Posts Tagged With: Witchcraft

The Wheel of the Year

THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR
From "The Witches of Oz", by Julia Phillips and Matthew Sandow,
Sydney, New South Wales.

The Wheel of the year is of great significance to Wiccans, and is one of the 
principle keys to understanding the religion.  As we said earlier, Wicca sees a 
profound relationship between humanity and the environment.  For a Wiccan, all 
of nature is a manifestation of the divine and so we celebrate the turning 
seasons as the changing faces of our Gods.

The Wheel of the Year is a continuing cycle of life, death and rebirth.  Thus 
the Wheel reflects both the natural passage of life in the world around us, as 
well as revealing our own connection with the greater world.  To a Wiccan, all 
of creation is divine, and by realizing how we are connected to the turning if 
the seasons and to the natural world, we come to a deeper understanding to the 
ways in which we are connected to the God and Goddess. o when we celebrate our 
seasonal rites, we draw the symbolism that we use from the natural world and 
from our own lives, thus attempting to unite the essential identity that 
underlies all things.

Undoubtedly the significance of the Festivals has changed over the centuries, 
and it is very difficult for us today to imagine the joy and relief that must 
have accompanied the successful grain harvest.  What with factory-farming, fast 
freezing and world wide distribution, our lives no longer depend upon such 
things and as a consequence, our respect for the land has diminished in 
proportion to our personal contact with it.

Wiccans believe that we can re-affirm this contact by our observance of the 
passage of the seasons, in which we see reflected our own lives, and the lives 
of our gods.  Whether we choose to contact those forces through silent and 
solitary meditation, or experience the time of year in a wild place, or gather 
with friends in a suburban living room, we are all performing our own ritual to 
the Old Ones, reaching out once more towards the hidden forces which surround us 
all.

What is of the utmost importance with the Wheel of the Year is that we 
understand what we hope to achieve through our festival celebrations, and avoid 
the trap of going through empty motions, repeating words from a book which may 
sound dramatic, but have no relevance in our everyday lives.  That simply leads 
to the creation of a dogma, and not a living breathing religion.  It is not 
enough to stand in a circle on a specific day, and "invoke' forces of nature, 
those forces are currents which flow continuously through- out our lives, not 
just eight times a year, and if we choose not to acknowledge them in our 
everyday lives, there is no point in calling upon them for one day.
By following the Wiccan religion you are affirming your belief in the sanctity 
of the Earth, and acknowledging that you depend upon the Earth for your very 
life.  Although modern lifestyles do not encourage awareness of our personal 
relationship with the turning seasons, or the patterns of life, growth, death 
and decay, that does not mean that they no longer exist.  The ebb and flow of 
the Earth's energies may be hidden beneath a physical shell of tarmac and 
concrete, and a psychic one of human indifference, but they are nevertheless 
there for those who wish to acknowledge them once more.

We do this by observing the changes of the seasons, and feeling the changes 
reflected in our innermost selves, and in our everyday lives.  In our rituals we 
focus upon different aspects of the God and Goddess, and participate in the 
celebration of their mysteries; thus we re-affirm our connections on the most 
profound levels.

The Wiccan Wheel has two great inspirations; it is both a wheel of celebration, 
and a wheel of initiation.  As a wheel of initiation it hopes to guide those who 
tread its pathway towards an understanding of the mysteries of life and the 
universe, expressed through the teachings of the Old Ones made manifest in the 
turning of the seasons.  For a Wiccan, the gods and nature are one.  In 
exploring the mysteries of the seasons we are seeking to penetrate more deeply 
the mysteries of the God and Goddess.

As a wheel of celebration, Wiccans accord to the words of the Charge of the 
Goddess, where She says, "Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for 
behold, all acts of Love and Pleasure are my rituals"; and that, "Ye shall 
dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise".  Anyone can 
celebrate the turning of the seasons, in their own way, and in their own time.  
Wiccan covens will commonly gather together, and make the Festivals times of 
joyful merrymaking, but you can just as easily make the celebration a solitary 
one, or with just one or two friends.  The principles do not alter; just the way 
in which you acknowledge them.

Wiccans generally celebrate eight Festivals, roughly six weeks apart, which are 
pivotal points in the solar (seasonal) cycle. Four of the Festivals are called 
the Lesser Sabbats: these are the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, and the Winter 
and Summer Solstices.           The other four Festivals are called the Greater 
Sabbats, and relate to particular seasons when in bygone days, certain 
activities would have been undertaken, usually followed by a party of some kind.  
There are variations upon the names by which these Greater Sabbats are known, 
but the simple ones are Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain.  Candlemas is 
also known as Imbolg, Oimelc, or Brigid; Lammas is some-times called 
Lughnassadh.

It is important to understand that the Festivals are celebrating a time of year: 
a season, not a date.  Most books written about Wicca have been written by an 
author living and working in the northern hemisphere, who may quite rightly say 
that "Beltane is celebr-ated on May Eve."  Northern Hemisphere readers will 
automatically interpret this as, "Beltane is at the end of spring, just before 
summer gets underway."  IN the Wiccan Book of Shadows, the poem by Kipling is 
used at this Festival which says, "O do not tell the Priests of our art, for 
they would call it sin; but we've been out in the woods all night, a'conjurin' 
summer in.... ."

Of course, "May eve" in the Southern Hemisphere is autumn heading into winter, 
entirely the wrong time of year to celebrate the portent of summer.  In much the 
same way, Christmas and Easter are celebrated at the wrong time of year here.  
In the Christian calendar, Christmas coincides with the Winter Solstice - and 
the growing popularity of the June Yule Fest in the Blue Mountains in NSW each 
year suggests an awareness of this, even if it is, in this case, expressed in a 
commercial sense.  The date of Easter changes each year, because it is the first 
Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox, (And they try to tell 
us that Easter wasn't originally a Pagan Festival!)  So in the Southern 
Hemisphere, according to the rules by which the date of Easter is determined, it 
should fall sometime in late September or early October each year.  However, 
Christianity is not a religion which sees a particular connection between 
humanity and the environment, and therefore has no problem in celebrating Easter 
in autumn, and Christmas at the Summer Solstice.  Wicca is different, and it IS 
important to us to attune ourselves to the passage of the seasons, hence we 
follow the natural cycle wherever we live.  In the Southern Hemisphere this 
means celebrating Beltane at the start of summer, i.e., the beginning of 
November, not the beginning of May.

The Wiccan year starts and ends with Samhain, which is also known as Hallowe'en, 
or All Saints Eve.  It is the celebration which falls just before the dark 
nights of winter take hold.  The Winter Solstice comes next, where Wiccans 
celebrate the rebirth of the Sun; at Candlemas about six weeks later, we 
celebrate the first signs of the growing light (longer days,) and of spring 
beginning to show itself.  The Spring Equinox (around 21 September - it varies 
from year to year) is the time when day and night are equal in length, and the 
Sun is on its increase.  Next is Beltane, the Festival where Wiccans celebrate 
the union of the young man and woman, and everyone dances around a tree, crowned 
with a garland of flowers, and decked with red and white ribbons.
About six weeks after Beltane we come to the Summer Solstice, when the Sun 
reaches its greatest height. It is the longest day/shortest night, and in the 
Southern Hemisphere, falls around 21 December. Then the Sun begins its way back 
down towards winter, but we are still in summer.  Six weeks after the Solstice 
is Lammas, when in agricultural societies, the harvest is reaped, and we receive 
the benefits from our hard work. The Sun at Lammas still has great strength, for 
it is the ripening time, rather than the grow-ing time which ceases around the 
Summer Solstice.  The Autumn Equinox follows this, usually around 21 March 
(again, it varies from year to year), which is often celebrated as a Harvest 
Festival.  The next Festival, some six weeks after the Equinox, is Samh-ain, 
which is the time just before the winter really sets in, and when food is 
stored, and we remember those who have passed away.  In many countries this is 
the time when the Lord of the Wild Hunt rides, which is mirrored in the way that 
the winds are often wild at this time of year, and the clouds ragged and wind-
torn.

In parts of Australia you will find that some of these seasonal aspects are a 
little different, but generally speaking, you should be able to feel the change 
from winter to spring; spring to summer; summer to autumn and then autumn to 
winter.  The specifics will change, but the general trend is very similar - one 
season leading to another.  You have only to become aware of the natural changes 
in your own environment to realize that the concepts of the Wheel of the Year 
are valid wherever you may be.

As a Wheel of initiation, the Wheel of the Year is the path which leads us 
through the experiences of our gods towards that point which Jungian 
psychologists call individu-ation, and which Wiccans call knowledge of the Old 
Ones.  As with all mystical experie-nces, these mysteries are not communicated 
in an academic or intellectual manner; they are direct experiences which each 
individual shares with the Old Gods.  Different traditions have developed 
different ways of traveling the Wheel, but all ways have a common purpose, and 
all are equally valid, provided the basic principles are sound.

We gave a very brief description of the cycle of the Wheel of the Year above.  
Now we can have a look at this in more detail, using for our framework a 
mythology which is used by our own Coven. It is based upon the Gardnerian and 
Alexandrian traditions in which we were initiated, but has evolved over several 
years, and has been greatly modified to reflect our own understanding of the 
turning wheel of the seasons.  We should say at this point that we use the terms 
"King" and "Queen" to refer to the principle characters in the mythology.  It is 
important to understand that we are not referring to a modern monarchy, but to 
the ancient pagan principles those titles infer.  The King is the priest/king of 
the forest: his tale is told in many forms in many lands.  He is the essential 
male that lies within all men, and is the animus (in it Jungian sense) of all 
women.  The Queen is Sovereignty: she is the mysterious soul of nature; the 
essential woman that lies within all women, and is the anima of all men.
So to begin our journey: how do we set out to explore the mysteries of 
existence?  Well, the journey begins with a question - we have first to be aware 
that there is a mystery to explore!  And that most basic of questions is:  
"where did life come from? how did it all begin?"  For a Wiccan there is an 
underlying spiritual intuition that the answer to that question is quite simply 
that the universe was created by deity.  So we celebrate the beginning of the 
Wheel of the Year as a being the creation of all life by the God and the 
Goddess; we begin with a creation myth.

The Wheel of the Year starts with Samhain; at this time we celebrate the Great 
Rite - the joyful union of the God and Goddess in the Otherworld.  This touches 
the very depths of the mystery. We celebrate at this time the conception that 
will lead to the birth of all creation.

Wiccans celebrate all life as a manifestation of the mystery of the gods, but do 
not pretend to understand how such life came into being.  Nor do we claim to 
fully understand our gods; to the Wicca they are a mystery, and when describing 
our vision of deity we use symbols to express as best we can the vision we have 
seen. We do not know how the universe was created and this remains essentially 
mysterious.  However, by choosing to take the path of initiation - that is, by 
following the Wheel of the Year - we can learn to commune more deeply with the 
gods, and experience visions which can reveal a little of the mystery.

The vision that we have of Samhain is of the creation.  In the Wicca the 
inexpressible mystery of the deity is symbolized in the form of the God and 
Goddess. Thus at Samh-ain we celebrate their love as the root of all creation.  
Samhain is the time of creation: 
the moment when life is conceived in the womb of the Great Mother.

As we proceed to the next of the festivals - Yule - it should not be surprising 
to find that following the moment of conception we should seek to understand the 
moment of birth.  The conception, the moment of creation deep within the 
mystery, took place at Samh-ain.  The seed planted at this time gestates in the 
womb of the Goddess until the child of the gods - in essence, the whole of 
creation - emerges from the womb of the Great Mother.  This is celebrated at 
Yule, which is symbolized by the birth of the Sun. In pre-Christian times, this 
time was called "Giuli," and followed "Modra Necht" - the Night of the Mothers.

Yule is celebrated at the time of the Midwinter Solstice. This is the time of 
the longest night, and of the shortest day. The Sun is seen to be symbolically 
born anew, as the Great Mother gives birth at the time of the darkest night.  
The Sun is a vitally important symbol to us, for it has been long known that all 
life on Earth is dependent upon the Sun.  The Wheel of the Year itself is based 
upon the solar cycle, and the Sun is seen as symbolic of the life force which we 
worship as the God and the Goddess.  The Sun is the dominant force in all our 
lives.  Without its light and heat, life as we understand it is impossible.  The 
passage of the Sun through the heavens regulates the passage of the seasons we 
experience upon the Earth, and is therefore the foundation of the Wiccan Wheel 
of the Year.
At the Midwinter Solstice we celebrate the rebirth of the Sun. Many Wiccan 
covens follow the old pagan tradition of enacting this as the Goddess giving 
birth to the Child of Promise.  It was at the Midwinter Solstice in the Northern 
Hemisphere that the birth of Mithras was celebrated.  For the same reason it was 
decided in 273 A.D. to appoint this date to celebrate the birth of Christ; the 
"son" of God.

In the world of nature, Yule signifies the moment of the rebirth of the Sun.  In 
our own lives we can take it to represent the moment of physical birth.  Thus in 
our ritual cycle, we enact the rebirth of the Sun by the lighting of candles, 
and especially the lighting of a flame within the cauldron to represent the 
emergence of new life from the darkness of the womb of the Goddess. We ritually 
invoke the Great Mother and All-Father, and we symbolically enact the Goddess 
giving birth to the new year.  In human terms the child represents all the 
potential for life, as yet unaware that all the mysteries of the universe lies 
hidden deep within.  Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the child is born 
in innocence, created in the image of the gods.

We have taken the second step upon our journey.  From now on the days continue 
to lengthen as the Sun climbs toward its height at the Summer Solstice.  In 
response to the greater heat of the Sun, the land begins to awaken as we start 
the journey from winter towards spring.  The next festival is Candlemas.  As we 
might guess from the name (given to it by the Christians), it is a festival of 
lights which celebrates the growth of the Sun.  By Candlemas, the days are 
appreciably longer.  Our understanding of this festival has been guided by 
ancient pagan tradition and our own inspiration. We see this as a time of 
purification and most especially a time of initiation into the female myster-
ies.  At Candlemas we observe in nature the awakening potential for the fullness 
of summer.  In human terms we represent this by the first female menstruation. 
This is the virgin aspect of the Goddess, marking the awakening of her potential 
to become the mother.

We celebrate this ritual by arming the young virgin with the powers of the 
elements.  We celebrate her initiation into the mysteries of her sex.  To 
reflect this essential female mystery, we enact the young girl being instructed 
by her mother and grandmother into the mysteries of being a woman.  Thus we 
reveal that the mystery of the virgin is also found within the mother crone as 
well.

It is at Candlemas in many parts of Britain that the women of the house dress a 
sheaf of oats in woman's clothing, and lay it in a basket called "Brighid's 
bed."  They also place a small phallic club in the bed and then call out three 
times, "Brighid is come, Brighid is welcome!", and leave candles burning all 
night beside the bed.  Behind all this we catch glimpses of deeper mysteries 
that can only be grasped by passing beyond a mere intellectual appreciation of 
the symbolism.

To continue our journey we now come to the Spring Equinox.  It might seem that 
celebrating Candlemas as a female mystery is rather unbalanced in a religion 
which is based upon polarity of male and female; but no; for reasons of 
tradition, and because woman reach puberty before men, it is not until the 
Spring Equinox that the initiatory male rite is enacted.  In this we arm the 
young god with the knowledge of his own creative power; he is initiated into the 
mysteries of sex, just as the young girl was armed with the powers of her 
potential.  This ritual expresses the mystery that he contains within his young 
life; the potential to become a father and wise old man.

This continues to reflect the turning tide of the seasons.  We are now in the 
spring.  New life is awakening on all sides.  The sap is rising in the trees, 
and both the young man and young girl have awakened to the mysteries of their 
sexuality.  The Spring Equinox is a vital moment in the passage of the solar 
cycle.  Day and night now stand equal, and from this point onwards the light 
will dominate the darkness.  The long dark nights of winter have at last been 
overthrown.

Between the Spring Equinox and Beltane the young man and woman pursue one 
another, each becoming more aware of the other sex. Thus the man understands 
that there is more to the mystery of life than pure masculinity, and the woman 
sees that there is more to life than her femininity.  Having found this vision, 
they express it in their desire to be joined as one.

We arrive now at Beltane. This is the time of the sacred marriage when the young 
man and woman are joined together as husband and wife.  With their wish to be 
married, they have glimpsed that the mysteries of love may lead to a deeper 
union still - in essence, to a union with the gods.  By going beyond their sense 
of individual self to embrace one another, they have taken a profound step 
toward the God and Goddess.  They have discovered that deep within themselves 
they are both male and female, and the experience of this brings a new sense of 
joy and wholeness.

Beltane is a time of joy and celebration; the dark of winter is forgotten, and 
summer is coming.  It is a time of fertility and fire.  We dance the ancient 
mystery of the Maypole, celebrating our understanding our understanding of the 
mystery of the love of a man for a woman.  The pole is crowned with a garland of 
flowers to symbolize their joining; the ribbons are red and white, reminding us 
of blood and sperm.  The dance is the sexual fire, as we dance about the pole 
winding the ribbons in the pattern of the spiral, which reveals the mystery of 
the serpent; that ancient awakener who slumbers until warmed by the rising Sun.

This is the time of the sacred marriage.  It is a moment when human 
consciousness has grasped the powers of nature, joined with those powers and 
shared in the mystery of life.  The land and our lives are married as one.  For 
those that are able to see it, there is a vision of the creation of all life by 
the God and the Goddess. For the mystery is now revealed for all to see - the 
woman conceives of her husband.  She is pregnant and will bear a child.
Through their union they discover their deeper selves, which we symbolize as the 
King and Queen of the land.  The man and woman now take up their new roles, and 
rule the kingdom of their new found lives.  At Candlemas and the Spring Equinox 
a man and a woman were instructed in the powers of nature.  Now at Beltane that 
knowledge is transformed into understanding.  For in joining together they have 
understood that their lives and the land are one.

The land continues to bring forth life in an ever greater profusion. The woman 
who is now the Queen begins to show the first signs of the Beltane seed planted 
in her womb by her husband, the King.  She is pregnant; the mirror image of the 
maturing crops.

Now we come to Midsummer, the height of the solar Wheel.  This is the time of 
the longest day and shortest night, and a time of maturity, both in the 
agricultural cycle and the lives of the man and woman.  They rule now as King 
and Queen; just as the Sun is at its height, so too they are at the height of 
their creative powers. The woman's mature power is reflected in her approaching 
mother-hood.  The man's power is reflected in his kingship, and in his mastery 
of nature and rule of the kingdom.  Together the King and Queen preside over the 
kingdom of their lives, celebrating the vision of creative light.

But the light does not continue to rise.  The vision of light must once more 
give way to a growing darkness.  As things grow, so too they must wither and 
die.  From Midsummer, the Sun must fall, until reborn once more at the Winter 
Solstice.  Thus Midsummer is a celebration of the King and Queen's power, but 
must also reflect the returning current of darkness.  We symbolize this by the 
appearance of a challenger who confronts the couple.  Until now the King and 
Queen have ruled supreme; they have imposed their will upon the kingdom without 
challenge, but now a single dark figure must appear.  This is the beginning of 
the ancient pagan theme of the battle between the brothers; the light and dark 
kings now begin their conflict.

The challenger seeks to abduct the Queen; the child she bears represents the 
kingdom.  The King must now defend the land.  They fight, light against dark, 
but as yet the sun is still supreme, and the King drives the challenger back.  
But, the challenger is armed with the power of fate; we know that the Sun must 
fall.  With a single stroke the challen-ger wounds the King, laying open his 
thigh; but still the light is the greater power, and the King defeats the 
challenger.  The light still rules supreme, but a shadow has fallen over the 
kingdom.

Thus Midsummer comes to a close.  The King and Queen remain at the height of 
their power, yet a new force - darkness - is awakening in the world.  As the 
seasons contin-ue to turn, the gods begin to reveal a further mystery: not only 
are they light, they are also dark as well.  Thus the King and Queen have 
awakened to a deeper mystery; they have seen that not only are they male and 
female, but they are also light and dark as well.
As we look at the natural world, we see that the Sun is now waning.  The days 
grow shorter, and we sense profound changes in the world around us.  After 
Midsummer, the next festival we come to is Lammas.  The crops have matured, and 
in the way of nature, aged and turned to seed.  The days are still longer than 
the nights; the light still rules in the land, but the powers of darkness are 
now visibly growing.  Summer is coming to an end and we are approaching autumn.  
To symbolize the theme of the waning light and growing power of darkness, we 
celebrate Lammas as a Harvest Festival.  In cutting the corn (wheat), we 
celebrate the end of the vision of light.  We cut the corn with joy; as we have 
sown, so now we reap, but in cutting the corn we signal the end of the cycle of 
growth.

As we gather in the harvest we watch as the power of the Sun wanes.  The cutting 
of the corn is an ancient symbol of death and transformation, and reflects the 
seasonal changes at work in the land around us.  As we look to the King and 
Queen, who were married to the land at Beltane, we see in their lives a 
reflection of these themes.  Just as the harvest is reaped, so the Queen now 
births her child.

The mystery of Lammas is that by fulfilling the vision of light in bringing to 
fruition the seed sown in the spring, we must face the vision of death.  For the 
King bears the wound he received at Midsummer, it is a wasting wound and will 
not heal.  He slowly weakens, his creative power spent.  He is still King, but 
his powers are waning, a reflection of the falling light.  But Lammas is also a 
time of hope, for in the cutting of the corn the seed is gathered in, which is 
the hope for life to come.  As the King looks to his first born son he looks to 
the heir of the kingdom.  We celebrate Lammas as a time of fulfillment; it is a 
time of joy, when we reap all we have sown.

Both King and Queen have been transformed.  The King had to accept the glimpse 
of the vision of death in his killing of the challenger and taking of a mortal 
wound; so now the Queen dies to herself, for in giving birth she has given the 
child a part of her life, passing her power to her son.  As the Wheel of the 
Seasons turns, it reveals that the gods embrace both life and death. Just as the 
man and woman were born, so too they must die.  Lammas brings the vision of 
mortality, but reveals the hope of the immortal spirit hidden in the new cut 
grain, made manifest in the new born child, who symbolizes the awakening 
darkness; he is the power of the waning Sun.  He emerges from the womb as the 
growing darkness appears in the natural world.

We must now move on.  Time will stand still for no-one.  The wheel must turn, 
and we must turn with it.  This is our fate, as our lives reflect the turning 
cycle of the seasons.  We must now make our way to the Autumn Equinox, where 
once again the powers of          light and darkness stand as equals - but now 
it is the darkness that is in the ascendant.

It is the nature of human beings to resist the darkness. Humanity fears death 
above all things.  It is the root of all our fears; death is the final 
initiation.  Only through an acceptance and understanding of death can we hope 
to understand the goods. Only in accepting death can we truly accept life.  Life 
and death are two sides of the same coin; we cannot have one without the 
other.By the time we reach the Autumn Equinox, it becomes harder to describe the 
mysteries that we celebrate.  The mystery that can be taught or explained is 
not, after all, a myst-ery.  At the Autumn Equinox we must face life's greatest 
mystery: death.  This is the hardest trial of all.  In the ancient mystery 
schools, and in shamanic practices, the most important of initiations was - and 
is - the near death experience.

The child born at Lammas is now a young man.  He is the reflection of the 
growing powers of darkness.  The old King of Light bears his mortal wound and is 
now advancing in years, his powers waning as the days grow shorter, and the Sun 
falls lower and lower in the sky.  The Queen also is no longer young; the flower 
of her youth is past.  The King and Queen are aging with the land, for they and 
the land are one.

But as is natural in human affairs we none of us want to admit the darkness.  We 
fight against the coming of the night.  So the King and Queen each in their own 
way try to hold onto the kingdom they have been at such pains to build.  The 
King's powers are waning; his son is in the first flush of youth and vigor, and 
has been initiated into the mysteries of his power.  The King grows weak, and 
must rely upon his son to defend the kingdom.  But, the King now fears his son 
as a potential challenge to the throne.  The Queen likewise does not want to 
relinquish her power.  She sees that her husband grows weak and infirm, and is 
no match for a challenger.  To maintain her position in the kingdom she relies 
on the power of her son.

Finally, in the dead of the night, the old pagan tale replays itself. The battle 
begun at the Midsummer Solstice between the light and darkness must now be 
resumed; the King and his son fight as the Equinox comes upon us.  Sword against 
spear the battle rages; the experience of the King against the naked strength of 
his son's youth.  The Queen watches as they fight, torn by hope and fear.  But 
as they fight, there is a great mystery at work. Both the King and Queen now 
face their fear of death, and as they look death in the eye there is a moment of 
understanding.  The King, the Queen, and the land are one.  Thus they are both 
the light and darkness.  In the moment of vision the King looks upon his son, 
and at last realizes that he is only fighting himself, for all things are one.  
The King and his son understand the mystery, and they join in love as one.  They 
give up the conflict of light and dark to pass beyond this world, and they 
become the Lord of the Otherworld.  The Queen too has seen both life and death, 
and knows that they are one.  With this realization she becomes the crone, and 
understands the ancient myst-ery.  The Equinox marks her last menstrual cycle; 
she can no longer bear children.

So now we must take our last step upon the Wheel; we come at last to Samhain, 
from where it all began.  As we saw at the beginning this is the Wiccan New 
Year. The Queen has become the crone - the hag, the Witch.  She lives alone, for 
the King is now dead.  The Sun is waning toward the Solstice; winter is upon us, 
and the night is now longer than the day.

If we look to the land, the cycle of growth has come to an end.  The kingdom of 
the old year has symbolically passed away, transformed by the turning of the 
seasons.  The Queen is now a Witch; the ancient hag crone who knows the 
mysteries of life and death.  In making her journey she has discovered the 
ancient power which lies behind the Wheel of the Year.  She has seen the spring, 
the summer, autumn and winter, and she knows that an ancient mystery lies hidden 
within it all.

Standing alone, for she is feared by those who have yet to walk the Wheel, she 
kindles the ancient Samhain fire.  As she raises her arms in invocation to the 
Lord of the Otherworld, a great storm gathers.  The veil is opened between the 
worlds.  The storm breaks, and the Wild Hunt is upon us as the spirits of the 
dead are led from the Other-world by the ancient Horned God; the Ancient Lord of 
the Samhain fire.  To complete the final turn of the Wheel, the Crone must now 
join with his mystery, and go with him back into the Otherworld.  She and the 
Horned Lord travel together back into the depths of the mystery.  There they 
join in love as one; the supreme moment of the true Great Rite in which all the 
mysteries of the male and female, all the mysteries of the light and dark are 
married together as one as the seed is planted deep within the womb of the Great 
Mother.

For now in the natural cycle the seeds of nature fall to the ground, the seed of 
life to come.  The seed harvested at Lammas is now planted in the earth, 
fulfilling the mystery of the return. For a while the land sleeps, and lies 
fallow.  The darkness seems to complete, but of course we know that we will 
eventually return to the Winter Solstice, and the cycle will continue.

Let us now approach the Wiccan Wheel of the Year as it is meant to be: as a 
mystery.  Forget the intellect, and allow your intuition and emotions to be your 
guide.  What follows is a guided visualization, which you can read onto a tape, 
or have one person read aloud, as you follow the journey it describes.  Allow 
the images to form naturally in your imagination, and you will find yourself 
making a magical journey through the mysteries of the gods.

For those who are not used to following a guided visualization, there are a few 
simple rules to observe.  Before starting any meditation work (which includes 
the kind of altered state that guided visualization encourages), seat yourself 
comfortably in a quiet room, free from distractions.  Take the phone off the 
hook, and tell anyone who lives with you not to disturb you.  You can of course 
do this out of doors, but if you do, make sure you are well off the beaten 
track, with no danger of bush walkers stumbling over you, or any other kinds of 
disturbance.  Have a pen and pad handy, and if it helps you to relax and focus, 
use some incense.
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THE WHEEL OF THE DAY

THE WHEEL OF THE DAY

NE – It is just before sunrise. You begin to wake. For a moment you may wonder what day it is or even feel confused about where you are. Your mind is still in an open slate.

EAST – During sunrise or a bit after you are preparing for the day. In your mind
you begin to plan. What will you get done this day and how will you do it?

SE – It is mid morning now. As you begin to carry out your plans you demonstrate ‘who you are’ in this day. You choose if you are going to display a positive or negative attitude.

SOUTH – It is noon and early afternoon. You are occupied in the activities of
your day. Now is when you carry out your responsibilities to your family and your community.

SW – As your afternoon continues you realize that you cannot get everything done that you planned. You decide what you will do tomorrow. It is a time for finding balance in your day.

WEST – It is evening, The sun goes down. The active part of your day is done. You sit back and evaluate your day considering what went well and what you would do differently next time.

NW – As you retire for the night you gradually let go of thoughts about the
day. Your mind becomes more receptive. You may drift between sleep and wakefulness for a while.

NORTH – It is deep in the night now. You sleep and dreams bring renewal that prepare you for the coming dawn when you will begin to travel another wheel of
another day.

Source: Wicca-Chat.com

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Your Charm for September 3rd is The Crescent and Hand

Your Charm for Today

The Crescent and Hand

 Today’s Meaning:
Guests and visitors will come calling. Their visit brings happiness and joy. This aspect will reflect these emotions for weeks after the visit.

General Description:
Crescents were worn by the ancients to safeguard them against witchcraft and danger. From the very early Eastern symbole, horseshoes came to be regarded by the Greeks and Romans as charms against sickness and the plague. In the middle ages horseshoes were used as amulets for witchcraft and even today are looked upon as lucky. When the representation of the hand of strength was worn with the crescent it signified hospitatlity and generosity. Hands of Might are painted on houses in Italy, Syria, Turkey and in the East to protect the buildings from misfortune and the inmates from death. The blue beads were worn to avert the evil eyes.

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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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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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