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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in witchcraft
A Brief History of Witchcraft: Part Two

When the Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951, people started to come out of the broom closet. Gerald Gardner was one of the first, who was mentioned earlier. Gardner was the one who came up with the word, Wica, to denote his spiritual path.

Naturism was a big fashion in the 1920s and 30s, and Gerald was a naturist (hence the skyclad part of his particular tradition of witchcraft). There was even a naturist camp that opened up near his home. He became involved in the Rosicrucian Theatre, and later came across Masonic (Fellowship of Crotona) practices and the work of Margaret Murray, which he incorporated into his ideas for this spiritual path. With the help of Alistair Crowley, he came up with beautiful poetry for his tradition, which was also a contentious point for one of Gardener’s High Priestesses, the aforementioned Doreen Valiente. Gardener created the witch tradition that he was seeking, and Valiente wrote it down eloquently and made sense of it all.[1]

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A Brief History of Witchcraft (Part One)

Witchcraft has probably been around as long as humanity has in some form or other. It can take many forms, from a shamanic and animistic practice to one that uses very formal and complex rites, rituals and correspondences. At the heart of witchcraft, is the ability to create change in the world, to take control of aspects of life and the natural world in order to bring about the desired outcome.

It is difficult to separate witchcraft from religious or spiritual traditions found in the history of ancient humanity. As we simply do not know what they believed, we can only make assumptions based on what we find through archaeology and anthropology. There are tantalising examples of cave art from our Stone Age ancestors, where we see human beings with animal qualities performing rituals of a sort. We believe that they saw the feminine principle in the divine, based on findings such as the Venus of Willenorf (from around 30,000 BCE) to examples of goddesses from the Nile region in Egypt such as Nathor figure (from around 4,000 BCE). We assume that the cave paintings and statuary/figurines represent god/goddess images, or their priests/priestesses, however, that is still an assumption. The rites and rituals that may have accompanied these items would have elements of what we know today as witchcraft perhaps evolved with them. At the very least, we can deduce from the artwork that they had religious or spiritual traditions, but what exactly these were in anyone's guess.

It's yet another assumption, but one many are happy to make, that throughout history there have been those who have been seen as different, as set apart from the normal lives and routines of others, whether it be in a tribe or community. These people may have had highly developed sensitivities, and were able to predict the weather perhaps (I personally always know when the pressure is changing from a high to a low front; I can feel it in my head and my ears pop!). They may have had a near-death experience that grants them an ability to deal with death and the dying. They may know where the herbs grow that heal certain wounds. Notice that I say "may" in each of these sentences, because we just don't really know for sure, and it would be irresponsible for me to say otherwise.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Divination Using Marbles

 

Divination using toys? No, I haven’t lost my marbles. I collect them instead. I do psychic readings with everything in my environment. All of life is sacred. Fun is sacred.

 

I collect marbles. A few weeks ago, I thought it’d be fun to do divination with them. Since I view everything is my environment as an oracle, it was only a matter time before the idea of using marbles for oracle work came to me. ... Hm, honestly, I’ve probably used them that way before this, and not even remembered it; that’s how much a part of my life using everything as oracles is. ...  In any case, this blog is about a psychic reading I did a few weeks ago using marbles.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Ostara

Here is a little video that I made regarding the upcoming Sabbat of Ostara. Blessings of the Spring Equinox to you all!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Title: Dead Witch on a Bridge (Witches of Sonoma Book One)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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[Today, we sit down for a quick interview with Hollow Ryan. The author of the Prideful Magick Collection, Ryan discusses her spiritual path, her books, and her future projects.]
 
BookMusings: How do you define your personal spiritual path? Are you part of a tradition, or more eclectic?
 
Hollow Ryan: I would definitely say my path is super eclectic. I’m a quarter Mohawk, so growing up I had a lot of Native American spirituality injected into my life and it has stayed with me. But I’ve also got Scottish and German ancestry that has led to quite the fascination with Celtic practices and Norse mythology. When you take the time to learn yourself as who you are rather than who you’d like to be, it definitely gives you a sense of what works for you in the moment, and what will definitely help you to become the person you want to be. So that’s the kind of path I’m on. A kind of: Make no apologies for who you are, but make no excuses, either.
 
BookMusings: You recently published the fifth book in the Prideful Magick series. Congratulations! First, what is the significance of that title, and why is each book named for a particular plant?
 
HR: This is a difficult one to answer because this entire series felt more like a spiritual journey than work. I’m not sure if I got to make half of the decisions when writing this. The series title might have been one of the few that I was allowed. The Prideful Magick Collection (PMC for short) was named in part because I didn’t want to call it ’series’ or ’saga’ or anything too normal. I used Magick specifically so people would know by looking at it that this was a story of witches. Since our ‘mini culture’ started adding the ‘k’ to ‘magic’ it was this nice little signal to potential readers that, "Yes, I am one of you.” Prideful, of course, is descriptive of the main character. There is no better word for her.
 
As far as the title names for each book, I didn’t get much of a choice on that one. I barely knew about every plant before; I just knew that was the title. I chose Ivy because I love climbing ivy plants. Yet, as I began plotting each of the next books, the plants came to me almost immediately and they all feature significantly in every book.
 
BookMusings: Alexandria Ryder, the witch at the center of the Prideful Magick series, experiences a lot of growth and change over the five books. Without spoiling too much, is there any one event in the book which you feel is particularly telling in regards to her character, and how she matures?
 
HR: The Prideful Magick Collection is all about Lex’s growth and maturity, especially in the face of the kind of adversity she experiences. To me, there’s a moment in all of them that challenges her more than any other. They are sink or swim moments. They are what force her to choose which step to take next, fully aware of what the outcomes could be. In the fifth book, Avens, it is harder to pin-point that exact moment, and it’s even harder to describe without spoilers. Without giving too much away,  I would say the highest mark of her maturity is when she is no longer afraid to share her responsibilities or magick with others.
 
BookMusings: Where can curious readers find your Prideful Magick series?
 
HR: All of my books are available through Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format. However, any local bookstore should be able to order them, if you wish to support a local business. Also, libraries know how to get their hands on them, too.
 
BookMusings: What other projects are you working on?
 
HR: My next projects will be works of complete fantasy. I have created a world called Vassel (which greatly influenced my own spiritual path) and the books I will be working on in the near future all take place in that world. As of now, I do not have any plans to write stories similar to the PMC, but my plans are more like guidelines instead of rules. So we shall see.
 
Thank you so much for this interview! It was so fun to write, and the questions were very insightful.
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Moon Path Part One

The moon is perhaps the most magical draw to the path of Witchcraft. By its silvery light, the world is changed, is made mysterious and beautiful with darkness around its edges. The moon is utterly enchanting, as we watch it move through its phases, from dark to full and back to dark again. Within the cycle of the moon, we can see the cycle of our lives.

Yet, like all things on this planet, the moon does not operate independently. Its light is a reflection of the sun, and it is held in place by the earth’s gravitational pull. The moon pulls as well, causing the high and low tides, and swelling the world’s seas and oceans with its magnetic draw. So too are we pulled by the energy of the moon, from high to low, from dark to light, dancing in its energy.

Witches have always been associated with the moon. They were said to gather under the light of the full moon for their Sabbaths, or honour moon goddesses with devotional rites. The play of darkness and light with the moon’s energy appeals to many a Witch, who honours both the light and the dark in her or his life. There are many deities associated with the moon, and many cycles from various cultures around the world follow a lunar-based schedule, whether it is for planting or reaping crops, or creating a calendar that honours each of the 13 moons in a year’s cycle.

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