This working paper is about Wicca. I’ve chosen this subject, because almost no-one knows anything about Modern Witchcraft. Almost everyone thinks of an ugly old woman with a black cat, who makes magic potions. That isn’t true of course. I am going to tell you the truth!!!!!!
What they believe in.
Now, what exactly is Wicca and what are witches? There not ugly old woman whit warts on their noses and they don’t fly around on brooms, or anything. They’re ordinary people, just like you and me. The only difference is that they believe in other things than most of the people. They believe in nature and its forces. For example they believe that certain stones or herbs can give you strength, or cure you. It’s a bitheistic religion. That is to say that they believe in two Gods, actually in a God and a Goddess. The Goddess stands for the Moon and the Earth and the God for everything that lives on it. The elements of life also play a big part, because you can’t live without the elements. The four elements are earth, air, fire and water. Anyone who has ever seen The Craft, knows that they ‘Call the Corners’, that is when they invoke the elements in the shape of the four Directions of the Wind. Each direction represents an element, as North stands for Earth, East stands for Air, South for Fire and West for Water.
A lot of tools are used in the Witchcraft, for example the chalice, stones, incense, herbs and athames (sort of a knife) and many more. The chalice is a kind of a glass, but can also be made of certain kinds of metal, it’s for the element Water. The athame is some sort of a two-cutting knife, traditional with a black blade, it’s for the element Fire and/or Air. You may never cut something with a athame, it’s a symbolic knife. Every witch must have one. A Bolline is also a knife, but with a white blade and the bolline is especially for the cutting of herbs and stuff. The athame and bolline may never touch blood. The cauldron is not to boil poisinous drinks, but is an iron, bronze or a copper pot wich is associate with the utures of the Goddess. It’s for the element water (sometimes earth). Every witch has an altar. That is not a place to sacrafice people or animals, but a place dedicated to the God and the Goddess. All their magickal things are on it. Usually a altar has a tray with salt, for the element Earth in the North, some incense for the element Air in the East, a candle for the element Fire in the South and a chalice for the element Water in the West. The altar also contains several candles, so you can read down things you write down in your Book Of Shadows or read in books.
An Altar Wands
Athames Chalice Boline
Every witch has a BOS (Book of Shadows). It’s a very personal book
in wich the Witch writes down her spells, rituals, experiences and
feelings and everything that happens when (s)he is busy with Wicca. It’s a tradition that every Witch, who goes in a coven, copies the BOS of her highpriestess after he’s initiated in the coven, but that isn’t nessecary. A Book of Shadows is usually written by hand with a fountain-pen, but some keep their BOS on their computer. The oldest BOS ever found was Gerald Gardners.
There was a time (Witches call this period ‘the Burning Times’) when all the people who were thought of to be witches, were hanged or burned. If you’d only take a look at the girl nextdoor and was sick the next day you had a very big change to be burned or something. During these times the actual Witches had very strict rules, for expample, your BOS had to be made out flamable material, so if the people suspect you were a Witch and came to get you, you had to threw your BOS into the fire, so that it would burn. Of all the 10.000 people who were murdered, maybe 2% were actual witches.
Witches like to celebrate. They have 21 feasts a year. Eight of them are Sabbats and 13 of them are Esbats. At the Sabbats, the turning of the sun and the moon is celebrated. There are four big Sabbats and four little ones. These are the Sabbats: At Samhain, on October the 31st the celebrate the beginning of the ritual year is celebrated. At Yule, on December the 21st, the beginning of the turning of the weel of the year is celebrated. Imbolc, on Februari the second, is based is the old plough- and harvestfeasts, at what the earth, after the winter is being made fertile again. At Ostara, on March the 21st, we celebrate the fact that the new life has begun (under the ground). Beltane (also ‘Mays-eve’), on April the 30st, is celebrated as the feast of fertility. At Litha, on June the 21st, the ebullient growing-power of nature is celebrated. Lughnasadh , on August the second, is based on de harvestfeasts. The cornharvest is central at this Sabbat. Mabon, on Spetember the 21st, is the second harvestfeast in wich apples, pears and grapes are central. Esbats are the moonfeasts. Every full moon, Witsches come together and celebrate them. They fill theirselves with energy from the full moon.
An important symbol in Wicca is the Pentagram. It’s a five-pointed star with a circle around it. The upper point is for the spririt and the four other points are for the Earth, Air, South and Water. The circle says that the elements can’t exist without eachother. Satanists wear the pentagram upside down, but an upside down pentagram isn’t nessecarly satanistic, some witches who are still studying also wear it like that. But that just means, that the witch doesn’t know everything yet.
The most important person for the Modern Witchcraft is Gerald Garndner. He introduced Wicca into the world. Most covens follow his tradition (Gardnerians). Alex Sanders was the introducer of Wicca in Europe. He claims to have been initiated in Witchcraft by his grandmother when he found her naked in the kitchen while she was doing magic. The difference between the two most important traditions is that the Gardnerians spend more time on magic and the Alexanderians more on the ritual work. Szuzanna Budapest is an important person for some female witches. She came up with the Dianism, covens wich only have woman for members.
They are not Satanists!!
Many people associate witches whit devil worshipping or gothics. That isn’t so weird, because a lot of witches like to wear black clothes and some of them are also gothic, but you don’t necessarily have to be a witch and your gothic and you don’t have to be a gothic when you’re a witch. As for the Satanists, that’s bullshit!!! They don’t worship the devil, they don’t even believe in it. Witches think that it was invented by Christians to scare the people and forcing them to be good. Ritual slaughtering is also a big misunderstanding about witches. No children, animals or any other living beings are harmed during the practicing of the craft.
Kind of witches
There are different kind of witches. Most of them are in covens. They come together and studie, talk about Wicca and celebrate the feasts together. Usually they stick to a tradition (Gardnerians or Alexandrians) and live by those rules. There are also covens wich have no traditions, eclectic covens. They make up there own tradition. A Solitaire is a Witch that works alone. She is not in a coven and studies by her/himself and celebrates the feasts alone. House-garden-and-kitchen-witches are some kind of witches that only use the knowledge of herbs and oils to cure people or spicen up their meals. There are also annual feast groups, but they aren’t really witches, they just celebrate the Sabbats. Gothics usually are mistaken for witches, but they just like like rock music and wear black clothes. That doesn’t mean that Witches don’t like to wear black, on the contrary!! Female goths wear dresses like this:
And male goths like this:
Witches divinate. With help of Tarot cards, cristal balls, candles, incense and much more they try to see what’s in the future. They don’t do that because they want to know if they’re going to marry a handsome man or something like that, they do it to understand theirselve better.
Yes, finally something that is true about witches!!! They practise magic. But not to hurt people. You see, there’s a law: Bide the Wiccan Law we must, in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the Wiccan Law fulfill, an’ ye harm none, do as ye will. What ye send forth comes back to thee, so ever mind the rule of three, follow this with mind and heart, merry ye meet and merry ye part. It’s sort of mix between the three most important texts; The Wiccan Rede (for the entire Wiccan Rede: page 7), The Wiccan Law and The Rule Of Three. Magic is only used to help people or protect them and its only used when there’s no other way to solve the problem. There are different kinds of magick, like stonemagic, candlemagic, herbmagic and mixes between them.
Practically all the movies in which Witches appear give a negative image of them. Think of Snowwhite and such movies. The Witch is always an evil woman who cast spells on people and poisin or curse them, or even kill them, but more positive movies and series are being made about Modern Witches. Think of ‘Charmed’ (serie on Net5, every Wednesday, 20:30 hour), about three witches, wich heired powers from their grandmother and are fighting evil all the time (it’s a bit exaggerated with the magick stuff) and in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (serie on Net5, every working day, except friday, 18:40 hour (old series) and every wednesday, 21:20 hour (new series)) Buffy has a friend called Willow, who is a witch, the serie isn’t very realistic. In Practical Magick (movie with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) two sisters kill their kidnapper and bring him back alive. In the Craft (movie with Neve Campell), four friends walk the paranormal path , but one of them gets a little crazy (a little lot!!!).
The Wiccan Rede
Bide the Wiccan Law we must,
In perfect love and perfect trust,
Live and let live,
fairly take and fairly give,
cast the circle thrise about,
to keep the evil spirits out,
To bind the spell every time,
Let the spell be spoken in rhyme,
Soft of eyes and light of touch,
Speak ye little, listen much,
Deosil go by the waxing moon,
Chanting out the Witches Rune,
Widdershins go by the waning moon,
Chanting out a banning rune,
When the lady’s moon is new,
Kiss ye hand to her times two,
When the moon rides at her peak,
Then ye heart desires seek,
Heed the North winds’ 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 West,
Departed souls will have no rest,
When the wind blows from the east,
Expect the new, and set the feast,
Nine woods in the cauldron go,
Burn them fast and burn them slow,
Elder be the lady’s tree,
Burn it not, or cursed thou be,
When the weel begins to turn,
Soon Beltane’s fires burn,
When the weel has turned to Yule,
light the logs and the Horned One rules,
Heed ye flower, bush and tree,
By the Lady, blessed be,
Where the rippling waters go,
Cast a stone and the truth you’ll know,
When ye have a true need,
Harken not to other’s greed,
With a fool no season spend,
Lest ye be counted as his friend,
Merry meet and merry part,
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart,
Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Three times bad and three times good,
When misfortune is anow,
Wear the blue star by the brow,
True in love ever be,
Lest thy lover’s false to thee,
Eight words the Wiccan Law fulfill:
‘An it harm none, do as ye will’.
Now you finally know something true about Witches. I hope that you’ve learned about it and understand how Witches think. So, when you see someone wearing a pentagram around his neck, don’t start screaming and saying (s)he’s a Satanist, but remember what you’ve just read. Maybe your neihgbour is a Witch, you never know….