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Wicca: A Living Tradition of Witchcraft

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Wicca: A Living Tradition of Witchcraft

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January 8th, 2016

Time......

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Betwitched
Sometimes, it shocks me when I realize how long in this Incarnation I've been on my Path. It seems like yesterday that I found a Sybil Leek book in a used bookstore and realized THAT'S WHAT I THINK!!!!! Not as big of a shock as the weight I've gained since the same time period though;>.
Things change. Back then there was what today is mostly called British Traditionalist Wicca and Pagans. The Pagans weren't non-lineage Wiccans either. And my Spiritual Life was FILLED with Ritual....and Tools.
4 decades later, the alt-religion world has changed. BTW is a Minority and Pagans, for the most part are those that use Wiccan methodology. And Me? Rites are short with minimal Tools. I'm more likely to Interact Deity to Human than Pantheon to Human or even more General God/dess to Human. Definitely a Pantheist today;>!
Not that my Altar isn't cluttered as always;>! Truth is, I've not used most Tools in decades. Just don't have close friends on the Path to give them to. Besides, they pretty;>! Take Yule. All I used was a mug(a nice one from my great-aunt's estate though;>), a bottle of hard cider and Incense sticks(the good kind!). Truthfully, I spend at least the same amt of time if not more with Those the Rite is for than I did back in my "Bells & Smells" days; all the schlepping of materials, the setting up, the using them THEN the breaking down and cleaning up. Not that they WEREN'T needed then. It takes YRS of doing something to get to the point you can do the same thing "freestyle" and have the same Effect on Spiritual, Mental AND Physical Realms.
So Remember, some of us "Old Farts" aren't just Lazy(though we've certainly been through enough to be TIRED;>), it's just the Experience that has Freed us to CHOSE because even though we may not NEED all the "geegaws" they're still Fun and Pretty;>!
Cheers,
Pat

December 29th, 2015

Intro!

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Betwitched
I' Pat Duffy, a 5o-something Heathen Gay male living with his Handfasted Partner of 15 yrs on the Florida Panhandle with 2 Rescued Cats. I've been on my Path since the late 70's and originally was Initiated into a Celtic Wiccan Coven whose founders had been Alexandrian but chose to break away a few yrs before I met them. I'e had an Eclectic Path though the Impulse has not been; that is, to Return to the Ways of my pre Christian Ancestors.
This lead me from Wicca to Celtic Reconstructionism to Heathenism, to which I've belonged since the mid 90's. Hope that's not a problem. I've a few decades of Western Herbal studies(both Medical and Mystical) under my belt and credit this to me surviving aids from being diagnosed in 85 to living until the "Cocktail" came out.
I'm also an avid Gardener though this yr we moved from a dbl lot to a condo with two courtyards so I'm reliving much of my Adult life as an apt dweller....though I'd NEVER had this much personal Growing space in ANY of those apts;>!
We moved originally here from the Bay Area to help my folks and relocated to our present location due to them Moving to a property more in tune with the health issues of 90 yr olds. It's actually much prettier both inside and out, being set in an Oak forest instead of suburbia....
Up for pretty much any question or subject since in around 4 decades in the Magickal Community I've pretty much run into or heard it all;>!
Cheers,
Pat

September 23rd, 2015

Happy Mabon!

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A joyous Mabon to you all.

Apparently someone updated the wikipedia page on the Wheel of the Year to say that in 1970 Aidan A. Kelly came up with the idea of calling the Autumnal Equinox by the name of the Welsh hero Mabon ap Modron, dispite the lack of any conection between the hero and the equinox. And now smart asses are telling everyone who wishes people a "Happy Mabon" they are WRONG and totally "bogus".

Well, that argument hasn't stopped English speaking Christians from calling the resurrection of their god by the name of the Teutonic goddess of spring, Easter, even though it is called Passover in every other language.

Ár nDraíocht Féin has only been in existence since 1983 and call themselves Druids. They are hardly in a position to call other people "bogus".

Words mean what people use them to mean. As long as people know what you are talking about you are using words correctly.

So happy Mabon to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere and Happy Eostar to everyone in the Southern Hemisphere.
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August 5th, 2015

Today's discussion topic is about Wicca/Paganism and Christianity and my thoughts on both.

Though Christianity, Wicca and Paganism are all very old-even ancient-religions, Christianity, or at least some sects of Christianity, are fairly new. The same goes for some Wiccan sects. My belief, and correct me if I am wrong, is that most Wiccan and/or Pagan sects are much older than Christianity, even dating all the way back to the very early beginnings of Humanity itself.

Though Wiccans, Pagans and Christians share some of the same values-or at least some Christians claim to share some Wiccan and/or Pagan values and claim them as their own-I have found that there are more Christians practicing intolerance and persecution toward other faiths/religions than many of the other faiths/religions I have studied or learned about/and or practiced. But that's not to say Wiccans and/or Pagans aren't guilty of it as well, because to never admit wrongdoing is foolish and folly. Many Christians today have forgotten their religion's most basic principles.

Wiccans and/or Pagans-or at least many sects of them-follow Nature-based Paths and worship the All-Mother and the All-Father, or the Lord and Lady, or the Egyptian, Hindu, Greek, Roman or other ancient/current civilization's pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. However, not all follow a Nature Path or even the Wiccan Rede. The Rede, like the Christian Scriptures, is simply a set of guidelines to live by. Many Christians have forgotten that their scriptures are just that-guidelines for living-instead of Black and White laws set in stone. The King James versions of the Christian Bible is guilty of that.

Christianity-or some sects at least-was based upon love and religious tolerance. Their basic principles dwelled on that and have even adopted some Wiccan and/or Pagan holidays. However, not to be confused with the Wiccan/Pagan holidays and to avoid confusion, Christians twisted them around and changed their names and dates for their own ends. Christians, though their praying is similar to casting a Spell, do not believe in Magic. In fact, what they do not realize is that their most famous figure in their New Testament and founder, Jesus, practiced a form of White Magic and was actually considered a Healer. The King James Bible twisted him and his story around to make him the Son of their God and to make the Christian religion look better (my opinion).

Like Christianity, there are many sects and subsects of Wicca and Paganism. So many, in fact that, to name them all would have to be in a separate post all together.

Well that's it for now! Hope you find this informational or, at least entertaining.

Sincerely,

Rebecca M.

June 1st, 2015

Let's talk about an interesting-and probably less controversial-subject: Dream Interpretation and how it can correspond with Wicca and my thoughts on it.

Dreams can be a wonderful experience and/or they can be a terrifying experience. Good or bad, they are part of nearly every person's natural sleep rhythym. True, there are some people who do not dream at all because they either forgot what their dreams were or because they suffered and are still suffering from a traumatic brain injury or have insomnia. The average person, however, can or does have up to four or more dreams in one night. The dreams can come in bits and pieces and be scattered about in random order or they can come in sequential order-like in a movie. Another important thing to note: dreams often occur when our bodies are in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep. And nightmares, a.k.a night terrors, often occur when our bodies are in the Deep Sleep stage(s).

But here is where the scientific stuff ends and the magical stuff begins. Dreams are often linked to our subconscious mind. They can reflect on how we felt and/or what our emotional states were that particular day and what we were feeling before we went to bed. Dreams can also tell us about our past lives, our current lives, relationships, how we can get around life's curve balls and obstacles, and so on!

Using dreams on our past and current lives can help us better understand ourselves, the lives we lead, how we can improve our lives and ourselves, and what our purpose for living is. This can also be achieved through meditation. In my opinion, meditation, sleep, and dreaming are all connected. Meditation relaxes the body so that one can fall asleep more easily and meditation can also help make dreaming come much more easily. It is also part of our daily health and recuperation regimens.

Dreaming can also help us improve our lives and relationships through our subconscious mind coming up with creative solutions to life's curve balls. They also are great relationship problem solvers.

This is where it gets tricky, however. Dream symbol interpretation is very tricky anyway. Yes there are professional dream interpretators out there and yes, there are tons of books on dream interpretation out there. In my opinion, dream interpretation is completely up to the individual.

In order for dream interpretation to take place, I would suggest keeping a dream journal and as soon as you wake up, write down what dreams you remember and what details you remember. As time goes by, your dream journal will become more and more detailed and lengthy.

How is dream interpretation associated with Wicca? Well, dream interpretation can bring up past life memories. Also dreaming is used in magical rituals. However, this is a murky subject for me and I will have to do more study on this topic. It can also be used to work out problems and kinks in a spell or ritual, at least in my opinion.

Well, that's it for now. Hope to hear all of your thoughts and opinions on this. If anything, I hope you learn something from this and I hope to learn more from you!
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May 17th, 2015

Dear Grammy (Grandmother) and Pop-Pop (Grandfather),

You have both taught me so much. You both taught me to have great respect for all life on Earth, be it Human or otherwise. You both taught me the Ancient Ways of Wicca and Witchcraft. You taught me to respect and about the way the life energies that surround us and bind us together work and their uses. You taught me patience and tolerance for others, even if they don't treat me in the same manner. You also taught me how to love, yet be tough at the same time.

Grammy, you showed me how to honor Mother Earth and all of her children, human and otherwise. Grammy, you showed me the secrets to having a successful flower garden as well as a fairy garden. You also showed me and taught me about birds and their individual names and habits. You, Grammy, treated them the same way you treated your Human children. You also taught me about flowers and their individual names and habits, as well as their likes and dislikes and also treated them as if they were your children. Grammy, you also taught me the basic core values I have now and about Karma and its workings. You and Pop-Pop were the first ones to teach and show me unconditional and undying love.

Pop-Pop, you taught me to respect, or at least be tolerant of, those that follow other paths and/or religions, even if they do not show me the same respect and/or tolerance. You also showed me how to plant a successful vegetable garden. You, Pop-Pop, showed me all of your secrets to growing huge, tasty tomatoes and having the biggest, juiciest watermelons. You also showed me the secrets to cooking the finest snap beans and pole beans ever. Pop-Pop, you disciplined me and taught me everything I know nowadays with nothing but love in your heart. Even when I acted in a deplorable manner, you and Grammy disciplined me and set me straight in a gentle, loving, non-threatening manner. You and Grammy never yelled at me nor did you strike and/or spank me. And you both treated me like an adult in my later years-even supporting me in, and guiding me in, my individual Wiccan/Pagan path.

To both of you: I love and miss you both. Even though death may keep us apart physically, you are both still with me in Spirit, Heart, Mind and Soul. One day we will meet in Summerland. But not today. You both are still loved and missed, if not by your children, then by your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

With Love,
Your Wiccan/Pagan granddaughter

May 9th, 2015

dear dear

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Dear Rude Customer,

You came in my line screaming and yelling at your 3 year-old grandkid just because she was being a typical 3 year-old. I never said a word. When I greeted you, you glared at me like I was a common slug. Then I saw what I thought was a bag of chips in your grandkid's hands. And I mentioned it to you. Lord, I thought that you were going to kill me. You, for no reason, started yelling at me loud enough for all to hear about what a horrible, judgemental B**** I am and that I should mind my f*****g business. I asked your grandkid what her name is and you called her sh*thead! Really?! Your chronilogical age may be 45 but your actions say that your mental age is otherwise-approximately 2 years old. And just because your grandkid wasn't living up to your expectations and did not look like a baby Barbi doll does not give you the right to call her names and treat her like trash. So grow up and get over yourself. You aren't exactly a Barbi doll either. Have a horrible day because that's what I had because of YOU!
Sincerely,
The courtesy clerk who had to deal with your ugliness.

May 7th, 2015

What do Wicca and Paganism mean to me? To me, Paganism is the worship of the many Old World Gods and Goddesses, such as Egyptian or Greek Gods and Goddesses, in addition to the worship of nature. Just as there are many sects of Christianity or Islam, there are many sects or branches of Paganism. In addition events or even rituals are a part of Paganism. Magick or Magic is another, minor part of Paganism and so is the worship of the magickal creatures.


However, Wicca is a little more clouded and mysterious to me than Paganism. To me, Wicca is the worship of nature, but can also encompass the worship of many Gods and Goddesses or just one God and Goddess. Wccans also worship magick or magic and the creatures involved. Although similar to Paganism, Wicca is also very different. Wiccans, even though they too have different sects, participate in events and rituals, also practice their craft on their own and/or in a small group called covens.

However, as with any religion, both have many sects and sub-sects.

So this is up for polite discussion or polite debate. Please be gentle because I am still new to this and still learning my path. Thank you.

March 25th, 2015

"The true meaning of Paganism" by Ryan Stone, 9 Nov 2014

This came up on Facebook today and I find it a bit annoying.
Problems I had with this article:

There is nothing wrong with the word 'pagan'. It is not historically "inaccurate". The "true" meaning of pagan is 'country dweller' much like heathen is 'someone who lives on the heath'. The article seems to want to make the point that classifying other religions as 'pagan' was done to facilitate destroying them. Fair enough. But that still doesn't make it "inaccurate". Pre-Christian people did not call themselves 'pagans'. But then they didn't have a word for 'religion' either. We have a lot of words and make a lot of distinctions that they didn't have or do back then. That doesn't make the words we use or the distinctions we make "inaccurate".

The article argues that classical religions were indicated by "locality" and that "political and religious aspects of life were a unified entity". Well, sort of. The proper words here are 'ethnicity' and 'culture' not locality and politics. What we call religion' used to be the same as what we call 'ethnicity' now. Ethnicity is related to locality but is not the same as locality.

I agree that "many so-called "pagans" would have not considered it important to differentiate themselves based on the number of gods they worshiped." This obsession with how many gods you worship or believe in is a monotheist thing. Polytheists really don't care about how many gods there are exactly (lots is just fine with us). Which is why the next sentence really annoys me: "many cults within each sect had a primary deity at the center of the religion, beneath which subordinate deities were also worshiped". There is a fundamental difference between believing that there is only one deity that exists and believing in multiple deities but favoring one over all the rest. This recent trend of equating ruling deities or just preferred deities to monotheistic deity is really annoying to me. 'Pagan' does mean 'not monotheist' because that is how words work. The intent of the Christians who used the word 'pagan' was to make a distinction between themselves and everyone else. Everyone else is us.

He lists Michael York's "Pagan Theology" in the bibliography but I don't think he read it. The premise of "Pagan Theology" is that most of the world's pagan religions share a common theology and Paganism should be considered a world religion. Which is almost the opposite of the premise of this article: that pagan is a word made up by Christians to facilitate destroying other religions and should not be used at all.

John Michael Greer's "A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism" might have helped too. That book explains the very important differences between polytheistic and monotheistic philosophy of religion.

And then there is this: "their rituals, beliefs, and traditions were undefined and fluidly interpreted, orally passed down rather than rigidly studied." First of all don't conflate rituals, beliefs, and traditions. Rituals and traditions tend to be very well defined and structured. Beliefs less so. It is the Christians who decided that beliefs and ritual practices have to be tied together under the term "religion". And just because information is passed orally doesn't mean it is less defined, structured, or rigid. Modern people have no concept of how important memorization and accurate recall are to people who don't use writing. Don't assume that just because they didn't write things down they didn't have rules and structure.

It's just that what parts of the rules and structure they thought were important are a lot different from what we think is important now. The Christians have convinced us that 'religion' is about belief and gods. A lot of what we call religion classical pagans called tradition and custom. The other half of what we call religion they called philosophy. Every religion is a 'way of life' if practiced properly.

Modern people tend to conflate religion with institutions. That makes no sense at all when studying pagans. One of the many reasons I believe that modern Wicca is more accurate in spirit than many re-creationist traditions is that Wicca has many independent schools and traditions and no central authority, just like classical pagans.

Classical paganism was a "Cultic Milieu". People were raised in a culture that had beliefs and practices (as all cultures do). And they formed (or joined) organizations that cultivated (the origin of the word cult) those beliefs and practices. Or sometimes they created new organizations with new practices. They also belonged to schools of philosophy that advocated specific beliefs about the nature of life and how one should live. These schools were independent of the particular gods or spirits one choose to honor.

Look at the Hindus of India. Many people will tell you that Hinduism 'isn't really a religion' because it has no central organization. Hinduism just refers to the beliefs and practices of the Indus valley. Among the people of the Indus valley there are thousands of independent temples to thousands of gods. And probably just as many holy people and Gurus offering to assist people on their spiritual journey. Christians used to say the Hindus didn't have a holy book either. Although the Vedas are the some of the oldest religious writing in the world, they are not sacred in themselves and not attributed to the gods. The Vedas are just records of past beliefs and practices. Writing them down did not make them more important than when they were passed on orally. Which I think makes Hinduism a better religion than those monotheistic people who insist that all wisdom comes from a book someone wrote a long time ago. Don't get me wrong, I love books and I value ancient wisdom. I just don't think 'the Word of God' is something that can be written down or spoken.

Many Westerners will tell you that Buddhism isn't a religion because Buddha didn't say anything about gods. But from a Buddhist perspective Christianity isn't a religion because it doesn't say anything about how to escape the wheel of rebirth. Which is why I don't use use either of those as ways of determining what is a religion.
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