The Natural Witch

The Natural Witch

Author:   Hypatia 

My mother was a natural witch. she died in 1998. She was not a nice witch. She practiced dark magick and was not a good mother. She abandoned me when I was just a child. My father tells me she was powerful and passionate. She would scare him with witchcraft.

The memories I have of her are so intense. I remember she loved nature… but she was a hunter. I remember she had a madness that seemed to plague the thoughts of others. I was four when she left on her journey. I guess it’s where she felt she needed to be.

Me… I stayed and waited… the journey of a four-year-old witch was a rollercoaster ride of emotion, turmoil and eventual discovery.

Even at four I felt different. My whole childhood I felt a strange connections to nature and my dreams. My stepmother used to say I was one with my dreams. I talked, walked and enacted my dreams even as I slept.

I ran away a handful of times. I wanted to find my birth mother. The first time I ran away I was 13. I was chanting on the streets of Long Beach, “I will be fine, no one will hurt me”. I came up to a Jack-in-the-Box and sure enough a large black man (maybe large to me because I was all of 13) offered to buy me fries and a drink and asked me to sit down.

I could tell by his eyes that he was a kind man, intuition mind you that I would begin discounting in my late teens. He knew I was running away and managed to talk me down from my emotional ledge. I walked home at midnight on a busy street across from a strip club with a sense of accomplishment. I may not have found my mother, but at least I was looking.

My parents thought I was strange about nature but put it off onto my Navajo roots. I used to stick my head out the window while my parents were driving to get a better look at trees. I spent hours in forest preserves. I always felt like someone was waiting for me. At first I thought it was my mother. It was, but not any mother I could visualize with my mental database at 13.

At 16, I was pushing my birth mother out, everything about her, especially the fact that she was a witch. Actually, as open-minded as I was, I wasn’t very apt to listening to the nonsense people spewed about witchcraft. I didn’t mock it. Somehow even at a rebellious 16, I was still respectful. I hated her though. I hated what she had done to my father.

At 18, I met and fell in love with a beautiful woman; it was the first time I had ever loved another woman in a romantic way. She was a witch. She was older than me. She was my mentor in many ways. I would laugh though as she would cast spells.

I would think she was ridiculous as she tried to teach me. I was intrigued, and the power was still in me, but the chaos was so strong. I couldn’t pull together a fragment of a thought, let alone try to piece together the history of my people.

My beautiful kept telling me that I was a natural witch. She said I had a power that I didn’t even know how to harness. She said she observed my connections with nature, but abilities to get anything I wanted without hurting people and again… the dreams. I told her I didn’t believe in that voodoo. I slowly pulled away from the first coven that I was ever in, without even knowing I was a part of something real.

It wasn’t until I turned 30 and forgave my birth mother that the Goddess really started to hone in on me. I felt Her everywhere. I craved the outdoors just to be near Her. I saw Her face in everything: the trees, the sky and the ocean. It seemed that even the wind was calling my name.

Still friends with the witch from my childhood, I began to confess my feelings. She smiled and said that she had known all along. She was just waiting for me to be found.

I have always had this power. It is confidence. It is love. It is compassion. And it is so much more. I cannot tell you any more than this. I am a private woman with my craft. I will not even share my name with others. The only person I tell anything to is my friend, and she only hears some things.

My husband doesn’t know. My kids are probably natural witches as well and that is a path they will find on their own. I found it, because the Goddess willed it so. I do not know if secrecy makes my powers stronger, but I figure I have no reason to share my identity with the world. If the Goddess wills it to be, it will be.

I wanted to share my story because I believe that others are like me. My grandfather was touched. My mother was touched. My brother and I are both touched. We never talk about it; but we know.

Maybe every person has the potential to harness such great power, but I know in my heart that the Goddess chose me. She sought me out. She spent 30 years waiting for me to find her. After my discovery I knew that She had been with me all along.

In retrospect, I felt Her with me at 11 while I was running through the meadow in the back of my house. I was a bookworm who never read outside. It was almost like outside is sacred. It was my first altar of sorts. I need this always to be my place of solace.

I respect my Mother, my Goddess, and reciprocate her kindnesses. I will always protect Her, the way She has always protected me.

Images of the Divine Masculine

Images of the Divine Masculine

by K. C. Holt

In these times, the masculine seems in danger of being devalued. Examples of the masculine demonized as the patriarchal oppressor and destroyer of the environment and all that is good in society are all too easy to find. However, the feminist movement that gained momentum in the ’60s held out much hope not only to women, but to a great many men – men who not only agreed with what women were saying but realized that their own liberation from unrealistic and emotionally crippling stereotypes hung in the balance. In the following paragraphs, we will explore views of the masculine that are not new but have been lost to many in the mainstream of society and religious orthodoxy.

Looking at today’s spiritual landscape, it appears the image of the “Divine Masculine” is in a state of flux. The men’s movement has been late to start, galvanized into existence by some very patriarchal behavior within the women’s movement as well as by the need to reclaim what orthodox patriarchal religion has suppressed and persecuted. Patriarchal society has a numbing effect on the souls of men. Men now seek the door to their feeling, spiritual side with a renewed vigor unfettered by past convention, allowing them to love and work in ways that heal their lives.

Rites of passage for men have become little more than preparation for surrender to the hero image. Men find themselves sent forth to compete, to accumulate wealth, power and dominion over their environment. Dominion separates men from nature; they lack the immediate connection to the earth women gain through the cycles of menstruation and birth.

Men, instead, are linked to nature’s cycles through the activities of hunting and gathering or farming and agriculture. But these activities have largely been removed or distorted through the industrialization of society. Industrialization has helped lead to the incorrect and damaging association of nurture with the feminine and domination with the masculine. This pigeonholing of the male psyche by society and modern psychology has produced a shallow conception of the nature of masculinity. Furthermore, such an association ignores aspects of feminine psychology that do not necessarily fit the image of nurturer.

Aaron R. Kipnis, in his provocative book Knights Without Armor: A Practical Guide for Men in Quest of Masculine Soul, aptly states the problem: “Men in our culture today are undergoing a major restructuring of the basic paradigms governing masculine consciousness and behavior. It’s important to understand and uncover those aspects of the inner psychic life of persons that are essentially masculine in nature. We need to develop a working model that meets the needs of modern men on the basis of their own individual, personal experience. In many cases, this is very different from the constructs that have come out of heroic, monotheistic, patriarchal thinking or the revisions of feminist theory…. We need a more expansive psychology, which embraces the possibility of a moist, soulful, dark, authentic, mysterious, lunar, deep and earthy masculinity.”

Where might we look to find this concept of a mysterious, lunar, deep and earthy masculinity? Does it indeed exist, or does it need to be created? The answer is that it has existed for millennia. The evidence of its existence is carefully concealed by the orthodox monotheistic religions and the admittedly unbalanced patriarchal society we find ourselves in.

Wicca emphasizes polarity, worships the Earth God and has kept His memory alive. Most Wiccans see men and women as equal in spirit and intelligence but opposite in physical and emotional orientation. The practice and philosophy of Wicca is built around this polarity. I claim no authority to speak for any one tradition; Wiccans are as diverse as any religious group, ranging from what I like to affectionately call Fundamentalist Wiccans to Eclectic Wiccans. Some might prefer or better fit the title pagan or shaman. The point is that the gods associated with the deep and lunar side of masculinity are the gods of the earth and the sea.

Within the pagan and Wiccan philosophies, these gods find their emphasis, and as to their personal value to men, I speak from my experience as a son, father, grandfather and pagan. Men navigate their worlds through the powers of air (intellect) and fire (action). When they look to the depths of their souls, however, they find the earth and sea powers of love, attraction, affection, beauty, harmony, artistry and peace.

To turn inward to the subconscious, the feminine, in order to transform yourself does not mean to become feminine! The mistaken concept that one must become feminine has led many men astray from the God. A “real” man is one who lets the gods of the Earth teach him to understand his physical potential and limitations. He follows his heart with the warrior spirit to the depths of the sea, where he finds wisdom, sanctuary and the secrets of his strengths and weaknesses. The world problems we can attribute to the negative aspects of a male-dominated society cannot be solved by immersion only in the female aspects of divinity. They must include recovery of the forgotten and positive aspects of the God. The Great and Horned One, oldest of all the gods, sees women as equals and is a just and strong god rather than judgmental and vengeful.

The Horned God predates civilization. His image first appears in a Paleolithic cave in France, the meager beginnings of what we know as recorded history. He is the Wild Man, the Green Man, God of the Forest and Animals and Consort of Nature, the Goddess. The Horned God of Wicca, Cernunnos, is pictured holding a ram-headed serpent in his hands. He wears an open neck-ring or torque, in which we can see the symbol of the moon. He is the guardian of the cauldron, the lover and son of the Goddess who is Her partner in the sacred dance of creation.

With the shift in consciousness that led to patriarchal monotheistic thought, something was lost. The polytheistic pagan and matriarchal society’s concept of the one universal consciousness or deity that is expressed through a multiplicity of forms, both male and female, was forgotten or more likely totally ignored by the patriarchs. Cernunnos was devoted to Nature and the Goddess. He taught his sons to hunt, protect, nourish and cherish His mother, sisters, daughters and mate. The monotheistic patriarchy now vilified him as a devil.

The concept that sexuality leads men to confuse mystical ecstasy with eroticism led to the lie that the Goddess would seduce men to their folly. With the Horned One demonized and the Goddess expelled from the heaven of the patriarchs, Nature was open to plunder and rape. Is it any wonder that we see the anger of the Mother in the eyes of her female worshipers?

While Wicca has kept the memory of the Earth God alive, there are other places we may look to reclaim positive images of the Divine Masculine. In the pantheon of ancient Egypt, we find Nu, goddess of the night sky and stars, arching her naked body over Geb, god of the earth. He is depicted hard with desire, reaching upward for union with the stars. He strives towards Her, knowing that She will come to Him at Her need: a knowledge all men hold in their hearts.

Osiris was Geb’s heir. Sometimes he is depicted colored red for the earth, and more often green for vegetation. The Atef crown he wears sometimes is shown with a pair of horns sprouting from its solar disk.

Pan of the Greeks was linked to Aker of the Egyptians. A horned god who guarded the entrance to the Underworld, Assur was an Assyrian supreme god, who while associated with war was a fertility and moon god also. The moon has not always been the sole domain of feminine deities, nor the sun of male deities, for that matter. Osiris was referred to as Lord of the Moon in numerous instances. In Sumer, in the city of Ur, Nanna was worshipped as the Moon Father. In India, the Moon Father is referred to as Soma. The Babylonians knew him as Sinn.

Celtic mythology is also full of gods associated with the earth and the sea. Dagda brought back the cauldron of abundance and led the Tuatha De Danan underground to the faery mounds. He is associated with sexuality and fertility. Cromm Cruaich is known as the Lord of the Mound and associated with the harvest. Manannan Mac Lir was the Irish god of the sea, who separated the world of the faeries and humans.

The image of solar gods is lofty, dry and remote. The other side of masculinity, which is moist and deep with feeling, is to be found in the gods of the sea. Poseidon or Neptune was god of the sea. Poseidon conspired with Hera and Athena to overthrow the sky god Zeus. Most have seen Neptune as a patriarchal god, but this story shows us how the watery, earthy depths of our masculine feeling side can work to overthrow the Sky Father, high above the earth.

Whereas the sky gods often have hidden if not absent sexuality, the earth and sea gods are sexually well-endowed. Poseidon’s trident symbolizes his phallic nature. The trident is also associated with the wild dancing god Shiva of the Hindus. These are just some of the examples of where one may look to find a soulful, dark, lunar and earthy masculinity.

We are the sum total of all that has come before us: the Mesolithic hunters, gatherers and Neolithic farmers of matrilineal culture (7000-2000 B.C.); the Indo-European warriors emphasizing the male sky gods in the centuries of the Bronze and Iron Age (2000-800 B.C.); the turn of the millennium with the advent of Christian mythology and its concepts of dualistic division between body and soul, world and spirit and Original Sin; and finally the age of scientific rationalism. Rationalism allows for nothing supernatural and reduces the universe to a language of numerical abstraction – mathematics.

No one of these periods surpasses the other. They all possess a unique imprint on the human experience. Any one of them taken alone represents but a fraction of the evolutionary progress of the human soul. The earth gods, born in the distant past, still prove necessary to us; they are the force whereby the land springs forth in an ever-changing cycle. We must identify and nurture the positive aspects of maleness embodied in our God or gods and unite the God to the Goddess.

In a time when the orthodox concept of God has become sterile and sexless, the deities of the earth and sea await all men. They possess the ability to guide men to a fuller meaning of what it is to be sons, fathers and grandfathers. They offer a positive alternative of what it means to be male in a world that has lost sight of the good nature of Man. As men, we have the task to reclaim the divine masculine and unite with our sisters in perfect trust and perfect love.

THE WICCAN WAY

THE WICCAN WAY

 

Recognizing that there is more than one path to spiritual enlightenment and that

Wicca is but one of many, and that Wicca holds within itself the belief that there is more than one type of step set to the spiral dance, find here listed common denominators of the Craft.

That there is above all the Goddess in her three-fold aspect and many are her names.  With all her names we call her Maiden, Mother and Crone.

That there is the God, consort and son, giver of strength and most willing of sacrifice.

That and it harm none, do what ye will shall be the law.

That each of her children are bound by the three-fold law and that whatever we create, be it joy or sorrow, laughter or pain, is brought back to us three-fold.

That as she is the mother of all living things and we are all her children, we seek to live in harmony not only with each other, but with the planet earth that is our womb and home.

That life upon the earth is not a burden to be born, but a joy to be learned and shared with others.

That death is not an ending of existence, but a step in the on-going process of life.

That there is no sacrifice of blood, for She is the mother of all living things, and from her all things proceed and unto her all things must return.

That each and every one of the children who follows this path has no need of another between themselves and the Goddess but may find Her within themselves.

That there shall not by intent be a desecration of another’s symbols of beliefs, for we are all seeking harmony within the One.

That each person’s faith is private unto themselves and that another’s belief is not to be set out and made public.

That the Wiccan way is not to seek converts, but that the way be made open to those who for reasons of their own seek and find the Craft.

And as it is willed, so mote it be

Witchcraft/Wicca 101 Examination

I ran across this on one of the sites I usually visit. I had to steal it, lol! Seriously, this is the first time I have seen such an in-depth quiz for individuals finishing up their year and a day. I know we have some new ones among us, it would be an excellent idea for you to print this out. Then when your year and a day is up, take the quiz.

Witchcraft/Wicca 101 Examination

1. What is Wicca?

2. What is Magick?

3. Define the Wiccan Rede and the Law of Threefold Return?

4. What are the two aspects of Deity in Wicca?

5. Name five tools used in ritual and their purpose.

6. Name the elements and their corresponding directions.

7. Name two symbolic items you might put at an altar station for
each direction.

8. Describe how you would set up an altar in your home.

9. What is the difference between an Esbat and a Sabbat?

10. Name the eight seasonal festivals and give brief descriptions.
(Include dates)

11. Why is Samhain so important?

12. Describe two Rites of Passage. (your choice)

13. What is never allowed in Circle?

14. What is a magickal name and why would you want one?

15. What is smudging?

16. What is “skyclad?”

17. Define Widdershins and Deosil.

18. How do you consecrate a tool?

19. What are the basic tools you need to conduct a ritual?

20. What is the difference between a pentacle and a pentagram?

21. Draw the appropriate symbol for each of these items:
a. Pentagram
b. The Goddess
c. The God
d. Altar

23. What are the three aspects of the Goddess?

24. What are the three aspects of the God?

25. Name one Goddess or God from any pantheon and what She/He
represents.

26. You are doing a candle working to help you with the stress at
your job. When you dress the candle, which direction do you apply the
oil and why?

27. What is a Book of Shadows?

28. What is the difference between an Athame and a Bolline?

29. If you want something to decrease or go away, during which phase
of the moon would you work?

30. Name two good color combinations for the Goddess and God candles.

31. What color candle would you use for the following workings:
a. Develop psychic abilities
b. Emotional healing
c. Purify and protect your home
d. Bless your pet
e. Help you study
f. Bring success and good luck

32. True or False:
a. Gardnerian Wicca is worshipping in a garden.
b. “Skyclad” means you wear blue
c. You must be Wiccan to be a witch.
d. You would invoke the Quarters to protect sacred space.
e. The Croning Rite is performed when a woman reaches menopause.
f. Wiccaning commits a child to being a Wiccan.
g. A rune is an ancient temple.
h. Meat should never be used as an offering.
i. Lughnasadh is the second harvest.

33. What is the primary task of a Dedicant?

34. What is the primary task of an Initiate?

35. What is the Summerland?

36. Name a Law of Magick and explain it briefly.

37. Give a Law of Wicca.

38. Give a rule of Circle conduct.

39. Name a Wiccan tradition and describe it briefly.

40. What does Wicca mean to you in your life?

 

One Spirit’s Domain

Wiccan Adoration

Witchy Comments=

Wiccan Adoration

One does not read about the Wicca.
One does not study about the Craft of the Wise.
The knowledge I will teach is not idle.
You can only learn this knowledge if you use it — if you put it to work.
This study is only for those who have a willingness to learn
Each of you has expressed a desire to learn. Each of you has shown talent at being magickal — at making things happen.
If you are to learn the Craft, you must swear that you will work all your
Magick in Perfect Love.
Work negative magick and you are not one of us.
You must work at growing positive, even if it requires change.
Each of you has shown that you are capable of making changes in the self, in
order that your Magick be more positive.
Each of you has learned that change allows you to be happier.
To learn the Craft of Wicca, you must make changes.
Each of you has done this, and it is joyous and beautiful of you, and it is
this happiness we share.
At this level of your training, you must maintain secrecy.
If your friends, your family, your lovers were truly ready for this
knowledge, they would be here — now.
But if they are not; that is proof that they are not yet ready.
Speak no Magick to those who know less than you, unless you are prepared to
tell all of us that you are a teacher of the Craft.
A true teacher does not teach teh Craft until s/he has completed the
training.
If those we are with are in positive Craft Traditions, we can speak to our
peers and to those more wise than ourselves.
Each of you has your own timing.
You learn at your own rate.
Should you leave this study, there is no sorrow, only joy at the love we
have shared.
Each of you has shown the ability to work together to raise good, positive
energy.
Each of you knows how to help and to share.
Each of you will learn to trust each other.
You must have with me Perfect Trust.
If you do not trust me as your Mentor, I cannot teach you.
And I give you Perfect Trust.
If you swear to trust me, it is because I swear that I trust you.
You have not arrived here by chance.
You have displayed a desire to learn.
You have displayed a talent at Magick.
This Magick is to heal, to help; it only works in Perfect Love.
You are here because you have shown us that you are learning to work in
Perfect Love.
It is the only way to happiness; and you are here because you are growing in
happiness.
You are learning to unlock joy.
Each of you is capable of becoming a teacher — to learn the Craft of Wicca
and to share that knowledge.
Each of you must grow into becoming a teacher.
Each of you has taken the Path of being willing to learn, the Path of
wanting to learn.
Each of you is growing.
Each of you is creative.
Each of you is special to the Magick of the Universe.
Each of you perceives the Magick of the Universe as a balance of Yin and
Yang, of masculine and feminine, of God and Goddess.
Each of you recognizes the feminine and masculine within the self.
Each of you has been told this knowledge is only for those who seek to
become of the Wicca.
Each of you is here because it is felt by the Wise, by the Wicca, that you
are capable of knowing stronger Magick than you have thus far conceived of.
By being here, now, you have demonstrated a desire to take this Path.
You have already begun.
You are here because you have shown love to the World.
Because you, also, are Wise.
The Wicca means the Wise: The Wise Ones.
We meet together to talk as wise people and celebrate our happiness.
All of us, even your teachers, are pursuing wisdom and we all follow the
Laws.
To complete this study, to follow this Path into Initiation means you will
be ready to celebrate the Wisdom you have attained, to celebrate in ritual
the knowledge that you are Magick;
To share with us wine and happiness, words of beauty and laughter…
By the time you complete this course of study you will be a Priest/ess of
The Craft and an Initiated Child of the God and the Goddess.

References:

One Spirit’s Domain 
~Magickal Graphics~

An Introduction to Traditional Wicca

An Introduction to Traditional Wicca

© 1987, Keepers of the Ancient Mysteries ( .K.A.M. )

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

Mysteries and Initiation

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

A Blend of Pagan Roots

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

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

What’s In a Name?

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

Traditions and Flavor

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

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

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

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

Wiccan Ethics

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

    “An (if) it harm none, do as ye Will”

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

Initiation into Wicca

People become Wiccans only by Initiation, which is a process of contacting and forming a good relationship with the Gods and Goddesses of Wicca. Initiation is preceded by at least a year and a day of preparation and study, and must be performed by a qualified Wiccan Priestess and Priest. The central event of Initiation is between you and your Gods, but the Priestess is necessary to make the Initiation a Wiccan one, to pass some of her power onto you as a new-made Priestess or Priest and to connect you to the Tradition you’re joining.

Women hold the central place in Wicca. A Traditional Coven is always headed by a High Priestess, a Third Degree female Witch with at least three years and three days of specific training. A Priest is optional, but the Priestess is essential. Similarly, a Priest may not Initiate without a Priestess, but a Priestess alone is sufficient. Women are primary in Wicca for many reasons, one of which is that the Goddess is central to our religion.

One Religion at a Time

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

Magick and Science

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

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

Priestesses at Large?

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

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

Living Life As The Witch ~ Dedication and Initiation In Wicca

Witchy Comments

What are “dedication” and “initiation” in Wicca?

These things mean different things in different traditions. Usually
“dedication” ceremonially marks the beginning of Wiccan study, while
“initiation” may mark full membership in a coven/tradition (such as after
“a year and a day”) or may indicate elevation in skill or to special
clergy status. Some traditions look on all initiates as co-equal clergy,
while others have grades or “degrees” of initiation, which may be marked
by distinct sacramental ceremonies, duties or expectations within the
tradition.

Some people claim that “only a Witch can make a Witch,” whereas
others say that only the Goddess and God or demonstrated skill can make a
witch. Doreen Valiente was initiated by Gardner himself, but slyly asks
“who initiated the first witch?” Valiente and others assert that those
who choose to “bootstrap” a coven into existence (by an initial
initiation) or to use self-initiation may do so, citing the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. Self-dedications are also quite common among
new practitioners and solitary Wiccans (“solitaries”).



~Magickal Graphics~

Dianic Wicca

Dianic Wicca

By , About.com Guide

Origins of Dianic Wicca:

Born of the feminist movement and founded by hereditary witch Zsuzsanna Budapest, Dianic Wicca embraces the Goddess but spends little time on her male counterpart. Most Dianic Wiccan covens are female-only, but a few have welcomed men into their groups, with the intention of adding some much-needed polarity. In some areas, the phrase Dianic Wiccan came to mean lesbian witch, but that is not always the case, as Dianic covens welcome women of any sexual orientation.

Exceptions to the Rule:

While many Wiccan paths follow a belief system that limits hexing, cursing or negative magic, some Dianic Wiccans make an exception to the rule. Budapest, a noted feminist Wiccan writer, has argued that hexing or binding those who do harm to women is acceptable.

Honoring the Goddess:

Dianic covens celebrate the eight Sabbats, and use similar altar tools to other Wiccan traditions. However, among the Dianic community there is not a lot of continuity in ritual or practice – they simply self-identify as Dianic to indicate that they follow a Goddess-based, feminine-focused spiritual path.

The core belief of Dianic Wicca, as founded by Z Budapest, states that the tradition “is a holistic religious system based on a Goddess-centered cosmology and the primacy of She Who is All and Whole unto Herself.”

Reclaiming: The Etiquette of Witchcraft

Reclaiming: The Etiquette of Witchcraft
The Etiquette of Witchcraft
This article by M. Macha NightMare appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of the Reclaiming Newsletter.
The Etiquette of Witchcraft, Reclaiming Style
The greater community of Witchcraft- throughout the U.S. and abroad- has a few rules of etiquette of which to be cognizant.  I am well aware that ours is not a religion of “rules” (especially in the ecstasy-based Reclaiming Tradition), but in order for us to be free of inhibitions, to feel we are in “safe space,” to get the most out of what we are doing and to protect those whose identity as Witches were it revealed, would compromise them in their mundane lives, it is imperative that everyone know and agree to abide by the following general policies:
1.  First and foremost, a magickal circle is not for observers; it is
participatory and experiential.  A circle is a religious rite and all
participants should conduct themselves in a manner respectful to the Goddess. If one is not prepared to focus and contribute his/her attention and efforts to the ceremony, one does not belong in the circle.  If one does not wish to participate, s/he should excuse her/himself before the pre-rite meditation and grounding begins.
2.  The taking of photographs is inappropriate and impermissible.  As noted in item 1 above, the ritual, and memories of it, are to be carried in one’s heart;
they are not a proper subject for objective observation and documentation.  The exception to this is when all participants have been asked before the ritual has begun, and all agree; or when the ritual is “staged” specifically for the taking of photographs, filming or videotaping. Photographing rituals requires special tact and sensitivity.
3.  Craft groups and circles are not inviolably solemn, but they are serious in
central purpose.  Inappropriate talking, joking, laughing, etc. are not only
rude and disrespectful of the Goddess, the Mighty Ones, the priest/esses of the ritual  and other celebrants, but also they interfere with concentration and
continuity of the ceremony.  She commands us to have mirth and reverence; humor and laughter are gifts of the Goddess.  Our attitude, conduct and energy should reflect both the joyousness and the solemnity of this our celebratory religion. There will be a period within the ritual for the sharing of food, drink and good wishes, and time for conversation and merrymaking.
4.  Since traditional lore teaches that consecrated object easily absorbs
energy (becomes “charged”), tools, such as wand, chalice, athame, jewelry, drum and other ritual regalia, should not be touched by someone other than the owner without the owner’s express permission.
5.  Once the circle is cast, all celebrants should consider themselves in it
for the duration.  It is preferable for one to take care of personal needs
before the ritual is begun, but if one finds it necessary to use the toilet,
feels faint or whatever, one can either ask for assistance or “cut a door” in
the circle and leave, carefully closing and sealing it afterwards.  The circle
is intended to contain the energy and focus, and when it is casually entered
and exited, that energy can become dissipated or lost and focus shattered.
6.  Anyone who is drunk, stoned or otherwise inebriated does not belong in
circle.  In addition, the use of drugs or alcohol (this includes the smoking of
cigarettes) in circle is unacceptable behavior; it can show disrespect and it
puts the user(s) on another wavelength than the nonuser(s).  The exception to
this is when the use of chemicals is sacramental and understood and accepted by everyone in the circle.
7.  People who invite others to rituals are responsible for preparing the
guest(s) as to what is expected of them, how to behave, etc.  Guests cannot be
expected to know what’s going on all on their own, especially if it’s their
first Craft ritual, but much can be done by the person who invites them to make them feel more comfortable and included by giving them some information ahead of time about how things work and how people are expected to behave.
8.  What occurs in circle is sacred and not to be talked about with those who
were not part of the circle.  This mainly applies to small, private rituals,
and we in Reclaiming are more casual about rehashing big public ones, but if
one is invited to a ritual presented by another Craft tradition, this rule is
inviolate.
The above guidelines are freely adapted from archival material graciously
provided by Valerie Voigt.
Many thanks for reading and observing these few, simple, common-sense, but
essential, guidelines.

The Wicca Book of Days for June 21 – Litha or MidSummer

The Wicca Book of Days for June 21st

Litha or MidSummer

 

The Summer Solstice occurs around now. It is celebrated by Wiccans at their Litha, or MidSummer Sabbat. The Horned God is at the height of his powers – the hours of daylight are longer than those of darkness, and His solar rays and heat are at their fieriest. Their child is growing in the Goddess’s womb, and the world basks in sunshine, while all around the natural evidence of their fruitful union is evident. Yet the Horned God’s strength will start to wane from now on, which is why the Oak King’s rule is said to give way to that of the Holly King at Litha.

 

Harvest Herbs

 

Herbs are particularly potent on the Summer Solstice, which is why Wiccans and Witches harvest them on this day (or night) for future use in potions and remedies. So if you have herbs in your garden, cut yourself a supply today.