Posts tagged ‘witchcraft’

Wicca, A Gentle Nature Based Religion


I get many, many questions about Pagan/Wiccan Beliefs , so many I have a hard time keeping up. A lot of questions I am finding are sent to my spam box. If you haven’t received a response and it has been more than 2 weeks, please resend your questions. I want to encourage everyone that I can to continue to explore and educate themselves on Pagan Beliefs.

I found this article on info.com. The original article can be read here

WICCA

Learn about Wicca, a goddess-worshiping, nature-based religion.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey, 8,000 American respondents identified themselves as Wiccan in 1990. In 2001, that number increased to 134,000. While the leap points to the increasing popularity of Wicca as a religious or spiritual choice for Americans, Wiccans are still a tiny minority, often misunderstood and subject to unfair prejudices.

Misconceptions of Wicca

Because Wiccans generally refer to themselves as Witches, Pagans or Neopagans, they are commonly mistaken for devil or Satan worshippers. The misconception has a long history rooted in religious propaganda that began in the late Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church began hunting down and burning at the stake those they considered Satan worshippers.

This grossly prejudiced “burning” lasted three centuries, and among the victims were those considered “witches,” despite the fact that they had no association with Satanism. In fact, as a Judeo-Christian anti-God or anti-Christ figure, Satan had no place in Pagan or Wiccan traditions, religious or otherwise. But the link between witches and Satanism captured the popular imagination and continues to persist today.

What is Wicca?

Part of Paganism, a contemporary religious movement that is gaining popularity in North America, Wicca is a nature-centered religion recognized by the federal government. Like many other religions, including Christianity, Wicca uses symbols, observes religious days (often seasonally determined) and honors deities (often rooted in northern European Pagan traditions that sometimes predate Christianity).

Because Wiccans have been subject to violence and persecution stemming from ignorance and religious intolerance, Wicca has long been an underground religion practiced out of sight of the public eye. This secrecy, necessary for survival for many Wiccans, has unfortunately lent Wicca a shroud of mystery that has further perpetuated society’s misguided suspicions.

With the publication of the works of the English civil servant and Wiccan-convert, Gerard Gardner, Wicca began to take off in England in the 1950s. The religion, sometimes practiced individually in isolation, has continued to attract members in North America and Europe. In the United States, Ford Hood, Texas, has become one of the centers for the Wiccan religion.

Wiccan religious leaders are permitted to marry people, function as chaplains in federal facilities and rent public facilities for their religious activities, among other rights granted to religious groups.

Common Beliefs and Practices of Wicca

Because Wicca has multiple roots and influences, its exact genealogy and theology have been fraught with controversy and debate. Many scholars trace Wicca’s roots to northern European pagan traditions, while others point to influences ranging from the Masonic Order and astrology to Jungian psychology, feminism and quantum physics.

However, there are generally accepted principles shared by most Wiccans. For instance, many Wiccans consider themselves pantheists aharm none, do what you will.” They believe in the individual quest for a personal spiritual path that can coexist harmoniously with all humans and the natural world.

Other shared principles include:

  • Rejection of any doctrine, as well as traditional and dominant cultural and religious values
  • Focus on ecology and seasonal cycles of which humans are a part of
  • Rejection of patriarchy and male idols (including Satan) and an embracing of feminism and other all-life-affirming values
  • Belief in the interconnectedness of all life, deeds and beings
  • Rejection of the mind/body split and an embracing of a more holistic view of humans

Some shared practices and rituals include:

  • Consecration of space, usually emphasizing circles and spheres
  • Use of magic and other ritual practices like divination, chanting, dancing and meditation to celebrate natural cycles and promote healing
  • Use of the upright pentagram (as opposed to the upside down pentagram used by the Satanists), a sign rooted in the Babylonian symbol for protection, balance, the elements of the Earth, the human body and the hand

Controversy Among the Wiccans

While information and religious freedom has granted Wiccans legal legitimacy and the security to openly practice their faith, the confusion of Wicca with Satan worship has produced ongoing debate among Wiccans.

For instance, some Wiccans have challenged the general Wiccan identification with the word “Witch.” While many Wiccans worry that abandoning the term will erase Wicca’s painful and unjust past, others contend that using the term continues to bring unnecessary harm to the community. After all, while it is important to remember the history of religious intolerance and persecution (which can crop up any time, even today) the term “Witch” continues to carry negative connotations.

The urgent issue for Wiccans is the misconception that equates Wicca with Satanism. Wiccans are not Satan worshippers. Nor are they anti-Christian. And while Wiccans call themselves Witches, not all Witches are Wiccans.

Wicca has fought a long battle to gain even minimal mainstream acceptance. But until the general public becomes more educated and less afraid of this gentle religion, Wiccans will continue to be marginalized.

 

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Days of the Week and Their Magickal Properties


Please use this ONLY as a guide. Do your magickal works as you see fit or however you are most comfortable……..

Sunday:  Power Magick, Health, Vitality, Money, Career

Monday:  Intuition, Dreams, Psychic Ability, Fertility

Tuesday:  Money, Enemies, Courage, Energy

Wednesday:  Divination, Communications, Knowledge, Wisdom

Thursday:  Happiness, Luck, Wealth, Victory, Health

Friday:  Love, Romance, Marriage, Friendship

Saturday:  Psychic Ability, Communications, New Beginnings, Protection, Bindings

Spells and Magickal Etiquette


This is only a guide and does not express the opinions of all Wiccans and Pagans. Use this list and add more to it if you desire.

* Remember the Wiccan Rede . . . “Do as you will, and harm none.”.

* Never do magick or a spell that seeks to control anyone else. That includes spells you think are for their own good. Never try to dominate another through magick. This rule makes loves spells controversial.

* Only cast a spell for another person if they have asked you to do so. Then ONLY do the exact spell that they have asked for…do not add to or take away from what they have specified.

* There are exceptions to every rule for example, animals, the sick and elderly, minors, physically disabled or other persons who are under your care. Always check carefully to make sure you’re magick is within the Divine will.

* Think all magick through thoroughly. Try NOT to do magick that affects a whole community (i.e. weather magick). Weather magick will change the natural pattern . . . You could be responsible for far-off droughts or floods. Which in turn affects farmers and their crops and livestock. Which directly affects their income.

* Be respectful to your magick. Always perform your spells in places where you can remain focused and uninterrupted.

* Clean up your magickal/sacred space before you begin. Use your besom and/or vaccum, dust, consecrate your tools, when wiping things down use salt water for purification, censor or walk the area with a incense stick or cone.

*Clean up your magickal/sacred space residue. Release the  elements and deities, thank them or show appreciation for their presence, erase signs and symbols, and open the circle before you leave.

*Try not to leave your circle during rituals and spell casting but if you must, ALWAYS cut a door/opening with your wand, athame or index finger of your power hand.

 

Knot/Cord Magick…Why Isn’t It As Popular As Candle and Incense Magick


Knot magick also known as cord magick,  is no less effective than any other form of magick. So why isn’t it used as often?Many Witches/Wiccans have never even heard of it.

Knot magick is a form of spell work that is less well-known than some others, but is no less powerful.

The only material you need to perform a knot spell is a cord of some kind. Anything will do, but make sure it is long enough to hold all your knots and the material of the cord should be natural. Craft shops are great sources for lengths of cord made from silk, cotton, hemp, leather, wool or even ribbon. Choose a colour to match the intention of the spell.

You can use your cord as-is, but to add more of your personal energy to the spell, you can also braid it before working the knots. Obviously, the material needs to be fairly thin or the resulting cord will be too thick to hold the knots. You can combine colors too, to more finely tune the color energy to your needs. Make sure you have a sufficient length of material, as it will shorten up considerably when braided. Focus on your purpose as you braid your cord.

Once you have your cord ready, it’s time to make the spell. Any purpose can be used with cord magick, but spells that involve binding are more appropriate. I don’t mean binding of another person necessarily, but any kind of ‘tying up’ or ‘holding fast’. Some examples might be: spells to eliminate bad habits, to help keep emotions in check, to bind up an illness, or to secure a new job.

A typical or traditional knot spell has nine knots, and the words spoken are shown below. You concentrate and focus your energy on your purpose, and repeat each line as you tie each knot. But you could also choose a number of knots to match your purpose (numerologically speaking), and you can recite your own words as well.

Your magick will continue to work as long as the knots are tied. Once your goal has manifested itself, you should dispose of the cord without untying the knots. Burning or burying it are two options, so long as your cord is made from natural materials. You could also just keep the knotted cord tucked safely away.

Traditional Nine Knot Spell
By the knot of one, the spell’s begun
By the knot of two, I make it true
By the knot of three, so mote it be
By the knot of four, the open door
By the knot of five, the spell’s alive
By the knot of six, the spell is fixed
By the knot of seven, the earth and heaven
By the knot of eight, the stroke of fate
By the knot of nine, the thing is mine

How To Make A Homemade Tincture


Here are easy instructions on how to make herbal or flower Tinctures. These are just a few quick guidelines to get you started. Once you are accustomed to the technique add more or less of your chosen ingredients.
Whether dried or fresh herbs and flowers are used is completely up to the practitioner. I use both and get great results every time.

What You Will Need to Make a Natural Herbal  Tincture

*Herbs or Flowers
*Vodka, distilled water or vinegar
*Mason Jar or any type of glass jar (even a jelly jar)
Always use glass NEVER plastic, plastic absorbs the fragrances

There are several items that you will need to make your own tinctures. First you need either dried or fresh herbs. Vodka at least 80 proof to cover the herbs (make a non-alcoholic tincture using distilled water, or vinegar. a vinegar tincture will have to be refrigerated). Mason jars with lids. Lastly, labels for the jars.

You will need 7-10 ounces of herbs for every quart of vodka, brandy or rum. I don’t measure, I just place enough herbs/flowers or both into a glass jar and pour just enough Vodka to cover it.

Put the lid tightly on the jar, place in a dark place area (such as back of a cabinet or closet) and shake 1-2 times a day for at least two weeks. When you are ready to use your plant based mixture, give it one final good shake and strain. I use panty hose to strain.

Alcohol based tinctures can last up to 5 years when prepared properly. I make my tinctures to prepare botanical perfume so I don’t worry about expiration.

If you reside with someone struggling with addiction. Please make a non-alcoholic tincture.

A Description of the Elements


**Information on this page taken from
“Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft” by Raven Grimassi.**


Earth is the element of form, binding, and manifestation. From an occult perspective the element of Earth is the lowest in vibratory rate of the four elements. Most modern Witchcraft/Wiccan Traditions consider Earth to be a feminine² element.

Creatures known as Gnomes, a dwarf-like race, symbolize the active magickal principle of the elemental Earth. In a metaphysical sense, the color of Earth is yellow, symbolizing its vitality, activated by the sun, and it is associated with the Northern quarter. Some Wiccan Traditions associate Earth with other directional quarters and other colors. As a magickal agent the element of Earth is symbolized by the ritual tool known as a pentacle. In astrology the zodiac signs Capricorn, Virgo, and Taurus are associated with the element of Earth.

Air is commonly associated with mental activity and is considered masculine¹ in nature.

In modern Wicca/Witchcraft the magickal agent of the element of Air is symbolized by a ritual tool. Some traditions assign the wand to Air because it was once a branch moving in the wind. Other traditions assign the element of Air to the ritual blade because of the sound a blade can make when slicing the air.

Creatures known as Sylphs, a fairy-like race, symbolize the active magickal principle of elemental air. In a metaphysical sense, the color of Air is blue and it is associated with the Eastern quarter. Some Wiccan Traditions associate Air with other directional quarters and other colors. In astrology, the zodiac signs Aquarius, Libra, and Gemini are associated with the element of Air.

In old occult lore it was believed that spirits and ghosts had the power to wrap themselves inside the wind, giving them the ability to become invisible. From this lore, we find other associations such as the presence of a ghost indicated by areas of cold air.Howling winds were believed to carry spirits of the night. Because of the association of air, sudden gusts of wind were attributed to spirits and poltergeists.

Fire is sometimes known as the living element. It is perhaps the most ancient symbol of divinity. Fire is a living principle of duality, providing light and heat to aid humankind, while at the same time being a force of death and destruction. The eternal flame is a common theme in ancient Mystery Cults and typically represents the eternal presence of Divinity. Among the ancient Greeks, Hestia symbolized the divine living flame, as did Vesta among the Romans.

The ancients believed that fire could lie hidden in a piece of wood. By rubbing two pieces together the fire could often be coaxed from the wood. Once fire was produced the ancients often transported the flame on the end of a giant fennel stick, a custom that later associated fennel with the forces of light. The connection of fire as the living spirit latent in wood drew worshippers to establish and maintain sanctuaries for their deities within the forests, long after the creation of towns and cities. According to ancient legend, statues of deities were encased in a bundle of branches and transported to a new location when another sacred grove was to be established. In this manner the “fire” of the deities’ spirit was conveyed from grove to grove.

In modern Wicca, Fire is one of the four creative elements. It is traditionally linked to the color red, although this does differ among the various traditions. As a magickal agent the element of fire is symbolized by a ritual tool. Some traditions assign elemental Fire to the ritual blade because the blade was forged in Fire. Other traditions assign it to the wand because of the use of wood as a torch. In astrology the zodiac sign Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are associated with Fire.

Water is an element associated with the west quarter. It is a symbol of regeneration, renovation, and dissolution. In occultism beings known as Undines are creatures of this element. Traditionally, the element of Water is associated with the color green – in many modern Wiccan/Witchcraft Traditions the color is blue.

In modern Wicca, Water is symbolized by the ritual tool known as the chalice. The chalice contains either water or wine that is used for ritual or magickal purposes. In astrology the zodiac signs Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio are associated with the element of Water.

Akasha meaning pure spirit, is the fifth element.It is the subtle spiritual essence that pervades all space. It is not ether itself, but is an ether-like substance of a spiritual rather than material nature. Essentially, Akasha is to ether what spirit is to physical matter. In ancient writings, such as the Puranas, Akasha is said to operate through sound or vibration. Thus it is identified with the element of Air, and in a spiritual sense with the “breath of god” concept in ancient Hebraic texts. Where we read in the book of Genesis that the “spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,” we can see Akasha in action through motion. In occultism, Akasha is considered to be an indispensable element of each magickal act.

To move energy in a ritual, spell, or work of magick is to evoke Akasha. Akasha is an element of the kundalini force as well, lying latent at the base of all magickal operations. The power of Akasha, as it relates to kundalini, is an “occult electricity.” This energy rises with our emotions and desires, and is the basis for fertility of mind, body, and spirit. It is the energy of motivation, passion, and determination.

On a larger scale, Akasha is one of the Tattvic Tides³ of occult philosophy, an energy form that is most active at sunrise. As one of the Tattvic Tides, Akasha emanates the power of spirit to harmonize the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The ancient myths of Western civiliztion tell of a time when the chaos was brought into harmony by the intervention of spirit. This is the symbolism of the pentagram, the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water controlled by spirit. In ancient Roman mythology the four elemental winds were the gods Borus, Eurus, Notus, and Zephyrus. Above them was a higher god, Aeoulus, who kept watch over them.

Details of the Elelments


To read this entire article written by Patti Wigington, Please click here, she provides a very informative articles and more about Wiccan and Pagan beliefs.

Earth: Connected to the North, Earth is considered the ultimate feminine element. The Earth is fertile and stable, associated with the Goddess. The planet itself is a ball of life, and as the Wheel of the Year  turns, we can watch all the aspects of life take place in the Earth: birth, life, death, and finally rebirth. The Earth is nurturing and stable, solid and firm, full of endurance and strength. In color correspondences, both green and brown connect to the Earth, for fairly obvious reasons! In Tarot readings, the Earth is related to the suit of Pentacles or Coins.

Air: Air is the element of the East, connected to the soul and the breath of life. If you’re doing a working related to communication, wisdom or the powers of the mind, Air is the element to focus on. Air carries away your troubles, blows away strife, and carries positive thoughts to those who are far away. Air is associated with the colors yellow and white, and connects to the Tarot suit of Swords.

Fire: Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, associated with the South, and connected to strong will and energy. Fire both creates and destroys, and symbolizes the fertility of the God. Fire can heal or harm, and can bring about new life or destroy the old and worn. In Tarot, Fire is connected to the Wand suit. For color correspondences, use red and orange for Fire associations.

Water: Water is a feminine energy and highly connected with the aspects of the Goddess. Used for healing, cleansing, and purification, Water is related to the West, and associated with passion and emotion. In many spiritual paths, including Catholicism, consecrated Water can be found – holy water is just regular water with salt added to it, and usually a blessing or invocation is said above it. In Wiccan covens, such water is used to consecrate the circle and all the tools within it. As you may expect, water is associated with the color blue, and the Tarot suit of Cup cards.