‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for October 24th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

To so many, getting up in the morning is the worst way to begin a day. To them every morning is the morning after, a time to feel nervous anxiety and regret in the deepest sense, while to others morning is a new world. Yesterday ceased to be with sleep last night.

How much better off we’d be if only for a few hours we could put out of our minds every painful thought and every unpleasant person until the mind and body could find enough new life to begin again.

“The early morning hath gold in its mouth,” wrote Franklin. But it has things more precious than gold. It has life as fresh and sweet as the shimmering, clinging dewdrops in the first rays of golden sunlight. It has the grace of mimosa leaves rippling in the gentlest breeze. It has the songs of the birds and the love of a new awakening.

And in this breathless creation is something more. A new opportunity, another chance, a challenge to walk on, more strong, more forgiving, more loving.

Sleep deep and rest sweet, but rise glad. Don’t let one joyful second be lost in dead oblivion. This is a vision of newness awaiting even the least to arise and accept the best – a new beginning.

Morning need not be a jury trial for oneself. Dawn and sleep can be a miraculous cleansing to set us out on our feet ready to begin again and in a friendlier atmosphere. We must feel friendly toward ourselves before we can possibly find morning good to anyone else.

An unknown writer once wrote, “Every morning lean thine arms awhile upon the window sill of heaven, and gaze upon thy Lord, then, with the vision in thy heart, turn strong to meet thy day.”

We need to be strong to meet the day with self control, to find out reason and purpose, but, more important, to leave behind us the heavy and darkened thoughts that kept us from seeing the breathtaking beauty of the most important time – this morning.

___________________________________________

Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 24

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 24

“We create that bad among ourselves. We create it; then we try to call it devil, Satan, or evil. But man creates it. There is no devil. Man creates the devil.”

–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

Inside every human being are the laws and codes by which we should live. These laws and codes are communicated to us through a little voice. When we are still, this voice guides us. If we choose to live out of harmony, our lives become filled with anger, hate, selfishness, dishonesty, etc. When these things appear in our lives, we give up accountability and blame it on something or someone else. If we want to live in harmony, we need to pray our way back to living the principles the Creator gave us.

Grandfather, today let me walk with the principles.

October 24 – Daily Feast

October 24 – Daily Feast

Though summer still lingers in the last of vegetables in the garden, cooler air pushes down from the North and with it the subtle changes that color sumac and woodbine with brilliant reds. Some song birds stay during the winter, but their songs are different. This is the season of tart red apples and wood smoke twirling through the tops of tall evergreen trees. It seems only yesterday that spring broke through with her wild colors and thunderstorms. And it will seem only another day until this season has passed and the woods will green once more. Use this tranquil time to rest and walk and to enjoy seeing nature in her bare bones.

~ The Indian, essentially an outdoor person, has no use for handkerchiefs; he was practically immune to colds, and like the animal, not addicted to spitting. ~

LUTHER STANDING BEAR – LAKOTA

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Daily Motivator for Oct. 24th – Vast abundance

Vast abundance

You have much more than you can ever possibly realize. Life is a process of  connecting with deeper and deeper levels of value that have always been there,  and always will.

Does it ever seem that the world has passed you by, or that there are just no  opportunities for you? Then it’s time to move to a more profound and fulfilling  level.

You are capable of much more than you have yet attempted. Fill your heart  with goodness, make the commitment to express that goodness, and there will be a  way.

The reason you get stuck is not because you have too little. It is because  you expect too little.

The way to expect more, at your deepest level, is to make the commitment to  give more goodness to life. Make that commitment, and suddenly new, exciting  possibilities come into view.

Think for a moment, and realize that always, there is something good you can  give. In that simple thought you know without a doubt that life’s vast abundance  is always available to you.

— Ralph Marston

 The Daily Motivator

The Daily OM for October 24th – Emerging from the Grey

Emerging from the Grey

Ways We Numb Ourselves

by Madisyn Taylor

Numbing yourself prevents you from confronting your issues and keeps you from ever finding resolution or peace.

We are born equipped to experience a complex array of diverse emotions. Many of us, however, are uncomfortable confronting our most powerful emotions. We may shy away from delight and despair and deny life’s colors by retreating into a world of monotone grey. We may numb ourselves to what we are truly feeling. It’s easier to suppress our emotions than to deal with them, so we may momentarily turn to pleasures such as alcohol, food, sugar, shopping and too much television. We may even numb our hearts. While it’s normal to temporarily seek distractions as a means of coping with intense emotions, numbing yourself prevents you from confronting your issues and keeps you from ever finding resolution or peace. When you are numb, there is no pain or powerlessness, but there can also be no joy or healing.

The activities that numb you may seem harmless or pleasurable, but using them to numb yourself diminishes the quality of your life. Numbing yourself so that you don’t have to feel intense emotions can often satisfy a surface need while blocking your awareness of a deeper need. You may find solace in food or shopping when what you really need is spiritual nourishment. The less you feel, the less alive you feel. Your feelings add vividness to your experiences and serve to connect you to the world around you. It is possible to disavow yourself of numbing behaviors a little at a time and once again taste life’s rich flavors. When you sense that you are engaging in a particular behavior simply to deaden your emotions, stop and ask yourself why. Examining the feelings that drive you to numb yourself can help you understand what is triggering your desire to emotionally fade out.

With each numbing activity that you cut out of your life, you’ll find yourself being more aware and experiencing a greater emotionally acuity. Senses once shrouded by the fog of numbness become sharp and acute. Traumas and pain long hidden will emerge to the forefront of your consciousness and reveal themselves so that you can heal them. You’ll discover a deeper you—a self that is comfortable experiencing and working through intense emotions with courage and grace.

The Daily OM

The Samhain Experience

The Samhain Experience

Author:   Crick   

My family roots begin in Ireland and were later relocated to Tennessee and amongst the Ozark mountains of Missouri. My personal experience with Traditional witchcraft began in 1960. As such I was raised to honor the four main sabbats, though we did observe the solstices and the equinoxes as minor events if you will.

To our family, Samhain (Oiche Shamhna) is the most important Sabbat of the year. Pronounced as “Sow-in by the Irish, as SAV-en by the Scottish and as SOW-een by the Welsh. It is exactly opposite Beltain on the Wheel of the year. It is reckoned when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio. Thus, Samhain lies exactly between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. And as such, it is known as a Cross Quarter day.

Samhain is also known as “Samhraidhreadh” which means “summers end”. This indicates that Samhain is the start of the Celtic “New Year”. The Celts were known to have divided the year into two seasons, consisting of summer and winter. The belief is that summer is governed by the Big Sun (the sun) and the winter is governed by what is known as the Little Sun (the moon) .

Samhain is one of the four Fire Festivals and is also known as “Trinoux Samonia.” Originally this Sabbat was celebrated for three days, the day before, the day of and the day after.

In modern times Samhain has become basically a one-day celebration. Neo Pagans tend to lose sight of the historical and spiritual significance of such an important day by combining their Christian beliefs with their newfound pagan beliefs and thus they often intermingle Halloween with Samhain. This corruption is explained away by parroting “it’s for the children”, though this special day is hardly one for children. I do not understand how Neo pagans can claim to understand the significance and energy of such a special time and yet allow their children to make a parody of such a spiritual experience, but then it is what it is.

Traditionally, Samhain is the day when the God symbolically dies and the Goddess is in mourning, though she knows that He will be reborn at Yule.

It is also the Third and Final Harvest, and as such, it is a time for preparing for the coming year. It is also known as the day of the Feast of the Roman Goddess “Pamona”.

Another interesting note is that Samhain is the day that the Tuatha De Danann realized their permanent victory over the Fomorians.

Since this is the time that the veil between Annwn (the Underworld) and our realm of existence, is at its thinnest, it is a time to honor and connect with our ancestors. To some Wiccan beliefs, this means direct descendants who have passed over. To those of us in the Celtic/Faery tradition, this would be the ancestral spirits and deity that resides within the earth.

One way to honor this day is “Fleadh nan Mairbh” (Feast of the Dead) . To do so, set an extra plate or two at the dinner table for visiting spirits. Another way is “Bannock Samhain” which entails setting out cakes and milk outside the door as an offering for passing spirits. This is also the time for the “Dumb Supper”, a meal served in silence in honor of those who have passed to the Summerland’s.

Remember, this is not a time of mourning, but rather of rejoicing and connecting with those that have gone before us. We do not conjure up these visitors in the manner that a medium would do. But rather we invite them to share the day/night with us.

This is also an excellent time for divination. Roasting nuts in the fire and bobbing for apples are a couple of examples of divination from olden times. Another traditional way is to set a shirt on a thorn bush near a stream and see what spirit comes along to fit it on. At which time you would make enquiries. This form of divination is called the shaking bush. As a spirit fills the shirt, it causes the bush to shake.

Some of the Celtic Deity that you may appeal to for assistance during divination are; Ogma, Rosmerta, Baile, Beli, Coventina, Badh, and Gwyn Ap Nuad, just to name a few.

The concept of the carved pumpkin came about from the belief that carving a scary face on the pumpkin and using it as a lantern as one walked at night would scare away evil spirits. Originally they were carved out of turnips.

There is an Irish legend about an Irish lad named Jack. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and then quickly carved a cross into the tree so that the devil could not get down. He then made a deal with the devil so that he would not go to hell upon passing. But when Jack did pass, not only was he barred from hell, but also he was barred from heaven as well because of the doings of his life on earth. Hence he was doomed to walk the earth carrying a lantern to light his way. Thus the Jack-O-Lantern was created.

A custom related to Samhain is to light a hearth fire on this day and to keep it lit until the first day of spring as a way of honoring one’s spiritual ancestors and deity. Originally, all hearth fires were extinguished on this day and then relit from the Druidic fire, which was lit at “Tlachhtga”. This particular fire represented the center of Ireland.

Another custom is to leave a candle in the window as a beacon for spirits to find their way home.

Samhain is a time for reflecting on the year just past and preparing for the coming year. One way to do this is to write the weaknesses and negative actions of the past year down on a piece of parchment. After a period of reflection/meditation, burn the parchment in the cauldron or hearth fire. In this way you are starting out fresh for the upcoming New Year.

– Some of the foods associated with Samhain are pork, corn, apples, pomegranates, pumpkin pie, and cider.
– The colors associated with this day are; red, orange, yellow, brown and black.
– For incense, you can try basil, lilac, clove, yarrow or frankincense.
– Some plants or herbs are apple trees, sage, mugwort (divination) , and gourds.
– Some crystals are onyx, carnelian, and obsidian.

It is my personal hope that Neo pagans will once again enjoy this unique time as it was meant to be celebrated and revered. There is much experience and an ethereal energy connected with Samhain if only one allows him/herself to open up to such a special experience. Halloween (All Saints day) is but a corruption of what used to be. Samhain is a revered occasion and time to connect with those who have gone before us. And with those others who walk a distinctly separate plane from this realm. May you have the inner strength and un-fettered desire to experience this event as it was meant to be…

The Celtic Origins of Samhain

The Celtic Origins of Samhain

Author: Josie

As Samhain approaches, my mind turns to childhood memories of costumes, candy and trick-or-treating. Even in our modern world, the rules are set aside on Halloween day. We ask for candy from strangers. We disguise ourselves and walk around both familiar and strange neighborhoods.

From where did this bizarre holiday come? What are the origins of the themes of death, the macabre and merry-making?

Modern Pagans celebrate Samhain as the third of three harvest festivals. Considered the Pagan New Year’s Day, Neo-Pagans also use this day to honor the ancestors. We often set food on our altars for loved ones who recently passed away. In the Wiccan year-long dance of the Goddess and God, Samhain celebrates the time when the God is in the underworld before His rebirth at Yule.

This festival originated as one of the four Celtic fire festivals; the other three being Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh – the four days we currently call Cross-Quarter days, Greater Sabbats or Greater High Days. In ancient Celtic times many local tribes gathered together in centralized locations, ritual centers (Jones and Pennick 90) or regional capitals for celebration, games, feasting (Rees 8) , markets, fairs and horse races.

In Ireland, the people assembled at the 5 main provinces (Green 55) , and it was a day of peace and amity, where disagreements were set aside, fighting put on hold, and even debts temporarily forgiven (Koch 147) .

Despite the fun and festivities, there was a dark side. As death features so highly in modern Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos, and even our modern Neo-Pagan Samhain, it featured just as much back them. Samhain was a harvest festival, yet it was not crops that were harvested, but animals. Samhain marked the end of the grazing season and a time when the herds were brought in from the fields. To feed all of the animals through winter used up precious food that the people needed, therefore the breeding stock was set aside, and all other animals were slaughtered (Jones and Pennick 90) .

I doubt that the ancients were any less callous about this massive slaughter of animals than we would be. Death on that scale would have affected them, and we see this effect in the other aspects of this holy day.

Custom has it that on Samhain Eve, the souls of the dead returned to visit those they knew in life. Food for the spirits of the dead was left outside or at an empty place setting at the dinner table. Doors were left open and the hearth was prepared to welcome them (Rees 90) . Even modern jack-o-lanterns started out as hollowed out turnips and gourds filled with a candle or coals – not to scare away ghost or goblins, but to welcome departed loved ones and show them the way back home.

Another way that Samhain celebrated death was that it was also a ritual mourning for the death of summer (Green 55) . The Celts thought of the year as being divided into two seasons: Winter and Summer. To the Celts, time occurred in pairs, such as Winter and Summer, night and day, and the dark half of the month and the light half of the month. Dark comes first, just as the darkness of gestation precedes birth. Thus sunset was the start of the new day, and Samhain the start of the new year (a tradition us modern Witches still hold) .

The Celts viewed these pairs of time as microcosms of the universe and time itself (Rees 88-90) . Within these pairs, the laws of time, space and the universe were held. On cusp moments (sunset and sunrise, the nights of the waning and waxing quarter moons, Samhain and Beltane) , the time when one time period has not quite ended and another has not quite begun, the normal laws of time, space and the universe were suspended.

One effect of this suspension was that the barriers between the worlds were broken. The expression one often hears is that the veils between the worlds become thin, due to it being a “boundary time.” This suspension of the “Laws of the Universe” is why the spirits of the dead can visit us (Green 55) and the living can visit the lands of the dead.

These transition periods or moments had the propensity for good or evil. It was neither lucky nor unlucky, but both. Certain acts were forbidden or thought to be unlucky if performed at sunset or sunrise, such as marriages. Yet the morning dew was thought to be restorative and cures were thought to be more potent at sunset.

This contradiction may have stemmed from the thought that these transition times held the potential for renewal and rebirth. This effect is also seen in the twice yearly extinguishing of house or hearth fires, which are then relit on Beltaine and Samhain as a symbolic cleansing.

Predictions and fortune telling were also possible on Samhain because the suspension of the laws of time allowed the boundaries between the present and the future to disappear. Again, we come back to the idea that the laws of the universe are suspended during the cusp time. Although, most predictions were concerned with figuring out whom you would marry and who would die in the coming year.

The realms of the living and dead and the past, present and future were not the only realms to mingle during boundary times. Samhain, as well as Beltane and Midsummer, saw a mingling of the worlds of fairies and humans. On Samhain night, Síd (pronounced shee) mounds were open and lost their glamour (Rees 88-90) , that protection that prevents us from seeing into them.

We can see these phenomena in the story of Finn mac Cumaill and the fairy maiden. In Síd Breg Ele, a beautiful fairy maiden lived. Only on Samhain night could she be wooed, because only then did the Síd mound open and the glamour fall away. Each time a suitor came to woo her, one person of the suitor’s party would be killed, yet no one knew how he was killed.

Finn mac Cumaill was determined to solve this mystery. He sought advice and was told to sit between that fairy mound and the neighboring one on Samhain eve. As he sat there, he saw the two hills open, saw great bonfires in each one and heard the residents in each discussing an exchange of gifts. As one man came out of the hill of the fairy maiden, Finn threw a spear into him. The faerie Finn killed was the one who was killing the suitors’ men (Rees 251) .

The interaction between men and the Síd was not limited to their mounds. In the Fionn Cycle, we hear about Tara, one of the regional capitols, which were often plagued by Síd and Fomoire attacks. During Samhain, warriors from the tribes would gather to offer protection during a time when Tara was more vulnerable. A particular goblin, Aillen mac Midhna, tried every Samhain to set fire to Tara, until Finn magicked him away (Green 20) (Rees 156) .

When placed in the context of Celtic beliefs, much of our Samhain (and Halloween) rituals make perfect sense. Death came from the slaughter of herd animals, whose spilt blood reminded us of mortality. The cusp moment when Summer has ended, but Winter has not yet begun, allowed the veils between the realms of Fairies, Man and the Dead to lift. The transition period also allowed time to stand still and the past, present and future to overlap. Added up we get costume disguises to hide from Fairies, Jack-o-lanterns to guide our dearly departed back to our door, dumb suppers and fortune telling.

But I don’t understand where the candy came from.

________________________

Footnotes:
Green, Miranda J. Celtic Myths. Austin: University of Texas P, 1993.
Jones, Prudence and Nigel Pennick. A History of Pagan Europe. London: Routledge, 1995.
Koch, John. The Celtic Heroic Age. Andover: Celtic Studies, 2000.
Rees, Alwyn and Brinley Rees. Celtic Heritage. London: Thames and Hudson, 1961.

 

 

Understanding

Understanding

Author:   Glowfox 

I am writing this article to help myself understand how I feel about myself. And express the things about me that I hope you all can accept. ‘I’m sorry because it’s going to be like a journal entry.

I always was inclined to the Magickal world when I was young, believing in faeries, reading mythology and faery-tales, delving more deeply into the magickal world everyday as I continued to grow. I was often laughed at, made fun of and picked on at school while growing up, drawing faeries in my notebooks, and when up at the front of the class sharing my poetry and assignments. Even my parents didn’t approve of my interests, especially with them being catholic. I was always the boy reading too much Tolkein, William Butler Yeats, Diana Wynne Jones and filling my head with nonsense. I often had to hide my books and drawings, especially when I became older and started studying magickal texts and grimoires.

I think the reason I picked up this interest in learning and studying witchcraft came from the wonderful pieces of art and history that I studied, and I knew and know now that magick is real. And because of feeling alone, I wanted to connect to something. I wanted to meet the faeiries and feel the powers of the universe. I used my knowledge to gain better understanding of a hidden world veiled in shadow. I guess I might have been selfish, but it felt like I didn’t have much else.

I recall when I was 12 and saved up to get myself some tarot cards, at the local occult store. My parents forbade us from going there. So I used to have to sneak there, often going with my elder sister whom shared similar interests and whom I love very much, but sadly moved away. I got a traditional Raider Waite deck but what so fearful in keeping them, because my parents a few days back from that raided my room and found more magick books. I looked at the cards and felt their power within my hands. They were one of my earliest tools I had received.

I shivered because of what my parents had instilled in me, and when I looked at them I knew I couldn’t keep them, I had to give them back. I ran into the store to give them back but the lady there said that their power has been interrupted and touched and that you can not return tarot decks once they’ve been opened which I accepted, but I really wished she would had taken them. I had to hide them, sadly I took them too a used bookstore where they were worth almost nothing. I just thought the Occult Shop would be a better place for them.

After this I became angry not being able to express myself and having to hide everything. This only made the relationship between my parents and I worse, and I didn’t want to give my passion up. I felt so bad for the tarot cards, still feeling our connection, I remember having wept. I vowed never to rid that which is important to me just because my parents wanted me too. This was a big step for me in my development.

When I started high school, things were okay. I became very busy and met new people, having relationships that ended quickly. And still there was no place where I could express myself, except for in the art room when I got the chance to do self-initiated projects. It didn’t help by me attending a catholic school either (parents forced me too) . There is mandatory Christian Ethics class that is bearable but not interesting or fun, it was and is a place where only one view could be expressed, and that was the teachers. No open-mindedness what-so-ever!

Many students claiming to be catholic didn’t even show it, mocking and gossiping about others, talking crudely and violently (acting violently too) , and a lot of them dressing like gangsters which was the craze.

When I was 15 I remember sitting in one of my classes and being attracted to my male teacher. I began to wonder if I was gay. It was and still is very confusing. And now here was another aspect I knew no one could accept, and I had no one to talk too. I had never felt this way before with the female sex. It happened more frequently, I knew inside I was gay.

I never just gave up on being a Christian either; I was 15, and researched extensively on Christian faith. I read the bible when I was 11. I read the Catholic catechism, and studied the beliefs of the faith and the meanings of their rituals and sacraments. There was so much I didn’t agree to in Christianity. It ended, I resisted to go to church every Sunday, who I was they hated, it didn’t feel right to go their being forced to worship their God falsely and in lies. Eventually they gave up. It’s not that I hate their faith it’s just I gave it a chance and don’t share their beliefs.

When I was 16 and 3/4, in the late spring of 2007 I admitted to myself that I was gay and accepted it. I told myself. And eventually told my older sister and my cousin. Both people I knew that could accept it and me after that, they are still to this day the only ones that know along with a Psychology teacher, I guess you know too. I began to feel alone though, still there was no one I could hang with or talk too.

In and during school I stayed introverted and quiet; trying desperately just to get through unnoticed, still do. It is hard sometimes believing in yourself, having self worth, hope and love. My magick seemed bleak; I gave up on everything and became depressed. I fell into a pit and it took me a lot to crawl out healthy, and I still feel I am fighting to crawl out.

I hope gathering myself with enough money, good grades and self-understanding I will be capable to escape from this. So I plan to move away, quite far. I hope I may be able to discover and develop my Identity away from this seeming a lot me has been crushed here. I have lost time. I do feel okay presently, but I wish to feel better in the future and have less struggles. I think from writing this I have achieved something, although I am not entirely sure.

Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest

Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest

Author: Patricia Telesco

I have been very disturbed by the increase in the use of titles like Priest, Priestess, Elder, Teacher, Shaman, Lady, and Lord in our community, specifically by those who really do not have the training to claim such honorable terms. You would not see anyone in the Christian church calling themselves by such a title without ordination and schooling, yet among neo-pagans it seems that nearly anyone who wishes to can take up a title and wield it for boon or bane.

Now, I realize that at the heart of things we are our own Priest and Priestess, but that’s far different than being the spiritual guide for many people (not to mention the difference in Karmic implications). To use a title without having earned it in the eyes of others, through training, or by calling is to dishonor all those who have earned their place as our teachers, elders, priests and priestesses. It also doesn’t present the most positive, responsible image of neo-paganism to outsiders who view such antics as manipulative power trips (often rightly so).

Reading one book does not make anyone an expert. Attending a year’s worth or rituals does not qualify a person for eldership or priesthood! In a world of seemingly shake-and-bake shamanism and instant priesthood, the route to true magical mastery isn’t traversed quickly or without sacrifice, and it can’t be found in the yellow pages. And it certainly has very little to do with a fancy or powerful sounding title. At its pinnacle, adepthood isn’t about impressing people; it’s a way of living and being. In other words, the focus is not on “talking the talk,” but on “walking the walk.” What are some of the signs of a true elder, master or priest?

How about someone who:

Reclaims ancient knowledge, tradition, and powers, keeping them alive for future generations

Safeguards magical history so that we can learn from the past in building the future

Personally accepts the responsibility implied by gaining and using mystical knowledge and skill

Honors the earth as a sacred space and use its resources wisely

Acknowledges that life is an act of worship, and strives to keep his or her words and actions in accord

Respects individual diversity, knowing there are many paths to enlightenment and that each person is a sacred space unto themselves.

Embraces creativity and change as a fundamental necessity in keeping magic vital

Encourages balance in all things, especially in his or her own life

Teaches others the ways of magic in simple, understandable steps (no “instant enlightenment” no fluffy bunny magick).

Offers metaphysical aid, consultation, and insights freely to those in need, without personal expectations of gain

Gives back something to their art, or those who practice it

Realizes that tools are only helpmates to magic. Real power comes from the mind, heart, and will working in harmony with earth and Spirit.

In some ways a priest or elder doesn’t ever “arrive” — we are always getting there, realizing that the more we know, the more we realize how LITTLE we know (smile). When we finally reach this understanding, we’re often ready to teach and lead with both heart and head; in balance is spiritual wisdom. In fact, I would hazard to guess that most people who are truly our priests, priestesses, elders and teachers are those who don’t have to say so – we just know it by the example of their lives!

 

How Magic Can Save the World

How Magic Can Save the World

Author:   Tess Whitehurst 

The world appears to be in dire straights. The environment is suffering, species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, in many parts of the world food and clean water are scarce, and, to top it all off, humans are killing each other. And for just about every imaginable challenge, there are people scrambling to help. We’re recycling, petitioning, protesting, studying, raising awareness, preserving, debating, and donating.

But how can we work holistically toward positive change? How do we get at the cause of all these imbalances, rather than jumping headlong into the mad dash of damage control?

Simple. We do what magical folk do. We shift consciousness. Interestingly, our magical perspective is exactly what the holistic health practitioner ordered. To illustrate, here are some basic magical precepts that can help heal the world.

•Everything is connected, and everything is divine. If everyone very deeply understood that every single thing is interwoven in a complex web of existence, and that all of existence is a part of the divine, there would be no one engaging in activities that caused plants or animals to become compromised or extinct.
•The Earth is our Mother. To us, this is literal, not figurative. Imagine how lovingly our Mother would be treated if everyone understood this as we do.
•Whatever you send out comes back to you multiplied. What you do to someone else, you do to yourself. Mass acceptance of this precept would actually (finally!) give peace a chance.
•We are empowered to change our consciousness in order to create positive shifts in our own lives. When everyone really and truly realizes their true power, they will no longer chase the imaginary power promised by things like greed, violence, hatred, or exploitation.

In the early 1970’s, James Lovelock, the scientist who formulated the Gaia Hypothesis, summarized what people like us already knew: that Planet Earth is a complex, living, breathing organism. Peter Russell took it one step further in his book The Global Brain when he proposed that while rainforests are the lungs and the atmosphere is the circulatory system, humans are the information processors, or in other words, the brain cells.

The brain cells in a fetus or an infant are the same as adult brain cells. They just have not yet formed as many pathways or connections between each other so they cannot function efficiently as a unified whole. Then, little by little, they build connections and begin to redefine themselves as not only one small part of a brain, but as one small part of an entire organism. Similarly (Peter Russell notes) , humans are beginning to form more and more connections and pathways between each other. For example, with one Facebook post, we can communicate instantly with our entire, perhaps global, circle of friends. Or, with one YouTube video, we can conceivably reach several million people within a matter of months.

So, from a macrocosmic perspective, the global brain (AKA the human race) is rapidly evolving to the stage when it can more easily recognize itself as the consciousness and nerve center of a living, breathing, and harmoniously self-sustaining organism. This evolution, if it moves in the most positive direction possible, is what Albert Einstein was hoping for when he wrote:

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe, ‘ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty…We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”

At this stage in history, it’s easier than it ever has been before for us to create a “new manner of thinking” by setting in motion a magical tsunami of consciousness shifting. But how?

First, we walk our talk. We purify our motives so that they are about love and service. We meditate, we purify and shield our energetic bodies, and we perform ritual and engage in prayer in order to connect with the Divine. We spend time in nature to remind ourselves of beauty, of the rich and vital inner lives and personalities of plants and animals, and of our connection to the whole.

We forgive others and ourselves as we bravely work through old issues and limiting beliefs. We release rigidity of belief and embrace flexibility, openness, and inclusion. We send the energy of love out into the world through our thoughts, feelings, and visualizations. We pray for world peace and perform rituals for planetary healing.

And then, from this place of deep love and integrity, we give gifts to the world from our hearts. We ask our hearts: “what do you want to give?” It might be a painting, a movie, an article, a status update, a specific type of volunteer work, a compliment, a smile, a speech, an idea, or a new way of doing things. We give freely every day, in every situation, as we feel guided, dedicating every single gift we give to the Goddess (or God, or patron deity) and to the healing of the world.

We generously shine our unique light, perspectives, and ideas into the world, knowing that as we do, we are not only increasing our own joy and prosperity (because whatever you send out comes back to you multiplied) , we are also shifting the tide of energy, bringing the cells of the global brain into harmonious unity, and channeling our collective magical energy toward saving the world.

“If powerful men and women
could remain centered in the Tao,
all things would be in harmony.
The world would become a paradise.
All people would be at peace,
And the law would be written in their hearts.”

-The Tao te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell

Confessions of a Dirt Worshipper

Confessions of a Dirt Worshipper

Author:   Diotima Mantineia   
 
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It
is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a
stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as
good as dead; his eyes are closed. 
    – Albert Einstein

In the early 1980s, I was initiated into an arcane order of alchemists who refer to themselves as “soil scientists”; practitioners of a discipline called Agronomy, or the study of crops and soils.  This initiation was marked by the presentation of a Bachelor of Science degree (I requested Spinster of Science, but was turned down), and my entrance into graduate school at the University of Maryland’s Agronomy Department.

I suspect the designation of Alchemist would distress many of the good men and women who taught me the mysteries of this discipline, for they all were all careful, dedicated scientists, who would shy away from anything quite so…well, magical. But anyone who works with the soil for long knows that at some point, science breaks down under the weight of too many variables and unknowns, and gives way to art. The truly successful farmer or grower has, along with scientific knowledge, an instinctive, artistic, often magical relationship with the soil they nurture.

The professor who introduced me to the workings and wonders of the Earth’s mantle communicated his enthusiasm and deep respect for the ways of Nature to his students, and my Pagan soul found magic in both field and laboratory. Science led me to art, art led to magic, and one morning I woke up and realized I had become that bane of conservative Christian Republicans, a bona fide tree-hugging, dirt-worshipping Pagan.

Like most Pagans, I love to be connected, both physically and psychically, with the Earth. Rituals and meditations that allow us to blend our consciousness with that of trees, plants and animals, and honor the changing of the seasons, give Pagans a relationship to the land that few who have not learned this way of being can know. Magical training in visualization and journeying, meditation and trained awareness gives an expanded understanding of the world around us.  Journeys into the world of Spirit open our spirits to the vastness and variety of creation, and assure us of our inalienable place within the world, while reminding us that we will never fully grasp the totality of All That Is. We learn humility and the necessity of right relationship. Rediscovering our connection with the Earth and the Web of Life, we develop ceremonies to reflect that connection and build the appropriate relationships and energetic bonds.

Ritual and the Soil

Many in our community go outdoors as often as they can to do ritual, make magic and/or do spirit journeys and meditations on whatever piece of land they nurture. Even city-bound Pagans usually find a small patch of ground, in a park, or outside the city limits, where they go to connect with Nature, leave offerings both energetic and physical, and thank the land for its bounty. Others find a small bit of land to tend for vegetables and flowers, some visit the wildlands, while some of us are fortunate enough to have some acreage under our care. But whether it is through a flower pot or a working farm, most Pagans make an effort to tend to, bless and connect with the Earth.

What I often find overlooked in Pagan ritual, however, is an awareness of the complex ecosystem of the soil itself. Pagans are more aware of the soil’s value than most people, and Pagan altars frequently are graced with a cauldron full of soil, but the focus seems to be on the plants and animals that live on top of the ground, with little or no attention given to the rich and complex ecosystem that exists under our feet. So before you go out and do your blessings, spirit journeys and other magic in your garden this year, or return to that special place in Nature where you go to reconnect, let me introduce you to some of the beings — mineral, vegetable and animal — that inhabit the soil that makes life on Earth possible. Then we’ll look at how science and magic can meet on the land.

Were you to go and sit in your garden, or somewhere in a forest, or on a grassy plain, and sink your consciousness into the land, your awareness, flowing like water, would burrow under the leaves, mulch or other organic detritus that covers the soil (or should!) and find, in a healthy soil, almost as much empty space as matter. Particles of sand, silt or clay, the three mineral constituents of soil, and particles of organic matter in various stages of decomposition, are surrounded and held together in discrete clumps by both the electrostatic properties of the clay particles and by various glue-like organic substances that result from the process of decomposition or are exuded from the bodies of organisms such as plant roots, fungi, bacteria and earthworms. Unless a soil is badly compacted (by heavy equipment, for instance) these clumps are arranged in a loose structure in which the spaces between may take up as much volume as the clumps themselves. This structure allows gases and water to diffuse through the soil, where they are utilized by plant roots and the many living creatures that make their homes in the earth.

A healthy soil has a thriving population of various critters, from the microscopic — fungi, actinomycetes, bacteria (almost as many in a gram of good soil as there are humans on the Earth), rotifers, protozoa and nematodes — to a wide variety of insects, the occasional reptile, and mammals such as moles and gophers. Some of these organisms feed on dead organic matter, transforming it into carbon dioxide, and breakdown products that feed plants and other organisms. Others feed on living matter, everything from microbes on up serving as a food source for another organism.

The area directly adjacent to plant roots has such a rich and diverse ecosystem it is given its own name: the rhizosphere. Miles of root tips move inexorably through the soil, secreting a gelatinous substance to ease their way, and growing fine root hairs to absorb water. The roots also can exude substances that inhibit or encourage life; some give off chemicals that inhibit growth of nearby plant roots, most form a symbiotic relationship with fungi that nourishes both plant and fungus, and the nitrogen-fixing plants, such as peas and clover, form nodules on their roots containing bacteria that claim nitrogen from the air, transform it at the molecular level, and then feed it to the plant.

This incredibly diverse, complex and sustainable life cycle comes to a crashing halt under current, “factory-farm”, methods of agriculture. The earthworm population is devastated by nitrogenous fertilizers, useful microorganisms and insects are eliminated along with the destructive ones by broad-spectrum pesticides, and the critters that live higher on the food chain decamp as soon as their food source dies off. Because of the reliance on chemical fertilizers, organic matter is not carefully managed, and the soil of the average modern farm becomes almost a dead zone. The dearth of life and organic matter leads to more erosion and fertilizer runoff, filling our waterways with pollution, and with the top layer of soil, which took eons to form.  The prevailing views of the scientific community are only just beginning to catch up with what spiritual stewards of the land have known for centuries: that Mother Nature will work with us, but only if we work with Her. Wholesale destruction of the Web of Life can never, in the long run, result in a higher quality of life for any one part of that Web. Those of us who work and commune with the spirits of nature know this beyond a doubt.

Question Authority

My interest in organic agriculture began even before I started college, when organic methods were still considered pretty far out in left field. Now, when even the most mainstream of scientists must admit that much of what they scorned about organic methods decades ago has turned out to be valid, my interests and investigations have taken me even further afield into the truly alchemical realm of Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic agriculture, the effect of sound and chanting on plant growth, the effect of magic and intent on plant and soil health, and work with the Devic and Faery realms.  Of course, none of the above methods of working with plants and the soil would be considered scientifically valid – they would, in fact, be looked on as anything from wishful thinking to outright delusion. But the logic behind these methods seemed clear to me once I seriously considered the possibility of a Universe birthed from Consciousness, instead of one in which consciousness arose simply from chance and the laws of physics.

I had not come to this concept of a Consciousness-based reality quickly or easily; in fact, I spent many years attempting to reconcile my interest in science and my interest in religion, metaphysics, magic, and what is commonly known as “the occult” before this connection became clear to me.

Magic does not require an unquestioning belief in anything – quite the opposite.  Questions and careful observance are part of the work, but there is a need to suspend restrictive judgments about what can and cannot be, what is and is not possible, and to allow pure experience to bring the answers to questions that can be answered in no other way.

The basis of most metaphysical, magical and “occult” disciplines lies in the concept of a form of life energy called, variously, chi, prana, orgone, life energy. Mainstream science says this energy doesn’t exist. Those who work with it – who experience it – believe it simply has not yet been measured or quantified. The use of this life energy, and the mind’s direction of it, is the framing of magic. Learning to use it, learning magic, requires an openness to the possibility of the existence of this life energy.

When I began my formal training in Witchcraft in the mid-1980s, I knew I had to find a way to blend my understanding of science with my growing knowledge of magical principles, because I knew instinctively that there must be an underlying basis to reality that tied the two together. I certainly didn’t spurn the Western scientific way of thinking, but I learned that it was only one way of approaching and understanding reality.

Sitting at my altar, or walking in the woods, I worked hard to learn to sense and shape energy, training my mind to focus and shape or diffuse the energy I sensed. I dug deeply into my psyche to discover how my thoughts, beliefs and emotions shape the energy I surround myself with – that energy with which we all meet the world — and how to change and control that energy by working with and changing my thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

I cast spells, and used divinatory techniques. I meditated, studied martial arts, and participated in many rituals, all as part of my magical training. I read voraciously in psychology, science, mythology, magic, philosophy and comparative religion. My life began to change…

The proverbial dark night of the soul came, and, on the other side of it I found myself living my dream. I now felt certain that magic was a valid, useful way of interacting with the world. My life continued to change in the direction of my dreams, as I continued to use applied techniques that seemed to shift reality without any specific, physical effort on my part.  The fact that many would think me at least slightly mad bothered me not at all. My beliefs and interests now made my lifelong interest in organic agriculture seem tame by comparison.

Which still left me looking for the connection I knew was there but could not trace. Finally, the basic dichotomy became clear to me. The primary difference between reductionist scientific thinking and the world of the Witch is that the Witch – like most other religious people – believes that the physical universe is created from consciousness. The reductionists, on the other hand, cling to the increasingly less credible idea that consciousness is nothing but an epiphenomenon of the brain. I realized from all the reading I had been absorbing on modern physics that science, on its bleeding edge, was walking a path towards First Cause that took it closer and closer to an understanding of the primacy of Consciousness.

Most Pagans believe that Consciousness is primary and that the energetic nature of the Universe can be influenced by the human mind, will and emotions. This does not make us “wacky” or unscientific, and the prejudices of mainstream science should not discourage us from approaching the use of our unconventional methods with an attitude of “Does it grow corn?” (or tomatoes, or lilacs, or oak trees). The scientific method is valid in any area of endeavor-the primary difficulty with approaching Reiki healing, sacred geometry or the influence of the Devas through the scientific method is always identifying and controlling for the variables. Replication is basic to the scientific method, and it’s darned hard to replicate something when you don’t know what all the influences are!

So if your intuitive feelings or mystical observations of the natural world lead you to sing to your plants , ask the advice and help of various spirits, or magically transfer and pattern Earth energies , do not feel as though you are being inherently unscientific. I’ve found that Pagans can be reluctant to look for the reasons behind the effects of the magic and rituals we perform. There is a fear that the magic will disappear under the “cold light of science”, and we may find that we are deluding ourselves. But both valid science and valid magic require an unflinching willingness and ability to look for the underlying truth.  While magic may seem to disappear under the scrutiny of a poorly-designed experiment, the true light of science is not a strobe, under which things appear to be other than they are, but is the steady, warm and illuminating light of the Sun.

What we call magic does not disappear in the light of day, and science will eventually expand to encompass and confirm any truth we may find in our mystical explorations, even if the methods of science sometimes fall short in explaining the reasons behind those truths. Real science, and real magic, will expand along with our growing understanding of the nature of reality. Those who try to force reality to fit their fears, prejudices, and pre-conceived notions, whether in magic or science, will find their path both destructive and ultimately futile.

While I am a firm believer in the scientific method, I also know that it can be and regularly is misused, either deliberately or unconsciously, in the service of human greed and fear. Quantum physics is questioning whether or not true objectivity is possible, but any student of human nature knows that, even if possible, it is rarely achieved. The litany of scientific error is long – which, in itself, is not a bad thing. Science is a process, an ongoing investigation, and if we are unwilling to make errors -even spectacular ones – we limit ourselves, for trial and error is at the heart of scientific experimentation. What is problematic in science is the all-too-common unwillingness to change, to admit error, to see past truths as being superseded by more current discoveries, or worse, to see the error, but actively suppress truth for reasons of simple greed and fear.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of an Agronomy professor at a Midwestern university who, speaking to an editor of Acres magazine about the realities of agricultural research said, “Give us a $100,000 grant, and we’ll prove anything you want.” While I persist in thinking that such a level of corruption within academia is not common, nonetheless, it is a fact that much agricultural research is funded by corporate agri-business. Clearly, it is a challenge for a scientist whose livelihood is in the hands of a large corporation to be entirely objective, and the research that supports the continuing use of poisons and petroleum-dependent fertilizers and unregulated genetic manipulation reflects, at best, a blindered view of the agricultural process, at worst, an extraordinary level of venality and corruption, the consequences of which are tragic, and will take generations to overcome.

Science, however, is not solely in the hands of those who have the correct letters after their names. Anyone with a bit of land or even a few pots can learn the basic principles of scientific experimentation and observation, and apply them to various methods and techniques that are regularly ignored or scorned by mainstream science. You can take that piece of land you nurture and learn through careful observation what the land needs to create and maintain the Web of Life. If your experiments are carefully thought out and executed, you will add to a body of general knowledge and experience that can be discussed and built on by yourself and others. Don’t be afraid of doing it “wrong”, or of what you might find out. The gods and spirits are not dead, and investigative science does not have the power to kill them. Just keep an open mind, observant eyes, and good records. If this type of research interests you, learn what you can (see the resources section below) of experimental design, and use it to test any questions that may come to you when you are working with the land, or with the spirits of the land.

An excellent example of this attitude can be found in Sandra Ingerman’s book “Medicine for the Earth”, which details her work with spirits to alleviate water pollution, and the encouraging results of her experiments. Hopefully, the results of these preliminary experiments will encourage some professional scientists to develop more sophisticated research and establish a baseline of data from which we can work to develop replicable methods of spiritual, energetic healing that will help reverse the effects of pollution. Who knows, perhaps they will even be able to find funding for it.

Everyone who can identify with the label “dirt worshipper” has a job they can do to help in reclaiming the Earth. Magical workings, tending whatever spot of Earth you can, and donating time and money to environmental causes are all valid and much needed responses to the current crisis. Whether you are interested in working from a scientific perspective, or prefer to work with the land in an instinctive, magical way (or both!) your attention and energy are needed. Those of us who work with other levels of consciousness, who honor the mysteries of both life and death, must continue to do the work that will strengthen the Web of Life on this planet.

The work begins with honoring and attending to the planet and the land we have been given to care for, observing and understanding the cycles, and the complex and beautifully balanced interactions of the ecosystems around us. It continues by expanding our minds to encompass influences and forces which we may not fully understand.

Standard scientific research and knowledge will play a large part in rebalancing the Earth’s cycles, but standard scientific research cannot account for things it does not know or will not acknowledge. Those of us who work with other levels of consciousness and energy are pioneers. A strength and certainty of vision is needed to do the work that must be done, though it will often be done in the face of scorn and fundamental skepticism. Know that when you do this work, you are not alone.

Resources:

Web sites:

Natural Resources Conservation Service: “Helping People Understand Soils” http://soils.usda.gov/

The Rodale Institute http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/

Community Supported Agriculture: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association http://www.biodynamics.com/

Sustainable Agriculture Network http://www.sare.org

Perelandra http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/

Findhorn http://www.findhorn.org/

Recommended reading, in no particular order:

The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture by Wendell Berry. ISBN: 0871568772

The Nature and Properties of Soil by Nyle C. Brady and Ray R. Weil. ISBN: 0130167630

The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean Radin. ISBN: 0062515020

Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins by Sandra Ingerman ISBN: 0609805177

Earth Light: The Ancient Path to Transformation Rediscovering the Wisdom of Celtic & Faery Lore by R.J. Stewart ISBN: 1892137011

The Faery Teachings by Orion Foxwood ISBN: 1-89213-704-5

Secrets of the Soil: New Solutions for Restoring Our Planet by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. ISBN: 1890693243

An Introduction to Scientific Research by E. Bright Wilson ISBN: 0486665453

The Wiccan Way

THE WICCAN WAY

Recognizing that there is more than one path to spiritual enlightenment and that Wicca is but one of many, and that Wicca holds within itself the belief that there is more than one type of step set to the spiral dance, find here listed common denominators of the Craft.

That there is above all the Goddess in her three-fold aspect and many are her names.  With all her names we call her Maiden, Mother and Crone.

That there is the God, consort and son, giver of strength and most willing of sacrifice.

That and it harm none, do what ye will shall be the law.

That each of her children are bound by the three-fold law and that whatever we create, be it joy or sorrow, laughter or pain, is brought back to us three-fold.

That as she is the mother of all living things and we are all her children, we seek to live in harmony not only with each other, but with the planet earth that is our womb and home.

That life upon the earth is not a burden to be born, but a joy to be learned and shared with others.

That death is not an ending of existence, but a step in the on-going process of life.

That there is no sacrifice of blood, for She is the mother of all living things, and from her all things proceed and unto her all things must return.

That each and every one of the children who follows this path has no need of another between themselves and the Goddess but may find Her within themselves.

That there shall not by intent be a desecration of another’s symbols of beliefs, for we are all seeking harmony within the One.

That each person’s faith is private unto themselves and that another’s belief is not to be set out and made public.

That the Wiccan way is not to seek converts, but that the way be made open to those who for reasons of their own seek and find the Craft.

And as it is willed, so mote it be

WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT – The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide

WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT

The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide

Steven S. Sadleir

Wicca, or Witchcraft is the old religion of Europe, which apparently evolved from Druidism.  Wiccan is generally a term applied to a “Wise One” or “Magician”, and Wicca is the practice of “magic”, which is the application and utilization of natural laws.  As Witchcraft competed as a religion with Christianity (the ‘new’ religion) in the Christianized Western World, witchcraft became repressed as a form of paganism (i.e., a Primative Teaching) and was given an evil stigma, and therefore was not practiced openly.  However, with the repeal of the English Witchcraft Act in 1951, many covens, or congregations, have opened up to teh public and many new groups have formed. There are now dozens of Wiccan orgnaizations in the United States and Europe, with perhaps, thousands of active Wiccans and Witches.  Most witches practicing the craft publicly are considered ‘white’ witches, that is, they yse their knowledge for good ends and practice the Wiccan Creed: “Ye hurt none, do as ye will.”  Black Witches (which has recieved most of the notoriety, but are considered a minority) are generally not visible to the public and use thier knowledge for selfish or evil means.  Satanism is NOT considered a form of witchcraft, but was created by people who believe there is a Satan, or Devil.

Wicca/Witchcraft generally involves some form of God or Goddess worship, and many involve the workings of spiritual guides as well.  Wicca/Witchcraft is a very individualized religion, and each person chooses his or her own deities to worship.  Generally, the supreme being is considered ‘genderless’ and is comprised of many aspects that may be identified as masculine or feminine in nature, and thus a God or Goddess.  Originally, the horned God of hunting represented the maculine facet of the deity, whereas the female qualities were represented in the fertility Goddess.  The Gods and Goddesses from the personalities of the supreme being, and are a reflection of the attributes that worshippers seek to emulate.  Wiccans may draw upon the ancient civilizations of the Druids, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, or other polytheistic cultures to commune with the particular aspect of the deity that they identify with.  Some favorite gods include Osiris, Pan, Cennunnos, and Bacchus.  Facotie Goddesses include Isis, Caridwen, Rhea, Selene, and Diana.

Wiccans generally observe the four greater Sabbaths of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Laghnasadh; and the lesser Sabbaths – the Spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices.  There celebrations are typically free-spirited, and are sometimes held ‘skyclad’ (naked) or in various styles of robes.  Other services include handfasting (marriage), handparting (divorce) and wiccaning (birth rite).  Regular meetings, called Esbats are also held, at which magic and healing are performed.  Wiccans/witches meet in small groups (up to twelve) called a coven, whcih typically join with other covens to form a ‘Grove’.

Rituals are typically held outside and consist of forma a circle and erecting the temple (consecrating the circle); invoking, praising, and soliciting assistance from gods, goddesses, and elementals; observing the change of season and energies represented by the various seasons; singing; dancaing; ‘cakes and ale’ (sharing of bread and wine); and clearing the temple. Personal practive includes meditation and prayer, divination, development of personal will and psychic abilities through spells and various forms of healing.  Most Wiccans/witches have altars where they burn candles and incense and practice thier rites.  To perform thier rites, other tools of the craft are used, such as an athame, yag-disk or, seaux (a handmade and consecrated knife), a sword, a wand, and sometimes special jewelry, amulets or talismans (magically empowered objects).  Sometimes these objects are inscribed with magical writings. Joining a coven or grove typically involves an initiation, which is stylized by each individual group, but generally involves the confirmation that the initiate understands the principals and an oath of secrecy.

Condensed Version of Wicca

CONDENSED VERSION OF WICCA

We believe that the ultimate godhead is unknowable.  This doesn’t make for a good working relationship with the diety, however.  So, we break it down into a Goddess and a God.  Different Wiccans worship different Gods/Goddesses.  We can utilize *any* pantheon.  Some worship Pan/Diana, some Cernnunos/Aradia, Isis/Osiris, and many others.

We see our Goddess as being Triple Aspected — Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and she is reflected in the phases of the Moon — Waxing, Full and Waning.  We see the God as the Lord of Nature, and he is reflected in the seasonal changes.  Like Jesus Christ, he dies for the land and the people, and is reborn.

In general, we believe in reincarnation and karma.  What you call Heaven, we call the Summerlands.  We don’t believe that Hell exists (or Satan either.)  We believe that there should be balance in all things – when the balance is disturbed, that’s when ‘evil’ occurs.  Fire, for example is not ‘evil’.  It could be considered such when it  becomes out of balance, as in a forest fire, or house fire.  Controlled fire is a useful tool.  Anger is not ‘evil’, but when unbridled can’t help but lead to negative things.  When properly expressed and balanced with constructive working to correct that which invoked the anger – it, too, can be a useful tool.

We regard the Earth as our Mother, and try to have respect for Her by not polluting her and try to live in harmony with Her and Her ways.

Women reflect the Goddess, Men reflect the God, so the Wicca have a Priestess and Priest to ‘run’ the religious services.  We call our services circles.

This was sort of an “Reader’s Digest Condensed Version” of Wicca.