WITCHCRAFT


Witchcraft has a long eventful history, some of those events are joyous while others serve to remind us of the consequences of seeking to live freely. Witchcraft is often called the oldest religion existent in the West. It is pre-Christian. It is also pre-Judaism, pre-Buddhism, pre-Islam and pre-Hinduism. Many statements made about Witchcraft are disputed and judged even by those with no real research or knowledge of their own. In actuality, it is closer to Native American traditions and the early Shamanic traditions of many areas. Unlike many of the more modern religions, those currently referred to as mainstream, Witchcraft is not based on dogma and scriptures. Witchcraft, the Old Religion, takes its teachings and inspirations from nature. The Sun, Moon and Stars are looked to for their insights and information, as well as trees, birds, animals, seasonal cycles and other vibrational realities.

It is probably important to note here that Wicca or Witchcraft is not Shamanism, and that Shamanism is not a religion but rather an ancient mystical practice that uses altered states to contact Gods, Spirits and other energies from this realm and others. These efforts were made to bring healing, wholeness and guidance into the life of the Shaman and his or her tribe. Shamanic practices exist within Witchcraft and many other religions. The Shamanic view is "that for wholeness all realms must be incorporated including the mental, physical and spiritual realms."

Anthropologist Dr. Margaret Murray felt that she had traced back and saw Witchcraft¹s roots in Paleolithic times some 25,000 to 30,000 years ago. She felt that it was a fully organized religion throughout Western Europe. Many recent scholars have disputed and sought to dismiss her findings with regard to Witchcraft, but few have disputed or found fault with her opinions regarding the existence of a religio-magick system. 

We can see throughout anthropological research that early man and woman tended to deify that which they held in awe or did not understand. This is a process now called animism. Early man and woman also practiced what we now call sympathetic magick. Sympathetic magick is the art of showing a deity what one wants or needs by acting out the symbolism necessary to bring about an understanding of that need or desire. Tribes gathered to show the deity that food was needed through successful hunts or that fertility was required within the tribe or animal population. In this way the act of ritual was born and became a part of the Old Religion then and now. 

The primitive people of those thousands of years ago were hunters who followed animal herds. Some of those primitive people were called Shamans. These Shamans were said to be able to attune themselves with nature and the animals. Early man believed the concept of a Mother (female) lifegiver and a Father (male) who hunted and protected.

Early man respected animals and their lives that had to be taken for the tribe's survival. To show this respect, after hunting, the unused parts and skins were filled with rocks and given to the waters or the womb of the Great Mother. Their skulls were kept and used for portents and guidance. During these times, many symbols of the Goddess were carved in stone, and womb cave openings were honored as symbols of the Mother. Symbols of the God were also carved on cave walls along with symbols of the animals that came to sacrifice themselves for the survival of the tribe.

The phases of the Moon were marked, as well as the Sun's cyclic journey through the sky. As time passed, fishing and wild food collection became an important part of life. During all this time the Shamans were working with the energies of the times and as villages grew from settling tribes, the people combined their energies and efforts for the good of the clan. In this we see what probably represented the first covens.

These groups continued working with the energies of the land. Working more and more to attune with the areas they had settled in. Learning the ways of planting and growing crops. Marking the seasonal wheel and watching the signs of the earth and sky, planet and star, animal and plant became magickal sciences. As these magical sciences became more understood they could be more easily worked with and further studied.

During this time other cultures, more organized and Warrior based were coming into power. Sometimes these Warrior clans would drive the followers of the Old Religion into the hills and mountains where they became known as the Faeries, the Sidhe or spirit people. In some cases the Goddess of the Old Religion would be married to the invading clans Gods within newly created mythology. The Celts, like others, adopted many of the Goddess features and incorporated them into the incoming Druidic Mysteries. Through this intermingling and marriage the "faerie blood" was implanted into the new conquerors.

When Christianity first arrived there was no real change. The people viewed the Mother/Child/Sacrificial King of the Christ mythos as simply another version of their own earlier tales. The mythology of the Goddess cycle with Consort/Mother/Child was often adjusted by conquering Patriarchies. The Priest of the new Christian Religion would often work with the Priest of the Old Religion in the celebrating of seasonal rites. The early groups of the Old Religion (the covens) became known as the benders and shapers of the subtle forces that they had knowledge of. They became known as the "Wit", "Witta", "Wicca", "Wicce",or "Vitki", Irish, Anglo Saxon and Germanic words respectively meaning " to bend or shape".

During the 12th and 13th century many temples were built for this new religions' Goddess "Mary." By now Pope Gregory The Great decided to make an attempt to mass convert to Christianity. He did this by building new Christian churches over ancient pagan worshiping sites. He was somewhat successful since the artisans who built the churches were most often pagans. Because of this many of the churches to this date can be seen full of Green Men, quarter guardians and pentacles.

At this time the Church began to truly realize how difficult a rival the Horned God and Fertility Goddess were in their created battle for followers. The early Old Religion had a much more attractive P.R. package than the religion of Christianity with all of its restrictions. Christianity incorporated this information when creating the concept of a totally evil opponent to their own deity. It was no accident that this figure resembled the Horned God.

Poetry and the music of the Goddess were still widespread compensating the peoples need for the Goddess in some manner. Pope Gregory also instituted the first Papal Bull in 1233. In 1324, an Irish coven led by Dame Alice Kyteler was tried by the Bishop of Ossory for worshiping a Non-Christian god. Dame Kyteler was saved because of her title but the rest of her group were burned for heresy.

During the next centuries' wars, plagues and crusades advanced over Europe. Joan of Arc lead the armies of France to victory. She was popularly bruited as a sorceress and originally alleged a witch, but she was officially condemned as a heretic and was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431, as a relapsed heretic. This fact indicates the embryonic stages of Witchcraft accusations, when in 1431 it was much simpler to secure a conviction for heresy rather than sorcery. Unfortunately within the century the reverse would be true.

During this time the stability of the Medieval Church was shaken and the feudal system was breaking down. The Christian Church was swept by religious revolts that Church felt it could no longer tolerate. In 1494 The Papal Bull of Innocent the VIII unleashed the inquisition against the Old Religion. Issued on December 5, 1494, it served as justification for pitiless persecution. It instituted the of combating the "Devil" and saving mankind from "his" clutches. (Three earlier Bulls "Sixtus 4th," were the first to equate sorcery and black magic with heresy, thereby facilitating the task of the Witch hunters. 1473, 1478 & 1483).

In 1486 the Malleus Maleficarum, "the Hammer of the Witches," was produced by Dominicans Kramer and Springer, two of Pope Innocent¹s Inquisitors. This laid the ground work for a reign of terror that gripped Europe well into the 18th century. All of this indelibly equated the incorrect definition of the word Witch, created by the Christian Church, as a reality in the minds of many.

During this period it is estimated that 9 million men, women and children were tortured, some estimate 85% of those were women and children. They were tortured and killed under this incorrect and convenient (for the Church) definition. Misogyny (hatred of women) is evidenced as a strong element in the medieval Christianity. Because women gave birth they became acutely identified with sexuality, and due to the views at that time regarding sexuality, they were associated with evil. The Malleus stated "All Witchcraft stems from carnal lust, which is in women, insatiable." Anyone could be accused of this concocted evil and anyone could accuse anyone else, including children. In those days it was "Guilty until proven innocent."

These so called Witches (per Christian definition) were held prisoner, stripped, tortured (at the time it was legal), deprived of sleep, food and much more, all in an effort to obtain a confession to the act of Witchcraft, as the Church defined it. Even after confessing to the inquisitors many times, the torture would continue until a full coven of thirteen names were given. Confessions were all written entirely by the Inquisitors to be signed by the prisoners. Occasionally torture would bring a merciful strangulation before the pyre, but this was not usually the case.

The job of inquisitor became quite profitable since these hunters were paid for each conviction. Midwives (who were considered threatening to the patriarchal medical society), up-spoken women, the elderly and any other possible problem creators for the Church were targeted. Many say that few who died were actually members of any covens of the Old Religion, but due to the sheer numbers some may have been. In the Bishopric of Trier in Germany, in 1585, there were only two villagers left and only one single female inhabitant after the arrival of the Inquisition.

In 1586 the Archbishop of Treves accused the local Witches of causing severe weather. After torture and confession one hundred and twenty men and women were burned to death for interfering with the elements. Those who could escape did, but those who could not suffered a cruel fate.

By the late 17th century the surviving craft was well underground. During this underground period Christianity published much on its version of Witchcraft. When James the Sixth of Scotland became James the First of Scotland and England in 1603 he brought with him new versions of his "Demonology". In 1604 he convinced Parliament to pass his new act changing the emphasis from the Malleficarum to "a pact with the Devil" type thinking, to heighten the acts against Witches. By the end of his reign even though his attitude had changed, his act remained in effect until 1736. It was then replaced in England with an act from George the Second that stated there was no such thing as Witchcraft and to pretend to have occult powers was fraud.

Most of the Salem Witch trials were persecuted under the King James the First statute. On December 14, 1692, the Massachusetts General Counsel enacted the 1604 bill to give "more particular direction in the execution of the laws against Witchcraft." It remained Massachusetts Law until 1695.

In 1692 there were many areas of tension in New England. Those included political, land related, disease and those related to religious repression. Because of the strict religious society of the time with its strict upbringing of children and adherence to the Bible, it created a very strong societal belief in the Devil and so called Witchcraft that had already been accepted overseas. Though the Witchcraft craze abroad was starting to subside (the last execution was in 1685) New England was heading into its own crazed entanglement with the inaccurate Christian definition of Witchcraft.

The onset of hysteria in New England was related to a group of young girls, one of them being the daughter of Rev. Samuel Parris. Their meetings with a West Indian slave Tituba to do divinations about future husbands and other things prompted their guilt and anxiety. When some of the girls started "taking fits", no one could make sense of the behavior or discover medical causes for the episodes. This led to the opinion of bewitchment as the cause. Questions started being asked, the first was always "Who is bothering you ?" As the calls came out for names the accusations against more vulnerable members in society started. Some believe it was easier for the girls to name these people and view their punishment rather than admit to their own lies. Others had explored theories of an alkaloid type toxin called "ergot", a mold that produces the fits and other symptoms.

Regardless of the causes the accusations started to spread. The difference in the New England trials was none of those who confessed were put to death. Those who denied the accusations and fought to clear their names were the ones who were hanged. What started with the vulnerable people in society spread to the more prosperous members in society, Martha Corey was one of these people. Martha Corey was believed to have a good position in the church and politics of society, but she was very outspoken against the Witchcraft Trials. During her trial Sheriff Corwin, appointed by those who did the hangings, surprised even her when he presented her husband as a witness. He claimed he could not say his prayers one evening while they were home. After Martha Coreys' conviction floods of people from all society were accused. Even Martha's husband Giles did not escape the trials. He found himself accused and when he refused to speak or present a plea so that he could be tried, he was pressed to death in the attempt to get that plea. This was probably done by Giles Corey because he knew that people who went to court were always found guilty.

These incidents brought about the beginning of the end of the New England Witchcraft Trials. Soon after the fifty prisoners still confined to jail were released. It is claimed that one hundred and fifty people were accused and fifty five were found guilty, but even today more records are being uncovered and reviewed about the accuracy of those claims.

Finally in 1711, the General Court declared the use of spectral evidence unlawful, and reversed twenty-two of the thirty one convictions. It was not until 1957 that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reversed the remaining guilty verdicts finally acknowledging the errors of that time.
During the Witch Trials much misinformation came to the forefront. Most of the actual Witches had gone underground and most were not very enthusiastic about volunteering information regarding the real practices to try to combat the misinformation.

In 1921, Dr. Margaret Murray produced her book "Witch Cult in Western Europe". In that book she discussed the Pre-Christian religion of Witchcraft. Though many of her opinions have disputed there is still important information in her book. In 1931, her second book "God of the Witches" elaborated on some of her other comments.

In 1949 "High Magicks Aid" by Squire (Gerald Gardner) was written. It combined Witchcraft and some ceremonial magick in a fiction book to spread information safely. Finally , in 1951 England repealed its last Witchcraft Laws and replaced them with the Fraudulent Mediums Act. This opened the way for two more books by Gardner; "Witchcraft Today" and "The Meaning of Witchcraft".

Other Witches followed. Raymond Buckland was initiated in Perth Scotland, and is considered responsible for bringing Gardnerian Witchcraft to the USA. Sybil Leek and Laurie Cabot brought other family traditions and European traditions to the forefront in America. Today there are many well known Witches, some from the more modern traditions, and others from older traditions, all providing a wide range of choices for the beginning Witch. Some resent the more public Witches, while others believe that their involvement has enabled many people who would not otherwise have known about the Craft, to become involved. Many early Witches have taken much abuse so that those of us who follow in their path can have the hope of suffering less.

Today Witchcraft is growing as more and more people are drawn to reconnect with the Old Ways, and through them, to the Earth.

The Witches' Sabbats


The Witches' calendar follows the cycles of nature, and in honoring those cycles our holidays were born. Each holiday, or sabbat as we call them, represents a transitional point in the seasons Spring gives way to Summer which will eventually give way to Autumn, and so on... We mark these transitions at eight times during the year. There are the four "cross quarter days", the solstices and equinoxes, and the four "greater sabbats" at roughly midpoints between them. While we mark the new year with Samhain, Witches see the cycle of the year as endless without any real beginning or end. Each time we gather to celebrate a sabbat, we turn the Wheel once more.

Samhain

(October 31)

Samhain is the Witches' New Year.It is a time when the veils between the worlds are thin. This allows us to communicate with our loved ones who have passed on and our ancestors.We invite them to take part in our celebrations. 

Witches gather to celebrate the final harvest with family and friends. We leave out offerings of food for our passed on kin. Today, we see this custom carried on as the giving of treats to children dressed as spirits. 
To a Witch, this is a powerful magickal time, and not the fearsome time that some other groups would have us believe. It is a time to release the incorrectness in our lives and project for a future of balance, harmony, joy and health. Witches and their children often dress in clothing and costumes to project out these wishes and spells. 

For Witches this is also a time of thanks as we remember all those in the past who fought to win the rights we have today. Many of them paid the ultimate price. We include those who were tortured and killed under the inaccurate definition and description applied to Witches and Witchcraft during the Burning Times. In remembering, we share the knowledge gained from the past and ensure that truth and wisdom will prevail in the future.

Yule

Yule is the Winter Solstice.  The Winter Solstice is when the sun enters Capricorn.  It is the longest night and shortest day of the year.  It is the beginning of the waxing part of the year.  Even though it is in the heart of winter, the days still begin to grow longer.  It gives us the hope and thoughts of spring with the knowledge of the suns rebirth

This is a time that many traditions recognize the battle between the Holly King and the Oak King. The Holly King reaches his time to go to the underworld and allow the Oak King to be reborn and grow to become ready to fertilize the land in spring. In days of old, families would gather for feasts and celebrations to call back the sun. Families spent much of the cold months together to share food and the warmth of the fire. Yule logs were burned as a symbol of calling back the sun. Wreaths were made to hang on the door as a symbol of the wheel of the year and the cycles of life. Here are some ideas on how you can celebrate Yule in your life as we carry on the traditions of past and begin our own.

Imbolc (Candlemas)

(February 2)

On Imbolc, we become aware that the Sun's energy is slowly growing stronger. The Earth Mother is slowly awakening under the Sun's revitalizing energy. At this time, we call to the Mother to accept this energy and use it to bless us and renew the Earth. We call to the young Sun God to empower him and draw his feritlizing energy back into the Mother. 

Ostara

(Vernal Equinox)

The day and night are now equal. As the light takes over the dark we celebrate the fertility of the Earth and the growing of the young Sun God's energy. In symbolic ritual, the young God is armed with the tools necessary to conquer the darkness as he rides out across the sky. We give thanks for the upcoming light half of the year.

Beltane

(May 1)

We celebrate the marriage of the God and Goddess. We share in the fertility and growth that it brings into the Earth. We move into a time of community. We open our hearts to other seekers on the path. We also project for growth, belonging, and blessings for all who seek the old ways and all who respect the Witches path.  The dancing of the Maypole is a time-honored Beltane tradition. 

Litha

(Summer Solstice)

At this time, we celebrate the Sun at his peak of power. We draw his energy into the Mother Earth for continued growth. We give thanks for the fertility and growth of things both in and around us. We prepare for the subtle changes that start as the Sun's power begins to wane. 

Lughnasadh (Lammas) 

(August 1)

This is the first of the three harvest festivals, the Grain Harvest. We give thanks for the crops and for the fertility of the Earth. We honor the weakening Sun God and give thanks for the seeds and the plants that went through the death process (harvest) in order to be reborn next season.

Mabon

(September 21 )

Mabon is the Witches' Thanksgiving. It is the second Harvest Festival of the Witches' calendar, and it celebrates and gives thanks for the bountiful harvest of fruit, squash, grains, and vegetables.
Witches meet and share celebration feasts with family and friends. Though joyous, this is also a serious time. At Mabon, Witches of many traditions prepare for the season of sleep, the dark time of Fall and Winter. Witches call to the animal spirits for guidance and insight as we enter this time of inner searching. We prepare to meet our true inner self and grow and further our journey toward self enlightenment. We undertake this journey so that when we return to the coming cycle of light, the seasons of Spring and Summer, we can do so in a more peaceful, harmonious and balanced state. Our energies can then touch the community around us and help to promote peace and harmony within it.

Witches often look to mythology for the insights that its symbolism offers. Celtic mythology tells us the story of Mabon Ap Modron (son of Modron) in the Mabinogion. Mabon is stolen from his mother Modron when he is only 3 days old. While Modron grieves for her loss, Mabon, the bright child of promise is hidden or locked away ( depending on the version of the myth that you read) in a castle for many years. His rescue becomes a quest for one of Arthur's knights. Kai, Arthur's adopted brother, and Gwrhyr, the translator of animal languages, set out to find and rescue Mabon. In their journey they must seek out many ancient animals, each older and wiser than the one before. They visit a Blackbird, a Stag, an Owl, an Eagle, and a Salmon. Each of these animals symbolizes a part of the journey and the lessons that we must each take and learn, until finally we can emerge from our own self quest transformed after having embraced our own inner child. Our own journey, much like the victorious end of our myth story when Kai and Gwrhyr return to Arthur with the young Mabon after the struggle to set him free, culminates when we emerge from our season of inner searching, into the season of light. We then come into a time when we can share this gained knowledge with others in our community.

The freeing of "Mabon", our intuition, wisdom and inner child occurs with the aid of "Gwrhyr" our own inner spirit voices and "Kai, the Steward of Soverignity", the knowledge of our own personal connection to the energies around us, enabling us to return the "child of promise" our higher self back into the arms of "Modron, the Mother", the soverign land that sustains us, so that we may comfort her "grief" the disharmony and destruction of the world with the return of the "young Mabon", a wiser and stronger and more connected child.

The Tools of the Craft

The sacred tools of the Witch have been around for thousands of years and we present the basics here. There are many books that go into further detail and always remember that Witchcraft is truly a Life's Quest.

As we all know there are numerous tools that are used world over by Witches on a daily basis. Some of these tools are a considered essential to certain individuals/or traditions and others may consider these same tools a hindrance or unnecessary.

The following is just a brief introduction to the most basic tools of Witchcraft. This is not meant to be an iron clad end all and be all of what a person has to have or should have, nor does it mean that if a person or tradition uses items other than those mentioned here that what they are doing is incorrect. Other traditions or persons may use the same tools to represent the elements differently from what I have here. In fact I have seen some excellent rituals done without the use of any tools what so ever. As I stated before this is just a simple list and explanation of the most basic, common tools of the Craft.

I hope that what follows gives each individual a basic understanding of what I consider to be the basic tools of the Craft.

ROBES: Most people do not consider our robes when discussing the tools of the Craft, I however do feel that they are of importance. The robe is usually very basic in style, and designed for comfort to the wearer, but also enables us to do our work more easily. Robes come in all colors but mostly we use black.

The primary reason that we use black is that when all colors are mixed together they become black. Black also is a great conductor of energy, an example would be to think of how hot a black item becomes in the sun due to the absorption of the suns light rays versus a white item that reflects the light rays away. In our magic it is very important for us to be able to feel and absorb the energies around us so that we may focus that energy in a constructive and correct way in order to perform our magic. The color black helps us to absorb the energies that are around us as black is an excellent conductor of energy via the absorption of light rays which carry an abundance of information. Just take a moment to stop and think that light travels at 186,282.396 miles per second and consequently how much information is absorbed by that energy as it travels through the universe.

In the old days (and unfortunately still at times today) the traditional black robe and cape served an additional purpose. When a Witch or group of Witches worked outside at night, especially during the days of the burning times, should someone come along that would threaten your safety it enabled the Witch to fade away into the darkness so as not to be seen by blending with the surrounding terrain.

In addition to all of this, being human as we are the other thing that it helps us with is that when we look at each other we began to realize that we are all equal in the eyes of the Goddess as we are all attired the same so there are no differences.

ATHAME: The next tool I would like to discuss briefly is the athame. The athame is usually a black handle, double edge knife and is strictly a ritual tool. It is a symbolic representative of the element of fire. It can be used as a tool for laying down a circle and also as a symbol representing the male aspect. Athames can be used to invoke the quarters, release the quarters, and are customarily used to assist with blessing the waters of life inside of the chalice, this blessing being symbolic of the Great Rite.

The athame should not be used in any case to cut anything except in certain situations such as cutting a door way in the circle to allow others to pass through, cutting a cord in the event of a release or a passing over ritual, also the blessing of the bread during ritual of the great rite, and of course a handfasting cake.

SWORD: The sword is another ritual tool that can be used as a tool for sovereignty and authority. It is like the athame a symbolic representative of the element of fire. It is considered a representation of the male aspect and can be used in the same manner as the athame.

CHALICE/CUP: The chalice or cup is representative of the female aspect. The cup is the symbolic representative of water. It is used to hold the waters of life, and is used again in the symbolic ritual of the Great Rite. Once the waters of life have been blessed during ritual, the chalice is often passed around the circle so that all may share in it by symbolically ingesting the Goddess and the bringing of the Goddess within.

CAULDRON: The cauldron represents the gift of birth, death and rebirth, also knowledge and inspiration. The cauldron is a female aspect and is a symbolic representative of water, and it may also be used as a representation of fire. It is often referred to in connection with Cerridwen.

PEYTON: The peyton is a circular disk with a pentacle or sacred symbol inscribed on the face of it. The peyton can be made out of many different materials, in the olden days it was made of beeswax so that in the event that someone came around that may be a threat, it could be broken and tossed into the fire and melted down quickly. It is placed at the center piece of the altar, where all consecrations of salt and water occur, and other objects as well. It is also the focal point of the altar. The peyton is the symbolic representative of earth and because of that it is of the female aspect. If you have second peyton available then this may be used as another tool for invoking the quarters, and releasing the quarters.

WAND: The wand has been known as a tool that is gentle in nature and has the male aspect, it is the symbolic representative of air. It is another tool that can be used for casting circle, invoking and releasing the quarters, and casting of spells, and some have used this in place of the athame or sword in the performance of the symbolic ritual of the Great Rite.

BROOM: The Witches broom is used for sweeping any harmful energies from the area that the broom is cleansing I.E.. house, room, circle, sacred space etc. Of course on the practical side you can use it too to sweep your floors.

BOLEEN: Usually a white handled knife, used in rituals for carving and cutting I.E.. magical symbols we may want to engrave on a wand, staff, candles, etc., so as not to harm the energy within the athame.

STAFF: Usually a wooden pole often of shoulder height, used basically in the same manner as the wand. Like the wand the staff may be decorated with crystals, symbols, feathers, or just about anything that makes it your own.

THURIBLE: (incense burner) A heat resistant, or preferably fire proof container used to contain a hot coal for burning incense. The incense is symbolic of air, while the coal is symbolic of fire. It is used to cleanse and purify the air within the sacred space, or used in cleansing of a home.

Of course all tools are not complete without the individual's own charge and energy to make it whole. All tools are an extension of oneself to direct and focus ones energies and power on the purpose of spell or magic intended. Most people purchase their tools as they progress and find tools that are comfortable for themselves, however, if you are talented and skilled enough to make your own this is even better.

The Dos and Don'ts of Witchcraft


Witches do not do evil...

They believe that doing evil and harm is against all ethical and moral laws. Witches simply do not do harm (even to themselves)

 

Witches DO NOT worship Satan...

Simply put: He's Their Boy... NOT Ours! Witches do not have a Satan/Devil or any all-evil deity in their religious structure. Witchcraft is a religion that underscores polarity and views the God and the Goddess as equal entities.

 

A Male Witch is not a Warlock...

The word Warlock is a Scottish word meaning "oath breaker", and became a term designating a male Witch during the "burning times". A Male Witch is simply that.

 

Witches wear clothing of every colour and every style...

Many Witches do choose to wear black clothing or ritual robes. The colour black is the culmination of all vibrational rates of light on the material plane. Black absorbs light information and helps Witches be more receptive to psychic impressions and energies.

 

Witches come from every socio-economic and ethnic background...

Many Witches are professional people holding positions of responsibility such as Doctors, Nurses, Police Officers, Teachers etc. Witchcraft does not discriminate against color or ethnic origin and does view everything as equal in the eyes of the Goddess and the God.

 

Witches do use Spells...

A spell is a thought, a projection, or a prayer. Other religions use prayer, meditation, projection and ritual to produce an intended result. The word "spell" does not imply doing evil or harm.

 

Witches do use Magic Wands...

Often you see the use of magic wands in children's cartoons and movies making the idea seem frivolous. In actuality they are used in healing for directing energy.

 

Witches do use Witchcraft as a science, an art and a religion...

They use their knowledge and magic in harmony with the Universe and Nature around them.

 

The word "Witch" has a deep and rich history...

As defined by the English Oxford dictionary "Witchcraft" is a Celtic (pronounced Kell-tick) word meaning the wise, good people. "Wicce" (wick-kay) designates a female Witch whereas "Wicca" (wick-kah) designates a male Witch.

 

In the religion of Witchcraft we view the pentacle as an amulet and a symbol for protection...

The five-pointed star represents the human body and the earth. In combination, the star surrounded by the circle represents the human body encompassed by the protection of the Goddess/God force. The pentacle is the symbol for Universal Wisdom.

 

Witches do concern themselves with ecology...

They have never forgotten this basic fact: the world is not our enemy. Neither is it inert, dumb matter. The earth and all living things share the same life-force. They are composed of patterns of intelligence, of knowledge, and of divinity. all life is a web. We are woven into it as sisters and brothers of All. Witches need to be grounded in both worlds and awake to their responsibilities for both worlds. It is only by being responsible human beings that we can be responsible Witches and only responsible Witches will survive*
 
* Excerpt from "Power of the Witch" by Laurie Cabot,
Delacourt Press. (Dell Publishing) N.Y., N.Y., October 1989
 

The Witches' Rede

 (also known as The Rede of the Wiccae and the Witches' Creed)
Generally credited to Doreen Valiente



Hear now the word of the Witches, the secrets we hid in the night,
When dark was our destinys pathway, That now we bring forth in the light.

Mysterious Water and Fire, The Earth and the wide-ranging Air,
By hidden Quintessence we know Them, and we will keep silent and dare.

The birth and rebirth of all Nature, the passing of Winter and Spring,
We share with the life Universal, rejoice in the Magical Ring

Four times in the year the Great Sabbat, returns, and the Witches are seen,
At Lammas and Candelas dancing, on May Eve and old Halloween

When daytime and nighttime are equal, when sun is at greatest and least,
The four lesser Sabbats are summoned, again Witches gather in feast.

Thirteen silver moons in a year are, thirteen is the Covens array,
Thirteen times at Esbat make merry, for each golden year and a day.

The power has passed down the ages, each time between woman and man
Each century unto the other, ere times and the ages began.

When drawn is the Magickal circle, by sword or athame of power,
Its compass between two worlds lies, in the land of shades of that hour.

Our world has no right to know it, and the world beyond will tell naught,
The oldest of Gods are invoked there, the great work of Magic is wrought.

For two are the mystical pillars, that stand at the gate of the shrine,
And two are the powers of Nature, the forms and the forces divine.

And do what thou wilt be the challenge, so be it in love that harms none,
For this is the only commandment, By Magick of old be it done.

Eight words the Witches Rede fulfill:
As it Harms none, Do what Thou Will!

 



ENTRANCE