Is There a Witch’s Bible?

Enchanted Circle of Witches®

A reader asks, “I was recently in a local Pagan shop and saw a book that was called The Witch’s Bible. In fact, there were THREE books available, all by different authors, with similar titles. I’m confused – I didn’t think there was an actual bible for witches. Which one is the real one that I should buy?”



Here’s the thing. Because “witchcraft” is not one universal, codified set of beliefs and practices, it’s impossible to put together any sort of Big Book O’ Rules that will apply to all people who practice witchcraft. Several authors – at least five that I can think of just off the top of my head – have used the word “bible” in their book about witchcraft or Wicca. Does that mean that one is wrong and four are correct? Not hardly.

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“THINK on THESE THINGS” for July 5th

By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

In this day of emphasis on right connections with the right people, in the right places, at the right time, we must have truly extraordinary qualities to become successes on our own.

They who have worked hard and achieved success often carry a double burden by wrongful accusations of being privileged characters. Perhaps some to whom doors automatically open because of right connections seem to be privileged characters, but they, like dictators, have limited existence.

Having connections may help us on the ladder of life, but it will never keep those rungs steady beneath our feet. Only our own greatness keeps us tall, sun-crowned. We must have something to give, something to offer before we can expect to be truly privilege characters. And then, we will have earned the right to our privileges. We are somewhat like God, blamed for much we don’t do and seldom given credit for the good we have done.

Whatever the future, the world still needs citizens like those J. G. Holland wrote about nearly a century ago: “God give us men. The times demand strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and willing hands…..Tall men, sun-crowned who live above the fog, in public duty and in private thinking!”


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:
Click Here to Buy her books at

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

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – July 5

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – July 5

“It does not require many words to speak the truth.”

–Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE

The truth shall set you free. This is the truth. When we speak the Truth, we do not need to be defensive. Truth needs no defense. When we speak the Truth, we do not need to attack because Truth cannot be attacked. It is so easy to want to manipulate or to be deceitful or dishonest. My head tells me I can get away with doing these things, after all everybody does it.

My Creator, today let me know Truth. Let me live Truth. Let me risk the Truth. Let me make the Truth sweet. Help me to make my word good. Let Your spirit and intent be added to by words. Let My thoughts be Truth.

July 5 – Daily Feast

July 5 – Daily Feast

A world of things exists that we will never be able to explain. But all we have to do is look around us at world events, natural disasters and at the cold, clear glint in the eye of ignorance, and know that to be somebody we need more than to become clever. The big deals do not make us. Little steps, little thoughts, words and little acts – who we are and who we will become depends on the small bricks in our foundations. What do we have of contentment? It is the measuring stick for wandering souls who have lost the way and don’t even know it.

~ I was living peacefully with my family, having plenty to eat, sleeping well, taking care of my people, and perfectly contented. ~


“A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II” by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

The Daily Motivator for July 5th – Your moment to begin

Your moment to begin

by Ralph Marston

The best time to start is now. The best place to start is here.

The best resources to use are whatever you have. The best way to proceed is by doing whatever you can do.

It’s fine to have ambitious and detailed plans, but the plans are not the achievement. Achievement requires action, and the sooner you start the better.

It’s good to study carefully and prepare yourself for the effort. Yet much of what you need to know, you’ll have to learn as you go along, so go, do, learn, achieve.

Don’t let the good things you envision stay stuck in your imagination. Give them life by giving them your immediate and persistent effort.

There are countless things you can do to make life better. And now is your moment to begin.

© 2016 Ralph S. Marston, Jr.
From The Daily Motivator website at

The Daily OM for July 5th – Mind over Matter

Mind Over Matter
Culling Out The Weeds

by Madisyn Taylor

We can improve our overall physical well-being by first starting to notice our thoughts and our reactions to our thoughts.

The power of the mind is a curious thing, because it is so powerful yet so difficult to control sometimes. We find ourselves thinking a certain way, knowing that this thought may be creating trouble for us yet we find it difficult to stop. For example, many people have the experience of getting sick at the same time every year or every time they go on a plane. They may even be aware that their beliefs impact their experiences, so continue to think they will get sick and then they do.

Sometimes we need to get sick in order to process something or move something through our bodies. But often we get sick, or feel exhausted, because we don’t make the effort to galvanize the power of our minds in the service of our physical health, which is one of its most important functions. We really can use it to communicate to our bodies, yet we often regard the two as separate entities that have little to do with one another.

Knowing this, we have the power to create physical health and mental health, simply by paying attention to the tapes running in our minds. Once we hear ourselves, we have the option to let that tape keep running or to make a new recording. We harness the power of the mind in our defense when we choose supportive, healing words that foster good health and high spirits. All we need to do is remember to tend the field of our mind with the attentive and loving hand of a master gardener tending her flower beds, culling out the weeds so that the blossoms may come to fruition.



Daily OM

Magic – Making

Magic – Making

Author: witchskel

I was like most young people; I rebelled. I ventured forth into the world at the tender age of fourteen. I wanted to experience life so I just went out and lived it. I had a variety of survival jobs, which included dishwasher, hotel maid, mover and waitress. I enjoyed my years grooming horses. I enrolled twice to secondary school attempting to receive my high school diploma.

My past was really tough. I have had positive and negative experiences in life. No human is perfect. I made mistakes. Close friendships, long-term companions, and committed relationships are where most of my education took place. I experienced a series of broken agreements, dishonesty, not staying true to commitments. In return, I gained a great deal of distrust for people. I expected the worst. My anger became a hindrance and very detrimental to my whole being.

My constant support was my family. My mom and dad have always been there for me.

I moved home to the farm where I had a good support system after sampling many of life’s pitfalls. I wanted to control my anger. Witchcraft captured my interest. The Earth faith is the belief that the universe is a giant web, on which every person, animal, plant, tree and object holds a thread of energy connected to every other thread. To believe in magic one knows that like produces like and things that once had been in contact will always continue to have a connection. Things that have a common quality, ever quickly seek their kind.

Reading Green Witchcraft by Ann Moura and a series of Witchcraft books by Laurie Cabot I learned the basics. I explored the fine art of spell casting during the Sabbats, Esbats, and other rituals attuned to the cycles of nature. I discovered planning is important to the process and outcome. One’s success depends a great deal on one’s effort to change. Being given copies of both sides of my family tree, I learned I am descended from Celtic ancestry.

I am a witch. Descended from women of Europe being a witch and witchcraft is my heritage. I’m often asked what does a witch practitioner do. There is no single approach to witchcraft. I can’t speak for anyone but myself. The main ancient formulae guidelines in magic are followed: An herb, a flower and a tree make three.

I walked out into the open field during the Sun’s cycles – the Sabbats, the changing of season and Moon Phases – the Esbats, the Full Moon rites and New Moon to acknowledge the earth’s changing seasons and cast spells for me to be better to myself and others – to be conscious of my choices and outcomes. I never request for material things. I drew a protective circle on to the earth with flower petals, feathers, salt or stones. I faced each direction, beginning in the east, moving clockwise I lift my voice to call the Spirit of East, South, West and North. Inside sacred space with the use of herbs, candles and other natural ingredients that have a common quality (to apply like energy will attract like energy) .

I applied witches’ spells to help accept my past choices, to find peace and my place in the world. I asked Spirit that what I willed be correct and for the good of all. I remained in the center of the sacred ring and talked openly to Spirit for guidance or meditated – listened for an answer. I closed the circle by circling around counter clockwise, drawing the energy inward and saying: “The circle is undone but not broken”.

On my way home, I’d look for either negative or positive support from nature. If a Blue Jay appeared or if I heard the bird’s song I knew I had the resourcefulness and adaptability to accomplish that which I set out to accomplish that which I set out to change. If I tripped over a Blue Jay’s blue, black, and white feather, there would be surprises in love, the unexpected. If a gust of soft wind suddenly blew, this meant for me to favor love – use the emotion to achieve harmony. The west wind would tell me to be confident to restore hope; the east wind I would need to be patient; the north I had gained wisdom – use my intuition.

Casting a sacred circle, spell casting and reading signs in nature, I stayed aware of the person I wanted to be and the direction I would like my life to take. In my daily life, I became conscious of my words and of my deeds and how they affected others and myself.

I pursued information from books. I studied a lot of literature, magical books of instruction, fragments of history, traditions, legends and formulas for conjuration. Of all trees, the oak tree is one of the most powerful and sacred reputations. Furthermore, it is extremely good fortune to find one struck by lightning.

Both the Druids and the Hebrew race felt the oak was a sacred tree to perform magical rights – prayers with responses under it. The mighty and sacred oak tree is known as the Grandfather tree and is a great place for magic making (open door, go down into the earth) . In a remote location, an oak tree of immense age made itself known to me. I cast a circle around mighty tree, lit incense for good psychic atmosphere, and then sat center of four trunks growing upward as one. Within sacred space I talked to my grandfather’s spirit, my guide, to find confidence, conquer fear, and to become more secure with self and the direction I would like my life to take. Spirit made contact in many ways. During meditation, visions appeared like a movie or magical symbols to foretell the future. Sometimes it was a clear image, other times a voice unlike my own. I came to expect whatever I needed — not wanted but needed — would surely gravitate to me.

My heart and head became open to the synchronicities, the small coincidences that were placed in the right place at the right time to change my attitude and life for the better. Dedicated to Spirit who is an advisor and Otherworld Guide, I withdrew from society to live closer to my family, friends and nature. Most of my family allows me the freedom of choice without criticism. Most are quite supportive when at dawn or dusk, new or full moon, I can be found outside with candles and/or incense.

Reading witchcraft literature and practicing out in the open field beliefs, customs and traditions I’ve learned to accept people for who they are or attempt to right the wrong. I’m not pushed or agitated by the whims of others for a long period of time.

Tuning into the seasonal activities connects one with the wheel of life. Life is continuously changing, evolving, dying, and re-born. Winter is fading and releasing the emptiness. Spring has sprung; seeds begin to stir beneath the soil, and soon will begin to open to become solid forms. If you have been kicking around the idea you would like to know more about practical earth magic to allow physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual expansion head to your local new or used book store.

Risking an overload of information in the witchcraft or spiritualism sections take a quick survey of the array of titles. Close your eyes and relax. With your left-hand allow your fingertips to float across each spine in the row of books on the shelf, out loud or to yourself saying: “Come forward allow me to thrive by uniting your knowledge. Allow your intuition to pick out what books contain the information you need.”

If there are many books on more shelves, one by one perform the process. Look for the connection in the book you chose. Take time reflecting on the content. Read; uncover the secret knowledge for yourself – “Truth in our hearts, Strength in our hands, Consistency in our thoughts”. Doing this you perform a valuable act of personal magic. It will put you in touch with your inner self.

The magical books of instruction, fragments of history, traditions, legends and formulas for conjuration might transform your way of thinking and your way of living.

Journey To Witchcraft

Journey To Witchcraft

Author: The Wild Sorceress

Hello from an Australian Eclectic Witch. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a procrastinator. I’ve been thinking about writing an essay for some time but as all procrastinators will tell you, it’s always the thinking, never the doing.

I have always been interested in witchcraft. I think the awareness and the interest started when I was 13, (inspired from seeing The Craft. Yes, I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right. But we all find our path in different ways).

I went to see the movie with three friends and at the end of the movie, like all teenage girls who are not considered ‘popular’ we thought “Wow this is for us”. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble the teenage way. And like all teenagers, my three friends lost interest fairly soon after.

The interest always stuck with me in various ways over the next few years but being in high school one has enough stress and doesn’t always find the time to delve into the spiritual.

So as the story goes, years later I was cleaning out my room and came across a book my parents had bought for me when I was 13 called The Nice Girl’s Book of Naughty Spells. (Yes you read correctly, my parents bought it for me).

I also came across articles I had ripped out of magazines and a booklet I had sent off for from the Church Of Wicca in Perth, WA. It grabbed me, and then it lost me. I began working and again, it took a back seat. I think at that stage in my life, it wasn’t time for me to walk the path. (Procrastination again).

I was about 22 when the interest became more of a spiritual need, a path I felt I needed to walk. I bought books to read. My first 2 were Witch A Personal Journey and A Magickal Year by Fiona Horne, followed soon by Book Of Shadows by Phyllis Currot and then finally Wicca by Scott Cunningham. It really hit me: this is what I wanted, and I felt it was right for me.

Luckily I didn’t have any religious conflicts. For all intents and purposes my mother was a single mother and she felt, not being religious herself, that she did not want to baptize her children (I have an older brother). She felt that we should feel free to pick our own path when we were old enough to understand what religion was. Suffice to say, Christianity was not for me.

I’ve always been an independent free thinker and the rules and rigmarole of organized religion was not for me.

The way I got here was interesting. As a general rule when I was younger, nature and its elements were actually very boring to me. I knew there were trees and flowers and things of that nature but it didn’t really impact me in any fashion. I used to hate helping my mother garden. Also, every time I tried to grow something it would die. The natural world, seemingly, was not my friend.

As I began to study witchcraft the natural held more interest and I felt better and more alive when I would go outside. We have this massive Oak tree in our yard and it is magnificent and really old. Now when I stand with it and look at it or touch the leaves, I feel an affinity I never thought I would. I feel a spiritual recognition, a connection with its beauty and its sense of history. I grow herbs under it and they flourish nourished by its shade. Being a fire sign, Oak is also one of my Celtic trees.

I feel my personal power growing. I have always had a strong sense of intuition and occasionally have psychic flashes that more often than not just leave me with a head spinning sense of déjà vu.

I am now able to grow herbs. I’m currently growing about 8 different kinds from seed and they are going really strong now. To me, this is a sign that the Goddess is helping me walk this path.

The one thing that originally boggled my mind was the amount of ‘things’ needed in witchcraft. There are athames and wands, chalices, censers, candles, herbs etc and I thought that my new path — although giving me great spiritual fulfillment — was going to drain my finances. But I have found that these items have come to me when I have needed them, not before. I think that instead of rushing out and buying everything all at once that if you wait, the Goddess will deliver. If not, I have 2 great recommendations for you.

EBay is a great place to get different ritual items. I got my first lot of herbs, most of my books, runes and two lovely wooden pentagram boxes from EBay.

Another is an Australian website called Uncle Festers. They have a club called the Cauldron Club and each month for 13 months they send you a package, slowly building up all your ritual supplies. Since being with them I haven’t really bought anything. I wait; it comes. I love it; it’s like my birthday every month.

My mother and stepfather have always been incredibly supportive of my choice (as has my brother and friends). I never had to worry about their disapproval. It breaks my heart when I read articles on here about new witches who fear rejection and anger from their parents if they share with them the news of walking the path of the Goddess. It’s sad that people are not flexible minded enough to realize that what may be good for them religion-wise is not always good for someone else.

My advice is to stay strong and be true to who you are because ultimately in this world, the only person who you have to please is yourself.

Wow, do I go on. So this is the story of a 24-year-old Eclectic Witch from Australia who wanted to write an article for Witchvox.

Blessed Be

The Fear of Witchcraft

The Fear of Witchcraft

Author: Crick

I have often wondered why there is so much fear and hatred of witches and witchcraft in general. For generations, there have been negative and misleading interpretations of witches and the path of witchcraft. And it continues to this very day in a society where folks have had ample time to overcome such misunderstandings and fear of such a viable and interesting path.

Witchcraft has been in existence since the beginning of humankind. It came about as a natural progression in an attempt to understand and influence those forces around us, which in many ways are an extension of what we know as life but which often exceeds our ability to fully comprehend.

As such, fear was often an accompanying component of witchcraft due to the unknowns one had to venture into in order to follow this unique path. Somewhere along the human chain of existence, such fears of the unknown also led to the creation of religions. All religions were/are created by a desire of the few to have in place a structure of understanding the mysteries of life as they, the creators of whatever religion, perceived them.

In order to provide a signature, if you will, to their particular brand of beliefs, they also instituted a rigid format we know as dogma. This format spells out the boundaries that one is required to adhere to, in order to identify with that particular religion. Dogma spells out the way one is to think and the beliefs that they are expected to adhere to. There is very little room for questioning the content of such beliefs within a particular religion. To do so is often considered heresy and can lead to the expulsion of one from the religion that is being exposed to such questioning.

“Faith” is often the word used to deter folks from seeking to find answers that cannot be satisfactorily explained to those seeking a deeper comprehension of their chosen religion. While the majority of the 400 plus religions in the world (the vast majority of which were created by men) are content to display their beliefs/dogma and to let those who identify with such beliefs to voluntarily become members of their flock, there are, unfortunately, some religions which chose to employ apologists to draw members to their beliefs. They also turned to intimidation and in some cases, extreme violence which, at times, led to death of those who chose a different religion or spiritual path.

As a validation of such means, they chose witchcraft as the antithesis of their beliefs and used this as a means to further validate their unbridled attempts to control the hearts and minds of their fellow humans. And this is where religion and the path of witchcraft splits into divergent mindsets.

As already noted, religions of all types share a common ground. They provide a structured means of thought and action in order to approach the unknowns and the uncertainties of life. In short, religions create a sense of security for those folks who are unable or unwilling to face the unknown.

Witchcraft on the other hand encourages one to actively face the unknown. As humans we are limited in our knowledge of the great scheme of things. But as a witch, one is very aware that there are in fact beings, realms and forces that are just beyond our comprehension and at times our awareness. To actively seek an understanding of the great mysteries of life, effectively moves one beyond the control of fellow humans and thus dogma serves as a barrier. By removing such barriers, one becomes free of the fetters of a religion by becoming a free thinker and a true spiritual seeker.

And the removal of such dogmas is seen as anathema to those religions who see control of the human mind and soul as necessary for the validation of their particular religion. Witchcraft involves embracing one’s fear of the unknown and seeking out answers and experiences that are not of the societal norm. As such, I personally see fear not as a impediment but rather as an initiator, a desire to understand the reason for such fear. For knowledge is the key to opening the door of wisdom. This is not to say that religion is wrong for all folks. For those who are content to follow a structured way of approaching life, well, a religion may well be the path for you. But for those that want to expand their consciousness and spiritual experience, then perhaps witchcraft is the path to follow.

Unfortunately, the mindset of this world that we live in does not allow the freedom of choice for two such divergent approaches to the mysteries of life. Why do certain religions need to display such hatred and misunderstanding towards a path that seeks to think outside of the box that they have created for their man-made beliefs?

The insecurities that has led to the creation of religions, especially those religions which rely upon and which need absolute control of the mindset of their members, leaves no room for alternative mindsets such as witchcraft. However, it is ironic to note that those who engage in witchcraft are not focused on attacking members of any particular religions. We choose instead to focus on on pursuit of metaphysical knowledge, which should not be confused with the propaganda and outright lies that have been proffered by those who oppose the mental and spiritual freedoms that witchcraft offers.

As long as such insecurities by certain religions continue to play a dominant role in their dogma, well, the fear and misunderstanding of witchcraft will continue.

In closing, contrary to popular belief, witchcraft is not for everyone. It is not a path that can or should be engaged in superficially. But for those that devote themselves to the desire to understand mysteries just beyond one’s ken, well the spiritual rewards can be many indeed.
But keep in mind as well that such a path can also contain many pitfalls. For a witch is travelling along unknown roads, and it is only through trial and indeed error that one can grow via such a path. Which in turn brings us full circle to the fear factor that lies at the base of the misunderstandings of witchcraft…

The Ethics Of Magick

The Ethics Of Magick

Author: Frances

Some people are of the belief that when it comes to the practice of magick that anything goes. Magick is after all, simply that – magick. It is not caught up in ethics or morals. While this is correct, magick is actually shaped by the inner beliefs, ethics and morals of the person who uses it.

In all orthodox religions there are certain laws and regulations of how a follower of that faith should conduct themselves – in Christianity, for example, there are the Ten Commandments. In many Pagan traditions, however, it is believed that there is actually little need for such dogma as each person is ultimately responsible for their actions. Such responsibility can be overwhelming for someone new to Paganism, especially if they come from a more orthodox background, so they find the need to create boundaries in the form of guidelines. Within Wiccan belief there are a number of guidelines such as the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law of Return which are designed to help the newcomer understand the essence of that belief.

The Wiccan Rede is a beautiful piece of poetry whose author is believed to have been the late Doreen Valiente. Within this poem many aspects of Wiccan beliefs and practices are outlined, such as the seasonal wheel of the year, honoring the Goddess and the God, and sacred trees to name a few. The poem ends with eight specific words that many Wiccans consider to be the main guideline as to how they are to live their lives: “If it harms none, do what you will.” Some critics of Wicca see this as an indication for followers to do anything they wish. However, when the statement is given due thought, its true meaning is understood – that as long as your actions do not harm anyone, then you are free to live your life as you please. Some Wiccans take this statement further, relating the “none” to animals and the environment as well.

The Wiccan Rede is a version of the Golden Rule, which can be found in most other religions, the earliest dating back to Confucianism, where a 6th century BCE statement, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others,” can be found. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and even Sikhism also have variations of the Golden Rule.

The second ethical guideline which many Wiccans follow is that of the Threefold Law of Return, where it is believed that every deed done will return to the doer three times greater. This means that a good deed will return three times stronger, but so will any bad deed that is performed.

Many Wiccans also hold either a belief in the Eastern philosophy of Karma, or the Universal Law of Cause and Effect, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Karma is often viewed on a more personal level, that the deeds of one’s life are counteracted in the next life, while the Law of Cause and Effect can be viewed on a more global scale. A good example of the latter is seen in our environment. People in the past have done what they like without concern or respect for the environment or the creatures that live in it. The effects of this lack of regard and respect are the depletion of the ozone layer, rising salt levels due to large scale land clearing, droughts and floods brought on by erratic temperature fluctuations, and so on, that are witnessed today.

Taking Responsibility For Your Actions

As not every person who uses magick follows a Wiccan path and therefore is not necessarily guided by the Wiccan Rede, magick itself does tend to have its own guidelines. What some people do not realize when they first desire to perform magick is that magick is based on energy. When you cast a spell, you are sending out energy. The Universe magnifies this energy and returns it to you. Therefore it is vitally important that, before a person performs any form of magickal act, they are fully aware of the energy exchange and are prepared to take full responsibility for their actions. In magick there is no such thing as coincidences – everything happens for a reason, and when you perform a spell you are creating the reason.

Taking responsibility means being honest with yourself about what you are doing and why. You also need to be able to acknowledge your mistakes and their consequences. Mistakes are often the greatest lessons we can learn in life. To learn from your mistakes, you must closely examine what went wrong and to find a way to rectify the error. However, mistakes when performing magick can have dire consequences, especially if your energy is directed at a particular person.

Magick should never be done on a whim. Before you perform any form of magickal rite you need to look careful at the reasons why you want to use magick to obtain something. You also need to be very clear about what you want to achieve. Some people find it useful to consult one form of divination or another, such as runes or the tarot, prior to casting a spell or magickal rite to determine all possible outcomes. Only when you are sure about what you are doing, should you perform magick.

Due to the amount of “spell books” around it is understandable why some people are of the view that magick is an easy and safe means to get whatever they want. However this is a misconception, for magick is not all that safe if you do not know what you are doing. Things can happen that you did not intend. Those readers who have seen the movie The Craft will be able to relate to the dangers of casting love spells – in the movie, the victim of such a spell became obsessed with the caster of the spell to the stage where he was stalking her. There are also numerous stories about people who have cast money spells and while they did end up with a monetary sum, this was obtained through some kind of personal disaster or upheaval, such as an insurance claim or even a death. Therefore it is vitally important to be very careful about what you ask for, because, as the saying goes, you could very well receive it, but not necessarily through the means you had anticipated.

Magick is serious business and should never be taken lightly. It can be dangerous for those who are unprepared and there are consequences if it is used carelessly or with malicious intent. However, if you abide by a few simple guidelines (such as the Wiccan Rede), take the time to properly understand what you are doing and use it responsibly, magick can help you can achieve positive and rewarding changes in your life.


The Blending of Magick

The Blending of Magick

Author: Lady Abigail

Somewhere deep within the Ozark Mountains, on a mid summer night, stood a small gentle woman wearing a long dark skirt covered with a crisp, clean white apron.

Her face, careworn from years of life, could only give a glimpse of the knowledge she held from worlds long since past.

As she walked across the dry grassy meadow her long skirt brushed against the ground as she looked for where she could best see the night sky. In the middle of the clearing she stood beneath an endless blanket of stars. The warm fragrant breeze was softly blowing her long silvering hair across her face. She began to smile with the understanding she received from this moment in time, a foretelling of a life to come.

This is how, I would be told by my Great Grandmother, that she gained the knowledge of my coming. My Great Grandmother was a Witch, one of the wise ones. She never considered herself as being born a Witch, or that she had came from so many generations of Witches that the number was simply unknown; magick was just part of her and it was her life.

My Great Grandmother was a strong and kind soul of many lives. She was of mixed traditions, a blending of half Native American and half French. She was raised in a time when those who could not believe would try to stop the powers they feared. A time when, with heart and love, anything was possible within the forces of the Earth and Nature.

She was born into a world that was beginning to forget the wonders hidden within every element of nature. A world that scoffed and made fun of those who were different and those of the Old World. At times, it could be a very dangerous world for those born of magick, because such things were considered wrong and somehow evil. What some would, in fear and ignorance, call sinful.

Her upbringing was a mixture of her family traditions; French, Native American, Southern and Cajun, as well as those which came from a long and contented life. She knew potions and charms, how to heal the sick with herbs and soothe a broken heart with a cup of tea sweetened with a listening heart. She could see what others could not see, or would not see. And oh, yes…she could cast spells and work glorious magick.

I loved being with my Great Grandmother; she taught me that life and magick just “are,” no matter what others may believe. That people are only a tiny a part of the mysteries found within life and love, energy and light. For there are truly more things between the worlds than those which can be seen.

I can remember my Great Grandmother telling me stories of her family and childhood, teaching me how it was possible to call the wind in a whisper, stop the motion of time and call on the powers that are held within the elements of nature. She also taught me how we are a part of the natural world and that, if we desire, we can communicate with the animals and insects as well as read the messages, sent to us by all the universe, that appear on a starry night.

She would teach me how to draw on that energy, the magick found in the understanding that we are the Air, the Fire, the Water and the Earth surrounded by all Spirits. We are the concept and the deed. We are all things and all things emanate from within us.

Recently in my studies I have learned of others that come from mixed traditions, such as the mixing of the first settlers of the Old World and the American Indians. The blending of magickal beliefs from those who came over from Scotland, Ireland and, for me, France in the seventeenth century. Some call it Appalachian Granny Magick, Ozark Magick or White Witch Magick. I was raised that it is a gift of Mother (or Goddess). Whatever name you call it, the tradition is complete.

Many times I observed my Great Grandmother as she watched the signs and concocted potions and brews for people from all around where she lived. This act of creation was common practice for families of her time; there was little money and doctors were expensive. Normally a person would have to travel a day or more just to reach a doctor. That travel was not generally possible. She was the Wise Woman, or Healer, of the area.

I remember going with my Great Grandmother, my “Mom Ma,” to pick berries and herbs for different workings. We would make the blackberries into wonderful pies that she would take to those who were ill and cobblers that were for other workings. I would sit and listen to her say wonderful incantations and spells while she stirred the beginnings of a blackberry cobbler or pie. Once the pie was done she would proudly announce, “This, my little love, is a Money Pie, and as you eat, money you will meet.” She was always right.

I didn’t understand or appreciate at the time all the wonders my Great Grandmother would place into my life. Even now she influences my life with wonder and Magick. When I am struggling, or can’t quite decide what the right ingredients are that I’m looking for, if I will find a quiet place and allow my mind and heart to open I will hear the answers. Whispers on the wind are my Great Grandmother’s voice.

Mixed Traditions, like many of the older ones, were passed on from parents to their children for many generations and generally not “taught” outside of the individual family structures. Many times within the community old customs, wisdom, and practices were considered unacceptable. With the modernizing of areas and beliefs, one will often find ancient Irish, Scottish, French and Native American songs, rhymes, dances, recipes, crafts, blended within what we know as “The Craft.” This history has been passed down for many years in this way, though sadly with the original meanings sometimes being lost in the winds of time.

In the hills and mountains of the Ozarks this quality of the ancient religion of Witchcraft continued right on through the decades into the early twentieth century. At times when Witchcraft elsewhere was being eliminated by the increasingly modern and Christian world, the people of the Ozarks were still calling upon Mother Nature. The fertility of the crops, the livestock, and of the people themselves was vital. Therefore, fertility, and the worship of Mother Nature, Father Winter, Chloe, Spider Grandmother, Demeter, and such varied deities continued on within this region, staying a current part of the people’s faith rather than becoming a mythic memory as such “nature worship” did elsewhere.

The terms “Witch,” “Witchcraft,” “spells” and “charms” were not seen as evil or bad. Each community had their local Witch or Wise Woman and openly called them such. This reference was considered to be a title of honor, not an insult or a charge of crime as the term later became known.

Witches were called upon to heal the sick, deliver babies or tend to the dying, just as their ancestors had been so charged with doing in Europe so many years ago. Many times a community had no medical doctor to call upon so the local Witches continued to work as the only healers well up until the early twentieth century.

Many will claim that Magick isn’t possible and that such things are not to be believed in. However, is it not strange that children just know Magick is all around them, but as they grow older they are forced to think they must stop believing in that which just…”is?”

Witchcraft is a blending of Traditions and Magick. Whatever practice you believe in, you are most assuredly a mix of many things such as traditions, beliefs, society, ethnicity, family, social experiences, region and time. We are all from a mixed and proud Magickal background. We are also practical and down-to-earth. Witchcraft, no matter what name you call it, is very eclectic naturally.

A Traditional America Indian Earth Blessing:

A da we hi a ne he ne ha
Do hi u a iu ni
O lo hi a li ga lu lo hi u nah ta
Ga li e li ga O sa da du

English translation:

Wise Protectors, they are so giving
Serenity, it resounds
Mother Earth and Father Sky are so giving
I am thankful, it is good

Lady Abigail

Traditional vs. Eclectic: We’re Not “All One Wicca”

Traditional vs. Eclectic: We’re Not “All One Wicca”

Author: Hexeengel

[Please note: For the purposes of this piece, the terms “Wicca” and “Wiccan (s) ” will refer to the British Traditional family of religious Witchcraft Traditions and those who follow them, the Traditions then including, but not limited to, such lines as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Moshian, Blue Star, etc. “Neo-Wicca” and “Neo-Wiccan (s), ” then, indicate the perhaps more wide-spread and certainly more widely known Eclectic (and often Solitary) practices espoused by such authors as Scott Cunningham, Fiona Horne, Silver Ravenwolf, and others, the majority of them published by Llewellyn Books. I also use the term “Witch” interchangeably with “Wiccan, ” since nearly all Wiccans contend that they are indeed Witches.]

Anyone who’s been a part of the Wiccan or Neo-Wiccan communities for more than a week is undoubtedly aware of the schism between these two groups. The cause of much frustration for Wiccans is that some Neo-Wiccans misunderstand the distinction made between the practices. Wiccans contend that, while there is nothing wrong or bad or invalid or worthless about the practices of Neo-Wiccans, it is nonetheless a separate and distinct practice (or practices, as Neo-Wicca is Eclectic, after all) from Wicca; neither is better (except in a personal preference, subjective sense), but they are certainly different.

Many Neo-Wiccans, on the other hand, dislike that this distinction is made at all. Some are even offended by the use of “Neo-Wicca” or any classification other than “Wicca, ” but are yet very adamant that “we don’t do that, ” meaning that they find some aspects of Wicca ridiculous, unnecessary, or even offensive. It leads one to ask, if it’s all the same thing, then why isn’t it all… well, the same?

This piece is meant to serve as an outline of how much these two groupings of paths really do differ, and to explain some of the more controversial aspects of Wicca that draw much negative attention and criticism from some Neo-Wiccans. The biggest dividing factor, that then encompasses others, is the Wiccan practice of oathbound secrecy.

Many Wiccan Traditions are esoteric, oathbound practices. This means that there are certain things that are not to be revealed to non-initiates, and that initiates swear an oath to protect those aspects (an oath that they are then expected to keep for the rest of their lives, even if they choose to leave the Tradition at a later time). This is not meant to be used as an ego-trip or a form of elitism, but is instead in place to protect the experience of the Tradition and its rites and Mysteries. However, Wiccans do not contend that their path is the only way one may reach and experience the Mysteries, just that this is the way that suits them. What is usually kept secret, then, are the names of the Gods, the specifics of ritual, the identities (Magickal and mundane) of those who participate in the rituals, the tools used in ritual, and any other non-ritual contents of the Tradition’s Book of Shadows.

God-names are kept secret because They (the God and Goddess honored) are considered “tribal, ” wholly unique to the Tradition. In non-initiate training rituals, a Priest and Priestess may choose to utilize place-holder names of similar Deities, ones with compatible traits, qualities, and associations. However, some may choose to simply use the non-specific terms “God and Goddess” or “Lord and Lady” instead of proper names. That decision is left up to the Priest and Priestess of the ritual/group. If place-holder names are used, they are then a tool to help teach those in training about the God and Goddess they will meet and commune with during and after initiation, so that there will be some degree of familiarity once the initiate comes to face the Gods of their chosen Tradition.

The specifics of ritual, as was aforementioned, are not told to non-initiates to protect the experience. Think of it this way; you and a friend both want to see a newly premiered movie, and your friend gets the opportunity to attend a showing before you do. How impolite and improper would it be for your friend to not only tell you every single detail of the film (including the ending), but also the emotions it will evoke from you, and the impact it would have on your life in general? I’m betting anyone would be pretty darn upset.

This is the same reasoning behind Wiccan rituals being kept secret, so that each initiate who experiences them does so as “untainted” as possible. This explains secrecy in regards to those seeking initiation, but for those who do not, a similar analogy is appropriate; if you see a movie but your friend has absolutely no interest in it, regardless of your opinion of said movie, they probably won’t want to hear about it at all. The logic then is that, since those not seeking initiation are assumed to be uninterested in the Tradition all together, what reason do they have to concern themselves with its practices?

Additionally, this secrecy maintains the authenticity of the rituals, and also the integrity of the initiating line back to the Tradition’s founder. Thus, the rituals cannot be altered or misused, and only those experienced in the Tradition’s Mysteries can go on to teach them to others.

As far as participants’ identities go, that’s fairly self-explanatory on one level; “outing” someone as a Witch is not something taken lightly, regardless of where one counts one’s self on the spectrum Wicca has become. But there is another level to it, in that Wiccans tend keep their lineage oathbound as well. One’s lineage is the line of initiating High Priestesses that leads from one initiate back to the founder of the Tradition, be they Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders, etc.

And lastly, the tools used and the other, non-ritual contents of the Book of Shadows (BoS) are oathbound because they are related to the specifics of Wiccan practice and experience, and so revealing them can take away from those elements, just as describing pivotal scenes from a movie can taint the enjoyment of the whole thing.

These levels of secrecy and occultism (where “occult” takes on its more accurate meaning of “hidden or secret; to be known only by the initiated”) are a stumbling block to some Neo-Wiccans; they cannot fathom the reasons other than to make Wiccans feel special or better somehow, but as illustrated above, there are very real and important reasons.

Some folks though cannot find it in themselves to abide by these guidelines, but still feel the desire to walk a similar path. Partly because of this, Neo-Wicca and its policy of openness and universality were born. Neo-Wiccans are free to follow any and all God forms that may call or appeal to them, regardless of cultural or religious origin. Neo-Wiccans are also more prone to share their ritual scripts and spells with others. Some even post the entirety of their BoSs online or otherwise make it available for public consumption, such as through published books, which then are a large part of Neo-Wiccan learning materials.

Conversely, learning Wicca involves a specified path that utilizes the repetition of form to facilitate function; the actual movements and words are the same at each ritual, however it is the experience that differs and is truly the most important. This is an orthopraxic approach, that of correct practices leading to Divine experience, rather than orthodoxic, that of correct belief.

While many of us have come to associate “orthodox” with meaning oppressive or outdated and referring specifically to Christianity as often as not, if one simply takes the word at its face value, then Neo-Wicca is in fact an orthodox practice; as long as one believes the “right” things, then one is Neo-Wiccan and then can practice it in whatever fashion one desires.

But what are the “right” beliefs? Is it the duality and balance of God and Goddess? Not according to those called Dianic Wiccans, who hold the Goddess superior to the God, if He is even recognized at all. Additionally, as stated before, Wiccan God names are specific to each Tradition and oathbound, so by default Neo-Wiccans do not and cannot honor the God and Goddess by those same identities, so neither does “right belief“ include the specific Deity forms.

Is it then following the Wiccan Rede? That’s not it either, since there are practitioners out there who discard the Rede all together and still lay claim to the “Wiccan title” (and yes, I’m aware that “rede” means “counsel or advice” and not “commandment, ” but I’ve yet to encounter a Wiccan who thinks its irrelevant).

What about celebrating the Sabbats? Well, okay, almost anyone along the Wicca/Neo-Wicca spectrum can agree that these eight points of the year are important, but what’s not agreed on is how one celebrates them, or even what they’re called (as far as I can tell, only Samhain, Yule, and Beltane are universally used names, the rest can vary). In some cases, the dates are even in dispute, since there are those who figure the Greater Sabbats relative to the Lesser Sabbats each year, marking them as the precise midpoints between the astronomical Solstices and Equinoxes rather than the “fixed” dates of the common calendar.

This final point segues nicely into another striking difference, that of ritual form and elements. Not all Neo-Wiccans cast a Circle in the same way nor include all the same components as others (in some cases, even the rituals for the same event differ each time they are performed) , and being that Wiccan ritual structure is oathbound, one can infer that Neo-Wiccan rituals bear little, if any, resemblance to their Traditional counterparts. If Wicca and Neo-Wicca was indeed the same thing, wouldn’t we all use the same rituals, honoring the same God forms in the same ways?

Wiccans also contend that only a Wiccan can make another Wiccan, that one cannot enter Wicca without someone to teach and guide them. A popular Neo-Wiccan counter to this comes from Scott Cunningham, and is something along the lines of, “but who made the first Wiccan? The God and Goddess. So who are we to be so bold and presumptuous as to usurp and appropriate Their power? Who has the real power to make a Wiccan?”

I can agree to a certain extent; the Wiccan Gods are responsible, to a degree, for Wicca’s existence, in that They provided the original inspiration, need, and desire for a way to honor Them. However, I also believe They intended for things to be done in just that way, else why would They have put the idea in a human mind? Why the need for rituals at all, if any way one honors them is acceptable?

Let me clarify – when I say “the Wiccan Gods, ” I mean those names, faces, forms, aspects, and attributes that are oathbound and specific to the Traditions of Wicca. If Gods other than those have different desires and requirements, then so be it, but then They are not the Gods of Wicca, and therefore need not be honored in the Wiccan way.

The Wiccan way is one practiced by humans to reach out to and commune with the Wiccan Gods, and therefore only one who knows that way can teach that way. A dentist, while a medical professional, cannot teach someone to perform open-heart surgery. So it follows that someone inexperienced in the Wiccan Mysteries, regardless of any other gnosis, knowledge, and experience they may have gained, cannot teach them to anyone.

To add to this, in Wicca the initiating High Priest and High Priestess are seen as representations and “substitutes, ” if you will, of the God and Goddess on this material plane. They are infused with Divine Will and Power at the time of initiation (and in all other rites), so in the realism of non-duality, it IS the God and Goddess who are making new Wiccans, not “merely” other humans. However, the HP and HPS are specifically chosen and trained to perform these duties using the structure and methods of their Tradition.

A Neo-Wiccan, or anyone else who is not HP or HPS even if he/she is a Wiccan initiate, has no such training, and so cannot perform an initiation rite as the representative of the Wiccan Gods.

Clearly there is great disparity between not only practice, but also belief, between those called Wiccans and Neo-Wiccans. All this points to Neo-Wicca being an outgrowth of Wicca, rather than a continuation of it, much like Buddhism was an outgrowth of Hinduism. Buddhism and Hinduism both include the ideas of Karma, Dharma, and Samsara, Yantras, etc., but they differ on the nature and application of these ideas.

Buddhists do not recognize a pantheon of Gods in the way Hindus do, and also do not perform elaborate rituals. The two paths do have commonalities, but are distinct and separate belief systems. It would be improper, inaccurate, and doing a disservice to both paths if one was to say they are the same.

This can also be applied to Wicca and Neo-Wicca; Wicca recognizes a specific set of Gods, while Neo-Wicca does not. Wicca includes much formality and formulary in its rituals, which is not necessarily true of Neo-Wicca. They are related practices, one springing from the other, but they are fundamentally different, and it is improper, inaccurate, and doing a disservice to both to try and say that they are the same.

Of course, it’s all very well and good for these kinds of things to be said by someone who prefers Wicca to Neo-Wicca, someone who is seeking to walk the Gardnerian path. I concede that it would be far more impacting and impressive had this article or one similar been written by a Neo-Wiccan, because there’d be less risk of accusations of elitism, or discrimination, or exclusion. If, however, any Neo-Wiccan found truth in what I’ve presented here, I encourage them to write a similar piece, putting the focus on their practices, revealing the value and beauty that perhaps stems from the differences, rather than in spite of them.

What are the benefits of Solitary work? How is self-study more fulfilling than working under another’s tutelage? How does the tapestry of cultures and customs enrich your practice; is the old adage, “student of many trades, master of none” inaccurate?

I’m not personally looking to be convinced, I’ve found my home and my path, but that kind of piece may go a long way to strengthening other Neo-Wiccans’ sense of identity and purpose. And anyone finding peace and feeling whole on their spiritual journey is a beautiful thing, regardless of what that path may be called.

To Think Is To Shield

To Think Is To Shield

Author: Rook

Many times I have met, run into, or communicated with beginners or uninformed practitioners about their not utilizing Shields. It is common knowledge in the Craft (in the very least the Wiccan version, to my knowledge) that Shielding is one of the fundamentals of Craft practice and know-how. I believe a Shield is one of the most important and versatile forms of Craft work Pagan spiritual paths must accomplish. For example, a psychic with too much information rushing through their mind can benefit just as much as a practitioner preparing to cast a spell. Such individuals need safeguards to prevent psychic and Craft misfires, and using a Shield in such situations can help calm the flow of psychic information or keep the caster and others safe from negative effects.

In my opinion, before progressing to more complex forms of spell craft, the fundamentals of the Craft amount to this: Meditating, Grounding, Centering, Shielding, properly casting and closing a Circle, and Protective spells and charms. I have always suggested these particular fundamentals to those entering the Craft, and I will probably continue to do so for the rest of my days. When I have children who may choose to follow the Path of the Craft, I will help them to learn these things, too. Unfortunately, these fundamentals remain much overlooked by many beginners, and I believe Shielding is among the chiefest of things forgotten.

What do I do to protect and Shield? I Shield by imagining my aura as a concrete thing, and I “harden” it and I expand it just beyond my skin about an inch. In my opinion, this is nothing more than basic energy work. It is imagining your “core” as color, this color being your body’s energy/soul. From there, you make it as hard as stone like Mother Earth, slippery or reflective like Water, elusive as Air, or burning like Fire. Other alterations to your Shield are extremely flexible; any other alterations are what you Will them to be.

To protect in general, imagining deified white light or generally positive energy filling you can do the trick. Imagining it in the form of the Shield I mentioned is just as easy, and may be an easier method for the basic layout of a Shield.

To protect otherwise, I tend to call on each of the Elements and utilize their individual powers in layers. I might conduct a protection spell or put together a protective charm. In desperate cases, I call upon my deity, Hecate.

Why do I Shield? When one comes into the mysteries of the Craft and learns about them, that is the end of psychic innocence and automatic, inherent Shielding. The Craft brings to light the how-to of such matters (spell craft, the pentagram and what it means, etc.), in addition to the other fundamentals I mentioned. While Wicca may be the gateway into deeper spiritual learning of the Craft to which I refer (which can’t be labeled easily, so I shall not attempt to do so). Thus, I Shield because it protects me from energetic, psychic, extra-planar, psychic-vampiric, and any other negative influence I acknowledge as harmful to my self and my self to others. In the case that the negativity is consciously focused from outside, make your Shield “reflective” as I mentioned.

Negative influences in general are what I believe I protect against. As I said, once you enter the Craft, your eyes are open. Negative influences are harmful, from as little a thing as thinking mean thoughts at a “bad” person (even a bully), to a spell cast awry because the practitioner did not take into consideration the result of their actions.

Shielding is one way for a practitioner to be responsible in his or her Craft. As I mentioned in passing, Shields not only protect the Shielder from negativity, but it protects other individuals from the practitioner’s inadvertent mistakes. Is a Shield such a “beginner’s” concept, and not a responsible thing for an individual of the Craft to achieve? For instance, in some cases, I know Shielding has even been outright disregarded by “advanced” practitioners. Why does that practitioner take their chances? Is a Shield so little a thing that it doesn’t matter? Whether a practitioner is a beginner or advanced, a Shield is essential; all actions have a reaction, and spell work is probably one of a number of potentially volatile skills Pagans use. Why risk negative effects when a circle doesn’t have to be overcomplicated beyond a basic toss-up of energy around the individual? To each his or her own, but just because you have lived thirty or forty years, does that mean you should stop watching for cars when crossing the street?

Now for the recap. Shields are essential to the beginning and advanced practitioner. Shields hedge in and reflect against extraneous or negative energies that could prove harmful to the practitioner and his or her surroundings and fellows. Shields are also a way of keeping one’s energy from intruding on others, be it through mental projections or spells gone wrong. Personally, I learned to Shield very soon after learning what my place was in relation to my Craft. If you’re going to practice spell work, it is responsible behavior to utilize a Shield. Think about it: street… car… looking before you leap… or get cut down at the knees because you didn’t consider the possible result. Knowing why you want to do something in the Craft—such as why you want to cast this spell or that—is something that should happen before a practitioner conducts a spell. The same goes for why a Shield should be used. It is, plain and simple, responsible behavior; and as practitioners who have opened our eyes, we must proceed with wisdom. As for the Shield itself, it is easy! Think of your body as a container filled with white energy. Extend that energy around you into the shape of a sphere. “Harden” the sphere. Know that the sphere is a permanent fixture that can maintain itself. And… Fini.

A problem (such as knowing how to Shield) is only as difficult as you believe it to be. One of the most important things to remember is to do what feels right. Use your intuition and you will stay afloat in this great ocean of experience, wisdom and learning — and in Shielding.