What is Wicca?

What is Wicca?

by AmberSkyfire

 

Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not evil. Wiccans do not follow the devil. Wiccans do not even believe in the devil. Wicca is a nature oriented religion which centers around a single deity (known as the All) which encompasses all things in the universe and without. This All is divided into two equal halves much the same way as the universe is divided into two halves. There is light and dark, male and female, good and evil, etc. These are often evident in the two deities called the Lord and the Lady. Each represents a perfect and equal half and complement each other much like the yin and the yang. The Lord is a father figure. He represents animals, the soul, fathering, passion and the wild. He is symbolized by the color gold, air, fire, and by the Sun. The Lady or Goddess represents the earth mother, motherhood, nurturing, femininity, and that which we can touch. She is symbolized by water, earth and the moon. Wiccans believe in honoring their deities and in living in harmony with nature and the universe. Witches sometimes practice in groups of up to thirteen called covens. Covens are used to bring different people of a faith together so that they may learn from each other’s experiences. Witches can also work alone. They are called solitaries. Wiccans are generally considered witches because they practice the art of magick. Not al witches, however, are Wiccans. Wicca is a religion and witchcraft is simply the practice of the magickal arts. Because Wiccans worship nature, their holidays coincide with significant days of the year. All of the four seasons are celebrated as well as four other holidays which fall between each. All of the eight holidays are spaced at exactly the same number of days apart and do not always fall on the same day each year. Most of these holidays coincide with Christian holidays such as Christmas (Yule) and Easter (Ostara). These holidays are called the Sabbats or Sabbaths. Witches also may or may not celebrate what are called Esbats. Esbats are specific lunar dates that are of major importance. These are the new moons and the full moons. There are 13 full moons during the year, each representing one month. Thus, the pagan calendar has thirteen months and not twelve. Most today represent these lost days in the thirteenth month to leap year. These holidays are meant to celebrate the earth and her cycles of nature. Wiccans follow one basic fundamental rule: “harm none.” The Wiccan Rede or “Law” states: “Abide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: ‘An’ it harm none, do what ye will.’ And ever mind the rule of three: what ye send out comes back to thee. Follow this with mind and heart, and merry meet and merry part.” The main goal of Wicca is to harm none. Wiccans base their lives on self discipline and helping others. Most spells are done for healing, love, friendship and to help others. You will not find Wiccan spells for harming others or spells which are destructive in any way.

Wicca is a recognized religion worldwide and is protected by the United States Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not an ancient religion. Some of the ideas and rituals follow what is believed to have been practiced by the early Nordic tribes, but the religion was founded in the early 1960’s and was at the time considered a “New Age Religion.” Many unseasoned Wiccans will often refer to their following as “The Olde Ways.” This is often the result of misinformation from other witches either on the internet or in books who claim that they follow ancient traditions. Some will even claim that their beliefs were handed down from century to century and guarded against Christians and others who might seek to waylay witches and traditional witchcraft. Unfortunately, virtually no information has survived to this day and we must rely on skepticism to learn how ancient peoples worshiped.

The Wicca Book of Days for July 11 – The Kronia

The Wicca Book of Days for July 11

The Kronia

 

It is thought that the Kronia was once held in Athens and other ancient Greek city-states around now. Dedicated to the scythe-wielding Kronos-the Titan and one-time leader of the ancient Greek Gods-and his wife, the mother and Earth Goddess Rhea, the Kronia celebrated the completion of an intense period spent reaping the year’s harvest of grain. During this time of relieved rejoicing, when slaves sat down to feast with their masters, the mythical Golden Age, or era of Earthly perfection that humankind was said to have enjoyed under Kronos’s rulership, was recalled, too.

 

Concentrated Courage

 

Study the major-arcana Tarot care that bears the number eleven today. Its names may vary (it may be called Strength or the Enchantress, for instance), but it usually depicts a person overcoming a lion and represents courage, be it psychological or spiritual.

The Wicca Book of Days for July 9th – Watery Associations

The Wicca Book of Days for July 9th

Watery Associations

 

The element that is linked with this zodiacal day of Cancer is water, to which astrological tradition ascribes many associations. According to the theory of the four “humors” that were once said to circulate the human body, for instance, water’s equivalent was the cold, moist phlegmatic humor, an excess of which could make a person unresponsive, unemotional, and placid. The alchemical (as well as magickal) symbol for water is the downward-pointing triangle, which symbolizes a vessel, such as a chalice, or womb ( and note that water is deemed to be feminine in the laws of alchemy).

 

Toast Dionysus!

Many Wiccans celebrate the birth of the Greco-Roman God of the vine Dionysus (or the Roman Bacchus) on July 9. And how better to honor this “twice-born” deity than to pour yourself a glass of blood-red grape juice or wine, raise it to grateful salute, and savor it!

The Wicca Book of Days for July 1 – A Timely Tribute

The Wicca Book of Days for July 1

A Timely Tribute

 

By today’s reckoning, July is the seventh month of the year, but this month was not always called July, nor was it always the seventh month. Indeed, its original name in the calendar of Romulus (and later, also of Numa) Quintilis, indicates that it was once the fifth month of the Roman year. Gaius Julius Caesar (100 – 44 BC.) had just reformed the calendar that regulated Roman time (after which it became known as the Julian calendar) when he was assassinated, and it was in tribute to him that Quintilis –  the month of the murdered emperor’s birth – was renamed Julius (or Iuluis), the Latin for “July.”

Juggling Powers

Meditate upon the major arcana Tarot card of the Juggler, or Magician (1). The objects on the table may vary, but this man always holds aloft a wand, signifying his will, while his other hand point downward, suggesting the transference of heavenly powers to the Earthly realm.

The Wicca Book Of Days for June 14 – Days of Dagaz

The Wicca Book of Days for June 14

Days of Dagaz

 

June 14 initiates the runic half-month of Dagaz (or Daeg), whose last day will fall on June 28. This rune signifies day, or daylight, and thus represents the good things that are symbolically associated with light, such as spiritual illumination, moral goodness, and the banishment of the evil forces of darkness. Dagaz also denotes joy in life, in that it conveys a sense of light-heartedness and sunny well-being, the satisfying productivity of a day’s work, and the sense of security that comes from being able to see everything around you, especially your enemies!

The Day’s Eye

Welcome the half-month of Dagaz by picking daisies, which you could make into a daisy chain, or simply arrange in a small vase to admire. The daisy’s name is derived from the Old English daegesege, or “day’s eye,” because the flower’s petals open in response to daylight and close in twilight.

Lighten Up – Bill Gates’s Book On Wicca

1. The book would be called Windows to the Goddess.

2. Iconology was be a major chapter.

3. A revised edition would be released approximately every 6 months without which your magic would no longer work.

4. Your broom would crash at least once a week.

5. Cauldrons would be called recycle bins.

6. A book of shadows would be called the folder of magic.

7. A free high speed connection spell would come with every book.

8. Ever now and then, your circle would collapse and you would have to perform the reboot ritual to get it working.

9. If you used the more powerful MagicNT rituals, the above would happen to all circles within a 5 mile radius.

10. At least once a month, you would have to reinstall your spells into your folder of magic.

11. You would have to use a start ritual to exit your circle. (And cake and wine would only be available after a sign from the Goddess saying it was safe to do so.)

My Body is a Temple.

Author: Aiko Ren 

I write this to express my gratitude. I have always felt ‘less than’… something was missing. At a very young age, I turned to drugs to fill my void. I was a dirty junkie who could care less about myself. The statement ‘the body is a temple’ made no sense to me. I don’t want to get explicated but, in order for someone to understand my bottom, I have to share it. I had horrible hardships in my life. Some were a direct consequence of my drug use; others were because I was a victim. I would bruise my body injecting drugs and I would sleep around to obtain the next hit. I was raped several times, which caused me to lose faith in everyone and everything. I didn’t understand how there could be any good in the world if such horrible things could happen. I was always looking at things negatively. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was at the end of the road. It was either get clean and change, or die.

My clean date is May 11th 2010. When I surrendered my addiction, I started to look for a higher power. This was hard for me at first because my views were so different then everyone else’s’. I felt like no one understood my beliefs. I started to read about the Craft, first out of curiosity. The more I learned about Wiccan ways, the more I learned about myself. I started to understand the saying my body is ‘a temple’. I started to see all the good in the universe. I started to meditate and became driven to better myself. Today, I do the next right thing because that is the right thing to do. Wicca has brought hope into my life.

Even though I am new to living this path, I feel like I found my home. The feeling I received when I got clean is very similar to finding my higher power. I love myself today. I am a loyal girlfriend. I am a respectable daughter. I am a good friend. I am a witch. When I started to dedicate my life to the Craft instead of just reading about it, I was nervous about what others would think. This is a character defect of mine. I am a people pleaser. Once again I was thinking about what others wanted instead of what I wanted.

In the beginning, I was hiding it from everyone I knew; similar to how I hid my addiction. I was telling people I was at my friend’s house when I was really at my local metaphysical shop. I took out library books on Wicca and hid them from my family. I hid my ritual supplies under my bed. I felt guilty about this. I felt like I was ashamed of something. I have read about how society views Wicca and how some choose to hide their beliefs… but I didn’t want to be one of them. (I wasn’t going to tell random strangers, ‘hey I am a witch’ but I at least wanted to tell my family and my close friends.)

I finally came to the decision that a Wiccan was what I wanted to be and I started to take steps to become one. I began to read books in front of my family. As I continued to learn, I also educated them about Wicca. When they finally got over the whole, “why are you reading that devil worshipping stuff, ” and realized what Wicca really meant, they were accepting. This allowed me to practice the craft without feeling like I was lying to the world. When I finally shared it with my family and my close friends, it opened new opportunities. I started to search passionately for guidance. I shared with a close friend my newfound life and found out that she too follows the same path. I started e-mailing other people on this website to start building a support network.

I want to share a little bit more about how my family’s perspective on Wicca. At first, they were completely clueless about anything. They were afraid, thinking that I was dabbing in evil things. Then they believed that I was going to put spells on the family and try to make them turn to toads or something. The more they saw how happy and dedicated I was though, the more accepting they became.

I do not know much ‘about’ Wicca, but I ‘feel’ Wicca. (If that makes sense) I understand there are fundamentals, however I also believe it’s up to one ’s self to figure it out. I believe in practicing on your own, even though the joy of sharing it with someone seems so powerful.

I am writing this article not only to show my gratitude towards my newfound path but also to give a “newcomer’s” view. I am sharing my experience, strength, and hope to maybe touch someone else who is struggling. Maybe I will find someone who can help me. All I know is I had an overwhelming desire to write this article, and usually that means something.

Since I decided to follow the Craft I have a new perspective on life. I find gratitude in the small things. I have a renewed sense of the universe. Nature looks greener to me. Things that were once puzzling now make sense. The desire to find myself has always been a struggle for me, even before I picked up drugs. By following this path, by collecting knowledge, and by practicing, I am finding myself. I could continue on and on about how my life has changed since I made the decision to become a witch, but I know as you are reading this you are probably looking back on your life and feeling the same way. Our stories might be very different, but the feelings are the same.

I believe there are many paths to the same destination. Everyone can follow a different path and have a different story, but the universe brings us together for a reason. And that is powerful stuff.

Blessed be. Let the Goddess and God be with you.

Water Magick – Potions, Brews & Elixirs

Potions, Brews & Elixirs

 

Potions brews and elixirs are all essentially the same thing, with a few small differences. Potions are made from liquid ingredients or worked into a liquid base. Elixirs usually have crystals added to the liquid for extra power. Brews usually require some sort of heating process. (Soup and tea are both brews.)

American Witchcraft

American Witchcraft

Author: Spirit Walk Ministry

The subject of Witchcraft in America is a confusing one, the concept being muddled primarily from a basic misunderstanding of what Witchcraft is, and what it is not.

Witchcraft is the name that was used by the Christian Church to stigmatize the pagan practitioners of “The Old Religions”, which was the continuation of the practices of the native spiritual and cultural beliefs of Europeans and others that existed prior to the advent of Christianity. Simply put, it is a descriptive (and demonizing) term for anyone who practices a pagan or nature based religion.

As in most areas of the world where Christian “civilizations” colonized the native peoples the term witchcraft, as we think we understand it today did not exist prior to the arrival of the Europeans to America. Even when the label “witch” was used it was exclusively applied to the European settlers and not the native people themselves. Those native people that practiced the Old ways were referred to as “heathens” and their religious leaders as either medicine men and women or “shamans”.

The word “shaman” originated in Siberia and it describes a specialized type of holy person who practices not only with prayer, ritual and offerings, but also through direct contact with the spirits themselves. Because trances were so important to the Native American people as a means of getting in touch with spiritual forces, the title “Pow-Wow”, (from the Algonquin word “pauwau”, meaning “one who has visions”) , was accorded to those who fulfilled this role in the tribe. The word, whose spelling was eventually settled in English as “pow-wow”, was also used as the name for ceremonies and councils, because of the important role played by the pauwau in both. Though the nature of the shaman and the pauwau is similar, many Native Americans find the word “shaman” offensive and one should not use the word to label Native American tribal vision seekers.

All pagan religions are local nature religions, meaning that although the principles are universal, local myths and legends predominate the culture, which the local ritual must embody, as the local tribal allegorical references. It was therefore, within the natural order, that when European settlers of tradition pagan beliefs immigrated to America that they adopt local myths, customs and into their pagan beliefs and rituals. While some wish to claim these traditions as Wiccan or neo-paganism the traditions of American Witchcraft are merely a communion of the European “Old Ways” with the spirits and energies of the land that is now their home.

The homeland is quite possibly the most important aspect of Traditional Witchcraft. The homeland is the home of the Gods, and in many beliefs the two are synonymous. The early inhabitants of Europe believed that the Gods they venerated inhabited the land itself. Many were migratory people, and so as they traveled across the continent they took their Gods with them. As they traveled, though, these people often looked toward the North Star, Polaris, for guidance. It was a fixed point in the night sky that they used as a reference point.
When these early Pagans wished to honor their Gods, they created a connection between their homeland, where their Gods resided, and the land where they stood. In this way, the new land became a part of the homeland. The elemental correspondences to the cardinal directions act as a way of aligning yourself with the homeland.

When a Witch is within the land that is within the boundaries of the homeland, they do not need to use the correspondences to make a connection. Instead, they evoke or invoke the land itself. The concept of the homeland is something that is very integral to the practice of Witchcraft, but completely missing from the Neo-Pagan movements.

The Pow-Wow Tradition is a classic example of this melding of “The Old Ways” of the Europeans and local native beliefs. Though some claim that the Pow-Wow Tradition is German in its origin, it is more an adoption of local Native American traditions by the early German and Dutch immigrants of pagan heritage who settled in the Pennsylvania region of the United States.

Observing the Algonquin’s powwows, the pagan immigrants discovered that like themselves, the Natives used charms and incantations for healing. Impressed with their methods of driving out evil spirits, they adopted the term “powwowing” to refer to their own magickal healings. As their practice of magick was also centered on herbs and healing, they learned from the local people about the native roots and herbs for use in charms and healing.

As stated earlier, the term Pow-Wow comes from the Algonquin word ‘pauwau’”, meaning ‘vision seeker’ and the Pow-Wow Witches encompass shamanic like rituals of healing through visions and the application of traditional medicines, which are often accompanied by prayers, incantations, songs, and dances. The Pow-Wow Tradition places great significance on the vision seeker as the nexus of group (coven) activities and rituals.

Perhaps the most fascinating of the European/American merging of pagan ritual and practices is the Appalachian Granny Magic Tradition. Dating back to the first settlers of the Appalachian Mountains who came to the United States from Scotland and Ireland in the 1700’s and who brought with them their “Old World” magical traditions. Those traditions were then blended with the local traditions of the Cherokee into a combination of folk remedies, faith healing, storytelling and magick.

The ‘Granny’ Witches call themselves ‘Doctor Witches’ or ‘Water Witches’ depending upon whether they are more gifted in healing and midwifery, or if they are more in tune with dowsing for water, lay lines and energy vortexes. This tradition is termed ‘Granny’ from the prominent role played by older women in the mountain communities. Which calls to mind the image of “Granny” or “Doctor Granny” from “The Beverly Hillbillies” who, though a comic parody, was a fairly realistic representation of an actual Appalachian “Granny Witch”.

Therefore, the traditions of American Witchcraft are not a “new witchcraft”. They are not Wiccan, nor neo-pagan. They are simply the ways that pagan immigrants have found to bring the native spirits of their new homeland into harmony with their traditional beliefs and practices in order to find their way around the new neighborhood.

Before You Call Yourself A Witch

Before You Call Yourself A Witch

Author: Alorer

“When can I call myself a Witch? What are the basics everyone is telling me to learn first?” In this essay I will try to provide you with some answers to these questions. Please note that this is by no means the “end-all, be-all” of such views; it’s simply my own answer to a seeker’s aforementioned questions. Take it with a grain of salt people; this is the Internet after all!

So, you found a path that seems to fit you and satiate your spiritual hunger. You have probably read a couple of books, skimmed through a couple of sites, talked with a couple of people and feel a genuine, honest and strong pull towards religious Witchcraft. Thus you proceed to call yourself a Witch. Right?

No!

Before you pause in disbelief and stare the screen calling me all sorts have… names (mehehehe) for my apparent “bigotry” stop and think. What does calling yourself a Witch entails? Is it just a name for this spirituality that anyone delving into can take up? Or does it mean something more, something deeper?

Well, I’d say the second. Why you ask? Because any name or title of any empirical, practical and knowledge-filled system has specific connotations and denotes an understanding and a form of capability in the name’s/title’s fields. For our own example, what does one profess, even unknowingly, when taking up the name of a Witch? Well, you’ll find that views differ on this (just as they do on any other subject) , so I’ll present my own view here.

I believe that by calling one’s self a Witch, that person professes a level of mastery, understanding and experience in a variety of fields. Specifically, it denotes a range of various experiences, a degree of mastery over various arts of Witchcraft, a developed and well-grounded spirituality and an effective relationship with deity. I doubt any newbie that starts studying or is at the first few months of their studies have attained or reached any of those things.

I’ll provide a list of requirements that one should meet before they can take the name Witch for their path.

1. Sabbats: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of what the Wheel of the Year and its Sabbats deal with as well as have observed it wholly (without having missed any of the sacred days) at least once (meaning, throughout at least a year) .

2. Seats: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of what an Esbat deals with as well as have observed any number of Esbats between 4-7 or more within a year.

3. Arts and Crafts: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of a number of arts of Witchcraft of their choice and preference as well as have attained a level of mastery in those.

4. Deities: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of the deities of their choice and preference or calling as well as have built a working relationship with them.

5. Organization and Structure: One should have formed and follow a standard, stabilized and concrete path, with regular observances, rites and practices.

Of course, those apply on a specific form of religious Witchcraft, one that is influenced heavily by outer court Wiccan material (known as Neo-Wicca or Dedicatory Religious Witchcraft) or has Celtic influences. If you find yourself drawn to another form of religious Witchcraft, simply replace the sacred days, the requirements etc with the appropriate ones. In addition, this is geared mostly towards solitaries and not people under training with a traditional coven. If you happen to fall under the latter, please consult with your uplines/High Priest/ess regarding the requirements that specific Tradition has set.

Why do I say all this? What does it matter whether you meet certain requirements or not? I say all this and it matters because to call yourself something you have not yet attained, have not yet fully understood and have not yet fully realized will cause issues.

First of all, it will deceive and trouble those that seek you out for help be it practical or spiritual. Second of all, it will confuse you since you’ll find yourself unable to neither meet the expectations of the community nor help those in need. You’ll say, “But I don’t intend doing so!” I know you probably don’t wish to deceive others or find yourself in a tough position.

I’ll give you an example: let’s say you have a medical issue and want to find what it is and how to treat it. What will you do? You’ll probably seek out a doctor. Now, think for a moment how you will feel if the person you found calls him/herself a doctor but in all actuality is still only a sophomore of medical school. Won’t it cause you problems? It’s something similar with calling one’s self a Witch.

After reading all this you’ll most probably feel confused, lost and wondering, “What the heck do I call myself then?” Call yourself a Seeker. Call yourself a Student. Or find another term that fits your case better. However, I ask that you do not mislead others and burden yourself by calling your path something it isn’t yet or something it might never be.

NOTE: Due to the fact people might overlook this part of the essay: this refers only to Wiccan-influenced paths. If your path is different, more power to you. I am not Wiccan-influenced either. I simply understand that the majority of people are indeed on such a path, at least while in their Pagan “infancy”. These are completely my own views of the “basics” of such a path. I am in no way an authority on a subject. My word is not law; it’s not written on stone.