Celtic Wicca (Church of Wicca)

Celtic Wicca (Church of Wicca)

The Church of Wicca was founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost. They offer correspondence courses in their brand of Wicca, which is sometimes called Celtic Wicca. The Church of Wicca has just recently begun including a Goddess in their diety structure, and has been very patrofocal as Wiccan traditions go. The Chuch of Wicca terms itself “Baptist Wicca”

*The Frosts call their tradition of Wicca Celtic. To me it seems more of a mixture of high magic and eclectic Wicca, with a smattering of Celtic thrown in. For instance, they use three circles, one within the others, made of salt, sulphur and herbs with runes and symbols between them instead of just one circle. They also insist on a white- handled athame and will not have a black handled one, whereas all the other traditions I have heard or read about use a black handled one. It seems to me the Wicca they practice and teach should not be called Celtic at all; but since a lot of it is made up or put together by them from other traditions they should also give it a made-up name; say Frostism. If you DON’T have to pay for the course, and have some extra time, it would probably be worth reading just for comparison. [*From Circe, who took their correspondence course.]

The Frosts have always been rather more public than most traditions (advertising their course in the Enquirer and similar publications) which has earned them heavy criticism in less public Craft groups.

Later Developments In Wicca

Wicca has developed in several directions and institutional structures from the time it was brought to wider attention by Gerald Gardner. Gardnerian Wicca was an initiatory mystery religion, admission to which was at least in theory limited to those who were initiated into a pre-existing coven. The Book of Shadows, the grimoire that contained the Gardnerian rituals, was a secret that could only be obtained from a coven of proper lineage. Some Wiccans such as Raymond Buckland, then a Gardnerian, continued to maintain this stance well into the 1970s. Further degrees of initiation were required before members could found their own covens. Interest outstripped the ability of the mostly British-based covens to train and propagate members; the beliefs of the religion spread faster by the printed word or word of mouth than the initiatory system was prepared to handle.

Other traditions appeared. Some claimed roots as ancient as Gardner’s version, and were organised along similar lines. Others were syncretistic, importing aspects of Kabbalah or ceremonial magic. In 1971 “Lady Sheba” published a version of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, dispelling what little secrecy remained as to the contents of Gardner’s rituals. Increasing awareness of Gardner’s literary sources and the actual early history of the movement made creativity seem as valuable as Gardnerian tradition.

Another significant development was creation by feminists of Dianic Wicca or feminist Dianic Witchcraft, a specifically feminist faith that discarded Gardnerian-style hierarchy as irrelevant; many Dianic Wiccans taught that witchcraft was every woman’s right and heritage to claim. This heritage might be characterized by the quote of Monique Wittig “But remember. Make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent.” This tradition was particularly open to solitary witches, and created rituals for self-initiation to allow people to identify with and join the religion without first contacting an existing coven. This contrasts with the Gardnerian belief that only a witch of opposite gender could initiate another witch.

The publications of Raymond Buckland illustrate these changes. During the early 1970s, in books such as Witchcraft – Ancient and Modern and Witchcraft From the Inside, Buckland maintained the Gardnerian position that only initiates into a Gardnerian or other traditional coven were truly Wiccans.

However, in 1974, Buckland broke with the Gardnerians and founded Seax-Wica, revealing its teachings and rituals in the book The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. This “tradition” made no claims to direct descent from ancient Saxons; all its ritual was contained in the book, which allowed for self-initiation. In 1986 Buckland published Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, a workbook that sought to train readers in magical and ritual techniques as well as instructing them in Wiccan teachings and rituals.

Traditional Wicca

 

Often Traditional Wiccans are asked to describe our religion and beliefs for interested people, who may or may not have confused us with other Pagan religions, with inversions of Christian/Islamic religions like Satanism, or with purely magical traditions with no religious base. There is a lot of flexibility in the ways that we describe ourselves, and one characteristic of Wicca is a large degree of personal liberty to practice as we please. Still, there is an outline that can be described in general terms. Many traditions will depart from one particular or another, but groups departing from all or most of these features are probably non-Wiccan Traditions attempting to stretch or distort the Wiccan name to cover what they want to do.Mysteries and Initiation

Wicca is an Initiatory religion descended from the Ancient Mystery Religions. A mystery religion is not like Catholicism where a Priest is the contact point between the worshiper and the Deity, nor like Protestantism where a sacred Book provides the contact and guidelines for being with the divine. Rather a Mystery Religion is a religion of personal experience and responsibility, in which each worshiper is encouraged, taught and expected to develop an ongoing and positive direct relationship with the Gods. The religion is called a “Mystery” because such experiences are very hard to communicate in words, and are usually distorted in the telling. You have to have been there in person to appreciate what is meant. Near and far-Eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shinto are probably Mystery traditions, but Wicca is very western in cultural flavor and quite different than eastern religions in many ways.

A Blend of Pagan Roots

Most Wiccan Traditions, K.A.M. included, have particular roots in the British Mystery Traditions. This includes traditions of the Picts who lived before the rise of Celtic consciousness, the early Celts, and some selected aspects of Celtic Druidism. American Wicca is directly descended from British Wicca, brought in the late 1950’s by English and American Initiates of Gardnerian, Alexandrian and Celtic Wicca. These traditions are a little like the denominations in Christianity, but hopefully far more harmonious.

While British Traditions are very strong in Wicca, or the Craft as it is sometimes called, other Western Mystery traditions feature prominently, including the ancient Greek Mysteries of Eleusis, Italian Mysteries of Rome, Etruria and the general countryside, Mysteries of Egypt and Persia before Islam, and various Babylonian, Assyrian and other mid-eastern Mysteries that flourished before the political rise of the advocates of “one god”.

What’s In a Name

Wicca, Witchecraft, and “The Craft” are used interchangeably at times by many kinds of people. It is fair to say that all Wiccans are Witches, and many of us believe we are the only people entitled to the name. It is important to know that many people call themselves witches who are not in the least Wiccan, and that Masons also refer to themselves as “Craft”, with good historical precedent. Carefully question people on the particular things they do and believe as part of their religion rather than relying on labels. Any real Wiccan would welcome such honest inquiry.

Traditions and Flavor

There are specific Wiccan beliefs and traditions, including worship of an equal and mated Goddess and God who take many forms and have many Names. Groups who worship only a Goddess or only a God are not traditional Wicca however they may protest, although they may be perfectly good Pagans of another sort. The Wiccan Goddess and God are linked to nature, ordinary love and children – Wicca is very life affirming in flavor.

Because we have and love our own Gods, Wiccans have nothing to do with other people’s deities or devils, like the Christian God or Satan, the Muslim Allah or the Jewish Jehovah (reputedly not his real name). Christians often deny this fact because they think that their particular god is the only God, and everybody else in the whole world must be worshipping their devil. How arrogant. They’re wrong on both counts.

Traditional Wicca is a religion of personal responsibility and growth. Initiates take on a particular obligation to personal development throughout their lives, and work hard to achieve what we call our “True Will”, which is the best possibility that we can conceive for ourselves. Finding your Will isn’t easy, and requires a lot of honesty, courage and hard work. It is also very rewarding.

Wicca is generally a cheerful religion, and has many holidays and festivals. In fact, most of the more pleasant holidays now on our calendar are descended from the roots Wicca draws on, including Christmas, May Day, Easter and Summer Vacation. Wicca is definitely not always serious. Dancing, feasting and general merriment are a central part of the celebrations.

Wiccan Ethics

Wiccans have ethics which are different in nature than most “one-god” religions, which hand out a list of “do’s and don’ts”. We have a single extremely powerful ethical principal which Initiates are responsible for applying in specific situations according to their best judgment. That principle:

“An (if) it harm none, do as ye Will”

Based on the earlier mention of “True Will”, you will understand that the Rede is far more complex than it sounds, and is quite different than saying “Do whatever you want as long as nobody is hurt”. Finding out your Will is difficult sometimes, and figuring out what is harmful, rather than just painful or unpleasant is not much easier.

One Religion at a Time

People often ask “Can I become a Wiccan and still remain a Christian, Muslim, practicing Jew, etc. The answer is no. The “one god” religions reject other paths besides their own, including each other’s. “One-god” religions also do not exalt the Female as does Wicca, and mixing two such different traditions would water them both down. Besides, you’d have to ask how serious a person who practiced two religions was about either one. Being Jewish is an exception, since it is a race and culture as well as a religion. There are many Wiccan Jews, but they practice Wicca, not Judaism.

Magick and Science

People interested in Wicca are usually curious about the magick that Wiccans can do. While magick (spelled with a “k” to distinguish from stage conjuring) is not a religion in itself, it is related to our religious beliefs. Wiccans believe that people have many more abilities than are generally realized, and that it is a good idea to develop them. Our magick is a way of using natural forces to change consciousness and material conditions as an expression of our “True Wills”. Part of becoming a Wiccan is training in our methods of psychic and magickal development.

Because we believe that everything a person does returns to them magnified, a Wiccan will not work a magick for harm, since they would pay too high a price. But a helpful magick is good for both the giver and receiver! Wicca is entirely compatible with the scientific method, and we believe all the Gods and forces we work with to be quite natural, not supernatural at all. We do not, however, hold with the kind of scientific dogma or pseudoreligion that sees everything as dead matter and neglects its own method trumpeting “facts” without honest examination of evidence

Priestesses at Large?

Long ago the spiritual (and sometimes physical) ancestors of Wiccans were Priestesses and Priests to the Pagan culture as well as devotees of their Mystery. Now that a Pagan culture is rising again, some ask if today’s Wiccans could resume that role. This seems unlikely.

Today’s Pagan culture is very diverse and more interested in exploring and creating new forms than in building on existing traditions. A public role would either dilute our traditions or force them on an unwilling audience. The neo-Pagan community generally prefers “media figures” and rapid membership and growth. This is not compatible with our slow methods of training and Initiation, the insistence that livelihood come from work outside the Craft, or our needs for privacy. Our religion is not accepted in the American workplace or political system, and may never be. The most powerful Priestesses are often unknown to all but their Coveners. While all Wiccans are Pagans, all Pagans are not Wiccan, and it is best that it remain so.

Wiccan Fundamentalism

Wiccan Fundamentalism

by Ben Gruagach
http://www.WitchGrotto.com
This article may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, providing that this original copyright notice stays in place at all times.

Religious fundamentalism is characterized by literal belief in specific spiritual claims, often about a particular religion’s history, regardless of any available evidence. A particular dogma is promoted as the One True and Only Way and anything that deviates is considered heretical.

The Roman Catholic church has an office within its organization called the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. In previous times this office had another name: the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Despite the name change the office’s role has remained the same. It is responsible for keeping doctrinal discipline and confronting and eliminating deviations in doctrinal thought. It’s all about maintaining the authority of the Vatican and the Pope and ensuring that all Roman Catholics are following the same religion and respecting the established hierarchy.

Wicca is a religion based on autonomy. It draws its basis from Pagan religions of the past but primarily from lore about witches and witchcraft. Most today consider Wicca to trace back directly or indirectly to a single man, Gerald Gardner, who promoted the religion starting in the 1940s or early 1950s in Britain. Gardner described Wicca as based on covens with each coven being autonomous. If there was dissent within a coven the rules as Gardner presented them allowed for the dissenting parties to separate and form new covens. This way of dealing with conflict resulted in encouraging diversity within Wicca and reinforced the idea that there was no central authority which would dictate that one coven was wrong and another right on matters of philosophy or practice.

Gardner also insisted that there were other Wiccans out there that he did not know about who had been practicing before he was initiated. He did this partially to promote the debatable claim that he was merely passing on an intact ancient religion. One consequence of this is that it left the door open for others to come forward and claim they were witches or Wiccans too from a common mythical ancestry and Gardner could not really insist they were wrong. Even if these other Wiccans practiced things differently, Gardner’s “old laws” clearly made it acceptable for variety in the way covens and practitioners did things. He might not have intended to do so but Gardner’s decisions regarding how to handle things in his own group had set the stage for Wicca to become much more than just his own teachings in his own groups.

The result of all this was that Gardner essentially gave away the right to exclusive ownership over the label Wicca for his groups and those directly descended from them. He might not have anticipated this possibility but in any case it is what happened. Many groups, sometimes with conflicting philosophies and ways of doing things, have come forward under the banner of Wicca. New groups have been created and old ones have splintered into other quite distinct groups. Autonomy was there so of course it was exercised!

Not everyone has been happy about this. Some of Gardner’s direct spiritual descendants have argued that only they and a few select groups that they approve of should have the right to call themselves Wiccan. However the autonomous structure had already been set up and no one group has the authority to dictate to the rest of the community. Wicca did not have a central authority structure in the past and it does not have one now. It is highly unlikely at this point that a central authority could be established which the majority of Wiccans would respect.

There have been attempts to seize power and establish a central Wiccan authority but these have all failed. One example is when Alex Sanders proclaimed himself the King of the Witches but it was quickly pointed out, particularly by Gardnerian Wiccans, that he did not have any authority outside of Alexandrian Wiccan covens. Another example is when in 1974 at the Witchmeet gathering in Minnesota, Lady Sheba (a.k.a. Jessie Wicker Bell) declared herself the leader of American witches and demanded that everyone hand over their Books of Shadows to her so that she could combine their contents and then establish a single authoritative Book of Shadows which all American witches would be expected to follow. She was laughed at and needless to say was not successful in establishing the central authority she sought.

It was at that same 1974 Witchmeet where we had probably the closest thing to a central Wiccan authority created in the declaration of the Principles of Wiccan Belief. This set of thirteen principles attempted to outline in a very general way the basic foundation of Wiccan philosophy. The concept of autonomy of both groups and individuals is clear in the document. It also specified that lineage or membership in specific groups was not a requirement in order to be Wiccan. Many Wiccans, both as groups and individually, consider the Principles to be the foundation of their spiritual path. However, true to the autonomy inherent in Wicca, there are some Wiccans who do not consider the Principles to be part of their individual or group philosophy.

Some are not satisfied with how things are in the Wiccan community and actively work to establish a central authority with their own particular outlook of course identified as the One True and Only Way. They are not satisfied with the fact that the autonomy they personally enjoy in Wicca also means that other Wiccans are free to follow their own different paths. These are the Wiccan fundamentalists who see variety as heresy. As far as they are concerned, if you’re not practicing things the way they personally do, and don’t believe things exactly the way they personally do, then you must be wrong and should either correct your ways or else stop calling yourself a Wiccan.

Perhaps these attitudes are carried over from previous religious education where the idea of One True Way was key, such as in many varieties of monotheism, particularly the evangelical and literalist varieties. Often the Wiccan manifestation of the One True Way idea comes through as a literal and absolute belief in the truth of a particular teacher’s work. Most often the teacher elevated to the status of never-to-be-questioned guru is Gerald Gardner since he was the one who began the Wiccan movement in the middle of the twentieth century. In the mind of many Wiccan fundamentalists, if Gardner taught it then it must be absolutely true!

Unfortunately for the literalists Gardner has turned out to be a mere human being just like the rest of us. Some things he got right and some things he got wrong. The history of Wicca that Gardner presented, especially the part that explains what came before Gardner was initiated, has proven to be largely speculation with very little evidence to support many of its major claims. Historians aren’t completely ignorant of what happened prior to the 1950s in England. We have enough evidence to know that Gardner’s historical claims were not completely accurate nor were they completely supported by the evidence.

A religion’s value does not depend on the literal truth of its historical claims. Many millions of people find Christianity to be meaningful despite the fact its history is not absolutely settled. Buddhists seem to still find their religion to be valuable despite the questions regarding the provable history of the religion’s founders. Wicca too is a precious treasure for those who practice it even if they don’t believe one hundred percent of the historical claims made by Gardner.

Some religions do consider blind obedience to authority to be a virtue the faithful are expected to cultivate in themselves. Wicca though cherishes autonomy and this is in direct conflict with blind obedience. Wiccans who value blind obedience are welcome to make that a part of their religious practice but they are out of line in expecting others to abide by their dictates. Wicca does not have an Office of the Holy Inquisition and many Wiccans will actively fight against the establishment of such. And that is to be expected.

Wiccans who play the fundamentalist mind-game of proclaiming that those who do not agree with them are not “true Wiccans” deserve the same reaction that Lady Sheba got back in 1974 when she declared herself Witch Queen of America – they should be laughed at and then ignored. Wicca is not a One True Way religion and never has been. Those who would make it over into one are in for a long hard struggle that they will likely never win. Is it really worth it for them? After all, if they wanted a One True Way religion there are plenty of those out there for them to join. Wicca is for those of us who are free-thinkers, rebels, nature-worshippers, who laugh and love and dance in the name of our Gods and Goddesses in spite of what the stiff-shirt self-declared authorities around us tell us is right and proper. Others can try to co-opt our religion and turn it into yet another fossilized dogma of right and wrong to be blindly followed on pain of excommunication or threats of torment in other lives. The witch’s cat is already out of the bag and has been for some time now, and we’re all enjoying the nighttime revels and the daytime ignoring of arbitrary conventions too much to just follow what someone else tells us is the One True Way.

References

Bonewits, Isaac. “Witchcraft: A Concise Guide.” (Earth Religions Press, 2001.)

Heselton, Philip. “Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration.” (Capall Bann Publishing, 2003.)

Hutton, Ronald. “The Triumph of the Moon.” (Oxford University Press, 1999.)

Lamond, Frederic. “Fifty Years of Wicca.” (Green Magic, 2004.)

Valiente, Doreen. “The Rebirth of Witchcraft.” (Phoenix Publishing, 1989.)

Beliefs and practice Of Wicca

Beliefs and practice Of Wicca

Its is commonly understood that Wiccans worship two deities, the Goddess and the God sometimes known as the Horned God. Some traditions such as the Dianic Wiccans mainly worship the Goddess; the God plays either no role, or a diminished role, in Dianism. Many Gardnerian Wiccans do not claim to be duotheistic, but rather, may practice some form of polytheism, often with particular reference to the Celtic pantheons; they may also be animists, pantheists, agnostics or indeed any of the other spectacular range of possibilities.

Wiccans celebrate eight main holidays (or Sabbats): four cross-quarter days called Samhain, Beltane (or Beltaine), Imbolc (also called Imbolg, Oimelc, or Candlemas) and Lammas (or Lughnasadh), as well as the solstices, Litha and Yule, and equinoxes, Ostara (or Eostar or Eostre) and Mabon (see Wheel of the Year). They also hold Esbats, which are rituals held at the full and new moon.

Generally, the names are of ancient Germanic or Celtic holidays held around the same time, although two do not have any historical precedent. Ritual observations may include mixtures of those holidays as well as others celebrated at the same time in other cultures; there are several ways to celebrate the holidays.

Some Wiccans join groups called covens, though others work alone and are called “solitaries”. Some solitaries do, however, attend “gatherings” and other community events, but reserve their spiritual practices (Sabbats, Esbats, spell-casting, worship, magical work, etc.) for when they are alone. Some Wiccans work with a community without being part of a coven.Many beliefs hold that the ideal number of members for a coven is thirteen. When a coven grows beyond their ideal number of members, they often split into multiple covens, yet remain together as a group. A grouping of multiple covens is known as a grove.Wiccans weddings can be called “bondings”, “joinings”, or “eclipses” but are most commonly called “handfastings”.

Some Wiccans observe an ancient Celtic practice of a trial marriage for a year and a day, which some Traditions hold should be contracted on Lammas (Lughnasadh), although this is far from universal. When someone is being initiated into a coven, it is also traditional to study with the coven for a year and a day before their actual initiation into to the religion, and some Solitary Wicca choose to study for a year and a day before dedicating themselves to the religion.

A much sensationalized aspect of Wicca, particularly in Gardnerian Wicca, is that some Wiccans practice skyclad (naked). Though many Wiccans do this, many others do not. Some Wiccans wear a pure cotton robe, to symbolise bodily purity, and a cord, to symbolise interdependence and which is often used during rituals.

Others wear normal clothes or whatever they think is appropriate. Robes and even Renaissance-Faire-type clothing are not uncommon.In usual rites the Wiccans assemble inside a magic circle, which is drawn out in a ritual manner followed by a cleansing and then blessing of the space. Prayers to the God and Goddess are said, and spells are sometimes worked. Traditionally, the circle is followed by a meal. Before entering the circle, some Traditions fast for the day, and have a thorough wash.

Many Wiccans use a special set of altar tools in their rituals; these can include a broom (besom), cauldron, Chalice (goblet), wand, Book of Shadows, altar cloth, athame (personal knife), altar knife, boline, candles, and/or incense. Representations of the God/Goddess are often also used, which may be direct, representative, or abstract. The tools themselves are just that–tools, and have no innate powers of their own, though they are usually dedicated or charged with a particular purpose, and used only in that context. It is considered rude to touch another’s tools without permission.

There are different thoughts in Wicca regarding the Elements. Some hold to the earlier Greek conception of the classical elements (air, fire, water, earth), while others recognize five elements: earth, air, water, fire, and spirit (akasha). It has been claimed that the points of the frequently worn pentagram symbol, the five pointed star, symbolise five elements.

The pentacle (a pentagram (five-pointed star) inside of a circle) is most often shown with its point facing upward. Alexandrian Wicca believe that the upper point represents spirit, and the four remaining points symbolise earth, air, fire, and water. This symbolism has slowly worked itself into other traditions such as Solitary Wicca and Seax-Wica, but most Gardnarian Wicca will deny that the points of the pentagram or pentacle actually represent anything at all.

Some people believe that the top point of the pentacle was chosen to represent the spirit as it is often recognized as being more important than the four elements. When, in Satanism for example, the pentacle is usually inverted, the point representing spirit faces downward, and it is often taken that this symbolises that it is less important than physical things.

Another much less common view on the symbolism of the pentacle is that the upright pentacle is a protective charm which protects its wearer through passive energies, such as good will or pleasing emotions, and that the inverted pentacle protects its wearer using aggressive energies, such as curses or angry emotions.

In either case, these are the elements of nature that symbolize different places, emotions, objects, and natural energies and forces. For instance, crystals and stones are objects of the element earth, and seashells are objects of the water element. Each of the four cardinal elements, air, fire, water and earth, are commonly assigned a direction and a color. The following list is not true for all traditions, or branches of Wicca:

  • Air: east, yellow
  • Fire: south, red
  • Water: west, blue
  • Earth: north, green

Elemental, directional correspondences, and colors may vary between traditions. It is common in the southern hemisphere, for instance, to associate the element fire with north (the direction of the equator) and earth with south (the direction of the nearest polar area.) Some Wiccan groups also modify the religious calendar to reflect local seasonal changes; for instance, in Australia Samhain might be celebrated on April 30th, and Beltane on October 31st to reflect the southern hemisphere’s autumn and spring seasons.

Morality Of Wicca

Morality Of Wicca

Wiccan morality is ruled according to the Wiccan Rede, which (in part) states “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.” (“An” is an archaic word meaning “if”.) Others follow the slightly adapted Rede of “An it harm none, do what ye will; if harm it does, do what ye must.” Either way, the Rede is central to the understanding that personal responsibility, rather than a religious authority, is where moral structure resides.One of the major differences between Wiccans and other types of witchcraft is the Rede.

Many “traditional” witches or witches that follow other paths do not believe in the Rede. This is a major topic of controversy within the Wiccan and Pagan communities.Many Wiccans also promote the Law of Threefold Return, or the idea that anything that one does may be returned to them threefold. In other words, good deeds are magnified back to the doer, but so are ill deeds.

Gerina Dunwich, an American author whose books (particularly Wicca Craft) were instrumental in the increase in popularity of Wicca in the late 1980s and 1990s, disagrees with the Wiccan concept of threefold return on the grounds that it is inconsistent with the Laws of Physics.

Pointing out that the origin of the Law of Threefold Return is traceable to Raymond Buckland in the 20th century, Dunwich is of the opinion that “There is little backing to support it as anything other than a psychological law.” Her own personal belief, which differs from the usual interpretation of the Threefold Law, is that whatever we do on a physical, mental, or spiritual level will sooner or later affect us, in either a positive or negative way, on all three levels of being.

A few Wiccans also follow, or at least consider, a set of 161 laws often referred to as Lady Sheba’s Laws. Some find these rules to be outdated and counterproductive.Most Wiccans also seek to cultivate the Eight Wiccan Virtues. These may have been derived from earlier Virtue ethics, but were first formulated by Doreen Valiente in the Charge of the Goddess. They are Mirth, Reverence, Honour, Humility, Strength, Beauty, Power, and Compassion. They are in paired opposites which are perceived as balancing each other.

Many Wiccans also believe that no magic (or magick) can be performed on any other person without that person’s direct permission (excepting pets and young children who can be protected by parents and owners). Sometimes when permission is expected but not yet attained magical energy will be placed on the astral plane for the receiver to gather if and when he/she is ready.

Basic Philosophy of Wicca

Wicca, or Witchcraft, is an earth religion — a re-linking (re-ligion) with the life-force of nature, both on this planet and in the stars and space beyond. In city apartments, in suburban backyards, in country glades, groups of women and men meet on the new and full moons (Esbats) and at festival times (Sabbats) to raise energy and put themselves in tune with these natural forces. They honor the old Goddesses and Gods, including the Triple Goddess of the waxing, full, and waning moon, and the Horned God of the sun and animal life, as visualizations of immanent nature.

Our religion is not a series of precepts or beliefs, rather we believe that we each have within ourselves the capacity to reach out and experience the mystery — that feeling of ineffable oneness with all Life. Those who wish to experience this transcendence must work, and create, and participate in their individual religious lives. For this reason, our congregations, called covens, are small groups which give room for each individual to contribute to the efforts of the group by self-knowledge and creative experimentation within the agreed-upon group structure or tradition.

Not all practisioners are in Covens, Some prefer to follow a Solitary path, sometimes refered to as Solitry Wicca. Most who practice solitary Wicca follow more of an Eclectic path, There are some who still follow the same traits as covens.

There are many traditions or sects within the Craft. Different groups take their inspiration from the pre-Christian religions of certain ethnic groups (e.g. Celtic, Greek, Norse, Finno-Ugric); in the liturgical works of some modern Witch poet or scholar (e.g. Gerald Gardner, Z Budapest, Alex Saunders, Starhawk); or by seeking within themselves for inspiration and direction. Many feminists have turned to Wicca and the role of priestess for healing and strength after the patriarchal oppression and lack of voice for women in the major world religions.

There are many paths to spiritual growth. Wicca is a participatory revelation, a celebratory action leading to greater understand of oneself and the universe. We believe there is much to learn by studying our past, through myth, through ritual drama, through poetry and music, through love and through living in harmony with the Earth.

Origins Of Wicca

Origins Of Wicca

The history of Wicca is a much debated topic. Gardner claimed that the religion was a survival of matriarchal religions of pre-historic Europe (see V?), taught to him by a woman named Dorothy Clutterbuck. Many believe he invented it himself, following the thesis of Dr. Margaret Murray and sources such as Aradia: Gospel of the Witches by Charles Godfrey Leland, and the practices of Freemasonry and ceremonial magic; and while Clutterbuck certainly existed, historian Ronald Hutton concluded that she is unlikely to have been involved in Gardner’s Craft activities. While the ritual format of Wicca is undeniably styled after late Victorian era occultism, the spiritual content is inspired by older Pagan faiths, with Buddhist and Hindu influences. Whether any historical connection to Pagan religion exists, the aspiration to emulate Pagan religion (as it was understood at the time) certainly does.

Gardner probably had access to few, if any, traditional Pagan rites. The prevailing theory is that most of his rites were the result of his adapting the works of Aleister Crowley. There is very little in the Wiccan rites that cannot be shown to have come from earlier extant sources. The original material is not cohesive and mostly takes the form of substitutions or expansions within unoriginal material, such as embellishment of Crowley lines.

Philip Heselton, writing in Wiccan Roots and later in Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration, argues that Gardner was not the author of the Wiccan rituals but received them in good faith from an unknown source. He notes that all the Crowley material that is found in the Wiccan rituals can be found in a single book, The Equinox vol 3 no. 1 or Blue Equinox. Gardner is not known to have owned or had access to a copy of this book.The idea of primitive matriarchal religions, deriving ultimately from studies by Johann Jakob Bachofen, was popular in Gardner’s day, both among academics (e.g., Erich Neumann, Margaret Murray) and amateurs such as Robert Graves.

Later academics (e.g. Carl Jung and Marija Gimbutas) continued research in this area, and later still Joseph Campbell, Ashley Montagu and others highly esteemed Gimbutas’s work on the matrifocal cultures of Old Europe. Both matrifocal interpretation of the archaeological record, and the foundations of criticism of such work, continue to be matters of academic debate. Some academics carry on research in this area (consider the 2003 World Congress on Matriarchal Studies). Critics argue that matriarchal societies never actually existed, and are an invention of researchers such as Margaret Murray.

The idea of a supreme Mother Goddess was common in Victorian and Edwardian literature: the concept of a Horned God–especially related to the gods Pan or Faunus–was less common, but still significant. Both of these ideas were widely accepted in academic literature, and in the popular press. Gardner used these concepts as his central theological doctrine, and constructed Wicca around this core.

Bewitching

Bewitching

Author: Bob Makransky

Witchcraft is a craft. It’s something you learn. Witches usually do have supernormal powers. However, these powers are learned. There can be inborn talent, but it takes a lifetime of practice just to perfect one such power. This is why the terms “occultism”, “secret science”, “mysticism”, and so forth are silly. There is nothing secret or hidden going on here. Witchcraft is merely a matter of paying conscious attention to the things, which our society has taught us to ignore.

Witchcraft is what everyone is doing all the time, beneath the surface of everyday life. Most people just pretend they aren’t doing it or else they don’t consider what they do to be witchcraft. For example, infatuation is a species of mutual bewitching. Lovers bewitch one another and themselves. But they wouldn’t consider this witchcraft. They consider it love – at least until the bewitchment, the infatuation, wears off.

Similarly, people who cannot break free of an abusive relationship are usually bewitched by their partners. Doctors, and all healers, cure people by stimulating and encouraging the people’s own faith in getting well. Good salespeople are adept at bewitching their customers. And so on.

Everyone is manipulating everyone else on a witchcraft level all the time. Any time people command another’s attention, or manipulate their feelings in any way, they are bewitching them. Thus all art is witchcraft, and great artists are merely great witches. Artists are highly intuitive people who can tune into profound feelings in their art and take other people with them.

Witches are perhaps a bit more psychic to start with than average people. At least witches rely upon and trust in their intuition more than average people do. To most people, psychic events such as precognition, prophetic dreams, omens, telepathic communications happen now and then unbidden, but are beyond control. Such things happen to witches with somewhat more frequency because witches welcome, or intend, such things. Or better said, witches are more attentive to such things whereas average people tend to brush past them (or in many cases, reject what they just experienced because it contradicts their beliefs about what is “real” or “socially acceptable”) . With some experience and practice witches learn how to control their psychic abilities.

For example, when faced with a problem, one thing many witches do is to pray (intend) upon retiring at night for the solution to their problem to come to them. With a little practice they find that this works most of the time. They receive the answer in a dream that night, or else it comes in the next day or two. And as they see this technique work time and time again, it builds their faith, and as their faith builds the technique keeps working better and better for them.

Faith, the emotional content of belief, is the key to making witchcraft work. It can move mountains. It is the lever by which we create our own realities. The only reason our thought form world works is because we put our faith in it. If we believed in witchcraft with the same certainty that we believe turning a key in an ignition will start a car, then witchcraft would work as well for us as science and technology do.

That’s what faith is all about. There have been societies on this earth, which were based upon witchcraft, such as the Mayan Indians of Central America. These societies get witchcraft to work for them as well as materialistic science does for us, because that’s where they put their faith.

The reasons why witchcraft often doesn’t work as well as the books, and one’s own spirit guides, for that matter, say that it should, are sundry. Sometimes it just isn’t time yet. “To everything there is a season.” All the prayers and spells in the world won’t make Christmas happen before December 25th. Sometimes our prayers and spells are contingent upon the right astrological influence occurring.

Other times our prayers and spells don’t work right away because we have heavy karma in the way that has to be cleaned out first. This is often the case when what we are telling ourselves consciously that we want (love, wealth) contradicts self-esteem issues left over from our childhoods. Moreover, this karmic barrier to realizing our desires might stem from previous lifetimes, as well as this one. In my own case it took twenty years of just putting in the time and paying my dues between when I first made the decision to follow the witch’s path (after reading Carlos Castaneda’s books) , and when my spirit guides appeared in my life, which was my actual entry into the world of witchcraft. From there it was another fifteen years until I started seeing some real results from witchcraft working on my own, without spirits backing me up. However, I never lost faith, and that’s why I have succeeded so far.

The difference between witches and average people is that witches have infinite patience and a willingness to confront any danger and endure any pain necessary in order to realize their desires. Average people, on the other hand, always seem to be looking for a free ride or handout in life. Average people’s decisions don’t have enough power behind them to accomplish anything worthwhile because they back down and reverse their decisions the minute the going gets a little tough. What helped me a lot in my own quest, I see now in retrospect, was that my situation was truly desperate and miserable. I had nothing to go back to, so I had no choice but to press forward.

The Spirit always plays little games on our heads to test us in our resolve. It always makes it as difficult as possible to stand by our decisions. Things never happen the way we fantasize them or rehearse them. Average people are ready to throw in the towel and weep in self-pity at every little disappointment. Witches know that once a decision has been made, there’s no going back unless the Spirit itself grants release. The basic principles of witchcraft are to make absolutely irrevocable decisions; and to go to any extreme necessary to stand by those decisions.

Power is the same thing as luck. True power involves leaving nothing to chance. Average people, if they believe in witchcraft at all, believe that witches control chance. This isn’t correct. Witches, at least white witches, don’t dominate chance or enforce their own will on the universe. Rather, they are wholly dominated by it. They give up all personal desires of their own, cease caring whether they win or lose, or get their own way or not. In this way witches become one with chance and merge themselves with it. Then their will becomes unstoppable.

Witches will to accept the Spirit’s will as their own. They give up all their own images of what they think they desire and let the Spirit’s desires for them prevail. When witches synchronize their own desires with those of the Spirit, everything becomes possible for them. The great enemy of witchcraft is doubt.

I happen to have the power to bewitch women to fall in love with me (okay, no snickering out there, this happens to be true) . My spirits taught me how to do this to show me that witchcraft does indeed work – that it is possible to make impossible things happen merely by willing it. They also wanted to teach me to hold my attention fixed upon a single object, moment-to-moment, all day long every day. They know me pretty well: they knew that the only thing that would motivate me to put out the effort and discipline needed to do this was the promise of sex.
I’ll save the details of my experiences with bewitching women for my autobiography, except to say that the last time I tried it, it backfired on me in such a way that I’ll never do it again. Besides, although you can get sex by bewitching, you can’t get love that way, so why bother?

Psychic healing works the same way that bewitching does. The healer visualizes the patient as being well, and thus overrides the patient’s doubt and self-pity. Any form of ‘ensorcellment’ involves substituting the witch’s will for the subject’s will. This can only take place if the subject is willing, consciously or unconsciously. That is to say, no one can be bewitched, or healed, against their will.

Bewitching is really no different than Creative Visualization. Witches know to keep their Creative Visualizations within the realm of reasonable possibility. Thus they don’t try to bewitch famous movie stars to fall in love with them, or to win the lottery. These sorts of outcomes are too unlikely. In order to make witchcraft work it is necessary to overcome doubt, and wishing for something that’s way out of one’s league, or too improbable, starts off with too big a doubt debit.

When bewitching for love, for example, witches start out with someone with whom they already have desire lines in place. This means someone with whom they have already shared feelings; someone they’ve already looked directly in the eye and flashed with. That flash doesn’t necessarily have to have been one of love. The flash could have been anger, disgust, humor, or sadness as well as attraction. It doesn’t matter. If, for an instant, two people look in each other’s eyes and some emotion passes between them, then at that moment they stuck lines in each another. They bewitched one another. If there is any feeling at all between two people, whether positive or negative, then they can be bewitched through that feeling.

What passes in brief moments of direct eye contact is very powerful sexual witchcraft. It is so potent, in fact, that it scares most people. They immediately get flustered, avert their eyes, and pretend that nothing happened. Even when the emotion that is being shared is humor or gaiety, there is a polite limit to how long direct eye contact can be engaged before it becomes threatening, i.e. sexual. Even if the emotion is anger or disgust, that just means that the feeling is so sexual that it has to be hidden by its negation

Sexual feeling is the matrix of all feeling. Sexual feelings are actual lines that people shoot into one another, like arrows, whenever they flash on each other by sharing a feeling. These lines appear to people with psychic vision as fibers of living light. It’s through the light fibers, which join people that they pass emotional information, such as the psychic knowledge that the other person is hurt, or dead, or having sex with someone else. It’s also through these light fibers that bewitching takes place.*

In short, if two people have ever shared any direct feeling, then there’s already a sexual bond between them. Witches can use this bond to bewitch, or to heal. They force energy through that desire line by intense visualization of their desire coming true. This brings pressure to bear upon the interpersonal barrier. This barrier is the pretense that there’s nothing going on between the participants.

Sexual desire can exist from previous lifetimes and realities – this is usually what’s behind the phenomenon of love at first sight. If there’s an underlying sexual attraction (which can in fact be read from the natal horoscopes of the people involved – e.g. the man’s sun or Mars conjunct or opposition the woman’s moon or Venus) , then there’s fertile ground for bewitching even if the two people have not yet met face-to-face.

On the surface, the witches act cordially but disinterestedly. They keep a poker face and they do nothing on their own account. Eventually that pressure brings about a moment in time when the Spirit itself opens the floodgates and the other person’s defenses evaporate. If and when it’s time for an overt move, it comes on its own in a moment of power.

In everyday society most of the actual sticking of desire lines into other people is done in the state of dreamless sleep, although the intent is set up in waking. If you have ever had a dream war with someone, that person was trying to stick a line into you, but you successfully fought him or her off. If you hadn’t successfully fought them off, you wouldn’t have had that dream. It would have remained unconscious, on the level of dreamless sleep.

Witches, both black and white, sometimes rely upon spirit helpers to cue them on what to do and when. These messages come across as sudden ideas or inspirations. But witches don’t act unless prompted.

In other words the witches’ superficial behavior betrays nothing of what they are actually thinking or feeling. Contrast this with how most people try to make their desires come true. Most people get caught up in making obvious moves, polishing their self-presentation, trying to somehow flag other people’s, or God’s, attention: “Yoo-hoo! Here I am! Over here!”
This approach will work sometimes, but it’s really inept. This is what the dating game is all about, which is why people find it so boring and predictable. There’s no sport to it. Besides there’s no true feeling to it, much less love. It’s all phony.

When witches bewitch, all their energy is held rigidly in check. Desire is inflamed by visualization, which is why witchcraft is basically a matter of bewitching oneself. Witchcraft is hypnotizing oneself into an intense, single-pointed desire. Witches first have to bewitch themselves to be madly in love – they go first. Then they impose that feeling on the subject of their desire. Better said, they give the subject a powerful option.

No one can be forced to do anything against his or her own will by witchcraft. It’s quite possible for the person being bewitched to block the ensorcellment by detaching his or her light fibers from the witch. This is felt as closing up to them emotionally. What witches, particularly black witches, count on is that most people’s wills are so weak and confused.

Witches may use some object symbolic of their desire and pour all of their attention on it. They imagine the face of the person in it and talk with it and make love with it and cuddle with it at night. For example, in the movie Bell, Book and Candle, Kim Novak bewitched Jimmy Stewart with a cat. In the book The Witch’s Dream by Florinda Donner, the protagonist bewitched his love with a devil’s mask. The symbolic object can be charged like a charm.

Thus bewitching is like normal daydreaming or fantasizing, carried to an extreme (visualized in the here-and-now rather than projected to a future which will never come) . When bewitching for love, the witch visualizes him or herself in the physical presence of the beloved – holding hands, kissing and caressing, having fun together – as if the person were actually there. In bewitching you look the other person (the lover you desire, the boss you want a raise from, the jerk you want out of your life, whomever) directly in the eye.

In normal daydreaming and fantasizing, by contrast, you’re usually not making eye contact at all. In bewitching the focus is on the other person and how enjoyable it is to be in their company (or to be rid of them, depending upon what you are bewitching for) . In normal daydreaming the focus is on yourself. Other people serve only as mute witnesses to your own glory and vindication. This is the difference between bewitching and fanning the breeze with idle daydreaming. When you bewitch someone you’re right there in front of him or her eyeball-to-eyeball. You let them do the talking and make the moves. In daydreaming they’re fawning over you while you carry on a monologue.

This is another difference between Creative Visualization, what witches do, and fantasizing and daydreaming, which average people do. Visualization is a matter of feeling, of longing, of reaching out for the object of desire. Daydreaming is a matter of thinking, imaging, distancing oneself from the object of desire. Daydreaming is actually reaching out towards self-pity, not towards the realization of one’s true desires.

You should not daydream or have romantic or sexual fantasies about someone whom you are bewitching. They will feel this through the light fibers you have in them as a sleazy vibe, a sexual expectation, coming from you. They will raise defenses against it. Creative Visualization, true bewitching, usually doesn’t have a context of sexual or romantic excitation at all. It’s too here-and-now, too spontaneous and unpredictable. It has a light, joyous feeling to it as compared to the obsessive and directed intensity of most daydreaming. Daydreams are about control, whereas Creative Visualization is about joy.

When bewitching to get rid of someone, witches don’t visualize bad things happening to that person. Rather, they visualize themselves happy, relieved, joyous, now that said person is gone. Psychic healing is done by visualizing the person as well. The point is that the visualization has to be done as if the action is unfolding in the here and now, unlike normal daydreams, which take place in the future. One has to feel all the feelings – joy, relief, health, whatever – that would be felt if the visualization were actually true. It’s those feelings, which are being felt which attract the object of desire; which make the visualization come true.

My Mayan teachers showed me some techniques for bewitching to overcome. I really think this whole thing is childish; but since it does it indeed work; and since it has helped me out a few times (e.g. when I was subjected to a nuisance lawsuit) ; I’ll pass the information along here. If you can obtain a photograph of the person you wish to overcome; or a hair or fingernail cutting from the person – great. If not, just make a small drawing of the person by hand. Make a little cross of sticks (my Mayan teachers use jocote – flat pine sticks oozing sap and used for fire starters) . Wind a red thread around the sticks to join them into a cross. Then place the photo or artifact of the person you wish to overcome in the center of the cross. Fasten it to the cross by winding the red thread around it (my teachers said not to pierce the photo, since that would be definite black witchcraft and result in physical injury to the person being bewitched. The idea is to overcome the person – not incur bad karma, which will have to be paid in other lifetimes) .

After performing a “Scat” ritual over the cross (Choose a Saturn hour for this and follow instructions in the BOS in the Witchcraft 101 folder
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WitchcraftalAlmanac/files/How%20to%20use%20Witchcraftal%20Almanac/) , place the cross in your shoe (I wrap these crosses in duct tape first to keep them intact) ; and imagine grinding the person you wish to overcome into the dirt with every step you take (as Nancy Sinatra crooned) . As I said, it’s childish; but it does indeed work.

Conscious awareness is where all links ultimately have to be made. A witch, however, never makes links through direct intervention, by acting on his or her own accord. This is how most people blow things or trip themselves up. They fail by acting on their thought forms, by being impatient and pushy, by being unwilling or unable to trust in the Spirit to bring them what they want in the fullness of time.

This shows lack of faith. Only the Spirit can move the wheel of chance. Therefore the basic principle of witchcraft is patience. Conscious awareness can only exist if there is also unconscious awareness – something that is being hidden. The trick of witchcraft is to take in everything so that nothing is any longer hidden. Another way of saying this is, we must become aware of our own prejudices and taken-for-granted assumptions, since it is our own images and expectations which blind us to the truth.

Everybody already knows intuitively how to make witchcraft work, but they don’t do it much since if they succeeded they’d scare themselves silly. This is another difference between daydreaming and Creative Visualization. In the former the person doesn’t really want the desire to come true. He or she is just playing games, fanning the breeze with self-pity. Therefore it usually takes an intense, overwhelming desire or desperation to activate average people’s true witchcraft powers. Miracles do sometimes happen, when people are 100% clear in their intent – when they permit their higher self to surface and take command. Witches strive to make every moment a miracle.

Creative Visualization, is the same thing as prayer. Everyone intuitively understands the efficacy of prayer, but most people don’t call upon it unless they’re desperate. However, desperation isn’t the best motivation for prayer since people create their own realities. They wouldn’t be in that situation in the first place unless they created it for some reason, to learn some lesson. If that lesson happens to be learning the power of faith, that prayer does work, then their prayers will save their butts; but not necessarily otherwise.

The problem with witchcraft as a spiritual path, and bewitching people in particular, is that it hangs us up in all the same stupid games of winning and losing that average people play in normal, everyday society. Witchcraft is like capitalism – it’s really pretty slimy and distasteful, but it’s the name of the game; so if our demonic society forces us to play such games, then let’s at least play to win. Witches – like capitalists – aim to be winners… whereas average people aim to be losers – to wallow in helplessness and self-pity.

In the coming century and a half our decadent, degenerate society will collapse under the weight of human greed and stupidity, and the pressure of the earth herself turning against us. The surviving remnant of the human race (if there is one) must willy-nilly reorganize itself along the lines of what is now considered to be “witchcraft”. Or another way of saying this is, that only witches – people who have learned to rely upon their own intuition and intent instead of belief in society’s lies – will survive the coming holocaust.

Fundamentally witchcraft is as much a dead-end street for an aspirant on the spiritual path as is seeking the validation and glory of society. The only value to witchcraft, which seems baffling at first but which is learned through experience, by making lots of mistakes, is understanding the difference between when one is acting on one’s own impulse, or when one is truly being prompted to act by the Spirit. This is the crux of the matter, and the reason why learning witchcraft is worthwhile.


Footnotes:
* See the drawings of humans interacting on a light fiber level in Barbara Brennan’s book Light Emerging, Bantam NYC 1993.

Brennan, Barbara, Light Emerging, Bantam NYC 1993

The Path of Wisdom

The Path of Wisdom

Author: Crick

As I walk along an unexplored trail through the forest, I take notice that there are no obstructions in my way. There are no brambles waiting to snag me with their thorns. There are no fallen trees to stumble over. There is no wayward stream forcing me to forage across. There is only the solitude of the woods and the associated sounds of woodland life.

Above me in the branches of an old Elm tree are a couple of birds that are singing a morning duet. It is a song about joy and the happiness of life. Could this be a romantic tryst? Up ahead of me a King snake goes slithering quietly across the path. He emanates an indifference to his surroundings as he ponders solitary thoughts. Alas, a creature of stealth and mystery that one is.

In the creek that runs parallel to the path, are shiny black salamanders, gleefully enjoying the gentle currents of cool water. It glides over them, while they undulate like strands of dark grass beneath the surface of the shallow stream. Their thoughts may be minute but their existence is in tune with their surroundings.

As I pass an old Oak tree, I can see the tracks of a raccoon leading to a well-used hole situated in the base of the tree. Without a doubt, this young denizen is nestled deep within the trunk of this abiding oak, lost in a deep slumber. For a moment I wonder what it may be that she is dreaming of.

Suddenly I hear the splash of a small fish as it propels itself out of its natural environment into a momentary altered state of experience. Much like a human who has astral projected for the first time. I wonder if there is a change in its sense of reality as it briefly goes from one element to another. Or is it a fleeting experience that passes by un-noticed?

These thoughts lead me to think of my spiritual path which unlike this forest trail is fraught with obstacles placed by fellow humans. For unlike the many denizens of this quiet forest, humans do not adapt well to the environment in which they live. For as long as I can remember I have walked my personal path as an individual and yet many have been the obstacles placed before me by others who have stumbled across my path. The light glows before them but their eyes remain tightly closed.

Spiritual growth is the unique experience of each who walks such a trail and yet many are those who would insist otherwise. The mysteries of life are an experience that is related to the lessons each individual person requires to move forth. And yet there are many who will posture and claim to know the answers that are hidden from them within the mists. Fear of such unknowns spawns a false sense of arrogance and thus limits the ability to truly experience and thus find the understanding that is there for us all.

A spiritual path requires the freedom of mind and heart and the willpower and desire to achieve it. Empty words cast forth from a mass of humanity, is akin to a lonely sigh on a secluded mountaintop. No one truly hears it for there is none about to listen. For those who speak little but listen much, indeed, they will hear the whisper of wisdom as it goes quietly by like a soft springtime breeze. And yet there are many who would gladly lend their voices to the maddening din of transparent experiences, egos rising like a flock of geese, thus offering naught but another obstacle to one’s spiritual path.

We are each as different as the blades of grass that make up a vast field. Perhaps the sage approach is to listen as we each have a unique tale to tell. Though we may each walk a spiritual path our footfalls will not be exactly identical, each step along the path an experience within itself. But rather then live in synchronicity with each other, each of us striving to attain an awareness and understanding of our purpose in life, we would rather place obstacles one before the other.

And woe, are our bitter fruits, given to us by those who would choose to take shortcuts along the path of life. Such folks as these are the loudest of all who seek to place obstacles before others. And little do they care to be listening as the lessons of life present themselves to each of us whom walk this path. For such folks are spiritually apathetic and as such they continually seek the shortest route.

But as I walk along this unexplored path through the forest, I realize the parallels inherent between this woodland trail and my spiritual path. Knowing not where the shortcuts may lead, would I not prefer to follow the trail in its entirety and thus have the opportunity to absorb the experience of life as a whole?

Would I personally want to chance on missing out on important lessons that may advance my understanding of life and thus my spiritual growth by taking shortcuts? And would I choose to hide my lack of such knowledge gained through such an experience by being loud and boastful and eager to set obstacles before others who may be walking beside me? Or would I choose to be silent and let the sounds of this forest and in essence of life, make their presence known to me?

Alas, if I am to be true to the tenets of being an individual who is walking the path of life, then I can only answer for myself. I cannot pretend to be able to answer for others, for though their life experiences may be similar, they are still unique to that traveler. And the only way for me to learn from the experiences of others is to be silent and willing to listen.

Balancing one’s ego is a difficult task, but then the ego is attached to the earthbound soul and once freed from the path of humanity, it is left behind as the spirit sheds such obstacles and flies freely back home. And so as we travel our spiritual path, each individual must decide which is more important, the short-lived desires of the mundane human existence or the long-term goal of spiritual growth.

And so as I walk the last remaining yards of this forest path free of any obstacles, I know that within my heart I will continue to bypass and overcome the obstacles that my fellow humans will surely present me on the path of humanity.

Will you?