The Study of Witchcraft

The Study of Witchcraft
by Deborah Lipp
Weiser Books, 2007

 

Noted Wiccan priestess and author of Elements of Ritual and The Way of Four Spellbook, Deborah Lipp brings solid credentials to her latest project, The Study of Witchcraft. Years of being a practicing Wiccan, of study and research as well as participation in Pagan culture, make Lipp a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide into the compelling, but at times The Study of Witchcraft is a concise, accessible, and enjoyable introduction into the core beliefs, practices, and history of Wicca and witchcraft.

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The Charge of the Goddess: A Wiccan Ethic

head_Diane-MorrisonIt has been my experience that many people get involved in Wicca because they like the lack of rules. We don’t have a lot of “Thou shalt nots.” All we have is the Witch’s1 Rede, they say. But there are many unspoken rules of ethics that we think of as being essentially “Wiccan.” Why? Where do they come from?

The answer should be self-evident but often isn’t. What is the one piece of liturgy that Wiccans really have? The answer is the Charge of the Goddess.

Most modern Wiccans treat this prose as a lovely way to invoke the Goddess. It does work well that way. But consider the original meaning of the word “charge”. It is a command, a responsibility laid upon someone, an exhortation, a duty, an injunction, or being entrusted with someone’s care. It is a series of rules!

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Magical Cleaning for a New Beginning

head_Deborah-Blake_wp-19Start getting ready for spring now.

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time for new beginnings. At Imbolc, in February, we celebrated the first tiny stirrings below the surface of the earth. At least, in theory. In reality, it can be difficult to get ourselves in motion during the doldrums of winter and even early spring. Especially if, like me, you live in a place where Brigid — or even Spring Equinox! — is as likely to be heralded by a snowstorm as by emerging tulips. So how do we push past the winter-induced lethargy and get our bodies and our lives moving in a positive direction? I respectfully suggest a major bout of magical cleaning. Here’s a three-step plan to bringing the New Year’s burst of energy into your life for more than just an evening!

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Lovin’ the Harvest with Mabon

head_Deborah-Blake_wp-19 Lovin' the Harvest with Mabon
Balance the Seasons
of Light and Dark

by Deborah Blake 

If you take a good look at traditional Pagan rituals and holidays, you will see that many of them revolve around the necessities of survival. A good harvest season could make the difference between life and death, and so there are not one, or two, but three Pagan holidays designated as harvest festivals.

The first, Lammas, celebrates grain and the beginning of the harvest. The third, Samhain, is the last harvest festival, and as such can be somewhat bittersweet, as we brace ourselves for the darker half of the year. To me, the central one — Mabon, also known as the Autumn Equinox — is the most joyous of all. Observed on or around September 21st, Mabon is one of two days of the year when the darkness and the light are in perfect balance (the other being Ostara, the Spring Equinox). This holiday is the perfect time to take a good look at the balance — or lack of it — in your life.

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Respecting Boundaries

head_Ashleen-O-Gaea_wp-19Law and structure are the basis of community.

On a recent camping trip we met our first anarchists. “Any government that forces me to pay taxes is immoral,” the man said. “Why would you even want to pay taxes?”

I can think of lots of reasons, but I opened with “fire departments. ” Who doesn’t appreciate fire departments?

He said, “So it’s okay to rob me to pay for your fire protection?”

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