Ten years ago if you had asked me to define Witchcraft I would have probably given you a rather generic answer that included a Goddess, the sabbats, and most likely magickal practice. I would have been rather passionate about it, but hopefully not so close-minded that I wouldn’t have accept answers differing from my own. Today when someone asks me that question I tend to shrug a little bit and answer with “whatever one wants it to be.”
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Cyndi Brannen of Keeping Her Keys recently posed the question, “What is it that makes Witchcraft…Witchcraft?” I love this question because it not only allows us to see the tremendous variability in what Witchcraft involves for different people, but it also encourages me to revisit my own core beliefs. Sometimes, in the craziness that is life, we can lose focus of the fundamental elements that make up our identities as Witches. When feeling overwhelmed or stuck along my path, I have found that it’s immensely helpful to return to this core, to the basic nature of your Craft – in whatever variation that may be. You may be surprised by what new things you can learn!
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This morning I’m in a local forest preserve, water bottle in hand, standing at a three-way crossroads waiting for my husband and the dog to return from exploring what I know is a dead-end path. The moon is in waning crescent phase, three nights out from full dark. Alone at the crossroads, I pour a small amount of water at each intersection giving thanks for Hekate’s presence in my life, asking that I may continue to feel Her presence and that I may serve Her well.
A summer breeze, cool and momentarily lifting the humidity, filters through the trees and across the crossroads as I finish my triune prayer, drying the sweat from my skin. The breeze continues to freshen; small fluffy seedpods release themselves from their trees and drift like soft, spangled stars to the ground. I smile and thank Hekate for Her favor; my husband and the dog appear from around the bend, and we continue our walk.
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An Experience-Based Guide to Modern Pagan Practice
by John Beckett
published by Llewellyn Worldwide
available from Llewellyn, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.
Paganism is a way of seeing the world and your place in it. It means challenging the assumptions of mainstream society and strengthening your relationships with the gods, the universe, your community, and your self. The Path of Paganism provides practical advice and support for honoring your values and living an authentic Pagan life in mainstream Western culture.
Discover tips for establishing or deepening a regular practice. Explore how your spirituality can help you deal with life’s inevitable hardships. Learn the basics of leadership roles and other steps to take as you gain experience and move into more advanced practices. With questions for contemplation as well as rituals to help you integrate new concepts, this book guides you through a profoundly meaningful way of life.
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Merry Meet dear Brothers and Sisters of the Craft
Today is Friday and I wanted to share the Norse myth about how do the Norse Gods look young although they are immortal and supposed to look like old ones.
Friday is named after Freya, the Goddess of Vanir Gods, who became Odin
s wife. Freya is the Goddess of Love and Magick, close connected with Elven realms and Plants, herbs, she is also a Master of transformation , she can put on her feather mantle and fly like a bird. But the Goddess who keeps everyone look Yong is called Idun who carries with her a wooden chest full of Golden apples. When she notices that a God looks old, a single apple from Iduns box is enough to make this God look young again. But Idun had an incident once and was taken from Asgard…
Anyone lucky enough to go to Asgard, where the Norse gods live, would see at once that all of them, with the exception of Odin, are young, beautiful and handsome. Odin is the exception as he does have such a long beard, and he would look much younger if he shaved it off. But no-one shaves in Asgard, and now I am thinking about it, this may be because the other male gods look too young to grow a beard… How do they manage this? You might well ask, given that they’ve been up in Asgard for quite a while. The answer lies in Idun, and her Golden Apples.
Read the myth here and enjoy
Aradia was a Moon Goddess from Tuscany, honored by the witches of that region but not well known outside of Italy until in 1899, when the American folklorist Charles Leland published Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches Leyland claimed the book was the religious text belonging to a group of Tuscan witches who venerated Diana as the Queen of the Witches. Leyland was both a hero and a learned scholar educated in Germany and America. He had a knack of being accepted by secret societies and was embraced by the Tuscan witches. Leyland was given material for his books from a hereditary witch named Maddalena including the Vangelo or Gospel of the Witches.
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There may be no other text more debated or controversial than Aradia, or Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland, purported to be given to him by an Italian Witch named Maddalena. However, there may be no other text that has been as influential on modern witchcraft and particularly Wicca than Aradia, or Gospel of the Witches.
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Aradia is familiar to most contemporary Pagans and Witches as the principal figure in Charles G. Leland’s Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, first published in 1899. Leland presents her as the daughter of Diana, the goddess of the moon, by her brother Lucifer, “the god of the Sun and of the Moon, the god of Light” (Leland, 1899, 1998:1), who is sent to earth to teach the poor to resist the oppression of the wealthy classes through magic and witchcraft. Through Leland’s work, Aradia’s name and legend became central to the Witchcraft revival. Between 1950 and 1960, “Aradia” was probably the secret name of the Goddess in Gardnerian Craft (it has since been changed), and she has also given her name to numerous contemporary Witchcraft traditions (Clifton, 1998:73).
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In the world of formal neopagan ‘Church’ in which I do my work, people are often moved by the news of the day, and the distant suffering of strangers is brought to us in our hands through our media. Whether or not one supports the involvement of religious work in chosen ’causes’ it is the plain goal of Wisdom to help people process our reactions to life’s troubling events, and choose the best path toward better outcomes. In the Clergy Council of Our Druidry we discussed the creation of prayers and works proper to circumstances as they arise in the socio-political currents.
After a few drafts this arose for me. Writing it brought me up against several bumps in my road to ‘topical prayer’.
To read the rest of this article and the beautiful prayer please click on this link: A Prayer to the Mothers
Who Was Gerald Gardner?
Gerald Brousseau Gardner (1884–1964) was born in Lancashire, England. As a teen, he moved to Ceylon, and shortly prior to World War I, relocated to Malaya, where he worked as a civil servant. During his travels, he formed an interest in native cultures, and became a bit of an amateur folklorist. In particular, he was interested in indigenous magic and ritual practices.
After several decades abroad, Gardner returned to England in the 1930s, and settled near the New Forest.
It was here that he discovered European occultism and beliefs, and – according to his biography, claimed that he was initiated into the New Forest coven. Gardner believed that the witchcraft being practiced by this group was a holdover from an early, pre-Christian witch cult, much like the ones described in the writings of Margaret Murray.
Gardner took many of the practices and beliefs of the New Forest coven, combined them with ceremonial magic, kabbalah, and the writings of Aleister Crowley, as well as other sources. Together, this package of beliefs and practices became the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca. Gardner initiated a number of high priestesses into his coven, who in turn initiated new members of their own. In this manner,
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