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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in witch
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When the Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951, people started to come out of the broom closet.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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A Brief History of Witchcraft (Part One)

Witchcraft has probably been around as long as humanity has in some form or other. It can take many forms, from a shamanic and animistic practice to one that uses very formal and complex rites, rituals and correspondences. At the heart of witchcraft, is the ability to create change in the world, to take control of aspects of life and the natural world in order to bring about the desired outcome.

It is difficult to separate witchcraft from religious or spiritual traditions found in the history of ancient humanity. As we simply do not know what they believed, we can only make assumptions based on what we find through archaeology and anthropology. There are tantalising examples of cave art from our Stone Age ancestors, where we see human beings with animal qualities performing rituals of a sort. We believe that they saw the feminine principle in the divine, based on findings such as the Venus of Willenorf (from around 30,000 BCE) to examples of goddesses from the Nile region in Egypt such as Nathor figure (from around 4,000 BCE). We assume that the cave paintings and statuary/figurines represent god/goddess images, or their priests/priestesses, however, that is still an assumption. The rites and rituals that may have accompanied these items would have elements of what we know today as witchcraft perhaps evolved with them. At the very least, we can deduce from the artwork that they had religious or spiritual traditions, but what exactly these were in anyone's guess.

It's yet another assumption, but one many are happy to make, that throughout history there have been those who have been seen as different, as set apart from the normal lives and routines of others, whether it be in a tribe or community. These people may have had highly developed sensitivities, and were able to predict the weather perhaps (I personally always know when the pressure is changing from a high to a low front; I can feel it in my head and my ears pop!). They may have had a near-death experience that grants them an ability to deal with death and the dying. They may know where the herbs grow that heal certain wounds. Notice that I say "may" in each of these sentences, because we just don't really know for sure, and it would be irresponsible for me to say otherwise.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Witches Do Not Bend*

Allow me a moment's irritation that this persistent misinformation continues to get shared. The 'witch' of witch hazel or witch elm is *not* that witch. This is the Proto-IndoEuropean root *weik

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Title: American Witch

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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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Title: Occult Detective Quarterly #5

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