Let’s Talk Witch – Ever Wonder Where The Grimoire Came From & Why We Keep One?

Magic of Dragons

Ever Wonder Where The Grimoire Came From &  Why We Keep One?

The religious practices upon which Wicca is partially based were primarily an oral tradition passed down to neophytes by more experienced practitioners. It’s said that small groups of practitioners met in secret and would possess little knowledge of the whereabouts or practices of other groups. This was done for protection, so that if one group was discovered there would be no way for the members to reveal or disclose the whereabouts of other practitioners. Unfortunately, this fragmented approach has left us severely wanting in the area of verifiable information. It is very difficult to piece together the rites and rituals of an oral tradition when the practitioners are scattered and disjointed and few written records exist. Consider this excerpt from the Preface to the Book of Shadows as recorded by Doreen Valiente, who adapted selected works of Gerald Gardner, considered by many to be the father of modern Wicca:

Keep a book in your own
hand of write. Let
brothers and sisters copy
what they will; but never
let the book out of your
hands and never keep the
writings of another, for if
found in their hand of
write they may well be
taken and tortured. Each
shall guard his own
writing and destroy it
whenever danger
threatens. Learn as much
as you may by heart, and
when danger is past,
rewrite your book if it be
safe. For this reason, if
any die, destroy their book
if they have not been able
to for an’ it be found ‘tis
clear proof against them,
and “ye may not be a
witch alone,” so all their
friends be in danger of
torture. So destroy
everything not necessary.
If your book be found on
you ‘tis clear proof against
you alone and you may be
tortured. Keep all thoughts
of the cult from
your mind an’ say you had
bad dreams, a devil
caused you to write this
without your knowledge.
Think to yourself “I know
nothing. I remember
nothing. I have forgotten
all.” Drive this into your mind …

While this preface has never been proven to be authentic, it is certainly a fascinating representation of the threat of capture that many witches experienced.

When so much information is missing, it becomes our responsibility to rewrite the rituals and legends as they relate to our modern experience. We may never go back, only forward.

 

Judy Ann Olsen, A Witch’s Grimoire, Create Your Own Book of Shadows

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Let’s Talk Witch – Should You Have A Written Book of Shadows or Keep One On Your Computer?


Veteran's Day Comments
Should You Have A Written Book of Shadows or Keep One On Your Computer?

 

In these modern times, it’s often more practical to keep information in an electronic format. Many modern Wiccans possess a spiritual journal in two formats. They type and store some of the work on a computer, and write out the rest. Perhaps you’ve heard others insist that you must keep your book “in your own hand of write,” and this has made you feel conflicted about keeping a computerized version of your spells and rituals.

There are several advantages to maintaining your book of shadows on a computer:

• Your material will be easy to find.

• It will be easy to read.

• It is easy to run off a copy of the text for use in ritual itself without having to handle your entire spiritual journal.

• You can keep a backup copy somewhere else, such as a safe-deposit box, in case of disaster. There are also drawbacks to having your spiritual journal on your computer:

• A computer file is cold, and has less personality or character than a handwritten book.

• You run the risk of accidentally erasing the file or having it corrupted by disk failure.

• A virus can destroy your entire machine if you are not properly protected.

• At times it can be inconvenient to print out the necessary pages.

The advantages to writing your book of shadows out by hand are numerous. Writing things out by hand is an excellent method by which we memorize material. A handwritten book of shadows possesses charm and character, and can be much more conducive to creating an atmosphere appropriate to ritual. It’s also deeply personal. Drawbacks include that handwriting can be hard to read by candlelight or moonlight, and if for some reason you lose your book, you’ve lost everything.

Ultimately, your spiritual journal is exactly what you make it. It is a blend of your choices, your personal style, and your practice. Many eclectic Wiccans use a combination of the computer and handwritten forms. Any spiritual record files on your computer should be backed up on CD or disc and stored in another location, just in case. You could choose to type up the text of a ritual or any information you’ve researched, print it out, and put it into your physical book of shadows for ease of reference, where it will provide a nice contrast to handwritten information.

 

 

Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own

Arin Murphy-Hiscock

 

The Wicca Book of Days for Saturday, September 12th

Forest Dragon

The Wicca Book of Days for Saturday, September 12th

Book of Shadows

 

In Wiccan terminology, “Book of Shadows: may have two meanings. Firstly, it may refer to the handbook of Wiccan practices and lore, first published in 1959, that was compiled by the founder of Gardnerian Wicca, Gerald Gardner (1884 -1964). And, secondly it may describe a personal notebook kep by any Wiccan (into which he or she may first have hand-copied information from the coven’s collective Book of Shadows), in which the details of rituals, spells and other magickal workings and observances are detailed and recored. A personal Boook of Shadows should never be ready by anyone other than its owner.

Buy a Book

If you do not own one or have filled the pages of your existing Book of Shadows, why not seek out an appropriate blank book today? Its appearance is a matter of preference, but it should be sturdy enough to hold an wealth of words and symbols.

 

—The Wicca Book of Days

Selena Eilidh-Ash

 

Daily WItch Craft for Thursday, July 2

Daily WItch Craft for Thursday, July 2

Healing Wreath

Here is another witchy craft from my Book of Shadows for you to give a whril. You may decorate this wreath with either fresh or dried bontanicals; it’s up to you. Use whatever magickal healing plants you have growing at home in your garden or go to the arts and crafts store to peruse their selection of dried flowers. Should you decided to use fresh roses and allow them to dry naturally on the wreath, make sure you remove the thorns before you work with them.

Please note that I have the magickal attributes of the suggested floral materials listed for you in the supply section. So choose your herbal materials with intention and get to crafting!

• Fresh or dried sage (a Jupiter herb that encourages long life and wisdom)
• Fresh or dried feverfew (a healing and protective plant)
• Fresh or dried chamomile flowers (a healing herb that purifies and protects your health)
• Fresh or dried roses (roses speedup magickal workings and encourage a loving atmosphere in the home)
• Fresh or dried yarrow flowers (a beautiful and readily available “all purpose” magickal herb)
• Small 8- or i2-inch grapevine wreath
• Glue gun and glue sticks
• i floral wire paddle (16 gauge)
• 3 yards decorative green ribbon (green is a Jupiter color and one associated with herb magick, life, and good luck)

Gather small groups of your chosen herbs together and wire them into little bundles. dles. Now lay a bundle on top of the wreath base, and start wrapping the wire around the wreath; go over the stems of the herbs as you do this. After you have the first bundle dle wired on, twist the wire together and snip off the ends, tucking any remaining wire down into the grapevine. Continue on to your left with the process, overlapping the stems from the first herb bundle with the flowers of the next. Work your way around the wreath until it is completely covered. If necessary, add a touch of hot glue to the herbs to make them stick to the grapevine wherever it is needed. Once you have the entire wreath covered, tie up a decorative bow and secure it with the floral wire, then attach it to the wreath. When you attach the bow, say these lines:

Witchy ribbon of green, now be for me
A charm for a life that’s strong and healthy.

Use a twelve-inch length of ribbon for a hanger, if you choose. Once you are finished ished with the wreath, hold it in both of your hands and charge it full of healing energy. Repeat the charm below three times:

By love! This wreath will radiate a healing light
To ward and protect me and mine both day and night
By the power of herbs this Thursday Witch craft is spun
Bringing healing energy to all and harm to none!
Now hand up your wreath and enjoy it.

Clean up your supplies and straighten up your work area.

Book of Witchery: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for Every Day of the Week
Ellen Dugan

Paganism 101: Basics of Pagan Spirituality

Paganism 101: Basics of Pagan Spirituality

Author: Cu Mhorrigan

Introduction:

Paganism has received a lot of attention in recent years with the increased use of the internet, television shows like Charmed, Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, Angel and movies like The Craft, Harry Potter, as well as cartoons like Sabrina the Teen-Aged Witch.

Nowadays, it has become fashionable to announce oneself to be a Pagan, or Neo-Pagan, Wiccan or Witch – especially for teenagers, wishing to attract attention, adults trying to follow the latest fad in spirituality, or just as an excuse to justify weird or aberrant behavior.

However, calling yourself a Pagan is one thing; actually following the spiritual path is something else. It is my hope with this ‘class’ that I might explain in practical terms what it actually means to be a Pagan in our modern age and to assist those who wish to implement the following of this spiritual path.

Definition of the word “Pagan”:

The Word Pagan is derived from the Latin word ‘paganus’, which is loosely translated to mean “of the country”. It should be noted however that the usage of ‘paganus’ within the Roman Empire (Where they spoke Latin. Duh!) was always meant to be a slur meaning “hillbilly, redneck, hick, trailer trash, or white trash”. Much in the same way we would talk about guests on the Jerry Springer Show.

Later, when the Christian faith took over the Roman Empire under Charlemagne, it was used to describe those outside of the Christian faith and those in need of conversion. Not an improvement, because paganus was still pretty much of an insult.

Turning a negative into a positive:

It wasn’t until recently that the term ‘Pagan’ gained a more positive use with the resurgence of Pagan beliefs within the European and American Cultures. Those who sought spirituality closer to that of their “ancestors” adopted it. Eventually, it came to mean ‘those who follow the Old religions’ or ‘those who follow a spiritual path outside of the big three Abrahamic religions’. (What are the big Three Abrahamic religions?)

What DO Pagans Believe?:

An it harm none Do as thou wilt.

Speaking in general terms, Paganism is an earth-centered spirituality, which believes in the sacredness of all things, equality of all persons regardless of gender, sexual, and spiritual and social practices. The practices within Paganism are extremely diverse and open-ended allowing individuals to incorporate whatever rituals and belief systems they feel comfortable with.

Since there is so much diversity within our spiritual path, we stress personal liberty, and responsibility for one’s own actions. That as long as a person does not cause physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual harm to others or himself, he/she is free to pursue one’s physical, mental and spiritual development as he/she sees fit.

Which brings me to my next point: Pagans, in general, do not proselytize! That means you aren’t going to get a call from us at three o’clock in the morning asking us if you are going to ritual or not. There is no High Priestess going around smacking people over the head if they haven’t worked on their Book of Shadows or if they bought the wrong candle for a personal ritual. Aint gonna happen.

Why? We are assuming that if you are here, you want to be here. We’ll give you information, let you know your options, and the rest is up to you. We aren’t going to stand on a street corner and scream at folks for not worshipping Athena nor at women/men who chose not to go around sky clad (That’s ‘nekkid’ for those of us who are really new to this).

The Law of Return (or sowing and reaping):

There are no true “sins” within our spiritual practices. There are only things that cause harm (or, as I like to call them, “Stupid Ideas”) and things that are helpful (Or as I like to call them, “Good Ideas”).

When you do good things, good things tend to happen to you (Eventually). When you do bad things, bad things tend to happen to you (Eventually). Of course, since we do not live in a static environment, and people tend to interact with one another, sometimes things get a little ‘fa-kakhed’. However, the Universe always balances Itself out in the end.

This concept is called, karma and it’s a relatively complicated matter, which I have here boiled down to its lowest common denominator. Of course, there are differing views of Karma, one of which is the Three-Fold Law What you do comes back three-fold, or three times, back at you. (If you are not sure as to whether an act will have some kind of repercussion, ask yourself, how much would I really like this done to me?)

(The self-defense caveat: Like all “Laws”, there are loopholes. If someone else is out to cause you harm in some way it would be a really STUPID (Bad Karma) idea not to protect yourself, or your family, or your friends. However, make sure you have as many facts as possible (like the guy is holding a knife and threatens to cut you up) before beating the oneness of all things back into these individuals.

Pantheons, Divinities, Spirits, Energies:

Okay this is where it gets a little tricky, but stay with me. The most common (and extremely annoying) question we as Pagans get is, “Don’t you folks worship Satan?” (Everyone roll his or her eyes here.)

The answer to that is a resounding, “NO!” For the most part, you need to keep in mind that Paganism is a separate religion from Christianity. Hence Satan (Whom I call, the Christian God of Evil and Nastiness) is not a part of our pantheon. Sorry…

For the most part (depending on the tradition you follow) the Pagan concept of Divinity falls under one of the following expressions:

Duo-Theism: (Duo=Two or Dual, Theos=Divinities):

The Worship of a Co-Equal God and Goddess, each having unlimited power, compassion, wisdom, energy or what-have-you, but maintaining different roles and functions.

The God is aggressive, powerful, sexual adventurous, skillful. He handles the Male side of fertility.

The Goddess is nurturing, passionate, creative, sensual and artistic. She oversees the power of creating life through birth and the Female side of fertility.

This belief is widely held by the Wiccans and Wicca-like factions of Paganism.

Poly Theism: (Poly=Many, Theos=Divinities) The belief in multiple Gods and Goddesses.

Many folks see these Gods as extensions of the God and Goddess (i.e. Monism) with each one taking on different aspects at the time of their encounter with the worshipper. Others (like myself) believe that They are actually separate entities with Their own personalities, quirks and motives.

Not every god or goddess is a real people person nor does every god and goddess have a laid back attitude. If you are going to get involved with a particular deity, you had better make sure you do a LOT of research as to what they like, don’t like, and if a particular god or goddess is right for you. Otherwise your life will get extremely interesting in a bad way.

The third school of though in polytheism is the idea of the gods and goddesses being archetypes within a person’s own psyche. This is sort of like a piece of our own subconscious wrapped up in a costume and a mask in order to teach our conscious minds lessons they need.

Of course, there is more than those three Schools of thought, but I’m just giving the basics here.

Pantheism:

Simply put, this is the idea that the Divine is in everything; hence all things are a part of the energy we call god. Since all things are a part of god, all things are sacred and are expressions of the divine in some way, shape or form. When I worship a tree, I am worshipping the Divine; when I give food to a hungry stray, I am feeding the Divine; when I am hurting someone, I am hurting the Divine.

Then there is the Fourth Category:

I-have-no-Friggin-Clue-ism:

For the beginner, this is the best spiritual idea I can suggest. The idea is essentially, “I have no friggin’ clue if there is a Divinity or not, therefore unless I am shown otherwise, I will not say that the Gods are this way or that. I will respect the Power behind the name, but I will not pledge myself to him/her/it unless I have an absolutely good reason to.”

This is actually one of the safest belief systems to take as a new student of the Pagan path because you are open enough to receive enlightenment, but at the same time, you do not run the risk of making a total, complete ass out of yourself. The Gods will instruct you as They see fit.

Now of course, Pagans will usually incorporate not only one, but perhaps two or three of the ideas listed above. This usually comes from personal experience and cannot be learned any other way.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to shift from one idea to another or even to incorporate two or more of these ideas…it’s all good. Just find out what works best for you.

So How the Hades do I Become a Pagan? (Or stupid questions that are commonly asked)

Well, for the most part, it’s a matter of doing a lot of reading and a lot of self-exploration. It took me at least two years of studying online and reading books and attending classes to even consider myself a Pagan. A lot of the traditions under the banner of Paganism will have different views on training and initiation (think of it as baptism), and how one becomes a member of that tradition.

The best way is to start out attending Pagan gatherings, visiting bookstores and such, and talk to other Pagans. Eventually, you will either find a religious path that works for you or you will throw your arms up in dismay and run screaming back to your religion of birth. And there is nothing wrong with that. NOT AT ALL! We realize that the Pagan spiritual path is not for everyone, and we will not be offended. Just make sure you don’t tell people we sacrificed your cat and you’ll be cool with us.

Do I Need to Buy Special Clothes and Dress in Black?

The answer is: Only if you really want to. Yes, there are special robes some folks wear, but unless your coven says otherwise, you can pretty much wear what you want.

Just some basic suggestions: Wear something comfortable and wear something you won’t mind getting dirty. Most of our rituals take place outdoors and, while you may look really good in an Armani suit and Gucci shoes, there is a good chance your clothes will get messed up and your shoes scuffed.

Loose, light clothes in summer and spring is always a good idea, and warmer clothes in the fall are really smart. Most winter rituals will be held indoors, depending on the weather. If it makes you comfortable to wear black Witch clothes and pointed hats and cloaks… Knock yourself out…You’ll be getting lots of stares and odd looks (mostly from us), but all-in-all, if it makes you comfortable, then that is all that matters.

Do I Need to Buy Special Jewelry?

Again, only if you want to and if you enjoy it. Jewelry is a personal matter to the people who wear it. And it’s usually best to find a piece that says, “HEY! I LIKE YOU. WEAR ME AROUND YOUR NECK!” Otherwise, No special jewelry is required to be a Pagan.

Do I Need to Kill Something (like a kitten) and Drink its Blood?

No, you don’t have to kill an animal to be a Pagan. For the most part, we are animal friendly and don’t believe in killing a critter in order to work our rituals. Yes, there are some Pagan groups that practice animal sacrifice and it is left alone…but fear not, the only thing usually killed has already been slaughtered and put on the feasting table in a sacred bucket marked, KFC.

Do I Need to Become a Vegetarian?

Nope, being a vegetarian is a matter of personal preference and what you feel in your heart. While many of us are vegetarians, a lot of us aren’t. It may be a good idea to eat a little healthier, but no one is going to come down on you for eating meat or using meat-based products. However, you might want to do your own research and come up with your own choices.

So, What DO I Need to Do?

Excellent question. One, as I suggested before, do a lot of research, a lot of reading and, when in doubt, do more research. A lot of Pagans keep what is called a “Book of shadows”, which is just a fancy name for a Journal. Write down everything you learn in that book and when you get a chance, read it. If you see a cool article on the net, feel free to print it (for your personal use only, please).

To create a book of shadows, I would suggest buying a loose-leaf binder and fill it half-way with paper. It’s also a good idea to invest in a three hole punch. That way, you can put articles that you printed from the net and use them for later reference. Do not worry about using blood and special things to “make it official”. It is your study guide — your book — and so, make sure you personalize it to suit your needs.

When you feel you are ready, and you have found a religious tradition you feel comfy with, take that Book of Shadows and attend any class you can afford. A lot of places have very reasonable rates for their classes. The Learning Annex is one source, but so is your local Pagan bookstore. Just make sure you talk to the person running the store to make sure he knows what he/she is talking about. If you are not entirely comfortable in studying there, consider looking for another teacher. Remember, this is about YOUR spiritual growth and enrichment and you need to be in an environment conducive to YOUR learning.

Holidays, and Rituals:

There are eight major Holy Days during the Pagan year that a lot of us agree upon. There are also rituals that are held on the New Moon and the Full moon depending on how often your coven (A group of Pagans you worship with) meets.

The Eight Major Holidays are listed in the order they fall on:
Imbolc (February)
Spring Equinox (March 21)
Beltaine (May 1)
Summer Solstice (Litha) (June 21)
Lughnassadh or Lamas (August)
Autumn Equinox (Mabon) (September 21)
Samhain or Halloween (October 31 to Nov 1)
Winter Solstice (Yule) (December 21)

Each Holy Day represents a certain mythological event in our religion, which will be discussed by the High Priest (ess) in advance.

It’s usually a good idea to find out what you would need to bring so that you can best participate in the ritual.

Now most likely you are going to have a hard time pronouncing the names of the days when you first start out, so don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions; it’s the only way you are going to learn.

Tools For Rituals:

Energy: This is the most important, and since I am assuming people know Jack about Paganism, I’m going to make this explanation brief: When we perform rituals and cast spells, we are attempting to gather energy. This energy comes from the universe and ourselves. Depending on what we are trying to do, we use certain rituals, and tools. Think of it this way: It’s like gathering up a whole bunch of snow together. We eventually gather enough to make a snowball and then we pack it in and send it off to impact your friend. It’s basically the same thing. When we perform these rites, they help our minds to focus on gathering this energy and tell it what we want done. Energy is the most important part of any ritual, and without it, we are just looking stupid.

Cauldron: This is basically a black, three-legged pot to be used for burning incense and for other things. They range from tiny to huge and can be used to burn incense, burn paper, and make potions. Now cauldrons tend to be rather expensive, so if you are a bit “Price Sensitive” like me, find yourself one of those old fashioned iron pots that Mom uses to make rice. Make sure you clean it before and after use. If you have one of these in your own home and have had it for a long time, you are pretty much used to it and it is used to you. So, you really don’t have to “charge” it with energy.

Athemae: Essentially, this is a knife or a really small sword. This is used to direct energy raised up during rituals. THESE ARE NOT USED TO CUT PEOPLE (of any species). It can be used for cutting vegetables. Most traditions prefer a double sided blade, small enough to conceal. (You would be amazed how many cops will stop you for carrying a broad sword.) If you’re unable to get an athamae, it’s totally cool to make yourself a wand or use your index finger to direct energy.

Wands/Rods: Okay, these are wooden or crystal sticks also used to direct energy as well as to draw it to yourself. Wands tend to be no longer than your arm, while rods can be longer. Best way to get a rod is to go out on little walks in the park and look for a stick. Once you find a stick you like and that screams out for you to take it, take it home, and sand it and decorate it until you are totally comfortable with it. Viola! You have a wand or rod. If you have as much mechanical aptitude as a slug, ask around your local occult bookstores. Keep in mind they are going to be slightly expensive and you will have to charge it once you get it home.

Candles: Candles are used in rituals to help get your mind into the practice of Magic (No, I am not spelling magic with a K or a J…I’m keeping this as simple as possible. If you want to use the funky spellings in your own notebooks, knock yourself out. You’re not being graded here). Candles are lit in order to help get the mind into a state where it’s easier to put the patterns in for the energy to flow. I would strongly suggest getting candles of all colors and sizes and as many as you can afford. (Usually one of each color.) You can pick them up anywhere.

Incense: Like candles, incense helps the mind get energy together to cast spells. It’s a good idea to make your own incense or to purchase them from a botanica, or occult bookstore. Incense sticks may be colored, but it’s usually a good idea to purchase them based on their smells. Pungent or spicy incense is normally used to send stuff away. (Mainly because they are offensive.) Sweet incense is used to bring stuff to you. Earthy smells help to facilitate healing and to strengthen you.

Divination tools: Things like Tarot Cards, Runes and what not. These are mainly used to help you to make decisions or to gain some kind of insight as to what is going on around you. Keep in mind, these items themselves are not magical in and of themselves, but are based on your own intuition interpreting what you are seeing.

Books, books and more books: Like I said earlier, it is suggested you read religiously. It’s best to keep a library of things you have read or are about to read. Don’t just pick books only by one author, but of different ones. Some people may know a lot about what they are talking about; others are complete and utter horse feces. However, the only way you are going to find out is if you look for yourself and keep your Book of Shadows nearby while you read. If something sounds like nonsense, or if you aren’t sure about whether or not what is true within a book, do some research. It sounds like a lot of work, but this is your spirituality we are talking about here.

It is a good idea to question everything and find out if there is an agreement between the authors you have read. Another thing to keep in mind is that some folks are completely full of fluff and bluster while others deliberately water stuff down to keep from divulging too much about their path. And some are completely straightforward about the things they are writing about.

One of the best ways to learn about an author is find out when they are going to be doing a book signing near you. Get to meet them (Most book signings are free and most will give a short lecture about their book just to whet your appetite for it.) Some of the most intense learning experiences I gained were in attending some of these lectures; it’s also a great way to actually see the person who is writing.

Use your intuition…and don’t be shy about picking their brains. That is what they are there for. In fact, I would suggest doing the same thing at the store where you get your tools and books. It helps you learn a lot faster; especially when you ask Stupid questions. Yes you will get looks. Yes, you will even get the occasional shake of the head, But if you don’t ask, you wont know. It’s worth it.

Suggested Things to do:

Check out different groups that meet in your area. You can do this by attending open (public) circles or classes. Use them as a way to meet other Pagans and eventually find a group that you feel comfortable studying with. If you are Solitary Pagan, it helps to “meet and greet” other Pagans.

Look around for Pagan shops, botanicas and other places where you can get supplies. Most botanicas are devoted to Santeria or Voudu, but you can get some really good equipment at cheap prices.

Check out the local library, as well as the bookstore for things you can read about your particular pantheon.

Ask a lot of questions. Even stupid ones. It’s one of the chief tenets of Paganism to question everything you come across. If you get an answer that sounds like horsesh*t, then verify, verify, verify.

Things Not To Do:

Don’t panic; this seems like a lot of information, but it really isn’t. This is just the primer for your own research.

Don’t sweat if you cannot find a teacher right away, Nine times out of ten, they usually show up when you are ready to learn more about a particular aspect of your tradition.

Don’t start off calling yourself a High Something of a particular tradition. Most systems within Paganism have their own methods of teaching and credentials for clergy and what not. No faking!

Don’t be afraid of getting criticized; it’s going to happen. Learn to grow a thick skin, and if someone points something out to you, listen and check out your own motives and conscience. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, then don’t.

Don’t take everything at face value…Learn how to question what you hear and not be a total jerk about it.

Don’t try and convert people, It rarely works just put out information let people know where you stand and end it there.

Recommended Websites:

http://www.witchvox.com “The Witches’ Voice” — It’s a great place to start since they have information about everything.

http://pantheon.org — A great place to learn about the Gods of your chosen pantheon. It doesn’t have all the information, but enough for you to get your feet wet and do some research.

Yahoo.com — They have a plethora of Pagan groups and places where you can talk to people of different walks of life. It’s also a great way to meet Pagans in your area.

Google and other search engines — Another great website with links to thousands of Pagan websites.

Recommended Books:

The Truth about Witchcraft Today: Scott Cunningham
Urban Primitive: Tannin Silverstein and Raven Kaldera
The Book of Shamanic Healing: Kristin Madden
The Celestine Prophecy: James Redfield (Yes, it’s a novel but it helps to get an idea about energy-work and how energy can be gathered and stolen.)
The Wiccan Warrior: Kerr Cucuhain
Witchcraft Theory and Practice: Ly de Angeles
When I see the Wild God: Ly de Angeles
Drawing Down the Moon: Margot Adler (of NPR)
The Spiral Dance: Starhawk
Buckland’s Complete Witches Handbook: Raymond Buckland

Let’s Talk Witch – Nine Steps To Becoming A Witch

Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments
Nine Steps To Becoming A Witch

 

STEP ONE – discovering your path

Read and study. Read everything you can get your hands on. You need to read anything that will tell you more about the beliefs of witchcraft, magazines, books and web pages. While studying there are other forms of the craft that help. (nature) For example you could go hiking or go camping. Sunbathe, moonbathe, watch animals etc. This step should take you at least 2 months.

STEP TWO – defining your path

In a notebook, folder or journal start writing down some reasons why the craft is for you. What does being a witch mean to you? What do you hope to achieve? How do you visualize the God and Goddess? What does the Divine mean to you? Be honest. This notebook will become your book of shadows.

STEP THREE – Exploring magic

Magic is simply raising and channeling energy that is found in yourself, nature and the divine. Before you begin working with magic you need to understand what it is. You also need to know the basic structure of a ritual, casting circles, calling quarters, invoking the God/dess, raising and directing energy, grounding and centering and closing the circle. Know the moon phases. Learn to feel how the moon effects your body. Keep records of all you have learned in your book of shadows. This step will probably take you about another couple of months.

STEP FOUR – learning to focus

Now you should start working on meditation and visualization exercises to increase your concentration. Learn to be calm. You can start out by meditating at least 3 times a week for about five minutes. You should do this for at least a month. Remember to keep a record in your book of shadows.

STEP FIVE – working with magic

Now you can begin some basic spell work. Start with a full moon ritual or a new moon ritual. Every witch should write her own spells.

STEP SIX – self dedication

After you have been studying for at least five or six months on meditating and working with magic it is time to perform a self dedication ritual. Design it however you want. A self dedication ritual means you are dedicating yourself to the craft.

STEP SEVEN – the year between dedication and initiation

You can initiate yourself when you feel you are ready. The year you spend between your self dedication and your initiation you should spend celebrating the Sabbats, meditation, practicing your spellwork and studying. Use this time to learn about different forms of divination, such as Tarot or Runes, and different forms of healing, such as herbalism. Make sure you are recording in your book of shadows.

STEP EIGHT – Networking

You should spend a solitary year study after self dedication before a witch considers joining a coven or a circle. This gives you a full year to celebrate the cycle of Sabbats.

STEP NINE – Initiation

An initiation should be something that’s meaningful to you. The ritual should be written only by you. A coven initiation is a means of bonding a group together. Initiation into the craft should always be a solitary ritual.

You still have to learn and practice. If you truly want to be a witch be prepared to spend the rest of your life studying and learning about this religion.

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

By , About.com

 

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

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

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

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

A Little Secret That Only Witches Can Know About. Can I Trust You?

Every secret organization or religion has a secret or two. Of course, you won’t never hear about them because they are secrets. Makes senses. Most of these organizations and religions have secrets to keep the public out and in the dark, to exclude them. On the other hand, our religion is not like that we have had to keep it secret just to keep it alive. If it was for our ancestors keeping our entire religion secret, we wouldn’t have a religion.

The secret I am getting ready to share with you is not that big of deal. It was used in the Burning Times to determine if the person you were meeting was a witch. You can see during this period of time why it was very important to know who you were meeting.

Here is the ritual. Enjoy!

This is a magic witches hand shake spell. This spell is cast to find out if someone you know may or may not be a witch. After casting this magic spell, you will then shake the hand of the person you are inquiring about, and your answer will be revealed in the handshake. It can also be used to slightly put a thought or idea inside the mind of a person without coming right out and suggesting it. We offer many more free magic spells here for you to use and to try.

Extend your right index finger and lightly touch the wrist of the person exactly where the pulse is felt. By touching the pulse it throws the acquaintance completely off his balance for just an instant , but in that instant plant an initial
thought, ( example : I am the one you want for the job) this
really works and is cool, try it.

*You can also determine if the other person is a witch by the way they grasp your hand. If their right index finger is extended and touching your pulse area, more than likely they are a with.*

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Journey To Witchcraft

Journey To Witchcraft

Author:   The Wild Sorceress  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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