help me become a proper witch

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by ulanda, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. ulanda

    ulanda New Member

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    please help if you can and point me in the right direction on how to become a proper witch thankyou
     
  2. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    Re: help to help me become a proper witch

    Hmm... so many straight lines, so little time...

    One way to be proper is to post a question only in one forum at a time :) I'm answering the one in Alternative because it's sort of the catch-all for various facets that can be described as "witch".

    The first question to ask is what do you mean by "witch"? Do you mean a practitioner of spells (aka WitchCraft)? Or do you mean someone who follows a naturalistic religion like Wicca (whose adherents are often called witches)? Or are you auditioning for a part in The Scottish Play and need assistance with the right ambiance?

    The second is what do you mean by "proper"? There are several traditions in both the religious and the magical directions, not always in agreement with each other.

    One place to start is "The Complete Idiots Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft" - like most of the Complete Idiots guides, it covers basics pretty well (although many folks have disagreements with some parts of it - but that's true of almost any book)

    Another is www.witchvox.com - there's a basics section on that website. There's also been a number of discussions in both the Magical and NeoPagan sections here that cover some basics, and point in various directions, depending on the tradition involved.
     
  3. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Re: help to help me become a proper witch

    Here's a link to the Frequently Asked Question section of Witchvox. They give a lot of basic information about the various forms of modern Witchcraft and Paganism.

    http://www.witchvox.com/xbasics.html
     
  4. ulanda

    ulanda New Member

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    thanks for helping

    thankyou for your helpful links and i will pursue them i live in a small town in the anglia area of england uk and we had a really quaint little magic shop which sold numerous amazing articles its shut down now which is a real shame because the chap that owned it was a witch and he had a really handy notice board advertising various odds and ends ..... u see im interested in joining a coven but information on there where abouts is hard to obtain >>> would a possible wedsite point in the right direction would anyone have any ideas at all???
     
  5. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Re: thanks for helping

    Witchvox has the very best set of contact listings anywhere. They cover places all over the world including the UK.

    Just surf over to http://www.witchvox.com/xvn.html and use the dropdown menu at the left of the screen to select the area where you live. You'll get listings of whatever groups, stores, and people are in your area. Listings are free, so you might want to consider posting one yourself.

    I like to encourage everyone who is considering getting involved with groups (whether they are spiritual, religious, or regular run-of-the-mill groups) to look over the excellent Cult Danger Evaluation Frame at http://www.neopagan.net/ABCDEF.html as well. Scroll down the page there for the handy checklist. It will help you to figure out which groups are more likely to be helpful, and which ones to steer clear of.

    Good luck in your search!
     
  6. Blessed87

    Blessed87 A restored soul

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    Re: help to help me become a proper witch

    Here are some articles about wicca & witchcraft, please keep an open mind and seek for truth.
    [link remove]

    here's a booklet you can view free online, but it's a big file that requires Adobe, so it could take awhile to load!:(

    [link removed]

    Let me know what you think!
     
  7. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Re: help to help me become a proper witch

    Thanks for those links. Just so everyone is clear, though, the information provided there is from anti-Wiccan sources.

    If you want to learn about Christianity, I would recommend going to Christian sources. If you want to learn about Wicca, why not ask Wiccans instead of people who clearly feel it is a threat to be avoided?

    It's a good idea to be aware of the criticisms about a religion but be careful to not make up your mind by reading solely claims made by those with an agenda to discredit the particular religion.

    There are inaccuracies and misleading statements made in both of those sources which are clearly intended to paint a bad picture of Wicca and Wiccans.
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Re: help to help me become a proper witch

    Indeed, I've removed the links are they really aren't appropriate - a Christian view on Wicca is indeed welcome to be posted in the Christianity section, but it would be preferable to ensure that Wiccan views of Wicca were used to explain Wicca, when asked. :)
     
  9. Witch

    Witch New Member

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    There is an old saying which sums up this concept

    If you want to know where the sparrow flies, ask the sparrow.

    Christian sites are notoriously bad sources of information about other religions.
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Hi Witch, and welcome to CR. :)
     
  11. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Hi Witch & welcome to CR too.

    i have lots of questions about this, but will just ask a couple.

    1) do some witches still use some form of erotica for initiation?

    2) are some witches self initiated?

    3) is the purpose for using/giving a different name just to identify with? & do some witches still do this?
     
  12. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I am a Wiccan and have been practicing now for a few decades so I can answer some of your questions too. I'm curious to hear what other witches and Wiccans have to say as well as there are always interesting points of view in our community.

    1) do some witches still use some form of erotica for initiation?

    There is a lot of diversity within witchcraft and religions like Wicca. I do not doubt that there is some erotic element in the initiations of some groups, but it is certainly not the norm for groups to engage in overt sexual acts as part of their rituals. Many Wiccans do consider the "Great Rite" (a ritual enactment of sexual union between a God and Goddess) to be important but this does not necessarily mean actual sexual intercourse is performed as part of a group ritual. Most sexual contact within a ritual context tends to be between just two consenting adult people and is done in private. Symbolic sexual union, such as placing a ritual knife into a ritual cup, is much more common in group rituals among Wiccans.

    Witchcraft itself is not really a religion but can be practiced within any (or no) religious context, so whether a specific witch engages in symbolic or actual sexual activity or eroticism within their rituals will depend a lot on their particular religious leanings.

    2) are some witches self initiated?

    There are two main things that people often call "initiation" which are often confused. The form that is done by other humans is a formal acceptance into an existing group, and therefore is valid only if it is done according to that particular group's rules and by an approved initiator. Wiccan denominations like Gardnerians and Alexandrians require members to be formally initiated by approved Gardnerian or Alexandrian initiators -- you can't be a Gardnerian or Alexandrian if you're not initiated by an approved person in the approved way. Other denominations or groups, such as Seax-Wica (founded by Ray Buckland in the late sixties or early seventies) do not require formal initiations so anyone is permitted to say they are following Seax-Wica without initiation.

    The other thing often called "initiation" is an intense direct contact experience with the Divine. This is also sometimes called enlightenment, having communion with the Divine, obtaining knowledge and conversation with one's Holy Guardian Angel, etc. This form of initiation is not something that humans can bestow on one another but it at the discretion of the Divine to enact. Many spiritual paths are designed to try and make humans ready and open for these experiences to happen but in the end it is up to the Divine to decide if and when they do happen. There are many people who have experienced these sorts of initiations who have never worked in a formal group.

    Within the modern witchcraft, Pagan, and Wiccan community when you hear the term "self-initiation" what people are usually referring to is a self-dedication. It's when you decide that you are ready to make a promise to yourself and to the Divine (however you perceive the Divine) and you put this promise into some sort of formalized event. Many Wiccans consider self-dedication to be an important beginning step in one's spiritual journey. Whether you follow up with initiation into an established group, or choose to work as a solitary, is up to the individual.

    3) is the purpose for using/giving a different name just to identify with? & do some witches still do this?

    Many witches, Pagans, and Wiccans (as well as many other religious groups) do have members take on new names. Some Wiccan and witchcraft groups do this as a matter of course, and others only do it if the particular individuals desire it. I know many Wiccans and witches who don't have new adopted names but always use their given legal names. Some though even go so far as to change their names so that their adopted Pagan ones are their legal names. Many, like me, use our Pagan names within the Pagan community but still use our legal given names for mundane use.

    From a magickal point of view it's a way to establish a magickal personality -- it can be like taking on a role that has more freedom to explore things that you would normally feel inhibited about in your mundane persona. People who practice drag (cross-dressing) sometimes explain things this way -- they can say and do things as their drag persona that they would never do as their mundane persona. Within a religious and occult context, it's also been observed that costumes and masks will serve the same function of freeing the practitioners from mundane restrictions. Some suggest our ability (or inability) to tap into supposedly supernatural things is controlled by nothing more than our self-imposed limitations that we accumulate through mundane life. Taking on a new magickal persona, whether by merely using a different name or by going all out with a costume, etc., can really help us free ourselves to exercise parts of our natural abilities that we normally suppress.

    Sometimes taking on a new name is a part of showing one's dedication to a particular spiritual path. Roman Catholics who join religious orders, for instance, commonly take on new names as an outward sign of their holy vows. For some Pagans, taking on a new name is done for precisely this reason.
     
  13. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Thanks bgruagach:)

    i was not expecting such a complete reply at all & i do appreciate it. I know someone who was getting into it for awhile but dropped out at some of the later initiations. he just got real uncomfortable with that. the other reason i was asking was from this old movie awhile back about the 1692 witches, of course hollywood & the history can be debated.

    when you speak of the divine, the promise made (as in initiation), i think there is a pack or vow made sometimes with that divine & that is what i have heard & read also. i also believe this promise can be rejected, thus no initiation. i am not a wiccan, but you might say i have been there alone & have recognized it.

    just one more question that i have of interest, if you want to reply. maybe i will have some others at a later date & thank you in advance.

    1) i think it was your website, where there were cookies made as part of a ritual (sweet food) & was reading about it elsewhere. in brief, what does the food represent?
     
  14. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    It's too bad that the particular denomination your friend was working with turned out to not be in tune with your friend's philosophy. There is a lot of diversity within Wicca because we do not have a central authority like Christian denominations do. Wiccans don't have a Grand High Witch, no Witch Pope, and no central holy scripture (no "Bible") that we all follow. So that means that the way one Wiccan group does things, and what one Wiccan group believes, is not necessarily what any of the other Wiccan groups do or believe.

    There has also been a long debate within the Wiccan community about what constitutes a Wiccan, what the core beliefs and practices are. No matter what is presented there are always some excellent reasons brought out why they might not be valid because they would exclude some clearly Wiccan practitioners or groups. Personally, I feel the best universal statement of Wiccan belief is "The Principles of Wiccan Belief" which can be found on the web in a number of places including http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_stat1.htm

    Some Wiccan groups do practice skyclad (nude), some groups might include some form of sexual activity or symbolism in some of their rituals, but they are definitely not universal (or even necessarily the norm) among Wiccan denominations or practitioners.

    During an initiation into an established denomination, yes there are usually promises (also called vows or pacts) made where you agree to abide by the rules of that group, and pledge loyalty and agree to maintain appropriate confidentiality in order to preserve the privacy of the members. Unfortunately even today there are people who have been fired, had their children taken away by state protective services, and even people physically assaulted and killed because of real or perceived religious differences. Many modern witches, Wiccans, and Pagans prefer to stay "in the closet" about their spiritual path in order to stay safe in their larger community.

    Wiccans, witches, and Pagans are not the only ones though to make formal promises as part of their spiritual path. People who convert to Christianity promise to let Jesus into their hearts, or if they join a religious order or join the priesthood, they make vows or pacts to live their life for their particular spiritual path and religious community.

    Initiations, when seen as the spiritual-experience kind and not the formal acceptance into an established group, are about a direct interaction with the Divine (however you perceive the Divine -- as a single deity, as multiple deities, etc.) and doesn't necessarily have any promise or vow or pact as part of it. You might promise the Divine to do something, but that is not necessarily a key part of a Divine experience.

    The meaning of the food and drink symbolism in a religious ritual all depends on the particular mythology system you are working with. There is a huge amount of diversity among Wiccans, witches, and Pagans regarding which cultural systems they work with, which deities they work with, and therefore the symbolism of ritual actions will vary accordingly. There are some who work with Egyptian mythology, others who focus on Greek, Roman, Celtic, Hindu, or perhaps will draw from a variety of cultures.

    Some myths describe the Earth and the bounty of the plant world as female (often as a Mother Goddess), while others see the Earth and/or the plant world as Male. The food in a ritual could represent the bounty of the Earth, or perhaps the results of hard work and the Divine's providence, or maybe a physical manifestation of the Divine body if your particular spiritual philosophy considers the Divine to be present in the physical world (which is known as "immanence" -- complementary to the idea that the Divine is in some other realm, known as "transcendence.")

    The same goes with the drink -- there are lots of ways to interpret the symbolism, including the traditional Christian meaning that it is the blood of the Divine. It all depends on what particular myth system the practitioner or group is using.

    There are actually quite a few books and articles that have been written about the similarities and differences between Christian and Pagan beliefs and practices. If you do a search for "Pagan and Christian beliefs" on places like Google.com or at book websites like Amazon you'll find some of them. Christianity has drawn from Pagan sources, and there is no doubt in my mind that Pagan sources sometimes draw from Christian ones too.
     
  15. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    It's too bad that the particular denomination your friend was working with turned out to not be in tune with your friend's philosophy. There is a lot of diversity within Wicca because we do not have a central authority like Christian denominations do. Wiccans don't have a Grand High Witch, no Witch Pope, and no central holy scripture (no "Bible") that we all follow. So that means that the way one Wiccan group does things, and what one Wiccan group believes, is not necessarily what any of the other Wiccan groups do or believe.

    I am writing back to you in blue bgruagach. I don’t think he had any particular philosophy on it & it was more like a party it seems to me. But it was the point when the bedroom and inner circle part was kind of pushed on him is when he stepped out of it & stopped hanging with them. I remember he just said he felt real uncomfortable with that part of it.


    There has also been a long debate within the Wiccan community about what constitutes a Wiccan, what the core beliefs and practices are. No matter what is presented there are always some excellent reasons brought out why they might not be valid because they would exclude some clearly Wiccan practitioners or groups. Personally, I feel the best universal statement of Wiccan belief is "The Principles of Wiccan Belief" which can be found on the web in a number of places including
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_stat1.htm

    Some Wiccan groups do practice skyclad (nude), some groups might include some form of sexual activity or symbolism in some of their rituals, but they are definitely not universal (or even necessarily the norm) among Wiccan denominations or practitioners.


    I have wondered if some of this gets mixed into just regular parties people have? What do you think?
    I know not everyone believes it all the same way. There is controversy in just about everything. I read the link you gave also. I liked this one the best because it reminds me of my church.






    During an initiation into an established denomination, yes there are usually promises (also called vows or pacts) made where you agree to abide by the rules of that group, and pledge loyalty and agree to maintain appropriate confidentiality in order to preserve the privacy of the members. Unfortunately even today there are people who have been fired, had their children taken away by state protective services, and even people physically assaulted and killed because of real or perceived religious differences. Many modern witches, Wiccans, and Pagans prefer to stay "in the closet" about their spiritual path in order to stay safe in their larger community.



    I suspected this too because some people I have met I can sense them, but if I brought it up, they would just kind of not respond with what I was looking for, but they knew what I was talking about. I have never had to make any vows like that but i dont belong to an organization or denomination, just a regular church.


    Wiccans, witches, and Pagans are not the only ones though to make formal promises as part of their spiritual path. People who convert to Christianity promise to let Jesus into their hearts, or if they join a religious order or join the priesthood, they make vows or pacts to live their life for their particular spiritual path and religious community.

    Initiations, when seen as the spiritual-experience kind and not the formal acceptance into an established group, are about a direct interaction with the Divine (however you perceive the Divine -- as a single deity, as multiple deities, etc.) and doesn't necessarily have any promise or vow or pact as part of it. You might promise the Divine to do something, but that is not necessarily a key part of a Divine experience.


    Interesting. My one time experience with the ‘divine’ was not pleasant & I sensed a lot of potential harm. There was power there but I was not comfortable at all with what was being offered. So I made it go away real quick. I don’t plan on getting into it that way, but if I were, I would be self initiated (so to speak). But I am ok talking about it. I have never made a vow like that (except with Jesus like you say) but it was like a mutual vow & comforting when the spirit came into me. So I am familiar with this part of it.


    The meaning of the food and drink symbolism in a religious ritual all depends on the particular mythology system you are working with. There is a huge amount of diversity among Wiccans, witches, and Pagans regarding which cultural systems they work with, which deities they work with, and therefore the symbolism of ritual actions will vary accordingly. There are some who work with Egyptian mythology, others who focus on Greek, Roman, Celtic, Hindu, or perhaps will draw from a variety of cultures.




    This would be a bit too much for me. I would just make the food & say EAT & ENJOY. And there are some who offered food to God or another entity. I don’t do this, but just thought maybe Wiccans do it as an offering.

    Some myths describe the Earth and the bounty of the plant world as female (often as a Mother Goddess), while others see the Earth and/or the plant world as Male. The food in a ritual could represent the bounty of the Earth, or perhaps the results of hard work and the Divine's providence, or maybe a physical manifestation of the Divine body if your particular spiritual philosophy considers the Divine to be present in the physical world (which is known as "immanence" -- complementary to the idea that the Divine is in some other realm, known as "transcendence.")




    Right. I am familiar with Mother Goddess & the Earth Mother. I think some of the paradoxes people come up with make it more complicated than the way it really is. I just see ONE main spirit that does it all & is both transcendent & immanent. All these lesser ones are just kind of there & come under the main ONE. Seems much simpler to me.

    The same goes with the drink -- there are lots of ways to interpret the symbolism, including the traditional Christian meaning that it is the blood of the Divine. It all depends on what particular myth system the practitioner or group is using.




    I have met some who think it turns into real blood & real flesh after they take it. I think it was the blood of a man & nothing divine, because spirits do not have flesh & blood. I have never seen it as a ritual like most do, just something special to remember by.

    There are actually quite a few books and articles that have been written about the similarities and differences between Christian and Pagan beliefs and practices. If you do a search for "Pagan and Christian beliefs" on places like Google.com or at book websites like Amazon you'll find some of them. Christianity has drawn from Pagan sources, and there is no doubt in my mind that Pagan sources sometimes draw from Christian ones too.




    This has always been interesting to me also & I know what you say in part is true. I am a Christian but the reason for my beliefs are always different than the majority, kind of leaving me with very little pagan or tradition of Christianity in the doctrines . Like I do not believe in a godman or the old Zeus theology where gods turn into men. For some reason people cannot get away from this idea. I say men are men & spirits are spirits & animals are animals. Seems simple enough to me any way. But I understand what you are saying about the differences & similarities, or a lot of it any way. People think I am the alien whenever I try to talk about it & I am used to not being understood.



    I do appreciate you talking to me about this. If you have anything else at the time, please go right ahead & I will respond. I will have some more questions down the road. I will stop with that for now & Thank You again.
     
  16. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Bandit --

    Have you explored Celtic Christianity very much? Some of the things you describe sound to me like they'd be right at home with some of the Christian writers from Ireland in particular.

    You might want to look for books by Frank MacEowen, Tom Cowan, and Mara Freeman. Mara Freeman's book "Kindling the Celtic Spirit" is actually one of my favourites and is one that I draw on quite a bit for my own Wiccan practice. It has plenty of insight for Christians too though.
     
  17. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    hey Ben:)
    a little bit. i did not see that much difference in the celtics from orthodox or roman as for doctrine. i think all of them opposed each other but the celts did not set out to try & conquer with doctrine, where it seems the opposition was more for territiory. Ireland & Britain was harder for Rome to get to? not sure there.
    i do like the way they make no boundaries between secular & sacred & definately more gentle toward nature. i think there is a bit more mysticism & legend there, so i can see how that would be helpful for the Wiccan. I guess i could be considered mystic by some, but dont really see myself as one.

    i find it hard to even make heads or tails out of half of the history written because every country/author has there own version of what happened (so to speak).

    i may have a look at "Kindling the Celtic Spirit" & thanks for recommending it.

    One of the hardest things for me was the way people thought about witches , bringing on the witch hunts. When they could have been nothing more than a psychiatrist of that time. Kind of turns my stomach for example, trial by drowning someone- if they dont sink they were considered a real one & killed, if they sink, they die any way. I think some viewed water & fire as a god that judges. (i know this is legend, but i feel it probably really happened since no one kept real records of all the people back then)

    what do you think about that?
     
  18. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Unfortunately the witch hunts and religious discrimination are still with us. Certainly not in the same form or on the same scale as the Inquisition times, but people still get persecuted in all sorts of ways. It all comes down to majorities thinking that they can pick on minorities.

    I've read recently that trials by fire and water are still practiced in some places, sometimes in our own metaphoric back yards. The accused are forced to walk across a bed of coals for instance with the assumption being that if they are innocent God (however they perceive God) will protect them, and if they are guilty God will let them be injured. If that logic made sense then children would never be injured, and we'd never have sick babies in hospitals.

    Perhaps some who use trials by fire or water or whatever think the fire or water is a deity, but I expect many do not. It's more about the idea that the Divine will protect the worthy rather than anything to do with fire or water itself being Divine.
     
  19. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Unfortunately the witch hunts and religious discrimination are still with us. Certainly not in the same form or on the same scale as the Inquisition times, but people still get persecuted in all sorts of ways. It all comes down to majorities thinking that they can pick on minorities.

    that is what i see too. the majorities think they rule. but we learn how to be wise & get by all that.:) called sophisiticated? :cool:

    I've read recently that trials by fire and water are still practiced in some places, sometimes in our own metaphoric back yards. The accused are forced to walk across a bed of coals for instance with the assumption being that if they are innocent God (however they perceive God) will protect them, and if they are guilty God will let them be injured. If that logic made sense then children would never be injured, and we'd never have sick babies in hospitals.

    right. it is wrong. i think of alzheimer & they did not have a chance a century ago. i saw last week a far left winged group who still believed in hammering nails into someones head, because they think it takes out inner pain. and, they showed pics. i lost it & just wish they could see what a waste it is.

    Perhaps some who use trials by fire or water or whatever think the fire or water is a deity, but I expect many do not. It's more about the idea that the Divine will protect the worthy rather than anything to do with fire or water itself being Divine.

    i think some american indians saw the elements as spirits/deity & there was some form of witch/wiccan in it. witch doctor? (not sure), it just seems like it.
     
  20. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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