This article briefly compares Trad Witchcraft ritual practices with that of Wicca. The emphasis is explaining the Trad Witchcraft perspective.
Archive for Pagan Paths
For some of us Wicca is a solitary religion, something that we have taught ourselves through groups, books or even the internet. Whether you grew up in a Wiccan family or were initiated the traditional way through a coven, it is important to understand all of the Wiccan traditions.
Paganism is really an umbrella term, which covers many paths and traditions and often used in historical context, referring to Greco-Roman polytheism as well as the polytheistic traditions of Europe before Christianisation. The term neopaganism is used to describe pagan paths, which have a strong link to magick, which seemed to emerge during the later part of the 1800’s and the early 1900’s with the most famous of these being Wicca. But historical data shows that neopaganism was beginning to form as early as the renaissance (Florence 14th to the 17th century) were the interest in science and magick was at its highest point. With the rise in scientific developments and understanding which was feared by the church and more times or not would cause scientist to face charges of heresy and recant their findings. During this time of scientific discovery and religious upheaval new spiritual ideas formed some using ancient pagan influences, others based on their understanding of science and how the universe worked to form understandings of the divine others giving up on the God, and purely relying on the self as a moral compass such as Humanism. During the Renaissance, and the reintroduction of Classicism, which gave rise to an interest in Greco-Roman polytheism and Greco-Roman magick, which was practiced along side Renaissance magick helped to revive the philosophy of the pagan. It is when we reach the Romantics (18th Century) that they re-discovery of Old Gaelic and Old Norse literature and poetry, which helped provide more about the pagan past of
All Wicca must be eclectic because it is a religion that is by nature both Gnostic and scientific – it is never enough for a Wiccan to accept statements about the nature of reality “on faith,” and stop there, as is the rule in many non-Wiccan religions. The Wiccan practitioner, before accepting any belief, practice, code of conduct etc., must personally experience those concepts to hold true or be of value in reality. What does not work, what does not prove to be true in experience, must rightly be jettisoned, and a new theory taken on to replace the one disproved, itself to be put to the same rigorous test. This style of eclecticism – which bears a striking resemblence to the scientific method, and is, in fact, western physical science’s true spiritual counterpart – and the constant personal change and growth it engenders, is indicative of Wicca and any other truly living religious tradition…
The Wheel of the year is basically a calendar of the 8 festivals called Sabbats celebrated by Wiccan’s and some other pagan paths. The wheel looks like a cartwheel with 8 spokes marking the sections of the year. The wheel is in 2 sections the first is the Quarters know as “the lesser Sabbats” or “quarter days”, these quarters mark the movement of the sun through the year with the vertical spokes marking the solstices and the horizontal spokes marking the equinoxes The second section represents the cross quarters “cross-quarter days,” “fire festivals,” or “Greater Sabbats”, these are a mix of Gaelic and Germanic festival but basically or from my understanding the cross quarters are the cycles of life and death. The truth be told the Wiccan Wheel of the Year as been made up and in fact at the very starting of Wicca only the Cross quarters where celebrated online pharmacy without prescription it was the Bricket Wood Coven that added the quarter days basically because the wanted more meeting They did this while Gerald Gardner was away although he did not object to the additions as this brought Wicca closer to Gardner’s Long time friend Ross Nichols’s Neo druidism groups the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Although this Wheel has no historical value in terms of reclaiming the Craft it is a valued addition to Wicca and in other pagan paths. For me the wheel is a great source of meditation, understanding of life and death, a reminder of the cycles in
Magic is the practice of influencing energy to achieve a goal or to make dreams come true. It can improve your life and help you to overcome obstacles in your life path. Tapping into universal energy to bring about changes that one desires.
Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust. Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give. For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out. To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme. Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much. Honor the Old Ones in deed and name, let love and light be our guides again. Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune. Widdershins go when the moon doth wane, and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane. When the Lady’s moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two. When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart’s desire seek. Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail. When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast. When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth. When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest. Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow. Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows. Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God‘s insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower. Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland. Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie
Litha, which means to stand still or stopping, is the name given to the pagan Mid summer ritual. The Summer solstice which happens around the 21st / 22nd of June depending on the position of the sun. As pagans we celebrate the summer solstice as part of the wheel of the year and their some slight differences in the symbology. Some pagans see the summer solstice as the time where the Goddess took over the earth from the horned God at the beginning of spring and she is now at the height of her power and fertility. For some Pagans the Summer Solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and sees their union as the force that creates the harvest’s fruits. For me it the time when the god and goddess of the light half of the year are at their most fertile and radiate life. The God is at his peek but from this point forward he will weaken until he is final defeated and killed by the god of the dark half of the year and is reborn in mid winter. For me this time of year is about balance and enjoying the best times while you have them it is also it a big reminder that nothing will last forever. This is a time to celebrate growth and life for Pagans, who see balance in the world and are deeply aware of the ongoing shifting of the seasons it is also time to acknowledge that the sun will now begin
A solitary pagan path can be one of the most difficult paths to follow and you can often find yourself with out warning resting along the way. As with all things in a pagans life it all about the ebbs and flows the circle of the year. With this there come your own natural ebbs and flows there are times when everything flows perfect your home life, work life and health all seem to be working in perfect harmony and your spiritual life just fits in perfectly. But there are times when one or more of these life aspects fall out of harmony sometime causing major problems with your life and your health. When these aspects fall out of balance that happen for a reason. They cause us to spend more time focusing on our lives in greater detail. These times can affect us greatly and our spiritual selves can take a back seat or we can over rely on them to see us through. When we are in a group our group members can help support us, or offer advice cast spells to assist us, ritual can be created to help us. But the solitary does not have that luxury – the solitary is never truly alone thou they do have friends in the craft that will do workings for them and support them. The solitary witch or pagan has chosen a path which relies of a personal understanding of the divine and their place within the structure life, the universe and they understand
The quarters or watchtowers are called to attend and protect Wiccan and some other pagan paths, rituals and circles. Each of the quarters represents an element Earth, Air, Fire and water. These elements are often assigned to a compass point the most common version is Earth – North, Air – East, Fire – South and Water – West. Although the most common version of the quarters is used in most Wiccan groups there are slight variations there can be wider variations for the solitary practitioner as they attune themselves to a location and not a group, example if a witch can see the see the sea from his or her north facing window, mountains in the west it would be very logical for the witch to place the Water quarter in the north and the earth in the west leaving air and fire where they are. Wherever you place the quarters or watch towers you will need to invoke in the correct way. or the way I was taught, was to visualise the guardian of the watchtower or quarter coming in to form and substance as you chant the an incantation which is used to invite the guardian to stand guard and protect the circle as well as adding the energy to the ritual. The Guardian is then held in place with the corresponding invoking pentagram (see below). Once the ritual is complete the elements and Guardians are released with the banishing pentagram with a thank you for attending. In Wicca, the invocation of