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.

Identfying Between Paganism and Wicca

A common ignorance today is the misuse of labels, Hoodoo; voodoo, punk; pop-punk, thick; fat etc. It’s important to know what you’re talking about, ESPECIALLY when it comes to religions! Paganism versus Wicca to be exact.

A HISTORY LESSON:

The term pagan which comes from the Latin word paganus was originally used in ancient times as a derogatory term to define anyone living in rural towns. Eventually, as Christianity came into play and spread throughout the roman empire, the term evolved to be used as a slur for all outsiders to the Christian faith. In biblical times when one was referred to as a pagan it meant one of two things, either the people in question believed in other gods, or such people believed in no god whatsoever. The term atheist was not yet coined to expose a distinction between the two. Now, we use three terms: We have atheism, meaning without god/ religion, which we attribute to those who oppose the belief in any deity. We have satanists, derived from ancient Hebrew meaning opposer. A satanist recognizes the possibilities of a god but opposes the hypocritical dogma of the the holy church and all it’s teachings. Thirdly, we have pagan which is now attributed to any religion based upon the worship of nature to any extent, anyone with an earth-based faith is pagan, though the array of different pagan religions are not interchangeable.

pagan-paganism-wicca-wiccan

Wicca is one of many pagan faiths. Brought to attention in 1954 by one Gerald Gardner as a branch of witchcraft -though arguably not the same witchcraft that the ancients put into practice- Wicca is a set of practices which promote oneness with nature, ourselves, and each other which originated in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Wicca and Witchcraft are NOT the same thing. Wicca is a TYPE of witchcraft, not the whole thing.

No matter what you believe, whether it be a branch of Christianity, or a branch of Paganism, Animism, Pantheism, Shamanism, or Polytheism, it does not dispute the fact that we are all entitled to our beliefs and should be respected and understood. We can only be understood if we teach each other and learn from each other with open minds and compassionate hearts.

I say this but it is common for myself and others to use these words interchangeably. It depends as all things with your audience, if you are in the company of some people who identify with one rather than the other, then please respect their wishes. Otherwise, use whatever words you are the most comfortable with, never fear unnecessary judgement. 🙂

All About Paganism

All About the Pagan Religion

Paganism describes a group of religions that is focus on nature. Paganism is a diverse community. Some of the parts of the Pagan community includes: wicans, druids, shamans, scared ecologist, odinists, and heathens. Some of the groups focus on certain traditions or practices which includes: ecology, witch craft, celtic traditions, or certain Gods. Majority of the Pagans all share a vision that comes from their belief about the natural world vitality and spirituality. The waning moon simply means that the moon is getting smaller moving from a full moon to a new moon.pagan-satan

Some people think pagans are sexual deviants, they think they worship the devil, are evil, practice black magic, and harm people and animals. However, that is not the truth and that is why it is necessary to define who the pagans are and what they stand for. Pagans worship in many forms from feminine to masculine imagery. The God and the Goddess are important and are widely recognized. In the Goddess worship the woman play a very important role in the pagan movement. Pagans believe in treating all of the sexes in their religion equal.

Unlike all of the other religions pagans do not have a place to worship. They do not believe in worshiping in a building that was made by human hands. The pagans believe majority of the church ceremonies should be conducted outside. Their ceremonies are conducted in the woods, caves, hill tops, or by the shore. The ceremonies begin by making a circle which is called their scared space it has no beginning or end in other words it is equal.The circle is called a magic circle. During the pagan ceremony the magic circle provides sacred space and the rites, as well as the magic work are conducted with in this space.

The magic circle concentrated power is a door way to the Gods. Depending on the way the circle was divided define and effect the environment and the energies it created with in the magic circle. In conclusion, Pagan is a very interesting religion especially the magick circle which is a doorway to the other Gods. This is part of the best part of the religion because all religions talk about God.

Wiccan Tools: Wiccan Cleansing & Purification

♦This is a basic article and Wiccan cleansing and purification. It is necessary for some to do a purification of the ritual area. Ritual spaces outside rarely need to be purified. However, those made at home should be purified if the spell calls for it, or if it is an important part of you spell casting preparation of ritual. I do not do a cleansing for all of my spells and magickal workings. I think you will get a good understanding as to when it might be appropriate, etc.

A lot of people feel that most homes, ritual places, and places where you might do you spell castings or magickal workings need a Wiccan cleansing or purification due to the accumulation of ‘astral junk’ or residual energies from others, other magickal castings, negative energies, etc. It is easy to understand that these energies can feel disruptive and incoherent to your current ritual. Because of these disruptive energies the area has a Wicca cleansing ritual done before the actual ritual work.

Wiccan Cleansing

If you are doing a ritual or wiccan cleansing at your home, it is important to have concentration and peace.  If you are alone, you might want to close the doors, shut the curtains, turn off the phone ringers, etc- so you may have total privacy for your ritual. You should not be interrupted during the Wiccan cleansing because it will disturb your energy levels and your concentration. If you live with someone or if someone is home, then politely ask them not to interrupt you, this is why many operate at night under the cover of darkness while the world is sleeping. Or early in the AM for maximum privacy.

Wiccan Cleansing

Here are the basics steps of a Wiccan cleansing ritual:

  1. Clear all boxes, toys, trinkets, school books and things unnecessary to the ritual from the area.Use your broom to sweep the area thoroughly. Sweep the place where you do you rituals. The broom is one of the oldest tools to clean and purify a area.
  2. As you sweep with the broom send your energies and intentions of clearing the room from these energies. Imagine the broom clearing away all negative thoughts, energies, and mentalities from the ritual area.

♠NOTE: Another way to do a Wicca cleansing is to spread some salt, alone or mixed with herb such as thyme, rosemary, sage, or opal. Some also use salt water. The action of salt is to disperse these negative energies.

You could also just burn a cleansing grass or cleaning herbal mix for example, myrrh, frankincense, sage, thyme or rosemary. Herbs can be used alone or in combination. “Spray” the ritual space with smoke from the burning incense and visualize banishing negativity.

Outdoor rituals require minimal cleaning. Most of the natural environment is much less physically contaminated our homes and other buildings. You need just a light sweep with magic (in this case, to actually remove the fallen leaves and pebbles in addition to the negativity), supported by your intention. These are some basic ways to do a purification along with some basic ways to do a wiccan cleansing.

What is Magick?

Do Wiccans practice magic? This is the burning question posed by those unfamiliar with the religion. As always, it depends on who you ask. Some Wiccans practice magic but some don’t. Those that don’t most likely prefer to focus on the spirituality of the religion as opposed to the magic part. Sometimes magic is referred to as “magick”, in order to separate it from the stage magic that magicians like David Blaine performs. Most covens that practice magic do so from a “Book of Shadows”, a book filled with Wicca lore and spells. If you’ve seen the television show “Charmed”, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what exactly a Book of Shadows contains in its pages.

What is Magick?

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When it comes to magic and spells, the famous ceremonial magician AleisterWhat is Magick Crowley defined magic as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will”. However, another well-known magician named MacGregor Mathers called magic “the science of the control of the secret forces of nature”. However you define it, it is clear that the thought of doing magic can be exhilarating. After all, who wouldn’t want to cast spells that could make life a little easier? (Such as Mrs. Weasley using magic to clean her house in the Harry Potter series). This particular view of magic though, as I just described, is sometimes met with scorn and derision by some Wiccans and/or witches. Most of the magic and spell work that is conducted are filled with good intentions like healing or peace.

Indeed, Wiccans and witches are not always the same thing. You can be a Wiccan but not be a witch or vice versa. Though witchcraft is part of Wicca, it’s not inherent in every single part of the religion. To practice witchcraft is simply a personal preference for the Wiccan.

Typical magic and spellwork are done with tools like an athame (knife), chalice, tarot cards, scrying with a crystal ball, rolling dice, throwing bones or casting runestones. Though spells are done to get a Wiccan what he/she wants, Wiccans are careful to avoid inadvertently hurting anyone else. As I mentioned earlier, spells are done with good intentions in mind such as helping a sick friend or relative, hoping for good things for another person, or attempting to better their own lives such as a successful job interview.

Wiccans and/or witches are not the evil spell-casters that Hollywood and history have made them out to be. Indeed, they are just like you and me, with maybe a couple of extra skills.

http://www.ipagan.com/witchcraft.htm

http://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/military.htm