A Must Read To The Children For Winter Solstice

BRAN THE BLESSED, A FAERY KING MYTH

The Yuletide season provides us with an ideal opportunity to reflect on the ancient Welsh myth of Bran the Blessed, a vivid and compassionate tale that embodies the Wiccan values of giving, light, and rebirth. Bran’s story is one of personal sacrifice, conciliation, and a king’s love for his people and land. If he does not meet his obligations to the Goddess, Earth Mother, and the land itself turns against him. Bran’s myth is about how to become a good king.

Bran’s sister, Branwen, is Goddess of the Land, and as such, she is Bran’s reason for being. As Faery King and Guardian of the Cauldron of Rebirth, Bran is committed to his role as champion of Her cause. The Cauldron of Rebirth, originally from Ireland, has the power to bring dead warriors back to life and is a special symbol of the law and power of the land.

In the story, Branwen marries Matholwch, the King of Ireland, in order to form a bond between Britain and Ireland. Branwen’s brother however, is upset by the marriage and kills all of Matholwch’s horses. Bran replaces the horses, but Matholwch is not satisfied. In order to heal the breach, Bran must also give Matholwch the Cauldron of Rebirth. Despite so generous a gift, Matholwch is still not appeased. He mistreats Bran’s sister so badly, Bran must march into Ireland to save her. To prevent his arrival, Matholwch burns the bridge leading across the Shannon River. But Bran shapeshifts into a giant and acts as his own bridge, carrying his men on his enormous shoulders through the sea. Thus we find in Bran’s story the important line, which serves as a lesson to future leaders, “He who would be chief, let him make himself a bridge.”

Without the Cauldron of Rebirth, Bran’s forces are defeated and Bran is wounded. He orders his own beheading and while his men transport his head to be buried in the White Tower of London, Bran teaches everything he has learned from the Goddess’ Cauldron of Rebirth, passing on his wisdom to all future generations. This image of Bran’s head is one of many examples found in Celtic mythology and witchcraft of the skull as a symbol of power and wisdom. The skull is not something to be feared. Modern witches wear skull jewelry, symbolizing the house of the brain.

Yule is a good time of year to think about what we learn of Bran’s myth. This is a magickal moment of the ever-turning wheel: like Bran’s story, it is full of heart and passion, lightness and gravity, hope and realism. This is a time when we reflect on the unconquerable human spirit that the story of Branwen and Bran represents. (Laurie Cabot, Celebrate the Earth)

Cabot goes on to say she believes Yule, more than any other moment on the Wheel of the Year, is indicative of the unity of the Wiccan tradition. At Yule, we desire to cherish the best of all we have, and to seek out and acknowledge what is of great value in others.Yule is an awakening and a thankfulness for our knowledge of and our connection to the Wheel of the Year.

 

Earth Witchery

The Do’s And Don’ts of Witches

THE DO’s AND DON’Ts OF WITCHES

WITCHES DO NOT DO EVIL…
They believe that doing evil and harm is against all ethical and moral laws.
Witches simply do not do harm (even to themselves).

WITCHES DO NOT WORSHIP SATAN…
Simply put: He’s THEIR boy…NOT Ours. Witches do not have a Satan/Devil or any
all-evil deity in their religious structure. Witchcraft is a religion that
underscores polarity and views the God and the Goddess as equal entities.

A MALE Witch IS NOT A WARLOCK…
The word Warlock is a Scottish word meaning “oath breaker”, and became a term
designating a male Witch during the ‘burning times’. A Male Witch is simply
that.

WITCHES WEAR CLOTHING OF EVERY COLOR AND EVERY STYLE…
Many Witches do choose to wear black clothing or ritual robes. The color black
is the culmination of all vibrational rates of light on the material plane.
Black absorbs light information and helps Witches be more receptive to psychic
impressions and energies.

WITCHES COME FROM EVERY SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND…
Many Witches are professional people holding positions of responsibility such as
Doctors, Nurses, Police Officers, Teachers, etc. Witchcraft does not
discriminate against color or ethnic origin and does view everything as equal in
the eye of the Goddess and the God.

WITCHES DO USE SPELLS…
A spell is a thought, a projection, or a prayer. Other religions use prayer,
meditation, projection and ritual to produce an intended result. The word
‘spell’ does not imply doing evil or harm.

WITCHES DO USE MAGIC WANDS…
Often you see the use of magic wands in children’s cartoons and movies making
the idea seem frivolous. In actuality, they are used in healing for directing
energy.

WITCHES DO USE WITCHCRAFT AS A SCIENCE, AN ART AND A RELIGION…
They use their knowledge and magic in harmony with the Universe and Nature
around them.

THE WORD “WITCH” HAS A DEEP AND RICH HISTORY…
As defined by the English Oxford dictionary, “Witchcraft” is a Celtic
(pronounced Kell-tick) word meaning the wise, good people. “Wicce” (wick-kay)
designates a female Witch whereas “Wicca” (wick-kah) designates a male Witch.

IN THE RELIGION OF WITCHCRAFT WE VIEW THE PENTACLE AS AN AMULET AND
A SYMBOL FOR PROTECTION…
The five-pointed star represents the human body and the earth. In combination,
the star surrounded by the circle represents the human body encompassed by the
protection of the Goddess/God force. The pentacle is the symbol for Universal
Wisdom.

WITCHES DO CONCERN THEMSELVES WITH ECOLOGY…
They have never forgotten the basic fact: the world is not our enemy. Neither is
it inert, dumb matter. The earth and all living things share the same life-
force. They are composed of patterns of intelligence, of knowledge, and of
divinity. All life is a web. We are woven into it as sisters and brothers off
All. Witches need to be grounded in both worlds and awake to their
responsibilities for both worlds. It is only by being responsible human beings
that we can be responsible Witches and only responsible Witches will survive.*

*Except from “Power of the Witch” by Laurie Cabot.

THE DO’s AND DON’Ts OF WITCHES

THE DO’s AND DON’Ts OF WITCHES

WITCHES DO NOT DO EVIL…
They believe that doing evil and harm is against all ethical and moral laws.
Witches simply do not do harm (even to themselves).

WITCHES DO NOT WORSHIP SATAN…
Simply put: He’s THEIR boy…NOT Ours. Witches do not have a Satan/Devil or any
all-evil deity in their religious structure. Witchcraft is a religion that
underscores polarity and views the God and the Goddess as equal entities.

A MALE Witch IS NOT A WARLOCK…
The word Warlock is a Scottish word meaning “oath breaker”, and became a term
designating a male Witch during the ‘burning times’. A Male Witch is simply
that.

WITCHES WEAR CLOTHING OF EVERY COLOR AND EVERY STYLE…
Many Witches do choose to wear black clothing or ritual robes. The color black
is the culmination of all vibrational rates of light on the material plane.
Black absorbs light information and helps Witches be more receptive to psychic
impressions and energies.

WITCHES COME FROM EVERY SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND…
Many Witches are professional people holding positions of responsibility such as
Doctors, Nurses, Police Officers, Teachers, etc. Witchcraft does not
discriminate against color or ethnic origin and does view everything as equal in
the eye of the Goddess and the God.

WITCHES DO USE SPELLS…
A spell is a thought, a projection, or a prayer. Other religions use prayer,
meditation, projection and ritual to produce an intended result. The word
‘spell’ does not imply doing evil or harm.

WITCHES DO USE MAGIC WANDS…
Often you see the use of magic wands in children’s cartoons and movies making
the idea seem frivolous. In actuality, they are used in healing for directing
energy.

WITCHES DO USE WITCHCRAFT AS A SCIENCE, AN ART AND A RELIGION…
They use their knowledge and magic in harmony with the Universe and Nature
around them.

THE WORD “WITCH” HAS A DEEP AND RICH HISTORY…
As defined by the English Oxford dictionary, “Witchcraft” is a Celtic
(pronounced Kell-tick) word meaning the wise, good people. “Wicce” (wick-kay)
designates a female Witch whereas “Wicca” (wick-kah) designates a male Witch.

IN THE RELIGION OF WITCHCRAFT WE VIEW THE PENTACLE AS AN AMULET AND
A SYMBOL FOR PROTECTION…
The five-pointed star represents the human body and the earth. In combination,
the star surrounded by the circle represents the human body encompassed by the
protection of the Goddess/God force. The pentacle is the symbol for Universal
Wisdom.

WITCHES DO CONCERN THEMSELVES WITH ECOLOGY…
They have never forgotten the basic fact: the world is not our enemy. Neither is
it inert, dumb matter. The earth and all living things share the same life-
force. They are composed of patterns of intelligence, of knowledge, and of
divinity. All life is a web. We are woven into it as sisters and brothers off
All. Witches need to be grounded in both worlds and awake to their
responsibilities for both worlds. It is only by being responsible human beings
that we can be responsible Witches and only responsible Witches will survive.*

*Except from “Power of the Witch” by Laurie Cabot.

New-Generation Elders

New-Generation Elders

Author: Rev. Mason Stone

Selena Fox, Margot Adler, Raymond Buckland, Laurie Cabot, Starhawk. The list of Elders that we have in the Pagan community is vast (those listed above were simply the first to come to mind) . The title of this essay might seem contradictory, but it’s precisely what I can’t seem to find; young people in the Craft who have the tenacity and balance to stand up for, encourage progression, and lead.

When looking to ‘Elder Qualifications, ‘ I think the best requirements are found in the Charge of the Goddess. They are: beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence. That pretty much sums it up to me. The problem is, how many of us youngsters do see that you can honestly say contain even half of those qualities?

Before anyone starts to think that I’m picking on young people, first let me say that I am one of those young people. I know that I don’t contain within myself all of these virtues. The point that I’m trying to make is that we should try to be more balanced and focused in striving toward these merits. I know that not everyone is called to elderhood but if we honestly take a closer look at this list and employ ourselves to the task, would it hurt us or empower us?

In these next few paragraphs I’m getting information from Thuri Calafia’s book Dedicant: A Witch’s Circle of Fire (published by Llewellyn) and throwing my own two cents in (what’s one more opinion) . Each of the eight qualities is given in pairs for a reason: balance. I agree with Thuri on this (being a Libra, to say that balance is important to me is an understatement) . The first pair is Beauty and Strength. To sum up Thuri’s thoughts on this dynamic duo: beauty without strength leads to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and low self-esteem.

Strength without beauty causes callousness and bitterness. But when the two are in balance, beauty and strength, they strike a harmonious chord and promote a sense of self-worth, confidence, and the positives of both. I agree with this. Isn’t it neat how two completely different ends of the spectrum complement each other rather than take away? Guess there is something to that old opposites attract thing.

The next twosome we’re given is Power and Compassion. We have all seen what too much ‘power’ can do to a person: inflated ego, selfishness, and in some extreme circumstances, cruelty. Compassion with the absence of a sense of power comes to be meekness and usually ends up with one being the proverbial doormat to the world. Once again though, when the two come together they flower into a person who is not only ethical, but someone who is able to help others without being too timid to say “no” when they are overtaxed. This makes sense to me; do you see why the whole balance thing is important?

Our next set is Honor and Humility. Thuri says that living honorably is being honest, living in a positive manner, and being reliable. But honor is not so nice when humility is not in the equation; it causes arrogance and pride. Humility that isn’t tempered with honor leads to someone who is ignorant to his or her self-worth; they will never be able to reach their full potential because they fear it. Honor fused with humility promotes a sense of pride and also wonder, an utterly charming combination.

Our final couple of virtues is mirth and reverence. Mirth, as delightful as it is, does have its negative attributes. When one has no sense of reverence they aren’t truly respectful of the goings on, making light of everything. While our celebrations are joyful expressions of the divine, however we may perceive it, they are not one big joke for us to sit around and laugh at. Alternately, when reverence decides to stand alone we may find that we have taken all of the joy out of our rites, leaving us only with stiffness and strictness. When mirth and reverence are melded into one, we are able to have a good time and still be respectful.

To try to bring all of these thoughts to a single point, we should all, young and old alike, try to bring these qualities within ourselves and integrate them into who we are, truly striving to balance them all. The oracle at the Temple of Delphi had two requirements before one could enter: “Know Thyself” and “Nothing In Excess”. These are two tenets that I believe we should all invoke. Kind of makes sense, huh?

What prompted me to write this is that I see far too many people, mainly newcomers who are of the younger generation who get into Wicca or Witchcraft or whatever you, dear reader, prefer to call your practice simply for either shock value or the magick and spells; and then there are those who do have a sincere heart but simply don’t realize that a core precept of our ways is not to change the world around you, that’s the Goddess’s territory, but to change and make you better. If we all make every effort to integrate these qualities into the us present and accounted for and shift into an ‘elder’ mindset, regardless of our age, we can find the fortitude and positivity that our community needs to continue to foster in order to remain progressive.

It worries me that not enough of us “new-generationers” (for lack of a better term) are going to be able to take up the reins when it comes our time. One of the faults (or blessings depending on how you look at it) of the human condition is that we inhabit a body that ages, withers, and dies. In forty years, who will nurture the next Circle Sanctuary? Who will write the next Drawing Down the Moon? Who will be there to show guidance to the next set of young ones? By taking action now, we will be ready when that time arrives.