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Sticks & Stones…

Sticks and StonesSticks & Stones

May break my bones

But, words will never hurt me.

George Cuples (1872)

In comparison, Wicca is the new kid on the block of legally organized religions, but, it is in the same definitive category as; United Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Hindu, Moslem, Mormon, and Jew, to name a few. Most organized religions originated from the Church of England.

Webster’s Dictionary, Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi, and, The Witch Book, by Raymond Buckland, provided clarification for these often misused and misunderstood terms:

Old Religion: Many modern Witches and Wiccans often refer to the Old Religion to indicate the survival of an aspect of pre-Christian European religion, and the genuine antiquity of Witchcraft and Wicca. While Witchcraft dates back long before the Roman Empire, Wicca wasn’t organized until 1951, which led to its legal recognition in 1971.

Old Ways: Living in harmony with the Earth sharing a common bond with the vegetable and animal kingdom; pre-Christian beliefs which include the Judaic roots of Christianity. (See Paganism)

Pagan: Simple country folk; Latin pagani, which means dwellers in the country

Paganism: As Christianity spread across Europe, urban inhabitants accepted the conversion long before the rural peasants would relinquish their nature based Old Religion. In retaliation, the Church put a negative bias on the Old Religion, and as a result, the term Paganism applied to followers of any religion other than Christianity. Today, Paganism is applied to followers of any religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. M.L. Meneken     

Occult: Hidden, mysterious

Witch: Derived from the Old English word Witha translated to mean Wise One; an aged village herbalist who lived a solitary life, but was called upon for spells and healing potions by the local folks, i.e., Hedge Witch

Magic: Staged tricks of illusion; sleight of hand

Magick: The art and Metaphysical science of manifesting personal desires through the collection and direction of energy; there are essentially five components to the art of creating successful works of Magick: 1) Personal Will 2) Timing 3) Imagery 4) Direction 5) Balance

Grimoire: A book of ceremonies, rituals, and spells, usually dating back to the Middle Ages – Several grimoires written in modern times are noteworthy: The Grimoire of Lady Sheba, by Lady Sheba, A Grimoire of Shadows by Ed Fitch, and, A Victorian Grimoire by Patricia Telesco. (To date; all of these books are in print, and available from Llewellyn)

Satan: The fallen or dark Angel as characterized in Judaic-Christian religion, the personification of evil. Since the rise of Christianity, Witches have been accused of worshiping Satan and human sacrifice. Unfortunately, this ludicrous misconception remains alive today.

Warlock: Male Witch-hunter; employed by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, during the inquisition, to find, accuse, and condemn village land owners of practicing Witchcraft, for the purpose of acquiring their land and wealth for the Church

Wicca: Derived from the Old English word Wicce meaning Wizard. It is a religion promoting the veneration of Nature and the worship of Divinity as containing both feminine and masculine aspects. It is founded upon the spiritual roots of pre-Christian European beliefs and practices.  The Old Religion, or The Craft of the wise, is the roots of Wiccan theology dating back to Neolithic, if not Paleolithic, times. Most Wiccans live by a philosophy of tolerance for the beliefs and practices of others, seeking to live in harmony with the local community and their environment. One of the primary tenets of Wiccan belief is to not intentionally harm other people or impose one’s will upon another. This philosophy is referred to as the Rede. As a member of the Wiccan faith, members must learn and practice Witchcraft. Witches, however, are not required to become initiated members of Wicca. (see Witch)

Witch, Wiccan & Wicca: Terms used (or misused) interchangeably meaning; Wizard, Prophet, Seer, Sage, Magician and Sorcerer

Coven: A congregation of people, traditionally thirteen in number, who join together to learn, share, and practice the art of Witchcraft.

Wiccan Coven: A congregation of people, traditionally thirteen in number, who follow the same Wiccan tradition or path. i.e., ideology, theology

So Mote It Be: A phrase used to declare that Magickal intent is in place

Spells: A spell is part of the act of Magick, created by the essence of the actual working of the magick. While Magick itself is causing something to happen that you want to happen, a spell is the act (ritual or ceremonial things done) of bring about the desired result. Building power and energy with repetitious chanting, mantras, rhythm and rhymes, aided by visualization of the end result, help to project the spell into the Universe to manifest.

Solitary: A devout, eclectic practitioner of one; often referred to as a Closet Witch

Blessed Be: A phrase used in both greeting and parting. On a mundane level, it is simply a well-wishing between kindred spirits.

Traditions: “Just as there are a large number of different denominations of Christianity, so are there a number of traditions or Paths of Wicca. The oldest formal tradition is Gardnerian, founded by Gerald Gardner and based on what he learned from the coven into which he was initiated in the 1930’s. With the success of Gardnerian, other traditions arose, most basing themselves on the Gardnerian rituals. Alexandrian, founded in the 1960’s by Alex Sanders, includes a large percentage of Gardnerian Wicca with the addition of many aspects of Ceremonial Magick. Others quickly emerged, many claiming great antiquity, but, further examination proved them to be based on the Gardnerian rites. Saxon Witchcraft, or Seax-Wica, founded in 1973 by Raymond Buckland, made no claims to antiquity nor did it use any of the Gardnerian rites. It broke with tradition by being open and far more democratically organized than most other traditions.” The Witch BookThe Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neopaganism, Raymond Buckland, Visible Ink Press LLC, 2002

Black Magick: Negative Magick; Magick that will harm a person in some way. Curses and hexes are example of black magick. It is the Magick that invokes malevolent forces and destructive elements. According to the Wiccan Rede, “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.” Black Witch is a blatantly inaccurate term. (See Black Magician)

Black Magician: One who performs black magick. Historically, when right-handed was considered normal and left-handed was considered abnormal, black magick was referred to as the left Hand Path.

Book of Shadows: Witchcraft was originally passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation. It was not until the persecutions of the Middle Ages, when Witches had to meet in secret preventing them from maintaining contact with one another, that their rituals and rites were recorded in books. And, since Witches had to meet in the shadows, as it were, the book acquired that name.

Incantation: Words recited for a spell. In working magick, words are power whether they are written or recited, they contain energy. Repetitive rhyme and rhythm are most important in the working of magick.

Charm: An amulet or a talisman is referred to as a charm, i.e., rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, Christian rosary, horse shoe, rainbow, two-headed coin, arrow head, Dove’s feather, Eagle’s feather, etc. Charms are believed to hold great power.

Chants: A rhythmic repetition of words. They can have a seemingly hypnotic effect which allows the mind to focus on the object, purpose or goal of the spell.

White Magick: Positive magick is considered White Magick, and the only form of magick that Witches and Wiccans may employ. There are many shades of magick, although magick is always thought of in black and white, thereby distinguishing good from evil. But, there are many shades of gray in-between. Helping people; without harming anyone in the process or intending to harm someone, falls in the privy of white magick.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Witchcraft

 

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The Color of Witchcraft

The Color of WitchcraftThe Old Religion, or Witchcraft, predates Christianity. Good and evil has always been an issue surrounding the type of Witchcraft one practiced. White has always represented good, as described in The Wizard of Oz by the Good Witch of the North, Glinda. But, the extreme dark opposite of Glinda was the Wicked Witch of the East; fatally wounded sister of the stereotyped Wicked Witch of the West. Had it not been for the coveted Ruby Slippers, no one would have known what was going on in that story!

Folklore is flooded with many evil witches. Evil Witch, Grizelda, enticed innocent children to her candy cottage, as was the case of Hansel and Gretel. Evil has always captured our imagination. Witch Hazel dazzled Looney Tunes comics, and Walt Disney capitalized on some really nasty characters during his creative and entertaining reign. 

We’re taught that black is evil, taboo, and dangerous; which makes it fascinating to the human psyche. White signifies safe and angelic, but, dull, boring, and laced with puritan ideology. Hair-raising, spine-chilling macabre story-lines and themes draw our interest and causes our adrenalin to pump. Could it be that we intellectually know that there is a fine line between good and evil?

In reality, Wicca has become a steadily growing organized religion throughout the world. There is some misunderstanding about Wicca and Witchcraft; one must practice Witchcraft as part of the Wiccan initiate journey, but, one does not have to be an initiated Wiccan to be a Witch! There are three distinct levels of Wicca; each degree or ring requires 365+1 days to complete. Every organized religion has many denominations. And, Wicca has many paths or traditions, each with slightly different belief systems and practices, as designed by the founder.

With the aid of Doreen Valente, Gerald Gardner founded and organized Gardnerian Wicca in 1951, after England repealed the Witchcraft Act of 1542. Lady Sheba, a traditional Witch by heritage and a Gardnerian Witch by choice, registered The American Order of the Brotherhood of Wicca as a religious organization in the State of Michigan on August 13, 1971. Thereby opening the bureaucratic door as one of the first people in the United States to officially establish Wicca as a legally recognized religion.

Black Magick imposes the will from one to another, most often with the intention to do harm. White Magick ascribes to the greater good, and follows do what ye will, and harm none. Passive Green Magick is intoned with the powers of nature’s energy. Labels produce a stereotype; knowledge produces wisdom. How and where we choose to direct our knowledge and the intention of the action is the choice which is most important.    

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Witchcraft

 

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Witch Facts

Witches Cauldron

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Macbeth Act 4, scene 1, 10-11, etc.

There’s nothing that can formulate the ambiance of something forbidden, secretive, or the occult like the image of a toothless, disheveled old crone, wearing dark tattered clothing and a black pointed hat, bending over a steaming pot!

Iron pots or cauldrons immigrated to Great Britain, and then to the new world, with the Irish, who were master iron workers. These huge iron pots could retain heat over an open fire, which was a tremendous contribution to all cultures.

During the Elizabethan Era, affluent women wore hats which were pointed and adorned with flowing silk trains. As these treasured hats became out of fashion, or aged, they were discarded, at which time the indigent retrieved them; dirty, tattered and misshapen.

The aging process combined with years of hard manual labor, and the absence of dentistry or healthcare attributed to the stereotypical low cracked voice, toothless mouth, and stooped posture.

Also, due to the lack of dentistry, the word Witch originated from, and sounded like, the word “Witha,” which in old English meant “wise one.” Rural communities revered their village Herbalist, i.e., Witha, who was also their physician, dentist, and veterinarian.   

Life was hard, but, it got harder when the Catholic Church hierarchy discovered that rural Herbalists were often paid for their services with land, valuable land that the Church wanted. So, they contrived a way to obtain it with the aid of unscrupulous men they labeled, “Warlocks.” Their job was to befriend the Herbalists, learn their “secrets,” accuse them of devil worship, and Witchcraft! Both of which were punishable by torture and death. The inquisition was manufactured solely for power, wealth and land seizure, nothing trivial.  

Ironically, since Warlocks learned the ancient secrets so well from their rural teachers, it was naturally assumed that a male Witch is a Warlock, when nothing could be further from historical facts and truth! Sadly, irrational and sadistic Witch hunts continued. Practitioners adopted magickal names as a safe method to recognize and communicate with each other.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Witchcraft

 

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