Thursday, September 19, 2013

S is for Spells


        

With this week being about Spells, I thought that I would touch on something that I have noticed as a growing trend for quite some time.  I will limit my focus to Wicca and witchcraft and all the folks who identify with one or both of these terms.  I have heard, not a few times, that there are witches and Wiccans who do not cast spells.  This is absolutely baffling to me!  Why in the world not?  

The answer I often get is, "because it is unethical to cast spells or make magic for personal gain". This is utter horseshit.  Sorry to be so blunt, but I think that in this instance that is the only proper term for such foolishness.  What in the world is unethical about getting what we need and desire?  Is it the assumption that to get what we want we must take from another?  If so, then I challenge you to expand your definitions of the following:  

Magic:  if we accept that magic is creating change in accordance with Will, we should be able to accept that this change can be a manifestation of something which previously did not exist - that it was willed into being.  If this is so, our abundance received through magic is created by us, for us.  With this in mind, it is not necessary to take from others to have what we want.  There are, of course, types of magic which rely on domination and manipulation, but the choice to utilize such tactics is exactly that - a choice.

Fertility Religion - the very term suggests abundance. As deities of fertility, and by extension abundance, our gods wish us well and want us to be happy and prosperous.  They do, however, expect that we will work for what we want as well.  Magic will make the job available, but you, my dearest, will have to go out and get it yourself.  

Witch or Priest/Priestess - this is not the same as lackey of the goddess, slave or pitiful wretch.  We work with our gods in a symbiotic relationship.  We need Them, and They need us.  Magic is one way in which they give to us, and through worship and reverence we empower them in return.  Witches are makers of magic, and to suggest otherwise smacks of Christian guilt and an attitude of unworthiness.  Our gods are realists.  Without enough to eat and a roof over our heads, how will we be able to spare any energy for Them?  This isn't Jehovah or Yahweh we are talking about here, who demands the first of all flocks, who asks people to kill their kids as signs of devotion and sets plagues on people to test loyalty.  No, our gods are not THAT god, however They are as responsible for the dispensation of justice and hard lessons as they are for the lavish gifts of magic.  Do not truffle with them, but remember that Willing and Daring are as much at home in Wicca as in Ceremonial Magic.  Use your head, and accept responsibility for your actions and you will do fine 

They witchcraft ethics of Charmed might be fine for the teenie bopper witches, or the "white light" enthusiasts, but I will stick with the old school attitudes of my elders, thank you.


Friday, September 6, 2013

S is for Self Help

Wicca is not a self help movement.  It became popular in the midst of a New Age "heyday" where guardian angels, spirit guides, channeled masters and even aliens where speaking through mediums telling people, for a price, how to be happier, more successful, how to balance their chakras and raise their energetic vibrations so they could... well I am not sure what they were supposed to do with this, but that's what they were selling at the seminar I attended.

Prior to this, Wicca was here in the US and had been in Europe under the bugaboo name "witchcraft". Many witches began a dialogue which discussed the benefits of taking the name Wicca to represent their practices because it was less threatening and carried less baggage in the midst fight east Satanic Panic I'd the 80s and early 90's.  For an excellent account of this time, I suggest checking out this blog:  http://oakmistgrove.blogspot.com/2013/08/satanic-panic.html

Somewhere along the way, the idea that Wicca could offer much of the same benefits as the New Age.  Wiccans, too, could feel pretty darned good about themselves.  They were "enlightened" and were all aware of the vast knowledge that they had gained through countless lifetimes (all of them remembered), the spell work that they had done (though now we have Wiccans who don't use magic --???), or that their god/dess was more powerful, older and more historically accurate than the other guy's.

I the midst of this, the (IMO) true reason for the practice of the Craft, no matter what the stripe, is to build relationships with the Old Gods and to perform their rites to perfect and preserve them.  In doing so we preserve the gods, and in turn they preserve us.  Along the way, we grow and improve as people as a byproduct, but it is not the purpose; it's a benefit.  Through the practice of spellcraft, we hone our wills so that they will be keener and stronger to help us with the more challenging aspects of life.  By learning to work in groups and find consensus with out brethren, we become better listeners and doers.  These things cannot help but improve our job performance, no matter what the field.  By observing the seasons of the Earth and the universal laws we learn about ourselves as the microcosm.  If we don't like what we find, we can work to change it consciously.  These are all byproducts which the Witch enjoys, but it's not why we do it.  We do it because we are called to the service of the Old Ones.

This week another Pagan blogger of the Druidic persuasion talked about the difference between reverence and worship.  I think his points were well made, in that he was distinguishing pagans from some other more Semitic religious groups by the fact that we have reverence, respect and relationships with our gods and others are the servants and slavish devotees of theirs.  Where I disagree is in the distinction based on the words "reverence" and "worship".  I agree that the relationships are different, but I think that I worship my gods but am not enslaved by them.  As I said, the point was well taken.  There is a older article which speaks to this same topic, and I mention it because it I is germane to this blog and the blog of the aforementioned Druid.

It is: http://www.cyberwitch.com/Wychwood/Temple/priests.htm

Happy reading!