Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lesson 1

It's Lesson day!

This means I take over Element of Magick for the day and teach you all I can about subjects in the craft I normally teach to the students I take on.

We are hoping to turn this into a something more then just me writing to you all a few lessons and hoping for the best. Like holding interactive online classes for at least an hour. So send us much "lets get this girl on the web so we can learn better" energy ;-)

First I am going to admit to you all I was a bit nervous when the EoM team approached me for a lesson day.

This is because I am a much better in person teacher. This teaching online with different interaction is new to me and I was nervous how people would take the idea, but to my pleasant shock you all seemed to be screaming you wanted lesson day. I thank you all so much for your kind out cry of my skills in this area.

I want you to know a little about how I work. I am an eclectic solitary practitioner, so all of my lessons will not be focused on one tradition but many.

I will take into the subject of each tradition at some time to help those of you looking to be in a tradition what they have to offer you.

This is not wicca 101, or neo-paganism 101. This will be a witchcraft course so a bit more diverse and open.

If you have questions that lean toward a tradition I am more then happy to answer them so don't think you can't ask what your tradition would say or do on the subject.

Okay now that we have that out in the open lets not keep you all much longer and get to learning!

Lesson 1: An Introduction to Witchcraft

Part 1

What is Witchcraft?

This is an important question to be asking, and the answers vary from witch to witch because we are all individuals and practice different and see witchcraft differently.

When I present this question to people, new to or in the craft all their lives I get a different answer every single time with very few similarities. It is about now I wish I could show you all my slide show on this lesson but that will be saved for later.

Simply put Witchcraft is an ancient nature-oriented religion. And that is the simplest term I have found across the board across all traditions.

Now lets touch on this just a bit more. Many witches honor the old gods, pre-Christian deities such as Isis, Thor, Athena, Apollo and Gaia. They many worship more then one, only one, just female deities, just male deities the possibilities are endless. There is no right or wrong (you will hear me say this a lot) to who you worship or how many you worship.

So here is my first study question for you...

What does the word Witch mean to you?

Here are some probing questions to help you find this answer...Close your eyes and ponder the meaning of this title. What did it mean to you as you grew through life?

What sort of images did this word invoke within you as you grew?

Lesson 1: An Introduction to Witchcraft

Part 2

What Witchcraft is not (this one is long so bare with me here)

Since we are looking at what Witchcraft is and means to you let's also look at what Witchcraft is not.

I have spent much of my life trying to rid people of misconceptions about what it means to be a witch. I do my best to try to separate the facts from the fiction, myths, vicious rumors, and misunderstandings. Mostly created guessed it the media.

Now don't get me wrong I love media and entertainment. But when people believe the fiction to be truth that is when others can get hurt.

Sadly it is a social norm to demonize that which you do not understand or goes against the majority. Due to the fact that Christians are the majority we are in for a world of being misstereo-typed by the majority.

Here are some of the common misconceptions I run into and you may have as well.

1. Q: Do you worship Satan?

A: Satan is a part of the Christian and Muslim religions. Since pagans are neither Christian nor Muslim, Satan is not part of our deity structure at all.

We believe that each and every human being is completely responsible for his or her own actions. To us, evil is a choice, albeit a bad one, that a human might make, not an embodied entity to blame our actions upon.

If an individual chooses to do evil, most pagans believe they will be punished via the laws of karma or as a result of "cause and effect.". In other words, "What goes around usually comes around."

Many Witches believe in some form of reincarnation, that the results or karma of past deeds can follow a person from one life to the next. This may also help to explain why terrible things sometimes happen to wonderful people or why some people seem to have been born with certain skills and knowledge. It may also explain why some people seem to lead a 'charmed" life

2. Q: Are you a good Witch or a bad Witch?

A: When you ask if someone is a "good" Witch or a "bad" Witch, it is the same as asking someone if they are a "good" Presbyterian or a "bad" Presbyterian. Wiccan's adhere to the Rede, "An it harm none, do as ye will." How ever Druids and other pagan belief systems and traditions have their own ethical standards. There are good and bad people in every society and in every religion. When a person breaks the laws of society or the tenets of their religion, they are called to account for their actions. To judge a person as either "good" or "bad" based upon nothing more than their religious preference alone has a label, too. It is called bigotry

3. Q: So why do you use that "Satanic" symbol?

A: The pentagram, or five pointed star, is not Satanic. Pythagoras used it as a symbol of health and his followers wore them in order to recognize one another. In Medieval times, some Christian knights used the pentagram as their symbol. To modern Pagans the pentagram means many things; The five points correspond to the elements Air, Earth, Fire and Water with the top point corresponding to "Spirit". The pentagram in a circle may also represent a human with their legs and arms outstretched, surrounded by universal wisdom or the "Goddess" - humankind at one with the environment. Many Witches and other pagan practitioners do not wear the pentacle at all, but have other symbols of special meaning to them.

Some Satanists turn the symbol upside-down, which puts the elements of Fire and Earth at the top (Fire symbolizes willpower and passion and Earth, prosperity and earthly goods) and Spirit, spirituality, at the bottom. Satanists also turn the cross upside-down. This, in itself, does not make the cross or pentagram a Satanic symbol.

In some Pagan traditions, the reversed pentagram is a symbol of "second degree" status - one who has been elevated from "initiate". To members of these traditions, the reversed pentagram is considered highly positive and has no connection to Satanism. A symbol is simply an image or mark in itself. It is the mind and the beliefs of the beholder which attribute to it a particular meaning.

4. Q: Are Witchcraft or Wicca cults?

A: A cult by definition is a group of people who blindly follow one leader. As Witches and pagans tend to be free-thinkers, there is no one person that we consider to be THE leader. Thus we cannot be called a cult.

5. Q: Do you have ritual orgies?

A: These rumors come from our lack of taboos regarding sex. We have no rules which prohibit homosexuality, nudity or pre-marital sex. Sex as the generative force in nature is seen by most pagans as something utterly sacred. We feel that the physical act of love is to be approached with great respect and responsibility

6. Q: Aren't all Witches Women?

A: No. Witches can be either men or women. The term "Warlock" is never used to describe a male Witch as it is considered to be a religious slur. "Warlock" is an old Scottish word meaning "traitor" or "oath-breaker". Men and Women alike can be Witches.

7. Q: Why do all Witches wear black?

A: We all don't. Many Witches actually seem to favor green and/or purple. Black, however, is in many cultures a symbol of clergy. Priests, Ministers and Rabbis all favor black as the main color of their ritual garb.

Scientifically speaking, color is energy. The colors you see are the ones which are reflected and not the ones absorbed. Therefore, what appears to be white, which is the culmination of all colors in the light spectrum, is actually reflecting all colors and absorbing none. What appears to be black, is absorbing all colors and reflecting none. This is evident in the fact that when one is wearing white, one feels cooler - as the fabric is sending the heat energy outward, and when one wears black - the heat energy is absorbed in the cloth that one is wearing, making one feel warmer. Many Witches feel that wearing black attracts and holds more natural energy.

And I swear to this day I get this question...8. Q. Do Witches fly on brooms?

A: Really? We all wish but sadly no.

Brooms are sometimes still are ridden astride in ceremonies. In one such ceremony, people ran through the fields astride a broom to coax the grain to grow, or participants would leap over a broom, telling the grain to grow to the height of the highest leaping.

Uninformed observations of such ceremonies could lead to tales of flying on brooms. There is also a theory among some pagans today that the common herbs used during the rituals at the times this myth was born (not today) could have caused hallucinations so while jumping about with the broom one would think they were flying.

Study Question:

So why do you think so much negativity is associated with Witches and witchcraft?

Why is it you think people are so willing to believe such things toward witches?

 Lesson 1: An Introduction to Witchcraft

Part 3

What's what?

Many of you may have noticed the Pagan Lingo I post every day. They are words your will hear or see come up over and over again during your path. I think it is important to know what some of these words mean.

I have been studying for 17 years, and continue to study about such things. These definitions I post are what my studies have shown me each word means or what they have meant to me thought many experiences.

It would be a very long and boring class indeed if I where to just focus on the definitions of words, I know...I tried it and it failed. So what I found to work is to post them everyday so to not bore people with such an important subject.

So here is the study question I wish to present on this subject.

Offer up your own definitions to the lingo.

That right I want you to comment on the lingo I put up with how you feel, learned, see the lingo meaning to you.

Also right it down for you to keep. You never know when you are going to need or use those definitions.

10 years from now I would not have seen myself teaching the way I do now but I was challenged by a friend and teacher to write these things down. Keep a record of them. They may grow over time and you may find your younger self to be wrong but you need to start somewhere.

So I encourage and challenge you all as I would any student to please write these things down and share them. These questions I ask are to help you grow your personal path in witchcraft, not because I have a answer book and am going to mark you right or wrong. I am simply here to help guide you along a path and growth.
If you wish to see my Pagan Lingo of the day please visit and like the facebook Element of Magick page here...

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