Wicca

An ye harm none, do what ye will.

Samhain

By Psyche | Leave a comment

31 October NH
30 April SH
First Full Moon in Scorpio

Most people are more familiar with Samhain than some of the other Wiccan and neo-pagan festivals because of customs associated with Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night in England.

Samhain is often seen as the old Celtic New Year, though it is not certain that this was the start of the New Year in all Celtic areas. It may seem strange that this season of death be considered the new year, for this is the time when the harvest is over, this is the season of rusty leaves, grey mists and an ever-increasing bite in the air is present. Life is fading, sleeping or dying. However, in ending cycles one can create new ones. In this time of death one becomes aware that new life will come, from under this frost bitten land. When outer life decays it is the inner strength that must become stronger to persevere.

The God is true Lord of the Underworld at this time, and the Goddess is the Wise Crone. They are both old and clothed in Mystery. This is a time of death, leading then to rebirth once more at Yule.

The Goddess is present as Crone and Wisewoman. Her time of fruits and harvest is complete. Now She offers secrets of the inner realm, of wisdom and magickal power. Within Her glimmers the light of the Maiden, for She is also seen as Lady of Life-in-Death, as Mother too, for she carries the Sun God in the secrecy of Her womb.

The God, having been cut down with the corn of Lammas and Mabon, is making the final journey into darkness and is with present as Lord of the Underworld.

The veil between this world and the spirit world is thin at this time, and it is traditional to ask the beloved dead to be with us – but they are asked, never commanded or summoned.

The God’s descent is honoured by identifying with the way life is retreating, and by allowing what must die in our lives to do so. The Crone is honoured by seeking Her wisdom.

It is a time of coming to terms with death, not only the death of the body, but the death of other things that have ceased over the year, such as relationships, jobs, hobbies, material wealth.

Samhain takes place during Scorpio, which is ruled by the element water. Water transforms and changes, and during Samhain it is a good time to meditate and wash away the pains and sorrows that have taken place during the course of the year.

The theme of this festival is ‘descent’ – descent into our own Underworld, our inner minds – facing our fears, discovering latent talents.


Witchcraft versus Wicca

By Psyche | Leave a comment

Witchcraft is, literally, the ‘craft of the witch’. Which is the skill of being able to work magick; especially magick utilizing personal power in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colours, and other natural objects. While this may have spiritual overtones, witchcraft, by this definition is not a religion. However, some followers of Wicca incorrectly use this word to denote their religion.

A witch was anciently, a European practitioner of the remnants of pre-Christian folk magick, particularly that relating to herbs, healing, wells, rivers and stones (ie: One who practices witchcraft).

Later, this term’s meaning was deliberately altered to denote demented, dangerous, supernatural beings who practiced destructive magick and who threatened Christianity. This change was a political, monetary and sexist move on the part of organized religion, not a change in the practice of witches. This later, erroneous meaning is still accepted by many non-witches today.

Some members of Wicca to describe themselves also use this word to describe what they are. However, witchcraft can be practiced by people of any faith. One can be a Wiccan witch, a Jewish witch, a Christian witch, a Muslim witch, etc.

Wicca is a contemporary Pagan religion with spiritual roots in Shamanism and the earliest expressions of reverence of nature.

Among Wicca’s major motifs are: reverence of the Goddess and the God; reincarnation; magick; ritual observance of the Full Moon; astronomical and agricultural phenomena; spheroid temples, created with personal power, in which rituals occur.

Not all witches are Wiccan, and not all Wiccans are witches, as witchcraft by itself is not a religion, and not all Wiccans practice magick.


Craft-names

By Psyche | Leave a comment

There have been a number of questions about acquiring a Craft-name, or, as it is also commonly called a ‘Wiccan name’.

There are three basic kinds of Craft-names. There is the one one uses publicly; at public gatherings; online; etc. Then there is the Craft-name your coven gives you, which is traditionally kept secret and used only among coven members. The third is the most sacred. It is the name that is only known to yourself and the Goddess and the God. It is your true name and it is the name you would use in private, personal rituals. Not all people chose to have all three, some use one or two, or even none but your given name. It’s a matter of personal preference.

The public name you choose can be anything you like that comes to your fancy. Often people incorporate the elements into their name. Trees, flowers, herbs and other plants are also quite common; as are totem animals.

The same type of thing might be used for a coven Craft-name, but it is kept private, and usually only used inside the coven circle. In some covens the High Priestess will give an initiate a Craft-name upon first degree initiation, and a new one for their second degree, and yet a third one for their third degree; as a way to mark their progress in the understanding of the Divine and magick. In some Traditions and/or covens the High Priestess will allow the initiate to choose the name, in others the initiate may choose the name, and have it approved by the High Priestess, and yet in others the High Priestess chooses, and the initiate has no say.

The private name you use only in communion with the Goddess and the God is the most sacred of names as it is the name the Goddess and the God give you. Sometimes it is revealed in a dream, other times it may come while you are awake, or perhaps during meditation, etc.

I hope this sheds a bit of light onto understanding Craft-names.


Sacred north

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Certain directions have always been considered more sacred than others. The altar is placed in the north in Wiccan traditions, or in the centre, facing north.

In Wicca, north is traditionally considered the home of the Gods, and therefore the most sacred direction. It is a reflection of the influence on Wicca by our European ancestors.

The Pole Star in the North was considered especially sacred in the mythology of the German and Norse peoples. North was also the direction of the Spiral Castle of the Celtic Goddess Arianrhod, Caer Arianhrod, where the heroes of the Celts dwelt after death.

North is the direction through which the Sun passes at night at which the Moon’s influence is strongest in relation to the Sun. The North, therefore, represents the deepest part of the unconscious mind. Continue reading


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