‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for November 21

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Prisoners never love their jails. And the same holds true for all kinds of prisoners, whether they be dogs on leashes or human beings tied to responsibilities. If they are there of their own free will and because they have a sense of belonging, the connecting link is made of love.

Responsible people with an assignment, and the feeling that it is theirs alone, will do it to the best of their ability and see it through. But if they must be watched and directed in every step, then it is a jail and the first thought is how to get out.

Freedom to be an individual with the right to make even small decisions is a precious possession. Freedom to come and go can build faith and trust within people, to make them stick closer than brothers. The rigid rules and constant prodding of a free spirit will force them to find that freedom.

We simply cannot keep another in bondage without being in bondage ourselves. To hold humanity by invisible force is to keep constant watch. And even beneath that watchful eye there will be a continual search for escape.

Anyone completely dependent upon others must always bear their will-O-the-wisp attitudes and the rising and lowering of the emotional tides. However, it is presumptuous of anyone to believe they can possibly be completely independent of others. Without other people, we cannot exist.

But to believe we are doing our best for anyone except ourselves is to build on sand. Of course other inspire us. They give us reasons to be better. They give us the benefit of their experience, but we seldom learn from that. We demand experience of our own. So consequently, we err and make it right. We mar and erase. And sometimes we try and fail, but always it is up to us to decide whether we do better or worse.

We can despair easily if allowed to become completely and utterly dependent upon others. They are human and they make mistakes. But we must know some measure of forgiveness the same as we must know some independence, if only in the spirit. And if the spirit is free, then all else shall be too.

_______________________________

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 

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 21

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 21
“In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred — everything is for sale.”

–Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
The Elders often say that when something is sacred it has spiritual value. You’ll hear, on the Earth there are sacred spots. You’ll hear, our ceremonies are sacred, our children are sacred, marriage is sacred. When something is sacred it means it’s so holy you can’t attach a value to it. Therefore, it’s not for sale. It’s an insult to suggest buying something sacred. On the other hand, if we look at it differently, as there is no sacred land, ceremonies are not sacred, our children are not sacred, etc., then everything is for sale. Sacredness creates spiritual space. Sacredness makes things holy. Sacredness shows respect for God.
Great Spirit, let me honor things that are sacred.

November 21 – Daily Feast

November 21 – Daily Feast

Never say to yourself, “This may not work.” Give support to whatever you try. You see, it hears you. It accepts your decision even before you begin. Always tell your work that it is good and that it will serve a purpose long after it is finished. To tell it anything else is calling it by unseemly names, names that oppose its good success. Call life by its beautiful names. Tell it how strong and honorable and good it is. It is your life and your voice, and you have the right to use them together for every good purpose.

~ There was never a question as to the supremacy of an evil power over and above the power of good. ~

STANDING BEAR – SIOUX

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

The Daily Motivator for Nov. 21st – Positive approach

Positive approach

Conflict can be interesting and enticing, but is not particularly useful.  Rather than giving in to the drama of conflict, choose to be genuinely helpful  and cheerful, and make yourself much more effective.

Sure, you can get attention by being negative. But you can get much more done  by taking a positive approach.

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, offer some workable options for setting  things right. When you feel like giving criticism, find a way to give it in the  form of encouragement.

You don’t have to be nice just to be nice. Be nice, helpful, positive, upbeat  and encouraging because that’s how you, and everyone else, will make the most  progress.

You’ll never be able to get back the time and energy you waste on conflict.  Yet when you invest your time and energy in being a positive influence, the  rewards for doing so will expand exponentially as time goes on.

Your most effective, productive, profitable, compassionate and intelligent  choice is to be positive in your interactions with others. It’s a choice that  lifts the lives of everyone involved.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

The Daily OM for Nov. 21st – Permission to Simply Be

Permission to Simply Be
Working through Transitions

by Madisyn Taylor

During the pause between achievements, many people begin to question what their life is about.

The elation we feel when we have learned an important lesson, achieved a goal, or had a big breakthrough can sometimes be met with a period of downtime afterward. During this period of transition, we may feel unsure and not know where to turn next. Many people, during the pause

between achievements, begin to wonder what their life is about. These feelings are common and strike everyone from time to time. Human beings are active creatures—we feel best when we are working on a project or vigorously pursuing a goal. But there is nothing inherently wrong with spending a day, a week, or even a month simply existing and not having a plan. Just be. It won’t be long before you embark upon your next voyage of growth and discovery.

The quiet lull into we which we fall between ideas, projects, and goals can make life seem empty. After accomplishing one objective, you may want to move immediately on to the next. However, when your next step is unclear, you may feel frustrated, disconnected, or even a mild depression. You may even perceive your lack of forward momentum as an indicator of imminent stagnation. To calm these distressing thoughts, try to accept that if your intent is personal growth, you will continue to grow as an individual whether striving for a specific objective or not. Spending time immersed in life’s rigors and pleasures can be a cathartic experience that gives you the time you need to think about what you have recently gone through and leisurely contemplate what you wish to do next. You may also find that in simply being and going through the motions of everyday life, you reconnect with your priorities in a very organic, unforced way.

The mindful transitional pause can take many forms. For some, it can be a period of reflection that helps them understand how their life has unfolded. For others, it can be a period of adjustment, where new values based on recent changes are integrated into daily life. Just because you’re not headed swiftly to a final destination doesn’t mean you should assume that you have lost your drive. The stage between journeys can become a wonderful period of relaxation that prepares you for the path that will soon be revealed to you.

The Daily OM

Thirteen Books Every Wiccan Should Read

Thirteen Books Every Wiccan Should Read

By , About.com

Now that you’ve decided you want to learn about contemporary Wicca or another modern Pagan path, what should you read? After all, there are literally thousands of books on the subject — some good, others not so much. This list features the thirteen books that every Pagan should have on their shelves. A few are historical, a few more focus on modern Wiccan practice, but they’re all worth reading more than once. Bear in mind that while some books may purport to be about Wicca, they are often focused on NeoWicca, and do not contain the oathbound material found in traditional Wiccan practice.

Adler, Margot: Drawing Down the Moon2

If you want to learn about birds, you get a field guide about birds. If you want to learn about mushrooms, you get a field guide to mushrooms. Drawing Down the Moon is a field guide to Pagans. Rather than offering up a book of spells and recipes, Margot Adler presents an academic work that evaluates modern Pagan religions – including Wicca – and the people who practice them. The work is based on a survey the author took over two decades ago, but the information within is still a worthy read. Drawing Down the Moon makes no apologies for the fact that not all Wiccans are full of white light and fluff, but instead tells it like it is. Adler’s style is entertaining and informative, and it’s a bit like reading a really well-done thesis paper.

Buckland, Raymond: Complete Book of Witchcraft

Raymond Buckland is one of Wicca’s most prolific writers, and his work Complete Book of Witchcraft continues to remain popular two decades after it was first published – and for good reason. Although this book represents a more eclectic flavor of Wicca rather than a particular tradition, it’s presented in a workbook-like format that allows new seekers to work through the exercises at their own pace, learning as they go. For more seasoned readers, there’s a lot of useful information as far as rituals, tools, and magic itself. This book is a classic, and well worth picking up.

Cunningham, Scott: Wicca – A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

The late Scott Cunningham wrote a number of books before his untimely death, but Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner remains one of the best known and most useful. Although the tradition of witchcraft in this book is more Cunningham’s eclectic path than any other tradition, it’s full of information on how to get started in your practice of Wicca and magic. He goes into depth about tools, how and why they are used, ethics, and the concept of god and goddess. If you’re interested in learning and practicing as an individual, and not necessarily jumping into a coven right off the bat, this book is a valuable resource.

Curott, Phyllis: Witch Crafting

Phyllis Curott is one of those people who makes me glad to be Pagan — because she’s really normal. An attorney who has spent her life working on First Amendment issues, Curott has managed to put together a really useful book. Witch Crafting is not a collection of spells, rituals or prayers. It’s a hard and fast look at magical ethics, the polarity of male and female in the divine, finding the god and goddess in your everyday life, and the pros and cons of coven life vs. solitary paths. Curott also offers up a very interesting take on the Rule of Three. Whether you’re a new student of Wicca, or a veteran, Witch Crafting is worth reading more than once.

Eilers, Dana: Pagans and the Law – Understand Your Rights

Dana D. Eilers spent many years facilitating an event called Conversations With Pagans, and from that she wrote a book entitled The Practical Pagan. She then drew on her experience as an attorney to write Pagans and the Law: Understand Your Rights. This book goes into depth about precedents in religious discrimination lawsuits, how to protect yourself if you may be a victim of workplace harassment, and how to document everything if your spirituality is leading someone to treat you unfairly. Eilers is an outspoken woman who has a lot of great advice worth listening to.

Farrar, Janet & Stewart: The Witches’ Bible

[p]The first section of this book is Eight Sabbats for Witches. It goes into depth on Sabbat rites, and the meanings behind the holidays are expanded on. While the ceremonies in The Witches’ Bible are the Farrars’ own, there’s a heavy influence of the Gardnerian tradition, as well as Celtic folklore and some other European history. The second half of the book is in fact another book, The Witches Way, which looks at the beliefs, ethics, and practice of modern witchcraft. Despite the fact that the authors are a bit conservative by today’s standards, this book is an excellent look at the transitioning concept of what exactly it is that makes someone a witch.

Gardner, Gerald: Witchcraft Today

Gerald Gardner is the founder of modern Wicca as we know it, and of course of the Gardnerian tradition. His book Witchcraft Today is a worthy read, however, for seekers on any Pagan path. He discusses paganism in Europe, as well as the so-called “witch cult”, and goes on to demonstrate how many of history’s notable names are connected, one way or another, to what we know today as witchcraft. Although some of the statements in Witchcraft Today should be taken with a grain of salt — after all, Gardner was a folklorist and that shines through in his writing — it’s still one of the foundations that contemporary Wicca is based on. For its historical value, few things beat this book.

Hutton, Ronald: Triumph of the Moon

Triumph of the Moon is a book about Pagans by a non-Pagan, and Hutton, a highly respected professor, does an excellent job. This book looks at the emergence of contemporary Pagan religions, and how they not only evolved from the Pagan societies of the past, but also owe heavily to 19th-century poets and scholars. In fact, Hutton points out that a good deal of what we consider “ancient” Pagan practice can be attributed to the novelists and romantics of the late Edwardian and early Victorian era. Despite his status as a scholar, Hutton’s breezy wit makes this a refreshing read, and you’ll learn far more than you ever expected to about today’s Pagan religions.

Morrison, Dorothy: The Craft – A Witch’s Book of Shadows

Dorothy Morrison is one of those writers who doesn’t hold back, and while her book The Craft is aimed at beginners, she manages to create a work that can be useful for anyone. Morrison includes exercises and rituals which are not only practical, but teaching tools as well. Despite its focus on the lighter side of witchcraft, it’s a good starting point for anyone trying to learn about Wicca, and how to create your own rituals and workings. Morrison also has written a number of other books, including a companion work to this one.

Russell, Jeffrey: A History of Witchcraft

Historian Jeffrey Russell presents an analysis of witchcraft in an historical context, from the early days of Medieval Europe, through the witch craze of the Renaissance, and up into modern times. Russell doesn’t bother trying to fluff up the history to make it more palatable to today’s Wiccans, and takes a look at three different kinds of witchcraft — sorcery, diabolical witchcraft, and modern witchcraft. A noted religious historian, Russell manages to make an entertaining yet informative read, as well as accepting that witchcraft in and of itself can in fact be a religion.

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

By , About.com

Were the Ardanes ancient knowledge, or written in the 1950s?

In the 1950s, when Gerald Gardner was writing what eventually become the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, one of the items he included was a list of guidelines called the Ardanes. The word “ardane” is a variant on “ordain”, or law. Gardner claimed that the Ardanes were ancient knowledge that had been passed down to him by way of the New Forest coven of witches. However, it’s entirely possible that Gardner wrote them himself; there was some disagreement in scholarly circles about the language contained within the Ardanes, in that some of the phrasing was archaic while some was more modern. This led a number of people – including Gardner’s High Priestess, Doreen Valiente – to question the authenticity of the Ardanes.

Valiente had suggested a set of rules for the coven, which included restrictions on public interviews and speaking with the press. Gardner introduced these Ardanes – or Old Laws – to his coven, in response to the complaints by Valiente.

One of the largest problems with the Ardanes is that there is no concrete evidence of their existence prior to Gardner’s revealing them in 1957. Valiente, and several other coven members, questioned whether or not he had written them himself – after all, much of what is included in the Ardanes appears in Gardner’s book, Witchcraft Today, as well as some of his other writings. One of Valiente’s strongest arguments against the Ardanes – in addition to the fairly sexist language and misogyny – was that these writings never appeared in any previous coven documents. In other words, they appeared when Gardner needed them most, and not before.

The dispute over the origins of the Ardanes eventually led Valiente and several other members of the group to part ways with Gardner. The Ardanes remain a part of the standard Gardnerian Book of Shadows. However, they are not followed by every Wiccan group, and are rarely used by non-Wiccan Pagan traditions.

You can read the complete text of the Ardanes below:

The Old Laws

(1961)

[A] The Law was made and Ardane of old. The law was made for the Wicca, to advise and help in their troubles. The Wicca should give due worship to the Gods and obey their will, which they Ardane, for it was made for the good of the Wicca, As the [5] Wicca’s worship is good for the Gods, For the Gods love the Wicca. As a man loveth a woman, by mastering her, so the Wicca should love the Gods, by being mastered by them. And it is necessary that the Circle, which is the Temple of the Gods, should be truly cast and purified, that it [10] may be a fit place for the Gods to enter. And the Wicca should be properly prepared and purified, to enter into the presence of the Gods. With love and worship in their hearts they shall raise power from their bodies to give power to the Gods, as has been taught us of old, [15] For in this way only may man have communion with the Gods, for the Gods cannot help man without the help of men.

[B] And the High Priestess shall rule her Coven as representative of the Goddess, and the High Priest shall support her as the representative of the God, And the High Priestess shall choose whom she [20] will, if he have sufficient rank, to be her High Priest), For the God himself, kissed her feet in the fivefold salute, laying his power at the feet of the Goddess, because of her youth and beauty, her sweetness and kindness, her wisdom and Justice, her humility and generosity. So he resigned his lordship to her. But the Priestess should [25] ever mind that all power comes from him. It is only lent when it is used wisely and justly. And the greatest virtue of a High Priestess is that she recognizes that youth is necessary to the representative of the Goddess, so that she will retire gracefully in favour of a younger woman, Should the Coven so decide in Council, For the true [30] High Priestess realizes that gracefully surrendering pride of place is one of the greatest of virtues, and t hat thereby she will return to that pride of place in another life, with greater power and beauty.

[C] In the days when Witchdom extended far, we were free and worshipped in All their Greatest Temples, but in these unhappy times [35] we must hold our sacred mysteries in secret. So it be Ardane, that none but the Wicca may see our mysteries, for our enemies are many, And torture looseth the tongues of many. It be Ardane that each Coven shall not know where the next Coven bide, or who its members are, save the Priest and Priestess, [40] That there shall be no communication between them, save by the Messenger of the Gods, or the Summoner. Only if it be safe, may the Covens meet, in some safe place, for the great festivals. And while there, none shall say whence they come, or give their true names, to the end that, if any are tortured, in their agony, they can [45] not tell if they know not. So it be Ardane that no one may tell any not of the Craft who be of the Wicca, nor give any names, or where they bide, or in any way tell anything which can betray any to our foes, nor may they tell where the Covenstead be, or where is the Covendom, [50] or where be the meeting s or that there have been meetings. And if any break these laws, even under torture, The Curse of the Goddess shall be upon them, so they never reborn on earth, And may they remain where they belong, in the Hell of the Christians.

[D] Let each High Priestess govern her Coven with Justice and [55] love, with the help of the advice of the elders, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods, if he cometh. She will heed all complaints of brothers, and strive to settle all differences among them, but it must be recognized that there be people who will ever strive to force others to do as they will. [60] They are not necessarily evil, and they often do have good ideas, and such ideas should be talked over in council. And if they will not agree with their brothers, or if they say, “I will not work under this High Priestess,” it hath always been the old law to be convenient for the brethren, and to void disputes, any of the Third [65] may claim to found a new Coven because they live over a league from the Covenstead, or are about to do so. Anyone living within the Covendom wishing to form a new Coven, to avoid strife, shall tell the Elders of his intention and on the instant void his dwelling and remove to the new Covendom. Members of the old Coven may join the New one when it be formed, but if they do, must utterly void the old Coven. The Elders of the New and the Old Covens should meet in peace and brotherly love, to decide the new boundaries. Those of the Craft who dwell outside both Covendoms may join either indifferent, but not both, though all may, if the Elders [75] agree, meet for the Great Festivals, if it be truly in peace and brotherly love. But splitting the coven oft means strife, so for this reason these laws were made of old, And may the curse of the Goddess be on any who disregard them. So be it ardane.

[E] If you would Keep a book let it be in your own hand of write. [80] Let brothers and sisters copy what they will, but never let the book out of your hands, and never keep the writings of another, for if it be found in their hand of write, they well may be taken and enjoined. Each should guard his own writings and destroy it whenever danger threatens. Learn as much as you may by heart, and when danger is [85] past, rewrite your book an it be safe. For this reason, if any die, destroy their book if they have not been able to, for an it be found, ’tis clear proof against them, And our oppressors well know, “Ye may not be a witch alone” So all their kin and friends be in danger of torture. So ever destroy anything not necessary. [90] If your book be found on you. ’tis clear proof against you alone. You may be enjoined. Keep all thoughts of the Craft from your mind. Say you had bad dreams; a devil caused you to write it without your knowledge. Think to yourself, “I know nothing. I remember nothing. I have forgotten everything.” Drive this [95] into your mind. If the torture be too great to bear, say, “I will confess. I cannot bear this torture. What do you want me to say? Tell me and I will say it.” If they try to make you speak of the brotherhood, Do NOT, but if they try to make you speak of [100] impossibilities, such as flying through the air, consorting with the Christian Devil, or sacrificing children, or eating men’s flesh, to obtain relief from torture, say, “I had an evil dream. I was not myself. I was crazed.” Not all Magistrates are bad. If there [105] be an excuse they may show mercy. If you have confessed aught, deny it afterwards; say you babbled under torture, you knew not what you did or said. If you are condemned, fear not. The Brotherhood is powerful. They may help you to escape, if you stand steadfast, but if you betray aught, there is no hope for you, in this [110] life, or in that which is to come. Be sure, if steadfast you go to the pyre, Dwale will reach you. You will feel naught. You go but to o Death and what lies beyond, the ecstasy of the Goddess.

[F] ‘Tis probable that before you are enjoined, Dwale will reach you. [115] Always remember that Christians fear much that any die under torture. At the first sign of swoon, they cause it to be stopped, and blame the tormenters. For that reason, the tormenters themselves are apt to feign to torment, but do not, so it is best not to die at first. If Dwale reaches you, ’tis a sign that you have a friend somewhere. [120] You may be helped to escape, so despair not. If the worst comes, and you go to the pyre, wait till the flames and smoke spring up, bend your head over, and breath in with long breaths. You choke and die swiftly, and wake in the arms of the Goddess.

[G] To void discovery, let the working tools [125] be as ordinary things that any may have in their houses. Let the Pentacles be of wax, so they may be broken at once. Have no sword unless your rank allows you one. Have no names or signs on anything. Write the names and signs on them in ink before consecrating them and wash it off immediately after. Do not Bigrave them, [130] lest they cause discovery. Let the colour of the hilts tell which is which.

[H] Ever remember, ye are the Hidden Children of the Gods. So never do anything to disgrace them. Never boast, Never threaten, Never say you would wish ill to anyone. If you or any not in the Circle speak of the Craft, [135] say, “Speak not to me of such. It frightens me. ‘Tis evil luck to speak of it.” For this reason: the Christians have spies everywhere. These speak as if they were well affected, as if they would come to Meetings, saying, “My mother used to go to worship the Old Ones. I would that I could go myself.” 4 To these ever deny all knowledge. [140] But to others ever say, “‘Tis foolish men talk of witches flying through the air; to do so they must be light as thistledown,” and “Men say that witches all be bleared-eyed old crones, so what pleasure can there be in witch meetings such as folk talk on?” Say, “Many wise men now say there be no such creatures.” Ever [145] make it a jest, and in some future time, perhaps the persecution will die, and we may worship safely again. Let us all pray for that happy day.

[I] May the blessings of the Goddess and the God be on all who keep these laws which are Ardane.

[J] If the Craft hath any Appanage, let all brothers guard it, and help to keep it clear and good for the Craft, and let all justly guard all monies of the Craft. But if some brothers truly wrought it, ’tis right that they have their pay, an it be just, an this be not taking [5] money for the use of the Art, but for good and honest work. And even the Christians say, “A labourer is worthy of his hire.” But if any brotherswillingly for the good of the craft without pay, ’tis but to their greater honour. So it be Ardane.

[K] If there be any disputes or quarrels among the brethren, the [10] High Priestess shall straight convene the Elders and enquire into the matter, and they shall hear both sides, first alone, then together, and they shall decide justly, not favouring the one side or the other, ever recognizing that there be people who can never agree to work under others, but at the same time there be some people who [15] cannot rule justly. To those who ever must be chief, there is one answer, “Void the Coven and seek an other, or make a Coven of your own, taking with you those who will to go.” To those who cannot rule justly, the answer be, “Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you,” for none may come to meetings with those with whom they are at [20] variance; so, an either cannot agree, get hence, for the Craft must ever survive. So it be Ardane.

[L] In the olden days when we had power, we could use our Arts against any who ill-treated any of the Brotherhood, but in these evil times, we may not do so, for our enemies have devised a burning [25] pit of everlasting fire, into which they say their God casteth all the people who worship him, except it be the very few who are released by their priests’ spells and Masses, and this be chiefly by giving money and rich gifts to receive his favour, for their Alther Greatest God [Greatest God of all] is ever in need of Money. [30] But as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for men and crops, So the God of the Christians is ever in need of man’s help to search out and destroy us. Their priests tell them that any who get our help or our cures are damned to the Hell forever, so men be mad for the terror of it. But they make men [35] believe that they may scape this hell if they give victims to the tormenters. So for this reason all be forever spying, thinking, “An I can but catch one of the Wicca I will scape this fiery pit.” But we have our hidels, and men searching long and not finding say, “there be none, or if they be, they be in a far country.” [40] But when one of our oppressors die, or even be sick, ever is the cry, “This be Witches Malice,” and the hunt is up again. And though they slay ten of their people to one of ours, still they care not; they have many thousands, while we are few indeed. So it is Ardane that none shall use the Art in any way to do ill [45] to any, howevermuch they have injured us. And for long we have obeyed this law, “Harm none” and nowtimes many believe we exist not. So it be Ardane that this law shall still continue to help us in our plight. No one, however great an injury or injustice they receive, may use the Art in any to do ill or harm any. [50] But they may, after great consultations with all, use the Art to prevent or restrain Christians from harming us and others, but only to let or constrain them and never to punish, to this end. Men say, “Such an one is a mighty searcher out and persecutor of Old Women whom he deemeth to be Witches, [55] and none hath done him Skith [harm], so this be proof they cannot, o r more truly, that there be none,” For all know full well that so many folk have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because they had money or goods to seize, or because they had none to bribe the searchers. And many have died [60] because they were scolding old women, so much so that men now say that only old women are witches, and this be to our advantage, and turns suspicion away from us. In England ’tis now many a year since a witch hath died the death, but any misuse of the power might raise the Persecution again; so never break this law, [65] however much you are tempted, and never consent to its being broken. If you know it is being broken in the least, you must work strongly against it, and any High Priestess or High Priest who consents to it must be immediately deposed, for ’tis the blood of the Brethren they endanger. Do good, an it be safe, and only if [70] it be safe, for any talk may endanger us.

[M] And strictly keep to the Old Law, never accept money for the use of the art. It is Christian priests and sorcerers who accept money for the use of their Arts, and they sell Dwale and evil love spells and pardons to let men scape from their sins. [75] Be not as these. Be not as these. If you accept not money, you will be free of temptation to use the Art for evil causes.

[N] You may use the Art for your own advantage, or for the advantage of the Craft, only if you be sure you harm none. But ever let the Coven debate the matter at length. Only if all are satisfied that none may be harmed [80] may the Art be used. If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way without harming any, perchance the aim may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none. May the Curse of the Goddess be on any who breach this law. So it be Ardane.

[O] ‘Tis adjudged lawful an anyone need a house or land, an none will [85] sell, to incline the owner’s mind to be willing to sell, provided it harmeth him not in any way, and that the full worth is paid, without haggling. Never bargain or cheapen anything which you buy by the Art. So it be Ardane.

[P] It is the Old Law and the most important of all Laws [90] that no one may do or say anything which will endanger any of the Craft, or bring them in contact with the law of the land, or the Law of the Church or any of our persecutors. In any disputes between the brethren, no one may invoke any laws but those of the Craft, or any Tribunal but that of the Priestess and the Priest and the [95] Elders. And may the Curse of the Goddess be on any who so do. So it be Ardane.

[Q] It is not forbidden to say as Christians do, “There be Witchcraft in the Land,” because our oppressors of old made it Heresy not to believe in Witchcraft, and so a crime to deny it, which thereby put [100] you under suspicion. But ever say “I know not of it here, perchance they may be, but afar off. I know not where.” But ever speak so you cause others to doubt they be as they are. Always speak of them as old crones, consorting with the Devil and riding through the air. But ever say, “But how may men ride through the air an they be not [105] as light as thistledown?” But the curse of the Goddess be on any who cast any suspicion on any of the Brotherhood, or speaks of any real meeting place, or where any bide. So it be Ardane. [R] Let the Craft keep books with the names of all Herbs which are good for man, and all cures, that all may learn. But keep [110] another book with all the Banes [poisons] and Apies. and let only the elders and trustworthy people have this knowledge. So it be Ardane. [S] And may the Blessings of the Gods be on all who keep these Laws and the Curses of both God and Goddess be on all who break them So it be Ardane. [The following two sections were added after 1960.] [T] Remember the Art is the secret of the Gods and may only be used in earnest and never for show or vainglory. Magicians and Christians may taunt us, saying, “You have no power. Do magic before our eyes. Then only will we believe,” seeking to cause us to betray our Art before them. Heed them not, for the Art is holy, and may only be used in need. And the curse of the Gods be on any who break this law. [U] It ever be the way with women, and with men also, that they ever seek new love, nor should we reprove them for this, but it may be found to disadvantage the Craft, as so many a time it has happened that a High Priest or High Priestess, impelled by love, hath departed with their love; that is, they have left the coven. Now, if a High Priestess wishes to resign, she may do so in full Coven, and this resignation is valid. But if they should run off without resigning, who may know if they may not return w within a few months? So the law is, if a High Priestess leaves her coven, but returns within the space of a year and a day, then she shall be taken back, and all shall be as before. Meanwhile, if she has a deputy, that deputy shall act as High Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away. If she returns not at the end of a year and a day, then shall the coven elect a new High Priestess. Unless there be a good reason to the contrary. The person who has done the work should reap the benefit of the reward, Maiden and deputy of the High Priestess.

 


Footnotes

My Lady Epona points out that this is precisely what Charles Cardell had claimed; that is, this paragraph is a response to Cardell, and so it was probably inserted into the Craft Laws after the run-in with the Cardells and Olive Green in 1959. This again is an indication that Gardner did not promulgate the Craft Laws as a document for the Book of Shadows until about 1960, when Mr. Q was initiated.

Oathbound

Oathbound

By , About.com

Definition: In modern Wicca and Paganism, when something is oathbound, it simply means that it is information which may not be revealed to people who have not been initiated into a particular tradition. What information is oathbound will vary from one tradition to the next. In Gardnerian Wicca, nearly everything is oathbound — which is why if you see someone sharing information about the practices of a Gardnerian coven, you should be suspicious; they’re either passing along information that is not Gardnerian, or they’re someone who has broken their oath of secrecy. In other traditions, some practices are oathbound but others are not. Typically, the more emphasis a tradition places on initiations and lineage, the more information will be considered oathbound. Wicca, in its original form, was considered a “mystery religion,” so there are some pieces of knowledge which are never meant to be shared with outsiders.

Examples:

When Willow was asked by a reporter about the practices of her coven, she was unable to reveal the information, because it was oathbound material.

Gardnerian Wicca

Gardnerian Wicca

By Patti Wigington, About.com

Origins of the Gardnerian Path:

Gerald Gardner launched Wicca shortly after the end of World War II, and went public with his coven following the repeal of England’s Witchcraft Laws in the early 1950s. There is a good deal of debate within the Wiccan community about whether the Gardnerian path is the only “true” Wiccan tradition, but the point remains that it was certainly the first. Gardnerian covens require initiation, and work on a degree system. Much of their information is initiatory and oathbound, which means it can never be shared with those outside the coven.

The Book of Shadows:

The Gardnerian Book of Shadows was created by Gerald Gardner with some assistance and editing from Doreen Valiente, and drew heavily on works by Charles Leland, Aleister Crowley, and SJ MacGregor Mathers. Within a Gardnerian group, each member copies the coven BOS and then adds to it with their own information. Gardnerians self-identify by way of their lineage, which is always traced back to Gardner himself and those he initiated.

Gardnerian Wicca in the Public Eye:

Gardner was an educated folklorist and occultist, and claimed to have been initiated himself into a coven of New Forest witches by a woman named Dorothy Clutterbuck. When England repealed the last of its witchcraft laws in 1951, Gardner went public with his coven, much to the consternation of many other witches in England. His active courting of publicity led to a rift between him and Valiente, who had been one of his High Priestesses. Gardner formed a series of covens throughout England prior to his death in 1964.

Gardner’s Work Comes to America:

In 1963, Gardner initiated Raymond Buckland, who then flew back to his home in the United States and formed the first Gardnerian coven in America. Gardnerian Wiccans in America trace their lineage to Gardner through Buckland.

Because Gardnerian Wicca is a mystery tradition, its members do not generally advertise or actively recruit new members. In addition, public information about their specific practices and rituals is very difficult to find.

Who Was Doreen Valiente?

Who Was Doreen Valiente?

By , About.com

If Gerald Gardner is the father of the modern witchcraft movement, then certainly Doreen Valiente is the mother of many traditions. Like Gardner, Doreen Valiente was born in England. Although not much is known about her early years, her website (maintained by her estate) verifies that she was born Doreen Edith Dominy in London in 1922. As a teen, Doreen lived in the New Forest area, and it is believed that this is when she began experimenting with magic.

When she was thirty, Doreen was introduced to Gerald Gardner. By this time, she had been married twice – her first husband died at sea, her second was Casimiro Valiente – and in 1953, she was initiated into the New Forest coven of witches. Over the next several years, Doreen worked with Gardner in expanding and developing his Book of Shadows, which he claimed was based on ancient documents passed down through the ages. Unfortunately, much of what Gardner had at the time was fragmented and disorganized.

Doreen Valiente took on the task of re-organizing Gardner’s work, and more importantly, putting into a practical and usable form. In addition to finishing things up, she added her poetic gifts to the process, and the end result was a collection of rituals and ceremonies which are both beautiful and workable – and the foundation for much of modern Wicca, some sixty years later. For a brief period, Gardner and Doreen parted ways – this is often attributed to Gardner’s love of speaking publicly about witchcraft to the press, while Doreen felt coven business should remain private. However, there is also speculation that some of the rift was caused when Doreen questioned the authenticity of Gardner’s claims about the age of some of the items they were working with. At any rate, they later reconciled and worked together once more. In the 1960s, Doreen moved away from Gardnerian Wicca and was initiated into a traditional British witchcraft coven.

Doreen may well be best known for her incredibly evocative poetry, much of which has found its way into the lexicon of modern ritual format, both for Wiccans and other Pagans. Her Charge of the Goddess is a powerful call to invoke the Divine within us. The Wiccan Rede is often attributed to Doreen as well. Although the Rede is typically summarized in brief as An it harm none, do what ye will, there is actually quite a bit more to the original work. Doreen’s poem entitled The Wiccan Rede can be read in its entirety here: The Wiccan Rede.

Near the end of her life, Doreen was concerned about the many misconceptions about modern witchcraft, as well as the wide distortions of original teachings. She became patron of the Centre for Pagan Studies, described as “offering a facility for learned research and a non commercial environment.” She passed away in 1999.