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wicca 101 | rituals | meditation | magical studies

So what do witches really do?

Anything we want as long as it does not cause harm to another living thing, ourselves included.

Wiccans, like most people, choose to study and express themselves in a variety of ways. Some choose to become active in the community helping with crisis hotlines and charities. Some choose to specialize in a given area of knowledge such as herbalism or a craft such as jewelry making.

Group Study
Many Wiccan work together in small groups, which are called covens, traditionally 13 members. Most covens, groves, or orders offer training to some extent. Today there is a plethora of information and choices with regards to subject matter, spiritual paths and level of involvement. Becoming a part the spiritual path of Wicca requires that a person must voluntarily enter into or ask for training, and choose of their own free will to initiate. Anything less would be a corruption of the Wiccan tenants.

Wiccans who work on their own, either by personal choice or by circumstance, are called "solitary". With the amount of information available to individuals self initiation or dedication can be performed for solitary practitioners.

How old do you need to be?
All traditions require that any interested person be a legal adult before Initiation. Any training given to individuals under 18 must be agreed to by their guardian.

Leaving a group
If a member decides to leave, they are allowed to go as their true will tells them with peace between members. That's the way it's supposed to work.

Spells
A spell is a type of energized prayer. A spell is a concentration of energy applied in such a way that change occurs in the energy field around us. The old proverb be careful what you wish for is in order when putting ones wishes out into the universe. Spells are done for healing and for self-improvement, though never at the expense or manipulation of another.

An example of a Spellworking
Say I am angry about something, and want to release this anger and cast it from my life. I go find a black stone. I yell at it, scream at it and focus all of my anger into the stone, letting the anger build until I can release all of it into the rock. When I have exhausted the anger, I tie a red thread around the stone three times (this is a symbolic act to binds the anger into the stone. I throw the stone into a moving body of water. Then I turn and walk away without looking back. Notice nothing has been done to or aimed at another individual.

Spells such as these allow the subconscious to release the anger thorough a physical act. In the meantime, I work at resolving the situation that caused the anger in the first place. Spells and modern psychology have a lot in common.

Wiccan Gatherings

Sabbats
The 8 transitions of the seasons. The major Sabbats are: Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain. The minor Sabbats are: Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice.

Esbat
The monthly coven meeting held during each Full Moon. At the Esbat, Wiccans exchange ideas, discuss problems, perform special rites, work magick and healing, and give thanks to the Goddess and the Horned God. A traditional "cakes and wine" or "cakes and ale" ceremony also takes place at the Esbat.

Performing Skyclad
Some witches, although not the Sibylline Order, work naked referred to in the pagan community as"skyclad", on the principle that this eliminates class distinctions and reinforces the ethic that all are equal in the sight of the Goddess. The human body is the most beautiful of creations. Sexuality is a sacred experience of the divinity within each person. Wiccans generally believe that every human is divine, and this is celebrated and reverenced by the beauty and diversity found in everyone.

Being skyclad is an expression of innocence, and is not an invitation to leer or to participate in sexual advances. We do not touch each other without express permission. Often, people want details on mysterious rites performed naked under a full moon. Yes, there can be joyful dancing, chanting, drumming and laughter, but it's strictly "G" rated... and those rumors of orgies... they're not true. (more on Skyclad)

NOTE: Though our views of sexuality and nudity may be different than that of mainstream Judeo-Christian's, we all agree that abuse (be it emotional, physical or sexual) is a crime and should be reported to the appropriate authorities. We consider child abuse or molestation to be one of the worst crimes that can be committed.

Are Witches born or made and can they do the things we see in the movies?
There is some argument about this one, but most of us agree that Witches are made; in other words, this is a religious choice that can only be made by an adult. Except those who are hereditary witches, Wicca does not accept anyone under 18 for Initiation.

The confusion is usually directed at whether or not psychic gifts are the 'mark of a Witch.' We are all born with gifts: telepathy, empathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and precognition to name a few, and the gifts are genetically linked. They are no better or worse than blue eyes, or black hair. Some forms of Christianity taught women and men to deny these gifts by telling them that they were imagining things, insane, or possessed by the 'devil'. An outside agency can not control these gifts and is usually afraid of anything it can not control; it therefore denies them or criminalizes them and forces people to lie, hide and live in fear of themselves and their sanity.

While the Craft teaches people to accept themselves and acknowledge their gifts, psychic gifts do not make one a witch. Gifts merely make one gifted. What one does with the gifts is up to them. Witches and other neo-Pagans tune in to their gifts, and use them for healing, attempting to live in peace with their environment. Enlightened Christians use them for healing and peace. There really isn't much difference.

This isn't Hollywood, dishes are not going to fly around the room, demons are not going to fill the windows with flies. Movies are entertainment and fall under the heading of fiction. I have yet to see a movie or television drama that is even remotely accurate. The angry guy in a "Satan lives" t-shirt, waving a knife around is Not a witch; the serene lady (or man, men are witches too) hugging her children, eating healthful foods, marching for Greenpeace, and protesting nuclear arms could be. Witches look like everyone else, and because a witch is the last person who will ever harm anyone, one need not be afraid of failing to identify one.



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