Witchcraft Journal Blog

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

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Thoughts On Becoming A Witch

As you may know there is no conversion to witchcraft or Wicca. Yet both witchcraft and Wicca are religions with many traditions or denominations. So how does one become a witch?

From the witchcraft and Wicca points of view, intrinsically wholesome religions are those very few that are harmless to all people and that encourage spiritual growth. So, remaining in a wholesome religion or finding one is best for most people.

But clearly this is not true of everyone. There are some few that are drawn to witchcraft. It is a personal realization of a state of being.

In orthodox Gardnerian Wicca and their elk, it is taught that "only a witch can make a witch." In other words, a witch is made only by being initiated by a duly initiated witch, who was in turn initiated be a duly initiated witch… Well, if this is true, who initiated the first witch?

In the real world, the truth is that witches are born, but they need to be trained and brought in tune with the universe and its forces. For many hundreds of years in Britain, witches were witches because they were born into families, or had neighbours, that taught them healing, herbalism, or whatever interested them. Classes were not held. Believe it or not, young men and women didn't study under guidelines set by a Gardner or a Cochrane.

It was a natural process devoid of very much ritual; instead these kind people were raised to live in harmony with nature. Most lived in villages, some on farms, but it didn't matter where they lived, nor did anyone care if they were ceremonially declared a witch. Such a thing would have seemed quite peculiar. Instead they simply were witches.

Witches are witches because they sense a calling. They have a positive feeling that selecting the pagan path is simply correct and that it seems in harmony with their spirit. The usual feeling of a Seeker who is coming closer to witchcraft or Wicca is one of inner peace and happiness. There is a prevailing feeling that they are truly home.

If you feel a calling to witchcraft or Wicca, you are already a Seeker. Traditionally, the term witch would only be used when someone had many years of experience. In fact, the term was hardly used at all.

If you are new to the world of witchcraft or Wicca, there are many traditions or denominations. But before doing anything, you need to read. Your local library should have many books available (except in the Bible Belt).

Look at Blue Moon Manor website for more information.


Nature Spirit Magick

This amazing material comes from the Coven of Cythrawl website. Enjoy! Adrian

Some Effects of Working with Nature Spirits, Part I
Author Unknown

Spectacular physical manifestations can happen when working with nature spirits in the wild. I have personally seen actual foxfire mark the boundaries of a magic circle at a location that was identified as a receptive power spot and attuned to a planned ritual the day before. 


I have seen more than one site attuned for ritual be dry and comfortable, with a round hole in the clouds overhead, on days that were cold and rainy at other nearby locations. Birds have joined in rituals, flying around the circle when energy was being raised; and insects, birds and animals have joined in chants. In addition, the wind often responds to invocations. Generally, these spectacular manifestations happen unexpectedly.


With or without such manifestations, nature spirits often will channel tremendous amounts of power into the magic being performed. It is suggested that you do not consciously try for specific manifestations. Let Nature channel her power into the magic in her own way. If approached with respect, nature may give you many pleasant surprises.


Spectacular physical manifestations are not a necessary sign of success. If you need a spectacular manifestation and nature spirits know this, you will get it. The best success in magic is on the inner planes and more subtle than such manifestations. 


This success involves beneficial changes in consciousness that last and helpful chains of synchronicity. In addition, working with Nature Spirits can also bring a deep sense of partnership with Nature, and bring new levels of attunement.


To get the best results, perform nature spirit attunement several hours to several days before the main ritual. The purposes of such attunement are to find suitable power spots and to get the help of friendly nature spirits. This timing gives Nature time to gather her children and to prepare to actively
participate in the main ritual.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ancient Roman Religion

This comes fom Paganism; Past & Present, an interesting site.

Pagan religions believed in many gods and generally worshipped the earth, sea, sun, sky and various other elements of nature. The Romans were polytheistic and much of their lives were spent in a fervent effort to please their gods.  This was because ancient Romans believed that their gods had great influence over their daily lives and fates.  In order to placate the gods, the Romans believed that certain rituals and rites must be performed in appreciation of the gods works.  As the religion progressed, so too did the rituals, this made it necessary to form priesthood’s with specific rituals and traditions. In keeping with the Pagan tradition the Romans had a deep respect for the earth and her cycles. The ancient Roman religion is one of the better known pagan religions.

Early Roman religion was based on spirits. The Romans did not build great mythologies like the Greeks, rather they believed everything had a spirit. These spirits were thought to influence for good or evil, daily life. The Romans therefore had to keep them happy through worship and sacrifice. If the rituals and sacrifices were performed properly the Romans believed the gods would be happy and help them.

Romans believed each God had a specific "field" of expertise. There was a god of the sun, Apollo, a god of the sea, a god of the sky and many others. As Roman life had many different aspects there were many different Gods. If a Roman wanted a good crop he would pray to Ceres, the goddess of agriculture. The most important of all the spirits was Vesta the goddess of the hearth and home and the center of Roman family life. Each household had a small shrine dedicated to the household spirits. The Romans were great copiers. They borrowed many of their gods from the Greeks, but unlike Greek gods, theirs did not have the same definitely conceived personality, they were more cold and formal. The Romans lived under the gods and constantly tried to please them.

The Romans has a well defined state pantheon of gods. These were the official gods led by Jupiter, the father of the gods. Others included;

Mars; god of war, Ceres; Goddess of agriculture, Diana; moon goddess, Juno; goddess of women and childbirth, Minerva; goddess of wisdom and healing in war                       

The Roman religion was based on rituals and sacred rites. These rituals had become very complex over the years and needed special people to perform them. This is where the priests came in. The chief priesthood’s were usually filled by distinguished statesmen or generals. Roman religion and politics were intermeshed. There were two types of priests;
· priests for the general supervision of religion
· priests of particular deities

As the Roman empire expanded it came into contact with new and different religions. Many were absorbed into the state religion. Religious tolerance was a policy among the emperors. They introduced a policy of syncretism designed to encourage the merging of pagan religions to unite people and effect greater political stability. This cemented and united the empire. So it came to pass that Romans could worship whoever they liked as long as it didn’t interfere with others.

The ancient Roman religion is one of the most well known pagan religions. It was worshipped not only by the Romans, but by the various communities which were absorbed into the Roman empire. These communities added to the state religion with their own specific beliefs until it was a truly diverse and all encompassing religion. Throughout the modern world, the ancient roman religion is known as one of the world’s first and most famous pagan religions. It is the Roman and the Greek religions which are the basic from modern pagans take their beliefs.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Think Your Paganism Isn't Nature-based? Think Again...

[The following article comes from The Healing P;anet Earth section at Witches' Voice.  Happy reading.

Author: Lupa

Pagans and environmentalism go hand-in-hand, right? Well, sometimes. Many Pagans do tend to be pretty environmentally-friendly—at least in theory. Few of us support the destruction of natural ecosystems or the extinction of species of animals and plants. And many Pagans I know are at least aware of the issues at hand.

But when it comes to actually putting that awareness into practice on a daily basis, many just don’t make the effort. We give lip service to deities and spirits of the natural world, but then we drive cars when we could walk or take public transportation, don’t take the time out to separate recyclable items from non-recyclable. We use Styrofoam plates and plastic-ware at our ritual meals, and buy conventional produce laced with pesticides instead of organics, produce that had to be trucked in hundreds of miles—a major waste of gasoline in comparison to locally-grown fruit and vegetables from the farmer’s market.

It’s easy to become complacent in the face of overwhelming problems. After all, how can we reverse something so massive as the hole in the ozone layer? How do we stop poachers halfway around the world from killing off the last of the Bengal tigers or African elephants? And I’ll admit to being disheartened every time I see a patch of clear-cut forest on the side of the road, a raw wound amid the Earth’s soft pelt of trees. But for me, environmental awareness and action is at the heart of my path as a Pagan, and so I refuse to allow the sheer weight of the sum of all the problems crush me. I find my strength in my faith and my practice. My matron Goddess is Artemis, who protects the wild and all creatures within it. From a young age she called me to be a caretaker of what’s left of the wilderness, and I’ve taken this task very seriously. My primary totem animal is Wolf, and I work with a plethora of other animal totems in my practice. Those relationships aren’t just about what I can get from journeying with them, but also a manifestation of my responsibility towards their physical counterparts. After all, totems rely in part upon the existence of physical animals for us to be able to communicate with them; much totemic lore stems from human observation of animals in their natural habitat. Without living creatures for us to live with, how can we interpret the messages their totemic counterparts give us?

Too often we lose the connection between what we worship and the natural world those deities and spirits originally came from. In addition, many of the rituals we perform hail the elements and celebrate the turning of the seasons. Yet many of these rituals occur indoors, and the stories that are told of the deities and spirits are separated from the Natural cycles that birthed them initially.

Take a look at the Wiccan Sabbats, for example. The Wheel of the Year turns, the God is born to the Goddess, grows up, and dies, only to be reborn again. How many of us really think about what that really represents? Let’s start with a single seed. Dormant in the ground since the previous fall, it germinates when it feels the touch of rain on its skin. In order to grow, not only will it need more rain and sunshine, but also fertile ground with the necessary nutrients. It will have to survive disease and animal browsing in order to reach maturity to create seeds of its own and, depending on species, food for us.

And that’s just acknowledging that this cycle exists. How about our impact on that cycle? Go back to our cycle of seasons and the seed we left growing into a plant. If the rain that falls is acidic due to pollution, or the sun scorches it because the ozone is too thin, then that plant will die. If the soil it has sprouted in is toxic, or is blown away by wind because there are no trees or groundcover to hold it in place, the result is the same. And if the seed is a native species surrounded by a more aggressive invasive species, it may get choked out of its own habitat.

The death of that plant has farther-reaching impact as well. Many species of animals rely on certain plants to survive, whether directly, or as food for their prey. The panda is a good example; this animal subsists primarily on bamboo, and if the groves are gone, so is the panda. Those plants also create habitat, from the tops of trees to decaying leaf litter. As mentioned earlier, a lack of plant life can lead to soil erosion, which causes the land to lose its fertility. And the loss of trees means a serious decrease in oxygen, something no animal—humans included—can live without. Everything that exists is wrapped up in that cycle, and if the delicate balance is pushed too far, the whole system comes crashing down. If the Goddess’ womb is barren, then the God cannot be reborn. It’s not just a story that we tell each other—it is a symbol of the reality that we face in today’s world of increasing imbalance between the wild and the cultivated, between industry and Nature, between the Earth and Sky’s natural cleaning filters and the pollution that clogs them into stagnation and death.

Let’s revisit our gods and spirit helpers, too. Most of them, as mentioned previously, are associated with natural phenomena. If you worship a Sky god, such as Odin or Zeus, or air-based spirits like certain fairies, then take a look at air pollution. Try changing the bright yellow or pale blue candle you may use to represent air with one that is dingy yellowish-brown or poison green. Are you fond of Poseidon or sylphs? Pay attention to the effects of water pollution or the damming of rivers on the ecosystem downstream. Many Pagans venerate the Earth Mother, but how many look at the connection between the trash we throw out and the pustules on her skin created by landfills? Do you work with totems? What condition are the physical animals your totems represent in as a species, insofar as habitat destruction and threat of extinction?

How about breaking everything down into the four basic elements that many of us call upon when casting a circle or working magic? Nothing can exist without Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The Earth is our life support system, and that of all living beings on this planet; all the physical elements found on the periodic table come from that. We can’t breathe air that isn’t clean, nor can we drink water that is tainted, not without making ourselves ill,or worse. And while fire cannot be polluted, our shielding from it within the ozone layer grows thinner every year; in addition, climactic changes leading to drought cause a higher risk for wildfires.

We cannot separate natural entities from Nature. Yet there’s contradiction when, on the one hand, in our rituals we say “I honor you,” but then our actions, through neglect and complacency, we say “I don’t really care”. How can we say we revere the Earth when we don’t even try to reduce the harm we do to Her?

This isn’t necessarily a matter of living a completely sustainable life. After all, it’s unrealistic for most of us to buy a solar-powered house in the woods, raise enough food to feed ourselves, our families, and our pets, and still be able to sell enough to put away some savings. But we can work within our means, put out more effort than we usually do. We can buy used items instead of new, and materials such as paper made from recycled waste instead of tree pulp. We can temper our consumption of water, gasoline, and other resources. We can reduce the need for chemical pesticides and resources used in transportation for conventional produce by buying organic and local when possible. There are thousands of small changes available to us, though each one may not seem like much -- but they add up. The energy saved by recycling a single aluminum can produces enough energy to keep a light bulb going for four hours. (1) Think of how many cans you can recycle in a year. That’s a lot of light. And the benefit isn’t just practical; every action for the better can be made as an offering to whoever you revere in and of itself.

This isn’t meant to guilt you into being a “better” Pagan. It’s not my place to judge whether I’m more-Pagan-than-thou just for being more environmentally aware and active than many. But for me, at least, Paganism revolves around Nature, not as an abstract concept that only affects us when we allow ourselves to go outside, but as a very real, very imminent Divine that is connected to every action we take. Paganism isn’t about Nature for everyone, at least not to the extent it is to me; however, next time you call the quarters, think about the elements associated with each, and how each element weaves into everyday life, how dependent we are on it. When you ask a deity or spirit to be with you, consider the force of Nature you are inviting into your circle. I invite you, not to feel bad about yourself, but to see just how connected we really are to what we worship on an everyday basis.

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