Replying About Wicca

I haven’t written much about Wicca and Paganism for awhile. I got settled in and knew my own thoughts and just left it at that. But, I feel good to be posting ideas and sharing them. I left (maybe too many) comments on a YouTube video about “What is Wicca?“.  I liked the video and found a lot of people asking questions as I read the comments. So, I began adding replies. Here they are, without the original question, but I don’t think that will make a big difference.

I  enjoyed your video. I’ve been Wiccan for about 30 years, always solitary. We follow pretty different paths but the core of your feelings about what what Wicca and Paganism are very much mirrors the way I have always felt. It comes from within yourself, it is very individual but based on caring for the world and the planet and putting effort into them. Saving our home, in a nutshell.

I did think it was odd when you began speaking about Wicca as a way to feel better about death. For me it is about appreciating life and death is just part of that cycle. I just turned 50 a bit more than a month ago and time/ age is on my mind more than ever before really. But, I don’t worry about what happens so much as not wanting the journey to end.

Anyway, I don’t believe in spellwork because at some level it seems to be against harming none. To make a change which effects someone else (which even changes to yourself will effect others) is in some way causing harm. The spell part of Wicca has always been mildly aggravating to me because it does get abused, like a get rich quick scheme rather than people taking responsibility, putting in the time and learning how to get what they need without a crutch, or gimmick or just expecting the world somehow owes them a favour.

Too much commenting now. But, I did say “Thank you!” out loud when you said Wicca not all about spells. I do wish more people would look past spells and see what really is here and inside themselves. What real power they have without gimmicks, tricks, etc. 

About Covens

That’s pretty much why I never joined a coven. I would have had to compromise what I feel and believe in so I could fit into what the consensus of belief was with the group. I call myself an Earth Witch but I’m also an Atheist. I’d never be able to fit into any coven and people in covens would not like or accept what I feel/ believe.

However, I do think the weakness of Paganism as a religion is not having a consensus of beliefs. It leaves us without a firm identity in common and we do be come a target of other “organized” religions and their believers. Pagans in covens stand together almost like Christians because they do have that agreed upon system of beliefs and expectations. So, in that way it isn’t a bad thing.

About Meditation

Meditation is kind of like prayer in the way it can focus your mind on what is important and help you pull your energy together to accomplish whatever it is you choose as your goal.

About the Masons

The masons are really cool. I think that’s part of what makes me really appreciate rocks and old buildings.

About the Inverted Pentagram

Make your own decision. I feel strongly against the inverted pentagram and ouija boards. You’re bringing something into your life which you may not want.

For Someone Who has Lost Track

Work on making yourself stronger and happier. You can’t help someone else, or yourself, if your own life is at a low ebb. Spend time with people who are positive and strong so you can learn to be positive and strong too. You have to actually look in the direction you want to go. Great advice for driving a car and steering your course through life too.

About Pagan Books

I especially like reading from Doreen Valiente and Marian Green. Also: Practical Solitary Magic Paperback by Nancy B. Watson. Keep reading, make notes about what you find and feel and what you really believe in and connect with. I even wrote notes in my books. It felt strange to mark them at first but then I began to feel I was making myself at home in the pages.

About Fitting Into Wicca

Don’t try to make Wicca right for you. It’s not like joining a special club. Read about religions, faiths and beliefs and find what you actually connect to. You will connect somewhere and it will be right for you when you find it. Don’t stress about finding it or being Wiccan. Wicca should suit you – not the other way around. Hope you understand because it can feel so wonderful when you discover the right fit for you – even if it is not Wicca.

About Choosing Wicca When Parents Don’t Agree

Essentially Wicca is about appreciating life and nature. Your parents can hardly think you are going to hell or be upset if you spend more time outdoors and have those qualities. Christians are supposed to care about life and nature too. Don’t upset your parents with Wicca – that’s not the point of it. When your life is more your own then you can do more things on your own and in your own way. Don’t make Wicca a dividing wall. You can be Wiccan if you want to be and you don’t have to prove it to anyone by flaunting it or buying stuff or even having rituals. Keep it to yourself and experience it without the extra trimmings for awhile. No harm in that.

Probably arrogant to quote yourself, but sometimes I like to remember what I thought at the time and how I said/ typed it.

 

 

Men Can be Witches (Pagan) Too

magic manA male witch is not a warlock or a wizard, he is a Pagan, Wiccan or Witch who happens to be male. So, of course, there are men who are Witches too.

If you are a male Pagan you could be the only one, or one of few, in your coven or group. There may be many men working as solitary Wiccans, Witches or Pagans just because they feel isolated even when they are in a group. Women are drawn to Paganism, at least partially, because it is a religion (set of beliefs) which focuses on the feminine Goddess.

However, Pagans don’t have a one sided belief. Pagans have a dual God and Goddess. The Horned God, the Green Man, are names for the male God of the Pagans. It’s a mistake to think of Wicca, Witchcraft, or Pagan paths as female centred only. If it were not for the men who began researching the older Gods, ancient religions and societies we would not have some of the great Pagan history and literature which we enjoy, study and follow in our modern days.

Actually, there have been a lot of men in the Pagan religion. Some of the most popular books for Pagans have been written by male Pagans.

  • Scott Cunningham
  • Aleister Crowley
  • Robert Graves
  • Raymond Buckland
  • Stewart Farrar
  • Gerald Gardner
  • Isaac Bonewits
  • Charles Godfrey Leland
  • Sir James Frazer

Finding Pagan Men Online

Men are Welcome

If men don’t create their own rituals they may find inspiration from the rituals and spells of others. If the spells were written for a woman, men will have to adapt them to their own needs and purposes.

This is nothing unusual. The Pagan religion is very adaptable, making room for all sorts of new ideas and beliefs – different ways of looking at the world.

Men should not be uncomfortable about taking part in Witchcraft, Wicca or Pagan groups. There may be some groups which will not welcome men, depending on the unique point of view and focus of that particular group. For instance, there are covens which focus on the female Goddess or Maiden, Mother and Crone aspects of women. In this case, the group would be specific to women.

Many groups and covens are far more generic and welcoming for men, new Pagans and solitary Pagans too. Just as any other time you are looking at a group to become involved with, you have to do some research and get your foot in the door.

Comments from the original post on HubPages:

Radical Rog

Personally, I have a problem with this need to label everyone as being this or that. Witch, Wizard, Hedge, White, Black, Wiccan, each is an individual on their own journey towards spiritual enlightenment, understanding, whatever you want to call it, or maybe just standing still on the Path.

So which Path do you follow? In truth, it’s a labyrinth with many turnings and junctions and crossroads. The symbology of the labyrinth in occult mythology is there for a reason.

LaurencePJones

Waband, far be it for me to question that remark as I have ony begun posting hubs a short while ago and haven’t been involved in Wicca that long but isn’t it a sweeping statement to say that ‘witches are female’. I’m sure the majority of them are but surely a little research is required before dismissing male witches out of hand.

That Grrl

Don’t let me interrupt. I’m loving to hear about word history – two of my favourite things combined.

Radical Rog

Correct Raptorcat, or go back further to ‘wys’. ‘Wizard’ has a different entamology and is more of a construct, though with a similar meaning, from ‘zinoti’ – to know.

There is also a connection to the phrase: ‘Singers of the Earth’s Dawn,’ from a time before the written word, when travelling storytellers passed on news and ancient tales. Many of these tales were what are now dismissed as the creation stories of mythology. A wizard was a travelling story teller, a bard, who ‘knew’ the story of man’s relationship to the gods. The early Church missionaries set out to suppress this ancient knowledge and replace those tales with its own version of creation. Hence the subsequent denigration.

A witch was someone who ‘knew’ the tale keeping it alive where they were. A wizard was someone who travelled to spread this knowledge and wisdom, though that last bit is my interpretation.

Raptorcat

Actually, Radical Rog, the word “witch” goes back even further to the original root word “Wicce” which means “Wise” or “Wise one”.

There is also the possibility that it is the root for the word “Wizard” as well, but I am not sure, though the linguistic similarity is there.

Radical Rog

To support your argument, the word witch derives from the original, wichá and wiché (masculine the feminine). The word refers to knowledge/wisdom and a more correct transliteration would be:, wise man or wise woman respectively, or even more correctly, one who knows.

It is this knowledge the Church wished to suppress hence their denigration and persecution.

That Grrl

I’m kind of the opposite. I get started with an initial spurt of idea, even something I don’t know much about. Then I dig up information, decide what I think and what I want to say about everything I have found. Then it all piles into the article. I’m not an expert about anything but I use research and common sense to share information and hope for the best.

I do feel that there will be people who read what I have written and tell me I don’t have a clue. But, usually my research, common sense and my own experience pull me through. I just think it is a shame to let someone else intimidate you from writing and sharing the information you have.

My Uncle told me no one should be a writer until they are 40 and have experienced life – which would mean they had something to say at that point. I was about 14 at the time – a long way from 40. I let that keep me from writing anything more than my diary for a really long time. It wasn’t until I was in my last year of high school and then college that someone made me feel good about my writing again.

Raptorcat

@That Grrl, Actually, there are a few people on the hub that are at least equal, if not superior to me in that regard. They are also better writers than I am.

It is not with any false sense of modesty that I say that, it is just that I know my own limitations in writing on any subject. In some areas, I am a very skilled technical writer and in others I am a more skilled emotive writer.

I am well versed in many subjects, btw, so it is not as if I feel any inferiority or don’t know my voice, but more that I do know my voice and as I gain more and more knowledge, that voice grows, as all voices do.

If people have specific questions, I am more than happy to address them to the best of my knowledge and experience, but to just start writing on a specific subject is tricky for me. Getting started on anything that is not historical is usually where I run into the problems.

That Grrl

Kittydreamer is one of the HP people I follow. I try to keep a watch out for all the Pagan writers here. (As well as all the other Lauras).

That Grrl

@Raptorcat – You aren’t writing to people who are experts and far more experienced than you consider yourself to be. You are writing to people who know less than you do and would benefit from the knowledge and experience you (in particular) have.

If you always consider yourself to be writing for people who know more than you – how will you ever find your own voice and write anything? There are far more people who know less and would like to know more than there are people who know a lot and don’t want to learn anything else. Even the people you call experts are likely to read your thoughts and find something new or interesting to take away with them.

LauraD093

That Grrl- I found this article interesting also the comments made by Raptorcat were things I never knew in regards to this particular belief system. Paganism doesn’t seem female oriented-although until knowing the true definition for “witch” from Raptorcat I always associated Wiccan belief as female dominate with men taking a secondary role which is the exact reverse for most Western religions. It is informative to know that there appears to be a balance. kittydreamer is a fellow hub-writer who addresses a lot of Wiccan and Pagan beliefs you may want to check her work out.

Raptorcat

To be honest, I really would not know where begin. There are a lot of far more qualified and experienced witches out there that can discuss the issue with far more information and knowledge than I.

Authors like Kerr Cuhulain (who has a column on Witchvox) come to mind.

Factually speaking, we are at a point in the craft where we need to move away from the female-centered attitude and start to balance all practices of the craft, taking the male into the same level of serious consideration that we have, to date, given to the female.

Both are mysteries that are equally important to us, as humans and to us as practicioners of the craft.

That Grrl

Raptorcat, I hope you write about Pagan men too. You have a lot more background to make a better post than mine. I got the idea and wanted to write it up before I forgot my ideas/ thoughts. There is a lot more which could be added.

Raptorcat

That Grrl, There are a lot of books that are mostly fluff and many more that are complete and utter nonsense. Many are geared toward only the female practicioners, which is kind of dishonest, since Paganism is neither exclusively a male nor female practice (with few exceptions). It is bi-gender, like our species is.

Many books are filled with gems of useful information, but the real trick is to discern the wheat from the chaff. Not an easy task for any newcomer to any Pagan path.

A lot of the books in our personal library are a bit on the fluffy side, but we still have them for the gems of useful information buried within them.

Raptorcat

Wabond, the word “witch” is actually based in the old English “Wicce”, which means “wise”, which has no gender. SInce the word has no actual gender, I have never called myself a male witch. I am, simply, a witch.

The wicce have always been the ones that performed many duties, from healing to leading ritual at the sabbats and esbats, to officiating at weddings and funerals. They were always the ones that understood herbalism, signs and portents and, sometimes, counsel to the village elders or even to the nobility before the rise of Christianity.

In some cultures they were called priest or priestess, depending on gender, yet there were other cultures, like the celts that had a single word to denote that person who was of the wicce.

That Grrl

I know people who think there is a big difference between being labelled as a Pagan, Wiccan or Witch. I don’t see it that way myself. It’s a shame you let a label change your path. But, you said there were other reasons too.

@Raptorcat – Thanks for the suggestion of another book. I looked for awhile to find books that seemed worth listing. I remember when I started out and had no idea what the right books were to start with. There are some who trust faithfully in books which I think are pure hogwash. There are always people who will write a book full of fluff and nonsense just to create sales.

Raptorcat

Interesting article. As the acting HP of a Gardnerian Coven, I often find myself pointing out that the word “witch” is neither male nor female and that the term “Warlock” is wholly inappropriate as the word means “oathbreaker”, not male witch.

Many of the books that you have listed here I have. They are all good reads, but I would also add the book “Wiccan Warrior”. Most male pagans will find it to be a very enlightening book concerning the warrior spirit found in the God and how it can be applied to both practice and everyday life.

wabond

I was a male witch years ago, and never felt comfortable with the concept. That was one of the reasons I got out of witchcraft. To me witches are female, why do we need men to be witches as well?

How I Chose to be a Pagan Earth Witch

When I was about 20 I decided to look into religions. I knew the traditional Christian ways were not for me. I didn’t like they way these religions viewed women. I had just read a book where the women were put into isolation after having their period or giving birth, they were “unclean”. This was on top of growing up with the Adam and Eve mythology. From that point the Bible (written and rewritten by men) just goes on to look down on women, and worse. If I were a male, I would probably never have become Pagan. I would never have begun researching other religions and beliefs and looked deeper than the surface. Most likely I would have put religion behind me as not being all that important.

My Early Pagan Experience

I started with Witchcraft and Wicca because I found a book written in the 70’s. It’s a book I wouldn’t choose to read now but parts of it were enough to send me looking for more information from more reliable sources. I found a Pagan bookstore referred to in a book. I made the hour long bus trip to downtown Toronto and found the place. Entering for that first time was not easy. I felt daring and yet I also felt I was walking into a place I didn’t fully belong and might not be welcome. I wondered if they could see inside of me, my mind and my thoughts. Would they know what I was thinking, could they see my future and my past, my aura…? That was creepy.

The first thing that really happened was the smell. Ever since then I have noticed the same smell, strongly of incense over time, in every Pagan bookstore. I like pulling out a book I bought in a Pagan store. Even a couple of decades later I can smell it in the pages. If the smell ever goes away I don’t know. So far it hasn’t.

My adventure in that first Pagan store was intimidating. If I were less determined or less curious I doubt I would have tried another Pagan store. The people there did watch me and yet said nothing. Maybe they thought I was going to walk off with something, maybe they were just curious too, I won’t know and I didn’t ask then. I was already the shy type. I bought a book and a couple of polished rocks and I left, glad to be out of there. I was left with the feeling of not belonging and I never did go back to that store. Luckily there were others and more came along later.

Finding Where and How I Fit In

A few years more and the Internet came along too. By that time I was making my own decisions about what I believed and how I believed it. I didn’t accept Wicca as it came. I took what felt right to me and put it together with how I felt about the world and it’s people. I still believe this way; I’m very much an eclectic solitary type of Pagan. I gave myself the label of Earth Witch and I’ve stuck with that, to keep the explanation simple. To me an Earth Witch means I focus on the Earth, the natural and I don’t feel influenced by deities or magick. I believe we each create our own magick from ourselves and it is up to each of us to choose how to use it, or not use it.

I have written about my Pagan beliefs before but not shared much of my actual experience. I used to get email from young women who wanted to know more about being Pagan. The main thing they wanted to know was how to hide it from their parents. I was never behind this. For one thing, if you have to hide it, maybe you should rethink the whole thing.

I do understand that some families are very Christian and close minded or even afraid of Pagan ideas and Pagan ways. If that is the case and you are living at home, this is not the time for you to explore being Pagan. Wait until you can do it openly. In the meantime, there is no reason you can’t do simple things like have a collection of rocks, maybe some shells and feathers, keep a journal about your observations of nature, history and people. These are things you can do without upsetting your parents and family. You can be Pagan without having to prove you’re Pagan. Know it yourself and start there.

Nowadays…

For me, being Pagan is a personal thing. I mainly keep it to myself. I’ve found a local group with weekly meetings but I have yet to venture out and attend one. I think I will. Each time I have stepped out and met other Pagans I have enjoyed the experience and learned new things about history, religion and beliefs. But, I’m comfortable with what I believe now, the way my feelings about being an Earth Witch have evolved. So I’m not as eager to stir myself up as I was when I was younger and just starting to explore and discover.

Are You Sure You’re Pagan?

dark pentacleIs your Faith Misplaced?

One thing I seldom see in Pagan writing are posts about world news and current events from a Pagan perspective. (Unless the events actually relate directly to religion/ Paganism).

I also don’t see people talking about taking comfort in Paganism or Wicca or Witchcraft the way some other religions do. Is our religion a fair weather friend? Something we take out when we intend to, or want to, but other times it’s just not there.

These are the things I’ve been thinking about lately.

When you have a personal tragedy, do you turn to your Pagan beliefs for comfort?

I’ve seen people talk on and on about what they believe, defend it, teach it and promote it. But, is it still so personal to you that you could turn to your beliefs when you really do need something to believe in – not for a cause but for your own heart? You might perform a ritual because it’s the thing to do. But, is your heart really in it? Is this giving you real comfort? Or are you just doing what’s expected of you as a Pagan/ Wiccan/ Witch?

When did you last think of something in the news from a Pagan perspective? I don’t mean news about anything religious. When did you hear the news from the perspective of being Pagan and think to write about how this made you feel, as a Pagan?

Not all news is relevant to being a Pagan, yet, if you are a Pagan shouldn’t you see the news from the perspective of your beliefs rather than adding them in later?

Do you wear Pagan jewelry, collect Pagan tools and magical items? Does each one have real meaning to you or are they just part of your collection? Do you wear black because that’s what Witches do or because you actually like wearing black?

When you ‘Go Green’, do you stop and think about how you are helping the Earth or do you just recycle because that’s the right/ popular thing to do?

If you work with spells are you really taking into account “Harm’s none”? Or do you just like creating a spell because it makes you Pagan and special. Are you a Witch because spellcraft makes you feel special and important?

When someone talks about Pagans in a negative way do you need to spring up and rush to counter them? Why? It’s not for us to convert anyone and you are more likely to change their mind from your actions, not your words.

Do your Pagan beliefs reach right down to your soul? Are you satisfied with what you believe will happen when you die? Not about being gone and death itself, few would be satisfied to leave life. But, do you get comfort from the beliefs you have about what happens to your soul after your body dies?

Is being Pagan a fair weather friend for you or is it in everything you do and feel and believe? There’s no rule that says it has to be. Being Pagan is about making your own choices and decisions, finding your own values and ideals. Have you taken that to heart or are you following the popular path without really accepting it on that deep, personal level?

After reading this are you going to leave me a comment to prove how Pagan, Wiccan or Witch you are? Are you already listing your Pagan credentials, ready to type them all out? Stop and think about why you need to prove how Pagan you are.

Could you be Pagan and not tell anyone, ever? Could you be Pagan and not need to prove it to anyone?

Being Pagan, Wiccan or a Witch is a choice of religion, spirituality, beliefs and faith. Do you have faith in your choice?

Have you looked at enough of the other options? There are endless choices inside of Paganism itself. Find the one that really speaks to you, the one that reaches your heart and soul, the one you want to live and grow with. Don’t settle too easily for what looks shiny and new or popular.

Where the Wild Things Are: A Pagan Appreciation for History

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, March, 1, 2003.

Do you care about history?

I love reading a bit here and there. I studied history in high school. I would have taken it in college but it wasn’t available among my optional courses.

Mostly I like reading about women in history ancient history and old cultures and customs. Being a Pagan/ Witchy type person I tend to read about superstitions and old traditions connected to nature and ceremonies too. I once spent several hours in the public library reading about wedding traditions and omens. That was long before my own wedding.

When I first heard of Wicca I went to the library to read about it. I wanted to know where it came from and who was involved. How did they feel about the things that matter most to me? That’s all history too. Most, of the people who created Wicca are no longer here to tell us their side of things. If you go even farther back, the first Witches and Pagans are hopelessly lost to us. We couldn’t even come up with a reliable source to know who the first Witch really was. Just some woman gathering herbs and helping people I would guess. But, you can’t know. That’s something lost to history.

History gives us a past, an anchor. Whatever else you learn about, it’s all current or in the future. Nothing but history teaches you about mistakes, conquests, people and possibilities that have come before you.

Not everyone appreciates history. Some think of it as just dusty old books that don’t matter any more. But, I think differently. How can you follow your path if you don’t know where you’ve been and what you’ve passed along the way?

Where the Wild Things Are: What Kind of Pagan are You?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, July, 28, 2003.

There are so many choices to make once you decide you are a Witch. First, what kind of Witch are you, are you even a Witch at all? Some prefer to call themselves Wiccans. To me, Wicca is the new religion based on ancient witchcraft. We don’t know a great deal about witchcraft, the old ways. Things weren’t written down they were instead passed along from mouth to mouth. Many things were lost along the way, of course. Some were never passed along at all I’m sure. So, modern Witchcraft is only based on what the Witches were doing a hundred or a thousand years ago.

Still, I consider myself a Witch, not a Wiccan. I like to think my beliefs are the older ways, rather than based on the revamping of the older ways which was started with Wicca in the 60’s and 70’s. I don’t put Wicca down as not being true to the old ways or some how not worthy as a Pagan religion. It’s just not right for me, personally.

Once you get past the Witch versus Wiccan stage you look at all the flavours in being a Witch/ Wiccan. There are so many. Some are based on different cultures like German, Italian, Egyptian, Irish, Celtic, and Native Indians. Others are based on different elements like water, fire, and ice. Then there are traditions based on mythical things like unicorns, dragons, mermaids and fairys. Don’t assume being a myth to our modern culture makes it a myth in reality. People who believe in dragons and fairies and follow that style of Witchcraft are not just playing around, they believe.

Here are some of the basic flavours and styles of witches to help get you started. You should find out at least a few things about each one. That way you will be making an informed choice when you pick which path you will follow.

Alexandrian

British Traditionalist

Celtic Wicca

Caledonii (Hecatine)

Dianic

Eclectic

Gardnerian

Pictish

Seax-Wica (or Saxon) Wicca

Strega

Teutonic (Nordic)

Hedge Witch

Solitary

Asatru

Druidism

Shamanism

Faery

Where the Wild Things Are: Are you Superstitious?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, October, 22, 2003.

Are you superstitous? Don’t deny it too quickly. There are sorts of little things we do without even considering them to be a superstition. Do you read horoscopes? How much credit do you give to them? Would you consider your day not as great if you have a poor horoscope? Kind of superstitious aren’t you?

Wicca and Witchcraft are full of superstition though we might deny it. I think, Pagans in general, try to distance themselves from the occult and the superstitions which have all gotten a bad reputation.

It’s funny cause the very stuff they deny is partly what their beliefs are based on. Occult was a word long before Wicca. Meanwhile, I expect superstitions have been around right from the first people on the planet.

Most people think about superstitions around weddings, births and deaths, the major life events. I think those are the times when we are most off balance, in need of some extra sign or guidance that everything will be ok. That’s really what a superstition is. Just that extra assurance that you’re going to be all right.

Of course, some superstitions are safety precautions. You should avoid walking under ladders, breaking mirrors and squishing spiders. Not because you fear having a run of bad luck but because it’s less likely ladders will fall on your head, glass will cut your hand and spiders are needed for eating other bugs. It’s all logical and reasonable.

So go ahead and avoid stepping on cracks, tossing salt over your shoulder and so on, guilt free. Superstitions might be soffed but they have their own purpose and history. As long as they harm none what’s the harm in humouring your own superstitions?

Where the Wild Things Are: Magick versus Magic

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 11, 2003.

Magic versus magick. Where do you stand on the word?

Magick isn’t in the dictionary, so far. But I think it’s a good addition to the language. It shows a difference in magic as done by a magician versus magick as done by a Witch, Wiccan or Pagan type person. We aren’t doing card tricks to amuse kids at a birthday party. Our magick is not entertainment. As much as I appreciate and enjoy magic, I don’t want to see magick called magic.

Confused? Then let’s add to your confusion. What is a Witch compared to a Wiccan or a Traditional Witch?

In my opinion (notice the qualifier) a Wiccan is someone who follows the ideals set out by Gardener and friends in the last century. Traditional Witches are those who come from a family of Witches, thus they inherited the traditions. Meanwhile Witches are those who base their witchery on herbalists, wise women and men from ages ago and whatever else they can discover from the long ago past.

Does that help or do you want even more confusion to add to your confusion? Let’s just add the words eclectic and solitary to the mix. Can you be a solitary eclectic? Of course. Solitary just means you choose to be alone, not a member of a coven or some such group. Can you be solitary and a coven member? No, that kind of defeats the whole solitary thing. Anyone can be eclectic. There are so many ideals, traditions and so much history that it’s really hard to find someone who agrees with another person about everything. So, most of us could call ourselves eclectic. Does that mean you should? No, it’s too confusing. Find something to describe your style of Wicca or Witchery and stick with it. You don’t have to be a carbon copy of everyone else but you can make everything simpler to understand. Besides, in the end we are all part of the group of Pagans.

Confused?

Go find some answers. Don’t be shy.

Where the Wild Things Are: Writing for a Wiccan Topic

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, April, 19, 2004.

I have this twisted compulsion to take on more stuff than I can actually do. It’s a form of madness.

Anyway, now I am starting a new Wicca/ Witch site for a network called AIA (All Info About). Why? Because it’s there. Also, because I thought of an idea and then I had to put life into it. In other words, do it.

So, this is going to be a Witchy site for people who are Witches. Not looking for converts, going out of my way to explain or defend Witches or Wiccans. I wanted to call it “The Living Witch” but that didn’t work out with the format they use. So, I will use that somewhere else. I plan to set up a blog as part of the site. Something I can add bits of stuff to as I go along. My idea of a Book of Shadows.

The rest of the site is going to include sections like: a regional directory of Witch groups, traditions, art, career, romance and relationships, home and garden, environment, health and beauty, spiritual, holidays, and hobbies. I’m sure this will change as I actually get started and change my mind about what will work. But you get the idea, I hope.

So many sites about Wicca leave out the reality, the living of it all. How many times do you really need or want to see the same information about sabbats and rituals? Let’s see how it works together in real life.

If anyone has ideas or articles to contribute let me know. It would be nice to hear from you anyway. Later, when the site is up I will send the URL out with this newsletter. Likely this will integrate into the site too.

Take care,

Laura

Book of Shadows

Originally written for The Crying Clown Zine (c. 1998)

The Book of Shadows could be called The Book of Life. Just the opposite of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (A series of spells to help the dead travel to and exist in the afterlife.) The Book of Shadows (BOS, for short) contains notes Wiccans have made along their journey of life and learning. Grimoire (A book of magickal spells and techniques) is more Medieval than Book of Shadows but they serve the same basic purpose.

Essentially, the Book of Shadows is a workbook containing ritual patterns, rules governing magick, instructions for circle casting and banishing, religious rituals, the consecration of tools, herbal lore, herbal recipes, dreams, divination results and personal thoughts and experiences. It is the Book of Shadows, which keeps the traditions of a solitary or coven alive. Without the Book, everything would be passed on from word of mouth with the chance of being forgotten, lost or misinterpreted.

A coven will keep a Book of Shadows so members can record and memorize the coven’s rituals in their own Books of Shadows. Some contain lists of the pantheon, training exercises and initiation ceremonies. Books can be passed from one Wiccan to another, usually on initiation. Often each individual Wiccan creates their Book and keeps it to themselves.

Until recently, a Book of Shadows was always hand written. With all the advances in multi-media today a Book of Shadows can be a Disk of Shadows. Some Books (or parts of them) are published on the Internet. Typed and photocopied Books are also common. You may choose to have more than one copy or form of your Book. One can be hand written, the other can be preserved on a disk or photocopied for safe keeping.

To make your own Book of Shadows begin with any blank book. It does not have to be something antique or beautiful, a notebook from the dollar store will do. The Book of Shadows gains its value from the amount of energy and effort used to create it and the positive energy surrounding it each time the book is used for magick and rituals. A binder with loose sheets will let you move your pages around and add new ones in the middle if you need to.

Simply write in this book any rituals and magickal information you have worked on, learned about or just read somewhere and want to remember. Keep it organized into sections for rituals, divination, herbs, and etc. Add your own personal touch with some poetry, a few pressed leaves from your first ritual, a drawing which inspired you, or anything else bookable (able to fit into a book, one way or another). Also, because this is your Book you can write any thoughts you are having at the time. You don’t have to write to impress anyone. Keep track of your feelings (both negative and positive), questions you want to find answers to, and any other personal information you would write into a journal or diary.

Keep your Book of Shadows in good repair. Some rituals may call for placing herbs in or on your Book of Shadows. Prepare for this by giving your book a fabric cover or tissue paper between its pages. Keep this in mind when or if you want to decorate your Book of Shadows. Watch for decorations that might damage your pages or make your ink run. Put some thought into your decorations of choice. Though macaroni art may have seemed “funky” at the time, it might not feel the same when the lumpy noodles won’t let you keep your book open on your altar. Remember, your Book of Shadows serves a purpose. Make sure its usable when you are trying to read it half way into a ritual and you just can’t remember the line you wanted to say as you sprinkle eye of newt into your cauldron.