Hereditary Italian Witchcraft

La Vecchia Religione: The Old Religion

Italian Word English Word
Strega (Stray-gah) Witch (female)
Stregone (Stray-go-nay) Witch (male)
Treguenda (Tray-gwen-dah) Sabbat
Veglione (Vay-yoe-nay) Esbat
Stregeria (Stray-gare-e-a) Witchcraft
Boschetto (Bos-ket-oh) Coven
La Vecchia (La-vek-kia) (slang) The Craft

The Old Religion of Italy is called La Vecchia Religione (La-vek-kia Re-lidge-oh-nay). In La Vecchia, female witches are called Strega and males are called Stregone. In the structure of a Boschetto there are several offices or positions. Most groups are run by a woman who is a High Priestess, assisted by a man who is a High Priest. The High Priestess has an assistant known as Dama D'onore (Dama-Dee-o-nor-ay). This is like a Queen's attendant except that it the Goddess who she actually is serving during the ritual, represented by the High Priestess. The High Priest has an assistant called "La Guardia" who is the Guardian of the ritual area. In the days of the Inquisition it was his duty to protect the High Priestess and High Priest if the Christians should attack the ritual gathering. It was also his responsibility to keep the new initiates from disrupting the ritual, by helping move them along as needs be. Both positions of service are "in training" for the respective positions of High Priestess and High Priest.

There are four degrees, or stages, of attainment, within La Vecchia. The 1st is a time of training and orientation. The 2nd is becoming a Priestess or a Priest of the Old Ways. The 3rd is becoming a High Priestess or High Priest. The 4th is when a person actually dies, and we say that she, or he, has taken 4th Degree.

Over all of the 3 Degrees, is the position of Grimas (Gree-mahs). A Grimas oversees the Tradition as a whole, and is responsible for its preservation. A Grimas makes sure that nothing is ever written out of any ritual material, or edited from any oral teaching. In Italy, this is a much respected position, and a Grimas always has the final word in all matters regarding the preservation of the Ways. This position can be held by either a woman or a man, though for the most part, La Vecchia is a matriarchal system. A High Priestess always has "authority" over that of a High Priest. However, a Grimas (regardless of gender) always has "authority" over the High Priestess, in matters concerning the integrity of the Tradition as a whole. Each Clan has a Grimas, and this is why the Religion has survived intact down through the Ages. Preservation of the Ways of a People requires a structured System. Without this you have, well, look around.

The Lare House

In the Aridian Tradition, we have a belief in spirits known as the Lare (Lar-ay), or Lasa (Lah-sah). In a way, these are spirits who carry the memories of our Ancestors. They are the Collective Consciousness of our Clans. They are also Nature spirits similar to the Elven or Fay, but are considered a different Race.

The Lasa appear in Etruscan Mythology and the Lare appear in Roman Mythology. In the Aridian Mythos there is a blending of the two. Aridian Initiates are required to obtain, or to construct, a Lare house, as part of their training. These spirits houses can be of any design, however the Roman Temple design is the most common. These are simply two pillars supporting a cross beam. At the base is a small protruding ledge upon which offerings may be placed. As part of the Community rites a votive candle is placed on the ledge. Whenever someone in the Family has a birthday, or some other personal event, the candle is lit as part of the Celebration. The children of our Clan seem to enjoy lighting the candles, and sharing in the tradition of the Lare.

Offerings are placed before the Lare house on each of the Seasonal Rites, and each Full Moon. These are usually offerings of grain, or nectar. Nectar is a mixture of milk, honey and wine. As part of the Rite of the Lare, the names of our ancestors (and "departed" Clan members) are recalled in a "toast" before the Lare House. This traditional rite has served to preserve the lines of descent back into Time.

We view the Lare as many spirits who comprise a single Consciousness. In other words as a Community of spirits. They are connected to us through our worship of the Nature and the Old Ways, and through that of our Ancestors. Through our practices they recognize us as those who gathered in ancient times, and they "follow" us through Time. This is a very primitive belief, but is still honored today.

Aradian Pantheon

I thought that you might like to know about some of the Gods and Goddesses of the Aridian Tradition. The list given here is only partial, and I am using the common names of these Deities. In the Aridian Tradition the original names of the Deities are not revealed until the Second Degree Initiation (as they are considered names of the Priestess Craft/Priest Craft). These are names, however, which we do use:

The Goddesses

Tana: the Star Goddess (Universal Aspect)
Jana: Goddess of the Moon, and the Mysteries of the Moon
Fana: Goddess of the Earth, and of Fertility
Fortuna: Goddess of Fortune, Fate, and Luck
Carmen/Carmina: Goddess of the casting of spells, and of Enchantments
Diana: The Triad Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Crone. Goddess of outcasts, outlaws, slaves, and oppressed Peoples. Diana encompasses many other Goddesses, and is the name also used for the Moon Goddess, Earth Goddess, and Star Goddess.
Umbria: Goddess of the Shadows. Umbria is the Dark Aspect of the Goddess (waning moon), and rules with DIS in the Underworld. Goddess of things which are Hidden, or secret.
Nox: Goddess of the Night. Nox rules the Darkness which falls upon the Earth, and all within it. She is the sister of Umbria, and shares her associations (except for the Underworld connection). Nox can be a bit on the sinister side if care is not taken.
Astrea: Goddess of Justice
Cpoia: Goddess of Abundance and Plenty
Pertunda: Goddess of sexual love and sexual pleasure

The Gods

Janus: God of the Sun, and god of all beginnings, portals, doorways, and thresholds. It was Janus who brought the elements into harmony from Chaos.
Faunus: Nature God of Fertility (similar to Pan)
Tanus: The Star God (Universal Aspect)
Terminus: God of boundaries, protector of personal property
Dianus: Nature God of Fertility, similar to Faunus except that he is a Stag God instead of a Goat God. He is also known by the name Kern or Cern.
Februus: God of purification and initiation
Comus: God of revelry, feasting, drinking, and the "pleasures of the night".
Corvus: Messenger of the Gods. Also the Trickster God, known as Raven.
Lupercus: The Wolf God
Anteros: God of Passion and Sexual Unions
Virbius: God of outcasts and outlaws. Guardian of Sanctuaries

From: Jana Hollingsworth
Are the secret names of the deities in Etruscan? Or are you not allowed to say?

From: Raven Grimassi
I cannot go into this completely, but I can say that many of the names can be found in the Etruscan Pantheon. Some of the names are not exact matches, but are so close that they surely must have a common origin. There are a couple of names, however, which seem to be unique unto themselves. The curious thing about our relationship to Etruscan, is that we do not share the basic Mythos. Little is known publicly of Etruscan Mythology, but in many cases what we do know does not match Aridian Mythology. Their Underworld mythos, for example, is completely different. On the other hand, many of the natures of the Gods & Goddesses do seem to match. Perhaps it is a case of ancient Roman eclecticism, but then again we do not consider our Tradition to have grown out of Roman Religion entirely. Curious.

Water Scrying

This technique is a very ancient one, and common among Shamanistic Traditions. Divination is the ability to see what patterns are forming towards manifestation. What you "see" is actually what is likely to occur if nothing changes the pattern being "woven". Here is a technique which I teach: Pour some bottled water into a cereal bowl. Mix either a blue or a green food color into the water, so that the liquid is dark enough to hide the bottom of the bowl. At this point you have a reflective surface. Place two candles as your source of light, so that the light does not reflect upon the liquid (off a foot or two, in front of you should do it). Next is a series of hand passes over the liquid, slowly and deliberately. Magickally speaking, the right hand is of an electrical nature/active charge, and the left hand is of a magnetic/receptive charge. Right handed pass will strengthen the image and left handed passes will attract the image to form. Begin by making left handed passes over the bowl, in a clockwise circle, just a few inches above the water (palms open and facing down). Stop, and gaze into the dark liquid, not at the liquid, but into the liquid. You will need to repeat these passes as you go, from time to time. Alternate between the left hand and the right hand. This requires patience, and time. Use your intuition as you sit before the bowl. Make sure the area is quiet and there are no distractions.

Drinking some Rosemary tea, prior to Divination, can aid in the work. There are several herbs which aid the Psychic Mind, this is just one of them (careful though, Rosemary can be toxic in large quantities).

Elementals

In the case of an artificially created elemental, you must specifically state the date in which it will cease to exist. If you do not, it is quite likely that the elemental will move off into the astral, and begin to manifest there. It does not require a name in order to exist. The purpose for giving it a name, is to have some control over it, while it serves its designed purpose. Whether it survives as a permanent, and separate entity on the Astral Plane, is dependent upon many factors. The danger here is, though, that it is still connected to its "creator", and once established upon the Planes, can effect the creator in return. This is why it is essential that its lifespan be stated once it is created, and a method for making sure that it "ceases to be" must be ready as well. Usually, this is done by making a hollow image of the elemental and filling it with a Magickal condenser. Once "charged", by simply pouring out a bit of the condenser at a time, the elemental will ebb away. Once the fluid is gone, so too is the artificial elemental. Now, as to the ethics of all of this.

Befana: A "Christmas Witch"

Just wanted to share an old custom from Italy, concerning a witch during the Yule/Christmas Season. Though purely pagan, it is still a part of the Season there (among Christians and Pagans alike). In Italy there is a figure similar to Santa Claus, except that she is a witch named Befana. On January 6th, children set out stockings to be filled by the "good witch" Befana. She has a consort who accompanies her (usually in Festival Parades) named Befano. Early in the evening an indeterminate number of people gather, and Befana takes to the streets accompanied by her husband and entourage. She is accompanied by a makeshift band of 3 or 4 musicians, and a live horse. They will go from house to house, singing the Befana song. Having done this, the Befana and her company receive a glass of wine, or a bite to eat, and continue on.

In a book by Carol Field (Celebrating Italy) Befana is associated with Hecate. An etching by Bartolomeo Pinelli in 1825, shows Befana as the Mother Goddess seated and surrounded by fruits, grains, and other items of the Harvest. The celebration of Befana ends in a burning in effigy. Upon a hill a pyramid of corn sheaves, brushwood, and pine branches are piled. The effigy of Befana is placed on top, and fire is set to the wood. Chestnuts are tossed in as symbols of fertility. Custom says that if the smoke blows to the West, then the crops will be poor. If to the East, it is an omen of a year of abundance. This has many similarities to the Slain God Mythos. This rite is not one of punishment, but one of replenishing the Earth through returning the Life Giver, Herself. In Italy today, candy images of Befana, and statues are available during the Season. My mother says that Befana and Befano are remnants of the old God & Goddess of the Witch Clans, preserved by witches from the time of the Persecution. Seems likely when you do some research. There are two books (written in Italian) which present the associations of Befana with various seasonal rites. These are; The Sacred Day (a book of Festivals) by Franco Cardini. The Calendar: Festivals, Myths, Legends, and Rites of the Year (also by Cardini — professor of History at the University of Florence).

The words to the song follow, however something is lost in the translation (as they say). Also, even in the Italian there is little attempt at rhyme:
"Upon the wind the snow is falling and is blown on the wind before, and with a light step she descends to us, a witch that is dear to you all a witch that many here love who comes every year to find you she has arrived with us 'la Befana' every heart is full of joy from among the valley, villages, and countryside our Befana has arrived here she has brought a great sackful of gifts that she wants to give to you dear children that promise to be good for their mothers and fathers."

(tempo changes here, and another verse begins)

"And now friends you that are here we want to sing and dance and a ballet we want to do with the Befana and Befano and we want to salute you all friends we shall always remain and the Befana before she goes wishes you all happiness and prosperity.”

This is repeated twice. Another part of the custom which I neglected to mention deals with the children preparing for the arrival of Befana (before the festivities). Each child writes his or her wishes upon a piece of paper and places it in the fireplace, allowing the small bit of paper to float up the chimney.

My mother says that the Befana customs differ somewhat from region to region, in Italy. I know that in Naples, the street festivals are no longer commonplace, and I hear that in the region of Val d' Aosta the Befana celebrations have all but vanished. Still, the custom survives (due to the Children, no doubt). The Old Lady is still going strong!

Historical Background

For those who expressed interest in the Aridian Tradition, I would like to share the following historical background material:
In 30 B.C.E. (common era) the Roman poet Horace, wrote a work which is called the Epodes of Horace. In part, it is a dialogue between he and a witch (from Naples, Italy) named Canidia. In epode 5 he associates Proserpine and Diana with witches in a Mystery Cult. In epode 17 he also names these goddesses as "Patron" goddesses of Witchcraft, and states that witches use a book called Libros Carminum by which they "call down the moon", make philtres and evoke spirits. Other Roman writers of the Era such as Lucan and Ovid clearly support the theme of Horace's writings. From this we can conclude that the association of witches with Diana was common knowledge. The association of Proserpine with the Old Ways is important also, as can be seen in the Underworld mythos/descent legend. Bear in mind that this is being said in 30 B.C.E. in Italy (not in the 1950's of Gerald Gardner). As will be seen here, the association of Diana with Italian witches, will come to be called "The society of Diana".

Epode 5 : "— Night and Diana, who command silence when secret mysteries are performed, now aid me: now turn your vengeance and influence against my enemies' houses —"

Epode 17: (to Canidia) "Now already I yield to your mighty art, and suppliant beseech you by the realms of Proserpine, and by the powers of Diana, not to be provoked, and by your books of enchantments that are able to call down the fixed stars from heaven Canidia, at length spare your Magick words, and turn backward your swift wheel —"

(Canidia replies) "— must I, who can move waxen images and call down the Moon from the sky by my spells, who can raise the vaporous dead, and mix a draught of love, lament the effect of my art availing nothing upon you?"

So, you can see that this association of Diana with Italian witches is quite old. Also note the use of the term "call down the Moon" with the Italian witch Canidia.

From: Robert Thomas
It should be noted for the record that Horace was writing a satire in the Epodes, rather than a study on witchcraft. This indicates that the things in it were not his own inventions (except maybe the book-name) but were public opinion of the times. The concept of drawing down the moon can be traced back to the witches of Thessaly, and is mentioned as early as 300 BCE in Greek literature. Also, the "popular" witch (as opposed to the actual witch) was almost always female and worked exclusively with the chthonic powers (i.e., the scary ones) like Night (Nyx), the Furies, the Harpies, Hekate, Diana, Selene, etc. etc. as opposed to the Olympian gods.

From: Raven Grimassi
Actually, Horace wrote his satires in The Satires of Horace. The Epodes were lyric poems/songs, and were written for various reasons. The dialogue concerning the witch Canidia was not intended as a study of Witchcraft, but simply illustrates some of the common thinking of the Era. You mention Diana and Hecate as the "scary" ones, as opposed to the Olympian gods (who I assume you think are the good guys?). To a witch, the powers of Night are not scary, nor are its Deities. My mother used to say that the moon was more powerful than the sun, because the moon can be out at both day time, and at night. But the sun can only show itself during the day (a most inferior light). The Olympian gods represented the restrictive Roman System, to early Italian witches, and they preferred the deities of the common folk. Diana was, among other things, the goddess of the oppressed (something Rome was rather fond of doing). I find the non-Olympians worthy in their own rite. There is little more beautiful than the night of a Full Moon, and a circle of Her children in loving worship, beneath Her. We see the Sun/God as Her worthy Consort, and a balance. When I see what goes on during the day, such as Corporations spewing filth into the air and the waters, governments plotting against one another, Wall Street and so forth, Well — now that is scary!

From: Robert Thomas
No, no, Raven, you misunderstood. I don't personally think that the chthonic gods are scary at all; I'm friends with most of them, and one of them is my patron! I meant that they were scary to the average Roman citizen of the time. Horace's writings reflected popular opinions of witches, rather than their actual practices. In all of the Classical and Greco-Roman spells that I've seen, the Olympians were not excluded; anybody that they thought might be willing to help, they invoked. A number of the spells read like Hesiods Theogony with a request tacked on to the end, so I wouldn't call them limited in their scope. Still, to the educated Roman citizen, the witch was thought to represent a dangerous feminine power which was not under the control of the Empire and thus was antagonistic to the Roman way of life and to its gods (the Olympians) as well. This was their (the Romans) conception, not the truth of the matter. These conceptions were what Horace was drawing from when he wrote his works, since this group (the educated Romans) were the audience for which his works were intended (actually, they were the only ones who could read them, since literacy was not common among the people). Hope this has made my point a little clearer and look forward to reading your other posts — Gwydion

From: Martin Dugan III
Is it true that you guys really worship the ancient gods of Rome and Greece?

From Raven Grimassi
Different cultural Traditions worship different deities. I follow an old Italian Tradition and worship some of the ancient goddesses and gods who were known to the ancient Romans. A wise Holy Woman who lived during the 14th Century in Italy addressed the issue of there being different gods in an interesting manner. She was asked which God should be worshiped and she answered saying: In a man's lifetime he is known by many names and titles. To one person he is called "brother" and by another he is called "father". To still another he may be called "cousin" or even "husband". Some may call him "sir" or some by his given name, but is he still not the one man?" She was addressing the issue of Deity and the need for Humankind to give it a name or a title. She taught that Deity was not as petty as Humankind and had no need to be addressed by a particular name only, or in a particular manner only. These were Human concepts and expressions of the limited understanding of Humankind. Oops, sorry, I guess I wandered away from your original question. Blessings to you, Raven

We chose the word "Aridian" instead of "Aradian" for two reasons. First there was an Aradian system already established in the mid-west during the early 80's and they were following a modified version of Leland's Aradia. I did not want to be confused with their system. Secondly, Arida was the name of an old village in Italy where Aradia and her followers first began to practice as a group. So, we decided upon the term Aridian (two birds with one stone, so to speak).

Arts of Witchcraft

This is a series of notes concerning the arts of the Craft; meaning Magick and ritual etc. This first note is on "energy".

When you hold your hands a few inches apart, palms facing, you create an electromagnetic field between them. This magnetism indicates the presence of polarities; opposite poles which attract one another. The first thing we can say about energy is that it is composed of opposites. The best way to understand these opposites is to think of them as directions of force:
feminine masculine
negative positive
inward outward

Though we divide them to talk about them, these opposites within energy can never be separated. One cannot exist without the other. Positive and negative pulls are both necessary for movement. Together the two create vibration. When opposites are in the correct relationship the result is balance.

The second thing we can say about energy is that it is balanced. Balance is the natural state of the Universe. However when energy becomes plural it is reduced to positive and negative charges and is considered unbalanced. Because they are incomplete forms of the universal "all", energies set up separation between the whole and its parts.

Separations of such, manifest physically and mentally. Held as such they must occupy definable territories. You may have noticed this in yourself perhaps as a sadness in the heart area or fear in the pit of your stomach. These are energies occupying space. When energies are held in by emotion they can be felt as a weight or a presence. Another word for energy is ego. Ego separates us from the All. The truth is that we are no more or less than anything around us. Everything is a physical manifestation of energy in its state of positive and negative charges. The effects of Magick are worked through the aspect of energy which the modern systems sometimes term "od" or "odic" force. It is the vital element which flows through all terrestrial globes and all living beings. By its various influences this agent attracts some things to others and keeps other things away as well. The Human body radiates this energy. It can submit one person to another's will. The Odic force is capable of being consciously developed, energized and intensified. It is this power concentrated and directed which is the basis of personal Magick. The will of the person performing a work of such Magick concentrates and controls the energy. This concentration of energy is then sent to its goal, either stored in a talisman or sent in a thought-form to the person or thing to be effected. The power of the odic force must be used in accordance with the solar and lunar tides, as well as Cosmic Tides.

From: Jana Hollingsworth
In your first note concerning energy, you say that energy is "composed of opposites," by which you mean it is polar in nature. This sounds like you mean all energy is polar. While electro-magnetism is polar, the other three forces of nature — the strong force, the weak force, and gravity — are not. The Magickal energy you describe is similar to electro-magnetism, but electromagnetism is not by any means the only force in the universe. Although the analogy between electromagnetism and Magickal polar energy is clear, they don't seem to me identical because Magick is not always perfectly polar. There is more flexibility in Magick than there is in electromagnetism. Physicists have never yet found a magnetic monopole, but in Magick they're everywhere. Hmmm — there ought to be a good limerick in this somewhere. I'll think about it.

To Jana Hollingsworth
This is indeed too complex an issue to fully cover in a BB format, unfortunately. When I speak of energy polarity I am speaking of Magickal energy. It is an old teaching that each of us has within ourselves an energy current comprised of masculine and feminine polarities (active & receptive). When we raise Magick, or draw Magick, we cannot help but give it dual polarity because that is our nature. In the Eastern mystical traditions they would call this the Ida and Pingala currents (which divide and flow from the base chakra, cross each other at the heart chakra, and then flow into the 3rd eye uniting once again). If we take the old Occult axiom "As above, so below" we can also say that the Creators set within all things this same Ida & Pingala nature (since it would be their imprint on their creation). The nature of the artist is always within the nature of his or her art. So what I am speaking of is the etheric essence of energy. On a mundane level I do not know a great deal about the physical properties of all "natural" energy forms. But I do know that things are not always as they seem, or appear to be. The occult nature of a physical object, or a physical property, is not always readily apparent (I suppose that is why it is called "Occult", meaning hidden or secret). I don't know if this helps clarify my statements or not. I'm just sort of winging it here, but I think I've covered the basic concept. I would be happy to go into this more if you have any other questions or comments. I do not claim to be "all-knowing", but I am pretty solid on occult science.

From: Jana Hollingsworth
If we count etheric or occult energy as a fifth force of nature, then the Creators made a universe with two polar forces and three which are non-polar. That means we, their creations, have natures which are both polar and non-polar. The strong and weak forces have tiny ranges of sub-atomic size, while gravity — the weakest of all forces — is thought to have infinite range. It becomes weaker with distance, but never quite disappears. Is Magickal energy similar to gravity in this respect? Is its range limited or infinite? Does it fall off with distance? Does it travel at the speed of light? Does it exhibit wave/particle duality? I don't necessarily expect answers, but I find these questions interesting. They can be answered about all other forms of energy. I expect no one has studied Magickal power in these terms, but if Magick is a form of energy there ought to be answers somewhere.

From: Raven Grimassi
When you can pluck the wave/particle duality from my hand it will be time for you to go. Sorry, I would not count occult energy as an additional force of nature but as an animating element within nature. You lost me on the polar universe stuff though. Great questions! Let me tell you what I know about how Magick works and manifests, and perhaps some answers might appear. First of all the action of Magickal manifestation actually takes place within the astral dimension. Time and space as we understand it, does not exist there. So I would not say that the range of Magick is infinite, but rather that it behaves (from our perspective) as though it had infinite range because it manifests without reference to distance. The effects are as though it had infinite range. As to speed of travel, I would say that it is accurate to say that Magick travels at the speed of thought, whatever that might be. Magickal energy is affected by a variety of external forces. Magickal force fields, such as protective pentacles, can slow or deflect the force. Greater forces such as those exerted by deity or high level spirits can certainly alter the course of one's Magick. I always tell my students that there are only two reasons why one's Magick will ever fail: one is that it was performed incorrectly (including at the wrong time) or a greater force opposes it. Does this help ?

From: Jana Hollingsworth
I don't know the actual speed of thought, but it is the speed at which electrical impulses travel across one's neurons, and is considerably less than the speed of light. Perhaps Magick could be thought of cutting through the "Elsewhere" portion of a space-time diagram where all particles must travel faster than light. I don't mean that literally, but as an analogy for the astral. I don't know the current status of the theory of tachyons (faster-than-light particles). It may be entirely old hat. My knowledge of physics is based on popular books and subscriptions to Scientific American and Science News, so I'm not always up-to-date. Making an analogy between physics and Magick helps me make sense of what's going on with Magick. I fear I'm a theoretician of Magick more than a practitioner; despite a horoscope loaded with psychic potential, my talent for practical Magick is nil. So I try to work up theories of Magick instead. I suspect we may someday discover that Magick and quantum physics are intimately related. Which science fiction writer said that any sufficiently sophisticated technology is indistinguishable from Magick? As for wave/particle duality, it is yet another pair of united opposites: an electron is a wave or a particle (female or male) depending entirely on how you choose to look at it. If you don't look at it at all, it is neither and both; it is entirely potential.

From: Raven Grimassi
Thanks for the scientific info. I'm sure that Occult Science and Physical Science are definitely related, and perhaps someday Physical Science may catch up. Just to add another aspect; the plane of forces (elemental plane) flows like a river to and from the physical dimension and the astral dimension. It is this plane which carries Magickal energy to the Astral Plane where it takes on the image of the desired effect. Once the thought is formed there, it then passes back through the Elemental Plane and manifests upon the Physical. Perhaps the substance of the plane of forces has more to do with the physical science of which you speak. It would make sense because the substance of the Elemental Plane is more closely related to physical matter than is the astral.

From: Jana Hollingsworth
There has to be some unity of physical and metaphysical forces or Magick wouldn't function in the physical world. BTW, I think it was Arthur C. Clarke who said that any sufficiently sophisticated technology is indistinguishable from Magick.

Arts of Witchcraft: Magick & Energy

There are many different types and styles of Magick involved in the practice of Magickal Witchcraft. Some covens/practitioners differ in the type used; some use all and some may combine only a few techniques. Basically they may be organized into two categories; operative & ceremonial. The first covers spells, words of power, the use of unguents/potions, etc. The second is concerned with the operation of Craft rituals. The aspects of Magick can be thought of in this manner: Sympathetic, ritual, raised, drawn, and sex Magick.

Ritual is a means of concentrating and attracting those energies which are symbolized through the use of gestures, word phrases and images (symbols, runes, etc). The Magickal theory being that by acting out certain symbolic gestures, with concentration upon their meanings, one can attract sympathetic energies inherent throughout the Universe. These energies can be directed by the use of one's controlled will. This aspect is sometimes called the witches' pyramid.

The witches' pyramid is a glyph which symbolizes the mentality necessary for the directed manifestation of Magickal energy. It is comprised of these attributes:

  • Personal Will
  • Imagination
  • Visualization

(all three of these must enclose the expectation of success)

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Expectation is essential to a successful manifestation. You must will a thing to be, imagine the outcome in your mind, and visualize what it is that you desire. But beyond this you must have the expectation that it will manifest as you desire it to.

From: Michael Magee
What in all of Ma Natures perfection is Sex Magick? Sounds messy?

From Raven Grimassi
Sex Magick is the use of energy raised through sexual union. This is the most condensed and powerful form of energy which can be raised from the human body. Some Craft Traditions employ it in the 3rd Degree Initiation ceremony. In Eastern mystical traditions it is known as Tantra. The ancient Egyptians employed it as well. The energy raised in sex Magick is sometimes referred as the kundalini power, or serpent power. The headdress of ancient Egyptian rulers bore a serpent protruding from the forehead of the wearer. This was symbolic of the serpent power having been raised to the 3rd eye, the sign of Divine Union, or samadhi. The kundalini force is seated at the base of the spine and governs the sexual nature of the individual. In Magick it is drawn up through each of the Chakra points, to the third eye, employing sexual energy.

Arts of Witchcraft: Magickal Links

All things connected with a person contain an energy link with that person. For example, a person's hair holds the vibrations of his/her energy pattern, and by the use of sympathetic Magick that person can be influenced by energy directed to him/her. This could be used for emotional healing of that person, motivation, or whatever. The hair acts as a point of concentration and as a kind of "homing device" for the directed energy. The same is true for unwashed items of clothing and other personal items. By making an image of an individual and placing his/her personal items within it, one creates a center of focus.

Works of Magick for the gain of something should be done while the moon is waxing (new to full) and works to be rid of something or to undo something should be performed when the moon is waning.

Cord Magick is a basic Magickal tool in witchcraft. The theory being that by concentrating a desire upon the cords, using them as a focus, one can raise and condense Magickal energy. This energy can be set into the cord itself by knotting the cords at the point of greatest concentrated effort. In other words, you concentrate on your desire and make an exclamation of the desire as you quickly make a knot (pulling it tightly as you confirm the desire). Later, untying the knot will release the desired effect. This can be helpful when working with someone who really bothers you a lot. You can set the message "leave me alone" into the cord (knot) and untying it (secretly) when the person is really on your nerves. In this case you would simply think about the person so that you raise your emotions on the subject, then begin to loop the cord into a knot. Before pulling the cord tight into a knot, visualize the person's face. Then shout (out loud or within yourself) "Leave me alone!". Visualize the person leaving you alone as you continue for a moment to exert tension on the cord.

As with all forms of Magick, be responsible when you perform a work which effects another person. Why you do something is often more karmically established than what it is that you did. For example, if you harm someone in order save another person's life as opposed to harming someone because you seek revenge, there is a difference in the karma which you are establishing for yourself. Obviously, you should seek to harm no one in the first place.

Arts of Witchcraft: The Universal Condenser

Condensers are fluids which are used to carry Magickal charges. One method of charging them is to place your hands together palms down (as you might for a "push-up" exercise) so that the index finger-tips meet as do the tips of the thumbs. Next inhale deeply, visualizing the full moon above your head. Bring the triangle opening in your hands over the condenser liquid and exhale three times through the opening and upon the liquid. As you do this visualize the light of the moon pouring down through your head and into your lungs (as you inhale) and then visualize it flowing out with your breath as you exhale.

The Condenser: take 2 level teaspoons each of chamomile flowers and eyebright and place them in a bowl. Boil two cups of water on an open flame and then add the herbs. Set the mixture aside to cool for 15 minutes. Then filter the mixture through four layers of clean linen cloth/cheesecloth.

This condenser can be used medicinally as a lotion or Magickally for evocations (also to improve clairvoyance). Diluted in 7 parts of warm water it can be drank for stomach problems. Undiluted it can be used for various minor aches & pains by applying it to the area with a cotton soaked pad for 1-2 hours. Ears can be treated by applying it with cotton balls in an "earplug" fashion. For clairvoyance place soaked cotton balls upon your closed eyes for about 20 minutes. To increase occult sensitivity in the palms of your hands (for psychometry) use the cotton pads on your hands for the same 20 minute period.

Arts of Witchcraft: Magickal Uses of the Four Elements

There are four basic systems which are useful in creating Magickal influences related to the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Fire works through combustion, water through mixture, air through evaporation, and earth through decomposition. These aspects are incorporated in the completion of a spell or other Magickal work. Generally you will have some material left over to dispose of (wax, ashes, and so forth) and it is correct to use one of the elemental methods to complete the final stages.

If your spell was to influence a person then the earth element is used. If it was to accomplish a specific goal then fire is good. Romantic works are best with water and matters concerning mental creativity employ the element of air.

The following examples can be used to complete whatever spell you were working on.

Fire: Take a piece of paper or cloth and moisten it with the universal condenser. Place this in front of you and concentrate on the work of Magick. Strongly imagine your thoughts to be filling the material. Imagine your desire being "written" by your thoughts across the material. When your concentration is breaking then the material is fully saturated. Now simply burn the cloth or paper in an open fire. While it is burning concentrate on your desire. The fire releases the charge and merges it with the element.

Air: Take a small metal container and fill it about half full. Add 3 drops of universal condenser. Put the container over a flame and concentrate upon your desire as you gaze into the water. As the steam begins to rise, imagine your desire being drawn up and carried off. Continue until all the water has been evaporated.

Water: Take a container and fill it about half full with fresh water. Add 3 drops of universal condenser and 3 drops of rubbing alcohol. Now impregnate the water with your concentrated desire. When you feel that it is full pour the water into a stream, river or any moving body of water.

Earth: With this element your concentration is centered on the universal condenser which you place in a jar after it has been loaded. Then this is poured out over a selected spot of earth to be absorbed directly into the element of earth.

From: Jana Hollingsworth
A good, useful, practical note. It seems people often use the four elements only for casting a circle, or simply have them represented on their altars. It's a good idea to use a specific element for a specific purpose, rather than always calling on all four. I suspect these spells would be best performed outdoors, making the elements seem more real. Pouring one's spell-water into a stream would feel better than pouring it down the drain.

Arts of Witchcraft: The Components of Ritual & Magick

There are essentially five so-called ingredients which comprise the art of creating successful works of Magick, or effective ritual. You can adapt them, or arrange them according to your own needs, so long as you employ them all. They are:

  1. Desire
  2. Timing
  3. Imagery
  4. Direction
  5. Balance

Let's look at each one and gain an understanding of the concept.

Desire: This can also be thought of as motivation, temptation, or persuasion. You must be sufficiently moved enough to perform a ritual or work of Magick, in order to establish enough power to accomplish your goal. If you care little about the results, or put only a small amount of energy into your desire, then you are unlikely to see any real results. The stronger the need or desire, then the more likely it is that you will raise the amount of energy required to bring about the change you seek. But desire or need is not enough.

Timing: In the performance of Magick, timing can mean success of failure. The best time to cast a spell or create a work of Magick is when the target is most receptive. Receptivity is assured when the target is passive. People sleep, corporations close over-night & holidays, etc. One must also take into account the phase of the moon and the season of the year. Work with nature and not against it.

Imagery: The success of any work also depends upon images. Anything which serves to intensify the emotions will contribute to success. Any drawing, statue, photo, scent, article of clothing, sound or situation which helps to merge you with your desire will greatly add to your success. Imagery is a constant reminder and acts as a homing device in its role as a substitute. Imagery can be manipulated and modified "all according to the will of the witch, and the very blueprint that is created by imagery becomes the formula which leads to realization of desire". Surround yourself with images of your desire and you will attract the proper vibrations which will attract the object of your desire.

Direction: Once enough energy has been raised you must direct it towards your desire. Do not be anxious for the results because anxiety will act to draw the energy back to you before it can take effect. Try to give the matter no more thought so as not to drain its effectiveness. Mark a 7 day period off on your calendar and evaluate the situation 7 days later. It usually takes about 7 days for Magick to manifest (one lunar quarter).

Balance: The balance factor is simply the "reality check" or practical mentality which keeps you focused in actuality. You must discern the need for any work of Magick you engage upon, and take into consideration the practical concerns of the phase of the moon and other factors. Remember that every work of Magick has an ongoing connection with yourself, and you must consider the intent of your actions. This deals with what many call "the 3-fold law". According to this teaching, every Magickal act with return back to you with more increased intensity (sort of like tossing a rock up in the air, and having it speed back down upon you). This is also an aspect of 'Karma", or the accumulation of debts which must be paid (in a mystical sense).

The balance factor is also applied to any perception of supernatural manifestations, psychic attack and so on. Always consider the mundane causes first before you leap into a paranoia of supernatural attack. When things go "bump in the night" it more likely your cat than it is a spirit. There is an old saying in the medical field concerning diagnosis: "When you hear hoof beats, think horses before zebras". I think this applies to Magickal or psychic phenomena as well.

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