Full Moon Love Boon (Storm Moon)

Full Moon Love Boon

(Storm Moon)
You will need your journal, a green candle, three drops of rose oil, and a green stone. This spell taps into the fertile power of the moon, ruled by the beautiful Greek Goddess Selene. She influences the reproductive energies of plants, animals and people.
Begin by writing on a blank page of your journal what you want to focus the energy of this full moon love spell. It could be anything from a new love relationship to strengthening your love with your beloved. Be clear as to your desires, and make sure your spell is truly for the greater good–everyone’s greater good, not just your own.
Dress the candle with the three drops of rose oil. As you rub the oil over the surface of the candle, focus your mind on your desire. Wipe the oil from your hands, and place the candle in a candleholder. Light the candle, and imagine the candlelight fueling your magickal pattern. Imagine the magickal fire energizing every aspect of your being and then direct it toward your specific love desire. Say three times:
I am the light that shine bright
Within this magickal moonlight night.
Put the green stone on an altar tile or plate on your altar. Then carefully pick up the candle and hold it over the stone. Angle the candle so that three drops of wax spill onto the stone. After you do this, say:
Maid, Crone, and Mother
Your light shines like no other
On this bright night of the full moon
Please grant me this true love boon.
{State what you desire.}
So be it! Blessed be!
Allow the candle to burn safely down, and set the stone in the windowsill to absorb the energy of the full moon. Afterward put the stone one your altar for twenty-eight nights(a moon cycle) to draw the love you desire into your life.

Isis and Osiris Love Placket (Storm Moon)

Isis and Osiris Love Placket

The Goddess Isis and her consort Osiris brought agriculture, music and spirituality to the ancient land of Egypt. Osiris was gentle and hated violence, and Isis was wise and adept at the ways of magick. When you bring this Goddess and God into your love magick, you bring divine love and caring into your relationship.
For this spell, you will need a white candle, a red envelope, a lock of your hair and a lock of your lover’s hair, and a green felt pen.
Light the candle and dedicate it to the Goddess and God:
Wise Isis and gentle Osiris
May your love always shine on me and my lover.
Take the red envelope, place in it your lock of hair and your lover’s, and seal it with a few drops of candle wax. Take the green felt pen and draw the image of an ankh on the front of the envelope. Now, draw a heart around the ankh, and as you do so, say the following:
Bring life to my love
Let it grow into eternity
So mote it be! Blessed be!

The Magick Sex Pentacle (Storm Moon)

The Magick Sex Pentacle

(Storm Moon)
You will need romantic music, a sheet of clean paper, a red felt pen, ten drops of your favorite scented oil or perfume, your lover, five white tea candles, your magick want and a soft warm bed.
First, turn on the romantic music before you make this pentacle with five sexy steps you can enjoy with your lover. Do this by drawing a large five-pointed star on the sheet of paper with the red felt pen. In the head, arms, and legs of the pentacle, write in the five sexy steps you would like to explore with your beloved, one per area. Set the sheet in front of you.
Put a drop of the oil on each of your lover’s ankles, each of your lover’s wrists and lastly a drop on your lover’s forehead. Using the other five drops of oil, have your lover anoint you with the oil in the same way.
Create a space where you can safely place the five tea candles around the drawn pentacles in front of you: two at the bottom, two at the sides and one on top, representing the ankles, wrists and forehead. Light each candle, and dedicate it to the Goddess of lust and love by saying:
“Oh wondrous Lady of lust and love,
Empower this pentacle with your magick.”
Holding your lover close to you, use your wand to connect the five points of light in a clockwise motion into a pentacle of love. Merge with the pentacle and imagine your wildest sexual fantasies. Use the soft warm bed to realize these fantasies with your beloved and make your dreams come true. You can also do this pentacle solo.

Opening the Star (Storm Moon)

Opening the Star

(Storm Moon)
Use this spell to become one with the stars.
Take a hot bath, anoint yourself with your favorite scented oil, put on relaxing music, and lie on our bed with your arms and legs extended. Imagine yourself as a star glistening in the night sky. The light pours in and out of your legs, arms, and head in a clockwise motion. Sense the light moving in, then sense it moving outward. Your being becomes pure light as you shine with the light of the divine. Perfect love and perfect peace flow in and out of you, connecting you with the whole of Oneness.
Sense your being opening up like a flower whose petals are pure light. From the inside out, you glow with a brilliant white light that emanates from every part of your being. Feel yourself becoming the essence of fluorescence, filled with ardor of life.
As you drift off to sleep, take this sensation of being filled and emanating with an aura of perfect love and perfect peace within your inner being. Continue to sense the star inside of you opening like a flower and glowing with your inner beauty. Repeat the following affirmation three times:
“Tonight and every night
My star spirit is shining bright.”

Practicing Wicca and Witchcraft Today

Practicing Wicca and Witchcraft Today


Starting something new can be frightening; this applies also to a new religion. You will be taught the basic tenants, but in the long run, it will be up to you to make of it what you want.

There are many different witches, each with their own set of rituals. Some witches prefer to work alone, other like working within a coven. Once again this is a person choice. Let no one force you into joining anything with which you are not comfortable.

Let me give you an idea of the various forms of the craft that are available to you.

Gardnerian Wicca: Started in 1950’s by Gerald Gardner. Groups tend to work skyclad. Covens use a degree system. Individuals are initiated by the coven.

Alaxandrian Wicca: Started in the 1960’s in England. In many aspects they are like the Gardnerian Wicca.

Georgian Wicca: Founded by George Patterson in the 1970’s. They are known as the Georgian Church and draw their rituals from the Alaxandrian and Gardnerian crafts. Members also write their own ritual.

Algard Wicca: Founded in 1972. Mary Nesnick combined Alexandrian and Gardnerian Wicca to form the Algard tradition. They are very close to the Gardnerian tradition.

Seax-Wica: Founded in 1962 by Raymond Buckland a protégé of Gardner. He moved to the U. S. A. and in 1973 started his own tradition based on Saxon traditions. Hence Seax-Wica.

Feri Tradition: Victor Anderson is credited to bringing this tradition to America in the late 1960’s. Feri teacher tend to add something of themselves to the religion as they teach. They can be solitary or work in small groups.

Dianic Tradition: This religion focus strongly on the Goddess with little or no interact on the God. This is a feminist movement of the craft. The covens are women only.

British Traditional: There are a number of different British Traditions that are based on the Pre Christian traditions of Old England.

Celtic Wicca: The tradition looks to the Celtic and druidic deities, with an emphasis on magickal and healing properties.

Northern Way or Asatru. This tradition is based on the Old Norse gods.

Pictish Witches: This is a solitary Scottish Tradition that is based on nature.

Strega Witches: This tradition is from Italy.

You will notice that this list is long, but not complete. Many witches are drawn to the “way” because of their background. This need not be so. Follow the one that calls to you.

Becoming a Wiccan

Becoming a Wiccan

Remember these are just guides and other peoples thoughts, becoming a wiccan may vary depending on you, you may even already be wiccan without even knowing!The Craft does not actively seek converts. We do not proselytize. We are willing to inform when asked, and training is available in varying degrees of formality. Some Witches believe that one must be born with the talent to become a Witch. Others believe that all people have the ability, and that becoming a Witch is simply a matter of training. Some people know from an early age that they are Witches; others come to the Craft as adults. Most of us grew up in a tradition other than the Craft.
And there are many out there who do what we would call Witchcraft who have no idea what to call it, or even that there are others like them in the country or the world. Being a Witch, like doing Magick itself, is a matter of symbolism and intent.

How Do I Become A Wiccan?
This is a frequently asked question which is asked, and the honest answer would be there is no “becoming a wiccan”, in the sense u wake up one day and decide you are going to be Wiccan. Like all religions its is something you either are brought up with, perhaps if someone in your family is Wiccan, or something you know you want to be part of and you know you are, for example if it feels right for you and you know what you want from it.

Like all religions, you do learn as you live it, with Wicca there are different “slants” to the beliefs as you go from one Wiccan to the next. As you learn you will most probably adopt your own “slant” on your beliefs. There is no right and wrong.

The process of becoming a good Wiccan involves a lot of reading, studying, and developing of your own perspective. It is a religion that encourages independent thought. So by reading some good books, learning about the Craft, then deciding if you’re ready, you can dedicate yourself. The best place to start is to look within yourself.

Sit down and think about what you are trying to achieve, how might be the best way to go about that. Try to figure out what you believe, how you think the world works, why things are the way they are.

Meditate on who you are as a person, and who you want to become. Are you who you want to be? Why or why not? Where do you want to be and why? Only when we understand ourselves can we truly see the world with totally clear vision.

Making the first important step, deciding that this is something you want to look into, all you have to do now is the actual studying part.

A good starting point would be to head to your local book shop or library. Surf the net and find all the information you can; join a newsgroup, check out message boards and chat rooms. Ask a lot of questions, and don’t be afraid of looking silly.



Wicca is a Neopagan religion that can be found in many English-speaking countries. Originally founded by the British civil servant Gerald Gardner, probably in the 1940s, although it was first openly revealed in 1954. Since its founding, various related Wiccan traditions have evolved, the original being Gardnerian Wicca, which is the name of the tradition that follows the specific beliefs and practices established by Gerald Gardner.repeatedly in his published work of 1954. The spelling “Wicca” is now used almost exclusively, (Seax-Wica being the only major use of the four-letter spelling).

In Old English, wicca meant necromancer or male witch. Some contend that the term wicca is related to Old English witan, meaning wise man or counselor, but this is widely rejected by language scholars as false etymology. Nonetheless, Wicca is often called the “Craft of the wise” as a result of this misconception.It appears that the word may be untraceable beyond the Old English period. Derivation from the Indo-European roots ‘wic’ or ‘weik’ is seemingly incorrect by phonological understanding.Though sometimes used interchangeably, “Wicca” and “Witchcraft” are not the same thing. The confusion comes, understandably, because both practitioners of Wicca and practitioners of witchcraft are often called witches. In addition, not all practitioners of Wicca are witches, and not all witches are practitioners of Wicca.

Wicca refers to the religion. This can be a reference to both the initiatory tradition, where initiates are assigned a degree and generally work in covens, and to Solitary Wicca, where practitioners self-dedicate themselves to the tradition and generally practice on their own. Both Initiates and Solitary Wiccans worship the Goddess, with most also choosing to worship the God, and both celebrate the Sabbats and Esbats.

Witchcraft, or as it is sometimes called “The Craft?, on the other hand, requires no belief in specific gods or goddesses and is not a specific spiritual path. Thus, there are Witches who practise a variety of religions besides Pagan ones, such as Judaism and Christianity. It is considered to be a learned skill, referring to the casting of spells and the practice of magic or magick (the use of the “k” is to ‘in order to distinguish the Science of the Magi from all its counterfeits’ (or perhaps just to make it sound better), and was coined as a spelling by Aleister Crowley). To add to the confusion the term witchcraft in popular older usage, or in a modern historical or anthropological context, means the use of black or evil magic, not something Wicca encourages at all.



There are many different traditions or branches of the Wicca. These depend upon
the original location of each coven’s ancestors within the area known as Western
and Insular Europe. Each is different in many ways — the way in which the
rituals are performed, the wear (or lack of wear) within the circle, the
language which is spoken within the circle, the system of training, the symbols
used, etc. All are the same in that they honor the Deities of Nature, live by
the philosophy of “Harm none and do what you will,” believe in reincarnation,
and have the knowledge of working a specific form of magick.

There are many so-called “courses” on “How to become a Witch” ranging in price
from a dollar to several hundred dollars, none of which are enlightening to the
well read, nor do they reveal any of the secrets of the Wicca. For the curious,
perhaps, they can be of benefit – for the serious, they are at most worthless,
and more often than not, dangerous and inaccurate.

The following are brief descriptions of the various traditions within Wicca:

GARDNERIAN – A branch of Wicca deriving its name from Gerald B.Gardner who was
initiated into a coven of Witches in the New Forest in Britain and who helped
greatly in the advancement of the truth about Wicca by his love for it and his
writings on the subject. It is inherently Celtic in origin encompassing rituals
as practiced in Southern England. Ritual nudity is required at all times.

TRADITIONAL – Many branches of the Craft which claim to be pre-Gardnerian.
This covers a lot of territory, again depending upon the area of origin (i.e.,
Wales, Scotland, Ireland, etc.). Ritual nudity is sometimes required. Some
groups are strictly robed.

ALEXANDRIAN – A branch in Wicca deriving its name from Alexander Sanders. This
is a form of Gardnerian Wicca (rather, a form which “borrowed” much of
Gardnerianism). It is very ceremonial, encompassing much of Quabalistic magick,
etc. Ritual nudity plays a part but it is not required, the choice being left to
the individual Witch.

CONTINENTAL – This can be put under the heading of “Traditional,” again
depending upon origin (France, Germany, Spain, Basque, etc.).

STREGERIA – This can be put under the heading of “Continental.” It is
Witchcraft as practiced in Italy and Sicily, each area of Italy and Sicily
practicing according to their own folk-tradition. These are extremely
secretive peoples, but much can be learned about them by reading Leland’s

HEREDITARY – Pockets of Hereditary Witches do exist in Europe and America,
carrying on their family traditions. They are usually the most secretive,
preferring to work alone or only within their families. Their form of
Witchcraft is almost entirely different than what we know as Wicca.

DIANIC – This branch of Wicca lays a great stress on the Goddess, sometimes
entirely ignoring Her Horned Consort. I do not know much about them, but they
seem to be similar to Gardnerian (or vice versa). Perhaps this was the
original tradition that Gerald Gardner was initiated into.

Gardnerian group founded by a Californian named Aidan Kelly. They are a
beautiful and idealistic form of the Wicca, constantly researching into our
ancient heritage.

AMERICAN-CELTIC – Perhaps the largest and fastest growing form of Wicca in
America originating out of the Twin City area (Minneapolis-St.Paul). Their form
is akin to Gardnerian, though ritual nudity is not required by all of their

Two of the newest branches of the Craft are the SEAX-WICCA, formulated by Dr.
Raymond Buckland (formerly a Gardnerian), based upon the religion of the Saxons.
It is a unique system which has eliminated the Degrees and operates upon a
democratic level. Unlike other traditions, non-initiates are permitted at times
to witness the rituals. The other of the two is simply called WICCA and was
formulated by Edmund M. Buczynski from nine ….years of study and research into
pre-Celtic and Celtic religions. It also is operated upon a democratic level.
However, the three degrees have been kept as well as ritual nudity. Only
initiates are permitted to attend meetings.

There are many other groups, many are “underground” and shun any publicity. Most
are small and isolated (like the BOREADS, a lovely tradition who call themselves
the “children of the north wind”). The fact remains that all of these groups are
legitimate representatives of Wicca in the world today.

WELSH TRADITIONAL – This is a Celtic-derived tradition which incorporates the
teachings and mythology and traditions of Ancient Wales. There is a large group
at present in Georgia, California, and New York.

MINOAN BROTHERHOOD AND SISTERHOOD – These groups are worshippers of the Cretan
snake goddess whose holy priests and priestesses were historically homosexual.
The Brotherhood and Sisterhood meet separately at the Esbats, but meet together
at Sabbats.

Lessons You May Not Find In Books

Lessons You May Not Find In Books

1) Within a Circle trust is an absolute necessity.

If you attend a ritual be SURE you trust those involved. Many feel this, in todays society to be archaic. It has always proved out when I have tried to work with unknown people, those I was unsure of or who were in some way unsure of me, failure, disaster or heated debate resulting in dissent has always been the end point. Know a person before you are willing to entersacred space with them.

2) Never spellcast too soon.

Magic should not be a first resort. The use of non-magical means should be applied when possible and convient. Overuse of magic, like anything else,becomes a crutch that can unbalance your life.

3) Prophecy is a two-edged sword.

Remember this, wether you read Tarot, I-Ching, Runes or whatever other means of divination or personal analysis. Be prepared to have the reading to go in directions you do not expect and be prepared for them NOT to be in a way you will like. Remember the Lesson of Cassandra (in Greek Mythology) that sometimes you can change the future and sometimes you cannot, and only time will tell which is which. If you cannot deal with the possibility of your personal wants or expectations being wrong, then you should not be consulting a means of divination. I have seen even long-time craft-folk who forget this lesson in the heat of emotion.

4) There is not a magical answer behind everything.

I have known some folks who became so obsessed in their personal paranoia of some form of ‘magical attack’ or ‘magical influence’ that such became their excuse for everything that occured around them, even when very simple non-magical answers existed to explain what had occured. The number of magical practitioners at present is VERY small, and most have a range of influence that doesn’t extend far on their own. The gathering of hateful or vindictive emotional energy to achieve a magical attack on another is not done easily or quickly, and tends to harm the attacker more often then the target. Look with logic on a situation.

5) Diversify.

Don’t depend on or look into only a single philosophy or magical application – a specialist is usually someone who is refusing to grow beyond boundries they have set for themselves.

6) A single teacher is NOT enough.

You will spend a lifetime as a real student, even if others one day declare you a teacher, leader or High Priestess. Gather from many to find what your lifepath is. Do not let anyone tell you there is ONLY one true belief system, one true Divinity, one way to approach a situation or one teacher to follow.

7) In the end you ARE Solitary.

All Magickal workers are eventually forced to depend upon their own company, seperated from the many communities and groups by distance, time or belief. You will probably spend more time solitary then in a group. Be prepared to face this when it happens. The Pagan Community is too small to be everywhere for everyone or to even always help its own (though trying to do so is a goal I feel vital to expand the community). You must become sufficiently balanced and grounded to deal with being alone and to practice your beliefs alone, especially in times of hardship and adversity.

8) Don’t be too fast to assume the role of a teacher, or to assume that a student cannot teach you something in return.

Can you really explain what you believe and do within your belief coherantly? Does the person to be taught really want to learn it all and are they sincere, or are they mearly curious or on a ‘power trip’? Learning to know when someone is ready to learn is one of the hardest lessons you must learn if you purposely teach. Don’t give a hand gernade to a three year old and expect positive results.

9) Not all paths and philosophies are desireable.

There are many that are self-destructive, purely self-indulgent or a combination of both. If a path cannot teach you some form of inner peace with yourself and what you are doing in life, or is devoted to manipulating others to achieve your personal benefits, then it is a ‘dead-end path’, one that is a cul-de-sac on the path of growth.

10) Don’t do what feels uncomfortable.

If performing a ritual, using a magic form, reciting a chant/prayer or performing an activity feels personally painful, uncomfortable or ‘wrong’ then it is not for you to be involved with it at that time. Listen to the inner voice of your spirit and follow its lead. Intuition is a powerful gift, don’t waste it by always opposing it.

11) You will have to take chances.

Magic doesn’t work on its own, and positive karma won’t help you if you fight it when it seeks to restore balance around you. It is not enough to cast a prosperity spell and then sit home and wait for a letter in the mail from Ed MacMahn with a check in it!

You must take non-magical action to help things along. Cast a spell for a new job? Sure, but then don’t turn down a chance to read job listings, mail resumes or attend an interview! Working to heal a sick spouse? ok, but make sure they are getting medical advice, enough to eat, attention, care, therapy, etc. to help the magic on its way!

The Three-Fold Law


May whatever ye do, Come back to the,
Three times bad, or three times good

Three-Fold Law, or Law of Return as it is also called, is perhaps one of the more controversial aspects of Wiccan ethics. The basic premise is that anything we do comes back to us in the end, often to a greater degree (such as three-fold). If we do good, then good will be retuned and if we cause harm, we put ourselves in danger of harm.

This relates a lot towards Karma. In that ethically it is equivalent to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have done to you”. But in the case of the Law of Return, there is a literal reward or punishment tied to one’s actions, particularly when it comes to working magic.

The debate over the validity of the Law of Return and its variations takes many forms. Some feel that it was created to keep new initiates in check as they learned to work with magic, while others feel it is a remnant of Christian thinking, being that a majority of Wiccans come from a Christian background. However, many Wiccans today, including some authors and “community leaders”, take the three-fold law quite literally.

Since the idea that “we reap what we sow” is generally accepted among Wiccans, the Law of Return can fairly be considered a core belief. However, it must be acknowledged that it is neither a necessary nor a universally defining belief of the Craft. There are many Wiccans, experienced and new alike, who view the Law of Return as an over-elaboration on the Wiccan Rede, which recommends that we refrain from causing harm. A Wiccan would not wish to cause harm since he or she deems it wrong to do so, not out of fear of retribution.

Doreen Valiente, one of the most influential and respected figures in modern witchcraft, boldly stated in her speech at the National Conference of the Pagan Federation in November 1997:

Another teaching of Gerald’s which I have come to question is the belief known popularly as “the Law of Three”. This tells us that whatever you send out in witchcraft you get back threefold, for good or ill.
Well, I don’t believe it! Why should we believe that there is a special Law of Karma that applies only to witches? For Goddess’ sake do we really kid ourselves that we are that important? Yet I am told, many people, especially in the USA, take this as an article of faith. I have never seen it in any of the old books of magic, and I think Gerald invented it.

While researching the Three-Fold Law, I took the liberty of writing several early authors who had referenced it in their books. The few responses I received were always the same; they did not know where it came from but it was known, at least as oral tradition, when they entered the craft. Using the dates of their initiations I hoped to at least obtain a starting point for my research. In this case, since Raymond Buckland was the first to be initiated of those authors who took the time to respond, I had a start date of 1963. Buckland was initiated as a Gardnerian by Lady Olwen, Gerald Gardner’s last High Priestess before his death in 1964. Although Buckland recalled that Lady Olwen’s coven referred to the three-fold law, he did not recall any mention of it by Gardner himself in their correspondences. I also knew from Margot Adler, that it was known in the US, at least orally when she entered the craft in 1972. “I know it was talked about the minute I entered the craft in the Brooklyn Pagan Way, and that was 72, but whether it came in written or oral form, I don’t know.” The Brooklyn Pagan Way was run by the New York Coven of Welsh Traditional Witches so the Law of Return had already disseminated outside of Gardnerian practice by 1972.

Starting with books in the 60’s, I sought to find any reference to the Three-Fold Law or variations of that theme. I was particularly interested in finding non-Gardnerian sources since, unlike many other aspects of modern Wicca, the Three-Fold Law appears to be a purely Wiccan construct particularly of Gardnerian lineage, adding a moral element to the practice of magic. I then worked backward seeking earlier influences, as well as forward, seeing who referenced these early books in their bibliographies

The Wiccan ReDe

Bide the Wiccan laws ye must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
Live and let live
Freely take and freely give
Cast the circle thrice about
To keep all evil spirits out
To bind the spell every time
Let the spell be spake in rhyme
Soft of eye and light of touch
Speak little, listen much
Deosil go by the waxing moon
Sing and dance the Wiccan rune
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane
And the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane
When the Lady’s moon is new
Kiss thy hand to her times two
When the moon rides at her peak
Then your heart’s desire seek
Heed the northwind’s mighty gale
Lock the door and drop the sail
When the wind comes from the south
Love will kiss thee on the mouth
When the wind blows from the east
Expect the new and set the feast
When the west wind blows o’er thee
Departed spirits restless be
Nine woods in the cauldron go
Burn them fast and burn them slow
Elder be ye Lady’s tree
Burn it not or cursed ye’ll be
When the wheel begins to turn
Let the Beltaine fires burn
When the wheel has turned to Yule
Light the log and let Pan rule
Heed ye flower, bush and tree
By the Lady, Blessed be
Where the rippling waters go
Cast a stone and truth ye’ll know The Rede of the Wicca
When ye have a need
Hearken not to others’ greed
With the fool no season spend
Nor be counted as his friend
Merry meet and merry part
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart
Mind the Threefold Law ye should
Three times bad and three times good
When misfortune is enow
Wear the blue star on thy brow
True in love ever be
Unless thy lover’s false to thee
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill
An’ it harm none, do what ye will

The ABC’s Of Wicca

Accept others as they are. We are all individuals.

Belief in yourself is a necessity.

Concentration is important in any endeavor, both magickal and in life.

Do what you will, so long as it harms none.

Empathy is an important life skill… learn it, practice it.

Find strength in yourself, your friends, your world and your actions.

God is multifaceted… the Lord and Lady, all deities take many names and faces.

Help others every chance you get.

Intelligence is something that cannot be judged on surface.

Judge not… what you send out comes back to you!

Karma loves to slap you in the face. Watch out for it.

Learning is something that should never stop happening!

Magick is a wonderful gift- but it is not everything.

Nature is precious. Appreciate and protect it.

Over the course of time your soul learns many lessons. Make this life count!


Quietness both physically and mentally restores the soul; meditate often.

Remember to take time for yourself as well as others.

Spells can help you, but you must also help yourself!

Tools can only do so much… they are not the foundation of all.

Unless you enjoy worrying, keep a positive mindset!

Visualize the success of your goals before you set out to achieve them.

Wisdom can often be found in the least expected places!

Xenophobia (a hatred of those different from you) is a path to misery.

You are a beautiful person who is capable of anything!

Zapping away all of your troubles is not going to happen

Astronomy Picture of the Day for February 8

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 February 8
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Enceladus Backlit by Saturn
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA; Color Composite: Gordan Ugarkovic 

Explanation: This moon is shining by the light of its planet. Specifically, a large portion of Enceladus pictured above is illuminated primarily by sunlight first reflected from the planet Saturn. The result is that the normally snow-white moon appears in the gold color of Saturn’s cloud tops. As most of the illumination comes from the image left, a labyrinth of ridges throws notable shadows just to the right of the image center, while the kilometer-deep canyon Labtayt Sulci is visible just below. The bright thin crescent on the far right is the only part of Enceladus directly lit by the Sun. The above image was taken last year by the robotic Cassini spacecraft during a close pass by by the enigmatic moon. Inspection of the lower part of this digitally sharpened image reveals plumes of ice crystals thought to originate in a below-surface sea.

Homeopathy is Witchcraft? Um…

Homeopathy is Witchcraft? Um…

Author: Rushyo

Many of my friends and peers have been discussing a motion by the British Medical Association’s Junior Doctor’s Committee which has the potential to offend various practitioners of Witchcraft and has seemingly being received with a mix of humourous banter, dismissal and annoyance. The Doctor who proposed the motion stated, in unequivocal terms, that ‘Homeopathy is Witchcraft’. This article is intended to provide a broad understanding of the history of both Homeopathy and Witchcraft for the benefit of parties on all sides of the fence (scientists, Homeopaths and Witches) and assess the possible impact of this statement.

Homeopathy is described as ‘a form of alternative medicine, first proposed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, that attempts to treat patients with heavily diluted preparations.’ by Wikipedia’s Homeopathy article. It is a pseudo-science that has undergone significant scientific scrutiny. It is practised throughout Europe and other parts of the world [1] as a method of healing and has cost the British National Health Service £12 million over three years [2]. The ultimate conclusion of various scientific studies is that Homeopathy has been reasonably proven not to be efficacious. That is, there is no compelling scientific reason to think it actually does anything: beneficial or otherwise. There are accusations that many Homeopaths engage in their trade out of ignorance of evidence-based science (the stipulation that medicinal treatments should be prescribed based on the assertion of scientific benefit) and, in certain cases, their own financial well-being over that of their patient’s health. [3][9]

Homeopathy itself is ‘a system based on the principle that a much diluted preparation of a substance that causes symptoms in healthy individuals can cure disease that causes the same symptoms in a sick person.’ [4] Essentially the ingredients are chosen for their similarity to the symptoms presented, diluted to the point at which conventional science suggests they cease to exist and ‘succused’, an act of tapping the diluted treatment to ensure the water holds a ‘memory’ of the solution.

The term of Witchcraft, as used in this article (for its definition is very subjective, as I shall address later) , is a practice popularised primarily in modern times by the Wiccan religious faith. Wiccans refers to themselves as ‘Witches’ as members of the faith, which represents their practice of Witchcraft as part of their religious belief. Witchcraft itself is however practised by various parties outside the Wiccan faith for varying purposes and with different intentions. As a result, some Witches are bound by the Wiccan codes of ethics, which constrain Wiccans to ‘do no harm’, and some are not. Witchcraft presently has no known scientific basis and is not presented with any.

Witchcraft is the act of invoking power beyond the material world defined by science, often linked with a spiritual element, intended to perform a tangible task with a particular stated goal. As practised by Wiccans, Witchcraft is used to invoke the power of the Gods through prayer and ritual. It is important to understand that Witchcraft and religion are considered to be quite separate entities, as articulated at length by members of the Witchcraft community, whilst often found in tandem [5].

With the introductions completed, let’s consider the context of the made by the committee. The motion was proposed by Dr Tom Dolphin as a humourous motion and was widely received as such. The motion was passed with a significant majority and to a wide chorus of laughter throughout the hall. Dr Dolphin retroactively stated that his use of the term ‘wasn’t talking about Witchcraft in the sense of Wicca or Paganism, I was talking about the old village healers, the ones whose treatments were more or less made up’ [6]. Whether there is in fact a difference between those two is a matter left up to interpretation.

So why take would anyone take offense? A corollary might be the use of the term ‘Jew’ to refer to one who is frugal or a ‘Gypo’ as one involved in petty crime. Both terms are clearly derogatory. In these colloquially utilised examples it is clear where offense might be gleaned. The origin of both terms is well understood to be their respective ethnic groups who are the aggrieved parties in those instances. To be subjected to a broad stereotype which is unrepresentative of the actual activities of the party can be interpreted as an attack (deliberate or out of ignorance) on those people, with the result that it perpetuates the stereotype that the party does not wishes to spread.

In this instance the main source is grievance is, I believe, the implied comparison of Witches to Homeopaths. Many Witches, especially those within the Wiccan faith, are bound by strong ethic and religious codes of conduct [7]. A byproduct of this is that Witchcraft is widely held to be practised in a responsible and conscientious manner. Homeopathy on the other hand has a less sterling reputation, with many scientists (myself included) actively campaigning against elements of Homeopathic practice [8]. To propagate the association of ethically dubious practices [9] with another whose proponents typically make a significant effort to hold high ethical standards is bound to cause friction, intentionally or not.

So why might this parallel be drawn if it was not intended? Both Homeopathy and Witchcraft are not well supported by science and receive public attention for it. Whilst Homeopathy is expressedly for the purpose of offering healing, Witchcraft is also often utilised with healing in mind. There are parties on both sides who would attempt to monetise their particular trade – although whether they represent the majority in either case in completely up to subjective interpretation.

Ultimately it is clear that the statement was well-intentioned and appropriate in context but it does highlight a certain degree of misunderstanding that such a statement might cause offense – I imagine the same party would have never thought to suggest a possible corollary in another better known religion in that forum. It highlights the continuing lack of education in Britain as to Witchcraft as a modern, progressive practice and how misperception is propagated amongst society.

It is worth considering that one of the reasons why Homeopathy and science come into conflict where Witchcraft and science do not is the practice of Witchcraft does not infer with evidence-based medical practices. Witchcraft is not state sponsored in lieu of funding for evidence-based medicine, whereas Homeopathy is. I feel it is fair to say that Witches and scientists do not interfere with each other’s practice. The responsible practice of Witchcraft dictates that it does not interfere with situations in which people’s lives are at stake. Homeopaths do not have such qualms and it is, in fact, their raison d’être to do so [10].

In the end, this is just an unintentional faux pas but the relationship between science and Witchcraft is widely untested. There are no journals assessing Witchcraft’s viability as a science, whilst Witches stay out of scientific pursuits. So why does such a relationship matter? Witches and scientists have much in common. They both believe in fundamentally making informed decisions, learning about the world around them and meeting significant ethical standards. Indeed of the last 30 news links passed on by the Witchvox Facebook page, 19 of them are on issues of science and Witchcraft, by its very nature, is ripe for scientific experimentation given its tangible goals and uncertain efficacy.

It is easy to see how any future relationship between the two could be scarred if it was felt that scientists did not do their research into matters pertaining to it. Yet a scientist would not want to be associated with ignorance, so perhaps if the current relationship of implied consent were to evolve into something more, it is inevitable it would turn into one of mutual understanding.

From the perspective of ethics, many Witches (particularly Wiccans) and scientists have much common ground and a mutual distain of irresponsible ethical practices, such as those prevalent within Homeopathy, seems only natural.

Should such a relationship be fostered? Science and Witchcraft may seem like impossible partners, but they are by no means mutually exclusive and it is my experience that Witches are over-represented amongst scientists and scientists over-represented amongst Witches. Much could be gained from the collaboration of minds in two progressive fields, both seeking to improve the world through honest knowledge whatever form it comes in.

Of course, when the ill educated press throw tact and logic to the wind and state that ‘homeopathy is harmless not voodoo medicine’ in reference to this issue and cite anecdotal experiences as justification for medical policy [11], it can only serve to create a sense of solidarity that might otherwise seem very far away.

[1] http://www.homeopathyeurope.org/regulatory-status
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jun/10/complementary-medicine-nhs-more4
[3] http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/homeo.html
[4] http://www.skeptics.org.uk/homeopathy.php
[5] http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/wiccaandpaganismbasics/a/WWPDiffs.htm
[6] http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00sfw5t/Jeremy_Vine_17_05_2010/
[7] http://www.religioustolerance.org/wicrede.htm
[8] http://www.1023.org.uk/why-you-cant-trust-homeopathy.php
[9] http://www.1023.org.uk/whats-the-harm-in-homeopathy.php
[10] http://www.hmc21.org/orthodox-medicine/4535621644
[11] http://news.stv.tv/opinion/178405-homeopathy-is-it-witchcraft-or-science/