Witchcraft Journal Blog

A resource for information and opinions on the beliefs, practices, customs, and magic of Traditional Witchcraft of the British Isles.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Just Who Is a Witch?

The following articles appeared on Witches" Voice, http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usok&c=words&id=10743, and reflects rational thought about who is a witch.

Book of Shadows

“An authentic Book of Shadows.” A real Witchcraft tradition—what is it? Does it really exist? Is there really an authentic Book of Shadows from the Old Time? Where is it? Who has it? How do you find it?

There is much controversy in many Pagan and Witch circles about who is a real Witch and who is not; who has a real lineage and who doesn’t; and if the Book of Shadows is authentic, particularly the one that Gardner presented as bona fide and genuine. So here are a few words on the subject.

“Once a Witch, always a Witch.” This does not mean that you become one, not by initiation nor by oath; what it means is that you are what you are, what you always have been, and what you always shall be. Witches are born and not made. It matters not what Robert Cochrane or Gerald Gardner have to say about it. Titles and degrees and initiations are not what make one wise. All are equal in the eyes of the Gods. We are all Their children. So what makes one a Witch?

The Spirit of Life is the Spirit of the Goddess. The Spirit of Life is Love. The spirit indwells each of us, just as it indwells the seeds that we plant in the earth. But a seed in and of itself is not a tree though it holds that potential. A seed must be planted, nurtured, tended, and nourished to take root and grow until it realizes its potential and fulfills its destiny. The seed is always a seed until the earth, the sun and moon, and wind and rain awaken it and bring it forth. Then the seed becomes a tree.

A Witch is always a Witch, always has been a Witch, and always will be a Witch. But some Witches are asleep!

Some don’t yet know they are Witches. It is only when they have been awakened by the sun, the moon, and the earth that they know they are. Love draws love, and love produces love, even as like draws like. Thus when the Primal Spirit of the Goddess and the God draw you and awaken that which is within you, then you become aware that you are, indeed, a Witch. That is when you find the spirit within you that has always been within you and begin the process of growth! And you realise that being a Witch is something you are and always were! As it says on the Oracle of Delphi: " Know thyself."

So questions about who is a real Witch and who is not are expressions of ignorance. The question should rather be, "who is awake and who is not?" In short, it is love that makes one a Witch, wakes one to Witch, and a Witch fulfills that love.

Yet wisdom takes longer, and knowledge is built on truth. The truth of life is that you are life, you are One with all things: the Earth, the Sea, the Sky, the Sun, the Moon, and Light and Shadow. Upon that truth you build your knowledge. Such are the Old Ways. Know that the Gods are real and that they are not separate from the Sun and Moon, the Earth, the Stars, and the Sea, and through the Spirit They are One with all, and They know all things. Know that same spirit is within you. Honor the Gods, for it is through Their love that you will accomplish all things.

The wise ones of old knew these things and taught them well, passing them down from mother to daughter, yet not as it is done today. For the teachings were passed through word and song, by craft of hand and dance, music and poetry, and all things were committed to memory. There was no written work. The Old Ways were passed through the breath, the body, and the spirit. During the times of trouble there were no books, no tools, only things whispered in secret. But the wind remembers. Listen to the voice of the old ones within thee. And think not that it is a dream.

There is only one initiation, threefold at the crossroads, and it is there that you begin. Walk your path with love and wisdom, ever mindful of being compassionate to others; as the spirit dwells in you, so does the spirit dwell in them, even if they be asleep. They shall awaken in time.

Wisdom dwells with the old. Many turns of the wheel it takes to learn well. But know that Nature and the spirit teach all. Learn to read Her face and hands, for it is there that the knowledge is written. See through Her eyes, and behold Her wonders. Love Her, and She will reveal to you the secrets of Her heart. If they tell you that tears must be shed to make you a Witch, say, “She has cried, and I have wiped Her tears with my love.”

What is it that you believe a teacher can hand you? For the sword, pentacle, chalice, and wand are not the tools of the Old Ways; they are only a means of extending your will. A teacher cannot hand you the real tools of the Old Ways, for you already possess them within yourself. The most a true teacher can accomplish is to bring you to the portal of your own understanding of what is within you. Only you can cross that threshold to inner knowledge and then only when you are truly ready.

Ritual initiation is simple acceptance into a clan or tribe, and often the apprenticeship into the priesthood. It is simple acceptance and the beginning of a journey. It does not make one Witch nor confer special privilege, as all Witches are equal in the sight of the Gods. Self-Dedication is the dedication that you put into your living of the Path. Self-Dedication is not a ritual of commitment. It is a process of dedication, growth, and perseverance. Witches’ Honor is the acknowledgement of the sacredness of life and all living things. As we honor the source of life, its sacredness and divinity, so the Gods honor us with Their presence.

True initiation is found at the crossroads for those who bear the key. It is to those that the Goddess lifts up her torch and lights their way down the Path they have chosen. It is the key that opens the portal to the inner realm, the key which all of us possess in our hearts. The key is love.

Witchcraft is the practice and the work of the Witch. Witchcraft is healing, the birthing of children, the preserving of life, and the teaching of wisdom. It is powerful, protective, love in action. Cunning is the skill an individual Witch possesses. Cunning is sharp and swift when honed well by the mind, and strong when it is within the hand, but it must be used well and wisely to be kept alive and hidden well when not in use. It is the traditional Witch’s weapon against all adversity.

The Calling of a Witch is the awakening of a Witch. It is when a Witch hears the call of the Goddess for the first time, an awareness that they are chosen to be Witch. It is a call to answer, a destiny to fulfill. If you hear that call, answer it well, fulfill that destiny, and when you are ready, the Teacher shall appear and speak, and you will hear Her voice on the wind and hear Her words within your heart. You will see Her beauty in the earth, feel Her touch in all that you do, and know that She is the Goddess Manifest and that the Age of the Daughter is upon you and that the Words of Aradia have come to pass: “and ye shall know the Voice of the Wind, the Mystery which gives Life, and the Love which opens the Door to the Womb of Enlightenment, and possess the knowledge of Freedom.”

A Witch’s Covenant is the blood. It is the blood that speaks; it is the voice of our ancestors, the voice of our brother and sister Witches, the voice of our children, the voice of our relationship with all life upon this earth. It is the blood of our mothers and fathers, the gift of fire and water, and the essence of the Old Ones. The blood is not to be spilled in sacrifice or in war, for it is a sacred thread connecting us to the past, the future, and each other. Therefore, the Gods do not accept sacrifice as an offering, but rather require that the blood be honored as life is honored and that offerings be of freewill to honor the Gods, for the Gods love the earth, and all creatures therein.

The ways of the Gods are in harmony with Nature, even as the grape ripens in season. Therefore, walk in harmony with the Earth; harvest from Her only what you need to live, and waste not the gifts that are given to you, for it is Her good pleasure to give you that which you need and that wisely and well. Honor Her times of sowing and reaping, and give Her rest in Her season, even as the Gods give you rest in yours, for it is Their good pleasure that ye do well and prosper and live in peace with one another. Honor the turnings of the Wheel with joy and laughter, for it is through them that ye will find balance and harmony with the Earth. Therefore also, let thy offerings to the Gods be gifts of natural things, and those properly according to season and need, for ye are children of Earth and Starry Heaven even as ye are children of Spirit and thy Greatest Gifts to them are your joy, happiness and love, for a mother and father rejoice to see the joy and happiness of their children, and as ye are Their hidden children, love Them well, for that is thy greatest gift.

Witch blood cannot Lie nor can it be hid, and sometimes it speaks. We or our children may be the last Witches in the World. We would do well to be the best, the most prepared, the most secret and to use our power wisely.

Blue Fire Star Raven

Witchvox Article

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