Solitary Spirituality

Solitary Spirituality

Author:   Jessica Marie Baumgartner   

Being a solitary Witch does not mean that you have to do everything alone. I myself have been a member of a coven and practiced on my own as well, finding that not everyone is meant to perform rituals and works of magic with others. Sure, sometimes it is nice to be joined with others of your own faith. But being a part of a coven is not for everyone.

I found my path about ten years ago. A friend in high school introduced paganism to me. Mind you, this was also during a time when the movie “The Craft” had already gained cult status and being a witch became somewhat of a trend. My sister and a friend of ours also became interested and we dedicated ourselves as a coven before I knew it. For a few weeks the four of us were so close that we enjoyed practicing meditations, working with our energies, and celebrating midsummer nearly every day. Things seemed so great; I had finally found my calling and felt that the world was at peace with itself. Unfortunately that would not last long.

Our high priestess, my friend who introduced this faith to me, had her own agenda. That’s not to say that she meant any harm, and I will always be connected to her through the bonds of friendship. But the power this young high priestess felt over the rest of my coven mates and me seemed to overcome her better judgment. She began playing us against each other, praising me for my strength with the elements, only to use that as a way to make one of the other coven mates feel powerless. Then this same high priestess would turn around and favor my sister in a way that brought me down. It wasn’t long before the three of us realized what was happening. So instead of turning against each other, we started distancing ourselves from our leader.

The coven was eventually disbanded; we were young and had much to learn. It was a true experience, but since then I have not felt the need to join another coven. Nor do I think that I will ever want to again. Our high priestess has, to my knowledge, stopped practicing altogether, along with our other friend who has completely withdrawn from her beliefs. My sister and I witnessed quite a few people go through the fad of enjoying the ‘benefits’ of becoming a Witch, and when they realized that there is so much more to Paganism than just doing spell work and wearing the color black, they moved on. But Wicca was so much more to me, as it has been for many others. I became enamored with its teachings, and immersed myself in as many books, articles, and shops that I could find.

My sister has always been very encouraging and still holds her beliefs, but she is not as active in her faith as she used to be. We have sometimes celebrated the Sabbaths together, but I was often on my own. Luckily, the years have been kind to me. My connection to the Gods has only grown stronger as I have worked very hard to maintain a balance between living a healthy natural life and finding my place in society. A challenging task at times, but I always say that this is the best time to be a witch.

I am now married with a daughter of my own, and though I still consider myself a solitary witch, the wheel of the year is quite a beacon of light in our home. Celebrating the holidays reminds me that love is the main ingredient in any faith. And the Gods sure have graced my family with plenty of love. We highly enjoy our festivities with our shy lion head rabbit Penny, our scaly fish Einstein, our two fluffy cats, Smokey and Tortoro, as well as our sweet dog Willow. I feel more at ease performing ritual with my family, including these beautiful creatures, than I ever did in a coven.

Some days I enjoy my meditations and rituals alone, whereas there are others where my husband and daughter join in. We are linked through our beliefs like many people, but my husband is a Taoist so his participation is based more on ideals than ritual. Not being a part of a coven has had a very positive effect on me. I have the freedom to focus on my own journey, while not feeling too self-centered. I take my faith very seriously while trying to know how to loosen up and enjoy my beliefs. Finding many solitary guides has made this possible. There is a multitude of books, magazines, and online sources that give me the information I need as well as offering a sense a community.

Being lonely is not part of being a solitary witch because true Pagans are very personable. There is nothing more I love to do than speak with others about faith, as long as I am speaking with someone who is respectful. I live to enjoy life, knowing that the gods are always around me. If I do feel the need for a little Witchy interaction from time to time, there is always the “Pagan Picnic”, classes I can take at my New Age Shop and “the Witches Ball”. Our annual Renaissance Festival has quite a few Pagan elements included as well. Having the opportunity to attend these events allows me to be social enough with other people of my own faith without having to worry about the demands of being part of a coven.

Some Wiccans prefer those coven/group bonds, and that is understandable. Words cannot express the kind of link that one has to the other members of their coven. But many of us are perfectly happy to have the freedom of practicing our beliefs on our own. After all, everyone has their own path to take and being a solitary Witch is full of freedom, happiness, and adventure.

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Let’s Talk Witch – Getting Started On Your Spiritual Education Path

 Let’s Talk Witch – Getting Started On Your Spiritual Education Path

Any spiritual practice requires research and study. Witchcraft is no different than any other path. Here is some basic info, words of caution, and suggestions for reading and starting your research.

How Can I Learn More? If you are one of the many people looking for information on how to become a witch, there are a few things you should ask yourself first.

1. What is your reason for wanting to be a Witch? If your reason is simply so you can cast a spell, it’s the wrong reason and you might find more information if you look for Spellcraft, than Witchcraft. If your reasons are truly from an interest in the faith or you feel drawn to the Craft as a religion, then you maybe on the right path. But you should learn more and make an informed decision.

2. Are you willing to live by the spiritual laws as a way of life? If you are, or if you’re not sure, do a lot of research on your own and find out as much as you can about the path you’ve chosen.

3. How Do I Get Started? Read, learn and read a lot more. Do your own research, and not just from magikal books or reference manuals. Through studying history, other religions and how they all inter-relate and interact. I have a favorite saying for this type of education: “Books can give you knowledge. But only your own personal experiences give you wisdom to decide your own path.”

Words of Warning.

Don’t take one persons word or teachings as the only truth or as the only way on this or any spiritual path. No one person has all the answers for you. Only you know what rings true within your own heart and soul.

When it comes time for you to chose a mentor, be very cautious. There are a lot of novice people claiming to be a High Priest or Priestess. The best advice I could give is find someone who can prove they have practiced the path for several years (my standard is 10 years or more).

Don’t just take their word for it. Find someone who is willing to answer your questions without charging you money.

Taking a class and paying for an instructors time is NOT the same thing as finding a “spiritual teacher”. (Classes are wonderful for making new friends and learning in a group.)

What you should really be looking for is a mentor or guide, not a person who thinks they have the right to tell you what to do or believe.

Lastly, always question!

Question everything you are told and everything you read.

Research other material to validate what you are being told or what you read in a book.

Make sure that a book is supported by other books and by history itself.

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A Little Humor for Your Day – Circle Etiquette for Beginners, It’s A Joke!

“A HUMOUROUS GUIDE TO CIRCLE ETIQUETTE FOR BEGINNERS”

1.  Always visit the bathroom before you step into the circle.  Some High
Priests and Priestesses tend to be a bit long-winded and it may be a while.

2.  Never tell a High Priest or Priestess that they are a bit long-winded.

3.  If you MUST drop your athame on someone’s foot, drop it on your own, but
remember, reconsecration is long-winded.

4.  Never wear ritual jewelry that is gaudier than that being worn by the High
Priestess.  Rank has its privileges.

5.  Privileges of rank include chanting loudest and singing off-key.  If you
wish to usurp these privileges, do so SOFTLY.

6.  Never goose anybody with your wand, unless it is specifically called for in
the ritual.

7.  Always move and send things Deosil around the circle. Deosil meaning in the
apparent clockwise rotation of the sun around the earth; unless of course you
are from the Southern hemisphere (or otherwise facing North), where the sun
seems to go counterclockwise around the earth.  Then again, there is always the
moon which although it seems to be going Deosil is actually sneaking around
going Widdershins…When in doubt, stand between two or more people and do what they do.

8.  Never drink the last of the wine. The High Priest or Priestess are probably
saving the dregs for themselves.

9.  Don’t worry about how you look when you’re skyclad.  Everybody else is too
busy worrying about how they look skyclad to notice.

10.  Never “accidently” drip hot candlewax on someone else’s naked tush.

11. Always allow at least two hours after eating Schezwan or jalapenos before
attending a circle and kissing everyone.

12. Do not disrupt a closed circle by walking through it.  Many insects and
small animals may cross the circle without disrupting it and under these
circumstances are considered psychically Null and Void.  Disrupt the circle and
you may be considered a bit Null and Void yourself.

13. In the case of unwanted or unforeseen spiritual manifestation do not run or
scream.  You will only draw their attention.

14. Remember: Your gravitational attraction to candlewax, spilled wine, incense
smoke and candle flames is in direct proportion to the cost of dry-cleaning
your robe.

15. Anything which you allow to follow you home from the Astral is unlikely to
be housebroken.

16. Never touch anyone else’s ritual tools or gear without their permission.
Attack training is common.

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Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –C.1. A Revision of the Casting Procedure (1957) to C.5 The Eightfold Path or Ways. (1957)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –C.1.  A Revision of the Casting Procedure (1957) to C.5 The Eightfold Path or Ways. (1957)

C.1.  A Revision of the Casting Procedure (1957)
ALL ARE PURIFIED
[1] Magus consecrates salt and water.
[2] High Priestess kneels at Altar, takes up Sword, says, “I conjure thee, O Sword of Steel, to serve me as a defence in all Magical Operations.  Guard me at all times against mine enemies, both visible and invisible.  Grant that I may obtain what I desire in all things wherein I may use Thee, Wherefore do I bless Thee and invoke Thee in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos.”  Gives Sword to Magus.
[3] Magus kneeling hands her vessel of consecrated Water and Aspergillum.  He Casts the Circle, three circles, on the lines marked out, starting at the East and returning to the East.  High Priestess follows, Asperging Circle (sprinkling it to purify it) and all present and finally herself.  Then she goes round again censing it.  (Everyone in the circle must be sprinkled and censed.)  She returns vessel, etc., to Magus, who places them on altar, or convenient place, and hands her Sword [handwritten].
[4] She walks slowly round Circle, saying, “I conjure Thee, O Circle of Space, that thou be a Boundary and a Protection and a meeting place between the world of Men and that of the Dread Lords of the OUTER SPACES, that Thou be cleansed, Purified, and strengthened to be a Guardian and a Protection that shall preserve and contain THAT POWER which we so earnestly desire to raise within thy bounds this night, wherefore do I bless thee and entreat thee to aid me in the endeavor, in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos.” Hands sword to Magus [handwritten].
[5] Magus then summons the Mighty Ones as usual.
[6] High Priestess stands in front of Altar (which may be pushed back for this).  High Priestess assumes Goddess position (arms crossed).  Magus kneeling in front of her, draws pentacle on her body with Phallus-headed Wand, Invokes (Drawing down the Moon), “I Invoke and beseech Thee, O mighty MOTHER of all life and fertility.  `By seed and root, by stem and bud, by leaf and flower and fruit, by Life and Love, do I invoke Thee’ to descend into the body of thy servant and High Priestess (name).” (The Moon having been drawn down, i.e., link established, Magus and all male officers give fivefold kiss; all others bow.)
[7] High Priestess in Goddess position says Arms Crossed

“Mother, Darksome and Divine,Mine the Scourge and Mine the Kiss,The Five-point Star of Love and Bliss;
Here I charge ye in this Sign.
(Opens out Arms to pentacle position)

Bow before my Spirit bright (All bow)Aphrodite, Arianrhod,Lover of the Horned God,
Queen of Witchery and Night.

Diana, Brigid, Melusine,
Am I named of old by men,
Artemis and Cerridwen,
Hell’s dark mistress, Heaven’s Queen.

Ye who ask of me a boon,
Meet ye in some hidden shade,
Lead my dance in greenwood glade
By the light of the full moon.

Dance about mine altar stone,
Work my holy magistry,
Ye who are fain of sorcery,
I bring ye secrets yet unknown.

No more shall ye know slavery
who tread my round the Sabbat night.
Come ye all naked to the rite
In sign that ye are truly free.

Keep ye my mysteries in mirth,
Heart joined to heart and lip to lip.
Five are the points of fellowship
That bring ye ecstasy on Earth.

No other law but love I know;
By naught but love may I be known,
And all that liveth is my own:
From me they come, to me they go.

C.2.  The Prose Charge (1957)
THE CHARGE, to be read while the initiate stands, properly prepared before the Circle.

[Magus]: Listen to the words of the Great mother, who was of old also called among men, Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arianrhod, Bride, and by many other names.
[High Priestess]: “At mine Altars the youth of Lacedaemon in Sparta made due sacrifice. Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full. Then ye shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me who am Queen of all Witcheries. There ye shall assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet who have not won its deepest secrets.  To these will I teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites, and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music, and love, all in my praise.’
“For mine is the ecstasy of the Spirit, and mine is also joy on earth.  For my Law is Love unto all beings.
“Keep pure your highest ideals.  Strive ever towards it.  Let naught stop you or turn you aside.
“For mine is the secret which opens upon the door of youth; and mine is the cup of the Wine of Life: and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of Immortality.
“I am the Gracious Goddess who gives the gift of Joy unto the heart of Man.
“Upon Earth I give the knowledge of the Spirit Eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before.  Nor do I demand aught in sacrifice, for behold, I am the Mother of all things, and my love is poured out upon earth.”
[Magus]: Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess, She in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircleth the universe.
[High Priestess]: “I who am the beauty of the green earth; and the White Moon amongst the Stars; and the mystery of the Waters; and the desire of the heart of man. I call unto thy soul: arise and come unto me.
“For I am the Soul of nature who giveth life to the Universe; `From me all things proceed; and unto me, all things must return.’  Beloved of the Gods and men, thine inmost divine self shall be enfolded in the raptures of the infinite.
“Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals;  and therefore let there be Beauty and Strength, Power and Compassion, Honour and Humility, Mirth and reverence within you.
“And thou who thinkest to seek me, know that thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou know the mystery, that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee, for behold; I have been with thee from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

C.3. CAKES AND WINE. (1957)
High Priestess seated on Altar, God position.
Magus, kneeling, kisses her feet, then knees, bows with head below her knees, extends arms along her thighs, and adores.
Magus fills cup and offers it to High Priestess, who, holding Athame between palms, places point in cup.
Magus says: “As the Athame is the male, so the cup is the female, and conjoined they bring blessedness.”
High Priestess lays Athame aside, and takes Cup and drinks, gives Cup to server, who puts a little in each glass.
Magus presents Pentacle with cakes to High Priestess, saying, “Oh Queen most secret, bless this food unto our bodies, bestowing health, wealth, strength, joy and peace, and that fulfillment of love that is perpetual happiness”.
High Priestess blesses them with Athame, takes Cake and eats, while the Magus gives her the Cup again and kisses knees and adores.
All sit as Witches, and invite High Priestess to join them.

C.4.  The Sabbat Rituals (1957)
Spring equinox
The symbol of the wheel should be placed on the altar upright, decked with flowers, flanked with burning candles.  The Cauldron, containing spirits, is in the east.  Magus in west,  High Priestess in east with Phallic wand or pinecone-tipped wand, or broomstick, or riding pole, broom upwards.
High Priestess lights Cauldron, saying,

“We kindle fire this day!
In the presence of the Holy Ones:Without malice, without jealousy, without envy.
Without fear of aught beneath the sun.But the High Gods.

Thee we invoke: O light of life:Be thou a bright flame before us:
Be thou a guiding star above us:Be thou a smooth path beneath us;

Kindle thou in our hearts within,A flame of love for our neighbor,
To our foes, to our friends, to our kindred all:To all men on this broad Earth.

O merciful son of CerridwenFrom the lowest thing that liveth
To the name that is highest of all.”

High Priestess draw pentacle upon Magus with wand, kiss, gives it to him.  He does likewise.  They lead the dance round the circle, all couples leaping burning fire.  The last couple as the fire goes out should be well-purified three times, and each should give Fivefold Kiss to all of opposite sex.
Cakes and wine.
If the people will, the Cauldron dance can be done again, many times, or other games can be played.

Summer Solstice
Form circle.  Invoke,  Purify.  Cauldron is placed before altar filled with water, wreathed with summer flowers.  The people, men and women alternately, stand round circle.
High Priestess stands in north, before Cauldron, holding raised wand, which should be Phallic or tipped with a pinecone (anciently the thyrsus) or a riding pole or a broomstick, invokes the sun.  “Great One of Heaven, Power of the Sun, we invoke thee in thine ancient names, Michael, Balin, Arthur, Lugh, Herne.  Come again, as of old, into this thy land.  Lift up thy shining spear of light to protect us.  Put to flight the powers of darkness, give us fair woodlands and green fields, blossoming orchards and ripening corn.  Bring us to stand upon thy hill of vision, and show us the path to the lovely realms of the gods.”
High Priestess draws invoking pentacle on Magus with wand.
Magus comes forward sunwise and takes wand with kiss, plunges wand into Cauldron and holds it upright, saying, “The spear to the Cauldron, the lance to the Grail, spirit to flesh, man to woman, sun to earth.” He salutes High Priestess over Cauldron, then rejoins people, still bearing wand.
High Priestess takes aspergillum, stands by Cauldron, says, “Dance ye about the Cauldron of Cerridwen the Goddess, and be ye blessed with the touch of this consecrated water, even as the sun, the lord of light, arriveth in his strength in the sign of the waters of life.”
The people dance sunwise about the altar and Cauldron, led by Magus bearing wand.  High Priestess sprinkles them lightly as they pass her.
Ritual of cakes and wine.
Any other dances, rites, or games as the Priestess and people wish.

Autumn equinox
The altar should be decorated with symbols of autumn, pine cones, oak sprigs, acorns, or ears of corn, and should have fire or burning incense on it as usual.  After usual purification, the people stand round, men and women alternately.  Magus at west of altar in God position.
High Priestess stands at east of altar, facing him, and reads the incantation.
“Farewell, O Sun, ever returning light. The hidden god, who ever yet remains.  He departs to the land of youth, through the gates of death, to dwell enthroned, the judge of gods and man.  The horned leader of the hosts of air.  Yet, even as stand unseen about the circle the forms of the Mighty Lords of the Outer Spaces,. So dwelleth he, `the lord within ourselves’.  So dwelleth he within the secret seed, the seed of new reaped grain, the seed of flesh, hidden in the earth, the marvellous seed of the stars.  `In him is life, and life is the light of men [John 1:4],’ that which was never born and never dies.  Therefore the Wicca weep not, but rejoice.”
The High Priestess goes to the Magus with a kiss.  He lays aside Athame and scourge, and kisses her.  The High Priestess hands him her wand, which should be Phallic, or a branch tipped with a pinecone, Or a riding pole, or a broomstick (anciently the thyrsus).  They lead the dance, she with a systrum or rattle, he with wand, the people falling in behind them, dancing three times round the altar.  Then the candle game is played.
Cakes and wine.
Great Rite if possible.
Dances and games.
Winter Solstice
Form circle in usual manner, invoking the Mighty Ones.
The Cauldron of Cerridwen is placed in the circle at the south wreathed with holly, ivy, and mistletoe, with fire lighted within it.  There should be no other light except for the candles on the altar and about the circle.
After all are purified, the Moon should be drawn down.
Then the High Priestess stands behind the Cauldron in pentacle position, symbolizing the rebirth of the sun.  The people, man and woman alternately, stand round the circle.  The Magus stands facing the High Priestess with a bundle of torches, or candles, and the book of words of the incantation.  One of the officers stands beside him with a lighted candle, so that he may have light to read by.
The people begin to slowly move round the circle sunwise.  As each passes him the Magus lights his candle or torch from the fire in the Cauldron, which may be simply a candle, till all have lighted candles or torches.  Then the people dance round slowly as he reads the incantation.  (A real fire must now be kindled in the Cauldron.)

Queen of the Moon, Queen of the Sun.Queen of the Heavens, Queen of the Stars.
Queen of the Waters, Queen of the Earth.Who ordained to us the child of promise:

It is the Great Mother who gives birth to him,He is the Lord of Life who is born again,
Darkness and tears are set behind,And the star of guidance comes up early.

Golden sun of hill and mountainIllumine the land, illumine the world
Illumine the seas, illumine the rivers,Grief be laid, and joy be raised.

Blessed be the Great MotherWithout beginning, without ending,
To everlasting, to eternity,I O. Evohe, Blessed be.”

The dance commences slowly, in rhythm with the chant, all taking up the call “I. O. Blessed be.”  The Priestess joins dance and leads them with a quicker rhythm.  The cauldron with burning fire is pushed so that the dancers leap or step over it, in couples.  Whichever couple is passing it as it goes out, should be well-purified, three times each, and may pay any amusing forfeit as the High Priestess may ordain.  Sometimes the cauldron is relighted several times for this purpose.

C.5 The Eightfold Path or Ways. (1957)
1. Meditation or concentration, actually by the firm knowledge that you can and will succeed — forming a clear picture in your mind or your requirements.
2. Trance states, Clairvoyance, Projection of the Astral etc.
3. Drugs, Wine, Incense.
4. Dance, Performing Rites with a purpose.
5. Chants, Spells etc.
6. Blood control (Cords etc), Breath control.
7. $courge
8. The Great Rite
N.B.
The great thing is to combine as many of these paths into the one operation.  No 1 must be in all — for if you have no clear picture of what you wish and no certainty you will not succeed — ’tis useless.  No 2 can be combined with this easily.  Nos 3, 4, and 5 are all good preliminaries- also 6 and 7; but No 3 is dangerous and therefore if possible should be avoided, except for incense, which is harmless if too much is not used.
The best combination is Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 7, for small purposes, with no 8 if great force is necessary.  Also a combination of 1, 6 and 7 is good if more can not be done; this if properly performed leads to No. 2.

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)

B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)
[1] Invocation
(Feet, knees, and wrists should be tightly bound to retard blood.) Scourge 40 or more, to make skin tingle, then say, invoking Goddess,
Hail, Aradia, from the Amalthean horn
Pour forth thy store of Love.  I lowly bend
Before Thee!  I invoke thee at the end
When other Gods are fallen and put to scorn.
Thy foot is to my lips!  My sighs inborn
Rise, touch, curl about thy heart.  Then spend,
Pitiful Love, loveliest Pity, descend
And bring me luck who am lonely and forlorn.

Ask the Goddess to help you to obtain your desires, then Scourge again to bind the spell. This be powerful in ill luck and for sickness.  It must be said in a Circle, and you must be properly prepared and well purified, both before and after saying, to bind the spell.
Before starting you must make a very clear picture in your mind of what you wish.  Make yourself see the wish obtained.  Be sure in your own mind exactly what it is and how it is to be fulfilled.
This spell is the one that was taught to me long ago and I have found it works, but I don’t think there is any special virtue in these words.  Any others can be substituted provided they ask the goddess’s (or gods’) help, and say clearly what you wish and you form the clear mental image; and if it doesn’t work at first, keep on trying till it works.  Your helper, who wields the scourge, must know what you wish, and also form the mental image.  And at first at any rate, it will be better for you to work the spell, then for the girl to take your place and work it also; you scourge her.  Don’t try anything difficult at first, and do it at least once a week till it works.  You have to get into sympathy with each other, before anything happens, and regular working helps this.
Of spells, the exact words matter little if the intent be clear and you raise the true power, and sufficient thereof.  Always in rhyme they are. There is something queer about rhyme.  I have tried, and the same seem to lose their power if you miss the rhyme.  Also in rhyme, the words seem to say themselves.  You do not have to pause and think: “What comes next?”  Doing this takes away much of your intent.
[2] Order and discipline must be kept.  A High Priest or Priestess may and should punish all faults to this end, and all of the Cult must accept such corrections willingly.  All are brothers and sisters, for this reason: that even the High Priestess must submit to the scourge.  Each fault should be corrected separately.  The Priest or Priestess must be properly prepared and call the culprit to trial.  They must be prepared as for initiation and kneel, be told their fault and sentence pronounced.  Punishment should be the scourge, followed by a forfeit such as several fivefold kisses or something of this nature.  The culprit must acknowledge the justice of the punishment by kissing hands and scourge on receiving sentence and again when thanking for punishment received.*
[3] The scourgings are 3, 7, 9 (thrice three), and 21 (thrice seven) 40 in all.  It is not meet to make offerings [scourgings] of less than two score to the Goddess, for here be a mystery.  The fortunate numbers be: 3 and 5.  For three added to two (the Perfect Couple) be five.  And three and five be eight; eight and five be thirteen; thirteen and eight be twenty-one.
The Fivefold Kiss is called 5, but there are 8 kisses, for there be 2 feet and 2 knees and genitals and 2 breasts and the lips. And 5 times 8 be two score.  Also, fortunate numbers be 3, 7, 8, and 21, which total 40, or two score.  For each man and woman hath ten fingers and ten toes, so each totals a score.  And a perfect couple be two score.
So a lesser number would not be perfect prayer. If more are required make it a perfect number, as four score or six score.
Also there be Eight Elemental Weapons.
[4] To make the anointing ointment, take some glazed pans filled half full with grease or olive oil.  Put in one sweet mint, marjoram in another, ground thyme in a 3rd, and it you may have it, patchouli, dried leaves pounded.  Place pans in hot water bath.  Stir and cook for several hours, then pout into linen bags, and squeeze grease through into pans again, and fill up with fresh leaves.  After doing this several times, the grease will be highly perfumed.  Then mix all together and store in a well-corked jar.
Anoint behind ears, throat, armpits, breasts, and womb.  Also, for all ceremonies where the feet are kissed, they should also be anointed.

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft -A.4. The Initiation (1949)[Third Degree]

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft -A.4. The Initiation (1949)[Third Degree]

[Third Degree]
Magus: “Ere we proceed with this sublime degree, I must beg purification at thy hands.”
High Priestess binds Magus and ties him down to the altar.  She circumambulates three times, and scourges Magus with three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes.  She then unbinds him and helps him to his feet.
Magus now binds the High Priestess and ties her down to the altar. He circumambulates, proclaiming to the four quarters, “Hear, ye mighty Ones, the twice consecrate and Holy (name), High Priestess and Witch Queen, is properly prepared and will now proceed to erect the Sacred Altar.”
Magus scourges High Priestess with three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes.
Cakes and wine may now be taken [see section A.5].
Magus: “Now I must reveal to you a great Mystery.” [kiss].
Note: if High Priestess has performed this rite before, omit these words.
High Priestess assumes Osiris position.
Magus: “Assist me to erect the Ancient Altar, at which in days past all worshipped, the Great Altar of all things.  For in the old times a woman was the Altar.  Thus was the altar made and so placed [Priestess lies down in such a way that her vagina is approximately at the center of the circle], and the sacred place was the point within the center of the circle, as we of old times have been taught, that the point within the center is the origin of all things.  Therefore should we adore it.” [kiss]
“Therefore, whom we adore, we also invoke, by the power of the lifted lance.”  Invokes.
“O circle of stars [kiss], whereof our Father is but the younger brother [kiss],
“Marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom time is ashamed, the mind bewildered and understanding dark, not unto thee may we attain unless thine image be of love [kiss].
“Therefore, by seed and root, and stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke thee, O, Queen of space, O dew of light, O continuous one of the Heavens [kiss].
“Let it be ever thus, that men speak not of Thee as one, but as none, and let them not speak of thee at all, since thou art continuous, for thou art the point within the circle [kiss], which we adore [kiss], the fount of life without which we would not be [kiss].
“And in this way truly are erected the Holy Twin Pillars Boaz and Jachin [kisses breasts].  In beauty and strength were they erected, to the wonder and glory of all men.”
(Eightfold Kiss: 3 points, Lips, 2 Breasts and back to lips; 5 points)
“O Secrets of secrets that art hidden in the being of all lives.  Not thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also thou.  Thou art that and That am I [kiss].
“I am the flame that burns in every man, and in the core of every star [kiss].
“I am Life and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the Knowledge of Death [kiss].
“I am alone, the Lord within ourselves whose name is Mystery of Mysteries [kiss].
“Make open the path of intelligence between us.  For these truly are the 5 points of fellowship [on the right appears an illuminated diagram of the point-up triangle above the pentacle, the symbol for the third degree], feet to feet, knee to knee, groin to groin, breast to breast, arms around back, lips to lips, by the Great and Holy Names Abracadabra, Aradia, and Cernunnos.
Magus and High Priestess: “Encourage our hearts, Let thy Light crystallize itself in our blood, fulfilling us of Resurrection, for there is no part of us that is not of the Gods.”
(Exchange Names.)

Closing the Circle
High Priestess Circumambulates, proclaiming, “The twice consecrate High Priestess greets ye Mighty Ones, and dismisseth ye to your pleasant abodes. Hail and Farewell.” She draws the banishing pentacle at each quarter.

Forging Your Own Path: My Journey

Forging Your Own Path: My Journey

Author:   Bear Stormcrowe 

Ever since I was a wee lad, I knew that I had a special relationship with Mother Earth and the elements around me. I always had this magnetic attraction to all things mystical, offbeat, and natural. I remember quite well the times I used to ‘trick’ my parents into buying trees from the Arbor Day Foundation in order to plant them as an homage to Mother Gaia. I would sit outside and plant them, whispering softly to the planet; “Here you go. Thank you for giving us what you give us.”

When my family finally got the Internet, I remember sneaking onto my computer at night; silently hoping the dial-up connection sounds wouldn’t stir my family. It was there that my journey began. I searched earth-based religions high and low…and I came to the realization: I’m a Witch.

I had always been more mature than others of my age group, and since my epiphany I’ve referred to myself as a Natural Witch. I began seriously pursuing the Well-Worn Path soon after that epiphany and started my path as a solitary practitioner in full force. At the time, I was still green on the subject of Witchcraft, even though I was naturally inclined to it; So, I began researching books from the library and following their paths and their beliefs but something didn’t feel quite right. In any religion, a personal means of practicing helps you get that more personal connection with your deity. In my case, it was multiple deities but namely, Lugh and Danu. It was then I realized that I could forge my own path…my own solitary journey.

Since beginning my own personal journey, following the rules of the Wicca, and showing reverence to my amazing deities, I found my connection and my own personal practice. When it came to Sabbats I followed a loosely based outline but added my own flair in the mix, it all worked just the same if not better because all of my mind, body, and spirit were put into my craft. I came “out of the broom closet”, so to speak, to my friends in high school—then to my friends and professors in college.

After much networking and a twist of fate I owe all to the God and Goddess, I met a woman who is now my fiancée and a group of friends with whom I created a small active coven. They were all well seasoned in the Craft already but I found myself answering their questions with a knowledge I had no idea was hiding deep within me. The advice and techniques I offered proved a success and I realized that I had an even deeper calling: High Priestdom. After meeting and discussing the future of the coven, they all agreed unanimously that they felt I would take the high priest position and honor it well.

So, what’s the point of this story? You ask. In my personal experience I’ve found that crafting your own spells and following the path that your heart and soul vibrates well with yields better results. In my case, a closer connection to the deities I’ve aligned myself with.

How do you find your own path? The simplest way to do it is follow your heart. However, if you are unsure of what your heart is telling you here are some simple techniques that have helped me when the answers my heart had given didn’t really satisfy my spirit.

Meditation: Simple two-step meditation works wonders.

The First Step is to open sacred space. This is the brief equivalent of casting a circle. How I open sacred space is by grounding and centering me then I say:

“By the Grace and Power of the Great Ones, Within and Without, I allow love to enter this space, but keep evil and ill intent out.”

Your sacred space is now open. Feel free to change the invocation of positive energies to something of your liking.

The Second Step is to clear your mind of all things but your question at hand. This takes a lot of practice so do this on a day that has been relatively uneventful if at all possible. Clearing your mind and focusing on your own path and what fits just right for your individual Witchiness should yield some result the first few times you try it.

Scrying: Using a scrying mirror or bowl is another way to get some answers. Be prepared to look deep into the mirror/bowl for some time. As with most divination arts, symbols are left to the diviner to interpret so have a notebook and writing utensil (or computer for those tech-savvy Witches) to record the symbols for interpretation after the scrying session. It’s been my experience to wait until the end of the session to interpret symbols and messages because if you take your focus to one symbol, you may miss other important ones. Once you’ve finished scrying, interpret symbols, make connections, and have fun with it.

To end this article, I’d like to say that if you follow a set path founded by someone else and you feel at home in that path, then by all means continue on the path you are most comfortable with. You may get things from different paths in order to forge your own way. That is perfectly acceptable. It’s all what feels right to each individual witch.

I write this article in the light of Lugh and Danu and with love to all of my fellow Pagans and Earth-Children. May bright blessing and prosperity come your way and as always—Blessed Be.

-Adam Osborne (Sacred Magick)
Eclectic Pagan, High Priest, and Lightworker.

A New Understanding

A New Understanding

Author:   Gralyn 

Yesterday I went to a site I have recently become involved with and nosed around for a while. Of course what interested me most were the courses of study they offered: Wicca, Druidism, Master Religions, etc.

Ordained as a Reverend, Bishop, and Wiccan High Priestess; self dedicated years ago as High Priestess to Goddess, I immediately was given to doubts as to my worthiness to these titles. I needed more education, more credentials!! I suddenly became most unworthy in my mind. I have never been involved in a “real” Wiccan environment, so how can I claim to be Wiccan? I am a solitary witch by personal choice. Yes, I’ve studied and read and asked hundreds of questions. Done several “on-line” courses. I’ve done all of the “steps” to be Wiccan; I’m very active in on-line covens, etc, but I’ve never been active in a hands-on coven, with people who look at me and say, yes, she’s a High Priestess, she did all the steps, we saw her do it!! I mean – to be “Christian” I had to be baptized twice!! Go to Sunday school from a little child and be an active member of a church, only then, I was told, could I be “Christian”. Knowing that I am no longer adhere to fundamentalist Christian beliefs and knowing that paganism is deep within my very being, how on this earth or in God/dess’ heaven I could even claim to be a “title” was well, on my part, stupid, ignorant, pompous!!!

Doubt ran amuck!! Which course was I to take to make myself “authentic”? A REAL Christian, a REAL Wiccan, a REAL something!! Would one be enough? How many do I take? Will I have to “give up” my personal beliefs and believe only one way? Could I continue to blend my knowings, my understandings and still be my titles? Where on earth was I going to come up with the money for all of this…I panicked.

I go to a wise and gentle friend who is a High Priest of Wicca, a Bishop, who dedicated me, whom I have great respect for. Sending his response back to me I began to ponder it and found myself “reading” between the lines…the message I received was; “This is all well and good and more education is always welcomed, you can never have enough information; but, why? I know you, you have more than met any and all requirements to hold these titles”…OK….Why?

Why do I have these doubts when in my gut and heart I know exactly who I am and who I am connected too? Why do I allow myself to fall back into the darkness and have to crawl my way back into the light? Why do I doubt something I KNOW to be true and doubt myself for being where I am right now? Isn’t this doubting my Lady and Lord?

Contemplating the “why” I begin to remember these past years of study, hard study, hard thinking, commitments I have come to, dedications I have had, promises I have made. All the bridges I have crossed with friends and family, in some cases total strangers, and realized to doubt is to find an answer. To allow one understanding to die in order for another to live is to shed darkness for light.

Goddess reminded me that I am first and foremost truly in love with Her, so much so that I cannot imagine a second without Her. She sustains me, guides me, and teaches me. She has introduced all of the “unseen” to my eyes, so that I “see” Her awesome creation (s). I know her to be in every particle and molecule of my life. She makes the words of my brother Jesus, other sisters and brothers (Masters and Teachers) who have come before and after, understood in my mind. She intervenes and allows me to understand my Father God, the lessons I am to learn in this life’s journey. She reminded me that I am just exactly where she wants me to be, right now, this moment. To “be” something, Wiccan, Baptist, High Priestess, any title is fine; mans’ words, mans’ titles; man’s religions, but She knows exactly who I am and I am Hers, of Her, Her Daughter and that I am loved…unconditionally.

You see, I forgot for one human minute, that I haven’t the right to say, ”I am not worthy”. I forgot in my humanness that I do not, under any circumstances, have the right to discount anything or anyone that She places in my life. I had forgotten exactly how worthy I am. She tells me every time I hear the bird sing, hug my grandchildren, gently touch the face of my beloved. She shows me in the clouds and in the quiet of the morning, the deep of the night in the awesome power of a magnificent storm. When I stand proudly under a full moon and raise my arms in praise and eternal connection She reminds me who I am, who She is, who They are.

The decision I made? The knowing I came to? The lesson I was taught? Accept myself with pride, humility, and love. To KNOW that all will be given to me to understand and to use for Her as She/They see fit. If this includes further studies, then so be it; but it will be for information, not for personal identification. I understand now that all I have to do is just allow myself to be. Allow myself to be held, protected, guided and most of all loved – unconditionally.

She helped me understand that people need titles and those who hold them, to feel safe and secure. If someone seeing my title of Rev, Bishop, or High Priestess brings them to me for a need in their lives, then I trust that my Lady and Lord will use me and give me words of wisdom and the action (s) I need to meet their needs – to learn to love them – unconditionally.

Will I doubt again? Probably, I am human. But no longer will I panic. Instead rejoice within the darkness knowing light and understanding are just around the corner.

As I sit here I feel Her smiling gently, softly caressing my hair and saying, ”Now my daughter, isn’t this ever so much better?”

Yes, My Mother, My Goddess, it is.

Gralyn
Rev/Bishop/High Priestess COCM, ULC