Alexandrian Wicca

Alexandrian Wicca

By , About.com Guide

Origins of Alexandrian Wicca:

Formed by Alex Sanders and his wife Maxine, Alexandrian Wicca is very similar to the Gardnerian tradition. Although Sanders claimed to have been initiated into witchcraft in the early 1930s, he was also a member of a Gardnerian coven before breaking off to start his own tradition in the 1960s. Alexandrian Wicca is a blend of ceremonial magic with heavy Gardnerian influences and a dose of Hermetic Kabbalah mixed in.

Alexandrian Wicca focuses on the polarity between the genders, and rites and ceremonies often dedicate equal time to the God and the Goddess. While Alexandrian ritual tool use and the names of the deities differ from Gardnerian tradition, Maxine Sanders has been famously quoted as saying, “If it works, use it.” Alexandrian covens do a good deal of work with ceremonial magic, and they meet during new moons, full moons, and for the eight Wiccan Sabbats.

Influences from Gardner:

Similar to the Gardnerian tradition, Alexandrian covens initiate members into a degree system. Some begin training at a neophyte level, and then advance to First Degree. In other covens, a new initiate is automatically given the title of First Degree. According to Ronald Hutton, in his book Triumph of the Moon, many of the differences between Gardnerian Wicca and Alexandrian Wicca have blurred over the past few decades. It is not uncommon to find someone who is degreed in both systems, or to find a coven of one tradition that accepts a member degreed in the other system.

Air Wands

There is some controversy in both Ceremonial Magick and Wicca as to whether the
Wand relates to the direction of the East or the South and whether it relates to
fire or air as an element. I am going to share here what I use and what works
for me. Others who work differently are more than welcome to share their usage.

The way I use the wand in my Magickal working is as the tool for the EAST the
element of air. I can’t PERSONALLY see the fire attribute, as I have problems
with the idea of a tool relating to an element that can destroy it. Since some
wands are made of wood and almost ALL of them were until the popularization of
Crystal work with the adoption by some NeoPagans of Native American practises
made the metal wand with a Crystal in it the latest thing. If I WERE to work
with people who used the wand as fire, I would certainly used a metalic and
stone wand of this type and NOT a wooden one. Again, this is personal taste.

The air element relates to communication, intellectual ideas, Linear Logic,
Clear and intelligent THINKING, and telepathy. It relates to the concept of
unity too, in that ALL of us – and all species of life – breathe the same
atmosphere. (note – I realize the plants use the Carbon Dioxide while we use
the air, which is why I said ATMOSPHERE)

The wand relates to the suit of RODS in Tarot and vice versa.

The Wand is a MALE tool, like the Athame. The FEMALE tools are the Chalice and
the Pentacle.

The wand is used to summon the Rulers of the 4 directions and to invoke the
Deities in casting a circle. In CERTAIN types of Magick it is sometimes also
used to cast the circle, but it is more common to use the athame for this. (or
the sword if it is a coven and they have one)

The Wand can also be used when invoking the spirits.

It is particularly helpful at times when wisdom is needed and in invoking the
spirits before tranceworking where specific information or guidance is desired.
It is also good for doing this for VERY important divinations when they are done
in a fully cast circle.

The wand is used in some traditions in a Spring Equinox celebration to create a
hole in the soil in which seeds, symbolizing people’s hopes, are planted –
obvious fertility symbolism.

The wand can hold a lot of power and be a very special and personal instrument.

There are some Witches/Pagans I know who use only the wand and the chalice as
their tools. Their thoughts on this being that the Pentacle is drawn from
ceremonial Magick – which is correct – so they want to eliminate it as they feel
it is necessary FOR THEM to get back to the roots of Wicca/Paganism. These
people also eliminated the knife/sword because they pointed out that in ancient
times Wicca was the religion of the Masses and the Peasants – who were not
allowed to carry weapons. These people use the wand to cast all their circles,
replacing it for ALL the purposes for which the athame is used.

Their are other groups, most noticably the Community of ISIS and it’s inner
circle the TEMPLE of ISIS in Salem MA., that use the wand for casting the circle
although they retain the athame – which they seem to use only for blessing the
chalice in the symbolic re-enactment of the fertility theme central to Wicca.
(PLEASE NOTE I SAID SYMBOLIC)

These are the major uses of the wand.

How to Banish

Author: Taliesin McKnight

The first thing that one should learn to do in magick is to banish. This is a simple precautionary measure. Before conjuring things up, intentionally or unintentionally, banishing should be well understood. Banishing can be defined as cleansing an area (or person) of negative energies or entities. There are various hostile forces in the spirit world that need to be warded off at times.

There are three basic ways to get rid of negative vibrations. These techniques are used in virtually all systems of magick: Wicca, Voodoo, Santeria, ceremonial magick, to name just a few. Once the art of banishing is understood, then it can be done for others as well. After all, magick is not just about your base desires and self-glorification (sobering thought, I know!) , but about helping others. You will be a cunning man or woman, an instrument of the Divine. The three basic methods of banishing are the burning of herbs, the sprinkling of holy water, and ritual.

The burning of herbs is a very ancient form of exorcism (exorcism is another word for banishment) . But not just any herbs are used; they must be cleansing herbs! This may include such plants as vervain, onion, patchouli, and hyssop. You may now be asking yourself, do those herbs really have any power in themselves? This issue is highly debated in the occult community. Some are of the opinion that different herbs have various mystical properties, which can be harnessed and employed by the witch. Others, however, think that it is simply the belief in the mind of the practitioner that makes the employment of herbs effective. Whatever the case may be, virtually all forms of witchcraft regard herbs as highly powerful agents to be made use of in magick.

The basic technique involves burning the herbs and allowing the smoke to touch the area (or person) being cleansed. The smoke is said to drive away impurities. Warning: Do not merely use the incense sticks or cones! Many would-be magicians are conned (intentionally conned by the manufacturers) into using these. Typically, there is no herb in the incense at all. It is merely the “fragrance.” Thus, if you buy lavender incense, chances are there is no lavender in it. So try to avoid merely using the incense named after the plant.

There are various methods for procuring your herbs. The plants can be bought or grown. Most pagans like to grow their own so they can incorporate the seasonal practices of planting and harvest into it. They may also be purchased at your local metaphysical store or online. Another alternative is to simply go to the grocery store and just see what you can find. If nothing else then many of the herbs can be found in the “spices” section. Onion, garlic, black pepper, and rubbed sage are easy to find; these are all powerful herbs used for banishing. Tobacco can be blended with such herbs to help them burn. Tobacco is often used to replace sulphur in old grimoires. It is connected to Mars (the god of war) . The herbs may be burned upon charcoals. Smudge sticks are also quite popular. These are often composed of a mixture of rubbed sage and bluegrass.

The concept of holy water is found in many different systems of magick. Please note that this does not necessarily refer to holy water from a church. The use of holy water predates Christianity and is used in virtually all forms of Paganism. At its most basic, it is water mixed with sea salt. Various other formulas exist in which one mixes the water with various cleansing herbs such as sage, hyssop, and vervain. This is all up to the individual witch. The herbs are boiled in water and then are strained. This is how such herbal mixtures are made. Marie Laveau water (highly prized in New Orleans Voodoo) is one such example. It is composed of 1 cup of rainwater, 1 cup of spring water, 1 cup of lavender water, 1 cup of rose water, and holy water from a church.

Holy water should always be blessed in some way, which can be accomplished by an elaborate spell or a simple prayer. The water is then sprinkled in the area to drive away evil and any negative, hostile forces. This ancient practice goes back to the very beginning of magick.

Ritual is the last of the three methods. Of course, sprinkling holy water and burning herbs do serve as rituals within themselves, but there are other more elaborate forms of ritual. One of these is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. This ritual comes to us from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which was a secret society that taught initiates the practices of ceremonial magick. Although this rite is derived from ceremonial magickal tradition, practitioners of many different paths and systems have used it. This is simply due to the fact that the ritual is so effective at cleansing the environment of negativity. Another technique is the ringing of a bell, a method used by a number of cultures.

Those of a Christian background may call on the power of God by invocation and prayer. Another practice is to cut an onion into quarters and to place these in the four corners of a room. The idea is that the onion will absorb the negative “vibes” and is later discarded or burned. Chanting may be employed or various candle spells may be used. Once again, there are countless rituals that can be utilized as rites of exorcism.

Remember, banishing is the first thing that should be learned in the practice of magick. From that point on you may proceed, somewhat safely, on the path of the occultist. The three methods outlined above (the burning of herbs, the sprinkling holy water, and ritual) are used in virtually all forms and systems of magick around the world. They are tried and tested methods that have been successfully employed by witches for many thousands of years. When all else fails, appeal to a Higher Power, however this may be defined.

Always remember that the Ancient Ones are there to aid you upon your path.

Magick

Magick


The practice of magick in Traditional Witchcraft is central to the religion. Unlike in Wicca where magick is something that a person may or may not participate in, magick is part of every day life for the Traditional Witch. The magick itself is also quite different. Where in Wicca magick is more ritualistic and requires much pageantry, for the Traditional Witch, magick consists of simple items or none at all. Making a meal is a form of magick, for example, where simple everyday items would be utilized with intent and direction.

Magick for Traditional Witches is very practical and does not have much of the dogma that Wiccan magick has. Where in Wicca is an element to a spell is missing, such as a specific herb or candle color, for example, the Wiccan practitioner might decide not to work the magick until they have all the needed components. However, for the Traditional Witch, these things are not as important, and he or she will continue on without the missing piece or make a substitution of their own means. Most Traditional Witches will rarely use such things though, as they are viewed to be more Wiccan and more on par with ceremonial magick. Traditional Witches will employ the two most powerful tools they have in their magick, their mind and will power. These are the only tools they feel are needed for magick.

Witchcraft is first and foremost a religion. Magick is just a part of that religious system and is not seen as something that needs to be given such attention to in Traditional Witchcraft. The main purpose is to connect with the Gods and the magick, while important, is not the reason for being on the path.