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Hedgewitch? Priestess or Priest? You decide.

You will often hear the terms Priest and Priestess used within Wiccan traditions. In Wicca it is often noted that each practitioner is a priest or priestess of their tradition, after studying and learning its ways. This is a way of saying that within the tradition, we have no need of an intermediary between ourselves and the divine, and so we can all become a priest or priestess of our path.

In some initiatory traditions, one can only call themselves a priest or priestess after having obtained certain levels of training with the Craft. Hedgewitches or Solitary Wiccans, alongside many other solitary forms of Witchcraft, train themselves, sometimes with the guidance of a teacher or a group and then working on their own, with all due diligence in research and practice. Initiation comes directly from the gods and goddesses themselves, not through another person. Should you wish to refer yourself as a priest or priestess, I would highly recommend that you study and practice for quite some time before taking on that title, as it is not something to be taken lightly. Modern Wicca and Witchcraft often uses the length of time as a year and a day of study before certain levels (degrees in coven training) can be obtained, and this can be a good rule of thumb to go by. You have to truly live your religion or spiritual path, each and every day, in order to really understand and come to know it inside and out. Otherwise, you are just paying it lip service, and any titles or roles that you decide to take on can be hollow and meaningless if the work is not put in wholeheartedly.

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Personal Evolution of a Hedge Witch

Enchant your world. That is what Witchcraft does, each and every day. It brings magic to the mundane, and allows you to open yourself to the wonders that the natural world holds all around you. 

I have been a Witch for as long as I can remember. I have always been enchanted by the sound of the wind through the pine trees, or the last rays of the setting sun illuminating the sky. I have a special rapport with animals, and often have prophetic dreams. I feel the rhythms of nature flowing around me and through me, and have always honoured the cycles and the seasons, though I may not have always had a name, ritual form or tradition to describe it fully.

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A Brief History of Witchcraft: Part Two

When the Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951, people started to come out of the broom closet. Gerald Gardner was one of the first, who was mentioned earlier. Gardner was the one who came up with the word, Wica, to denote his spiritual path.

Naturism was a big fashion in the 1920s and 30s, and Gerald was a naturist (hence the skyclad part of his particular tradition of witchcraft). There was even a naturist camp that opened up near his home. He became involved in the Rosicrucian Theatre, and later came across Masonic (Fellowship of Crotona) practices and the work of Margaret Murray, which he incorporated into his ideas for this spiritual path. With the help of Alistair Crowley, he came up with beautiful poetry for his tradition, which was also a contentious point for one of Gardener’s High Priestesses, the aforementioned Doreen Valiente. Gardener created the witch tradition that he was seeking, and Valiente wrote it down eloquently and made sense of it all.[1]

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Circle of Compassion and the power of

Many of us who have come to identify with Witchcraft or Paganism (hence finding ourselves on the Witches & Pagans blogosphere) originated in a family tradition where communion with the Divine (the All, Spirit, the Totality) was achieved through prayer. In the etymology found within common dictionaries, "prayer" tends to be defined both as, "worship of God (a deity)" as well as simply, "an earnest hope or wish." Somewhere in the mystery between these two forms, we may find the truth. Prayer, as well as spell craft and the various types of ritual used to facilitate both, can be seen as acts of co-creation

Those of us raised in one of the major mono-theisms may be familiar with teachings like that found in Matthew 18:20 of the Christian "new testament": Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in my name, there I am with them."

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Series: A Wiccan Wheel Mystery

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The Solar Path - The Sabbats for the Hedge Witch (Part Two)

Samhain

We all know of the modern-day Hallowe’en that falls on the 31st October, but few outside of the Craft know of the origins of this festival. Samhain is a Celtic festival that celebrates the time when the veil between this world and the Otherworld is thin, and we can connect more easily with the unseen, both in the form of the Fair Folk (faeries) as well as the ancestors. The Celts reckoned their days from sunset to sunset, and so Samhain would run from sunset on the 31st October to sunset on the 1st November. The Celts divided the year into two halves, the dark half and the light half, and we see this reflected in much of Modern Witchcraft today. How this is divided depends on the tradition. If you are following on from the Celtic lore, the dark half of the year begins at Samhain, and ends at Beltane, when the light half of the year begins. This is the Celtic beginning of Winter and Summer, for they only considered two seasons in their worldview. Samhain means “summer’s end”. Other traditions of Witchcraft see the dark and light halves of the year commencing at the solstices, with the myth of the Oak King and the Holly King. We will explore this later when we look at the solstices.

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