AGAINST THE WITCH HUNTERS

AGAINST THE WITCH HUNTERS
Robin Culain

“All this has happened before. And all this will happen again. But this time it happened to …”

Well, us.

The beginning of Sir James Barrie’s Peter Pan must echo what many of us are feeling, as we watch a new and loosely-knit conglomerate of yellow journalists, right-wing eco-spoilers and Evangelical and Fundamental Christians move slowly towards a Witch hunt for the 90’s. Our spiritual ancestors faced similar problems in many times and many lands.

Recall the Priestesses of Eleusis, last of an ancient line, in decline, falling at last to the stratagems of Theseus and his new Attic Gods. Recall the Etruscans, their vision of sexual-political balance overpowered by the might and organization of the husband-headed Roman Empire. And most tender to the touch, recall the agony of the middle ages, as the Catholic, then Protestant churches
consolidated their grip on the rural population, killing six million alleged or actual Witches in the process.

The hunt is in a beginning stage and beginnings are important. The formal focus of the television specials, Redbook articles, diatribes in the LaRouchite New Federalist, “Occult Crime” seminars and newspaper articles is some thing called “Satanism”, which bears little or no relationship to Wicca and Neo-Paganism.

In fact, media “Satanism” bears little resemblance to any historically verifiable Satan-ism. It is neither classical Egyptian Set-worship”, Romantic Ceremonial Satanism a la Huysmanns nor modern Egoist flamboyance per La Vey. Sometimes it’s heavy metal sullenness, drugs and violence, but that’s usually only for starters. The heavy metal boys, we’re usually told, are just dupes of
the Great Conspiracy. And when you get down to the real stuff, the genuine complaint, it’s generally the stuff of horror movies and nightmare — baby-eating, virgin-sacrificing bloodsucking monsters!

All this has happened before. And all this will happen again.

There’s a limited range of things that can be used to stir up the anger of a populace against a group, or deaden moral sensitivity to a persecution. It pretty much boils down to baby-eating, virgin-sacrificing and bloodsucking.

This has been the century of Hitler’s Holocaust, but the Russians who butchered entire Jewish villages in the Pogroms, the inhabitants of York who slaughtered nearly every Jew in the city in the 1100’s didn’t merely think the Yiddim dressed and talked funny. The accusations were the same. By Jesus, those Jews ate babies! They were just like Satanists, with one exception.

You could find the Jews.
There probably aren’t any “Satanists” as portrayed in the articles, seminars and diatrib-es. If there are, they’re certainly not Neo-Pagans or Wiccans. But in the lucrative atmo-sphere in which the press, missionaries and so-called “Crime Advisers” publicize and proselytize the word “Witch” creeps in every third sentence.

Naturally, we Witches and Neo-Pagans have spent a certain amount of effort pointing out that we love children like anybody else, have no particular attraction to virginity, and tend, in the most extreme of our diets, to vegetarianism. In short, we have tried to educate our detractors and the media to our harmlessness.

This tactic is true, and this tactic is good, but I think that if it becomes our primary response to persecution we will ultimately fail to endure.

Imagine a Witch in the Middle Ages in front of a Catholic or Protestant tribunal. In some cases she has been denounced by a business competitor, or an envious rival in love, or a spiteful neighbor. In other cases she has been brought to the dock by an expert in “Occult Crime” — the traveling Witch
Finder.

She stands bound before her Inquisitors, plain or pompous depending on their religious persuasion. Perhaps there’s a crowd around. She tries to educate them to the simple fact that she’s a worshipper of the Old Gods, loves children like anybody else, has no particular attraction to virginity, and tends, in the most extreme of her diets, to vegetar-ianism.

They, in turn, accuse her of worshipping a living fiend, blighting the cattle, and eating babies.

She doesn’t stand a chance.

Now picture another scene, one that has not occurred often. She stands before those assembled, and begins, shall I say, to point out some facts. She points out the medieval physician with the two per cent live delivery rate who wants the local midwifery practice shut down. She points out the priest and bishop who are terrifying the once fun-loving populace into penury and pestilence with the twin threats of damnation and the noose. She denounces the Christian nobles who will brook no interference with their rule, least of all from the old Nobility of the land.

She’d be shut up in short order, but in a different way, for she would be addressing the real issues. The nonsense about babies, Black Men and cattle was then, and is now nothing more than a smoke screen to mask real and significant religious and political differences. It’s all a cheap trick, a coward’s cheat, a way of throwing muck until some sticks. It is only used when the real terms of
debate cannot stand the light of day, and it works only if we permit it!

Our situation is in no way as dire as that of our ancestors. Only now have things moved to the stage where one group, the far-right and sometimes farcical Limonites, actively bait Wiccans and Neo-Pagans as being “as bad as Satanists”. And unlike our ancest-ors, we have a freedom of speech they could only dream of. We will not be silenced if we speak, certainly not at this time. So let’s not waste our opportunity! Whenever the “Witch-Hunters” bait us or attempt to smear us with their cannibal taunts, let’s find out what the real agenda is, and address it. Make the Lyndonite defend himself against whipping up the population against a minor-ity religion as Hitler stirred hatred
against the Jews. Make the entire La Rouche crew explain their suicidal environmental policies, and their editorial statement that “the worship of Mother Earth does indirectly lead to mass murder …” Engage them on the real issues — just what the worship of the Mother really means, and what people are really like that scapegoat innocents and despise nature!

Likewise with the “Occult Crimewatch”. Ask them about their sources of revenue. About their religious agendas and connection with Evangelical missions. Ask the if they support religious freedom, and if non-Evangelical religious belief, in their opinion, is a hazard to the public. Ask them, if you can corner them into a frank reply, what on earth they are doing lecturing hate to police officers sworn to protect all the public, Christian and Pagan!

The media deserve the same. Let’s not spend more than a breath denying lurid charg-es. Instead, ask them why they are sensationalizing and smearing a legitimate religion to make sales. Inquire as to whether the German press in the 30’s had a responsibility for the slanders on the Jews that they printed. Ask them how they’ll feel if harm comes to one Pagan woman or man, girl or boy
through their negligence, indifference to non-sensational fact and search for sales.

In every case we have an opportunity to turn the tide, by coming right out with our real differences in front of the public, and insisting that the terms of debate be on genuine issues. We must refuse to be backed into a defensive posture, denying ever-wilder charges.

Instead let us bring our active advocacy and love of our Gods, of Mother Earth, of our families and children and ourselves to the fore in every debate. We must require our opponents to bare their genuine beliefs and motives, and contrast them clearly with our own in full view. We must sharpen the terms of debate so keenly that no person can leave the scene without having to make a clear and conscious choice about what they value and believe is right.

There’s no point in lecturing to the Cardinal. The audience for every debate is not the Witch Hunter, it is the neutral observer. Let them see the love of the Earth, and contrast it to nearsighted greed and poverty of emotion. Let them see the love of the Old Gods and contrast it to a cringing fear of the Father’s judgment. Let them see generosity and intelligence and refusal to be sacrificed,
and contrast them to venality, cunning and scape goating. In every debate, let us rise to the height of our capability, and let our opponents have it in the Values — right where it hurts!

Morals of a Witch

Morals of a Witch

Witchcraft is often understood to be evil, demoralizing, and immoral because it  goes against the beliefs of the catholic church. This is due mostly to a  misunderstanding of the modern use of the term “witch.” In earlier times,  witchcraft was essentially the term used for “devil worship.” Witches of old  were said to be in league with the devil. They hurt people, traveled to  gatherings where they engaged in evil spell-casting, demoralizing acts, and  Satan worship. At the same time, there were wisepeople in villages. These people  were the healers, the midwives, and the elders who knew things which might be  considered witchery today. These people were not, at the time, considered or  even called witches. Today, for some reason, these people have chosen to take on  the name of witchcraft. Even in medieval times, people engaged in witchery.  These things included charms to predict love or the weather, good luck charms,  and psychic sight (gifts of the angels). For example, people knew charms that  were used in prediction such as limericks and poems. These went something like:  “cat’s paw upon the water, first sigh of storm-king’s daughter.” This limerick  means that if you see a cat place its paw in water, then there will be a storm.  These are sometimes called “old wives’ tales.” Other superstitions are: walking  under a ladder is bad luck and smashing a mirror is 7 years bad luck. Magical  charms were and are also used: four-leaf clovers, found pennies, locks of hair,  horseshoes when turned upside down, and lucky and unlucky numbers. These things  were never considered witchcraft the way we use it in witchcraft today.
Many Christians are beginning to understand the differences between what is  now called witchcraft and the old word witchcraft which was used for “devil  worship.” No one is really sure why the healers of today have chosen this once  derogatory term to describe themselves. Likely, it has stemmed from small groups  of adolescents forming “covens.” Early Wiccans were not called witches.
Today, witches are known for their good deeds. Witches believe in eternal  learning. Witches believe in truth and truth telling. We are always trying to  help those around us and find ways to better ourselves. Witches also follow many  of the traditional views of Christianity. We believe in harming no living being.  We believe in fidelity (loyalty), we love our families and raise our children to  have good moral standards. We do not believe in forming cults or any other  harmful or mind-controlling groups. We stand against killing and oppression of  all kinds. We believe in the freedom to love who we choose to love. We believe  in self-sacrifice for the good of others. We believe in charity.

Source:
Witch Crafted

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Ten Factoids You Need to Know About Paganism and Wicca

Ten Factoids You Need to Know About Paganism and Wicca

By , About.com

There’s a lot of information out there on Wicca and Paganism, in books, on the Internet, and through local groups. But how much of it is accurate? How do you learn to separate the wheat from the chaff? The fact is, there are several basic things you should understand about Wicca and Paganism before you make the decision to join a new spiritual path. Let’s eliminate some of the misconceptions and talk about actual facts… it will make your spiritual journey all the more valuable if you understand these issues from the begining.

1. Yes, Even Wicca Has Rules

Sure, a lot of people think that just because there’s no Grand High Wiccan and Pagan Council that there must be all kinds of magical carnage going on. Truth is, there are some fairly standard guidelines followed by a number of different Pagan traditions. While they vary from one group to the next, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the concepts. Learn more about the rules of magic before you continue your studies.

2. Not All Witches are Pagans are Wiccans

There are dozens of Pagan traditions, and as many different versions of Wicca. Not all are the same, and just because someone is a witch or Pagan doesn’t necessarily mean they practice Wicca. Learn about the differences in paths found among the umbrella term “Paganism.”

3. Wicca is a Religion, Not a Fashion Statement

Contrary to what many popular movies might have you believe, you don’t have to be a teenage goth princess to be Wiccan. In fact, you don’t “have to be” anything at all. Wiccans come from all walks of life — they are parents and teens, lawyers, nurses, firefighters, waitresses, teachers and writers. Pagans come from all different walks of life, all socio-economic groups, and all sorts of racial backgrounds. There’s no Pagan Dress Code that says you have to toss away your polo shirt or khakis in favor of capes and an all-black wardrobe. On the other hand, if you prefer the goth look, go for it… just remember that goth and Wiccan are not synonymous.

4. Religious Freedom Applies to Wiccans and Pagans Too

Believe it or not, as a Wiccan or Pagan you have the same rights as people of any other religion. Despite the fact that some members of other faiths might disapprove of the existence of Wicca and Paganism, the fact is that if you live in the United States, you’re entitled to protection just like anyone else. It’s against the law for anyone to discriminate against you because you practice an earth-based faith. Learn about your rights as a Pagan or Wiccan parent, as an employee, and even as a member of the United States military.

5. It’s Okay to Be Out of the Broom Closet… or Not

Countless numbers of Pagans and Wiccans have made the choice to “come out of the broom closet”… in other words, they’ve stopped hiding their spiritual path from others. For many people, this is a huge decision. You may feel that it’s not in your best interest to make your religious beliefs known, and that’s okay too. If you feel you could be in danger if you reveal that you are Wiccan, or that it might put a strain on family relations, going public might be something you should postpone. Get all the pros and cons on coming out of the broom closet.

6. Wiccans and Pagans Are Not Satanists

Ask any Pagan or Wiccan about the cornerstone of their faith, and they’ll probably tell you it’s a reverence for their ancestors, a belief in the sacredness of nature, a willingness to embrace the Divine within ourselves, or an acceptance of polarity between the male and female. It may be a combination of those principles. It will not have anything to do with the Satan, Old Scratch, Beelzebub, or any of the other names attributed to the Christian devil. Pagans and Wiccans aren’t devil worshippers, Satanists, or Diabolists. Learn more about how Pagans and Wiccans feel about such an entity.

7. Join a Coven, or Practice Solitary?

Many Wiccans and Pagans choose to join a coven or study group because it allows them the chance to learn from like-minded people. It’s an opportunity to share ideas and get new perspectives on any number of things. However, for some folks it’s just more practical or desirable to remain as a solitary practitioner.

8. Parents and Teens

Nothing will set a teenager at odds with a parent quite like coming into the house wearing a giant pentacle, toting a candle, and yelling, “I’m a witch now, leave me alone!” Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Parents, you may have some concerns about Wicca and Paganism… and teens, you probably aren’t sure how to talk to mom and dad about your newfound interest. Rest easy, though. With a little bit of good communication, both parents and teenagers should be able to find a happy medium.

9. You Don’t Need a Lot of Fancy Tools

Many people think they need to stock up on hundreds of dollars worth of incense, herbs, wands and candles before they can even begin to practice Wicca or Paganism. That’s simply not the case. While a few basic magical tools3 are nice to have, the key element of most traditions are the beliefs, not the tangible, physical items. If you’d like to gather a very basic “starter kit” of tools, there are several which are common to nearly every tradition.

10. You Can Write Your Own Spells and Rituals

Despite a commonly held (and generally Internet-based) belief, anyone can write a spell. The trick is to recognize what the key elements are to successful spellcrafting — intent or goal, components, and putting it into practice are all key. Don’t let anyone tell you that beginners can’t write a spell. Just like any other skill set, it will take some practice, but with a little work you can become a perfectly effective spellworker.

The Evolution of My Sacred Symbol

The Evolution of My Sacred Symbol

Author:   Lady Rain StarDragon (Teresa Garcia)    

All around us are symbols, and all are sacred when viewed with Sacred Mind, the state that we enter into when we meditate, or pray, smile at a new baby, or gaze in awe as the sky is painted with crimson and gold as Amaterasu leaves our visible sky as she traverses the High Plain of Heaven while our planet turns. The ones I have chosen for my personal use have changed through the years as I have changed and danced with Time.

As a child, I was raised to be Christian, and specifically Seventh Day Adventist, even though some would say my father was rather lax as he almost never went to church- he worked as a Correctional Officer at a fire camp and almost always ended up on-duty Saturdays. For a while, my mother took my brother and I, and the crucifix was a symbol that held power for me without question. My guardian spirit was with me from birth, and though he said he was a ryu and not an angel as believed in my the church I attended, and often encouraged me to consider what the symbols around and in the text read in services meant. Intuitively, the cross was the four directions for me, and Jesus was Man at the center, taking up his burden. Those in the church seemed to miss what I thought an important fact, his primary mission not being a scapegoat for mistakes we make in life, but a lesson in proper conduct towards our fellows so those mistakes would either not be made or would be lesser.

Others didn’t see my point, although my guardian and teacher agreed whole heartedly. To them, our race was unclean because the original humans disobeyed God (who I later learned was a particular deity called Yahweh of a particular tribe, and therefore possibly not the original creator in the grand scheme of things… provided there is one) . They took the Knowledge of Good and Evil without permission. I couldn’t understand, knowledge is for everyone, especially something like that. According to those in the church I attended, it was necessary for an innocent man to die to atone for such an act. For me, this symbol became tainted and sullied, and it took me a long time to discard the surface level understanding and delve back to the core. That is neither here nor there though, and I did not return to that church, setting out on an inner journey for understanding.

My guardian, that I will refer to here as Goruden, shared wisdom with me that day that I will never forget. “Listen to the wind, it will teach you everything you need to know. Become one with it and the water, flowing always home.” In essence, Nature held the answers that I was looking for. He had already helped me to learn to listen to what the trees told me, and I was learning to see through the eyes of animals. When visiting mountains, I listened to their slow, deep breathing, the voices of the stones, and the stories of the inner earth that Mounts Lassen and Shasta shared with me. Mountains and Wind became my symbols, as well as the stars of the night sky that had guided travelers for eons.

It wasn’t long before I was approached by someone Goruden-sensei had told about me, and I found books in the library when Goruden suggested that I look into knowledge about witches, as some of my ancestors reputedly had been killed as witches. While Goruden taught me the magic of his country and people, as different from humans and yet able at times to take humans into their families or join human families, I read what I could about witches from the reference section of the library and pondered what had been shared by the old woman who had come to me. After a while, I chanced upon “The Witches Bible” by the Farrars. After showing the ad to my mother, I used my allowance money and ordered it with her permission, and she had started checking the mail every day before my father could.

One day, he managed to come home early, and wouldn’t you know it, but that’s when the Gods decreed my package would arrive. Since he didn’t know the return address, he insisted I show him what was in it. Oh my, what a mess that was, and the big pentacle, cup and sword on the cover infuriated my father, due to what he had been taught as a boy about witches. Oddly enough, the next day after a long talk with my mother, I came home from school and discovered that my father wanted to speak with me about the book. He gave it back, having looked through it. The whole thing hadn’t gone the way that I intended it too, but we had a good discussion about why witches weren’t evil, and how a pentacle did not equate to Satanism. I was granted permission to explore this further since it had been he himself that had told me of how there was a witch in the family on his side (mother’s too, but that has no bearing on this) . I accepted teaching from the old woman who had come to me earlier, along with another young lady and a young man who became my training partners, my siblings.

It was during this time that I made personal acquaintance with The Lady, who I discovered to be much like Goruden. An indescribable presence in all her forms, both the terrifying and the beauteous, and although she was both harsh and loving I could stand before her without fear even when she revealed something that had ultimately driven my sister back to her former path.

The Pentacle became my symbol then when I had entered this training, and I determined that I would obtain one to wear. Goruden and I poured through the book together and reviewed the verbal lessons I was granted, as he admitted his knowledge of Western magic and religion was rather limited, having come from Okinawa (curiosity is what caused him to follow my father back to America when the time came) . The star is a symbol that is used by his people as well, and we had much interest in seeing the parallels and differences in practices and beliefs. I had something to call my beliefs, although Goruden never told me what he called what he was teaching, other than “The way things are” or “The path of the Spirits.” He wanted me to find my own path, not to copy what was his and followed by some in his own land.

Time continued to dance on, and I did obtain a Pentacle to wear (I had made several for use on my altar) , although I later ended up giving this to a family member through the man who later was my husband. I had outgrown that particular one, as it had the Tetragramaton upon it. By this time, I had also discovered sources on the religions of the East, and began learning about Shinto. I had obtained another Pentacle that bore the symbols of many religions on it, which symbolized to me not only the five elements I had learned of through Wicca, but the five elements as taught by my guide which were more like states than anything as they flowed into each other. This version of the Pentacle also symbolized to me how every religion contains truth, and how if these are found and combined a greater whole is made.

In the academic texts about Shinto, I found the views Goruden had taught me from as a child, and found pictures of the things he had described to me, the red torii, the roadside Jizo, the shrines both plain and ornate, the gorgeous Buddhist temples that he had visited with curiosity, and the shrine that he had to visit for a month every year. I learned the name he had only given me translations of, Shinto, “The Way of the Kami.”

I realized that every time I had learned something new, I had been approaching the stone circle of my ancestors through the red torri erected in my mind, the gate. Perhaps one day I will build a torri on my property. I also knew the central and most influential symbol in my life, which was not the Pentacle of the Element/States, nor the Sacred Mountain that I now live at the foot of which I am bound energetically to, but the Dragon, Ryu.

Dragon in Japanese is Doragon, Tatsu, or Ryu and is a Kami. Kami is translated by some as God, others as Deity, and others as Spirit but is all of these and more. Kami is Kami. Dragon to me stands for wisdom, strength, friendship, protection and love. Dragons can be vain and jealous, some are self-centered and violent, and like us they can be foolish as they too have negative qualities like everything. However, through my experiences with my guardian, he has taught me well and shared what wisdom he has. He has taught me strength, listened to me cry when hurt emotionally and physically, comforted me when he could. He has protected me to the best of his ability, as he does have other responsibilities than a young woman who is Priestess/Goddess and also both Kami and Human, that sometimes loses sight of the fact that she and all else are Kami. Goruden has been a friend to me all my life, and yes, holds my love just as much as my husband does, or my children. My life path is both Wicca and Shinto, and the symbol that I have designed to express my personal path is the Pentacle with a dragon lounging upon it, for it is who I am.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Author:   Grey Ghost 

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” … caught that old lyric as we were walking thru the mall. While the song is more in line with the winter season, I was always fond of the sentiment around the first of September when the kids would go back to school some twenty-five years ago. We in the Witch/Pagan community should be profoundly singing that lyric as Samhain approaches.

As the eve of all hallows is upon us, reflect upon the past year. The veil between Malkuth and Spheres of the spiritual realm grows thin, allowing contact made easier with those who are no longer of the flesh. Sing the praises of those past glories and rejoice upon the “good moments” spent with those now incarnate. The time is now!

Perhaps the most difficult subject to discuss is the process of passing from this reality of the body to the true nature of spiritual existence. Plainly evident from concerns spent here is the underlying preoccupation that our younger members have with the material world. They have not made the discovery that this physical world is of much less importance than their true inner nature as spiritual beings. They seem to value peer acceptance above spiritual advancement.

They appear to value a feel good spell or enchantment more than accumulation of Prana or life force. And lastly, they speak little of transferring psychic energy to heal others. While living with the reality of physical world has needs, the true power of the Witch needs to explore the spiritual realms if we are complete or even contemplate the great work.

Enough of the soap box … my purpose in this writing is to remind you that this is the most wonderful time of the year for the Witch in all of us. This is the time to celebrate the past year and plan for the next year. Now is the time to prepare ourselves for the turn of wheel, celebrating the life force around us.

One of the chief methods of focusing our inner power is the art of visualizing. Many books and speakers talk of this in a manner of fact way as if everyone can visualize without further lessons. So I will speak to especially our younger members of a simple approach to basic visualization.

Peoples all over the world of many differing religious views have known for a long time that the love of the Lord and Lady was more than asking and receiving material things. The Pagan community then must come to realize the grace and love of our Lady are the really only important gifts that She can bestow upon us.

We must first learn to manipulate the forces and forms of the Pentagram, to understand the energies and powers of the universe. Once understood, we can begin the quest to understand ourselves. By quieting our minds and subduing the unimportant thoughts, we train our minds to be fit containers to be used to hold the wisdom and love of our Lady. Only through these cleansing rituals can we become prepared.

The visualization: gaze now upon the pentagram. You must be able to see the pent alpha in our mind. When you open your eyes, the pentagram will remain momentarily in mid air. This will take practice and patience; it does not happen over night. Once you can hold the pentagram for at least thirty seconds after you open you eyes, you will be ready for the nest step.

Any visualized symbol can be use to project your personal energy. Forming the pentagram should be practiced and practiced until proficient before using this method in creation of the circle. To form a pentagram, we start by seeing the pentagram by using retinal retention (scientific term) .

This is not the same as projecting the energy and visualizing the pentagram. Using a pentagram or pentacle, look at the object with much intensity and focus under a bright light. Close your eyes tightly and you will “see” an after image or retinal retention of the pentagram in your minds eye. A bright image against the dark of having your eyes shut. This exercise creates an image that will be similar to the one you will create through visualization.

Exercise 2: This exercise will allow you, with practice, to create an image like the one you “saw” in the previous example, without looking at an example of the pentagram. By creating the image in your mind along, you are imbuing it with your personal energy.

Look at a candle, white in a dark room; then close your eyes. The bright spot of light will be seen by the mind’s eye after your eyes are shut. (Retinal retention again) Relax for a few minutes until the retinal retained image of the candle is gone. Then close your eyes, relax and let a white point of light appear. Think about it and your mind will do it.

You may need to think of the candlelight to make it appear. Do not look at a bright light to create the point of light, which is retinal retention and not creation of power. Once you can form the dot of pure white light with your mind, move the dot to create a line. Repeat this exercise until when you open your eyes, a retained image of the line remains in the air in front of you in the darkened room.

Exercise 3: close your eyes and form a line with your mind. Now form another line, whose head starts where the first line ends. Continue this process until you can form a pentagram. Once you have practiced enough to form a pentagram, open your eyes and “see” the retained image in the air.

Exercise 4: Close your eyes again and form a pentagram and then draw a circle around it forming a pentacle. Practice until you can do this with ease; then open your eyes and “see” the completed pentacle in the air.

Once you achieve this level of concentration, you start the whole process over; only this time you do it with your eyes open in a darkened room. After forming the pentagram with your eyes open, light the room and retain the image in the air.

You will need to visualize, that is create the pentagram in the air without first visualizing it with your eyes closed. This again will take practice. It is sometimes easier to do one arm at a time. Some also find it easier to begin with an all white pentagram. When performing this ritual you need to sit or lay in a relaxed, comfortable position, but not so relaxed that you fall asleep. To avoid falling asleep, you might find that it is best to perform this ritual in the morning when fully awake. Once that you can hold the pentacle for a full thirty seconds in the air, with your eyes open and in color, then are you ready to proceed to the next step. Do not proceed until you have mastered the basics.

Enter your meditative state, control breathing. Prana in, air out; Prana in, air out. Establish your pentagram in the air, in color. Start your mantra while holding the image of the pentagram. Now draw a white circle around the pentagram, just touching it at the tips. You now have the Pentacle. Look deeply at the center and clear your mind of all but the mantra.

You will now under go the “A … Ha”. Sometimes it happens the first time. Others take many times for it to occur. Eventually it happens to all who perform this ritual religiously. What you see inside the Pentacle is completely yours. I will not introduce preconceived ideas of what you will find, but I know in my heart of hearts that you will not be disappointed. This is the first stage of Illuminati. You will need to practice this for sometime to become proficient enough to proceed further. As a guide, I suggest that you be able to “see” what is inside of the formed Pentacle for at least a minute before you continue.

This, my young friends, is the basic of visualization. To be able to manipulate the mind and control your physical world with you inner spiritual being is our goal of these exercises. You must be proficient with the basics before you are able to perform the more advanced magicks.

What Does It Mean To Be A Pagan In Today's World?

What Does It Mean To Be A Pagan In Today’s World?

Author: Brid’s Closet

What does it mean to be a Pagan in today’s world?

I was sitting by my desk, thinking about topics for classes at my store. Many topics come to mind, but nothing seemed to “jump” out at me. I brought up this subject to a good friend of mine (who is not pagan), and she brought up this topic.

What does it mean to be Pagan? A “card carrying” PAGAN?

Many people are still very quiet about their choices in life, even to how they practice their religion or their form of spirituality. Many friends of mine are still in the “closet” about being a Pagan or being Wiccan. That is their choice, but not mine. I have the wonderful opportunity to be open about whatever it is that I do because I own my own business.

My sons also have choice as far as to what they believe. My oldest was degreed by me, because that was his choice, and I am proud of him because of that. My middle son considers himself to be agnostic (like his dad), but still is always looking. My youngest is still not sure as of yet. He takes in a lot, asks a lot of questions and is processing what he receives. They are fine young men, all of whom I am fiercely protective and proud of.

Some keywords that come into my mind are “love, strength, happiness, comfort, inner confidence empowerment, and honor”. Being a Pagan has helped to see that I have the ability to make a change in my own life, whether it is on a magical level or a mundane one.

A lot of people come into my store asking very similar questions, but what I do most of the time is to explain what I am not:

I am not a Satanist (the term “Satan” doesn’t exist in the pagan world.)
I don’t work or believe in the devil.

I don’t walk around in black clothes all the time (though it is fun sometimes!)

I don’t sacrifice animals…or use them in any rituals (my dog does like to run in and out of circle sometimes!)

I don’t bash other Pagan traditions.

I am not evil, nor is my spirituality evil.

I don’t run round naked, except in the privacy of my own room (maybe!)

I don’t have sex with others in ritual.

I don’t insult or blast other religions. People have done that for far too long in history to Pagans. I won’t do that to others!

Nope…don’t do the orgy thingy either!

What I do….hmmm…

I do honor Mother Earth. I see the earth as a living and breathing organism.

I do believe that all animals have a soul, and should be treated and loved as we expect to be loved ourselves.

I do try to live as “chemical free” as possible. This means that no chemicals or bug killers are applied to my lawn. 2 of my animals eat the grass on my lawn if the weather permits. No bleached flour, raw sugar, recycled paper. A friend of mine raises organically raised chickens, so I have organic eggs!

I keep as many trees as possible on the land that I am blessed to live on. Trees block the sun and keep your home cooler!

I do honor other people’s religions and their chosen paths.

I go love the Goddess and the God, as I would honor my own parents.
I try to use cosmetic products that are cruelty free.

I do try to grow my own herbs and vegetables when possible.

I recycle my paper, bottles, plastic and cans.

I do a full moon ritual once a month and celebrate the 8 holidays in the wheel of the year.

I guess I could just go on and on!

Once, a person came in and asked me why I was insulting myself by using the words “HEATHEN”, “PAGAN”, and “WITCH” to describe myself! In his teachings, he was taught that these words were an insult. He was shocked that I was proud of these terms!

The word “PAGAN” actually means “country dweller” or “civilian” or “peasant”.
1: Definition: Refers to any of the pre-Christian, (usually) polytheistic religions, or those who practice them. Wicca is one Pagan religion, as is Asatru, Santeria, Voodoo, or Shamanism.

The term “HEATHEN” is old English for Germanic paganism.
2: Definition: Among non-Pagans, the term ‘heathen’ just means anyone who is non-Christian. But Pagans use the term to refer specifically to those who follow a Norse or Germanic path.

A WITCH was known as a “wise” person, an herbalist, a midwife or a medicine person. (I’m an Alexandrian Witch!)
3: Definition: A witch is someone who practices witchcraft (either male or female), regardless of their religious standing. Not necessarily the same thing as a Wiccan (someone who follows the religion of Wicca)

These are words that I have come to embrace and be proud of. These words open up conversation and dialog, so that others will learn, understand and appreciate. Sometimes people appreciate the information that is given, other times, they don’t.

As a Pagan, I’ve raised 3 fantastic sons, have a “metaphysical” store that I share with my best friend, counsel people, rehabilitate birds, rescued a dog, a chinchilla and a bunny (who think they own my home!), teach classes, train special needs people (personal training) and in love with the most remarkable man.

What does it mean to be a “PAGAN”?

It means being a mom, a lover, a caregiver, councilor, herbalist, a cook, storeowner, and a woman dealing with today’s modern world who practices a very old way of worship.

Bernadette Montana is a very eclectic 3rd degree Alexandrian Priestess, a pipe carrier in the Sun Bear Native American Tribe, professional Tarot reader, a mom to 3 sons, one dog, 2 parrots, a bunny and a chinchilla and owns a metaphysical store named Brid’s Closet in Orange County, New York. Bernadette@bridscloset.com

Thanks to Terri Paajanen who posted the definitions of Pagan, Heathen, and Witch on the About website!

Footnotes:
Terri Paajanen who posted the definitions of PAGAN, HEATHEN, and WITCH on the About website!

Calendar of the Sun for August 29

Calendar of the Sun

29 Weodmonath

Hathor’s Birthday

Colors: Rose and white
Element: Water
Altar: Upon cloth of rose and white set six white candles, incense of flowers, a chalice of fresh cow’s milk, white barley cakes, and a pair of cow’s horns surrounded by many flowers.
Offering: Flowers.
Daily Meal: Barley cakes and bread, and any dairy products.

Invocation to Hathor

Horned Goddess,
Cow-eyed lady,
You who appreciate your comforts,
You whose music spreads love
And harmony,
Nourish us with the understanding
That there can never be too much love
That it is an inexhaustible supply
That there will always be more where it came from.
Gracious goddess of the flowering fields,
Lady whose love thrives like green pasture,
You keep your home at the last outpost of Life,
On the road to the Underworld,
Where you give the traveling Dead their last meal,
And their last touch of Love.
Cow-eyed goddess,
Horned Lady,
Give forth your wisdom
Like mother’s milk
And we will be grateful for it.

(Each should approach the altar and give a flower to Hathor, and in return they receive a sip of milk and her blessing. The chalice is offered by the last one to drink. The remainder is poured out as a libation.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Lighten Up – Circle Etiquette

Circle Etiquette

Never summon Anything you can’t banish.

Never put asafoetida on the rocks in the sweat lodge.

Do not attempt to walk more than 10 paces while wearing all of your ritual jewelry, dream bags and crystals at the same time.

When proposing to initiate someone, do not mention the Great Rite, leer, and say, “Hey, your trad or mine?”

Never laugh at someone who is skyclad. They can see you, too.

Never, ever set the Witch on fire.

Looking at nifty pictures is not a valid path to mastering the ancient grimoires. Please read thoroughly and carefully from beginning to end so that your madness and gibberings will at least make some sense.

A good grasp of ritual and ritual techniques are essential! In the event of a random impaling, or other accidental death amongst the participants, (see next rule) a quick thinker can improvise to ensure successful completion of the Rite. Make them another sacrifice, Demons like those.

Watch where you wave the sharp pointy items.

Avoid walking through disembodied spirits.

Carry an all purpose translators dictionary in case the ritual leader begins talking in some strange and unknown language.

Avoid joining your life force to anything with glowing red eyes.

If asked to sign a contract or pact and you are experiencing doubts or reservations, sign your neighbors name. Malevolent entities rarely ask for photo ID.

Blood is thicker than water. Soak ritual garments an extra 30-45 minutes.

While drunken weaving may be mistaken for ecstatic dancing, slurring the names of Deities is generally considered bad form.

Lighten Up – Top 10 Reasons Why Athame Handles are Black

10. So they’ll go with any color of robe.

9. So you can cover up nicks & scratches with shoe polish.

8. It’s slimming (can’t have fat athames, can we?)

7. It doesn’t show dirt.

6. Because finding a dropped athame in an outdoor ritual in the dark is a test of loyalty to your faith.

5. It’s so much more dignified than chartreuse.

4. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

3. Someone spilled all the paints together and that’s what ended up.

2. No, no! Black is for winter rituals–use white before Labor Day!

And the #1 reason athames handles are black….

1. So that we’d have something to argue about other than how “athame” is pronounced!

Are you Magically Insecure?

Are you Magically Insecure?

Author: Mistress Ravenfyre


I’m better than you. One may think they are hearing this in the local playground, but this is not the case. This phrase seems to be coming by the adults that are in the realm of magick.

Why is this feeling becoming so widespread? It is not just an emotional outbreak by individuals but also by those that are in groups or associations in the community. One may hear that this group is better than this other group, but are they? Aren’t they all practicing something similar? Isn’t the basis of our ways the same? So why is it that normally intelligent people are resorting to the comparison of who is better than whom?

This came to my direct attention some time ago. Individually speaking this has always been a humorous avenue for me listening to those that come to me. Telling of how they are able to do this that and the other. While putting them through mild-mannered tests they seem to not know what they are doing. This is not to degrade them, only to see what it is they are really capable of. Each person that practices the Art has their own ways, belief structure. Their knowledge and abilities have been built on how much they have actually studied. Finding that some are simply fluff and bluff, while others are to be admired and listened to. The point of the matter is that these individuals seem to think that with the knowledge they have they are the “best”. They are able to do things that others can not. Or they insist that they can simply do it better.

Why is being the best so important?

To some being the best they can be is an individual’s path. They strive for perfection in everything they happen upon. These people must be into everything, from the old to the new. Yet they do not take the time to explore the road to the fullest. They will briefly get into a subject, read a few books and then proclaim they are able to do what they have read. Maybe they are able to, I can not judge this. Yet, it seems to me in my past training, that one must practice certain forms of magic and know the theory fully before moving on to even thinking you know what you are doing. I am amazed at those who read an article, magazine or book, and say they know what to do. No practice, no more research, no thought.

Proceeding to tell whomever will listen what they have learned. In actuality they only have learned the basics, if that. It has taken me years of study and research to be comfortable in what I am and know. Practice, learning, trial and error, taking the time to have things sink in, while those around me take a week and know as much if not more than I. I am still learning, practicing and thinking, time and age has not stopped this. In conversations, I see they are trying to be something, what I really do not know, but something. Of course, on those times of trying to out wit and out do, all they have accomplished is to show their insecurity. I have in the past tried to explain to those that you can pick up a book and not know everything about the subject. One must research, compile information and think about what it is they are looking into. Some studies of magic may take years to learn if ever. By this I am implying to learn how to use properly and proficiently. Not sloppy, make shift attempts. Just because you think you can do something does not necessarily mean you should.

While these individuals, sit around comparing their selves to others they are telling those that listen their weaknesses. Trouble with ego, they seek to be something they are not. Not being satisfied with who they are and what they are able to do. They do not care to listen to others and truly hear what they are saying. Doubting those that have taken the time to study the craft and theoretical aspects. It is a good thing to question those that are speaking, but it is even better to listen silently, grasping what you are being told. Let the words of those Elders sink in before you leap in to say something ludicrous. Examples of statements that make the magician look insecure are:

  • Oh, I can do that
  • Where’s the entity bring it on
  • My shields are so strong nothing can get through (famous last words)
  • If he/she can do that, I can also. If I tried
  • I read a book on that subject, tried a ritual, it worked
  • What do they know?
  • Who do they think they are?

Those that have been in the Craft for years have heard more than their share of egotistical phrases. Age does not limit the usage of statements issued by egomaniacs.

What happened to the days of old when one was honored to listen to those with experience, to learn from them, not comparing our knowledge with theirs ( meaning we were better?) What happened to wishing to learn theory instead of leaping in to the casting of spells, seeing auras and putting up psychic shields? What has happened to the love of our ways? Has it gone by the wayside, being replaced with selfish magicians who just have to be the best?

These individuals have no idea of the ways of Old. They are too caught up in being the best they do not know what the true way is any longer. Lost is the feeling of warmth, love and devotion. Now it seems to be all about the spells and psychic abilities. Which is a shame.

Our group is the best

How many times have I heard this one? Some Coven leaders act as if they are a Marine Recruitment officer. Join us, we are the cream of the crop. Don’t practice with that other group because they are impostors of the Craft.

What makes Head Priestesses / Priests of covens feel and act this way? Superiority of their status goes to their head. A fraction of these HPs are self imposed leaders that have formed groups because they wanted one. They did not achieve a group in the old manner. They float around as if they are the God and or Goddess they worship. Looking disdainful at other leaders of the same stature. Thinking and feeling they are the true leaders.

I have been approached by various leaders asking, telling or implying that their’s is the coven of all covens. Speaking out against other coven members, leaders or those of the solitaire way. Acting in a way that makes them look like novices of the Craft. I have attended meetings of such leaders only to find that in the end they are the same as the other prestigious group. A pack of people talking about everything other than magic, worship and doing a make shift ritual to accomplish something the HP wishes to accomplish. Some I have attended seemed to be more of Magical Tupperware parties. If this HP is the best, show me the worst.

The main thing that these “magical know it alls” have to remember is that it is all about what is inside. Balance of logic and emotion in the craft. A path of continual study. Study does not stop once you have earned all your degrees. It should be advanced with your workings, the thirst of knowledge should never be quenched. Another point to think about is that it is NOT all about being able to do magick.

All those individuals and group leaders need to stop trying to be something they are not. The best. Try being who you are. Silence is the best remedy for bragging. For one that is silent is taking in what is being said and done around them. Weighing the words they are hearing, feeling the emotions that surround them.

At a time in my life I have been asked how does it feel that others come to me and ask to be taught, ask for guidance in certain areas etc. Do I not feel like I am so much better than others. My reply is generally the same, for one that is good there is another who is better. We each have more to learn, I am open to learning something every single day that I breathe. There is no comparison of abilities and knowledge to be done by me in regards to others. I meet people that amaze me, they are able to take me back to a time and place of being a novice. I am honored by this feeling. For I know that I am still on the path of gaining spiritual knowledge.
We may not be equals in the Craft but we are not so advanced not to be humbled. Once we are no longer humbled we are at a stumbling block. We have taken to placing blinders on, no longer seeing others and their ways of practice. Yes, I am also amazed at those on the other side of the spectrum. Those that tell me how great they are. Those individuals and leaders I can only smile and keep my silence.

In the end

One must work on arrogance in the Craft. Do not let your ego get in the way of what you are trying to do. There will always be someone that is more knowledgeable than you. Yet this person will listen and learn from your words and experiences. If you are attempting to impress them they will hope for the best on your travels, that you will someday live up to your words and falsehoods of grandeur.

If at the end of the day, you are able to look into the mirror of your soul and know that you did your best in all ways, then you are the best; for yourself.

Remember that even the most proficient and experienced magician has room for improvement.