Archive for wicca

Traditional Witchcraft: Should I Worry About Bad Karma If I Use Black Magic?

Posted in Black Magic, Healing, occult, protection spells, self-defense, spell books, spell casting, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2013 by littleredridinghood

Dürer_-_HexensabbatSome people regard black magic as a misuse of spiritual energy. Some define it as any act that interferes with another person’s free will and believe that no witchcraft, even healing, should be conducted without the permission of the subject. Some modern ceremonial magicians call it “the left hand path.” Some warn that it is karmically dangerous to the spell caster.

But, none of this is really relevant in traditional witchcraft. In fact, the purpose of most of traditional witchcraft is to affect the outer environment and those around us and what is commonly called black magic is only an integral part of witchcraft, itself.

The definition of “black magic” used by Winter Tempest Books authors is that it is simply malefic witchcraft, meaning it is witchcraft used for the purpose of causing harm or injury to another. Moral judgments and ethical considerations are withheld and reserved for the individual, who is the only person fit to judge his or her own particular situation. Moreover, we always advocate that, for your protection, such witchcraft should be done secretly and without violating the laws of whatever state, country or other legal jurisdiction you live in.

Some members of modern witchcraft religion state that no “real witch” would use black magic. But, if this were true, why is that that most of the documentation of witchcraft in Western Europe, New England and around the world is full to the brim with instances of curses and demonic visitations? Obviously, this assertion doesn’t hold water.

The dominant class of popular, modern religious witches often warn against the use of black magic because of a fear of it “recoiling” on the one who cast the spell. They have various names for this, such as the “Law of Returns,” and the “Three-fold Law,” and it appears that this modern dogma evolved from the Hindu concept of Karma.

The Doctrine of Karma

The ancient Hindu religious principle of Karma is similar to, but, also, differs from the modern New Age concept, which is described below. In Hinduism, which includes a belief in reincarnation, karma occurs after death and it determines the soul’s path in its next incarnation. Both this life and the next incarnation could be affected by your past deeds. At the core of the doctrine is the concept of cause and effect, the idea that your actions in this life and past ones have have effect on the present and the future. Suffering is seen as a “spiritual gift” by which a person learns and becomes stronger, so disease and other adversity is seen as part of life’s lesson.

This doctrine of karma has been recycled and revamped by Western New Agers and Christianized. Then, it was adapted by Wiccans. (Read more about the Christianization of Wicca in the U.S. in a previous article, “Differences Between Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca: How Wicca Became Mainstream Modern Witchcraft.”)

By contrast, in traditional witchcraft, suffering is not regarded as a spiritual gift. People do not need to learn cosmic lessons by disease, injury, violence, etc. There is no God or system that judges and rewards or punishes.

A danger of this kind of thinking is that it engenders the false belief other people want or deserve to suffer or that we, ourselves, deserve to suffer because of some imagined transgression in this or a past life. Crime survivors might internalize the abuses that have been perpetrated against them by others and imagine that they are somehow deserving because of some imagined bad behavior. For instance, an abused wife may be convinced that she deserves to be abused because she abused her husband in a past life – this is the kind insanity that can flourish when this notion of karma is taken to an extreme.

Karma is a religious doctrine that has no place in traditional witchcraft, which is not a religion, at all. Such thinking prevents people from looking for solutions to health issues, excuses criminal behavior and allows evil-doers to prevail.

Then, there is the negative psychological aspect of accepting this religious belief.

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Wiccan Guilt

Morganlfay-smallerWiccans believe that witchcraft and, indeed, all of life is governed by their version of the law of karma. They are constantly warning people about the dangers of bad karma and bad intent.

Among Wiccans there is a common belief that the things you do now can affect completely unrelated events down the road, either for good or evil, based on the nature of the action you have taken.

Wiccan belief is that if you send out negativity, this causes more negativity in the world, which will inevitably boomerang its way back to you. But, if you send out positive energy, positive energy will come back to you. (To that I say, if you’re a woman, try walking down a street in New York City beaming positive energy at everyone you encounter and see how much positive energy comes back to you. A word of warning: Don’t try this without years of martial arts training.)

This concept of karma within Wicca can become absurd, leading to Wiccan guilt, which is a lot like Christian guilt. Neither are mentally healthy. The New Age belief in past lives affecting the present one is similar to the the Christian doctrine of Original Sin. The Wiccan belief of being cosmically punished if you step out of line is similar to the Christian doctrine of Judgment.

Many Wiccans and New Agers swear this Westernized karmic dogma is true. This is because religious people often have a confirmation bias – if they believe a doctrine, they will look for proof of it where none exists.

For example, a Wiccan who gives a sum of money to charity, then experiences some kindness from a stranger in the next day or two might attribute the kind behavior of the stranger to having made a charitable contribution, when in fact, it was just an encounter with a kindly stranger and nothing more. If the same Wiccan had knocked down an old lady and stolen her grocery money the day before instead, he or she would still have experienced an encounter with a kindly stranger the next day. There is no cause and effect in this situation because there is no cosmic overseer judging and punishing your every move. This is simply a religious belief similar to those held by Hindus and Christians.

To further illustrate, if you think a bad thought about someone and then trip over a piece of loose carpeting and stub your toe, this injury is not a result of your “transgression.” Or, if you fail to adequately tip a waiter and a month later your house is foreclosed on, it is not reasonable to say this is because of a karmic law.

Wiccan guilt comes in when you do good, but good does not return to you – then, you may feel you have not been good enough. If some accident befalls you, a loved one dies or you become the victim of a violent crime, you may be encouraged to believe that this was because of some wrong action or thought vibration on your part. Karma-based beliefs engender a remarkable degree of self-blaming, victim-blaming and criminal enabling.

Letting Go of Harmful Beliefs

The doctrine of karma is simply a religious belief, the key word being “belief.” Such cultural and religious conditioning is a form of mind control.

Holding onto such unfounded beliefs is ultimately destructive. It leads to a state of being in which the person constantly fears they are doing something wrong. To let go of this programming, you only have to allow your rational mind to overcome this irrational and unfounded religious belief.

If you have had the misfortune of being subjected to either Christian or Wiccan indoctrination and consequently fear stepping out of line because of imagined cosmic repercussions, you may have to do some deprogramming before you feel comfortable using black magic.

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The Power of Black Magic

Fortunately, black magic can help break the chains of religious conditioning. Traditionally, black magic rituals involving such things as the recitation of the “Our Father” prayer backwards or meeting a spirit in a cemetery or a crossroad at midnight mark a witch’s passage into the world of witchcraft.

Former Wiccans who want to make a break from their religion might perform a short ritual by writing the “Rede,” “The Law of Returns” or whatever other dogmatic belief on a sheet of paper and burning it in a little ceremony to break the psychological tie to this religious philosophy.

Of course, none of this is really necessary. Simply performing acts of black magic is enough to make the break.

witchyThe use of black magic is often a matter of survival. Sometimes violent crime survivors discover their ability to use it very spontaneously.

Sometimes using black magic is the right thing to do in a situation to prevent harm to yourself or someone else. Black magic can be a means of restoring justice and peace – and maintaining it.

Black magic can provide the ultimate form of protection. Once you begin practicing black magic, you will naturally require more protection, but the acquisition of this protection is part of the process of learning more about witchcraft, especially communicating with and employing spirits.

Black magic thinking has the power to release people from a sense of being victimized. It helps crime survivors regain control over their lives. If you have been through a terrible ordeal at the hands of some malefactor, black magic helps you heal, restore balance and re-establish more control over your own life.

Above all, black magic is a mindset. It is a strong self-defense mentality. It helps to undo some of the damage done to us by living in a victim-blaming society in which we are blamed for the failures and evil actions of other people. It helps to restore power and autonomy to the individual.

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The Use of the Magical Circle in Traditional Witchcraft: How it is Cast and Why

Posted in Black Magic, occult, protection spells, self-defense, spell books, spell casting, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by littleredridinghood
464px-A_Magician_by_Edward_Kelly

A Magician

The casting of circles in witchcraft is very old and appears to be universal.

Those familiar with the modern, popular form of witchcraft, Wicca, know that they cast a circle by “calling the corners.” This procedure is sometimes complex and technical in nature and involves the use of specific colors of candles and other implements. Some of them do it to create “sacred space” to celebrate seasonal holidays, worship their gods and goddesses, or to raise a “cone of power” for some particular purpose. This is one example of the use of a magical circle in a modern form of witchcraft, but there are many others.

The next most familiar type of circle-casting to most people might be the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram described by Israel Regardie in the book, “The Golden Dawn: The Original Account of the Teachings, Rites, and Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order.” In this version four spirits or energies are called to form and guard the circle at the four cardinal points.

The circles described by Regardie are similar to those found in some old medieval grimoires, including “The Lesser Key of Solomon.” These circles are used to summon and converse with demonic spirits. Furthermore, such rituals as these involving circles were documented by the authors of some of these old grimoires who observed and recorded the activities of witches around them at the time.

Those who are new to witchcraft may have the impression that circle casting is something only Wiccans or ceremonial magicians do, however, this is not the case, at all. Although, the Wiccans and ceremonial magicians have their own, often complex methods involving the recitation of specific words and the use of certain magical implements, the casting of a circle as part of a spell is common to witchcraft around the world.

Henry Fuseli - Scene of Witches from "The Masque of Queens" by Ben Jonson

Henry Fuseli – Scene of Witches from “The Masque of Queens” by Ben Jonson {pd}

Worldwide, the circle is primarily used as a place to concentrate power and to perform acts of witchcraft, particularly those involving manifestations of spirits or transformations.

The Obeah men and women were magicians who were among the slaves brought to the Caribbean from some region thought to be in northern Africa. The people from this region of Africa were extraordinary in their beauty, physical strength and intelligence and were prized by the human traffickers who bought and sold them, bringing them primarily to Jamaica despite the fact that they were considered dangerous and inclined to rebellion. The Obeah men and women were both revered and feared by other people because of their magical abilities. The Obeah form of ritual magic sometimes involved the magician drawing a magic circle with a special type of chalk. The origins and content of the chalk are disputed by researchers. Some say that it was formed from the native earth of Africa. Others say that it was made of powdered, white egg shells.

According to researchers, the aboriginals of Australia, also, used similar circles in their magical rituals, including witchcraft for the purpose of cursing enemies. The magician might use the circle alone or with a group of people in this procedure. In such an instance, the circle becomes a metaphysical container for the energy involved in spell casting.

220px-John_William_Waterhouse_-_Magic_Circle

Magic Circle

But, the circle functions to protect the magician and his or her work, also. The following tale, entitled “The Witch as Cat,” involving a chalk-drawn circle comes from Bohemia, historically a German region, which is now part of the Czech Republic; it illustrates the use of the circle in witchcraft as both a protective device and a place from which to conduct acts of magic:

At the end of the sixteenth century a miller woman lived in a mill with her six children. No servant could stay in this mill because during the night a cat with six kittens would always come and bite and scratch the worker, sometimes to death. However, one day a journeyman came to the mill who knew black magic.

When he asked for a night’s lodging the miller woman said that it would not go well with him, because the place was haunted.

“That doesn’t matter,” said the journeyman. “I’m not afraid.”

That evening he lit a candle, drew a circle around himself with sanctified chalk, then sat down at the table. Near midnight a black cat with her six kittens approached the light, wanting to put it out. The journeyman grabbed a hatchet and cut off one of the cat’s paws. She let out a terrible shriek, then all of them ran out the door.

The next morning the miller woman was ill, and no one knew what was wrong with her. However, the journeyman knew what it was; that morning instead of a cat’s paw he had found a human hand lying on the ground. He reported the event, and the miller woman was burned to death, along with her children, for these too someday would have learned witchcraft. ( Josef Virgil Grohmann, Sagen-Buch von Böhmen und Mähren. Erster Theil: Sagen aus Böhmen (Prague: Verlag der J. G. Calve’schen k.k. Universitäts-Buchhandlung, 1863), pp. 225-26.)

Witch and Black Cat

Witch and Black Cat

The following story illustrates how a witch very simply casts a circle to perform a conjuration. This account demonstrates the efficacy of a simple circle for summoning spirits, which is accomplished without elaborate ritual, incantations or a lot of ceremonial tools. A book and a glass in a circle along with a pan of hot coals upon which some stinking herbs were thrown is used to conjure spirits, which take on various forms:

The Witch took her staff and there drew him about the house, making a kind of Circle, and then took a book, and carrying it over the Circle, with her hands, and taking a green glass, did lay it upon the book, and placed n the Circle an earthen pan of Coles, wherein she threw something, which burning caused a very noysome stinck, and told the Maid she should not be afraid of what she should then see, for now they could come, they are the words she used and, so calling Beelzebub, Tormentor, Satan, and Lucifer to appear, there suddainly arose a very high wind, which made the house shake, and presently the back Door of the house flying open, there came five spirits, as the Maid supposed, in the likeness of ragged Boys, some bigger than others and ran about the house, where she had drawn the staff, and the Witch threw down upon the ground Crums of Bread, which the Spirits picked up, and leapt over the Pan of Coals oftentimes, which she set in the middle of the Circle, and a Dog and a Cat of the Witches danced with them; and after some time the Witch looked again in her book, and threw some great white feeds upon the ground… (Bower, Edmond, Doctor Lamb revived, or, Witchcraft condemn’d in Anne Bodenham, 1653, Cornell University Library Witchcraft Collection,P. 4-5.)

Salvator_Rosa_-_A_Witch_-_Google_Art_Project

A Witch in His Circle

The circle may be seen as a three dimensional geometric shape that confines and concentrates the energy that makes possible manifestations and other acts of magic. For example, in the 1947 book, “Ozark Superstitions” Vance Randolph mentions how conjurers in the Ozark Mountains force the appearance of a witch by arranging brush in a circle and lighting it on fire at midnight.

In the following story, we see that a circle large enough to accommodate an outhouse, with the cardinal points marked, is used to make someone ill by means of malefic witchcraft.

An account from circa 1579 from the book, “A Detection of Damnable Driftes Practised by Three Witches Arranged at Chelmifforde in Essex,” demonstrates that the circle not only accumulates power, but holds it in place. It is alleged that an accused witch, Mother Staunton came to the home of a Mrs. Cornell to ask for some milk, whereupon she was turned away on the suspicion that she was a witch. The second time Mother Staunton appeared, she drew a circle in the dirt with her knife outside the door of the house, marking out the cardinal points. Afterward, Mrs. Cornell departed from the house, and stepped across this circle and became very sick.

In many nations around the world, we see the circle used as for both power and protection; to contain the energy needed for a spell or ritual and to guard that energy. Sometimes it is empowered by a prayer, such as the “Our Father” or powerful names or symbols. It is drawn with knives, staffs or special chalk and often oriented toward the four cardinal points, north, south, east and west. But, the circle does not have to be created in an elaborate ritual to be effective.

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Differences Between Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca: How Wicca Became Mainstream Modern Witchcraft

Posted in Black Magic, neo-paganism, occult, spell books, spell casting, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2013 by littleredridinghood

by Sophia diGregorio

The_Wizard_of_Oz_Margaret_Hamilton_1939_No_1There are many differences between traditional witchcraft and Wicca and while there are numerous articles on this subject – in fact, I’ve written a couple of others on this topic elsewhere – it doesn’t hurt to stress it all the more, especially for newcomers to “the craft.”

The term “traditional witchcraft” is one that has evolved in recent years to try to distinguish more historically-based and folk practices from the modern witchcraft-based religion Wicca, which has become very popular in recent decades. Wicca began in Britain in the 1950s, but was not fully exported to the U.S. until the 1970s. Wicca was first very popular on the west coast, in Colorado, Massachussetts and a few other isolated regions until it became part of mainstream pop culture with the release of the movie, “The Craft,” in 1996.

At this point, Wicca became the loudest and proudest voice among those who practice witchcraft, which has generally remained a secret or, at least, private practice for most people. But, this movie made witchcraft – or, at least, a form of it – popular, especially among high school and college aged people. Since then Wicca has remained relatively popular and it is now very often the first introduction many people have to the occult.

But, there are fundamental differences between this modern form of witchcraft, Wicca, and traditional witchcraft.

Those who wanted to take witchcraft mainstream created a “kinder, gentler” form of witchcraft for mass consumption back in the 1970s.

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How Witchcraft in the Form of Wicca Entered Mainstream Popular Culture

In 1974 there was a meeting of some neo-pagans in Minneapolis, Minnesota at which they attempted to codify the beliefs of witches, but they weren’t really talking about witches as much as Wiccans. These people claimed to speak for all witches, but they were actually a group of Wiccans looking for a way to make witchcraft more palatable to Christians.

The following is the result of their attempt to codify and define the beliefs of witches:

“Principles of Wiccan Beliefs” 1974 Council of American Witches

Wiccan_priestess_preaching,_USA

Wiccan priestess preaching in a temple.
Date: 26 August 2007
Source: The Priestess in the Temple.
Flickr user bluheron / Heron Herodias.
Image Lic.: Creative Commons 2.0

We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarter.

We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called supernatural, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity — as masculine and feminine — and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive to the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc. — and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it — a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft — the Wiccan Way.

Calling oneself “Witch” does not make a Witch — but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.

We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be “the only way” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as “Satan” or “the Devil”, as defined by the Christian traditions. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

The Council that came up with this supposedly did so to counteract misinformation and dispel stereotypes, but actually they succeeded in making more of this very thing. Interestingly, this witches’ council was assembled by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, President of Llewellyn Publishing. They have been the primary publishers of books on Wicca and Neo-paganism since, at least, the 1970s. And, it is their books that are common sources of confusion about what witchcraft -at least, traditional witchcraft – is. This is because their Wiccan authors do not usually acknowledge and have even worked to deny the truth about witchcraft.

Not surprisingly, this Council of Witches, which was founded in 1973 ceased to exist by 1975 because of differences among its members.

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Black Magic, Demons and Other Spirits

“Bide the Wiccan Rede, ye must; in perfect love and perfect trust.”

Traditional witches

Mother Goose: A Traditional Witch

A fundamental difference between traditional witches and Wiccans is that traditional witches do not acknowledge or accept the Wiccan Rede or any other moral code. The Wiccan Rede became popular with many non-Gardnerian Wiccans. Gardnerians have never acknowledged it, their “code” is the Charge of the Goddess.

The Wiccan Rede has roots that stretch all the way back to the late 1960s and seems to stem from something said by Doreen Valiente in speech she gave.

On the other hand, traditional witches are entirely self-autonomous and do not acknowledge any code or authority, therefore, they usually have no problem with the practice of black magic. In fact, traditional witchcraft is quite a lot darker than Wicca and the the slick, glittery popular culture conception of modern witchcraft from the movies.

In contrast to traditional witchcraft, Wiccans eschew black magic. Some go a little further and declare that anyone claiming to practice black magic or work with demonic entities is not a real witch. Some, also, claim that Satanists and Luciferians are not real witches. Some Wiccans are very reactionary to this aspect of traditional witchcraft and expend a lot of energy trying to convince people that real witches don’t practice black magic or commune with the devil.

On the other hand, many traditional witches don’t consider Wiccans to be real witches. And, in recent years, some Wiccans do not consider themselves to be witches and do not practice spell casting, rather they just celebrate the earth and its yearly cycles.

As stated in the “Principles” above, Wicca does not recognize evil, ascribing these characteristics to forces of nature. Furthermore, most Wiccans do not believe in the existence of demons or devils. By contrast many traditional witches work with spirits of all kinds and of different natures.

Traditional witches, also, employ familiars, but they are not cats or dogs – they are spirits. By contrasts, many Wiccans translate “familiar spirit” to mean a pet.

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Traditional Witches Look and Act Like Everyone Else

Traditional WitchesMost traditional witches, unless they’re in business as witches, do not dress any differently from other people. They, also, typically do not use telltale phrases like, “Merry Meet” and “Blessed be.” The closer we fit to the witch living alone on the edge of town with a black cat stereo-type, the more circumspect we tend to be with regard to our lives and our activities because people knowing anything about our personal business has not worked out well for us in the past.

By contrast, Wiccans tend to be very social and they dress in certain ways and use certain phrases so they can recognize each other in social settings. They are the vocal majority who are “out of the broom closet.

Wicca and the Self-help Movement

Traditional witchcraft is not a self-help movement. It is not about personal empowerment through positive thinking or affirmations. It about changing the outer world. Traditional witches are very serious about altering circumstances in the outer environment, yes, even manipulating other people. Traditional witches understand that there is a an occult science that makes this possible. Witches have a natural power to cause changes in the outer environment and they spend a lot of time studying the occult and trying to improve upon and perfect their natural abilities.

By contrast, many aspects of Wicca focus on self-help and changing things about one’s self as opposed to changing things in the outer environment. Some even forbid using witchcraft for healing without the subject’s permission.

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Wicca’s Earth-Centeredness

witch-flying

Traditional Witchcraft

Unlike Wicca, traditional witchcraft is not an earth-centered religion or, for that matter, an earth-centered anything else. In fact, it’s not a religion, either. Traditional witches do not worship anyone or anything.

Traditional witches tend to rely more on history, old documents and old practices, whether from old grimoires, the writings of the Hermeticists or from folklore.

On the other hand, Wiccans tend to rely more on their own books on the subject of Wicca, which is really a completely different thing. The Llewellyn Publishing Company is probably the most important publisher to shape present-day thoughts about both Wicca and witchcraft. But, Wicca is in many ways the converse of everything that both traditional witchcraft and historical witchcraft represent.

Read a related article at this blog: What is Traditional Witchcraft? How to Know if You are a Wiccan or a Traditional Witch.

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Green Man Nature Spirit Symbolism in George Romero’s Movie “Season of the Witch” or “Jack’s Wife”

Posted in Black Magic, Clairvoyance, ESP, neo-paganism, occult, spell books, spell casting, tarot, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by littleredridinghood

by Sophia diGregorio.

Young_Pan_by_L._Bakst

Young Pan by L. Bakst

(This is my third review and analysis of “Season of the Witch.” The first one is entitled, “Traditional Witch’s Review of the 1973 George Romero Movie, “Season of the Witch,” aka. “Hungry Wives” and “Jack’s Wife” and the second one is entitled, “Review of “Season of the Witch” (1973) or “Hungry Wives.”)

The Green Man is a nature spirit who represents licentiousness and liberation in the untamed wilderness. He represents mankind’s untamed nature. You’ll see  images of the Green Man in a lot of people’s gardens because he’s a spirit of growth and abundance.

He represents the difference between the “civilized” town-life and life in the wild, untamed forest. The pagans and the wise ones usually lived outside the city and were closer to nature, so he might be seen as a representation of paganism vs. Christianity. He is sometimes associated with Cernnunos, Pan, “The Horned God” or the Satyr.

Christian doctrine is opposed to the natural man. It is something I heard often among the Mormons. They said that god doesn’t like “the natural man” and his natural desires must be subordinated to the will of god. We find it in the Bible in the King James version of 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

To many neo-pagans, Wiccans and other modern witches, the Green Man may be seen as a symbol of personal transformation. His face sprouting with new growth is a representation of a person transforming from a Christian (city-dweller) to a pagan (natural man or woman of the forest).

The Green Man motif is seen often in English literature. In Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” he is the fairy Puck, who places a spell on all of the people of the forest, including the fairy queen, the actors and the four lovers. The Green Man is a god of the Spring, of renewal and rebirth.’

Robin Goodfellow or Robinhood is another example of the use of the Green Man motif. Robin Goodfellow is a natural man, a law unto himself. He is a trickster and a little devil in the classic sense of the term, who gets the best of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

Another classic use of the Green Man motif can be seen in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” The Green Knight is a representation of the unknown dangers of the forest. We see J.R.R. Tolkein make use of this theme in the first book of “The Lord of the Rings” when the hobbits first leave the shire and meet Tom and his wife.

In Season of the Witch, we see writer and director George Romero make use of this classic literary motif to show what is happening to the main character, Joan. Joan is a Catholic who is slowly transforming into a natural woman – a witch.

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Green Man Symbolism in Season of the Witch

If you haven’t already read my review of Season of the Witch, you’ll find them here: The first one is entitled, “Traditional Witch’s Review of the 1973 George Romero Movie, “Season of the Witch,” aka. “Hungry Wives” and “Jack’s Wife” and the second one is entitled, “Review of “Season of the Witch” (1973) or “Hungry Wives.”) These reviews discuss more of this movie’s theme and its overall use of symbolism.

Romero lamented in the documentary footage of the DVD for this movie that he didn’t have the money to shoot the scene where the main character, Joan, is being pursued in a nightmare by a man wearing a Green Man mask. He compares it to a similar scene in Rosemary’s Baby, which achieves a film effect closer to what he probably had in mind. But, the corresponding scene in Season of the Witch has marvelous symbolism in it and this really makes up for the whole thing. Romero’s use of symbolism throughout this movie is nothing short of brilliant.

You’ll want to pay close attention right from the opening sequence on because there’s nothing in this movie that’s not supposed to be there. The Green Man transformation happens to the main character, Joan, who is apparently a pretty heavily indoctrinated Catholic. While we’re all born witches, those who’ve been indoctrinated by the Christians have to find their way back to the forest and that’s symbolically what this movie is about… and it’s about women finding their freedom at the same time.

There is a sexual theme, but this has always been part of “selling your soul to the devil” – it’s in all the old witch trial accounts and folk lore about witches. Women who are witches are sexually free because they understand they are not owned by the church or a man. This is part of the green man transformation theme in this movie, which Romero really wrote to express his views on the Women’s Movement in the early 1970s.

Romero’s “Season of the Witch” is a movie is about both sexual liberation and witchcraft and these two things are intertwined throughout the movie. For example, in the ritual she conjures “Virago” – The term means a powerful, Amazon-like woman. So, she is conjuring her own power, essentially (this was adapted from Huson’s book and the original entity’s name is Vassago). And, the actress who plays this role is very statuesque and powerful-looking like an Amazon-woman, but her power has been usurped by her white, middle-class suburban life, which is what she has been told is an ideal. This was supposed to be the thing that made women happy, but she’s not happy, at all. Joan is about 40-years old and her life-choices were not very broad. Her friend Shirley is a little older and feels this even more intensely, that life has passed her by, she’s lost her sex appeal and she’s not ready for things to be over because there are so many things she wants to “cut loose” and do.

The man in the mask coming after her in her dreams is her own sexual liberation coupled with her interest in the occult, which subconsciously really scares her. She verbalizes her fear of the occult at the tarot reading and again before the conjuration. But, we really see her fear of both the occult and her own sexuality in the nightmare of the man in the Green Man mask.

Here the Green Man is a representation of Joan’s freedom from both Christianity (Green Man is a representation of the god of the witches) and her life in “the dog pound,” which is the prison of the middle-class existence of women. As much as Joan wants what he represents, she is afraid of him, so she her subconscious mind produces these nightmares about him chasing her though the house.

The ending is a little ironic, if that’s the right word. She ends up shooting her husband. As much as she’s afraid of witchcraft and all it represents, she is even more afraid of staying trapped in her present situation. Her fears drive her to accidentally shoot her husband.

Joan doesn’t like swearing and in the extended version, she and Shirley are about to leave Greg and Nikki during the discussion about witchcraft because of his use of foul language – in the theatrical version he uses the “F” word, which we’re used to now, but was really out of line, especially in the company of women in the 1970s. Also, at the dinner table, when she’s wearing the ashes on her head, the tea pot starts shaking (as if from her annoyance or anger) at her husband who is swearing on the phone. And, then the last thing we hear from her husband as he’s trying to open the door downstairs in the rain is “Son of a …” – and then there’s the shotgun blast and he’s dead!

I urge you to see Season of the Witch, especially if you like complex horror or have an interest in the subject of witchcraft because this movie portrays it very well.

The movie was done in Philadelphia in 1972 and released in 1973. But, it wasn’t promoted properly and maybe it was a little too deep for some audiences, especially those who were expecting a porno movie, which was one of the ways they tried to promote it. That’s why they called it “Hungry Wives.” The original title was “Jack’s Wife.” It wasn’t re-released again until 2005 under the title “Season of the Witch.” By this time people knew who George Romero was. But, this movie isn’t much like his later work. It’s much better, I think.

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What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft was written to show the true history of Wicca in Britain and the development of neo-Wicca in the U.S. It tells the benefits and the drawbacks of what has become the most popular, accessible and socially acceptable form of witchcraft. Wicca is the most popular aspect of the occult today, but it is certainly not all there is. This book encourages readers who want more to continue their exploration of witchcraft and their study of its origins.

It was written by a metaphysical bookstore owner who often heard the question, “What else is there?” Find “What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft“ by Sophia diGregorio at Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Amazon.com: “What’s Next After  Wicca?  Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft

See other books by Sophia diGregorio

 

Review of “Season of the Witch” (1973) or “Hungry Wives”

Posted in Black Magic, Clairvoyance, neo-paganism, occult, spell books, spell casting, tarot, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by littleredridinghood

by Sophia diGregorio

Traditional Witchcraft

 

(This is my second review and analysis of this fascinating film. The first one is entitled, “Traditional Witch’s Review of the 1973 George Romero Movie, “Season of the Witch,” aka. “Hungry Wives” and “Jack’s Wife, and the third one involves an analysis regarding Green Man symbolism, entitled, “Green Man Nature Spirit Symbolism in George Romero’s Movie “’Season of the Witch or Jack’s Wife’”, which follows this post.)

About Season of the Witch or Hungry Wives

“Season of the Witch” was originally filmed and directed by George A. Romero in 1972, but not released to theaters until 1973 as “Hungry Wives.” The original title was “Jack’s Wife,” which really describes the main character, Joan Mitchell (played by Jan White), who, as a suburban, middle-class housewife has no real identity of her own.

Although, the director has expressed regrets about this film, which was one of his earliest efforts, it is truly an amazing work of art and one I just can’t stop watching. It is outstanding for its script and its actors, but possibly the first amazing thing about the movie is the opening dream sequence, which makes wonderful use of symbolism to tell us almost everything about the main character in just a few minutes.

Although, Romero denies any personal belief in “the devil,” it is evident that someone was familiar with the work of Paul Huson and his book, “Mastering Witchcraft,” which is quoted throughout the film. Rituals are taken verbatim from the book, in fact, the exact symbol of the Goetic demon Vassago from Huson’s book is used in the conjuration rite, along with other spells for new witches.

Season of the Witch seems to tell two stories depending upon the viewer’s perspective. Based on the deeply divided reviews of this film, it seems that those unfamiliar with witchcraft see a completely different movie than those familiar with the subject.

Other viewers are confused about the kind of witchcraft that is portrayed in the film, which is not Wicca. Wicca, although not entirely unknown in the U.S. at the time this film was made, was not very popular. It was certainly not popular with the author Paul Huson, who was originally from England and familiar with British Traditional Wicca. Wicca, mainly in the form of Neo-wicca, would not become popular in the U.S. for another 20 to 25 years.

This movie is, at least, as relevant now as it was back in the early 1970s when the Women’s Movement was first getting underway. It may be even more relevant now as women’s basic human rights in the U.S. are more threatened than ever by extremist Christian organizations and the increasing violence of the secular patriarchy.

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The Representation of Witchcraft in This Movie

Some reviewers have complained that there is too little about witchcraft in this film because we only see a couple of ritual scenes at the end. But, the theme of witchcraft runs throughout this film from beginning to end, if you know what you’re looking at. This film is not an in-your-face kind of horror film and it is sure to disappoint people who are looking for something sensationalistic. What it is is a remarkably realistic movie about real witchcraft.

From the beginning, we see that Joan has the power to dream things that later happen in one way or another. For instance, her dream of being locked up at the dog pound by her husband is realized that night at the cocktail party. They do a Mad Lib reading wherein,”Jack Mitchell works at the dog pound.” Joan’s psychiatrist, who locked her into the kennel in her dream, is present at the party, too. And, while these things are subtle, they are the kinds of things that happen to people when their psychic abilities begin to open up.

At the cocktail party, Joan’s best friend Shirley mentions a friend of theirs who is involved in witchcraft. The following night, the two of them visit this lady and Shirley has a tarot reading. Joan expresses both an interest in and fear of witchcraft. The tarot reader gives a very accurate reading, acknowledging to Shirley that her husband has been having an affair and describing the woman involved. This is something Shirley already knew about, but had not told anyone else.

After the tarot reading Joan and Shirley return to Joan’s house where her daughter Nikki and her boyfriend, Greg get into a discussion about the power of the mind. Joan has never met Greg before, but she’s had a dream about him, in which his sexual services were offered to her. During the discussion Greg expresses his doubts about the reality of witchcraft and says its effects can all be explained psychologically.

Joan’s dreams continue to carry a great deal of meaning, especially to the viewer, because they tell a lot about her life and her state of mind, however, they become increasingly frightening and violent. Some of the nightmares feature an intruder wearing a Green Man mask. Interestingly, this mask has been interpreted as a “devil mask” by some viewers. But, the Green Man is Puck or Robin Goodfellow, a familiar motif in pagan literature and lore as a spirit of the forests and nature, also, at times associated with lust and licentiousness.

Read more about Green Man Symbolism in Season of the Witch at the hub: “Green Man Nature Spirit Symbolism in George Romero’s Season of the Witch or Jack’s Wife.”

From time to time throughout the film, when something significant to the plot happens, we see a shot of of an interesting bull figurine, which represents the pre-christian era. It is a representation of the Sacred Bull of Mesopotamia and has been used to represent pagan gods and goddesses, such as Moloch of Canaan and Hathor of Egypt.

After Joan comes home early and overhears her daughter having sex with her boyfriend, the girl runs away. Her husband is angry at Joan’s response to the situation and hits her across the face. As Joan’s oppression becomes more profound, her interest in witchcraft deepens and she continues to read more about it.

With the song, “Season of the Witch,” by Donovan playing in the background Joan shops for all the ritual items and things she needs to set up her altar, paying for it all with MasterCard!

When her husband returns from his most recent business trip, Joan has to pretend that she’s still Catholic. But, we see that her witch powers have grown because as her husband speaks angrily on the phone with a colleague during dinner, a pitcher on the table rocks back and forth.

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Joan Performs a Conjuration from Paul Huson’s “Mastering Witchcraft”

Joan does a ritual, as recommended in Paul Huson’s “Mastering Witchcraft,” to renounce Christianity. We see her opening up a page of the bible and writing the Our Father prayer backwards. Afterward, she attempts to bring her daughter’s boyfriend Greg to her by means of witchcraft. When this fails or, at least, doesn’t work quickly enough, she calls him on the phone.

To many viewers this appears as just a little extra-marital sex justified by dabbling in witchcraft, but it is far more than that. We know from Joan’s own words that she is very sexually repressed. This programming is related to her relationship to the conventional morality of the patriarchy and the Catholic church. Reversing this kind of repression is not a simple matter, but anyone who has done it will recognize the procedure in the film. After doing the ritual to renounce her Christianity, she embraces witchcraft by having sex with Greg and breaking down the psychological and emotional barriers she has attached to sex.

In other words, this is not sex simply for the sake of sex. At least, it isn’t to Joan. She is using him for her own purpose. Although, Greg (and a lot of viewers) believe this is just a “cop out.” It isn’t. It is a method of deprogramming one’s self that is used by many women who escape a misogynistic mind control cult.

Joan tries to conjure a spirit with the help of Greg. The sigil of the Goetic demon Vassago will be immediately recognized by anyone who is familiar with it. Although, the spirit is renamed “Virago.” The word “virago” means a strong, brave or war-like, Amazon woman, which seems to indicate that this entity represents her own power.

The conjuration is a success. We know this because we see a cat (the form taken by familiar spirits) entering through a basement window and crawling up the stairs. When Joan leaves the room and comes back, she sees a strange cat standing in the middle of the circle and she screams.

In the final scenes, Joan’s nightmares seem to come true in a very real and violent way. These scenes are woven in between scenes of Joan being initiated into the coven.

At the end of the film, Joan is sitting among her friends at a cocktail party, again. But, this time she looks very regal and powerful. Someone comments about how good she looks an her last words are, “I’m a witch.” According to Romero, during the filming of the scene as she said these words, the ceiling cracked above her head. He called this one of many coincidences that occurred during the filming.

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The Theme of Misogyny

Throughout the film, we see hints of the varying types and degrees of repression the women suffer from. Joan has a daughter, thus fulfilling what woman’s purpose was thought to be by some people at this time. In fact, there are still people who think this way. She finds her role as Jack’s wife unfulfilling and lonely and she feels more like the family dog than a real human being.

At the beginning, we see a woman at the party being assaulted and degraded. While this man should have been prosecuted or, at least, chastised for what he did, it is just brushed off. Anyone who has been in this situation knows that all of the blame always falls on the victim or she is told that it’s no big deal and just something she knows she has to put up with.

The sexualized sense of ownership that Jack has of his daughter Nikki is disturbing, although it is subtle. It, too, is the sort of thing that many people might write off as just the words and actions of a concerned, loving father. But, it is in fact a form of sex abuse and we can imagine that it is something he has made a habit of. In the patriarchy, wives and children, especially daughters, are property. As Jack tells us when he hits Joan, they are to be brutalized into conformity, if necessary.

Some of the last lines of the film are from misogynistic police who say that “she’ll get away” with what’s she’s done to her husband. “Women always get everything in the end,” one of them says bitterly.

This film depicts something that was really happening in the 1970s and is still happening today, which is the fusion of the original Women’s Movement with witchcraft. This is why “Season of the Witch” is mentioned in “What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft,” in reference to the growing interest in this subject of witchcraft as a social under-current in the 1960s and ’70s in the U.S.

I can’t recommend “Season of the Witch” strongly enough to anyone interested in the portrayal of witchcraft in movies or witchcraft, in general. This film has been called “feminist” by some and maybe it is, given the era it portrays and the way in which this is done. But, more than this, it is a film about the lives of women and about witchcraft. It depicts both realistically. It has as much value as a lot of great literature that gives us historical insights into the lives of people. Although, it is hard to imagine a film more relevant to many women’s lives.

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What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft was written to show the true history of Wicca in Britain and the development of neo-Wicca in the U.S. It tells the benefits and the drawbacks of what has become the most popular, accessible and socially acceptable form of witchcraft. Wicca is the most popular aspect of the occult today, but it is certainly not all there is. This book encourages readers who want more to continue their exploration of witchcraft and their study of its origins.

It was written by a metaphysical bookstore owner who often heard the question, “What else is there?” Find What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft by Sophia diGregorio at Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Amazon.com: “What’s Next After  Wicca?  Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft

See other books by Sophia diGregorio

 

Witchcraft and the Occult: Good Reasons for Staying in the Broom Closet and How to Keep Your Private Business Private

Posted in Anti-Witch, neo-paganism, occult, privacy, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by littleredridinghood

Sabbat_de_sorcièresThe following is an old witch’s advice for other witches, atheists, Satanists and independent thinkers who do not live in a supportive environment.

Since, at least, the 1990s when a form of witchcraft, Wicca, became mainstream, there has been a lot of discussion about “coming out of the closet” as a witch. This is usually a big question for teenagers or college students whose lives may be heavily dominated by their parents. But, it’s, also, a problem for many adults whose families, employers or general environment is dominated by religious fanatics.

Coming out of the closet is not a light consideration, nor should it be approached with a cavalier attitude. Once you’re out, it’s hard to get back in and the consequences can be very unpleasant, depending on your particular circumstances.

A lot of bigotry, some of the dangerous kind, remains in parts of the U.S. where Christianity dominates, although, if you live in a bigger city or a place like Salem, Massachusetts where witchcraft is celebrated, you might find it hard to believe. Similar intolerance may exist in other countries, as well.

If you happen to live in a less than forward-thinking place, considering the following ideas while you make your decision may be beneficial.

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Good Reasons for Staying in the Broom Closet

Even if the climate is not bad where you are now, this can change – and it has. The churches are businesses that exist with the benefit of billions of dollars annually in U.S. government taxpayer funds since George W. Bush signed the Faith Based Initiative into law by executive order. Many, also, enjoy 501-C-3 status with the IRS, which means they are classified as non-profit organizations. By claiming to be religious organizations and meeting certain standards, they are exempt from Federal and State taxation. This gives them a great advantage over other types of businesses and, as a result, they have grown abundantly in the past few years while other businesses have failed under the burden of taxes and, in some cases, the domination of Christian “morality.”

As they have grown fat on the back of the American taxpayer, they have grown more powerful. This means that where their influence was problematic a few years ago, in some places, it is becoming unbearable. In some parts of the Midwest, the South and in the Mormon Corridor, it is a challenge to find an employer or an employment situation that isn’t dominated by Christians, often very tyrannical, fundamentalist ones. If you are out of lockstep with them, you can lose your job. If you have a business, you can lose your customer base, if they find out you are not one of them.

If you conform or appear to conform to their “standards,” you won’t encounter many problems.

If you can run your business without it interfering with the laws established by the churches with regard to alcohol sales or certain types of entertainment, you are better off doing so.

For most people, witchcraft is a quiet personal practice and there is really no need to discuss it with anyone else. In your interactions with other people, let them make the first move toward any open discussion about the occult. Never initiate the discussion.

If you do have a few friends and hold meetings at your house, be discreet. If you have a spiritual development group, for example, you have a few friends who gather together each week to practice mediumship development or discuss occult-related subjects, try to keep your meetings low-key. You might even devise a cover story and tell outsiders that it is a “Bible Study” group. Religions are given special status and if people think you’re holding a Christian religious meeting, you won’t have any problems.

If you live in a heavily Christian area where people’s lives revolve around their church, you may want to devise a story to tell people who inquire about your “faith.” Usually, if you tell people you’re Catholic, the questions stop there. Many protestants don’t really like the Catholic Church, but they will respect a Catholic enough not to nag or harass them. Tailor your choice of cover story based on the area you live in.

Make a game out of dealing with Christians. If you have religious co-workers, keep them off the scent by throwing a little “Bless You,” or “Thank the Lord,” into the conversation at appropriate times. You can laugh quietly to yourself once their backs are turned, knowing that your privacy is being maintained and you are secure from being hassled.

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Tips for Staying Safely in the Closet Online and In Real Life

Discovery_'64_Margaret_Hamilton_1964The following are some ideas to consider if you want to guard your privacy online and remain in the broom closet, both online and in real life:

If you have a job working for a Christian-dominated company, do not post on “anti-Christian” sites while at work. It can be traced by your employer and people have lost their jobs this way.

Always stay anonymous online. Never use your real name, disclose your location or family relationships or anything else that could identify you to someone who knows you. There are millions of people online, but it can become a very small world in some online communities. Furthermore, never post pictures of yourself, your family, your pets. Never talk about your work place or your school. People who know you may be able to identify you just from you giving too many details.

  •     Use different UserIDs.
  •     Do not integrate social networking sites with other social networking sites or your e-mail account.
  •     Use multiple e-mail accounts.
  •     Never give personal information that could identify you.
  •     Do not give information about your location.
  •     If you suspect someone is tracking you, leave disinformation crumbs.
  •     If cornered by your employer or anyone who could do damage to your life, remember the words of Bill Clinton, “Deny, deny, deny!”

What is bad about following this advice is that when everyone follows it, it can prevent you from connecting with people you know.

For instance, I joined a closed online witchcraft group once and recognized someone I knew and was friends with by his moniker and photo. I introduced myself and we re-established contact after a couple of years. If everyone is in the closet, it’s much more difficult to make these kinds of positive connections. But, especially, if you are vulnerable, you are better off staying in the closet and letting those who have less to lose by being out (for example, this guy is the head of a Satanic order and is something of an intimidating figure to many people) do so, then you can connect with them, as you like.

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Other Reasons for Staying in the Closet

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Pretty_Teacher_(Linda_maestra)_-_Francisco_de_Goya_y_LucientesPeace of Mind: By staying in the closet, you enjoy more peace of mind. Not wasting time and energy dealing with people you don’t want to deal with gives you more time to focus on your personal goals.

Privacy: Privacy is part of safety and security, online, at your job and in every aspect of your life. People cannot attack you very easily if they know nothing about you.
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Efficacy: It is often easier to get things done and to have influence, for example, within an organization, if you appear to be a team player. It is an easier position from which to try to persuade others to see things your way. If you come out of the closet in an “in your face” fashion, this will predispose others to oppose you in all matters.

You’re not going to change the minds of religious fanatics by being a good person or setting a good example as a witch (or an atheist). It is their goal to dominate other people and force them to conform to their “standards.” They don’t consider morality, decency, goodness or the content of a person’s character. If you have not accepted the redeeming blood of Jesus, they will regard you as “Satan.” Again, you may have a better chance of influencing them by remaining in the closet and playing along.

All of this advice is meaningless if you are fortunate enough to be living in a place dominated by educated, non-superstitious people who are grounded in reality. If you are not so fortunate, then you really must consider the danger that being out of the closet could pose to you, your safety, you family’s safety and your financial well-being.

Notes on the Regional Nature of The Problem of Intolerance of Witchcraft in the U.S.

The decision to come out of the broom closet or not is absolutely an individual choice. Each witch will have to realistically evaluate the environment he or she lives in to come to the right decision.

Coming out can be liberating and really seem like a relief. But, it can cause some problems, too.

The following is a famous example of what could go wrong:

Brandi Blackbear is a woman who was persecuted at a public school in Tulsa, Oklahoma back in 1999-2000, when she was 15-years old. Lifetime Movies did a dramatization of her story called “Not Like Everyone Else” in 2006. Brandi was not a witch, but her trouble began when she was caught reading a book on the subject of witchcraft from the library. Brandi suffered persecution at her school to an extreme until she received help from ACLU and hers became a landmark case upholding the 1st Amendment. She gave an interview in which she commented that what happened to her was partly related to the region of the country in which she lived. If she had lived in Seattle, WA or Salem, MA, it probably wouldn’t have happened.

Other Instances of Anti-Witch Discrimination and Modern Witch Persecution

You may notice that most of the victims listed below are Wiccans. Wiccans are often encouraged to live openly in Wiccan books, which is just not safe for everyone everywhere, as you can see.

The woman in this story objected to having to stand and bow her head in prayer to Jesus before city council meetings in South Carolina. She was prevented from speaking, then things got worse.

‘Wynne … said her home has been vandalized and townspeople have tried to forcibly “exorcise” demons out of her, poisoned her cats and threatened to burn her house. “They flipped over my refrigerator. They squirted ketchup and mustard everywhere. They’ve written ‘Die, witch.'” (“South Carolina: Witch Persecuted by Christians” By Austin Cline, About.com GuideAugust 11, 2004. http://atheism.about.com/b/2004/08/11/south-carolina-witch-persecuted-by-christians.htm)

Burnet, Texas has been the scene of two cases of witchcraft persecutions in 2003 and, again, in 2009.

In the first instance in 2003, Wiccans who ran a store in Burnet were threatened and eventually forced to leave town by the local Christians. The original KXAN report cannot be found, but an article, “The Persecution of Wiccans” by Austin Cline, remains at About.com:

“The group says they relocated to Burnet in April after pressure to leave from community groups in Kingsland. They say they’re receiving threats in one case to burn down their business.” (http://atheism.about.com/b/2003/08/03/persecution-of-wiccans.htm)

The original Austin-Statesman article about the 2009 event cannot be found, but a brief article by the same author as referenced above is found at About.com: Austin-American Statesman:

“Over the past 10 months, Allen said, threatening phone calls have poured in and strange cars have followed her home from her store at night. The police dismissed her requests for protection, she said. Allen also claims that in March, one Llano County sheriff’s deputy told her daughter that “we had a family practicing witchcraft awhile back, but we ran them out of town.” (http://atheism.about.com/b/2003/08/06/more-on-the-persecution-of-wiccans-in-texas.htm)

In South Carolina, a Wiccan couple endured extreme harassment from their neighbors and a government agency, DHHR, took their children. They had to sue the government to try to get them back after being accused of engaging in the human sacrifice of their own children.

“A family of Wiccans falsely accused of sacrificing their children during religious ceremonies sued the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources for allegedly harassing them and taking possession of their children.”

“The couple contends they have been continually harassed since moving to West Virginia in 1999.”

“On one occasion, DHHR officials and a State Police trooper were called to investigate an allegation that the couple had killed their youngest child in a sacrifice and were carrying the boy’s body with them. A later DHHR visit came from another false report that the couple’s children had been sacrificed.” (“Wiccan family files suit against DHHR” by Charles Shumaker “The Charleston Gazette,” July 28, 2004 http://wwrn.org/articles/9560/?&place=north-america&section=occult)

Another case from 2008 highlights the dangers of living openly as a witch when you have children and how government agencies that purport to protect children can be manipulated by persecutors. A family was completely torn apart and forced to flee as fugitives because of false reports to the Department of Social Services (DSS) by their Christian neighbors. (“Pagan Persecution a National Travesty” by Lady Passion, High Priestess, Coven Oldenwilde, Asheville, NC Published February, 2008, in Oracle 20/20 Magazine. http://oldenwilde.org/oldenwilde/members/lady-passion-articles/pagan-persecution-a-national-travesty_part-1.html)

Sometimes the harassment is not as overt, but it can still be very damaging. The following is an example of how witches may be undermined or sabotaged at work. TSA worker, Carole Smith was fired from her job under the pretense of poor job performance, but it seems likely there were other reasons. As a person of integrity, she was concerned about lax security at the airport and became a whistleblower. She was, also subjected to witchcraft accusations by co-workers:

“A co-worker even complained that Smith cast a disabling spell on the heater of her car one snowy evening,” (“Wiccan Lawsuit: Carole Smith claims TSA fired her for being a ‘witch'” by Larry McShane, Daily New Staff Writer, March 31, 2011 http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-03-31/news/29386452_1_tsa-wiccan-witch-hunt)

Some witches do not feel safe or comfortable telling their own family members about their witchcraft practice. The following article is from the New York Times:

“A stay-at-home mother of two in Northern Virginia who was raised Southern Baptist keeps her Wiccan faith secret. Not even her mother knows.” (“Wiccans Keep the Faith With a Religion Under Wraps” by Stephanie Kuykendal, The New York Times, May 16, 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/us/16wiccan.html)

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(Note: This article was updated on January 10, 2019.)

Traditional Witchcraft and the Occult: What is Initiation?

Posted in Black Magic, neo-paganism, occult, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2013 by littleredridinghood

by Sophia diGregorio

Louise_labbe_maquetteThere are two basic types of initiation:

1) Initiation into a group, religious or secular in which you learn more about the organization, more responsibilities or degrees. This kind of initiation is largely symbolic of information and knowledge that is to come.

2) Initiation by the acquisition of knowledge about the occult – includes personal research, study and experimentation. This kind of initiation does not involve a ceremony, but it is a true initiation into the occult.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is a very good example of how initiation works in free masonic groups, covens and other secret societies. We can see how it worked because the Golden Dawn was intentionally transparent unlike its predecessors or most other such contemporary organizations.

In the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s original organization, initiates were both ceremonially initiated into the order and subsequently initiated to various levels of it, however, they were, also, expected to undergo a specific course of study in order to graduate to each level. But, you do not have to be an ceremonial initiate into the Golden Dawn, any other Hermetic order or a coven to become an initiate into traditional witchcraft and the occult.

You can do it yourself.

Now, when I say you can do it yourself, I don’t mean this the same way Raymond Buckland meant it when he said it. (Buckland was an earlier Wiccan author who advocated self-initiation into the Wiccan religion.) You can skip right over any ceremony and right onto true initiation by making your own personal study into the occult.

All true initiation is self-initiation because study, research and experimentation are the only ways to truly know the truth about witchcraft and the occult. This is not something that can be conferred in any ceremony or by any coven leader, master or guru.

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The Meaning of the Word “Profane”

William_Fettes_Douglas_-_The_AlchemistThe word, “profane,” is derived from the Latin words, “pro fanum,” meaning “outside the temple.” This word has evolved to mean a lot of different things, but in witchcraft it simply means a non-initiate or a person who lacks the knowledge to understand the true meaning of something.

To the profane certain works read differently than they do to the initiate. For example, as you make your personal study of the Kabbalah and initiate yourself into that knowledge, you will find that works by authors who belonged to Hermetic organizations read very differently than they did before you had that knowledge. As another example, the Bible used by the Christians, especially the New Testament and some of the last books of the Old Testament, also, reads differently after a study of the Kabbalah, which may explain why it seems so contradictory with just a superficial reading. The purpose of the book does not seem to be what most religious folks think it is.

Your understanding of the tarot, astrology and things related to Western alchemy, also, appear completely different to someone who has initiated himself or herself into the esoteric sciences. Things that once appeared arbitrary or nonsensical now appear to make logical sense.

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Importance of True Witchcraft Initiation

Unfortunately, a lot of ego is often involved in the concept of initiation and degrees of mastery in formal organizations. Covens and other initiatory orders can become playgrounds for narcissists and more often than not the social dynamics of such organizations often gets in the way of a person’s true witchcraft initiation, which cannot be conferred by another person and can only be attained through diligent study and personal experimentation.

Traditional Witches' Formulary and Potion-making Guide: Recipes for Magical Oils, Powders and Other Potions

Traditional Witches’ Formulary and Potion-making Guide: Recipes for Magical Oils, Powders and Other Potions

For this reason, independent study is usually the best method of attaining true witchcraft initiation. The leadership of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, who recognized the dawning of this new age and the easy availability of published material to a relatively educated public, rendered most of the functions of initiatory orders irrelevant.

Now, anyone can find the writings of the Hermeticists and study witchcraft and occult subjects entirely on their own. There is no need to find an order or coven or look for a master or guru because this is literally a new age. You how have the power and ability to initiate yourself through the acquisition of knowledge, once held for only a select few, which is now readily available to anyone who seeks it out.

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How to Study Traditional Witchcraft and Occultism: Witchcraft Versus Witchcraft Theater

Posted in occult, spell casting, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2013 by littleredridinghood

by Sophia diGregorio

This article is a continuation of the previous post, entitled “The Dangers of Wiccan Covens and Other Neo-Pagan Groups to Women and Children.”

578px-Fitzgerald,_John_Anster_-_The_Marriage_of_Oberon_and_Titania

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Much of what you will find in Wicca and neo-paganism is a kind of theatrical performance. Wicca may be accurately described as a celebration of witchcraft, but most of it bears no resemblance to actual witchcraft (or what we now call “traditional witchcraft” since the overwhelming growth in popularity of neo-paganism). The same can be said of other re-creationist forms of paganism in which participants dress a certain way, get in a circle and perform some sort of celebration.

The Wiccans celebrate the seasons and the sabbats. They celebrate the phases of the moon and they honor the old gods and goddesses. They celebrate to worship nature – literal nature, such as the trees and the planet. Sometimes they do it in fancy robes and sometimes they do it in the buff. But, it is all a theater of ritual. They do it to have a sense of belonging, for fellowship and sometimes to hold onto some vestige of religion after abandoning some form of Christianity, since Wicca and many other forms of neo-paganism are, in fact, religions.

Sometimes, they actually use witchcraft, but the same could be said of the Catholics, the Pentecostals and the Evangelicals, who use some very powerful magic at their services. This doesn’t make them witches, as such. And, the same is true of most Wiccans and neo-pagans. They are witches in name only. And, some neo-pagans never use this term, at all–they are Wiccans (or Asatrur or whatever) and they do not consider themselves witches.

Of course, there’s nothing really wrong with this as long as the new-comer to witchcraft and the occult realizes what he or she is involved in. The problem comes with the misinformation given by the leadership, some of whom are corrupt while others are simply deluded.

Neo-pagan covens, orders and groups all too often quickly come to resemble their Christian counterparts. Sometimes they become a playground for sociopaths in one way or another. If the leader is not luring women for nefarious purposes, they may be draining the member’s time or wallet. The leader and the members of the innermost circle – and there is usually one or more that other members don’t know about and don’t suspect exists – stroke each other’s egos with the idea of having some power over others.

At the very least, these groups are social clubs with their pot luck dinners, pagan night out (often a drunken affair, in my observation) and opportunities to play dress-up. In groups where children are permitted–something that should be undertaken with caution or not at all, especially, if the group practices nudity–there is the opportunity for people with children to find like-minded people with children.

But, this is all witchcraft theater and there is very little occultism, occult studies or witchcraft going on. If you want to study witchcraft, this is not the way to go about it. On the other hand, if you are done with Christianity, but still want to have a religion and be around religious people with their social constructs, then this is an option.

Wicca and neo-paganism are not subjects serious students of witchcraft or the occult linger on for long, even when they are met by them on their first introduction to the occult, which is very common these days, since it is their books that dominate the shelves of mainstream bookstores and they are the most socially acceptable types of witches, being members of a recognized religion.

The fact is that genuine witchcraft is not a religion any more than it is a theatrical production.

How to Study Witchcraft and the Occult

We’ve seen how not to learn about witchcraft and the occult, so here are some ideas for going about it the right way.

Waterhouse,_JW_-_The_Sorceress_(1913)

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First of all, not all organizations are bad, but many of them are and at the very least most of them are a waste of time. Therefore, when approaching any organization, take a look at the members and their actual purpose. Are they achieving their stated goals? Are their goals your goals? Is the membership comprised of people whose knowledge and expertise you could benefit from? What exactly will they require from you? Never join any organization until you’ve investigated them for a long time and do not reject criticism of the organization without examining its veracity. Always take caution because it is often easier to get into a cult than it is to get out of a cult. Take even greater caution if the group claims to be a coven that is recruiting. Genuine covens do not often recruit, especially from the general public or casual inquiries.

If you must be part of an organization, a better idea is to start your own study group – not a coven or order – with two or three close friends who have similar interests to yours. Let each member research particular aspects of occultism and traditional witchcraft and teach it to the others..

In the very beginning, the best choice is probably not to be part of any organization, but to undertake the study of traditional witchcraft and occultism on your own.

Begin by making your own inquiry into the so-called paranormal. This may be especially important to people who are spiritually out of touch or do not have highly developed psychic abilities. You must verify for yourself the reality of spiritual phenomena.

One of the most important aspects of witchcraft to study is the art and science of healing because it is here that the applied esoteric science of witchcraft can most readily be demonstrated to yourself and others. The skills you will learn as a healer can be applied to other areas of witchcraft and the occult.

Other important areas of study include the history and practice of witchcraft (not Wicca or neo-pagan religions) around the world.

Hermeticism and Theosophical Luciferianism, such as Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine, and the works of the second wave Theosophists, Besant, Leadbeter and Powell) are, also, important areas of study.

Master some aspects of astrology and Hermeticism by learning to read the tarot, which is a powerful initiation into the occult mysteries and a tool for developing phenomenal psychic abilities, as discussed in the book, “How to Read the Tarot for Fun, Profit and Psychic Development for Beginners and Advanced Readers,” by Angela Kaelin. Complete mastery of the tarot leads to a true initiation into the esteric science of witchcraft. This is not something some one can bestow upon you in an initiatory ritual, which is only symbolism and theatricialism, but an genuine initiation.

This may not be as much fun as joining a group and attending meetings and pot luck dinners in your ritual cloak, but it is a true initiation in the esoteric mysteries of traditional witchcraft and the occult.

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

Wicca is the most accessible and acceptable form of witchcraft in existence in English-speaking countries today. It can be a doorway to the the riches of the occult or a trap for the mind and spirit, depending on how it is approached and the knowledge with which this is done.

In What’s Next After Wicca? the author answers the question she often heard from her metaphysical bookstore customers who had studied Wicca, but felt dissatisfied with it and wanted to learn more about the subject of witchcraft, in general: “What else is there?”

This book represents the opinion of the author after 25 years of experience in the occult and several years of owning a store that was, also, a networking center for neo-pagan groups. It is written in an informative, yet conversational style, just as she would speak to friends and customers who would ask for her opinions about witchcraft and the occult.

It includes a discussion on the origins and the present state of Wicca, other alternative religions and philosophies including Satanism, Luciferianism, Germanic Occultism, Gnosticism and traditional witchcraft. Throughout are recommendations for other courses of occult studies, including a categorized bibliography.

Note: This is not a spell book or a manual on how to do witchcraft.

Purchase “What’s Next After Wicca?” at Smashwords, Amazon.com and other fine book retailers.

 

The Dangers of Wiccan Covens and Other Neo-Pagan Groups to Women and Children

Posted in neo-paganism, occult, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2013 by littleredridinghood

by Sophia diGregorio

Ceridwen

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This article deals with the potential dangers of joining Wiccan and neo-pagan groups that I have written about elsewhere, but in less graphic terms than I plan to in this article. Whenever you discuss a topic like this, there is a risk of offending someone, but I think this is something that should be discussed so that people – especially women, who are most often the targets of such machinations – can be warned.

The fact is this: There are people who create religious societies, covens, orders or groups so they can use them to lure women, children and sometimes men into situations for their own depraved sexual pleasure.

Often, their targets are women who have just left Christianity and who are sometimes in a traumatized and highly suggestible state from their experiences at the hands of Christian abusers. They try to get to these women, lure them into their discussion groups and give their own version of what paganism means. Some men target women who are already pagans because they have the opinion that such women are morally “loose” and lack the societal protections that Christian women enjoy. They see them as easy targets because they may be persuaded that paganism or other aspects of the occult are really about cavorting around naked in the woods having sex.

When Joseph Smith founded the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), he essentially founded a witchcraft-based sex cult and put the wrapping of Christianity on it to lure girls as young as 14 and to persuade men to hand over their wives to him. The Mormon organization was not the first, but may be regarded as a standard prototype for how sexual perverts successfully lure victims by establishing religious cults. Smith was a black magician and a con man from an entire family of witches and witchcraft accusers going back to Salem, Massachussetts. Many other cult leaders like Jim Jones and David Koresh have used the same pattern. Although their lure was Christianity, the model is the same except that with modern Wiccan and neo-pagan groups the leaders promise women freedom from Christianity – something better and more liberating.

Gerald Gardner’s neo-pagan cult of Wicca is another example of this same model. He used the lure of paganism and the occult to get his hands on women, denigrate and ritualistically rape them. Despite the Wiccan’s “We’re not Satanists,” claim, the original Wiccan organizations looked very much like Satanic covens.

This brilliant model was copied by men who came after Gardner, such as Alex Sanders. There are some old videos him performing his pornographic rites still circulating. You’ll find them once in a while on YouTube before they’re pulled for violating the Terms of Service. The rite shown in the video at the following link, which is very disturbing, is similar to the Five Points of Fellowship washing and anointing rite performed by Mormons in the LDS temples as they were performed in the 1990s.

Women who have been sexually objectified and abused in Christian churches often have no idea what to expect from Wicca or paganism, which when compared to Christianity is more accepting of women. New mini-cult leaders have popped up everywhere. They advertise at sites like WitchVox and pretend to be spiritual leaders, they hold discussion groups, perform handfastings, etc. But, their real purpose is to have perverted sex or to watch as others have sex in a ritualistic setting. Or, simply to get their hands on women and children who make up the vast majority of people interested in paganism and the occult.

We see this same gender dynamic at work in Christianity, interestingly. It is usually women who are most interested in spiritual matters, but it is men who are most often the spiritual leaders. In Christianity, this can be explained by its inherent misogyny and prohibition of women in leadership roles – or even to speak in churches, in some cases. But, in neo-paganism, it’s a little harder to explain away. In both instances, the result is often the same – the men use their leadership positions and their authority to sexually abuse women and children.

Present-day Wiccan apologists justify these problematic aspects of Wicca’s origins by pointing out that Wicca (and many aspects of neo-paganism) was absorbed by the women’s movement by the 1970s. It is true that by the 1960s witchcraft, in general, was becoming very appealing to a lot of women who were awakening to the harsh realities of life in the conventionally accepted social structure. This is illustrated in the movie, “Season of the Witch,” also, entitled “Jack’s Wife” and “Hungry Wives ,” (Please, see the related article, entitled “Season of the Witch,” aka. “Hungry Wives” and “Jack’s Wife.” It is, also, true that a feminist named Z. Budapest took Wicca in hand and molded it into a women’s religion. Although her style of Wicca still has some very strong sexual overtones, hers was the first documented women-only coven.

Read the book, “What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft” by Sophia diGregorio.

My Personal Experiences

I was very young when I escaped the Mormon cult. At that time, it was relatively rare for people to leave the organization and there was no formal procedure in place for doing so. Fortunately, this has now changed, but few people leave this organization without having to leave behind family members and other important aspects of their lives. I was both relieved to be out of the cult, but traumatized by my experience with them. A friend directed me toward a weekly meeting of elderly women who sat around a table and taught and discussed occult subjects. These ladies were witches, but they were a traditional variety and not Wicans and I remember that many of them were very skeptical about it when the subject of Wicca was first brought up to us.

This was the early 1980s, so Wicca had not come to be the popular cultural phenomenon it is today. In fact, it had only been fully introduced to the U.S. by Raymond Buckland about 10 or 15 years earlier. Wiccans were personae non gratae at this time. Possibly this was not true on the west coast, which is where Wicca seemed to take hold in the U.S., but I was not in in California. I was in one of the original Voodoo centers of the U.S (we call it Hoodoo now to distinguish from other practices), a hotbed of Satanic activity and Spiritualist and metaphysical studies in years past. I was a very young person among a group of this old stronghold of occultists from that time.

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

I had been involved with this group for a year or two before the subject of Wicca was brought up by a new member, who had been studying this subject. She offered to demonstrate a ritual for us and a few of us participated in this sort of mock Wiccan ritual. I became friends with this lady for a short while until it occurred to me that she seemed to be questioning her sexuality and exploring a lot of new things after being newly sprung from a very aggressive anti-woman religion, which I won’t name lest anyone reading this might recognize the people involved. I think she was very traumatized at this time and was open to all kinds of new ideas that she might have rejected out of hand before her departure from this mind control religion. She was the one who suggested I read the book, Drawing Down the Moon, and suggested I stay far away from the work of Aleister Crowley. She said to avoid Crowley because he had perverted Wiccan rites and rituals. As it turns out, this is not true, rather Gardner’s rites and the foundation for Wicca seem to have come almost entirely from Crowley’s work, although, much seems to be derived from freemasonry (Gardner like Joseph Smith was a low level initiate who claimed to be a high level one).

Of course, I read them both. Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon tells the story of neo-paganism in the U.S since the early 1970s, a movement I was unaware of and with which I did not resonate. I found it very hippyish and bizarre, but my friend was originally from the southwest and closer to the age group that accepts the ideas of the hippy era, which my own generation very much rejected. (I’m part of the tail end of the “Me Generation” – Dress for Success, Just Say No to Drugs and all that.)

When I know nothing about a public figure, I like to start with their autobiographies and fortunately, Crowley wrote his own hagiography (biography of a saint), entitled The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, which is now, unfortunately, out of print last time I checked. Since then I’ve read numerous others–the man was brilliant, a talented writer and an accomplished occultist who has the ability to convey his own personal discoveries with regard to the Kabbalah, meditation and ritual in a very straightforward and instructional yet friendly way. I have different feelings about Crowley’s personal life, but unlike Gardner, Sanders, Cochrane and others who followed in his footsteps, Crowley was a genuine occultist–yes, admittedly a pervert–but, also, a serious student and teacher of the occult and students of witchcraft can learn a great deal from his writings and those of his associates.

I didn’t hear much more about Wicca until I journeyed westward. I had read about the neo-paganism in Colorado in Drawing Down the Moon and as it turned out, by the late 1980s and early 1990s, Colorado Springs and Denver were still strongholds of Wicca and neo-paganism stemming from the 1970s. It was here that I learned more about what these people are all about.

Since I was an occultist, a professional psychic and a witch, when I met people who told me that they too were witches and were going to some meeting or other, I was interested in going along. Up to this point my experiences with other witches had actually revolved around the study of witchcraft, that’s what I expected to find – other students of the occult, other psychics, other witches, but this is not what I found.

My experiences among neo-pagans were varied, but weird, as follows:

Alexanderschlacht_(Mond)

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One one occasion I was invited to a Wiccan drumming circle. I was expecting an outdoor event, but instead it took place inside an older home in an older residential area, with a large open room (probably ordinarily the dining room). Once inside, there was little conversation unless it was down in the kitchen or some other room of the house. In the main room a good twenty or more people sat around on chairs patting various types of drums, despite their lack of rhythm. After a while, we left. I have no idea what the purpose of the drumming circle is. The people involved were the furthest thing from musicians I’ve ever seen, so it can’t be about music.

On another occasion, a man invited me to a pagan event that was taking place at someone’s farm house on the outskirts of town. When I arrived, I saw a bunch of guys leaping over a fire. They looked pretty drunk and, in fact, there was a keg or two of beer on the premises. After the fire was put out, I was informed by my host that the participants were now going inside to join a “puppy pile.” I had never heard this term before, so I had to have it explained to me. This is where the people lie around in a “pile” engaging in hugging, caressing and touching. I quickly jumped in my car and got the hell out of there.

Another time, I attended a pagan discussion group, which began with a few people sitting on the floor of a Unity church after hours discussing paganism This first meeting seemed fine. Some time passed and the man conducting this pagan group had begun to amass a few followers. The next time I attended one of his meetings he was standing up at the front of the church like a preacher, which offended some of the pagans in attendance, who left and did not return. But, a few others–all newbies without a clue–were intrigued by what this man had to say.

What was odd about this man was that as he got more power, he got more “familiarity” with women in attendance. The second and last time, I attended his meetings he said “good-bye” to me by pawing me up and down. Shortly after this he began hosting discussions on subjects like “Pagan Sexuality,” clearly trying to feel out (no pun intended) new prospects to see how susceptible they were to his sexual suggestions. As it turns out, he was conducting a swing club in the name of paganism, luring unsuspecting and often traumatized women while disguised as a knowledgeable pagan spiritual leader.

They went on to form a coven of sorts, in which they practiced the Great Rite in a very literal sense. They actually went into the woods, gathered around in a circle and watched as two people had ritualistic sex. Paganism and ritual was the backdrop for their particular sexual fetish. This is all fine and good, except that some of the people this man had lured were women who had recently been exposed to Christian spiritual abuse and were in a state of high suggestibility and completely ignorant about paganism, apart from the perversions being preached by this man.

My position on this matter is this: If you want to have a swing club or any other kind of sex club whose participants are informed and consenting adults, that’s your business, but represent it for what it is. Do not try to disguise it as a pagan group, call yourself a witch, a spiritualist, etc. and try to lure unsuspecting women so that they can be pawed and coerced into sexual activity.

Just as in every other instance, these pagan men and witches some of whom ran around in their robes and other garb carrying staves, were extremely unattractive men who devised this ruse in order to avail themselves of the bodies of innocent and often vulnerable women. It’s not much different from what Christian churches have been doing forever, but it is no less repugnant.

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional WitchcraftFurthermore, many people who have been abused by the churches and turn to some form of paganism, tend to harbor the same wide-eyed innocence as many church-goers. They have the idea that their spiritual leaders are knowledgeable and have good intentions, however, just as with Christians, this is all too often not the case.

This article is to be continued in the next article, entitled “How to Study Traditional Witchcraft and Occultism:Witchcraft Versus Witchcraft Theater.”

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft” by Sophia diGregorio

What is Traditional Witchcraft? How to Know if You are a Wiccan or a Traditional Witch

Posted in occult, Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2013 by littleredridinghood

The_Three_Witches_from_Shakespeares_Macbeth_by_Daniel_Gardner,_1775What is traditional witchcraft? The answer to this question seems to depend a lot on who you ask, however, to those who consider themselves traditional witches, traditional witchcraft might, also, be called historical witchcraft. Moreover, traditional witchcraft is a world-wide practice. It is not a religion.

In recent years, the term, “traditional witchcraft,” has  developed to distinguish those who practice old folk magic or historical witchcraft from those who are members of the Wiccan religion or other neo-pagan religions, who, also, sometimes refer to themselves as witches and refer to their religions as witchcraft.

While there is no universal definition of the term, “traditional witchcraft, “Michael Howards, gives an interesting one in his book, “Children of Cain: A Study of Modern Traditional Witches,” when he refers to it as, “any non-Gardnerian, non-Alexandrian, non-Wiccan or pre-modern form of the Craft, especially if it has been inspired by historical forms of witchcraft and folk magic.”

Furthermore, traditional witchcraft is not any form of neo-paganism, which encompasses a variety of modern pagan religions, including Wicca.

Much of the confusion about the meaning of the term, “traditional witchcraft, seems to arise from the usage of the term, “traditional” within Wicca. Often Wiccans use the same terms as those used in traditional witchcraft, but ascribe a different meaning to them. Within Wicca and neo-paganism, the term “tradition,” refers to the version of Wicca or other form of neo-paganism a person is pursuing. They sometimes refer to this as a “path,” which means a course of study. In Wicca, this might mean that the person is involved in the study or worship of various pantheons. Often, Wiccans choose a pantheon that is in alignment with their own national or cultural origins.

Also, within Wicca, the term “tradition” is used to describe various brands of the Wiccan religion, such as Cochranian, Alexandrian and Gardnerian. You may hear a Wiccan say, “traditional Gardnerian Wicca” or “traditional Alexandrian Wicca.” But, this use of the term has nothing to do with traditional witchcraft, itself, and is only a term used within the Wiccan religion to distinguish various subsets of itself. In this way, the use of the term “tradition” within Wicca may be likened to the use of the term “denomination” within Christianity.

Some Wiccan writers seem to resent the term “traditional witchcraft,” because they hold that their religion is very old and, itself, traditional. But, a little research into the origins of Wicca and its evolution shows that it is a very new phenomenon and while it is a witchcraft-based religion, much of Wicca has little or no resemblance to traditional or historical witchcraft, either here or elsewhere in the world.

By contrast, traditional witchcraft is a worldwide practice, which bears some commonalities based on an ancient esoteric science known the world over. While it may be involved in religion–in fact, there is quite a bit of witchcraft going on in Christianity, although they prefer to think of it as something else–witchcraft is not a religion. People who practice traditional witchcraft include a wide range of people around the world who may be part of a religion that recognizes a supreme being or not or they may simply be atheists.

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Differences Between Being a Wiccan and Being a Traditional Witch

Because Wicca, like Christianity, is a religion, the people who get involved in it often enjoy a sense of belonging to a group – if not a coven or a congregation, then, at least, to some identifiable sub-culture. Christians wear their crosses and Wiccans wear their pentagrams to help themselves recognize each other in public encounters.

By contrast, traditional witchcraft has no such recognizable symbolism.

Wiccans, Christians and members of neo-pagan orders usually have sort of initiation rite or a baptism rite, through which you become a fully-fledged member of their group.

By contrast, there is no moment at which you officially become a traditional witch – it’s not like becoming a Christian through baptism or a Wiccan by means of an initiation ceremony or simply taking a spirit “into your heart,” through sincere belief.  Another major difference, of course, is that there is usually no group to belong to.

When compared to Wicca or any other religion, traditional witchcraft tends to be a much lonelier occupation and often a far more secretive one. The fact that we have no moral doctrines or dogma and that many of us are atheists, makes us unacceptable to many members of the broader society, including many Wiccans and neo-pagans. As an example of this kind of intolerance, see the requirements for being a member of the large, popular site, supposedly devoted to witchcraft, called WitchVox, –  traditional witches, Satanists, Luciferians and atheists are excluded – only Wiccans or other members of a neo-pagan religion with a moral code are allowed to participate. See their rules here, particularly #8, as follows. When you join, you must promise the following:

“I follow a positive code of ethics such as The Wiccan Rede or The Troth’s Nine Virtues. …- I also understand that Witchvox does not list Christian/Satanic listings.. “

Both Wiccans and other types of neo-pagans tend to focus heavily on a region of the world or a culture, which they  call a “tradition” or a “path.”  They often feel a connection to a particular place or land.  All forms of neo-paganism seem to focus heavily on the earth and create a worship of things associated with it.

By contrast, traditional witchcraft is a universal practice and an esoteric science, which transcends all notions of place, race, nationality, politics or anything else. While practices around the world are of great interest to many traditional witches, they generally make practical use of whatever they encounter. Lacking any prescribed ethics or moral authority, they are often very open to what they find.

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How to Know if You are A Wiccan (and, Therefore, Not a Traditional Witch)

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If the idea of conversing with demons makes you uneasy, you are probably a Wiccan.

To alleviate the confusion, here is a quick guideline for how to know if you are a Wiccan or a traditional witch:

1. If you call yourself a “Wiccan,” then you are probably a Wiccan. Although, there are traditional witches who will call themselves “Wiccans” if cornered by someone because Wicca is well-known and is more socially acceptable, but some will, also, try to pass as Catholics or a member of any other accepted religious group, if cornered by a religious zealot. Nonetheless, traditional witches are not Wiccans.

2. If you belong to a Wiccan coven, then you are a Wiccan and not a traditional witch.

3. If you participate in Wiccan rituals centering around a goddess, god or some combination thereof, then you are a Wiccan.

4. If you have a Wiccan world view, ie. the earth is a goddess. She is our mother. There is no evil because nature is neither good nor evil. All gods are one. Everything you do comes back to you 3-fold, 7-fold, 9-fold, etc., then you are a Wiccan and not a traditional witch.

5. If you have a cat or other pet, which you call your familiar, then you are a Wiccan. In traditional witchcraft, familiars are spirits, usually demonic spirits.

6. If you believe in the Gardnerian “Charge of the Goddess,” the “Three-fold Law,” or the “Wiccan Rede,” then you are most certainly a Wiccan.

7. If you accept the “Principles of Wiccan Beliefs” codified in 1974 by the Council of American Witches headed up by Mr. Carl L. Weschcke Llewellyn, owner and publisher of Llewellyn Worldwide, which defines Wicca (and uses the term interchangeably with witchcraft) as an earth-centered pagan religion, then you are most definitely a Wiccan.

8. If you use the term “dark witchcraft” to describe any aspect of witchcraft, then chances are you’re a Wiccan. The usage of this term is a relatively new phenomenon on YouTube in the past couple of years and the source of some witch warring between some moralizing Wiccans and some less-moralizing, more open-minded Wiccans and traditional witches. “Dark witchcraft” is a newly made-up term. (Witchcraft is pretty much all dark, if you’re doing it correctly!)

9. If you have an altar in your home and seasonally “decorate” it, then you are probably a Wiccan or other neo-pagan. (See the article, “Traditional Witchcraft: How to Create an Altar,” for the purpose of an altar in traditional witchcraft.)

See the next article in this series: How Can I Become a Traditional Witch?

Read the book, What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

About What’s Next After Wicca?

Wicca is the most accessible and acceptable form of witchcraft in existence in English-speaking countries today. It can be a doorway to the the riches of the occult or a trap for the mind and spirit, depending on how it is approached and the knowledge with which this is done.

In What’s Next After Wicca? the author answers the question she often heard from her metaphysical bookstore customers who had studied Wicca, but felt dissatisfied with it and wanted to learn more about the subject of witchcraft, in general: “What else is there?”

This book represents the opinion of the author after 25 years of experience in the occult and several years of owning a store that was, also, a networking center for neo-pagan groups. It is written in an informative, yet conversational style, just as she would speak to friends and customers who would ask for her opinions about witchcraft and the occult.

It includes a discussion on the origins and the present state of Wicca, other alternative religions and philosophies including Satanism, Luciferianism, Germanic Occultism, Gnosticism and traditional witchcraft. Throughout are recommendations for other courses of occult studies, including a categorized bibliography.

What’s Next After Wicca? is not a spell book or a manual on how to do witchcraft.

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan Occult Practices and Traditional Witchcraft

What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft was written to show the true history of Wicca in Britain and the development of neo-Wicca in the U.S. It tells the benefits and the drawbacks of what has become the most popular, accessible and socially acceptable form of witchcraft. Wicca is the most popular aspect of the occult today, but it is certainly not all there is. This book encourages readers who want more to continue their exploration of witchcraft and their study of its origins.

It was written by a metaphysical bookstore owner who often heard the question, “What else is there?” Find What’s Next After Wicca? Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft by Sophia diGregorio at Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Amazon.com: “What’s Next After  Wicca?  Non-Wiccan and Traditional Witchcraft

See other books by Sophia diGregorio

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