When many uninformed or ignorant people consider Wicca, they also think of Witchcraft. And though that may, on many occasions hold truth, it is not the rule. Contrary to what many believe, Wicca is a very peaceful and harmonious way of thinking. This following promotes balance and oneness with the divine and with all that exists. The common misconceptions are the ones that everyone is aware of. Wicca is Witchcraft, Witches worship Satan, steal babies and drink blood. Read on if you would like to know the truth as we at Ancient Pathway see it.
Wicca is awe and reverence. The ability to see the majesty in a sunrise or sunset. To see the world around you in a new and wonderful light, understanding that the simple existence of the moon can fulfill you. Understanding that in many ways, love does heal all wounds and those that can't be healed with the power of the heart will be healed by the power of time. Wicca is understanding and balance, forgiveness and selflessness. To be Wiccan is to be a martyr and a hero, a sage (learned elder) and a child, all wrapped up into one creature that lives in harmony with the world around them. Wicca has no sex, nor negative emotions, though sometimes those that follow Wicca... do have these attributes.
To be Wiccan is to be a healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver and a protector of all things. To live in balance and harmony with the world around you and most of all "Harm none". This is the one and only rule that maintains across the Pagan and Wiccan faiths and followings.
Wicca is NOT really a religion by many definitions, but there is no harm done by calling it a religion. It is a belief system and way of life that is based on pre-Christian traditions. With origins in Ireland, Scotland and wales and bases on most continents. This faith had deep roots running back up to 30,000 years as claimed by recent archaeological discovers, though as of the writing of this document, these assumptions have not been validated.
The Wiccan path is based on the Great Goddess and The Horned one and communion with nature in a positive light. These are often considered the deities of the faith, but even that is not accurate. Spell-casting, ritualism, meditation and divination can all play a part in the day to day life of a Wiccan. Throughout Ancient pathway, we hope that you will gain some insight into the misconceptions and misunderstandings that have become ever so popular today.
Some Words about Witchcraft in general
It happens to us all. Even Pagans or followers of Wicca or Spiritual faiths. We hear the word "Witch" and we get an image without our minds eyes. On most occasions, this is not a positive image. It is an image of an old Crone with a green face, covered with warts and an "evil" look about her. Rarely does the golden haired maiden come to mind. Rarely is consideration given to the Witch in her kitchen with a cup of tea to hold off a headache.
In ancient, and not so ancient history, Witchcraft was known as "the craft of the wise" because of the persons who followed this ancient teaching and practice followed a path in which they were well in tine with the forces of nature around them. They had a knowledge of herbology, crystals, candles and natural medicines. Many times they would give council to the community and they were not only the healers for the villages or communities, they were many times leaders.
Information and Advice for Novices
This article is written for all the novices and those who are just starting out in the craft. It is for the young or old, inexperienced or just curious. Many of you are serious about becoming Witches or already have a little experience with witchcraft. Many people come to me and ask me questions right off the silver screen. And some come to me just to ask questions to dispel the myths of generations of hear-say. First let me say that I am not a wrinkled old woman with a hunched back and a wart in the middle of my nose. If you were to meet me on the street, you may never realize that I am a witch or a Wiccan. You may have your reserved ideas about what I should be.
The things that I
do not do:
I do not worship Satan but I respect the Christian idea of Satan as a whole. I personally have never met the 'man' but should I, I will be more than happy to invite him in for a cup of tea and get his take on the world today. If you would like to know more about Saint Lucifer, please check out both the section of Ancient Pathway that deals with Satanism as a religion as well as the King James version of the bible. Satan, as a creature of myth, is seriously misunderstood.
I do not sacrifice children to some dark god in the hopes of flying. That myth is right out of the movies and requires an unbaptized male youth. The thing that they fail to mention is that the Warlock in that movie is the Son of Satan himself and would be endowed with the gift of flight without the sacrifice.
I am not evil any more than you are. I am a human being, nothing more, nothing less. I have the same faults, hopes and dreams as other human beings. The only thing that is different is when I kneel to pray, it is to a feminine spirit.
I do not ride a broomstick - The modern witch prefers a Kirby Vacuum cleaner.
I do not worship Satan! (yes, i have put this in here TWICE to make the point clear)
Many questions come right out of the movies. Don't get me wrong, I love a good tale of old about the evil witch that seduces the young girl with a shiny apple. She was much too cocky to begin with. Witchcraft is more of a way of life than a religion. Though there are those that would argue the point with me. And that being said, they are welcome to their perspective, just as I am welcome to mine. The only difference is that I do not claim that my way is the only way and that if you fail to follow my way, that you will burn for eternity.
Let me point out that Magick is a very
appealing idea, especially to the young. It is the mythical
draw to power. They are drawn to the ability to become rich
or beautiful or loved. But all these things can
be done easily without the use of some mythical powers.
The most popular things that I am asked for is love and money. If I could turn ever request for the ability to gain money or love into money, I would myself, be rich. But if that were the case, you would think that all witches would be fighting Bill Gates for a home. But that is not the way that things are.
The study of Witchcraft requires time and dedication. There are no easy spells out there to get what you want out of life. But there are those that can give you some insight, not only into getting what you want, but realizing what you really want out of life.
When I am asked for a spell of love, usually by a male, I have the perfect spell in mind.
The Ancient Pathway all Purpose LOVE spell to gain the desire of your heart.
First you obtain the offering in the form of
The you use a sweet fragrance flower of roses, usually by the dozen
You do feed the soul with poetry and the mind with conversation
You embrace your desire and hold your partner close
And use the ancient ritual of the dance to draw her in
The final part of the spell is the chant itself
I suggest the chant "I love you"
Works most of the time.
Now when I will tell someone this "spell", they will usually look at me as if I have grown a second head. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. To do a spell, you need to focus your mind. And that is exactly what this "ritual does"
What is Witchcraft?
Witchcraft is a way of life that is based on reverence for the Earth and all its inhabitants and the ability and responsibility to harness the forces of the Universe for one's own ends and for others. It is spiritual and magickal, but it is also a part of the mundane world in which we live. A true Witch follows the path of witchcraft every day, in every act and thought. Many times, those that are not witches will even teach their children small spells because their parents did the same without ever knowing it. Remember .... Rain ... Rain... Go away...Little.....etc.
I do need to point out that there is a fundamental difference between Wicca and Witchcraft. It is a common misconception that all Witches and Wiccans are the same thing. And many times, this will be true. However, though many Wiccans practice the Craft of the Wise (witchcraft), and call themselves "Witches", there are some very basic differences. I know that this paragraph is repetition, but it is very difficult for many to grasp due to modern assumption.
Wicca is a modern practice that started with Gerald Gardner in the 1930s. It has been combined with a variety of mystical traditions, European Folk lifestyles (Celtic) and the actual practice of Witchcraft.
Witchcraft as a whole looks to traditions, history, arts and sciences for its' base and builds from there. In different areas of this website, you will find information on many different paths and many different traditions. How do you find out which one is for you? I would suggest you get out a crystal ball, toss some salt over your shoulder, throw a black cat through a mirror while standing under a ladder and then say "bloody Mary" three times while staring into the shards.
Or you could just read all the information and use the greatest gift you have. The ability to choose.
What is Wicca?
WICCA (sometimes called Wicce, The Craft, or The Old Religion by its practitioners) is an ancient religion of love for life and nature. Many unlearned people assume that Wicca and Witchcraft are the same. Though, many times, the two will cross lines into each other, they are for the most part separate beliefs that work together. Wicca is a following, and Witchcraft is a practice.
In prehistoric times, people respected the great forces of Nature and celebrated the cycles of the seasons and the moon. They saw divinity in the sun and moon, in the Earth Herself, and in all life. The creative energies of the universe were personified: feminine and masculine principles became Goddesses and Gods. These were not semi-abstract, superhuman figures set apart from Nature: they were embodied in earth and sky, women and men, and even plants and animals. They were, for the most part, an incarnation of nature itself.
This viewpoint is still central to present-day Wicca. To most Wiccans, everything in Natures -- and all Goddesses and Gods -- are true aspects of Deity. The aspects most often celebrated in the Craft, however, are the Triple Goddess of the Moon (Who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone or Master, Father and Sage) and the Horned God of the wilds. These have many names in various cultures.
Wicca had its organized beginnings in Paleolithic times, co- existed with other Pagan ("country") religions in Europe, and had a profound influence on early Christianity. But in the medieval period, tremendous persecution was directed against the Nature religions by the Roman Church. Over a span of 300 years, millions of men and women and many children were hanged, drowned or burned as accused "Witches." The most famous of these would be the "Salem Witch Trials". The Church indicted them for black magic and Satan worship, though in fact these were never a part of the Old Religion. The indications that were used where marks on the body, strange language, herbology and healing skills.
The Wiccan faith went underground, to be practiced in small, secret groups called "covens." For the most part, it stayed hidden until very recent times. Now scholars such as Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner have shed some light on the origins of the Craft, and new attitudes of religious freedom have allowed covens in some areas to risk becoming more open.
How do Wiccan folk practice their faith today? There is no central authority or doctrine, and individual covens vary a great deal. But most meet to celebrate on nights of the Full Moon, and at eight great festivals or Sabbats throughout the year.
Though some practice alone or with only their families, many Wiccans are organized into covens of three to thirteen members. Some even large "churches" exist, but they are few and far between. Some are led by a High Priestess or Priest, many by a Priestess/Priest team; others rotate or share leadership. Some covens are highly structured and hierarchical, while others may be informal. Often extensive training is required before initiation, and coven membership is considered an important commitment. But these rules are set, not by doctrine, but by the human condition. Each coven, member or witch has their idea of what they should believe. And like many other faiths, they have no problem attempting to impose their will on their followers.
There are many branches or "traditions" of Wicca in the United States and elsewhere, such as the Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Welsh Traditional, Dianic, Faery, Seax-Wica and others. All adhere to a code of ethics. None engage in the disreputable practices of some modern "cults," such as isolating and brainwashing impressionable, lonely young people. Genuine Wiccans welcome sisters and brothers. They prefer to be part of a "family style unit" or brother/sisterhood. They rarely, if ever, accept disciples, followers or victims.
Coven meetings may include ritual, celebration and magick (the "k" is added to distinguish it from stage illusions or modern magic). They may also include food, pot-lucks or other such social devices. Wiccan magick is not, for the most part, a visible magick. It does not hold the glamor of stage magic or the dark fantasy of old horror movies; it operates in harmony with natural laws and is usually less spectacular -- though effective. Various techniques are used to heal people and animals, seek guidance, or improve members' lives in specific ways. Positive goals are sought: cursing and "evil spells" are repugnant to practitioners of the Old Religion.
Wiccans tend to be strong supporters of environmental protection, equal rights, global, peace and religious freedom, and sometimes magick is used toward such goals.
Wiccan beliefs, as a rule, do not include such Judeo-Christian concepts as original sin, vicarious atonement, divine judgment or bodily resurrection. Craft folk believe in a beneficent universe, the laws of karma and reincarnation, and divinity inherent in every human being and all of Nature. Yet laughter and pleasure are part of their spiritual tradition, and they enjoy singing, dancing, feasting, and love.
Wiccans tend to be individualists, and have no central holy book, prophet, or church authority. They draw inspiration and insight from science, and personal experience. Each practitioner keeps a personal book or journal in which s/he records magickal "recipes," dreams, invocations, songs, poetry and so on. This is the "mythical" Book of Shadows or BOS. And of course, the BOS has been made famous and infamous by the silver screen.
To most of the Craft, every religion has its own valuable
perspective on the nature of Deity and humanity's
relationship to it: there is no One True Faith. Rather,
religious diversity is necessary in a world of diverse
societies and individuals. Because of this belief, Wiccan
groups do not actively recruit or proselytize: there is an
assumption that people who can benefit from the Wiccan way
will "find their way home" when the time is right. Despite
the lack of evangelist zeal, many covens are quite willing
to talk with interested people, and even make efforts to
inform their communities about the beliefs and practices of
Wicca. Our source of contact and information for Wiccan
followings is Ancientpathway.com. The site that you are on
An Overview of Wicca
Often Traditional Wiccans are asked to describe our religion and beliefs for interested people, who may or may not have confused us with other Pagan religions, with inversions of Christian/Islamic religions like Satanism, or with purely magical traditions with no religious base. There is a lot of flexibility in the ways that we describe ourselves, and one characteristic of Wicca is a large degree of personal liberty to practice as we please. Still, there is an outline that can be described in general terms. Many traditions will depart from one particular or another, but groups departing from all or most of these features are probably non-Wiccan Traditions attempting to stretch or distort the Wiccan name to cover what they want to do.
Mysteries and Initiation
Wicca is an Initiatory religion descended from the Ancient Mystery Religions. This is NOT a new faith or following as is assumed by many modern people who feel that the young people are simply searching for a new way. A mystery religion is not like Catholicism where a Priest is the contact point between the worshiper and the Deity, nor like Protestantism where a sacred Book provides the contact and guidelines for being with the divine. Rather a Mystery Religion is a religion of personal experience and responsibility, in which each worshiper is encouraged, taught and expected to develop an ongoing and positive direct relationship with the Gods. In some followings, you are actually your own God, and while this is not our personally following, it is very enlightening for those that follow that path. The religion is called a "Mystery" because such experiences are very hard to communicate in words, and are usually distorted in the telling. You have to have been there in person to appreciate what is meant. Near and far-Eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shinto are probably Mystery traditions, but Wicca is very western in cultural flavor and quite different than eastern religions in many ways. It is quite impossible to properly describe a Wiccan ritual, but once you have experienced one, you will understand quite well.
A Blend of Pagan Roots
Most Wiccan Traditions, have particular roots in the British Mystery Traditions. This includes traditions of the Picts who lived before the rise of Celtic consciousness, the early Celts, and some selected aspects of Celtic Druidism. American Wicca is directly descended from British Wicca, brought in the late 1950's by English and American Initiates of Gardnerian, Alexandrian and Celtic Wicca. These traditions are a little like the denominations in Christianity, but hopefully far more harmonious.
While British Traditions are very strong in Wicca, or the Craft as it is sometimes called, other Western Mystery traditions feature prominently, including the ancient Greek Mysteries of Eleusis, Italian Mysteries of Rome, Etruria and the general countryside, Mysteries of Egypt and Persia before Islam, and various Babylonian, Assyrian and other mid-eastern Mysteries that flourished before the political rise of the advocates of "one god".
What's In a Name
Wicca, Witchcraft, and "The Craft" are used interchangeably at times by many kinds of people. It is not fair to say that all Wiccans are Witches though many are, and many of us believe we are the only people entitled to the name. It is important to know that many people call themselves witches who are not in the least Wiccan, and that Masons also refer to themselves as "Craft", with good historical precedent. Carefully question people on the particular things they do and believe as part of their religion rather than relying on labels. Any real Wiccan would welcome such honest inquiry. One point of interest is that I can call myself a Ford Taurus, that does not mean that I am one. Labels can change though time, and only by casting off these labels can you gain a full understanding of the inner self. Personally, though I am Enochian by upbringing and practice, I simply call myself "A seeker". This has no base in faith or religion or lifestyle. It is simply a label that I have chosen for myself to enhance my thoughts that I am always looking for proof within the chaos.
Traditions and Flavor
There are specific Wiccan beliefs and traditions, including worship of an equal and mated Goddess and God who take many forms and have many Names. Groups who worship only a Goddess or only a God are not traditional Wicca however they may protest, although they may be perfectly good Pagans of another sort. The Wiccan Goddess and God are linked to nature, ordinary love and children -- Wicca is very life affirming in flavor. It is also based in balance. Darkness and Light, good and evil, yin and yang, ego and Id, God and Goddess.
Modern psychology suggests the existence of the Ego, the ID and the Superego. We all, as human animals, have love or our gods. Wiccans in general, have nothing to do with other people's deities or devils such as the existence of the Christian "one true God" or the Devil, or the Muslim Allah or the Jewish Jehovah. We follow our own gods, whether this is the Great Goddess / Horned God paradigm or a bowl of pasta with "noodley appendages" (pastafarinism). To say that our way is the ONLY true way is a statement of faith, but it is always a statement of Vanity and arrogance. Keep in mind that vanity is a deadly sin in the Christian faith.
Modern Wicca is a faith of personal responsibility and growth. When one is initiated though a coven or takes personal vows to their following, they are taking on a personal obligation of singular development of the self. It is a pact with yourself to seek out knowledge that fits your paradigm and follow that path for enlightenment and balance. This is where "true will" comes into the picture which is, simply stated, the best possibility that we can conceive for ourselves. This is, at best, a daunting task. To truly look into the mirror and see yourself is often a hard task which requires honesty, courage and a lot of hard work. The results however, can be greatly rewarding.
In a general sense, Wicca is a joyous following. There are many holidays and festivals as well as "meetings" of the minds in which celebration tends to break out. Even death is a celebration within most Wiccan followings. Most modern holidays currently on the standard calendar descended from the roots of the Wiccan faith including Christmas, May Day and Easter. Wicca is far from serious. There are no overtones of failure leading to damnation. Dancing, feasting and general marry making are all parts of the core of celebrations.
Wiccans have ethics which are different in nature than most "one-god" religions, which hand out a list of "do's and don'ts". We have a single extremely powerful ethical principal which Initiates are responsible for applying in specific situations according to their best judgment. That principle is called the Wiccan Rede(Old-English for rule) and reads: (the full text of the rede is later in this document)
"An (if) it harm none, do as ye Will"
Based on the earlier mention of "True Will", you will understand that the Rede is far more complex than it sounds, and is quite different than saying "Do whatever you want as long as nobody is hurt". Finding out your Will is difficult sometimes, and figuring out what is harmful, rather than just painful or unpleasant is not much easier. You must take into account not only physical harm, but mental or emotional harm to your fellows. This is, in many ways, a constant battle for most within a Wiccan following.
Initiation into Wicca
In modern followings, it is assumed that people become Wiccan only by initiation. And this may be true for organized Wiccan gatherings, but is not, by far, the only path. You can form a good relationship with the Gods and Goddesses though self study and dedication. This point is argued though many Wiccan covens and groups, but this is my personal belief. I will grant that having like minded fellows to help you along the way can be helpful, but you can gain the same results with that self dedication. In the modern "coven" or gathering, the priest or priestess is used as a channel to 'open the way' to your path of study. This is preceded by a year and a day of preparation and study.
We of Ancient Pathway do not succumb to the 'organized religion' belief and understand that sometimes, the greatest journeys are ones that are made alone. This is a personal choice and one that you have to find and follow.
Traditional 'covens" hold women at the central place in which the coven is headed by a high priestess. This is a woman of third degree with, at the very least, three years and three days of dedication and specific training. The priest is optional, but for best balance, even the sexes should be balanced within the circle. The reason for the women power within the following is that the Goddess is central to the Wiccan following and the priestess represents the figurehead of the Goddess while in ritual.
One Religion at a Time
Theologians and philosophers have fought out this question though the ages. "Can't i become Wiccan and still remain Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Catholic?" My personal answer to this is "NO". You can be a Witch and follow your chosen path, but since Wicca requires self dedication to the Gods and Goddesses, this is against the belief of the opposing faith. You can work spells and magicks, but cannot be at the same time, both Wiccan and another faith. Keep in mind that you can't really be a Christian Witch either. Exodus 22:18 of the King James version of the Holy bible states "thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live...". This being said, the moment that you proclaim that you are a Christian Witch is the same moment that you would be required by your Christian faith to commit suicide. This is a deadly and unforgivable sin within the Christian faith. In psychology, we would call this a paradox, but it is really just a contradiction. And we all know that here are NO contradictions in the bible. It is worth mentioning that in some versions of the Holy Bible, prior to 1911, the word "Witch" in Exodus was actually "Murderer".
Magick and Science
The magick (spelled with a trailing 'K" to distinguish it from stage magic and illusion) is part of the Wiccan, Pagan and earth based followings. We, as the human race, are thought to have many abilities that we have lost over the centuries. Similar to the tail bone having been a real tail at one time, we have lost some of what we are in our history. Magick is the search to regain these abilities. Some are very timid like the manipulation of the world around you though the magick of Chanting and some are aggressive such as the mental manipulation of others around you to bend to your will. (NOTE: HARM NONE! mental manipulation is the bending of the will and breaches the ethics of witchcraft AND the Wiccan rede). Magicks for the most part are used to bring natural forces to bear on the world around you. Instead of casting a spell that says "give me money" which may redirect money from another deserving source, evaluate the situation and ask for what you are really looking for. "my car broke down, I need food, I can't pay my rent". Magick to resolve these issues would be in the form of bringing you, not the money, but the way to resolve the problem. Same thing with love. Don't ask "I want Molly to love me!". Ask the great goddess to bring you one to complete and fulfill you. If that happens to be Molly, then so be it.
The lives of the Priestess?
The modern world is much different than the ancient world. In times of old, the Pagan / Wiccan Priestesses and Priests were revered. They lived in temples and wanted for very little. Those of faith would care for their spiritual leaders. In modern times, you may very easily be working next to a Priestess or Priest. You are just as likely to find the as a leader of industry as you are as fry cook at your local fast food joint. Though it is changing rapidly, most places of employment frown on wearing of Pagan / Wiccan talismans, though they do not have a problem with a cross, crucifix or star of David.
The most powerful 'clergy' within the Pagan and Wiccan followings in the modern day are many times unknown to all but their coven or group. And while all Wiccans are considered Pagans, not all Pagans are Wiccan.
Wicca Frequently Asked Questions
For those that follow another path:
Let us not quarrel - There is enough of that in the world let us be brethren and seek the truth and balance together.
If you hold an opinion different from my own, discuss it with me and find what is similar, not different.
Freedom of Religion means ANY religion.
This is the way of the Witch and the Wiccan. And the only way for me to live.
What is a witch?
A witch above all worships the Triple Goddess and her Consort, The Horned God, in one form or another and is a seeker of truths both common and unseen. A Witch works Magick within a defined code of ethics and will sacrifice their life before they break this code. A Witch acknowledges and uses the male-female polarity in his/her rites and consistently seeks that balance. A Witch takes total responsibility for their actions, their selves and their future. Above all else, a Witch will not allow another come to harm through their practice, even if in doing so, they must themselves, come to harm.
What is Wicca?
In the strictest sense, Wicca translates to "Wise". Though there is an ancient following, the modern Wiccan uses their ability to BEND, not BREAK the world around them. They are on a constant search of the balance in all things.
What is Witchcraft?
This is question that has been and will be argued by poets, scholars and fools until time comes to an end. Many believe that Wicca and the practice of Witchcraft are the same, but as this page has pointed out, they are different and separate. Witchcraft is the manipulation of the world around you for a specific reason. That reason could be healing or helping, or in some rare cases, revenge or harm. This does NOT follow the Witches Code of Ethics and is frowned upon even with Witches' circles.
Do Witches worship Satan?
No, they do not. Though a Satanist (one who follows the dark lord) may consider themselves a Witch, but terminology, they cannot follow harm none in a Black Mass which requires a life force to gain the favor of the Dark one. Witches and Wiccans for the most part do not subscribe to the beliefs of divine good or evil. More so, they believe that the good or evil is within the heart or spirit of the Witch. You can do just as much evil as good just as you can with a car or a bottle of wine. Many people in modern time see the "horned god" of Wicca as the devil of Christianity. This is not the case as he is simply a carnal force of nature. Only modern stigma relates carnal actions as 'evil'. After all, sexuality is a carnal act, and without it, there would be no procreation.
Who do Witches worship?
This is difficult question to answer. This can vary within a single community. Within my own community, there are several dozen different "followings". The key is to work in harmony with those around you. There is a often used (and frowned upon) acronym of PETABE that is loosely meant to represent "The powers that be". Each path is one of individual travel. We find our way as best we can, sometimes with the help of our fellows, sometimes alone. But always there is power around us to guide us. Some may call this God/Goddess, some may use a name such as Odin or Baal (another name for Satan in a positive light) and others may simply refer to it as "the light". Wiccans for the most part, follow the teachings of the Triple Goddess, which is Maiden, Mother and Crone. This represents the triplicate of the feminine life as she travels though it. The maid(en) grows, matures and learns, the Mother nurtures and the Crone educates. The male versions of these are the Master, the father and the Sage.
Can a Witch also be Christian?
To a certain extent, you could be a Christian Witch, but this is riddled with spiritual problems. As Christians by nature are against the carnal or animalist side of the human condition, it may be difficult to embrace that side of you while maintaining a Christian lifestyle. Again, to mention the Christian Bible verse of Exodus 22:18, the two paths are in conflict. But it does happen.
How do I become a witch?
As with anything, you can choose to be a witch or you are born to it. These are choices that we make in our path through this life. If you are born a Baptist, you can remain so though your life if you choose to follow this path. As for TheAncient of Ancient Pathway, he comes from 8 generations (verified) of Wiccans, Witches, Sorcerers and Sages. But in his life, his Father was Baptist and raised him until the age of 14 with no knowledge of the history of his family. He had to make a choice when he discovered that history. This site exists because he chose to follow the path of the Wiccan, pagan and the ways of Enochian Magicks. At 15 years of age, TheAncient left home and followed the path of his Mother.
To become a Witch as a choice means that you are willing to seek out your personal truth, study, take responsibility of the self and the world around you.
The Wiccan Rede
Bide ye wiccan laws you must, in perfect love and
Live ye must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.
Form the circle thrice about to keep unwelcome
To bind your spell will every time, let the spell be spoke in rhyme.
Soft of eye and light of touch, speak ye little,
Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out ye baleful tune.
When ye Lady's moon is new, kiss your hand to her
When ye moon rides at her peak, then your heart's desire seek.
Heed the north winds mighty gale, lock the door
and trim the sail.
When the wind comes from the south, love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the east, expect the new
and set the feast.
When the wind blows from the west, Bardic words be at their best!
Nine woods in the cauldron go, burn them fast and
burn them slow.
Elder be ye Lady's tree, burn it not or cursed ye'll be.
When the wheel begins to turn, soon ye Beltane
fires will burn.
When the wheel hath turned a Yule, light the log the Horned One rules.
Heed ye flower, bush and tree, by the Lady
Where the rippling waters go, cast a stone, the truth ye'll know.
When ye have and hold a need, harken not to
With a fool no season spend, or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and
warm the heart.
Mind ye threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow, wear the star upon thy
True in love ye ever be, lest thy love be false to thee.
Bide ye wiccan laws you must, in perfect love and
These eight words the rede fulfill;
An it harm none, do what ye will
- Author Unknown
This is a chant and tome that is used by most Pagans and Wiccans. This is not a tenant for your life or a set of rules as the 10 commandments are. This is a way to practice, learn and seek knowledge.
The Rede is a way to live. If you follow the heart of what is meant by the Wiccan Rede, you will find that good comes to you and that life will be good. And even when it isn't, you will have help with the bad that comes to you.
The Ethics of Witchcraft
In April 1974, the Council of American Witches
adopted a set
of Principles which we
personally believe in:
1) We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters.
2) We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
3) We acknowledge a depth of power far greater that that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called "supernatural", but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
4) We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity--as masculine and feminine--and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.
5) We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc.--and we see in the inter-action of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
6) We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.
7) We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it--a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft--the Wiccan Way.
8) Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch--but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.
9) We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.
10) Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be 'the only way' and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.
11) As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and future.
12) We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as 'Satan' or 'the Devil' as defined by the Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, no accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.
13) We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.
Like everyone else
Pagan, Wiccan or Witch!
We do not wear our hearts on our sleeves or our faith on our bodies, at least not for the most part.
You can not look at someone and say "That person is a Witch" unless they choose to mark themselves (tattoos) or wear icons that identify themselves. But this is something that is shared with all faiths and followings. You can see a crucifix and know that a person is a Christian, and you can see a pentagram and know that a person follows the way of the witch.
However, more than likely, the person standing next to you at the grocery store, or waiting in line for gas, could easily be Wiccan. They are doctors, lawyers, and grocery store clerks.
The only real way to know...is to ask.
The Various Paths of the Wiccan Faith
NOTE: This information is NOT written by Ancient Pathway or the Ancient. This text was offered by Richard Segwie of Willow Street PA as a request to Ancient Pathway for inclusion of the various paths of the Wiccan faith. Though Richard has verified that this is NOT plagiarized and is an original work, thus far this information has not been verified. If you are the author of this information and would like proper credit to be offered, please email the Ancient though our contact page. This information was added March 17 1996 to the Ancient Pathway Library. Richard was taken from us a month later.
This information tries to convey, without prejudice or favor all the different flavors that Wicca and Witchcraft have taken over the years. As with everything that is important in your life, this is a decision that will have to be made by you.
This is a look at the many varied traditions in the Wicca Family of Faiths. Whilst there is, indeed, a large number of groups who profess one set of tenants, or ideas; one soon begins to see why they may all be lumped together as one Religion.
Obviously, to start, one must define Religion as it
applies to these groups of people. Next, a listing of some
of the more popular traditions, giving a basic description
of each. Lastly, some comments on the "cords which bind
these groups together", i.e.. a discussion on the underlying
philosophies of the New Age Movement, Neo-Paganisms in
I. What is a Religion?
A dictionary definition of religion looks something like:
Religion, n.; An organized system of beliefs and/or rituals, centering on a supernatural being or beings.So far so good. If you understand that statement, you are a step up already. Good. I think we can all agree on definitions for "Beliefs" and "Supernatural", so the only sub-definition will be "Ritual": any ordered sequence of events or actions, including directed thoughts, especially one that is repeated in the 'same' manner each time, and that is designed to produce a predictable altered state of consciousness, within which certain magical or religious results may be obtained.
Now, by using these definitions, the astute reader may realize that one need not "believe" in anything in order to belong to a religion, although most 'established' churches do require that one has conforming beliefs in order to become 'accepted into' that Religion. One of the beauties of the Pagan/NeoPagan/Wiccan Religion is that the majority of the sects do not require one to have 'conforming' beliefs. One need not believe in the God/dess in order to worship them, and this is the key to being a New Age type religion.
New Age religions acknowledge that there are many paths to Godhood, and that each person should find his/her own way. Thus, while there is communication and discussion between the diverse ways of Wicca, there is generally no cause for religious persecution or Holy Wars. Also, there are very little 'missionary' type efforts, since there is no Prime Directive stating that everyone who does not believe a certain piece of dogma is wrong, and will burn in hell forever, unless saved, or made to see the light.
Contrary to most religions, it is not the shared set of
beliefs, or similar dogma which holds the Wiccan religions
together. Rather, it is the attitudes of the people
involved, and their common heritage which provide the bonds
of cooperation among the Pagan peoples. These points of
agreement shall be further addressed following a brief list
of some of the more popular Traditions, with a description
[Keep in mind that this list is far from inclusive]
Started about the same time as Gardner's, this tradition is fairly similar, with a little more emphasis upon ceremonial magick. Alex Sanders founded this path in England during the 1960's. There are numerous covens in both US and Europe.
B. British Traditionalist
Like Dianic, this is a sub-class and a mix of Celtic and Gardnerian beliefs. Each traditionalist group is based upon the traditions, literature, myth, and folktales of that particular geographic/demographic area. This is evident in the names of the God/dess used by individual groups. They are fairly structured in their beliefs, and train through the degree processes.
C. Celtic Wicca
The use of a Celtic/Druidic pantheon and heavily stressing the elements, nature and the Ancient Ones. They have a vast knowledge of and respect for the healing and magickal qualities of plants and stones, flowers, trees, elemental spirits, the little people, gnomes and fairies.
D. Caledonii (Hecatine)
Also known as Hecatine, this denomination is Scottish in origin, and still preserves the unique festivals of the Scots.
This is more of a sub-class, rather than a particular tradition pinpointed by Margaret Murray in 1921 in "The Witch-Cult in Western Europe". There are several feminist traditions which are considered dianic. This sub-class tends to emphasize the female aspect of the Goddess, sometimes to the exclusion of the male God. Some feel that these groups are rather reactionary and self limiting (this webmaster agrees). Be that as it may, the Dianic covens tend to be more politically active.
Basically, it indicates that the individual does not follow any particular tradition, denomination, sect or magickal practice. They learn and study from many magickal systems and apply to themselves what appears to work best.
G. Frost School of Wicca:
Headed by Gavin and Yvonne Frost, this school is the largest correspondence school of Witchcraft in the US. Numerous covens have resulted from this school, although it is somewhat unconventional (if, that is, anything dealing with Wicca could be called conventional). The Frosts' views on Wicca as a religion do differ with the majority.. in that they do not consider Wicca as "Pagan", but rather as Monotheistic.
Started by G. Gardner, in England, in the mid 1950's, this tradition claims to have existed, in secret, since the Witch-Burnings began during the Middle Ages. While there is some doubt as to whether or not it is as old as it claims, there is no denying that the Gardnerian sect has been one of the most influential of the traditions. In fact, many of the groups which follow were started by people who had been introduced to Paganism and the worship of the Lord and Lady as members of a Gardnerian group.
A structured religion with definite hierarchy within each group (known, as a coven), but little to no authority of one coven over another. Within the coven, a matriarchy exists, with the High Priestess generally being considered the leader (there are, of course, exceptions to this, but these descriptions are, for the most part, only generalizations based upon information gathered from many sources). The typical Gardnerian view of the God/dess is that of a Dominant three-faced Goddess (maiden, mother, and crone) with a male consort (who has many names.. the Young Summer King, and the Old Winter King). Ceremonies include a series of initiations into higher levels of the craft, various holiday celebrations(based, of course, upon the "Wheel of the Year" calendar of Feast days.
Scottish Witchcraft that attunes itself to all aspects of nature: animal, vegetable, and mineral. It is a solitary form of The Craft and mainly magickal in nature with little religion
J. Seax-Wica (or Saxon) Wicca:
Started by Raymond Buckland, who was originally a leader in promoting the Gardnerian tradition, as an alternative to the existing covens. Unlike most traditions, which consider the coven group to be the normal unit of division (i.e.. all ceremonies/rituals = group rites), the Seax version has provision for lone witches (often referred to as Solitaires). Another thing which sets this particular brand apart is its non-reliance upon being properly initiated into the Wiccan community. Many of the other groups require that new members be brought to existing covens to be ceremonially initiated into that tradition, and that only after years of study within the group is one ready to start a new coven. The Seax tradition, recognizing that there may not be a friendly, neighborhood coven, allows for self-initiation, and auto setup of a coven.
Follows a tradition seated in Italy that began around 1353 with a woman called Aradia. Of all the traditional Witches, this group appears to be the smallest in number in The United States; however their teachings are beautiful and should not be missed.
L. Teutonic (Nordic)
From ancient time the Teutons have been recognized as a group of people who speak the Germanic group of languages. Culturally, this included the English, Dutch, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish peoples. This is also called the Nordic tradition.
As stated earlier, it's not doctrine/dogma similarities which tend to hold these diverse groups together, rather, it is the common ideals and feelings expressed by the Pagan peoples themselves. Here are some examples:
The Wiccan Rede: "An it harms none, do what thou will." is almost universally accepted amongst the groups. Most groups tend to be polytheistic, animists, pantheists, et. One is not "converted" to Wicca, rather, the new comer feels a sense of "coming home", or, more poetically, "The Goddess calls to her own". Nature plays a big part in most traditions, either as direct personification of the God/dess, or as aspects of them. There is no counterpart to the Devil, as such, in the Pagan religions... no personification of 'all evil', rather, the choice is there for all to make. However, there is the Law of Three Fold Return, which states "That which thou dost send out shall return three fold", so good begets good, and evil befalls those who are evil (a horrendous understatement / simplification, but true).