Discover Your Witch Name

As you explore the world of Wicca and find your place in it, you may feel prompted to take on a new name. There are many reasons why witches choose special names that are solely for magickal workings.

The time and place in which you cast spells is sacred, set apart from common reality. Your everyday name might break the mood. Within the Wiccan circle, you are a spirit of nature, a child of the Great Mother. You should not think of yourself as your plain everyday persona. A name is a word of power. You need a name that describes your spiritual nature, and very few people are comfortable enough with their given name to feel that it is their spiritual name.

In ancient times, many people chose their own names. A name could be changed at any time in life to reflect self-perception and experience. In some tribal cultures, people are thought to reincarnate their ancestors and might use that ancestor’s name. Ceremonial Magick has a tradition of using the names of mages or witches of the past. Many witches choose the name of a mythological deity or spirit they feel close to. In some Wicca covens the high priestess is responsible for discerning the witch names of the initiates.

The key to your witch name is in your intuition that draws you close to the powers of nature. Go to your sacred places when you can take time to spend a few hours in a meditative trance, opening your mind to the elemental spirits. Do you love the mountains and caves of Mother Earth, is it water that moves you, or are you drawn to fire or air? Your name may be related to the elements you love best. It may come to you as a word spoken in your mind, the memory of a beloved song, or you might create it yourself from the sounds that are the most pleasing to you.

You may know instantly when you have your witch name. It will simply fit, like clothing. If you find a name but are not sure, speak it to yourself many times, write it over and over. If it is not right for you, begin the search anew. Take as much time as you need and use whatever method works best for you to be in touch with your intuition.

Amulets and Talismans

Throughout your life, you have probably collected things that have cherished meaning to you. You might have special clothing or jewelry, posters, concert tickets, postcards, even an ordinary rock from a special place. They have great personal value, evoking emotions and memories that remind you of who you are. Hold onto these keepsakes. They are another way in which magic has been a part of your life since you were born. They are your personal amulets.

In magic, an amulet is any object that protects its wearer or owner. They are said to ward off illness and misfortune, and to attract good luck. You can buy traditional amulets anywhere. There’s the Ankh, Egyptian symbol of life; the Hebrew Chai, also meaning life; the Hamsa and the simple blue bead, both recognized throughout the Middle East for their power against the evil eye; from the Celtic lands, the Tree of Life and the triangle knot; and many others.

As with your magic tools, it’s best if you shop in person rather than online. Each has its own energy and vibration, which you may sense even if on a subconscious level. Pick out the ones that make you feel strong, healthy and good.

You can make an amulet to wear or carry; it can be anything you desire. Some witches create a tiny book with symbols drawn in ink on the pages. Keep this in a locket or sew it into a cover of thin leather. Your favorite protective symbols can be embroidered on your clothing or woven with beads and incorporated into a necklace, pin or bracelet. Amulets can also be mounted near doors or windows to protect the home.

While an amulet gives constant protection, a talisman is created for a specific task or spell. Similar to amulets, they can be worn, displayed or hidden, but their power is limited to one purpose and often to a certain period of time. (The charm bags described in other Just Wicca entries are one type of talisman.)  A talisman that has served its purpose can be kept, cleaned and recharged, or disposed of in whatever way feels right to you.

Pay attention to your talismans and amulets. Touch them, think about them and even speak to them. Do this with your witch tools and other Craft materials as well. Think of them as having a certain consciousness; they will be more powerful if you treat them with kindness. When you have to dispose of an amulet or talisman, or any Craft item, thank it for its service, clean it and recycle it or bury it in a natural environment.

Wicca Tools pt. 2

If you decide on a traditional Wicca path, your first step is to gather the implements of this ancient Craft. Historical sources differ on the origins of these tools, but their use in the present day is firmly established.

The Athame or black-handled knife is used to direct psychic energy, much as you might assume the magic wand is used — to cast the circle and to draw symbols in the air. It’s viewed as a symbol of male energy. The blade is dipped into the chalice to consecrate sacred water, evoking male-female union. For gays and Lesbians, two athames are crossed and water poured from one chalice to another. The element associated with the athame is air or fire.

The Wand or staff should usually be made of wood. It also is used to direct energy, as well as to invite nature spirits into the circle. The wand’s element is either fire or air.

The Pentacle, representing earth, is a dish that holds a small amount of salt.  Traditionally the pentacle is ceramic and has a five-pointed star (pentagram) painted on it.

The Chalice or cup is filled with its element, water. It represents the Goddess from whom all life comes, and all female energy. The water can be consecrated and used for sacred purposes. Members of a coven can drink it in a celebration of sharing.

You will also need an incense burner and ordinary candles to light your work. These may be plain white or you can choose the colors to match the type of spell you are doing. Some witches have a small red candle to represent the element of fire.

You should feel comfortable in the circle. A robe or gown is traditional. You can make or buy one. Be sure it is made from natural materials. It does not have to be black or have any symbols or ornamentation on it. Plain is better — then you can wear any jewelry that goes with your current ritual. You will also need a long cord to wear as a belt and to mark the boundaries of your circle.

Should you use your magical tools for everyday purposes? If privacy is a problem, yes. According to Gardnerian Wicca it is perfectly all right to hide things in plain sight. With no marks or signs on anything, your athame is just another kitchen utensil, and candles are just candles. Try using all natural items — a large shell can hold water and an ordinary stick becomes your wand. Remember, the power of magic always comes from your own mind and heart — not from your tools.

Wicca Tools pt. 1

Now that you have decided to become a witch, it’s time to decide on and gather your ritual tools. These sacred implements are important in traditional spells and ceremonies, whether practiced alone or in a group.

Gerald Gardner, who organized the modern Wicca religion, based much of it not only on the small coven he belonged to, but also on Masonic rites and medieval ceremonial magick. Each of the traditional tools is associated with an element or type of energy and is used in a specific way. None of these things are magic in and of themselves; their purpose is to help you channel and direct the magic that is in you.

Make your ritual tools by hand if at all possible. If you cannot, the next best thing is to buy in person rather than online. Touch and handle them. Ask about their stories, where they came from. You must feel comfortable holding and using them. Ancient witch practices and folklore agree that the right tools, sooner or later, find you. Never haggle over the price of anything to be used in magic. Whether brand new or relics from an antique shop, be sure to ritually cleanse and exorcise everything to dismiss any prior energies. Some witches anoint their tools with a bit of their own bodily fluids — tears, sweat or saliva are fine.

You may have an instinct to use tools other than the traditional ones. You may already have collected items that feel magical to you that can be used in your spell work. Or you may feel you need few if any tools at all. Always listen to these instincts. In magic, always go with your feelings and emotions first. They are the source of your power — which always comes from you, not your tools or sacred objects.

Your Book Of Shadows – Part II

Are you ready to start your Book of Shadows? Perhaps you’ve been keeping one all along, although you may call it a dream record or art journal. Because the Book of Shadows is a record of your personal explorations in magic, it can include anything that helps you reach into the hidden world where emotions and intuition prevail. The book is itself a tool of magic, and it is the first and most important magic implement you should create or acquire. It is a diary, a guide to herbs, gems and stars, a recipe box, a log of spells, a repository for collected wisdom — your own and others’.

Your Book of Shadows can be as elaborate as a hand-tooled leather-bound tome or as simple as a child’s spiral notebook.  Many witches make their own books. Whatever you use, be not afraid to write or draw in your book. It is your own, and no one will laugh or criticize. If your own handwriting displeases you, take some time to learn italic script. Some witches still use the secret Theban alphabet invented by 11th-century ceremonial magicians. This may help to conceal your practices from prying eyes.

You can also keep your Book of Shadows on your computer. Any technology can be integrated and used in a magical system. You can create beautiful works of magical art, copy and paste in other images that please you, create collages, even add music. Theban and other secret alphabets are available as computer fonts.

Whatever you use, be sure that your first action is to consecrate your book and dedicate it to its magical purpose.

Some traditional Wiccans write out or print the orders of rituals in large clear letters, slip them into page protectors and keep them indexed in a looseleaf binder. This way the words can be accessed easily during bonfire-lit nighttime gatherings, and won’t get splashed with wax or wine.

Our online Book of Shadows offers many spells for you to try and adapt to your own needs. Come and discuss your experiences and ideas in our forum.

Your Book Of Shadows — Part I

Witchcraft has always been associated with books. The ancient Egyptians saw reading and writing as magical arts. In the old pagan days, books were such a symbol of wisdom that folk healers would collect books and display them even if they were illiterate. Those who could read and write would often keep a book with spells, lists of herbs and their properties, and magickal knowledge gathered from others, for the old ones knew as we know today that shared knowledge strengthens all.

During and after the Middle Ages and the fearsome Burning Times, witches took great care to conceal their books, for these could be used as evidence against them. Many simply memorized everything and hid or destroyed their books. At the time, these records were not called a Book of Shadows. That name most likely started with Gerald Gardner in the 1940s, and it was he who gave that name to any book of knowledge kept by a witch. The older name is grimoire, from the French word for grammar, reflecting the relationship between literacy and magic.

Within traditional Wicca, a Book of Shadows is a book of rituals used at sabbats and esbats, but it also applies to a witch’s personal notebook. You should begin keeping one as soon as you learn the basics of witchcraft and begin your process of introspection and discovery. In addition to this personal journal, your book should also have a section devoted to magical work. When you cast a spell or create a charm, write it in this section, including materials, diagrams and recipes. Leave space for later updates on whether or not it worked. Another section can have lists of herbs, foods and natural materials with their magical properties. Anything useful learned from other witches goes in the book as well.

3 Ways Wiccans Celebrate Summer

With the festivities of the Summer Solstice behind us, many witches are curious how to take advantage of the warmer climate and incorporate it into their Wiccan practice. Here is a small list I’ve compiled of fun ways for Wiccans to enjoy the summer.

Outdoor Meditation
Doing meditation outdoors can be very beneficial, especially during the summer. The different sounds of nature enhanced by the smells of the season will allow the meditation to be heightened. Find a place outdoors that will allow you to be completely relaxed and get the best out of your meditation. Ideally, look for a place that is quiet but allows you to surround yourself by nature.

A Day to Celebrate the Elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air.
Throw an outdoor party with some of your friends. Find a way to bring Earth, Fire and Water elements into the party. You could fly a kite with your fellow practitioners. You can swim in the pool during the day. If you don’t have a pool you can do something more simplistic such as water balloons or turning on sprinklers and playing fun water activities. If you haven’t had a fellowship with the members of your coven or community try to organize one. A summer’s eve is perfect for dancing and communing around the bonfire. wiccan summer

Oftentimes ceremonies involve dancing within the Wiccan Community. Have a dancing portion of your outdoor party and allow the energy to rise as you dance in nature. You can play different musical styles and allow yourself to be lost in the sound.

Nature Walk
Summer is a time where everything is at its absolute prime. The foods are more abundant. Fruits are sweeter and flavorful and flowers are brighter than ever. Wiccan traditions around the world celebrate the summer season as time of growth and renewal.

Use summer as a time to explore nature during the longest days of the year. Go outside and walk through nature, find a park or a meadow. Take time to stop and smell the roses and enjoy all the nature that is around you. Allow yourself to escape and go to a very serene state of mind. This will connect you to Mother Earth and fill your energy reserves for magickal workings.

There are many other fun activities for Wiccans to enjoy during the summer.

How is YOUR summer going? Leave a comment us lets know how you celebrate! Don’t forget to join the Wiccan forum.

Why celebrate the Summer Solstice?

Summer is an exceptionally spiritual time for Wiccans. The most important event during this time is the Summer Solstice, also called Midsummer, which is the longest day of the year. The solstice represents the eventual, slow descent of the warm sun into the cold days of winter.

The essentials surrounding Wiccan Midsummer are fairly simple, candles should be colors that reflect the embers of the sun, red, yellow, and orange. Lavender and elder oils are used heavily in spells during this time of the year. Summer rituals are all about connecting to the earth and worshiping and respecting the blessings the Sun Gods have brought throughout this season. The sun is the center focus of Wicca, the Sun provides us with bounty, with warmth, with life, and with spirit. The summer is a time to reflect and give thanks in honor of what the sun provides.

Wiccan Solstice

Wiccan Solstice

Midsummer rituals can involve small offerings such as fruit or wine, or can be more complex including spells, chants, and altar worship. It is often practice to intertwine a carefully collected meal with the ritual, representing all the bounty that season has to offer. There are two quintessential icons associated with the holiday of the Solstice. The symbol of the Son (the Sun-God is represented here) is a spear, while the symbol of the Goddess is a cauldron. It is also considered that these two represent the male and female components of nature (the spear represents the male, the cauldron representing the female), creating a balanced, bountiful season.

A popular ritual for beginners and advanced Wiccans alike is the Midsummer Manifestation Ritual. This involves creating a list of everything wished to personally manifest with the start of the descent into winter. Harnessing the power of this day, the greatest and longest day of light, in trying to manifest desires during the coming harvest.

How to Throw a Summer Solstice Party

Summertime is here and for most people that means summertime activities. Barbeques, pools, fireworks and lots of time outside are just some of the activities that many enjoy. However, for those of the Wicca or Pagan religions, this time of year means something more ceremonial.

sweden_paganThe Summer Solstice Sabbat, or Litha as it is referred to by Wiccan or Pagans, is the festival of the sun and the longest day of the year. With annual gatherings occurring around the world, people celebrate the crops in full bloom and the earth warmed by the sun.

Beginning with the Druids and other Scandinavian cultures, many still honor this day with celebrations, rituals and sometimes just parties. Here is some information on how to throw a Summer Solstice Party whether you want to be traditional or just have a good time.

A common Wiccan ritual is the Midsummer Night’s Fire Ritual. For the more traditional, before the ritual would be the appropriate time to Call the Corners, Consecrate a Space or Cast a Circle. With words spoken during and after the lighting of either a large bonfire or a small wood pile, an offering can be made to the love of the gods and to the sun. There are also authorities, priests or priestesses, that are sometimes called upon to lead these ceremonies. Here is a list of other rituals that can be performed at your Summer Solstice Party;

Celebrate Fathers
Midsummer Sun Celebration
Hold a Backyard Barbecue Ritual
Midsummer Night’s Fire Ritual
Amergin Nature Meditation
Tool Recharging Ritual
Prayers for Litha

Summer Solstice Party activities can include barbeques, sparklers, live music, nature walks, etc. For more on the party side, you can serve Scandinavian foods, for the Druid influence, decorate the backyard with suns and anything nature themed including candles and ivy.

Wiccans use of crystals

Wiccans use of crystals

The use of crystals expressed by Wicca societies remains alive for rituals and healing, in the highest form.

There’s an array to choose from such as; agate, bloodstone, citrine, fluorite, onyx, quartz, ruby, tigers eye just to name a few, also, they’re used anywhere from healing to casting spells, used with elements such as; earth, wind, fire, water, spirit and air.

Crystals, elegant, beautiful, shiny and colorful however, they are full of energy and healing.

Every gemstone cleansed and charged prior to use, done with water anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Some Wiccans, in addition to, use the elements at the same time, sun or moon, the denser the crystal, the longer they cleanse and charge.

The reason gemstones, carefully cleaned and charged, they hold the energies of those who cut and milled them, to the last person who touched them at the shop just before their owner chose them.

Always choose your gemstones with respect to them on the smaller scale, as there will be less negative energy attached.

Every wiccan has their favorites they’ve  hand selected. Some gemstones, have the same qualities, however, essentially they do different things.

Each crystal holds a different meaning, though some of the healing powers and energies are similar.

Gemstones are likening to our souls as much as they exude greatness; they lift our spirits and leave us feeling exhilarated.

Gemstones made from the earth and hold all its vast energy and healing powers and this is why they leave us feeling so amazing.

Whether they’re part of your altar tools or for spells and charms, crystals, respected in every form as they are completely giving in every way.

As Wiccans work one on one with them, they hold the energies of their owners.