Witches Never Die, They Just Get Recycled
What is this life about and why are we here? Is there an afterlife? I get asked these questions a lot, especially by teenage witches who are curious to know the purpose of life and death. I usually answer by saying that a belief in an afterlife is a personal thing to each and every one of us, so you need to explore as many options as possible and then listen to your soul to find the truth for yourself.
Most witches throughout the world have a deep belief in reincarnation and the afterlife. Common sense tells us that living a life span of approximately eighty years and then just disappearing forever would be pointless. What could we possibly learn from that? Nothing–and so the modern-day witch tends to think along the same lines as many other religions and faiths, taking comfort in believing that our spirit lives on after we die.
Imagine that your body is an automobile and it transports your spirit around for the duration of your life. Just like an automobile, your body occasionally breaks down and needs repairing. A little tune-up every now and again will keep it in peak performing condition, and of course, you’ll need to put the right gas in the engine in the form of healthy food. But no matter how good a caretaker you are, the body that is your vehicle can’t possibly last forever. Once it takes its last drive, your soul steep right out of it and after a little rest with your loved ones in spirit, gets back into another vehicle. This is the crux of reincarnation your soul gets a new care to drive around the Earth in again, so to speak.
What Is The Purpose of Reincarnation?
Some people really don’t understand reincarnation; they wonder why we would want to keep coming back over and over again. It’s a bit idealistic to think that we can have just one life and then retire to a fluffy pink cloud for the rest of eternity! You may well get to the ultimate resting place someday, but before you do, you have some work to do.
There are three reasons for reincarnating:
To work on overcoming your faults
To experience every human emotion possible.
To eventually become a part of the Divine Power
When a soul is born, it begins a journey of spiritual development. With every incarnation on Earth, we learn valuable lessons that help us on the journey and go on to make us the true individuals we are. It’s a bit like being in school. Sometimes the lessons we face are painless and we can sail through them with ease. At other time, they can be hard-hitting and difficult making us face arduous challenges head-on.
Take, for example, a person who seems to experience trials and tribulations on a constant basis. From a spiritual perspective, what is this all about? Once you have undergone a lesson and have learned it properly, you won’t have to go through it again. That chapter of your life will be over and you will move on to other lessons. You might think that it’s unfair to have to go through problematic situations, especially if others around you seems to have it easier, but each lesson we face gives us an internal strength that can never be taken away from us. Call it character-building. These lessons enhance our inner wisdom, which is what we are all ultimately striving for. This is how it goes, life after life, until you’ve learned all you need to know.
Reincarnation relaxes the Soul
We are all reincarnating at different rates. This is why some people are truly wonderful and some are, well, not. Those who seem incredibly sensitive and loving are probably way ahead of the prickly, spiteful people in the reincarnation process.
When you meet lovely, kind, and caring people, it is probably that they have reincarnated many times. their endless incarnated many times. Their endless incarnations have raised their spirits’ vibration, so they automatically show patience and strive to do everything right in their lives. People who are mean, selfish, and egotistic probably haven’t reincarnated as much. That isn’t to say that these people are wicked; they simply haven’t learned all their lessons yet. Think of them as bratty adolescents and the sympathetic ones as the grandparents of the reincarnation process–regardless of their age!
Learn Your Lesson Well While You Can
While life is a series of tests, no one gives you a report card upon your death. Your reactions to situations are watched very closely to the spirit world, but you won’t be chastised if you slip up a few times. Witches know that before we finish reincarnating, we need to experience every single human emotions, so it’s safe to say that by the time we reach a state of perfection, each of us could have lived a thousand times!
From here on in, try to do at least one nice thing for another person every day. Smile at the postman, check in on that elderly neighbor or take a few minutes out of your day to ask how someone is doing. Once you get into the habit of being pleasant to others, it will beyond second nature, and your vibration will be buzzing with positive energy.
A Modern-Day White Witch’s Guide, Wiccapedia by Shawn Robbins & Leanna Greenaway.
Research on the Goddess Diana
“Goddess Of The Hunt”
Diana (lt. “heavenly” or “divine”) was the goddess of the hunt, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and also of the moon in Roman mythology. In literature she was the equal of the Greek goddess Artemis, though in cult beliefs she was Italic, not Greek, in origin. Diana was worshiped in ancient Roman religion and is currently revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria. Dianic Wicca, a largely feminist form of the practice, is named for her. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess and looked after virgins and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, Diana, Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry.
Along with her main attributes, Diana was an emblem of chastity. Oak groves were especially sacred to her. According to mythology, Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana made up a triad with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.
Diana (pronounced with long ‘i’ and a’) is an adjectival form developed from an ancient *divios, corresponding to later ‘divus’, ‘dius’, as in Dius Fidius, Dea Dia and in the neuter form dium meaning the sky. It is rooted in Indoeuropean *d(e)y(e)w meaning bright sky or daylight, from which also derived the name of Vedic god Dyaus and the Latin deus (god), dies(day, daylight).
The Greek αδει(αν)ός (adei(an)os) means empty, because Aeneas’s mother, Venus, in the form of a hunting woman was very similar to the goddess Diana and because the Aeneid describes that since Paris (mythology) the temples hallow an empty name and she went down the empty sky when Eurytion held the arrow ready on his bended bow.
The persona of Diana is complex and contains a number of archaic features. According to Dumezil it falls into a particular subset of celestial gods, referred to in histories of religion as ‘frame gods’. Such gods, while keeping the original features of celestial divinities, i.e. transcendent heavenly power and abstention from direct rule in worldly matters, did not share the fate of other celestial gods in Indoeuropean religions – that of becoming dei otiosi, since they did retain a particular sort of influence over the world and mankind.
The celestial character of Diana is reflected in her connexion with light, inaccessibility, virginity, and her preference for dwelling on high mountains and in sacred woods. Diana therefore reflects the heavenly world (dium) in its sovereignty, supremacy, impassibility, and indifference towards such secular matters as the fates of men and states. At the same time, however, she is seen as active in ensuring the succession of kings and in the preservation of mankind through the protection of childbirth.
These functions are apparent in the traditional institutions and cults related to the goddess. 1) The institution of the rex Nemorensis, Diana’ssacredos in the Arician wood, who held its position til somebody else challenged and killed him in a duel, after breaking a branch from a certain tree of the wood. This ever totally open succession reveals the character and mission of the goddess as a guarantee of the continuity of the kingly status through successive generations.The same meaning implying her function of bestower of regality is testified by the story related by Livy of the prediction of empire to the land of origin of the person who would offer her a particularly beautiful cow. 2) Diana was also worshipped by women who sought pregnancy or asked for an easy delivery. This kind of worship is testified by archeological finds of votive statuettes in her sanctuary in the nemus Aricinum as well as by ancient sources, e.g. Ovid.
According to Dumezil the forerunner of all frame gods is an Indian epic hero who was the image (avatar) of the Vedic god Dyaus. Having renounced the world, in his roles of father and king, he attained the status of an immortal being while retaining the duty of ensuring that his dynasty is preserved and that there is always a new king for each generation. The Scandinavian god Heimdallr performs an analogous function: he is born first and will die last. He too gives origin to kingship and the first king, bestowing on him regal prerogatives. Diana, although a female deity, has exactly the same functions, preserving mankind through childbirth and royal succession.
Dumezil’s interpretation appears deliberately to ignore that of James G. Frazer, who links Diana with the male god Janus as a divine couple. Frazer identifies the two with the supreme heavenly couple Jupiter-Juno and additionally ties in these figures to the overarching Indoeuropean religious complex. This regality is also linked to the cult of trees, particularly oaks. In this interpretative schema, the institution of the Rex Nemorensis and related ritual should be seen as related to the theme of the dying god and the kings of May.
Diana often appeared as a young woman, age around 12 to 19. It was believed that she had a fair face like Aphrodite with a tall body, slim, small hips, and a high forehead. As a goddess of hunting, she wore a very short tunic so she could hunt and run easily and is often portrayed holding a bow, and carrying a quiver on her shoulder, accompanied by a deer or hunting dog. Sometimes the hunted creature would also be shown. As goddess of the moon, however, Diana wore a long robe, sometimes with a veil covering her head. Both as goddess of hunting and goddess of the moon she is frequently portrayed wearing a moon crown.
Diana was initially just the hunting goddess, associated with wild animals and woodlands. She also later became a moon goddess, supplanting Titan goddess Luna. She also became the goddess of childbirth and ruled over the countryside.
Diana was worshipped at a festival on August 13, when King Servius Tullius, himself born a slave, dedicated her temple on the Aventine Hill in the mid-sixth century BC. Being placed on the Aventine, and thus outside the pomerium, meant that Diana’s cult essentially remained a ‘foreign’ one, like that of Bacchus; she was never officially ‘transferred’ to Rome as Juno was after the sack of Veii. It seems that her cult originated in Aricia, where her priest, the Rex Nemorensis remained. There the simple open-air fane was held in common by the Latin tribes, which Rome aspired to weld into a league and direct. Diana of the wood was soon thoroughly Hellenized, “a process which culminated with the appearance of Diana beside Apollo in the first lectisternium at Rome”. Diana was regarded with great reverence by lower-class citizens and slaves; slaves could receive asylum in her temples. This fact is of difficult interpretation. Wissowa proposed the explanation that it might be because the first slaves of the Romans must have been Latins of the neighbouring tribes.
Though some Roman patrons ordered marble replicas of the specifically Anatolian “Diana” of Ephesus, where the Temple of Artemis stood, Diana was usually depicted for educated Romans in her Greek guise. If she is accompanied by a deer, as in the Diana of Versailles this is because Diana was the patroness of hunting. The deer may also offer a covert reference to the myth of Acteon (or Actaeon), who saw her bathing naked. Diana transformed Acteon into a stag and set his own hunting dogs to kill him.
Worship of Diana is mentioned in the Bible. In Acts of the Apostles, Ephesian metal smiths who felt threatened by Saint Paul’s preaching of Christianity, jealously rioted in her defense, shouting “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:28, New English Bible). After the city secretary (γραμματεύς) quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what person is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the keeper (guardian) of the temple of the great Diana and of her image that fell from heaven ?” (Acts 19:36)
Diana was an ancient goddess common to all Latin tribes. Therefore many sanctuaries were dedicated to her in the lands inhabited by Latins. The first one is supposed to have been near Alba before the town was destroyed by the Romans.
The Arician wood sanctuary near the lake of Nemi was Latin confederal as testified by the dedicatory epigraph quoted by Cato.
She had a shrine in Rome on the Aventine hill, according to tradition dedicated by king Servius Tullius. Its location is remarkable as the Aventine is situated outside the pomerium, i.e. original territory of the city, in order to comply with the tradition that Diana was a goddess common to all Latins and not exclusively of the Romans.
Other sanctuaries we know about are listed here below:
Temple of Diana, in Evora, Portugal.
Colle di Corne near Tusculum where she is referred to with the archaic Latin name of deva Cornisca and where existed a collegium of worshippers.
The Algidus Mount, also near Tusculum
At Tivoli, where she is referred to as Diana Opifera Nemorensis
A sacred wood mentioned by Livyad computum Anagninum(near Anagni).
On Mount Tifata, near Capua in Campania.
In Ephesus, where she was worshiped as Diana of Ephesus and the temple used to be one of world’s seven wonders.
Diana’s cult has been related in Early Modern Europe to the cult of Nicevenn (aka Dame Habond, Perchta, Herodiana, etc.). She was related to myths of a female Wild Hunt.
Today there is a branch of Wicca named for her, which is characterized by an exclusive focus on the feminine aspect of the Divine. In some Wiccan texts Lucifer is a name used interchangeably for Diana’s brother Apollo.
In Italy the old religion of Stregheria embraced goddess Diana as Queen of the Witches; witches being the wise women healers of the time. Goddess Diana created the world of her own being having in herself the seeds of all creation yet to come. It is said that out of herself she divided into the darkness and the light, keeping for herself the darkness of creation and creating her brother Apollo, the light. Goddess Diana loved and ruled with her brother Apollo, the god of the Sun. (Charles G. Leland, Aradia: The Gospel of Witches)
Since the Renaissance the mythic Diana has often been expressed in the visual and dramatic arts, including the opera L’arbore di Diana. In the sixteenth century, Diana’s image figured prominently at the Château de Fontainebleau, in deference to Diane de Poitiers, mistress of two French kings. At Versailles she was incorporated into the Olympian iconography with which Louis XIV, the Apollo-like “Sun King” liked to surround himself.
There are also references to her in common literature. In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, many references are made to Diana. Rosaline, a beautiful woman who has sworn to chastity, is said to have “Dian’s wit”. Later on in the play, Romeo says, “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun. Arise fair sun, and kill the envious moon.” He is saying that Juliet is better than Diana and Rosaline for not swearing chastity. Diana is also a character in the 1876 Leo Delibe ballet ‘Sylvia’. The plot deals with Sylvia, one of Diana’s nymphs and sworn to chastity and Diana’s assault on Sylvia’s affections for the shepherd Amyntas.
In Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La Belle et la Bête it is Diana’s power which has transformed and imprisoned the beast.
In Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre Diana appears to Pericles in a vision, telling him to go to her temple and tell his story to her followers.
Diana is also used by Shakespeare in the famous play As You Like It to describe how Rosaline feels about marriage.
Diana is used by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night when Orsino compares Viola (in the guise of Cesario) to Diana. “Diana’s lip is not more smooth and rubious”
Speaking of his wife, Desdemona, Shakespeare’s Othello the Moor says, “Her name that was as fresh/As Dian[a]‘s visage, is now begrim’d and black/As mine own face.”
There is also a reference to Diana in Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing where Hero is said to seem like ‘Dian in her orb’, in terms of her chastity.
In All’s Well That Ends Well Diana is seen again, not only as a figure in the play, but also where Helena makes multiple allusions such as, “Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly…” and “…wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian/was both herself and love…” The Steward also says, “…; Dian no queen of virgins,/ that would suffer her poor knight surprised, without/ rescue in the first assault or ransom afterward.” It can be assumed that ‘Dian’ simply a shortening of ‘Diana’ since later in the play when Parolles’ letter to Diana is read aloud it reads ‘Dian’.
The Goddess is also referenced indirectly in Shakespeare’s player A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The character Hippolyta states “And then the moon, like to a silver bow new bent in Heaven”. She refers to Diana, Goddesse of the moon, who is often depicted with a silver hunting bow. In the same play the character Hermia is told by the Duke Theseus that she must either wed the character Demetrius “Or on Diana’s alter to protest for aye austerity and sinle life”. He refers to her becoming a nun, with the Goddesse Diana having connotations of chastity.
In The Merchant of Venice Portia states “I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of my father’s will”. (I.ii)
In Romeo & Juliet, Romeo describes Rosaline, saying that “She hath Dian’s wit”.
Carlos Fuentes’s novel entitled, Diana o la cazadora solitaria (Diana or the lone huntress), was based on The Goddess. Diana Soren was also a character that being described as having the same personality as the goddess.
In “The Knight’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily prays to Diana to be spared from marriage to either of her admirers Arcite or Palomon.
In “To Science”, the sonnet by Edgar Allan Poe, science “dragged Driana from her car” (9).
Pomona (left, symbolizing agriculture), and Diana (symbolizing commerce) as building decoration
Both the Romanian word for “fairy”, Zână and the Leonese word for “water nymph”, xana, seem to come from the name of Diana.
Diana had become one of the most popular theme of arts. Painters like Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, François Boucher, Nicholas Poussin had made her as a major theme. Most of stories that being exposed are the stories of Diana with Actaeon, story of Callisto, and when she rested after hunting. Some famous work of arts with Diana theme are :
Diana and Actaeon, Diana and Callisto, and Death of Actaeon by Titian.
Diana and Callisto, Diana Resting After Bath, and Diana Getting Out of Bath by François Boucher.
Diana Bathing With Her Nymphs by Rembrandt.
Diana and Endymion by Poussin.
Diana and Callisto, Diana and Her Nymph Departing From Hunt,Diana and Her Nymphs Surprised By A Faun by Rubens.
Diana and Endymion by Johann Micheal Rottmayr.
The famous fountain at Palace of Caserta, Italy, created by Paolo Persico, Brunelli, Pietro Solari told a story about when Diana being surprised by Acteon.
A sculpture by Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain could be seen at the Musée du Louvre.
A sculptural mascot on the Diana car manufactured by the Diana Motors Company.
In Beaux Arts
Beaux Arts architecture and garden design (late 19th and early 20th centuries) used classic references in a modernized form. Two of the most popular of the period were of Pomona (goddess of orchards) as a metaphor for Agriculture, and Diana, representing Commerce, which is a perpetual hunt for advantage and profits.
In Parma at the convent of San Paolo, Antonio Allegri da Correggio painted the camera of the Abbess Giovanna Piacenza’s apartment. He was commissioned in 1519 to paint the ceiling and mantel of the fireplace. On the mantel he painted an image of Diana riding in a chariot pulled possibly by a stag.
Diana/Artemis appears at the end of the ‘Pastoral Symphony’ segment of ‘Fantasia’.
In his 1968 film La Mariée était en noir François Truffaut plays on this mythological symbol. Julie Kohler, played by Jeanne Moreau, poses as Diana/Artemis for the artist Fergus. This choice seems fitting for Julie, a character beset by revenge, of which Fergus becomes the fourth victim. She poses with a bow and arrow, wearing white.
In the funeral oration of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, her brother drew an analogy between the ancient goddess of hunting and his sister – ‘the most hunted person of the modern age’.
William Moulton Marston used the Diana myth as a basis for Wonder Woman.
For the album art of Progressive metal band Protest the Hero’s second studio album Fortress, Diana is depicted, protected by rams and other animals. The theme of Diana is carried throughout the album.
Hail Artemis Diana
Blessed Lady of the Beasts
I dedicate myself to You
May my path honor Thee
May my spirit celebrate Thee
May my life force magnify Thee
These things I pray
Be fulfilled this day
Goddess Mother help me
To know what is right.”
- Goddess Prayers and Invocations
Research on the Goddess Diana
Diana . . . The Roman Goddess was known by many names including Queen of Heaven; the Great Goddess; Lunar Virgin; Mother of Animals; Lady of Wild Creatures; and the Huntress. Diana as the Roman Moon-Goddess was originally worshipped on the mountain Tifata near Capua and in sacred forests. Later she was given a temple in the working-class area on the Aventine Hill where she was mainly worshipped by the lower class (plebeians) and the slaves, of whom she was the patroness. She is often depicted carrying a bow and arrow and wearing animal skins or accompanied by animals.
When the Greek city of Ephesus fell to Roman rule, Goddess Diana was merged with the Greek Goddess Artemis. This is most likely due to the fact that around the time of the Roman empire, Romans would allow the places they over took to continue worshipping their own Gods and Goddesses, incorporating those Goddesses into the Roman Pantheon. Artemis and Diana were worshipped at the same times historically and when the Great Greek Temple of Artemis was destroyed the Romans rebuilt it in honor of Diana and the myth of Goddess Diana of Ephesus began.
Stories of Goddess Diana are told form the beginning of Troy to the Christian Bible of King James in the scriptures of Acts and the gospels of Paul.
“Acts|19:27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.
Acts|19:28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”
The multi-breasted statue of Diana at Her Temple in Ephesus displayed her capability to nourish all creatures and provide for them. Worshippers adored Goddess Diana so much that the only way the Christians could rid the people of their Goddess was by assimilating her into their new religion. Thus Ephesus became a place of Mary, Mother of God. The church even invented stories of Mary living at Ephesus and being entombed there.
In Babylonia, and in the nation of Assyria, she was known as “ISHTAR” The Phoenicians called her “ASTARTE”. The Israelites knew her as “ASHTORETH”.
Diana was also the goddess of the Latin commonwealth where She rule with Her brother Lucifer. Lucifer being a Latin word for “Light Bringer”.
In Italy the old religion of Stergheria embraced goddess Diana as Queen of the Witches. Witches being the wise women healers of the time. Goddess Diana created the world of her own being having in herself the seeds of all creation yet to come. It is said that out of herself she divided into the darkness and the light, keeping for herself the darkness of creation and creating her brother Lucifer, the light. Goddess Diana loved and ruled with her brother Lucifer, the god of the Sun and Moon.
As time went on, the Earth was created and Diana descended to Earth, as did her brother Lucifer. Diana taught magick and witches were born. One night using witchcraft in the form of a cat, His most beloved animal, Diana tricked Lucifer. She gained entrance to His chamber where She seduced Him. From this union a daughter was born. Goddess Aradia.
In other versions of this myth we find the similarities the Christain tales take as their own in attempts to dispel the Goddess.
The first being, Lucifer who is so proud of his beauty, and who for his pride is driven from the Paradise of Goddess as is the tale of Lucifer falling from Gods grace.
The second being Goddess Diana also sends Her daughter Aradia to live as a mortal and save the misfortunate people of Earth as does God send His son Jesus to live as a mortal and save the people.
As pagans my sisters, Goddess Diana is the eternal Mother of all creation, the first that is and the last that will be. She is the Huntress of the forest seeking means of survival. She is the call of the wild, the beating heart of the forests, the animal spirit within, urging us to remember our origins. She awakens nature within us that we remember to feel the rustling wind through our hair, to hear the howling of a wolf or the echo of a voice in the forest. Goddess Diana calls to us to let our animal essence out and hone our inherent sensibilities. Dance and sing to the moon, run until our heart pounds to the top of a hill, to take a swim in a creek, roll around in the grass as we once did as a children, or just gaze upon the stars in wonderment; knowing all the while that Goddess Diana is within us, sharing sharing our journey.
As with the Christian invasion into the old religion , we too are told as women what is right and wrong. We are told what is the correct thinking to blend into a society that denies us our truth. Not tonight my sisters, tonight we pray to the Goddess Diana that you never forget the wonders of creation, the joy of being alive, and the importance of being a woman. Tonight we pray to GoddessDiana to be filled with Her strength to survive the challenges that would steal our dreams. under Her Full Moon we are alive in Her reflection. As a Circle of women we pray to Goddess Diana to grants us development and change within ourselves. As we embrace Her energy that is the vibrations of the universe that lives within us let the hunt begin. Let us seek out and tame the resources that is the beast and the forest of our lives. As goddess Diana let us be the huntress of our path. Tonight as women we say “Great is the Goddess Diana and Great is the Goddess in Me”.
Research on the Goddess Diana
Ode to Diana
I am Diana
I have many names, many faces
You know me as the Queen of Heaven, The Huntress, Lady of the Wild Creatures, Lunar Virgin, Daughter of the Moon,
My name has been Ishtar, Astarte, Artemis, Ashtoreth.
I am mother to Aradia. Sister to Lucifer. Daughter of Zeus, most high.
You will find me in Tifata, nearCapua.
My temple is atEphesus, before the time of others that stole.
My temple is in your heart.
My name is your name.
My life is your life, our hearts beat as one.
I am Diana
When I am a maiden on Ostara, call me by name…
Diana, Aphrodite, Arianrhod, Venus, Cybele, Freya, and Rhiannon.
When I am the mother on Litha, call me by name…
Amaterasu, Hestia, Juno, and Sunna
When I am the Crone on Samhain, call me by name…
Hecate, Inanna, Machi, Mari, Ishtar and Lilith.
Call me down when the moon shines full.
Embrace me when the moon is dark.
Caress me when the moon waxes and wanes.
I am Diana
In the night sky as the Great She Bear.
In the phases of the moon,
In nature, the beauty of a sunrise
The mystery of the moon rise.
Speak to me at dawn, at noon when the sun’s heat warms your face
Whisper to me at dusk when purple fingers of nights stain the sky
Sing to me at midnight as you dance beneath my silvery luminescence.
Light a white candle and I am there
Use jasmine and breathe in my spirit.
Place a moonstone in your pocket and I walk with you.
Carry me within your heart and we shall be together
Written by Ladyhawke. Copyright 2008
Diana in prayer, magic and divination.
Hail Artemis Diana
Blessed Lady of the Beasts
I dedicate myself to You
May my path honor Thee
May my spirit celebrate Thee
May my life force magnify Thee
These things I pray
Be fulfilled this day
Goddess Mother help me
to know what is right
~ Abby Willowroot © 1999
RITUAL TO FIND YOUR SPIRIT GUIDE
Offertory Candles – 3 Violet Candles3 White Candles
Athame-to inscribe candles
Crystal ball or clear glass of water
Incense-anise, cardamom, and coriander.
Oiljasmine, lemon, rose and sandalwood
Best done during the Mercury hour of the day, although any hour should work.Any moon phase is appropriate.
Breathe deeply and build a ball of protective light around you. While soakingin your ritual bath, meditate on the whole ritual: the steps you will take and what you wish to say to your spirit guide when you make contact.
Enter the circle in the Hour of Mercury. Light the incense. With the oil, dress the Altar Candle and the Day candle while concentrating on the purposeof the ritual. Light your Altar Candle and Day Candle and state your intent:
I am here to make contact with my Spirit Guide, and to acknowledge him orher.
With your Athame, inscribe Violet Candle #1 with the word “Spirit.” Dress itwith oil. Light the Violet Candle #1, direct your energies into it and say:
Here do I light the first Lamp of Spirit.May its light reach out across the barriers from this world to the next.
May it make contact with that World of Spirit into which we will eventually enter.
Take your censer or incense wand and swing it around, sensing the whole areaaround the altar while rhythmically repeating the word “Merge” and buildingup energy to focus. Replace the censer and pick up Violet Candle #2.
Inscribe it with the word “Spirit” and dress it with oil. Put it back on thealtar, light it and say:
Here do I light the second Lamp of Spirit.May its light also reach out across the barriers from this world to the next? May it make contact with that World of Spirit and help spread the light,illuminating the passageway between our worlds.
Again take the censer or incense wand and sense the entire area around while chanting the word “Merge.” Build up your energy to focus. Take Violet Candle#3, inscribe it with the word “Spirit,” dress it with oil, charge with yourenergy, light it and say:
Here do I light the third Lamp of Spirit. May the light from these three lamps blend and grow, dispelling all darknessand lighting the way that my Spirit Guide may come to me and speak with me here today.
Inscribe the three white candles with the word “Truth” and anoint each candlewith oil. Light the three candles in the order of 1, 2, 3, and say:
Here do I build Truth.
As these candles burn throughout this ritual, their power generating nothingbut truth in all that transpires between this world and the next. Throughthese candles there is truth in all communications that come to me. Againcense the altar area while chanting “Merge.” Replace the censer and continuechanting. Sit comfortably while chanting, and gaze into the crystal ball, orthe clear glass of water. Continue chanting until you feel it is right to letthe chant taper off. Continue to quietly look into the crystal ball or glass,not trying to picture anything. Keep your mind blank, so whatever comes willappear and will come in it’s own free will. Gaze into the center of thecrystal, there is no need to try not to blink. Look into the crystal andblink naturally. Try not to notice anything in your peripheral vision, just the center of the crystal. Eventually a face or figure will appear. This maytake a long time, or it may appear almost immediately. If it doesn’t come atall within approximately 20 minutes, abandon this attempt, extinguish thecandles in the order in which they were lit, leave the altar set up, and try this ritual again in three days.
You should have results within a month at most. When a figure does appear,ask if he/she is your Spirit Guide. You will hear an answer, you may not hearit out loud, or even see the figures lips move, but you will be aware of theanswer. This is how most conversations will proceed. You will ask your questions mentally (or out loud) and the answer will be clear inside yourmind. Ask if you have more than one Spirit Guide. If yes, ask them to appearalso. You may ask anything you wish to know, but it is better to establish aconnection first where your Spirit Guide may appear to you at any time, or atspecific times, so that you can converse with any other spirits throughhim/her. When you have finished speaking with your guide, thank him/her, thensit for a moment with your eyes closed, meditating on all that you have learned. Extinguish the candles in reverse order to clear the circle.
The Dawn of Witchcraft
Good hunting and fishing determined the survival of the Stone Age tribe. A little later, the number of domestic animals and the success of crops meant life or death. The tribe also needed many children. They had to replace those who died in infancy and early childhood, and few people lived beyond their thirties.
A division of labor existed from the earliest societies. Men hunted and fished. Women gathered food and cared for the children. Men had a male god, who controlled the hunt. The god wore horns or antlers, representing his power over the prey. Women worshiped a great mother goddess. She insured fertility and controlled the magical and medicinal powers of plants. Later, when agriculture was developed, both god and goddess protected the domestic animals and the crops. A priestess and a priest worked together as the representatives of the gods. They had ceremonies to influence the gods to help the people.
Slowly, the ideas of an afterlife and reincarnation began to emerge. The horned male god took on the additional feature of the god of death. The female goddess added the moon and its cycles to her domain. They were united in a sacred marriage, and shared fertility rites.
Their myth, still alive today, is simple. The goddess represents life. The god represents death. Life and death are a continuous cycle. The cycle contains three great truths – loving, dying, and reincarnating to live again. Magic controls all of them. To fulfil love, one must be born, unite with the loved one, die, and reincarnate. The cycle may repeat as many times as necessary.
During the Stone Age the people believed that reincarnation occurred in groups. You found yourself, life after life, with the same people. Witches no longer believe in group reincarnation, but it is easy to understand why the Stone Age people did. They lived in closely knit tribes and were afraid to be reincarnated among “strangers.” Reincarnation itself, however, is still an important part of the Old Religion.
All gods and demons emerge from humanity’s relationship with nature. To understand the minds of the prehistoric cave painters, one must look at isolated societies that still live in a similar way. Many anthropologists call these people “primitive.” This word gives the incorrect impression of inferiority. These people are not inferior in any meaningful way. They are just not living in our mechanized, Westernized society. Their way of life is just as complex and rich; their minds are just as alert as ours. Furthermore, they maintain a connection with nature that we have lost.
The Tasaday of Mindanao, Orochon of Siberia, Gilyaks of the Amur valley, and the Australian aborigines work in surprisingly similar ways. Their cultures present evidence about how the prehistoric mind worked.
The lives of these people are balanced with nature. The word is significant, because as you will see in an upcoming chapter, the balanced life is one of the principles of Witchcraft. Witches seek exactly what these people had maintained naturally for thousands of years – a balance that was lost with the development of civilization.
The prehistoric people saw themselves as part of their surrounding, neither more nor less important than the animals, the plants, the stones and the rivers. They believed that inanimate objects had lives of their own. Judging by the behavior of the isolated societies mentioned above, the Stone Age people often spoke with the fire, the stones, the water. If you ask the Orochon or Tasaday about it, they will tell you that the inanimate object understands and answers them.
The reasoning power of such people is different from ours. They see little difference between the real and the unreal. They will rarely ask whysomething happens. Things happen, and they will deal with the results. They use no written language and therefore have a powerful memory.
Interestingly, even today, a witch keeps as few written records as possible. She must burn all her papers when she realizes that she is near death, unless there is a very reliable witch who will inherit the notes and include them in her own work.
Researchers always assumed that this habit existed because of the danger during the Witch Trials. Every Medieval witch memorized as much as possible. When the inquisition marched into her home to look for evidence, it was best not to have the grimoires, as spell books are called, around the house. However, the truth about the memorizing habit may be deeper. Perhaps the witch is still following the prehistorical tradition of magic without written language.
We generally look for rational explanations for illnesses, sudden death, or accidents. The Stone Age people thought differently. Spirits and invisible forces filled their world. Magic caused distressing events. Someone conjured the malevolent spirits; perhaps the spirits themselves were angry and wanted revenge. If a wild beast or a force of nature caused death, then the supernatural force behind them actually made them do it. One had to appease or control the force. The shaman, priest, or witch could achieve that by establishing a relationship with the objects or the forces. In other words – he or she had to use magic.
The entire physical world was alive, swirling with energy waves, for the shaman and the witch. They established relationships with storms, water, and the seasons themselves. In a deep enough trance, they entered into a two-way conversation with the elements. They released their powerful souls from their bodies and let the souls kill the enemies or the beasts, heal the sick, or direct the animals toward the hunters.
The people were, above and beyond anything else, hunters and gatherers. They depended upon two factors. First, the availability of animals and plants; second, their ability to escape extremely dangerous predators. Fortunately, their witches knew herbal medicine and the setting of bones, and the hard life had some compensations. The tight communal life encouraged an incredible level of nonverbal communication. To us, they would seem telepathic, so well they understood each other without words. They were like flocks of birds or schools of fish that react to a situation as one large creature. In addition, they had supernatural endurance. This talent still exists in many isolated societies. For instance, look at the “runners” in Tibet. These are men who can run distances that are considered literally impossible by modern athletes. They do it in a trance, without much effort, and arrive in good shape. It’s all mind power.
The Stone Age magic-making was simple. They had dances that imitated the hunt and controlled the hunted animals. The dancers wore antlers or bird masks, whirled, chanted, and went into trances. These ceremonies, the beginning of Witchcraft, are painted over and over on cave walls.
The image of the horned god may have started during these dances. Imagine a dancer, wearing antlers to impersonate a reindeer or a stag. He is whirling in a trance, moving with the rhythm of the chant and drums in the warm cave. The fire behind him throws a strong shadow on the cave’s wall. The shadow is strange and threatening, and it attracts the attention of the tribe’s artist, always sensitive to new images. He picks a bit of charcoal from the fire, and quickly draws around the shadow. The drawing looks like a man/beast. As the months go by, the artist draws him again and again, developing a new image, adding the image into the magic.
It joined a wall already full of beautifully, accurately drawn pictures of animals and birds. The artists of the Stone Age were hunters who killed many animals. As they cut the animals for food, they learned much about anatomy. From necessity, they were also good observers of the animals during their daily lives. The art, however, was neither artistic expression nor a celebration of yesterday’s successful hunt. It was, just like the dance, an act of magic. By drawing an animal you controlled it. A picture of a successful hunt today would produce one tomorrow. A picture of an animal giving birth would insure fertility and good future hunts. Drawing dangerous animals falling into pits would make sure they would not kill you, but die themselves first. This was Witchcraft.
There were the dreams, too. To the Stone Age mind, dreams had a reality as definite as the waking world. The spirit, released from the body, walked the dream world; it spoke with other dreaming spirits or with the spirits of the dead. The dreams revealed the future, and were important to the well-being of the entire tribe. It is entirely possible that Out-of-Body-Experience (OBE) started like that. People who have experienced OBE claim a part of their consciousness, or their soul, leaves their body and explores the world on its own. Ancient cultures in all parts of the world described OBE. It is practiced today by people of various religions and nationalities. Parapsychologists argue whether OBE exists, or if it is a powerful dream form. Witches claim they just do it. At this stage of modern research, there is still no proof either way.
As the climate changed and lost some of its harshness, people began to live longer, create settlements, and develop agriculture. The witch’s importance did not diminish. The prosperity of crops and domestic animals, fertility of the land, and the continuous development of herbal medicine remained the witch’s domain.
Religion became more organized, but the job of the witches remained the same – influencing the supernatural powers. It didn’t matter if the people called them shamans, shape-changers, wizards, druids, priestesses or witches. It didn’t matter if they worked in the woods, the meadows, or at the altar of the simple, beautiful new temples. They helped humanity survive, worshiped the nature gods, served the earth.
And so it went on for generations. It continues today. The similarity between Witchcraft in the various ancient cultures is so strong, and the relationship to today’s Witchcraft is so amazing, there is no possible way to assume it happened by chance. Let’s look at a few cultures. They are not in any order – it’s more like a bit of time travel to places of interest.
In Denmark, archaeologists found the grave of a powerful Bronze Age witch. The grave contained obvious evidence of wealth – gold, jewelry, costly swords. It also had various items of Witchcraft, neatly arranged in a large bronze bowl. Identical Witchcraft ingredients are still used in folk medicine, and similar tools are used by today’s witch. Here is a list of the items.
A lynx’s claw.
A weasel’s bones.
Iron pirate pieces. If struck over the body of a sick person, the striking of the pirate will clear both physical and mental diseases and the effect of the evil eye.
Charcoal of an aspen tree. In today’s folk medicine, the charcoal is useful if the tree was hit by lightning. It is possible that the aspen in the grave was burned in the same way.
Twigs of a rowan tree.
An iron knife.
The old Scandinavian Sagas describe activities of witches which are still part of today’s ceremonies. They also tell the usual stories – shape changing, riding on poles, or sending the soul out of the bodies.
Another interesting ancient connection exists in Mexico. A witch cult there was centered around a goddess, or a “Witch Queen.” She always carried or rode a broom. The broom, to the Mexicans, symbolized purity and cleanliness. This is particularly important because the Medieval European witch considered cleanliness and order essential. Her contemporaries rarely bathed, and kept food debris on their straw-covered floors for weeks. The witches in Mexico, just like the European ones, always wore big necklaces. Men wore the same kind of leather apron as the Irish male witches.They worked in small rooms to confine the power – much like the circles of power of the European witches.
There is no explanation to the similarity. Some historical researchers believe that perhaps people traveled across the Atlantic before Columbus, and introduced the Old Religion to Mexico. Or perhaps the needs of Witchcraft created similar evolution wherever and whenever it was practiced.
Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome treated magic as if it was science. Not that they were particularly concerned with pure science; they were more interested in practical results. However, they had to know the medicinal and poisonous properties of hundreds of plants; they knew how to use hypnosis; they understood human consciousness. The magicians combined their practice with incantations and prayers, which is why today’s scientists do not take them seriously. But they were not much different. When achieving an identical result, today’s scientist credits it to reasoning or experimentation. The sorcerer assumed they were given by a supernatural power.
Some great scholars in Greece worked as sorcerers. Pythagoras, the mathematician, openly practiced philosophy, science and magic. He had a strong influence on Plato, not himself a sorcerer, but clearly a believer. One can see that in his Dialogues Aristotle suggested the influence of the magical theory in his History of Animals. Neither he nor Plato feared the magicians, though many other people did. Obviously, they understood, with their better education and sharp minds, what the sorcerers were doing.
Finding the roots of Ancient Greek Witchcraft and Hellenistic Witchcraft is easy. One has simply to look at their great holidays. Take, for example, the Eleuisian holiday which attracted thousands of people. Much like the May holiday participants in the British Isles, the Greeks had games, theater, wine, food, dancing and music. Everyone was at least half drunk and ready for religious ecstasy. Mystical rites included the purging of the fear of death, the procession in honor of the dead, and the wild, whirling dancing. People fell into trance-like states, many acting as if they were in direct communication with the gods. It was similar to Voodoo possession – or to the ancient shaman/witch union with the unseen forces. Naturally, some people were better at it than others, and some became priests and priestesses.
The best known priestesses were those who worked at the Oracle of Delphi. They dedicated their lives to the gods and practiced prophecy and divination. The priestess sat over a cleft in the rocks, from which fumes of various drugs rose to envelop her body. The drugs brought on a trance state, and under it she told the future. Another priestess or priest had to explain the messages, because often they were hard to understand. Many of the prophecies came true, and the practice lasted thousands of years. It is silly to dismiss the whole thing as a lie, as the Catholic church later tried. Ancient Greece was a culture of sophistication, intellect and learning. Could a handful of priests really trick these people for so long?
The god Pan is another connection with witchcraft. In the Dianic tradition of Witchcraft, one of the schools still active today, the horned god is still named Pan. Is it the same deity? There are some differences. But this happens to every ancient religion. Take the Judeo-Christian tradition. The current merciful God is very different from the angry desert deity that took the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan, destroying entire nations in His path. And yet any Priest, Minister or Rabbi would be horrified if you dared suggest that it was another God – Jehovah is Jehovah! Well, Pan is Pan. Then and now, he is a nature god, a part of every living animal and plant. And he is still with his goddess and with those who call themselves the Guardians of the Earth.
Shape changing was common in Greece, too, as seen by both mythology and literature. Zeus’ love affairs are famous for it. He changed into a swan, a bull, or even a shower of golden rain, as the occasion demanded. Also, the famous book The Golden Ass, by Apuleius of Madaura tells of such a change. It is a story of Greek man who, with the help of an untrained witch’s apprentice, turns himself accidentally into a donkey. After many misadventures, the goddess Isis restores him from the animal shape and he becomes her priest.
There are several great Greek witches. Medea is probably the most famous witch of antiquity. She is strong, possibly insane, and murderous. Hecate is first a moon goddess, then a witch goddess who rules the nights and all its frightening creatures. Circe is a sorceress who turns her lovers into swine when she tires of them. All the Greek stories of the great, power wielding, magnificent witches view them as evil. This is because they were, originally, priestesses of the Old Religion, worshipers of the mother goddess. The “new” Greek religion saw them as competition and turned them into evil hags, as most cultures do. For further proof, the texts often stress the witches’ knowledge of herbal medicine and magic – the obvious traits of the followers of Wicca, then as now.
The Romans used much magic in their daily lives. They employed magical astrology, and used amulets, incantations, healing and cursing formulas.
The Romans had an interesting device, very similar to today’s Ouija board. It was a metal disk, supported by a wooden tripod. On its rim, the letters of the alphabet were inscribed. The person performing the ritual suspended a ring on a thread, right above the disk. Some incantation was said, and the ring began to swing like a pendulum, forming words and answering questions.
The Aeneid describes magic extensively. Dido, the tragic heroin, is a powerful sorceress whose magic eventually turns against herself, much like Medea’s in Greece. Horace’s plays describe evil Witchcraft, including some horrifying ritual murder of children. Other Roman poets describe necromancy and divination. Obviously, witches in Rome had a bad reputation.
Romans, as a nation, enjoyed cruelty. One has only to look at their arena games and war atrocities to see that. The stories about the witches reflect that taste. Unquestionably, some Roman witches turned to the dark side. The records show that their help was often used for poisoning, necromancy, and even attempts at raising of the dead and the creation of zombies. It was a sad period for true followers of the Old Religion.
In Egypt, magic was entirely scientific. It was mixed with religion, but nevertheless practiced as a precise and organized activity. From the mythologies and magic books it is clear that they had a system of the Occult based on subjects. There are separate texts on astrology, alchemy, formulas for magic in daily use, etc. The practitioners were specialists. The ordinary people, in addition to consulting the experts, could also purchase amulets and herbs for self protection and do-it-yourself magic.
Repeating the magic formula in exactly the same way, even down to the tone of voice, was called “right speaking.” The Book of the Dead stated that the gates to the other world would not open to a person who did not know his secret name or who uttered it incorrectly. The name of each gate in the other world also required correct reading and pronunciation.
The Egyptians had many books containing formulas and incantations, spells and charms for daily use. Amulets were important. They were worn by the living and put on the dead. Amulets could be made of any material and sometimes carved with magic formulas. Some shapes were particularly popular, such as the scarab and the heart. The Egyptians even had amulets to protect each part of the body. The books often mention dreams and shape changing. For example, there are spells in theBook of the Dead teaching the newly deceased how to change into birds, crocodiles, or serpents.
The positive image of the witch lasted for generations. Eventually, however, patriarchal monotheism took over in the West, first by Judaism and later by Christianity. With it, the position of the witch deteriorated. The Bible often refers to witches in a negative manner. They are always fiercely persecuted by the priests of Jehovah. Most notable is the Witch of Endor, who is consulted secretly by King Saul. The story is interesting because Saul killed many witches on the demand of the Prophet Samuel. She is one of the few survivors.
Earlier, Moses and Aaron practiced Egyptian magic, described in detail inExodus. They turned a stick into a snake, for instance, during a competition with the Egyptian magicians. The plagues visited on the Egyptians, including such things as pestilence and darkness in the middle of the day, sound like malevolent Witchcraft. Naturally, the Bible describes the plagues as punishment by God.
King Solomon, David’s son, was supposed to be the wisest man of his generation, perhaps the wisest ever to live on Earth. He was a magician as well. The book The Wisdom of Solomon was written many years after his death, but much of it is probably based on his words. In it he said that God gave him power and knowledge, and that his studies included not only science but the Occult. In the original text, this included power over demons. The sentence was mistakenly translated as power over the winds, because the two words are similar in the original Hebrew. He also claimed knowledge of exorcism.
Nevertheless, the Bible is determined that no witch should be permitted to live. The reason is simple. A witch is not only a worshiper of a competing religion, but a symbol of a matriarchal society. A society ruled by women is offensive to the male-dominated Jews and Christians. So the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan is the point in time in which the power of the Old Religion began its slow decline. It has taken many centuries and a fierce struggle, but a gentle nature religion is no match to the powerful, military, new religion. Starting from Mount Sinai, a fiery volcano in the desert, the Judeo-Christian creed swept everything in its violent path and conquered the Western world.
How To Hold an Ostara Ritual for Solitaries
Ostara is a time of balance. It is a time of equal parts light and dark. At Mabon, we have this same balance, but the light is leaving us. Today, six months later, it is returning. Spring has arrived, and with it comes hope and warmth. Deep within the cold earth, seeds are beginning to sprout. In the damp fields, the livestock are preparing to give birth. In the forest, under a canopy of newly sprouted leaves, the animals of the wild ready their dens for the arrival of their young. Spring is here.
For this ritual, you’ll want to decorate your altar with symbols of the season. Think about all the colors you see in nature at this time of year — bright daffodils, crocuses, plump tulips, green shoots — and incorporate them into your altar. This is also a time of fertility in the natural world — the egg is the perfect representation of this aspect of the season. Symbols of young animals such as lambs, chicks, and calves are also great altar adornments for Ostara.
In addition, you’ll need the following:
Three candles — one yellow, one green, and one purple
A bowl of milk
A small bowl of honey or sugar
Perform this ritual outside if at all possible, in the early morning as the sun rises. It’s spring, so it may be a bit chilly, but it’s a good time to reconnect with the earth. If your tradition normally requires you to cast a circle, do so now.
Begin by taking a moment to focus on the air around you. Inhale deeply, and see if you can smell the change in the seasons. Depending on where you live, the air may have an earthy aroma, or a rainy one, or even smell like green grass. Sense the shift in energy as the Wheel of the Year has turned. Light the green candle, to symbolize the blossoming earth. As you light it, say:The Wheel of the Year turns once more, and the vernal equinox arrives. Light and dark are equal, and the soil begins to change. The earth awakes from its slumber, and new life springs forth once more.
Next, light the yellow candle, representing the sun. As you do so, say:The sun draws ever closer to us, greeting the earth with its welcoming rays. Light and dark are equal, and the sky fills with light and warmth. The sun warms the land beneath our feet, and gives life to all in its path.
Finally, light the purple candle. This one represents the Divine in our lives — whether you call it a god or a goddess, whether you identify it by name or simply as a universal life force, this is the candle which stands for all the things we do not know, all those things we cannot understand, but that are the sacred in our daily lives. As you light this candle, focus on the Divine around and within you. Say:
Spring has come! For this, we are thankful! The Divine is present all around, in the cool fall of a rain storm, in the tiny buds of a flower, in the down of a newborn chick, in the fertile fields waiting to be planted, in the sky above us, and in the earth below us. We thank the universe* for all it has to offer us, and are so blessed to be alive on this day. Welcome, life! Welcome, light! Welcome, spring!
Take a moment and meditate on the three flames before you and what they symbolize. Consider your own place within these three things — the earth, the sun, and the Divine. How do you fit into the grand scheme of things? How do you find balance between light and dark in your own life?Finally, blend the milk and honey together, mixing gently. Pour it onto the ground around your altar space as an offering to the earth**. As you do, you may wish to say something like:
I make this offering to the earth, As thanks for the many blessings I have received, And those I shall some day receive.
Once you have made your offering, stand for a minute facing your altar. Feel the cool earth beneath your feet, and the sun on your face. Take in every sensation of this moment, and know that you are in a perfect place of balance between light and dark, winter and summer, warmth and cold — a time of polarity and harmony.When you are ready, end the ritual.
* Instead of “the Universe”, feel free to insert the name of your patron deity or the gods of your tradition here.
** If you’re doing this rite indoors, take your bowl of milk and honey and pour it in your garden, or around your yard.
I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you, that I'm not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said " it's me."
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It's possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew...
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning
and say "good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out...then come home to be with me.
Author ~ unknown
Popular Beliefs About March
There are many superstitions about March. We often hear that “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” This means that the first day of March is often stormy and the last day is mild and warm. Another saying is, “April borrowed from March three days and they were ill.” This refers to the first three days of April, which are generally rough and blustery like March. A third saying calls the first three days of March “blind days” because they are “unlucky.” If rain falls on these days, farmers supposedly will have poor harvest.
Correspondences For MARCH
NATURE SPIRITS: Mer-people, Air and Water beings who are connected with spring rains and storms.
HERBS: broom, High John Root, yellow dock, wood betony, Irish Moss.
FLOWERS: jonquil, daffodil, violet
TREES: alder, dogwood.
COLORS: pale green, red-violet
SCENTS: honeysuckle, apple blossom
STONES: aquamarine, bloodstone
ANIMALS: cougar, hedgehog, boar
BIRDS: sea crow, sea eagle
DEITIES: Black Isis, the Morrigan, Hecate, Cybele, Astarte, Athena, Minerva, Artemis, Luna.
POWER/ADVICE: Energy breaks into open, growing, prospering, exploring.
New beginnings, balance of light and dark, breaking illusions. Seeing the truth in your life no matter how it may hurt.
Mad as a March Hare:
Spring equinox is a time for fertility and sowing seeds, and so nature’s fertility goes a little crazy. In medieval societies in Europe, the March hare was viewed as a major fertility symbol — this is a species of rabbit that is nocturnal most of the year, but in March when mating season begins, there are bunnies everywhere all day long. The female of the species is super fecund and can conceive a second litter while still pregnant with a first. As if that wasn’t enough, the males tend to get frustrated when rebuffed by their mates, and bounce around erratically when discouraged.
This is a good time of year to start your seedlings. If you grow an herb garden, start getting the soil ready for late spring plantings. Celebrate the balance of light and dark as the sun begins to tip the scales, and the return of new growth is near.
Many modern Wiccans and Pagans celebrate Ostara as a time of renewal and rebirth. Take some time to celebrate the new life that surrounds you in nature — walk in park, lay in the grass, hike through a forest. As you do so, observe all the new things beginning around you — plants, flowers, insects, birds. Meditate upon the ever-moving Wheel of the Year, and celebrate the change of seasons.
Prayer Honoring the Goddesses of Spring
Hail, and welcome!
Green life returns to the earth
blooming and blossoming
once more from the soil.
We welcome you,
goddesses of spring,
Eostre, Persephone, Flora, Cybele,
in the trees,
in the soil,
in the flowers,
in the rains,
and we are grateful
for your presence.
Poem by—Patti Wigington
So pagans remember to make it true, make it real, and always make it mafickal everyday!
Humbly Serving my Goddess )O(
After my store host changed to a different provider it took some time getting all the re-set up and tweaked the shipping issues out but...
Store is fixed.....come in and shop for your special witchy neeful things at :
You can access the store easily from the home site by clicking in the merchants tab in the menu bar.
Empathy is derived from the Greek words Empatheia meaning passion, and Pathein meaning to experience or suffer.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Empathy;
The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts and experiences of another without having the feelings or experiences fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.
Empathic Tendencies or Gifts fall under the catergory of ESP which also can include; telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition,clairaudience, and most recently, remote viewing. To break it down to the most basic point, Empathy= Emotion.
If only emotions always felt basic.
Emotions can be explained on one level in terms of a neurochemical process, and another level in terms of phenomenology.
Emotions are voluntary, when they are subject to modificiation and control using cognition, action or willful regulation.
Emotions are involuntary, when an effective stimulus elicits them automatically without deliberation or conscious choice.
Many philophers, dating back to Aristotle debated about the signifigance of emotion. Aristotle advocated moderation of emotions, only allowing them to have an effect on or at the right time and in the right manner. Cicero, an aristotelian thinker, saw emotions as beneficial. Fear making humans careful, compassion and sadness leading to mercy, and anger bringing forth courage.
Most modern theorsists agree with Cicero.
17th Century philosoper Benedict deSpinoza, saw emotions as bodily changes that result in the amplification, or attenuation of action as a process that can bring forth or impede action. Including, ideas or mental representation of the bodily changes caused by emotion.
Contemporary philosopher James Hillman believes that the material cause of emotion is energy. That matter, the ultimate source of energy, is relative. Emotion is the psychological aspect of general energy that is going on in our bodies all the time. Thus, creating a two way bridge uniting subject and object. He also added that in a formal sense, emotion is a total pattern of the soul.
How does all this information fit in with being an Empath? I am learning that it really doesn't fit in. Facts, or information, does not always equate with emotion. Emotion is subject to the person experiencing it and usually, it is different for every person.
There are estimations that 5 to 20 % of the population are Empaths. Some people don't agree with that estimation; there are many people that agree that everyone has the ability to use empathy, just not everyone knows it, or accepts it. To quote a more experienced Empath, "Everyone has the ability to paint, not everyone can be Picasso."
In my empathic experiences, the emotions that I have felt from others are involuntary. They can be as small as feeling a little blue or short tempered, or as strong as deep sadness with unstoppable crying, to intense anger that tenses my whole body and causes me to lash out.
The reaction, what I do with those emotions, are usually voluntary. I am learning to shield and ground these emotions, sometimes the emotions ,or connections, are too strong and I just have to ride out the wave.
There are many ways empaths can "connect" with others, voluntarly or involuntarly. Some connections occur with eyes, touch or even just passing by another and picking up on their "vibes". With all the technology advances, some empaths can make mind connections with online friends or aquaintences without having met in them person or speaking with them on the phone.
There are also different types of Empaths, that can lead to different kinds of connections with others. Here are some of the different types.
Physical Intuition- Physical Intuition lets you know about what is going on with anothers physical body.
Physical Oneness- You can experience someones physical sensations in your own body.
Emotional Intuition- Feeling others emotions seperate from your own emotions.
Emotional Oneness- Taking on others emotions as your own.
Those are just a few of the different ways that Empaths connect with others.
So what do you do with all these emotions and connections? Well, there are a few things you can do. From a beginners view, the two most important things you can learn are shielding and grounding. For example, when shielding you can visualize being surrounded by mirrors with the reflection side facing outwards. This can help deflect emotions from reaching you. An example of grounding can include visualizing emotions flowing through you downwards and back into the earth, like tree roots, until you feel "empty" of the extra emotions. There is a great article in the Where to Start section titled Shielding Techniques. Another article I found helpful was Chakra 101. Balancing your chakras helps keep you in balance and in turn will help you deal with an overload of emotions.
The thing that helped me the most was acceptance. When I accepted what I was feeling, and recognized that these feelings weren't really mine, but me picking up on others, it was much easier for me to shield and/or ground.
Doing research for this article I was not finding alot "facts" . Mostly I was finding others experiences and techniques on how they deal with their empathy.
The bottom line is that you as an indivdual will deal with you empathic gifts differently than anyone else. Read, and practice different techniques, you will find something that works for you. When you find it, keep practicing and most of the time you will find that being an Empath is a gift that can bring great joy when you get the chance to help others. After all, human connection can be the best thing about being human.
LEARNING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
Being an empath is difficult because of the traits and convictions are more prevalent than others. Along with the beauty of being an empath is the tragedy of being used and often a victim of others that feed off your good nature. Believe me I can relate for I too have been there long ago before I learned how to set up healthy boundaries for an empath.
Yes I too still will give the one I help the very shirt off my back until I get totally screwed over, then it is a matter of:
1-How could they do this?
2-I gave everything and this is the thanks I get?
3-How did I get screwed again?
4-I am so angry they did this to me?
5-I am pissed at myself for letting this happen yet again!
Yes these are your triggers and the first step to not letting other use you and kick you aside after they have taken all they can is to know these triggers well.
Make a list of your personal triggers that tend to draw you into a trap.
1-One states they are desperate.
2-One uses friendship to use you.
3-One uses a like-kind or relaitable situation to draw you in. (hook, line, & sinker)
4-One uses key words. (desperate, suicidal thoughts, I'll be indebted, your my hero, being a victim, ect)
5-One uses children or sick relatives.
To be a empath that is not all used up and become the victim themselves, set these boundaries. It is OK to say NO! Empath's are special people and give so much of themselves and the art of healing is enormous, but we need our empath not to be all used up and burn out. Learn health boundaries empaths everywhere and don't become the victim of the victim you were helping.
Current Moon Phase
During this Moon phase, there is a slight slowing down of enthusiasm due to an emerging desire to produce tangible results from the energy being expended. The issue of values enters into the equation and an urge to tie together the data available so that you can utilize current opportunities. There is still plenty of forward motion, and this is a great time to continue initiating and progressing forward. This Moon phase favors gaining more information and the input of others to further your plans.
Tuesday 4th March 2014 - Moon in Aries
Today - you'll see an immediate result of the New Moon
Even though you're reading this prediction in advance - you're still going to be surprised - because Pisces New Moon followed by Moon in Aries - will be making a lot of things happen remarkable quickly - and today you're going to be seeing real and positive results. Nothing is going to stop things from happening - not even you !
In fact - if you attempt to be lazy and if you attempt to stall the flow of destiny - someone will tell you exactly what they think of you - so if you don't want to be told-off - just go with the flow and do it !
You should realize by now that destiny has it's dates - when it determines things should happen - and when it triggers people to make them happen - it creates the energy to make them happen. Today's aspects will make them happen by triggering things to happen - and in today's case - it might be WORRY that motivates you OR FEAR - or someone just being plain and stupid annoying - but the good result will be - you will be motivated and given an inexplicable STRONG energy to get something important done.
Moon 27° Aries opposes Mars [in retrograde] 27° Libra - will either create a confrontation with someone - who will criticize you - OR will ensure you see something that's been WRONG in your life - whatever the catalyst - you will immediately experience the discomfort and "pain" - and then FIX it.
Moon 29° Aries squares Venus 29° Capricorn creates a minor discomfort - someone negative, lazy, dull and boring - will attempt to distract your attention and waste time. But due to the fast-tempo of the day - you won't have any time to waste today. However, notice WHO it is - because "life" is showing you - amidst a very positive day - that there are people in your life who slow-you-down - there's no need to dump them - but don't spend precious time with them - when you want things to happen !
Tuesday 4th March 2014 - Moon enters Taurus
Restlessness .... because of "Moon in Aries" ....
"Aries" affects the mind and thoughts - and hence the fact that there's been a Pisces New Moon on 1st March - your mind is "thinking" - and for some of you - it might be doing too much thinking. The combination of Sun in Pisces and the Pisces New Moon - with Monday and Tuesday's transit of Moon in Aries - you've gone into overdrive - and the Moon's squares and oppositions - instead of being gentle - have created a lot of disturbance, throw messed-up confused thoughts in your head.
Indeed, "Aries" has a negative side to it - and that's nervousness, impatience and restlessness - and due to all the astrological changes - it's probably making those of you with "nervous" disposition - very nervy and anxious - CALM DOWN !
All your nervous thoughts and worries - are thoughts that are NOT REAL - and whilst "life" is giving these thoughts - it's doing so to guide you and make you realize direction you should take AWAY from negativity and worries - the purpose of thoughts is not to be the focus of all your energy.
Thankfully, when Moon enters Taurus 7:14pm GMT - 8:14pm Europe - 2:14pm USA EST - [Wednesday 5:14am Sydney, Australia - 00:44am India] - you're going to CALM DOWN - and nothing will worry you - you won't need to do anything - because in the same way you became "nervy, anxious and restless" during Moon in Aries - you will automatically become "calm, peaceful and tranquil" during Moon in Taurus - in fact many of you will begin to realize how STUPID it was to worry for nothing !
Your love nature will become more detached this week. Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing … and it certainly doesn’t mean that you won’t care about romantic matters anymore. This shift is actually a reflection of love planet Venus moving into broadminded, individualistic Aquarius on Wednesday. Until April 5 you will have an ability to love others while still maintaining a sense of self and separateness. Also, what will become paramount in matters of the heart now more than ever is friendship. Without a true camaraderie, sparks simply won’t fly.
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)
If you’re single, this could be a game-changing week for you when it comes to romance potential. On Wednesday Venus will move into your social networking sector which could jump-start an opportunity for you to meet someone special through your friends, or in a group setting. You may also decide to join an online dating website since, until April 5, you will have more luck pursuing a romantic connection in this way. In addition, a friendship may blossom into something more. If you’re attached, you and your honey will enjoy a phase of remarkable social fun. Enjoy!
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)
You’ll have an extraordinary ability to attract someone as you focus on pursuing professional opportunities. There’s a good chance that someone out there is watching you now — someone who admires and respects you for your career achievements and wants very much to get to know you better. You might even discover that an authority figure connected to your industry has a crush on you! If this does happen, you’ll need to assess the situation, of course, and handle with care. Still, this will be a time where if you’re looking for love all you need to do is concentrate on your career.
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)
You might feel a strong itch to travel abroad this week and if so, you may want to honor it. After Wednesday and until April 5, there are glorious prospects for you to find love in the most unusual places. Whether it’s in another part of the world, or at a restaurant that serves exotic cuisine, or even in an adult education class that promises to expand your horizons, all of these options will provide the atmosphere to stimulate your mind, senses, and quite possibly, your love life. Go for it!
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)
Your kinky side may surface this week, much to your partner’s delight! On Wednesday, love planet Venus will enter the most intimate, erotic place in your chart — the mysterious 8th House of Intimacy. If you’re already partnered up, you may feel more inclined to explore a sexual fantasy with your mate (and the more forbidden, the greater the appeal)! Of course, this doesn’t have to be completely taboo, but it is likely to push you and your lover out of your sexual comfort zones.
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)
When it comes to partnership, after Wednesday and until April 5, you’ll receive a cosmic boost that you’ll surely treasure. Venus will enter your relationship sector, which will offer extraordinary support to an existing relationship. You and your mate will enjoy a phase of harmony that can only help to strengthen your bond. If you’re dating someone then this may be a time you and your sweetheart decide to go exclusive or make an even stronger commitment. Perhaps you’ll move in together, become engaged or even decide to marry!
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)
An office romance may become too tempting to ignore after Wednesday. If your attraction to a coworker is mutual, the two of you may decide to begin dating. You may already have a solid friendship and because of this, there will be little reason to doubt the natural progression of this relationship. If you’re already attached, between now and April 5 you and your lover may decide to embark on a work project together that will bring you both great joy.
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)
Love is in the air! On Wednesday and until April 5 you’ll enjoy one of the most promising astrological indicators that new love is about to arrive. Venus will enter your romance sector, ensuring plenty of opportunity for you to attract someone you’ve got your eye on. This person is likely to have at least one quirky trait that makes you (initially) think that he or she really isn’t your type. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Give it a chance and you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised.
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)
The pleasures of romance will be most enjoyed right in the comfort of your own home. After Wednesday and until April 5 you may prefer to enjoy your love in a cozier atmosphere. Snuggling on the couch together while you watch your favorite movies, cooking dinner at home together, or even spending extra time indulging in late night pillow talk will all be extremely desirable ways to enhance your bond. If you recently started to date someone, this will be a great cycle to introduce your sweetheart to your family.
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)
After Wednesday you’ll have an easier time communicating your feelings to your partner or to a new love interest. Talking about love and the status of your relationship will not only be a snap, but it’ll also be a topic you genuinely enjoy discussing. In addition, you and your lover may decide to sign up for a class on a shared interest together and if so, it’ll likely be on an unusual subject. The mental stimulation will support your romance in a charming way.
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)
If you’ve felt as if progress between you and your spouse or partner was stalled over the last few months, you’re in luck. On Thursday, Jupiter will turn direct in your relationship sector, where it has been moving retrograde for the last few months. Jupiter is all about expansion, so if things are going well in your current relationship then you can count on Jupiter to add the cherry on top of your already very indulgent love match! If, on the other hand, there has been a downward spiral, Jupiter may simply begin to magnify this fact. In that case, the “progress” you experience may be about the realization that your alliance is no longer working.
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)
Congratulations! After Wednesday and until April 5, you’ll officially enjoy the title of being the “Fairest of them all.” That’s right, with Venus moving into your sign you will exude a level of magnetism that will be difficult for anyone to ignore. In addition, your confidence will increase — which is the single most important factor to help you attract others your way. Since you’ll have this contagious quality, it’ll be easy to begin a new relationship or to fortify an existing one.
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)
You may begin to crave extra privacy in your love life. After Wednesday and until April 5, you and your sweetheart may benefit from a couple’s retreat, taking yoga or meditation classes together, or even exploring a hobby such as art or photography. Your spiritual connection will receive a lovely boost and any of these activities will only help to further support this. If you’re not attached, you may spend time reflecting on a secret crush. In a few weeks you might be ready to reveal your feelings for this person.
Your Tarot Card for March 4th is The High Priestess
Traditionally called the High Priestess, this major arcana, or trump, card represents human wisdom. She can be viewed as a kind of female Pope, the ancient Egyptian Priestess of Isis, the even older snake and bird Goddesses, the Greek Goddess Persephone, or the Eve of Genesis before the Fall.
For the accused heretics who were burnt at the stake for revering her in the 14th and 15th century, she symbolized the prophecy of the return of the Holy Spirit, which was perceived as the female aspect of the Holy Trinity.
In the sequence of cards in the major arcana, the High Priestess appears as soon as the Fool decides he wants to develop his innate powers, making a move toward becoming a Magus. The High Priestess is his first teacher, representing the Inner Life and the method for contacting it, as well as the contemplative study of Nature and the Holy Mysteries.
Your Rune For Today
Hagalaz is the hail Rune. It denotes chaos, destruction and disruption on a primal level. You may experience delays in moving toward your goals.
Today’s oracle card is Snail’s Pace from my Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle. The message on this card is “slow down, grounding, listen for the heartbeat of the earth, subtle energies.”
Hrm, hrmm, this is very similar to yesterday’sFour of Swords! Perhaps you didn’t take the advice of yesterday’s card? (which was to take a nap). If so, today is STILL a nap day! Yay!
However, I don’t feel like today is really a do-nothing kind of day, but rather a do one-thing-at-a-f*&%ing-time kind of day. Don’t pull any of that multitasking nonsense and just focus on being fully present and alive in all that you do.
Spirit Animal Oracle
That Which is Behind You
Green Man peers out of the foliage to remind you that not all of life's mysteries have logical solutions. Be open to magical opportunities, spirit allies, and unconventional paths. Get out into the wilderness, ground yourself in meditation, and listen for Green Man's wisdom. You may just catch sight of him eyeing you in his leafy camouflage.
Your Current Place
Badger is a ferocious opponent, unwilling to back down over any issue. Unfortunately, this unwavering stance leads some Badgers to their demise. If Badger has dug into your reading, he is asking whether you are fighting the right fight. Is this issue the hill you’re willing to die on, or are you fighting for no other reason than pure stubbornness? Think about it.
That Which is before You
Blue Jay encourages you to be a little sassy today! If there's something you've been wanting, ask for it. If there's an issue that needs confrontation, don't sweep it under the rug or Blue Jay will drag it back out into the open. One word of caution, though—Blue Jays will eat the young of other birds—so be direct, but not destructive.
Blyssful Fat Tiu's Day Pagans!
The Paganism behind Mardi Gras is evident in the names of the krewes, which are the societies that put on our parades: The Krewe Of Oshun; The Krewe Of Cleopatra; The Krewe Of Sparta; The Mystic Knights Of Adonis; The Krewe Of Thor; The Krewe Of Atlas; The Mystic Krewe Of Druids; The Mystic Krewe Of Nix; The Krewe Of Muses; The Knights Of Hermes; The Krewe Of Isis; The Krewe Of Zeus; The Krewe Of Hera; and of course The Krewe Of Bacchus. It is no coincidence that most of the nearly seventy parades of Mardi Gras are named for Pagan deities and cultures.
To begin with, Mardi Gras is our version of Carnival, a Catholic tradition with major Pagan roots. Carnival is the time between Twelfth Night and Lent, which is roughly a four week period. Our celebration of Carnival climaxes on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. By most scholarship, Carnival (Carnivale) means "meat festival," the time before Lent when one eats meat before giving up such rich foods. The same meaning is held in Mardi Gras, the day of eating rich (fat) foods. (There is one theory, however, that Carnivale comes from sailing ship, and that this is the ancient feast of Isis blessing the year's first voyages).
In ancient Rome, Carnival replaced many Pagan celebrations, especially Saturnalia and Bacchanalia, both feasts of orgiastic eating and sexuality. Those elements remained part of Carnival for very good reasons: at Carnival, one was expected to sin so that one can atone at Lent. For early Catholics, converted from Roman Paganism, there was no better sin than reverting to Roman Paganism for four weeks, appeasing Bacchus and other orgiastic Gods!
Masking was also a major part of ancient Pagan ritual. In the Germanic Carnival tradition of Fastnacht, masking is a major element of the celebration; this was probably true of the Bacchanalia, where revelers put aside their daily identity to enjoy a time of sacred lust and mirth, returning to mundane life in the morning. In fact masking for these feasts probably dates back to Pagan hunting rites, when hunters would don the heads and antlers of prey animals such as deer; this is seen in neolithic cave paintings such as those in Lascaux and Caverne De Trois Freres. Impersonating the hunted animal was meant to connect the spirit of hunter and prey; this connection of spirit with the Underworld through masking continued, in practice, through the Bacchanalia and Saturnalia feasts and into Mardi Gras and Carnival.
Masks and costumes take on both a sacred quality and a complex, ornate quality at Mardi Gras. Many parades feature elaborately masked riders, equated with mystic knights, such as the Templars, and with ceremonial magic. Krewes who portray these knights often identify themselves as "mystics," such as the Mystic Krewes Of Nix, Babylon, and Chaos. While a scary presence, these "knights" are also mystifying and commanding.
One of the Mardi Gras traditions I love most is that of the Mardi Gras Indians. This is an African American tradition, and is the oldest parade we have (beginning in the late Nineteenth Century, just after Emancipation; all of our other parades date back only to the sixties and seventies in their current form, except for Rex, which dates to the turn of the century, still fifty years later than Emancipation!). Mardi Gras Indians celebrate the Native tribes that helped escaped slaves hide from white slave hunters, by dressing in elaborate costumes (called "masks") that depict Indian battles through complex bead work. The costumes take a year of work to create, and each year the costumes are destroyed, and new ones created! While the Mardi Gras Indians do parade on Mardi Gras day, there was a time they were forbidden to do so under Jim Crow laws; so their grand parade is a month after Mardi Gras, on Saint Joseph day. Many African tribal elements, and Voodoo elements, are seen in the songs and chants of the Mardi Gras Indians.
One of the most Pagan Mardi Gras elements is the presence of the Gods. In every parade we see Bacchus, Neptune and Diana depicted. It is well understood in this Catholic culture that our festivities appease the Pagan Gods, Queens and Kings that once presided over the Bacchanalia.
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The history of Mardi Gras began long before Europeans set foot in the New World. In mid February the ancient Romans celebrated the Lupercalia, a circus like festival not entirely unlike the Mardi Gras we are familiar with today. When Rome embraced Christianity, the early Church fathers decided it was better to incorporate certain aspects of pagan rituals into the new faith rather than attempt to abolish them altogether. Carnival became a period of abandon and merriment that preceded the penance of Lent, thus giving a Christian interpretation to the ancient custom.
Mardi Gras came to America in 1699 with the French explorer Iberville. Mardi Gras had been celebrated in Paris since the Middle Ages, where it was a major holiday. Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, from where he launched an expedition up the Mississippi River. On March 3 of 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the west bank of the river about 60 miles south of where New Orleans is today. This was the day Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France. In honor of this important day, Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.
The Late Eighteenth Century
During the late 1700's, pre-Lenten masked balls and festivals were common in New Orleans while it was under French rule. However when New Orleans came under Spanish rule the custom was banned. In 1803 New Orleans came under the U.S. flag. The prohibition against masked festivals continued until 1823 when the Creole populace convinced the governor to permit masked balls. In 1827 street masking was again legalized.
The Nineteenth Century
During the early 1800's public celebrations of Mardi Gras centered around maskers on foot, in carriages and on horseback. The first documented parade occurred in 1837. Unfortunately, Mardi Gras gained a negative reputation because of violent behavior attributed to maskers during the 1840's and 50's. The situation became so bad that the press began calling for an end to the celebration.
In 1857 six New Orleaneans saved Mardi Gras by forming the Comus organization. These six men were former members of the Cowbellians, an organization which had put on New Year's Eve parades in Mobile since 1831. The Comus organization added beauty to Mardi Gras and demonstrated that it could be a safe and festive event. Comus was the first organization to use the term krewe to describe itself. Comus also started the customs of having a secret Carnival society, having a parade with a unifying theme with floats, and of having a ball after the parade. Comus was also the first organization to name itself after a mythological character. The celebration of Mardi Gras was interrupted by the Civil War, but in 1866 Comus returned.
In 1870 the Twelfth Night Revelers made their appearance. In 1871 they began the custom of presenting a young woman with a golden bean hidden in a cake. This young woman was the first queen of Mardi Gras. This was also the origin of the king cake tradition.
In 1872 Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans. This year the krewe of Rex made their debut and began the tradition of the "King of Carnival." Rex also introduced purple, gold and green as the official colors of Mardi Gras. Rex was the first krewe to hold an organized daytime parade and introduced "If Ever I Cease To Love" as the Mardi Gras anthem. One of the high points of Rex is the arrival of the Rex King on a riverboat. 1872 also saw the debut of the Knights of Momus on New Year's Eve.
Ten years later in 1882, the Krewe of Proteus made its debut with a parade themed after Egyptian mythology. In 1890 the first marching club, The Jefferson City Buzzards, was organized. In 1894, the Original Illinois Club was formed as the first black Mardi Gras organization. In 1896 Les Mysterieuses appeared as the first female organization.
Mardi Gras in the Twentieth Century
In 1909 Zulu appeared as a parody of Rex. The Zulu King held a banana stalk scepter and wore a lard can crown. He arrived on on oyster lugger instead of a steamboat. Zulu was destined to become one of the most popular and beloved of all krewes.
Mardi Gras was canceled during the dark years of 1918 and 1919 when the United States was involved in the bloody fighting of the First World War. The celebration struggled through the 1920's and early 30's, which saw Prohibition and The Great Depression.
The krewe of Alla brought carnival to the West Bank in 1934.
With the rise of mass produced automobiles, random truck riders had become part of the Mardi Gras scene. In 1935 they organized themselves into the Elkes Krewe of Orleanians. The Krewe of Hermes appeared in 1937 and the Knights of Babylon in 1939.
Mardi Gras prospered during the 1940's, although it was canceled during the war years. In 1949 Louis Armstrong was King of the Zulu parade and was pictured on the cover of time magazine.
In 1950 the Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited New Orleans during Mardi Gras. They honored the New Orleans Mardi Gras traditionby bowing to kings of Rex and Comus at the Comus ball. The Korean War put a damper on festivities in 1951, but several krewes joined forces to parade as the Krewe of Patria on Mardi Gras day. The Fifties also saw the replacement of mule drawn floats with ones drawn by tractors and the formation of several new krewes including Zeus. Zeus was the first krewe to parade in Metairie.
In 1961 Pete Fountain founded the Half-Fast Walking Club, an immediate hit with the crowds. Zulu came under pressure from portions of the black community who thought the krewe presented an undignified image. The king resigned and the parade was almost cancelled, but Zulu survived and was a main attraction by 1969. The Sixties ended with the debut of Bacchus. Bacchus aimed to bring national attention to Mardi Gras with gigantic floats and a Hollywood celebrity (Danny Kaye) riding as its king. Bacchus replaced the traditional ball with a supper to which tickets could be purchased by visitors and locals.
The Seventies saw the debut of 18 new krewes and the demise of 18 others. More than a dozen krewes followed the lead of Bacchus by placing celebrities in their parades. In 1974 Argus became the first Metairie parade on Fat Tuesday. This year also saw Endymion's rise to super krewe status. The Seventies brought a ban on parading in the French Quarter, ending a 117 year tradition. Mardi Gras made national headlines at the close of the decade with a police strike which cancelled 13 parades in Orleans Parish.
In the 80's Mardi Gras gained 27 new parades and lost 19. St. Bernard Parish suffered a net loss of parades while Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish experienced continued growth. By the end of the decade Jefferson Parish was experiencing an attendance rate of 600,000 people at its parades on Fat Tuesday.
The 1980's were were good times for Mardi Gras. In 1987 Rex brought back the custom of Lundi Gras, the arrival of the Rex King on the Mississippi River which had been celebrated from 1874 through 1917. The traditional tableau ball, however, lost popularity. Once considered essential, only 10 krewes continued the tradition of masked balls by the end of the decade. Doubloons also lost some of their popularity when several krewes stopped producing them.
Among the more discernable trends in mainstream Mardi Gras parades in recent years: a revival of satrie—thanks to the Krewe of Saturn, along with more recent upstarts Le Krewe d'Etat and the Knights of Chaos—an ever-increasing variety of (mostly customized) throw items, and a willingness on the part of some krewes to let outsiders join the fun—for a price.
The announcement of the formation the Krewe of America, in the summer of 1997, epitomized the latter trend. The krewe’s aggressive marketing tactics, and the fact that it was taking over the Mardi Gras parading slot once held by Comus, did not go over well with Carnival traditionalists alarmed at what they perceived as a tendency toward "creeping commercialism" in the festivities. In part because Krewe of America never manged to attract much support locally, it folded after the 2000 parade season.
Even though parading krewes come and go, with some falling on hard times, the "official" schedule keeps getting more crowded. During the 12 days and nights that ended on Fat Tuesday 2001, a record total of 28 parades rolled in the section of the city that falls on the east bank of the Mississippi.
While families still flock to the parades, the demographics of Carnival have been changing. Especially in the French Quarter, the festivities have taken on a Spring Break atmosphere, attracting visitors more interested in drunken escapades and flashes of nudity than Carnival’s cultural significance and storied pageantry.
What is really behind its Mask?
What does Mardi Gras mean! In French, Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday. This is a day to gorge and over indulge oneself before the seasonal religious practice of fasting, abstinence and denial. It is not surprising that the symbol for Mardi Gras is the "Bouef Gras"...... The fatten bull.
During the 12 days preceding Mardi Gras, more than 60 parades and hundreds of private parties, dances and masked balls are annually scheduled in the metro area.
Mardi Gras is an Ancient Greek and Roman, Ancient Greeks would sacrifice a goat, cut its hide in to strips and run naked through the fields while their pagan priests lashed them with the goat-hide strips. This was a part of their spring fertility rite to insure a productive harvest for their fields and increase the fertility of their flocks and women. The custom was degenerate even by pagan standards, being a time of sacrifice, lewdness, immorality, drunkenness and revelry and was associated with the worship of the Greek god "Pan".
Pagan priests accompanied by the idol, shower the crowds with spring flowers, herbs, grain and coins. Both good fortunes, spells, and curses were shouted, including the calls to the idol god to grant favor and blessings.
In The Roman celebration "lupercalia" a fertility festival, the worship of Lupercus involved cross dressing and masquerading to promote sexual orgies.
Who is Pan: Pan", besides being the Greek god of fields and pastures, was even more closely associated with cattle, flocks and herds than with agriculture. He was a fertility god and therefore always represented as crude, wanton and lustful. He took the form of half goat and half man, having the legs, ears, and horns of a goat (the goat is the ancient symbol of satan), but the torso, arms and face of a man.
The parade: is a worship of false gods (Greek origin) are worshiped by exalting an image above the assembly.
The celebration of Centaur exalts the same spirit of revelry and wanton abandonment, drunkenness, homosexuality, nudity and brawling all still exist today.
The church: The fixing of Easter allows the unscriptural religious celebration of Lent and ash Wednesday to follow Mardi Gras. Instead of resisting the ways of the pagans.
Lent: The word Lent has an obscure origin, and is probably a corruption of similar terms in ancient Anglo, Saxon, and Germanic languages, all of which referred to spring, new life, and hope. Although it is generally considered to be a time of mourning and repentance, it is also designated as a time of new life and hope because by means of the death of Christ, we receive new life.
The bull is the old testament symbol of Baal. 1st Kings 12:28 ---- 19:18 Exodus 32. Baal the bull is symbolic of strength and fertility. God condemns the production and worship of idols.
Steeped in Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman fertility rites. Half of the parades celebrate and honor false gods. The rest promote sex and drunkenness.
What’s behind the mask: "Masks are a way of being anonymous, and if you wear a mask, ' you take on a different persona.' Among the early tribes, men who wore masks were considered crueler toward their enemies than those who did not.
King Cake: In each cake is a small plastic baby. In New Orleans, popular custom holds that whoever receives the slice that contains the baby must purchase the next cake and throw a party.
Krewes: Mardi Gras organizations are non-profit clubs called krewes and many are named after mythological figures such as Aphrodite, Eros, Hermes, Pegasus and Thor. Each krewe is completely autonomous and there is no overall coordinator of Carnival activities. The secrecy with which some of the older krewes cloak themselves is part of the mystique of Mardi Gras. Several do not reveal the theme of the parade until the night of the event, and the identity of their royalty is never publicized.
About a dozen organizations dating from the 19th century use the Carnival ball as the highlight of the debutante season, as daughters of the socially elite members are presented at the city's Municipal Auditorium.
The Mistick Krewe of Comus coined the term “krewe” in 1857. In ancient mythology, from which many New Orleans krewes derive their names, Comus is the son of the necromancer Circe and reveler Bacchus.
Beads and trinkets: Beads and other trinkets, known as “throws,” have been tossed from floats since as least 1910 — transforming parades into a participatory experience, as spectators beg and scramble for treasure. Beads became part of an exchange ritual involving flashes of bare flesh — a phenomenon that stoked the market for more eye-catching, fancily designed necklaces. The flashing for beads the “primary ritual paradigm or worship of the gods is a form of “ceremonial exchange” that is not simply unstructured hedosm but rather a “ritualized enactment.
Meanings and Use of the Word "Warlock"
Why it's Seen as Negative by Modern Pagans
In many parts of the Pagan community, mention the word "warlock" and you'll be met with disapproving sneers and head shaking. Mention it to your non-Pagan friends, and they'll automatically think of movie baddies like Julian Sands, or the evil warlocks from Charmed. So what's the deal with the word warlock anyway? Why is it considered such a negative thing in modern Paganism?
Let's look at the different perceptions of warlock. There's one variation in which it's alleged to be a translation of a Saxon word, wǣrloga that means "oath-breaker." Naturally, no one wants to be called an oath-breaker, so folks tend to get up in arms about the use of warlock. Consequently, a lot of Wiccans and Pagans tend to distance themselves from the word.
In the book "ABC's of Witchcraft" by Doreen Valiente, the author states that the word is of Scottish origins, but goes no further in her explanation. Other writers have said that the term was originally used in Scotland to mean a cunning man, or a male witch, but that in recent centuries it has shifted to hold negative connotations. In recent years, dictionaries have expanded on its meaning, including the definition "liar" in the explanation.
Some of this may have to do with misinterpretations of meanings by monks who were trying to convert the Scots from their early Pagan religions to Christianity. After all, if a clan's cunning man was referred to as a warlock, and his activitiesclearly went against the teachings of the Christian churches, then obviously the word warlock must be pejorative.
Some Pagans are trying to reclaim the word warlock, much like the GLBT community has taken back queer and dyke. Partially because of this, a theory that has gained popularity is that warlock may have its roots in Norse mythology. In one of the poetic eddas, a song called the Vardlokkur is sung, to ward off evil spirits during a religious ceremony. The idea is that the Vardlokkur, as applied to a person, is a "spell singer", rather than a liar or oath-breaker.
Finally, the word warlock is used in some oathbound traditions of Wicca to mean a binding or tying. The person who binds an initiate during a ceremony is sometimes referred to as a warlock, or the ties themselves are the warlocks.
So -- what does that mean for today's Pagans and Wiccans? Can a male witch or mage refer to himself as a warlock without a bunch of negative fallout from the others in his community? The answer is a simple one. If you want to use it, and you can justify your use of the word to apply to yourself, then do so. Be prepared to defend your choice, but ultimately, it's your call.
by, Patti Washington
Regarding the origin of the term “Warlock”, I offer the following. As
you would know this title has frequently been identified with a male
witch. More recently many have disputed this due to its possible
reference to a “liar” or “betrayer of trust”, an oath-breaker. Others
choose to dismiss it because of the inclusion of “war” in the name.
Doreen Valiente in her book, “An ABC of Witchcraft” (pub. Hales 1973,
re-printed with corrections, 1984) states that the term has Scottish
origins, but doesn’t enlarge upon this at all. More interestingly, Nigel
Pennick in his, “Practical Magic in the Northern Tradition (pub.
Aquarian 1989) has the following to say:-
The Scots dialect word Warlock, meaning a cunning man or male white
witch, is rarely used today except pejoratively. Because dictionary
definitions have given it meanings like “liar”, it has fallen from use,
but it is clear that in reality it relates to the power to shut in or
enclose, i.e. a person with the capability of making binding spells.
This is found in the Norse tale Eir¡ks Saga Rauda. The story is set in
Greenland, some years after the Christian religion was imposed. A V”lva
(wise woman) conducting a ceremony asks the assembly that a song called
Vardlokkur should be sung to enable the continuation of the ceremony.
No-one knows it, except a girl on a visit from Iceland. She is
Christian, but has been taught it by her nurse. Reluctant at first to
sing the Vardlokkur, knowing it to be Pagan, eventually she is cajoled
into singing, and the ceremony is completed without interference. The
power of the warlock, then, is to ward off evil spirits and to lock or
bind them up.
Along similar lines, the following appeared in Vol IX no 5 (#49) of the
“Pagana” occult magazine:-
Warlock may come from the hypothetical (unattested) Old English waer-
loga, “oath-breaker”, or it may come from the (fully-attested) Old Norse
Vard-lokkur, “caller of spirits”.
Generally when looking at the origins of the words “warlock” and “witch”
(along with others), the Anglo-Saxon and Old English often need to be
traced to the Nordic languages. This makes sense when it is realised
that the Celts of Central Europe originated from the northern tribes,
before their culture mixed with that of the Mediterranean lands and the
aboriginal races of what is now Britain. It is well-known that due to
difficult access of the remote northern areas (i.e., for the Romans),
the Nordic/Saxon cultures retained a greater degree of purity within
their customs and language, so this may also be a contributing factor.
I also found the translation of “binder” for warlock of interest, as
this would seem to relate directly to the term’s usage within the
Alexandrian Book of Shadows, here being used as a reference to both the
action and the role of that person who does the binding of the applicant
during the initiation rite.
From John, South Australia:
I am happy to provide some information on the origin and development of
the word “Warlock” as requested in Web of Wyrd No. 3. According to the
Oxford English Dictionary (1989), the word “Warlock” is derived from the
Old English Waerloga which, in turn, is a compound of two words: waer
(truth, agreement) and loga (liar, deceiver), from the verb leogan (to
lie). Waer is cognate with the Old High German wƒra (truth), the Old
Norse v rar (vow) and the Latin verus (true). Leogan is cognate with the
modern German lgen (to lie). Hence the original meaning of waerloga is
“oathbreaker” – a serious crime in early times.
The earliest recorded use of waerloga dates from about C.E. 900 -
although it was probably in common usage well before that time. In
Middle English it becomes warloghe. The modern form with the “ck” ending
dates from about the 16th century. According to the English Dialect
Dictionary (1905) there are a number of different meanings of “warlock”:
1) A wizard or magician – hence warlock-breef (a wizard’s spell);
warlock-fecket (a magic jacket); warlockin (an imp), and warlock-knowe
(a meeting place of wizards). These words are mainly of Scottish
origin – however the use of the word warlock to mean “wizard” is
widespread from the earliest times. Why? Presumably because the
Christians regarded any practitioner of the Old Religion as a “liar” or
“deceiver” – in this sense, warlock is a derogatory term.
2) A method of tightening a rope or chain which binds the load on a
wagon – hence warlock’t (entangled) and warlock-knot (a hard knot in
timber). This is predominantly a Lancashire, Cheshire and Somerset
dialect. The method of binding is to wind the rope or chain loosely, and
then insert a lever which is twisted until the desired tightness is
achieved. In this sense, presumably it is a waer lock – a true lock; one
that will not come loose. This is, of course, the meaning used in the
Book of Shadows.
3) The common mustard (Sinapis nigra) or – possibly – the wild radish
(Raphanus raphanistrum) – a Suffolk dialect. This rather obscure meaning
of warlock is presumably a corruption of the country name charlock by
which the field mustard (Sinapis arvensis) is also known – not,
incidentally, Sinapis nigra, or black mustard – the dictionary is in
error here. Similarly, the wild radish also goes by the country name,
From Bridgit, Western Australia:
I put the question of warlocks to the Cauldron (a regular meeting of
High Priestesses in the Perth area). The general feeling was: Scottish
male witch, taken over by Hollywood/science fantasy. Irrelevant, haven’t
met any! One bright spark suggested that we ask the blokes! I’ll pass on
any further thoughts/research to you.
WARLOCK REVISITED by Matthew Sandow
This discussion about Warlocks developed out of a question that has been
interesting me for considerable time; namely, why do we as men call
ourselves Witches? I have always thought that a Witch was most
definitely a woman, and whilst I am sufficiently sure of my sex to use
the term Witch, I felt that it somehow didn’t quite fit. However when I
first started to ask whether the term Warlock was more accurate, and for
that matter appropriate to the religion, I encountered some very
interesting reactions. These ranged from:
. the term means oath breaker or traitor;
. there is no such person as a warlock. They never existed, or if
they did, then they don’t now;
. they are all satanists, and evil.
Generally people felt that the word was inappropriate, and the use of it
would bring Witches into disrepute. I have always been able to sense
which way the winds blow, so with all this in mind I firmly set off in
the opposite direction. One of the first things I did was to re-read the
section so often quoted to me from the book “Eight Sabbats for Witches”
by Stewart Farrar:
“But `warlock’, in the sense of `a male witch’, is Scottish Late Middle
English and entirely derogatory; its root means `traitor, enemy, devil’;
and if the very few modern male witches who call themselves warlocks
realized its origin, they would join the majority and share the title
`witch’ with their sisters.” (Introduction, note 6)
That all looked pretty definite and damning, and is the source of most
of the correspondence I received. My second piece of research concerned
tribal and primitive societies and their social structure. This was very
illuminating, because the most common factor in the way societies were
run was the principle of elders.
The chief was almost always a hereditary position handed down from
father to son or grandfather to grandson. He was the ultimate leader of
the clan or tribe and its survival was his direct responsibility. The
second principle force was the priest/witchdoctor/shaman, who was the
spiritual focus of the tribe. It may or may not be a hereditary
position, but was generally regarded as being in direct contact with the
gods. He had enormous say in the running of the tribe. The moving of the
tribe required favourable signs, and the interpretation of these was the
direct province of this person. If the signs were misread the tribe
could miss the migration of game, or be struck with unfavourable
weather. It was a great responsibility and the welfare of the tribe
depended on it.
The third principle was the war lord, whose role was the protection and
preservation of the clan and its property. This position was never a
right of hereditary succession, but rather one hard fought for. The war
lord was almost invariably the best and most capable warrior. He led the
fight for food and raids against enemies.
Between these three the clan was run, and run extraordinarily
efficiently. The duties of each were clearly defined and the roles of
each respected by all. That this was the case in primitive societies is
clear, but consider the situation of modern man where the roles are
still retained in different guises. The chief is the Prime
Minister/King/President, whose role is the general welfare of the
country/nation. The priest has not changed much except in dogma, and he
still reads the portends of good and evil to the population. The war
lord is charge of the police and the army.
It was only in the rare cases of one taking over the position of another
that balance was lost. History is full of examples of war lords seizing
power with terrible results, as society splits over loyalties to one or
other lord, and any reference to a modern theocracy shows the
limitations of religion and government.
In more primitive times usurping of a role was rare, because of role
acceptance, and the social security of being within that role. Any
departure from the sociably acceptable was to lead to being outlawed or
simply banished. Yet some did accept banishment or voluntarily left for
various reasons. Tribal legends abound of the shaman or the warrior who
left the security of the tribe to live in the wilderness where they
developed new techniques and philosophies. But as importantly, they
developed their magical abilities to the point of becoming superhuman,
and would come back to the tribe in times of great need as Heroes.
The next thing I thought about was how we as a modern society see
primitive cultures. Consider how fiction and faction portray the tribe.
I remember reading the tales of the white hunter amongst the savages in
Africa/America. The chief and our good clean hero become friends
(usually because the hero saves the chiefs son/daughter at great
personal risk) and everything would be rosy except for the evil
witchdoctor lurking in the background, or the vengeful dumped warrior of
the same saved daughter. These are always spiteful and evil characters
and as such we feel the justification when the hero kills them and leads
the now saved tribe into the modern world. Modern medicine will replace
the witchdoctor and white men with guns will replace the warrior, as the
tribe is put onto the reservation for its own good.
The wise women of the tribes who had been the herbalists and healers,
the mid wives and seers, became the Witches, and the shamans and war
lords became Warlocks. Each preserved and developed their own knowledge,
but also each preserved the gods and the religion of the old ways. By
living apart from the tribe they were able to survive, but the act of
living apart also separated them as a member of the society. Where they
had always been regarded with respect they were now respected with also
with fear, and this fear was certainly used by the Witches and Warlocks
in their own defence.
All this brings us back full circle, namely to the Warlock and our
definition of him. As has been correctly pointed out, the Oxford English
Dictionary defines the Warlock as a traitor or oathbreaker, and this is
certainly true in two ways:
1. The term is Old English, and derives from about 600CE, which is
when the monks were writing the books we now use as reference.
There are no prizes for guessing why these Pagan terms were less
than endearing. Any one who would not accept the new and true faith
of Christianity was evil and dangerous. By equating those who did
not accept the faith with evil, the new lords had the enemy firmly
sighted. The old gods became the new devils, and the followers of
the old ways were heretics and worshipers of demons. To follow the
old ways was dangerous and guarded with secrecy. The Witches and
Warlocks became separate from the general population, and followed
their own paths.
2. Again as has been correctly pointed out, the breaking of an oath
was of extreme importance at a time when a man’s word was his bond.
The making of an oath was done with great care and consideration.
When faced with the annihilation of his tribe by the conquerers,
the Chief has historically taken the option of surrender to
preserve the clan or tribe. An oath taken by the clan leader for
the surrender and saving of his people would only be broken in
great reverence by the younger men of the tribe. Thus the term
oathbreaker would be one of respect amongst the tribe, as these men
left to fight against their conquerers. An example of this is
Chochise who surrendered to the US Cavalry so that the women and
children would be saved, but allowed the young warriors to leave
under the leadership of his most able follower, Geronimo.
However, what most people ignore (or are simply unaware of) is that the
definition of oathbreaker is NOT the only reference to the Warlock, and
indeed the Complete Oxford Dictionary has considerably more information.
“This seems to have been the original sense of the present word,
but the special application to the Devil (either as a rebel, or a
deceiver) was already in OE the leading sense. The applications to
to sorcerers, with especial reference to the power of assuming
inhuman shapes, and to monsters (esp. serpents), appear to be
developments, partly due to Scriptural language, of the sense
“The modern forms with final -(c)k are of obscure origin, for they
appear first in Sc. of the 16th c., and owe their spread to Sc.
writers, and so cannot represent, as has been assumed, a Southern
sound-substitution of (k) for the -ch (x) of some of the rarer
North and Sc. forms. From the first they they have been used in the
sense “wizard”. Some other word, lost or not discovered , has perh.
influenced both form and sense.” (OED 1991)
Thus in the 10th c. the monks had connected the Warlock to those who
worshiped the Old Gods (devils), and who refused to accept the Christian
God, or did so in a superficial manner (deceitful). They had indeed been
recognised as rebels. What is also recognised is that the word was
already old in the 10th c. but its original meaning is lost, or at least
waiting to be rediscovered.
We cannot now discover what the original meaning was, but we can perhaps
get closer to the truth by looking at the “obscure ” refences. Several
people who have contacted me in reference to this article mentioned that
there are many references which do not seem to make any sense. One of
these is the association with the word Charlock which applies to various
field weeds, and especially to species of the genus Sinapis, Mustard.
Mustard is a very common weed and is obviously associated with the Sun
(hot taste, small yellow flowers). It is also a very good blood purifier
and its use as a compress to relieve congestion of the lungs would have
been very handy in cold, misty climates such as Northern European Winter
and Melbourne in Summer.
Another reference is in connection to binding or securing. To warlock
(or warlocke) was to secure (a horse) as with a fetterlock. It is also
used in reference to securing a load onto a cart. In rural South
Australia where I grew up, bales of wool are loaded onto a semi-trailer
and secured with a length of rope, in the very simple but effective
manner of running a loop of rope around the entire load, then tightening
it with a windlass of two short poles set at cross angles to each other.
The rope is looped over the end of one pole and twisted around it with
the other. We call this a Spanish Windlass at home, but it is obviously
the same method with a different name.
A Warlock is also used to mean a cairn or pile of stones (in
Scandinavian regions) which apparently served as beacons (lighthouses)
or as markers of territory. Another use of the term meant that a man
“warlocked” was magically immune to wounds inflicted by certain weapons
(commonly iron), which developed into the idea of being War-lucked.
Lastly the term meant “to bar against hostile invasion”. So a warlocked
nation was one which was protected (by Warlocks) against invasion,
rather than being embroiled in a war inside its territory.
It must be acknowledged that much of my research has shown that the
Warlock was a warrior whose lifestyle was frequently violent and short.
It is easy to either glorify his acts of valour, or accuse him of being
a thug, revelling in bloodshed. What is more difficult is to recognise
the middle path between extremes, and recognise that in the “Good Old
Days” life was extraordinary difficult and frequently short; that
violence was a way of life and death. Men and Women had very different
roles to those of today, and indeed that may be good reason in itself to
repudiate the idea of the Warlock. But I believe that in those days men
and women were more secure in their roles. Women ran the household and
indeed frequently were the owners of the land. Women probably had more
power and control over their lives than they do now.
Since Christianity women have lost their land, their rights, their magic
and their voice. Even today women have not regained what was previously
theirs by right. Men were put into the position of controlling the land
and all it contained. Remember the land given to the Christian Church
was frequently given by the women, and that the Abbeys were often run by
women. Only after the restructure of the Church did women lose all this
to become the subjugated nuns to the religion they helped set up. The
ones who did keep what was theirs became the Witches, and continued to
heal, teach and act as midwives in the more isolated areas. As is
happening in Nicaragua at the moment, the Witches were attacked for
fulfilling the role which was theirs. In 20th centurt Nicaragua Witches
are being taxed, ridiculed and oulawed because of the power and prestige
they hold in the community (and because they are cheaper and more
effetive than the “modern” doctors!).
We must recognise that the Witch and the Warlock are very old terms
which have been tampered with by people with a vested interest in doing
so. History is always written by the victor, but we have the opportunity
to question and change peoples’ attitudes towards us. We are Witches,
and should not change our name because of outsiders’ opinions. We have
all – Witch and non-Witch alike – been subjected to 1000 years or so of
negative influence. Now we have learnt the reality of Witchcraft, and
take pride in it. If we refuse to acknowledge the name Witch, we accept
that what has been written is true. The same holds for Warlock; just as
there are some very dubious people misusing the words Witchcraft and
Witch, so there are also people debasing the word Warlock. A Warlock is
not some plonker doing ritual sacrifice and Satanic worship any more
than is a Witch. Rather he is some one trying very hard to come to terms
with his own inherent powers as a man. By denying him this right we deny
all of the Craft their rights to worship the gods in balance.
The important thing to me personally about this whole issue of Warlocks
can be summed up as:
1. Whatever the word and its origin, the reality is how we use it now.
Many words have changed their meanings over the years to become
something totally different from the original.
2. Warlocks did exist.
3. Warlocks are not satanists or figments of Hollywood any more than
4. Being a Warlock is a legitimate title for a male Witch.
5. Witches and Warlocks are traditionaly outside of general society
and each have their own special brands of magic, neither being
inherently good or evil.
For Witches to denegrate Warlocks as evil or deluded is very dangerously
like using the same dogma that is trotted out by the fundamentalists.
No-one can afford to point fingers or throw stones at each other.
And lastly for those who like pigeon holing people: I am proud to be an
initiated Wiccan; a Priest of the religion; a Pagan; a Witch; and very
much also a Warlock.
by, matthew sandow
Male Witches or “Are you a Warlock?”
Oftentimes I meet people who aren’t sure how to approach this Wicca, Witchcraft, paganism, and Witches thing, other than what they see on television or through folklore and stories. Most of the time, I look at it as an opportunity to educate cowens (non-pagans) about what it is we do. Last year, I attended a pagan wedding which – because it was held on Samhain – attracted the attention of a large local newspaper. The print and photojournalists were really nice folks who seemed genuinely interested in our world and were very respectful and kind of our beliefs. How refreshing!
The journalist I spoke with wanted to know what the protocol and etiquette was of using the word “Warlock” to identify a male Witch, innocently of course. Couldn’t blame her for asking, since we’ve all been taught since we were little babes that a guy who practices magick was a Warlock. It got me to thinking, as I spent a few moments clarifying why that term is not widely used in the pagan community.
According to Wikipedia, the commonly accepted etymology derivesWarlock from the Old English wǣrloga meaning "oathbreaker" or "deceiver". It is considered in polite Witchy society to be a bit of an insult, and those who choose to call themselves are looked at a bit askance. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still used in pagandom, but usually by Luciferians, Satanists or simply uneducated Wiccans who are looking for a bit of a shock value.
It is said that during the period we pagans refer to as “The Burning Times” – what historians refer to as the Inquisition – Warlocks were those who would trade information for safety. They would happily divulge names, times & places of worship and real or made up details to keep the Inquisitors neck deep in Witches to torture, under the guise of God’s Grace. Today, we Witches still use the term “Warlock” as both a noun AND a verb. A Warlock refers to a person who has broken their oaths and has betrayed their coven and/or Tradition. It also refers to the act of the formal banishment of that individual from his or her coven or Tradition. If you hear of someone having been “Warlocked” from their tradition or group, it usually means they have been deemed an oathbreaker by a Council of Elders (or a similar tribunal) and it’s a hint and a half that this person has some significant baggage. I don’t know of many Witches who traffic with Warlocks. Certainly I don’t have high opinions of those who have been Warlocked, and give a wide berth to those who freely call themselves that.
Warlocks do exist but not in the definition of the mainstream. I’ve heard of pagans new to the Craft, especially males, who choose to refer to themselves as Warlocks. Some of these folks change their self-affixed labels when they are educated about the etymology of the word and the baggage behind it, but some hold onto this label. I’ve tried to be openminded about this, and understand that my way is not the only way to practice. Maybe the word “Warlock” is a name male Witches want to reclaim as their own. If that is the case, I think it would be a herculean task to change perceptions both within and without the pagan community.
Maybe this begs the question – do we as a pagan community need to come up with a word which describes a male Witch? Witch – as a word – often connotes a female, most likely through lore and common (mis)beliefs of the past centuries. While I like names to be gender neutral, it seems to me that our pagan men may feel like they are getting lost in a rather gynocentric religion. The desire to affix a label or moniker to separate themselves from the women of the Craft suggests that men wish to maintain their masculinity. I think it’s not a bad idea to consider. Unfortunately, the term “Warlock” in its current definition does not apply to 99.9% of male Witches in the Craft.
In Witchcraft today, a guy who is a Witch is just that – a male Witch. An argument can be made to simply use one name all the way around. A Witch is a Witch is a Witch. Male, female; straight, gay, bisexual, transgender; carnivore, vegan; what other labels you choose for yourself is your own business. Being a Witch is not about what plumbing you have, or what you prefer in this life. It is about identifying yourself with this particular belief system. The Gods don’t care very much about your gender. Come to think of it, they could care less about labels either!
So, I continue to tell people who ask that when they refer to a make Witch, they should simply say “Witch” or “Wiccan” if that is appropriate. Until such time when the term Warlock has better connotations within our own community, I think I’ll continue using the term Warlock as I was taught.
And what of that news story? The journalist didn’t call anyone a Warlock. Mission accomplished!
BY KAERWYN SILVERWOOD
So what is your truth per definition?
Warlock according to Wikipedia: The term warlock in origin means "traitor, oath breaker". In early modern Scots, the word came to be used as the male equivalent of witch (which could in origin be male or female, but became restricted to implying female gender). The commonly accepted etymology derives warlock from the Old English wǣrlogameaning "oath breaker" or "deceiver." A derivation from the Old Norse varð-lokkur, "caller of spirits," has also been suggested; however, the Oxford English Dictionary considers this etymology inadmissible because the term has very few found references.
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