Introduction to Witchcraft

Let me begin by saying that most of those who reach this page looking for answers will not find what they believe they will. For those looking for "Hogwarts" or a Harry Potter world, this is not it. The Harry Potter books are fictional stories written by an author who had a good idea. Nothing in those books is real. Flying on broomsticks, waving sparkly wands around and changing things in the blink of an eye are all part of a fantasy that does not exist in this world. If you have come here with pre-conceived notions based on things you have seen on "Charmed," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "The Craft," or any other work of fiction, I have sad news for you. Real magick isn't nearly as dramatic or showy. Being a witch is a way of life. There is real magick in the world and there are real witches. You probably know a few. Unfortunately, they don't spend their spare time locked up in their castle tower changing themselves into animals, zapping people with curses, turning their eyes and hair different colors, running around with demons, or just generally messing with the whole space-time continuum. There is plenty of good news, however. You will be happy to learn that yes, fairies are real and so are dragons. You probably will never have the rare treat of meeting one, but it's nice to know that they exist. There are plenty of spells to learn and enchantments to make, but you won't be seeing any sparkles or make candles light on their own. There is a myriad of potions to brew, but none of them will turn you into a toad or bring you back from the dead. Fantasy is unfortunately much more appealing that the truth.

Who can be a Witch?

The word "witch" is used for both male and female practitioners of magick. Male witches are not called warlocks. I have no idea who coined that term, but it is very insulting to call someone a "warlock." Not just anyone can be a witch. Indeed, it takes a very special kind of person. Witchcraft is the study and use of magick and this magick comes from the Earth. magick does not help anyone who has no respect for it, so it is important that you respect the "powers that be" at all times. This is not a game and spells should not be flung about like they are in some popular television shows I refuse to mention here. Power comes from years of experience. The more you practice, the better you will get.

Going along with the whole idea of respect, it is important that you determine how much respect you have for the Earth before undergoing any type of magickal work. It is not wise to bite the hand that feeds you, so to speak. People who go on to become great witches are those with a very deep-seated love and respect for the Earth and all of her inhabitants. If you have a strange connection to plants, and animals, and growing things makes you happy, you may very well be looking in the right place. If you are in love with nature then you might just find yourself at peace within the magickal world. I advise that you take concern over environmental problems, look into living a healthy natural lifestyle, and give service to our Mother Earth if you decide to undertake these lessons that have been outlined here.

What is Wicca?

Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not evil. Wiccans do not follow the devil. Wiccans do not even believe in the devil. Wicca is a nature oriented religion which centers around a single deity (known as the All) which encompasses all things in the universe and without. This All is divided into two equal halves much the same way as the universe is divided into two halves. There is light and dark, male and female, good and evil, etc. These are often evident in the two deities called the Lord and the Lady. Each represents a perfect and equal half and complement each other much like the yin and the yang. The Lord is a father figure. He represents animals, the soul, fathering, passion and the wild. He is symbolized by the color gold, air, fire, and by the Sun. The Lady or Goddess represents the earth mother, motherhood, nurturing, femininity, and that which we can touch. She is symbolized by water, earth and the moon. Wiccans believe in honoring their deities and in living in harmony with nature and the universe. Witches sometimes practice in groups of up to thirteen called covens. Covens are used to bring different people of a faith together so that they may learn from each other's experiences. Witches can also work alone. They are called solitaries. Wiccans are generally considered witches because they practice the art of magick. Not all witches, however, are Wiccans. Wicca is a religion and witchcraft is simply the practice of the magickal arts.

Because Wiccans worship nature, their holidays coincide with significant days of the year. All of the four seasons are celebrated as well as four other holidays which fall between each. All of the eight holidays are spaced at exactly the same number of days apart and do not always fall on the same day each year. Most of these holidays coincide with Christian holidays such as Christmas (Yule) and Easter (Ostara). These holidays are called the Sabbats or Sabbaths. Witches also may or may not celebrate what are called Esbats. Esbats are specific lunar dates that are of major importance. These are the new moons and the full moons. There are 13 full moons during the year, each representing one month. Thus, the pagan calendar has thirteen months and not twelve. Most today represent these lost days in the thirteenth month to leap year. These holidays are meant to celebrate the earth and her cycles of nature.

Wiccans follow one basic fundamental rule: "harm none." The Wiccan Rede or "Law" states: "Abide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: 'An' it harm none, do what ye will.' And ever mind the rule of three: what ye send out comes back to thee. Follow this with mind and heart, and merry meet and merry part." The main goal of Wicca is to harm none. Wiccans base their lives on self discipline and helping others. Most spells are done for healing, love, friendship and to help others. You will not find Wiccan spells for harming others or spells which are destructive in any way.

Wicca is a recognized religion worldwide and is protected by the United States Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not an ancient religion. Some of the ideas and rituals follow what is believed to have been practiced by the early Nordic tribes, but the religion was founded in the early 1960's and was at the time considered a "New Age Religion." Many unseasoned Wiccans will often refer to their following as "The Olde Ways." This is often the result of misinformation from other witches either on the internet or in books who claim that they follow ancient traditions. Some will even claim that their beliefs were handed down from century to century and guarded against Christians and others who might seek to waylay witches and traditional witchcraft. Unfortunately, virtually no information has survived to this day and we must rely on skepticism to learn how ancient peoples worshiped.

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