Various Types of Witchcraft – Hereditary Witchcraft

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Hereditary Witchcraft

As you meet more and more people in the Pagan community, you’ll occasionally encounter someone who claims to be a “hereditary witch.” They may even tell you they’ve been “Wiccan since birth,” but what does that really mean?

Well, it could mean a variety of things, but for a lot of us, it generally sends up a red flag when someone uses the phrase “born witch” or “Wiccan from birth.” Let’s look at why that may be the case.

Is There Witch DNA?
You’re not born Christian or Muslim or Hindu. There’s no “Wiccan DNA” that makes any one person more genetically witchy than someone who begins practicing in their fifties. You simply cannot be a Wiccan since birth because Wicca is an orthopraxic religious system that generally involves you doing and believing certain things that make you Wiccan. You can be raised by Wiccans–and many children are–but that doesn’t make you Wiccan from the moment you pop out of the womb, it simply means you were born to Wiccan parents.

That said, certainly, there seem to some people who may be more adept at Witchy Things at some point in their life, but there’s no chromosomal or biological difference in these folks as compared to the general population. You’ll obviously meet people that are psychically gifted, and whose parent or grandparent or child also displays these same traits. But if you operate on the assumption that everyone has some latent psychic ability anyway, it may be that these individuals were encouraged to use their talents while growing up, rather than repressing them like the majority of other people.

You may also encounter people in the Pagan community who claim “born witch” status because of some ancestral link to an individual in the past who was accused of witchcraft. You’ll bump into plenty of people who think Salem ancestry makes them special. It doesn’t, for a variety of reasons.

Familial Traditions of Magic
Also, there are certainly hereditary traditions of witchcraft, but by “hereditary” we don’t mean that the practices are biologically inherited.

These are typically small, familial traditions, or Fam Trads, in which beliefs and practices are handed down from one generation to the next, and outsiders are rarely included. PolyAna identifies as a hereditary witch, and her family hails from Appalachia. She says,

“In our family, what we do is more of a folk magic tradition. My son and I and my granddaughter, who is adopted, practice the same folk magic as my mother and grandmother did. We’ve done it as far back as anyone can remember. We follow the Celtic gods, and my Granny was nominally Catholic but brought a belief in the old gods with her from Ireland. She found a way to make it work, and we’ve carried on those traditions.”

PolyAna’s family practices aren’t typical, but there are certainly other hereditary traditions like hers out there. However, it’s hard to even estimate how many there are, because the information is generally kept within the family and not shared with the general public. Again, this is a family tradition based on practices and beliefs, rather than any documentable genetic link. For families with an Italian background, Stregheria is sometimes practiced in the United States and other countries.

Author Sarah Anne Lawless writes,

“The passing on of traditions through the family is a global concept, and is not restricted to culture or continent. There are many family traditions existing in the United States… who all bear a striking resemblance to the fairy doctors and cunning folk of Northern Europe, many of whom were hereditary themselves. The traditions… were strict and binding; they could only teach one student from the next generation of the family of the opposite sex. In many older witchcraft families in the UK, the traditions of transferring knowledge are thought to follow similar rules.”

For many modern Pagans, including those in hereditary family traditions, witchcraft is either a skill set that is developed and honed over years of practice, or it’s a belief system that is seen as a religion that one spends a lifetime working towards.

For some people, it’s a combination of the two.

So, after all that, could someone be part of a hereditary familial tradition? Absolutely, he or she certainly could. But if what they’re claiming is some sort of biological superiority that makes them witchier than everyone else, you should consider it suspect at best.
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Hereditary Witchcraft

Are You:

psychic?

drawn to dark, mysterious things?

not just interested in Vampires and Faeries, you want to be one?

unable to stay away from books about witchcraft and sorcery?

able to see or sense ghosts, and the past lives of places?

excited about going to places like Salem, or Whitby?

into dark glamor and wish to convey a powerful presence?

compelled by the Mysteries?

having trouble staying in your body? Are out of body experiences a away of life?

Since childhood you have practiced rituals to either placate the Gods, or communicate with spirits.

in a natural deep communion with nature and the spirits in trees, plants, animals, and landscapes.

passionate that sacred things and places must be protected.

more perceptive than most other people you know?

convinced that you have to keep these qualities to yourself.

These are just some of the possible traits that can indicate that you may be a hereditary witch — that you are a carrier of the Witch Blood

How it Used to Be
I grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, in a small town of Irish and French Catholics in Massachusetts. Witches were believed to be either fairy tale characters or evil old women who were burned at the stake in the Middle Ages.

England had serious laws against witchcraft until 1951. After these laws were repealed, Gerald Gardner went public with Wicca, a religion he developed by cobbling together folk lore, the ideas of Margaret Murray, some involvement with British magical traditions, and perhaps with a mix of the tribal ritual he may have seen in his years as a civil servant in Indonesia.

Robert Cochran came along later claiming to come from a long line of witches, as did Sibyl Leek. Still, the idea of a family carrying on an unbroken heritage of witchcraft or magical practices was considered a very wild claim. Yet some people seemed to be born with psychic and magical powers, were clearly drawn to tales of witchery and magic, and had the imagination to create communities of like minded souls who came together to be witches.

Those desires had to come from some place! This is where the idea of the Witch Blood was born. It may have been Robert Cochran who coined the term to describe people who for some inexplicable reason were willing to risk everything — jobs, houses, partners, families, etc. in order to pursue the path of witchcraft. Witch Queen Maxine Sanders was driven out of her home by frightened neighbors and had another house torched when they found out she was a Witch, even though she had done them no harm.

The conclusion was that, just as in fairy tales in which the Beggar Maid is discovered to be a Princess by virtue of her uncharacteristic beauty and refinement, someone with witch blood in their veins can be spotted by other witches. Perhaps there are people who come from families where the Craft was practiced long ago. These practices went underground, or were replaced with Christianity, but something remains in the genes that is passed down to one or members of the family unrecognized, or misunderstood.

Dormant Witch Blood can also be ignited by Initiation into Wicca, Faery Witchcraft practices, and the creation of a magical way of life.

Now
Today, many people have been born into witch families, and raised in the Craft. There is no doubt that they are hereditary witches and carry the Witch Blood. There is no mystery surrounding it as there when I was a young person just finding this stuff out about myself.

Still, I am sure that there are some in the current generation who feel these things and have no role models in their families. Their families may even be fundamentalist Christians — I have known a few people like that. Some Christians doth protest too much, and some ex-witches have gone into Christianity because of bad experiences in covens, or after frightening themselves when the magic actually works! They can be the most virulent antagonists against witchcraft.

Of course films and now television are currently having a field day with witches. Teenagers can take them on as role models, and in many cases, not be stigmatized as weirdos. In general, I have found witches to be a pretty happy lot, optimistic and creative, imaginative and fun loving. If sinister overtones are there, it is because of the dark cycle we all must go through, and the way some us walk between the worlds. Some witches are also sociopaths, but that isn’t just because they are witches, nor is sociopathology exclusive to witches and magicians.

If you have found yourself wandering in the woods, or walking the hills like a lost soul, hoping somewhere deep inside, where even you cannot verbalize it, that you will find them, then you might be blessed with the witch blood. If you leave offerings for the spirits, try to engage others to sit in a circle and call the spirits, if you feel you have a secret name, you might have the witch blood. If you are more drawn to these things than “normal” activities, are more comfortable in nature than in a church, if you can’t get your nose out of certain types of books….then I may have news for you….you maybe a Hereditary Witch,

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Reference
Patti Wigington, ThoughtCo 
Winterspells 

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Various Paths of Witchcraft: British Traditional Witchcraft

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British Traditional Witchcraft

 
British Traditional Wicca, or BTW, is an all-purpose category used to describe some of the New Forest traditions of Wicca. Gardnerian and Alexandrian are the two best-known, but there are some smaller subgroups as well. The term “British Traditional Wicca” seems to be used in this manner more in the United States than in England. In Britain, the BTW label is sometimes used to apply to traditions which claim to predate Gerald Gardner and the New Forest covens.

 

Although only a few Wiccan traditions fall under the “official” heading of BTW, there are many offshoot groups which can certainly claim kinship with the British Traditional Wiccans. Typically, these are groups which have broken off from a BTW initiatory line, and formed new traditions and practices of their own, while still being loosely connected with BTW.

 

One can only claim to be part of British Traditional Wicca if they (a) are formally initiated, by a lineaged member, into one of the groups that falls under the BTW heading, and (b) maintain a level of training and practice that is consistent with the BTW standards.

 

In other words, much like the Gardnerian tradition, you can’t simply proclaim yourself to be British Trad Wiccan.

 

Joseph Carriker, an Alexandrian priest, points out in a Patheos article that BTW traditions are orthopraxic in nature. He says, “We do not mandate belief; we mandate practice. In other words, we do not care what you believe; you may be agnostic, polytheistic, monotheistic, pantheistic, animistic, or any variety of other classification of human belief. We care only that you learn and pass on the rites as they were taught to you. Initiates must have similar experiences with the rites, though the conclusions they come to as a result of them may be wildly different. In some religions, belief creates practice. In our priesthood, practice will create belief.”

 

Geography doesn’t necessarily determine whether or not someone is part of BTW. There are branches of BTW covens located in the United States and other countries—again, the key is the lineage, teachings and practice of the group, not the location.

 

British Traditional Witchcraft

It’s important to recognize, however, that there are many people who are practicing a traditional form of British witchcraft that is not necessarily Wiccan in nature. Author Sarah Anne Lawless defines traditional witchcraft as “A modern witchcraft, folk magic, or spiritual practice based on the practices and beliefs of witchcraft in Europe and the colonies from the early modern period which ranged from the 1500s to the 1800s… there really were practicing witches, folk magicians, and magical groups during this time, but their practices and beliefs would have been tinged with Catholic-Christian overtones and mythology – even if thinly veneered on top of the Pagan ones… Cunning folk are a good example of the survival of such traditions even up to the mid-1900s in rural areas of the British Isles.”

 

As always, keep in mind that the words witchcraft and Wicca are not synonymous. While it’s entirely possible to practice a traditional version of witchcraft that pre-dates Gardner, and many people do it, it’s not necessarily true that what they are practicing is British Traditional Wicca. As mentioned above, there are certain requirements in place, put there by members of the Gardnerian-based traditions, that determine whether a practice is Wiccan, or whether it is witchcraft.

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The Guild Structure of British Traditional Wicca

 

Introduction

 

Within British Traditional Wicca (called in Britain simply “Initiatory Wicca”), there exists a structure known as the degree system. One’s first degree is initiation, or becoming one of the Wicca. Second and third degree initiates are acknowledged to be more experienced initiates of progressively greater skill, talent, or “power.”

 

But what does it all mean in practice? In order to answer this question, let’s discuss the parallels that the medieval guild structure has with the Wiccan degree system.

 

A guild was an association of artisans who controlled the practice of their craft in a particular town. A few guilds in France even gave rise to the earliest of the universities, where our modern academic degrees—bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate—retain this guild-like structure: apprentice, journeyman, master.

 

For those not conversant with matters medieval, here is a brief description of the guild structure.

 

Apprentices lived with their master while being taught the craft; parents paid for the apprenticeship. An apprentice did not marry until apprenticeship was over, and in return the master guildsman taught well. At the conclusion of apprenticeship, the youth became a journeyman, who had fully learned his trade but was not yet a master. He now earned a wage and was expected to save enough money to start up his own business. For the journeyman to become a master, he had to submit a master work piece to a guild for judgment. If the work were deemed worthy, the journeyman would be admitted to the guild as a master.

 

However, an extremely significant difference exists between the craft guild system and the Craft or Wiccan degree system. That difference is simple—there is no requirement for any initiate to seek elevation to a higher degree.

 

In the trade guilds, apprentices are expected to complete training in trade skills and rise to journeyman status as an employable worker in that trade. Mastery is not a guaranteed status, for that requires a certain aptitude or talent beyond the skills, whereas apprentices become journeymen or “flunk out.” In contrast, in the Craft an initiate may continue at first degree without seeking to achieve a higher degree, as they choose. Initiates may, equally, choose to seek elevation as they grow in their Craft and in their life.

 

Let me state clearly, here, that one must seek out training, initiation, or elevation in British Traditional Wicca. One must ask, or one does not receive; the Wicca do not proselytize. At the same time, asking does not guarantee that any candidate will be accepted for training with a coven’s outer court, initiated into a coven, or elevated to a higher degree. Receiving a yes or no answer from one coven may not be the final answer—but no is a valid answer. Coven leaders make their decisions for the good of their Craft and their coven. Often, no means “not now” or “not with these elders” or “I don’t know why, but my spidey-sense says not him, or not for us.”

 

Apprentice
Historically, an apprentice was contractually bound for a set period of time (usually seven years) to serve a master at a trade or craft—weaving, metal-smithing, carpentry, stone-working, etc. The apprentice’s duties were often simple labor at the outset, cleaning the shop and learning the most basic activities by observation and instruction: the names and uses of the tools of the trade; the materials used and how they were acquired, stored, readied, and put to use; and the social interactions of the shop, between customer and master, or master and workers, which might include lesser masters, journeymen, and other apprentices.

 

The duties of an apprentice were to learn his trade in all its aspects, and to keep the secrets of that trade. The master committed in his turn to train the apprentice in the specific trade—the obverse side of the contractual coin. The master provided instruction at the level needed and opportunities to learn by doing. He also corrected the inevitable errors of a novice and remedied the difficulties encountered in novice projects.

 

The first degree
In British Traditional Wicca, one’s “apprenticeship” begins with initiation. At the time of Gerald Gardner’s initiation in 1939, witchcraft was illegal in Britain. As described by Gerald Gardner, it was only during his actual initiation that he even discovered that the coven initiating him were witches. “I was half-initiated before the word ‘Wica’ which they used hit me like a thunderbolt, and I knew where I was, and that the Old Religion still existed.”

 

Gardner’s initiation was when he began to learn the Craft specifically. His long interest in matters magical and occult informed his witchy education, but it was not until he was a sworn “brother of the Art Magical” that any information was shared—be it written or oral or action. Like the apprentice of old, Gardner was oath-bound to keep the secrets of the Wicca.

 

In Gardner’s published non-fiction, he states that he may not describe the magical techniques and words that the Wicca use in their rites; he is keeping his oath of secrecy. For this reason, when writing his 1949 novel High Magic’s Aid, he instead used material from the 19th century McGregor-Mathers English translation of The Key of Solomon (a Latin grimoire of ceremonial magic) to flesh out the scenes that depicted magical workings (spells).

 

Our rites are transformative, productive of subtle change in those who undergo them. Any new initiate is exposed to words and actions and energies within the magical circle that are outside of prior experience.

 

It is often said that one’s first degree is especially about getting to know the Goddess, a reality necessitated by the patriarchal roots of modern culture, one in which the very title Pope means “father.” Like the apprentice, a new initiate has duties which are, primarily, to learn: to know the Wiccan calendar, to call a quarter, to structure a ritual, to memorize an esbat ritual, to cast a circle, etc.

 

Our solar-calendared rituals follow what is now called “the Wheel of the Year” in a neat progression of eight sabbats at the solstices and equinoxes alternating with the cross-quarters that begins at Hallowe’en. Hallowe’en, Candlemas, May Eve, Lammas, these are the fire festivals central to the Wicca. One sabbat ritual at a specific season is a scant introduction to that sabbat’s energies as well as its traditional ritual.

 

Think about it. You may remember one special Yuletide, but it is more likely that, for instance, you think of youthful summer camps or Mardi Gras events as a collective montage that is seasonal in nature and features a number of actions and feelings that mean that time of year to you. So it is with our sabbats. Doing them more than once takes more than one year.

 

For this reason, the lunar esbat rituals become familiar to the new initiate much more quickly. Celebrated once or twice monthly at full and new moons, frequent repetition aids both the memorization expected of initiates and aids them to perform the energetic steps that occur in creating, working, interacting with deities, and concluding any ritual circle. By the time initiates have completed a year working in coven, they have experienced at least twelve esbat rituals as well as the four fire festivals, and more likely all eight of the currently practiced sabbats.[6] They will have memorized the esbat ritual text and actions used in coven, and the annual progression of the sabbats have taught the basics of the Wiccan progression of seasons and energies. An experienced first-degree initiate can call a quarter, or all four, perform a simple traditional circle solo if required, work with an experienced partner to lead a pre-arranged esbat or sabbat within the coven, and aid in the general running of the coven. Energetically, the initiate will raise and ground energy as led by the coven leaders or elders.

 

If the initiate is working towards a hoped-for elevation to the second degree, the necessary first degree material has been completely hand-copied into the initiate’s own book of shadows. Likely the initiate has pursued individual own study interests in support of the coven or personal practice. Within a particular coven’s practice, the initiate may be assigned reading, writing, or practical exercises to complete as a part of training. Thus, sometime following that oft-quoted “year and a day,” a first-degree initiate may be elevated to the second degree.

 

Journeyman
Journeymen artisans were expected to do just that, journey. Travel from town to town, work with others of the same guild in which they had apprenticed, learn and share styles, materials, tools, and techniques. Like apprenticeship, a journeyman’s study could take years. Journeymen were paid a wage, might live apart from the master’s residence, often married and started a family.

 

To transition to mastery, journeymen undertook to create a master-piece, a piece of work by their hands that was adjudged to be work worthy of a guild master. And not every journeyman, sometimes called a “jack,” succeeded in becoming a master in his guild. “Jack of all trades and master of none” refers to a person unsuccessful in achieving master status. A competent journeyman often remained in his master’s business as a valued assistant and still might rise to mastery in time. In larger craft workshops, a number of masters might work in a common facility.

 

The second degree
Whether an initiate has been once or thrice round the Wheel of the Year and its sabbat cycle, elevation to the second degree brings many responsibilities and connections. First and foremost, second-degree elevation connects an initiate to the current of energy specific to initiatory Wicca. Such connection causes inevitable changes in an initiate—ones that need to be absorbed throughout her ensuing year and a day. The second degree carries a responsibility to the Craft as a whole.

 

The expectations for a newly elevated second-degree witch begin with getting to know the God, a task which often involves path-workings and underworld trance journeys.

 

Once the degree has settled, the second may guest with other covens, or attend multi-tradition open sabbats or classes of other traditions of witchcraft. During second degree work, initiates explore within themselves as well as without. Often second-degree initiates find challenges in dealing with their shadow selves, those parts which they’d rather not acknowledge, confront, resolve, nor have others know.

 

The duties of a second-degree witch include learning to teach magical skills, assisting the leaders of the coven, and learning the process of initiation to first or second degree.[9] The teaching requirement of second degree does not send our initiates out in search of converts; the Wicca do not proselytize. A second-degree initiate may have personal or family knowledge that interests the coven. For example, a student of eastern European ancestry might give the coven a class on traditional techniques and designs for dying pysanky, Slavic Easter eggs. Another may pursue research into home-brewing methods for making ritual ales or wines or meads, and share successful recipes in ritual. A working geologist may introduce the group to practical uses of natural minerals, including how to find the crystal that works—in contrast to the one that just looks pretty.

 

A second-degree practitioner may be given responsibilities beyond that of every coven member. A woman might be named “maiden” of the coven, often considered a deputy high priestess. Similarly, a man might be appointed “guardian” or “summoner” or asked to understudy the role of the high priest. Such understudy roles match the custom of the “maiden coven,” where its coven leaders are second-degree initiates growing into fully-fledged coven leaders under the guidance of their parent coven.

 

Underworld journeying, shamanic studies, divinatory methods beyond any yet used, Craft history, the second degree calls the witch to live the Wiccan path as much as study it. Inevitably, bumps and bruises, missteps and mistakes occur along the way. Often, coven leaders are called upon to assist with mistakes, correct missteps, cluck over the bumps, and salve the bruises… or not, as seems good to them. Sometimes a coven leader’s hardest task is to allow the error to occur, and wait until asked for assistance before deciding whether to act or to let be, to speak or to keep silent.

 

During second-degree studies, practitioners determine or discover any Craft specialties. They may have healing talent, and learn ways to use it within Craft as well as without. They may find they develop undiscovered psychic skills, or even the ability to teach them. A second-degree witch may choose a wider audience, presenting open rituals for the local pagan community, offering classes in herbs, stones, divination, or dance. Nothing in the tradition forbids such public teaching, and nothing in the tradition demands it.

 

Second degree also requires practitioners to step out of their comfort zone, another form of journeying. They may be adept at tarot but ignorant of astrology, talented at rhymed spells but unable to keep a steady beat on drum or rattle. Learning unfamiliar skills, stretching into tasks and techniques that are unfamiliar or outright alien, these challenges broaden practitioners while adding more tools to their witchy toolbox.

 

Unlike the first degree, once one has progressed to the second degree, one is expected to work to achieve the third degree. First degrees are practitioners, plain and simple, with but responsibility to their gods, their coven, and themselves. Second degree engenders a deeper change, imbuing a sense of having begun something which is less than complete… and an awareness of challenges to come.

 

Master
In the guild system, once a panel of masters in one’s own guild adjudged one’s submitted master work piece(s) as being of the standard expected of a master in that guild, then one became a master. To give an example, journeymen knitters in one 14th century European guild presented three items to be judged of master-work quality: a man’s shirt, a hat, and a carpet.

 

The third degree
One’s training in any degree truly begins when the ritual initiating or elevating one to that degree is complete.[10] Thus, Gerald Gardner was taught the secrets of the Craft only after his initiation. Similarly, once a candidate is brought to second or third degree, a period of further learning follows, no matter how well-prepared and how apt the candidate may be. At the same time, every BTW coven is autonomous—independent, a law unto itself. This autonomy means that the newly minted third degree witch—theoretically—springs forth fully formed with lore and wisdom at the ready. In practice, any new coven leader consults with her mentors while “finding her feet.”

 

Once the ritual that creates a third-degree witch is complete, that witch may move into leadership of her coven. She may remain in a supportive role to her coven leaders; for instance, she may be especially skilled in a magical ability, and talented in the teaching of it. In the mobile population and fluctuating job market of our modern society, she may find herself relocated from a region thick with BTW covens to one with but one or two across three states… or none. In such a case, any third-degree witch can found a coven from scratch, a time-consuming labor of love. Equally, she may simply work as “a witch alone” for a time.

 

By the same token, a witch may be head of the only BTW coven—as far as anyone knows—within several hundred miles, or encounter life-altering circumstances that put her in the midst of a metropolitan region where every second coven among a baker’s dozen is BTW. She might choose, in such a case, to join an existing coven… or even an elder’s coven, a rarity that occasionally blossoms.

 

All Wiccan covens are led by a third-degree priestess, called in BTW the High Priestess, and assisted by the priest of her choosing, usually also third degree, the High Priest. As with guilds and mastery, achieving the third degree moves a witch into some kind of a leadership role. Because covens are led by thirds, a new third-degree witch may step in to lead an existing coven, or “hive off” from the parent coven to form a new one.

 

Some of the lore and practice of the higher degrees are unsuited to less-experienced witches. For this reason, written, oral, and ritual practices are usually passed by coven leaders to first, second, and third degrees separately, most often individually. For example, a new initiate may never have experienced the intense combination of spiritual and physical energies that often occur during a magical working in coven. Thus, coven leaders must ensure that when initiates do encounter such, they recover successfully with any needed assistance. Further, coven leaders teach their initiates how to recognize and care for their own needs if working magic alone, as well as in coven, a common practice for many witches.

 

Any elder may choose to share written, oral, and ritual practice with any initiate as it seems needed, so that a first-degree or second-degree coven member might come to have some lore and material usually restricted to a third-degree witch. In an example of my knowledge, when a witch’s sister was stalked and assaulted with emotional wounds to the entire family, that witch consulted her coven leaders.

 

Those coven leaders chose to summon arcane aid to back up the mundane legal actions already taken—a restraining order, police charges filed, action for damages, and so on. In an arcane echo of these mundane actions, the coven leaders led a degree-specific circle of the second and third degree members of their coven, which then “bound” and “banished” the perpetrator from doing further injury. And so did that witch come to have written and oral lore—at second degree—which was usually reserved to the third degree.

 

Conclusion
Such is one of many duties of leadership, to ensure both the continuation and safe practice of our Craft, just as the master in a guild workshop both taught and oversaw safe practice of his craft. The Wicca do not proselytize; however, our elders find that a fair number of individuals seek out the Wicca hoping to learn magic, join a coven, work love spells, gain power, break hexes, acquire status, and so on.

 

A very few of those seekers discover that the more they learn about British Traditional Wicca, the greater the sense of coming home, of returning to a spirituality and deities they never knew they missed. And some of us find the teachers who “fit” for us happen to be of the Wicca… which is how my own journey into the Craft grew from chance meetings into my own initiation, and thence to hiving off and founding my own coven. A saying among us encapsulates this progression: “May the Gods preserve the Craft!”

 

Apprenticeships often included fostering; apprentices were housed and fed and clothed by their contracted master, living as a part of his extended family. I do not discuss this aspect of the master-apprentice relationship here, except to note that it existed—its relevance to Wicca is that a coven leader’s role often seems quasi-parental.

 

 

Wicca is often called an experiential religion for this reason—it is not about believing, it’s about doing, experiencing, and dealing with the result.

 

Historically, the four cross-quarter sabbats or “fire festivals” of Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain or Hallowmas were the Wiccan large events; the solstices & equinoxes were celebrated at the closest full moon circle or esbat. A particularly successful Yule ritual in the late 1950s in Gardner’s coven led to the coven asking to celebrate the solar quarters as separate sabbats.

 

The phrase “a year and a day” describes one full year counted inclusively‚ a term used in mathematics but most often applied to the calendar. Example: one full week, counted inclusively, is 8 days Sunday through Sunday. The same effect arises in music, where an octave (meaning eight) higher is seven half-tones up from the original pitch.

 

At second degree, most North American initiates have the ability—but not the authority—to initiate another person into the Wicca; that authority remains with the third-degree coven leaders, who may appoint a working pair of second degrees to lead what is sometimes called a maiden coven. Initiations into such a maiden coven are performed by the second-degree leaders… whose authority to perform the initiations are granted by their elder third degrees. In contrast, some European BTW covens are led by second-degree initiates; the third degree being viewed as almost a spiritual retirement, or one undertaken by a working partnership together to complete the hieros gamos.

 

Between the two largest segments of initiatory Wicca, Gardnerian and Alexandrian, it has been said that Gardnerians initiate and then train to that level, different from Alexandrians, who train to a level and then initiate to match. These two methods represent the ends of a spectrum along which any coven may operate—if true in practice at one time, that practice has altered in most locations.

 

In the commonest North American practice, many third-degree witches are coven leaders. In other parts of the world, both second and third-degree witches are coven leaders, and as noted before, British and European covens are often led by second-degree practitioners. In either system, third-degree coven leaders become autonomous and independent.

 
Reference
Patti Wigington, ThoughtCo.com

Deb Snavely, Wiccan Rede Online 

Various Paths of Witchcraft – Ceremonial Magick

OakTree_Pentagram_Tattoo_by_Ralwor

Various Paths of Witchcraft – Ceremonial Magick

Ceremonial Magick Definition
Ceremonial Magick: Ceremonial Magick is one of the most complicated systems of spiritual attainment in the world. It is a mixture of Jewish, Christian, and ancient Egyptian philosophy mixed with ancient Indian and Chaldean ideas spiced with a hint of earlier Paganism. This is mixed with the ceremonial aspects of Catholicism and Masonry. It usually heavily involves the study of the Kabbalah, the mysticism of the world put into Jewish and Judeo-Christian terms.

source: Truth About Psychic Powers, Donald Michael Kraig

Ceremonial Magick:
The object of ceremonial magick is to stimulate the senses, to power-up the emotions, and to firmly conceptualize the purpose of the operation—which is to create a transcending experience to unite Personality with the Divine Self. To this end, rituals, symbols, clothing, colors, incenses, sound, dramatic invocations and sacraments are selected in accordance with established “correspondences” of one thing to another to transport the magician towards a mystical reality.

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Ceremonial Magick

Ceremonial magic is generally defined as magic in which the practitioner uses specific rituals and invocations to call upon the spirit world. Also called high magic, ceremonial magic uses as its base a blend of older occult teachings–Thelema, Enochian magic, Kabbalah, and other various occult philosophies are typically incorporated.

 

Ceremonial vs. Natural Magic

Ceremonial magic differs from natural magic, or low magic.

Natural magic is the practice of magic in accordance with the natural world–herbalism, etc.–while ceremonial magic involves the invoking and control of spirits and other entities. Although there is much more to it than this–ceremonial magic in and of itself being fairly complex–these are the main surface differences. Ultimately, the main purpose of performing high magic is to bring the practitioner closer to the Divine itself, whether that is in the form of a deity or another spiritual being.

 

Origins of Ceremonial Magic

In the late sixteenth century, a translation of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum described “ceremoniall magicke” as containing two parts, “Geocie and Theurgie,” or goetia and theurgy. Although this was the first documented use of the term ceremonial magic, the practices involved had been around for at least a century or two, as the rituals have been noted in the grimoires of early Renaissance and medieval-era magical practitioners.

Over the years, numerous European occultists studied and practiced many of the rituals and ceremonies still in use today. Francis Barrett was an Englishman, born in the late eighteenth century, who studied metaphysics, the Kabbalah, natural occult philosophy and alchemy. Long intrigued by the writings of Agrippa, and by other esoteric texts, Barrett wrote a work entitled The Magus, heavily influenced by Agrippa’s works, and purporting to be a magical textbook focusing on herbalism, the use of numerology, the four classical elements and other correspondences.

The French occultist Alphonse Louis Constant, better known by his pseudonym Éliphas Lévi, lived in the 1800s, and was part of a number of radical socialist groups. An avid Bonapartist, Lévi developed an interest in the Kabbalah, and subsequently magic, as part of a group of radicals who believed that magic and the occult were essentially a more advanced form of socialism. He was fairly prolific and wrote a number of works on what we today call ceremonial magic, as well as books on spiritualism (The Science of Spirits) and the secrets of the occult (The Great Secret, or Occultism Unveiled).

Like Barrett and Agrippa, Lévi’s flavor of ceremonial magic was heavily rooted in Judeo-Christian mysticism.

 

Ceremonial Magic Today

During the Victorian era, spiritualist and occult groups flourished, and perhaps none is as well known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. This secret society embraced ceremonial magical practices, although it eventually imploded when members couldn’t seem to agree on the actual religious beliefs of the group. Like their predecessors, many Golden Dawn members were Christians, but there was an influx of Pagan beliefs brought in that eventually led to the fragmenting of the Order.

Many of today’s ceremonial magic practitioners trace their roots to the teachings of the Golden Dawn. Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) is an international organization which was originally modeled on Freemasonry. During the 1900s, under the leadership of occultist Aleister Crowley, O.T.O. began to include elements of Thelema as well. Following Crowley’s death, the organization has seen a number of changes in leadership. Like many ceremonial magic groups, membership includes a series of initiations and rituals.

Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.) is a Los Angeles-based ceremonial magic tradition that carries influence from both the Golden Dawn and the Freemasons. In addition to group ritual work, B.O.T.A. offers correspondence classes on Kabbalah, astrology, divination, and many other aspects of occult studies.

Although information on ceremonial magic often seems to be limited, this is due in part to the need for secrecy within the community. Author Dion Fortune once said of the teachings of ceremonial magic, “Secrecy concerning practical formulae of ceremonial magic is also advisable, for if they are used indiscriminately, the virtue goes out of them.”

Today, there is a great deal of publicly available information on the practice and beliefs of high magic, or ceremonial magic. However, it is said that the information out there is incomplete and that it is only through training and work that a practitioner can unlock all of the secrets of ceremonial magic.

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Ceremonial Magic

Ceremonial magic or ritual magic, also referred to as high magic and as learned magic in some cases, is a broad term used in the context of Hermeticism or Western esotericism to encompass a wide variety of long, elaborate, and complex rituals of magic. It is named as such because the works included are characterized by ceremony and a myriad of necessary accessories to aid the practitioner. It can be seen as an extension of ritual magic, and in most cases synonymous with it. Popularized by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, it draws on such schools of philosophical and occult thought as Hermetic Qabalah, Enochian magic, Thelema, and the magic of various grimoires.

 

Renaissance magic
The term originates in 16th-century Renaissance magic, referring to practices described in various Medieval and Renaissance grimoires and in collections such as that of Johannes Hartlieb. Georg Pictor uses the term synonymously with goetia.
James Sanford in his 1569 translation of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s 1526 De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum has “The partes of ceremoniall Magicke be Geocie, and Theurgie”. For Agrippa, ceremonial magic was in opposition to natural magic. While he had his misgivings about natural magic, which included astrology, alchemy, and also what we would today consider fields of natural science, such as botany, he was nevertheless prepared to accept it as “the highest peak of natural philosophy”. Ceremonial magic, on the other hand, which included all sorts of communication with spirits, including necromancy and witchcraft, he denounced in its entirety as impious disobedience towards God.

Revival
Starting with the Romantic movement, in the 19th century, a number of people and groups have effected a revival of ceremonial magic.

 

Francis Barrett
Among the various sources for ceremonial magic, Francis Barrett’s The Magus embodies deep knowledge of alchemy, astrology, and the Kabbalah, and has been cited by the Golden Dawn, and is seen by some[according to whom?] as a primary source. But according to Aleister Crowley, perhaps the most influential ceremonial magician of the Modern era, much of it was cribbed from Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy.

 

Eliphas Levi
Eliphas Lévi conceived the notion of writing a treatise on magic with his friend Bulwer-Lytton. This appeared in 1855 under the title Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, and was translated into English by Arthur Edward Waite as Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual.

 

In 1861, he published a sequel, La Clef des Grands Mystères (The Key to the Great Mysteries). Further magical works by Lévi include Fables et Symboles (Stories and Images), 1862, and La Science des Esprits (The Science of Spirits), 1865. In 1868, he wrote Le Grand Arcane, ou l’Occultisme Dévoilé (The Great Secret, or Occultism Unveiled); this, however, was only published posthumously in 1898.

 

Lévi’s version of magic became a great success, especially after his death. That Spiritualism was popular on both sides of the Atlantic from the 1850s contributed to his success. His magical teachings were free from obvious fanaticisms, even if they remained rather murky; he had nothing to sell, and did not pretend to be the initiate of some ancient or fictitious secret society. He incorporated the Tarot cards into his magical system, and as a result the Tarot has been an important part of the paraphernalia of Western magicians. He had a deep impact on the magic of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and later Aleister Crowley, and it was largely through this impact that Lévi is remembered as one of the key founders of the twentieth century revival of magic.

 

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (or, more commonly, the Golden Dawn) was a magical order of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, practicing a form of theurgy and spiritual development. It was probably the single greatest influence on twentieth century Western occultism. Some aspects of magic and ritual that became core elements of many other traditions, including Wicca, Thelema and other forms of magical spirituality popular today, are partly drawn from the Golden Dawn tradition.

 

Aleister Crowley
English author and occultist Aleister Crowley often introduced new terminology for spiritual and magical practices and theory. For example, he termed theurgy “high magick” and thaumaturgy “low magick”. In The Book of the Law and The Vision and the Voice, the Aramaic magical formula Abracadabra was changed to Abrahadabra, which he called the new formula of the Aeon of Horus. He also famously spelled magic in the archaic manner, as magick, to differentiate “the true science of the Magi from all its counterfeits.”

 

Magical tools
The practice of ceremonial magic often requires tools made or consecrated specifically for this use, which are required for a particular ritual or series of rituals. They may be a symbolic representation of psychological elements of the magician or of metaphysical concepts.

 

In Magick (Book 4), Part II (Magick), Aleister Crowley lists the tools required as a circle drawn on the ground and inscribed with the names of god, an altar, a wand, cup, sword, and pentacle, to represent his true will, his understanding, his reason, and the lower parts of his being respectively. On the altar, too, is a phial of oil to represent his aspiration, and for consecrating items to his intent. The magician is surrounded by a scourge, dagger, and chain intended to keep his intent pure. An oil lamp, book of conjurations and bell are required, as is the wearing of a crown, robe, and lamen. The crown affirms his divinity, the robe symbolizes silence, and the lamen declare his work. The book of conjurations is his magical record, his karma. In the East is the magick fire in which all burns up at last.

 

Grimoires
A grimoire /ɡrɪmˈwɑːr/ is a record of magic. Books of this genre, are records of magical experiments and philosophical musings, giving instructions for invoking angels or demons, performing divination and gaining magical powers, and have circulated throughout Europe since the Middle Ages.

 

It is common belief that magicians were frequently prosecuted by the Christian church, so their journals were kept hidden to prevent the owner from being burned. But it is also a well-known fact that church and the rabbi keep records of demonic activity and exorcism too in their own magical records which were used for similar record keeping. Some claim that the new age occultism is a sham and borrowed heavily from these old record books by the religious. Such books contain astrological correspondences, lists of angels and demons, directions on casting charms, spells, and exorcism, on mixing medicines, summoning elemental entities, and making talismans. Magical books in almost any context, especially books of magical spells, are also called grimoires.

 

 

Enochian magic
Enochian magic is a system of ceremonial magic centered on the evocation and commanding of various spirits that was the magical exploration made by an English occultist Dr. John Dee. It is based on the 16th-century writings of Dr John Dee and Edward Kelley, who claimed that their information was delivered to them directly by various angels. Dee’s journals contained the Enochian script, and the table of correspondences that goes with it. It claims to embrace secrets contained within the apocryphal Book of Enoch. It is a widely held belief that these revelations were personal and specific to Dee’s life and reality and borrowed on imagination heavily.

 

Organizations
Among the many organizations which practice forms of ceremonial magic aside from the Golden Dawn are the A∴A∴, Ordo Templi Orientis, and the Builders of the Adytum.

 

References:
The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Patti Wigington, ThoughtCo.com
Wikipedia 

The Various Paths of Witchcraft: Egyptian Witchcraft


Egyptian Comments & Graphics

Egyptian Witchcraft

Like the witch craft of any other region, the Egyptian witch craft is based upon the country’s tradition, myth, legend, rituals, drama, poetry, song, dance, worship, magic and living in harmony with the earth.

The practitioners of Egyptian witch craft honor the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses including the Triple goddess of the waxing, full and waning moon and the horned god of the sun, death and animal life.

Since moon has an important place in Egyptian witch craft, therefore both men and women in city apartments, suburban backyards and country glades meet on full moons and on festival occasions to raise their energy levels and harmonize themselves with the natural forces.

Congregations in Egyptian witch craft are called temples and covens where the seekers are initiated into learning the witch craft. The repeated patterns of changing seasons have great importance in the Egyptian witch craft. Ritual and festivals evolved to celebrate these seasonal cycles more especially during the sowing and harvesting seasons.

Egyptian witch craft, therefore, has an image of the ‘Wheel of the Year’ with its eight spokes which symbolize the four agricultural and pastoral festivals and the four solar festivals commemorating seasonal solstices and equinoxes. Like the ancient Pagans and witches, Egyptian witches consider the day as beginning at sundown and ending at sundown the following day.

Egyptian witches hone their divination skills in the increasing starlight and moon light and as winter begins, they work with the positive aspects of the dark tides. Therefore October 31-November eve is the most auspicious period for the Egyptian witches as this, according to them, is the time when the veil that separates our world from the next is the thinnest. This period allows the dead to return to the world of living when their kith and kin welcome and feast them.Egyptian Zodiac Wheel

Egyptian witches perform magic at gatherings called Moon Celebrations or Esbats which coincide with the phases of the moon. Witches practice healing magic, protection, retaliation and channeling of energy to develop themselves spiritually. They create circles to work magic. The primary tool that they use to work magic is a ritual knife called a Sacred Blade or Athame. The sacred blade gets charged with energy of the owner and is used to define space such as drawing a sacred circle where the owner’s will and energy work. A bowl of water is used to symbolize the element of water and its properties: cleansing, regeneration, and emotion.

Other important tools denote the elements earth, air, fire, and water. A pentacle (a pentagram traced upon a disk, like a small dish) is often used to symbolize earth and its properties, stability, material wealth and practical affairs. Alternatively, a small dish of salt or soil can be used to symbolize the earth element.

Scarab and Witchcraft
Witchcraft is based upon personal faith and beliefs, worship of pagan gods and nature. This belief system coincides with the deification of Scarab and its identification with Ra or Atum by Egyptians.

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Egyptian Witchcraft

 

Just like the witchcraft of other countries, the Egyptian witchcraft has been influenced by the legend, myth, tradition, worship, dance, song, magic, poetry and rituals of its own country. The followers of this witchcraft pay respect to the Egyptian deities that includes gods as well as goddesses. The goddess that is well-known is the Triple goddess and the god that is popular in this culture is the horned god.

As the moon is considered to be an important part of the Egyptian witchcraft, the practitioners of Wicca in this country get together on full moons as well as festive events for the purpose of balancing themselves with the forces of the nature and also for the purpose of improving their energy levels.

The places that people go to worship the deities are in the covens as well as temples and these are the places where the followers of Wicca learn more about witchcraft. The Egyptian witchcraft stresses on the importance of the changes in the seasons and there are many festivals that are connected to the seasonal changes.

Most of the festivals and rituals in the Egyptian witchcraft take place during the harvesting as well as sowing seasons. This kind of witchcraft is said to have a wheel of the year and this wheel has four pastoral and agricultural festivals and the remaining four festivals are celebrated in honor of equinoxes and solstices. Just like the traditional witches and pagans, the Egyptian witches also believe that the day starts at sundown and it ends at sunset of the very next day.

The witches in Egypt improve their divinatory skills in moon light and starlight. They also do this when the winter season begins. It is to be noted that the practitioners of witchcraft work with the dark tides (positive aspects). This is probably the reason why the last day of October and the eve of November is considered to be a favorable period. The witches are also of the opinion that it is during this time that the veil between out world and the other world is the thinnest. It is also during this time that the people who are still living invite their deceased loved ones for feast and the spirits come to the world of the living.

The gatherings where the practitioners of the Egyptian witchcraft carry out magic are known as Esbats or Moon Celebrations. These celebrations takes place during the different phases of the moon and this is the reason why they are known as moon celebrations. During the Esbats, the practitioners perform protection and healing magic and they also channel the energy for the purpose of developing themselves spiritually.

To perform magic, the witches draw circles. Athame or the Sacred Blade is a ritual knife that the witches make use of for the purpose of working on magic and this is also their most important tool. This blade is charged with the energy of the witch to whom the Athame belongs to and then this tool is used for the purpose of creating a circle where the witch will work on her energy and will. The witches also make use of a bowl of water because this represents the element of water and also the properties of water like regeneration, cleansing and emotion. Many a times, the witches make use of a pentagram to represent the earth and the properties of this symbol are material wealth, practical affairs and stability.

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Ancient Egyptian Magic

Magicians
In Egyptian myth, magic (heka) was one of the forces used by the creator to make the world. Through heka, symbolic actions could have practical effects. All deities and people were thought to possess this force in some degree, but there were rules about why and how it could be used.

Priests were the main practitioners of magic in pharaonic Egypt, where they were seen as guardians of a secret knowledge given by the gods to humanity to ‘ward off the blows of fate’. The most respected users of magic were the lector priests, who could read the ancient books of magic kept in temple and palace libraries. In popular stories such men were credited with the power to bring wax animals to life, or roll back the waters of a lake.

By the first millennium BC, their role seems to have been taken over by magicians (hekau). Healing magic was a speciality of the priests who served Sekhmet, the fearsome goddess of plague.

Lower in status were the scorpion-charmers, who used magic to rid an area of poisonous reptiles and insects. Midwives and nurses also included magic among their skills, and wise women might be consulted about which ghost or deity was causing a person trouble.

Amulets were another source of magic power, obtainable from ‘protection-makers’, who could be male or female. None of these uses of magic was disapproved of – either by the state or the priesthood. Only foreigners were regularly accused of using evil magic. It is not until the Roman period that there is much evidence of individual magicians practising harmful magic for financial reward.

Techniques
Dawn was the most propitious time to perform magic, and the magician had to be in a state of ritual purity. This might involve abstaining from sex before the rite, and avoiding contact with people who were deemed to be polluted, such as embalmers or menstruating women. Ideally, the magician would bathe and then dress in new or clean clothes before beginning a spell.

Metal wands representing the snake goddess Great of Magic were carried by some practitioners of magic. Semi-circular ivory wands – decorated with fearsome deities – were used in the second millennium BC. The wands were symbols of the authority of the magician to summon powerful beings, and to make them obey him or her.

Only a small percentage of Egyptians were fully literate, so written magic was the most prestigious kind of all. Private collections of spells were treasured possessions, handed down within families. Protective or healing spells written on papyrus were sometimes folded up and worn on the body.

A spell usually consisted of two parts: the words to be spoken and a description of the actions to be taken. To be effective all the words, especially the secret names of deities, had to be pronounced correctly. The words might be spoken to activate the power of an amulet, a figurine, or a potion. These potions might contain bizarre ingredients such as the blood of a black dog, or the milk of a woman who had born a male child. Music and dance, and gestures such as pointing and stamping, could also form part of a spell.

Protection
Angry deities, jealous ghosts, and foreign demons and sorcerers were thought to cause misfortunes such as illness, accidents, poverty and infertility. Magic provided a defence system against these ills for individuals throughout their lives.

Stamping, shouting, and making a loud noise with rattles, drums and tambourines were all thought to drive hostile forces away from vulnerable women, such as those who were pregnant or about to give birth, and from children – also a group at risk, liable to die from childhood diseases.

Some of the ivory wands may have been used to draw a protective circle around the area where a woman was to give birth, or to nurse her child. The wands were engraved with the dangerous beings invoked by the magician to fight on behalf of the mother and child. They are shown stabbing, strangling or biting evil forces, which are represented by snakes and foreigners.

Supernatural ‘fighters, such as the lion-dwarf Bes and the hippopotamus goddess Taweret, were represented on furniture and household items. Their job was to protect the home, especially at night when the forces of chaos were felt to be at their most powerful.

Bes and Taweret also feature in amuletic jewellery. Egyptians of all classes wore protective amulets, which could take the form of powerful deities or animals, or use royal names and symbols. Other amulets were designed to magically endow the wearer with desirable qualities, such as long life, prosperity and good health.

Healing
Magic was not so much an alternative to medical treatment as a complementary therapy. Surviving medical-magical papyri contain spells for the use of doctors, Sekhmet priests and scorpion-charmers. The spells were often targeted at the supernatural beings that were believed to be the ultimate cause of diseases. Knowing the names of these beings gave the magician power to act against them.

Since demons were thought to be attracted by foul things, attempts were sometimes made to lure them out of the patient’s body with dung; at other times a sweet substance such as honey was used, to repel them. Another technique was for the doctor to draw images of deities on the patient’s skin. The patient then licked these off, to absorb their healing power.

Many spells included speeches, which the doctor or the patient recited in order to identify themselves with characters in Egyptian myth. The doctor may have proclaimed that he was Thoth, the god of magical knowledge who healed the wounded eye of the god Horus. Acting out the myth would ensure that the patient would be cured, like Horus.

Collections of healing and protective spells were sometimes inscribed on statues and stone slabs (stelae) for public use. A statue of King Ramesses III (c.1184-1153 BC), set up in the desert, provided spells to banish snakes and cure snakebites.

Statue of Horus Horus © A type of magical stela known as a cippus always shows the infant god Horus overcoming dangerous animals and reptiles. Some have inscriptions describing how Horus was poisoned by his enemies, and how Isis, his mother, pleaded for her son’s life, until the sun god Ra sent Thoth to cure him. The story ends with the promise that anyone who is suffering will be healed, as Horus was healed. The power in these words and images could be accessed by pouring water over the cippus. The magic water was then drunk by the patient, or used to wash their wound.

Curses
Though magic was mainly used to protect or heal, the Egyptian state also practised destructive magic. The names of foreign enemies and Egyptian traitors were inscribed on clay pots, tablets, or figurines of bound prisoners. These objects were then burned, broken, or buried in cemeteries in the belief that this would weaken or destroy the enemy.

In major temples, priests and priestesses performed a ceremony to curse enemies of the divine order, such as the chaos serpent Apophis – who was eternally at war with the creator sun god. Images of Apophis were drawn on papyrus or modelled in wax, and these images were spat on, trampled, stabbed and burned. Anything that remained was dissolved in buckets of urine. The fiercest gods and goddesses of the Egyptian pantheon were summoned to fight with, and destroy, every part of Apophis, including his soul (ba) and his heka. Human enemies of the kings of Egypt could also be cursed during this ceremony.

This kind of magic was turned against King Ramesses III by a group of priests, courtiers and harem ladies. These conspirators got hold of a book of destructive magic from the royal library, and used it to make potions, written spells and wax figurines with which to harm the king and his bodyguards. Magical figurines were thought to be more effective if they incorporated something from the intended victim, such as hair, nail-clippings or bodily fluids. The treacherous harem ladies would have been able to obtain such substances but the plot seems to have failed. The conspirators were tried for sorcery and condemned to death.

The dead
All Egyptians expected to need heka to preserve their bodies and souls in the afterlife, and curses threatening to send dangerous animals to hunt down tomb-robbers were sometimes inscribed on tomb walls. The mummified body itself was protected by amulets, hidden beneath its wrappings. Collections of funerary spells – such as the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead – were included in elite burials, to provide esoteric magical knowledge.

The dead person’s soul, usually shown as a bird with a human head and arms, made a dangerous journey through the underworld. The soul had to overcome the demons it would encounter by using magic words and gestures. There were even spells to help the deceased when their past life was being assessed by the Forty-Two Judges of the Underworld. Once a dead person was declared innocent they became an akh, a ‘transfigured’ spirit. This gave them akhw power, a superior kind of magic, which could be used on behalf of their living relatives.

 

 

Reference
Witchcraft 
J. Roslyn Antle, High Priestess, The 7Witches Coven
Dr Geraldine Pinch, BBC History 

Books
Amulets of Ancient Egypt by Carol Andrews (British Museum Press, 1994)
‘Witchcraft, Magic and Divination in Ancient Egypt’ by JF Borghouts in Civilizations of the Ancient Near East edited by JM Sasson (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1995)
Magic in Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Pinch (British Museum Press/University of Texas Press, 1994)

 

Various Paths of Witchcraft: Eclectic Wicca/Witchcraft

Eclectic Wicca/Witchcraft

The Merriam Dictionary defines the word ‘eclectic’ as meaning “selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles .” Eclectic Wiccans (and eclectic Pagans, who are a very similar group) do just that, sometimes on their own and sometimes in informal or formal groups.

Overview of Eclectic Wicca
Eclectic Wicca is an all-purpose term applied to witchcraft traditions, often ​NeoWiccan (meaning modern Wiccan), that doesn’t fit into any specific definitive category.

Many solitary Wiccans follow an eclectic path, but there are also covens that consider themselves eclectic. A coven or individual may use the term ‘eclectic’ for a variety of reasons. For example:

Mixed and matched traditions: A group or solitary may use a blend of beliefs and practices from several different pantheons and traditions.
Modified traditions: A group could be an offshoot of an established tradition of Wicca, such as Gardnerian or Alexandrian, but with modifications to their practice that make them significantly different from that original tradition.
Uniquely individual practices: An individual may be creating his or her own tradition of beliefs and practices, and because this system can’t be defined as something else, it is usually defined as eclectic.
Uninitiated practitioner: A solitary may be practicing what he or she has learned from publicly available sources on Wicca, but not be using oathbound, initiatory material, and so recognizes that his or her practice is eclectic.
Because there is often disagreement about who is Wiccan and who isn’t, there can be confusion regarding existing lineaged Wiccan traditions, and newer eclectic traditions. Some would say that only lineaged covens (based on traditional practices) should be permitted to call themselves Wiccan. By that reasoning, anyone who claims to be eclectic is, by definition, not Wiccan but Neowiccan (‘new’ or nontraditional Wiccan).

Bear in mind that the term Neowiccan simply means someone who practices a newer form of Wicca, and is not meant to be derogatory or insulting.

Church of Universal Eclectic Wicca
One organization that supports practitioners of eclectic Wicca is the Church of Universal Eclectic Wicca. They describe themselves as follows:

Universalism is a religious belief that allows for the existence of truth in a multitude of places. Eclectism is the practice of taking from many places….What we encourage is experimentation and exploration towards those things in your religious life that work and letting go of those things that don’t. UEW defines Wicca as any religion that calls itself Wicca, AND believes in a god/force/power/whatever that is either genderless, both genders or manifests as a male/female polarity that we agree to call “the Lord and Lady.” AND upholds the Five Points of Wiccan Belief.

The Five Points of Wiccan Belief include the Wiccan Rede, the Law of Return, the Ethic of Self-Responsibility, the Ethic of Constant Improvement and the Ethic of Attunement. The Wiccan Rede is written in many ways, but its intent is consistent: “do what you will, so long as it harms none.” The Law of Return states that whatever positive or negative energy a person puts out into the world will be returned to that person three times over.

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Eclectic Witchcraft

The definition of the eclectic witch is one of the hardest magical traditions to pin down if for no other reason than the fact that the term “eclectic” means different things to different witches. Very simply put an eclectic witch is one who follows more than a single tradition and who utilises different paths, cultures and traditions in the work that she does.

The confusion comes in when discussing to what extent different magical systems can be brought together for positive effect. There is a deal of difference between a witch who is conversant in two or three different traditions and blends the parts of each that call to her into a unified whole which is her own path and a witch who just picks up the odd idea here and there and throws them all haphazardly into the random pot without making any effort to understand the culture and history behind each tradition. Without understanding why a magical practise is relevant to a tradition it is futile to absorb that practise into individual workings and a witch who chooses to do so will not reap much benefit from it. It is important however to understand that some paths are very compatible and an eclectic witch who makes use of ideas from paths from a similar field will likely find it helps her move forward in the development of her own path.

To some extent most modern witches display a certain amount of eclecticism and it could be argued that the witch who does not is missing out as it is hard to imagine any tradition that could not be enriched by the ideas and practises of another. The difficulty with being eclectic comes when non harmonious systems are brought together and the lack of understanding behind the ideas from all of the different systems are not adequately understood. This wouldn’t lead to any danger but it would render the workings of such a witch pretty worthless. One of the most important things to learn about magic is that it works if you understand why you are doing something. Using random ingredients because they have value to a witch on another path but mean nothing to you are unlikely to yield great results. There is also the danger of over-diversifying – a witch who wants to study, learn and work with everything is diluting the essence of every tradition she works with. With no cohesion between the magical paths she chooses to work with her own path will eventually become nothing but a pick and mix of meaningless fragments.

The concept of being eclectic can be extended to fit the idea of a tradition changing over time. Even the most rigid family based traditions adapt and evolve as new family members are born and add their input into the path. There is (at least as far as I am aware) no specific term that fits a witch who adheres to one primary tradition but allows her path to evolve and change. In the absence of such a term we refer to these witches as being eclectic. Strictly speaking they do not fit the term but they do echo the idea that witchcraft cannot stand still and that in order not to stagnate every path needs fresh ideas and input to stay alive.

Eclectic Wicca is a different concept to Eclectic Witchcraft although the principle of choosing different elements from different established strands still rings true. An eclectic Wiccan may practise a blend of Alexandrian and Gardnerian or even a blend between one Wiccan tradition and a different magical path. Where Eclectic Wicca cannot be applied as a term is when the practises of an individual do not confirm to the established structure of the Wiccan religion. You cannot for example make any claim to be Wiccan if you do not believe in deity. Wicca, unlike witchcraft is a defined religious path with specific beliefs at its heart. An individual who does not share the core beliefs cannot claim to be a part of the religion.

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Reference

Patti Wigington 
Witch Way Forward 

 

 

 

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Various Traditions of Witchcraft – Gardnerian Wicca/Witchcraft

Gardnerian Wicca/Witchcraft

Who Was Gerald Gardner?

Gerald Brousseau Gardner (1884–1964) was born in Lancashire, England. As a teen, he moved to Ceylon, and shortly prior to World War I, relocated to Malaya, where he worked as a civil servant. During his travels, he formed an interest in native cultures, and became a bit of an amateur folklorist. In particular, he was interested in indigenous magic and ritual practices.

After several decades abroad, Gardner returned to England in the 1930s, and settled near the New Forest.

It was here that he discovered European occultism and beliefs, and – according to his biography, claimed that he was initiated into the New Forest coven. Gardner believed that the witchcraft being practiced by this group was a holdover from an early, pre-Christian witch cult, much like the ones described in the writings of Margaret Murray.

Gardner took many of the practices and beliefs of the New Forest coven, combined them with ceremonial magic, kabbalah, and the writings of Aleister Crowley, as well as other sources. Together, this package of beliefs and practices became the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca. Gardner initiated a number of high priestesses into his coven, who in turn initiated new members of their own. In this manner, Wicca spread throughout the UK.

In 1964, on his way back from a trip to Lebanon, Gardner suffered a fatal heart attack at breakfast on the ship on which he traveled.

At the next port of call, in Tunisia, his body was removed from the ship and buried. Legend has it that only the ship’s captain was in attendance. In 2007, he was re-interred in a different cemetery, where a plaque on his headstone reads, “Father of Modern Wicca. Beloved of the Great Goddess.”
Origins of the Gardnerian Path

Gerald Gardner launched Wicca shortly after the end of World War II, and went public with his coven following the repeal of England’s Witchcraft Laws in the early 1950s.

There is a good deal of debate within the Wiccan community about whether the Gardnerian path is the only “true” Wiccan tradition, but the point remains that it was certainly the first. Gardnerian covens require initiation, and work on a degree system. Much of their information is initiatory and oathbound, which means it can never be shared with those outside the coven.

The Book of Shadows

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

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

This led a number of people – including Gardner’s High Priestess, Doreen Valiente – to question the authenticity of the Ardanes. Valiente had suggested a set of rules for the coven, which included restrictions on public interviews and speaking with the press. Gardner introduced these Ardanes – or Old Laws – to his coven, in response to the complaints by Valiente.

One of the largest problems with the Ardanes is that there is no concrete evidence of their existence prior to Gardner’s revealing them in 1957. Valiente, and several other coven members, questioned whether or not he had written them himself – after all, much of what is included in the Ardanes appears in Gardner’s book, Witchcraft Today, as well as some of his other writings. Shelley Rabinovitch, author of The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism, says, “After a coven meeting in late 1953, [Valiente] asked him about the Book of Shadows and some of its text.

He had told the coven that the material was ancient text passed down to him, but Doreen had identified passages that were blatantly copied from the ritual magic of Aleister Crowley.”

One of Valiente’s strongest arguments against the Ardanes – in addition to the fairly sexist language and misogyny – was that these writings never appeared in any previous coven documents. In other words, they appeared when Gardner needed them most, and not before.

Cassie Beyer of Wicca: For the Rest of Us says, “The problem is that no one’s sure if the New Forest Coven even existed or, if it did, how old or organized it was. Even Gardner confessed what they taught was fragmentary… It should also be noted that while the Old Laws speaks only of the punishment of burning for witches, England mostly hanged their witches. Scotland, however, did burn them.”

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

There are 161 Ardanes in Gardner’s original work, and that’s a LOT of rules to be followed. Some of the Ardanes read as fragmentary sentences, or as continuations of the line before it. Many of them do not apply in today’s society. For instance, #35 reads, “And if any break these laws, even under torture, the curse of the goddess shall be upon them, so they may never be reborn on earth and may remain where they belong, in the hell of the Christians.” Many Pagans today would argue that it makes no sense at all to use the threat of the Christian hell as punishment for violating a mandate.

However, there are also a number of guidelines that can be helpful and practical advice, such as the suggestion to keep a book of herbal remedies, a recommendation that if there is a dispute within the group it should be fairly evaluated by the High Priestess, and a guideline on keeping one’s Book of Shadows in safe possession at all times.

You can read a complete text of the Ardanes here: Sacred Texts – the Gardnerian Book of Shadows
Gardnerian Wicca in the Public Eye

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

One of Gardner’s best known works, and the one that truly brought modern witchcraft into the public eye was his work Witchcraft Today, originally published in 1954, which has been reprinted several times.

Gardner’s Work Comes to America

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

Because Gardnerian Wicca is a mystery tradition, its members do not generally advertise or actively recruit new members.

In addition, public information about their specific practices and rituals is very difficult to find.

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Gardnerian Wicca/Witchcraft

Gardnerian Wicca, or Gardnerian witchcraft, is a tradition in the neopagan religion of Wicca, whose members can trace initiatory descent from Gerald Gardner. The tradition is itself named after Gardner (1884–1964), a British civil servant and amateur scholar of magic. The term “Gardnerian” was probably coined by the founder of Cochranian Witchcraft, Robert Cochrane in the 1950s or 60s, who himself left that tradition to found his own.

Gardner claimed to have learned the beliefs and practises that would later become known as Gardnerian Wicca from the New Forest coven, who allegedly initiated him into their ranks in 1939. For this reason, Gardnerian Wicca is usually considered to be the earliest created tradition of Wicca, from which most subsequent Wiccan traditions are derived.

From the supposed New Forest coven, Gardner formed his own Bricket Wood coven, and in turn initiated many Witches, including a series of High Priestesses, founding further covens and continuing the initiation of more Wiccans into the tradition. In the UK, Europe and most Commonwealth countries someone self-defined as Wiccan is usually understood to be claiming initiatory descent from Gardner, either through Gardnerian Wicca, or through a derived branch such as Alexandrian Wicca or Algard Wicca. Elsewhere, these original lineaged traditions are termed “British Traditional Wicca”

Beliefs and practices
Covens and initiatory lines

Gardnerian Wiccans organise into covens, that traditionally, though not always, are limited to thirteen members. Covens are led by a High Priestess and the High Priest of her choice, and celebrate both a Goddess and a God.

Gardnerian Wicca and other forms of British Traditional Wicca operate as an initiatory mystery cult; membership is gained only through initiation by a Wiccan High Priestess or High Priest. Any valid line of initiatory descent can be traced all the way back to Gerald Gardner, and through him back to the New Forest coven.

Rituals and coven practices are kept secret from non-initiates, and many Wiccans maintain secrecy regarding their membership in the Religion. Whether any individual Wiccan chooses secrecy or openness often depends on their location, career, and life circumstances. In all cases, Gardnerian Wicca absolutely forbids any member to share the name, personal information, fact of membership, and so on without advanced individual consent of that member for that specific instance of sharing. (In this regard, secrecy is specifically for reasons of safety, in parallel to the LGBT custom of being “in the closet”, the heinousness of the act of “outing” anyone, and the dire possibilities of the consequences to an individual who is “outed”. Wiccans often refer to being in or out of the “broom closet”, to make the exactness of the parallel clear.)

Theology
In Gardnerian Wicca, the two principal deities are the Horned God and the Mother Goddess. Gardnerians use specific names for the God and the Goddess in their rituals. Doreen Valiente, a Gardnerian High Priestess, revealed that there were more than one. She said that Gardner referred to the Goddess as Airdia or Areda, which she believed was derived from Aradia, the deity that Charles Leland claimed was worshipped by Italian witches. She said that the God was called Cernunnos, or Kernunno, which in Celtic meant “The Horned One”. Another name by which Gardnerians called the God was Janicot (pronounced Jan-e-ko), which she believed was Basque in origin.

The Gardnerian tradition teaches a core ethical guideline, often referred to as “The Rede” or “The Wiccan Rede”. In the archaic language often retained in some Gardnerian lore, the Rede states, “An it harm none, do as thou wilt.”

Witches … are inclined to the morality of the legendary Good King Pausol, “Do what you like so long as you harm no one”. But they believe a certain law to be important, “You must not use magic for anything which will cause harm to anyone, and if, to prevent a greater wrong being done, you must discommode someone, you must do it only in a way which will abate the harm.”

Two features stand out about the Rede. The first is that the word rede means “advice” or “counsel”. The Rede is not a commandment but a recommendation, a guideline. The second is that the advice to harm none stands at equal weight with the advice to do as one wills. Thus Gardnerian Wiccan teachings stand firm against coercion and for informed consent; forbid proselytization while requiring anyone seeking to become an initiate of Gardnerian Wicca to ask for teaching, studies, initiation. To expound a little further, the qualifying phrase “an (if) it harm none” includes not only other, but self. Hence, weighing the possible outcomes of an action is a part of the thought given before taking an action; the metaphor of tossing a pebble into a pond and observing the ripples that spread in every direction is sometimes used. The declarative statement “do as thou wilt” expresses a clear statement of what is, philosophically, known as “free will.”

A second ethical guideline is often called the Law of Return, sometimes the Rule of Three, which mirrors the physics concept described in Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.”This basic law of physics is more usually today stated thus: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Like the Rede, this guideline teaches Gardnerians that whatever energy or intention one puts out into the world, whether magical or not, some response of equal effect will return. This teaching underlies the importance of doing no harm—for that would give impetus to a negative reaction centered on oneself or one’s group (such as a coven).

In Gardnerian Wicca, these tradition-specific teachings demand thought before action, especially magical action (spell work). An individual or a coven uses these guidelines to consider beforehand what the possible ramifications may be of any working. Given these two ethical core principles, Gardnerian Wicca hold themselves to a high ethical standard. For example, Gardnerian High Priestess Eleanor Bone was not only a respected elder in the tradition, but also a matron of a nursing home. Moreover, the Bricket Wood coven today is well known for its many members from academic or intellectual backgrounds, who contribute to the preservation of Wiccan knowledge. Gerald Gardner himself actively disseminated educational resources on folklore and the occult to the general public through his Museum of Witchcraft on the Isle of Man. Therefore, Gardnerian Wicca can be said to differ from some modern non-coven Craft practices that often concentrate on the solitary practitioner’s spiritual development.

The religion tends to be non-dogmatic, allowing each initiate to find for him/herself what the ritual experience means by using the basic language of the shared ritual tradition, to be discovered through the Mysteries. The tradition is often characterised as an orthopraxy (correct practice) rather than an orthodoxy (correct thinking), with adherents placing greater emphasis on a shared body of practices as opposed to faith

History
Gardner and the New Forest coven
On retirement from the British Colonial Service, Gardner moved to London but then before World War II moved to Highcliffe, east of Bournemouth and near the New Forest on the south coast of England. After attending a performance staged by the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship, he reports meeting a group of people who had preserved their historic occult practices. They recognised him as being “one of them” and convinced him to be initiated. It was only halfway through the initiation, he says, that it dawned on him what kind of group it was, and that witchcraft was still being practiced in England.

The group into which Gardner was initiated, known as the New Forest coven, was small and utterly secret as the Witchcraft Act of 1735 made it illegal—a crime—to claim to predict the future, conjure spirits, or cast spells; it likewise made an accusation of witchcraft a criminal offense. Gardner’s enthusiasm over the discovery that witchcraft survived in England led him to wish to document it, but both the witchcraft laws and the coven’s secrecy forbade that, despite his excitement. After World War II, Gardner’s High Priestess and coven leader relented sufficiently to allow a fictional treatment that did not expose them to prosecution, “High Magic’s Aid”.

Anyhow, I soon found myself in the circle and took the usual oaths of secrecy which bound me not to reveal any secrets of the cult. But, as it is a dying cult, I thought it was a pity that all the knowledge should be lost, so in the end I was permitted to write, as fiction, something of what a witch believes in the novel High Magic’s Aid.

After the witchcraft laws were repealed in 1951, and replaced by the Fraudulent Mediums Act, Gerald Gardner went public, publishing his first non-fiction book about Witchcraft, “Witchcraft Today”, in 1954. Gardner continued, as the text often iterates, to respect his oaths and the wishes of his High Priestess in his writing. Fearing, as Gardner stated in the quote above, that witchcraft was literally dying out, he pursued publicity and welcomed new initiates during that last years of his life. Gardner even courted the attentions of the tabloid press, to the consternation of some more conservative members of the tradition. In Gardner’s own words, “Witchcraft doesn’t pay for broken windows!”

Gardner knew many famous occultists. Ross Nichols was a friend and fellow Druid (until 1964 Chairman of the Ancient Order of Druids, when he left to found his own Druidic Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids). Nichols edited Gardner’s “Witchcraft Today” and is mentioned extensively in Gardner’s “The Meaning of Witchcraft”. Near the end of Aleister Crowley’s life, Gardner met with him for the first time on May 1, 1947, and visited him twice more before Crowley’s death that autumn; at some point, Crowley gave Gardner an Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) charter and the 4th OTO degree—the lowest degree authorizing use of the charter.

Doreen Valiente, one of Gardner’s priestesses, identified the woman who initiated Gardner as Dorothy Clutterbuck, referenced in “A Witches’ Bible” by Janet and Stewart Farrar.Valiente’s identification was based on references Gardner made to a woman he called “Old Dorothy” whom Valiente remembered. Biographer Philip Heselton corrects Valiente, clarifying that Clutterbuck (Dorothy St. Quintin-Fordham, née Clutterbuck), a Pagan-minded woman, owned the Mill House, where the New Forest coven performed Gardner’s initiation ritual. Scholar Ronald Hutton argues in his Triumph of the Moon that Gardner’s tradition was largely the inspiration of members of the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship and especially that of a woman known by the magical name of “Dafo”. Dr. Leo Ruickbie, in his Witchcraft Out of the Shadows, analysed the documented evidence and concluded that Aleister Crowley played a crucial role in inspiring Gardner to establish a new pagan religion. Ruickbie, Hutton, and others further argue that much of what has been published of Gardnerian Wicca, as Gardner’s practice came to be known, was written by Blake, Yeats, Valiente and Crowley and contains borrowings from other identifiable sources.

The witches Gardner was originally introduced to were originally referred to by him as “the Wica” and he would often use the term “Witch Cult” to describe the religion. Other terms used, included “Witchcraft” or “the Old Religion.” Later publications standardised the spelling to “Wicca” and it came to be used as the term for the Craft, rather than its followers. “Gardnerian” was originally a pejorative term used by Gardner’s contemporary Roy Bowers (also known as Robert Cochrane), a British cunning man, who nonetheless was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca a couple of years following Gardner’s death.

Reconstruction of the Wiccan rituals

Gardner stated that the rituals of the existing group were fragmentary at best, and he set about fleshing them out, drawing on his library and knowledge as an occultist and amateur folklorist. Gardner borrowed and wove together appropriate material from other artists and occultists, most notably Charles Godfrey Leland’s Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, the Key of Solomon as published by S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Masonic ritual, Crowley, and Rudyard Kipling. Doreen Valiente wrote much of the best-known poetry, including the much-quoted Charge of the Goddess.

Bricket Wood and the North London coven

In 1948-9 Gardner and Dafo were running a coven separate from the original New Forest coven at a naturist club near Bricket Wood to the north of London. By 1952 Dafo’s health had begun to decline, and she was increasingly wary of Gardner’s publicity-seeking. In 1953 Gardner met Doreen Valiente who was to become his High Priestess in succession to Dafo. The question of publicity led to Doreen and others formulating thirteen proposed ‘Rules for the Craft’, which included restrictions on contact with the press. Gardner responded with the sudden production of the Wiccan Laws which led to some of his members, including Valiente, leaving the coven.

Gardner reported that witches were taught that the power of the human body can be released, for use in a coven’s circle, by various means, and released more easily without clothing. A simple method was dancing round the circle singing or chanting; another method was the traditional “binding and scourging.”[26] In addition to raising power, “binding and scourging” can heighten the initiates’ sensitivity and spiritual experience.

Following the time Gardner spent on the Isle of Man, the coven began to experiment with circle dancing as an alternative. It was also about this time that the lesser 4 of the 8 Sabbats were given greater prominence. Brickett Wood coven members liked the Sabbat celebrations so much, they decided that there was no reason to keep them confined to the closest full moon meeting, and made them festivities in their own right. As Gardner had no objection to this change suggested by the Brickett Wood coven, this collective decision resulted in what is now the standard eight festivities in the Wiccan Wheel of the year.

The split with Valiente led to the Bricket Wood coven being led by Jack Bracelin and a new High Priestess, Dayonis. This was the first of a number of disputes between individuals and groups, but the increased publicity only seems to have allowed Gardnerian Wicca to grow much more rapidly. Certain initiates such as Alex Sanders and Raymond Buckland who brought his take on the Gardnerian tradition to the United States in 1964 started off their own major traditions allowing further expansion.

 

 

Reference

Patti Wigington, Published on ThoughtCo 
Wikipedia 

The Various Paths of Witchcraft – Draconic Wicca/Witchcraft

Draconic Wicca/Witchcraft

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Draconic Wicca is the utilization of the powers of the dragons. There are as many dragons as there are people. They are as varied as humans are also. We work with these dragons to achieve the results that we seek. In doing so, we have to deal with the unique personalities of each type of dragon. The dragons have no real hierarchy other than age, except for the case of ‘The Dragon’.

The Dragon is the combined powers of the God and the Goddess. The Dragon is invoked or evoked during Sabbats and in times when great magick is needed (not when you can not find your keys). Invoking means to call into you the power of the dragon that you name i.e. a fire dragon. You ask that this dragon assume himself/herself into your spiritual body. To evoke means to call a dragon to you, to join you in your magickal workings.

The reason it is called Draconin “Wicca” is because of the similarities to the wiccan religion of today. This religion was originally brought to Earth by the blessed races when Atlantis was formed. The name of the religion itself cannot be pronounced in present English certainly not spelled. This religion was taken away from the Atlantians and Atlantis destroyed.The druids were the descendants of the Old Religion and passed on by mouth.

The spirits God: The god is the male half of the ‘divine being’. He has many faces and has known many names. To wiccans, he is known as the horned god, the sun god, and many more. God is not just Father, he is Mate, Consort, Lover, Friend, Brother, Hunter, Husband, Law-giver, and Partner.

Goddess: The goddess is the female half of the ‘divine being’. She also has had many faces and many names. Wiccans, druids, and the coven all respect the Maiden, Mother, and Crone aspect of the goddess show in the entire universe.

Red Dragon: The Red Dragon is effectively the goddess of the dragons and very, very few known her actual name. She represents all of the blessed races and has a counterpart for each. Dragons/Races of the

Elements: Each race has its own head keeper of the elements and/or directions. The elements are: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Light, Darkness and Spirit These spirits are called in to help with specific elements and what the elements and directions can help with different things. Healing would be Earth for example.

Many names are used to invoke different aspects of the above spirits. The goddess might be invoked as Bast (Egyptian name) for example for healing and another time Athena (Greek) for wisdom. There is a good saying. “There are many faces of the one god.” However this doesn’t apply for the Red Dragon of other guardians of the elements. This mostly applies for the God and Goddess aspects. The sabbats are more like the old druidic sabbats, which any good reference is hard to find, than the ones that are found in Wiccan religions.

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Draconian lore and practice are rarely found in any of the published books on magick. (There are a few very notable exceptions, like D. J. Conway’s ‘Dancing with Dragons’)

Draconian magick is, by definition, magick that is fueled by the symbolism and energies of Dragons.

While not actually defined as a Tradition of Wicca, Draconian Magick shares many of its defining elements. It has a code of honor just like a more Traditional Wicca Path, that is perhaps a little more strict than the Wiccan Rede however. Draconian Magick has always been passed down from teacher to student, perhaps that is one reason there is so little information available.

Dragon Magick is not for everyone. Those that choose to practice it must be self-disciplined individuals who are serious about changing things in their lives and the world around them. They must be willing to have beings be brutally honest with them and be willing to turn that same honesty upon yourself. Working with dragons is a hard path, but ultimately rewarding. The journey of rediscovering the true essence of Dragon Magick can be an uncomfortable experience for some people, being forced to examine aspects of their inner-selves that they would rather not acknowledge. But self knowledge and self integration are the true keys to magickal wisdom and power… Opening yourself to acceptance of your true self is a task that few of us have the courage to face, and yet it is an important step to undertake if true power is to be achieved in any magickal Tradition.

For most practitioners of magick, Dragons represent Wisdom and Balance. But for those who are practitioners of Draconian Magick, Dragons are seen as Deities and held in the highest regards. No other Deities are held higher. While Dragons are revered in most Traditions of Paganism or Wicca, they are not thought of in the form of Deities.

When holding a Ritual which includes Dragons, or is a Dragon Ritual, it is important to understand that in Draconian beliefs, the Dragon is held in the All-High, or exalted position. Placing another Deity in a position higher than that of the Dragon is an insult to the Dragon…
Draconian Magick is unequivocally a school of the Left-Hand Path.

That is to say it is a school which teaches the immortalisation and deification of the individual psyche, as opposed to the Right-Hand Path which seeks to submerge that psyche within a sense of universal oneness…I believe that many Wiccans and Pagans today tend to shy away from anything Dark, there are allot of Wiccans out there who claim to practice only ‘white’ magick, And, while most Wiccans/Pagans do not use the statement “I walk a Right-Hand Path” They do. But, to me at least, this creates an imbalance. There cannot be Light without Dark. There is a certain degree of Darkness within us all. You cannot be in Balance if you deny one side of your nature. Many Wiccans/Pagans automatically assume a Dark Witch performs magick that is wrong, negative, or even evil. This is simply not true.

 

The left-hand path is about the elevation and centrality of the self as well as the rejection of religious authority and societal taboos. The left-hand path focuses on the strength and will of the practitioner, downplaying the need for intercession by any high power (although they may believe a higher power exists).

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The right-hand path concentrates on the symbols of goodness, of the Light of the Divine, the connection of self with the Divine, and the purification of self in order to reconnect with the Divine. Many right-hand followers believe that there is a Divine power that holds sway over the universe and through prayer and worship that Divinity will help to better their lives. The vast majority of religions are considered part of the right-hand path, from Christianity to Wicca.

So, When I hear people say “I’m a White Witch” or the ever popular “I’m a Green Witch” I just smile and keep moving…
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again… IF I had to pick a color, I’d have to say I’m a Grey Witch.
I believe in Balance. In all things there should be a Balance. In my Spiritual Path I strive for Balance. There is a Darkness in us all. I do not deny the Darkness, I embrace it. Does this make me evil? I don’t believe so, because I Balance it with Light… There is a Light within us all as well…
I know I’m probably going to get a few people who point to the Wiccan Rede… and espouse they’re religion doesn’t harm anyone… Well, let me just state that neither does mine. I follow the Rede, always have. The main thing is, I don’t rely on ANY religion to dictate my Morals, my sense of Right or Wrong, I Rely on Myself. In this sense, I follow (Some) of the Christians 10 commandments as well… NOT because I worry about some eternal damnation, but simply because it fits within my own moral concept. I do not need any religion to ‘guide’ my moral compass, or direct my Spiritual path.
I do not Pray to the Goddess to alter or enhance my life. I do not repent my sins before any Goddess or God. I know that I have done things in my life that were wrong. I recognize this fact and strive always to change these behaviors.
I don’t think any Natural inclination (such as SEX) is wrong.
I eat Meat. Because I Like it. and really humans are Omnivores…
I do not believe in the usual concepts of good or evil…
AND… I do not judge myself based on someone else’s judgement of me. I am who I am.

Self-responsibility is also seen as of utmost importance when working with Dragons. You must be able to view your actions objectively…and accept the consequences of those actions, whether the outcome is positive or negative.

Dragons are warriors for light (lightworkers). They are a collective of souls who service the light. They can infuse their souls into bodies that are not dragon (human for example). In this way they can work for light and efficiently bring about changes. This is one thing that makes them invaluable in Healing Ceremonies. Some call any magickal practice with Dragons is to “Dance with Dragons”, but they can be more then just a dance partner. As teachers of ancient knowledge their grasp of it is deep and profound. Their ability to help in divination is astonishing and quite accurate. As protectors during rituals and everyday life there are no equals. And if a Dragon chooses to take you under their wings you will have the opportunity of learning knowledge and evolving your magickal ability to a degree which few have known.

During meditative channeling, Dragons usually appear to people as themselves. There are those times when they appear as winged humans, or something else, but for the most part you see them as they appear as they would be in their own realm.
Dragons are a part of the Fae Realm. When the Fae drew back from humankind and sealed themselves from our sight, the Dragons became the Gatekeepers to that realm. Guarding forever the passage from our realm to theirs. Which is one reason it is so hard to gain access to the Faerie Realm. Most people who are aware of the Fae Realm already know that the Fae are able to enter our realm at will, humans, however must first gain access past these mighty Guardians. A Dragon can look into the soul of a human and gauge the enlightenment that the human has gained. This is one reason that the practitioner of Dragon Magick must strive for enlightenment…

The Goddess & God:
The Dragon is the combined powers of the God and the Goddess. The Dragon is invoked or evoked during Sabbats and in times when great magick is needed.

Red Goddess Dragon:
The Goddess is the female half of the ‘Divine Being’. She also has had many faces and many names. Wiccans, Druids, and the coven all respect the Maiden, Mother, and Crone aspect of the Goddess shown in the entire universe.
The Dragon Goddess always appears as a Red Dragon. The Red Goddess Dragon is effectively the Goddess of the Dragons and very, very few know her actual name. She represents all of the blessed races and has a counterpart for each.

The God Dragon:
The God is the male half of the ‘Divine Being’. He has many faces and has known many names. To Wiccans, he is known as the Horned God, the Sun God, and many more.
The Draconian God is not just Father, he is Mate, Consort, Lover, Friend, Brother, Hunter, Husband, Law-giver, and Partner.

Dragon Guardians and Guides:
Dragons are famous for their fierce protective nature. Though most myths portray Dragons as protectors of great treasures, they have been known to be protectors of people too.

The Dragon serves as a Powerful Guardian and Guide. Once you discover your Guardian Dragon/Dragon Guide you should encourage communication, and acknowledge your Dragon’s presence as often as possible, the same as you would with an Animal Spirit Guide or even a Guardian Angel. You will need to let you Guardian Dragon/Dragon Guide know that you are now open and willing to listen to any guidance, advice or teaching they wish to impart to you.

One way to do this is to meditate and concentrate upon your Guardian/Guide. Light candles and incense for them, and leave offerings for them upon your altar. Designing a special altar just for your Guardian/Guide is a good idea, a place where you can concentrate your energies towards the Guardian.

Many magick practitioners will surround themselves with imagery of their Guardian/Guide, immersing themselves externally in the energies of the Guardian/Guide. This will help you to draw the Guardian/Guide to you, and will assist you in achieving your connection.

 

As with any Guardian/Guide, finding your Guardian Dragon/Dragon Guide is not the problem. Most likely they are already around you, and in fact may have attempted contact with you in the past. This happens with many different types of Guardians and Guides, we fail to recognize the messages that they are sending us. If this is the case, contact should be easy to obtain once you have let the Dragon know you are ready & willing to connect with them.

One thing you must remember though, is when you do feel a Dragon in your house it does not mean that it’s “your”Dragon. Sometimes it can take years for a Dragon to decide to be someone’s Guardian/Guide, so just because there is one in your house or one that’s been following you for years, unless he/she tells you otherwise, don’t jump to conclusions and think that you have a Guardian Dragon or a Dragon Guide, it could be there for reason’s of it’s own… Sometimes though, a person can live their entire lives with a Guardian Dragon/Dragon Guide and never know it…

 

(Just a note: I have been combining Guardian Dragon & Dragon Guide, but I don’t want to give the impression that they are the same thing. These are two completely different Dragons, who perform completely different tasks, the way that you find them & connect with them, however, is the same.)

 

To find your Guardian Dragon or Dragon Guide, you must first find you Element…
As a general rule, you can go by your astrological sign;
Capricorn – Earth
Aquarius – Air
Pisces – Water
Aries – Fire
Taurus – Earth
Gemini – Air
Cancer – Water
Leo – Fire
Virgo – Earth
Libra – Air
Scorpio – Water
Sagittarius – Fire

The second means of determining which Elementals you have the best connection with is through your first name. Your birth-name is, like your astrological chart, an energy center, reflecting the play of certain energies within your life. The vowels of your first name are the keys to determining with which elemental you are most harmonious.

The primary vowel in your first name indicates which group of Elementals you can align with most easily. The primary vowel is the one most strongly pronounced.

Element                   Vowel                                 Elemental Being
Fire                                 I                                        Salamanders

Earth                              U                                          Gnomes

Air                                   E                                             Sylphs

Water                              O                                           Undines

Ether/Chaos A The Ether/Choas                     Element will accentuate and intensify the relationship and activity of every

Elemental force to which it is applied ~ for good or bad.

If the astrological element and the name element are the same, it can indicate that you have come to double your work with that group of Elemental Beings and the Energies that they work with. If they are opposite, they do Not cancel each other out, it means that it is up to you to find a Balance between them when you are working with them.

Once you know which Element you are aligned with, simply match it with that type of Dragon. For instance; I am a Capricorn; So, according to my astrological chart, I resonate most strongly with the Earth Elemental… and my first name is Mary; So, that’s an A; Which makes it Ether/Choas… Which means that I align with the Earth Elemental and all contact will be accentuated and intensified.

Okay, so now, knowing my Element, I would look down at the Elemental Dragons and know that my Guardian Dragon/Dragon Guide would be the Earth Dragon…

Some people will resonate with more than one Element, and therefor more than one Elemental Dragon as well… Also, if the chart says one thing, and your soul is telling you another, always go with your soul… It knows best, Always.

{Just a note: This formula for determining which Element you align with came from Ted Andrews’s book ‘Enchantment of the Faerie Realm’ … Also, I have changed it somewhat to include the Element Choas, as he explains Ether, they are the same thing.}

Elemental Dragons:
Air Dragons
These great dragons are ruled by the Sairys (pronounced Sair-iss), their Elemental color is pure yellow, light blue, silver, white and gray…
Where they inhabit is often warm and moist. Air dragons often have a very peaceful nature and they like to share what they know, in fact they feel that all knowledge is worth having. As their name suggests, they control the winds and can manipulate air with amazing dexterity. They can even remove all air from an area creating a vacuum that is next to impossible to fill. These dragons are often long and slender, some have gauzy wings and their scales often have a feather-like quality and may have actual feathers around their heads, necks, and paws. They govern the Eastern quarter of the Circle and you can apply Eastern associations to these dragons.

Positive associations of these dragons are new beginnings, the Spring, breath, optimism, joy, intelligence, mental quickness and renewal.
Negative associations of air dragons are frivolity, gossip, fickleness, inattention, stagnation, bragging, and forgetfulness.

The magick that these dragons control is often used to control weather, as one would expect. They are also useful in spells that blow away the old and are excellent in protection rituals as well as magick that works for mental flexibility and openness to new ideas. Teachers and students both will find a wealth of information with these dragons as they can teach us how to better impart our wisdom as well as sharpening our minds so that we can learn better.

Other forms of dragons that fall under this category are Lightening Dragons, Storm Dragons, Wind Dragons, and Weather Dragons.

Fire Dragons
The Ruler of these dragons is Fafnir (pronounced faf-near), their Elemental color is pure red, amber, red-orange and all shades of flames.

They tend to live in warm and dry areas. These dragons have a fiery disposition but can be very gentle and understanding, it is also true that they can be unpredictable and difficult to work with until they get to know you. Once you gain a fire dragon’s loyalty they are unwavering and powerful friends. Their bodies are often thick and heavy with a long snake-like necks and tails. They often have wicked looking horns on their head and their mere presence can make a room warmer. Fire dragons are fierce protectors and are often heralded by their loud roar. They govern the Southern Quarter of the circle and Southern correspondences can be applied to fire dragons.

Positive association for fire dragons are summer, the sun, blood, any kind of helpful fire, enthusiasm, activity, change, passion, courage, daring, will power, and leadership.

Negative associations for these dragons are hate, jealousy, fear, anger, war, ego, conflicts, and irritability.

 

The magick of fire dragons is often used for personal purification on any level, for energy or courage, and for the stamina needed to pursue your dreams and finish important projects. You can also use their potent magick to help remove barriers, but once they are set on a course they are very difficult to halt and will go through or over anything or anyone to achieve their goal. If you don’t have a good working relationship with these dragons and you employ them they can turn your spell into something destructive that will ‘burn’ through all obstacles and leave ruin in their place.
Other forms of Fire Dragons are Steam Dragons, Heat Dragons, Lava Dragons, and Desert Dragons.

Water Dragons
Water dragons are ruled by Naelyon (pronounced nail-yawn), their Elemental color is pure blue, dark blue, blue green, and turquoise.
They live in cold and moist areas. Water dragons have a very soothing influence and are drawn by strong emotions but will not contact anyone who lets their emotions constantly run away with them. A room may feel a few degrees cooler when water dragons visit or you may notice an increase in the humidity. These dragons are long and serpentine and rarely have legs or wings. Their scales will have a silvery or shimmery hue to them and they tend to have a feathery fringe around their mouths. Many times they appear looking like Oriental dragons and their eyes may have a glowing quality to them. Water dragons govern the Western quarter of the Circle and Western associations may be applied to these dragons.
Positive associations are calm water, compassion, peacefulness, forgiveness, love, intuition, calmness, peace of mind, and fluidity.
Negative associations for these dragons are floods, storms, laziness, indifference, instability, lack of emotional control, insecurity, and overwhelming grief.

The magic of these dragons is generally used for dealing with emotions, either calming them or stirring them up. You can also use their energy to help with movement or to help keep things fluid and open. You can call on these great dragons to help open up your psychic centers and lend their aid to your divination skills. Water dragons are also useful for calmness in all situations and on all levels, when you have to deal with anything that will tax your emotions you should ask water dragons to lend their aid.

Other types of Water Dragons are Ice Dragons, Mist Dragons, and Rain Dragons.

Earth Dragons
These dragons are ruled by Grael (pronounced grail), their elemental color is pure green, every shade of Brown and Black.
Their homes are in cold and dry places. Earth dragons are very quiet beings, they will observe from a distance until they are ready to approach you. Once you have befriended an earth dragon they are very straight forward and will be blunt and honest with you but are very loving and nurturing. They tend to have a ridge of sharp scales down their necks and back, their body scales are often very reminiscent of armor. Of all the dragons, these are the ones that like treasure and in order to build a strong relationship you should keep a jar or dish full of coins. The earth dragon’s bodies tend to be very heavy and most of them have four legs, when they have wings their wingspan is enormous. Earth dragons govern the Northern Quarter of the Circle and Northern associations may be applied to them.

Positive associations for earth dragons are respect, endurance, strength, responsibility, stability, prosperity, thoroughness, and having a purpose in life.

Negative associations are rigidity, unwillingness to change, stubbornness, and lack of consciousness, vacillation, and weakness.

Earth dragon magick is good form building long lasting foundations, for helping to complete long-range goals, and for invoking stability into your life. You can also call on them for physical and mental endurance as well as the strength to accept responsibility. If you are planning to do a spell for enduring prosperity and success, earth dragons are excellent for this but they expect you to work towards your goals and not demand that they deliver it to you.

Other kinds of Earth Dragons are Stone Dragons, Nature Dragons, Mountain Dragons, and Forest Dragons.

 

Chaos Dragons
These dragons don’t have a ruler, their color is pure black, and their homes are in Elemental Chaos. These dragons are always dark colors that blend into blackness, often it will look like they have stars caught in their scales. Their bodies are heavy and huge; in fact they tend to be the largest of all dragons. They have wide, wedge-shaped heads and their long tails often are barbed or spiked. Chaos dragons have huge wings that often blend into the night sky and may be hard to make out; they are masters of camouflage in spite of their large bulk and are rarely seen if they don’t wish it.

These dragons are not evil or malicious, they work with us and their magick is often incomprehensible to us and they go beyond our limited view of happenings. Because of this their acts may seem cruel, but they are working for our greater good. These dragons are pure representations of chaos and we are to call on them when we realize that not every problem or situation can be resolved with order and reasoning. When working with these dragons they will go straight to the source of your problem or question and force you to confront it. This can be rather uncomfortable for us as we will need to deal with hidden aspects of ourselves that we may not be ready to face, so be sure that you are prepared to accept the consequences of invoking a chaos dragon. Chaos Dragons do not act as Guardians nor Guides.

Chaos dragon magic is mainly concerned with the re-creation of lives, relationships, and careers. You can employ them to help break through barriers, with changing luck, and in bringing about vast changes.
You can work with them to explore past lives and their magick is particularly powerful aids in divination.

Their magick is also used to confine anything that will hinder you in forward growth and movement, if you invoke this aspect of them be prepared to have everything that is holding you back leave you life whether you want it gone or not. This is the type of dragon that we work with when we talk about ‘riding the dragon’; eventually during this ritual we will have to confront our worst enemy ~ ourselves…

Chaos Dragons can also be heralds warning of catastrophe, to ignore what they have to say may bring about destruction in our lives.

Dragon Color Meanings:
Purple Dragon;
The Purple Dragon, sometimes referred to as “the ancient one”, is the embodiment of the highest level of the dragon collective (the wisdom).
The purple dragon is many dragons. Once a Dragon reaches a high enough evolution, they become part of the collective. All these consciousnesses are compiled into one composite that holds all the wisdom and knowledge of the Dragons.
The Purple Dragon is the ‘Law Giver’ Setting the rules for all others to follow. This is the Dragon who often appears to test you. Failing these tests can have bad results. These test are to judge a persons honesty, integrity and loyalty…All of the things that the Dragons look for when answering a summons from us. You do not call upon the purple. His visits are random.

Silver Dragons;
Reflection, they inhabit the meridians of the universe. These dragons come around when we look into ourselves. Perspectives are a good word for silver dragons, and they see every perspective from every reflection.

Orange Dragons;
The will is the color orange. These dragons bring in strength, confidence, and bravery. Fire dragons by nature, they move with quickness. They don’t inflate ego’s, they merely instill confidence.

Green Dragon;
The green dragon is the planet dragon, or earth dragon. Material in a big sense, however green is the color of life in the big picture. Lessons of “the material”, are a big part of the way they teach. I would categorize the earth dragon among these qualities as well.

Brown Dragons;
Brown dragons are about physicality, and all its properties. They are masters of physics, on all realities, from shaping matter (shape shifting), to gravity, and physical form. Sphere is a keyword to understanding the brown dragon.

Blue Dragons;
They are about the consciousness, communication, and mental awareness. They are also intricately linked with what illusion is, how to see through it, and how to create it. There are many illusions on this plane, and the blue dragon can guide one through them. Their insight into the etheric plane is tremendous, they see how it moves and works, because it is one of the primary realms for these dragons to do their mental work.

Red Dragons;
(Besides representing the Mother/Female Goddess)
Red dragon characteristics are desire, passion, fire, rage. These dragons literally eat darkness, and transmute it to light. Intensity is only matched by the amount of fire these dragons wield. To them energy is food…

White Dragons;
White dragons maintain the purity of the collective, the grace connection. They often are guardians. These dragons can also be channeled for healing.

Gold Dragons;
The golden ray, the creative spark are aspects of gold dragons. They are the keepers of phi. They speak the language of the heart. Art and music are brought here by gold dragons. Gold dragons can be channeled for healing. See sacred geometry, and the golden means.

Dragon Deities:
Dragon God Gneicht;
Gneicht is the ruler of the Night… of doorways (both opening and closing them)
As a guide his visit speaks of opportunities, both taken and missed, depending on the type of message he brings you…

Morthan (moor’-z’dan)
Dragon Goddess of bountiful harvests of all kinds; Mother aspect of Dragonkind. Nurturing, Protective and Generous…
Call on Morthan when in need of emotional support or financial assistance.

Veaug (vog)
Dragon God of obscurity and that which is hidden; does not like assisting in hiding actions or objects. This dragon is adept at finding things from the Ancients that have been lost in obscurity (old tomes, amulets, magickal items) His assistance can further the summoners knowledge greatly, but he is easily angered, be sure that the item you seek is worth his time before calling upon him…

Luqueas (luk-wee-ass, long U, long E)
Dragon trickster God; take great care when inviting His presence. He is a joker, a wild card. His action are not always in the best interest of the summoner. He is like a politician, he can talk circles around most people & beings, but his words are not always truthful. He can be a strong ally… If you are careful.

Tysteal (tiss’-dell)
Dragon shephard Goddess; guardian of the meek; a dragon person’s first line of defense.
Call upon Tysteal when in need of Protection.

Mordak (moo-ór-dak)
Dragon God of war, vengeance and retributions of all kinds; make dead certain that you are within your magickal rights before calling Him down, as he is not amused by a fallacious summons.

Davliteau (dav-lí-too)
Dragon God of conjured entities; very helpful in ridding one’s self of “sent” conjurations and the like; benevolent to the core; very helpful and willing attendant being, though He has little power in other areas. He acts as a protector from other Beings or Dragons who are sent to harass or harm you. He can be called upon when you are having trouble controlling one of the lesser Beings.

Ouida (o-weed’-a, long O, soft a)
Dragon Goddess of guidance.
Call upon Ouida when you are uncertain of your Path, if you are unsure of which life-choice to make. She can help with decisions about finances, marriage, carrier choices, etc.
She is one who stands in the Doorway of Time, Looking both ways at once.

Solange (so-londg’)
Dragon deity of healing. Though Dragons rarely become involved in human affairs, Solange cares about those who care for others. He will lend a healing touch to any beneficial healing spell, but there is a price for His assistance. He requires the planting of fruit trees (three at the least and 9 at the most) for his services. He will also attend to your herb garden and bless it with His dragon power.

Ryusan (rí-u-san, long I, long U)
Translates literally to “my dragon.” Ryusan, of the three-headed Japanese variety, is best at consoling and nurturing a hurt spirit, whether it be in a host body or not. Ryusan is an expert at guiding spirits on to their next journey. Ryusan can contact those who have passed on. He is a Guardian of the Veil and stand between our realm and the realm beyond. This is the Dragon you would call upon with assistance in Divination…

 

Reference

If you are interested in Dragon Magick or the Path, check out this wonderful informative site, Wicca Dreamers: Dragon Wicca 

 

The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters.

2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called ‘supernatural’, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity – as masculine and feminine – and that this same Creative Power lies in all people and functions through the interaction of the masculine and the feminine. We value neither above the other knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energy used in magical practice and religious worship.

5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness, the Inner Planes etc. – and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7. We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it – a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft – the Wiccan Way.

8. Calling oneself ‘Witch’ does not make a Witch – but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seek to control the forces within her/ himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and without harm to others and in harmony with nature.

9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be ‘the only way’ and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as ‘Satan’ or ‘the Devil’ as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

 

Source

Practical Magick for the Penny Pinching Witch
Carol Moyer

Various Traditions of Witchcraft & Wicca: The Alexandrian Wicca

Alexandrian Wicca

Origins of Alexandrian Wicca:

Formed by Alex Sanders and his wife Maxine, Alexandrian Wicca is very similar to the Gardnerian tradition. Although Sanders claimed to have been initiated into witchcraft in the early 1930s, he was also a member of a Gardnerian coven before breaking off to start his own tradition in the 1960s. Alexandrian Wicca is typically a blend of ceremonial magic with heavy Gardnerian influences and a dose of Hermetic Kabbalah mixed in.

 

However, as with most other magical traditions, keep in mind that not everyone practices the same way.

 

Alexandrian Wicca focuses on the polarity between the genders, and rites and ceremonies often dedicate equal time to the God and the Goddess. While Alexandrian ritual tool use and the names of the deities differ from Gardnerian tradition, Maxine Sanders has been famously quoted as saying, “If it works, use it.” Alexandrian covens do a good deal of work with ceremonial magic, and they meet during new moons, full moons, and for the eight Wiccan Sabbats.

 

In addition, the Alexandrian Wiccan tradition holds that all participants are priests and priestesses; everyone is able to commune with the Divine, therefore there is no laity.

 

Influences from Gardner:
Similar to the Gardnerian tradition, Alexandrian covens initiate members into a degree system. Some begin training at a neophyte level, and then advance to First Degree.

 

In other covens, a new initiate is automatically given the title of First Degree, as a priest or priestess of the tradition. Typically, initiations are performed in a cross-gender system – a female priestess must initiate a male priest, and a male priest must initiate female members of the tradition.

 

According to Ronald Hutton, in his book Triumph of the Moon, many of the differences between Gardnerian Wicca and Alexandrian Wicca have blurred over the past few decades. It is not uncommon to find someone who is degreed in both systems, or to find a coven of one tradition that accepts a member degreed in the other system.

 

Who Was Alex Sanders?
A Witchvox article by an author listed only as an Elder of the Alexandrian Tradition says, “Alex was flamboyant and, among other things, a born showman. He played the press at every opportunity, much to the dismay of more conservative Wiccan Elders of the time. Alex also was known for being a healer, diviner, and a powerful Witch and magician. His forays into the media led to the publication of the romanticized biography King of the Witches, by June Johns, and later the publication of the classic Wiccan “coven biography, ” What Witches Do, by Stewart Farrar. The Sanders became household names in the UK during the 60’s and 70’s, and are responsible to a great degree for bringing the Craft into the public eye for the first time.”

 

Sanders passed away on April 30, 1988, after a battle with lung cancer, but his influence and the impact of his tradition is still felt today.

 

There are numerous Alexandrian groups in the United States and Britain, most of which maintain some degree of secrecy, and continue to keep their practices and other information oathbound. Included under this umbrella is the philosophy that one must never out another Wiccan; privacy is a core value.

 

Contrary to popular belief, Sanders never made his tradition’s Book of Shadows public, at least not in its entirety. While there are collections of Alexandrian information available to the general public – both in print and online – these are not the full tradition, and were generally designed as training materials for new initiates. The only way to access a complete Alexandrian BOS, or the full collection of information about the tradition itself, is to be initiated into a coven as an Alexandrian Wiccan.

 

Maxine Sanders Today
Today, Maxine Sanders has retired from the work that she and her husband spent much of their lives on, and practices alone. However, she still makes herself available for occasional consultations. From Maxine’s webpage, “Today, Maxine practices the Art Magical and celebrates the Craft’s rituals either in the mountains or in her stone cottage, Bron Afon. Maxine practices her Magic alone; she has retired from the work of teaching. Her vocation as a Priestess includes counseling those who are in need of kindness, truth and hope. She is often approached by those in the Craft who are not too proud to test the strength of the shoulders of those who have gone before. Maxine is a highly respected Priestess of the Sacred Mysteries. She has encouraged, enabled and inspired students of the Priesthood to take on the conscious mantle of their spiritual potential. She believes the catalyst for that inspiration comes from the Cauldron of the Goddess in all its guises.”

___________

The Alexandrian Tradition

The Alexandrian tradition of Wicca was established in the 1960s by Alex Sanders and his wife Maxine.

Originally, Alex claimed to have been initiated by his grandmother when he was seven years old(reference, The King of the Witches by June Johns), but later admitted that this was untrue. In fact, he was initiated into a regular Gardnerian coven, by one of Patricia and Arnold Crowther’s initiates, a lady by the name of Pat Kopanski.

When Alex began to publicize Wicca, he encountered strong opposition from more traditional members of the Craft. Some saw it as nothing more than a bid by Alex for personal notoriety; others that he was profaning a mystery. Whatever his motivation, the publicity certainly made people aware of his existence; he and Maxine initiated a great many people in the 1960s and 1970s, including Stewart Farrar and Janet Owen.

Janet and Stewart married, and over the past twenty odd years have published several books about Wicca.

What Witches Do, published in 1971 (written during Stewart’s first year as a witch), focuses completely upon the Alexandrian tradition, and remains the best guide to the way in which a typical Alexandrian coven operates. Rare, but perhaps still available in second hand shops, is a record of Janet’s initiation, narrated by Stewart, called A Witch is Born, which also sheds some light on the traditional Alexandrian coven.

It is, of course, hard to quantify just what makes the essential “Alexandrian Tradition,” as covens vary considerably, even within the same culture. I have yet to encounter two covens who work precisely the same way, even from the same line. Generally though, Alexandrian covens focus strongly upon training, which includes areas more generally associated with ceremonial magic, such as Qabalah, Angelic Magic, and Enochian. The typical Alexandrian coven has a hierarchical structure, and generally meets weekly, or at least on Full Moons, New Moons and Festivals.

Most Alexandrian covens will allow non-initiates to attend circles, usually as a “neophyte,” who undergoes basic training in circle craft, and completes a number of projects, prior to being accepted by the coven for initiation to 1st degree. Some, though not all, Alexandrian covens will also welcome noninitiated “guests” at certain meetings. My own first experience of Wicca was as a guest of an Alexandrian coven.

Alexandrian Wicca uses essentially the same tools and rituals as Gardnerian Wicca, though in some cases,the tools are used differently, and the rituals have been adapted. Another frequent change is to be found in the names of deities and guardians of the quarters. In some ways these differences are merely cosmetic,but in others, there are fundamental differences in philosophy.

That said, over the last thirty years, the two traditions have moved slowly towards each other, and the differences which marked lines of demarcation are slowly fading away. Individual covens certainly continue to maintain different styles and working practices, but it is possible to speak today of “Wicca”encompassing both traditions.

 

Reference

Patti Wigington

Originally published on ThoughtCo.com

Book of Law

Sweet Spring

Book of Law

 

1. The Laws were created to give our lives form and order, that all might be balanced throughout all of the planes. In truth there are two sets of laws, which govern us — one setting forth the ways of the Wiccan, and the other the ways of the Universe. Both are important; each should be observed with respect and treated with honor. The Laws were shaped and molded to govern us, to teach us, to advise us, and to counsel us during our time of mortal life on earth.

2. Honor the Gods, for They are the channels and the manifestations of the Source. Honor yourself, for this divine Force also lies within you. Love the Gods as They love you; for as you love yourself and your brothers and sisters, so the Gods shall honor you. As the love of a man and a woman flowers and grows when nurtured with respect and cultivated with understanding and honor, so should you love the Gods.

3. The Goddess is the Great Mother, the God is the Great Father, and we are their children; and we worship them, because they are the Rulers of the Universe and all that is therein. Therefore, O Children of the Gods, try them not, nor attempt to test them, lest they show you that the Ways of the Craft are not to be belittled or mocked.

4. Let the Power of the Craft flow from you only in love — or not at all. For it has always been known that the energy webs which we weave and maintain shall eventually return to encircle their creator. Thus our works become either the net which entangles and binds us, or the web of light by which we are linked to the Gods.

5. Let the Rites of the Wicca be a way for the children of the Gods to be as One — for the Power flows only when the circle is unified. Always should you revere the Earth, and heal and tend Her, for She is our life, our Mother Ship, on which we navigate the dark currents of space.

6. When you reap the harvests of your lands, then you shall not reap one corner of the field, nor glean the herb gardens, nor the fallen fruits of the orchards. These you shall offer to the Earth Mother, in direct return, or through offerings made to your circle, or to sustain its Priests and Priestesses.

7. Always be proud to be of the Wicca, but never allow your pride to become vanity — for those who are self-important become as stumbling blocks, and like stumbling blocks, they are cast aside for their vanity.

8. Observe and listen, reserving your judgment, for until all the silver is weighed, who can know the worth thereof?

9. As like breeds like, even more does good beget love and joy. Your life will be full of love and joy if you are honorable and happy.

10. Your teachers are the servants of the Gods. Their duty is to plant the seeds of knowledge within the minds of their students, and they shall use their power for the good of the Wicca. Yet it is each student’s duty to tend the seeds, which are planted, and to make the final harvest. Those who misuse the power and trust of the teacher’s position shall have to answer to the Lords of Karma, and adjust the balance accordingly.

11. The Temples of the Gods, which are Their abode on Earth, shall belong to all Their children, and each circle shall be as a special family. Do naught against any of the Wicca, lest you do that thing against the Gods, and against yourself.

12. You must not be a teller of tales amongst the children of the Goddess, and you must hold no malice or evil thoughts towards others of the Wicca.

13. You must not lie, nor give false testimony before your Elders, or those who are of the Wicca — for liars are fools, and a menace unto themselves, and to the Wicca. Be truthful in all your works and deeds, especially within the circle, for what you say within the presence of the Gods becomes manifest.

14. You must not put stumbling blocks in the way of those who do not follow the way of the Wicca. You must make no unrighteous judgments of their ways, and you should aid them with an attitude of love when it is asked for. Yet ever should you keep the Counsel of the Elders, and reveal naught to others where our circles may be. Nor may you reveal our ways without the consent of the Priestess.

15. When you make a vow to the Lord or the Lady, or you swear an oath to another of the Wicca, then you must do all that has come forth from your mouth, for a covenant with the Gods, or with the Wicca, is your honor. Woe and trouble shall befall those who care not for the fetters they attach to their souls by not keeping their word.

16. The Great Mother and Great Father would not have Their children suffer the indignities of oppressors for Their sake, for what is within the hearts of Their children is dear and true to Them. The Ancient and Mighty Ones shall cause the balance to be made for those who desecrate the worship of the Lord and Lady, Their Temples, or Their creations.

17. Never shall you use Magick or the Craft to cause harm, for this is misuse of the Power, and is not to be condoned. To cause pain and death of another through the Craft shall require pain and death of the self in sacrifice.
18. Never betray any of the brethren, nor the lore of our people, for you are all servants of the Gods, and must live by the virtues of love, honor, and wisdom. Let truth, loyalty and honor be your creed and your guides, but let them ever be tempered by love and wisdom.

19. The order of the Gods shall you keep, and within Their Circles shall you walk. You must not say, “I believe” when in truth you doubt, nor shall you claim to obey the Lord and Lady’s word when you never enter into their presence. You must not profess with your lips that which is not within your heart.

20. Use not the names of the Gods in negative or evil ways, for They love and cherish Their children above all others. All others They love, even those who know Them not. Those who hate and curse in Their name shall have the Mighty Ones take the measure of their worth.

21. In any disputes between the children of the Goddess, no one may invoke any laws but those of the Craft, or any tribunal but that of the Priestess, Priest, and Elders.

22. No one of the Wicca may do anything, which shall endanger the Craft, nor bring any of the Wicca into conflict with the law of the land, or with any of our persecutors.

23. Your magickal tools are channels to that which is most precious and pure within you. Cheapen them not by haggling over their price when you acquire them.

24. Never accept money for the use of the Power. It is sorcerers and charlatans who accept money for their fraudulent spells and prayers. If you accept no money, you shall be free from the temptation to use the Craft for evil or unworthy causes.

25. You shall never take unduly from any human, animal, or elemental that which is not yours to take: for if you steal from another, in the end you shall have to sacrifice something dearer to you in order to maintain the balance.
26. Show honor to all people, that they may look up to you, and respect you; and their eyes shall become a mirror for your soul.

27. Those who are of the Wicca shall not own slaves. One person may not own the spirit of another; for only the Great Mother and the Great Father have our souls in Their keeping. Nor shall you take as a pledge any person’s life, for to do so is to place yourself betwixt two grindstones.

28. If strangers sojourn with you, you shall do them no wrong; they shall be treated as one of the Wicca, born amongst you, and you shall deal with them as you would with yourself.

29. Just weights and just balances shall you use, and just value shall you give, and thereby receive threefold.
30. Your altars must be kept clean, pure, and holy; and all that is brought into Circle shall be cleansed and blessed, for the joy of the Gods, and of the Wicca.

31. A clean mind requires a clean body. Keep clean your body, your clothes, and your house, doing this in honor of the Mother, Who gives these things to you.

32. Let none die without honor, without love, or without respect, unless their actions have decreed otherwise.

33. Couple not together if it will cause pain, jealousy, or deprivation to another by doing so. Union for malicious or evil reasons such as these upsets the balance, and the Lords of the Universe shall make adjustments accordingly.

34. Let those who would love one another, and would be as one and bear child, be handfasted. For the sharing of love in this manner is beauteous, and love’s union shares in the energy of the Gods, and brings good heritage to the child. It is important for children to know and to identify with those who brought them here.

35. The Law of the Goddess is that they of the Wicca never take and wed someone whom they do not love, whether it is to harm another, or for some form of material gain.

36. Remember that your children are Goddess-spawned, and are free spirits. You do not own nor control them. They are your brethren, come to visit for a while, that they may share in the vision of your love and wisdom. Let each parent realize that we must teach and guide with love, yet the child shall also teach the parents, and aid them in their growth and development.

37. The etheric web and energy vortices of the Earth are in constant flux and motion to adjust to the needs of the planet. The sacred trust of the Wicca is to create and to maintain centers of light and knowledge, using the Divine spark within us to focus and channel the forces of the Universal fire. These webs are the channels established between the worlds of the stars and the realms of the Earth, bringing in and regulating the Spirit flames, which energize and activate all life forms. Thus we tend and guard the threads of creation, and we weave the patterns of life and manifestation in an ever-evolving tapestry.

38. Never use your heritage or position for self-glorification or gain. Respect both your magick and our ways. We must always recognize that while others may look to us to lead them, they too are our guides.

39. Keep your body strong, your mind keen, and your purpose pure, for within your being you shall channel the Power, and it needs to be strong and pure. And these are the keys to the path of Oneness, and to communication with the Gods. Yet first you must learn to speak to Them in such a manner as They can comprehend. For the children of the Wicca must aid the Gods, and work with Them, otherwise the Gods cannot aid and work with us. Ever remember that the Priest and Priestess are the living representatives of the God and Goddess Forces, and likewise that all humans carry these forces within them, though they may lie dormant and unawakened.

40. As the Great Mother and Father come unto one another and create with pure vibration of Love-Wisdom, so should you strive to make your Circle pure in vibration, a fitting place wherein you may invite the Gods. Thus, your Circle should always be duly purified and cast; and likewise, those who would use the gateways and travel the Circle between the Earth and other Realms must also be duly prepared and purified.

41. The Goddess hath said, “I shall not carry thee, yet neither shall I hinder thee, nor keep thee from having the same opportunities as all of My children. Thou art free, yet thou shalt not be coddled like babes in the storm. If thou hast true devotion within thee, then all obstacles may be overcome.”

42. The laggard is but half a person — and though half is better than none, the whole is twice as good as the half. Those who work not, or who lack the will and desire to learn the ways of the Gods, unto them it is said, “The Ancient and Mighty Ones shall not keep you within Their house, if ye learn not.”

43. You shall make a sanctuary unto the Gods, that They may dwell amongst you. And you shall fashion it to the best of your ability, according to all that your Elders shall show you, and pure energy shall you place therein.

44. You shall make an altar unto the Lady, and you shall make due reverence unto Her, for every place where She enters is exalted. She will come to you and bless you. And you shall fashion your altar out of wood or stone, and burn incense and candles thereon, at the proper times, in observance of Her ways.

45. You shall set aside at least one day during each Moon unto the Goddess. On that day you shall do Her work; and on that day She will renew Her children and bless them.

46. Learn to build your own Temple, and to craft your own sacred Circle, and all tools that are used therein — for to be a person of the Craft is to be a person of consequence.

47. Let each of you inscribe your own record of our ways and teachings. For the course of all Wiccans should be charted, that the patterns of their lifewebs may be made known and utilized. Let all Wiccans keep their Book of Light with the teachings and lore of their Tradition, yet let every Book of Light contain the rites and ways of each individual, which are the harvest of each child of the Wicca, to use the wisdom of their heritage as the seeds of their own personal wisdom. Thus shall our lore and knowledge continue to grow and unfold, like a beautiful flower.

48. It is right to study and to understand the sigils, statues and stories of the Gods, for they shall guide your thoughts to Them, and They shall hear you. Yet you must ever remember that you worship not the sign nor the statue, but the Gods, which inspired them.

49. If your Circle owns any land, let all guard it, and help to keep it clean. Let all justly guard all monies of the Circle, as well as the rights and property of all members of the Circle.

50. If any Wiccan truly labors, just payment becomes a personal right. This is not considered the taking of money for the Art, but good and honest work. Yet if any Wiccan works willingly for the good of the Craft, or a brother or sister without pay, then it becomes the cause of great honor.

51. If any Wiccan should willingly forswear some pleasure or material indulgence in order to do service in the Circle, this person shall be blessed and remembered. For the spirit shall be uplifted in any who gives for the greatest good of all.

52. Know also that if you gift the Lady’s Priests and Priestesses, or Her Circles, this is an offering made unto the Mother Herself, for a true Priest or Priestess strives always to do Her work, and to be of service to Her children, so to honor and respect them is to honor and respect the Queen of All.

53. And the offerings which are considered the most pleasing to the Gods are these: the fruits of the orchards the scents of the trees and herbs the metals of the Earth the waters of the Earth the flowers of the meadows and the milk of all mothers. Yet offerings of labor or money are honest too, and these will also be accepted — more so if you work with love in your heart, for always there is work to be done for the Gods, and service to be given to the children of the Wicca.

54. If your offerings are made to restore the balance, they must be of a nature that is not offensive to the Gods. They must be of value, yet given with a free heart. Thus shall the harmony be restored. If your offerings are given with a heart filled with love and devotion, or are of service to the Gods, or to the Craft, then shall you receive blessings manifold.

55. And when you make an offering unto the Gods, you should offer it through the most proper medium, at the proper times, and in such a manner as to make it acceptable. Any and all remains of the rituals shall be consumed in the fire, or buried within the Earth, as a way of returning to the Source all that we use in the observance of our ways, thus ensuring the continuity of the cycle.

56. All may use the Craft to help and aid them, or for the advantage of their Circle, or the Craft — yet only if you are sure that you harm none. Let each Wiccan and Circle always debate these matters at length. Only if all be satisfied that none be harmed in any way, may the Art then be used. If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way, then perhaps the goal may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none.

57. Throughout the world it has been many a year since Wiccans have been burned. Yet misuse of the Power might raise the persecutions once again. So never break the Laws, however much you might be tempted, and never consent to their being broken. And if you know they are being broken, then you must work strongly against it.
58. In days of old it was decided by the Mighty Ones who came before us that the Art might be used to restrain others from harming the Craft or its children, yet only after great consultation with all members of the Circle, and only then to deflect or to constrain them.

59. And such were the ways of the Lady that She brought us forth in joy, and such were the ways of the Lord that His reign gave all life pleasure. Offer love in your worship and all shall be joyous in beauty.

60. In the dimly remembered dawn of ages past, the Wicca were truly free. Then, in Atlantis came the Age of Misuse of Power, followed by the Ages of Persecution and Suffering. So the people of the Wicca hid themselves and cloaked their knowledge, and wove veils of secrecy and silence. And this is how the Ways of the Wicca have been preserved through the time of darkness. Yet much of the knowledge of our people was lost in that darkness.

61. Yet the cycle ever revolves – and the Age of the Earth Mother once again draws nigh. We must be strong – one with our birthright, and one with our Gods, if we are to bring forth the balance. Those who would harm us, or attempt to enslave us, we must overcome – yet only through light and love, and never through violence or the evil of chaos. And through our efforts the time of our people will come into being once more. In the times which lie ahead, there is much work to be done, so that once more the cycles of life are drawn to the path of light, and the balance achieved through the power of love.

62. In order to bring the ways of the Light and Love and Light to the peoples of the Earth, our secrets are slowly becoming secrets no more, and it is good that this is so – for the age of shadow and secrecy is passing. Yet the sharing of our ways needs always to be guided by wisdom and by love. Let our rites and our mysteries always be sacred. Let no one defile our worship or our heritage, for the defilement of our ways is loss of honor, both for self and for the Craft.

63. Let each High Priestess govern her Circle with justice and love, and with the help and advice of the Elders and the High Priest, always heeding the messages of the Gods when they come.

64. Ever remember that although the Priest is the force with which the Circle is built, the Priestess is the ruler therein – for it is through her that the Goddess created the world, and all things therein.

65. Let each Circle of Light decide how it shall be known — whether by earthly name or magickal one. For each child of the Wicca knows best the safety or dangers of the chosen homeland.

66. Let each Circle of Light maintain and dedicate unto the Goddess and the God all things that are required for Their rituals, for what is blessed in the name of the Gods rightly belongs to Them, and the Priest or Priestess shall be the caretakers thereof.

67. Any of the Circle, who are of sufficient rank, and wish to form a new Circle, shall tell the High Priestess and the Elders of their intentions. Members of the old Circle may join the new Circle when it is formed, but if they do so they must leave the other Circle, unless otherwise instructed. For it is an old law that while each Wiccan may join the Circle of choice, no Wiccan’s energy should be divided between two or more Temples.

68. The Elders of the old and new Circles shall meet in peace and with respect, to decide the level of interaction and connection between the Circles. Yet it is known that the splitting of a Circle often means strife. So only if it is truly in a spirit of peace and harmony should the Circles meet for the celebration of the Great Festivals.

69. None shall enter the Circle with a sickness or an ailment, which may be passed on to the Lady’s other children – for to do so causes harm to yourself, as well as to others of the Circle. Rather should the Elders go unto the sick one, that through the love of the Gods they shall be made well and whole once more.

70. It has been judged that if any of the Craft need a house or land, and none will sell, it shall be lawful to incline someone’s mind so as to be willing to sell, providing it harms none and the full price is paid without haggling.

71. The High Priest or High Priestess shall heed all complaints of all Pagans and Wiccans, and strive to settle any differences between them, with reason and with justice.

72. In the matter of quarrels or disputes between the members of the Circle, the High Priestess shall convene the Council, and inquire into the matter. The Council shall hear each person privately, and then both together. And they shall decide justly, not favoring one side nor the other.

73. If an agreeable resolution cannot be reached, then the dissenting Wiccan must void the Circle, for a Circle of Light cannot be properly formed where there is disagreement and discord. And when a Circle is not properly formed, the energy within is either dissipated, or turns ugly, festering like a hidden sore. So let dissenters leave, but only with love in their hearts and yours, for even though your paths may diverge, you are still all children of the Wicca, and there must be no violence between us. Bear no grudges, hold no thoughts of vengeance, for this will rot away the foundation of your power.

74. It has ever been recognized that there are some people who can never agree to work under any others. At the same time there are also people who cannot rule justly. To those who must ever be chief there is but one answer: “Void this Circle, and seek another one, or if ye be of sufficient rank, then form a Circle of your own.” To those who cannot rule justly, the answer shall be: “Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you”. For none may circle with whom they are at variance, because to do so angers the Gods, and hinders the Craft.

75. Those that do wrong without knowledge shall be held innocent; those that do wrong through carelessness shall be judged lacking in wisdom, and dealt with according to the nature of the transgression. Those who do wrong with deliberation and forethought shall be thrice punished, and the Lords of Karma shall lay low their pride.

76. Each person must make a balance between words and actions, and the judgment of the Elders should incline toward making good come from the injustice or wrongdoing. Many are the ways to restore the balance, so let the judgments of the Elders and the Priestess be in keeping with this.

77. Do not turn aside those who seek the ways of the Wicca for want of an offering or lack of a robe. You are the servant of the Gods, and the servants of Their people, and those that seek for the Gods you must aid in their quest.

78. When you meet with those who would inquire as to the ways of the Goddess, or who wish to become of the Wicca, you shall search their hearts, and even into their spirits shall you look, as you are able. For the Wicca do not look to acquire mere numbers. Let none be turned away whose heart is true, and whose desire is earnest.

79. The hidden children are like the strings of a harp; each one may give a clear note, and when gathered together
in sympathy and accord, they give rise to a beautiful symphony. Yet when struck without reason or thought, these notes may cause discord or disharmony. Therefore the Gods decree to Their Teachers and Priests that all must be taught to master their instruments, that there may be no discord or imbalance.

80. Choose the Priests and Teachers of the Wicca with diligence and with care. The qualities that you should search for within them are Wisdom, Faith, Belief, Knowledge, Ability, Patience, Leadership, Humility, and a loving nature – for they must lead and teach the children of the Goddess, and will thereby have the power to do great good, or to cause great imbalance.

81. Let the greatest of the Priests and Priestesses guide the rituals within each of the Temples of the Old Gods, and let all worshippers strive to be content with the advice and guidance given by them. Yet each rite and ritual must be given so that it is clear and understandable, for within the Temple of the Wicca there walk only free men and free women who must be able to recognize and to understand our ways and their implications. Therefore those Priests and Priestesses who will not or cannot explain the inner workings, or give just cause and reason for their decisions, may be questioned, and the wisdom of the advice weighed.

82. Let the Priestess and Priest lead as long as they are able, and let their leadership be wise and strong, and to the benefit of the Wicca. Yet if their health is ill favored, or if the next generation needs to try its hand, then let them have the vision and the wisdom to step away from their position, and pass the duties of the Circle to another. Let them not become overly attached to the office, nor too fond of the power.

83. If a Priestess or a Priest should tire of the Temple’s duties and charges, then she or he may step down, but only after having trained and acknowledged a successor. But a Priest or Priestess who deserts the Circle loses the right to lead again within this life, so great is the trust that has been broken. If such a person returns to the Circle within one turn of the Wheel, and shall be judged to have true atonement, and gained new insight and growth, then she or he may be forgiven, and allowed to return to the Circle. Yet that person shall worship only, and hold no office or title. Leadership is a sacred commitment and an honor, and it will not be committed twice to those who have shown that they cannot be trusted with such responsibility.

84. Any Priestess, Priest, or Elder who consents to a breach of the Laws regarding the use of the Craft to cause harm to others must immediately be relieved of office, for it is the lives of the children of the Goddess which they endanger, as well as the honor of the Craft.

85. The High Priestess may take a Sabbatical from her Circle, if her personal life and duties require it, for up to a year and a day. During that time, the Maiden shall act as High Priestess. If the High Priestess does not return at the end of a year and a day, then the Initiates of the Circle shall name a new Priestess. Unless there is good reason to the contrary, the person who has done the work of the Priestess should reap the reward. If someone else is named, then the Maiden should continue in that office.

86. Each Priestess and Priest shall choose their own consorts, yet let them select from those who are wise in the learning of our people, and thus others shall abide by the wisdom of their choice. Yet if the Circle feels the decision is ill-advised, or that they cannot abide and work in honor and trust with that consort, then they may request a gathering of all concerned to meet and to talk, and to resolve the balance with love and honor. For only those who are pure and strong, keen and wise, patient and loving, can effectively and properly carry out the duties of a Keeper of the Circle.

87. Those of the Priesthood shall not neglect their mates, or their children, or their house, nor anything, which is in their possession; nor shall the sick and the needy be neglected for the sake of the Circle. Therefore let them adjust the one thing against the other, that neither should suffer, and that which is given by the Gods is treated with love and respect.

88. Long ago, at the time of Creation, it was deemed that the female should hold the power of life giving. So mightily was the male force drawn to the love and beauty of the Creation of life, that he surrendered unto her keeping the force of his powers in the furtherance of life. Yet the Priestess must always remember that the flames which light the fires within her come from the Priest. Therefore she must use the force wisely, and only with love, and she must honor and respect him, who is the activator of the Life Force.

 

Published on Wicca Chat