Nov 222011
 

AskWitch 5 How Do I Become Wiccan?

CB asked: I’ve been doing some research and I found that the Wicca religion and the traditions that it hold are quite interesting, Would you mind telling me a little bit more about the religion and If I were to become Wiccan how I would go about doing so?

Wicca is a very broad subjet – and several traditions, so there is no one simple answer.  Deciding to follow Wicca as one’s spiritual path is a personal decision and I advise reading as much as possible.  Here is my brief introduction that I wrote Wicca 101 An Introduction.

Start out by reading some good books (not the fluffy new age stuff, i.e. Silver Ravenwolf) – Recommended Book List (Paganism, Wicca, Witchcraft). Once you have decided if wicca is the path for you, explore what tradition you might be interested, or if you prefer a more eclectic approach.  You can decide whether to be solitary or try to find a group in your area. Do you want a path that leads to initiation or do you prefer self-dedication. Even if you can’t find a reputable circle that meets regularly in your area, there are many retreats and large group get togethers across the country so that you can interact with like minded folks  (they may not be just “wiccan” but a blend of many traditions – but they can be educational and fun). I attend Where Womyn Gather as often as I can (held beginning of June, in north PA area) and Circle of Trees Retreats (held every few months, in Milford, PA area),  There are retreats and gatherings all across the country.  Also Circle Sanctuary is a great place to start – Selena Fox is a well known wiccan leader and offers lots of resources and information.   Another quick references for resources is the list I put together of contemporary wiccan and pagan bloggers, resources, and elders:  Blog and Resource Links.

Being a witch means somthing different to every one – it can be observing the Sabbats (the 8 seasonal holiays) and the full moons, it can mean using herbs, spells, divination, etc. It can mean incorporating traditions and healing practices into your daily life and caring for your family and home.  It can be serving has a shaman or healer for the community – or any combination and more.  Many decide to not use the term “witch” or “wiccan” but decide on a path that is “pagan.”  Take the time to think about what does it mean to you to be a Witch or Wiccan and how do you want to express that in your life.  Is it your religion or spiritual path?  Are you seeking to serve your famly or the community as a spiritual leader?  Do you want to explore the “work of a witch” (self-discovery, personal spiritual growth and transformation; or are you interested in healing, studying herbs, and many other paths).  For myself, I have found the “work of a witch” can be found in many traditions and many cultures even though they do not use the same terminology.  I am Qi Gong healer. (Qi Gong for healing – traditions from China that are thousands of years old and incorporate mind-body-spirit practices.)  The training and practices are very compatible with my spiritual path of wicca and it is a wonderful way to serve as a healer.

In a nut shell Wicca, as a spiritual path, is about honoring the Great Spirit (the Divine) as a God and Goddess (or sometimes just as a Goddess depending on the tradition), respecting nature, growing in spirit (balancing mind-body-soul), harming none in thought, will or deed. For me personally, it also means striving to live my life as a wise woman (healthy, joyful, loving, evolving, empowered), manifesting the divine spirit (Goddess) in my daily life, caring for my family and home, and serving the community as a healer.

Feel free to contact me if there is anything I can help with.

Bright Blessings, Lady Rose

Ask A Witch is a reg­u­lar fea­ture here at Bliss­ful Moon. If you have a ques­tion or sug­ges­tion please feel free to leave a com­ment, con­tact me by email, or send me a mes­sage via my face­book profile.

 

Oct 022011
 

Wicca 101 – a basic introduction for anyone interested in an overview of what wicca is about and what it means to be a witch. Links to other related Blissful Moon posts and other resources around the web are at the bottom of this page.

Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Witch
by Lady Rose

When trying to explain what it means to be a witch or what wicca is, it is useful to have some overall definitions, a bit of historical perspective, and clear up some common misconceptions. I have put together this little introduction for those who are just curious, regular readers who are not wiccan or witches, or for any one who is interested in an overview of what is the foundation of this blog as well as the religious\spiritual path that we follow.

DEFINITIONS

  • Wicca or Wiccan: Refers to the “religion” or practice of the craft of the wise.
  • Witch: Wise one, practitioner of the wise arts; can be either male or female.
  • Pagan: Someone who practices a religion or spiritual tradition that is not based on Christianity. There are many, many traditions that are based on practices that pre-date Christianity. Not all pagans are witches, though Wicca is considered a “pagan” tradition.

Not everyone who uses the term “witch” is referring to someone who is Wiccan. Often people call someone (or call themselves) a witch because they read tarot cards, light candles for meditations, work with herbal remedies, do energy healing work or practice any number of various “occult” (hidden) practices.

However, for the purposes of this blog, the term “witch” is used to refer to someone whose spiritual practices are of the Wiccan tradition.

Historical Perspective

Wicca is not and never was a “formalized” religion in the days of old. Traditions were handed down mostly orally from family member to family member, or mentor to student. The wise woman or man was often the healer of the village who knew the healing properties of plants, had a way with animals, and served as a midwife, counselor or spiritual leader of the community. Before religion became “organized,” the traditions of Wicca were practiced widely and in many forms. Small villages and communities celebrated the seasonal changes together with large festivals and feasting, and ceremonies to bless the crops and animals.

Unfortunately, during the Middle Ages, as the Christian church chose to spread its influence and the medical profession began to be organized for men only, campaigns were waged to wipe out anyone who believed differently then they did. Laws were passed prohibiting women from being mid-wives. Sacred places were destroyed, and often a new church was built on top of the remains. Fear and hysteria were spread far and wide. Tens of thousands of innocents were falsely accused and sentenced to torture and death in order to stamp out any faiths that were different, and to terrorize others to follow the law and the religion of those in power. In some areas of Europe, the female populations of entire villages were murdered in the name of the conquering religion. Lies and fear were spread throughout many lands, until many traditions and practices were driven underground to be only practiced in secrecy. Many were lost forever.

Out of centuries of secrecy, fear and misunderstanding grew, and the Old Ways were forgotten by almost everyone.

Modern Day Witches

Witches today are an eclectic group that don’t fit into nice neat categories. They can work as a solitary or with a group. Traditions come from many different origins and ancient cultures. Often various traditions have been combined together to create new ways of celebrating spirit and honoring the Old Ways, the God and Goddess, and Nature. The practice of the Wiccan traditions continues to evolve today and will continue to do so far into the future.

Basic Wiccan Facts, Beliefs and Traditions

  • There are many different traditions of Wicca, so there is no one way or “right” way to be a witch.
  • “Harm none” is the guiding rule for all who follow the path of Wicca.
  • Wiccans strive to live in harmony with nature and others.
  • The Divine (Great Spirit) is viewed as being both male and female, or the God and the Goddess; however, in some traditions, there is more emphasis on the feminine.
  • What is referred to as “magic” is actually focused thought, will and emotions, often using symbols and various tools or items as focal points and\or to enhance the focused intentions.
  • The Earth (the Mother of all Life) and all the creatures of the Earth are honored and held sacred.
  • The soul continues to exist beyond the veil of death, and lives in an afterlife (Summerland) until it is time to be reborn.
  • The 8 seasonal changes of year are celebrated at the solstices and equinoxes.
  • The phases of the moon mark the times to gather to honor the Goddess and God.
  • Witches respect all positive, life-affirming spiritual traditions and religions.
  • Witches do not recruit others; those who come to follow the path of a witch or wiccan tration do so because of their own free will and inner spirit guidance.

What Witches Are Not

  • Witches do not worship the devil. The devil is a Christian concept and has nothing to do with Wicca (historically or today).
  • Witches are not evil. They adhere to the basic principle of “harm none,” as well as the belief that all you do comes back to you threefold.
  • Witches do not recruit or brainwash any one. Being a witch is a personal choice that has to come from heart and spirit, and is not something that is drummed into anyone. Witches have no desire to “convert” anyone.

Why I Am A Witch

Wicca is the spiritual tradition that resonates with my soul and with which I feel most comfortable. I enjoy the rituals and ceremonies, and my soul is uplifted by the connection with the Divine in Nature. For me, being a witch is also about honoring the Divine God and Goddess within each person and within myself. It is about healing the planet, connecting with the Web of Life, and helping to bring balance, harmony, and peace to my life and those around me.

So the next time you see someone dressed in a cape, pointed hat, and carrying a broom, you will know they are just dressed up as a fictionalized version of a witch for Halloween or a Harry Potter costume party because if they were a real witch they would be flying on the broom. (Kidding!).

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Wicca and real witches, who are just ordinary people who dance to the beat of a slightly different drummer, celebrate the holidays a little differently, and occasionally might hug a tree or two.

Bright Blessings, Lady Rose

Related Posts:
What Everyone Should Know About Wicca and Witchcraft, by Mama Kelly
I May Be A Witch – I’m Not A Bitch, by Mama Kelly
Blissful Moon’s Book of Shadows – pagan writings, chants, rituals, spells, etc.
Why I Chose the Path to Hell, by Lady Rose

Other Resources Around the Web:
Witch On The Go – good Wicca 101 section.
Circle Sanctuary – (Selena Fox) one of the largest resources of web for all wiccans\pagans

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(Cross posted On the Horizon written by Lady Rose as a guest post in two parts: Aug. 3 and 10, 2008, and excerpt posted on Diet Pulpit Nov. 1, 2008))

Sep 282011
 

Sm Goddess Charge of the Goddess

Charge of the Goddess (3 Versisons)

Charge of the Goddess  by Doreen Valiente 1922-1999 (High Priestess of Gerald Gardner in the 1950’s)
Believed to be the final work by Gardner and Valiente, derived from various sources, one being a book by Charles Godfrey Leyland, Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches.

Now listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride, and by many other names. At her altars, the youth of Lacedaemon in Sparta made due sacrifice. Whenever ye have need of anything, once in a month and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place, and adore the spirit of me, I who am Queen of all Witches.

There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will I teach all things that are as yet unknown.

And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be truly free, you shall be naked in your rites; and yea shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise. For mine is the ecstasy of spirit, and mine also is joy on earth; for my law is love unto all beings.

Keep pure your highest ideals; strive ever toward them, let nothing stop you or turn you aside. For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth, and mine is the cup of wine of life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Vessel of Immortality. I am the gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man.

Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before.

Nor do I demand sacrifice; for behold, I am the mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the earth.
Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of heaven, Whose body encircles the universe.

I who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters and the desire of the heart of man. Call unto thy soul to arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of Nature, who gives life to the Universe.  From me all things proceed and unto me all things must return; and before my face, beloved of gods and of men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded, in the rapture of the infinite.

Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And thou who thinketh to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou knoweth the mystery; for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.

For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

Copyrpight: John Belham-Payne and the Centre for Pagan Stiudies (Doreen Valiente Official Site).

*********************

Charge of the Goddess as adapted by Starhawk

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names.
Whenever you have need of anything, once a month, and better it be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me Who is Queen of all the Wise.
You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be free you shall be naked in your rites.
Sing, feast, dance, make music and love, all in My Presence, for Mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth.
For My law is love is unto all beings. Mine is the secret that opens the door of youth, and Mine is the cup of wine of life that is the cauldron of Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality.
I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before.
Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I am the Mother of all things and My love is poured out upon the earth.
Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircles the universe:
I Who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.

*********************

Charge of the Star Goddess, by Starhawk (from The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess: 20th Anniversary Edition Charge of the Goddess)

I who am the beauty of the green earth
And the white moon among the stars
And the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let my worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold-
All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,
Honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know Me, know that your
Seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless
You know the Mystery:
For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself,
You will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning,
And I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

Sep 212011
 

The Witch’s Kitchen
by Stella

The witch’s kitchen is an unusual place:

Herb bunches hang here all tied up with lace;

Cookbooks and glass jars line a sturdy bookcase.

A garlic-clove wreath hangs over the door;

Big black kettle pots add to the décor;

And a little black kitten sleeps curled up on the floor.

Cookies are baking, the tea kettle is on,

That little black kitten just stifled a yawn.

We’d better be leaving while the witch is still gone!

But wait just a minute – these cookies taste divine!

And in through the window streaks pale sunshine…

Why, this kitchen looks and smells just like mine!

- Stella

***************

Recommended Reading:
A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook The Witch’s Kitchen.
The Real Witches’ Kitchen: Spells, Recipes, Oils, Lotions and Potions from the Witches’ Hearth The Witch’s Kitchen.

Sep 142011
 

Principles of Wiccan Belief
Council of American Witches circa 1974

1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarter.

2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called supernatural, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity — as masculine and feminine — and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive to the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc. — and we see in the inter-action of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7. We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it — a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft — the Wiccan Way.

8. Calling oneself “Witch” does not make a Witch — but neither does heredity itself, not the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.

9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal roll within it.

10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be “the only way” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as “Satan” or “the Devil”, as defined by the Christian traditions. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

The aforementioned principles are from the Council of American Witches circa 1974 .

Seventy three Witches founded the Council of American Witches in 1974. In April of that year, at the Spring Witchmeet in Minneapolis, MN, (1974-APR-11 to 14), they adopted the following document to help people understand and clear the confusion about about Wicca and other Neopagan religions. The 13 statements provide an introduction to the full range of belief systems found within “Wicca,” and are not specific to any one tradition. The Council disbanded later in 1974.

In 2004 the International Council of Witches was founded to further help Witches and Neopagans around the world.

Update October 2011 – US American Council of Witches is on facebook.  Also American Council of Natural Earth Religions: This facebook page is branched off from “US American Council of Witches” This page is for all those who identify with a Natural Earth Religion.  We shall gather together in interfaith dialog, to draft a set of Common Principles, Mission Statement, Purpose, Compiling an interfaith manual to be used by government officials, state officials, county officials, including the police and chaplain’s involved with prisons and jail systems.

pixel Principles of Wiccan Belief