Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 18
“Parents have to demonstrate the value of trust, respect and honor.”
–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
Children learn more by watching than by listening. If we want our children to understand and value trust, they know it by watching how adults live their lives! If we want the children to be respectful, they will observe what the adults do and say to each other. We need to walk our talk. We need to remember the children are watching.
Grandfather, help me learn these important values: Trust, Respect and Honor.
Elder’s Meditation of the Day – December 12
“In order for our children to survive in the world, they need a firm understanding and belief in the basic principles of sharing freedom and respect of individuality.”
–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
There is a saying: Tell me, I’ll forget; Show me, I’ll remember; Engage me; I’ll understand. The adults need to determine what the younger generation is the learn. The principle of sharing keeps the youth from being greedy and selfish. The principle of freedom teaches the youth about choices, decisions and consequences. The principle of respect keeps us from playing God and becoming a controller of all things. We need to learn theses lessons so we may demonstrate them for our children.
Great Teacher, help me to understand Your principles.
Calendar of the Sun
Day of the Frost King
Altar: Upon cloth of thick, soft white place a figure of the Frost King, his sleigh, snowflakes, icicles, and many gifts given to each other. The gifts shall be removed to the Yule Tree later.
Offerings: Give gifts to each other.
Daily Meal: Frozen dishes.
Invocation to the Frost King
Hail to the Lord of Frost!
Hail to his sleigh of bells
Pulled by the beasts of the tundra
Or by snow-white horses
Through the thick white cloak of the Snow Queen.
Hail to the lace-maker, the artist
With his silver brushes, the giver of Death
In the most beautiful and painless way.
Hail to you who are found in many places,
Many stories, many tales, many rites
Around the world, and whose gifts pile up
Around the great Tree where you ride.
Gift-giver, you found the maiden in the snow
And near froze her with your testing,
Yet when she awoke there was fire, and riches
All around her. You smote the ungenerous
And the greedy, for in your world
No one refuses to share. That is the First Law
O f Survival. Share what you have,
Be it fire, food, drink, comradeship,
A warm cloak against the winds,
A warm body against the cold.
Let each day be a gift-giving, you say,
For if all gifts wait until the longest night
We will all be cold indeed.
Hail to you, Father of Winter,
And may you teach us generosity with your knowing smile.
(All bring gifts from the altar and give them to each other, saying why the gift was given, and blessing each person present.)
Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today
The Crow is the trusted messenger that alerts its allies to both danger and opportunity. Although they may appear playful and too opportunistic to be trusted, Crows are in fact powerful and trustworthy. The Crow sees and hears all. When The Crow reports it is best to listen as their news is always important and presented accurately.
As a daily card, The Crow indicates that you will soon receive news that will either protect you from loss or lead you too opportunities doorstep. To fully realize the advantage the information will soon receive carries with it you will need to react to it quickly and with sureness.
Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 26
“In our traditional ways, the woman is the foundation of the family.”
–Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders
We must pay attention to the role of the woman in the family. She is the heartbeat of the family. She should be respected and treated in a sacred manner. We should listen to her guidance. We should help make her role easier by helping with chores or just telling her how much we appreciate her.
Great Spirit, I ask you to bless all the moms.
Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost A Cent
1. THE GIFT OF LISTENING…
But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.
2. THE GIFT OF AFFECTION…
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let
these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.
3. THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER…
Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, “I love to
laugh with you.”
4. THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE…
It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief,
handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.
5. THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT…
A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job” or “That
was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.
6. THE GIFT OF A FAVOR…
Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.
7. THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE…
There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive
to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.
8. THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION…
The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it’s
not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.
Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to
succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to
open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much you care.
THE ABC’S OF A WICCAN LIFE
by Victoria Marty
Accept others as they are. We are all individuals.
Belief in yourself is a necessity.
Concentration is important in any endeavor, both magickal and in life.
Do what you will, so long as it harms none.
Empathy is an important life skill… learn it, practice it.
Find strength in yourself, your friends, your world and your actions.
God is multifaceted… the Lord and Lady, all deities take many names and faces.
Help others every chance you get.
Intelligence is something that cannot be judged on surface.
Judge not… what you send out comes back to you!
Karma loves to slap you in the face. Watch out for it.
Learning is something that should never stop happening!
Magick is a wonderful gift- but it is not everything.
Nature is precious. Appreciate and protect it.
Over the course of time your soul learns many lessons. Make this life count!
Quietness both physically and mentally restores the soul; meditate often.
Remember to take time for yourself as well as others.
Spells can help you, but you must also help yourself!
Tools can only do so much… they are not the foundation of all.
Unless you enjoy worrying, keep a positive mindset!
Visualize the success of your goals before you set out to achieve them.
Wisdom can often be found in the least expected places!
Xenophobia (a hatred of those different from you) is a path to misery.
You are a beautiful person who is capable of anything!
Zapping away all of your troubles is not going to happen
If you are having a difficult time seeing the start of November as positive, join the club. Friday’s fireworks, followed by Saturday’s lunar transit into Scorpio along with the heightening potency of the dark of the moon cycle, can leave many souls bewildered. However, several celestial alignments attempt a rescue mission as the Sun makes a physically and emotionally vitalizing, 60-degree tie with the red planet Mars (1:49AM PDT) — the last main aspect happening with daylight time in effect. Once standard time is restored (in most locations across America and world-wide), today’s rescue mission continues as the Moon in Scorpio trines Chiron in Pisces (1:26AM PST and arriving with a boost for healing interests) while practical efforts lead to progress on the business front — courtesy of a Mercury-Saturn parallel (3:16AM and similar to a union in the zodiac). The big event — the New Moon at 12 degrees of Scorpio (4:51AM) — is also a hybrid Total-Annular Solar Eclipse at 4:48AM. The area of the world influenced is primarily the Eastern zones of North and South America, the Atlantic Ocean, Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. One fortunate facet to any New Moon is that it tends to propel humanity forward rather than backward as it represents the seed-point for the coming solar-lunar dance in the zodiac over the next 29.5-days — until the next New Moon (in Sagittarius) takes hold on December 2. Therefore, utilize the hours after the New Moon/Total-Annular Solar Eclipse to take several giant steps forward in your main fields of expertise. Productivity — especially in the arts — can rise as the largest asteroid Ceres enters affable, airy Libra (6:16AM) — a cycle that lasts until February 3. Be a keen logician and careful analyst when it comes to focusing on important business plans as the Moon makes its monthly union with Saturn (9:19AM). A 15+ hour void lunar cycle starts during a mind-expanding Moon-Jupiter trine in water signs (8:24PM). This lunar twilight zone lasts until 12:15PM tomorrow when the Moon enters fiery Sagittarius. The big chill can enter affairs of the heart — on a temporary basis overnight — as Venus forms a frictional, 45-degree tie with Saturn (11:32PM). [Note to readers: All times are calculated for Pacific Standard Time — starting at 2AM on the West Coast of the USA and Canada. Be sure to adjust all times according to your own local time so the alignments noted above will be exact for your location.]
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
My continuing series on pagan abbeys has been well received and I have had many inquires about pagan communities in North America, lay and cloistered. For those of you as hungry to be a part of such a dedicated group as I am, but have not yet found the right one, here are a few ways you might be able to connect with something suitable. If there are no structures in place in your area that fit your criteria, and you have the inspiration to create one, I have included some suggestions for that as well.
One of the main reasons for dissatisfaction in a group is that most aspirants don’t start by identifying their needs correctly. In Western paganism, and especially in North America, there are often so few dedicated pagan groups that one must join whatever is available regardless of any misgivings or wrong fits, simply to partake of a community setting. This is a pity, as it often does not satisfy either the seeker or the other participants. They, or others, soon leave, or there is a long drawn out period where everyone becomes unhappy. Since there are so few options, and as the community is often so close knit, that a withdrawal or rejection from one group often leaves the seeker with even fewer choices for the future.
We can achieve the honing of our expectations without burning our local bridges by clearly identifying what is most important to us before we even attend our first meeting. Most reps aren’t willing to answer a long form questionnaire for the pleasure of your presence, of course, but most are agreeable to addressing your most important concerns. As it is quite an effort for most smaller groups to include new members, knowing what you need ahead of time can save everyone, including you, a lot of grief. What exactly does a group require for you to be happy in it? What can you live with, and what is a deal breaker?
* Dedicated to your deity, sect, or practice? Atheist? Non-denominational
* Supportive or focused on other communities as well – Gender or sex based, LBGT friendly, actively and pro anti-racial, anti-ablist, anti-agist?
* Level of commitment – Full time, ritual only, class based, coven like? Working in the world or simple meet-ups?
* Level of spirituality – Full time, full ritual, same tradition, like minded or causal?
* Travel – how far are you willing to go? To move, commute, or pop by?
Be honest with yourself. Your needs are your own and no one can criticize you for your choices. Don’t expect others to change their group for you, since they probably won’t, but your self-knowledge will make the task of narrowing your selections much simpler.
Now that you have broken down into a list of what you actually require, locating a group becomes much easier.
An additional avenue to consider is the practice of your spirituality along with your sacred calling, tasks, or interests. Many pagans find inspiration and sacredness in history, traditional skills, crafts, role-play, sexuality, activism, and other practices. There are many other individuals that also share those interests, and those kinds of groups don’t need to be sacred for you to feel as though you are fulfilling your spiritual needs. They are often easier to find and connect with, and you will learn from them how to better serve your deity (if you have one) and spirit, by honing and practising the skills that you associate most with the sacred.
Another bonus of connecting with any of these communities, religious or secular, is that you should be able to network with others that share your interests, and have an even better chance of finding a less well known but perfect group for your needs. If you find something sacred, so do others!
I’m going to make the leap here that you already know how to search for a pagan group in your area using Google and other on-line means. Witchvox of course lists many local pagan groups. If you still can’t see any that fit the needs you’ve defined, do not despair! There are a lot of avenues that many people miss when they are searching. Here are some suggestions of where to start looking for a group that meets your requirements that may not have an online presence or local listing. Feel free to suggest more.
A word about Message boards: Even though scouring Craigslist, Kijiji and social networking are the first places to start, many communities don’t have the work hours to keep posting on too many sites. Going down to a physical location, like an occult or new age bookstore, whole foods store or community centre and checking or posting on their notice boards is an increasingly disused option, but one worthy of pursuit. For many groups, it’s so much easier to leave up a poster and wait for inquiries than maintain a FB feed. You will always find at least one event or group that you never would have found any other way.
Religious, National and International:
The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids
International Humanists: Canada, US, UK, Spiritual Humanism
Maetrum of Cybele
Abbey of the Green Flame
Copper Horse Abbey
Student groups at Universities and Colleges
Less organized, organic:
Red Tent Movement
Pan Indian movement and Idle No More
Iron John retreats and The Good Men Project
Cloistered or Segregated secular communities:
alternative healing retreats
Intentional Communities: ecovillages, cohousing communities, residential land trusts, communes, co-ops, housing cooperatives
Secular Communities of Sacred Interests:
Society of Creative Anachronisms and medieval reCreationists
Bellydancing and other traditional folk dancing
sacred circle dance
martial arts and other moving meditation, archery
Women’s and Men’s Healing
sexuality groups, like BDSM
traditional skills – herbology, fibre arts, cookery, leatherworking, blacksmithing
music – medieval, bardic, folk
If you want to move to the country and dedicate yourself to a full time cloistered community, for example, and you *don’t* want to pretend or convert to Catholicism or Buddhism or Taoism or go Amish, but you don’t mind if everyone else isn’t doing the same prayers whenever you are, then International Communities or the new Ecovillages springing up are an excellent alternative. Most are secular, but not anti-religious, and are supportive of most lifestyles.
It would be fabulous if we had already available spaces for pagans who want to dedicate themselves full time as professional monks, for example, but we don’t. Yet. So for the moment, we must satisfy our spiritual selves as much as possible, before we can make those kinds of dedicated communities a reality.
Even with honing your sacred skills, you now want to dedicate your life to helping others experience that sacred community space. But there are no groups that fulfil your needs in your area, so you have decided to create one. What to do? Here are some suggestions.
Canadian laws are very different from American and other countries, of course, but there are some guidelines.
First, get your ducks in a row. Research what needs aren’t being satisfied in your area, and how to cover those. Redundancy doesn’t help anyone, and the larger the vacuum you are filling, the greater chance you have of attracting participants. Do you need a weekly group meeting at a brick and mortar temple, or event planning group, or non-denominational cross pagan discussion group?
For those interested in becoming full time dedicants in a cloistered community, there are few other substitutes for pagan abbeys, and those communities will definitely need to be established for us. The complexity of creating one is the apex of organizing skill, as well as our significant validation as a major religion, but it is certainly doable, with drive, vision, and a love of detail. To get some idea of how it’s accomplished, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Visit a few real life abbeys, convents or monasteries. (After all, a lot of them are directly derived from pagan abbeys in the first place!) Many have weekend or weeklong visit privileges, or you can just ask to learn from them. There is a Buddhist Abbey in Nova Scotia that I am planning on conferring with or hanging out in. They have been around since the early 1980’s. You should select one that’s a bit older, too, so they can tell you the problems they have encountered. One in your own state would better, since laws vary so much. Amish or other religious communities can help you see how that works in practice, too.
Then, *do your paperwork*. If your group is even at all organized, like renting a space for a temple, your best bet is creating a corporation or organization that can have a board and be accountable for bills and other legalities. That way, no one person is ever on the hook, and no members are so key that it falls apart if they leave. It’s one of the main factors that determine if your group makes it after the Founders all move on. If that is the best choice to get done what you need to do, make sure you have everything you need to establish your not for profit or even for profit corporation. If you want charitable status, it’s even harder, but you’ll figure which one works best for you when you come to it. Get your founders and other personnel lined up.
If you have a regular, physical location that you rent or own, make sure you pick your space with the locals in mind. They are part of your equation, too. If they feel put out or a lack of consultation, they will punish you, and all your people, and all your visitors. You will be interacting with them to get most of your services and equipment, even if it’s just parking space. It’s not good to piss them off. So arrange team games or picnics or Open Houses for example. If they know you, they will be more likely not to bother or fight you. And maybe even defend what you do.
Once you have your structure in place, with the appropriate advice from other professionals on what they have done, and what went wrong, then it’s time to listen to the community you are serving, to discover what they need to satisfy them. Unlike private or even coven worship, a temple, monastic or segregated community is completely reliant on everyone pulling their weight; as in, they WANT to be there. That means, no matter what your vision is, it can’t replace the gestalt that your group will create. It’s your job to get it together, keep the base going, and make adjustments, but they aren’t minions. If you get too controlling, or conversely, not controlling enough and let a few idiots ruin it for everyone, they will all simply leave, and badmouth your operation to boot. So choose carefully to start with. Pick people who share most of what you see, but not exactly, and select the ones you are reasonably sure aren’t going to flake on you. You can’t push people too hard for this, but you do need to help them stay motivated. Take them with you to investigate other institutions. Make sure they have the hunger for it, like you do.
Once you get it going, you will also have to maintain. This is the biggest mistake most make. Nearly all pagan communities, temples, communes or IC’s end in one generation, because no one builds it to continue. You will, for example, encounter at least one split or takeover attempt in the first 5-10 years, and one every two decades or so after that. Anticipate those, and build your group to withstand it, or it will simply dissolve. If you require a physical location for your work, purchase property if you can, instead of leasing, or in a decade, you’ll have to move, and that can destroy the community entirely. Bring in a wide variety of skill sets, and make sure your people feel nurtured and heard, or they won’t put up with it, and they will think they can do it better, or that another place can do it better. Which is why you may want to include all pagans like we do and not, say, just Wiccans, but that’s your choice. Ego, yours and usurpers, will kill your group gestalt, and then everyone loses. You are the MC, the house manager, and the CEO. But you are not the choir, and without them volunteering their lives, you have no community.
Make no mistake about it: this is a lifelong task. If you do not have these skill sets, then you must either learn them, or join an already existing community and lend your strength to growing that one. It will not happen unless you make it happen, and give it all your personal energy and focus, but without exhausting yourself and leaving you vulnerable and the task unfinished. We are at another time of change, and about to re-build and re-learn what our ancestors had. Some remnants are still here, but most aren’t. Pick where you are best suited to direct your energy, and then do it. For the rest of your life. It still won’t be long enough.
Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 29
“Mothers must protect the lives they have helped to bring into the world.”
–Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
Every child is subject to the seeds each adult plants in his/her mind. If we plant praise and “you can do it”, the child will grow up with certain predictable behavior patterns. If we plant ideas that there’s something wrong with you or you’re good for nothing, the child will grow up with predictable behavior patterns. We need to honor and respect the mothers who protect the children and plant positive seeds for their growth.
Great Spirit, bless each mother and give her courage and faith.
Because I hope to be a great one someday, I’d like to share an excellent gift to give your own on this ‘Mother-In-Law Day.’ Actually, this Feng Shui tip is a great gift for any woman. This philosophy says that giving a woman three fresh rosemary plants (that she should keep on a window ledge or any place in the kitchen) will also gift her with financial stability and independence. And if that doesn’t make you her favorite son or daughter-in-law, then I don’t know what will.
By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com
Principles of Belief For Wiccans
Remember that these are for the Wiccan faith and may or may not be practiced by members of any other pagan religions.
“The council of American Witches finds it necessary to define modern Witchcraft in terms of the American experience and needs. We are not bound by traditions from other times and other cultures, and owe no allegiance to any person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being. As American Witches, we welcome and respect all life-affirming teachings and traditions, and seek to learn from all and to share our learning with our Council. It is in this spirit of welcome and cooperation that we adopt these few principals of Wiccan belief. In seeking to be inclusive, we do not wish to open ourselves to the destruction of our group by those on self-serving power trips, or to philosophies and practices contradictory to ours, we do not want to deny participation with us to any who are sincerely interested in our knowledge and beliefs, regardless of race, color, sex, age, national or cultural origins, or sexual preference.
We therefore ask only that those who seek to identify with us accept these few basic principles:
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 is 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 lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of Life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magical practice and religious worship.
5) We recognize both outer worlds and inner, our psychological worlds – sometimes known as the Spiritual world, the Collective Unconscious, 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, magic, 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 or the Wiccan Way.
8) Calling oneself “Witch” does not make a Witch – but neither does hereditary itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees, and initiations. A Witch seeks o control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with nature.
9) We acknowledge that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within it.
10) Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be “the one true right and only way” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices 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 do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.
13) We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being.”
A Brief History of Witchcraft
Paganism has been around and alive since the beginning of time. Documentation of magic and witchcraft exists even in the oldest texts. Numerous cave drawings all over the world depict symbols of the gods and goddesses worshipped throughout history. Paganism is the oldest form of religion.
Wicca is a Nature oriented religion, that puts emphasis on honoring both The God and The Goddess, and living in harmony with all things in the Universe. It can be practiced in a group, called a Coven, or it can be practiced as a Solitary Witch. We do not worship satan!
The devil is an anti-Pagan propaganda device invented by the Christian church. He (or, more appropriately, “it”) had never existed in written literature prior to the New Testament. The Craft is a pre– Christian religion which has been around much longer than the church or its concept of satan, who was never worshipped as a deity of the Old Religion. The devil is strictly a part of the Christian belief system, not the Nature-loving earth religion of Wicca. However, we do acknowledge the light and the dark sides of things, including religions.
There are also some very special Wiccan Holidays that are celebrated throughout the year. These holidays represent the honoring of The God and The Goddess, and the cycle of Nature.
Witches have an inseparable partnership to Mother Earth and celebrate Her turns of the wheel as Sabbats and Esbats. The Wheel of the Year marks the Sun’s journey across the sky, the solstices, equinoxes and the Earth’s changing seasons. Each spoke of the wheel marks an important moment of progression and change in the Earth. Witches will celebrate the holiday starting the day before until the day after the Sabbat date.
The Wiccan religious calendar contains 13 Full Moon celebrations and 8 Sabbats or days of power. The Sabbats are solar rituals, marking the points of the Sun’s yearly cycle, and are but half of the Wiccan ritual year. The Esbats are the Wiccan Full Moon celebrations. There are 12-13 Full Moons yearly, or one every 28 1/4 days. The Moon is a symbol of the Goddess as well as a source of energy. Thus, after the religious aspects of the Esbats, Wiccans often practice magick, tapping into the larger amounts of energy which are thought to exist at these times. Most rites are held at night. The eight Sabbats represent seasonal birth, death, and rebirth.
Witchcraft is recognized in the United States and in at least some parts of Canada as a legitimate religion. In I985, Dettmer v. Landon, the District Court of Virginia pursuant to rule 52 (a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, ruled that Witchcraft falls within a recognizable religious category and therefore is protected by the Constitution. I’m sure it is also recognized in other countries as well. Also, check out The U.S. Armed Forces Chaplain’s Handbook section on Wicca.
Types of Witches – by Silver Ravenwolf
“Alexandrian Tradition: Founded in England during the 1960s, Alex Sanders referred to himself as the “King” of his Witches. The rituals are said to be modified Gardenarian.
British Traditional Witch: A mix of Celtic and Gardenarian beliefs. Most famous organization at this time is the International Red Garters. British Traditionals move mostly from within the Farrar studies (the famous Witch husband and wife from England). They too are fairly structured in their beliefs, and train through the degree process. Their covens are also co-ed.
Celtic Wicca: The use of a Celtic/Druidic pantheon mixed with a little ritual Gardnerian, and heavily stressing the elements, nature and the Ancient Ones. They had a vast knowledge of and respect for the healing and magical qualities of plants and stones, flowers, trees, elemental spirits, the little people, gnomes and fairies.
Caledonii Tradition: Formally known as the Hecatine Tradition, this denomination of the Craft is Scottish in origin, and still preserves the unique festivals of the Scots.
Ceremonial Witchcraft: Followers of this tradition use a great deal of ceremonial magic in their practices. Detailed rituals with a flavor of Egyptian magic are sometimes a favorite, or they may use the Quabbalistic magic.
Dianic Tradition: First pinpointed by Margaret Murray in 1921 in “The WitchCult in Western Europe,” this term appears to include a mixture of various traditions. However, their prime focus in recent years is on the Goddess, and has been pegged as the “feminist” movement of the Craft.
Eclectic Witch: Look in any personals column in a Craft-oriented newsletter or journal and you will see this catch-all phrase. Basically, it indicates that the individual does not follow any particular Tradition, denomination, sect, or magical practice. They learn and study from many magical systems and apply to themselves what appears to work best.
Gardnerian Tradition: Organized by Gerald Gardner in England in the 1950s. Just why is this fellow so darned important? Gerald was one of the few people so determined that the Old Religion should not die that he took the risk of publicizing it through the media. Under all the hype, I truly believe he understood that the young needed the Craft as much as the Craft needed a new generation to survive.
Hereditary Witch: One who can trace the Craft through their family tree and who has been taught the Old Religion by a relative who was living at the same time. Channeling doesn’t count. How far one has to go back on the family tree to meet the conditions of the first part of this definition is debatable. Family Trades (another name for Hereditary Witches) occasionally adopt individuals into their dynasty. This decision is never a light one, and usually stems from the lack of offspring to carry on the line, or the high regard they hold for the person in question. The ceremony is intricate and important. After all, it is not every day you can pick your relatives! It is much like the marriage of an individual into a family.
Kitchen Witch: You will hear this term every once in awhile. Basically, this type is one who practices by hearth and home, dealing with the practical side of religion, magic, the earth and the elements. There are some who groan loudly at this type of terminology, viewing it as degrading or simply inappropriate. Just remember that the Old Religon started somewhere, and most likely the kitchen (or cookfire) was the hub of many charms, spells, healings, and celebrations. After all, where does everyone congregate during the holidays? Grandma’s kitchen has always produced magical memories for humanity; visions of Mother making that something special for a sick child still holds true today for many of us.
Pictish Witchcraft: Scottish Witchcraft that attunes itself to all aspects of nature: animal, vegetable, and mineral. It is a solitary form of the Craft and mainly magical in nature with little religion.
Pow-Wow: Indigenous to South Central Pennsylvania. This is a system, not a religion, based on 400-year-old Elite German magic. Pow-Wow has deteriorated to a great degree into simple faith healing. Although Pow-Wow finds its roots in German Witchcraft, few practicing Pow-Wows today in Pennsylvania follow the Craft or even know the nature of its true birth.
Satanic Witch: One cannot be a satanic Witch because Witches do not believe in satan.
Seax-Wicca: Founded by Raymond Buckland in 1973. Although of Saxon basis, it was authored by Raymond himself without breaking his original Gardnerian oath.
Solitary Witch: One who practices alone, regardless of Tradition, denomination, or sect. Solitaries come in various forms. Some were at one time initiated into a coven and eventually chose to extricate themselves from that environment and continue practicing a particular Tradition or sect by themselves. A solitary can also be an individual who has no desire to practice with or learn from a coven structure, but still may adhere to a specific Tradition or sect through the teachings of another.
Strega Witches: Follows a tradition seated in Italy that began around 1353 with a woman called Aradia. Of all the traditional Witches, this group appears to be the smallest in number in the United States; however, their teachings are beautiful and should not be missed.
Teutonic Witch: From ancient time the Teutons have been recognized as a group of people who speak the Germanic group of languages. Culturally, this included the English, Dutch, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish peoples. This is also known as the Nordic Tradition.
The Wiccan Witch: I personally like the word “Witch” very much. To me, it means mystery, healing, power, special, different, balance, and history. It means knowledge, secrets, he earth, and a bond with both the male and female sides of myself. The word “Wiccan” does not give me those feelings. It projects a different set of associations – weaving, church, New Earth, wicker furniture (don’t ask me why) and the movie The Wicker Man which although I despised, I fully understand). It also means “front,” a way to bring the public into accepting our belief system for what it actually is, not what their preconceived ideas of a word dictates to them. Neither definition is better than the other; you must choose for yourself.”
Some Pagan Terms adept: Through serious study and accomplishments one is considered highly proficient in a particular magickal system.
Altar: This is a special, flat surface set aside for magickal workings and/or religious acknowledgements.
Amulet: Considered an object of protection that has been charged to deflect specific negative energies or thought forms.
Ankh: An Egyptian hieroglyphic that is widely used as a symbol for Life, Love and Reincarnation.
Aradia: This is the name of a Italian Goddess sworn to protect her people against the aggression of masculine faith and its persecutors during the reign of medieval terror. She taught around 1353. She was imprisoned more than once, escaped several times and eventually disappeared.
Arcana: This is the two halves of the Tarot deck. There is the Major Arcana, that consist of 22 trumps. They reflect the dominant occurrences in our lives. Then there is the Minor Arcana (also known as the lesser Arcana), they consist of 56 suit cards. They assist the Major Arcana by reflecting smaller occurrences in our lives.
Astral: Another dimension of reality.
Astral Travel/Projection: This is the process known as separating your physical body from your astral body to accomplish travel on the astral plane.
Athame: This is a ceremonial knife that has been cleansed and consecrated. It is NEVER used for blood-letting, and very rarely used for cutting anything on the material plane.
Bane: This means bad, evil or destructive.
Banish: To rid the presence of. To magickally end something or exorcise unwanted entities.
Bind: To magickally restrain someone or something.
Blood of the Moon: A woman’s menstrual cycle. If this occurs at the time of the full moon, she is far more power than any other time of the month.
Book of Shadows: This is a collection of information for a Witch’s reference.
Bolline: This is a white-handled knife used for magickal purposes such as cutting. Example: inscribing candles, or cutting a branch for a wand.
Cabala: Is the ancient Hebrew magickal system.
Call: Invoking Divine forces.
Chakras: In the human body there are seven major energy vortexes. These vortexes are: 1. The crown (white) 2. forehead (purple) 3. the throat (blue) 4. the chest (pink or green) 5. navel (yellow) 6. abdomen (orange) 7. groin (red). Note that there are colors associated to each chakras. To mention also there are smaller vortexes in the hands and feet.
The Charge This is a story of the message from the Goddess to her children.
Channeling This is where you allow a disincarnate entity to “borrow” your body to speak to others in the forms of writing or verbal.
Charms: The can be amulets or talisman that have been charged to perform a specific task, an incantation being said over it.
Cleansing: To remove negative energy from an object or place by utilizing positive, psychic energy.
Consecration: To bless an object or place by charging/instilling it with positive energy.
Coven: Is a group of Witches, (13 or less), that work together for positive magickal goals, and perform religious ceremonies.
Covenstead: Is the place that Witches meet where they can feel safe and at home. This could be a building or a place.
Dedication: This is where the individual accepts the Craft as their path and promises to study and learn to reach the goal of adeptship in a given tradition.
Deosil: This is clockwise movement.
Divination: This is the act of using magickal tools/symbols to gather information on people, places, things and events in the past, present and future.
Dowsing: This is the use of a pendulum or stick to find the location of a person, place, thing or element. This is also very useful in answering yes and no questions.
Drawing Down the Moon: This is a ritual used during the Full Moon for witches to empower themselves and unite their inner selves with a particular deity.
Earth Magick: Magick that uses the powers and forces of the Mother Earth.
Elder: Is a group of people that oversee the operations of the church and its functions. These people are experienced and educated in Magickal adeptship and counseling.
Elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. They may also be associated in a magickal circle with direction, East is Air, South is Fire, West is Water and North is Earth. The center of a circle is Spirit or Akasha.
Enchantment: These are magickal objects that have been charmed and kept secret and hidden from all human eyes and affects a hidden aura.
Evocation: This is to call something out from within.
Fascination: Also known as mind-binding, this is an act of mental effort to control anther person’s or animal’s mind.
Gaea/Gaia: This is a Greek Goddess, now meaning Earth Mother or Mother Earth.
Green Man: This is another name for the God.
Handfasting: This is the name of a Wiccan or Pagan marriage ceremony.
Initiation: This is the experience and/or awareness of a person, that their personal and earthly reality has been changed.
Macrocosm: The world around us.
Microcosm: The world within us.
Magick: Focusing your will and emotions to cause change in both the macrocosm and microcosm.
Magick Circle: This circle protects the Witch from outside forces while conducting ritual magick. The magick circle is considered the doorway between the worlds, and allows us to move between the two.
Magickal Systems: This is the set of guidelines relating to specific Gods and Goddesses or Traditions, Denominations, Sects and/or Pantheons.
Pantheon: This is a group of Gods and Goddesses in a specific religious structure.
Pentacle: This is an upright 5 pointed star that is encircled. Each point of the star has a meaning: 1. Earth 2. Air 3. Fire 4. Water 5. Spirit.
Priestess: Is a female that is devoted to the service of her chosen deity and humankind.
High Priestess: Is the female leader of a coven, she plays the role of the Goddess in certain ceremonies. This could also be a solitary Witch that has dedicated herself to a particular God or Goddess.
Priest: This a male that is devoted to the service of his chosen deity and humankind.
High Priest: Is the male leader of a coven, he plays the role of the God in certain ceremonies. This may also be a solitary male witch that has dedicated himself to a particular God or Goddess.
Reincarnation: To return to the physical body. The soul upon death, exits one body and begins to prepare to come back into life within another physical form.
Ritual: A physically/mentally focused ceremony to thank or honor your chosen pantheon, or to perform a magickal working.
Runes: Are used in divination and magickal workings. They are a set of letters from the old Teutonic alphabets, inscribed on wood, stone, clay, tiles. They are widely used in all forms of magick.
Scrying: Divination method using specific tools, such as a bowl of inked water, where the diviner “sees” normal or mental visuals or information without any visual.
Sigil: Is a magically oriented seal, sign or other device used in a magickal working.
Spell: This is a magickal rite, an extension of mental/emotional energy, either spoken aloud, written, said to oneself, it could be drawn and even expressed in the form of dance. There must be a need for the spell to be successful.
Talisman: Is a magickally charged object, to bring something to the bearer.
Vision Questing: Also known as pathworking, The use of astral projection, or dreamtime to accomplish a specific goal.
Webweaving: The sharing of information between magickal people by means of any form of communication to assist each other in their studies and life goals.
Wheel of the Year: This is the full cycle of the seasonal year, beginning with Samhain in some traditions and Yule in others.
Widdershins: This means to move Counterclockwise.
Working: Known as magickal working. This is the process used magickally to reach a positive goal.
Magic vs. Science One very interesting aspect about magic and the craft is that it is more science than religion. Every aspect of witchcraft is almost purely scientific based on the manipulation of energy and the human mind. So often, I get questions from people asking me to prove it. These same people ask the same question of Christianity as I did so many years ago. Prove it. The wonderful thing about the craft is that there is nothing intangible; nothing that you cannot see. There are no all-knowing gods hidden in the sky that push the clouds around or make the rivers flow. Our gods are the clouds and the rivers. One of the most refreshing things about the craft is knowing that one can go outside at any time, on any day and lay down on their God/dess and feel it between their fingers or flow between their toes or breathe it into their lungs. Everything in witchcraft is real. There is no spooky-ooky magic. There is no great invisible creator. There is no Hell. There is only that which is real and the belief in things one can see and feel. Witchcraft is likely one of the most down-to-earth religious practice.
Which Bird Will Help You Today?
Birds can be powerful allies for becoming our truest selves or for simply helping us to get through our busy and challenging days. Do you need the sharp-eyed eagle, merry finch, or something else? Take the quiz and find out, here:
Answer the following questions TRUE or FALSE.
1. I need the ability to wait patiently until the right time comes to act.
2. I need to get a clear overview of my life right now; I’m too bogged down in details to have perspective.
3. I feel like I’m operating in the dark and could really use some help finding my way.
4. I need to feel more cheerful and optimistic.
5. I want my brain to feel sharp and flexible, making the best possible use of what I know.
6. I want to feel more loving, gentle, and affectionate.
7. I need to feel that my territory is protected and safe.
8. I need help getting rid of outworn things in my life.
If you answered TRUE to:
1, then Crane will be helpful to you.
2, then Eagle is your guide.
3, then Owl is your ally.
4, then Finch will aid you.
5, then Crow is your helper.
6, then Dove will be your companion.
7, then Jay is your friend.
8, then Vulture is your guide.
You may want to put photos or other images of your bird where you can see it and be reminded of its basic nature, which offers itself to you for help and guidance. Be sure to put an offering of birdseed outside, if you can, as a thank-you.