Witches & Seeresses

Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
photo by Joe Dunne, © 2003

Witches & Seeresses

Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone on Returning to the Roots of Witchcraft

The magical career of Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone stretches back to the formative years of the Witchcraft revival. Together with her husband Stewart Farrar (who died in February 2000), Janet has authored groundbreaking books on Witchcraft and the Occult since 1971. Gavin Bone joined Janet and Stewart in 1993, and has worked with Janet ever since. The trio have written eleven books on Paganism, the most recent being Progressive Witchcraft (New Page, 2003).

Janet was initiated into Alexandrian Wicca by the tradition's founders, Alex and Maxine Sanders, in 1970. While in the coven she met Stewart Farrar, her future husband and coauthor. The couple started to move away from orthodox Alexandrian Wicca in the mid '70s. When Eight Sabbats for Witches was released in 1981, Janet and Stewart were accused of “giving away the secrets” by some British Traditional Witches.

Their new mode of working (which they term Progressive Witchcraft and which they point out is not a “tradition") differs from British Traditional Wicca in several important ways, including embracing polytheism and placing emphasis on personal connection with deity rather than on ritual.

Janet and Gavin are active members in The Aquarian Tabernacle Church and have links with several covens in North America, Oceania, and the EU. Their current work focuses on Spiritism and Trace Prophesy, and they travel widely, offering workshops on various occult topics. They also teach online through the College of the Sacred Mists.

 

Michael Night Sky What are your thoughts on the origins of the Witch and Witchcraft?

J&G From a historical viewpoint, the witch has been with us from the moment we looked up at the sky and wondered about our place in the universe. All ancient magic was really about survival and communing with the spirits of nature, be it to fend off the “evil” forces which caused disease, or to communicate with and request the assistance of the spirits of animals to help in a successful hunt.

Modern witchcraft — commonly known as Wicca — has become an amalgam of diverse practices, including European shamanism, professional priest/esshood, and Ceremonial Magick. We feel it is time to “get back to our roots” which is what our main work is today.

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Magic and Mood

head_Treesong_wp19Many Witches and Pagans are enchanted by the beauty and power of magic. Those of us who are new to our Craft often get caught up in the promise of making our dreams manifest in the world. We may do spells to draw money or love into our lives, rituals to send protection and healing, or divination to understand a confusing situation.

But what happens when the change we're looking for is internal? What do we do when our mood and other psychological challenges are the main barrier to making our dreams a reality?

Dion Fortune defined magic as “the art of causing changes in consciousness at will.” This classic approach to magic is especially powerful when facing inner challenges such as anxiety, depression, grief, addiction, and mood disorders.

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Cultivating a Magical Mindset

head_Tess-WhitehurstMake yourself ready for magic.

What fuels our magical workings? Our intentions. And how do we project our intentions into the ether? Through our thoughts, feelings, and visualizations. To help us with this, we may use any number of things: incense, candles, herbs, words of power, crystals, and so forth. The more we practice, the more we tap into our ability to create and transform reality. As magical practitioners, we learn to concentrate and direct the power of our thoughts and emotions in much the same way a mirror can concentrate and direct sunlight to start a fire.

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The Art of the Craft

wp-23_columnists01-01Four Steps to Bringing Artistic Imagination to Your Magic

We magical folks are artists. Our greatest work is our life experience, and we paint it by dipping the brush of our intentions into the pigments of the Universe: starlight, song, a fresh sprig of rosemary, a lock of a loved one’s hair, an ecstatic dance, or a gentle wafting of fragrant smoke.

My mother, a visual artist, taught me that in order to truly see a cloud, one must recognize that it contains all the colors of the rainbow, not simply white or grey. They may be mixed in so much that you can’t necessarily discern one from the other, but they’re all there. Though I never achieved any sort of expertise at painting or drawing, this revelation taught me so much. Not just about how to look at clouds, but about how to look at everything: deeply, and with an awareness that there are almost always veiled and intricate dimensions to any given facade.

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