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I found the following information at a very very good web site.  I believe in sharing knowledge so I have put it here with full credit.

Witches Moon
Home of Hand Made Books of Shadows, Grimoires & Ritual items 

 What is Witchcraft?

Some of the info below is provided by the book Witchcraft a secret history by  Michael Streeter and is not necessarily the opinion of Witches Moon. We wanted to share the info we have found as a means to show that Witches are not Evil.

What is Witchcraft? it is one of the fastest growing religions in the world today. More & more people are drawn to the craft everyday, the sad thing is some will not stay with it once they find out that it is not all Sabrina & charmed. The word Witch has been loaded down with so many negative meanings throughout history. Lets start by looking at some alternative meanings of Witchcraft.

Folk Magic, or simply put, sorcery, the use of magick in casting spells, healing, telling the future or influencing the weather. Witchcraft has existed in every culture in some form since time began. In some societies they are known as Cunning Women & Men or Wise Men & Women, Elders & so on. They still exist today and for them Witchcraft is just that, a craft, a use of Magic for specific ends. Magic can be defined as using one's will to shape or change consciousness & reality.

Witchcraft is a religion with a capital W. a mystery religion which does not believe in one ultimate deity, but puts special emphasis on the female aspect of that deity in the form of the Goddess & it reveres the Gods from old pagan religions. Witchcraft uses magic, which witches believe is part of the natural world around them & not something supernatural. A Modern Witch rejects the suggestion of satanic associations on the understandable grounds that Satan & the Devil are Christian concepts & witches worship neither the Christian God or it's Devil. To many so much negative has been associated with the word witch that some prefer to be called Wicca or Wiccan & not witch. I am proud to be a witch and frankly think it is time to take back the word witch. It is part of who I am, I am not asking anyone to like it, just accept it as part of me & my individuality. I am just like you, in fact you never know how many Witches there are around you, If you were to sit in your local Barnes & Noble & watch the New age section you would be surprised to see how many, doctors, lawyers, mothers, grandmothers & teenagers are buying these books and learning the craft.

Pan: Our God, the Devil in Christianity:

Pan, God of the Witches, Horned Hunter of the night... He is a Greek God and the son of Hermes. He is half man and half goat like beast. He is an important god symbolizing nature, lust, playfulness & all things pastoral. His importance in witchcraft is that he is now identified in modern witchcraft as a version of the Horned God. He is seen as a consort to the Goddess & his annual birth at Yuletide & his symbolic death at the end of each summer mark the passing of the seasons, the cycle of birth, death & rebirth. Another important point is the physical features of pan, the goat like appearance was later attributed in the Christian world to the Devil. Certainly Christians have had problems with the idea of Pan, who reveled in pleasures that some Christian traditions have considered sinful. pan is regarded by some witches as the antithesis of the moralizing & rule driven Christian church. We would like to let all know the significance of Pan and that he is not the devil. I know this is so redundant but we do not believe in a devil being. We do respect Christianity and those who worship it's faith.

 

The New Beginning:

When the religion of Wicca emerged in Britain in the early 1950's it's early adherents maintained that it was in fact a direct, surviving descendant of ancient fertility cult which had worshipped a Goddess & Horned God & that this tradition had lasted through the dark days of the Burning Times & had been preserved in one or two covens in England. This view went perfectly with the published opinions of Charles Leland & Margaret Murry. This concept of a surviving tradition of a pagan witchcraft religion has since been widely challenged, to the point where few practicing witches subscribe to it. But, initially, at any rate, this dramatic reemergence of the " Old Religion" struck a chord with many who believed- or wanted to believe- the wonderfully romantic history provided by Leland & Murry.

Gerald Gardner may appear on the surface to be an unlikely person to be credited with the development or creation of such a religion. he was born in 1884. he had a successful career in the customs service for Malaya & collected objects & antiquities. He was also interested in spirit matters, occult, religion &  magick.  He was a very widely read intellectual man who was deeply interested in humanity & his place in the universe. He new folklore, history & magic. These were the qualifications that were to stand him in good stead when it came to the development of the Wicca Religion.

Gardner was married but had no children. He moved to the country side or rural Idyll, he later claimed the events that occurred there were to have a profound effect, not just on him but on the future of modern witchcraft. his life was rather unexceptional until he came across the New Forest Coven. Of all the controversies surrounding the origins of Wicca, one of the most crucial hinges on the existence or otherwise, of a coven of Witches in the New Forest area. Gardner was later to claim the he discovered the existence of the old witch religion when he was initiated into such a coven in 1939.

Modern historians are still unsure whether such a coven ever did exist & if it did who started it & why. Further more, there are some historians that believe even today Witches are very secretive with others & covens would especially take great offense & upset if a person they trusted with their secrets told them to others & so on. There is no proof the coven did or did not exist. Gardner claimed he was initiated into the coven by an old woman named old Dorothy Clutterbuck. According to Doreen Valiente, an initiate of Gardner's, the lady did exist & lived in a large home in Christechurch. It remains to be seen however if she ever was a witch or had any sort of magickal ties. Although she was a real person, nothing in her life, including her own diaries ever spoke of or proved she was a witch or had anything to do with the occult.  But, if the real Mrs. Clutterbuck was not a witch, why then would Gardner have pointed to her as the source of his initiation? One suggestion is that he was simply having a joke at the expense of the very kind of conventional woman who would have hated the idea of being linked to witchcraft & that he waited for her to die first. She died in 1951 the year Gardner started to publicize his "discoveries" of the Old Religion.

Another suggestion is that Gardner was covering up for a woman with whom he really did practice witchcraft. This was a music teacher whom he knew by the name of "Dafo" who did have a house in the New Forest area & was also a member of the Rosicrucian Theatre. There is evidence this woman did practice the craft with him at some time in the 1940's & early 1950's though this in itself does not prove she was a priestess of any coven. One of the interesting stories he told later was in 1940 when Britain felt under the Nazi invasion. According to Gardner, Old Dorothy convened a meeting of different covens from around the country who all met in the New Forest. this group cast a great circle & raised a Witches Cone of Power directed at Hitler & his troops, which said, "do not come here" A number of these witches, who were quite elderly, supposedly died a few days later from their exertions. There was, incidentally, a tradition that a similar cone of power had been raised by English Witches against the invasion force of the Spanish Armada in 1588, which was ultimately defeated with the help of  freak weather conditions.

In the 1940's Gardner was collating material that was eventually to make up his collection of rituals & beliefs which would stand at the heart of the new witchcraft religion. This book was to become known as the book of shadows. In 1954 with the publishing of his book Witchcraft Today in which he announced to the world that the religion of witchcraft was alive & had survived from ancient times & that he called it Wicca..

 

I personally believe that Witchcraft is old , as old as time & never really went away, just put away. It is the craft of the wise, past down through the ages in secrecy, verbally or in writing, from mother to daughter & so on to those who would have it until the age of the modern author & publisher who has made the old ways able to be learned in ways never thought possible before to anyone who would be of the Old Religion.

 

 

Wicca, Wica or Wice??

The Word Wicca was used by Gerald Gardner for the witchcraft religion he developed, though he initially spelled it with a single "c"- "wica" "Wicca meant a male witch in Old English, "Wicce meant a female one. The origin of the word Wicca is not entirely clear. the popular suggestion that it comes from the Old English word "Witan" meaning "to know" & thus related to wisdom, seems to be false. Another suggested origin is in the Old English word " wican meaning "to bend". Wicca was formally pronounced "witch-ah" but is now pronounced with a hard c  as in "wick-ah"

In regards to Gerald Gardner's creation or discovery of Wicca.... what was his true role? The evidence certainly indicates that this retired colonial administrator from England did not " discover" a witchcraft religion that had been under ground for hundreds of years. It is an attractive idea but not enough facts exist to back up such a claim.

In a sense the lack of evidence makes Gardner even more central to the story of modern Wicca. It turns out that he perhaps is not a discoverer but a creator or re creator of the Pagan religion. By drawing together strands of eighteenth, nineteenth & twentieth century ceremonial high magic plus the low magick of traditional witchcraft, he came up with something new & distinct. As with any religion, it is the content & how it evolves that count no where it came from.

 

My opinion? well I personally think magic & Witches are as old as time, yes I do think a lot was lost over the years & we are still getting it back. Maybe Gardner did find an ancient coven or maybe he was trying to bring an old religion into a world that really would not understand it without a creation story, we may never know the entire truth.

There is always a lot of talk among us of degrees & levels & all. Learning is very important & Wicca is not a path to follow for fun or games, but  do I think you must go through degrees and such to be a "real" witch, no I do not. Learning i important and should be taken as such, one is not all knowing after a year and a day, your journey is just beginning at this point. But again this is only what I believe & what I was raised to Believe. Magic comes from within &  is all around us. That will not change no matter who tells you what or who you know. I do feel that learning from a qualified teacher as a student or apprentice is quiet admirable and should be sought if possible. Just try to find a school or teacher who makes you feel comfortable.

 

 

 

Witchcraft & Religion Today..

            

On the subject of Witches & our craft we get many emails & letters. The simple fact is I feel that we are still to this day very misunderstood. Witches are, for lack of better wording, still burned at the stake. We still have to prove we are not satanists killing dogs & cats & abducting children. The lore of magick is great & the ideas behind all of it's mystical beliefs & practices draw hundreds of people into it every year.

The idea of the old ways being re-learned & shared is of great interest to many a aspiring Witch. Witchcraft is the old religion, it is not new although "Wicca" is a relatively new in the last century,  religious movement brought on By Mr. Gardner.

Below I would like to discuss some very witchy topics, topics that will hopefully help those who are unsure of what witches do & who we are to understand our ways & know without doubt that we are not the evil of the world. By no means should this be seen as me saying I am right & others are wrong, or Witches are the best humans on the planet, nor is it me saying your religion is all wrong, it is actually that whole point of right & wrong I wish to address. This is simply a point of view from one person's perspective.

 

Our ways are of the old ways, of what was before it was changed, lost or forced underground. All Pagan religion had been nearly eradicated & driven underground by the Christians and other persecutors. Forced to verbally pass down our history, practices & magick, forced to practice in seclusion for fear of being killed, tortured, or worse, converted. Made to keep our Books In the Shadows.  (hence the term book of shadows, which is a new term, not an old one). For having a book that was more important to you than the bible would get you in jail or worse put to death. Christians though were just doing, no matter how wrong, what they thought was right. But that is how most old religions, groups, African Americans and others who practice or look a way that main stream beliefs do not, are put on trial so to speak, because something about us is different and others do not fully understand it. Questions should be asked and fear should not take over. We are all humans and should be treated with respect.

 As you know there is a lot of things Christian based religions do & celebrate that are very pagan. Except of course for having a female deity, Mary was branded a whore and in more recent times it is being found out that she was possibly Jesus' Wife and Partner. Woman were not supposed to have any power at all during the Rule of Christian men, we were not supposed to be Goddesses or religious leaders. We were to be seen & not heard,  so to speak. it is really a sad thing as in the beginning both Pagan & Christians accept, & I use this term loosely, each other. If Pagans were seen worshiping a tree instead of taking down the tree the Christians would consecrate the tree to God. This was a way to allow or put up with the pagan ways without actually persecuting them. though as we know in History it did not stay that way &  soon Pagans were converted or killed. I truly believe Christianity can be and is a beautiful religion if it is truly practiced they way it was intended by Jesus. Too much fear goes into it. They fear and persecute Witches, Pagans and Gay People/ Why? There is nothing wrong with any of those things. It is nature and our own lives to make the choices we feel are right. Fact is if you do not like what is on TV, do not complain about it, turn the channel. If you do not like a person's faith, be human. Allow them to be who they are and you can be who you are. if it is not harming you then leave it be. I know it is a true cliché. but does it really bother you that much? how is it that love should see a color, religion or sex as a reason not to be? Love is Love there should be no one telling you not to love the person you do. There should be no one telling you that your faith, what you believe and what your spirituality is, is wrong.

The fact is witches, Wicca & Paganism  were meant to be lost, forgotten branded as evil & feared. Truth be told witches & pagans are among the most peaceful people on this earth, we are of the earth of the trees, the air the wind, lakes & streams and so on.  We are not a religion trying to convert anyone, we believe in freedom of religion, any religion. We do not run around telling people to convert or you will burn in the eternal fires of hell. I always say that there is enough room on this planet for all of us no matter what we believe. Another common misconception is that we worship Satan, Witches do not even believe in Satan, he is a Christian concept of guess what? a duality good versus evil, the age old debate. How we can be devil worshipers is beyond me since we do not even believe in him, but again this is the fear instilled and taught for so many years. We tend to, as humans, fear what we do not understand.. The fact is, & this is a scary thought, that there are people in this world who are part of what they term satanic groups and yes they may call themselves witches but we all must learn to be able to realize that as there are both good and not so good Christians, Muslims, Witches & so on

 One of the most common misconceptions with Witchcraft is the Pentagram. Most Witches choose to use the upright pentagram as a Wiccan symbol, it symbolizes protection the elements, the center, or Akashic, spirit or however you choose to term it.  But some also use the inverted Pentagram, which there is nothing wrong with. Remember symbols themselves are not evil, it is how we use them. Now there are some traditions who do use the inverted pentagram in a different way, for instance a Satanist would use this symbol to represent Satan or rather Satan's Horned Image, Below is some ways these symbols are used in a different way even by our own government!.

"The points of the upright pentacle represent the four elements as a physical base for Spirit at the top point. *Spirit dominating matter"


"The points of the inverted pentacle has Spirit at the bottom point with the elements above. *From Spirit grows the physical."
 

 It represents the Horned God of Celtic paganism...ie. Cernunnos

The U. S. Medal of Honor, as well as the Bronze Star is an inverted pentacle
      

In some Wiccan traditions, it has been used a s a symbol of 2nd degree initiation

And yes, it also represents Satanism

There are other groups who use an inverted pentagram (seen below), which is not a symbol of all Wiccan's some Witches who practice what some call the "dark arts ". My point of all this is as i said above, it is not the symbol that is evil, it is the person using it. We must be able to understand the differences between other religions & other traditions if we wish to live peacefully with each other. All religious groups, no matter who they are, as long as they are hurting no one with their path, should be allowed to worship & practice how they wish without fear of persecution. I know there are some who would say oh i practice Black Magick I, however believe magic is not black or white , it is the will of it's user that makes the difference.

                                                              

                                           

 I mean would it be fair to say that just because a middle- eastern man who believes strongly in his religion will become a terrorists?  & does that mean that all middle-eastern people are evil & terrorists? That is simply not the case. They, like us have those in their group that use religion as a motive for destruction. These people feel extremely passionate about what they believe and though their actions are killing ignorant and innocent alike, they care not for those facts. They only know their passion. I wish I could stop all the terrorist acts and make everyone get along, but i know this is not possible. I will never forget where I was when I saw the first plane hit on 9 11. It was the most terrible feeling that I was unable to help anyone. I was sad, sad for the world, the people hurt and killed, for their family' and even for the terrorists. It is sad that some people use fear as a weapon. They need professional help in my opinion,  But one bad apple does not make the entire tree no good. Bottom line do not judge someone or their beliefs before you know what they truly are.

 

To learn more you can visit this site
http://www.religioustolerance.org/index.htm#new

 

 

 

Magickal Practices... The Lore of The Witches Craft

The bubbling cauldron, the waving wand, the old or young woman in the kitchen, attic or outside brewing an ancient cure, charm or even possibly a binding? ( yes witches do use binding spells & on rare, rare occasions curses, but please understand we do not take these lightly, nor are they done on a whim which I will get into more detail about further on) The large old Tome resting on it's Stand, it's pages stained with potion and brew oils, herbs & incenses.  The woman is looking in the book & with a brightly lit smile says this is it! She begins chanting, lighting her candles & Invoking her Goddess/God, calling the elements & beginning her spell. Within days it comes to pass, the magick has worked, her problems ended. What was she doing? Bringing some much needed Financial growth into her life.

This is the lore of the Witch. To be able to help those in need, to cast spells & research your magical heritage & craft. To be able to help yourself to create a fruitful life with the tools & wisdom of nature. Witches use magic for many things. We cast healing spells on friends & family ( if we have obtained the proper permission), we work rites for the Earth to bring her healing & most importantly, we work with The Gods....

 There is a woman standing there, flowing silver hair, in a glimpse her face of beauty begins to age, until it is that of an old woman, worn with time yet still a beauty in her own right. She is the mother, the maiden, the crone. You know her , her face is so familiar, she is the woman in all of us, the face in the moon, She is our mother.

The Goddess is a very important aspect of the Witches Craft. She is our Mother, She is Hecate, Brigid, Isis, Diana and so on. The Trinity aspect of Wicca is maiden mother crone. The goddess is all three, all three phases of life. We do not make animal offerings to any god or Goddess. Magick is not black or white, it is in the heart of the witch were the darkness lies.

We live by the rule of "An it harm none, do what ye will" this is the most sincere rule of Wicca. These rules,  have been put in place for a reason & are part of a much more detailed system of guidelines that govern our craft. As Oberon Zell has said, with great power, comes responsibility.

  As I said above, we will use binding spells & in very rare cases Curses, but they are only used when all other means of solving the problem have failed & we are left with no choice and believe me someone i care for deeply will have to have been hurt before i would EVER consider any such thing. Anytime yo are doing something that effects another's life, it is no to be taken lightly. Peace is always the best way. Witches who would use power for "evil" or to hurt others are in fact destroying their own lives now & in the future. Karma is not something I think they really believe in as they do not feel what they are doing will harm them & this tells me that they have not fully studied Witchcraft & more importantly are not responsible enough to practice Magic.  Bottom line, if you can not handle the Karmic effect of miss-using Magic then your best bet is to not use it at all.

 

Some people think it is just like Charmed where we run around freezing things or orbing all over, which by the way if it were possible I would like never drive anywhere!  The fact is Charmed is not as real as it sometimes can be or seem to be. Like when they turn certain Goddess Like Kali & Hecate into Demons, well that sort of gets me, they are not "demons" & the producers of Charmed have effectively put another brick in the wall of understanding What Witches Do.  See for some reason people tend to think that just because the show is loosely based on real witches that everything on the show is real. Wrong, there are only a few things that are real, that is why it is a TV show. Believe me if they showed what real witches do, well it would never have made it past season 1! We are not as exciting as the girls on Charmed and we most certainly do not have Demons & Warlocks breaking down our doors all the time. Charmed is truly an awesome show, but that is just it, it is just a show.

Though there are some very real things on charmed as well like The Wendigo. Wendigo's are part of an old North American Indian belief.  They believed it was a creature with a heart of ice who roamed the woods devouring helpless humans. The Shamans Believe it is the worst type of Psychic Sickness that can befall them.  There is so much more that can be read on it if you take the time and do some research. The Akashic Records, Supposed to be real. The Power of three well yeah three witches are going to be more powerful than just one & 3 witches who are related would make the bond even stronger, so yes that is real as well. The Triquetra is an ancient symbol of the triple goddess & a powerful symbol of protection. Fact is a lot of Charmed is made up & A lot of Charmed is real info that has been twisted or re done to use on the show by the writers, you just have to know & understand what is real & what is made up & be able to tell the difference.

I suggest you research Withes & Wicca & be sure you really want to be one & be part of the religion before you call yourself one. It is a way of life & a path we follow. Traditionally there is a year & a day of study before one even starts to say I am a Witch. Remember, simply saying I am a Witch does not make you one. Follow your heart, it will lead you right on the path to your destiny.

 

 Blessed be

 

     
Living the Magickal Life.......

 

From the moment you become a Witch, you feel different, the world feels different. Things appear to look more Magical & new wonders are abound, the trees come alive and speak, the birds seem to know your name & when you walk among the forests it is like walking into a realm of Faries, Elves, Elementals & other spirits & deities. You begin to see their world & the delicate Magic they weave to make ours beautiful. The mundane is gone and you see the beauty or our planet, of Mother Earth & all she has to give. The winds seem to speak to you with answers to questions & gentle Hellos. When you are a witch you become one with all these, you are aware of them & they of you, a rainstorm does not have the same meaning anymore, you can here the Elementals voice, you know their names & yes they know yours, life just becomes more "Magical".

You see what can not be seen, you know what most do not, you share of the Elements & become one with all creatures great & small. The life you live through Magic is like no other. When you go outside to look at the moon you see the Goddess's Face, the stars seem to tell a story, in the morning sunlight you feel the God's warmth & glow as some plants & creatures begin to awake. Being a Witch means much more than a name to call yourself, it is a path, a never ending circle of love, life & learning. Witches are like anyone else, some many choose to dress the part & others may wear clothes from the gap, your personal style is just that, personal. Dressing in cloaks & Magical attire helps us to connect to the Magic, to embrace the Witch within us, it helps to feel more "Witchy" so to speak. I am not saying you have to do this, as I said do what you feel is right for you, not what others tell you to do. Magic is all around us, all the time all we have to do is connect with it.

 

Below you will find several informative things to add to your own book of shadows... All have been adapted from Scott Cunningham's Books and are well worth reading if you are serious about the Wiccan

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The Thirteen Goals of a Witch.....
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From Scott Cunningham's Book, Wicca a guide for the solitary practitioner

     

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Know Yourself
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Know your Craft
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Learn
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Apply Knowledge with Wisdom
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Achieve Balance
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Keep your words in good order
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Keep your thoughts in good order
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Celebrate Life
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Attune with the cycles of the Earth
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Breather & eat Correctly
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Exercise the body
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Meditate
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Honor the Goddess & God
 

The Law of Our Ways....
Adapted also from Mr. Cunningham's book

 

 

We are of the old ways, among those who walk with the Goddess & God.

Keep the Sabbats & Esbats to the best of your abilities

Harm None, this is the oldest law & is not open to discussion or change

Shed Not blood in ritual, the Goddess & God need not blood to be worshiped, those of our way are kind to all creatures for hurtful thoughts are draining. Misery is self created so to is jealousy.

Teach only what you know to those you choose. Teach not to those who would use your instruction for destruction or control, also teach not to boost pride, for ever remember that she who teaches for vain/ glory shall take little pride in her own workings.

 

The Law of Power.............

Scott Cunningham

The Power should not be used to bring harm, injure or control others, the power shall be used to protect life & the lives of others

The power is used only as need dictates

The power can be used for your own gain as long as in doing so you harm none

Use not the power for prideful gain for such cheapens the mysteries of Magick

Ever remember the power is a gift from the Goddess & God & should not be misused or abused

Do not use the power against someone else who has the Power.

 

The Nature of our Way........

Scott Cunningham

As often as possible hold rites in forests, by the seashore, on deserted mountain tops, or by tranquil lakes & streams. If this is not possible they may be held in a garden or chamber prepared with fumes.

Seek out wisdom in books, rare manuscripts & Cryptical poems, but also seek it out in simple stones & fragile Herbs as well as in the circles of wild birds, listen to the whispers of the wind & the root of water if you would discover Magick, for it is here that the old secrets are preserved.

Ever remember that the old ways are constantly revealing themselves. Therefore be as the Willow that bends & sways, that which remains changeless shall outlive it's spirit but that which evolves & grows shall shine for centuries.

Mock not the spells & rituals of another for who is to say yours are greater in power or wisdom

Ensure that your actions are honorable for all that you do shall return to you three fold, good or bad. Be wary of one who would dominate you or who would control or manipulate your power, look with suspicion on those who would twist worship from you for their own gain and glory, but welcome those who are sufficed with love.

 

The Sabbats...

Yule (yool): Winter Solstice December 21st

This is when the Goddess gives birth to the God.( a familiar tale in Christianity). This is a time of rebirth, & candles are lit to welcome the God who is the returning sun of the Winter Solstice. Gifts are given to children & others by the departing Holy King as he rides his solar sleigh, pulled by the eight sabbats personified by reindeer, throughout the night sky at Yule Eve. He is also called Old Nick by the Pagan Norse, was usurped by Christianity & turned into Santa Claus. This is a Holiday when Pagans & Christians can both relate to as a holy time & a sacred birth.

Imbolc (em-bowl/g) : February 2

A time when the Goddess recovers from Birth rejuvenated & the God is a spirited youth. It is a time of purification & dedication.

Ostara (oh-star-ah):  Vernal Equinox March 21

When the God & Goddess walk the fields causing creatures to reproduce. The first day of Spring is inspiration for renewal & creativity, the seed buried in the ground now begins to move back into the world.

Beltane ( Beel-teen or bell-tayn): May 1st

When the Goddess & the God unite & is a celebration of fertility & healing. Welcome May Day with flowers & tokens. Dance the May pole. This is a most Magickal Day

Litha ( lee-thah): Summer Solstice June 21st

This is the summer solstice, although referred to as Midsummer. It is the peak of fertility, used to celebrate life, love, health, purification, & dedication.

Lughnassadh ( loo-nahs-ah): August 1st

This is when the God impregnates the Goddess with himself, & is the feast of bread & time of transformation.

Mabon ( may-bone or mah-boon):  Autumnal Equinox September 21st

When the God prepares to leave & the Goddess rests. This is celebrated today as harvest home or Thanksgiving, which was moved into November time frame by President Lincoln in the 19th century even though the pilgrims celebrated it in September. A time to celebrate the abundance of the Earth. The great feast.

Samhain ( sow-een or american sam-hain): October 31st

The witches new year, when the God departs & the Goddess mourns, but knows he will be reborn at Yule. This is a time of celebrating the mysteries of death & of contacting spirits. The Catholic church adopted this celebration as all hallows eve mass. This is when the veil between the worlds is at it's thinnest, leave plates of food out for the dead as they journey onward, light candles in the windows to help light their way. This is a time to honor the dead and remember all those that have gone. This to me is a most Magickal time, if ever there was a day I felt more "Witchy" it is this day.

OF PAGANISM IN HISTORY

This page is created to give a little bit of History on Pagans, their holidays & their Goddess & God. The information has been collected by us from one of our favorite books, WITCHES, by Erica Jong. It is a wonderful large book filled with lovely artwork & fascinating information..........We do believe all religions, as long as they are not harmful, have the right to believe whatever they choose & practice what they feel is the correct path for them......

We call to thee, Goddess of the Moon,

Lift your face & bless this sacred space,

Gathered on hill, grove & stream,

With Witches words, we call your beam,

We draw you down with sword & chalice,

Within Witches circles without malice,

We call to thee & honor thee, oh Gracious Goddess Blessed Be..........

Poem by Miya Bukovsky 

Imagine the following evolution..... People of prehistoric times worshiped Deities very different from those worshiped today. One was the Mother Goddess or Great Mother or Queen of Heaven, who represented creation, birth, food gathering, agricultural plenty, & the Summer months. The other a Horned God ( Stag-antlered, animal-skinned, cloven-hoofed) , who represented the hunt, the killing of food & the Winter months.

The year was divided between the worship of these two deities, especially in places where early humans divided their time between agriculture & hunting, depending upon the seasons. These two gods were most ancient & enduring. Even when Christianity came to be the established religion, their cults could not be eradicated. All over Europe, peasants persisted in their worship long after Kings & courts were converted to Christianity. In many places, Christian & Pagan Gods were worshiped simultaneously, & even Christian Priests were initiates of Pagan mysteries.

As long as it was in the interest of the Christians to tolerate paganism- indeed, they had no choice since Pagans outnumbered them- Pagan gods & goddesses were received into the Christian pantheon as saints, & Pagan feast days were kept as Christian holidays. For example, the use of December 25th-four days after the winter solstice-as Christ's birthday was chosen precisely to bring sun-worshipers into the Christian fold, since this was their feast day, & it is always easier to change the name of a holiday, & it's supposed symbolism, than to invent a wholly original holiday on a new day...(Christmas tree-Pagan, ornaments-Pagan, these are all pagan things assimilated into this holiday Christmas.)

But when Christians were finally entrenched, had established themselves as temporal as well as spiritual lords, they were ready to begin the systematic persecution & eradication of Paganism. It was then that the Pagans went underground, so to speak. It was then that their gods were termed devils by the Christians & their religious practices alleged evil. The people who continued to honor the old ways & the old gods did so in secret, often meeting in out-of-the-way places: on heaths, in forests, on hill top, in groves. Their Horned God the Christians now termed "the devil:. Their Great Mother was made to serve as Christ's virgin Mother-her sexuality erased, her power reduced from that of a creator of the world to intercessor between man & a male God, thus Paganism was first tolerated, than assimilated, than brutally stamped out.

But it's power over people never quite faded, & those who continued to worship the old ways were called Witches. Because they were scattered & divided into separate groups or covens, because theirs was a non proselytizing religion, different practices grew up in different localities with different ceremonies evolving different names for deities. Thus we have in Witchcraft an example of an ancient religion lingering in a Christian world, holding it's power over people despite burnings, persecutions of worshipers, despite defamation & proscription of the old gods... (this in essence was an argument put forth by Margret Murry).

 

OF WITCHES

I can tell you that I have been a Witch for as long as I can remember my mother teaching me, though technically I did not take on the full path of the Witch until I choose to follow the Path of Nature in a dedication, and later initiation ceremony my mother preformed to fully bestow on me the name "Witch". I want to add some facts about Witches here... No matter how redundant they may seem from all you have already read, I just want all to know that we are really not the hook nosed hags people think of when they think of Witches.

Witches are not evil, we do not worship the devil, nor do we believe in one. Demons are not part of Wicca, we do not believe in them, they are a Christian belief, not a Wiccan one. We do not sacrifice any living thing or cast harmful spells to hurt.

We are healers, mothers, daughters, sisters. The woman ( or man) next to you on the bus could be a witch and you may never know it.

We love nature & worship the seasons.

We do not fly around on broomsticks ( wish we could).

We follow a rede "an it harm none, do as ye will" which means basically do what you want as long as you harm no one or animal in doing so.

We respect all religions great & small & never try to tell you you are wrong for what you believe.

Our practices, though steeped in mystery are open to those with an open heart as well as mind.

As of now, we are furiously working on these pages. It is a new site, and is under construction. If there is anything that you do not see that you would like to see added, please feel free to ask me.

 

We are furiously working on the Tarot section as well as a spells/BoS section.  Additionally the student section will be up within the next few days.    So be patient as we update this site.  In order to bring the best information to you and if you are interested in joining, or teaching, let us know as there are many paths and variations to this knowledge.  You can contact us via the contact page.

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