I still forced myself to examine my intentions as to what I knew, why I thought I could be a teacher, and what I would be getting out of this. You need to ask yourself some hard questions before even beginning to teach. At first glance, you might have good intentions, but if your ultimate goal in teaching another is for selfish reasons, you probably shouldn’t be teaching. Remember the Three Fold Law and Wiccan Rede. Teaching from a wrong reason/desire/position on your part is just wrong.

2. It’s very important to know yourself and to know what it is that you actually know. It’s very important to know what it is you can actually offer someone as a teacher. I began teaching AFTER several years of self-study (tons of books AND discussions with others), group study, group/individual ritual, and personal experiences on the path. I would not have been in a position to teach prior to all of that and I recognized that in myself.

Don’t think that reading one or two books or “dabbling” in ritual is sufficient. You have to have mastered the fundamentals (core beliefs and concepts) long ago. Ritual should be easy and natural for you. You have to use critical thinking skills to rationally understand, explain, teach, and defend your beliefs and knowledge. You need to get out in the Pagan world before taking the mantle of “teacher”. If you don’t have the credentials- and I’m not talking about a degree system or prior coven initiation- you shouldn’t be teaching.

Remember, your student must leave the training better educated and equipped to walk on their path than what they were before the training began. Teaching is designed to IMPROVE someone’s knowledge, skills, and abilities.

3. Another lesson that I mentioned earlier was responsibility. You have to be responsible enough to honestly examine yourself and what you have to offer. If you don’t have what is needed to give another, then be responsible and don’t give. It’s also important to be responsible in the knowledge that you give. Don’t just mention the Wiccan Rede and Three Fold Law in two sentences and then walk away from the topic forever. You are responsible for explaining, in its entirety, the topics that you are teaching. Don’t give them lip service. You have to examine them, you have to examine them with your student, and you have to discuss the ramifications of what you’ve gone over. No matter the topic, you must thoroughly understand it and then present it with all angles for the student. One of the greater failures in a teacher is to “under teach” a topic and leave the student still ignorant of what was taught. You’re supposed to teach, not to confuse, or create ignorance.

Look at it this way: you are taking it upon yourself to help someone who wishes to walk the path of the Lord and Lady. If you don’t do a good, thorough job of teaching that person, have you caused more harm than good in the end? Have you helped someone truly understand and appreciate the God and Goddess? Have you helped the community by releasing someone who is ignorant of the path into that very community, or the “outside” community? Be responsible in your preparation and execution of teaching. Your student and community deserve nothing less.

4. This might sound stupid or redundant, but my student and I agreed up front on what our relationship was and what it would not be. Learning, living, and practicing on the path of the Lord and Lady with someone else forms a close, personal relationship. I wanted to make it clear that romantic love, sex, and relationships were NOT a part of what we were doing. I was the teacher, she was the student. In time we became close friends, but that relationship should be clearly defined up front and should be adhered to. I gave her personal references if she wanted to “check up on me” before the teaching began.

5. My student and I agreed on the length of time the entire teaching would take place — we used the traditional year and a day for our training period. We agreed to meet at least once a week and agreed to religiously (pardon the pun) stick to our schedule. Nothing kills the teaching/learning experience more than excessive absenteeism. Regular sessions reinforce what was learned before and keep the topic “fresh” in our minds. Make a regular schedule and keep to it. That’s not to say that you can change days for special events (ritual, Sabbats, etc.) but you must maintain a regular habit of teaching and learning.

6. Before I began to teach, I had to examine and determine what to teach and when. This included which books to use, and I had my student get the same books. I created a syllabus of topics and general dates. I listed the books that we would use to learn.

I broke the overall training topics into: General Information (an introduction if you will); Construction of a Book of Shadows (this BoS was constructed by the student and expanded throughout the entire training cycle); History of Wicca/Witchcraft (included were geography and northern European history); Core Beliefs; Laws/Rules (including discussions of morality and other issues relating to the Wiccan Rede, Three Fold Law, etc.); Cycle of Life (the Sabbats/Esbats); Meditation/Visualization; Goddess Studies; God Studies; Celtic Mythology; Norse/Teutonic Mythology; Magick; Ritual; and a Final Test. I also broke the topics/aspects/subjects up into smaller sub-topics. This way, I could thoroughly go over and teach each one in detail.

By breaking up the entirety of what I would teach into smaller portions, we were better able to both teach and learn by focusing on the subject at hand. It’s easier to digest a little here and there without throwing it all together in some vast melting pot. There’s a lot to Wicca. You can’t teach or learn it all in one day. You wouldn’t be fair or honest to yourself if you did.

7. Throughout the entire training cycle, I had tests for reviewing what was learned to ensure that we weren’t leaving a topic under examined or incompletely explained. I also ended up going over each Sabbat in detail prior to the actual Sabbat. I gave a copy of the syllabus to the student and we made every effort to stick to is as much as possible.

8. At the beginning of each training session, we would go over questions my student had from the previous session. This included questions that came up through self-study on her part. I would answer questions throughout the session (I encourage them!) and would answer questions at the end of the session. Demand that your student asks questions.

9. Personally, go over your training materials and subject in detail days before the class/session begins. Go over the material again right before class. You should have your act together before actually teaching. There’s no shame in having to refresh yourself on something that you are already very familiar with. Be as prepared as possible; your student deserves no less.

10. I focused on the academics before the practice. It was important to get the essentials fully understood before conducting magick and ritual. For me, this is because I see Wicca as a religion, not just “another method” of conducting magick. Our mind, heart, and soul must be in the right place before creating spells and playing with energy. My opinion, but I kept to it.

11. I had my student write essays, write out answers to questions, conduct exercises, and actually conduct ritual on her own. I used the building block technique, in that we started out with the core concepts and worked our way up the cycle piece by piece. We rehearsed ritual often and I routinely tested her on magick/ritual tools. I gave both scheduled and non-scheduled tests to find out what material had been learned sufficiently and what wasn’t still understood.

12. Near the end of the entire training cycle, we began to attend group ritual in order to expose my student to that aspect of the path and to introduce her to the community at large. It was important for my student to be exposed to others and their thoughts/ideas, as opposed to only getting information from me. I routinely told her that I was one person with my own opinions and that she should meet and talk with others to complement her education.

13. I taught my student about my experiences as a solitary and taught her my lessons in self-study. I encouraged my student to continue her studies on her own in addition to what I was teaching. I also encouraged my student to meet with others and talk to them about the path.

14. I learned more of the path that I walk by teaching. That lesson shouldn’t have been such a big surprise, but it was. By having to explain and teach Wicca, I have learned of it from an angle that was previously denied to me. I am very thankful of the experience for being able to appreciate and understand my path in more detail.

Hopefully, the lessons I learned will be of help to you in the future. Blessed Be.

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Some Thoughts on Ethics and the Wiccan Rede

Some Thoughts on Ethics and the Wiccan Rede

Author: Lark   

Let me say unequivocally that ethics is not some arcane and boring subject that we study in school and promptly forget as soon as we walk out the door. Ethics is the way we honor the Divine in ourselves and in others. It is a way of behaving that is at the core of our beliefs and the basis for how we choose to live our lives. You can call it by many names; good manners, the Ten Commandments, The Golden Rule, the Wiccan Rede…all are essentially a way of describing the same thing. Without ethics, civilization as we know it would cease to exist. Without them, we would lose the connection to the Divine that we treasure.

Let us look at the Wiccan Rede. “An it harm none, do as ye will.” It is a simple and elegant rule on the surface. But people tie themselves in all sorts of knots trying to live according to its precepts.

First, and most importantly, the Rede is generally misinterpreted, and from this misinterpretation all sorts of problems arise. Taking all of the archaic language out of the Rede, what it is really saying is that any action which does not cause harm to yourself or to others is OK to do. In most of the Wiccan community, however, this meaning has been stood on its head and stated as any action which MIGHT cause harm to another is not acceptable. These are very, very different rules of ethical behavior. And herein lies the problem; because the second interpretation is impossible to fulfill.

The common misinterpretation of the Rede says we must harm NONE…no exceptions, no excuses…no harm to the Earth, our fellow creatures, the people around us, or to ourselves. Is this possible? No, of course it is not. We are living beings who require the resources of our planet to survive and to maintain ourselves. Unless you have learned a way to live on air and sunshine, you must cause the death of other living beings in order to eat. We build our homes out of trees sacrificed to provide us shelter. If we get the job we wanted, it means that someone else did not. By the standard interpretation of the Rede, we should have neither food, nor fuel, no electricity, nor shelter, nor even modern medicines because each of these involves causing harm in some form or another.

By the standard interpretation of the Rede, harming someone in your own self-defense is a violation of the Rede. Yet you would also violate it by allowing harm to come to yourself or to another through your lack of action. No one who is a policeman or a soldier could be a Wiccan as well..at least according to the generally accepted interpretation of the Rede; yet both are necessary for our society to survive. Is this reasonable?

When we first come to the Wiccan path and we are taught the usual interpretation of the Rede, it sounds so simple and clear-cut. And then we start seeing the inconsistencies…and we start rationalizing to make the Rede fit situation it was never meant to fit. We may begin to say that the Rede only applies within a cast circle or in regards to magical workings. Or perhaps we come to look at the Rede as a quaint piece of doggerel which really is meaningless. And when we do that, we leave ourselves without an ethical framework on which to build our beliefs on right living.

So, let us go back to the first interpretation; that any action which does not cause harm is OK to do. That is simple, straightforward, and fairly easy to live by.

But what about actions that may cause harm? The Rede says nothing of these. It leaves us to make the judgment on our own as to whether we want to pursue a course of action or not. What this involves is considering each decision you make very carefully before you commit yourself to a course of action. You do this by looking at all the possible consequences of that action and whether that will cause harm to any, choosing the path that causes the least harm and (THIS IS THE KEY) accepting the responsibility for the consequences of your actions whether intentional or unintentional. That is what our religion is all about PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. You can’t stand before the Gods saying, “I didn’t mean…”, or “I didn’t think…”, or “the Devil made me do it”…it won’t wash! Your answer MUST BE, “I chose to do this”. And if you did it, it’s all yours to deal with. OUCH! That can be pretty uncomfortable to face up to. We all like to shift the blame away from ourselves. But taking the difficult path is the way to spiritual growth.

And here is another hard pill to swallow. If you take a course of action which you felt initially (or which you managed to convince yourself) would not cause any harm…and harm does come of it, you are still responsible for the consequences. Part of that responsibility then becomes trying to make right the harm which you inadvertently caused. We all make mistakes, we are after all only human. But being willing to acknowledge our mistakes and repair the harm we caused brings us closer to becoming one with the Divine.

We are also taught early in our spiritual journey as Wiccans about the Three-Fold Law, that whatever we do for good or ill returns to us three-fold. . And again it becomes a concept rife with misunderstanding and misinterpretations. We behave because we are afraid of being smacked with the Karmic paddle. Being good little Witches because we fear punishment if we break the rules does not make ethical beings, just clever ones. There is no Karmic scorekeeper out there keeping a list of who’s been naughty or nice. There is no Divine retribution, or something like the Christian Hell for violations on the Rede. What the Three-Fold Law is telling us is choices of action have consequences for which we alone are responsible. And if our choices are consistently negative or harmful towards others, then the energy which tends to return to us will also be negative and harmful. To live our lives full of anger, guilt, and negative thoughts can lead to both physical and mental illness right here in this lifetime. In effect, we become the tools of our own Karma. So, what kind of energy would you like to wake up and find on your doorstep one morning??

Ours is a religion of personal responsibility, not a religion if rules and strictures. This is both a liberating and an extremely difficult path to follow. The biggest obstacle to living rightly is ourselves. For man is not so much a rational being as a rationalizing being. We are often apt to confuse WANT with NEED. We mistake that which will bring us happiness. We pretend that a course of action will not bring any harm, when we truly know otherwise. And out of these wrong choices we cause great harm and evil in the world. In other faiths you might chuckle to think that you broke a rule and no one saw. You might feel that you had successfully gotten away with something, or you might have managed to make excuses, to put the blame on someone else. Wicca does not allow you that freedom. In Wicca, you and only you are responsible for your choices. And you, and only you will stand before the Gods to make answer for your deeds.

Lark

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Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

By , About.com

 

Question: Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

I read a book on Wicca that says “all Wiccans must do this and never do that,” and then I read another one that said Pagans can make their own rules. Some people believe in the Threefold Law, and others don’t. Others say that the Wiccan Rede is only for Wiccans but not other Pagans. What’s going on here? Are there rules in Pagan religions like Wicca, or not?

 

Answer:

The word “rules” can be a puzzling one, because while there are guidelines, they do tend to vary from one tradition to another. In general, most Pagans – including Wiccans – follow some set of rules that is unique to their own tradition – however, it’s important to note that these standards are not universal. In other words, what Group A holds true as law cannot be applied towards Group B.

The Wiccan Rede

Many groups, particularly NeoWiccan ones, follow one form or another of the Wiccan Rede, which says, “An’ it harm none, do as you will.” This means that you can’t intentionally or knowingly cause harm to another person. Because there are so many different forms of Wicca, there are dozens of different interpretations of the Rede. Some people believe it means you can’t hunt or eat meat, join the military, or even swear at the guy who took your parking spot. Others interpret it a bit more liberally, and some believe that the rule of “harm none” doesn’t apply to self-defense.

The Rule of Three

Many traditions of Paganism, including most variations of Wicca, believe in the Law of Threefold Return. This is essentially a karmic payback – anything you do comes back to you three times more intensely. If good attracts good, then guess what bad behavior brings you?

The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

In the 1970s, a group of witches decided to assemble a cohesive set of rules for modern witches to follow. Seventy or so individuals from a variety of magical backgrounds and traditions got together and formed a group called the American Council of Witches, although depending on who you ask, they are sometimes called the Council of American Witches. At any rate, this group decided to try to assemble a list of common principles and guidelines that the entire magical community could follow. These principles are not adhered to by everyone, but are often used as a template in many sets of coven mandates.

The Ardanes

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. Today, these guidelines are followed by some traditional Gardnerian covens, but are not often found in other NeoWiccan groups.

Coven Bylaws

In many traditions, each coven is responsible for establishing its own set of bylaws or mandates. Bylaws may be created by a High Priestess or High Priest, or they may be written by a committee, depending on the rules of the tradition. Bylaws provide a sense of continuity for all members. They typically cover things like standards of behavior, principles of the tradition, guidelines for acceptable use of magic, and an agreement from members to abide by those rules. Again, these are rules which are applied to the group that creates them, but should not be held as a standard for people outside of this tradition.

Personal Responsibility

Finally, keep in mind that your own sense of magical ethics should be a guideline to you as well – particularly if you’re a solitary practitioner who doesn’t have the history of a tradition to follow back on. You can’t enforce your rules and ethics on other people, though — they have their own set of laws to follow, and those may be different from your own. Remember, there’s no Big Pagan Council that sits and writes you a Bad Karma Ticket when you do something wrong. Pagans are big on the concept of personal responsibility, so ultimately it’s up to you to police your own behavior, accept the consequences of your own actions, and live by your own ethical standards.

 

 

 

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The Power of Words

The Power of Words

Author: Kestryl Angell 

Recently, it is all over the news where celebrities are being “caught with their pants down” over racial slurs, backbiting remarks against each other, tearing at the fabric of the illusion of the “Peaceful American Community” that Hollywood is supposed to be so integral a part of creating in the framework of our society. Even within pagan communities themselves, a place where many claim to have found the first bit of peace in their spirit in their entire lives up to the point of their discovery of paganism grow more and more rife with stories of people that have, in their own way, attempted to serve their community and been shunned due to human mistakes or misunderstandings. America’s illusion says that Americans are supposed to be Keepers of the Peace.

But Americans, and in many cases humans in general it seems, have forgotten that there is Power in words.

I was trained in classical music from a very young age. Because of this training, my ears have been fine tuned to hear tone before I even hear actual words. As well, I have come to understand over the years the reasons why the Celts, the Native Americans and so many other cultures taught their deepest and most spiritual lessons to rhythm, dance and in rhyme. The cadence, the effect on the body, mind, heart and spirit, the effect on the chakras…all attribute pieces of the beautiful stained glass window of reality that is the Power of Words.

Everyone has had the experience, in or out of Circle, of feeling truly and deeply moved to their deepest self by a piece of music or poetry. The way a High Priest or High Priestess speaks a lesson, their tone and manner focused totally on opening the hearts and minds of their students that sets that lesson forever in the mind of those attending them or the way a Shaman or Medicine Man or Woman guides their patient through a Journey or necessary healing process to the rhythm of a Medicine drum, all are designed to not only speak the lesson, tell the journey…but to set it indelibly into the brain and memory so that we do not forget.

In the day and age when it was still dangerous to know the legal names of coven mates, knowing a single word—a name—could mean death and the end of entire family lines, no matter what guilt or innocence was the truth of their existence or beliefs.

Do you, as a magickal person, honestly believe that there was not a time when Words of Power were used far more frequently than they are now? Do you honestly believe that science fiction is the only place where something like Frank Herbert’s concept of the Voice, held in his works in the Dune series…where single syllables could be used to shatter bone, burst organs, bring down entire cities? If you truly believe this, look at the way that the cruelty of words spoken in haste can shatter families, permanently scar minds, hearts, souls and weigh heavily on our Karmic scale in the long run.

If we truly know that words have Power, this means that we must consider more carefully how we speak to and of each other. This is not to say that we should become completely unrealistic in the “sunshine” we spout, but rather we should speak the best reality we may into being.

Rather than simply wishing each other “Happy Holidays” a holiday season or wishing for “world peace, ” why not truly speak with clarity and vision the positives you see possible in this world. Instead of finding fault with a child’s grades or social performance, teach them pride enough in themselves, their families and their community that such things wouldn’t even occur to them as long as they have the academic support their personal learning curve requires.

Instead of “preaching” our faith or hearing only “preaching” in other’s words about their faith and beliefs this time of year, why not listen with compassion in your ears and find the commonalities with your own, sharing those with a smile and a warm heart (Merry Meet, Merry Part, Bright the Cheeks and Warm the Heart—from the long Wiccan Rede, sound familiar?)

When we speak of our faith, speak of what we ourselves practice—not just the history of those that died for our faith. Speak the beauty, not just the once-mysteries and mythologies. Speak the usefulness, the daily contact with Deity, the ways that the Universe reflects Its Infinite Wisdom and Complex Simplicity to you as an individual every single day, instead of finding the reasons to nit-pick your neighbors or their lives to death or place personal judgment on other’s lives for reasons of pride, ego or simple human differences of opinion.

Spend less time finding fault and more time finding blessings—no matter how small or unlikely the arrival or package they come in. Spend less time speaking poison, thus poisoning your own heart and spirit and drawing the same to yourself in the process—if you live by the Law of Three or other like law of balance in your system of beliefs. Sing praises over your own life and accomplishments instead of doubt that you’ll ever truly “get there.” Find places to smile each day instead of facing a list of stresses and duties alone with a sense of dread in your heart, mind and voice.

If your faith does not make your spirit smile enough to share something of its Light with the world around you, then my friend, you need some work on you first—and like the Christian Bible says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged” and “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

No man or woman is above another on the scale of the Universe—but all are on various levels of the spiral, all learning, all growing, all paying debts and moving up and either fast or slow, they are finding ways to make themselves and their world better. Some are just a bit further along in the process than others and those are our treasured teachers and Elders. Yet, all in life truly have something to teach if only you are brave enough to listen to the lesson when the package it comes in doesn’t seem pleasing to your senses at first glance.

Just as many mythologies tell stories of Gods and Goddesses taking the form of injured animals or ugly or deformed creatures to teach lessons to the ones they were in the story with, so too does the Universe often scream our lessons in that tone of voice that makes us wish we were deaf on every level or put them in a package we find so distasteful we might not stick around for the lesson itself, no matter how sweetly delivered from the distasteful representation—it is often part of the test the God/dess gives us, one that we commonly fail.

However, if we are open to the lesson, even when it is yelled or screeched or even when it is in the simple deafening silence of darkness, the power of words remains a truth that cannot be denied. Therefore, it is necessary that we take responsibility for our use of this magick in a far more active way than many often choose to keep on their everyday mouth and perceptions. However, as aware and ethical magickal folk, it cannot be said too often that awareness is only the first step.

There is a large difference, when working through life issues, in sharing your experience and speaking poison over the hardships of your past. There is a difference between sharing positive information that you have to share and insisting another must use the information just as you have in their lives or practice or it will immediately invalidate the information in your eyes.

There is a difference in speaking an honest disagreement with an issue or person and defaming them out of bruised ego, hurt feelings or mistaken sense of prideful or righteous indignation. There is a difference in realizing that shadow must exist for light to have its balance point, but when something already has a momentum of its own, it is not always correct for us to “add our two cents worth” to the engines by pumping our own poison into the process.

Not if we take seriously the idea that we will eventually reap what we sow.

If you are aware that the words you say and how you say them are like seeds in soil and what you bring back to you is the harvest of those words, think about the words you speak in a day. Do you speak brightly, positively, encouragingly to the world and your reality and those in it? Or do you speak doubt into your every sentence?

In your attempt to be a “realist” have you become a “pessimist” instead? When ill or in pain, do you speak the truth of the pain or issue and truly seek help or do you play it up for attention and shun any real assistance?

When you bring up a difference of opinion with someone, do you bring it up or do you attack him or her with it and then expect him or her to “understand, because they are your friend” and then become upset when they do not react as you expect them to? Do you take responsibility for your own expectations?

All these are examples of the places where the power of words is often simply forgotten or conveniently passed up in favor of the more instant gratification of a snap decision or reaction. Being Children of the Light, attempting in some small human way to be reflections of our Gods and Goddesses, do we honestly think that our Deity would speak in the poisonous terms most human beings use on one another every single day? If you do not know what I am talking about, read a newspaper or watch the evening news or an episode of Jerry Springer.

Insults, invasion of privacy, making jokes of infirmity or life circumstances beyond the control of the center of the joke, finding joy in other’s pain or thinking peace comes out of war are all ways in which even the words themselves can show us they are not what will draw us the most positive ends if the magick of words is truly something we understand and choose to manifest in our every day lives.

Instead of arguing how horrible it is that places like Macy’s and Wal-Mart Corporation are “forbidding” the Happy Holidays greetings in stores in favor of using a strict “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy Easter”) policy, why not try something different?

Of course it’s horrible they are denying others their holidays as well in society and putting forward such a prevailing discriminatory front to their business, but do we really need to RE-state the obvious? Why not plant more positive seeds instead?

Try, through this and every holiday season to give the gift of using a voice of compassion, a voice of sharing, a voice of joy, wisdom, peace and beauty.

Just share the joys of all of the various holiday seasons as you pass others at home, at work, at the store. And even if it is only in a few words, delivered with a smile, you can share a bit of this magick that is the power of words simply by planting the seed with a voice that says, “Have a Happy Holiday, whatever yours may be.”

See what harvests come your way; you might just be pleasantly surprised.

Brightest Blessings!

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Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

By , About.com

 

Question: Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

I read a book on Wicca that says “all Wiccans must do this and never do that,” and then I read another one that said Pagans can make their own rules. Some people believe in the Threefold Law, and others don’t. Others say that the Wiccan Rede is only for Wiccans but not other Pagans. What’s going on here? Are there rules in Pagan religions like Wicca, or not?

 

Answer:

The word “rules” can be a puzzling one, because while there are guidelines, they do tend to vary from one tradition to another. In general, most Pagans – including Wiccans – follow some set of rules that is unique to their own tradition – however, it’s important to note that these standards are not universal. In other words, what Group A holds true as law cannot be applied towards Group B.

The Wiccan Rede

Many groups, particularly NeoWiccan ones, follow one form or another of the Wiccan Rede, which says, “An’ it harm none, do as you will.” This means that you can’t intentionally or knowingly cause harm to another person. Because there are so many different forms of Wicca, there are dozens of different interpretations of the Rede. Some people believe it means you can’t hunt or eat meat, join the military, or even swear at the guy who took your parking spot. Others interpret it a bit more liberally, and some believe that the rule of “harm none” doesn’t apply to self-defense.

The Rule of Three

Many traditions of Paganism, including most variations of Wicca, believe in the Law of Threefold Return. This is essentially a karmic payback – anything you do comes back to you three times more intensely. If good attracts good, then guess what bad behavior brings you?

The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

In the 1970s, a group of witches decided to assemble a cohesive set of rules for modern witches to follow. Seventy or so individuals from a variety of magical backgrounds and traditions got together and formed a group called the American Council of Witches, although depending on who you ask, they are sometimes called the Council of American Witches. At any rate, this group decided to try to assemble a list of common principles and guidelines that the entire magical community could follow. These principles are not adhered to by everyone, but are often used as a template in many sets of coven mandates.

The Ardanes

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. Today, these guidelines are followed by some traditional Gardnerian covens, but are not often found in other NeoWiccan groups.

Coven Bylaws

In many traditions, each coven is responsible for establishing its own set of bylaws or mandates. Bylaws may be created by a High Priestess or High Priest, or they may be written by a committee, depending on the rules of the tradition. Bylaws provide a sense of continuity for all members. They typically cover things like standards of behavior, principles of the tradition, guidelines for acceptable use of magic, and an agreement from members to abide by those rules. Again, these are rules which are applied to the group that creates them, but should not be held as a standard for people outside of this tradition.

Personal Responsibility

Finally, keep in mind that your own sense of magical ethics should be a guideline to you as well – particularly if you’re a solitary practitioner who doesn’t have the history of a tradition to follow back on. You can’t enforce your rules and ethics on other people, though — they have their own set of laws to follow, and those may be different from your own. Remember, there’s no Big Pagan Council that sits and writes you a Bad Karma Ticket when you do something wrong. Pagans are big on the concept of personal responsibility, so ultimately it’s up to you to police your own behavior, accept the consequences of your own actions, and live by your own ethical standards.

 

 

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Let’s Talk Witch – Using Our Five Senses in Magick

Witchy Comments & Graphics
Let’s Talk Witch – Using Our Five Senses in Magick

This is part 1 of a WOTC mini-series on the Five Senses Used in Magick

All material are taken from an excerpt by Marion Sipe’s article,
“Engaging All Five Senses in Spellwork” which can be found
in the Llewellyn’s Almanac for 2014.
 

Part 1 – Engaging All Five Senses in Spellwork

Spellwork is the practice of bringing the possible into reality whether the spells are for better health, a new job, or tastier garden tomatoes. All of these goals, and most others, work on the principle that the worker uses their own will to shape reality, and because of this, the worker uses their own will to shape reality, and because of this, the worker must be able to form a clear picture of the intended outcome. You can’t create what you can’t imagine so the more clearly the goal is identified, the more likely the desired outcome. Engaging all of our senses in spellwork can help us define that goal and give it aspects that appeal to our need to interact with something to prove to ourselves it is real. Additionally, sometimes we need to define goals that aren’t concrete, but rather involve abstractions such as emotions and memories. Such goals can be hard to represent, but by using our other senses, we can find representation for them, and manifest even the most abstract goals into reality.

While visualization is a much praised and important part of spellwork, each of our four other senses has the potential to connect us to our spellwork in deeper and more intense ways. Human beings are primarily visual creatures, but that does not mean that the visual sense is the strongest for everyone. Nor does it mean that our other senses have less to offer. Many of us already use cues for our other senses in ritual; a drumbeat or music in the background, incense in the Air, cakes and ale. However, we don’t always bring these elements into the spellwork itself. We can use smells, tastes, sounds, and textures in spellcraft to create a deeper link with the magick as well as a more complete representation of the desired result.

For instance, smells provide a powerful trigger for memory and emotion. As an example, you can improve a spell to relieve insomnia by using the smell of fresh linen, applying the scent to a small sachet tucked into your pillow. The scent becomes another part of the spell whether it’s the use of baby powder in a sachet meant to aid in fertility or using a vial of oil as the focus for a calm flying spell.

We can also use scents to bring a spell to mind again after the casting, strengthening the magick or its effect on you. Additionally, spells that you can taste can have a huge impact on the body, and make a great vehicle for workings such as health spells or other purposes involving the body. The sense of touch plays a large role in our interaction with others, but is also the medium through which we interact with and manipulate the world. When we think of something as material, we think of being able to touch it; therefore, giving a texture and feel to the goals of our spellwork lends a quality of realism that brings them closer to manifestation.

“Tomorrow we continue with this series by looking at how our sense of Smell works into our spellwork.”

 

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Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

Author:   Radko Vacek   

Here is the background story for the jackpot question! English folklore is a treasury of tales. Two of these are so old that they probably helped Jeoffrey Chaucer as a little boy (c. 1350) to develop his imagination to write The Canterbury Tales. Both folktales involve Witches. The one involves a Witch getting melted by water, which was incorporated into The Wizard of Oz. The second actually involves a Witch getting EATEN, by a little boy! Which Witch is she? For the jackpot, name that Witch! Tick-tick-tick- time’s up! Did you win? Check* at the end of this article!

I really did it this time! Here I am supposed to be a writer, and I make my entry as a game show host! Am I guilty of foolishness, rightly convicted to rejection?

No! I was guilty, but I CHOOSE to make myself innocent through the power of Witchcraft! As Witches, we can choose to do that, contrary to what Christians say. They say that the human condition is a coin which has the following two sides: 1) no matter what we ever do, never can we by our powers alone redeem our sins, and 2) no matter what we did, our souls can be saved, if we accept the love of God.

I say that whatever I did is irrelevant with respect to my status now, because I can choose to do this: to develop and use my power to magically transform my nature from weakness to strength, including in the moral sense from guilt to innocence. According to Christians, we are doomed to be sinners by our powerless nature, whereas we can exercise our power of choice to magically empower ourselves.

I agree with Christians up to this point: human nature strongly tends to be evil. The ideas of many prominent philosophers and writers over the ages were summarized by Dr. Sigmund Freud, in this statement in his book Civilization and Its Discontents: “Man is a savage beast”. First of all, man is an animal; it is impossible for any animal to ‘harm none’. No animal can make its own nutrients, as do plants in cooperation with the sun. All animals are in competition with one another to kill other life in order to sustain their own lives. Even so-called harmless hares are not, because they compete to kill plants to survive. Plants, although different from animals, are forms of life nonetheless.

In us, this harmfulness is especially pronounced through the powers of our human brains. The more powerful, the more dangerous, and this is especially important to us, empowered through choosing Witchcraft! We have a moral obligation to the world to abide 100% under ALL circumstances to the ideal of the Wiccan Rede, meaning always to avoid harming to the utmost limits of our capacities.

The vileness of our species is not limited to adults. In fact, it often is more pronounced in children. Many people love to sentimentally depict little children as little angels. Is that ever a joke! Generally, it is lucky that they don’t have the power coming with being big. In order to keep them under control, sometimes you must play the part of the wicked Witch of the West. How fascinating to note that Margaret Hamilton, who played her, started out teaching kindergarten! I bet she got practice for her most famous role with the little devils, nipping those horns at the buds. Young children have not developed their consciences enough to where they can nip those points themselves.

As we move on into our later childhoods and beyond, the conscience is nurtured into a more potent force, so that it starts to hurt our self-esteem to recognize ourselves as evil. This does not necessarily at all mean that we stop doing bad deeds. Our brains also grow, to where we can rationalize our bad deeds in order to keep feeling good about ourselves, even as we act cruelly. For instance, many Christians love to rationalize their cruelty to animals by saying, “They don’t have souls, ” even though in their Bible, Proverbs 12: 10, cruelty to animals is condemned as wicked. Lest I be accused of picking on Christians, we Witches are great at rationalizing our cruelty, making brilliant excuses for working black magic on those we judge worth “the best!”

Never do I have the right, being just human myself, to execute judgment on another person, “to play God, ” as they say. I think that we are okay in working a spell to petition our grievances about others, and ourselves too, to the Higher Powers, but for their judgment, not ours! The domain of the REAL Witch always has been healing, never malpractice on perceived enemies. If we do, then we disgrace our calling no less than Nazi doctors.

So that I am not accused of advocating standards that I myself could not keep, I have experienced such temptations, and for a while, I did yield to them. I have had quite some stresses over the past twenty-two years, and have blamed certain perceived enemies and a side of myself, and I have hated them, and them in me, for it. An important lesson in psychology is that, when I point my finger at others, my four remaining ones are pointing back at me. That is, the things I hate in others probably also are things that I hate in myself. I have yielded to temptation in starting to hex in order to destroy those enemies and that hated side of myself. I am thankful that I have since grown into a real Witch, one strong enough to stop myself from playing judge. I have not forgotten, but now I leave the matter to Divine Judgment regarding others and myself. We become real Witches when we realize that we do not have the right to destroy. The Wiccan Rede is not an afterthought; it is at the very heart of real Witchcraft.

Besides rationalizing, unconsciously lying, how else do grown-ups remedy guilt? Christians believe that, although we all are doomed to be sinners, we can become saved sinners. As a Witch, I believe that I am not doomed to stay wicked, no matter what I may have done. I have magical powers to develop, and, beyond regenerating things physically, among the most noble uses of these powers is rehabilitating myself morally, so that I can look myself in the mirror and have self-respect without self-deception.

One of the worst side effects of Christianity is to deny rehabilitation as a serious possibility. Even though Jesus taught us to forgive one another, in practice Christian society has become unforgiving. Christians have corrupted the premise that we are morally powerless into a prejudice that people do not have the power to rehabilitate. There is an attitude of, “Once a crook, always one, ” very much in effect everywhere. In fact, all it takes to be off the list of candidates is having changed jobs a lot when you were younger, even being unemployed for more than six months! How merciful! People are judged by their resumes, what they have done in the past, without regard for what they may have made of themselves through learning from experience. I define Error as the best teacher. Show me the person who never made errors and I will show you someone who has not learned much, and is among my prime suspects for the fool! Christians say we are sinners for being imperfect, and I say no one gets wise by being perfect. They call them sinners, but I call a few of them sages, the real Witches.

This topic of real Witches as ones exercising their magical powers to perfect their imperfections leads into another essential point. Beginners, I do suspect, see Witchcraft as a means to bend the surrounding world to their wills. However, much of the Craft, and often the most effective working, is directed toward changing the inner reality of the world made largely out of our own perceptions.

Let us embark on an active way of knowing what makes the Witch a Witch.

Why not start this in a light vein, or may I say, a light paw? In my poem, Meeeow! posted on Witchvox, the speaker, a Witch, declares, “No matter what you think I am, I know I am the cat, for how my light paws go.” The witch has changed her very being, from human to feline, by most thoroughly playing the part of the cat. This is not much a matter of the objective truth of what the Witch is, but much more of the subjective reality of how she is perceived to be. As far as all the other cats experience her, “I am one too, to all the other cats, for what I do.” Her acts determine their and our perceptions, which determine the reality of the subjective world, in which we all also live. In fact, more of what we know as the world arises from experiencing our own, personal, inner reality than from experiencing whatever the truths of the surrounding, outside world may be.

This brings to mind, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a well-known short story by James Thurber. The author described the world in which his character lived, consisting of a reality only vaguely corresponding to the truth of the outer world, largely made by Mr. Mitty himself out of his own perceptions. We all could be a.k.a. Walter Mitty, because we all live in our private worlds made largely out of the reality of our own unique perceptions. We can make sense out of seemingly nonsensical behavior, if we understand the reality of perceptions underlying it.

I have come to value the redeeming graces of the cat – magical, graceful, redeemed by beauty – more than ever before, because now dogs no longer scare them out of my field of experience. Canine-oriented parents raised me, and until three years ago, always I had dogs, mostly more than one at a time. Up until the end of 2009, I used to walk a pack of four dogs, a feat for which I was well known but hardly always lauded. Whatever other people might have thought I was, to my dogs I was one of them, “top dog” of the pack. It was not a matter of the truth of what I was, but rather the reality of what I was perceived to be. The truth versus the reality – that is the distinction at the heart of understanding the working of magic and the nature of a Witch.

I propose that at least two-thirds of magic happens in the minds of perceivers. There is this common misunderstanding that when something is in your mind, it is “just in your mind”, meaning it is not real. Nothing can be further from the truth! The magic happening in your mind is among the most potent, energy-efficient, and moral magic that can be. Below follows my rationale for my statement:

Suppose that you are discontent with your limited material possessions. If you are a typical disciple of the Craft, then you will work some form of spell for prosperity or better employment. A better working, however, would treat the discontent. Why? Because really the problem is much more that your discontent is causing you to perceive your material possessions as inadequate, rather than that your material possessions are truly inadequate and cause you to feel discontent. The following maxim makes quite some sense: treasure what you have and you have treasure. Objectively, you may have little, but if you are satisfied with it, then you are subjectively richer than someone among the richest, yet who is not satisfied and always wants more. Therefore, it is better to work the magic between your ears, turning your discontented mind into a contented one.

Besides, it usually takes less energy to magically transform your mind than to bend the whole, wide world out there to suit your desire! This also is more moral; because it often is unfair to impose on the world in order fulfill your own selfish wishes. The world has its own legitimate pursuits for which that extra energy is needed; so do not hog it for yourself! The following story clarifies this:

Once upon a time, a boy was born with very sensitive eyes. Every time he went outside, he would feel nearly blinded by the daylight, which was very painful to his eyes. He decided to invoke the god Hyperion, to beg his cooperation in a spell to dull the intensity of sunshine when he was outside. The spelled worked and he gave his utmost gratitude to “The One Above”. Really though, the sunshine was just as bright as ever. Hyperion knew that the trees and all other living things welcomed the brightness of sunshine after winter, and that their survival depended on it. The spell was granted between the boy’s ears, so that his mind would better tolerate the sunshine. But the result was exactly the same as far as the boy could tell, and this way both he and the world were left contented.

As I have written, the distinction between the truth and the reality is at the heart of understanding the working of magic and the nature of a Witch. In terms of the example I just gave, the truth of the brightness of sunshine stayed the same, but the reality of the world as the boy perceived it changed, and this clearly was the easier, far kinder magical solution. What does this tell us about the nature of the Witch?

The competent Witch has the wisdom and the ethics to choose the better solution. It is forgotten that the name ‘Witch’ shares its roots with the word ‘wisdom’. The real Witch discerns that, at least sometimes, the better solution may not even be the magical one, and that the moral solution typically is the more efficient one as well.

I may be ready to give a tentative definition of the Witch: A Witch is a person with a deep knowledge of the objective truths and the subjective realities of the world, acquired through CHOOSING to interact, not only physically, but also metaphysically, that is, magically, with the things of the world.

Why would the real Witch sometimes not choose a magical solution? Consider the example of a student who wants to be a doctor, but is not making the grades. Should she work a spell to do so? She could, but very few medical students have worked spells to get into and through school. When I was in graduate school working toward an M.A. in psychology, my academic advisor asked me how many hours of sleep I got each night. I answered eight. Dr. Benjamin Luck told me, “If you ever go on for your doctorate, you will have to learn to get by on less than eight hours of sleep. When I was working on mine, I was lucky if I got five.” His advice also would make a fine solution for the would-be medical student in my example. Diligence sometimes beats spells in solving problems!

On the other hand, there are times when one type of magic may be the best solution after all. All the diligence may not work without the prerequisite aptitude. For instance, medical students are very diligent, but doctors also have I.Q.s averaging about 130, in the top 2% of the population. If someone’s intelligence is only average, the M.D. is most likely an unrealistic goal. In similar cases, the magical transformation between the ears, meaning changing perception, often is the best solution.

I have heard many young adults who like animals say they want to be veterinarians. The D.V.M. often is even harder than the M.D. to accomplish. It is obvious that most of these young people will not meet the requirements. Why not try going the vet. tech. route? That may not be so easy either, but usually it is much more realistic! They need to work the magic of turning their fantasies into realistic goals. As I wrote before, this is a very real magic. It is not necessary to be a “big shot” in order to feel fulfilled; this feeling of fulfillment, rather than egotistical pride, is the goal of much worthwhile magic.

Is it possible to raise I.Q. magically? Yours yes, mine no! I am hopeless! But are you sure you want to be a genius? A quote of Sir Henry Maximilian Beerhohm advises us, “I have known no man of genius who had not to pay, in some affliction or defect, either physical or spiritual, for what the gods had given him.” He himself was an ingenious writer, so I bet he knew what he was talking about. Before you sign your name in the blood of magical commitment, be sure to read the fine print!

This leads to a common misunderstanding of the nature of Witchcraft, the idea that magic is a way to make major changes with minimal investment. It is the misconception that, by using a few affordable supplies, you can bend the whole world to grant your wishes. This is a lottery-ticket type of fantasy.

All Witches should remember one of the most essential laws ever: the Law of Conservation. Although it is taught in physics, it is equally essential to metaphysics, and applies every bit as much here and now as it does in a chemistry lab. In lay terms its essential meaning is that we cannot get something for nothing. We should only expect to get out of the world, what we put into it.

Yes, the Witch accepts that the world has enough degrees of freedom to allow magical transformations to be, but still, no real Witch is foolish enough to expect extraordinary magic, that which bends the whole world, without extraordinary discipline. Every beginner would love to have the powers of a Witch Doctor. They forget that Witch Doctors typically have endured prerequisite ordeals, which could easily have been fatal, in order to acquire their world-bending powers. Yes, some problems do require Herculean power to solve, but perhaps most magical solutions involve the mental magic of changing our perceived reality, much easier on us and, as I have stated, probably fairer to the surrounding world.

The choice is yours as the aspiring Witch. Neither choice is inherently better. The easier way, although maybe not heroic, often is more realistic, and life is, after all, hard enough without making it harder. On the other hand, the harder way, although earned at great cost, may well be heroic, and there is a satisfaction in reaching “the seemingly unreachable star” not to be gained any other way. Novice Witch, CHOOSE your values and pursue your way!

The verb ‘to choose’ is highlighted because our strong endorsement of choosing is largely what sets us apart from Christians. They believe none of us has the choice to transcend our sinful nature, just to let it be redeemed through accepting Divine Love. Let us turn our attention to the Witch defined in terms of being someone who chooses to believe in a certain way. I do not think one can choose to be an atheist and stay consistent with being a Witch. There is a religious component that naturally goes together with the Craft, with the practice and the theology being like two sides of one coin.

Here is a tentative, expanded version of my definition: A Witch is a person with a deep knowledge of the objective truths and the subjective realities of the world, acquired through CHOOSING to interact, not only physically, but also metaphysically, that is, magically, with the things of the world. An essential part of the subjective reality of the Witch arises from CHOOSING to revere Higher Powers operating in nature, and to realize the divine, magical potentials in oneself.

We do well in asking, does the Witch need to be defined in any theological context at all? In the Oxford definition, the Devil is implied; the word ‘evil’ is contained in ‘Devil’, the personification of evil. In my tentative definition, I have referred to Higher Powers and divine potentials. Can we find a new, secular definition of Witch, as illustrated by the series Bewitched? The Witches there, I am fairly sure, never were portrayed as practicing a religion, nor, as far as I know, were there ever any allusions made to religion.

Nonetheless, at a subliminal level, it was the overturning of the conservative, tyrannical stance toward being a Witch, and more generally being somehow different, which gave that series its charm. In fact, the story-line of the series would have failed as comedy without religion subliminally supporting it. It was comical mainly because of Darrin playing nearly a parody of a minister saying, thou shalt not do it, while Samantha always ended up wiggling her nose anyway. The main point was that she did it without tragic results, without getting struck by lightning for doing it. She could be seen as practicing a religion of liberalism, obviously without the scripts explicitly making this point. Her behavior can be seen as reflecting an underlying, liberal philosophy of seeing the God of Genesis as Mr. Liberal, with the right to CHOOSE as his first and finest gift to her and to all of us. Therefore, I do not think that Witches as magically empowered persons can be divorced from the deity empowering them.

The verb ‘to CHOOSE’ is in caps throughout for an essential reason. All people, when they say that they do some action, really mean that they choose to do it, but this fact is kept implicit, and therefore done nearly automatically and just semiconsciously. The distinction of the Witch is making the choice explicitly, choosing deliberately. By doing so, she considerably extends her power to choose, and indirectly to change her inner reality and the outside world as well. By making herself aware that she is choosing to do anything, not limited to magic, she gains more and more control over her faculty of choice and more refinement in exercising this power to choose.

No, I am not guilty of sexism for using the feminine pronoun. Witchcraft continues to be associated with femininity, but males too have the feminine inner reality of their anima, according to the great psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung.

Have I been guilty of wasting your time with this article? If so, I apologize. We can assume that I think it was worth writing, but regarding whether or not it was worth your reading, only you are smart enough to be the judge! I accept your judgment!

*Are you a winner as well? The answer to the QUESTION is: The SandWich!

P.S. If you are a winner, congratulations! Just to let you know, at last I have picked a magical name: The SandWich. I find it in good taste. I hope you do too!

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