Lessons In Witchcraft: "So You Want To Be A Witch!"
~By )O( Indigenous Shamanic Winds
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Witchcraft in General
There are probably many questions that you have in general when just starting on the Path towards learning Witchcraft -- especially if you have not read anything before about this Earth-based spirituality we commonly know as Paganism. Just by one category, such as the term "Witchcraft", when we research about it many other sub-categories of questions and terms will come about, and we'd end up asking questions upon questions -- ending up having pretty much a Volume of text alone after taking notes on Witchcraft!
So here we are going to explore just some of the questions frequently asked by newcomers to Witchcraft what it is -- and then you will have to begin exploring on your own in researching the different questions you may have so that you can add them to your Book of Shadows and begin defining the terms yourself. I say this because as you begin researching about Witchcraft, you will notice that different people have different outlooks on what they believe from their practices and experiences from Witchcraft what it means to them -- and as we all know, not everyone thinks or takes actions that are alike.
We are our own special, unique, individual human beings and are responsible for how we act and what we do in our own lives. Therefore, with this said, we must learn on our own so that it makes sense to us as we research on our own and that we have began a path on our own in which we want to continue following in learning about what we feel comfortable with in our own boundaries and can explore our journey as we walk down the path we set for ourselves.
Here are some general questions commonly asked when one first starts their studies of Witchcraft -- they are not set in stone, for there are many other questions one may ask, but this is a beginning in your research and learning.
Questions Frequently Asked: You can begin with this list (the underlined questions) and add it to your Book of Shadows, or a Journal. As you research each of these questions, be sure to take notes on them, your inputs on how you feel about the answers you find, and mark other terms and such with a question mark if you want to research that term later on.
Below are also some of my 'basic replies' -- but to each her/his own. It is here for an example.
What is a Witch?
A "Witch" is what we commonly identify ourselves when practicing and exploring the Earth-based spirituality of Witchcraft. A Witch is an everday, ordinary person with his/her own special inner powers. A Witch knows what she/he needs to do in respect for her/him self in order to become a better person. A Witch is one who loves unconditionally everything that is around him/her. A Witch finds the Sacred in everything. A Witch is responsible for his/her own actions and pays the consequences in which they may occur in their lives. A Witch is a reflection of the Divine, the Goddess, and sees her/him self as obtaining aspects of the Divine within him/her self. A Witch works to manifest dreams in her/his life into reality. What is Witchcraft? In simple terms, Witchcraft is an ancient religion of the Old Ways that was once a way of living for the ancient peoples of their time in history. Witchcraft is based on acknowledgment of Nature and all that walked upon the Earth. Witchcraft revolves around the Elements that Nature provides for us (Air, Fire, Water, Earth). Witchcraft is formed within Spirit (also known to some as Akasha), which are all the Elements combined in the formation of a Higher Power or Higher Self. Witchcraft is an understanding of Knowing Thyself first, changing consciousness at will, manifesting desires of the practitioner, and being able to send those intentions out into the Universe through one's own personal powers combining with the Energies all around and within ourselves in order for our dreams to manifest into realities.
Do you pray?
Yes, Witches pray, for every Thought-form is a prayer. Who do you pray to?Witches may choose to pray to anything one tends to desire, which for most is one of a Higher Intelligence, a Higher Power, the Divine, the Gods, the Goddess and the God, the Creator. Prayer in Witchcraft is tended towards the communications of that in which he or she tends to commune between that of Spirit. It is prayer between the individual and that in whom he or she wants to pray to.
Are you Satanists?
NO, Witches are not Satanists -- Santanists are in a whole different category of their own religion/spirituality. Though many Christians tend to think of Witches as Satanists, we are not -- for Witches commune with that of an Earth-based spirituality/religion, they are in tune with all of what is around them and within them, and that of Spirit. Modern Witches tend to follow the "Harm None" statement -- but they also know that "One who cannot Hex, cannot Heal". A Witch stays within the limits of their own formations of their capacibilities within their own Will and not the Will of another or a Higher Intelligence.
What about evil?
Evil is something that will always have effect on others in the world, but Witches are not evil. Witches are bards, seers, healers, herbalists, doctors, lawyers, everyday human beings in the world in conformity in sharing peace, harmony, love, prosperity, abundance, etc. -- within and around themselves, others, and the world around them. What are your ethics/morals?Ethics and morals are different for each individual. One learns and respects that of which in Nature gives to us and in turn what we give back to Nature. A Witch acknowledges the good in all, and responds in the best way they can to better things for all whom walk upon the Earth. He or she may also takes responsibilities for themselves and the land they live on to help make it a better place. A Witch knows most importantly what is best for themselves so that they can share and communicate with others in the actions they take. Each of us are responsible for our own actions, therefore (and some think of it as Karma) what goes out in the Universe must come back, though since Energies are constantly moving and never stay in one place, received Energies coming back to us may be positive or negative in action. Our goals are in working in balance and harmony with these reactions, acknowledging both the Dark and Light, and accepting the Shadows of Consequences we must face with the good of all, and incoporating love in order of bringing Karma in balance with ourselves.
Do you do animal/human sacrifices?
No, Witches do NOT perform any kind of Animal or Human Sacrifices -- though if you read stories and mythologies from Ancient Texts, many of these were performed amongst the peoples of certain cultures in their place of history back in time. Animal Sacrifices were made as a way of living for these peoples who roamed and lived upon the Earth during, for example, the what was called the "Hunting and Gathering" time; Animals were sacrificed in 'giving up their lives' in order for the peoples to eat and live. These ancient peoples would also sacrifice the animals as 'Offerings to their Gods' as a renewal of abundance of these animals to later be received as a 'gift' from their Gods in order to have 'plenty -- food' to survive on. Human Sacrifices back in time were of those, for example, who were Kings in their countries; in order for them to come into order, they were thought of like Gods, ones who must live by the orders of the land, their communities, their peoples, and if they had not followed the laws in which were given to them in this manner, they were sacrificed to the Gods and killed so that the next King would come in place as a gift from the Gods to rule his country in the way that the Gods did.
History has brought us to the modern day of age in Witchcraft where in which we stand now do not believe in animal or human sacrifice -- but we do have our own views of sacrifice, some in which are Shamans who sacrifice their entire lives to healing illnesses and such in their cultural communities, as a Witch may sacrifice his or her past experiences in life to learn the ways of bettering themselves in the world. Sacrifice is doing what we can for the love of giving something of yourself back to yourself, others, and the Earth.
Do you have gurus, leaders, priests, masters?
What do you think happens after death?
Some Witches believe in Reincarnation, an Afterlife, the Otherworld -- basically where one goes when they leave the Earth in transformation and transition into a new soul. As in the Nature of the Circle of Life, one may also look at it simply as Rebirth, being Alive, Transformation, Changes throughout life, Death, Rest, and being reborn into another soul once again. Do you believe in heaven and hell?My beliefs lie not in the Christian terms of "Heaven" or "Hell" -- but the Pagan beliefs of the Otherworlds: there is an Upper Realm, an Earthly Realm, and a Lower Realm -- each in which one goes through stages of Inititation to move throughout the Otherworlds in a set of Archetypal Deaths and Rebirth.
What is your magic?
Magick comes from 'within'. Keyed with the "k" at the end of the word Magic as a term to define that of a Witches' energies are taken and transformed into a manifestation of intention at the will of consciousness, whereas some who see the spelling of 'Magic' as an illusional form of magic, that of like in which a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat. A Witch's Magick is seen within everything -- for the Divine is Sacred, and is not 'just in' everything, but the Divine 'IS' everything. The magick of the energies in everything helps one to commune with all that is sacred, and on that level, Witches use their inner powers in seeing the magick in all, whether animate or inanimate objects. Does it work?Magick, I believe, yes it works. In order for it to work, though, the individual must be aware, alert, and focused on the true intentions of any goals or actions they want to manifest into reality. Without this, magick is empty. How?Not all Witches may choose to perform magick, but magick is basically a part of a person's everyday life. One may choose to work magick by experiencing and performing meditaions, spells, rituals, connections and communications with their God(s), listening and learning about all that is around and within them...on a basic level, a Witch works her Craft of Magick from with that within him or herself. For example, if one wants to bring prosperity into their lives, they do not just stand there and wait for money to grow on trees. A Witch acts in accord to her desires and needs of wanting more prosperity in his or her life by setting goals, having a focused intention of what she or he wants, visualizing this money coming towards them in reality, feeling that they have the desires to accomplish bringing prosperity to themselves by using all of the senses one has, envisioning this happening -- and then going out and acting in accord: filling out applications for a job, meeting the manager for an interview, not putting all one's eggs into one basket and doing all one can to bring their focuses of prosperity into reality. A Witch sets possible goals in which he or she works at in attaining them for him or herself.
Do you do Black Magic?
In terms of modern day society Witches, we do not do Black Magic. Black Magic, in my senses, goes back to when Witches performed Ceremonial Rituals, but I have not read much about Black Magic. For me, I stick with the thumb rule "Do not harm oneself, as well as not harming others". I expect to treat others like I would want to be respected, therefore, in this respect, Witches who also think this do not perform Black Magic.
Do you cast spells?
In the most respect of Witches, yes, they cast spells. They may cast spells to bring prosperity, abundance, love, health, joy, etc. in their lives -- but it is not necessary for a Witch to cast spells if he or she does not want to. But for the most part, Witches cast spells to bring their intentions into manifestation, into reality -- yet some things we bring to ourselves is not always done by casting, depending on how we look at the situation at hand and choose from our own ethics and morals on what way is best suited for us to bring us these things into our own lives.
How do you worship?
In my own personal opinion, I do not think of 'Worship' as the proper term coined in doing what we believe; though, I do see it in Witchcraft if one considers the Craft as a 'Religion', as opposed to living Witchcraft as a 'Way of Life'. Witches honor Nature and learn through its teachings. Witches honor themselves with love, respect, and responsibility in all their actions, thoughts, and emotions. Many honor their Gods, goddesses and gods, the Divine, Spirit, Creator. We celebrate the Wheel of the Year, acknowledging the seasons and celebrations of that in which we believe and are following. We accept life, death, and rebirth as natural in the world. We have fun by singing, chanting, dancing, and many other things when communing with that of Higher Intelligence. We strive to work towards healing ourselves, others, and in Earth. We give Offerings to that in which we received something from. We are human, unique individuals, we are creative and take pride in all we do to better the lives we live. What are your holidays?Depending upon the Tradition, Cultural Tradition, or one's own preferences in the holidays, the basic traditions from that around the world on the Wheel of the Year are those of the Eight Sabbats and the Four Esbats. What do you do then?The Sabbats are celebrated with the seasons of the year, each person celebrates them in different manners. As with the Esbats, the four Moon phases are honored, the New Moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon, Waning/Dark Moon.
How many of you are there?
As more and more people break away from the ties of Christianity, there are many of those now seeking in finding their own spiritualities throughout the whole world. Many come to realize that there is "something more out there" and the Mysteries of the Ancient Religions draw many in finding out that the Goddess is still Alive and Afoot in the world today. Do you raise your children in this?Yes, in fact many followers of Witchcraft are teaching their children their way of life, yet are still open to their children when they grow up to grow more themselves by searching what spiritualities are right for them. There are no binds to Witchcraft, for each is their own who seeks without rules.
How do you become a Witch?
To my belief, you don't just 'become' a Witch; if that is whom you are feeling you are, then you 'are' a Witch. Witch is just a title; what you do in your life is who you are, what you have done in the past to come who you are today, what actions you take today is what leads to whom you'll be in the future. You just ARE.
Where can I find out more?
You can find much more about Witchcraft and Witches by researching the web, joining groups, reading old texts of ancient histories, mythologies, stories, etc., communing with other like-minded people.....but the most important source where all this information that you read about and receive will come from 'Within' -- by communing with Spirit, Nature, and all of that around you, which in transformation, "Brings you back home to Yourself."
Written and Composed by: Indigenous Shamanic Winds (c)2009
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Waxing Crescent Moon