The following statements are my personal opinion, based on educated research. Lash out if you want, but an opinion is just that. No one else is responsible for these words except me.

Section 1, Lesson Two

History of Wicca

I decided to start with this one first since there’s a lot of debate and speculation behind the history of this religion.

The father of Wicca was the late Gerald Gardner, who met witches who were part of the New Forest Coven. They introduced him to the ways of witchcraft. With time, Gardner’s new religion gained publicity, starting with his book “Witchcraft Today”, written in 1954. This was against the oath of the Gardnerian tradition to keep the ways of the religion secret. Wicca spread all over the British Isles in the 1960s, and even to Australia and the United States. Englishman Raymond Buckland (a Gardnerian initiate) and his wife, Rosemary, moved to the US and began to teach others about Wicca and even publicized their Book of Shadows for anyone to use within their own practice.

Around the time of Gardner spreading Wicca, people came forward stating they were “Traditional” or “Hereditary” Witches. Even initiated Gardnerian witches began to branch off and create their own traditions. Alex Sanders, also a Gardnerian witch, founded his own tradition now called Alexandrian Wicca. both Gardnerian Wicca and Alexandrian Wicca are now referred to as British Traditional Wicca. In the early 70’s, Algard Wicca was formed by Mary Nesnick. Raymond Buckland made his own tradition called Seax Wicca. Z Budapest created Dianic Wicca, mixing Wiccan practices with feminist politics.

In 1972, most traditions agreed that the Wiccan ways should be revealed to the public. The reasons were most likely for further publicity as well as the growing religious discrimination. In the 2000s, Wicca would reach other nations such as India and South Africa. With the creation of the Internet, the trend of Solitary Wiccans grew tremendously, and with it, religious discrimination diminished. The case of Dettmer v Landon in 1986 established Wicca as a legally recognized religion, and the first wedding to be legally recognized in the UK was in 2004.

Some older views on Wicca have now been proven false, and it is necessary to address these, for the sake of learning from history and remaining enlightened, not ignorant. Gardner claimed that Wicca was directly linked to ancient pre-Christian paganism, yet there is no evidence to confirm this. We may use their deities (the Mother Earth and the Horned God) and worship the Earth’s workings as they did, but Wicca itself is only about 50-60 years old. We also have Buddhist and Hindu influences, but there are no claims of Wicca beginning in Asia or the Middle East!

Another outdated belief of Wicca is that actual Witches were tortured and killed during the Burning Times (that being the times of the Inquisition and Witch Trials, where people accused of witchcraft were on trial). Again, there is no evidence to support that the poor people, children, and animals accused were more than just innocent victims of religious hysteria fueled by greed and superstition.
——————————————————-
History of Witchcraft

In the primitive days, a witch was a follower of the Old Religion (paganism), and was a wise healer and mentor. People would seek out witches for help in many situations. Some of their magickal methods of healing are often used in our now modern forms of medicine and even criminal law. Druidism then became the religion of the British Isles. When Christianity was new, before the concept of original sin was created, many Christian churches taught reincarnation and even still kept the statues of Pagan deities in their church. Many witches were Christian. The difference was the depth of knowledge in topics that many common people did not know about, like herbalism, healing, and astrology. Soon, Christian leaders created documents stating that the witches were evil creatures serving the enemy of God, Beelzebub or Satan. This was due to the Old Religion still being followed. Leaders wanted to erase and even demonize the Old Religion to cause the followers to convert to the New Religion and turn on the others. Those healing others outside of the church, or the using “forbidden” knowledge of magic or spells (notice the difference. The magic perpetuated in their superstition is not the magick used by the witches of old times) were enemies of the Church. And because most of the practitioners were women, women often became the target of their superstition. Women were seen as creatures of temptation, having the power to turn men’s thoughts from matters of prayer or work to lust. They were even seen as the gateway to the Devil, based on the story of Adam and Eve. The Church blamed the physical and mental deformities, disastrous weather patterns, and disease on the healers, seers, sorcerers, and witches. Due to their knowledge of the Earth, they must be the ones that cause all of these horrors.

The first heretic to be burned at the stake died in France in the year 1022. This began the hysteria now known as the Witch Trials, or The Burning Times. During this time, anything to do with sexuality or even happiness was deemed against God. Beauty was evil, the act of procreation was disgusting and wicked, and the act of misogyny was created due to their belief of women. It was seen as a way to control them, and remain in power over their thoughts.

Even the matter of cleanliness was seen as horrid to the Middle Ages Christians. This was largely due to the fact that pagans practiced ritual baths, dating back to the Egyptian priests and Ancient Greeks. Dirt and filth was seen as holy, and cleanliness was an act of witchcraft. Baths were only taken at birth, marriage, and death. Cats and other animals were murdered at this time. They were seen as the witch’s familiar, spying on neighbors and going back to their owner with information of what they saw. Due to these facts, it is no wonder that disease ran as rampantly as it did during this time, with the mouse’s natural predator being out of commission.

Being accused of being a witch meant you faced death, or unspeakable torture. The methods of torture would be to either look for signs of a witch (such as “witch marks”) or to bring out a confession. Death would often come to those who did not confess, or even those who suffered from the witch’s test by water. After being tied to a rock, the accused would then be thrown into water. Those who floated were witches. Those that drowned were innocent.

During the Burning Times, it is said that at least 100,000 people, animals, and children were accused, killed and tortured during this time, in almost every continent. The last witch to be killed in England died in 1682. By the 1800s, the witch craze had all but disappeared in Europe and the United States. However, Africa still has executions for those accused of bewitching others.

Many of the superstitions and fears surrounding the word witch are now seen as unfounded and outdated. Some stereotypes remain, as a response to witchcraft being glamorized by Hollywood, but no one can dispute the power of the witch. Even by just saying the word, it invokes feelings mostly unfelt by other names. Be they good or bad feelings, the fact that Witches have remained a part of society shows how untouched by time they are.

I am starting over on my Wiccan research. Just to continue gaining the knowledge that is so important to me. Enjoy!
The following statements are my personal opinion, based on educated research. Lash out if you want, but an opinion is just that. No one else is responsible for these words except me.

Section 1, Part 1: What is a Witch?

The word witch has a lot of connotations connected to it. Some negative, some positive. This is how I would classify the word witch in my opinion is someone that can command the powers within themselves, in the physical world and the outside worlds to create change.

We create change without knowing it, every breath, every step, you name it. But when you can command the physical, mental, and astral powers at your will, that is when you are practicing witchcraft, because those powers are then at your will. Witches work with every phase path and breath of life.

Most of the time, Witches are described as followers of the Wiccan religion, but just to make sure there arent any misconceptions, all Wiccans are Witches, not every Witch is Wiccan.

Sometimes Witches do not wish to use that term because of the misconceptions drawn to it. I was that way myself, seeing it more as a derogatory term, but in my opinion, when you do that, you are giving the people who tried to disarm the word witch the power over you to call yourself what you really are. I may not use it to describe my religion to a possible nay-sayer at times, but I do not allow that word to have more power than it should.

What is Wicca?

Wicca is a pagan religion that practices Witchcraft. This religion is shamanistic, and worships the Earth, the Mother Goddess and (sometimes, not all the time) Father God. This religion celebrates the phases of the Earth (seasons) with sabbats, and the moon with Esbats. There is no central book or belief system other than that due to th belief that every person is unique in their path, and that there is no one true path for any person. Because of this, also, expirience of the Divine can be done without a church, but in self or group established places of power. There are solitary practitioners as well as group or “coven” worship. Prayers are often called spells due to the fact that magick is most times used, in the practice of herbal, candle and other types of witchcraft.

There are many traditions of this religion, just like in Christianity, but even within those traditions, no one Wiccan is alike.

Part one of my lessons completed!

Check out my drawings at thedementeddollhouse.wordpress.com!

I just posted the first question for my advice column! Things are moving along for me, I just had “Perfect Love, Perfect Trust” posted on WitchVox. Since then I get questions around every other day for advice. I’m excited, and I am so thankful to all of you guys. Even if this is all the advice I’m getting, that’s fine.

Want your question answered?
Send your advice here or leave a reply and it will be posted within 2-3 days.
Please state in the message if you do not want your message posted here.

Love and Light,
Ivy

If you live outside Conus (continental US) or in a different hemisphere, this will be useful, if you don’t already have the knowledge. This is from Yahoo user nyjh.

The standard Sabbats marked in the Wheel of the Year as follows:

The Sabbats dates for the Northern hemisphere:
Yule- Winter Solstice (December 21st/22nd )
Imbolc – Beginning of Spring (February 1st/2nd )
Ostara- Spring Equinox (March 21st/22nd)
Beltaine- Fertility Festival (April 30th/May 1st)
Litha- Summer Solstice (June 21st/22nd)
Lughnasadh- First Harvest (August 1st/2nd)
Mabon- Autumn Equinox (September 21st/22nd)
Samhain- New Year (October 31)

The Sabbats dates for the Southern hemisphere:
Yule – Winter Solstice (June 21st/22nd)
Imbolc- Beginning of Spring (August 1st/2nd)
Ostara- Spring Equinox (September 21st/22nd)
Beltaine- Fertility Festival (October 31st/November 1st)
Litha- Summer Solstice (Dec 21st/22nd)
Lughnasadh- First Harvest (February 1st/2nd)
Mabon- Autumn Equinox (March 21st/22nd)
Samhain- New Year (April 30)

Newbie Questions, Part 2

January 29, 2009

The following statements are my personal opinion. Lash out if you want, but an opinion is just that. No one else is responsible for these words except me.

Why does everyone want to be ignorant about Wicca?
I feel that it’s more that people feel that they have heard all that they want to know, read all that they want to read, and seen all that they want to see. No, this is not a bashing at Hollywood, or even medieval rulers to be honest. I am just saying that just like you have seen the stereotypes, so have other people. People may interpret things differently. Don’t go on the warpath simply because they saw your pentacle as a Star of David. We are given out knowledge to educate those who are willing, and to ignore or tolerate the ones that don’t. Why? Because that’s providing a courtesy that most may not give you, and it makes you stronger for it.

How do I figure out what path in Wicca to go into?
I can’t tell you that to be honest. That is something you must see for yourself. I am not you, so I don’t know what is best for you. Just like I will not badger you into wearing the jeans I like because I think you’d like them, I won’t badger you into any path. There are many out there. There may not be one suited for you; you may have bits of many in your psyche. All of that is for you to find out, not me.

Can you give me some websites to go to get Wiccan spells?
I am not going to just give you a spell, unfortunately, however, let me ask you this: Why are you asking for a spell? Are you looking for an easy way out of something, or a microwave solution? This is not a world where in 2-3 minutes you can have a hot piping delectable world filled with promise. People have always had to earn their keep, and those who cheated through the work always suffer for it. Please research Wicca a bit more before asking that to anyone else, especially the Law of Return, or Threefold law. I have a post here about it, click here to get to it.

Any ideas on how to practice Wicca with no money?
Ah, that is a great question. A lot of new Wiccans see Wicca as a, oh crap now I need to buy a robe, some candles, incenses, a tricked out pentacle, some black….everything, etc. Your belief is all that matters, and yes, that is free. I am broke myself, so I try to find frugality whenever I can. A good idea is to grow your own herbs. Another idea is researching over the internet. What I do is research for Wiccan books, or new age books, and then search the local library for the book. Most of the time, I find it, put it on hold, and pick it up on my way to work. Either way, there are always resources at your disposal. Research groups that don’t charge (i.e. Meetup), and websites that hold knowledge about Wicca. Don’t limit yourself to just one perspective though. Also, thrift stores are a godsend. Just remember that all you need to practice is your mind.

Why do people get Wiccan and Satanism confused?
Simple answer? In Christianity, anything that is not Christian is associated with Satan. Complex answer? Back in the old days, when Christianity was the new religion, it banned Pagans turned their symbols into their antagonistic deity, Beelzebub or Satan. Despite any kind of truth, more so greed and fear, the images and spoken rumors turned into what we call the Witch Trials, in Europe, America, and more recently, Africa. Because these images stuck, most people see Wicca as what they were exposed to, not on what they have researched.

Does anyone practice the Wicca religion and know the old ways?
First, Wicca is new. It began in the 1960′s, so I am going to answer no. The Old Ways are specific to ways that were practiced in medieval ages or even prior to that. Even someone who is a descendant of a witch and practices the Craft more than likely is not Wiccan. Yet, I am not even certain that all of the old ways have survived all of these centuries. Just me being honest though.

How do I convince my mother (or other parental figure) to let me study Wiccan?
I say build up your case. My parents still don’t understand my path, but they accept it. Your mother may never see Wicca as what she sees as the best for you, it is not for us to say. Try and see things from her point of view. Talk rationally. Do not pull the teenage tantrum, if you are trying to be seen as an adult in her eyes; someone that is mature enough to make their own decision on what they have faith in. She may not like it at first, second, or 23rd time. It is up to her to seek the truth, just like you. Accept her ideals, as you would like her to accept yours. Again, there are libraries and places to go on the internet to join forums and groups to meet, but I wouldn’t outright disobey her.

I just was wondering if a Wicca spell for healing someone with Cerebral Palsy would actually work or not?
Depends. Some say that in higher magick, you can work miracles, but I say the physical ailments need to be healed by physical healers. As far as CP goes, there is no cure, at least that’s what I remember about it, but there are treatments. A way to remove angst towards something you cannot control is by showing yourself that it is not a burden. I have friends who live with CP that are happy, at least from what I see. Meditate, and live your life unchained. No God/dess would give you any hardship you couldn’t handle.

Is Wiccan real? Witchcraft? Tell me an easy simple spell I can perform so I can see with my own eyes?
That, again, is up to perception and personal interpretation of what is real/fake. You may see something as real or fake depending on if you can see, hear, touch, taste, or feel it. Maybe all at once. But within the magick I have done, I do not need to see it for it to be real. It is more of an inner feeling, something you cannot express in words without looking like a hippy or nutcase. That is called the sixth sense. Many describe it when they are in love, or angry; for witchcraft to be real, you must seek out the wisdom on your own. And as for Wicca (the religion) it may not be true for you. Research it and find out.

What is the fastest way to grasp the art of Wicca?
Again, not a microwave world. A way to better comprehend the happenings around you is to accept that not only are there forces unseen by any mortal (something that is of the divine but imperfect because it can die) senses is to meditate. Start practicing putting yourself in a trance state. The only way to let it become more useful to you is to get used to it.

How do you know magick is real?
Again, I can only speak for myself. I can tell you stories, go on for hours, but I cannot put the divine into words simply because they are Divine. That includes the magick they give us in our souls and around us. You may experience it with X, while I experience it with Y. Perception is key to Magick.

Click here to go to Yahoo Answers (where i got my questions; bored at work again.)

Newbie Questions

January 28, 2009

The following statements are my personal opinion. Lash out if you want, but an opinion is just that. No one else is responsible for these words except me.

What is Wicca all about?
Wicca is an Earth loving religion that personifies deity into two entities, one feminine and one masculine. Just with the cycles of the Earth, the deities are born, they live, and die to show that they are immortal and their cycles untouched by time.

How do I become Wiccan?
Ok, Wicca isn’t a club, or a cult. You can learn about the religion, but honestly, I would check your reasoning for why Wiccan is drawing your attention, and what you hope to get out of it. Anyway, to learn the Wiccan ways, you can read, talk to friends, join groups, etc., but the best way to learn about an Earth worshipping religion is to rejoin nature. Take time out of your day to enjoy it. The way to experience religion, at least this one, is to go for it on your own. No book, no people telling you what to think, just you and the Divine.

There’s so much to learn. Where do I start?
See last answer (lol).

What does Wicca say about… insert topic here…?
If you ask 3 witches about the same topic, their answers may be the same, as we are all open to a lot of alternative ways of thinking and living. However, if you get different answers, that is also expected because not every Wiccan sees the world in the same light. We may not eat the same things, wear the same clothes, so why expect us to see eye-to-eye on every issue?

When do I get to do spells?
My opinion here, but I say once you have a firm grip on not only the separation between magic (sci-fi, charmed, Criss angel, etc.) and magick, as well as the ethics behind magick and your own morality, I say start with protection, healing and prosperity spells (not the same as $$). That will teach you and let you see how magick can help you when used knowledgably. However, that doesn’t exclude you from meditation, divination, or consecration (man I feel like a preacher, all the rhyming haha). I say start with the “good” spells and meditative means mostly because you have to crawl before you can walk. Your karma isn’t worth a guy who will drool over you, or getting someone back for calling you names. Study those different methods, but don’t focus on just “higher magick”. Start low and grow to it.

How to I find other people to discuss it with?
There are a lot of websites dedicated to uniting people via the internet such as Meetup.com which host Wiccan groups (for solitaries too!), and I love WitchVox. I will post a list of good websites later. Another idea would be to, again, go to friends or family or a new person that you may not know and ask. If they are impolite, move on, yet most Wiccans will be happy to help. They won’t search for you, though; you have to search for them.

If I join a coven do I have to stay with it forever?
No. That implies a sort of pact you make to the coven that binds you to them. That is not what a Wiccan coven will do. If you find that the Wiccan path doesn’t suit you anymore, just be courteous and say goodbye at least. It is common knowledge that people’s minds change on issues over time. Why should your perspective on your beliefs be any different (not the beliefs themselves necessarily)? There are many paths that people are allowed to walk on to find their one solution, and Wicca is just a small piece of it. That’s why researching other paths is so important.

Do I have to practice Wicca to be a true Wiccan or is belief enough?
I’m not sure what you mean here…. Do you mean if practicing magick is essential to being a true Wiccan? Ok. Let me say this, if there was a true “Wiccan”, that would have to be the same as all other religions, and you would be ostracized by all if you don’t follow the “true” path. The only truth that is true is what you feel is true. That deals a lot in perception. To answer your question, no. Magick is any action intended to bring about change. Wiccan is the religion. Two different things that can stand on their own, but some decide to use them both. All you need for any religion is your belief, not just Wicca.

Where do I find reliable sources?
I will be making a list of a lot of good sites to go to, as well as books I have and hope to get soon. As far as reliability, your research will judge that. I can send you right now to a page that I say is reliable, but it may not be to you. Do your own research, and use the tools you find as inspiration. Reliability for religion is based on how well it matches up to contradicting arguments, as well as a person’s beliefs are on what suits them. Try posing a Pro and Con argument to each issue you find. If it is valid, then it can hold its own in an argument against it.

What is the difference between a witch and a Wiccan?
There are many many kinds of witches, and a Wiccan Witch is just one of them. A Wiccan can be Wiccan and not a Witch, and a Witch can be a witch and not Wiccan. A witch is someone who practices Witchcraft, and it is not mandatory for Wiccans, as only the belief is necessary.

How do you feel about Wicca and witchcraft?
I have practiced it for almost half of my life, so it is a huge part of me. I have always been Pagan, but I have been Wiccan for 9 years. I feel that nature is a part of me, something I can never walk away from, or take for granted. Witchcraft is still somewhat new to me but it feels second nature to me.

Wait for Part 2!!

Click here to go to Yahoo Answers, where I got all the newbie questions from. (Bored at work)

Love and Light,
Ivy

May the Fates see this world crumbling; recessions, hunger, death, and political tryanny in the form of justice and patriotism. May our country rise stronger and better than before, with the hope of a better future.

First, I’d like to notate that the following statements are my personal opinion. Lash out if you want, but an opinion is just that. No one else is responsible for these words except me.

I contemplated broadcasting my BOS online or not for a long time. I am still thinking about it, which is why I am compiling this list. This list may be edited over time. Every action has a negative and positive outcome. Lets get the positive out first.
1. Lets say you’re compiling a purification spell and you get stuck. Writers block. Isn’t that just the luck for ya? You go online and see that someone has written a spell for purification, and you see the piece you’re missing. Creating the online BOS can help you not only with your inspiration, but others’ too. Thats (partially) why we do it right?
2. Of course, you are proud of who you are, as a witch, as a human, and all that. Posting your BOS and seeing the views get higher is a personal ego boost. Yay, people are reading it! Im helping, and all that. Always a good feeling.
3. If you would like to add, change or delete anything, it’s a snap! I am a big believer in spell check too.
4. We are human. Things may be taken out of context, or may just be typed in wrong. It happens to the best of us, and the internet brings us exposure to people who will try and help us learn. Never a bad thing, as long as the criticism is of course constructive.

Ok, now there are some faults that I have seen with blog BOS’ today. Gotta write em out, sorry.
1. Whatever happened to “To Be Silent”? I guess you know what you are doing when you post it, and I trust you do, but one of the most important Wiccan laws is the Witches Pyramid. One of those laws is To Be Silent. Not only will your magick that is in process lose power, but you can diffuse your own popularity by bragging and boasting feats. Not every blog does this but I have seen some where other people are being demeaned and the owner puts themselves on some sort of pedastool that seems to float on hot air. Be yourself, but know your place and know when to listen not talk.
2. When people read books or read blogs, especially new ones (god bless em lol) they seem to think, oh ok this is the way i do this. I know this because I was a new one once. A long time ago, but still. Posting the spells and knowledge run the risk of people saying this is how this is and using that knowledge to demean others and say Im so smart blah blah u dont know anything. Thus, of course, making an ass out of themselves in the end.
3. Depending on the spell(s) and essays you post, you may be sending out the wrong message. Take a long hard look at what you’re writing. If you think that you mean all of what you say, post it. But if someone comes around to your page, you may be their only Wiccan representation of truth that they know. When you send it out, there are consequences. You alone are responsible for what you think, and that is the same for what you blog.
4. As time progresses, you may have some people emailing you for answers to certain questions. Good right? Yes, in some contexts. However, you may have people who expect you to not only help them, they want you to whip up a spell or something simlilar to help them with the problem in question. You don’t have all the answers. No one does, at least, as long as they are stuck in this plane lol.

So, my decision is yes, I am going to post a BOS online, with a Q&A section, but my words are only mine; they do not speak for the whole Wiccan community. They dont even speak for my best friend.

The spells I post will be for the newbies. Why? I am proud of them, and it helps my creativity. However, the serious ones, like love spells, even retribution, should be left to the serious who know enough to handle the reprocussions.

If you need advice, I will have a place there for that as well.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Love and Light,
Ivy

The Wiccan Rede

May 7, 2008

The Rede has been interpreted as a lot of things. Long, short, law, advice, or not even relevant at all.

The truth is “bad” things and “bad” events are in existence because, not only were we given the capabilities to make these things (ex: given the knowledge to make steel, which can be made into a sword), but also because they are here for a reason.

Bad and good are up to the individual’s interpretation, and of course, perception. For example, most of us good ol’ American kids have gone to D.A.R.E., right? Drugs are “bad”. I know this as I have already gone over that abuse hump and survived it to this point. But at the same time, if there were no drugs or addiction, or abuse or neglect, so many people would not feel that feeling of being alive and reborn that stopping an addiction or freeing themselves from tyranny often gives. Drug free programs would have no use and we would not know the uses, medicinal and otherwise of most plants. Some of our best songs in many genres were written out of and about addiction or abuse of some sort.

There are many things that come out of “harm”, so really, labeling anything as “bad” or “good”, “light” or “dark”, “good” or “evil” is pretty much futile in my opinion. Without one, the other cannot exist. This world is not black and white, or even gray. It is of many shades, hues, sizes, and shapes and we need to consider them all, even within our own “world”.

Although there really is no point in labeling anything as bad or good, we all must have some sort of ethics system to regulate the extension and boundaries of expression and free will. That’s how I see the Wiccan Rede. I do not see it as a law for every person because it is simplistic by itself. However, within its simplicity is its beauty and curse. We all want to do what is best and what will bring the most positive energy to the universe. That poem simply puts a label to that ideal.

It is not to be taken literally, because if we never harmed anything, we better be plants, because we can’t eat anything. In any topic of ethics, it is very tricky because every side of the spectrum has to be taken into account. This world is complicated, but this aspect of humility towards all things, giving back what you take, and treating all with respect and tolerance is an ideal for which all of us should abide by.

Please know that you don’t have to like something to tolerate it. Tolerate is simply saying, ok do what makes you happy.

And, as far as defending yourself, and all that, you are included in the universe, as we are all connected. If I am to hurt you, then I am in essence hurting myself. So, protect yourself! You are all you have at the end of your days in this life. You are the constant that keeps the fabric of existence in tact. If you were meant to be gone, you would not be reading this. The Goddess has given us trials, and has given us the God in the form of the Sun and his rays for us to see the light of every dark situation. There is always a plan B, and your actions will reflect in your environment.

I think that’s it.
Blessed be.

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