Posts Tagged With: Witchcraft

Reflecting on Witchcraft, Then and Now

Reflecting on Witchcraft, Then and Now

Author: Crick   

These days I find myself in periods of reflection on my experiences in the Craft and the ways that is has affected my personal views on life. As part of this reflection, I often wonder in what direction the Craft is now undertaking.

My girlfriend of many years, who is a Druid, and who has spent hours engaged in discussions with the old guy, will occasionally tell me, “you just aren’t right” before flashing a huge grin. When she says this I feel honored because it confirms that I have walked through this life as an individual. And it is has been the experiences of being involved in traditional Witchcraft that has made such a life experience possible.

But now I find myself in a quandary as to my personal views of witchcraft.

When I was growing up on a farm in Tennessee in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and later in suburbia in MD, our family quietly practiced the Craft as we knew it by way of our Irish heritage and the Appalachia influence that we grew up around.

Outwardly we were like any other family at the time; just our beliefs were a bit different from some. And though we referred to folks outside of our personal family as “the others” we were never obvious about such beliefs and so folks around us in the community had no clue. In fact, only one outsider, a Mrs. Bowie, who was a retired minister of a mystical Christian church and close friend of my grandmother Ina and a family from Ohio that used to visit my grandparents when we lived in MD, were the only non-family members that were aware of our ways.

Were we special?

Absolutely not, we were just as dysfunctional in some ways as any other family from that era. However, we never believed in publicity as far as our particular beliefs in the Craft. This was not due to fear of any public backlash or what have you; it was just our way to be private about our family ways.

In those days, folks believed that went on behind closed doors stayed behind those same doors. When my mother branched off into a coven separate from our immediate family at the beginning of 1970, a coven whose focus was primarily on Astrology and its influences on life, the ways of silence were such that though I as a teenager was aware of the existence of that coven, I knew next to nothing beyond that tiny morsel of information.

Some of you may have met my mother at some point in time for during the 1970’s she performed astrological and Tarot readings for a cruise ship liner that traveled between the coast of Florida and the Bahamas.

At any rate, during the mid 1970’s I spent three years in Germany with the military and during that time I was associated with a coven that engaged the path of Hecate and thus would probably be seen as a “dark” coven by Neo pagans today. And yet, though we were very active, we did not seek and in fact went to great pains to avoid publicity.

And now I come to my reservations and thus conflicting emotions about the openness if you will of witchcraft in today’s times. During the years that I have mentioned above, privacy was something that was as a natural way of life at the time and was respected as such.

I am keenly aware that during these same times, that those of the Wicca were in fact moving in the opposite direction and actively seeking publicity at every opportunity. Beyond this observation I personally have no comment to share about the Wicca during those times, for I am speaking about witchcraft as I know it from my personal experiences and not about the fledgling religion of Wicca.

In today’s day and age, with the advent of the Internet where information is readily assessable and where there are now a plethora of Wicca and witchcraft 101 books, it is difficult to find folks who adhere to the tenets of privacy that witchcraft once knew. My personal concerns are that is such openness really a positive step forward in regards to witchcraft?

When I examine my personal views of witchcraft, I see a spiritual path that is wide open to “personal” discovery. Nor do I see any valid restrictions on what or how a practitioner of witchcraft may engage in order to arrive at such discoveries. If one sees the need to conjure up a spirit or other entity in an effort to experience such a discovery, then so be it. If one needs to resort to witchcraft to correct a wrong from another, then again, so be it.

As a witch, I believe that each of us is an individual and as such I do not believe in Karma, a concept that is foreign to the art of witchcraft. But I do believe in maintaining personal responsibility. As an old school witch, I feel that I know my personal goals and the experiences needed to achieve them far better than any group of folks such as those found within the many religions that make up our world. If I make a mistake than I am the one who has to pay for them.

I personally do not believe that a public forum has the right to outline boundaries that defines what steps I am allowed to take to arrive at my experiences in witchcraft. As an individual I do not believe that anyone outside of me has a say on how I personally pursue the path of witchcraft.

Again, I am the one that has to answer for any trial and errors that I engage in within the parameters of witchcraft. And yet this is exactly the perception that we are at in today’s Neo pagan community.

Witchcraft is now defined (erroneously to my mind) as a religion. And as a religion all of the tenets that were once diametrically opposed to the tenets of witchcraft are now accepted as being the norm.

Because of the instantaneous communication of the Internet, folks who engage in witchcraft are cast into a false image of being light and fluffy folks. I personally do not believe in Good and Evil, as these is primarily concepts that originated with the Abrahamic religions. I do believe that there are shades of light and dark, but only in the sense that we need such labels in order to put a sense of understanding on such concepts as they relate to the human experience.

And so I have to wonder, if we took the overwhelming desire for publicity that defines the art of witchcraft today, would witchcraft still be defined as it is by today’s standards. Or would the freedoms that were once a tenet of witchcraft, flourish yet once again?

And are such modern standards, which in effect are enhanced by way of the Internet, realistic as it pertains to the practice of witchcraft?

Massive publicity may bode well for a religion in the sense that it needs such attention in order to boost its membership. But is such publicity really a positive and useful approach to a mystical spiritual path that requires no such membership beyond that of the individual practitioner?

Is the personal responsibility that has always been an unavoidable tenet of witchcraft still possible or even a consideration in the concept of witchcraft as it is defined by today’s standards? Has such massive publicity made witchcraft into a completely unrealistic concept in order to be acceptable to today’s society? Has such publicity taken away from the base realities of witchcraft?

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What Were the Burning Times?

What Were the Burning Times?

Facts and Fiction About the European Witch Hunts

By , About.com

 

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers and the t-shirts: Never Again the Burning Times! It’s a rally cry for many born-again Pagans and Wiccans, and indicates a need to reclaim what’s ours – our rights to worship and celebrate as we choose. The phrase Burning Times is often used in modern Paganism and Wicca to indicate the era from the Dark Ages to around the nineteenth century, when charges of heresy were enough to get a witch burned at the stake. Some have claimed that as many as nine million people were killed in the name of “witch hunts.” However, there’s a lot of discussion within the Pagan world about the accuracy of that number, and some scholars have estimated it significantly lower, possibly as few as 200,000. That’s still a pretty big number, but a lot less than some of the other claims that have been made.

For the past thirty years or so, scholars – as well as many members of the Pagan and Wiccan communities — have debated the validity of the astronomical numbers of victims cited during the Burning Times. The problem with the early estimates of numbers is that, much like in war, the victor writes the history. In other words, the only documentation we have about the European witch hunts was written by the people who actually conducted those same witch hunts!

Jenny Gibbons’ thesis, Recent Developments in the Great European Witch Hunt, goes into great depth about some of these inflated numbers. Essentially, Gibbons states, bigger numbers of witches looked better for the witch hunters, who were the ones keeping track of things in the first place.

As time progressed, countries like England eventually repealed their proscriptions against witchcraft, and the Neopagan and Wiccan movements later moved into place both in Britain and the United States. As feminist writers latched on to the Goddess-centered movement, there was a tendency to portray the healer-midwife-village wisewoman as an innocent victim of evil patriarchal Catholic oppressors.

In the past, Wiccans and Pagans were often the first to point out that the European witch hunts targeted women – after all, these poor country girls were simply the victims of the misogynistic societies of their times. However, what is often overlooked is that although overall about 80% of the accused were female, in some areas, more men than women were persecuted as witches. Scandinavian countries in particular seemed to have equal numbers of both male and female accused.

Timeline

 

Let’s look at a brief timeline of the witch craze in Europe:

  • 906 C.E. The Canon Episcopi is written by a young abbot named Regino of Treves. Regino’s treatise reinforces the Church’s existing stance on witchcraft, which is that it doesn’t exist.
  • Around 975 C.E. The Church decides that the penalty for witchcraft – which apparently does in fact exist, despite the Canon Episcopi’s assertions to the contrary – is fairly mild. A woman convicted of the use of “witchcraft and enchantment and … magical philters” shall be sentenced to a year-long diet of bread and water.
  • 1227 C.E. Pope Gregory IX announces that it’s time to form an Inquisitorial Court to weed out heretics, who are summarily executed.
  • 1252 C.E. Pope Innocent III carries on the Inquisitions. However, he discovers that a much higher rate of confession is obtained if torture is permitted.
  • 1326 C.E. The Church authorizes the Inquisition to go beyond the investigations of heresy. Now they are encouraged to ferret out people practicing Witchcraft. The theory of demonology is created, establishing a link between witches and the Christian Satan.
  • 1340’s C.E. Europe is pummeled by the Black Plague, and a significant amount of people die. Witches, Jews and lepers are accused of spreading disease intentionally.
  • 1450 C.E. The Catholic Church announces that witches eat babies and sell their souls to the Devil. Witch hunts begin in earnest throughout Europe.
  • 1487 C.E. Publication of Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches’ Hammer). This book describes all sorts of vile activities allegedly practiced by Witches, and also details some creative methods of getting confessions out of the accused.
  • 1517 C.E. Martin Luther leads the way to the Protestant Reformation, which in turn causes a decrease in the number of witchcraft convictions in England – because the Protestants won’t allow torture.
  • 1550 – 1650 C.E. Trials and executions reach their peak. Many of the people accused of witchcraft are actually being targeted in battles between Catholics and Protestants, and others are landowners whose property has been seized by the Church.
  • 1716 C.E. The last accused witches – Mary Hicks and her daughter Elizabeth — are executed in England. Other countries eventually follow suit and stop executing people for witchcraft.
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Reflecting on Witchcraft, Then and Now

Reflecting on Witchcraft, Then and Now

Author: Crick 

These days I find myself in periods of reflection on my experiences in the Craft and the ways that is has affected my personal views on life. As part of this reflection, I often wonder in what direction the Craft is now undertaking.

My girlfriend of many years, who is a Druid, and who has spent hours engaged in discussions with the old guy, will occasionally tell me, “you just aren’t right” before flashing a huge grin. When she says this I feel honored because it confirms that I have walked through this life as an individual. And it is has been the experiences of being involved in traditional Witchcraft that has made such a life experience possible.

But now I find myself in a quandary as to my personal views of witchcraft.

When I was growing up on a farm in Tennessee in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and later in suburbia in MD, our family quietly practiced the Craft as we knew it by way of our Irish heritage and the Appalachia influence that we grew up around.

Outwardly we were like any other family at the time; just our beliefs were a bit different from some. And though we referred to folks outside of our personal family as “the others” we were never obvious about such beliefs and so folks around us in the community had no clue. In fact, only one outsider, a Mrs. Bowie, who was a retired minister of a mystical Christian church and close friend of my grandmother Ina and a family from Ohio that used to visit my grandparents when we lived in MD, were the only non-family members that were aware of our ways.

Were we special?

Absolutely not, we were just as dysfunctional in some ways as any other family from that era. However, we never believed in publicity as far as our particular beliefs in the Craft. This was not due to fear of any public backlash or what have you; it was just our way to be private about our family ways.

In those days, folks believed that went on behind closed doors stayed behind those same doors. When my mother branched off into a coven separate from our immediate family at the beginning of 1970, a coven whose focus was primarily on Astrology and its influences on life, the ways of silence were such that though I as a teenager was aware of the existence of that coven, I knew next to nothing beyond that tiny morsel of information.

Some of you may have met my mother at some point in time for during the 1970’s she performed astrological and Tarot readings for a cruise ship liner that traveled between the coast of Florida and the Bahamas.

At any rate, during the mid 1970’s I spent three years in Germany with the military and during that time I was associated with a coven that engaged the path of Hecate and thus would probably be seen as a “dark” coven by Neo pagans today. And yet, though we were very active, we did not seek and in fact went to great pains to avoid publicity.

And now I come to my reservations and thus conflicting emotions about the openness if you will of witchcraft in today’s times. During the years that I have mentioned above, privacy was something that was as a natural way of life at the time and was respected as such.

I am keenly aware that during these same times, that those of the Wicca were in fact moving in the opposite direction and actively seeking publicity at every opportunity. Beyond this observation I personally have no comment to share about the Wicca during those times, for I am speaking about witchcraft as I know it from my personal experiences and not about the fledgling religion of Wicca.

In today’s day and age, with the advent of the Internet where information is readily assessable and where there are now a plethora of Wicca and witchcraft 101 books, it is difficult to find folks who adhere to the tenets of privacy that witchcraft once knew. My personal concerns are that is such openness really a positive step forward in regards to witchcraft?

When I examine my personal views of witchcraft, I see a spiritual path that is wide open to “personal” discovery. Nor do I see any valid restrictions on what or how a practitioner of witchcraft may engage in order to arrive at such discoveries. If one sees the need to conjure up a spirit or other entity in an effort to experience such a discovery, then so be it. If one needs to resort to witchcraft to correct a wrong from another, then again, so be it.

As a witch, I believe that each of us is an individual and as such I do not believe in Karma, a concept that is foreign to the art of witchcraft. But I do believe in maintaining personal responsibility. As an old school witch, I feel that I know my personal goals and the experiences needed to achieve them far better than any group of folks such as those found within the many religions that make up our world. If I make a mistake than I am the one who has to pay for them.

I personally do not believe that a public forum has the right to outline boundaries that defines what steps I am allowed to take to arrive at my experiences in witchcraft. As an individual I do not believe that anyone outside of me has a say on how I personally pursue the path of witchcraft.

Again, I am the one that has to answer for any trial and errors that I engage in within the parameters of witchcraft. And yet this is exactly the perception that we are at in today’s Neo pagan community.

Witchcraft is now defined (erroneously to my mind) as a religion. And as a religion all of the tenets that were once diametrically opposed to the tenets of witchcraft are now accepted as being the norm.

Because of the instantaneous communication of the Internet, folks who engage in witchcraft are cast into a false image of being light and fluffy folks. I personally do not believe in Good and Evil, as these is primarily concepts that originated with the Abrahamic religions. I do believe that there are shades of light and dark, but only in the sense that we need such labels in order to put a sense of understanding on such concepts as they relate to the human experience.

And so I have to wonder, if we took the overwhelming desire for publicity that defines the art of witchcraft today, would witchcraft still be defined as it is by today’s standards. Or would the freedoms that were once a tenet of witchcraft, flourish yet once again?

And are such modern standards, which in effect are enhanced by way of the Internet, realistic as it pertains to the practice of witchcraft?

Massive publicity may bode well for a religion in the sense that it needs such attention in order to boost its membership. But is such publicity really a positive and useful approach to a mystical spiritual path that requires no such membership beyond that of the individual practitioner?

Is the personal responsibility that has always been an unavoidable tenet of witchcraft still possible or even a consideration in the concept of witchcraft as it is defined by today’s standards? Has such massive publicity made witchcraft into a completely unrealistic concept in order to be acceptable to today’s society? Has such publicity taken away from the base realities of witchcraft?

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How Witchcraft Works – Modern Witchcraft

How Witchcraft Works

by

Modern Witchcraft

Witchcraft is a pagan religion. Pagan religions worship multiple deities rather than a single god. Paganism is one of the oldest religions and includes all religions that are not Christian, Muslim or Jewish, meaning Paganism includes the Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian and American Indian religions as well as all other nature-oriented religions. According to the 1998 Cambridge Fact Finder, Paganism accounts for 50 percent of all religions.

The word “Pagan” actually stems from the Latin Pagini or Paganus, words meaning “hearth” or “home dweller” or, more simply, “country person” — those labeled as Pagans were considered inferior to those living in cities. It didn’t, however, mean those people were “bad.” It wasn’t until the 1450s that fear of witchcraft became more prevalent, and people began associating witchcraft and paganism with devil worship, evil hexes and spells.

Types of Witchcraft

There are many types of witchcraft, many of which overlap and all of which can be defined in different ways by different people, but here are some rough guidelines for their designations:

  • African witchcraft: There are many types of witchcraft in Africa. The Azande of central Africa believe that witchcraft causes all types of misfortune. The “gift” of witchcraft, known as mangu, is passed from parent to child. Those possessing mangu aren’t even aware of it and perform magick unconsciously while they sleep.
  • Appalachian folk magic: Those who practice witchcraft in the Appalachian mountains see good and evil as two distinct forces that are led by the Christian God and Devil, respectively. They believe there are certain conditions that their magick cannot cure. They also believe that witches are blessed with paranormal powers and can perform powerful magick that can be used for either good or evil purposes. They look to nature for omens and portents of the future.
  • Green witchcraft: A Green witch is very similar to a Kitchen/Cottage witch (see below) with the exception that the Green witch practices in the fields and forest in order to be closer to the Divine spirit. The Green witch makes his or her own tools from accessible materials from outdoors.
  • Hedge witchcraft: A Hedge witch is not part of a group or coven. This witch practices magick alone and works more with the green arts, herbal cures and spells. In the early days, Hedge witches were local wise men or women who cured illnesses and gave advice. They can be of any religion and are considered traditional witches (see below).
  • Hereditary witchcraft: Hereditary witches believe in “gifts” of the craft that are with a witch from birth, having been passed from generations before.
  • Kitchen/Cottage witchcraft: A Kitchen witch, or Cottage witch, practices magick around the hearth and home. The home is a sacred place, and the use of herbs is used often to bring protection, prosperity and healing. Kitchen witches often follow more than one path of witchcraft.
  • Pennsylvania Dutch hexcraft or “Pow-wow“: When the Germans first arrived in Pennsylvania, Native Americans were there, so the term “pow-wow” to describe this practice may come from observations of Indian gatherings. Pow-wowing includes charms and incantations dating back to the Middle Ages, as well as elements borrowed from the Jewish Kabbalah and Christian Bible. Pow-wowing focuses on healing illnesses, protecting livestock, finding love or casting or removing hexes. Pow-wowers consider themselves to be Christians endowed with supernatural powers.
  • Traditional witchcraft: Traditional witchcraft often follows science, history and the arts as its foundation. While sharing the same respect for nature as the Wiccan witch (see below), traditional witches do not worship nature nor the god or goddess of Wicca. They contact spirits that are part of an unseen spirit world during rituals. Magick is more practical than ceremonial and focuses greatly on herbs and potions. This sect of witchcraft also has no law of harming none, but does believe in responsibility and honor. Hexes and curses, therefore, can be used in self-defense or for other types of protection.
  • Wicca: Wicca is one of the modern Pagan religions that worships the Earth and nature, and it is only about 60 years old. It was created in the 1940s and ’50s by Gerald Gardner. Gardner defined witchcraft as a positive and life-affirming religion that includes divination, herblore, magic and psychic abilities. Wiccans take an oath to do no harm with their magick.

 

Source:

howstuffworks

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A Little Secret That Only Witches Can Know About. Can I Trust You?

Every secret organization or religion has a secret or two. Of course, you won’t never hear about them because they are secrets. Makes senses. Most of these organizations and religions have secrets to keep the public out and in the dark, to exclude them. On the other hand, our religion is not like that we have had to keep it secret just to keep it alive. If it was for our ancestors keeping our entire religion secret, we wouldn’t have a religion.

The secret I am getting ready to share with you is not that big of deal. It was used in the Burning Times to determine if the person you were meeting was a witch. You can see during this period of time why it was very important to know who you were meeting.

Here is the ritual. Enjoy!

This is a magic witches hand shake spell. This spell is cast to find out if someone you know may or may not be a witch. After casting this magic spell, you will then shake the hand of the person you are inquiring about, and your answer will be revealed in the handshake. It can also be used to slightly put a thought or idea inside the mind of a person without coming right out and suggesting it. We offer many more free magic spells here for you to use and to try.

Extend your right index finger and lightly touch the wrist of the person exactly where the pulse is felt. By touching the pulse it throws the acquaintance completely off his balance for just an instant , but in that instant plant an initial
thought, ( example : I am the one you want for the job) this
really works and is cool, try it.

*You can also determine if the other person is a witch by the way they grasp your hand. If their right index finger is extended and touching your pulse area, more than likely they are a with.*

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Journey To Witchcraft

Journey To Witchcraft

Author:   The Wild Sorceress  

Hello from an Australian Eclectic Witch. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a procrastinator. I’ve been thinking about writing an essay for some time but as all procrastinators will tell you, it’s always the thinking, never the doing.

I have always been interested in witchcraft. I think the awareness and the interest started when I was 13, (inspired from seeing The Craft. Yes, I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right. But we all find our path in different ways).

I went to see the movie with three friends and at the end of the movie, like all teenage girls who are not considered ‘popular’ we thought “Wow this is for us”. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble the teenage way. And like all teenagers, my three friends lost interest fairly soon after.

The interest always stuck with me in various ways over the next few years but being in high school one has enough stress and doesn’t always find the time to delve into the spiritual.

So as the story goes, years later I was cleaning out my room and came across a book my parents had bought for me when I was 13 called The Nice Girl’s Book of Naughty Spells. (Yes you read correctly, my parents bought it for me).

I also came across articles I had ripped out of magazines and a booklet I had sent off for from the Church Of Wicca in Perth, WA. It grabbed me, and then it lost me. I began working and again, it took a back seat. I think at that stage in my life, it wasn’t time for me to walk the path. (Procrastination again).

I was about 22 when the interest became more of a spiritual need, a path I felt I needed to walk. I bought books to read. My first 2 were Witch A Personal Journey and A Magickal Year by Fiona Horne, followed soon by Book Of Shadows by Phyllis Currot and then finally Wicca by Scott Cunningham. It really hit me: this is what I wanted, and I felt it was right for me.

Luckily I didn’t have any religious conflicts. For all intents and purposes my mother was a single mother and she felt, not being religious herself, that she did not want to baptize her children (I have an older brother). She felt that we should feel free to pick our own path when we were old enough to understand what religion was. Suffice to say, Christianity was not for me.

I’ve always been an independent free thinker and the rules and rigmarole of organized religion was not for me.

The way I got here was interesting. As a general rule when I was younger, nature and its elements were actually very boring to me. I knew there were trees and flowers and things of that nature but it didn’t really impact me in any fashion. I used to hate helping my mother garden. Also, every time I tried to grow something it would die. The natural world, seemingly, was not my friend.

As I began to study witchcraft the natural held more interest and I felt better and more alive when I would go outside. We have this massive Oak tree in our yard and it is magnificent and really old. Now when I stand with it and look at it or touch the leaves, I feel an affinity I never thought I would. I feel a spiritual recognition, a connection with its beauty and its sense of history. I grow herbs under it and they flourish nourished by its shade. Being a fire sign, Oak is also one of my Celtic trees.

I feel my personal power growing. I have always had a strong sense of intuition and occasionally have psychic flashes that more often than not just leave me with a head spinning sense of déjà vu.

I am now able to grow herbs. I’m currently growing about 8 different kinds from seed and they are going really strong now. To me, this is a sign that the Goddess is helping me walk this path.

The one thing that originally boggled my mind was the amount of ‘things’ needed in witchcraft. There are athames and wands, chalices, censers, candles, herbs etc and I thought that my new path — although giving me great spiritual fulfillment — was going to drain my finances. But I have found that these items have come to me when I have needed them, not before. I think that instead of rushing out and buying everything all at once that if you wait, the Goddess will deliver. If not, I have 2 great recommendations for you.

EBay is a great place to get different ritual items. I got my first lot of herbs, most of my books, runes and two lovely wooden pentagram boxes from EBay.

Another is an Australian website called Uncle Festers. They have a club called the Cauldron Club and each month for 13 months they send you a package, slowly building up all your ritual supplies. Since being with them I haven’t really bought anything. I wait; it comes. I love it; it’s like my birthday every month.

My mother and stepfather have always been incredibly supportive of my choice (as has my brother and friends). I never had to worry about their disapproval. It breaks my heart when I read articles on here about new witches who fear rejection and anger from their parents if they share with them the news of walking the path of the Goddess. It’s sad that people are not flexible minded enough to realize that what may be good for them religion-wise is not always good for someone else.

My advice is to stay strong and be true to who you are because ultimately in this world, the only person who you have to please is yourself.

Wow, do I go on. So this is the story of a 24-year-old Eclectic Witch from Australia who wanted to write an article for Witchvox.

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Instant Witch

Instant Witch

Author:   Stephanie Arwen  

Gotcha! Now you know there is no $19.95 wayof being a Witch, don’t you? Sit down; take a breath…now that you havefound something you want you want it yesterday! I understand. I can rememberwhen I started. I remember that sense of urgency I got. That “I have toget there right now” I have to be just like Z. Budapest, Starhawk, Margo!I wanted to meet them. I wanted to talk to them yesterday! But most ofall and worst of all, I wanted to be them. Put pushing the river isn’tgoing to get you there any faster. And where is there anyway?

Seventeen years down the road now and I cansay to you that you will NEVER be a Z a Starhawk a Margot a Silver Ravenwolf, a D.J. Conway, a Scott Cunningham. Oh no, you can’t be them. You can onlybe you. And that you is going to be a beautiful thing!

So I was 20 and I finally knew what I wantedto be when I grew up, but no one could give me enough information. I wasneither as fortunate nor as cursed as you are in today’s world of a dozenbooks per subject. Fortunate because you can go into almost any Barnesand Noble, Waldenbooks, or even Amazon.com and just pick up a book. Doyou have any idea how hard that was in 1981? Finding a copy of ZsuzsannaBudapest’s The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, pt 1 was an experience.I was living in Louisiana at the time and a friend had introduced me toStarhawk’s The Spiral Dance. I was hooked. I am also a bibliography reader.If an author I like mentions a book, then I want to get my hands on thatbook and see what it is about!

But you are cursed as well because thereis so much witchcrap out there. So many people who have written books thatare a total waste of paper. But the books that I think are a waste of papermay be the ones that speak best to you. That is a clue, my new Witch friend.Never let me or anyone else tell you that a book is useless. Learn to readfor yourself and think critically while you read. Does the author makesense or is there a nagging feeling you have that this person is a completeflake? If there is, then do yourself a favor and research the subject.You don’t think that author woke up one morning and knew everything therewas to know about their subject do you? Patricia Telesco, one of my favoriteauthors, has a page on her website that tells new authors to plan for 800hours per book. And that 800 hours includes research as part of it! Soif Ms. Telesco must research, why shouldn’t you?

The web has wonderful places for that kindof research, but don’t forget your local library! Find authors you admire.Then try to discover why you like them. Is it because they have writtenbooks period? Or is it in the way that they deliver their information?Dorothy Morrison has a style that I adore! She is personable and approachablein her books as well as accurate and knowledgeable. Or you might preferFrancesca De Grandis style that has the feel of teacher walking with herstudent and talking.

And don’t just read websites! A website ownercan be someone with less knowledge than you but has the ability and know-howto scan books and copy things wholesale without credit. Don’t be takenin. Go to your local library (you remember, that large brick building onthe corner?) and check out books on anthropology, archaeology, history, etc. Learn where our roots come from. And please, don’t let someone tellyou Wicca is an ages-old religion! It is not. It is a new religion. I liketo say Wicca is a new dress on a very old set of bones. We do have someancient roots, but the branches we have today are new. But you have tolearn to let the urgency not rule you. Do read everything you can get yourhands on. Read “Witch” books. Read all the books! But don’t forget to takeyour salt cellar with you.

Huh? Arwen? What the heck are you talkingabout and what is a salt cellar?

Your Salt Cellar is that thing you carrysalt in so you will always have a grain of salt to take things with. Don’taccept something simply because it is published in a book or on the web.Learn to believe in yourself. Learn to listen to your inner voice. Theone telling you that maybe what you just read is a load of manure …ormaybe it is saying that there is a pearl in that load of manure. Trustin the reality of self. I can’t stress this enough. If you will give yourselfthe tools of knowledge and discernment, then you can begin to hear thetruth in things as well as the lies and mistakes. Do listen to what otherssay about books, but don’t take their word for it. Figure it out for yourself.

The sense of urgency you feel now may makeyou too intent on getting there. But, here is the question. Where is there?Are you so focused on your race to the finish that you are not enjoyingthe journey? Be too intent on getting there wherever there is and not intentupon enjoying the journey and the journey will pass you by! I don’t knowif this message will reach you, but I am 38 (b. 1961). I began my journeyon the path to Wicca in 1981 (or 2). That was 17 years ago. I am stillon the journey of getting there. I will always be on that journey. Learnto enjoy the Trip. There is no there. When you get there, you will havereached the end and that means starting again.

Once you learn that the journey is the meansand the end, then you realize how much more you have to learn.

I wish you good fortune on your travels.A part of me wishes I was at the beginning again, but most of me is quitecontent to be where I am. I am still experiencing new thoughts, new thingsand new people on a daily basis. Remember to enjoy the trip. Oh, and don’tforget to send a postcard from some of those exotic places you visit.

Ok, for those of you who still want all theanswers.

All The Answers ™

Red, blue, green, yellow, white, Hallows, Samhain, Winter Solstice, Yule, Candlemas, Brigidmas, Imbolg, Vernal Equinox, Spring Equinox, Ostara, Beltain, Mayday, Lady’s Day, Beltaine, Litha, Midsummer, Summer Solstice, Longest Day of the Year, Lammas, Lugh’s Feast, Lughnassadh, Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, cakes and wine, Heiros Gamos, 42, North, East, South, West, Water, Fire, Air, Earth, Center, Above, Below, salamander, dragonfly, snake, dolphin, Raven, Morgan, WildHawk, Hawkdatter, OakStandingTall, cat, dog, frog, toad, A, B, C, D, All Of The Above, True, False, myrrh, frankincense, pine, oak, holly, Cerridwen, Cernnunos, Herne, Hecate, Isis, Tammuz.

Now…you have to supply the questions.
Arwen NightstarThe Instant Witch Graphic was done by Andra (webmistress for http://www.spiritonline.com) This graphic is one she made in response to a flurry of “insta-witch” questions she received on her discussion board Spirit Online, an interactive resource for those interested in understanding and discussing religion and metaphysics.

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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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