Learn the Tarot: King of Swords
Employ patient listening and ask penetrating questions
Traditionally, representing the energy of a King, this masculine energy form is The Adjudicator, the wise judge or mediator. He helps parties in conflict discover common ground and build upon it, and guides societies to see their greater good. His archetype is Solomon, ancient lawgiver and philosopher of the Old Testament. Sometimes appearing cool and detached, he can be misunderstood as not caring.
But emotional displays are just not his medium, nor is he moved by appeals to sympathy or pity. With the philosophical overview that comes from long experience, he listens deeply, watches closely and speaks last. In the end, his even-handedness and objectivity earn him the respect he receives from his community, and those who cannot work out their problems come to him voluntarily for advice.
Occasionally this man is subtly detailed to imply that he is a woman in male armor. If you notice this theme in your deck, it is a reference to Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, archetype of a devout and inspired woman warrior, who was mystically led to abandon her social role to defend what she saw as the greater good. Although she was martyred young, her model crystallizes the message that sometimes the good of the whole is more important than the good of the individual, and in that case, even if you lose, you win just for being there.
In the Advice Position
Listen to the inner wisdom offered by the wise elder that dwells inside of you.
The card in the Advice position suggests a course of action which will harmonize what you want with what is currently possible.
In this position, the King of Swords advises that you research your situation and in the process question existing authorities. It may be time to examine underlying assumptions and bring greater clarity into areas that have been left in the dark. Don’t wait for others to do it. Instead, draw your own conclusions.
Spend time reviewing all the ramifications because this King of Swords requires a thorough, methodical examination of ideas and possibilities. Call forth the sober and wise part of yourself — the elder father figure. Then act on the instructions given you.
Tarot Card of the Day
In the most practical terms, The Emperor Tarot card represents the highest leadership, a head of state, or the most exemplary and powerful person in the realm. This archetypal ruler is responsible for the affairs of a society or community, which are directly proportional to his well being and happiness.
The more enlightenment and cosmic perspective this energy brings, the better life is for all. The Emperor archetype masters the world of matter and physical manifestation. When you apply this card to your situation, acknowledge your potentials for mastery. Reinforce a sense of sovereignty within yourself, despite any self-limiting beliefs, habits, or appearances to the contrary.
Content authored by Kim Rogers-Gallagher
Affection looks different depending on your expectations. If you’re expecting cuddles and chocolates, you’ll be disappointed if you’re with an Aquarius. However, even the Water-bearer has its own way of expressing warmth.Follow these astrological clues to figure out if the person you’re with is “showing the love.”
Will your love go the distance?
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
How to tell if an Aries likes you
Regardless of age or gender, there’s one absolutely infallible way to know if an Aries loves you: they’ll pick a fight. Not a physical fight, of course, but a playful war of words, designed to simultaneously flirt and test your mettle. Aries was the ancient God of War — so, far more than romance, they want a worthy opponent. They also want to count on someone to have their back. Banter, fight back, and play practical jokes on them. Keeping up is tiring, but totally worth it.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
How to tell if a Taurus likes you
Taureans express love the way they do everything else — slowly and thoroughly — so they won’t say the words you’re longing to hear until they feel the time is right. Be patient. If you need reassurance, pay attention to their actions. The wining and dining, the sincere compliments, the unswerving reliability … oh, and the gifts! A thoughtful gift given simply because it reminded them of you, or because they knew you’d enjoy it, or even “just because.” Obviously, you must have been very good this year.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
How to tell if a Gemini likes you
They’re always funny, but you’ll know they’ve got it for you — and bad — when they’ve gone out of their way to make you laugh. They’ll hang around a lot, too, regaling you with all kinds of trivia. If you’re coworkers and they get in trouble for devoting too much time impressing you, they won’t stop — they’ll just quit. The only thing that will stop them is if you tell them to. But why would you do that? How many people do you know who have their very own charming, brilliant stand-up comedian?
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
How to tell if a Cancer likes you
Stop wondering if the Cancer you’re attracted to — okay, madly in love with — feels the same. Find out by carefully watching for the following rock-solid, classic astrological indicators. First, they’ll cook or bake for you. Of course, they love their kitchens, so a frosted Bundt cake won’t tell you what you want to know. The flowers and compliments, however, indicate the next stage for the two of you, followed by an evening at their place, poring over scrapbooks … an extremely good sign. The clincher? When they not only worry about you, but actually mention it.
Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)
How to tell if a Leo likes you
Ever since they tossed you “the eyes” from across the room, which was also the first time you tossed a pretty serious glance right back, you knew the game was on. The thing is, you’re quite smitten, you don’t want it to be just a game, and they’re notorious flirts. So how do you know whether they love you or you’re just their flavor of the month? It’s simple. Their schedule will suddenly be wide open, including lunch, dinner, and even entire weekends. Break a leg, huh?
Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)
How to tell if a Virgo likes you
Want to call one of these meticulous creatures your own? Great, but you’d better get your stuff together, because if you don’t, they will. You’ll find them at your place some afternoon, happily alphabetizing your movies or arranging your books by height on the shelves of your freshly waxed entertainment center. Virgos show their love by creating clean, organized environments for those they love because they believe you deserve it. It’s a tremendous compliment, so don’t dare get territorial. Kiss them, thank them, and help them finish.
Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)
How to tell if a Libra likes you
Rather than trying to decide whether that lovely Libra is attracted to you, watch them with others. They’re always nice, especially when they’re chatting one-on-one, but that’s their nature. And while we’re on the subject, if you get jealous easily, choose another sign. Seriously. Immediately. Anyway, once you’ve seen them with others, you’ll recognize them being even nicer with you — and that’s how you’ll know they’re in love. The surefire way to tell? They’ll create a pet name for you, and only use your real name for official matters or arguments.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)
How to tell if a Scorpio likes you
You’ll only pick up on your first clue if you’re naturally perceptive — and you’d better be if you want to keep a Scorpio interested. They’ll watch you intently, for long periods of time. They won’t stare at you directly, though. That would be far too obvious, and these intriguing creatures are born equal parts detective and analyst, which is why you’re so fascinated, right? The absolute dead giveaway will be when you realize their eyes are on you, via reflections: mirrors, sliding glass doors, large windows. That’s when you’ll get the message.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)
How to tell if a Sagittarius likes you
If a Sagittarius loves you, it’s because you’ve learned to hold on with an open hand. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when they call (almost) every day, but more so when you’re invited to travel with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend at a bed and breakfast or a plane ticket for a week in Rome. Either way, it’s the brass ring. Don’t be surprised if it takes a while, though. Freedom is important to Archers, almost as important as choosing the right travel partner.
Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)
How to tell if a Capricorn likes you
Rules, regulations, and doing things the way they’re supposed to be done … that’s what Capricorn is all about, so if they’re happily attached, they’re all the way in it. When they’re devoted, they’re impossible to distract. If they’re single, get busy proving yourself to be a worthy partner. You won’t have to do that forever, though. Once they get to know you — or “interviewed you,” so to speak — and have decide you’re worth your salt, you’ll know it. They’ll make their love clear with a serious conversation — and you’ll know that they’re not kidding. When and if they say it, lucky you!
Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)
How to tell if an Aquarius likes you
They’ll show their affection by studiously scanning your shoulder, back, or other part of your body and suggesting what type of tattoo, stud, or ring would look really good there. If you weren’t the type to consider agreeing, you wouldn’t want them, but you are, so you do. When they take you to the tattoo or piercing shop themselves and closely scrutinize the artist, you’ll absolutely know they care. But when they ask you to go to a Renaissance fair with them, dressed in period garb that they provide, that’s it. They’re definitely in love.
Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)
How to tell if a Pisces likes you
Pisces tends to be more than a tad on the shy side — some of them more than others. So if you’re waiting for them to make the first move and they’re one of the especially shy types, you may end up watching your nails grow. Like all the Water signs, you need to watch them to see if they care. The one and only tip you’ll ever need: If a Pisces loves you, they may find it tough to speak at all at first. But once they get to know you, they’ll be chattier than any Gemini you’ve ever met.
If You Were Born Today, April 27
You are poised and come across as calm and refined. You are not easy to get close to, and much of your nature remains a mystery to others. Nevertheless, you are charming and others tend to respect you. You are extremely observant and generally think before you speak, and you are a great listener. Famous people born today: Jack Klugman, Coretta Scott King, Ulysses S. Grant, Sheena Easton, William Moseley.
Your Birthday Year Forecast
Until December, you continue to have a strong, protective, and stabilizing influence with you. It helps you stay on track and meet your responsibilities. Your popularity tends to be strong, and your leadership skills are valued. Work you have done in the past begins to pay off this year–not necessarily in dramatic ways, but in small, measurable ways. You may be recognized or rewarded in some manner for the efforts you put forth. Because you project a more responsible and credible “you”, people in authority are more inclined to appreciate you and recognize your work. This is a year in which you put your life in order in some significant manner. Improved concentration, a more realistic outlook, and a practical awareness of the limits of time all help you to make steady progress, particularly in your career. Your concern for your future this year is stronger than usual, and you may find that projects you start, or investments you make, this year will benefit you for years to come.
Something big is in the works regarding your love or social life. You’ll have a chance to heal old wounds with regards to love this year. You’re also bound to find new ways of making money.
Your ambition is stimulated now, and you are determined to meet or exceed your goals. You can bring great discipline and meaning to your life this year. You might totally revise an important project or area of your life, or you could be bent on getting rid of something in your life so that you can move forward. The tendency to be too willful this year should probably be avoided. You should also watch for overdoing to the point of exhaustion. This can be a compulsive time when power struggles are more likely. On the other hand, it can be a time when you enjoy a strong sense of purposefulness, focus, and determination.
The year ahead can be an ambitious time and a supportive period for reaching your goals. You might solve a long-standing problem, or capitalize upon a resource that was previously hidden.
You might experience some difficulties and delays in communications in the period ahead. It’s a strong year for recognizing flaws and errors. As long as you don’t forget the “big picture”, you could find you are motivated to channel your mental energy into tasks that require structured and organized thought, tackling projects that you may have found too mundane or downright boring in other years. It’s a strong year for polishing your skills and formal learning.
You are determined and focused in the year ahead, and you can move mountains in important areas of your life. As well, this can be a wonderful year for meeting new people or more thoroughly enjoying your current friendships. It’s a powerful year for relationships and excellent for making lifestyle changes.
2018 is a Number Six year for you. Ruled by Venus. This is a year of relative contentment. It’s a time when love is the easiest to attract, and partnerships formed under this vibration have a better chance for longevity. You are especially able to attract others–and material things as well–this year. This is a good year for establishing harmony in the family and the home. Advice – develop existing relationships, be positive and receptive because these kinds of energies help you to attract what you desire.
2019 will be a Number Seven year for you. Ruled by Neptune. This is a year of preparation, chance, and refinement. It is not a time of dramatic changes. Instead, it’s a year when reflection on the past is helpful, and when refinements to your life path should be made. It’s a good year to study, observe, research, and analyze. Unexpected twists to your life story and “chance” meetings are probable. Advice – take stock of your life in order to prepare for more exciting years to come, examine the past and plan for the future, get in touch with your deepest needs and uncover your personal power, don’t strain yourself or actively try to expand.
In many traditions of Paganism, banishing is done to get rid of negative or unwanted energy, or even people who may be causing problems in our lives. While some traditions frown upon banishing as manipulative magic, on the theory that it impacts the free will of another, if your tradition has no prohibitions against such things, then there’s no reason you can’t do a banishing spell.
There are a number of different methods to accomplishing a successful banishing. Which one you choose will vary, depending on how comfortable you are with the different techniques, and what you’re trying to achieve.
Disclaimer: The spells contained here are collected from years of personal experience, folk magic traditions, and various occult sources as noted. They are posted with the intention of being helpful to those who are looking for spell resources, and may need to be adjusted to fit your individual need. Please bear in mind that if your particular belief system prohibits you from casting certain types of spells, you should probably not do so—however, it’s important to recognize that not all magical traditions follow the same set of guidelines when it comes to spellwork.
If you’re here, chances are good you’ve already read about the basics of banishing and getting unwanted metaphysical entities out of your life. However, sometimes, we have actual people in our lives that cause problems, and this is where a banishing spell comes in handy. There are a number of different methods you can try – just make sure that the one you use doesn’t violate any of your own personal moral or ethical guidelines.
If you’re trying to get rid of an unwanted spirit, one of the most effective methods is to simply give it its marching orders. Be firm and blunt, and say something along the lines of, “This is not the place for you, and it’s time for you to leave.” You may wish to offer a blessing or well-wishes if it makes you feel better about things, and say, “It is time for you to move on, and we wish you the best in your new place.” Frequently, this will do the trick and eliminate whatever problems you may have been having.
A popular method of banishing is the use of the various elements, such as fire or water. Fire can be used as a method of purification and cleansing, by way of destruction. Water is used in a number of religions for a variety of purposes, including banishing. You can make your own consecrated water for use in rituals.
Salt is also a great tool for banishing. In some magical traditions, it represents earth, and has been used for centuries to get rid of negative energy. In some folk magic traditions, black salt – a blend of sea salt and another item such as charcoal – is used as a protective barrier.
Use fire to burn a symbol of whatever it is you wish to be rid of, or earth to bury it.
Ritual and Spellwork
In some circumstances, banishing may involve more than simply sprinkling some salt and telling someone (or something) to go away. If you have a person, for instance, who is harassing you, it may be time to do a full fledged banishing ritual. A banishing ritual usually includes a combination of the following:
The name of the person you wish to banish from your life
A specific and active description of what you intend to happen. For instance, “Make Susan a better person” is rather vague and passive – instead, try “Susan will stop harassing me at work.”
A magical link, or taglock, connected to the person you wish to banish
A great deal of magic relies on symbolism, so use this to your advantage in a banishing. You can freeze someone’s behavior by magically binding them, or even reflect the negative behavior back at them. A couple of simple methods include:
A basic binding which metaphysically ties the hands of the individual. Try the tongue-binding spell if you’re dealing with someone who is spreading nasty rumors about you.
Use a box with mirrors inside it to reflect negativity back to the individual who is harassing you.
You can create a banishing spell using the basic Spell Creation Template, and perform it as necessary. Feel free to make your banishing ritual or spell as over-the-top and extreme as you wish – getting rid of someone who is causing you pain or heartache is a pretty significant thing, so unleash as much magical mojo as you feel you need!
To Make Someone Leave You Alone
This one comes in handy when you’ve got someone in your life that you can’t avoid—a co-worker or classmate—but you’re tired of being harassed by them. They’ll still be around, but they’ll stop bothering you.
Write the individual’s name on a piece of paper. Burn the paper around the edges using a black candle (black is associated with banishing magic), and as you do so, let them know that you are burning away whatever feelings (animosity, lust, jealousy, whatever) they may have towards you. Burn as much of the paper as you can, until all that’s left is their name.
Take the last bit of paper to the place where you normally see them— work or school or wherever—and dig a hole and bury it. You can also tear the paper into tiny pieces, and blow it away or scatter it to the winds.
Another option? Use the Chill Out spell, to get the person to chill out and move on.
How about some balloon banishing? Write the person’s name on a small piece of paper, and insert it into a balloon. Fill the balloon with helium, and then take it far away and release it into the sky.
The Get Out of My Life Poppet
This is a good one to use when you not only want to be left alone, you want the person completely out of your life. Light two black candles (black for banishment!), one on each side of your workspace.
Create a poppet out of whatever material you prefer to use (cloth, clay, wax, etc). As you assemble the poppet, make sure you tell the poppet how much you dislike it, and how your life would be a heck of a lot better if it would get out. Make sure you use a magical link so the poppet knows who it represents.
If you’re in a hurry to get the person out of your life, you can “light a fire under their butt” with the candles (important safety tip here, make sure you only SINGE the bottom of the poppet rather than actually lighting it on fire). Take it to the edge of your town, and bury it outside the city limits… if you make it out of clay you can smash it instead of burying it. Allow the candles to burn down until they are gone.
Four Thieves Banishing Spell
In some Hoodoo and folk magic tradition, an item known as Four Thieves vinegar is used. You’ll need to brew up a batch before you get started. Use the recipe here: Four Thieves Vinegar
Use this spell to keep someone bothersome away from you.
Write your target’s name on a piece of paper—some traditions recommend you use brown paper, or parchment. Soak the paper in Four Thieves Vinegar. Fold the piece of paper up as small as you can, and bury in the dirt somewhere. One school of thought is that you should bury it in a pot, preferably under a plant like a cactus, so no one will ever disturb it.
Banishing spells are spells designed to send something or someone away or to prevent their return.
To banish something means to send it away or drive it away from a location. In the mundane world banishment implies that whoever is banished can never return or is no longer welcome, but magical banishment is a little different.
A banishing ritual is often performed at the beginning of a ceremony in order to rid the ritual area of negative or unwanted energy or entities that may interfere with magick or unbalance energies that will be raised or summoned during the ceremony. Most magical paths prescribe a banishing ritual of this type prior to any spellwork or magick of any sort.
A banishing may also be performed at the end of a ritual to banish any entities that were evoked or invoked during the procedure or to clear the energy that has been raised from the ritual area to allow it to return to mundane use. For example, you would banish the energy from the love spell that you performed in your living room so that it can return to normal living room use and not affect everyone who comes in there innocently trying to watch the evening news.
A banishing may be performed on the ritual space or on the magic-user(s) or both, however, when you perform a banishing ritual on an area, you do internalize it somewhat automatically. The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is a basic banishing ritual that is a primary requirement of initiates into the Golden Dawn. It is used to prepare a ritual area and also to prepare the magic-user by focusing their mind and energy on the task at hand, creating a magical atmosphere and an altered state of consciousness.
One may banish summoned energies and entities as well once their presence is no longer required. Although the word “releasing” is most often used, the Watchtowers that are evoked at the four corners of the Circle in many rituals are, in fact, banished at the ritual’s end.
Introduction to Banishing Rites by Phil Hines
Banishing spells are designed to drive away anything the magic-user feels is a threat or a nuisance; a person, an obstacle, a debt, a disease, an addiction, a bad habit, etc.
A banishing may be performed on a home, to drive away unwanted energies, discord, stress, etc. undesirable entities, such as ghosts and troublesome faeries and other spirits.
A banishing spell may be performed on a person to banish an addiction, an affliction or an influence another person has over them.
Banishing spells are also performed on objects to rid them of connections to prior owners or any energies picked up during their use, often in preparation for programming or charging them for a a new purpose.
The term cleansing refers to a banishing done to remove unwanted energies from an person, location or object. The term exorcism is used to describe a banishing for an unwanted entity, especially an uncooperative, unfriendly one.
Performing a Banishing Spell
While banishing spells can be performed at any time, they are most effective if performed during the waning phase of the moon while the moon is in the sign of Capricorn or Scorpio. Saturday is a good day for general banishing spells. (See also Spell Timing as there are better times for the banishing of specific things.) The best time is at the dark of the moon, but before the new moon appears.
Some say that your movements should be widdershins when performing a banishing spell, but some believe that it’s bad luck to move in any direction other than sunwise while performing a spell.
For many banishing spells, an object is chosen to represent the person, idea, thing or energy to be banished. This item is then charged or programed to represent the target using various means and then symbolically sent away. Running water, such as a river, a sewer drain or even a flushing toilet is often utilized in this way. It is important that the item be of safely biodegradable nature so that your spell work does not bring harm to the environment or clog up the pipes.
Banishing of energy or entities may take the form of a more complicated ritual involving fumigating or asperging an area, person or object. If you are banishing energy from your person, a ritual bath may be in order.
These Herbs are Useful for Banishing Spells
• Bay Laurel
• Black Cohosh
• Devil’s Claw
• Solomon’s Seal
• Stinging Nettle
These Minerals are Useful for Banishing Spells
• Black Salt
• Smoky Quartz
These Incense are Useful for Banishing
• Dragon’s Blood
• Pine Incense and Oil
Scott Douglas Cunningham (June 27, 1956 – March 28, 1993) was a U.S. writer. Cunningham is the author of several books on Wicca and various other alternative religious subjects.
His work Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, is one of the most successful books on Wicca ever published; he was a friend of notable occultists and Wiccans such as Raymond Buckland, and was a member of the Serpent Stone Family, and received his Third Degree Initiation as a member of that coven.
Scott Cunningham was born at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA, the second son of Chester Grant Cunningham and Rose Marie Wilhoit Cunningham. The family moved to San Diego, California in the fall of 1959 due to Rose Marie’s health problems. The doctors in Royal Oak declared the mild climate in San Diego ideal for her. Outside of many trips to Hawaii, Cunningham lived in San Diego all his life.
Cunningham had one older brother, Greg, and a younger sister, Christine.
He studied creative writing at San Diego State University, where he enrolled in 1978. After two years in the program, however, he had more published works than several of his professors, and dropped out of the university to write full-time. During this period he had as a roommate, magical author Donald Michael Kraig and often socialized with witchcraft author Raymond Buckland, who was also living in San Diego at the time.
In 1980 Cunningham began initiate training under Raven Grimassi and remained as a first-degree initiate until 1982 when he left the tradition to pursue a solo practice of witchcraft.
Cunningham practiced a fairly basic interpretation of Wicca, often worshipping alone, though his book series for solitaries describes several instances in which he worshipped with friends and teachers.
He also believed that Wicca, which had been a closed tradition since the 1950s, should become more open to newcomers.
Cunningham was also drawn to Huna and a range of new age movements and concepts that influenced and coloured his spirituality.
In 1983, Scott Cunningham was diagnosed with lymphoma, which he successfully overcame. In 1990, while on a speaking tour in Massachusetts, he suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with AIDS-related cryptococcal meningitis. He suffered from several infections and died in March 1993. He was 36.
1980 – Shadow of Love (fiction)
1982 – Magical Herbalism: The Secret Craft of the Wise (ISBN 0-87542-120-2)
1983 – Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic (ISBN 0-87542-121-0)
1985 – Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (ISBN 0-87542-122-9)
1987 – The Magical Household: Spells and Rituals for the Home (with David Harrington) (ISBN 0-87542-124-5)
1987 – Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic (ISBN 0-87542-126-1)
1988 – The Truth About Witchcraft Today (ISBN 0-87542-127-X)
1988 – Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (ISBN 0-87542-118-0)
1989 – The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews (ISBN 0-87542-128-8)
1989 – Magical Aromatherapy: The Power of Scent (ISBN 0-87542-129-6)
1991 – Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic (ISBN 0-87542-131-8)
1991 – The Magic in Food (ISBN 0-87542-130-X)
1993 – Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen (ISBN 0-7387-0226-9)
1993 – Divination For Beginners (ISBN 0-7387-0384-2)
1993 – Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (ISBN 0-87542-184-9)
1993 – Spell Crafts: Creating Magical Objects (with David Harrington) (ISBN 0-87542-185-7)
1993 – The Truth About Herb Magic (ISBN 0-87542-132-6)
1994 – The Truth About Witchcraft (ISBN 0-87542-357-4)
1995 – Hawaiian Magic and Spirituality (ISBN 1-56718-199-6)
1997 – Pocket Guide to Fortune Telling (ISBN 0-89594-875-3)
1999 – Dreaming the Divine: Techniques for Sacred Sleep (ISBN 1-56718-192-9)
2009 – Cunningham’s Book of Shadows: The Path of An American Traditionalist (ISBN 0-73871-914-5) – A rediscovered manuscript written by Cunningham in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
Scott Douglas Cunningham was a popular Wiccan author of more than thirty books on both fiction and non-fiction topics. More than fifteen of his books were written on Wicca and its related subjects, he also wrote scripts for occult videos. Scott was a key player in opening up Wicca to solitary practice, and by making a great deal of information available to the public, he helped influence many newcomers entering the craft.
Scott was born on the 27th June 1956 at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. His parents Chester Grant Cunningham and Rose Marie Wilhoit Cunningham had two other children, an older brother Greg and a younger sister Christine. In 1959 due to his mothers recurring health problems, the family moved to San Diego, California, were the doctors declared the mild climate would be more beneficial for her. Aside from his many trips to Hawaii, Scott continued to live in San Diego until his death in 1993.
His introduction to the craft came through a book he read in 1971, one purchased by his mother (The Supernatural, by Douglas Hill and Pat Williams). Scott had always shown an interest in plants, minerals and other natural earth products, and this book furthered his interest. It also showed diagrams of Italian hand gestures used to ward of the evil eye, and these particularly fascinated him. Later in high school he used these gestures to attract the attention of a female classmate he knew to be involved with the occult and a working coven. She introduced Scott into Wicca, which further intensified his interest in the powers of nature. Over the next few years he took initiation into several covens of varying traditions gaining experience, but really he preferred to practice as a solitary practitioner.
In 1974 he enrolled at San Diego State University were he studied creative writing, inspired to do so by his father. His father was a professional writer who had authored some 170 non-fiction and fiction books. Scott started writing truck and automobile articles for trade publications, he also wrote advertising copy on a freelance basis. His roommate during this period was the author Donald Michael Kraig, he also made the acquaintance of Raymond Buckland, who was living in San Diego at the time. After only two years of his University course, Scott had collected more published credits than most of his professors, and so decided to drop out from the rest of the course and began to write full-time. The first book he had published was an Egyptian romance novel, Shadow of Love (1980).
Scott’s writing style was easy to understand being simple and direct, his teachings focused on encouraging people to employ whatever works for them in their religious, spiritual, and magickal endeavours. He was a fine herbalist and produced several books dealing with herbs, including Magickal Herbalism (Llewellyn Publications, 1982), and Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs (Llewellyn Publications, 1985). His books on Wicca led to a steady rise in its popularity, and he soon became one of the best-read Wiccan authors of his time. Sales of his most popular book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (Llewellyn, 1988), reached over 400,000 copies by the year 2000.
His prominence was instrumental in influencing the changes that took place in the Wicca movement during the eighties. Due to his influence, the Wiccan religion shifted primarily from the hands of initiates into the public arena, and many eclectic traditions were formed as a result. While essentially a self-styled Wiccan and a solitary practitioner, he was initiated into several established Craft Traditions. In 1980 he entered into the Aridian Tradition, where he undertook a course of study on Witchcraft and Magick from Raven Grimassi. Then in 1981 he entered the Reorganized Traditional Gwyddonic Order of Wicca, and the Ancient Pictish Gaelic Tradition. Additionally, he was an initiate of the American Traditionalist Wicca.
Scott traveled around the country giving lectures and occasionally making media appearances on behalf of the craft. He viewed the craft as a modern religion created in the 20th century, and thought that Wicca, while containing pagan folk magic derived of ancient times, should be stripped of it’s quasi-historical and mythological trappings and represented to the public as a modern religion utilizing ancient concepts. He also believed that Wicca, which had been a closed and secretive tradition since the 1950s, should become more open to newcomers.
A sudden onset of health issues began to affect his public appearances, then later his writing. In 1983 he was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a form of cancer. To make matters worse in 1990, he also contracted Cryptococcal Meningitis. His health continued to decline as he suffered opportunistic infections related to his primary disease. Finally on the 28th March 1993, he succumbed, and Scott passed from this world and into the next. As an ambassador of the pagan way of life, his books today continue to influence us all.
Seax-Wica (also known as Saxon Witchcraft) is a tradition of modern Pagan Witchcraft which is largely inspired by the iconography of historical Anglo-Saxon Paganism. The tradition also draws inspiration from Anglo-Saxon Witchcraft in England between the 5th and 11th centuries CE, during the Early Middle Ages. However, unlike Asatru or Theodism, Saxon Witchcraft is not a reconstruction of the early medieval religion itself.
The tradition was founded in 1973 by Raymond Buckland, an English-born High Priest of Gardnerian Wicca who moved to the United States in the 1970s. Buckland had been dissatisfied with the corruption, abusive behavior, and ego trips he saw in some covens and developed Seax-Wica to answer those concerns. His book, “The Tree”, was one of the first books to explore modern Pagan Witchcraft from a solitary perspective. He offered serious seekers both an introductory text on Saxon Witchcraft, a tradition of modern Witchcraft that could be practiced alone, as well as with a coven.
The tradition primarily honours Germanic deities such as Woden and Freya, the typical 8 Sabbats of modern Pagan Witchcraft, and uses a minimal set of the usual ceremonial tools and a spear. Runes are significant and regularly discussed.
The Tree (1974) was the founding text of the Seax tradition.
Seax-Wica is a tradition, or denomination, of the neopagan religion of Wicca which is largely inspired by the iconography of the historical Anglo-Saxon paganism, though, unlike Theodism, it is not a reconstruction of the early mediaeval religion itself.
The tradition was founded in 1973 by Raymond Buckland, an English-born high priest of Gardnerian Wicca who moved to the United States in the 1970s. His book, The Tree, was written with the intent for it to be a definitive guide to Seax-Wica, and was published in 1974 by Samuel Weiser, and subsequently republished in 2005 as Buckland’s Book of Saxon Witchcraft.
The tradition primarily honours four principal deities: Woden, Thunor, Frig or Freya and Tiw. These are seen as representations of the Wiccan deities of the Horned God and the Mother Goddess. The tradition uses a minimal set of ceremonial tools, including a spear. Runes are also significant.
Seax-Wica does not employ any secrecy oath. Buckland’s Book of Saxon Witchcraft was written in mind that the reader would already be well versed in the various techniques of Witchcraft and Wiccan ritual. However, Buckland has pointed out that his Complete Book of Witchcraft gives instructions on how to proceed when no tools are available. These instructions are enough to allow one to begin, self-initiate, and consecrate one’s first tools.
Seax-Wica allows self-dedication as entry into its tradition. In the Seax tradition, covens work by a form of democracy, electing, un-electing, and re-electing coven officers, the high priest and priestess. Within ritual settings, there are the thegn, a type of sergeant-at-arms/guard/watchman, who can also be responsible for the covenstead (the meeting place of the coven), or guarding a ceremony being performed; there is also a scribe/secretary, who keeps most, if not all, of the coven’s records. The word “Thegn”, or “Thane” is an Anglo-Saxon title (Anglo-Saxon: þeg(e)n meaning “a servant, one who does service for another.”)
Buckland was not the head of the tradition, but is respected as its founder, and continued to practice and contribute to it, until his death on September 27, 2017.
The first elected steward of Seax Wica is Wulfeage (Sean Percival) on 2006, who was elected by covens worldwide and is still steward to this day
The History of Seax-Wica is a short and interesting one. There are no long myths of the origins of the tradition, no claims to antiquity, and very few conflicting versions of how the tradition came to be.
Mostly Seax-Wica came from the vision of one man, Raymond Buckland. While he was in America teaching the tradition he learned from Gardner to us willing Americans, he found his own ideas developing along lines that differed in important ways from Gardner’s. So, he kept true to his oaths of silence and split with Gardner. He spent many years researching Pagan traditions, and he sat down and wrote, from start to finish, Seax-Wica.
Seax-Wica has a basis of Saxon belief. From what Buckland has said and what I have read, there is a mish-mash of traditions and celebrations intermixed into this tradition, mainly because the Saxon culture itself was made up of many different traditions as well. Many scholars have tried to separate out “pure” Saxon from the rest, and it can’t be done.
Because of this, you have a Norse influence in the Gods’ names. Instead of something completely different, the God is Woden and the Goddess is Freya. If you didn’t know that the Saxons were heavily influenced by the Norse, you could get more than a bit confused by this seeming deity displacement.
Along with the deity influence, probably the best known feature of Seax-Wica is the rune script. In the research I have done on the Internet to see what everyone else thinks of Seax-Wica, I have found 30 different pages with just the rune script on it, and no other information on Seax-Wica. I find this interesting since this rune script is very close to that used by the Norse and their famous FUThARK script. Why use a copy when you can use the original?
One thing that was a novelty in 1974 when Buckland started Seax-Wica was that none of the ceremonies or rites were secret. There was no oath of secrecy binding members of the groups together, nor was there an iron-clad rule that stated everything learned must be passed down without any changes. Individual Priests and Priestesses were encouraged to do research and add to the tradition if it suited them, and to share that knowledge with everyone that was interested.
Regardless of any of that, Raymond Buckland developed Seax-Wica in 1973 and wrote The Tree which was published in December of 1974. This book encouraged the seeker to look beyond what he wrote and to add it to the tradition if they wanted to.
The rituals are on a solar cycle, although Moon rites are encouraged. However, unlike many traditions, it is not only the God that is celebrated during the Sabbats, but both deities, and the same holds true for the Moon Esbats as well. Both God and Goddess are honored at each rite or ritual held in their honor. There is no ritual sacrifice of the God, no supremacy of the Goddess and the Priestess.
There is also a transition time from the Lord to the Lady and vice-versa. In the Seax-Wica tradition, Samhain is the time of the start of the new year, and it is also the time when the Lord is more influential than the Lady. The Lord is supposed to lead the Wiccans through the night of winter into the spring. At Beltane the Lady takes over from the Lord and leads the Wiccans through the summer and fall, when the Earth is alive and growing. Note that one is not supreme to the other, but rather it is a division of who has more guidance over the world during their times. Like every good parent, if necessary the Lady will respond if called upon during the winter and the Lord will act if called upon during the Summer.
There are no power plays because the Covens are truly autonomous and democratic. Each year a vote is taken by the Coven, and a new Priest or Priestess may be elected at this time to lead the Coven for the coming year. Some Covens elect both at the same time each year, others elect the Priest in the Summer, and the Priestess in the Winter. But it is plain that it is almost impossible to have a “Coven Cronies” syndrome without some extraordinary circumstances occurring. There are no degree systems, no initiations, other than the one that makes one a Wiccan. After that, the new initiate has the same right and authority to speak and be heard as the Priestess of the Coven. From the moment of initiation, the new Wiccan is considered a Priest/ess of the Gods.
The actual rituals that are written down in The Tree are short and to the point. There is little that is confusing about the rite itself, other than some unclarity about just what some of the tools are used for. In a few cases, a tool is called for in a ritual that is never used again. For instance, the wand is called upon as necessary for the Ostara celebration, but in actual practice it is not used in the rite at all.
One of the more prominent differences between Seax-Wica and other traditional practices is the Athame (called a Seax in Seax-Wica). In this tradition it can be single or double edged. The Seax is also used in a variety of everyday uses that many traditional practitioners would be shocked to find a ritual knife being used for, from cutting herbs in the garden to cutting the roast for the dinner table that night. The rationale for this is that the more you use a ritual knife, in whatever purpose, the more of yourself you put into the blade and the better able it is to mesh with your energies during a ritual.
This is the reason that many of the standard tools are missing from Seax-Wican practice. For example, the White Handled Knife, normally used for making inscriptions, is replaced by the Seax. The same for the Boline or herb knife. The Cords, used in many traditional Covens, are absent from most of the Seax-Wican tradition except during initiation and cord magick, in which any cord can be used. There is also no Scourge and no ritual flagellation in the Seax-Wican practice. A spear is added to the ritual implements for one of the officers to use in the execution of his duties.
Seax-Wica is focused more on the religion of Wicca than the Witchcraft and spellcraft aspects. In The Tree there is some information on spell casting, herbs and divination, but a practitioner of Seax-Wica would be well-rewarded to get some supplemental works and books on magick and divination to round out their education. This is intentional. The Tree assumes that the person going into Seax-Wica is either already well read in Witchcraft or they are willing to become so.
Another change is the absence of the Maiden and the Crone coven positions. There are four officers in a Seax-Wican coven, but to replace them, the Thegn (pronounced Thain) and the Scribe were made. The thegn position combines many duties but mostly they act as the coven Sergeant-at-Arms. They are responsible for summoning the Coven for the ritual, drawing the physical boundaries of the Circle and acting as the Stage Manager during the ritual. The holder of this position uses the Spear.
The Scribe is the Coven secretary. This person is responsible for keeping all of the coven records, from membership rolls to monies received from donations, to agreements for hand partings. If the coven chooses to become a legal church, this would be the person that handles all the paperwork involved in this undertaking.
One other major difference is that Seax-Wica, unlike most traditional groups, recognizes self initiation. The rationale for this stance can be summed up in one phrase, “who initiated the first Witch?” As such, the declaration of Self Dedication is seen as just as valid as a coven initiation and little to no emphasis is placed upon “So and so, initiated by whom, initiated by this person…” or the lineage of a witch.
While this can and does cause some conflict with other traditions, it also encourages those who have little to no contact with other like minded people to acknowledge their deities and their choice of religion.
With all the advantages listed above, there are some problems with the practice however.
The encouragement to add to the tradition can lead to eclecticism run rampant. Researching the roots of Paganism and Witchcraft can lead to a mixing of cultures that can be confusing to a new practitioner of Seax-Wica. However, many good covens try to break out what has been added to the tradition from Buckland’s teachings and truly try to not confuse cultures and practices.
Another drawback is because Seax-Wica recognized self dedication, it can promote the “one book and I’m a Witch” mind set that has been so prevalent in recent years. With a book like The Tree this is especially dangerous. The Tree, the main Book of Shadows for this tradition, is spare in the rituals and explanations of those rituals. As stated before, it assumes you are already well read in Wicca. If a new practitioner started with The Tree as their primary reference, it could lead into the new person leaping into Wicca full bore without much of the information that is needed and without consideration of what they are about to do or how it will affect the rest of their life. But this problem is more prevalent if one uses The Complete Book of Witchcraft as the sole source of information rather than The Tree.
It also can lead to the “Insta-Priest/ess” syndrome where this practitioner is considered a Priest/ess of Seax-Wica and they have little to no study in many of the areas that are important to the Priests and Priestesses out there. However, to those with a true vocation, who are willing to put in the time and effort to research Wicca and Paganism and Witchcraft, this can be a tremendous advantage. There are those who were not able to find a coven to join or a group who was practicing to initiate them who were able to be with the Gods and participate in an environment that is, to all intents and purposes, free of politics.
This, unfortunately, leads to many various levels of knowledge in the Seax-Wica community as a whole. One good thing that comes out of the sparsity of information is that if you do have a call upon your heart, the finding of information is a joy, and all the others who don’t have a similar call will probably leave Wicca and Seax-Wica after a while and it’s popularity has faded. But this is also a problem in the Wiccan community as a whole, rather than unique to Seax-Wica.
The rituals as written by Buckland and his wife, Tara, are somewhat perfunctory. This “minimalistic ritual” can be good in that there is little to read or memorize for a specific ritual and it leaves a lot of room for elaboration. But this can also be bad in that there is little feel for the ritual because you are not given time to become involved with the rite before the celebration is over. However, some judicious elaboration and rewriting of the rituals can take care of that problem, and some of the rituals, like the hand fasting, are exceedingly powerful if done properly.
The final disadvantage that I can think of is that the way Buckland writes the tradition, it seems shallow. Not that the practitioners are shallow, but the practices, rites and way of doing things feels like it has no depth to it.
I must state this this last point is my personal opinion, and it stems mostly from how I got to Seax-Wica in the first place. I came to Seax-Wica from Mormonism, where rituals and a close connection with God are encouraged, but conformity in the Church is even more encouraged. So it is possible in the framework of Mormonism to have absolutely no testimony of the Church, the Bible, God or anything else they believe in and still be a member. Just so long as you know what to do and when to do it. I had no sense of the Religion, and was looking for something to fill that void. Seax-Wica was the instrument I chose to fill that gap, and over time it did. I have a sense of the Gods now, but I did not when I first started out. All of this sense of the Gods came from independent study of outside materials.
This can be overcome with study and a true sense of the Gods, but it could turn some off. I think in some ways, this was intentional, but I don’t know. It may simply be that there are no illusions about Seax-Wica being the continuation of something from the mists of time, so it will take time for a deep respect for Seax-Wica to be developed.
As you can see from this introduction to Seax-Wica, there are many strengths to it and the disadvantages can be overcome with study and perseverance. This tradition of Wicca is one that has a great deal going for it, but it is also a tradition that has mostly been dismissed by more traditional groups because of it’s lack of antiquity. However, if one accepts that all religious paths are ultimately made by humanity for humanity, then this lack of roots becomes a small matter.
It can even become the basis for an in-depth study of many Pagan paths, as well as a starting point for a lifelong seeking of knowledge.
I, myself, started with Seax-Wica. I jumped into the Wiccan Religion and into Seax-Wica completely from the beginning. That starting point led me to Celtic Religions, Druidry, and eventually into Witchcraft. It taught me a sense of who I am, and Seax-Wica showed me what I did and didn’t want in a religion that I followed. For a time, I thought, like many, that Buckland was a God and that everything he said was the TRUTH and completely infallible. But I also believed that the picture of Covens he painted was the truth, where all the members got along, and cooperated with each other and that the members loved each other with everything they had. I believed that Wiccans were a group of people who had identified what was dark and negative inside themselves and that they had taken steps to eradicate it in their lives. I believed it so strongly that I desperately wanted to be part of that group.
Well, time passed and I am wiser than I was. But because of how Seax-Wica was presented to me, and how Wicca was presented through Seax-Wica, I still wish to be part of this group
Seax-Wica is not for everyone. If you decide to follow this tradition there will be much asked for by the Gods. Study, practice, reading and research, internalizing lessons and evolutions of yourself will all become necessary. You will be asked to present the Best of what a Wiccan Priest/ess can be at all times, to your fellow Wiccans, and to others who will never understand what Wicca is about.
But despite all that, or because of it, your relationship with the Gods will truly become personal and internal. This is an excellent starting point, so long as you are willing to work and do your share.
And, ultimately, isn’t that what a religion is supposed to do?
The Tree by Raymond Buckland Publisher: Samuel Weiser Publication date: December 1974 ISBN: 0877282587
Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland Publisher: Llewellyn Publication date: December 1986 ISBN: 0875420508