Welcome & Merry MeetThere is no doubt about it, when the concept of Paganism is first introduced to you, it has a tendency of igniting an acute curiosity. Aside from that feeling of "coming home" which I've heard many people describe, there also comes a personal excitement that is unlike anything you have ever felt before. It's very much like discovering a secret door to a world that speaks to your true heart and that my friends, is a beautiful thing :-) But now comes that age old question.... Where to begin?
Where to begin, is perhaps the most asked questions of those whom are new to the Craft. And why wouldn't it be. There are so many resources available, both paid and free, that it can leave a person feeling, well... dizzy and really spoiled for choice and not always in a good way.
So for those of you out there that are new to the path and have somehow and by some twist of divine fate stumbled across this blog post, then here is a very basic, perhaps even classic list of resources that will assist you during those first few steps onto your path to Witchcraft Awesomeness :-)
Let the Reading Begin!
Whether you live in an area that grants you access to open pagan groups and circles is neither here nor there at this stage. Yes having face to face conversations with like minded people is awesome, but first I feel, learning a little bit about both the pagan culture that you are venturing into and some of the more commonly used jargon, can be of real value to you at this point.
So here is a list of SUPER POPULAR beginner resources that will really help to ease your transition into this beautiful path. I have carefully chosen resources that are extremely popular in this Pagan Renascence we are experiencing and as such are known by many both experienced practitioners and those at the beginning of their path.
Firstly I would like to introduce you to Australia's PAN, the Pagan Awareness Network. Here you will find a great lot of information on paganism from a clear introductory standpoint. They cover such topics as:
- Who are Pagans?
- How many Pagans are there?
- What do Pagans believe in?
- Pagan festivals
- Myths, clichés and reporting – a guide for the media
Next I would like to introduce you to The Pagan Federation International. Here you will find a great many resources regarding paganism from an international perspective. You can even search by country. This is a members based website, and one must pay money to become a member, however I encourage you to take a look at their 'What is Paganism" Section which is free to ogle.
Following these is a website that is known and loved by many. Perhaps because of there openhearted and dynamic views. They are the all inclusive organization know as The Church of All Worlds (CAW). The purpose of CAW to quote them verbatim is:
" The mission of the Church of All Worlds is to evolve a network of information, mythology and experience that provides a context and stimulus for reawakening Gaia and reuniting Her children through tribal community dedicated to responsible stewardship and the evolution of consciousness".
Yes some of their "stuff" is a little out there for my liking, but I feel that is simply a byproduct of being "all inclusive" which is by no means bad thing.
And lastly for a further more specified list of Pagan Organization please check out this Wikipedia List.
Now that you have found yourself up to your witch/pagan eye balls in resources and have read all that you can handle at this present point in time. Its time to celebrate :-) so let us take a look at the Wheel of the Year and see just how Pagans like to party.
Pagan Festivals - Wheel of the Year
The following dates are considered to be common significant festivals within the Pagan calendar, especially for Wiccan's, Witches, Druids and other earth-centric traditions. These sacred days relate to the turning of the seasons, which is an integral part of most Pagan spirituality. I have kept each description short and sweet and encourage you to do your own research on the subject.
|Samhain Altar 2010 by Wilhelmine|
Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) is perhaps the biggest of Sabbaths as it is often viewed as the "Witches New Years". During this time witches and pagans celebrate death in a literal and metaphorical state as a transition and as such a continuation of life-force. During Samhain, the "Veils" between the worlds of the living and dead (spirit) are at their thinnest making it possible to traverse the boundaries into the spirit world so that one may openly communicate with ancestors and spirits for guidance and honoring purposes. This is a time to celebrate where we came from, our heritage, and blood lines. Samhain is also a traditional time for scrying and divination rituals.
Yule (Winter Solstice)Northern 21-23 December – Southern 21-23 June
|Yule Altar 2011 by ReanDeanna|
Yule is a mid winter festival predating yet linked to the Christian Christmas and as such is archetypally affiliated with the birth of a child of promise and light: Dionysus, Arthur, Jesus, Baldur. Celebrations for the return of the sun and thus hope occur during this time. Abundance spells and charms are crafted as we each give thanks and gifts of goodwill.
Imbolc (Candlemas)Northern 1st February – Southern 1 August
Imbolc is the time of the beginning of beginnings, of celebration of Light returning and time to consider carefully what you will do with the year stretching before you. Imbolc brings the awakening of the life force when the first green shoots of bulbs appear. It is sacred to the Celtic Goddess Brigid and as such the Cross of Brigid is fashioned and placed on the altar from decoration. Imbolc is a time to set positive intentions for spiritual direction and growth. (Spheres Of Light)
Ostara (Spring Equinox)Northern 21-22 March – Southern 21-22 September
The Equinoxes are the balancing points in the cycle of the seasons, when the day and night are of equal length, reminding us of the harmony of the whole. Buds of flowers and leaf, all manner of eggs and just-born life are celebrated in decorations and imagery as Pagans rejoice in the Earth's reawakening. The urge of spring is to do, create and bring in the new. Here light overcomes darkness with lengthening days bringing the magic of new growth (Spheres Of Light).
Beltane (May Day)
|Beltane Altar by Druidstone|
Beltane is the beginning of the summer months. This is the festival of the Great Rite - of sexual union between Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine of Goddess and God. Beltane is the spring fertility festival and there is feasting and celebration - a great festival for lovers! Beltane is the most popular time for Witches to be handfasted (a witches wedding). Dancing, drumming and fire often make up part of the celabrations (Spheres Of Light) May poles- phallic and yonic symbolism, Love magic (weddings/handfastings), Animus and anima/masculine and feminine balances are all featured during this time.
Litha (Summer Solstice)Northern 21-23 June – Southern 21-23 December
|Mead Moon Altar by CarlaVK|
This is the longest day of the year, and a time of joy and strength for the light. It is a time when the powers of nature are at their fullest. In the past this was often marked with bonfires and celebrants staying awake through the short night. To leap over the bonfire was to assure a good crop; some said the grain would grow as tall as the leapers could jump. Litha can be known as a Faery festival as it is thought they run a muck during this sacred time. (Spheres Of Light)
|Lammas Altar seekersight.wordpress.com|
Lammas is the day marking the first harvest of early grain, where the first loaf of the bread from the harvest is broken and shared in the name of the Goddess. All crops associated with grain and of the season are sacred to this time.
(Spheres Of Light)
Mabon: (Autumn Equinox)Northern 21-22 September – Southern 21-22 March
|Tyralon MacCrann Vom Clan Der Baume|
Mabon is a balancing point in the light and dark of the year, the day when the sun has equal hours in and out of the sky. It is also the second harvest. At this time food is prepared for storage, jams and pickles are made, and fruits are candied and preserved for the coming winter. Pagans celebrate this as a rite of Thanksgiving, a celebration of harvest abundance, an appreciation of hearth, home, and family. It is a time to reflect on what it means to be a Witch and re-affirm your commitment to the Craft. This is the time when the Goddess is mourning the God even though she carries him within her, to be born again at Yule. (Spheres of Light)
The above Wheel of the Year Information came from the Modern Witch's Website and
Spheres Of Light
North or South Wheel of the YearDepending on where you live and your approach to your own, personalized practice, the dates for each of the Wheel’s celebrations may well be different. We've thus defaulted as a global Pagan community into three main groups.
- Those who stick to, and follow, the northern hemisphere Wheel of the Year because they live there, because it’s simpler, or because they don’t know what else to do.
- Those who follow a completely revised southern Wheel of the Year which essentially is the opposite of the northern one.
- Those who follow a more organic calendar based on their local geography and ecology.
Now let me say at this point that none of these approaches are wrong and as a practitioner of a religion that expects you to take responsibility for your practice, it’s up to you to determine what will work for you. So many people are modifying their Wheel of the Year to reflect their own ecology and for many practitioners this has enabled them to feel much more in tune with their own, local natural world rather than one imposed on them by others.
It’s also not just as simple of swapping the seasons over either, oh that it was that easy! For example, the weather patterns in large continents like Australia and the Americas dictate that during summer, in some places it can be extremely hot and yet in others in the same country it can be quite mild. Alaska has a different summer weather pattern than does California. In Australia, Tasmania has a mild summer while Darwin suffers under oppressive heat in summer. So even in the same country, the weather patterns can be quite different.
The Following information comes from Oak and Mistletoe's Useful Articles section of their awesome website.
This in itself is a MASSIVE topic so I shall attempt to keep it as condensed as possible as this blog post is simply an introduction to paganism and witchcraft.
The most popular or perhaps its better to say the most well know of pagan traditions are as follows:
Asatru is known under the umbrella term of Germanic Neopaganism, the modern rebirth of the pre-Christian indigenous faith of the Norse peoples. It is also known as Heathenry, Ásatrú, Odinism, Forn Siðr, Theodism, and other names.
For more information on Asatru, please head to the Asatru Alliance
Druidry, or Druidism as it is also known means following a spiritual path rooted in the green Earth. It means participating in a living Western spiritual tradition drawn from many sources, including surviving legacies from Celtic wisdom teachings, but embracing the contributions of many peoples and times. It means learning from archaic traditions, from three centuries of modern Druid scholarship, and from the always changing lessons of the living Earth itself. It means embracing an experiential approach to religious questions, one that abandons rigid belief systems in favor of inner development and individual contact with the realms of nature and spirit - .John Michael Greer, Druidry – A Green Way of Wisdom
For more information on Druidry please visit The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids website
Hellenistic religion is any of the various systems of beliefs and practices of the people who lived under the influence of ancient Greek culture during the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire (c. 300 BCE to 300 CE).
For more information on Hellenism please visit Hellenistic Religion Wikipedia
Hermeticism is an ancient spiritual, philosophical, and magical tradition. It is a path of spiritual growth. Hermeticism takes its name from the God Hermês Trismegistos (Greek, "Thrice-Greatest Hermes"), a Græco-Egyptian form of the great Egyptian God of Wisdom and Magic, Thôth. What the Hermetic Fellowship defines as Hermeticism has also been called the Western Esoteric Tradition, and embraces the Perennial Philosophy or the Ageless Wisdom.
Kemetic Orthodoxy is a modern practice of the religious tradition of Ancient Egypt, known to its own people as Kemet. This particular practice was founded by Rev. Tamara L. Siuda in the late 1980s CE, and is called Kemetic Orthodoxy, or the Kemetic Orthodox Religion, after the term Kemetic for "of Kemet," and Orthodox, meaning "a sect conforming to established doctrine, especially in religion."
For more information on Kemetism please visit Kemetic Orthodoxy
Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition and moreover, a way of life. It is a way to connect with nature and all of creation. The word shaman originates from the Tungus tribe in Siberia. Anthropologists coined this term and have used it to refer to the spiritual and ceremonial leaders among indigenous cultures worldwide. The word shamanism can be used to describe the ancient spiritual practices of these indigenous cultures. Clearly the countless similarities between various ancient traditions played a role in the continual generalization of the word.
For more information on Shamanism please visit Dance of the Deer Foundation
Wicca is a modern pagan religion. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and it was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. It draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practice. The word witch derives from Middle English wicche, Old English wicce (feminine) "witch" and wicca (masculine) "wizard"
For information on Wicca please visit Wicca
The Feri Tradition (which is a different tradition than Faery, Fairy, Faerie, or Vicia) is an initiatory tradition of non-Wiccan traditional witchcraft. It is an ecstatic (rather than fertility) tradition stemming from the experience of Cora and Victor Anderson . Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. The Feri Tradition has very diverse influences, such as Huna, Vodou, Faery lore, Kabbalah, Hoodoo, Tantra, and Gnosticism
Stregheria (Aradianism)Stregheria is a form of witchcraft. Stregheria is sometimes referred to as La Vecchia Religione ("the Old Religion") The word stregheria is an archaic Italian word for "witchcraft", the modern Italian word being stregoneria.
What are the differences between stregoneria and stregheria, and what exactly is stregoneria? Stregoneria is the modern word in Italian that is commonly translated into English as the word witch. In the Italian dictionary – Vocabolario della Lingua (Nicola Zanichelli, 1970) - stregoneria is defined as a magical practice intended to produce harm or illness. Stregheria is referenced in this book as a rare usage, and it is also defined as witchcraft. In this article the differences between the two words, and what they actually mean, will be revealed ( What is Stregoneria vs Stregheria by Paolo Giordano).
Traditional WitchcraftTraditional Witchcraft in modern culture has come to mean any witchcraft or lore or practices associated with Robert Cochrane, Joe Wilson, Evan John Jones, Andrew Chumbley, Mike Howard, Nigel Jackson, and Robin Artisson. When people interested in the craft first start researching Traditional Witchcraft, it is the works and legacies of these people they discover. What they do not know is that Traditional Witchcraft is much bigger than any one tradition. It is an umbrella term much like “Pagan” or “Reconstructionist” to classify all the hundreds of traditions and practices that fall within its shelter.(Sarah Anne Lawless).
OdinismOdinism is a type of Germanic neopaganism, specifically focussed on honoring Odin, Thor, Frey, Freyja, and other Germanic deities in the pre-Christian religion of Scandinavia. (Wikipedia)
"Odinism is the native religion of Scandinavian, Celtic, Anglo- Saxon and Germanic peoples, and of other European tribes. It has been our innate faith since Cro-Magnon times and beyond…back to the time of our beginnings.. Ours is a religion of honor, joy, reason, intellectual curiosity and meritocracy.. It is a religion that speaks to our blood, that celebrates our connection with our ancestors and descendants… a living tree of life whose branches are our family." (What is Odinisim).
Chaos MagicAlthough there are a few techniques unique to chaos magick (such as some forms of sigil magic), chaos magic is often highly individualistic and borrows liberally from other belief systems, due to chaos magick having a central belief that belief is a tool. Some common sources of inspiration include such diverse areas as science fiction, scientific theories, traditional ceremonial magic, neoshamanism, Eastern philosophy, world religions, and individual experimentation. Despite tremendous individual variation, chaos magicians (sometimes called "chaotes") often work with chaotic and humorous paradigms, such as the worship of Hundun from Taoism or Eris from Discordianism and it is common for chaotes to believe in whatever god suits their current paradigm and discard it when necessary. Chaotes can be agnostic or atheist and regard magical practice as merely psychological, not paranormal. Some chaos magicians also use psychedelic drugs in practices such as chemognosticism. (Wikipedia).
Hedge witchcraft, Hedgecraft, or Hedge-riding is an approach to witchcraft focusing on shamanic experience and varying degrees of herbalism. It is said to be derived from the Old English term Haegtesse, an Old English word that translates to "hedge rider".
The "hedge" in Hedgecraft signifies the boundary between this world and the Otherworlds. Hedge-riding is the act of crossing this "hedge" or boundary en trance and interacting with the spirits of the other side. (Wikipedia)
A Hedge Witch is a solitary practitioner of the herbal arts - both, medicinal and spiritual. She is the person you call when you develop a rash or get a toothache, and the doctor or dentist is unavailable. She is the person you consult when strange things go bump in the night, or you are certain that someone just gave you the evil eye.(Hedge Witches Forest)
Yes there are many more but I have chosen to stop there.
Next Come The Books
With all that said, lets dive on in!
The first Author I would like to introduce you to is the late great Scott Cunningham. His
books on the fundamentals of Wicca and Witchcraft are written in an open and all inclusive informative manner. There isn't a practitioner of the Craft that hasn't heard of this man and his plethora of books.Cunningham was also quite fond of the idea of self initiation and so such thoughts and rituals do often appear in his books.
Here is a list of some of his more popular titles:
- Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
- Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
- Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic
- Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
- The Complete Book of Incense Oils and Brews
The next author I would like to introduce you to is still very much with us and his name is Christopher Penczak. Penczak takes you further down the Witches path in his highly popular Temple of Witchcraft Series. The Temple of Witchcraft series is in itself "a year and a day" course in Witchcraft and will walk you through the deeper spiritual aspects of the path with exercises for you to try along the way. Penczak began his pagan journey as a practitioner of Wicca and while his path has evolved quite a bit since then, some of his writing still does to a degree reflect his Wiccan roots. Here is a list of his most popular titles:
- The Inner Temple of Witchcraft
- The Outer Temple of Witchcraft: Circles Spells and Rituals
- The Living Temple of Witchcraft Volume 1: The Descent of the Goddess
- The Living Temple of Witchcraft Volume 2: The Journey of the God
The next author I have the pleasure of introducing you to follows a deeply beautiful Earth
Centric path. Her name is Ann Moura and her path to the Craft is heavily grounded in nature and her natural environment. She is a delight to read. I really enjoy her simple writing style and open and knowledgeable approach. Here is a list of her more well known titles:
- Green Witchcraft: Folk Magick, Fairy Lore and Herb Craft
- Green Witchcraft II: Balancing Shadow and Light
- The Manual (Book 3 in the Green Witchcraft Series)
- Grimoire of the Green Witch: A Complete Book of Shadows
- Mansions of the Moon: A Complete Book of Lunar Magick
The next author I would like to introduce you to is the late great Doreen Valiente a very
influential English Wiccan who played a major role in modern neo-paganisim. She is know and loved by many. Here are some of her more well known titles:
- Rebirth Witchcraft
- Witchcraft Tomorrow
- Charge Goddess: The Mother Modern Witchcraft
- Natural Magic
- Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed
The next author I would like to introduce you to often provokes a strong reaction amongst
pagans and by that I mean, you'll either love her or you won't. Its as simple as that. Her name is Silver Ravenwolf and she she and her work have been around for quite some time. here is a short list of her more popular tiles:
- Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation
- To Ride Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft
- To Stir A Magick Cauldron: A Witches Guide to Casting and Conjuring
The next author I would like to introduce you to is Mr Raymond Buckland and his notorious
(amongst witches) Big Blue Book. Buckland writes from a Wiccan point of view and his books are extremely informative when it comes to Wiccan ritual, tools, altar setup etc. He is not my favorite author but that's not to say he won't be yours. Here are his more popular titles:
- Buckland's Complete Guide to Witchcraft
- Practical Candleburning Rituals Purpose: Spells and Rituals for Every Purpose
- Advanced Candle Magick: More Spells and Ritual for Every Purpose
Next is Raven Grimassi, the author of over seventeen books on Wicca and Witchcraft,
Raven Grimassi has been a teacher and practitioner of the Craft for nearly 45 years. He is trained in the Family tradition of Italian Witchcraft (also known as Stregheria), and is also an initiate of several Wiccan Traditions, including Brittic Wicca and the Pictish-Gaelic Tradition. He is currently the Co-Directing Elder of the Ash, Birch and Willow system of Witchcraft.
- Old World Witchcraft: Ancient Ways for Modern Days
- Hereditary Witchcraft: Secrets of the Old Religion
- Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch: Mastering the Five Arts of Old World Witchery
- The Witches' Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation
- Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft
The great news is, that there are so many awesome titles to sink your teeth into and the further you go with your study of the craft, the more amazing authors you will discover so keep an eye out for these classics:
- The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess by Starhawk
- Drawing Down the Moon:Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers and other Pagans in America by Margot Adler
- Power of the Witch: The Earth, The Moon and The Magickal Path to Enlightenment by Laurie Cabot
- Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner
- Triumph Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft by Ronald Hutton
- A Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches' Handbook
I have tried to keep the book list as short but as in depth as I could and am acutely aware that I have left many a great author out. It was an impossible task to say the very least, especially for an avid book lover such as myself :-) Also, the list I have provided was based on the opinions of many of my pagan friends and not necessarily hand picked by me. I did this so as not to demonstrate any bias.
Now to Video ResourcesThe following is a list of free You Tube resources which I have hand picked to help you, the beginner, out on your magickal journey. Please note that the creators of these various videos are people like you and me, thoughtfully sharing their wisdom. Please enjoy:
- What is Paganism from a Witches Perspective
- Witchcraft: A Beginners Guide Part 1
- Witchcraft: A Beginners Guide Part 2
- Wicca and Witchcraft on a Budget: Finding Unique Tools
- For the New Witch
- Being a Witch: What it means to me
- A Witch & Their Witchcraft
- A Witches Service to Others
- What is Magick
- Traditions & Eclectic Paths in Witchcraft
- Consecrating, Charging, Opening Sacred Space
- Casting a Circle
- My First Wiccan Books: Witchcraft & Neo Paganism
- Is Wicca Right For You
- Witchcraft, Wicca & Paganism:Energy Techniques for Ritual, Spell craft & Healing
Now I thought I might do websites and blogs. This is actually one of hardest to tackle but I feel that my final selection is pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself. Now, its actually hard to find pagan blogs that are primarily geared towards the beginner. So instead, what I have done, is chosen blogs that are just down right interesting to read and that focus on a plethora of pagan topics, Enjoy!
- The Riddle Fisher
Popular Pagan SymbolismHere is a very modest collection of Pagan symbolism that you will undoubtedly see in one form or another, whether that be in the form of jewellery, talismans, tattoos or simply illustrated in a book of piece of art.
The pentacle is a five-pointed star, or pentagram, contained within a circle. The five points of the star represent the four classical elements, along with a fifth element, which is typically either Spirit or Self, depending on your tradition. The pentacle is probably the best-known symbol of Wicca today, and is often used in jewelry and other designs. Typically, a pentacle is traced in the air during Wiccan rituals, and in some traditions it is used as a designation of degree. It is also considered a symbol of protection, and is used in warding in some Pagan traditions.
Triple Moon Symbol
This symbol is found in many NeoPagan and Wiccan traditions as a symbol of the Goddess. The first crescent represents the waxing phase of the moon meaning new beginnings, new life, and rejuvenation. The center circle is symbolic of the full moon, the time when magic is at its most potent and powerful. Finally, the last crescent represents the waning moon meaning a time to do banishing magic, and to send things away.
TriskeleIn the Celtic world, the triskele is found carved in Neolithic stones all over Ireland and western Europe. For modern Pagans and Wiccans, it is sometimes adopted to represent the three Celtic realms of earth, sea and sky.
|Triquetra by CacaioTavares|
In some modern traditions, it represents the connection of mind, body and soul, and in Celtic-based Pagan groups it is symbolic of the three realms of earth, sea and sky. The triquetra made a comeback through pop culture as the main symbol in the hit TV show "Charmed" where it represented the "power of three".
The ankh also known as breath of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata (Latin meaning "cross with a handle"), was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read "life".
Tree of Life
A tree of life is a common motif in various world theologies, mythologies, and philosophies. It alludes to the interconnection of all life on our planet and serves as a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense. The term tree of life may also be used as a synonym for sacred tree.
Awen is a Welsh and Cornish word for "(poetic) inspiration". In the Welsh tradition, awen is the inspiration of the poet bards; or, in its personification, Awen is the inspirational muse of creative artists in general: the inspired individual (often, but not limited to being, a poet or a soothsayer) is described as an awenydd. Emma Restall Orr, founder and former head of The Druid Network, defines awen as `flowing spirit' and says that `Spirit energy in flow is the essence of life'.
Yes, yes, yes, there are sooooooooooooo many more pagan symbols, this really is just a jumping off point
Information source: http://www.ancient-symbols.com/
Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
Pagan TerminologyDelving into the world of paganism can be a little daunting, I've even heard a few newcomers to the path say that in the very beginning trying to navigate the tangle of pagan jargon was like learning a new language. And its true! But the same could be said for any practice, weather that be sport, music, politics etc. Nevertheless, to make things a little easier on you during this awesome time, I have put together a very short list of common words and phrases that you will come across often.
- Altar - A ritual space specifically created for worship or magickal workings. It is a sacred space in which to come and commune with spirit.
- Bright Blessings - A common greeting or farewell amongst pagan practitioners.
- Blessed Be - A blessing often used at ritual gatherings.
- Cakes and Ale - Food offerings placed on the Altar during ritual.
- Casting a Circle - To cast a circle means to create a magical ritual space in which to work. Circles are often cast for full moon and sabbath celebrations, for healing rituals or for the purpose of crafting magick.When a practitioner casts a ritual circle they are in essence creating a sacred space away from the mundane world in which to conduct their magickal workings in a safe and sacred space.
- Circle - A circle is a ritual power space that is comprised of energy and intent and is protective in nature.
- Circle Etiquette - Appropriate/respectful behavior inside a ritual circle. Circle Etiquette differs from group/coven to group/coven.
- Coven - Is a gathering or community of witches.
- Cross - Quarter Day - One of the four major Sabbaths that take place between the Solstices and Equinoxes. These Cross - Quarter days are: Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh.
- Divination - is a practice/art form where by the practitioner uses certain tools either natural or man made, to foresee aspects of the future or to learn the answer to certain questions.
- Deity - describes a being, who may be thought of as holy, godly, or sacred.
- Equinox - There are two Equinoxes which relate to two specific days of the witches wheel of the year (one in Autumn the other in Spring) when day and night are of equal lengths. The Autumn Equinox is often referred to as Mabon or the Autumnal Equinox and the Spring Equinox is often referred to as Ostara.
- Esbat - is a ritual gathering that takes place for purposes other then that of celebrating a Sabbath.
- God - The Masculine divine aspect of the craft. The God may also be referred to as the Great God, The Lord of the hunt, The green man, The Sky Father, The All Father, etc.
- Goddess - The feminine divine aspect of the Craft. The Goddess may also be referred to as Gaia, the Great Mother, Mother Moon etc.
- Matron Goddess - Describes a goddess that you are personally aligned to or devoted to. You many have an altar dedicated to her and or call her during ritual and magickal workings. A Matron Goddess can be considered your Mother Goddess.
- Monotheist - belief in the existence of one god/goddess or in the oneness of God/goddess.
- Pantheist - is the belief that the universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God/Goddess.
- Pantheon - refers to the gods of a particular polytheistic religion, mythology, or tradition ie, Celtic, Egyptian, Nordic, Greek, African, Aboriginal, etc.
- Patron God - Describes a God that you are personally aligned to or devoted to. You many have an altar dedicated to him and or call him during ritual and magickal workings. A Patron God can be considered your Father God.
- Polytheist -refers to the worship of or belief in multiple deities usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals.
- Scrying - Describes the process of obtaining spiritual visions through gazing into a object such as a crystal ball, scrying mirror and or other elemental expressions, such as fire, natural still body of water etc.
- Shadow Work - In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" may refer to an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Shadow work is the process of working to heal and integrate the parts of ourselves that we often hide or deny.
- Solstice - Describes an astrological event where the strength of the Sun is either at its highest (strongest) or lowest (weakest). These two events are called Litha or the Summer Solstice and Yule or the Winter Solstice,
- Solitary Practitioner - a magical practitioner that is not part of, or does not wish to be a part of, a formal group/coven.
- Wheel of the Year -The Wheel of the Year is a Pagan metaphor and calendar for the cycle of the seasons. It consists of eight festivals, known as Sabbats, spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the year. These Sabbaths are made up of two (2) Solstices, two (2) Equinoxes and four (4) Cross-Quarter days.
And there you have it, a very breif intro into Paganism with a specific focus on Witchcraft. There is no doubt about it, there is a lot of information out there and some really great resources so please do not consider this blog as a substitute for those resources. Instead consider this blog as a platform from witch to explore your options.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this blog post, I have tried to credit all sources however if I have missed one, please do let me know.
Much love and many blessings