Your Daily Number for June 15: 2

You’re fine tuned and sensitive today, reading other people easily and clearly. You may play the part of the peacemaker today, and others may perceive you as being a bit self-righteous. Try not to annoy others with the force of your convictions.

 

Fast Facts

About the Number 2

Theme: Adaptable, Tactful, Gentle, Cautious
Astro Association: Moon
Tarot Association: High Priestess

Lighten Up – You might be a Redneck Pagan if….

You might be a Redneck Pagan if…

  • If you think “widdershins” refers to the calves of the bereaved lady next door….
  • If you think fetch deer is a command you give yer dawg….
  • If you think a goblet is a young turkey….
  • If you think Drawing Down the Moon means demolishing the outhouse….
  • If you call your coven mates “Bud” and “Sis”….
  • If you think a Great Rite is turning onto County Road 13….
  • If your Quarter candles smell like kerosene….
  • If you pronounce “Athame” as “Athaym” and “Samhain” as “Sammon” or “Sam-hayn”….
  • If you think a “Sidhe” is a girl….
  • If your idea of the “Goddess” is the Coors Swedish Bikini Ski Team….
  • If your Bard plays the banjo….
  • If your ‘Long Lost Friend really IS….
  • If your lawn is decorated with at least one, preferably two or more, plastic pink flamingos, whom you regard as your familiars….
  • If your Wand of Power is a cattle prod….
  • If your ceremonial belt has your name on the back and a belt buckle bigger than your head….
  • If you call the Quarters by invoking “Billy, Joe, Jim and Bob”….
  • If you call the Gods by hollerin’ “Hey y’all, watch me!”….
  • If your favorite robe has the logo of a manufacturer of major farm equipment on the back….
  • If you’ve ever harvested ritual herbs with a weed wacker….
  • If your ritual staff is a double barrel shotgun….
  • If your ritual garments include any one of the following: plaid flannels, long johns, a pistol belt, or cowboy boots….
  • If you’ve ever blessed chewing tobacco or snuff….
  • If your ritual wine is Maddog 20/20, Night Train or White Lady 21….
  • If the instructions to get to your Covenstead include the words “After you turn off the paved road”….
  • If your altar-cloth is a rebel flag….
  • If you use junk cars to mark the four corners of your circle….
  • If your Eternal Flame just happens to be under a still….
  • If you use an engine block for an altar….
  • If your High Priestess is your cousin – as well as your wife….
  • If, when drawing down the moon, you say, “Ya’ll come on down, ya hear?”….
  • If your pickup truck has an Athame rack….
  • If your crystal ball is made of polystyrene (i.e., a bowling ball)….
  • If your High Priestess has a spittoon on her altar….

You might be a Redneck Pagan!

author unknown

You might be a Redneck Pagan if…

*Couldn’t resist. I love these!*

You might be a Redneck Pagan if…

  • If you think “widdershins” refers to the calves of the bereaved lady next door….
  • If you think fetch deer is a command you give yer dawg….
  • If you think a goblet is a young turkey….
  • If you think Drawing Down the Moon means demolishing the outhouse….
  • If you call your coven mates “Bud” and “Sis”….
  • If you think a Great Rite is turning onto County Road 13….
  • If your Quarter candles smell like kerosene….
  • If you pronounce “Athame” as “Athaym” and “Samhain” as “Sammon” or “Sam-hayn”….
  • If you think a “Sidhe” is a girl….
  • If your idea of the “Goddess” is the Coors Swedish Bikini Ski Team….
  • If your Bard plays the banjo….
  • If your ‘Long Lost Friend really IS….
  • If your lawn is decorated with at least one, preferably two or more, plastic pink flamingos, whom you regard as your familiars….
  • If your Wand of Power is a cattle prod….
  • If your ceremonial belt has your name on the back and a belt buckle bigger than your head….
  • If you call the Quarters by invoking “Billy, Joe, Jim and Bob”….
  • If you call the Gods by hollerin’ “Hey y’all, watch me!”….
  • If your favorite robe has the logo of a manufacturer of major farm equipment on the back….
  • If you’ve ever harvested ritual herbs with a weed wacker….
  • If your ritual staff is a double barrel shotgun….
  • If your ritual garments include any one of the following: plaid flannels, long johns, a pistol belt, or cowboy boots….
  • If you’ve ever blessed chewing tobacco or snuff….
  • If your ritual wine is Maddog 20/20, Night Train or White Lady 21….
  • If the instructions to get to your Covenstead include the words “After you turn off the paved road”….
  • If your altar-cloth is a rebel flag….
  • If you use junk cars to mark the four corners of your circle….
  • If your Eternal Flame just happens to be under a still….
  • If you use an engine block for an altar….
  • If your High Priestess is your cousin – as well as your wife….
  • If, when drawing down the moon, you say, “Ya’ll come on down, ya hear?”….
  • If your pickup truck has an Athame rack….
  • If your crystal ball is made of polystyrene (i.e., a bowling ball)….
  • If your High Priestess has a spittoon on her altar….

You might be a Redneck Pagan!

A to Z – A Wiccan Glossary

A to Z – A Wiccan Glossary

 
AKASHA: the spiritual ether (or Aether); the omnipresent fifth occult element which embraces the other four-earth, air, fire, and water; and from which they stem. This is the realm of “pattern” or causality, from which the realm the normally thought of “five senses manifests. Some define it is the “other” of the “two worlds” that the witch or magician walks between.

ARADIA: Daughter of the Goddess Diana, and a name for the Goddess used by Italian Witches or Strega, commonly used in many Wiccan traditions today.

ASPECTING: Any advanced magickal activity in which a practitioner manifests a particular aspect of the Goddess or God, in thought, feelings, behavior, appearance, etc.; Often as a direct result of a “Drawing Down”. Often a minor variation of this phenomena occurs with the selection of a “Magical Name”, of Craft Name.

ASPECTS: Forms, facets, or personas of Deity: for example, Brighid, Iseult,Eos, and Kore are all aspects of the Maiden, and the Maiden is an aspect of the Goddess

ATHAME: black handled, double edged dagger. Principally used to cast and dissolve the circle, for which purposes it is interchangeable with the magic sword. A tool of the “Element” of Fire in the Georgian Tradition and some others.

BELTANE: May Eve festival. One of the Ancient Celtic “Fire Festivals.” on this night, the cattle were driven between two bonfires to protect them from disease. Couples wishing for fertility would ” jump the fires” on Beltane night. Also the traditional Sabbath where the rule of the “Wheel of the Year” is returned to the Goddess. This Festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of Maiden to Mother.

BOOK OF SHADOWS: Traditionally hand copied book of rituals, recipes, training techniques, guidelines, and other materials deemed important to a Witch or a coven. Each tradition has it’s own standard version of the Book and each Witch’s book will be different as he or she adds to it with time from many different sources. Only another Witch can see your book of shadows. Also, traditionally, it may never leave your hands or possession until death, when it should be destroyed, or (in some traditions) returned to the coven to be disposed of.

BURNING TIMES: a term used by some Witches for the period of persecution in the Middle Ages and later. It is in fact a misnomer in some places, as Witches were only burned in Scotland, and on the continent of Europe. In England and the U.S., they were hanged.

CANDLEMAS: Festival held on Feb. 1. One of the 4 Celtic “Fire Festivals. Commemorates the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden. Celebrates the first signs of Spring. Also called “Imbolc” (the old Celtic name). This is the seasonal change where the first signs of spring and the return of the sun are noted, i.e. the first sprouting of leaves, the sprouting of the Crocus flowers etc. In other words, it is the festival commemorating the successful passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural year.This Festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of Crone to Maiden.

CARDINAL POINTS: North, South, East, and West, marked in the Georgian Tradition by candles of green, red, yellow, and blue, respectively. The Circle is drawn to connect these four points.

CHALICE: one of the tools of the Witch. Placed on the altar to represent the element of Water.

CHARGE OF THE GODDESS: The Traditional words of the Goddess to her followers, or “hidden children”. Normally declaimed by the HPS at every coven Circle.

CIRCLE: the area in which the magickal worship and spells takes place. Can also be used to designate a particular group of Witches or Pagans such as “Silver Acorn Circle”.

CONE OF POWER: power raised in the circle by the Witches assembled, and sent out into the world to work magick, is usually visualized as being retained and built in the form of a “cone” prior to release.

COVEN: an organized group of Witches, led by a High priestess and/or a High Priest who meet regularly for worship and fellowship. The traditional membership is 13, but in fact most covens number considerably less. 3 is the minimum in the Georgian Tradition. In Middle English, “Covin” a group of confederates; In Old French “Covine” a band or group with a single purpose; Latin “Com”-together, “Venire”-to come or move.

COVENSTEAD: regular meeting place for a coven. Usually the home of the High Priestess or High Priest.

COWAN: a non-Witch. Formerly used in a very derogatory manner. Still used in Masonic Ritual to indicate the non initiate and/or pretender to “real craft”. Not often used today among most Witches.

COYOTE ENERGY: trickster energies. Named for the American Indian Trickster, Coyote, who tricks man into learning what he needs to learn. Applies to one who constantly jokes and clowns. Also applies to the concept of “Holy Fool” in many traditions.

CROSS QUARTER DAYS: The modern name for the Celtic Fire Festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas.

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Abracadabra- A word from the Jewish mystical tradition of Qabala. Its root is the name of the Gnostic deity Abraxas, meaning “hurt me not”. It is said to possess magickal powers, especially of protection from illness.

Adept- An individual who through serious study and accomplishments is highly prficient in a praticluar magickal way.

Aeromancy- Divination by the stars.

Aisling– Ireland: Dream or Vision. In the many Irish tales having this title, the person who dreams sees a speir-bhean or vision-woman from the Otherworlds, pronounced “ash-leen”.

Aka- The cord between the astral body and the physical body, most likely this concept is derived from the biblical reference to a “silver cord” connected the body and the soul

Akashic Records- Edward Cayce’s concept which states that somewhere there is a universal hall of data about past lives, magic, healing, and spirituality. It does not exist on the physical plane but rather on a more psychic level. Some believe it can be accessed on the astral plane, others feel it can only be accessed through a visualization journey in the mind.

Alba– The Isle of Skye; Scotland

Alchemist- One who practices alchemy.

Alchemy- A form of high magick which stems from the middle ages noted by the attempts of alchemists to make lead turn into gold.

Alexandrian Tradition– A form of Garderian Wiccan practice developed by Alex and Maxine Sanders in Britain in the 1960s.

Alignment- Synchronization of mental and spiritual vibrations with a god, goddess, or astronomical body. Often the complete balance and centering of the chakras is called an alignment.

Altar- A small working area and shrine many pagans maintain, where they perform most of their ritual and spell work.

Amulet- An object charged with personal energies through ritual or meditation often used to ward off a certain force or person.

Aradia-
The Italian goddess Diana’s daughter, said to be the origin of all witches. The book “Aradia, Gospel of the Witches” was written by Leland about Aradia and the practice of witchcraft

Arcana
– The two halves of the tarot deck.The major arcana consists of 22 cards showing dominant occurrences in our lives.The minor arcana consists of 56 suit cards (commonly called the lesser arcana) that assists the major arcana cards,or shows smaller influences in our lives.

Archetype- Symbolic imagery seen in visions, dreams, meditation, and mind quests. Used to interpret the meaning of the vision thereby betting understanding and communicating with the subconscious.

Arthurian Tradition- A Welsh tradition of paganism based on the lore of King Arthur (the “Once and Future King”), Merlin the Magician, and Guinevere.

Asatru- Modern worship of the old Norse gods.

Aspecting- An advanced magical practice which is seen most commonly in a coven as opposed to solitary. The practitioner attempts to manifest an aspect of the Goddess or the God. This is seen in the pagan ritual of Drawing Down the Moon as well as in other pagan religions such as Vodou, where the priest often allows the deity to speak through his or her body.

Asperger- A bundle of fresh herbs either carrying dew or dowsed with spring water, used to sprinkle the water during ritual purification.

Astral– Another dimension of reality.

Astral Plane- A plane parallel to the physical world, traveled through by the astral body during projection.

Astral Projection/Travel
– The proccess of separating your astral body from your physical body to accomplish travel in the astral.

Astrology- The practice of revealing the future by interpreting the arrangement of stars and planets in relation to astrological theory and the zodiac.

Athame– A Wiccan ritual knife. Generally double edged with a black handle, but not always. This knife is seldom used for physical cutting, if at all, and need not be sharp. It is *never* used to draw blood and Wicca do not draw blood or use blood in ritual. Its primary use is as an energy directing device, much like the wand, though with different common uses. compare: Boline, Wand

Attune- To bring different psyches into harmony.

Augury- Divination based on “signs” or omens.
Aura- An energy field which surrounds living beings. An aura is most often visible only to those born with the skill to see it, or those who developed this ability. A visible aura contains various colors and tells about the spiritual and emotional persona of the plant, human, or creature surrounded by it. However, an aura can also be felt, heard, or sensed through other means.

DEOSIL: clockwise, or sunwise. Traditional direction for working “building” magick.

DRAWING DOWN THE MOON: Ritual invocation of the spirit of the Goddess into the body of the High Priestess by the High Priest.

DIVINATION: magical method of exploration or inquiry into a situation via such methods as Tarot cards, runestones, I-Ching, etc.

ELEMENTS: Earth, air, fire, and water, plus spirit, which includes them all. These are regarded as realms or categories of nature (both material and non-material) and are not to be confused with the physicists table of elements, which the modern witch, of course, accepts.

ESBAT: weekly or biweekly meeting of a coven. Traditionally held either on the full moon or the new moon.

FAMILIARS: Either a Witch’s pet animal which has been trained to be a magickal helper, or an artificially created “elemental” which performs the same functions as the animal friend.

FIVEFOLD KISS, FIVEFOLD SALUTE: The Witches’ ritual salute, with kisses; (1) on each foot, (2) on each knee, (3) above the pubic hair, (4) on each breast, and (5) on the lips-really 8 kisses in all. It is only used within the Circle, but the words that go with it are the origin of “Blessed Be.”

GARDNERIANS: Tradition of Witchcraft descended from the teachings of Gerald Gardner

GNOMES: an “entity” or “elemental” that dwells in the plane of Earth or is associated with the EARTH Element.

GREAT RITE: The rite which is the main feature of the third degree initiation, and which is also laid down for certain festivals. It is sexual in nature, but may be `actual’ (and private to the couples concerned) or symbolic, as the participants wish.

HALLOWS: name used by some traditions for Samhain, or Halloween

HANDFASTING: Wiccan equivalent of a wedding. It can be made legal if the Priestess and/or Priest are registered as clergy with the local authorities, or it may only be considered binding within the coven.

HIGH PRIEST/ESS: Technically speaking, a Witch who has received the 3rd. degree initiation. More usually, the male and female leaders of a coven.
IMBOLC: Celtic name for Candlemas.
INVOCATION: The ritual “calling-in” of an entity (or energies) higher than human, either for communication with the caller through a medium or by visible manifestation or else to enter into a human body as in the Drawing Down the Moon. In some traditions, a Prayer

LAMMAS: August 1st. Witch Festival. The Old Celtic name for this festival is Lughnassadh. It is the Festival of the First Fruits, and is the first of the 3 harvests. This festival also marks the change of the Threefold Goddess energies from that of Mother to Crone.

PENTACLE: a disc shaped talisman; in particular, the metal disc which represents the earth element among the witch’s working tools.

PENTAGRAM: The five-pointed star. With a single point uppermost, it represents the human being. Inverted, with two points uppermost, it can have Satanist associations; but not necessarily. Some traditions of Wicca use the inverted pentagram to signify an initiate of the second degree.

QUARTERS: The North, East, South, and West parts of a magickal circle or other ritual area. (See also “Watchtowers”)

REDE: rule or law

SABBAT: one of the Eight festivals or high holy days of Wicca.

SALAMANDER: an entity that dwells in the realm of Fire.

SAMHAIN: The festival of remembrance for the dead, held on the eve of Nov. 1st. It is the last of the three harvests. This festival also marks the transition of rulership of the “Wheel of the Year from that of the Goddess to that of the God.

SCRYING: divination, usually using such methods as crystal gazing, or divination via incense smoke, or water as opposed to tarot or other manipulative means.

SPELL: a prayer, or verbal direction of magickal energies toward the accomplishment of some goal.
SUMMONER: The male officer of the coven who corresponds to the Maiden. He is the assistant High Priest

SYLPH: an “entity” or “elemental” that dwells in the plane of Air or is associated with the AIR Element.

TRADITIONS: any of the various “sects” of Wicca such as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Georgian, Seax, etc.

UNDINE: an “entity” or “elemental” that dwells in the plane of Water or is associated with the WATER Element.

WAND: A rod or staff that is prepared so that it may be used for magickal or psychic purposes, usually to project some form of power

WARLOCK: a term coined in the Burning Times . It was used to denote a traitor to the Craft, or one who had betrayed the followers of the Old Religion. It’s origin is Scottish. Because of the negative connotations, it is not used by most Wiccans today.

WATCH TOWERS: Originally from the Enochian branch of Ceremonial Magick, now incorporated into many “Traditions” of Wicca, these are the four elemental “directions” or “quarters” (corresponding to the appropriate points on the compass) called to protect the Circle during its establishment. Each of them have a correspondence between the compass point, an element, and (varying amongst different traditions) color associated with them.

WICCA: the name most modern day Witches use for the Craft. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Wicce, meaning to bend or to shape. This is the root word from which we get wicker.

WIDDERSHINS: counter clock wise. Used for “tearing down” OR BANISHING magick.

WHITE HANDLED KNIFE: the working knife of a Witch. It is used to carve candles, and for fashioning the other tools. Traditionally, it can only be used in a circle.

Coven Governance: Which Style is Right for You?

Coven Governance: Which Style is Right for You?

Author: Bronwen Forbes

If you’re looking to join a coven, you should not only do your homework to decide what tradition is right for you (eclectic, Dianic, traditional Wicca, etc.) , you should also think about what style of coven leadership you’re most comfortable with at this point on your spiritual path. Different groups are run in different ways, and knowing your own personal preferences will go a long way toward making the coven a good fit for you. Here are some of the most common styles of coven governance:

Hierarchy. In a coven run as a hierarchy, there is a High Priestess and/or High Priest, and they are in charge. They will make most or all of the decisions for the coven including: membership (whether or not a person can become a member *and* whether or not a member is asked to leave) , ritual style, class topics (if it’s a teaching coven) , and whether or not a student or member is ready for initiation and/or elevation.

Pros: a hierarchical coven tends to get the most done of any style coven. Students are trained, sabbat and esbat rituals happen when they’re supposed to, and everyone knows what is happening and when, and what needs to be done to grow and advance.

Cons: some (in no way do I mean all) High Priests and High Priestesses who run a hierarchy have a hard time giving their students and other coveners any responsibility or authority at all. They can truly become tyrants.

Democracy. There may be a High Priest and/or High Priest in a democratic coven, but the coveners have more say in the day-to-day, season-to-season workings of the group. Potential members may be voted in; the decision whether or not to volunteer to run opening ritual at this year’s Pagan Pride Day may also be put to a vote. Coven leaders may even be voted to office on a rotating basis, or the High Priest and High Priestess may have a “weightier” vote than everyone else.

Pros: students and coveners feel like they have a say in how the group is run and what route their spiritual activities will take.

Cons: just because a majority votes in favor of something does not mean it is the best choice. A potential member could be completely unsuitable for coven life but is friends with more than half the group. Once the unsuitable potential member is voted in, he or she wreaks havoc with the group but – because of the majority vote of his or her friends – can’t be voted out.

Consensus: Many groups choose consensus as the way to make decisions. An issue or agenda item (new members, how to celebrate the next holiday, whether or not to offer a Pagan 101 class, etc.) is brought up, the group as a whole discusses it and comes to a decision or plan of action that everyone in the group is comfortable with.

Pros: Everyone in the coven is happy about how the coven is run. In a small group (up to eight people) , consensus works very well.

Cons: coming to complete agreement about a decision can take *forever*, even with eight or fewer people. In fact, so much group time and energy can be used up on making decisions that nothing else ever gets done – including implementing those decisions.

Also, consensus can be co-opted into “minority rules.” By the rules of consensus, if even one member is against something (“No, I don’t want to allow Sybil into the group”) , then that something cannot happen (Sybil is not allowed to join the coven) .

Anarchy. As a rule, anarchy-run groups don’t last very long because no one is responsible for running circles, organizing the schedule, welcoming new members, etc. Very little if any teaching or training is done, unless it is one-on-one on an as-needed or personally-requested basis. Rituals are usually never conducted the same way twice, so no comfortable, familiar ritual pattern is ever established. Pros: If you are looking for a coven or group that you can drop into and drop out of any time you need to with no sense of ongoing obligation due to work or family constraints, an anarchic coven is probably best for your. Cons: not much ever gets done. If something is actually accomplished, it’s usually by accident.

In general, very few covens only use one governing style. For example, my husband and I ran a training coven for several years. As High Priest and High Priestess, we had complete authority over who was initiated/elevated and when (not the actual date, but determining when a student was ready) . We also planned the classes, and determined class content, class order, and homework.

Group membership was decided by consensus – one “no” and the potential member did not get invited to join. Only my husband and I could ask a member to leave, but we certainly accepted input from the other members before making a decision. Class and rituals were scheduled by consensus. If one person couldn’t make it at a certain date and time due to school or work considerations, we’d find a time when everyone could make it (schedules were usually determined three months in advance, so there was rarely a problem that couldn’t be gotten around) .

Whether or not to lead an open sabbat for the local Pagan community was democratically decided – we voted, all members having equal say. Extracurricular activities happened mostly on an anarchic model: “Hey, we’re going on a Pagan shopping spree to the nearest large city on Saturday. Want to come?” or “Selene just got dumped by her boyfriend and is on my couch crying. I’m ordering pizza. Come hold her hand with me?”

If you’re thinking about starting a coven, you need to determine what style you’re most comfortable with. If you’re not suited for sole “I’m in charge” responsibility, consider a democratic or consensus group. If you have a vision of how to teach students and form your own way of celebrating the Gods in ritual, go for the hierarchical coven.

Whether your joining a coven or starting your own, make darn sure you’re comfortable with how it’s run before committing yourself as a member or leader.

Taking on the Name of a Goddess

Taking on the Name of a Goddess

Author: Morrigan) 0 (

Taking on a Goddess name… I am sure are many opinions on this. This is mine.

First, ‘take on’ is not the best choice of words. Maybe receive would be better. It is not something one should just do. “To take” sounds a bit disrespectful.

Also do you know what it means to bear the name of your Goddess? This comes with great responsibility, as you not just represent Her, you are Her. To have or carry a Goddess name, one carries all the energy of that name. If it is a dark Goddess, be aware that if you have not fully dealt with your shadow, and the negativity in yourself, it will only magnify it. This happens until you deal with it and have it under control.

Usually in Wiccan traditions you do not get the honor of bearing a Goddess name until you are High Priest or Priestess. To get to third degree takes sometimes years, certainly more than just your year- and- a- day.

When I received this name, Morrighan, it happened as She consumed my life, and heart, so much so others could tell. A good friend and a HPS said on several times she wrote me wanting to write Morrighan.

I asked the Morrighan; I meditated, and waited. I felt a release Nov16th this past year under the dark moon. This happened during the witching hour. I waited a year, and had dreams. Crow and Raven were visiting me more. I have also been tested, and challenged…both before and right after. So you see this is not something I decided I just wanted to do overnight.

A magickal name is very powerful to have, and should mean something to you. It is an honor and very humbling to be called Morrighan.

I also highly suggest if one is just beginning in their path, not to do take on a Goddess name till you have gotten to know your path, yourself, and the Goddess in Her many aspects, and names. Know Her energy, and personality.

Magickal names…Why choose a magickal name? Taking on a name implies a change of life. Many magickal and shamanic cultures are known for taking on new names when a person reaches a stage of growth, such as at manhood rituals and marriages, and spiritual awakenings.

Historically, in the Craft, names were taken for purposes of secrecy and safety…Protection really. If someone didn’t know who you were, they couldn’t turn you over to the persecutors. So witches named themselves, “Wolf”, “Moon” or “Alder”” and refrained from telling their true names to their coven members.

Today we take on magickal names for less dire reasons. The main purpose in magickal naming is so that we can “feel magickal.” Just as putting on your ritual robes prepares you mentally and puts you in a ritual headspace, so too, does hearing your magickal name in Circle. Our magickal names remind us of our connection to the Goddess/ Gods and the Earth, and allow us to separate our mundane selves so that we can focus as we work our magick

A quote from Lady Hecate, from Her cauldron http://www.hecatescauldron.org. It is also copyright protected. This is only a portion from what she wrote on the topic Magickal Names:

“Choosing a Goddess name is something to take very seriously. You do not change Goddess names like the clothing you wear each day. They do not take lightly of being discarded so easily. Also, whatever name you select should match your experiences in life. Age is also an important factor when considering a name. You would not call yourself Aradia if you were young, just starting out in the Craft, or both. Also something to take into consideration is if you can live up to Her name?

“Another thing to really take into consideration is not to dishonor Her name in any way. You can dishonor her name by unfair actions that you take. You dishonor Her name if you select a Crone, who represents wisdom and knows when to talk and not to talk, and your never seem to know when to talk and when not to. You can dishonor Her name in the negative actions you take in your mundane life, because being a pagan and Witch you walk the magickal life whether you are in the mundane world or not.

“In choosing a Goddess name and her attributes you slowly become like Her. You start picking up Her attributes. However, if you are not walking a balanced life, unfortunately, you will tend to pick up on Her darker side, as each Goddess has a light and dark side to Her. So be ware of that.”

If you are wondering about how to discover or find a magickal name — or if you feel after years, you have outgrown your name — I have something here that may help and aid you.

These are just suggestions if you are looking for a magickal name:
http://www.ehow.com/how_2056613_select-wiccan-name.html

Choose the Perfect Name:

Step 1: Do not share your magickal name with outsiders. A magickal name should be reserved for rituals and as a way of identifying yourself to other Witches, or Wiccans in your coven. Some Witches/ Wiccans do not share their names at all, reserving them for direct communication with the deities.

Step 2: Research different names and their meanings. You can use baby books to learn what names mean.

Step 3: Select a name that represents a characteristic you have or are aiming for. This can be done directly or in a more subtle way. If you’re aiming for strength, for example, you can choose the name “Iron Maiden” or select the Gaelic name “Bry, ” which means noble and strong.

Step 4: Pay attention to signs. Witches believe you can sometimes receive your name through dreams, visions or special occurrences. By being open to the possibility, it is more likely that you won’t miss the sign when it comes.

Step 5: Ask for help in selecting a name. If you belong to a coven, the high Priestess may help you in choosing your magickal name by guiding you through a ritual. Do you have a totem? What are you drawn to?

Step 6: Take care in choosing the name of a Goddess. If you decide to choose the name of a Goddess, do so in hopes of becoming a reflection of her. Keep in mind, however, that you may inherit both the good and the bad side of the goddess’ personality.

Some other things to think on: Do not rush. Take your time. It will come when it is supposed to.

The Laws (In Regards To Covens)

The Laws

YOUR HIGH PRIESTESS

In the Magic Circle, the words, commands and wishes of the High Priestess are Law. She is the earthly representative of our gracious Goddess. She is to be obeyed and respected in all things. She is our Lady and, above all others, a Queen in the highest sense of the word. All female coveners will curtsy and say “Blessed Be” when they come before Her, and all male coveners will bend their knee and kiss Her on the right cheek and say “Blessed Be”.

YOUR HIGH PRIEST

In the Magic Circle, the High Priest is the earthly representative of the Great God. He commands the respect due a Magus, Lord Counselor and father.

THE LAWS

THE LAWS WERE MADE FOR THE WITCHES TO ADVISE THEM IN THEIR TROUBLES. DO NOT CHANGE THEM LIGHTLY.

  1. The Witches should worship the Gods as is their due, and obey their will. For the worship of the Gods is good for the Witches even as the worship of the Witches is good for the Gods: For the Gods love all their Witches.
  2. As a man loves a woman more by learning more of her wants and desires, so should the Witches love the Gods by the learning (mastering) of them.
  3. It is necessary that the Magic Circle, which is the Temple of the Gods in these times, be cast and purified such that it may be a fitting place for the Gods; and the Witches should be properly prepared and purified to enter into the presence of the Gods.
  4. With love and worship in their hearts the Witches shall raise power from their bodies (and the elements around them), and they shall offer this power to the Gods so that the Gods may help their Witches.
  5. The High Priestess shall rule her coven as the representative of the Goddess, and the High Priest shall support her as the representative of the God. The High Priestess will choose any member of the coven to be her High Priest, if he has sufficient standing in the coven. As the God Himself kissed our Lady’s feet, gave Her the five-fold salute, and offered Her His power because of Her youth and beauty, Her sweetness and kindness, Her wisdom and justice, Her humility, gentleness and generosity, and shared His power with Her, so therefore the High Priestess should always be aware that all power comes from Him; it is only lent, to be used wisely and justly.
  6. The greatest virtue of a High Priestess shall be recognition that youth is necessary to the representative of the Goddess. She will, therefore, gracefully retire in favor of a younger covener should the coven so decide in council. The true High Priestess should realize that gracefully surrendering the pride of place is one of the greatest virtues, and that thereby she will return to that pride of place in another life with even greater power and beauty.
  7. In the Old Days, when there were many Witches, we were free and worshipped freely in the greatest temples; but in these times, we must celebrate our sacred mysteries in secret. Therefore, none but the Witches are to see our mysteries; no coven shall know the location of any other coven or who its members are, except the High Priest, the High Priestess and the Messenger; and that there shall be no communication among the covens, except by the Messenger of the Gods or the Summoner. Only if it is safe may the covens meet in some safe place for the Great Festivals; and while there, none shall give their true names or any information about their coven or its members. This law is made for this reason: No-one can tell our enemies what they do not themselves know.
  8. It is ordained that no-one shall tell any person not in the Craft who other Witches are, or give them names or addresses, or in any way tell anything that can betray a Witch to their face. Nor may anyone tell where the covendom or covenstead is, where any meetings are held or any other information about the coven unless directed to do so by the coven in council.
  9. If anyone breaks these laws, even under torture, may the Curse of the God and the Goddess be upon them, so that they may not be reborn upon the Earth (but shall live forever in the Hell of the Christians).
  10. Let each High Priest and High Priestess govern their coven with justice and love, with the help and advice of the other and of the elders of the coven, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods if he should arrive. They will heed all the suggestions of their coveners and strive to settle any differences among them.
  11. It is recognized that there will always be people who will try to make everybody agree with their ideas: these people are not necessarily bad — they often have good ideas and these ideas should be discussed in council. But if they will not come to agree with their other coveners or if they say “I will not work with this High Priestess”, then the elders will have them leave. It should be suggested that they might join another coven, or if they are of sufficient standing, they may be encouraged to found their own coven. For it is better this way, to avoid strife among the family of Witches.
  12. When using geographic boundaries, whenever anyone of Third Degree lives more than a league from the covenstead (or are about to), any of these may found a new coven; indeed, any Witch living within the covenstead who wishes to form a new coven will inform the elders of this intention and immediately move to a new dwelling beyond the boundaries of known covensteads. Members of any coven may choose to join the new coven when it is formed, but they must totally avoid their old coven if they choose this course. The elders of the old and new covens should meet in peace and love to determine the boundaries of the covens. Any Witch living outside of any two covens may choose to join either coven, but never both. All may meet for the Great Festivals if the elders agree, so long as they meet in peace and love. Let the elders confer as to the use of this law when it is not directly applicable. Always be aware that the splitting of a coven breeds bad feelings (energy vortices?); this law was made chiefly for this reason. And may happier times come!
  13. If you would keep a Book (whether it is called a Black Book, Book of Shadows, Book of Light, or whatever), write it in your own hand. Let your brothers and sisters in the Craft copy as they will from your book in their hand, but never let your Book out of your hands and never keep the writing of another. Every Witch should keep and guard their own writings, that none may be discovered through their Book being found in another’s possession.
  14. Destroy your Book whenever danger threatens, and commit as many as possible of these Laws to memory. Destroy the writings of a deceased Witch if they did not have time to do so themselves. If any of their writings are found, it is clear proof against both the writer and the holder, for our enemies firmly believe that “one may not be a Witch alone”: their family and all who are known to be friends may be suspected as Witches. Be responsible with your writings and you will protect all who love you.
  15. If your Book is found on you, it is clear proof against you along unless you tell our enemies what you know. You may be taken and tortured, but keep all thoughts of the Craft from your mind. If the torture is too much to bear, tell them, “I cannot bear this torture. I will confess. What do you want me to say?” If they try to make you talk about the Craft, do not; but if they try to make you speak of absurd things, such as flying through the air, consorting with the Christian devil, sacrificing children or eating men’s flesh, say, “I held an evil dream; I was beside myself; I was crazed,” or words to that effect, to obtain relief from the torture. Not all magistrates are bad — if there is any semblance of an excuse, they may show mercy. If you have confessed to anything, deny it afterwards: say that you babbled under torture, or that you don’t remember what you said. If you are condemned, do not be afraid, for the Craft is powerful and your escape will be aided if you stand fast. If you go steadfast to the flames, be certain that drugs will reach you and you will feel nothing of the pain. You will only go to death and what lies beyond — the ecstasy of the God and the Goddess. If you betray anything, however, there is no hope for you in this life or that which is to come.
  16. To avoid being discovered, choose your working tools to be ordinary items which you would have around the house. Make your Pentacles out of wax so that you can break and melt them at once. Do not keep a sword unless its presence would alarm no-one. Have no signs or names visible on anything. Write the signs in ink or water immediately before consecrating the tool and wash them off immediately after. Do not engrave anything, for this will only help you be discovered. Keep your athame and kerfan (working knife) among your kitchen knives, and let the colors of the hilts determine the one from the other and from the other knives. Always remember that we are the Hidden Children of the Goddess. Never do anything to disgrace the Craft or Her — never boast, never threaten, and never say that you wish ill of anyone.
  17. It is not forbidden to say, “There is Witchcraft in the land”, for the Christians say so themselves and have made it heresy not to believe so; but always say, “I know nothing of it here, though it may be elsewhere.” If any person speaks about the Craft outside of the Circle, say, “Don’t speak of such things — it frightens me. It is bad luck to talk about such things.” Say this for this reason: the Christians have their spies everywhere. These spies have been known to talk as if they were drawn to the Craft and as if they would want to come to our meetings, and they say such things as, “My fathers and forefathers worshipped the Old Ones, and my mother; I would like to worship in this way myself.” To all of these, tell them that you do not know what they are talking about, and that you wish they would stop. But to others, say, “It’s silly to talk about Witches flying around in the air; they would have to be lighter than feathers or thistle-down. Besides, everyone knows that Witches are all bleary-eyed old hags; what fun could they possibly have at their meetings, and why should I want to participate? And besides, you know we were taught in school that there are no such things as Witches.” Always make fun of the subject, that we may worship in peace when the persecution ends: let us all work for that happy time. May the blessing of the God and the Goddess be upon all who keep this law.
  18. If any in the Craft holds any property, let all Witches guard it and keep it clear and good for the use of the Craft. It is the further responsibility of all Witches to guard Craft funds wisely.
  19. If any Witch offers a well-made item, it is proper to pay them for it according to the value of the work; this is not taking money for the Craft, but payment for honest work — even the Christians believe that “the labourer is worth his hire”. Still, if any Witch works willingly for the good of the Craft and will not accept payment, this shall be to their greater honor.
  20. It is known that a coven may be bound together by sexual ties, and that this is often not desirable. When it is found that this is not desirable, the coven should be made up of loving couples, and there may also be single coveners. In such cases, it is required that the search for new love be undertaken outside the coven except when two single coveners find love with each other; otherwise, it will often cause division in the coven. For while all acts of love and pleasure are indeed the rituals of our beloved Goddess, She is not inclined to favor acts which divide Her covens and scatter Her Witches unnecessarily.
  21. If there should arise quarrels or disputes among the Witches, the High Priestess or High Priest shall immediately convene the elders and inquire into the problem. The elders shall hear each side separately, and then both together. Their decision should be just, not siding with one side until the matter is determined, recognizing that there are people who cannot work under others, and others who cannot make wise decisions. To those who must always be in charge, the possible solutions for them are to void the coven altogether, find another coven for them, or for them to found a new coven (taking with them all who will go). To those who cannot rule wisely, the solution is that those who cannot bear the rule will leave the coven. No one can truly worship the Gods when personal conflicts among the coveners are not resolved; all who cause strife in the coven must be told, “Go away from us, for the Craft must ever survive.”
  22. In the Old Days, we could use the Art against anyone who treated the Witches badly; but in these times, we must not do so. Our enemies have invented a burning pit of everlasting fire into which their God throws everyone who does not worship Him, except for those few who buy their penance from His priests (for their God always seems to be in need of money). Even as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for people and crops, so it is that the God of the Christians is always needing men to find and destroy us. Their priests tell them that any man who is helped by us will be damned to their Hell forever, to the point that men are mad with the terror of it. But the priests also make them believe that they may escape this Hell if they give up Witches to be tortured, so that these men are always thinking, “If I catch only one Witch, I will escape the fiery pit.” For this reason we have our hiding places, and when no Witches are found, the searchers will say, “There aren’t any Witches, or at least not in this area.” But as soon as one of our oppressors dies or even catches a cold, the cry will go up that it is “Witches’ work”, and the hunt will be on again. And while they may kill ten Christians for every Witch, they will not care, for they are countless millions while we are few indeed.
  23. THEREFORE, IT IS ORDAINED that none shall use the Art in any way to harm anyone or even wish them ill. However much they may injure us, HARM NONE, and may the Christians forget that we exist.
  24. These laws are ordained to help us in our difficulties. No person, no matter how large the injury or injustice they incur, may use the Art in any way to do evil or harm anyone. But they may use the Art, after great consultation with the elders and fellow coveners, to keep the Christians and their tools from harming anyone — but only to constrain them. To this end, some day men will say “That man says he is a mighty persecutor of Witches, but all we ever see him torture are old women — we cannot see that they have hurt anyone, and if they are all such powerful Witches, why has he not been harmed?” They will see him as the evil person he is, regardless of his professed beliefs. We know that too many people have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because another wanted their wealth or because they were too poor to bribe the witch-hunters. And many have died only for being old women — so many that most men now seem to believe that only old women are Witches. This is to our advantage, for it turns many suspicious eyes away from us; but we mourn deeply for the old women. Still, in England and Scotland, it has been hundreds of years since a Witch “died the death”; be vigilant, for the misuse of our power might begin the persecutions again. Never break this law, no matter how much you are tempted. Never consent to the breaking of this law: even a High Priestess who merely consents to the breaking of this law must be deposed immediately, for it is the blood of all the Witches that she endangers. DO ONLY GOOD, and then only when it is safe to do anything at all.
  25. Never accept money for the use of the Art, for money always smudges the receiver. Christians take money for the use of their arts, and they sell pot-metal charms, pardons and potions to men so that they may escape from their sins. Do not act like these; as long as you refuse to take money, you will be free from the temptation to use the Art for evil causes. All may use the Art for their own advantage or for the advantage of the Craft, but you must always be certain that no-one will be harmed by its use. Let the coven debate the use of the Art at length, and only when all are satisfied that none will be harmed by its use will the use be allowed. Remember that if you cannot achieve your means in one fashion, your aim may still be reached through another — always harming none.
  26. If anyone in the Craft needs a house or land and there is no one willing to sell to them, you may use the Art to incline an owner’s mind to be willing to sell, provided that the spell does not harm the owner or the property and that the full value is paid without haggling. Never bargain or cheapen anything while living by the Art.
  27. The most important of laws: Do nothing that will endanger anyone in the Craft or which will bring them into conflict with the law of the land or any of our persecutors. In this regard, it is NEVER permissible, in any dispute involving the Craft, to invoke any laws other than those of the Craft, nor may any tribunals be held other than one consisting of the High Priestess, the High Priest, and the elders.
  28. The coven is to keep two books on herbalism. One of these will list the names and uses of all herbs which are cures for ills or are otherwise good for humans, and all may have access to this book to learn these things. But keep a separate book with the names of all poisonous herbs and those used in dark spells, letting only the elders and other trusted Witches know of these secrets or even of this book’s existence.
  29. Remember that the Art is the secret of the Gods and may only be used in earnest — never for show, or pride, or personal glory. The Christians may taunt you saying, “You have no power: Perform some magic for us, and then we may believe.” Do not listen to them, for the Art is holy and is to be used only in need.
  30. It has always been the way of men and women that they should seek after love, and while no one should be reproved for this, it may be to the disadvantage of the Craft sometimes. It has happened too many times that a High Priestess has found a new love and run off with him, giving no word to the coven of this. A High Priestess may resign in full coven at any time, and this resignation is valid; but if she has not resigned, the coven shall wait for her to return for a year and a day (for she may return sooner, having left for love). If she has a deputy, that deputy is to act as Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away. If she returns within this time, all will be as if she had never left; but if she does not return within this time, a new High Priestess shall be elected in full coven. Unless there is a good reason to the contrary, the deputy, having done the work, should reap the reward and be chosen as the new High Priestess. But if another is chosen, the deputy shall be the maiden and deputy of the new High Priestess.
  31. The High Priest serves at the pleasure of the High Priestess. If the High Priestess is gone for more than a year and a day, he shall continue in his office while the deputy serves in her place. However, once a new High Priestess has been chosen, the new High Priestess will appoint her own High Priest (and it may be the current High Priest or not). Neither the prior High Priest nor his friends may be angry if a new High Priest is chosen, for pride must always give way to harmony in the coven.
  32. The Art is sacred: it is the Art of the working of energies, and it must always be taught inside of the Magic Circle. It has been found that teaching the Art frequently leads to a sexual attraction between the teacher and student — and that this often improves the result. If for any reason this is not desirable, it should be avoided at the beginning by both persons firmly – and verbally – resolving that their relations will be limited to that of brother and sister, or parent and child. It is for the reason that shared love often increases the result of working magic that teaching should always be done from man-to-woman and from woman-to-man. When a coven is made up of members of all one sex, the masculine-to-feminine energy exchange should be adhered to whenever possible. Teaching people about the Craft, however, may be done whenever and wherever it is safe, so long as the teacher is knowledgeable, the student is willing, and the information taught is available publicly or is not a secret of the Art. No-one may charge for teaching, unless it is to cover such expenses as the cost of the room, books or other printed materials, refreshments, and so forth.
  33. Order and discipline must be kept within the coven: the High Priestess or the High Priest should and may punish all faults. To this end, all in the Craft should receive their correction willingly. With the culprit kneeling, all in the Circle should be told of the offense, and the sentence will be pronounced. Punishment might include the scourge or the recasting of the Circle, followed by something silly such as several kisses. The culprit must acknowledge the justice of the punishment by kissing the scourge upon receiving sentence, and afterward by thanking everyone for their loving correction.

SO MOTE IT BE!

Source: “J. Random Folksinger”

Imbolc Ritual #2

Imbolc Ritual
Adapted from Edain McCoy’s The Sabbats


Cleanse and cast the circle. Then call the elements in the manner with which you are most comfortable. We used the corner callings from Spiral Dance, by Starhawk.

The high priestess takes the chalice from the alter and holds it up to the sky.

HPS: Blessed Lady Goddess, we humbly ask your presence at our circle tonight as we honor you at this season.

Coveners: Blessed be the Lady.

The high priest takes the athame from the altar and holds it up to the sky.

HP: Blessed Lord God, we humbly ask your presence at our circle tonight as we honor you at this season.

Coveners: Blessed be the Lord.

The Virgin Goddess leaves the circle. She comes to the edge of the circle with her candle wheel in her hands. She should stand at the West quarter (the doorway to the Land of the Dead). The high priestess will cut a doorway in the circle and allow the Goddess to enter. Everyone should greet her in their own way (verbal, motion, etc). The Goddess should walk three times clockwise around the inside of the circle, and come to a stop before the alter and kneel before it, facing North.

The coveners should walk in single file to the altar starting with the person to the altar’s right. This will make the procession head clockwise. When everyone is back in their places holding their lighted candles, the ritual can continue.

HP: Behold the light. The God has returned for his bride.

Coveners:

Blessed be the light which warms. Blessed be the God.
Blessed be the Wheel which turns. Blessed be the Goddess.

The child God steps out from among the rest and stands before the bride, who is still kneeling. The God bows to the goddess and she to him. Then they do a few flowing dance steps around the circle without touching each other, but conveying the idea of awakening sexuality. When they are finished, they lift the besom from its resting place on the altar. The Goddess should hold the straw part and the God the stick. They should make sure they do not physically come in contact with each other while they do this. The high priestess stands in front of the besom and takes it from them by grasping it firmly with both hands. The Goddess and God step back to take their places with the rest of the coven.

HPS: With Imbolc we sweep away the last vestiges of winter.

The Coveners turn and face outward from the circle. The Priestess moves counterclockwise around the circle behind the covenors, sweeping from the center outward. As the High Priestess passes each covenor he or she should voice either aloud or silently all the things that he or she wishes to have swept from their lives. When this is finished, the Virgin Goddess and the child God step forward again and take the besom fromt he High Priestess in the same manner in which it was given. Then the High Priestess steps back and the Virgin Goddess and child God place the besom back onto the altar, and again take their positions among the covenors around the circle.

HPS: The God has claimed the Goddess bride and the Wheel of the Year turns on. Who is Goddess?

All women: I am Goddess.

HP: Who is God?

All men: I am God.

HP and HPS: Who is Goddess and God?

Coveners: All living beings are Goddess and God.

HP and HPS: And who are we?

Coveners: We are the children of deity. And we are deity. We are part of the creative life forces which move the universe. we are microcosm and macrocosm. We are part of all that is.
Cakes and Ale

HPS: Though we are apart, we are ever together – for we are one in the spirit of our goddess and God. Merry meet. Merry part.

Coveners: And merry meet again.

All: Blessed be!

Ground, take down the circle.

The Story of an African American Wiccan Priestess

The Story of an African American Wiccan Priestess

Author: LilithSilverKrow

During my 14 years of study of Witchcraft and Wicca, Shamanism and Paganism, I have found that Pagans of Color are hard to come by, or just simply in hiding. For years of my life, I have searched far and wide to create a group based on African American Neo Paganism and Wicca, but to no avail, it’s as if I am the only one who exists. While I know this isn’t true, I often find myself wondering if the traditional stereotypes of our African American Family culture, and the binds that keep families of color separated from other belief systems are true.

Is it true that we must bind our beliefs solely within the Christian Hierarchy of religious followings? Do we tell our families that we hold a close belief in something other than the all-knowing all-mighty God? How do we tell our families that we are not evil, and that we believe in the purity of nature?

Coming from a strict family of Deacons, Pastors and Reverends in the Christian Faith (not to mention the Catholics, and Jehovah’s witnesses) didn’t make my coming out so easy. When I was a young Pagan on my path to understanding the ways of the Goddess, I slowly came out to my family with little subtle hints that their way of religion was not particularly right for me and my spiritual tastes.

I would often deliberately sleep in on Sundays, ditch bible school, and refuse to sing in the choir- (er.. I mean I suddenly lost my voice, of course) . I would spend many hours in silent meditation, out in public spaces (like the living room, or the front porch) , which often lead to a lot of interesting questions. While this was probably not the best way to come out in a family so demanding of living a Christian life, it was a subtle way of letting know that I had a different path to walk. Finally, I was kicked out of my mother’s house for two different reasons. 1. For being a Lesbian Vegan, and 2. For being a Witch.

The very first book I had ever read was True Magick by Amber K. My mother actually found that book while “cleaning my room” and asked me if Christmas was out of the question. I started to explain to her the Pagan holidays, and what it means to be a witch- then she proceeded to tell my great-aunt, the devout Christian from Kansas and head of the family about me and my choice of religion… This caused an absolute riot in the family, and I was thrown out immediately on the spot, with no place to go. After a while of communicating with my mother, and letting her read all the books I deliberately left laying around, she decided to let me back in the house if I promised to stop being a Lesbian, at least eat some chicken and not tell anyone about my choosing to be a witch… At least she let me have my spiritual choice… one down and one and a half to go.

After my mother and I settled are differences about the whole idea of me being a Pagan child, she allowed me to have friends of the same faith and decided that it was time for me to go and be myself. She realized after all the fights and the arguments, that I wasn’t going to change my mind and that if she wanted me not to be who I was authentically, then I would obviously need to find my own place and move away from the house.

At the age of 16, I moved away to continue to lead a group or coven, and study with only those that were serious about Wicca and Witchcraft. I refused to let anyone in our group unless they read at least 5 books pertaining to Witchcraft or Wicca, and knew the basics of what our Spirituality was about. I look back know and realize that I have always been serious about my religion, and have made sure that others around me radiated the same kind of energy that I did. I never let movies influence me and I never bothered to listen to what others said about me. I was once again the only African American of my group.

My group consisted of several different races and ethnicities- Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, Caucasian, Mexican, and well me the black girl and “High Priestess”. I really hated the title of High Priestess, because having read all the books that I took the time to read, I knew that there was no such thing as miraculously becoming a high priestess. I just kept learning and making sure that all of the people in our coven were doing what it took to learn all of the initiatory rights, bound by the law of the Wiccan rede and following the wheel of the year. Sometimes I look back and think that I knew more then than I do now, and other times I wish that I could find more people of color to start a new coven all over again- this time with the right credentials to lead.

To conclude my story, I stuck with Paganism because it was the only source of spirit that allowed me to connect with the feminine energies of the Goddess. It was my only source of love and abundance and understanding and it has brought me nothing but wonderful bliss and has made my life truly centered and enlightened. I have learned how to connect with all sorts of people, to fit in and to allow what comes to me to come.

Although, I am still looking for Pagans of color who have a sense of their own individuality and pride as Pagans, I am happy doing what I do best. I am now running a humanitarian business here in Portland Oregon that focuses on the Pagan community, I own a two Shops, teach workshops and classes in the Pagan community and I do Shamanic Soul coaching and Journey work. This is what I do for a living, serve the Goddess in any way shape or form that I can. I dedicated my life and live in Service of the Goddess, and forever I will always be in service to those that need healing.

May the God and Goddess Bless you,
Love and Blessed Light,
Lilith Silverkrow


Footnotes:
B y Lilith Silverkrow

Becoming a High Priest/ess

Becoming a High Priest/ess

Author: Valerie Voigt

Beginnings: I practiced for a while as a solitary for some years before beginning training with a family tradition Witch in 1978. She saw to my initiation in 1981 (as an eclectic, albeit with traditional background: this because I was not marrying into her family) . She told me to found a Coven, which I did, with her to guide me. After she crossed over to the Summerland, I later studied the Feri tradition, and was initiated by Victor and Cora Anderson in the mid ’80’s. Feri as I learned it is a non-degree Tradition, though some teachers use a quasi-degree system to give their students training benchmarks. I was initiated into a Gardnerian Coven in the late 80’s, and was raised to 3rd degree in 2008. I’ve been running Covens and/or training circles and/or open circles almost all the time since 1981. I continue to study. I lead the Gardnerian Coven Blackbirds.

In my Covens, we’ve always made a distinction between the High Priest/ess of the Coven itself (that’s an ongoing role with responsibilities to the group, and to the daughter Covens, and to the larger Pagan community) and the High Priest/ess of any particular ritual (that role is temporary and includes responsibility only for running that ritual) . Most of the time, the High Priest/ess of the Coven also High Priest/esses the rituals too; but we do require everyone, as part of their training, to design and perform both private group rituals and semi-public community Sabbat rituals.

One reason for a lot of the confusion over terminology is that the terms “priest/ess” and “high priest/ess” are used in multiple ways even within the older Traditions. To wit:

In most of the British Traditions (which I will, for the purposes of the present discussion, define as the Gardnerian Tradition and those Traditions with a clear genetic relationship to it, e.g., Alexandrian, Mohsian, Silver Crescent, etc.) every First Degree initiate is ritually announced to be a “Witch and Priest/ess.” Why, and what does this mean, exactly?

The “why” is twofold.

Firstly, it makes it harder for someone to infiltrate a Coven for the Inquisition and then turn around, turn the Coven in, and get away without any suspicion from the Inquisitors (after all, if any other spies have happened to see the initiation, it will be harder for someone to talk their way out of an accusation if the spies say, “I saw this person ordained as clergy in this religion!”) . Granted, by the founding of the Gardnerian tradition as we have it now, the Inquisition was no longer the threat it had formerly been (it does still exist–it’s now called the Office for the Defense of the Faith, and the current Pope used to head it–but it is much reduced in power and fame, and has softened its methods) . The British Witchcraft Act, however, had still not been repealed–and the legal implications and practical dangers of being publicly discovered as a Witch were very real, and not funny.

Secondly, and more importantly these days, as a Priest/ess you are directly responsible for continuing to pursue your own spiritual development, for listening to the Gods (not just praying to them or asking for Their help) , and for taking control of your own life and accepting and dealing with whatever responsibilities the Gods send.

It is in this latter sense that the widespread idea that “Every Witch (or even every Pagan) is a priest/ess” is true. In a way, “priest/ess” is a courtesy title, given to remind the newly initiated Witch of their responsibility–it does not qualify one to lead a group. It does, however, give notice of the responsibility to fulfill whatever obligations may arise (for example, in time of need, the person might have to step up to higher responsibilities in full knowledge of their own weaknesses) . In such cases, when the person shoulders such responsibility honestly and without pretension, the Gods always provide Their help.

As to what it means:

A First Degree initiate should, at least nowadays, be competent to perform their own rituals, on their own behalf–an activity that requires the basic priestly knowledge of how ritual works, including whatever details are required within their Tradition.

Likewise, in some of these same British Traditions, every Second Degree initiate is ritually announced to be a “Witch and High Priest/ess.” Again–why, and what does this mean, exactly?

There is some “courtesy” aspect to the title, as a Second Degree is not expected, routinely, to lead a Coven. Nonetheless, a Second Degree is expected to be able to lead rituals for the Coven. That is, s/he is able to competently fulfill the ritual role (if not necessarily the administrative, counseling, etc. etc. roles) of a Coven leader. If the regular High Clergy of the Coven must be absent for any reason, it falls to the ranking Coveners (who are typically Second Degree) to carry out the ritual duties. In some cases, a Second Degree will actually lead a Coven (normally under the guidance of the High Priest/ess of the parent Coven) –in this case, “High Priest/ess” is no longer a courtesy title!

Even in these British Traditions, however, the word “High Priest/ess, ” used in normal conversation, refers to a permanent Coven leader, who is always Third Degree.

Because, traditionally, Wiccan clergy are unpaid, most of us have full-time jobs that are not connected with religion–we are secretaries, engineers, factory workers, or whatever. Therefore, in most cases we have not had professional clergy training aside from what our own Elders, with the same limitations, were able to teach us. So, typically only the independently wealthy among us have the leisure to pursue a full-time ministry, or the professional training that allows them to do most aspects of the job well. How many independently wealthy Pagans do you know? I thought so.

As a result, our High Clergy usually have to specialize in only one or two of the jobs clergy are expected to do: administration, ritual, counseling, theurgy, thaumaturgy, teaching, herbology, divination, interfaith work, writing, public speaking, outreach, theology, social work–there’s probably a lot more. We simply do not have the time and resources to be good at more than a small subset of these tasks. Few Craft clergy are good at most of these–and almost all those with deep expertise in many of them have very gray hair, because they have had to learn by long years of experience. It’s not that our own teachers were lacking: but often their own talents were different from ours, so most of us have had to supplement our in-Coven training with outside studies. Sometimes we have the good fortune to learn from several different Craft teachers (I have been incredibly lucky in this regard) . Usually we have to supplement our training in other ways, such as by attending sessions at conferences such as PantheaCon, or taking evening classes in a specialty such as counseling.

The point I’m making here is that even talented, very well-trained Traditional High Priest/esses aren’t usually good at all of the tasks we associate with the job.

In less traditional Covens (including most of the eclectic ones I have known) , the title “High Priest/ess” is still usually given to a Coven leader. In those Covens that adhere to a strictly non-hierarchical approach, the term may not be used at all, or sometimes the term will be used only in its ritual sense–that is, ritual responsibilities are rotated amongst all the Coven members, and whoever is in charge of a particular ritual is “High Priest/ess” for the duration of that ritual only.

(This last use of the term “High Priest/ess” is startling to most Traditionalists, who, as Mike Nichols puts it, “would no more rotate the position of High Priestess in their Coven than they would rotate the position of mother in their family.”)

Like many others here, I have run into my share of kids who have read one book, have adopted a Craft name such as “Merlin” or “Ain Soph” (yes, really!) , and are running around calling themselves High Priest/ess. I usually manage to keep a straight face.

Unless there is good reason, I don’t confront them about it–and if I must confront them, I usually do so indirectly. For example, if I am at a gathering and some clearly unqualified self-appointed “High Priest/ess” is gathering a group of naive prospective students around his/herself–prospective students whom, according to my understanding of my Oaths, I must protect insofar as I can–I join the conversation and ask some question. For example, “How do you feel that elemental correspondences are affected by local geography?” or “How do you approach invocatory Work in your Tradition?” I continue the conversation until the pretender has clearly revealed him/herself. I never say, “You don’t have a clue!” because I don’t have to: they show it. And I don’t scold–there’s no need to humiliate anyone. They just need to be given pause to consider the need to learn more.

Most of the time, though, the Gods seem to take care of it. How? Well, if the person is just clueless and seeking ego-strokes, They usually provide the person with some embarrassing experience (such as freezing up in a group ritual, having to consult their one book, and discovering that the answer they need is not in the book) . On the other hand, if underneath the ego-indulgence the person really has the potential, sometimes the Gods simply dump a lot of responsibilities on the person and force them to handle the situation! I myself have seen this happen. In such cases, I encourage more experienced Coven leaders to give careful and discreet help to the chagrined-but-suddenly-serious person who is trying to be responsible. Why? Because there are far too many more Pagan seekers trying to find teachers than there are qualified teachers to teach them–and if the Gods show me someone who is truly and honestly trying to step up to the plate, it is my duty to help if I can.

I normally do not encourage teens to jump into the Craft, because serious pursuit of Craft studies requires so much time and energy: youngsters should be out having fun, discovering their identities, and exploring a lot of different things. So I tell them they should read widely, be careful, and check back as adults if they are still interested. But teenagers are not automatically unqualified to study, or even to lead a Coven: one Craft Elder for whom I have always had great respect first learned the Craft as a teen in the 1940’s, in an all-teen Coven led by a teenaged brother-sister pair. When the teenaged coveners had questions, the High Priest and High Priestess sometimes didn’t know the answers and had to go ask their parents–who were High Priest and High Priestess of a traditional Coven.

Likewise, I suspect that my own two daughters, who both grew up in the Craft, could readily run Covens: one is now 25, and the other is 19. But both, having seen for themselves how much work is involved, have so far declined.

I never sought to be a High Priestess–I had expected to simply be a quiet Pagan who did supportive behind-the-scenes work. And if I had known how much work (both in the sense of magical/spiritual Work and elbow-grease-type work) was involved, I probably would have run screaming–at least until the Gods dragged me back. Because if They want you, you don’t, in the end, have much choice about it!

To have the title of High Priest/ess, all you have to do is call yourself one. To actually be a High Priest/ess, you have to do the work. The title, by itself, isn’t a goal; at best, it’s really just a side effect.

Blessed Be!