TRADITIONS - OUR BOOK OF SHADOWS
WITCHES, WICCAN, TRADITIONS, OUR BOOK OF SHADOWS ON MARRIAGE, PAGAN PARENTING, DEATH ETC.- OUR BELIEF SYSTEM.[/center]
The enemy of course is ignorance and misconceptions, the plagues of our religion of choice.
Common Questions about Wicca
What is Wicca / Witchcraft?
Wicca is a Neo-Pagan religion with many traditions that date to pre-Christian (and prehistoric) Earth religions. It's roots are founded in a deep respect for nature and the knowledge that we do not have the right to exploit it for our own gain. You will find conservation and ecology, very dear to the heart of Wiccans . We believe, as in all Neo-Pagan religions, that both animate and inanimate objects possess a spirit which forms part of the Whole. Yet here you will find the term "spirit" does not equate to the Judeo-Christian term ghost, rather that essence which everything possesses, linking it to nature, making it an inalienable part of the universe. Wiccans celebrate the life-forces of nature as personified by the Goddess and her consort, the God. It is NOT a cult. You would be very hard pressed to find a Wiccan anywhere who would blindly follow anyone else. Wiccans are historically very independent people who seek truth from within through rituals, meditation, magic, studying and communing with nature. Wiccans respect the right of everyone to worship in their own way. Believing that everyone must find their own path in life.
Basic Beliefs of Wicca. Wiccans all have a range of theological, ideological, and philosophical beliefs. The most important beliefs of a religion are the theological ones. Wicca believes that it is important for each individual Wiccan to name their gods. Wiccan covens gather in the name of a few gods agreed upon by all who join the coven circle. Each coven may have a different pantheon. Some emphasize the Goddess force while others include the God force. Wiccans can be atheists only believing in the power of themselves to bring about change, or they may be agnostic not deciding where the higher power comes from. Yet most Wiccans are animists believing that the divine is contained within the elements of the earth, water, fire, and air. Expressed in dreams as female and male divine forms worshipped equally as compliments and finally as the totality of one divine force in the universe which benefits humankind and helps to improve it. We call the divine force which is nature and in all nature God/dess. The God and Goddess as one loving and hating force.
Witches do not do evil - They believe that doing evil and harm is against all ethical and moral laws. Further, Witchcraft tells us: "An ye harm none (not even yourself), do what ye will."
Witches do not worship Satan - They do not have a Satan/Devil or any all-evil deity in their religious structure. Witchcraft is a religion that underscores polarity and views God and Goddess as equal entities. Satan, or the Devil, has absolutely no place in Wicca or Witchcraft. The worship of Satan is the practice of profaning Christian symbolism and is thus a Christian heresy, rather than a Pagan religion. The Goddess and God of the Witches are in no way connected to Satanic practices. Satan, or the Devil, it is a Christian creation and they are more than welcome to keep him in all his thought form glory.
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" (i.e.; the Inquisition). Male as well as female practitioners of the Craft are known as Witches.
What Wicca is Not
Wicca is not a cult. A cult presupposes blind faith in a central figure whose every word is regarded as ultimate truth, and the utter conviction that no other way or philosophy will lead to this truth. You would be very hard pressed to find a Wiccan anywhere who would blindly follow anyone else. Wiccans are historically very independent people who seek truth from within through rituals, meditation, magic, study and communion with nature. Wiccans respect the right of everyone to worship in their own way. We do not feel that Wicca is the only way -- only that it is our way.
Wicca is not synonymous with Satan worship. The very concept of a supreme evil spirit is alien to Wicca. In fact, most Wiccans do not even believe in Satan. The devil is a Judeo-Christian construct and as such, it has nothing to do with Wicca. The notion that witches worship Satan was propounded by the Roman Catholic Church as it made its way across Europe, in an effort to suppress the native earth-based religions prevalent at the time. They have made it a very powerful thought form non-the-less, despite not being witches. Since all their energies are focused on not letting ‘Satan’ absorbing them. They succeeded to the extent that they drove the practitioners of these religions underground where much of their knowledge and traditions were lost. Through the work of the Golden Dawn, as well as anthropological and archeological research, many of these traditions have been rediscovered and incorporated into Neo-Paganism, an umbrella term for most modern earth-based and shamanistic religions.
Studying the Craft - If you are interested in pursuing magickal studies, the best advise I can give you is to read, read and read. Other resources available to you are workshops and study groups hosted by your local Pagan or Wiccan ‘witchschools, bookstores, and new age shops’; network locally and on the internet through participation in newsgroups and on-line study groups. We did form the Wiccan Family Temple Academy of Pagan Studies right here in New York City ‘our own Witch School’ ‘Hogswort’ as they say. Please check us out at www.freewebs.com/wftacademyofpaganstudies. There you will find many classes to learn about ritual and spell design, learn about correspondences, educate yourself about the powers associated with different herbs, crystals, foods, and other gifts from Earth. With this knowledge and some practice visualizing, you can create your own spells to suit your own needs and more easily adapt spells you come across. Remember, there is nothing "unnatural" about magic--as if anything unnatural could exist within nature--it is simply forgotten.
Witches wear clothing of every color and every style - Many Witches do choose to wear black clothing or ritual robes. The color 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.
'Holy' day of the week?
No. All seven days are "holy" for, didn't the Creator make 'em all? To set one ONE aside as being "holy" tends to put one in the mindset that "I can do anything I want during the rest of the week", which is wrong thinking. One's religion begins when you LEAVE the building; not for the one hour you're THERE! EVERY day is holy.
Creation According to Bible We believe that Genesis is an allegory symbolising how the world was created; for example, the "seven days " could've been 7 million years. Like the Buddhists, we believe that the two opposite polarities (God/Goddess, positive/negative, yin/yang --whatever you choose to call 'em) merged and created everything. Witches worship the same Creator (for there is only One) as all those who believe in a deity. This is the same Creator who is worshipped by Jews, Hindus, Moslems, and Christians. As no one knows what the Deity looks like (or even if the Deity has "looks"!), people have given the Creator physical form. After all, it is much easier to worship something you can see or imagine, rather than an abstract concept.
Final Judgement - Most Witches believe in reincarnation. Like the Buddhists, we believe that we keep coming back to "purify" ourselves; when we've reached a certain level of "attainment", we are "absorbed" into the Godhead and don't come back any more. We feel that it's a cruel God that would "sentence" a soul to eternal Glory or Damnation based on the (relatively) short span of one's life. We don't believe in a "Final Judgment". We believe in the "3-Fold Law" , which states that whatever you do, be it good OR bad , comes back to you (in this life) three times over. And so, there is no incentive to do evil. Witches who do do evil are NOT" Witches"; just as "Christians" who murder people aren't Christians, because they aren't following the tenets of their belief system.
How do witches view death ? Many Witches believe in reincarnation and/or Summerland. After passing over, Summerland is where the spirit waits to be returned into a new physical form. We do not believe in a Heaven or Hell where the spirit spends eternity as reward or punishment for ones earthly actions.
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 God.
Suffer A Witch
As was pointed out as early as 1584 by Reginald Scot in his Discoverie of Witchcraft, the original word in Hebrew, chasaph, means "poisoner", not "Witch". As the time of the Bible's writing, a poisoner could ruin a well and kill many people and livestock. This is what the Bible originally referred to. So why did the incorrect translation occur? King James I had a paranoid fear of Witches (as evidenced by his book, Deamonologie), and deliberately had his translators alter the text of the Bible to provide grounds for the extermination of Witches. (Also, the "Witch" of Endor was originally the Woman of Endor).Unfortunately, these incorrect translations are still being used in the same way today. It's not difficult to understand why Scot's book was burned at the command of James I.
We believe that the Creator exists in every single atom in the Universe: rocks, buildings, the sky, yourself, and even the mouse you're holding! This concept is called Pantheism. We don't believe that the Creator is "removed" far away from us in some far-distant "heaven".
Where the broom flying originated. After planting their crops, the people of long ago would take brooms (or poles, & pitchforks) into the fields. They would put them between their legs, & gallop around the fields, leaping into the air, in an effort to "show the crops how high to grow". (This is known as "sympathetic magick", the belief that "like attracts like". It's modern-day equivalent is the idea that washing your car will cause it to rain!). Early Christians, in an effort to destroy our faith, deliberately distorted this idea, saying that Witches "flew through the air on brooms".
Since Wicca is an "Earth Religion", we celebrate the Solstices and Equinoxes. We call these "Ostara", "Litha", "Mabon", & "Yule", respectively. We also celebrate 4 days mid-way between the above dates. These are known as "Imbolc" - 2/2, "Beltane" - 5/1, "Lughnasadh" - 8/1, and "Samhain" - 10/31.On these days, we observe & celebrate the changing of the Seasons, & seek to attain balance within ourselves and to become attuned to the rhythms of Life.
Why be called a 'Witch' The word "Witch" originally meant "Wise One" -- what's wrong with calling yourself a "Wise One"? ("Witchcraft", therefore, means "Craft of the Wise Ones"). Witches were the doctors, midwives, psychiatrists, and lawyers of a town -- a noble profession. It was only due to Christian distortions that the word became associated with "evil" and "devil-worship". Why not? After all it is who we are. Just as you are proud to call yourself 'Christian' so are we.
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.
What does Skyclad mean and why do some Wiccans go Skyclad? The word ‘Skyclad’ means going naked in circle, coven, ritual etc. Some traditions do believe in doing so, others do not. I for one do not believe in it, since whether you are naked or not is quite irrelevant to how powerful your ritual is. At least that is my opinion. So our tradition does not go Skyclad. Others do have strong feelings about this topic.
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 the magic wands 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 Oxford English Dictionary "Witchcraft" is a Celtic (pronounced Kell-tick) word meaning the wise, good people. "Wicce" (wick-kay), designates a female Witch where as "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 -
Essentially 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.
How do we feel about our children?
Because of what are group is made up of the 3 High Priestesses have children. Though most pagan ran groups do not accommodate children. Some even have called us 'breeders' for having children. Hence why we have formed our own to educate and raise our children in our belief systems.
So to us Children are a joy and a blessing, and the greatest responsibility known to humankind. They are our own gift to ourselves and to the universe around us. They must be raised in a loving atmosphere, by parents or guardians who have chosen to make them a priority, worthy of care for their health, well-being, and individuality. They deserve stability where possible in an ever-changing world, and love as a constant, in the form of the ready availability of a loving adult throughout their entire growing into their own adulthood. Their schooling should reflect the same attitude, giving them every opportunity to develop to their fullest potential; the direction of their development should be appropriate to their own character, aptitude, and desires, for only then will they be able to give the most to themselves and the world.
Freedom is among the most important elements to maintain in the life of a child, but even more important than that is safety and security and love, the elements in life that allow a child the true freedom to develop in health. Parents, and all other loving adults who have chosen to allow themselves to be important in the life of a child, are responsible for balancing these elements, allowing the child the freedom to develop into the adult they are capable of becoming, while ensuring the safety and health that they need to reach that potential. Above all, they must always make themselves available, or assure themselves and the child of the ready availability of a trusted adult - and that means trusted BY THE CHILD, AND THE PARENT(S)!
For the purpose of this discussion, the parents of a child are the adults who have made themselves responsible for the care and well-being of a child, generally through bringing that child into the world, but often through other means, such as adoption, or fostering. What is most important is that the child love them, that they love the child, and that the care and well-being of the child is the foremost consideration in their decisions until the child reaches adulthood, and is able to care for hirself*. It is impossible for a child to come into this world without some adult somewhere having a responsibility to this new life that is not to be denied; if that person does not remain available, or is unable to care for a child to the best interest of that child, that responsibility may/must be passed on to another person(s), who becomes the parent(s) for the purpose of this discussion. It does not seem to matter to the development of the child what age or gender the adults are, or the nature of their relationship, as long as they provide a loving and stable home.
Whatever the nature of the parenthood, these adults should not have to function alone; the healthiest children remain those who are brought up in a community of caring, trustworthy adults. Children are a 24-hour-a-day responsibility, 7 days a week, though the degree changes as the child grows to adulthood and takes on responsibility for elements of his/her own life. It is difficult for 2 healthy young adults to keep up with this demand and still meet the demands of providing for the family; where there are health problems, or a single parent must function alone for whatever reason, the demand can be devastating to the resources available, unless there is a strong community of dependable family or friends to draw on. Providing this community of support for themselves and their family is in many ways a paramount responsibility of the parent(s). Children don't give you sick days, or vacation; there are no kennels where they can be placed when you have no one to care for them. They need a caring adult to watch over their development, and ensure that no danger suddenly arises for which the child is not yet able take the responsibility of response. If the case is that one parent is raising that child it is sometimes sad to see how much one of the parents of that child leaves a lot of the responsibility to one parent alone. The should always be mindful that whether they are together with that other parent or not they are still to be there for that child as if they are doing this fully responsibly together. For you cannot babysit your child you can only parent them.
As the child grows, and acquires the experience necessary to judge each situation for his/herself, these adults need to gradually release the responsibility for each aspect of life to the manifesting adult, as it becomes appropriate to do so. This does not release these loving adults from the need and desire to keep the newly adult member of the community safe and healthy, insofar as they would do for any other adult that they care about. It is simply an acknowledgement that the developing adult has benefited from the time and opportunity provided to learn life's lessons in a safe environment, and is now able to take responsibility his/her own life. This does not happen all at once, but for each aspect of life in turn, as that point is reached.
It is only 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 and other internet sources (Willow, whom I do believe I know). Since this is so much along what we believe many of our thoughts are combined to make all pars of our BOS.