The Wiccan ReDe

Bide the Wiccan laws ye must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
Live and let live
Freely take and freely give
Cast the circle thrice about
To keep all evil spirits out
To bind the spell every time
Let the spell be spake in rhyme
Soft of eye and light of touch
Speak little, listen much
Deosil go by the waxing moon
Sing and dance the Wiccan rune
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane
And the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane
When the Lady’s moon is new
Kiss thy hand to her times two
When the moon rides at her peak
Then your heart’s desire seek
Heed the northwind’s mighty gale
Lock the door and drop the sail
When the wind comes from the south
Love will kiss thee on the mouth
When the wind blows from the east
Expect the new and set the feast
When the west wind blows o’er thee
Departed spirits restless be
Nine woods in the cauldron go
Burn them fast and burn them slow
Elder be ye Lady’s tree
Burn it not or cursed ye’ll be
When the wheel begins to turn
Let the Beltaine fires burn
When the wheel has turned to Yule
Light the log and let Pan rule
Heed ye flower, bush and tree
By the Lady, Blessed be
Where the rippling waters go
Cast a stone and truth ye’ll know The Rede of the Wicca
When ye have a need
Hearken not to others’ greed
With the fool no season spend
Nor be counted as his friend
Merry meet and merry part
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart
Mind the Threefold Law ye should
Three times bad and three times good
When misfortune is enow
Wear the blue star on thy brow
True in love ever be
Unless thy lover’s false to thee
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill
An’ it harm none, do what ye will

The Wiccan Book of Days for Feb. 3rd – Februa in Februarius

Wiccan Pictures, Images, Comments, Graphics

Februa in Februarius

The transition from January to February heralded the arrival of a major Sabbat, but now that Imbolc has been celebrated, there is time to reflect on the name of the second month of the solar year. “February” is ultimately derived from the Latin word februum, which means “purification” or “purgation” and is linked with the Februa (or Februalia) festival of purification, expiation, and atonement that was held in Rome on February 15. It is thought that both the Roman month of Februarius an Februa, during which sacrifices were made to he dead were dedicated to Febuus, a god of the underworld.

“Many Happy Returns”

On this day, ponder upon the Wiccan threefold law of return, which holds that any magick that you do unto others will rebound three times as strongly upon yourself. Think hard before casting a spiteful spell lest you later have personal cause to rue its consequences.

Don’t Fear The Dark: A Discussion On Cursing

Don’t Fear The Dark: A Discussion On Cursing

Author: Ravenix

I can imagine that the title of this article has already raised a few Wiccan eyebrows, so before I launch into the discussion proper, let me say this to them: Don’t worry. I’m not flaming you. I’m not going to ridicule your beliefs, and to do so would be hypocritical, as I myself devoted several years of my life to Wicca. It’s a good, sound, well-structured system, with a wonderful sense of community and empowerment.

So don’t panic.

If you want to follow the Wiccan Rede, great! It’s an admirable ethic. But it’s not for me anymore. Yes, I have cursed, yes, I do curse, yes, I will probably curse again. But don’t run away just yet; hear me out, and bear what I’m saying in mind.

In Neopaganism, there has been something of a shying away from the ‘dark side’ of spirituality; there is a great emphasis on being ‘nice’, on focusing only on the ‘good’ and ‘light’ side of things. Yet in comparison, our ancestors before us cursed each other like there was no tomorrow. To this day, archaeological digs uncover smashed clay portraits, bottles of punctured animal organs and other such wonderfully wicked hexes (just type ‘curse’ into the Boscastle Museum Of Witchcraft’s database search and you’ll soon see what I mean) . If you mention these items to a Neopagan, they’ll be likely to change the subject sharpish, or blame it on the witch hunters of old.

Everywhere you look, the Law of Threefold Return is drilled into you, as well as other such warnings and cautions about the ‘dangers’ of cursing. Terms such as ‘white’ and ‘black’ magick don’t exactly help. But is cursing as horrid and malicious an act as it is made out to be? Do we have to sacrifice this art completely to be spiritually ‘good’?

As a Wiccan, I always found that the Wiccan Rede was a hard act to follow; the Rede stated that, as a Wiccan, I could not harm anyone, in any circumstance, ever. The questions that came to me were these; what if they harmed me first? Doesn’t that entitle me to some kind of counter? Moreover, what if they deserved it? Then again, who’s to decide?

If we look at Western Heathenism as a whole, there is very little evidence that an idea like the Law of Threefold Return existed before the 1950’s, and it is in fact derived from Eastern spiritualism. Traditional Cornish Witchcraft, perhaps the only Traditional form that has truly thrived in the British Isles, makes great use of cursing.

Have any of these witches, or any of our ancestors, been made to pay for their actions?

Historically, only by the witch hunters. There are no reports that I know of relating to Traditional Witches being punished by the Gods for cursing in itself. Of course that’s not to say that cursing doesn’t require a certain degree of caution- indeed all spellcraft does.

My partner, for example, performed a curse on a group of people that had refused to act when his friend was date-raped at her own birthday party; he consequently suffered from minor blackouts for months afterwards. This, you might say, is proof enough of celestial punishment. However I propose a slightly different view.

Keep in mind that anger and hatred are incredibly violent emotions; they could be argued to be more ‘powerful’ than happiness and calm due to their speed, severity, and unpredictability. Compare how exhausted you are after laughing for five minutes, and after shouting and screaming in rage for the same amount of time. You would probably agree that the latter leaves you feeling much more empty and drained. Also think of the amount of times you’ve flown off the handle for trivial things. This is what makes cursing so risky: the power behind these negative emotions, and their tendency to amplify far beyond what is fitting to their cause.

Basically, if you wish death on someone for stealing your car, the Gods probably will turn around and admonish you for being harsh. On the other hand, if someone hurts your family and you want payback, the anger and hate you unleash in that spell will burst out of you far more readily than a healing spell. In all cursing, then, moderation of your emotions and a good deal of consideration beforehand are key; I believe that my partner’s blackouts occurred because he either wore himself out completely from the spell’s severity, or the Gods deemed him too severe and made him pay accordingly- but they weren’t admonishing him for cursing in itself.

In particular, the idea of your family being hurt is one that does not sit well with the Rede. What if someone did willingly hurt your family? Would you sit and wait for the Gods to avenge you?

This view is one that I imagine the Gods find slightly arrogant; they’re not there to hold your hand, and they don’t heal your friends for you- you have to do most of that yourself, even if you do ask for help, so why isn’t cursing the same?

Or, would you turn the other cheek, letting the instigator get away with their cruelty?

Now I’ve never been the most forgiving person, and I don’t see why I can’t give back what I get from people who wish to hurt me and mine. The trick is to cast a curse that is equivalent to the harm done; something that is very hard to do when the human condition makes us bloodthirsty for revenge of the worst kind.

I would definitely say that cursing is harder than well-wishing, as it requires more control; it also requires you to make contact with a part of yourself that you may not like. This I think is why many Wiccans and Neopagans turn away from it, to the point of fearing it; they refuse to accept the ugly side of their nature, as do most people. This is understandable, but it’s also an imbalanced way of life to me; it’s a sad truth that the world is both beautiful and terrible, and I believe that true balance comes if your spirituality reflects that.

Curses are nothing to fear (unless you’re on the receiving end of course!) , and they can be quite trivial; I performed a curse on a flea infestation in my house a few months ago, with the help of Tiw, and I haven’t had trouble since.

All in all, pins in poppets and mutilated animal organs are extreme examples of what is, really, just another form of spellcraft; if you look past the hype and fight your fear, you’ll find that curses aren’t as terrible as they’re made out to be. Remember that the more severe curses are a last resort; like everything else, you must think twice and use caution.

And like all spells, curses are just a means to an end, usually getting rid of something undesirable when there’s no other way of doing so.

Of course I can’t convince you to agree, and if you’re still dead against cursing, so be it; you’re welcome to your views. But at least consider what I’ve said, and try not to be afraid of something that is, at its heart, an integral part of the Traditional Craft.


Footnotes:
http://www.museumofwitchcraft.com

The Journey of a Wild Witch

The Journey of a Wild Witch

Author: Eilan

It has been eight years since I first discovered Witchcraft in a spiritual context. Prior to this Magick was very much alive in my life as I was lucky enough to have been born into a family that understands the spiritual dimension of life. My family also had the insight and experience to see and live this dimension in their everyday. In truth there is no difference between what is conceived to be ‘spiritual’ and that which is apparent and ‘mundane’. It is all one. This is my truth and my wild way.

I am an initiated Witch and Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft. This means a great deal to me, as I am also a ‘co-founder’ of the original Mother Coven, based in Brisbane and initiated at Samhain (April 30th) 2006. Our ‘tradition’ and way of living the Craft is deeply interwoven with what many people call ‘shamanism’; derived from the Siberian Tungus word for their medicine people – saman. Mircea Eliade, the late Romanian historian, described shamanism as a “technique of ecstasy” and my coven has come to define Witchcraft as an “ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition”.

Our (and all Witches’) rituals and methods of practice allow us to transcend the illusion of separation and therefore to dissolve the ego and actualize the freedom that lives in the heart of all things. I often call and relate to this ‘All’ as the Great Mystery. The beauty of being a Wild Witch is that nothing is absolute and I have come to realize that all of Life is a holy continuum, which constantly seeks to express itself through diversity. Through expression comes manifestation, which allows us to experience Beauty through Perfection (the world in which we live) and then once more we come to the Wholeness of Unity and the cycle repeats itself.

We are born into a plural world of many and pass into the One only to yearn to divide ourselves once more to grow, deepen and enrich our understandings and experiences of that subtle/overt thing – the Great Mystery.

My coven’s tradition has developed and evolved around this wild-trance-dance-of-wonder. The only consistency between our covens is that we honor and acknowledge our heartland the WildWood, keep holy our covenant with the Sacred Four (the Weaver, the Green Man, the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and the Stag-Horned God) and that we remain open and receptive to personal/group gnosis and to Awen (the divine flow of inspiration) . Other than this there are some structural similarities regarding dedication and priesthood and inner and outer courts.

Essentially however we are wild Witches who fly in the face of authority and seek the wilderness underlying the apparent ‘civilization’ of things. Nothing can be tamed, for the wild is free and the free is divine! As we say in the WildWood – “we have actualized our radness!”

What do Wild Witches do? First and foremost – we live! We breathe, we sleep, we eat, we drink, we sing, we dance, we make love, we scream and we spend time sharing presence and being with our loved ones. ‘Being’ is an important principle to consider. To be is quite simple but so many people find themselves distracted by the “this and that” that they leave ‘being’ behind and pursue illusion instead.

This isn’t the same concept found in various Christian philosophies which espouses a “Satan’s fault!” message when sheep stray from the flock so to speak. Witches understand self-responsibility and are aware of action, reaction and consequence (the Threefold Law) . Why not exist in euphoric awareness of self as Self – the animate Cosmos? You are not only a cell within a larger body of universal wholeness; you are whole and thus a perfect embodiment, expression and reflection of the Great Mystery whose cause, undercurrent and outcome is Life.

When we free ourselves from the illusion of past, present and future and surrender to the Flow of the Continuum (the spirals, the wayward ins and outs, the labyrinthine, serpentine undulations of fate becoming) we make real for ourselves the state of being known commonly as “here and now”. This seems to constitute location and time, however it simply addresses the emphasis of indwelling consciousness regardless of where you are and what frame of time constrains it.

There are moments in my life, which I refer to as ‘Nostalgic Rites’. They are pure, simple, soothing, knowing moments that are like the punctuation points in a flow of sentences. They are the markers and the thresholds that appear along our paths when it is time to pause, reflect and feel. I have them often enough in my life to understand their imminent message of timelessness, peace and overwhelming Love! For what I have learnt above all else thus far is that dwelling within the chaos in the cosmos is the peace which neither subsumes or overrides it, but embraces it and lets it be. Chaos is what happens naturally when the undifferentiated potential becomes “this and that” and peace is the understanding that this is the way of Life. All of this is wild; we dwell in a far-reaching, limitless wilderness.

In a recent priestess training session with two beautiful women from my coven I asked both of them to divulge their feelings and reflections of the journey toward their priestesshood, as they are nearing to the ‘end’ of the beginning – Initiation. One of the women honestly came out and said to us that she feared for us (the other priestess-in-training and I) because we are on the top of the mountain, but because we are risk-takers it is inevitable that we will fall.

I had to stop and wonder in that moment why anyone would not want to fall. In fact I also wondered whether it had occurred to her that surrounding the mountain were vast forests, plains, rivers, deserts, tundra, bushland, seas, oceans and lakes; not to mention all of the beings who inhabit these places.

For me the mountain is not the point. It is part of the whole Great Mystery, but the journey does not lead to a single place; in fact the journey doesn’t really lead anywhere. There is no aim to my wandering, to my blissful dance through the wilderness – I simply embrace every experience because it is worthy of it and I laugh, smile, cry, choke, rage, relax, love, ***, change, grow, and a million other things that I couldn’t possibly articulate or fathom for the purposes of this article.

The other woman, who knows me very well, and is one of my closest friends, then turned to me smiling and said, “You are so glib!” She then went on to explain that it was the “natural, offhand ease and articulate fluency and flow” of how I expressed my truth that made me glib in her opinion.

It wasn’t a criticism on her part, merely an observation. I think it is actually quite accurate. I have such ease and flow in my expression because I don’t have to think too hard about who I am or how I feel because I am and I feel in the “here and the now”. I live and I am, and in my experience Life itself is glib.

To my fellow journeyers of the wild way who know in their hearts that they are heading nowhere, anywhere and everywhere – may you dance the Wander with all you are. My deepest well of love to you all!

The Wanderer

The sages say that samsara is to wander, to pass through,
I say samsara is to know the way and dance it.
To dance is to live, and to live is never “to pass through”;
Dance doll – dance and light up the stage…

Then they came with their wrought-iron weapons
And they pierced my soul, and looked for the mark.
I sang to them to soothe their battered spirits.
They sunk their swords in harder, my heart is in shreds.

The blood ran dry and the old seas heaved
And there in the darkest hour all was forgotten,
And tattered clothes were left in tatters,
And the ashes were left in mounds at the pyres.

Is it a fact that when we are lost we wander?
Is it true that when we are in love we dance?
Or do we dance when we are lost?
And do we wander when in love?

Samsara, O holy wheel of Life,
Keep turning, I want to stay.
I don’t want nirvana in clouds far away
For I feel it already…here.

The Wanderer – the Fool?
I don’t mind, I don’t mind being;
For all the pain and suffering and the attachment to desire
There is a keenness that is not worth losing.

I want to live,
I want to wander if that’s what it takes,
But through all this I will dance
And I will dance because I love.

– Gede Parma

Which Element Are You?

Which Element Are You?

 

You can gain insight into your personal elemental affinities by asking yourself questions that cover a wide range of topics. Ask yourself many simple questions. Think of it as peeling an onion. Layer by layer you slowly reveal your core. Revealing spells have their purposes, like when it comes to remembering thing we may have chosen to forget, but when it comes to determining something as deeply ingrained as an elemental affinity, you must peel, peel, and peel. If you write your answers on single sheet of paper, one element will often appear many times. Here is a list of questions to consider.

1. What element do you feel you align with?

2. List any hobbies you have. Is there a recurrent theme?

3. Are you basically happy and content or restless and bored?

4. How are you when it comes to money matters?

5. Do you have a sharp nose for business?

6. What are your favorite food groups or preferred taste sensations? (Sweet, salty, etc.)

7. Are you an artist? Is so, what medium do your prefer? (Words, paint, sculpture, etc.)

8. What is your preferred divination method? (Tarot, scrying, pendulum, etc.)

9. Do you know your aura colors?

10. Do you have past-life memories?

11. What are your preferred textures? (Satin, cotton, etc.)

12. How would you describe your musical taste? What is your favorite type of music?

13. What is your favorite kind of mood enchancer? (Aroma, music, stones, etc.)

14. Do you have any physical impairments? (Hearing, sight, smell, etc.) Do you have asthma or any other type of health condition?

15. Do you have any phobias?

16. What is your favorite activity?

17. What is your preferred reading genre? (Fantasy, horror, nonfiction, etc.)

18. How old are you?

19. What kind of imagery do you prefer? (A waterfall, roaring fire, sky scene, luxuriant garden, etc.)

20. Do you collect anything?

21. What is your favorite color?

22. Do you have a weight problem? (Are you overweight or underweight?)

23. Tell me about your space….is it organized or cluttered?

24. Do you have any bad habits?

25. What color is your car?

26. Do you follow the Wiccan Rede or the Golden Rule?

27. Do you believe in the threefold law?

28. Do you have an altar? What is on it?

29. Are your rituals formal or informal?

30. Tell me about your book of shadows. Is it organized? Divided into sections? How many sections? Are the pages decorated or is it more of a journal? Tell me all about it.

31. How do you handle anger?

32. How do you handle love?

33. Are you methodical or more free-spirited?

34. What is your Sun sign? Moon sign? Ascendant?

35. What is your profession? What do you want it to be?

36. Do you believe in ghosts? What would you consider to be “proof” of a haunting?

37. Do you have a totem animal? If so, what is it?

38. Is there a season of the year that you feel most in tune with?

39. Do you consider yourself a day person or a night person?

40. What mythical or fantasy creatures do you love? Which ones scare you?

41. Looking in your book of shadows, what type of spells are predominant? (Candles, herbs, mojo bags, etc.)

42. What color are your eyes? Your hair?

43. Where are you most comfortable? (At home, in the forest, at the beach, etc.)

44. Do you have any specific dream memories? Describe them.

Banishing Magick

Banishing Magick

  
Banishing magick removes or returns any negativity, psychic attack or physical threats to you, your home or loved ones. It can be the next stage on from binding magick and may sometimes be necessary if a wrongdoer continues to pose a threat even after binding. So, for example, if binding the drug pusher didn’t work and teenagers were still being dragged into the drug pusher’s web, banishing might be the next stage.

As with binding, though you can’t banish a person, you can banish their bad influence from your life or that of a loved one, so you might put a dead branch on top a hill and for each dead leaf say:
 
“May his harmful influence be banished from the lives of those your (or indeed all vulnerable) people.”
 
Leave the branch as the wind strips the leaves away so the influence would hopefully decline.
 
In fact, this is a real case. Being a nasty character, the drug pusher was not affected by the binding, though the particular teenager involved, whose mother was helped, did inexplicably, she said, suddenly stop going to the clubs.
 
A week after the banishing spell the drug pusher was forced to leave the neighborhood as he had fallen foul of a local gang for selling them impure drugs. No one has taken his place at the club.
 
Because banishing magick in the protective context is stronger than binding magick and you are tackling what may be bad vibes head on, it should be used sparingly on both people and situations.

However, it can be used very positively. You can cast banishing spells to get rid of sorrow, sadness, pain and sickness, bad habits or the negative effects of people who make you unhappy.
 
Banishing magick can also help you to end in your own mind the ties of a destructive relationship, especially if you have been betrayed or badly treated but blame yourself or cannot let go. Sometimes we need the impetus of a spell if we are to walk away or get over the old sad scenes that run round and round in our heads and stop us from moving on.

For this kind of banishing, place a beeswax candle on a metal tray. Then hold a natural fabric cord or a long reed grass taut, an end in each hand, over the flame. As you burn the center of the cord till it breaks, say:
 
“I cut the cords that bind me (or another person you are doing the spell for) to (name the destructive person or bad habit, for example smoking or binge eating).”
 
You may need to repeat this spell many times using shorter cords or reeds. Bury the burned cords or reeds when they are not longer required.
 
You can also use banishing magick to protect yourself from harm by returning any ill wishes, spite, malice, gossip, curses or hexes to the sender without adding any bad feelings of your own. Under the threefold law, what ill wishes send out they get bad three times as strongly. Simply say:
 
“I return what is yours. Send it not again.”
 
As you speak, hold your hand palm outwards, finger splayed into the wind.

Responsible Witch

Responsible Witch

Author: Donna Caldwell aka Scarlette Winter Rose

What is a witch? Is it, as by common definition, a sorceress, a person bent on evil doings, who casts spells and worships the devil? Is it someone to fear and therefore ostracize, imprison and execute? My answer to these questions is both yes, and no.

Why am I qualified to answer these questions? Because I am a witch, and have been all of my life.

So let’s get those questions answered.

First, a witch is many things. She, or he, as men are witches too, may or may not be a sorceress. Some witches practice no spell craft, but choose only to focus on the worship of nature, and the Goddess and God, providers of all that we are blessed with on this earth.

There are those like myself, who practice sorcery, or magick. And you will find that among witches, those terms, along with numerous others, intertwine for many, while some insist that the term sorcery only applies to black magic. I do not agree, because to me there is no “black” or “white” magick. There is only magick, and it is the intent of the practitioner that determines the direction of the energy used.

When one decides to follow the path of the witch, they are making a commitment that holds many responsibilities, and will find that there is much to learn before any actual casting of spells should be approached.

To quote High Priestess Ly de Angeles, from her book “Witchcraft Theory and Practice”, “Once initiation has occurred, there is no turning back…you will quest all of your life; it is not a thing to do thoughtlessly.”

This is, in part, because our spiritual path, unlike others, states that we are immediately responsible for all of our actions and the results that follow. We cannot lay blame elsewhere for our harmful deeds, whether toward ourselves or to others.

Witches do not believe in the devil, so the idea of our worshipping one is meaningless. If we have acted in a baneful manner, we will not be judged after our body dies, before a single god, but will reap the sowing of our intent while in the present life, and sometimes beyond it, in accordance to the laws of the universe.

This is known among witches as the Threefold Law. It states that any one baneful act by a witch shall be returned upon them three times.

Some, myself included, do not hold strictly to the Threefold Law, but believe that negative use of witchcraft returns upon those liable however many times the universe deems necessary, in order to teach that which must be taught to the practitioner. Think of the old saying “What goes around comes around.”

So witches do have rules? Hell yes!

We abide by that which is known as the Wiccan Rede, a hefty list of guidelines. The most basic and important of these is “And it harm none, do what thou wilt.” Now, just what does that mean?

It means a lot.

We must take care with everything and everyone on this earth, be it the people, the animals, nature, and the planet itself. All is a gift from the Goddess. We must not lie, steal, cheat, or raise war, either with nations, or other people who would condemn us for our beliefs because they differ from their own.

We must work magick responsibly. This means we must prepare for ritual with great thought and patience, being precise, and making sure our efforts do not impose upon another’s will, as that would be baneful.

We must not use mind-altering drugs of any kind before or during ritual. To do so would be against the Rede, as we could bring harm to others and ourselves due to our lack of clear focus.

There are strict rules for summoning energies or “watchtowers”, as we in the Craft refer to them. They are called upon to join and assist in ritual, and must be dismissed at the ritual’s end, in a certain way. Failing to do this can, and most often does, result in negative occurrences long after the ritual is over and those in the circle have gone merrily on their way.

Being in a drugged state would leave those practicing within the ritual circle completely vulnerable to the energies and spirits that have been summoned. To perform spell work correctly, successfully and safely, one must have complete control over their faculties.

Now, how about our reputation?

It has taken hundreds of years for witches to partially recover from the labels placed upon us, and whether we like it or not, our chosen path is one which is looked at by others who still hold to the opinion that we are not following a true spiritual path, but one of pure evil. We must show them differently.

We must act responsibly, respectfully, and never fall into the trap of believing that we are “right” and others “wrong” in their differing beliefs.

We must not boast of powers, or play upon another’s fear of us, thus falling prey to the ego and thereby promoting our own demise, either through personal fault, or by those who would seek to destroy us.

As for that last question, I think I’ll let you, the reader, decide. You have heard from me, a practicing witch, concerning some or our basic beliefs and ways in which we live our lives.

So, what do you think? Should I be feared? Ostracized and imprisoned? Executed?

Some would still answer, “Yes.” My neighbor is one. She has stated on more than one occasion that anyone who practices witchcraft, or her idea of witchcraft, should, in fact, be burned at the stake, twenty – first century or not. With the giant wooden cross she has erected in her front yard, I guess she is preparing for her own ritual….

There will probably always be those who will hate us, out of ignorance and fear. Or perhaps just because we have the courage some of them lack, to follow our own path rather than go along with what is most acceptable in society for the sake of fitting in.

As for myself, I shall continue on the journey my Goddess has provided me, and I shall remain a responsible witch.

The Journey of a Wild Witch

The Journey of a Wild Witch

Author: Eilan

It has been eight years since I first discovered Witchcraft in a spiritual context. Prior to this Magick was very much alive in my life as I was lucky enough to have been born into a family that understands the spiritual dimension of life. My family also had the insight and experience to see and live this dimension in their everyday. In truth there is no difference between what is conceived to be ‘spiritual’ and that which is apparent and ‘mundane’. It is all one. This is my truth and my wild way.

I am an initiated Witch and Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft. This means a great deal to me, as I am also a ‘co-founder’ of the original Mother Coven, based in Brisbane and initiated at Samhain (April 30th) 2006. Our ‘tradition’ and way of living the Craft is deeply interwoven with what many people call ‘shamanism’; derived from the Siberian Tungus word for their medicine people – saman. Mircea Eliade, the late Romanian historian, described shamanism as a “technique of ecstasy” and my coven has come to define Witchcraft as an “ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition”.

Our (and all Witches’) rituals and methods of practice allow us to transcend the illusion of separation and therefore to dissolve the ego and actualize the freedom that lives in the heart of all things. I often call and relate to this ‘All’ as the Great Mystery. The beauty of being a Wild Witch is that nothing is absolute and I have come to realize that all of Life is a holy continuum, which constantly seeks to express itself through diversity. Through expression comes manifestation, which allows us to experience Beauty through Perfection (the world in which we live) and then once more we come to the Wholeness of Unity and the cycle repeats itself.

We are born into a plural world of many and pass into the One only to yearn to divide ourselves once more to grow, deepen and enrich our understandings and experiences of that subtle/overt thing – the Great Mystery.

My coven’s tradition has developed and evolved around this wild-trance-dance-of-wonder. The only consistency between our covens is that we honor and acknowledge our heartland the WildWood, keep holy our covenant with the Sacred Four (the Weaver, the Green Man, the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and the Stag-Horned God) and that we remain open and receptive to personal/group gnosis and to Awen (the divine flow of inspiration) . Other than this there are some structural similarities regarding dedication and priesthood and inner and outer courts.

Essentially however we are wild Witches who fly in the face of authority and seek the wilderness underlying the apparent ‘civilization’ of things. Nothing can be tamed, for the wild is free and the free is divine! As we say in the WildWood – “we have actualized our radness!”

What do Wild Witches do? First and foremost – we live! We breathe, we sleep, we eat, we drink, we sing, we dance, we make love, we scream and we spend time sharing presence and being with our loved ones. ‘Being’ is an important principle to consider. To be is quite simple but so many people find themselves distracted by the “this and that” that they leave ‘being’ behind and pursue illusion instead.

This isn’t the same concept found in various Christian philosophies which espouses a “Satan’s fault!” message when sheep stray from the flock so to speak. Witches understand self-responsibility and are aware of action, reaction and consequence (the Threefold Law) . Why not exist in euphoric awareness of self as Self – the animate Cosmos? You are not only a cell within a larger body of universal wholeness; you are whole and thus a perfect embodiment, expression and reflection of the Great Mystery whose cause, undercurrent and outcome is Life.

When we free ourselves from the illusion of past, present and future and surrender to the Flow of the Continuum (the spirals, the wayward ins and outs, the labyrinthine, serpentine undulations of fate becoming) we make real for ourselves the state of being known commonly as “here and now”. This seems to constitute location and time, however it simply addresses the emphasis of indwelling consciousness regardless of where you are and what frame of time constrains it.

There are moments in my life, which I refer to as ‘Nostalgic Rites’. They are pure, simple, soothing, knowing moments that are like the punctuation points in a flow of sentences. They are the markers and the thresholds that appear along our paths when it is time to pause, reflect and feel. I have them often enough in my life to understand their imminent message of timelessness, peace and overwhelming Love! For what I have learnt above all else thus far is that dwelling within the chaos in the cosmos is the peace which neither subsumes or overrides it, but embraces it and lets it be. Chaos is what happens naturally when the undifferentiated potential becomes “this and that” and peace is the understanding that this is the way of Life. All of this is wild; we dwell in a far-reaching, limitless wilderness.

In a recent priestess training session with two beautiful women from my coven I asked both of them to divulge their feelings and reflections of the journey toward their priestesshood, as they are nearing to the ‘end’ of the beginning – Initiation. One of the women honestly came out and said to us that she feared for us (the other priestess-in-training and I) because we are on the top of the mountain, but because we are risk-takers it is inevitable that we will fall.

I had to stop and wonder in that moment why anyone would not want to fall. In fact I also wondered whether it had occurred to her that surrounding the mountain were vast forests, plains, rivers, deserts, tundra, bushland, seas, oceans and lakes; not to mention all of the beings who inhabit these places.

For me the mountain is not the point. It is part of the whole Great Mystery, but the journey does not lead to a single place; in fact the journey doesn’t really lead anywhere. There is no aim to my wandering, to my blissful dance through the wilderness – I simply embrace every experience because it is worthy of it and I laugh, smile, cry, choke, rage, relax, love, ***, change, grow, and a million other things that I couldn’t possibly articulate or fathom for the purposes of this article.

The other woman, who knows me very well, and is one of my closest friends, then turned to me smiling and said, “You are so glib!” She then went on to explain that it was the “natural, offhand ease and articulate fluency and flow” of how I expressed my truth that made me glib in her opinion.

It wasn’t a criticism on her part, merely an observation. I think it is actually quite accurate. I have such ease and flow in my expression because I don’t have to think too hard about who I am or how I feel because I am and I feel in the “here and the now”. I live and I am, and in my experience Life itself is glib.

To my fellow journeyers of the wild way who know in their hearts that they are heading nowhere, anywhere and everywhere – may you dance the Wander with all you are. My deepest well of love to you all!

The Wanderer

The sages say that samsara is to wander, to pass through,
I say samsara is to know the way and dance it.
To dance is to live, and to live is never “to pass through”;
Dance doll – dance and light up the stage…

Then they came with their wrought-iron weapons
And they pierced my soul, and looked for the mark.
I sang to them to soothe their battered spirits.
They sunk their swords in harder, my heart is in shreds.

The blood ran dry and the old seas heaved
And there in the darkest hour all was forgotten,
And tattered clothes were left in tatters,
And the ashes were left in mounds at the pyres.

Is it a fact that when we are lost we wander?
Is it true that when we are in love we dance?
Or do we dance when we are lost?
And do we wander when in love?

Samsara, O holy wheel of Life,
Keep turning, I want to stay.
I don’t want nirvana in clouds far away
For I feel it already…here.

The Wanderer – the Fool?
I don’t mind, I don’t mind being;
For all the pain and suffering and the attachment to desire
There is a keenness that is not worth losing.

I want to live,
I want to wander if that’s what it takes,
But through all this I will dance
And I will dance because I love.

– Gede Parma, 2007

ABOUT…

Eilan

Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Website: http://www.gedeparma.com

Author’s Profile: To learn more about Eilan – Click HERE

Bio: Gede Parma is a Witch and initiated Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft, Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of Spirited: Taking Paganism Beyond the Circle (Llewellyn Publications) and is the compiler and editor of the forthcoming Conjunction Press ‘Pagan Community Anthology’. He is a feature writer for Australia’s premier Pagan magazine ‘Spellcraft’ and is also a staff-writer for Gwinevere Rain’s popular youth Pagan e-zine ‘Copper Moon’. Visit Gede at http://www.gedeparma.com


 

Ethics and Etiquette

Ethics and Etiquette

 

Hello,

I would like to contribute the attached article, written by me, to the IBOS. This article may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, providing that this original copyright notice stays in place at all times.

Thank you,

Morgaine

© Morgaine 2001

 

When we speak of ethics and etiquette in relation to pagansim what are we referring to? Are we speaking of outdated rules and actions that no longer have meaning and we only give lip service to? I don’t believe so. Ethics and etiquette are living, breathing codes of life, shaping our actions in relation to each other, and ourselves. They are a guiding force in the way we live our lives.

Let us first look at ethics. Ethics are defined as –a set of principles; moral philosophy; rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession; human duty; a particular system of principles and rules concerning duty, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions; motivation based on ideas of right and wrong; the philosophical study of moral values and rules.

When we begin to speak of ethics, we need to realize that this can be a very touchy subject. We are human after all, and we want to think our ethics are the correct ones. While there are generally accepted community ethics, it is personal ethics that make up who we are. And these are not the same for each person.

Before we begin to discuss in depth community and person ethics let us first look at the Rede, the most common code of conduct among Wiccans.

Bide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust;

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill;

‘An ye harm none, do as ye will’;

Lest in self-defense it be, ever mind the rule of three;

Follow this with mind and heart;

And merry ye meet and merry ye part.

Every Wiccan knows the Rede. Our passwords into the sacred circle are in here. Our major rule of ethic is here. And the reason for breaking this ethic, as well as the consequences of breaking it foolishly. When we extract the line most popular –An ye harm none, do as ye will’ and begin to dissect it, we have to wonder “Is this an ethic we can every achieve?”

I believe the Rede is a standard of living, like all ethics, and one that is an impossibility to achieve. The goal is to live as closely to the Rede as possible. In the attempt to do this, we begin to analyze our actions. We follow the path of LEAST harm. Thus, we begin to live conscious of our actions, and how they effect the world around us. And here comes the REAL lesson of the Rede. It forces us to have personal responsibility. Once you have acknowledged that the Rede is a goal to work for and not a given situation, and have taken of the blinders that let you go around smug and happy that your religion is so sweet it makes your teeth itch, you can get down to the work of making your life an ethical one. What this involves is considering each decision in the light of the Rede before you decide upon a course of action. You do this by looking at all the possible consequences of that action and whether that will cause harm to any, choosing the path that causes the least harm and, (THIS IS THE KEY) accepting the responsibility for the consequences of your actions whether intentional or unintentional. -Lark, HPS of Tangled Moon Coven.

Wicca, as well as most Pagansim, is a religion and spiritual path of personal responsibility. We strive to live in an aware state. When we do this, we recognize our free will, and the free will of others. If we ignore the lesson of personal responsibility, we fail to realize our true spiritual potential and our true spiritual will.

As we begin our path, we must develop a set of personal ethics, while maintaining a respect for the ethics of the community we are becoming a part of. Some community ethics are very well defined.

-Don’t practice black magick, or follow the left-hand path.

-Don’t attempt to harm another or interfere with their free will.

-Always act in a way that will reflect well upon your path. Never do anything that will bring harm to the Craft.

Since Wicca, and pagansim, are very open paths and for the most part do not seek to make anyone follow ‘ONE RIGHT WAY’, most of the ethics defined by community are concerning harm to others, and harm to the Craft.

But to begin a spiritual path, and to follow it every day of your life, you must develop your own set of personal ethics that define the way you live. No one can tell you what your personal ethics should be. Your teachers, mentors, HPS, HP can all recommend both in word and deed, ethics that work for them. You may be given a ‘Book of the Law’ that governs your group or tradition. If you are a solitary, you may read on the net, or in a book, acceptable codes of conduct, or ideals. But you cannot take someone else’s ethics and make them your own. You must do some soul searching, and decide how you feel about things. Now I am NOT suggesting that you ignore your HPS or HP, or your teachers and mentors. I am suggesting that you should always temper wisdom with personal experience. You must come to a point that you are willing to question what you are taught, to grow in your own self. Through this, your own sense of ethics and morals will come.

Now, here comes the biggie. What do you do when your personal ethics are in direct conflict with accepted community ethics? For example-it has become a phenomenon in the pagan community to love everything white and full of light, and shun everything dark and full of shadow. It has become unacceptable to speak of negative emotions like anger and envy. It has become unacceptable to feel hate towards another person, wish that a murderer would get the death penalty, which that rapist would get castrated by a bunch of angry women. Some of us fondly refer to this a fluffy, bunny Wicca, no offense to anything fluffy, or bunnies. We are taught to love unconditionally because we are all brothers and sisters, connected to each other and every living thing. We are taught that if we experience these emotions, maybe we aren’t all that spiritual, and especially not as much as Miss crystal love and light. We are often looked down upon if we say something like ‘I am so damn mad at my ex husband I could smack him’. The response I myself have heard to such comment is ‘my my, now THAT wasn’t very positive’. Well, guess what. It WASN’T. Now I am not saying that you should indulge in these emotions. They can be deterrents to developing a sound spiritual identity because they are ‘negative’ in the sense that they are base emotions that do not vibrate on the spiritual plane. But they also teach us lessons that can lead to spiritual epiphanies.

Life is a balance between light and dark. Nature is both beautifully creative and frighteningly destructive. Inside of a single human there is light and shadow, and to be totally balanced we must learn to face both, experience both and therefore learn from both. So back to the original question. Let’s say you don’t feel that you are evil if you feel anger at another person or what have you. What do you do when community ethics conflict with your personal ethics? In my opinion, as long as what you are doing does not come into direct conflict with the good of the general community, or does not manipulate or purposefully harm another person, then your personal ethics should come first. You should not do something maliciously to another person. When you do this, you are not only harming yourself, but you are harming that person, AND the whole of the community. It is very important that our community not be sullied, and the reasons are obvious. But beyond this, your personal ethics should prevail.

Do ethics change over time? Do you think that the ethics of our ancestors of 100, 200 or even 1000 or more years ago are the same as what they are now? I believe that ethics are a revolving and ever changing system. Some become outdated, and some we should always keep. For instance, it has only been in the recent resurgence of Pagansim in the last 50-60 years or so that the belief of ‘An ye harm none, do as ye will came about’. In times past, a witch who could not curse, could not heal. Societies have not always believed that you should not harm another person, or that interfering with someone life was a bad thing. The old wise woman of a village was sought out for every reason from fertility, to love, to revenge. It has been in our time only, with the resurgence of beliefs and the discrimination that we face, that we have adopted some of the common ethics we now have. I am NOT saying this is wrong, or that we should go back to the ‘Old Ways’. In a society that we now living in, and the information is available for spiritual purposes, there is no longer a need to seek out the crone of the village and ask her to grant you revenge on your enemy. But this is the perfect example of how ethics change with time. At one time it was ethical for old men to mate with young girls. In our culture, it is no longer ethical. So ethics change, and so they should. Change is the only constant in the universe, and without it, we grow stagnate and our lives become filled with rot and decay. Change blows in new life to help recreate our lives, our beliefs and yes, even out ethics.

The other common code of conduct that we hear of in the Pagan community is ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, love under will.’ This comes from Aleister Crowley, from his book entitled ‘The Book of the Law’. Now knowing some of the things that we do about Crowley, it’s almost humorous to think of him in a discussion of ethics, except to point to what not to do maybe! But, this is a very powerful outlook on developing your own set of personal ethics.

In my understanding ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will’ does not mean you may do as you wish and that is it. It is speaking of your TRUE will, your TRUE purpose in life. And if you are following your true or higher will and purpose you will not come into conflict with another’s will so therefore you do not have to worry about stepping on anyone else’s toes. So you don’t have to worry about harming another, because you are in touch with the divine and you are following your own spiritual path and will, which will not cause harm or conflict with another. Of course, we still have conflicts with people. One way to look at this is as a spiritual lesson for either you or the other person. But if you are seeking to control another or harm another, this is not your true will. This is based upon the belief that every person is an individual, and as an individual you should be true to your own nature or consciousness. You must find your true will and make all of your actions subservient to the one great purpose. This again leads to conscious living.

If ethics are codes of personal and community conduct, then etiquette is a code of social conduct. Etiquette is defined as –the practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority; forms of conduct prescribed by polite society; code of correct conduct; also decorum denotes conformity with established standards of manners or behavior; the forms required by good breeding, or prescribed by authority, to be observed in social or official life; observance of the proprieties of rank and occasion; conventional decorum; ceremonial code of polite society; rules governing acceptable behavior.

Just like Emily Post and polite society, we in the Pagan community have behavior that is expected from us in how we interact with that community. In my opinion, etiquette is something sorely lacking in many Pagans. They are not taught certain things about how we interact with each other. This could be because maybe you didn’t have a teacher, or your teacher didn’t know them either. Or it could be because you or those who taught you just didn’t care, it wasn’t important to them. But I feel that etiquette is VERY important. It keeps us civilized, it aids us in how we interact and it shows the outside world that we know how to act.

Beyond the mundane world and it’s social etiquette, lets take a look at some things that are common among Pagan paths, especially the Wiccan path.

  1. You should never touch someone else’s magickal tools and items without their express permission. If you see something you like and want to touch, then ASK. Don’t just hold out your hand for it, or just pick it up. A person leaves an imprint of their energy on what they touch, and they may not want someone else’s energy on their magickal items. This includes athames all the way to stones and jewelery. And do not take offense if you ask and are told no.
  2. The way you live reflects on our whole community. You should always respect others, no matter their path. Inside your own religion thee is a certain higher respect given each other, as Children of the Goddess. This comes from a basic understanding of the hardships of the path, and the process we all go through in some way to evolve. It can be equated to any secret society and it’s initiation process and path of self-discovery. This path is not for everyone, and if you take it seriously, will change your life in ways you could never imagine. Any path that causes growth can be difficult. And we link with others that are going through the same thing we are and take strength from and learn from them.
  3. We endeavor to hold ourselves to a high standard of living our spiritual lives that the mundane world does not. Therefor we support each other, lending a hand when the pitfalls of the world come about.
  4. When someone gives of themselves to teach or guide, we recognize that person’s giving, and respect it. Not all of us are called to teach, and those who are offer a valuable service that should not be taken for granted.
  5. When you are called to teach or guide, you have been given a very serious part to play in your community. You should never abuse it in any way. It also does not mean that you may use it as a way to gain power over, or look down upon any other person. We are all where we should be onour path, and it does not mean a thing that you have 10 or 20 years of service and someone else has 1. We are all equal in the eyes of the Gods. And if you are a teacher, you are held to an even higher state of conduct. You must never involve yourself in anything that could cause harm to your students or to the Craft. You should never do anything that would bring a bad light on us. For instance, you should never become romantically involved with one of your students. You should not condone the use of illegal drugs, or alcohol if the person is not of age. You should not use your position to control your students, or make them dependent on you. The goal is to aid a person on this path. You supply the seed as a teacher. You cannot take them by the hand and learn from them, or be easy on them when you should be honest.
  6. In that same light, those who would be considered an elder in our faith are given a large amount of respect. The wisdom that is gained from following this path for 10, 20 or 30 years is an asset to our community, and we should respect the Elders of the community for what they have learned and what they teach us.
  7. Due to the advent of the internet, there is a phenomenon growing among new seekers that is very disturbing. It involves not understanding the hard work it takes to learn the Old Ways, or the dedication and self sacrifice those who follow, and especially those who teach and guide give to the path. From this lack of understanding, new seekers think they can go to any page on the net, learn what they can and be done with it. It also leads them to think that they can ask for what they want, and someone will just hand it over. For example, I have been asked to send someone a copy of my BOS. This shows me that the person requesting this has no idea of what a BOS is, what it stands for and the process that is gone through to acquire it. This is flat out rude to begin with. This person is wanting their religion hand fed to them. They want to skip the hard work, the dedication, the pitfalls and the trials, and get right to the reward. This is simply not how it’s done. This person wants the secrets and mysteries handed to them on a silver platter, without having to leave the comfort of the computer chair and work for them. This isn’t possible. And I am here to say STOP. Be mindful of what you are asking. You can’t go to the net, read a page or two, then go ask someone for their BOS, or even ask them to teach you. There must be effort on your part. You are not an adept after reading a page, or a book, or even ten books. The mysteries cannot be handed to you on a silver platter and you are a master of the universe. This is what I call lazy Wicca, and through lazy Wicca you will never come to experience the mysteries, because they come through dedication, hard work and a personal dedication to the Gods.
  8. Those who are out of the closet must NEVER give away the secrets of their brothers and sisters. You should never give any personal information. You should never tell the secrets of a coven, who it’s leaders are, who the members are or any other information. We must honor our vows and protect those who for whatever reason have chosen to remain hidden from the eyes of the world.
  9. For those who are out of the closet, your life and your actions must be above reproach in the eyes of the world. As an open pagan, you may be the only one that a non pagan every sees. They will see every Pagan in you. So in all things you must be truthful. You must live with dignity and honor.

In our discussion of ethics and etiquette the point I was trying to impress upon you is this. We have become a society who thinks that we may do as we please, act as we please and there are no consequences. We fight with the Christians. We complain about how they fight amongst themselves. We sneer at them when they point to another of them and say how that person is wrong and they way they practice is wrong. And yet, WE DO THE SAME THING.

When I meet a fellow priestess, I treat her with respect as a person, and doubly so as a priestess, since I know how hard that path can be, to have dedicated your life and your service to the Gods and the Old Ways. If I meet someone who has been walking the path for 20 or 30 years, I respect that person because of the knowledge they have obtained in that time. That is not to say my 10 years is less, or they are ‘more spiritual’ than me. It is saying that this path is not an easy one all the time, and to have lived it every day for that amount of time is deserving of respect. I was taught as a child to respect my elders, and I believe that is still a valid lesson. The elders of this path can teach us things that we have never even thought of. At the same time, as an elder, you should always remember what it was like to take your first stumbling steps on this path, and how you may have longed for some guidance. It is just as wrong to be an elder, and act as if you know everything, or someone who is only 20 or whatever age could never be a spiritual person. We all must remember our ethics and etiquette, and encourage each other every day.

We have forgotten to practice our personal ethics, and have thrown etiquette out the window. We have forgotten Emily Post and Miss Manners, and have went on about our merry little way to fight like cats and dogs, without even offering basic human respect for those with diverging views, and this troubles me. It is a plague that is infecting our community. The Witch Wars continue. We struggle to make our way the right way, even if we don’t realize we are doing this. We forget the very basic teaching that we are all connected, and that all paths are valid, as long as they fulfill our spiritual needs.

Let us remember our ethics. Let us live our lives with honor, treating all of life with respect. Follow your own path, without interference into another’s. Work hard, study hard and receive the blessings of a life well lived.

Harm None and the Rede?

Harm None and the Rede?

Author: Phoenix Sol

The rede is a very important thing to me and most other Wiccans I know, and some other branches of Paganism. However I feel that this important piece is highly misunderstood by a lot of the community. I have seen it again and again so I thought that I would maybe try to clear up a few important points that I have found.

Please read the whole thing before you judge my above statement, I understand that some of you might disagree with the points I am about to make and I respect your different views and opinions even if I do not personally agree. You can feel free to think what you think but I have not heard my view put out there in the past so I feel that I must do it now.

‘Harm none.’ What do these two words imply? To harm nothing would be to not exist. To live is to cause harm and death so that the cycle of life can go around. There are microorganisms in the air that when you breathe you kill them. Every time you eat you are causing harm, if you eat meat then someone had to end the life of your meal and even if you don’t eat meat then you are still causing harm to the plant you are eating, for it too was a living organism.

Anything you say can harm another human, even if you tell your religion to a loved one who is against it then you are harming them in some way. If someone attacks you then you would you use what you could to survive or let him or her do what they will because you refuse to cause harm on them? The latter option is impractical, unsafe, and if you chose it you probably would not be mentally all right even if you did live through it.

I do not know why people can think that they truly follow this code in life when it is clearly out of the questions in some situations. However is it even a code?

People who claim to ‘harm none’ do so usually by following the rede thinking that this is what the rede says. However the rede I have found and follow says, ‘An ye harm none, do what ye will.’ The two words mentioned earlier are by no means the only part of the rede as it consists of all eight words. If the eight words were there then it would stand to reason that all of them would share an equal importance.

As mentioned above, I have a very hard time excepting that the only two words in the rede that are important is ‘harm none’ because then the rest of the rede would not be there at all. This is not a short story either where words just get thrown in even if they have little to no meaning within the context of the larger story. This is one sentence that every word has to be perfectly chosen and placed in order to make the meaning get across in such a short amount of space.
In modern language this translates into, ‘if you harm none then you may do as you will.’

Note again it does not say only ‘harm none.’ The ‘if you, ’ or ‘an ye, ’ implies the choice. Such as if a mother said to their child, ‘if you eat your dinner then you may have your chocolate cake.’ If you do something then you will get a sort of reward in return. I know that this is not the basis of Wicca, or Paganism in general, but it is the best example I can come up with for trying to get across my point. So now that we have established what the first four words mean lets move on to the next four.

‘Do what ye will.’ Now this part I feel is much more straightforward than the first four words. It is well known that in Paganism there is no dogma that you MUST follow and there are no rules that direct your behavior. We do not condemn as some monotheistic religions do, threatening with hell fires and the like. However as this alone would make sense, the Pagan paths to not look for this type of behavior as you have to have some structure (what that structure is depends on the particular path that you choose to follow) . But you should also realize that this is also not quite what the rede is telling us. The last part is that we have to take the two parts discussed so far and add them together.

Now there is another common misunderstanding of what it says at this point. I would like you to realize now that if the rede meant to say that you could do whatever you want as long as what you do doesn’t do harm then it would have been worded much differently. It would read, ‘Do what ye will, if ye harm none.’ Think again of the parent and child, this situation would say something along the lines of ‘you can only play in the park if you don’t use the sandbox.’ And yet again this is not how the rede is read.

What it is saying, however, is that if what you are doing causes no harm then you can do it freely. It is not commending the action of causing harm but implying that you may not do harm lightly, with no purpose. Harm is inevitable and the rede I lives by tells me that a logical reason, such as surviving or happiness or well being, is necessary if one decides that they need to cause harm. Harm should not be done without reason however it is inevitable.

This is the rede I live by, ‘An ye harm none, do what ye will.’

Now again this is just how I view the rede and it may be interpreted differently. I will respect other views on it but I would like to say that some things are plain impossible for humans to accomplish.

The Four Rules and The Law of White Witchcraft.

The Four Rules and The Law of White Witchcraft.
by Torin W. (e-mail: athame@flash.net)

copywrite 1996 White Circle Enterprises
All rights reserved.

 

 

**Notice**
This document may be distributed freely so long as it is not altered, edited, or changed in any way from its original form. A copy of this document in its true original form may be gotten from our home page.

In order to live a full and successful life as a ‘White Witch’, one must first understand what the rules of the game are. The princliples which are put forth below are intended to be a very simple, basic way to remember the way of the White Craft.

The total idea may be visualized as a four legged stool. Each of the Rules can be seen as a leg and The Law may be seen as the seat. The Rules without The Law are uncomfortable and nigh on to useless in their function. The Law without the Rules gives you a comfortable place to be, but it is rather impractical and again, nearly useless. However, when all of these are brought together they make a highly stable, functional, and enjoyable life.

The Four Rules:

1) Live – Live each day as if it were your last, for one day you will be right.

2) Love – Love yourself first and foremost. For when you truly love yourself, loving those around you will come as easily as breathing – and we all must breathe.

3) Learn – Learn your life’s lessons – each as it comes – for that is the reason we are here.

4) Enjoy – Enjoy your life, because if you do not most likely someone else will enjoy it for you… and then your time here will have been wasted.

The Law:

Harm None.

Explanations

**Live

The first Rule put forth sounds pretty straight forward at first. Then you actually try to live it! 🙂 Living each day as if it were your last means maximizing your potential for every moment that you have been given.

If you are let go from your job… that is an opportunity to face truth and see what you can do to make yourself more marketable and go get a BETTER job. Or, if you are highly motivated, dedicated, and a risk taker you can take that chance to start your own company.

When I first began to follow these principles, my business was not very successful, my marriage was only tolerable, and I often felt depressed about my situation as a whole. Then I began to live each moment.’Carpe Diem’ (Sieze the day) became my motto. I began to maximize every moment and live in the moment, not for the moment.

This does not mean that in order to be a good witch that you have to work like a rabid squirrel on ‘speed’… but it does mean that you have to be honest with yourself to see what your situation really is and to make the most of it.

I believe that if I can go to bed at night and think to myselfthat I had done the very best I could that day with the information I had at each moment of opportunity, then the day was a success. But if I go to bed thinking that I had let an opportunity slip away I do not beat myself up over it. I simply say to myself, “Gee Torin, that was one you missed. I’ll get it the next time it comes along.”

**Love

What is life without love? Honestly, I can’t imagine what that would be like. Yet many people live their lives without the most important form of love there is – the love of the self. If you truly understand yourself and are willing to take responsibility for your own actions you will suddenly find a great love for yourself.

In order to give free and unconditional love to another person you must first have that kind of feeling for yourself. This is all this means.

**Learn

One of the cornerstones of The Craft is the belief that our souls are here on this plane of existance at this point in time to learn lessons. Your lessons are different from (although probably quite similar to) my own. Learn what life teaches you. It is no more difficult than this.

**Enjoy

The life of the witch does not require you to live your life in suffering nor poverty. There are no mandates for pain, unhappiness, or unpleasantness. We do not see suffering as the ‘key’ to getting into Heaven (or the Summer- lands as some of us call it). Indeed, we see such things as exactly what they are… unpleasant! This does not mean that we never have unpleasant things happen to us, nor that we walk around in a constant state of denial.

We see suffering as either the result of an action we took (i.e. going to jail for robbing a bank) or the way that The Unknown (see “The Dieties of Witches” by Torin W.) has chosen to teach us a lesson which we need to learn but have not done anything consciously to bring about the circumstances (i.e. the totally unexpected death of a close friend).

Witch Craft allows you to reap all of the happiness and prosperity from your life that you can muster… so long as you stay within the accepted boundaries. For instance, if you work hard at an honest job you like to do then there is nothing which says you should feel badly for being more suc- cessful than others. But if you rob a bank, you may be happy with the things that the money can buy for a short period of time, but eventually you will suffer far greater than if you had simply worked for it. (I know this may sound some-what like a contradiction to what I said earlier, but I do not believe in keeping a job which does not give me enough pleasure, satisfac- tion, and money to make up for the difficulties I endure.)

**The Law: Harm None.

I have been asked to explain this statement more than all of the previous ideas combined. I often describe ‘Harm None’ as “the Law which must remain unbroken, but cannot remain whole at all times.” Think about it, you can’t do it as a human being.

In order to actually harm none you would have to be in total and complete harmony with all things int he Universe at exactly the same time. Your immune system would not kill bacteria and other infections (because that would be harming them). Nor would you allow the bacteria to infect you because that would cause harm to yourself. You would not eat meat, nor vegetables because it would cause the destruction of either. Neither would you not eat because that would harm you. Do you see how this is simply an impossiblilty?

What I teach my students is to take great pains to Harm None and to think out the results of any act as far as possible ahead of time. I also stress that whenever magics are being worked that the free will of any individual or group should never be infringed.

I have been asked specifically about the use of various types of drugs in witchcraft and their relationship to the ‘Harm None’ principle. I believe that The Bright Ones gave us a sober state of mind for a reason. They also gave our brains some of the most potent chemicals known to man for achieving altered states of consciousness. Therefore i see no reason to alter the chemistry of the brain in order to ‘gain enlightenment’. Ask any recovering drug addict… he/she will tell you that the drugs lie to you.

Because of part of the training I give, I require that no illegal drugs are used while under my tutilage. In fact, if a student becomes sick during training and requires a prescription strength pain reliever, the training schedule is re-worked to allow for the purging of the body before training resumes.

One of my students used to do a good deal of psychotropic drugs (i.e. LSD, mushrooms, etc.). Then he and I began to work together. After a few months of training, we worked a circle to allow him to develope his psychic senses (i.e. clairaudience, clairvoyance, etc.) When he left the circle he related to me a feeling such as none he had ever known. His words were, “It was a hundred thousand times better then the best acid trip I had ever taken.”

In short, I personally feel that drugs can be a great hinderance and only cause damage to your soul. But I also recognise the free will of the individual. I can only tell you that in my own perception, drugs do cause harm to you.

Natural Baby Ritual

Preparations begin before the birth of the child:

  1. The expectant couple obtains some special wood and burns it down to ash. Traditionally, the desired wood leaves white ash, because it will make the rest of the spell easier, however this may be adapted to suit specific desires. Any traditional magick wood, such as birch, ceiba, hazel or rowan would be appropriate, too.

  2. These ashes are reserved until the birth.

  3. After  birth, the placenta is carried to a strategic area, traditionally a mountain crossroads, and placed on the ground.

  4. The ashes are sprinkled onto the placenta.

  5. The first animal to leave prints either in or with the ash is the child’s protector or represents the species.

Of course, this spell obviously derives from a rural area, with little traffic but a lot of wildlife. Adapt to your needs.

Don’t Fear The Dark: A Discussion On Cursing

Don’t Fear The Dark: A Discussion On Cursing

Author: Ravenix

I can imagine that the title of this article has already raised a few Wiccan eyebrows, so before I launch into the discussion proper, let me say this to them: Don’t worry. I’m not flaming you. I’m not going to ridicule your beliefs, and to do so would be hypocritical, as I myself devoted several years of my life to Wicca. It’s a good, sound, well-structured system, with a wonderful sense of community and empowerment.

So don’t panic.

If you want to follow the Wiccan Rede, great! It’s an admirable ethic. But it’s not for me anymore. Yes, I have cursed, yes, I do curse, yes, I will probably curse again. But don’t run away just yet; hear me out, and bear what I’m saying in mind.

In Neopaganism, there has been something of a shying away from the ‘dark side’ of spirituality; there is a great emphasis on being ‘nice’, on focusing only on the ‘good’ and ‘light’ side of things. Yet in comparison, our ancestors before us cursed each other like there was no tomorrow. To this day, archaeological digs uncover smashed clay portraits, bottles of punctured animal organs and other such wonderfully wicked hexes (just type ‘curse’ into the Boscastle Museum Of Witchcraft’s database search and you’ll soon see what I mean) . If you mention these items to a Neopagan, they’ll be likely to change the subject sharpish, or blame it on the witch hunters of old.

Everywhere you look, the Law of Threefold Return is drilled into you, as well as other such warnings and cautions about the ‘dangers’ of cursing. Terms such as ‘white’ and ‘black’ magick don’t exactly help. But is cursing as horrid and malicious an act as it is made out to be? Do we have to sacrifice this art completely to be spiritually ‘good’?

As a Wiccan, I always found that the Wiccan Rede was a hard act to follow; the Rede stated that, as a Wiccan, I could not harm anyone, in any circumstance, ever. The questions that came to me were these; what if they harmed me first? Doesn’t that entitle me to some kind of counter? Moreover, what if they deserved it? Then again, who’s to decide?

If we look at Western Heathenism as a whole, there is very little evidence that an idea like the Law of Threefold Return existed before the 1950’s, and it is in fact derived from Eastern spiritualism. Traditional Cornish Witchcraft, perhaps the only Traditional form that has truly thrived in the British Isles, makes great use of cursing.

Have any of these witches, or any of our ancestors, been made to pay for their actions?

Historically, only by the witch hunters. There are no reports that I know of relating to Traditional Witches being punished by the Gods for cursing in itself. Of course that’s not to say that cursing doesn’t require a certain degree of caution- indeed all spellcraft does.

My partner, for example, performed a curse on a group of people that had refused to act when his friend was date-raped at her own birthday party; he consequently suffered from minor blackouts for months afterwards. This, you might say, is proof enough of celestial punishment. However I propose a slightly different view.

Keep in mind that anger and hatred are incredibly violent emotions; they could be argued to be more ‘powerful’ than happiness and calm due to their speed, severity, and unpredictability. Compare how exhausted you are after laughing for five minutes, and after shouting and screaming in rage for the same amount of time. You would probably agree that the latter leaves you feeling much more empty and drained. Also think of the amount of times you’ve flown off the handle for trivial things. This is what makes cursing so risky: the power behind these negative emotions, and their tendency to amplify far beyond what is fitting to their cause.

Basically, if you wish death on someone for stealing your car, the Gods probably will turn around and admonish you for being harsh. On the other hand, if someone hurts your family and you want payback, the anger and hate you unleash in that spell will burst out of you far more readily than a healing spell. In all cursing, then, moderation of your emotions and a good deal of consideration beforehand are key; I believe that my partner’s blackouts occurred because he either wore himself out completely from the spell’s severity, or the Gods deemed him too severe and made him pay accordingly- but they weren’t admonishing him for cursing in itself.

In particular, the idea of your family being hurt is one that does not sit well with the Rede. What if someone did willingly hurt your family? Would you sit and wait for the Gods to avenge you?

This view is one that I imagine the Gods find slightly arrogant; they’re not there to hold your hand, and they don’t heal your friends for you- you have to do most of that yourself, even if you do ask for help, so why isn’t cursing the same?

Or, would you turn the other cheek, letting the instigator get away with their cruelty?

Now I’ve never been the most forgiving person, and I don’t see why I can’t give back what I get from people who wish to hurt me and mine. The trick is to cast a curse that is equivalent to the harm done; something that is very hard to do when the human condition makes us bloodthirsty for revenge of the worst kind.

I would definitely say that cursing is harder than well-wishing, as it requires more control; it also requires you to make contact with a part of yourself that you may not like. This I think is why many Wiccans and Neopagans turn away from it, to the point of fearing it; they refuse to accept the ugly side of their nature, as do most people. This is understandable, but it’s also an imbalanced way of life to me; it’s a sad truth that the world is both beautiful and terrible, and I believe that true balance comes if your spirituality reflects that.

Curses are nothing to fear (unless you’re on the receiving end of course!) , and they can be quite trivial; I performed a curse on a flea infestation in my house a few months ago, with the help of Tiw, and I haven’t had trouble since.

All in all, pins in poppets and mutilated animal organs are extreme examples of what is, really, just another form of spellcraft; if you look past the hype and fight your fear, you’ll find that curses aren’t as terrible as they’re made out to be. Remember that the more severe curses are a last resort; like everything else, you must think twice and use caution.

And like all spells, curses are just a means to an end, usually getting rid of something undesirable when there’s no other way of doing so.

Of course I can’t convince you to agree, and if you’re still dead against cursing, so be it; you’re welcome to your views. But at least consider what I’ve said, and try not to be afraid of something that is, at its heart, an integral part of the Traditional Craft.



Footnotes:
http://www.museumofwitchcraft.com

The Journey of a Wild Witch

The Journey of a Wild Witch

Author: Eilan

It has been eight years since I first discovered Witchcraft in a spiritual context. Prior to this Magick was very much alive in my life as I was lucky enough to have been born into a family that understands the spiritual dimension of life. My family also had the insight and experience to see and live this dimension in their everyday. In truth there is no difference between what is conceived to be ‘spiritual’ and that which is apparent and ‘mundane’. It is all one. This is my truth and my wild way.

I am an initiated Witch and Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft. This means a great deal to me, as I am also a ‘co-founder’ of the original Mother Coven, based in Brisbane and initiated at Samhain (April 30th) 2006. Our ‘tradition’ and way of living the Craft is deeply interwoven with what many people call ‘shamanism’; derived from the Siberian Tungus word for their medicine people – saman. Mircea Eliade, the late Romanian historian, described shamanism as a “technique of ecstasy” and my coven has come to define Witchcraft as an “ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition”.

Our (and all Witches’) rituals and methods of practice allow us to transcend the illusion of separation and therefore to dissolve the ego and actualize the freedom that lives in the heart of all things. I often call and relate to this ‘All’ as the Great Mystery. The beauty of being a Wild Witch is that nothing is absolute and I have come to realize that all of Life is a holy continuum, which constantly seeks to express itself through diversity. Through expression comes manifestation, which allows us to experience Beauty through Perfection (the world in which we live) and then once more we come to the Wholeness of Unity and the cycle repeats itself.

We are born into a plural world of many and pass into the One only to yearn to divide ourselves once more to grow, deepen and enrich our understandings and experiences of that subtle/overt thing – the Great Mystery.

My coven’s tradition has developed and evolved around this wild-trance-dance-of-wonder. The only consistency between our covens is that we honor and acknowledge our heartland the WildWood, keep holy our covenant with the Sacred Four (the Weaver, the Green Man, the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and the Stag-Horned God) and that we remain open and receptive to personal/group gnosis and to Awen (the divine flow of inspiration) . Other than this there are some structural similarities regarding dedication and priesthood and inner and outer courts.

Essentially however we are wild Witches who fly in the face of authority and seek the wilderness underlying the apparent ‘civilization’ of things. Nothing can be tamed, for the wild is free and the free is divine! As we say in the WildWood – “we have actualized our radness!”

What do Wild Witches do? First and foremost – we live! We breathe, we sleep, we eat, we drink, we sing, we dance, we make love, we scream and we spend time sharing presence and being with our loved ones. ‘Being’ is an important principle to consider. To be is quite simple but so many people find themselves distracted by the “this and that” that they leave ‘being’ behind and pursue illusion instead.

This isn’t the same concept found in various Christian philosophies which espouses a “Satan’s fault!” message when sheep stray from the flock so to speak. Witches understand self-responsibility and are aware of action, reaction and consequence (the Threefold Law) . Why not exist in euphoric awareness of self as Self – the animate Cosmos? You are not only a cell within a larger body of universal wholeness; you are whole and thus a perfect embodiment, expression and reflection of the Great Mystery whose cause, undercurrent and outcome is Life.

When we free ourselves from the illusion of past, present and future and surrender to the Flow of the Continuum (the spirals, the wayward ins and outs, the labyrinthine, serpentine undulations of fate becoming) we make real for ourselves the state of being known commonly as “here and now”. This seems to constitute location and time, however it simply addresses the emphasis of indwelling consciousness regardless of where you are and what frame of time constrains it.

There are moments in my life, which I refer to as ‘Nostalgic Rites’. They are pure, simple, soothing, knowing moments that are like the punctuation points in a flow of sentences. They are the markers and the thresholds that appear along our paths when it is time to pause, reflect and feel. I have them often enough in my life to understand their imminent message of timelessness, peace and overwhelming Love! For what I have learnt above all else thus far is that dwelling within the chaos in the cosmos is the peace which neither subsumes or overrides it, but embraces it and lets it be. Chaos is what happens naturally when the undifferentiated potential becomes “this and that” and peace is the understanding that this is the way of Life. All of this is wild; we dwell in a far-reaching, limitless wilderness.

In a recent priestess training session with two beautiful women from my coven I asked both of them to divulge their feelings and reflections of the journey toward their priestesshood, as they are nearing to the ‘end’ of the beginning – Initiation. One of the women honestly came out and said to us that she feared for us (the other priestess-in-training and I) because we are on the top of the mountain, but because we are risk-takers it is inevitable that we will fall.

I had to stop and wonder in that moment why anyone would not want to fall. In fact I also wondered whether it had occurred to her that surrounding the mountain were vast forests, plains, rivers, deserts, tundra, bushland, seas, oceans and lakes; not to mention all of the beings who inhabit these places.

For me the mountain is not the point. It is part of the whole Great Mystery, but the journey does not lead to a single place; in fact the journey doesn’t really lead anywhere. There is no aim to my wandering, to my blissful dance through the wilderness – I simply embrace every experience because it is worthy of it and I laugh, smile, cry, choke, rage, relax, love, ***, change, grow, and a million other things that I couldn’t possibly articulate or fathom for the purposes of this article.

The other woman, who knows me very well, and is one of my closest friends, then turned to me smiling and said, “You are so glib!” She then went on to explain that it was the “natural, offhand ease and articulate fluency and flow” of how I expressed my truth that made me glib in her opinion.

It wasn’t a criticism on her part, merely an observation. I think it is actually quite accurate. I have such ease and flow in my expression because I don’t have to think too hard about who I am or how I feel because I am and I feel in the “here and the now”. I live and I am, and in my experience Life itself is glib.

To my fellow journeyers of the wild way who know in their hearts that they are heading nowhere, anywhere and everywhere – may you dance the Wander with all you are. My deepest well of love to you all!

The Wanderer

The sages say that samsara is to wander, to pass through,
I say samsara is to know the way and dance it.
To dance is to live, and to live is never “to pass through”;
Dance doll – dance and light up the stage…

Then they came with their wrought-iron weapons
And they pierced my soul, and looked for the mark.
I sang to them to soothe their battered spirits.
They sunk their swords in harder, my heart is in shreds.

The blood ran dry and the old seas heaved
And there in the darkest hour all was forgotten,
And tattered clothes were left in tatters,
And the ashes were left in mounds at the pyres.

Is it a fact that when we are lost we wander?
Is it true that when we are in love we dance?
Or do we dance when we are lost?
And do we wander when in love?

Samsara, O holy wheel of Life,
Keep turning, I want to stay.
I don’t want nirvana in clouds far away
For I feel it already…here.

The Wanderer – the Fool?
I don’t mind, I don’t mind being;
For all the pain and suffering and the attachment to desire
There is a keenness that is not worth losing.

I want to live,
I want to wander if that’s what it takes,
But through all this I will dance
And I will dance because I love.

– Gede Parma, 2007

Which Element Are You?

Which Element Are You?

 

You can gain insight into your personal elemental affinities by asking yourself questions that cover a wide range of topics. Ask yourself many simple questions. Think of it as peeling an onion. Layer by layer you slowly reveal your core. Revealing spells have their purposes, like when it comes to remembering thing we may have chosen to forget, but when it comes to determining something as deeply ingrained as an elemental affinity, you must peel, peel, and peel. If you write your answers on single sheet of paper, one element will often appear many times. Here is a list of questions to consider.

1. What element do you feel you align with?

2. List any hobbies you have. Is there a recurrent theme?

3. Are you basically happy and content or restless and bored?

4. How are you when it comes to money matters?

5. Do you have a sharp nose for business?

6. What are your favorite food groups or preferred taste sensations? (Sweet, salty, etc.)

7. Are you an artist? Is so, what medium do your prefer? (Words, paint, sculpture, etc.)

8. What is your preferred divination method? (Tarot, scrying, pendulum, etc.)

9. Do you know your aura colors?

10. Do you have past-life memories?

11. What are your preferred textures? (Satin, cotton, etc.)

12. How would you describe your musical taste? What is your favorite type of music?

13. What is your favorite kind of mood enchancer? (Aroma, music, stones, etc.)

14. Do you have any physical impairments? (Hearing, sight, smell, etc.) Do you have asthma or any other type of health condition?

15. Do you have any phobias?

16. What is your favorite activity?

17. What is your preferred reading genre? (Fantasy, horror, nonfiction, etc.)

18. How old are you?

19. What kind of imagery do you prefer? (A waterfall, roaring fire, sky scene, luxuriant garden, etc.)

20. Do you collect anything?

21. What is your favorite color?

22. Do you have a weight problem? (Are you overweight or underweight?)

23. Tell me about your space….is it organized or cluttered?

24. Do you have any bad habits?

25. What color is your car?

26. Do you follow the Wiccan Rede or the Golden Rule?

27. Do you believe in the threefold law?

28. Do you have an altar? What is on it?

29. Are your rituals formal or informal?

30. Tell me about your book of shadows. Is it organized? Divided into sections? How many sections? Are the pages decorated or is it more of a journal? Tell me all about it.

31. How do you handle anger?

32. How do you handle love?

33. Are you methodical or more free-spirited?

34. What is your Sun sign? Moon sign? Ascendant?

35. What is your profession? What do you want it to be?

36. Do you believe in ghosts? What would you consider to be “proof” of a haunting?

37. Do you have a totem animal? If so, what is it?

38. Is there a season of the year that you feel most in tune with?

39. Do you consider yourself a day person or a night person?

40. What mythical or fantasy creatures do you love? Which ones scare you?

41. Looking in your book of shadows, what type of spells are predominant? (Candles, herbs, mojo bags, etc.)

42. What color are your eyes? Your hair?

43. Where are you most comfortable? (At home, in the forest, at the beach, etc.)

44. Do you have any specific dream memories? Describe them.