Wiccan Ceremony - Magic - and where it all started.

Discussions into the history as well as the ceremonies involved in the practice of wiccan magic!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Celebrating the Wiccan holiday - Yule (Winter Solstice)

December 21 - Winter Solstice - Yule

The sun is at its nadir, the year's longest night. We internalize and synthesize the outward-directed activities of the previous summer months. Some covens hold a Festival of Light to commemorate the Goddess as Mother giving birth to the Sun God. Others celebrate the victory of the Lord of Light over the Lord of Darkness as the turning point from which the days will lengthen. The name "Yule" derives from the Norse word for "wheel", and many of our customs (like those of the Christian holiday) derive from Norse and Celtic Pagan practices (the Yule log, the tree, the custom of Wassailing, et al).

There`s just something magical about the Yuletide season, no matter where you live or who you are. As bright candlelight mingles with the smells of pine & warm cookies & we perform our yearly rituals of song & family gatherings, the spirit of peace & goodwill seems to reach the heart of even the most cynical Scrooge. In Yule, the author presents a wonderful potpourri of holiday lore from around the world & throughout history, along with fun crafts, delicious recipes -- even a calendar of celebrations for every day in December. Learn where the traditions of the season originated -- for instance, did you know that the ringing of bells was meant to drive away the demons who inhabited the darkest days of the year? That leaving cookies for Santa mirrors the old tradition of leaving a loaf of bread on the table overnight to bring prosperity in the new year? That the Yule log can be traced back to the ancient Greeks? Need a recipe for wassail or plumb pudding? Tips for your holiday party? Want to make the season special by making your own decorative crafts & gifts? Thats just a sampling of what`s inside. Best of all, this book shows that the spirit of the season is universal. However we choose to celebrate & worship, we can all join together in the spirit of peace, love & harmony at this special time of the year.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

A step from the norm

Just wanted to step away from the norm for a minute and say that I have a new directory for bloggers to list their blogs on. Big Blog Directory. It's free to use. I also have a page on the site that gives you access to all kinds of blog promotion tools and blog writing tools. That page is here.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Celebrating Samhain, the Wiccan Holiday

The "Wheel of the Year" has eight spokes -- the four major agricultural and pastoral festivals and the four minor solar festivals of the solstices and equinoxes. In common with many ancient people, many Witches consider the day as beginning at sundown and ending at sundown the following day. For example, Samhain starts at dusk on the 31st, ending the evening of the 1st.

Samhain
October 31 - November Eve
The night lengthens and we work with the positive aspects of darkness in the increasing star - and moonlight. Many Craft traditions, following the ancient Celts, consider this the eve of the New Year (as day begins with sundown, so the year begins with the first day of Winter). It is one night when the barriers between the worlds of life and death are uncertain, allowing the ancestors to walk among the living, welcomed and feasted by their kin, bestowing the Otherworld's blessings. We may focus within ourselves to look "through the glass darkly", developing our divination and psychic skills. While working on the development of skills during this season witch's often burn incense to maintain the positive aspects of the surroundings.

The Wiccan holidays are quite involved. There is a lot to know about them. One of the better books I have found is, Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara takes a different approach to explaining the holidays by taking an in-depth look at half of the Wheel of the Year. Rather than dissecting each holiday, Ashleen's goal is to take a broader look at them, explaining how and why we celebrate each, along with how the celebration of one leads to the next. The first of two new titles from Ashleen offers a vision of the holidays we celebrate from October to March. This book covers each holiday by first giving us its history and original customs, then explaining its place in modern life. Stories are shared for each Sabbat to reconnect us with our lore and bring new meaning to current practice. Ashleen includes ideas for rituals that are ideal for practicing solitaries, covens, or Wiccan families, with special sections on what children of various ages are ready to learn about these holidays.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Personal Development of the Witch

Since these ritual tools are merely the conductors of personal energies, as copper is a conductor for electrical energy, most covens provide at least some degree of training in psychic skills and healing practices to strengthen each member's ability to participate in the religious activities. Each individual decides what level of such training is useful for them. We see psychic abilities as a natural human potential, and are dedicated to developing this as well as all of our positive human potentials.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Setting up an Altar!

Other important tools are the symbols on the altar which denote the "Aristotelian" Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water . A pentagram or pentacle, a five-pointed star sometimes surrounded by a circle, is often used to symbolize Earth and its properties -- stability, material wealth, the body, and practical affairs. A small dish of salt or soil can be used to symbolize the Earth Element. A thurible (or censer) or a bell can be used to symbolize Air and its properties -- communications, vitality, intellect and understanding. (A sword or wand may be used to symbolize Air or Fire. A candle or small pot of fire may symbolize the element of Fire and its properties -- will, transmutation, life-force, and power. A chalice of water is used to symbolize the element of Water and its properties -- cleansing, regeneration, and emotion. In the traditions which include the element of Spirit, an ankh or quartz crystal is used to symbolize Spirit and its properties -- perfection, summation, balance, illumination and eternity.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Tools of a Witch

In both the working of magic and the creation of the sacred circle wiccans use tools to facilitate a frame of mind in which the psychic state necessary for this kind of work can be achieved. The tools are part of a complete and self-consistent symbolic system which is agreed upon by the participants and provides them with a "map" for entry into unfamiliar psychic spaces. This system, like a map, is arbitrary and not "true" in an absolute sense; it is more of a guide to a state which is ineffable and can be most clearly reached through the arts such as: poetry, music, dance, drama and "starlight" vision.

A primary ritual tool, which is owned by most Witches, is an athame or ritual knife/dagger. The athame is charged with the energy of the owner and is used as a pointer to define space and as a conductor of the owner's will and energy. One example of defining space is casting a sacred circle.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Wiccan circle

The Sacred Wiccan Circle is formed and, within it, two main activities occur: celebration, and the practice of magic. Celebration is most important at the major seasonal holy days, the Sabbats. At the time of celebration, the myths of that particular holiday are enacted in ritual drama. Singing, dancing, feasting, and revelry are all part of the festivities. On these occasions we celebrate our oneness with life on Earth. We, also, assimilate on the deepest level myths and archetypes which map and assist our own life-passages.

Esbats are smaller gatherings where magic is more often performed. These gatherings coincide with the phases of the moon. The main types of magic practiced here are: psychic healing sessions, the focus and direction of energy to achieve positive results, and work toward the individual spiritual development of the coven members. Magic is an art which requires adherence to certain principles, and a conscious direction of will toward the desired end. We believe it to be an attribute of magic that results toward which the will is directed return to the sender threefold. These principles make witches very conscientious in their use of magic.

When the teaching, celebration, or magical work is finished, the blessing of the God (and Godess) is called into food and drink which are then shared by everyone. The circle is opened, and the space is no longer consecrated.

To keep track of when magical gatherings and such occur can be quite confusing at first. I recommend the to easily help you keep track. It is a very small investment for a great reward!

The Historical Roots of Wicca

The roots of the religion called Wicca, or Witchcraft, are very old, coming down to us through a variety of channels worldwide. Any general statement about Wiccan practice have exceptions. Nevertheless, the following will attempt to present a basic foundation for understanding. Some of the old practices were lost when indigenous religions encountered militant Christianity and were forced to go underground for survival. The ancient mystery religions were lost when the practice of the rites was stopped and the old oral traditions were no longer available. Parents transmitted their traditions to their children, with parts being lost and new parts created in succeeding generations. The former, as well as research into the old ways, provide a rich foundation for modern practice. Archaeological and anthropological studies of the religious practices of non-Christian cultures, the works of the Golden Dawn and other metaphysical orders, and the liberalization of anti-Witchcraft laws also contribute to the growing popularity of Wicca today!

To further your knowledge on the History is to be armed with a potentially endless base for a great ritual practice. If you would like to learn more about the history of Wicca I recommend you pick up 3 Lessons/Pleasing the Divine, Witch`s Primer by Lady Raya This book will guide you through what it means to be Wiccan and explain more of the history behind it all!