Witchcraft is a pagan religion. They believe in a
central supernatural power to which petitions for help may be addressed. Witches
view themselves as part of the universe finding wisdom and happiness by living
in harmony with nature. They believe that much of nature can be
manipulated if one knows the key to communicating with this "cone of power", and
that sexuality and fertility is the basis of all life. It is by the
glorification of sex that humanity is liberated from its earthbound limitations.
Witchcraft does not follow a list rules or
regulations, rather they abide by one rule; "do as you will but harm none."
Witches believe in magic as a
reality. They believe everyone has innate psychic abilities, they are natural
and we all have them. Witches also believe in the power of thought, this is one
of the basics of magic. Magic is the art of causing change through the power of
will and natural energies. It is natural and it works with, and not against, the
forces of Nature. Witches use magic to bring about needed change in harmony with
natural forces, to aid spiritual growth by understanding the Self and the
universe and thereby the evolution of man/womankind.
Esbats are the rituals/meetings
held on the Full Moon. There are 13 Esbats. There are 8 Sabbats, four Greater
and 4 Lesser. The four Greater Sabbats are Imbolg, Beltane, Lughnassadh and
Samhain. The four Lesser are the Winter solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer
Solstice and the Autumn Equinox.
The Law of Three is very prominent in the Old
Religions. "The Maiden, the Mother and the Crone", Who symbolize, the beginning,
the middle and the end, birth, life and death. The moon phases, Waxing, Full and
There is also a strong belief throughout the
Old Religions in the Law of Three. Whatever you give out, comes back to you
threefold. Whether it is good or bad.
One of the symbols of witchcraft is the
five-pointed star. A white witch wears it, uses it with one point pointing
straight up. If a witch wears it with two points pointing up, resembling horns,
that witch is a black witch, a Satanist.
The book that has been used through the
centuries is called "The Book of Shadows". Every witch when initiated must
hand-copy their own book, which is a manual of witch law. Very few witches today
understand the old chants in this book. It is a book of beliefs,
witchcraft laws, rituals, herbal and healing law, incarnations, chants, dances,
divination methods, spells, and other information which serves as a guide for
witches in practicing their craft and religion. In addition individual witches
add their own personal material and is supposed to be destroyed upon their
One of the most famous witches in the world during the last century was the
In order to become a witch a person must
present them self for membership to a local coven. A coven is local group of
witches, both male and female, consisting of more than 13 members. Since it
is impossible for the coven to release a member, a person must be thoroughly
instructed in what is involved in becoming a witch before being initiated. Most
ceremonies today are held indoors since all rituals are done in the nude. A cold
salt water bath is used to cleanse the newcomer, and they are actually totally
immersed (baptized). After this, the initiate is led into the circle where they
stand with legs and arms outstretched and are greeted with the abasing five-fold
kiss where five parts of the body are kissed by someone of the opposite sex.
After the end of the initiation ceremony, the member is given an "athame", the
traditional witch's knife which is traditionally a double-bladed knife with a
black handle on which mystic symbols are engraved.
The Law of the Power
The Power shall not be used to bring harm, to injure or control others.
But if the need rises, the Power shall be used to protect your life or the
lives of others.
The Power is used only as need dictates.
The Power can be used for your own gain, as long as by doing so you harm
It is unwise to accept money for use of the Power, for it quickly controls
its taker. Be not as those of other religions.
Use not the Power for prideful gain, for such cheapens the mysteries of
Witchcraft and magick.
Ever remember that the Power is the sacred gift of the Goddess and God,
and should never be misused or abused.
And this is the law of the Power.
Wiccans celebrate eight festivals, called "Sabbats," as a means of attunement
to the seasonal rhythms of Nature. These are January 31 (Called Oimelc, Brigit,
or February Eve), March 21 (Ostara or Spring Equinox), April 30 (Beltane or May
Eve), June 22 (Midsummer, Litha or Summer Solstice), July 31 (Lunasa or Lammas),
September 21 (Harvest, Mabon or Autumn Equinox), October 31 (Samhain, Sowyn or
Hallows), and December 21 (Yule or Winter Solstice.) Some groups find meetings
within a few days of those dates to be acceptable, others require the precise
date. In addition, most groups will meet for worship at each Full Moon, and many
will also meet on the New Moon. Meetings for religious study will often be
scheduled at any time convenient to the members, and rituals can be scheduled
whenever there is a need (i.e. for a healing).
Ritual jewelry is particularly important to many Wiccans. In addition to
being a symbol of religious dedication, these talismans are often blessed by the
coven back home and felt to carry the coven's protective and healing energy.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: Most Wiccans meet with a coven, a small group of
people. Each coven is autonomous. Most are headed by a High Priestess, often
with the assistance of a High Priest. Some are headed by a High Priestess or
High Priest without a partner, and some regard themselves as a gathering of
equals. Covens can be of mixed gender, or all female or male, depending on the
preferences of the members. Every initiate is considered to be a priestess a
priest. Most covens are small. Thirteen is the traditional maximum number of
members, although not an absolute limit. At that size covens form a close bond,
so Wiccans in the military are likely to maintain a strong affiliation with
their covens back home.
While many Wiccans meet in a coven, there are also a number of solitairies.
These are individuals who choose to practice their faith alone. The may have
been initiated in a coven or self initiated. They will join with other Wiccans
to celebrate the festivals or to attend the various regional events organized by
the larger community.
WORSHIP: Wiccans usually worship in groups. Individuals who are currently not
affiliated with a coven, or are away from their home coven, may choose to
worship privately or may form ad-hoc groups to mark religious occasions.
Non-participating observers are not generally welcome at Wiccan rituals.
Some, but not all, Wiccan covens worship in the nude ("skyclad") as a sign of
attunement with Nature. Most, but not all, Wiccan covens bless and share a cup
of wine as part of the ritual. Almost all Wiccans use an individual ritual knife
(an "athame"_ to focus and direct personal energy. Covens often also have ritual
swords to direct the energy of the group. These tools, like all other ritual
tools, are highly personal and should never leave the possession of the owner.
Other commonly used ritual tools include a bowl of water, a bowl of salt, a
censer with incense, a disk with symbols engraved on it (a "pentacle"), statues
or artwork representing the Goddess and God, and candles. Most groups will bless
and share bread or cookies along with the wine. All of these items are used in
individual, private worship as well as in congregate rituals.
OTHER: With respect to attitude toward military service, Wiccans range from
career military personnel to conscientious objectors. Wiccans do not proselytize
and generally resent those who do. They believe that no one Path to the Sacred
is right for all people, and see their own religious pattern as only one among
many that are equally worthy. Wiccans respect all religious that foster honor
and compassion in their adherents, and expect the same respect. Members are
encouraged to learn about all faiths, and are permitted to attend the services
of other religions, should they desire to do so.
The other "Law" of Witchcraft is the "THREE-FOLD LAW OF RETURN". Basically,
this is the natural law of "cause and effect". The Goddess charges us to
exercise great care in all that we, as Witches, do and say and even think. The
Threefold Law takes the notion that "what we reap, we will sow", a few steps
further..in fact, THREE steps further. For what we do "for good or for ill,
shall be returned to us threefold." In light of this fact, Witches are loath
to cause any harm, lest it be returned to them in spades!
When we come to really understand the Three-Fold Law and it's
ramifications, we can see that although on the surface, it acts like a
prohibition, it also serves as a source of blessing. Witches seek to heal and
to help all of Life, and when we are working for "the good of all", it is
natural that the "good" will come to us also. But it falls on us multiplied
and empowered..three-fold is quite an increase no matter what mathematical
method you use!
The word "just" is defined as" that which is merited or deserved." With
that definition in mind, you can see why Witches believe in the exercise of
"justice" over "revenge". We are assured that what is merited by a persons
actions will come to pass. We need only to ask the God and Goddess for
"justice to be done". Since this is in line with natural laws and the promises
of the Ancient Ones, we can rest in the knowledge that we are asking in a
correct manner for the situation to be taken care of. Then we can release it
to them to handle and go about our business.
"Revenge" on the other hand, is defined as "an urge to get even" (we've all
been there!) or "to inflict harm in reaction to an insult" (we cannot go
THERE! see: Witches Rede) It is difficult sometimes, especially when our loved
ones have been hurt, to follow the principles outlined here...VERY difficult.
Never the less, that is what we are instructed to do. It is a matter of
trust...trust that the God and the Goddess will take care of it...trust that
the Universal Laws apply to everyone equally...trust in the Three-Fold
Law...and trust in yourself as a Witch, strong in your beliefs. We all go
through deep soul searching when confronted with this issue. How we decide to
respond tells us a lot about ourselves, what we give lip service to and what
we really believe. It can be a valuable lesson that can change our life.
"The Great Mother and Father would not have their children suffer the
indignities of oppressors for their sake, for what is within the hearts of
Their children is dear and true to Them. The Ancient and Mighty Ones shall
cause the balance to be made for those who desecrate the worship of the Lord
and Lady, Their Temples, or their Creations" *
The basic history of Witchcraft and its cultural origins.
Some of the different Traditions and Ways that Witchcraft is
The basic ethical guidelines, such as the Rede or Law of Three.
A basic overview of karma and reincarnation (or
An understanding on how Magick works.
Deity Names and Aspects.
The Elements and correspondences.
Basic Tools of the Craft and their use in ritual work.
Some divination, visualization and meditation techniques.
Folklore and Mythology.