Witches Of The Craft®
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We welcome you our new friend to our online home. Our site is a place of peace and refuge from the outside world filled with the Love and Presence of Our Goddess. You will not be judged for you are amongst friends. We offer friendship, fellowship and most of all knowledge. With knowledge the truth and beauty about our Religion can be spread. Witchcraft can then take its rightful place back into today’s mainstream Religions. This is our dream, this is our home, this is what we offer to you. We hope you find everything you seek amongst our walls. Safe journey on your Path, my dear brother or sister!
Samhain/The Witches New Year
Samhain is known by most folks as Halloween, but for many modern Pagans it’s considered a Sabbat to honor the ancestors who came before us, marking the dark time of the year. It’s a good time to contact the spirit world with a seance, because it’s the time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.
Myths and Misconceptions:
Contrary to a popular Internet-based rumor, Samhain was not the name of some ancient Celtic god of death, or of anything else, for that matter.
Religious scholars agree that the word Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”) comes from the Gaelic “Samhuin,” but they’re divided on whether it means the end or beginning of summer. After all, when summer is ending here on earth, it’s just beginning in the Underworld. Samhain actually refers to the daylight portion of the holiday, on November 1st.
All Hallow Mass:
Around the eighth century or so, the Catholic Church decided to use November 1st as All Saints Day. This was actually a pretty smart move on their part – the local pagans were already celebrating that day anyway, so it made sense to use it as a church holiday. All Saints’ became the festival to honor any saint who didn’t already have a day of his or her own. The mass which was said on All Saints’ was called All Hallowmas – the mass of all those who are hallowed. The night before naturally became known as All Hallows Eve, and eventually morphed into what we call Halloween.
The Witches’ New Year:
Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year.
This is a good time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Think about the things you did in the last twelve months. Have you left anything unresolved? If so, now is the time to wrap things up. Once you’ve gotten all that unfinished stuff cleared away, and out of your life, then you can begin looking towards the next year.
Honoring the Ancestors:
For some of us, Samhain is when we honor our ancestors who came before us. If you’ve ever done genealogy research, or if you’ve had a loved one die in the past year, this is the perfect night to celebrate their memory. If we’re fortunate, they will return to communicate with us from beyond the veil, and offer advice, protection and guidance for the upcoming year.
If you want to celebrate Samhain in the Celtic tradition, spread the festivities out over three consecutive days. You can hold a ritual and feast each night. Be flexible, though, so you can work around trick-or-treating schedules!
Beltane winds up the month of October for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, and has a long history. This fire festival is celebrated on October 31 with bonfires, Maypoles, dancing, and lots of good old fashioned sexual energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the gods with gifts and offerings, sometimes including animal or human sacrifice. Cattle were driven through the smoke of the balefires, and blessed with health and fertility for the coming year.
In Ireland, the fires of Tara were the first ones lit every year at Beltane, and all other fires were lit with a flame from Tara.
The Romans (living in the Southern Hemisphere), always known for celebrating holidays in a big way, spent the last day of October paying tribute to their Lares, the gods of their household. They also celebrated the Floralia, or festival of flowers, which consisted of three days of unbridled sexual activity. Participants wore flowers in their hair, and there were plays, songs, and dances. At the end of the festivities, animals were set loose inside the Circus Maximus, and beans were scattered around to ensure fertility.
A Pagan Martyr:
Eyvind Kelda was a Norwegian martyr who was tortured and drowned on the orders of King Olaf Tryggvason for refusing to give up his Pagan beliefs. A week later, Norwegians celebrate the Festival of the Midnight Sun, which pays tribute to the Norse sun goddess.
This festival marks the beginning of ten straight weeks without darkness.
The Greeks and Plynteria:
Also in May, the Greeks celebrated the Plynteria in honor of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle, and the patroness of the city of Athens (which was named after her). The Plynteria includes the ritual cleansing of Athena’s statue, along with feasting and prayers in the Parthenon. On the 24th, homage is paid to the Greek moon-goddess Artemis (goddess of the hunt and of wild animals). Artemis is a lunar goddess, equivalent to the Roman moon-goddess Diana – she is also identified with Luna, and Hecate.
The Green Man Emerges:
A number of pre-Christian figures are associated with Beltane. The entity known as the Green Man, strongly related to Cernunnos, is often found in the legends and lore of the British Isles, and is a masculine face covered in leaves and shrubbery. In some parts of England, a Green Man is carried through town in a wicker cage as the townsfolk welcome the beginning of summer. Impressions of the Green Man’s face can be found in the ornamentation of many of Europe’s older cathedrals, despite edicts from local bishops forbidding stonemasons from including such pagan imagery.
A related character is Jack-in-the-Green, a spirit of the greenwood. References to Jack appear in British literature back as far as the late sixteenth century. Sir James Frazer associates the figure with mummers and the celebration of the life force of trees. Jack-in-the-Green was seen even in the Victorian era, when he was associated with soot-faced chimney sweeps. At this time, Jack was framed in a structure of wicker and covered with leaves, and surrounded by Morris dancers. Some scholars suggest that Jack may have been a ancestor to the legend of Robin Hood.
Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites:
Today’s Pagans celebrate Beltane much like their ancestors did. A Beltane ritual usually involves lots of fertility symbols, including the obviously-phallic Maypole dance. The Maypole is a tall pole decorated with flowers and hanging ribbons, which are woven into intricate pattern by a group of dancers. Weaving in and out, the ribbons are eventually knotted together by the time the dancers reach the end.
In some Wiccan traditions, Beltane is a day in which the Beltane Queen and the Queen of Winter battle one another for supremacy. In this rite, borrowed from practices on the Isle of Man, each queen has a band of supporters. On the morning of October 31, the two companies battle it out, ultimately trying to win victory for their queen. If the Beltane Queen is captured by her enemies, she must be ransomed before her followers can get her back.
There are some who believe Beltane is a time for the faeries — the appearance of flowers around this time of year heralds the beginning of summer and shows us that the fae are hard at work. In early folklore, to enter the realm of faeries is a dangerous step — and yet the more helpful deeds of the fae should always be acknowledged and appreciated. If you believe in faeries, Beltane is a good time to leave out food and other treats for them in your garden or yard.
For many contemporary Pagans, Beltane is a time for planting and sowing of seeds — again, the fertility theme appears. The buds and flowers bring to mind the endless cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth that we see in the earth. Certain trees are associated with Beltane, such as the Ash, Oak and Hawthorn. In Norse legend, the god Odin hung from an Ash tree for nine days, and it later became known as the World Tree, Yggdrasil.
If you’ve been wanting to bring abundance and fertility of any sort into your life — whether you’re looking to conceive a child, enjoy fruitfulness in your career or creative endeavors, or just see your garden bloom — Beltane is the perfect time for magical workings related to any type of prosperity.
Now for my usual speech this time of year…..
Every year at this time, we get flooded with individuals wanting to be a witch, NOW! I can understand anyone who might want to be a witch. A witch’s life is full of beauty and one few will ever behold. It is magickal, mystical and very rewarding. It is a life-time of learning, you never quit learning there is always something just waiting around the next corner that the Goddess is ready to reveal to you. I cannot begin to explain the wonders of being a witch. I don’t believe any witch can, it is something you to have to see and live yourself before you could ever understand.
But still we have individuals that come and want to be a witch in a blink of an eye. I hate to be the one to tell you but that is never going to happen. No matter what you have read or seen on TV or at the movies, witchcraft does not happen the way they portray it. You see Witchcraft is a nature based Religion. Yes, you heard me right, a nature-based religion. We just don’t one day decide we want to become witches or wiccans and POOF! it happens because it doesn’t.
Each of us have the magick inside of us, some of us find it and learn how to use it. While others will never find it no matter how hard they look. Once we find that magick, we have to study to learn how to use it and how to use it properly. Witches like anyone else have laws they have to abide by too. Witchcraft is work. We study for a year and a day before we are truly ready to practice Witchcraft. During that time, we learn about the Gods and Goddesses, proper time to do magick, the different types of magick, the traditions, rituals, spells and the list goes on and on. Witchcraft is not a game, it is not something anyone will learn overnight.
If you feel you have been called to the Craft and are willing to study and learn the proper way, then we would be more than happy to help you. If you have come here to “Poof! Become A Witch” right now, forget it. Turning someone way who want to become a witch in 30 minutes or less is not only in their best interest but ours. You see, my sweets, what you send out into the cosmos effects not only you because it will come back to you three-fold but will also effect us. I believe we all feel safer with individuals practice magick who know what they are doing.
If you are serious about Witchcraft and Wicca, willing to commit yourself to a year and a day study, work hard, continuously learning and most of all experience the most beautiful & magickal life imaginable, we welcome you. But if this is just a seasonal phase, then sorry you have knocked on the wrong door.
—Lady Of The Abyss