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PostSubject: Being A Witch   Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:00 pm

Being A Witch



Witchcraft is fascinating, exhilarating. You're so looking forward to being a Witch. Except for one little thing . . .

How do you do it?

This section shows you what you need to know, and answers some of the most common questions Wicca beginners have about the basics of getting started.

If you're a beginner in Wicca, or even just curious about Witch Craft, there are some questions you are probably asking yourself -- questions like . . .

What is Wicca?
How do you know if Wicca is right for you?
What's the difference between being a Witch and being Wiccan?
What is The Wiccan Way?
Do you need a Coven?
How do you find other Witches?
How do you become a Witch?
Do you need a Magickal name?
What are the necessary ritual tools?
Do you need a Wiccan Alter?
Where do Wiccans Worship?
What are Witches Familiars and how do you get one?


These are good questions, all part of being a Witch. This section will guide you first through the process of becoming a Witch, and then through the things you need to know to practice Witchcraft.


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PostSubject: Re: Being A Witch   Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:08 pm

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?


At the surface level, being Wiccan is as simple as choosing to be one, or realising that Wicca's philosophy and practices work for you. And beyond that, there is living a Wiccan life.

Being a Witch is called practicing the Craft for a reason. The word derives from a Germanic word meaning strength.
A craft is something that involves making things by hand. It is a skilled profession. A craft implies artistry. And that's what being a Witch is. It's something you practice, thus gaining skills and strength - spiritual and personal empowerment.

Being Witch, is an artistic expression of being human.

Witchcraft involves the greatest craft there is: the creation of an exquisite soul . . . Yours!


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PostSubject: Re: Being A Witch   Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:13 pm

How Do You Know If Wicca Is Right For You?


Before you "sign up," you want to know whether being a Witch is really for you. How can you know?

My own opinion is that you would have known this from birth.  You instinctively know if you are Witch... or not.


You can get a pretty good idea if the Craft would suit you by talking with other Witches. If your friends are Witches, or people you have spirituality in common, it's likely that Wicca could work for you, too. Invite a Witch for coffee! Being with a Witch friend is the best way to test the waters. You can explore a little deeper by reading books and online material.

Be aware that there are many different flavours of Wicca. Some are quite rigid and dogmatic. Some are very loose and spontaneous. Some are hierarchical. Others are consciousness of sharing power equally. Some use high drama in their rituals. Others are more casual. And still others are little more than a social gathering for like-minded people. If one rubs you the wrong way, it's still possible that another will fit better with your personality. Reading various books and websites will help you figure out which is Witch.

At some point, you'll want to participate in a ritual. This is the core spiritual exercise of Wicca. You can do one on your own, if that's what you'd like. But I recommend participating in a group ritual - or five - to really get a feel for the possibilities of the practice. You may need to join more than one, in order to find a style that works for you. Being in a Witch gathering will clarify things quickly. If you are called to Witchcraft, you will likely know it after being in a few Witch rituals. The feeling of joyful homecoming can't be missed!


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PostSubject: Re: Being A Witch   Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:16 pm

Witch, Wiccan . . . What's the Difference?


Some people use these terms interchangeably. Some people call themselves both Witches and Wiccans. Rather like "Christian" and "Catholic," or "Protestant" or whatever. Other people like to distinguish the two. There is a fine line that can be drawn. Because not all Witches are Wiccans.

The difference is when one practices magick, without the spiritual or religious context, one is a Witch.   Most Wiccans also practice magick, but within the philosophy of Wicca -- that is, within a spiritual framework. They may consider themselves Witches, as well as Wiccans.
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PostSubject: Re: Being A Witch   Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:20 pm

What Is The Wiccan Way?


Being Wiccan is more than just magick spells or incantations or something. It is...


  • a spiritual path,
  • a way of seeing the world,
  • a style of living,
  • a means of personal growth.


The Wiccan Way is like a beginners guide to Wicca Spirituality, and a complement to the Wiccan Rede.


The Wiccan Way
 ~  by erin Dragonsong © 2009
 


I keep this wisdom as I may
To follow in the Wiccan Way
The Wiccan Rede — the vital one:
Do as I will, an it harm none
Following my Inner Light,
I do that which I deem right
The Silver Rule I shall sustain:
My heart shall lead; my soul shall reign
Following my Inner Light,
I do that which I deem right
The Silver Rule I shall sustain:
My heart shall lead; my soul shall reign
With loving care I heed and tend
My body: Temple, Guide, and friend
I'll study well a year and day,
Apply the wisdom of the fey,
Attend all that the Earth proclaims
Ere a Wiccan I be named
Though all for naught, unless I see
The Pentacle inside of me!
My subtle sense I cultivate
For energies that emanate
I trust the Voice inside that knows
What eyes may miss but Goddess shows
Four Powers of the Witch fulfill:
Know, Will, Dare, and then Be Still
The font of my authority
Is earnest authenticity
With and through my thoughts and speech
Into action I must reach
For Wicca is a living art
In every day, in every part
Nature is my Temple free
The Earth and Winds, the Sun and Sea
The Moon I bless as Goddess' throne
Being Maiden, Mother, Crone
I meet the Days and greet the Nights 
With joy and thanks for all delights
I dance the seasons' spiral round
Til wondrous awe and love abound 
That Earth is Heaven, 'tis a fact
Hell is made by human act 
The God as son, lover, king --
His life to serve, yes, everything
I honour in my heart the arc
Of Divine Light and Sacred Dark
'Tis by the Sun that life be won,
And by the Moon that change be done
So I fear not the door of death
Where life continues beyond breath
Nothing lacking, nothing lost
All lives within that I love most
God and Goddess, all are One
Beyond the Moon, beyond the Sun
For that Divinity to know
These qualities I'll seek to grow:
Loving Kindness, Harmony,
Creation, Generosity,
Self-awareness, Presence, Bliss, 
Beauty, Oneness — Goddess is
Hence self-righteousness is fraud;
None can stand 'twixt one and God
To Her, emotions point the way:
Am I on track or gone astray?
For as I live with least of strife
I free myself, and bless all Life
The Gods need us, as we need them
To learn, to grow, to live again
My deepest dreams--Divine decree--
Reveal what Goddess wants of me
I think, I say; so life will go
For good or ill, for high or low
And my ideals are treasured maps
To guard me from fear's subtle traps
What I send out will be returned
That life's true lessons may be learned
Love and hate bind equally 
Their targets tightly unto me
Anger makes a poison cup 
And none but fools would drink it up

For enemies prove in the end
To be my soul's most valiant friends
When I wish to be more blessed
I rejoice in folks' success
For anything I wish to find  
Is summoned when I give in kind
By my actions be I known
Regardless what I'd like be shown
Be kind to all; give all I can
Thus tend the Balance life demands
The Goddess blesses those who aid
All the children She has made
Furred and featherd, leafed and scaled:
Thus Divinity is veiled 
Respect and peace in mind and heart
Strengthen me in Magick Art
Serving Life empowers me
Above, below, and three times three
I'll achieve all I desire
As ego burns in sacred fire 
Magick is the means of Life
And Goddess is its Source and Knife
This birthright passes unto me:
As I do will, so mote it be… 
From countless choice, one I distill
With clear intent and strength of will;
Passions fuel and charge the spell,
Then in the Void I plant it well:
Know that it is One with me
And soon in life so it must be.
To purify the path to will,
I practice that my mind be still;
What good be Craft without true sight?
No good is done without this Light!

Because I choose this sacred Way
By this measure all I'll weigh:
As wise as snake, as soft as dove,
I'll know myself, and live in love
Forever will I heed the call:
Serve blesséd Earth, and be the All.




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PostSubject: Re: Being A Witch   Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:15 am

Do you need a Coven?


In one word... no.  You do not need to be a part of a Coven to practice your craft. 

Generally, Covens are Wiccan ritual groups where the membership is fixed. Only those initiated into the group can attend the rituals, and attendance may be mandatory.  Each member generally practices on their own as well, coming together to celebrate the Moon and High Holy Days, as well as occasions like blessings and purifications.

Wiccans who work in such groups are likely to be very committed to the practice. They may have been formally trained and formally initiated into something like British Traditional Wicca.  Such groups are likely to be hierarchical, with degrees of initiation, High Priestesses and High Priests leading the group.  In most, new members may join from time to time. This usually involves some kind of initiation, particularly since those who pass on a "tradition" of Wicca tend to work in these closed groups. Those who place a high value on following a tradition often highly value initiations.
There can be rules about how many people can be in one group. Traditionally the number is set at 13, or sometimes 9. While not all groups insist on specific numbers, a small group is desirable.

The power of practicing with others this way is the level of intimacy and trust built between the Witches over time.  This requires consistency, getting to know the people and how they work. It also requires a small membership. Too many people makes a group cumbersome, and sub-groups tend to form -- which inhibits the communal energy. Provided there is a foundation of respect for all, such a spiritual community can be advantageous for those who go deeply into the soul.

Closed groups create a safe environment for authentic self-expression. As the members open their souls in ritual together, a deep intimacy forms and bonds the group.  And the most important benefit: with experience together, a group can learn to achieve greater results and deeper connection with the Divine. It’s always true that it’s easier to raise power and to connect spiritually within groups, and that’s as true in Wicca as any other religion.


Limitations


There are risks in having a closed group, though. One is becoming dogmatic. Everyone reinforces the accepted beliefs and set patterns. Lacking fresh views - or disdaining them - religious "ruts" can develop.

Another hazard is that they seem to set the stage for ego battles and personality cults. This is the downfall of the hierarchical system of the old Wicca. As people jostle for status and power, the group can become an arena for self-aggrandisement. (Which, by the way, is the opposite of spirituality.)

At the end of the day it is personal choice to seek out and join a Coven, but it is not a required status in learning and practicing your craft.
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PostSubject: Re: Being A Witch   Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:25 am

How do you find other Witches?


With the invention of the WWW, finding others of the Craft has never been easier.  There are whole websites dedicated to the Craft these days,  with hundreds of Members to interact with. 

Take out a personal listing in the Witchvox site in the hope that someone in your area searches for a contact.

If you are seeking others of your kind closer to home, then one answer is to
go to the Witches Meetup web site at: http://witches.meetup.com/ and enter your country and location.

Go to your local New Age book store, Occult shop, Pagan shop or Metaphysical shop. You might be able to find a contact by viewing their bulletin board or talking to an employee.

Attend a local Wiccan/Neopagan gathering or festival.


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PostSubject: Re: Being A Witch   Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:34 am

How do you become a Witch?


The first thing that the seeker should know is that much of the "knowledge" that we possess today about Witchcraft and its origins is a combination of archeological data, the myths and legends that have been passed down and some historical documents that have been translated. The rest is conjecture and the "best guesses" of scholars who are working on "bringing it all together." In other words, no one can say for certain what the Ancestors really did or why.

That does not mean that we have NO knowledge, we certainly DO! just that we do not have THE historical knowledge of the origins of the Modern Craft. Different interpretations will continue to abound both in written materials and in any teachings that you may encounter. There will never be only one Way of practicing Witchcraft. Get used to it. No one has the "one true answer"...and any teacher worth his or her salt will tell you this up front.

The above is your first introduction to what is involved in following the path of Witchcraft. You are expected to do a LOT of research on your own. This is actually a very healthy way to approach the beginning study of any Path you are considering. Read many, many books on the subject-both scholarly and those that some would consider in the "fluff' category. Why? Because this is your first foray into unknown waters. You should approach it with an open mind-ready to question and probe and ponder. I cannot overestimate how useful this first step will be. It can help you to formulate your own ideas about what this Path may mean to you.

Do not try to incorporate all that you read into one cohesive whole at the beginning. Look at whatever material that you are reading as a "theory" or "hypothesis" of Witchcraft. Some things will appeal to you right away. Others will seem "off the wall" or too fantastic to be of use. Accept or reject nothing at this stage; just keep on gathering information. You are doing "research". The more you read, the more a "coming together" of certain aspects will begin to form within yourself. Then you will have a foundation from which you can take the next step.


DO... Read as many books on the subject as you can-on History, Myths, Poetry, Psychology and Science as well as books on Witchcraft or Magick.

DO... Make yourself a research library. Take notes or highlight passages that particularly interest you. If you have a question on what is written, place a question mark next to that passage. You should enjoy what you read at this stage-the enjoyment will actually help you to retain what you read better than struggling through dusty tomes on alchemy (unless you happen to love alchemy, that is!).

DO... start a journal. You can even call it a "Book of Shadows" if you want to. (It can just be a loose leaf notebook, These are handy for creating different sections.) Write down both the things that you have found to be of interest and the things that you would like to know more about.

DO... Look at Nature. Witchcraft and most other Pagan paths are called "earth or nature based" religions. What is Nature saying to you? Bring home rocks, sticks, leaves or other things you find that attract your attention. Now ask yourself-WHY did you bring that home? Write it down.

DO... get organized. Concentration is an important skill in Magic. Disciplining yourself to make regular entries into a journal and writing things down will help you to develop concentration.

DO... learn to ask SPECIFIC questions of other Witches or Pagans when you need help. And ask yourself some questions, too. "What do I think Witchcraft is? What do I find here that has meaning for me?"

DO... tell the truth. Can seasoned Witches tell if someone is "full of it"? Yes, they can and rather quickly, too! Be honest about what you know and what you don't.

DO... spend time alone to think carefully about how you feel and what you want for yourself. Some people think at the onset that Witchcraft will allow them to change other people or circumstances. But YOU will be the one who changes as you explore this Path. Do you really WANT to change?


DON'T.. take it too fast. You have not made any commitments yet. You are doing research into a subject that interests you on a personal level. Jumping into a group situation at this point may hinder your development more than help it. You need to find out where YOU are going before you hit the trail with someone else.

DON'T... get discouraged. Sometimes it is very difficult to "go it alone." But the Craft is made up of individuals who bring something of value to the Path-as well as receive benefits from it. Many "old timers" have the "Grampa attitude". You know, the "When I was your age, I had to walk three miles to school every day...in the snow...with no boots...carrying my little sister...and a load of firewood..." Well, in a way that is true. It WAS much harder to be a Witch only a few decades ago. So be forgiving if they are not ready to hand you all their hand gathered "firewood" on a silver platter....you may have to walk a mile or two by yourself....in the snow...with no boots.....


DON'T... ask about joining a terraspace coven just yet. A coven is a close knit group working together. It is a difficult process to create an effective magickal unit. Most covens are not actively looking for new members, as each time a new person is added to the group, it takes time for the unit to re-adjust. There are some cyberspace "covens" that readily accept new members. If you look on it as a "training exercise", you could learn a few things. Ask around the Internet.


DON'T... be afraid because you are not part of a group. Many, many Witches find out after much trial and error that they actually PREFER to work alone. Traditionally the Witch WAS a loner...and many still are by choice. Often solitary Witches get together to talk and exchange information and then happily go back to their solitary practice. You CAN do a little bit of both.
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PostSubject: Re: Being A Witch   Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:48 am

Do you need a Magickal name?


Many Pagans adopt a magical name upon their initiation into the Craft. This can be a name you select for yourself, or one given to you by someone else. The magical name is usually only revealed in a ritual setting, and isn’t usually used outside of the coven or group. Some Pagans have two magical names -- one which they use in public and one which is known only to the gods and members of the person’s coven.  Keep in mind that not all Pagans, or even all Wiccans, choose to have magical names. Selecting one is a personal decision, but it is not required of people in all traditions.

A magical name is unique to the practitioner, and there are several ways to find yours. When you find the right name, you’ll keep it for a long time. In some traditions it‘s customary to wait until you‘ve studied a year and a day before claiming your magical name. In others, it is  selected at the time of initiation but still after significant thought has been put into it.

One method by which people sometimes find their magical name is to simply choose something they like. A problem with this method is that what we like on one day, we may find silly a year down the road. If you’re going to choose a name based on whether it sounds cool or not, stop and think about it. What is it about the name that appeals to you? Ten years from now, are still going to feel comfortable saying, “Hi, I‘m Fairypuddle,” when you meet a new person?

Choose a name not only for its sound, but its attributes as well. For example, someone wishing to convey strength in their name might include “oak“ or “iron“ as part of their moniker. A person who is highly creative might select a name that reflects their art or craft. You may want to choose a name based rooted in folklore or mythology. Many people include the name of an animal that resonates with them. A cautionary note here: in the Pagan community, certain animals pop up all the time. You’ll meet two dozen Ravens and just as many Cats, but it’s unlikely you’ll encounter anyone calling himself Wombat or Penguin.

Another bit of advice -- generally, the titles Lord and Lady are reserved for people who are Elders or have a significant amount of leadership experience under their belt. To name oneself Lady So-and-So without any credentials is considered presumptuous by many Pagans. Likewise, in many traditions it’s seen as hubris to give oneself the name of a deity. You may want to choose a name that indicates your dedication to a Goddess or God but don’t co-opt their names. It’s just rude. If you're a dedicant to Apollo, don't call yourself Master Apollo, call yourself something like Apollonius instead. You could save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.


A Gift from the Gods

In some cases, you may be fortunate enough to have your new name bestowed upon you by a Goddess or God.  In these instances, you may encounter someone in a dream or a vision who tells you, “Your name is Such-and-such.” While you may choose to add to it or come up with a variation on it later, if this happens to you, accept the name as the gift that it is.

Whatever method you end up using, think carefully before you finalize your new name. While it’s okay to change your name later on as you evolve spiritually, changing your name every few weeks or every time you see a new episode of “Charmed” is probably not the best course of action.

Find the name that is right for you -- and when it IS the right one....  you will know.

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