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Introduction to Witchcraft (Part I)
An Introduction to "Witchcraft"
(This will be the first of many, many more hubs on this subject... so stay tuned!)
Witchcraft isn't just in fairytales and horror movies. Witchcraft is, and always has been real, and will continue to live on. Since the laws against Witchcraft were repealed in the 1950s, Witches have been able to show their true faces... What they really believe in...
Before there were different "denominations" of religion... Before crosses and churches, and books... The man/woman believed in many gods... A god for hunting, a god for rain, a god for crops, fertility, winds, the sky, (the hunting god being the main god, for this god was most important...) There wasn't just ONE GOD.
A woman by the name of Margaret Murray traced back and saw Witchcraft's origins in Palaeolithic times; 25,000 years ago... She saw it as a more or less unbroken line through to the present, and as a fully organized religion throughout western Europe for centuries before Christianity. She presented some tangible evidence and much thought-provoking material. As a probable development of religio-magick, her theories are still respected.
Also, in England, in 1952, a man by the name of Gerald Gardner, was the first to speak up and stand up for Witchcraft, reason being, he was a witch, himself. Today, witches of every coven owe him great gratitude for having that courage to stand up and be heard. If not for him, would we still be able to learn and know the religion like we do?
The first to stand up in America, was Raymond Buckland, an author of the craft. After him, we recognize the names Sybil Leek, Gavin and Yvonne Frost, and many others followed, one by one.
The Craft is a religion of love and joy, the earth, solar system, planets, stars, ect...ect... It is nature, and all that is. It is not full of let-downs like ideas of "original sin" with salvation and happiness possible only in the afterlife... It is balance and harmony...
Mr. Gerald Gardner
There is more to The Craft than history, and philosophy though... Different beliefs, magick, the tools you would use for magick, rituals, dedication, feeling, covens, and such... It is more than a religion... It is a way of life.
It is the acceptance of personal and social responsibility. It is acknowledgement of a holistic universe and a means towards a raising of consciousness. Equal rights, feminism, ecology, attunement, brotherly/sisterly love, planetary care- these are all just part and parcel of Witchcraft, the old yet new religion...
Just as there is no one religion that is right for all people, there is no one denomination of Witchcraft that is right for all witches. We are all different. It has often been said that there are many paths, but they all lead the same center. With so many paths, then, you are able to find the right one for YOU; the one path you can travel comfortably and securely. Here, I will put a few examples:
This was the first denomination of the Craft to make itself known to the public (1950's - England). The Gardnerian tradition places emphasis on the Goddess over the God, with the female generally lauded over the male. Found in most parts of the world.
Founded by Alex Sanders in England. The rituals are basically Gardnerian but have been modified with many Judeo-Christian and Ceremonial Magick elements. Covens work skyclad. The eight Sabbats are observed and both God and Goddess are honered.
The Craft is alive and well "down under", with Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Seax-Wica and other groups there.
An eclectic group founded by two Gardnerians. They work robed at Esbats and Sabbats and skyclad at initiations. They have a degree system, which is very finely tuned, and an in-depth training, some classes being open to newcomers. A "Mixed Traditional Teaching/Training Coven."
Also, there are Solitary Witches. There are pros and cons to being a solitary witch. Sometimes, being alone is better, yet for certain things, it would be best to have a coven. Here, I will put some examples:
Pros and Cons of being a Solitary Witch:
~With a Covener, the rituals are performed by a group of people.
As a solitary, you do everything yourself.
~The Coven meets in a large (usually nine ft. diameter) circle.
The solitary has a small "compact" circle.
~The Coven use a "full complement" of tools, depending on the tradition.
The Solitary uses only what she/he feels she/he needs.
~A Coven must attune itself as one.
A Solitary IS one.
I hope I sparked everyone's curiosity in this hub, because I will be adding a new one every now and then... So, if your interested, become a fan, and stay in touch with my hubs!
(THIS was just an introduction!)
Principals of Wiccan Belief:
In April, 1974, the Counsil of American Witches adopted a set of Principals of Wiccan belief. Here, I put them for all to see... THIS is what the Craft IS all about:
1. We practice rights to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters.
2. We recognize that our intellegence 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 funtions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above 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 dimentions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal excersises. We neglect neither dimention 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 greatest 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, nor 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 role within it.
10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that it's 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 tradition. 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.