Mirror Magick For Beginner Witches

mirror-magick-for-beginner-witches

As a witch, there are many tools you can use for spells and rituals. A not-so-common but still very effective tool of the craft is a mirror.

In this article Emma Kyteler from Eclectic Witchcraft tells us about mirror magick. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below.

How do you perform mirror magick or scry with mirrors?

Can mirror magick reveal your future?

Do you love looking in mirrors, or do you avoid them at all cost? How many times have you broken a mirror, and dreaded the years of bad luck? What really makes reflective surfaces so enticing to us?

Humans love to look at themselves, preening and perfecting their outward appearance. Sometimes, some people become so caught up with their outer appearance that they completely forget about cultivating their inner beauty!

So, why do mirrors draw us in, or revolt us, so much?

Mirrors were originally just dark pools on sunny days. Their views distorted everything we saw, and no doubt accounted for a few strange details in stories passed down through the generations. Almost from the beginning, these reflective surfaces were used for mirror magick.

Eventually shiny stones took over for those deep, dark pools of water. It took a long time before our reflections weren’t distorted by waves or defects in stones.

Modern mirrors can distort us, too. Sometimes we won’t even know that a minor imperfection in the glass is making us hate our bodies.

As far as inanimate objects go, mirrors might be the most powerful of them all. They symbolism self reflection, self obsession, beauty, and are sometimes seen as portals to other dimensions.

There is so much folklore and so many fairy tales with references to mirrors that it would be impossible to recount them all! Most people remember Snow White’s nemesis and her obsession with being the fairest of them all. Vanity, of course, is closely associated with mirrors.

One of the first tricks I learned as a child was to stare at a mirror, unblinking, for as long as possible.

Over time, the room will seem to dim, and your own face will take on a more grotesque, sinister form. Try it for yourself. Maybe you won’t see something terrifying on the other side, but testing this when I was younger led me to fear mirrors, especially in the dark.

I didn’t know at the time that I was performing mirror magick, but that’s just more evidence that mirrors are innately magical objects.

So what do you see in the mirror? Do you want to learn how to use the mirror to reflect a better life back into the real world? How about diving the future or learning the answers to your questions? Do you want to perform mirror magick?

Mirrors can help us to remember things, to see past lives and divine the future. They may let us contact the dead or other forms of spirits, and travel through different planes of reality.

What kind of mirror magick happens when you place a mirror in your home? A mirror in your office or place of work can multiply the amount of work put on your shoulders, and near a bed a mirror can draw in new lovers. Drawing in new lovers can be either good or bad, depending on your relationship status!

Don’t place a mirror in front of a door, since it can push people out of the room as well as keep energy from flowing into it. Two mirrors near each other can cause feelings of anxiety, stress, and insomnia. A blessed mirror placed over a doorway can bring blessings to those who enter the room.

So You Broke A Mirror

So why does the superstition about broken mirrors leading to seven years bad luck exist?

It might be because people once thought their reflection was their actual soul, reflected up to them from those dark pools of water thousands of years ago. You don’t want to crack your soul into a million pieces, do you?

Mirrors were also once thought to be tools of the gods. Breaking one would break that link between the owner and the gods, thus losing a huge source of power and the ability to foresee the future.

Or, the soul might stray from the body if a mirror is broken. Souls are clumsy, okay? They’ll probably get hurt without a body with them.

The original superstition of broken mirrors leading to seven years bad luck comes from the Romans. They thought that it took seven years for life to renew itself. If you looked into a mirror while unhealthy, you would break the mirror and thus have bad luck and ill health for seven years until your life renewed.

So you broke a mirror. Whoops! Do you want to avoid that bad luck? There are a few ways to counter the bad luck that broken mirror may cause! Just take all of the pieces of the mirror, try not to miss a single piece, and bury it under a full moon.

Another choice is to pound the shards into a fine dust that simply cannot reflect anything again.

Still, you don’t hear of people dying because of their bad luck, so it can’t be all that bad right? You can simply counter the bad luck of a broken mirror by carrying a four-leaf clover, or doing a number of good luck spells.

Mirror magick can be dangerous, scary, and strange, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here’s an easy luck spell

Face a mirror and think of all the misfortune that has befallen you since breaking the mirror. Think of how those things could have gone better, and then clasp your hands together and shut your eyes tight.

Beg Fortuna or another luck deity for forgiveness, and tell her that you never meant to break a mirror or cause her any trouble. Kneel on the floor in front of the mirror and beg for her blessing so that your life may return to normal.

When you are finished speaking with Fortuna or your luck deity, thank them for their time, kiss the mirror, stand up, and turn to the right and walk away starting with your right foot.

Try not to break another mirror anytime soon!

Crystallomancy, Catoxtromancy, or Scrying

Scrying with mirrors has been a popular method of divination since the time of Helena Blavatsky and theosophy. Scrying was once the realm of water, but now it’s as simple as taking a pocket mirror.

Many famous people have used crystallomancy for divination. John Dee for Queen Elizabeth I, Catherine de Medici, and Pythagoras are notable. Ancient Greece has the witches of Thessaly, who wrote what they saw in human blood onto mirrors.

Nostradamus used a bowl of water as a mirror to write has famous, prophetic quatrains while in a trance.

Pierre Coton, a French Jesuit and confessor to the French King Henri IV, used a mirror that revealed plots against the king. The Achaeans used mirrors to divine ill will, diseases, and sudden death.

Crystallomancy is more popular in the East than it ever was in the West, however. It’s still very popular in India, where you would fast, pray and perfume the mirrors before use. Some see the reflection in the mirror as the reflection of the soul, and seeing your soul in the mirror makes it vulnerable to danger and death.

Catoxtromancy / crystallomancy involves looking into glass to divine the future. You generally don’t want to see yourself in the mirror, so it should be angled in a way to show no human or living reflection.

Either a silver or black mirror will do for scrying, though black of course absorbs more energy and can be a more powerful tool. Older mirrors are generally better, unless the oldest mirror seems “off” to you. It isn’t hard to curse a mirror, and you don’t want to use a cursed mirror in a spell.

To do your first mirror divination, take a mirror into the bathroom and allow the steam to build up. Once it is steamy enough, visions should form through the fog on the mirror, and may then be interpreted.

You can also wait for enough water to condense on the surface that it begins to drip, and divine from the shapes that those drips make.

In the 20th century, women would take a mirror into a dark room on Halloween. They hoped to catch a glimpse of their husband’s face. You can see similar visions by simply going into a very dark room where a mirror hangs, holding a flashlight pointed to the ground or a candle low in your hands.

What might you see in the mirror? Almost anything! It depends on your desires, your thoughts, your movements. Make note of anything strange, and write it down once you’re finished scrying. Half of divination takes place after the ritual is finished, and is in deciphering what you saw, felt, experienced, heard, and thought.

How to teach kids about Magick?

Blessed be!

While I was reading this article from Wiccan Spells, I decided to share it with all of you but thinking in all the kids from my family and friends in mind. Specially Liah my niece, Ian my nephew and Naomi, a sister from other life’s daughter. Their mothers are doing a great job maintaining and nurturing their natural magick, i have noticed they do some of the tips from this article so I hope it works for everyone.

Introducing children to the practices of Wicca and Paganism can be tricky, especially if you’re unsure where to start. I know many people that were drawn to the faith due to their interest in living in harmony with nature, and having a religion that they can practice by themselves, or a religion that really focuses on the feminine side of life.

Let Them Participate in Rituals

While you’re doing magickal workings, either spells or rituals for different Sabbats, why not include your children in these practices? Kids LOVE to be involved in anything that adults are doing, and this is no different. Just like kids learn basic skills from their parents and other adults in their lives, magickal practice is no different. When you’re performing your next ritual, pull up a stool and let your child join in. Talk them through what you’re doing, answer their questions with patience and understanding, and if you feel it is safe enough, even let them join in by helping to light candles or place things around an altar!

They will love being involved, and you can explain to them step by step what you’re doing and why – all the while opening their eyes to the wonder that is Wicca!

Spells and Craftwork

Here’s where your children’s imagination can really shine. Why not allow your kids to join in with a few different spells and craftwork? Let them create their own wand! Go through the woods on a nature hike, and allow them to find a fallen branch that speaks to them. Grab some discarded stones, feathers, anything that your child is drawn to, and start walking them through how to craft their own supplies and tools.

This is also a great lesson in respecting nature and everything that the earth decides to give us. Once back at home from your hike, start crafting! Break out the glue, glitter, markers – anything your child would like to use – and let them go crazy crafting away! Explain to them the symbolism of having their own wand, and what a wand does in Wicca practices. Then you can even help your child perform a spell – and have them start watching for the effects! If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these simple spells for children.

Incorporate Your Deities

During bedtime make a teaching lesson as well! Instead of turning to the same fairytales (which are fantastic!), why not tell your children a few stories about the deities that you worship? Greek and Roman goddesses and gods have many myths written about them, and some are GREAT for children. You can even find books specifically geared to children in this genre. Then incorporate the deities in your rituals. You’d be surprised at how quickly your children start to pick up on which god/goddess to work with! The biggest thing to remember is simply to talk to your children about the religion as openly as possible. Children will pick up on your love for Wicca, and want to be as involved as you are!

What kind of witch are you?

Interesting is that your interest may tell you a lot about the kind of witch you are. Yes, if you love cooking or probably love to be working with plants, herbs, or simple like to spend time in a beach (this remind me a friend that didn’t know yet she is a witch… other day we will talk about this :D!)

There are still many more types of witches – these are the most common presented by Aldora in her blog Kitchen Wiccan. In the last decade more people practicing have branched out as individuals and found certain strengths and attractions to become a force all their own. Go with how you as an individual feel, as you never have to “fit” into a category – these are just here to help you if you don’t quite know what type you are yet. You just may have a connection to one.

Traditional Witch

The witches who take the journey of traditional witchcraft, are interested in the old ways (pre-Christian), and are followers of history and the arts, building a foundation for their craft. Usually the craft is passed down generation after generation within family units. These witches are less inclined to participate in the worship of Goddess or Gods, preferring to work predominantly with the Spirit world and will often call on their ancestors or land spirits for strength. They work with moon cycles, planetary symbols and cycles, rune symbols, herbs and their chemical uses, the land and ancestors are very important to a Traditional witch.

Traditional witches are drawn towards both the dark and the light, performing banishing and repelling spells. They do not to follow the threefold law or the Wiccan Rede, (just to be clear traditional witchcraft is not Wicca) but careful consideration and responsibility is taken when performing any magic whether it’s healing, hex, curse or banishing spells. They perform Shamanic journeying by inducing trance that involves drumming, rattling, heavy dancing, rocking, entheogens, meditation, flying ointments, and more.

Hedge-riding is a practice that involves traveling to the spirit world through the use of trance work and other various techniques to alter the conscious mind (including entheogens, which are herbs and other substances used to induce trance) which allows the spirit to leave the body. Animism is a part of Traditional Witchcraft because they believe everything on this earth has a spirit or soul. They believe in an Upper World, Middle World and Under World. Under – those who’ve died, awaiting reincarnation or choosing not to pass on or can’t ascend. Middle – the here and now. Upper – spirits/souls who have ascended and no longer need a body as they can survive without the recharging of the spirit/soul that life is, or were never bond to a physical form/body to begin with.

Kitchen Witch: (aka – Cottage Witch & Hearth Witch)

This Witch carries practical sides of the Wiccan / Pagan religion, magic, gemstones, the elements and the earth. A Kitchen Witch is usually recognized as practicing Celtic Wicca: Goes by the elements, the Ancient Ones and nature. They are usually healers, respected highly and once they are past their 40’s tend to take on a “Wise Woman” role as they have an abundance of knowledge and are admired for it.

They work with plants, stones, flowers, trees, the elemental people, the gnomes and the fairies. But above all performs her magic in the Kitchen and has Goddess given talents for food crafting.  Potions, herbal remedies, and natural instincts for over protection of hearth and home. Most often they make the best mates as they are very crafty in love and relationships – and it is said one who is a friend of a Kitchen Witch has many perks.

Green Witch:

Is the practice of nature-based and earth oriented witchcraft, drawing on the folklore, folk religion and folk magic of ancient cultures as they connected to the forest; such as the tree worship of Druids, the kitchen craft of Italian witches or the keeping of sacred groves as presented in Gallic paganism. Green witches usually practice a traditional form of witchcraft in which the earth, trees, herbs, plants and flowers are consulted for their medicinal and magical value.

They will grow their own herbs or Wildcraft them, and are very good at making herbal remedies. Belief in deities depends on the individual witch, though many Green witches acknowledge and earth mother or series of nature spirits as their deity. Usually, the spirits of nature, the dead (that of humans and animals) or the Fey have a large part in Green traditions. A form of green witchcraft which is better classified as Green Wicca was popularized by Ann Moura.

Hedge Witch:

Hedge craft is a path that is somewhat shamanic in nature, (sometimes referred to as wise man & wise woman) as they are practitioners of an Earth-based spirituality. These are the ones who engage in spirit flight and journey into the Other world. They can, in this capacity, be very powerful midwives and healers. A bird of one kind or another is usually associated with the Hedge Witch, most commonly the raven and the goose.

The term “hedge” signified the boundary of the village and represents the boundary that exists between this world and the spiritual realm. (they are said to be Night travelers or walkers on the wind). Their main function is mediator between the spirits and people. They may also work as a herbal healer or midwife. Some claim it to be the continuation of the practices of the cunning folk and wise-women, while others say that it is a modern tradition.

Eclectic Witch:

An individual approach that picks and chooses from many different traditions and creates a personalized form of witchcraft that meets their individual needs and abilities. They do not follow a particular religion or tradition, but study and learn from many different systems and use what works best for them. Many Eclectic Witches refer to themselves as Solitary Practitioners, Sorceresses, Hedge Witches, Green, White, and Grey Witches. Some consider themselves Wicca, as long as the Rede is adhered to, the Earth and the Universe revered. One main complaint made against the Eclectic Witch is that they are not true Wiccans because they build a taylor-made religion or tradition for themselves from the ground up rather than following an established or correct form of Wicca.

Their minds remain open and are receptive to knowledge, ideas, beliefs and methods that others practice. They adapt well to different situations and create their own paths by what they believe to be true and right at that time in their life (simply put – they don’t follow rules). They like to explore and make their own mistakes and take from experiences in turn creating their own rules and traditions. It’s why you can bring 2 Eclectic Witches into a room yet they are totally different in the way they practice, live, and believe as they are all different in some way.

Hereditary Witchcraft:

The term hereditary witchcraft, is given to the witch who has inherited the magic gifts through genealogy. (Keep in mind just because your Grandparents or Parents were/are witches does not necessarily mean you are too. Sometimes this can skip generations.) These witches are born, usually to a magical family and begin their journey very early in their life, using the gifts handed down through the generations.

Born into a tradition of esoteric origin (the conviction that nature is a living entity owing to a divine presence or life-force). These traditions are often not recorded, except in Grimoires which are also passed down but very highly protected, but rely primarily on oral and physical tradition. Each family has it’s own unique traditions. Most will stick together as family units rather than covens.

Sea Witch: (water witch)

As the name implies, sea witches are believed to be able to control many aspects of nature relating to water, most commonly an ocean or sea. They specialize in water based magic and worship Sea Gods & Goddesses. However, in more modern times, sea witches can also practice witchcraft on or near any source of water: lakes, rivers, bathtubs, or even simply a bowl of salt water. Sea witches use witchcraft related to the moon, tides, and the weather, and are believed to have complete control over the seas. 

In some folklore, sea witches are described as phantoms or ghosts who have the power to control the fates of ships their passengers. Sea witches often improvise on what they have, rather than making purchases from a store or from another person. Common tools include clam, scallop, or oyster shells in place of bowls or cauldrons. They are beachcombers and collect items including seaweed, fishing net, shells, sea grass, driftwood, pieces of sea glass, and even sand. Driftwood was used as walking sticks and charged as wands. Sea Witch works with what is termed ‘grey magic’ to maintain a balance of light and dark – most are solitary.

Secret witch: Are you in the broom closet?

I loved so much this article by Donyae Coles in the Spriral Nature Magazine as explain many of us experience. As the writer, I am open about my practice, but I don’t go to the streets with a sign saying “I am a witch”. If you ask me, I wont deny, just that. But this isn’t the case for everyone. For a variety of reasons, may people are “stuck in the broom closet” and have to keep their practice secret. This need for secrecy can be very hard to practice under, not only emotionally but also from a practical standpoint.

There are many valid reasons not to share your practice and they should be respected, it is not for us to judge anyone else’s journey. We do not live their lives, we do not follow their paths.

Here are some tips to help people practice in secret.

1. Getting an education as a secret witch

Many new practitioners who aren’t sure where to start (but must stay secret) often are at a loss as to how to learn more about the work without exposing themselves. One of the simplest things to do is to read, but keeping an occult library would probably blow your cover.

The good news is that there are tonnes of resources available online. Not just blogs and websites (like the one you’re reading now!), but also a huge selection of books! Another option is to purchase ebooks for things that you are interested in learning about. Many of the larger publishers in the metaphysical realm offer their titles in ebook form that can easily be purchased from sites like Amazon of Google Books.

Finally, don’t discount online groups and forums. These places usually have files that they share and people are always willing to help those who are looking for information. Not all groups are meant for everyone though, so try a bunch and see what fits!

2. Altar spaces and sacred spaces

One of the biggest issues for people who are practicing in secret is the altar. Regardless of which practices you follow, many of them call for the use of an altar and even if ultimately the practitioner moves away from such practices, many people just starting out wish to have one.

Simple altars generally include representations of the four elements, icons or representations of deities or our ancestors and at least a small space for offerings. These are just some basic staples. Representations can be pictures or even small jars filled with the elements along with candles or incense. Read my post: Altar Set-Up for Beginners and Witches on a Budget to have more ideas :D!

There are many options for building one for more discreet practice. One basic suggestion is to place the altar in a closet, if you at least have your own room, that way it will not be on display. Another option for a larger altar is to build it inside of a box or suitcase that can be hidden under the bed when not in use. This solution works very well for those who at least have their own bedroom to function in.

For people who do not have their own room, it is still possible to have an altar! Small altars made from small boxes, even mint tins, are very popular. By using smaller vials or relying on just pictures and drawings, you can make a simple, functional altar.

A final solution for those who absolutely cannot have a physical altar is to create a virtual one. Either by using elements you found on the web to create a photo collage, or setting up a temporary altar and snapping a photo. This isn’t the greatest option as altars should ideally be “living” spaces where you move, add, and change things as part of your practice, but for people in a tight spot, it is a solid choice

3. Making offerings in secret

If you do have to rely on a digital altar space or one that cannot be out in the open, making offerings can be a bit tricky. After all, you can’t just set a plate in front of your nana’s photo and call it a day! But don’t worry, there are many other ways to send your offerings.

The first is simple, although food and drink are some of the most basic offerings we make, you can also offer your prayers, the lighting of a candle or your own meditation as a form of vernation. This option works for honouring both gods and ancestors. They will understand your constraints as long as you are diligent in your work and honest with what you can give.

Another solution is to make your offerings at a place that is associated with them. For ancestors, a trip to their graves (if possible) is something that would not raise suspicion in most communities. Taking flowers once a week to a cemetery is a very commonplace activity and people wouldn’t bat an eye.

If you’re dealing with deities or other natural spirits, then you can simply go to places that are associated with them. This means, for example, that if you want to make an offering to Oshun (a very popular Orisha), you could go to a river and leave her offering for her. Or, if you were hoping to commune with Dionysus, hit up a wine bar. The key is to find the things which is associated with them, where their energy would gather and go there.

Get to know who you are worshipping and get creative! There are a million and one places where a deity’s energy might be felt outside of the obvious ones, like parks and streams. Think about what your chosen deity likes and go where you can find that thing!

In some locations, it is much easier to leave offerings than others. Obviously in a park or by a river, for example, it would be very easy to leave something (just make sure that whatever you are leaving will not harm the environment!), but in a shop or public place, it might be a bit harder to do so discreetly. In public places, you may only be able to offer a prayer or devotion to your deity but that is better than nothing at all. Take advantage of this post regarding celebrations: Hold an Imbolc Candle Ritual for Solitaries, Yule Rituals [that Anyone can Perform] & What do Wiccans believe? A beginner’s guide to Wicca.

4. Doing the work as a secret witch

Other hurdle for people who must keep their practice secret is actually doing the work of the craft. For people who practice forms of chaos magick or just general worship, they may not need to engage in any actual rituals or spells. For other paths, actually completing rituals and casting are important parts of their practice and many people who must do so in secret feel as if they aren’t really following their paths because they cannot do so.

Although very blatant things like sigils scrawled on your walls, talismans around your neck, and iron cauldrons boiling over the fire may tip people off to what you’re doing, it is very possible to do work in secret. The first step is throwing out any preconceived notions of what the craft looks like. Forget about dancing naked in the moonlight, wearing pentagram everything, or swapping out your deodorant for a permeant aura of Nag Champa incense. None of those stereotypical things are needed to practice and you are more than welcome to do them later when you can be more open. For now, let’s concentrate on what you can do.

5. Low key divination

Finally, there’s the act of divination (check my store for ideas). Many people who embrace this lifestyle practice some form of divination as a way to help guide them, commune with the higher and lower planes, practice meditation, or even see how spell work will go for them. The problem with most divination is that you need tools and these leave the secret witch open for discovery.

The easiest-to-hide form of divinatory tools is perhaps the pendulum. The types you can purchase from shops made from crystals, stones, and fine metals are lovely but you don’t need these to practice this art. You can make a pendulum from just about anything and a piece of string. A ring, a key, a nail, tied to a string and there you go! It’s also very easy to make a pendulum board or mat. Check this: Pendulum Witchcraft: How to Make and Use a Pendulum

Scyring can also be done with limited tools, however, it does take some alone time so this is only an option for people who are able to be alone and meditate comfortably. It can be done outside or even by staring at a screen, but if anyone will wonder why you’re staring at a screen for so long, it may not be the best option.

how-to-use-rune-stones

Tarot cards are the most popular option for divination but keeping a deck can be hard for people living in secret. There are online tarot decks available that can be used through apps, such as the Golden Thread Tarot7 (which is free), but this may not give people the full feeling. Learning about cartomancy, reading with standard playing cards — you can learn the techniques from Fortune-Telling by Cards by P.R.S. Foli,8 a book available online for free. Suggested to read: Introduction to Tarot Reading: Suits and Cards

Standing in your power, even in secret

As I mentioned earlier, secret witches and people trapped in the broom closet get a lot of guff from those who have the privilege to be open about their practices. It’s hard when you feel like you can’t really be who you are and do the things that would fulfil you as a person.

These tips and tricks are meant to help you find ways to practice while keeping your mental and physical health safe from bullying and harm. Not everyone understands this lifestyle and some still outright fear it due to ignorance, however, don’t let that stop you from exploring, even if you have to do so in secret.

Witchy Definition: Chakra

As started yesterday with the article Witchy Definition: Energy, today a new word: Chakra, ‘wheel or circle’. Each of the centers of spiritual power in the human body, usually considered to be seven. This word was borrowed from Hinduism after the westward movement of yoga. Followers of this tradition believe there are seven wheels (or “chakras”) of energy spinning within the body, and that each wheel relates to different physical, emotional, and spiritual issues. When they aren’t functioning properly (or “aligned”), things get out of whack in number.

Chakras are the circular vortexes of energy that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column. All the seven chakras are connected to the various organs and glands within the body. These chakras are responsible for disturbing the life energy, which is also known as Qi or Praana.

In a future post I will explain the 7 chakras and how to maintain them aligned.

What do Wiccans believe? A beginner’s guide to Wicca

guide-wicca-beginners

Do you want to learn more about Wicca? You have come to the right place. This is a very deep and interesting subject, with lots of information available online. Unfortunately, not always this information is really accurate.

In this article Claire Lampen from The Daily Dot gives us a basic but very nice description about Wicca religion (perfect for beginners). Not everything is here of course, but it will give you a better understanding about our beloved religion (from a perspective of a non-wiccan reporter).

For the past few years, we’ve been enjoying an extended season of the witch, magical proclivities having gained quite a bit of pop culture traction. While the sudden flood of amateur interest may frustrate legitimate, long-practicing witches, it doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon. Which means demand for primers on the basics, like Wiccans—what do they believe? Are all Wiccans witches and vice versa? Might I be a Wiccan and not even know it? What even is Wicca, anyway?

Well. Wicca, a pagan belief system centered on the worship of the natural and, often, of a God and a Goddess, emphasizes a strong connection with the earth and derives magic from it. Because magic is central to Wicca, according to Witchcraft.org, every Wiccan is a witch but not every witch is a Wiccan.

Although Wicca is a decentralized religion often led by solitary practitioners, there are a few central tenets that dictate the Wiccan belief system, at least in the United States. At a 1973 conference of more than 70 Wiccans from different Wiccan subsets, the temporarily convened Council of American Witches hammered down 13 core principles that many U.S. Wiccans still recognize decades later. 

A beginner’s guide to Wicca and Wiccan beliefs

What do Wiccans believe?

Wicca is hardly a staunch or strict belief system— and that’s a huge part of what gives Wiccan beliefs mass appeal to people of diverse religious backgrounds. It’s not uncommon for individual practitioners or covens to write their own interpretations of the Wiccan code of conduct. However, as in any religion, there are a few key rules and principles that most all Wiccans stick to, whether they practice alone or in a coven. There are two key rules that are typically the most important:

1) Wiccan Rede

Originally part of a 26-line poem, the Wiccan Rede outlines the key moral system in Wicca. It reads “An it harm none, do what ye will.” It has also been written as “That it harm none, do as thou wilt.” In most interpretations, it’s similar to the “golden rule”—treat others as you’d like to be treated.

2) Rule of Three

The Wiccan three-fold law isn’t just a tenet of Wiccan beliefs. The idea is that whatever energy you put out into the world, spiritual or otherwise, it will come back to you three times. This is also often referred to as karma.

The 13 principles of Wicca

According to Pagan Path, the 13 principles of Wicca are these:

  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.  Usually in the form of Sabbat and Esbat celebrations.
  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 than 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 interaction 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 worldview 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 her/himself 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 toward 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 our 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 Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor 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. 

Variations in belief

According to ReligiousTolerance.org, there are still variations in Wiccan beliefs depending on the individual practicing. Some worship only one deity, often the Goddess alone, some worship a full spectrum of pagan gods, some see the universe itself as a god, some question the existence of a deity, and some flat-out don’t buy into any kind of God at all.

One common misconception is that Wiccans worship the devil, when in fact they have no equivalent to Catholicism’s hell-bound overlord. Unifying Wiccan beliefs include gender equality, the power of human sexuality, respect for nature, and certain latitude in personal autonomy—so long as doing what you want doesn’t harm anyone else. Practicing Wiccans also believe in the law of karma, which is to say, whatever good or bad thing a person does will come back to them thrice as strong.

What is witchcraft?

Witchcraft, distinctly different from Wicca, is “the magical manipulation of energy to bring about change,” in the words of my new favorite website, Witchipedia. Witches might derive that power from nature—think crystals, herbs, plants, feathers—or from themselves, but regardless, they practice magic by casting spells and performing rituals.

Are there Wiccan holidays?

Many Wiccans refer to the Wheel of the Year, which represents an annual cycle of seasonal festivals observed by Pagans. Solstices and equinoxes mark the significant holidays throughout the year, which Wiccans also refer to as sabbats.

Yule

The winter solstice marks Yule every year, but the exact date varies. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, Yule could fall between Dec. 20 and Dec. 23. According to Wicca.com, the Yule tradition celebrates the rebirth of the sun by lighting a Yule log, which is meant to burn throughout the first night of solstice and smolder for 12 days. Many of the Pagan traditions of Yule are identified with Christmas today, like hanging mistletoe, poinsettias, evergreen boughs and holly decorations, and decorating a Christmas tree.

Samhain

Probably the biggest and most important Wiccan holiday, Samhain is celebrated on Oct. 31 and is also known as All Hallow’s Eve, Hallows, or the Feast of the Dead, according to Wicca.com.

It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands.

Some of the most recognizable traditions of Samhain include leaving food offerings and altars for the wandering dead, dressing in costume, playing tricks or pranking one another, and celebrating with a large bonfire.

There you have it. Happy hexing.

Original Source (Article and Images): The Daily Dot

9 Things You Should Know About Wicca and Modern Witchcraft

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Are you interested in Wicca and Modern Witchcraft? The following article by Joe Carter shows some interesting facts about the modern wiccan / witchcraft movement and its history. Source: thegospelcoalition.org

A growing number of young women—driven by feminist politics and the #MeToo movement—are being drawn to a new brand of witchcraft, according to a report by NBC News. Here are nine things you should know about Wicca and modern witchcraft.

1. Witchcraft refers to the worldview, religion, and practices associated with using rituals that are believed to harness and focus cosmic or psychic energies to bring about some desired change. Modern witchcraft is the largest and most common subset of neo-paganism, a diverse group of religious movements that claim to be derived from historical pagan religions.

2. Within the witchcraft revival movement, the largest subset is Wicca. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey estimated that in the United States there were about 600,000 neo-pagans, with about half identifying as Wiccan. Some estimates conclude that in 2017 there were more than 3 million practicing Wiccans.

3. In modern usage, the term “witch” is considered gender-neutral and can apply to either men or women. The term “warlock” is often considered a derogatory term as the original usage of the term meant “oath-breaker.” A group of witches who meet together regularly are known as a “coven.” Some witches believe a coven must have 13 or fewer members, though not less than three.

4. Wicca was created in the 1940s by Gerald Brosseau Gardner (1884-1964), a retired British civil servant an ordained minister in the Christian sect known as the Ancient British Church. Gardner is considered the “father of modern witchcraft,” though his neo-pagan beliefs had almost not connection to older forms of witchcraft. His brand of wiccanism (sometimes referred to as Gardnerian Wicca or Gardnerian witchcraft) was taken from more modern influences, such as Freemasonry, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the English occultist Aleister Crowley. Gardner referred to his belief-system as “witchcraft” and a “witch-cult,” and the term “Wicca” didn’t appear until 1962.

5. In the 1960s and 1970, Wicca spread from the U.K. to other English-speaking countries, became associated with the burgeoning feminist and environmental movements, and split into various “traditions.” From Gardnerian Wicca sprang such offshoots as Alexandrian Wicca, Algard Wicca, Georgian Wicca, Druidic Wicca, Seax-Wica, and Eclectic Wicca.

6. The U.S. government first officially recognized Wicca as a religion in 1985. In a court case involving a prisoner (Dettmer v. Landon), the federal government argued that the doctrine of the Church of Wicca was not a religion because it is a “conglomeration” of “various aspects of the occult, such as faith healing, self-hypnosis, tarot card reading, and spell casting, none of which would be considered religious practices standing alone.” The court noted that the government was essentially arguing “that because it finds witchcraft to be illogical and internally inconsistent, witchcraft cannot be a religion.” The appeals court ruled that, “the Church of Wicca occupies a place in the lives of its members parallel to that of more conventional religions. Consequently, its doctrine must be considered a religion.”

7. A commonly shared core belief of Wicca (as well as other forms of modern witchcraft) is the acceptance and practice of magic. The Wiccan view is similar to that of Aleister Crowley, who defined magic as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.” As Wesley Baines says, “Many believe magic to be simply another law of nature, albeit one that is poorly understood and written off as fakery. As such, magic is not supernatural, but just as natural as gravity and wind, and often involve a combination of invocations, movement, music, meditation, and tools.” And as one Wiccan site explains, “Magick [sic] is another word for transformation, creation, and manifestation. Wicca magick is a tool we use to act on the subtle—or energy, or quantum—level of reality. The quantum level is the causal realm. It is the subtle influences at the quantum level that decide which way reality will go.”

8. Aside from a belief in magic, there are few beliefs that all Wiccan traditions share. The belief most commonly associated with Wicca is a variation of the Wiccan Rede (“rede” is from the Middle English, meaning “advice” or “counsel”). Believed to have been formulated by the Wiccan priestess Doreen Valiente in the early 1960s, the Wiccan Rede is stated as, “An’ it harm none, do what ye will.” Variations on the rede include “That it harm none, do as thou wilt” and “Do what you will, so long as it harms none.”

9. In its older forms, Wicca holds a duotheistic belief system that includes a female Mother Goddess and a male Horned God. As Wicca has became more influenced by feminism, though, it has become more oriented toward goddess worship. As Jone Salomonsen concludes, “Witches perceive of themselves as having left the Father’s House (Jewish and Christian religion) and returned ‘home’ to the Self (Goddess religion) with a call to heal western women’s (and men’s) alienation from community and spirituality and to become benders of human and societal developments.” This flexibility in excluding/including deities has, as Michael F. Strmiska says, “allowed people with interest in different deities and religious traditions to customize Wicca to suit their specific interests, thus enhancing the religion’s appeal to a broad and growing membership.”

Introduction to Tarot Reading: Suits and Cards

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From the many types of divination, tarot reading is one of the most intriguing in my humble opinion. It is practiced by many witches and other spiritual beings. Tarot reading is an art: although it’s not that hard to learn, it may take a lifetime to master to perfection.

This is the first article from a series devoted to tarot. Here we’ll cover some basic subjects like card types and suits. This is an excerpt from a longer (and somewhat disorganized?…) document from beyondweird.com. But the information included is very good, so I decided to organize it a bit and share it with you. You may find the original document here.

As most subjects in witchcraft, nothing is written in stone. This means that you should take this article as a basic guide, and not as the sole truth and interpretation for the subject. Feel free to share your insights in the comments section.

Tarot can be used in several ways; as a means of divination, as a tool for self discovery, as an aid to spiritual or esoteric study or even as a game. Tarot is such a diverse medium that an entire lifetime can be devoted to it’s study.

The standard Tarot deck which is commonly in use today consists of 78 cards. They are divided into the Major Arcana, The Minor Arcana and the Court Cards. There are 22 Major Arcana or Trumps. These cards are thought to represent the Higher parts of our consciousness and have been linked with the Archetypes proposed by Jung, the 22 Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, The paths of the Tree of Life, The I-Ching and the Runes among other things.

The Court Cards represent other people in our lives or aspects of our own personality. The Minor Arcana are concerned with the everyday, mundane affairs of day to day living such as work, school, the home and relationships. The Minors consist of four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. In various decks these suits might be renamed, but they are usually recognizable.

The Suits

There are 4 suits commonly found in Tarot decks: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. While they sometimes have different names, the idea behind them is usually the same. If you understand the meanings of the suits and have some knowledge of numbers, you can read the Minor Arcana of any deck of Tarot cards, or even playing cards for that matter.

Some of the more common alternate names are:

Wands – Staves

Cups – Vessels, Bowls

Swords – Crystals

Pentacles – Disks, Coins

I have included some basic astrological descriptions as the two systems, Astrology and Tarot seem to complement each other. I have also noticed that many Tarot readers incorporate their knowledge of astrology into their interpretations and readings and that many people who are interested in one are also interested in the other. Since a great many people have some knowledge of Astrology, I thought the descriptions might be helpful in understanding the ideas behind the suits.

Wands

Wands can be described as the suit having to do with energy, creativity, communication, action, passion, self improvement/self development, spirituality and enterprise. If you look at the suit of Wands in most decks you notice that most of the cards show some type of action in progress, or someone who appears to be reviewing or enjoying the results obtained from a recently completed action. Action and energy are two key words to this suit. Wands are usually associated with the element of fire. If you know a little of astrology, think of the personality attributes of the fire signs, the forceful Aries, the flamboyant Leo and the honest and enthusiastic Sagittarius. Additional attributes include:

Direction – South

Season – Spring (Vernal Equinox)

Masculine/Feminine – Masculine

Cups

Cups are associated with the emotions, the subconscious, relationships and intuitive or psychic abilities. Most decks try to convey emotions in this suit; happiness, love, boredom, disappointment and dejection are usually represented and easily identified. This suit is associated with the element of water and like water can be calm and serene, or turbulent and rough. Astrologically, the nurturing Cancer personality, the depth of the Scorpio and the intuitive, dreamy Pisces could be applied. Additional attributes:

Direction – East

Season – Summer (Summer Solstice)

Masculine/Feminine – Feminine

Swords

Swords are the suit of mental activity, rational thinking, decisions, and intellectual pursuit. Because much of the turmoil in our lives can be attributed to our thoughts, this suit often depicts conflict and struggle as well. Looking at this suit in most decks, one finds some of the more negative cards depicting nightmares, craftiness, pain and restriction. Swords are usually associated with the element of air. Astrologically one can think of the Libran desire for balance, the contradictions inherent in the Aquarian personality, and the Gemini’s thirst for intellectual stimulation. Additional attributes:

Direction – West

Season – Autumn (Autumnal Equinox)

Masculine/Feminine – Masculine

Pentacles

Pentacles are the suit associated with work, money, crafts, the home, the physical body. Looking at this suit, one sees craftsman at work, business being conducted, the physical comfort and security of having material things and the physical discomfort and pain of not having them. Pentacles are associated with the element earth. Astrologically one can think of Taurean practicality and love of home, the Capricorn’s financial and business prowess and the Virgo’s industry, skill and productivity. Additional attributes:

Direction – South

Season – Winter (Winter Solstice)

Masculine/Feminine – Feminine

Swords and Wands are usually associated with Air and Fire respectively, however some writers have reversed these attributions assigning Fire to Swords and Air to Wands. Emily Peach does this in “The Tarot Workbook” and Ellen Cannon Reed does as well in her deck ,”The Witches Tarot” and her two books “The Goddess and the Tree” and “The Witches Tarot”. Arguments can be made for both points of view and you should chose whichever attributions seems to fit best to you. The same is true of the directions assigned. An alternative system for directions taken from Astrology is: Wands – East, Cups – North, Swords – West and Earth – South.

In our next article in the series, we’ll talk about major arcana cards and their meanings. So stay tuned!