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Opening Your Mind To Wicca

Dec 24, 2007
In 1954, Gerald Gardner published Witchcraft Today in which he advocated the use of old, long established rituals and introduced many of his own devising. Gardner venerated The Goddess and women in general. He believed in the power of nature and that men and women could tune into it to alter the course of things. Gardner's work, according to several anthropologists, three direct links to ancient paganism - the use of high magic, the use of plants and herbs in spells, and the involvement of folk rites and customs to manipulate the powers of nature.

Gardner's work lead to a revival in interest of the traditions of witchcraft, not just in Britain, and he is credited by many as being the founder of what has become an officially recognized new religion - Wicca. Wicca honors The God and The Goddess (their names vary from group to group) as the two main deities and followers worship them in rites and rituals.

Wicca spread and as it did, different groups developed their own rites and rituals. In England, Celtic practices and Gardnerian belief are blended together in the form of what has come to be known as British Traditional Witchcraft. In the United States, where Gardner's work was introduced and developed by Raymond Buckland, Wicca has now become an officially recognized religion.

Wicca has followers all over the world, wherever people feel a need to turn from traditional religions and return to a more Earth-based one. They practice various forms of white magic and perform rituals to attune themselves with the natural rhythm of life forces, particularly those marked by the phases of the moon and the four seasons.

Wiccans belong to a wider movement - neo-paganism, which as the name suggests has its roots in ancient pagan belief systems. But not all neo-pagans are Wiccans: the term also refers to Druidism, New Age, shamanism, ceremonial magicks, the occult sciences, voodoo, and the revival of any of the other in the myriad of pre-Christian mystical traditions.

The Wicccan Rede

Wiccans live by the Wiccan Rede, a simple benevolent moral code that holds that as long as no one is harmed, "Do what thy wilt". One popular version of the Rede goes as follows and some simple interpretations follow each portion:

"Bide the Wiccan Law you must,

In perfect love and perfect trust.

(Keep the laws of Wicca lovingly and with perfect trust.)

Live and let live:

Fairly take and fairly give.

(Treat both nature and people as you would like to be treated.)

Cast the circle thrice about,

To keep evil spirits out.

(When making magic, Wiccans usually cast a circle around themselves. They do this three times because the number three stands for the three phases of The Lord and The Lady.)

To bind the spell every time,

Let the spell be spake in rhyme.

(By speaking their spells in rhyme, witches believe it gives the conscious mind something to think about, while the unconscious mind taps the energy of nature and the magic is done.)

Soft of eye and light of touch

Speak little and listen much.

(Wise magic makers are gentle. They listen and learn.)

Deasil go by the waxing moon,

Sing and dance the Witches' Rune.

(When the moon is waxing - moving from slim crescent to plump fullness, it is the time to move round the ritual circle clockwise as this draws in good things.)

Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,

And werewolves howl by the dream wolfsbane.

(When the moon is waning is the time to move round the circle anti-clockwise as this takes away negativity. Wolfbane's toxicity makes it a feared palnt.)

When the Lady's moon is new

Kiss thy hand to Her times two.

(Welcome the new moon - just visible in the sky after being dark for three night - welcome her by kissing the index and middle fingers twice.)

When the moon rides at her peak,

Then your heart's desire speak.

(When the moon is full, you can ask her for anything as she will grant the heart's desire.)

Heed the north wind's mighty gale,

Lock the door and drop the sail.

When the wind comes from the south,

Love will kiss thee on the mouth.

When the wind blows from the east,

Expect the new and set the feast.

When the west wind blows o'er thee,

The departed spirits restless be.

(These lines refer to the elements with the four directions.)

Nine woods cauldron go,

Burn them fast and burn them slow.

Elder the Lady's tree,

Burn it not, or cursed be.

(There are nine different magical woods burned in the witch's cauldron during various rituals - apple, birch, fir, hawthorn, oak, rowan, vine, and willow. Elder wood is never burned because the tree is sacred to The Lady.)

When the Wheel begins to turn,

Let the Beltane fires burn.

When the Wheel has turned to Yule,

Light the log and let Pan rule.

(This refers to the cycle of the year. Beltane, the spring Sabbath and Yule the winter one, sit at opposite ends of the wheel of the year.)

Heed ye flower, bush and tree,

And by the Blessed Lady be!

(For The Lady's sake, nurture and respect nature.)

Where the rippling waters flow,

Cast a stone and truth you'll know.

(Actions spread like the ripples caused by a stone cast on the water, affecting everyone and everything around.)

Whenever you do have a need,

Harken not to others' greed.

(Never take money in exchange for using magical powers.)

With the fool no seasons spend,

Nor be counted as his friend.

(Others associate you with the company you keep. If you mix with fools, then that is how you will be regarded as well.)

Merry meet and merry part,

Bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

(The company of friends is the best company there is.)

Mind the threefold law you should,

Three times bad and three times good.

(Always remember that whatever you do, good or bad, will come back to you threefold.)

When misfortune is enow.

Wear the blue star on your brow.

(When trouble beckons, visualize a blue pentagram on your forehead for protection.)

True in love ever be.

Unless thy love is false to thee.

(Always be loyal in love, but if you are let down, then move on.)

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill,
"And it harm none, do what ye will".
(Feel free to do as you like, so long as in doing so no one else comes to harm.)
About the Author
Rose Ariadne has been practicing ancient forms of Witchcraft for over 25 years. Get more info about Wiccan religion here: http://www.askroseariadne.com/editorials/the-wiccan-way.html
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